Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Maid for each other

I never knew that genuine appreciation could sometimes create problems.
A rich family in Mumbai had a housemaid whose daughter was studying in college. The head of the family was repeatedly showering praise on the girl in front of his son. One day, it happened. The son and the maid’s daughter went missing. I do not have to reveal the rest of the story. The couple is now well settled with children. And they have a maid to help their children.  
While repeated praise can create such levelling issues in family, do not be surprised if people craving for admiration make crazy demands.
A bodybuilder bent an iron rod with ease at a circus. There was a loud applause from the audience. After the show, a man approached him and asked, “If I pay double, would you join me on a mission?” The bodybuilder agreed. The man took the bodybuilder to a closed shop at night and said, “Break the window bar.” The bodybuilder replied, “I can do it. But you have to clap once I finish.”
Talking about surprise, I remember reading about Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who once remarked, “When I came home I expected a surprise, but there was no surprise. So, I was surprised.”

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Spot me if you can

This photo was taken at a retirement party for a famous/senior journalist K Sudhakaran at The Times of India, Mumbai, in 1990. Hey, spot me if you can,buddy. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Facing music at airport

Travellers sometimes find themselves in awkward situations.
My colleague MV shared two instances he had heard about.
An Indian national was travelling abroad with a Mridangam (Musical drum). A Customs officer at an airport enquired what was inside that instrument.
“Empty space,” replied the visitor.
Not convinced, the officer fetched an electric drill and pierced the drum from one side. As the instrument was empty, the officer fell on it and everyone around laughed at his mistake.
The visitor lost his Mridangam, but returned next year with a new one.
This time, another officer on duty at the airport enquired what it was.
When the visitor explained it was a musical instrument, the officer asked him to play some music. He was allowed to go after he displayed his skills in tunes and tones.
My most embarrassing moment at an airplane was when I met a dear airhostess friend after years and screamed her name, “Usshh..” The other passengers thought I had gone mad, and an embarrassed “U” signalled that we talk after the plane landed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Candle light wisdom

Talented people do not show off, but half-baked ones do.
I heard a story about genius Tamil poet Bharati.
Bharati went to a zoo with his wife. He saw a lion inside a cage and asked the watchman, “Can I shake hands with the lion?”
“Why the heck do you want to do that for?” asked the baffled guard.
“It is because he is the King of the Jungle and I am a King of Poems. Protocol demands that kings shake hands,” replied Bharati humorously.
“Wait, let me pray to God to give good sense to the lion,” pitched in his wife.
While most such men of intellect are simple souls, some gain pleasure insulting others.
One egoistic philosopher wanted to prove his knowledge to a shepherd.
Pointing his finger at a lit-up candle, he asked, “Do you know where this fire comes from.”
The shepherd instantly blew out the fire and replied, “Tell me where the fire has gone now and I will tell you where it came from.”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Name shake

The phone bell screeched and I picked up the receiver.
“Ramesh, Indian social activist Kiran Bedi is addressing a meeting in Dubai. Why don’t you try to interview her?” asked a senior colleague.
“Sure, thanks,” I replaced the receiver and dialed the telephone operator.
“Hello,” replied our telephone operator Ramesh.
“Can you connect me to our car driver?”
“You mean driver Ramesh?” asked operator Ramesh.
I went with driver Ramesh to the venue where an official of Bharatheeyam, a cultural organisation that organised the programme, welcomed me.
“I am Ramesh,” I introduced myself.
“Pleasure meeting you. I am Ramesh too,” he smiled.
“Who is the main person in your organisation?” I asked him.
“You can see him sitting on the dais along with Kiran Bedi,” he pointed out.
“What’s his name?”
I almost fainted.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Become a Hazare, Kiran Bedi tells Dubai student

(This report published in The Gulf Today)
Noted Indian social activist Dr Kiran Bedi was concluding a forceful speech against corruption at a Dubai school on Friday when a student momentarily stunned her by posing a serious question in an innocent voice: “As a student how can I support the anti-graft movement?”
Startled for a second, the former supercop replied: “Become an Anna Hazare.”
Bedi was the chief guest at a discussion organised by the Indian cultural group Bharatheeyam on “Corruption Free India” at the Apple International School in Dubai.
India has been rocked by a series of corruption and financial scandals over the past year. The opposition has been making calls for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resign, prompting the premier to declare that he would do so if any of the allegations were proven.
To a specific question by The Gulf Today on efforts to retrieve billions of dollars in black money allegedly stashed away in foreign banks, Bedi said yoga guru Baba Ramdev and social activist Anna Hazare would sit on a day-long fast in Delhi this week against the black money menace.
She is also expected to join the fast, which comes in the wake of fresh corruption allegations levelled by Team Anna against the prime minister and 14 of his cabinet ministers. The activists have alleged irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks to public and private companies.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials have gone on record saying that Indians are the largest depositors in banks abroad with an estimated $500 billion of illegal money stashed by them in tax havens. India is said to have suffered from the flow of illegal funds to tax havens such as Mauritius, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and British Virgin islands.
CBI Director AP Singh declared at the inauguration of first Interpol global programme on anti-corruption and asset recovery recently that the “largest depositors in Swiss banks are also Indians.”
Among the latest scandals to hit the headlines in India is the Coal Mining Scam, where the Union government (according to the comptroller and auditor general) is said to have lost $213.47 billion by not auctioning coal blocks.
Dr Bedi, a Ramon Magsaysay award winner who had pioneered reformative policing and prison management, has urged non-resident Indians to play a pro-active role in the development of the home country and take up a strong stand against corruption.
When Grade IX student of Our Own English High School, Sharjah, Raj Dhavalikar, posed the question, Bedi replied: “Become an Anna Hazare of the future. Be of strong character, love your country, be a good student, promote values and tell people I will be an Anna Hazare. You will see how one man can make a difference.”
“We are not against any political party but it is a fact that not a single member of parliament is wholeheartedly supporting a strong Lok Pal Bill,” she remarked.
“So many MPs are tainted. A total of 153 MPs have criminal charges against them. The BJP leads with 43 tainted MPs, closely followed by the Congress with 41 MPs. The figures have been given by the Association of Democratic Reforms,” she pointed out.
The first woman officer in the Indian Police Service had declared this week that her organisation welcomed everyone, including models such as Poonam Pandey or film star Shah Rukh Khan, to join the cause.
Asked why the Anna movement was refusing to turn into a political party to tackle the issue directly in parliament, Bedi ruled out such a development saying, “It will dilute the focus in our fight against corruption. We are a people’s movement. If we turn into a party, we will be busy seeking votes and the country will lose its national voice.”
A major problem, according to her, is that the CBI is still not free and is under political control. “The only way out is to make the investigative agency independent.”
“The fight against corruption is long and hard,” says Bedi. “Everyone should stay together.”