Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's All About Money, Honey!

I always thought that I was not so much into money but I am not so sure anymore. I have started stock trading and God, am I loving it! Maybe it's not about money at all. Probably it is more about the thrills of being in the market, amidst the bulls and the bears. It is so damn addictive that I am always itching to "do something".

So as soon as the opening bells ring on the stock market, I am ready at my terminal, waiting to pounce on losers or let loose the gainers. I have learnt a lot about the market in the last 3-4 months. I'll do a post about my lessons some day soon. And yes, I've made some money too :-)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My 2 Cents on Cosmo

You can read the little quotes here. Though I personally feel that the article has been written and edited a little shabbily, I am still excited about it. None of my friends has ever been mentioned in Cosmo! They have cut out some sentences from the quotes and so there's a lack of flow that I discern. Nevertheless, not bad at all!

Financial Chronicle will follow...


Friday, July 31, 2009

Do I believe in God?

Yesterday a friend asked me "Are you religious? Do you believe in God?" Since both the questions were asked in the same breath, I think "Religion" and "God" are synonymous for my dear friend....just like they are for most people.

I have thought about this a little in the past. I have had some discussions about it too. Here's what I think:

Illogical as it may be, I like to believe that there is a Higher Power, looking over the world. She/He is God. I will use He in the rest of the post for convenience. He loves His children, but that does not mean He will always grant our wishes. I think of God as a parent, who is always with me. I turn to Him in grief, asking for strength. And I thank Him for every little (and big) blessing.

Coming to Religion...I don't understand it well. Why do I have to go to a Mandir to talk to God, when He is everywhere? Why do I need to chant a prayer that I only half understand, when He understands my feelings even without my putting them into words? Why should I follow rituals, when He only wants me to be a good human being?

Since I don't understand so much about Religion, I am not religious at all. If I follow any rituals, it's only coz I find them sweet, cute or see a scientific logic to them. You won't catch me doing the rounds of Mandirs or begging for favours.

Someone once said, "Common people do not pray. They only beg."
I couldn't agree more. Have we invented the concept of God, only to ask for favours? Hard it is, but I try to refrain from doing this. It is instinctive to turn to God in times of distress. But how fair is it to measure your love for God, on the basis of your blessings?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Moment of Truth is here...

The Desi version of popular Reality Show "Moment of Truth" has made its debut on the Indian Telly. Star Plus has regained some of the lost TRPs with "Sach Ka Saamna". Rajeev Khandelwal is hosting the show and everyone loves him anyway.

To be honest, I did not expect the show to be interesting at all. I did not expect that Indians have "scandalous" secrets that they'd be willing to share, for money. So far 2 actors, 1 cricketer and 1 nobody has appeared on the show. The celebs did not surprise us much with their confessions, but the "nobody" woman was a real surprise.

Anyway, is the Indian audience ready for such a show? YES, the audience is ready, but the MPs are not. The MPs think they have the right to decide what we can or cannot digest, what we should and should not watch! The latest news is that BJP MPs have demanded that the government should ban the show. They feel that this show is too scandalous and vulgar and it poses a threat to Indian culture, morality and values. Yeah, Right!

I am surprised that our MPs have all the time in the world to worry about a television show, when so many important issues are sitting unattended. We are fast turning into a powerless and waterless state, the foodgrain bowl is empty, the glaciers are melting, the infrastructure is buckling under the population pressure, pollution, crime...I can't stop naming the issues that need attention! But I suppose the moral issues are more important.

So, after much furore in Rajya Sabha, the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan agreed with the MPs. He said that the government should take note of this 'serious' issue. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has issued a show cause notice to the TV channel and has sought a reply by July 27.

The legal experts claim that the government can not ban any TV show. It can only issue notice to the TV channel to stop broadcasting the show. So the experts say that Such Ka Saamna can not be banned by government.

I can't understand how this show will pollute our culture? The contestants and their families know what to expect. Still they are there, Right? That means they can face the consequences of the truth. How does it affect others? Are we to think that such things do NOT exist in our society? Are we to forever pretend that scandal, promiscuity etc do not exist in our society? Will we ever be ready to face the truth as a society? When will we grow up?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cosmo Calling

I am soooo excited! An editor from Cosmopolitan called me last week. She wanted my quotes for a new story they are doing. It will be published in their next edition, hopefully and I am sure to post a link in here. Cheers to that!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Paradise Lost?

"Jaya Sankar, 22, an Indian student studying in Melbourne, watched as his friend was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver, putting him in a coma. Now, Sankar’s parents want him to quit his studies and return home."

Violent crime against Indian students, including attacks with machetes, knives, and knuckle dusters, has risen by a third in the past year in the state of Victoria. A poll on the Indian students’ federation Web site shows 83 percent of respondents believe there has been an increase in racism in Australia. In one court case, accused youths described the attacks as “curry bashing,” Gupta (secretary of the Federation) said. “If they are using words like ‘curry bashing’ and ‘Indian hunting’ I fail to see how it is not racism,” he said. Gupta said he’s scared to use public transportation after 8 p.m.

The recent media attention on the Racist attitudes in Australia brings forth some questions. Again, is it really worth it? To be called names, to be kicked, insulted, mocked, and to be told to go back home, maybe even all this crap worth it?

Not many weeks ago, An NRI living in Australia (supposedly) was commenting away to glory in this blog. From women's rights to cleanliness to other things, she painted a picture of the perfect place to live. But the statistics tell a different story. The hate crimes against Indians in Australia are not "few" by any standards. They are continuing without any signs of abating, in spite of all the media attention.

Life as an NRI cannot be very different from the life of a Bihari/UP bhaiya living in Delhi, Punjab or Mumbai. The locals do not like them. The locals do not accept them as one of their own. There may be more money or better living standards than back home. But there is no respect and you can never break the barriers of race.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Am A Dilemma

Hi! I am 6 weeks old. I live in the warm protection of my mother’s womb. Yesterday we went to the doctor’s clinic. To check whether I am a girl or a boy. I don’t know what that means. But it must be something important. My mother wept a lot after the test. I heard my father scream at her for producing “only girls”.

After we went home, there was more screaming and shouting. I barely managed to survive when my mother was slapped and pushed around by my grandmother. They called my mother a worthless bitch who could not give them an heir. They were talking something about carrying on the family name. I don’t know what that means. But again, it must be important.

Later, when my mother was about to fall asleep, my father started talking about “abortion”. He was talking very sweetly to my mother. I was very happy to hear his pleasant voice at that time. He was saying that with his limited income, they could not afford to have another daughter. Though I don’t know what “daughter” is, they already have one, I think. My father mentioned some “wedding expenses”. Then my mother started weeping. I did not understand anything that was being said. But I felt very sad to hear my mother cry.

Today morning, I heard my mother tell my father that she does not want “abortion”. She said something about taking up a job to meet expenses also. Then my father got very angry and started beating her again. I was so scared! I don’t like to hear my parents fighting. I wish I was out there, so that I could help them in some way.

I don’t know why they keep fighting about this “abortion”. Why does my father want it? And why does my mother not want it? I have a feeling that it has something to do with me. Last night, I could hear my mother talking to me. She was promising me that she would not get an abortion.

What do you think will happen? Will my mother be able to have her way? Or will she give in to those beatings and get the abortion? I think she will get it. She does not seem to be very brave…

Can you help my mother?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One Vice...

If there is a depravity that I can be accused of, it is “Shopping”. Like most women, I just love to shop. I am a firm believer in the “retail therapy” and know from experience that it is better at stress busting than caffeine or even sugar. I am the happiest when I am trying out new shoes or clothes. Is that a really bad thing? To be so materialistic…can’t be good, right?

The worst thing is that I chide Di for impulsive buying, while I myself am hooked to it. Often I buy clothes just because “it’s a great bargain”! So as a result, my closet is always bursting with clothes that are rarely worn. I have to give away absolutely new clothes to make space for more new clothes!!!

Now if that isn’t stupidity, what is?

Egging me on, is my dear lovable husband. He knows about my fetish for shoes and allows nothing to stand in the way. So every time we are in a market, he offers to buy me new shoes. Every single time!

I have been trying to work on this for the last few months, and am very happy to announce that I have not bought any shoes in the last 2 months. Yippeeeee! I did buy some clothes two weeks back, but the good thing is that I am wearing those.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Know Thyself...

I am absolutely in love with myself. Yes, that makes sense coz I obviously like being how I am...that must be why I am thus. No?

Anyway, loving myself does not mean that I am blind to my negative traits. Like everyone else, I have many negative factors in my personality, which I am trying to identify and enumerate. I will not necessarily be trying to fix them, because the motive is self awareness, and not self change. I am pretty happy being who I am.

1. Cynical: I think I belong to an era where everyone is a cynic. It's just that the extent varies. Di is much less cynical than I am, but my "know-it-all" attitude makes me sooooooo cynical that I will ALWAYS look for an ulterior motive in things people do. I blame the Reality TV shows for making me much more cynical than I was 4 years back!

2. Pessimist: Most of the time, I am looking for problems and not solutions. That makes me a hardcore pessimist, Right?

3. Hypocrite: Sometimes, I am a hypocrite. Most of the times I am not, but in some situations I do give in to middle class hypocrisy!

4. My Way: Oh Yes....I always have to have my way. It's like "my way or the highway". Thankfully, my husband is so accomodating that he lets me be. We are just like Monica and Chandler from Friends. I am rather dominating, I think.

5. Giving Up: I give up too easily. Not because I lack patience or persevarence. But because I hate to lose. When I face a situation where the chances of losing are high, I'll usually give up. No sporstman spirit, huh? BTW, can I call it sportswoman spirit?

Till some time back, I would count "not admitting my mistakes" as one of my personality traits. But i have been working on that. Orkut forums have helped in rectifying that, to an extent. And what is this post, if not a proof of that?

If you know me, and feel you can add to the list, please do so in your comments. I would appreciate that.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dancing in the rain...

Yesterday I was thinking about what makes me tick. What makes me happy? Did the new pair of jeans I bought at Pantaloons last Sunday make me happy? Does an expensive dinner at a fancy restaurant make me happy? Movies? Writing? Reading? TV? The sales and marketing work that I do?

No. None of this makes me happy. Sure, I enjoy these things.. maybe take some pleasure in them too. But they don't make me happy. So, what does?

I explored the insides of my mind to find the answer. I was surprised to find that I had to make an effort to recall the last time I felt truly happy/overjoyed. When I enjoy all these things, howcome I don't remember much about where I went, what I wore or what I did last week? It seems so insignificant...

What I do remember is the happiness and plain joy I felt in Dehradun. I know why I love Doon so much. It's because I love the rains. Every time I am in the rains, I feel like dancing. Sometimes I do give in...

Anyway, my happiest memories are of watching a rainbow as a child, my father insisting on my wearing a raincoat as I am leaving for school, splashing my way through the big puddles of water with friends, relishing hot pakoras and chai with my husband...and so on.

The joy and happiness I remember even today is all in the little things of life. I wonder why I have stopped experiencing the joy of little inconsequential things? Why do I put so much thought, effort and money into enjoying life? Why does everything have to be bigger and important? Why am I not content with just watching the rainbow, instead of chasing it?

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Personal Recession...

The Recession is everywhere. People have nothing else to talk of at social gatherings and meetings. Even at weddings and funerals, it is the hottest topic of discussion.

But on a personal level, how has recession affected me?

First of all, we have quita a bit of money tied up in stocks. Though we do not exactly have a cash crunch, it wouldn't hurt to get that money back and invest it in land. Yes, we have been wanting to buy some land. But are not very comfortable about getting a loan for the big amount. Who knows, kal jobs ho na ho?

Our Bollywood obsession has been scaled down. Not because of the economic recession. But because of the recession in the quality of products being churned out at the moment. So it's been 3 weeks since we were seen at a multiplex! Can't blame the's exam time na!

Eating out has considrably gone down. Again, it is for the lack of good eating places in Kanpur. We have yet to find a place we absolutely love. So yes, we are trying to cut corners here. We have not been to a really classy restaurant since the Valentines Day. That's okay really, coz I prefer the street food or Domino's pizza anyway!

Our holidays have really been affected. Dinesh is extremely tied up at work. More importantly, he does not want to take off for a holiday in these times. So no travelling, no vacations, no fun for the last couple of months. I have been wanting to go to Haridwar for so long...but we just keep stalling.

On the positive side, we have been participating in a contest run by Big Cinemas all over India. The contest is such that you have to provide a funny caption for a picture (scene of a famous movie) given in their magazine. We have won this contest 3 times in as many months! Seems like we've really got the best-est sense of humor in this country! So every time we win, we we get 2 tickets to any any movie at any theatre of Big Cinemas in India. Isn't that so cool?

Canada, The Other Side Of The Fence?

Di and I discussed it for a couple of years. Finally in 2007 we filed our application for immigration to Canada. We make a pretty decent income in India. So money was not the motivator here. We wanted to go to the West for other reasons like better quality of life, cleaner places, better equipped to deal with global warming etc etc etc. All these reasons seemed enough in 2007.

But things have changed now. WE have changed now. The same reasons seem to be nothing but CRAP today. Yes, Canada may be cleaner than India, and cooler, and it probably will provide many facilities that we don't enjoy in India. But are these things really worth it? Worth being a "2nd Class" citizen in a "1st Class" country? I am not so sure.

We were fortunate to spend a few months in Doon last year. That has changed our outlook. India can be beautiful and clean too. Doon enjoys great climate BTW. The civic environment is better than in other cities. People are mostly educated and civil. Crime rate in negligible. But most importantly, it's India. And I love India. I love my country, with all its imperfections and flaws.

I have noticed one thing amongst all emigrants from India. They look down upon their home country and in doing so, they develop a twisted version of the ground reality in our country. They start seeing things they want to see, and become oblivious to things they don't want to see. We can't blame them. After all, if they don't look down upon their country, how will they justify their decision of living abroad? I don't want to become such a person. I don't want to start looking down upon my roots. I don't want to get so caught up in an alien culture that I start hating my own.

I don't know whether I'll finally go to Canada or not. We have postponed the decision till the time comes. As of now, Canada's chances seem pretty grim. Even if we do fly out, it will only be for a couple of years. Just to have an experience of the West. But home will always be here, right in India.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Karkare family gets relief, finally....

In honour of slain former ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Mahanagar Gas will today allot a CNG station to his family.

The CNG station will be located at Tardeo and the Karkares will be felicitated by Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora.

Karkare, along with encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte, were killed by terrorists on November 26 during the Mumbai terror attacks. He is survived by his wife Kavitha and children Juhi, Sayali and Akash.

This piece of news is welcome. I wonder what took it so long for the govt to do something for the family of Karkare. And I am also amazed at this gesture. This will probably be the first time that such a generous gift is being given away to a slain cop. I am ashamed to think that in a country where Abhinav Bhindra gets crores for winning a medal, the dead NSG commandos have only earned a measly lakh or two. While Bhindra does not really need the money, the families of these dead soldiers could use some financial help. But for a reason that escapes my little brain, our govt thinks that 2-3 lakhs is enough to feed a family forever. Maybe it's because the govt officials do not really pay any bills, so probably they are unaware of the "badhti hui mehengai"...?

I don't mean to undermine Bhindra's success. His medal is a source of honor, pride and inspiration for everyone. But can it be compared to laying down one's life for the country?

I laud this gesture of the Union Pertoleum & Natural Gas ministry. And I hope that we, as a nation, can make life a little less difficult for the families of our dead soldiers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I have been wanting to write something about Slumdog Millionaire ever since I watched it. But since everyone was already talking so much about it, it kinda seemed rhetoric. Anyway, what difference would it have made? But today, as Indians cheer for the Oscars that the film won, I just cannot stop myself.

Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars. Smile Pinki won 1 too. But why are we happy? Slumdog is a Brit film, shot in India. Just like A Mighty Heart was a Hollywood film shot in India. So let us not fool ourselves into believing that Indian cinema has been honored. But yes, Pookutty and Rahman have won Oscars for their talents. Their Awards are well deserved, and so are the congratulations.

But I just wish that they had won their Awards for a better film, for better work.

Slumdog is one of the lousiest films I have ever seen. The film is nothing, but a delibrate attempt to glorify poverty and show India in the worst possible light. Films that focus on the plight of poor kids, blind, slumdwellers, riot affected etc are always a big hit at the Oscars. After all, isn't that exactly what the Westren World wants to see? They want to see us as an undeveloped country with people killing each other, kids having their eyes poked out etc. All this makes them feel better about themselves. Danny understands this perfectly, and has made sure to use this to his advantage.

For thos of you who are not in the know, the film does not have the title of the book. The original book is called Q & A. The questions in the original book have been changed, to make the plot more interesting, or shall we say, moving? Danny has employed very possible trick to show us in a bad light. From cameras, to lighting, to locations, everything has been done extremely carefully. The director has meticulously avoided all locations and shots where India can be shown in a decent way. Except for the Taj, of course. But then, Danny compesates for that also by showing "the real India" immediately after.

If Danny wants to massage Western egos, who am I to object. I am so glad that SRk did not do this film. It is beneath his stature in Bollywood. It is degrading to every Indian. I respect Shahrukh a lot more just for this one decision. I am sure he must be as glad as I, that he did not do the "nasty quizmaster" bit. Though I have no doubt that Rahman is a genius, just like Gulzar, I wish they'd won their Awards for something better. We have seen both of them do so much better work, haven't we?

Their work in Slumdog is almost as mediocre as the film itself. Yeah, 3 Oscars in India don't hurt. But I m surprised that this is the standard of Oscars. I mean, we have seen much better music and lyrics and films....does this mean that we are way ahead of the Oscars? I'd like to think so!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Goons on the Loose in Mangalore...

Recently goons of a Hindu activist organisation called Sri Ram Sena entered a pub in Mangalore and beat up five women there. These men claimed that thw women were drinking and dancing obscenely, which is againt our culture. They manhandled the women and even tried to take off their clothes, apart from beating them up.

What does this say about our society, and the place we hold in it? How can we allow anyone to tell us what we should or should not be doing? How can someone else decide whether we should drink or visit pubs or not? Is there something called "Freedom" in Free India? Not only did these men commit an utterly shameful crime, but they have also misused the name of "Shri Ram" to do something that God does not advocate. As far as I know, Shri Ram used to respect women to the point of worshipping them.

Ten suspected activists of Sri Ram Sena have been taken into custody on charges of assaulting customers of a pub in the busy Balmatta Road in the heart of the city. The All-India Democratic Women’s Association has strongly condemned the attack on the young women. They were badly beaten up and molested in full public view for patronising a pub. The attackers also objected to the women “mixing with youth of other faith,” an AIDWA statement said here on Tuesday.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) is constituting a three-member committee to probe the January 24 attack on women in a Mangalore pub by activists of the self-styled Sri Ram Sene activists in the name of “moral policing.”

But we, the women of india, also need to review the situation. Freedom, if not given, must be taken. I urge all women to stand up for themselves, and their rights. Let us stop being doormats. Let us not let our husbands or in laws take undue advantage of our "so called culture". Let us talk about Domestic Violence. Let us bring such issues out in the open.

After all, for how long do we have to act like "dutiful bahu" or "nice girl" and hush up about all the injustice?

Thank You for all the Emails...

Here's a nice one....

Thank you to all my friends who sent me such important emails this year!
It's so wonderful that you included me in your quest to inform!

Because of all of you I stopped drinking Coca-Cola after I found out
from you that it's good for removing toilet stains and rusting the
arse out of 40-gallon drum.

I stopped going to the movies for fear of sitting on a needle infected
with a disease.

I smell like a homeless f*@k, but thank goodness I stopped using
deodorant because you said it causes cancer.

I don't leave my car in any parking lot even though I sometimes have
to walk about seventeen blocks, because you said that someone might
drug me with a perfume sample and then try to rob me.

I also stopped answering the phone because you said that they will ask
me to dial a stupid number and then I get a high phone bill with
calls to Uganda, Singapore, Tokyo and maybe the Mars Rover.

I stopped eating chicken and hamburgers because you told me they are
nothing more than horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers that
are bred in a lab so that places like McDonalds and KFC can sell their

I also stopped drinking anything out of a can - you said that I would
get sick from the rat faeces and urine.

When I go to parties, I now don't mix with anybody or talk to anybody
- you said that someone would take my kidneys and leave me taking a
nap in a bathtub full of ice.

However, the police are also after me at present because you said not
to pull over, as they could be fake policemen trying to kidnap me.

I went bankrupt from bounced checks that I wrote, in anticipation of
the $15,000 that Microsoft and AOL were supposed to send me when I
participated in their special e-mail program.

It's weird, though, that my new free cell phone never arrived, and
neither did the passes for my paid vacation to Disneyland. But I am
positive that all this is because of the chain I broke or forgot to
follow and I got a curse.