Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
He would be Obama’s first state guest and it’s been made out to be a very big deal.
What is India going to achieve from this visit?
The excitement of the nuclear deal is dead now. The United States is getting ready to deny India 11 out of 15 dual use technologies. There will be pressure on us for signing the CTBT and NPT. (Why should we be shy of signing the NPT? We are overtly nuclear. We are not going to proliferate. Let’s sign. The CTBT is a different question.)
We have been caught sleeping when the Chinese and Obama have carved up the world (or Asia) between themselves. (China has reportedly asked the United States to let it control the Indian Ocean.)
Obama has given a de-facto policeman status to China on the world stage.
He knows the United States cannot live without debt from the Chinese.
Obama wants to get out of Afghanistan at the earliest. Who would fill in the vacuum? Obviously, the Chinese and the Pakistanis would oblige.
Obama has been steadily releasing Guantanamo inmates since he assumed office and has vowed to close the prison by early 2010. It obvious the released detainees will head for the hotspots – Afghanistan, Pakistan and yes, India (don’t be surprised – there had been reports jehadi Uighurs being detained in Kashmir).
All this is very bad news for India. And Obama is turning out to be India’s worst nightmare today – we should award him the Nobel Prize for War, for his actions would destabilize Asia more than we could even imagine, eventually pushing us to the brink of the next world war.
Obviously our external affairs ministry and its diplomats were napping, or were rather excitedly preparing for the pomp and pageantry that goes into a State Dinner at the White House.
It’s high time we saw through all this and had a foreign policy.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Certainly it was a big deal for a person who is as comfortable with recognizing landings at Runway 27 at Bombay and taking off at Runway 28 at Delhi, just as anyone else would be with, say driving on the Western Express Highway in Bombay or along the Inner Ring Road in Delhi.
Certainly it was a big deal for a person who is extremely pleased to spot a Boeing 747-400 or an Airbus 330, just as one would be pleased to spot a Ferrari or a Jaguar.
Certainly it was a big deal for a person who is extremely passionate about the beauty and splendor of a Boeing 747-400, as if he owns one and is unable to stand any criticism of the Jumbo, just as a car aficionado would get pissed if someone were to doubt the capability and performance of his car.
Certainly it was a very big deal….
I happened to travel on a client’s private jet for work, alongwith a few fellow bankers and client representative.
It was a beautiful little bird, the Dassault Falcon 900EX.
My fellow passengers were excited about the luxury of the aircraft, the plush interiors, the shiny, soft leather seats that were so comfortable and relaxing that they would have put a chronic insomniac into a deep, deep slumber
But my eyes were on the cockpit, those little dials, those small screens were all visible from the cabin. I wanted to pounce on the opportunity to raid the cabin at the earliest.
If you thought I had joined the bearded-turbaned mad gang, you would be disappointed. No I haven’t. I was really excited about the thought of seeing work in action in the cockpit, that thought was certainly driving me mad.
I had visited cockpits of the Hawker Siddeley HS 748, Airbus A300 and McDonnell Douglas DC10, as a kid, but could never really figure out how they flew the bird. This time around, armed with some idea of flying, courtesy the FlightSim, I had a much better idea of what actually actually goes into flying an aircraft.
The crew graciously accepted my request to visit the cockpit and the steward led me in.
The captain handed me a pair of headphones so that he could explain the flight plan, while the co-pilot, a rather young and pretty lady, was in constant touch with the ATC, taking instructions on altitude and headings.
The captain explained the functions of various instruments rather enthusiastically, despite knowing that I was a FlightSim regular!
The captain and the co-pilot explained the route that we were to follow into Bombay which was pictorially depicted on the LCD screen. We took a turn east from the Arabian Sea, to fly over the Virar coast, over Thane, took an about turn over Vashi to align with the ILS glide slope on Runway 9!
And now the ATC came into action – every couple of seconds, the ATC would check on the altitude which would be confirmed by the co-pilot and before I knew it, it was touchdown time!!!!
For me, it was a big deal as I had always dreamt of becoming a pilot, as a kid, but could not because of my myopia.
It was a damn big deal for me, one tick off on the “things to do before I die” list!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Just as the calf enjoys her morning snack, lesser mortals, "the two legged variety", stop by for tea...
The autorickshaw-walla is a big fan of Rani Mukherjee...
"It's Saturday morning and these God-damned two legged creatures are rushing aroung around on the highway, God-knows, chasing what?" "Crazy!"
A colorful way of travelling in the hinterland....
Monday, October 26, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Delhi heat made this gentleman itchy!!!!!
(Location: GKII crossing, New Delhi)
"Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often" - A Mantra to live life by
(Cafe Moshe's, Apollo Bunder, Bombay)
Roast tongue! Yum!
(Location: Cafe Mocambo, Sir P.M. Road, Fort, Bombay)
The pitch is indeed aggressive.... Is Mr. Chavan listening? Maharashtra is losing on tax revenues....
(Location: Croma Zip's outlet at Terminal 1D of Delhi International Airport)
IPood? The Thinking Man at the WC!!!!!
(Location: CSI Airport, Bombay)
Why should we smoke? Let the Pizzas have the privilege....
(Location: Pizza Hut, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bombay)
Do I get a ride for free in this autorickshaw?
(Location: Andheri Station, Bombay)
Friday, October 9, 2009
Travelling out of Bombay for work, at times, is quite an experience.
Not only does travel give me an opportunity get out of the grind, the rush, the endless frustrating traffic jams on the Western Express Highway, the bad roads, etc. etc., it also thrills me, re-energises me from within.
The pain of getting up early at say 4AM to leave in time is all but gone, when I drive through the scenic countryside roads, see the varied hues of green in the vegetation, see the relaxed pace of life, the smiling faces that are a rarity in Bombay.
Today was one such day.
By the time I got over with work and meetings, the sun had set. Just as night was creeping in, pin drop silence took over the place, which was punctuated with sounds of crickets, which in itself had therapeutic effect.
The cool breeze beckoned me to take a stroll. And as I was walking, I looked up into the sky..... all the stars that bewitched me as a child were still there..... !!!!!
Somewhere in the grind, I actually did forget that these little joys were once a part of my life.... and I asked myself "When did I last see the stars?"
Try answering the question for yourself.....
Thursday, October 8, 2009
When I started Rajeev's World, I had promised to be quite regular.... regular in putting my thoughts online.
I had been quite regular over the last 15-odd months in blogging here. And there had been times, when ideas just flowed like a gushing mountain stream, right into Rajeev's World. And there were also times when I really did really push myself to pen my thoughts, when the ideas slowed down, just as what happens when the mountain stream enters the plains and decelerates a great deal.
However, this time stream hasn't slowed a bit, the thoughts and the ideas are gushing at the speed of light. But the blog posts have...
Who's to blame for this?
Sad, but true, logistics and infrastructure can indeed impede thought. This may be termed an excuse, but seriously I really could not push myself to write.
Now look at this.... in the last 10-odd days, I have barely got a couple of hours at home. There had been a mad rush to get things done at work, meet certain critical social commitments, etc. etc.
Isn't that always there?
True. But the killing commute to work and back (bad Bombay traffic again!) seems to have chomped on MY time, BIG TIME!
And then, our home PC's UPS has been down for the last few days. I wouldn't dare using my PC without the UPS. Frantic calls to customer service initially and now angry calls haven't yet yield any results. I am still waiting for my patience to run out before APC's CEO gets an angry email from me. And then, we'll see APC's service engineer scurrying in to repair my UPS.
(But seriously, customer service in India doesn't suck, it stinks awfully, be it APC, Dell, Hathway, Tata Communications, Airtel, Reliance Communications, Maruti Suzuki, Citibank, Standard Chartered, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Taj Hotels, Jet Airways, etc. etc. Trust me the list is endless.....)
Till APC responds, there will be alibis, excuses all the way......
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
India, in order to face this kind of conflict, needs to evolve a new strategic doctrine covering our nation's long term security, foreign affairs and economic policy. We cannot, cannot, afford to look at any of these policies in isolation any longer, any more. We need to know what our interests are, very clearly - that's the first step to evolving a doctrine. As Henry Kissinger had said "There are no permanent friends or foes in diplomacy, only permanent interests."
Sunday, September 13, 2009
"Delhi people", a term, which is a term interchangeably used for North Indians, are arrogant, flashy, have an attitude and are ostentatious...
Delhi is a brash, uncouth, unfriendly, inhospitable city
Delhi neither has a culture nor a "character"
Delhi hides its dark underbelly
Friday, September 11, 2009
Sad but true, the world has indeed changed in these 8 years.
America's reaction, or as some may say over-reaction, post 9/11 has resulted in America's popularity plummeting the world over, except for a handful of countries.
Was Bush wrong? I really don't think he had a choice. He had to act, act really fast. The war in Afghanistan was largely justified, though I did have reservations on Iraq. Afghanistan was a global nuisance, but Iraq was a fairly safe and secular state under Saddam (though he wasn't quite a saint either).
America's plunging popularity has been evident in Pew Research Center's Pew Global Attitudes Project. America's "Favourability Rating" as Pew calls it has gone down considerably from 2000 to 2009. It is obvious that the decline would be substantial in the Islamic world, the Pew report confirms that. But what is surprising is the decline in the likes of Canada and Britain.
Something surely went wrong.
But on the other hand, America's popularity in India gives us some clues, some learning's. America has seen a steady but increasing popularity here.
The lesson is obvious. It is an issue of brute force vs. soft power.
The Islamic world thinks that it has been at the "receiving end" for long now. American allies like Canada and Britain which had supported the American brute force saw their economy falter. Their people saw their governments fighting America's war, under coercion etc. etc. which led to the decline in popularity.
On the other hand, in India, America exercised a kind of soft power. The American dream is something that India understands very well because we ourselves share similar dreams and aspirations. Outsourcing from America, H1B, etc. gave the Indian dream its wings. Hollywood has made significant inroads in India, not only through cable and satellite, but also through piracy - it is not uncommon to find peddlers selling Hollywood releases all over the country for a mere Rs. 50 - 100. Piracy in software also contributed to the growth and enhancement of IT skills in India - tell which small town computer institute here doesn't use pirated software? This in turn, opened a whole new world of economic possibilities. It may sound trivial, but American brands like Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's, etc. were the best ambassadors of America's soft power here.
America's soft power worked in India. Pew's numbers show that.
And that is a lesson for America. Influencing the world through soft power doesn't make enemies , brute force does, creating a spiral of war and destruction, as we have seen. Soft power, on the other hand, can prevent a 9/11-like situation.
Obama is perhaps trying to reorient the brute force into soft power. But I fear, he might swing to the other end of the spectrum and become completely soft and pliable. Closure of Guantanamo is one such example, which was covered in my earlier blog, Old Wine, New Bottle...
So time will tell whether America learns its lessons or not.....
Saturday, September 5, 2009
First I was dying to finish high school and start college
And then I was dying to finish college and start working
Then I was dying to marry and have children
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could go back to work
But then i was dying to retire
I am dying.........
And suddenly I realized I forgot to live
Please don't let this happen in life
Appreciate your current situation and enjoy each day against all the odds
To make money we lose health and then to restore our health we lose our money....
We live as if we are never going to die!
Friday, September 4, 2009
Today Harish punished his 4-year old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box.
Nevertheless, the little girl brought the birthday gift to her father the next morning and said, "Happy Birthday Papa, this is for you." He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty.
He yelled at her, "Don't you know that when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside it?"
The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Papa."
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness. It is told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and whenever he was discouraged, he would takeout an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, each of us as humans have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, friends, family and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Happy, yet simple!!!
The cock with an attitude!
Waiting for work?
The Sam Dune desert camp
Sunset at Pokharan
Adieu Dear Ganpati!
A pup in the sky?