Raghuram Rajan- all in
All the news doing the rounds of late, and if you took it literally, is that #RaghuramRajan has been appointed the Governor of the Bank of England, just about 10 hours ago. Even the erudite #Shashi#Tharoor was taken in by the bogus news, as you can see.
Now, if you ever lived in , or even in the vicinity of the island that is called #England or #GreatBritain as it likes to be called, surely it would be clear that no such decisions would be announced on a Saturday. Faking or otherwise, the man in contention, Dr Raghuram Rajan, must have lost a fair bit of sleep over the weekend. Is he in or not? A million dollar question. Predictably , the British press, so besotted with the Royals, the impending Royal Wedding, the new heir in spare, and so on, didn’t spare even a wink at the announcement. And thus a media takeover by some rather clever faking newsters.
Although, if it were true, it wouldn’t come as a suprise. India being the leading exporter of brains, to the world. The Indian brain commanding a premium too, as most unused brains would do. Not much here to use, you just go with the flow, as too much of thought on the Indian complex systems is sure to lead the brain into knots. So the best way for Raghuram Rajan and others of his mould would be not to use too much of the IQ capacity, just reserve it for future use.
Of course, it will be a coup for the BOE of sorts. No questions about his citizenship, loyalties and so on. Just a healthy import of pure brainpower by the tiny & great British nation.. as they have been doing for ages, importing the best and rejecting the rest. Our export rejects speak for themselves ( no pun intended)! I’m all in for Raghuram Rajan as BOE Governor.. If the BOE needs more convincing, I can drop in another compelling reason by the ambling indian (ahem…!!!! ) We also happen to share IIT Delhi, the same alma mater… !
Mandate time in Karnataka!
The Karnataka govt is top class with mandates. Some of their more interesting mandates, that i got to know of- when building a house, are as follows ( in descending order of inaneness) :
Mandate no 1. Every house should have a solar water heater. If you don’t have one, planning permission is not granted. Now, every time you take a bath- you need to throw away two buckets of cold water before the hot water flows. Save electricity( as solar power is limited, presumably) and waste water !
Mandate no 2. Every society should have its own Sewage treatment plant. That is, after paying the BWSSB its exhorbitant sewage charges month on month. Never mind, the massive bungalows in Kormangala, Sadashiv Nagar,etc. where the ministers live. Apparently the people living in gated societies excrete more, and hence need their own Sewage treatment plants!
Mandate no 3. Every house should have its own Rainwater harvesting. This might actually be sensible, if it wasn”t for the fact that the Govt keeps selling ‘natural rainwater harvesting areas-lakes and lake beds to builders to fill up and build more concrete jungles on !
Great mandates galore. Let’s see, who gets the public mandate now, on the election day – the 12th of May?
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From the Virushka Wedding
Of late, i have been watching a lot of the snippets released from the Virat Kohli – Anushka Sharma wedding. Not that one is into celebrity gossip ( thats never me !) but just out of curiosity, now that the headlines are so glaring and unavoidably staring at one and all ,from every social media channel…
And so, here are the ambling indian’s snippets or nuggets of wisdom on the whole do-da…
1. The wedding was very discreet- at least , it was meant to be, until the media got a whiff of it. In complete contrast to the regular Big fat Indian wedding, there was no show-sha before; with the couple even denying the whole plan..
2. It was very classy- the venue in Italy @BorgoFinocchieto, one of its kind, the flowery decor- with elegant pastel roses; and the pictures, spoke of class and again, discreet spending. Never mind that it only cost about 13 lakhs a night.. the designer @devikanarain and the photographer are known for their classy wedding designs, so hats off to them and the celebrity couple for keeping it that way, not garish, no loud helicopters showering confetti or trumpets blowing loudly- but simply put, simply classic.
3. No dowry exchanged hands- Now this is a conjecture, but can you imagine the parents of Virat asking Anushka’s parents for a couple of millions, in exchange for their precious son and their wedding expenses? Just since he is the no 1. in Indian cricket? In fact, the whole thing seemed to be planned by the couple, with the parents really playing to their loving roles, and nothing more.
4. The conclusion- here is a couple, who met, supposedly at a photoshoot, liked each other, fell in love, decided to get married, kept it quiet, and planned everything very nicely, to the grand conclusion, without any parental tiffs about the price of their son, and so on…
This is how the gen next thinks, me thinks. Its time we learnt from them too- not to own or command the gen next- but let them be, and enjoy seeing them fly… Learn from the Virushka wedding, a wonderful example and a delightful affair !
The seasons of change…
The seasons have changed again and, this time, I am back to gorgeous Glasgow and to Scotland , after a long, long time.. Memories jog back as i walk across the Queen’s park, breathing in the autumn chill, enjoying the sunny day, feasting my eyes on all hues of autumn leaves and barren trees, with the sun streaming through.
Seems like ages.. almost eons ago…when I walked across the same park with mum and baby in the buggy.. three generations who strolled together, enjoying the same autumn hues, the meandering walks on sunny days, across to the lake where we fed the swans small bits of bread.
And nothing much has changed since then, for the same swans ( or maybe the next gen of them) is cackling aloud, scrambling for pieces of bread, as another family – a grandmum, a mother and her young one feed the birds, the young one jumping with joy as a piece of bread is caught; dexterously, by yet another swan..
Its another delight to see that nothing much has changed over the many years; the same Glasgow Glasshouse with its collection of flowers, the reptile house, and the highest looking point that sees over the city. Fond memories flood back again.. It is time for the meandering walk across the beautiful park that i have come back to.. carrying many beautiful memories of the past, spent in this city..
Glory be to Glasgow – may it never change; may it always be a beacon of steadiness in this ephemeral world …
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Blame it on GST!!!
Over the last many weeks since the much awaited GST regime unfolded and rolled into full gear the amblingindian has been watching with baited breath…
Sadly though, after much brouhaha and fanfare of course, bringing extra work to the under-worked civil servants and other civilians it seemed to roll out very quietly, almost like the Y2K prep where people had stockpiled months of food and essential supplies only to find it was a whimper. Nothing really went wrong.
And so it happened with the GST, too. Almost nothing went wrong. Pretty smooth it seemed. No newspaper headlines shouting about the darned thing.Even the govt propaganda machinery was quiet this time. LPG seemed to continue ruling the roost as far as billboards went. The billboards almost screamed at you – “N million women got self respect thanks to LPG subsidy give up”. What about the others who lost it b’coz of rapes acid attacks and more? Well, we shall not talk about it now for fear of digressing… Another day for sure.
So what about the darned GST then. It seemed to be somewhat amusing; or irritating could be the better word he thinks. The neighbourhood store for want of a better understanding- started billing us for MRP plus GST. No amount of reasoning would prevail for he was too terrified to go under. Until the consumers decided to give him the boycott treatment for a week. And the fear of really going under made him sit up and come back to ground; or GST reality. Thankfully he bills us now at MRP only.
And some more amusing stories.The cabbie driving me home last night. “Madam, GST is hopeless. That’s why the price of onions and tomatoes has gone through the roof”. I thought, from my management education that prices were all about supply and demand.. but it seems that the economists may have been wrong all along.. along came a wind called GST and knocked them all down…
The watchman claims..it was better before GST. They got free chutney with dosa at the eateries. Now they charge people for extra chutney..all becuase of a demon called GST.
Next; a medium sized store selling a sports equipment is moaning .A sports racket deserves 28 percent GST; which is up from 5 percent earlier- solely because it has become a luxury item post GST..What !! A sports racket is luxury?? Pay to be fit or blame your inertia to exercise to GST. That’s easier than getting out of bed to exercise anyday!
The bigger stores seem to be not much better. A purchase at lifestyle Hyderabad and a question to the cashier “Can I exchange this in Bangalore if needed? ” evinces a curt and straight response -” No madam you have to come back here to exchange it”. Why?. That’s easy for him to answer. “Because of GST madam”.
What!!!! GST and all? I must confess it needs a lot more reading to be able to decipher this great scheme of tax. A superficial reading will not do.
Until I get to that detailed reading sometime..it’s pretty simple. Let’s all blame it on GST.
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Amblingindian nuggets on life… ( A story for all ages )
Once upon a time, there was a young man, Manduka, who lived in a prosperous land. The land was fertile, lush green, and they had plenty of water. Manduka was clever, he knew all about trees and vegetation, for he had studied them closely for long. He had grown a medley of fruit trees which burst with fruits all year- mangoes, papayas, chikoos, custard apples, everything you could ask for. It was a place to live and die for.
One day, a king from the neighbouring kingdom came to visit. Impressed by the fruit bearing trees, he asked the young man’s father to send Manduka with the seeds to his kingdom. To plant the fruit trees and reap prosperity for his people. He offered them riches in return. Manduka’s father gladly obliged, and tasked Manduka with the job.
Over months, Manduka collected a motley mix of seeds. When he had enough, he made a small cloth bundle filled with the seeds, and started off on the journey. The journey was arduos, took many days, and went over hills, forests and valleys. And then he reached.
The king welcomed him and gave him a lovely room in the palace. When Manduka woke up, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The place was gorgeous. He was in the midst of undreamt of luxury. Velvet sheets, glimmering mirrors and more. Beautiful birds flew around fearlessly. Manduka enjoyed the luxurious food and drink, the joys of the palace. He got more and more immersed in the luxes of the land, and forgot to plant the seeds- the reason for being there. And thus time went by…
The day came to meet the King. Manduka hurried around, just the day before, to show the seeds to the King before he planted them in the Royal garden. But when he looked around, he could only find the scraps of cloth left over from the bundle. It seemed that birds had pecked at the bundle, destroyed it completely, and taken away the seeds.
Manduka was ashamed. What face could he show to the king, having partaken of his hospitality all along, but having forgotten what he had come for? That very night, he packed his belongings, and quietly ran away from the Kingdom.
Manduka’s journey is not new. It is the journey of the human being. The human birth, the seers say, comes every once in an era. The birth is earned, and meant to be spent for reaching the next higher stage of existence- Moksha or Nirvana. But, what happens? Just like Manduka, we get sidetracked, immersed in the luxes of the land, epheremeral joys, and forget the purpose of this existence. And one day, when the time comes to go, we realise, and we run. But, its too late by then. Manduka’s seeds are lost for ever, and so is our time on this earth too…
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June 24, 2017
A happy mother’s day!
This mother’s day, for some reason, a thought came to mind- what about all the mothers out there who are struggling to feed, bring up and grow their children against all odds- poverty, wars and calamities?
What can we do as fellow mothers to make their lives a bit easier?
An organisation springs to mind. It is an organisation with a story. Many years back, I read this story and for some reason, it just stayed on in memory( some stories are indeed so powerful). Many more years ago, a lady was running a school in Lucknow, educating poor children. She saw a mother of four breaking a piece of bread into four parts to feed all of them. A piece of bread was all she could afford with her sparse earnings, as a chikankari worker. The middlemen took all the profit.
The lady educator realised education was not enough. She took it on, to create a self help group for these women, to create and sell their own chikankari work directly to the buyers. Thus augmenting their income. Over years, the Self help group grew by leaps and bounds, and established itself as a known name for chikankari products. Beautifully embroidered kurtis, sarees, Dupattas and more; mostly sold through exhibitions they hold. Training, advocacy,skill building activities- everything came under their banner. Awards and accolades- including the Bharat Ratna poured in for the lady who started it all ; but the biggest award of all – in my view – is the difference she made to the lives of many mothers and their children, The organisation is Sewa Lucknow; and the founding lady is Runa Banerjee. A true story of empowerment. I truly beleive , and the story shows how – “When you empower a mother, you empower her children, the society and the whole gennext”.
Do check out www.sewalucknow.org- I have bought many of their exquisite products at exhibitions ( mostly through FabIndia) . They bring such joy- the beautiful embroidery of course; and also the thought of contributing in a small way to such a benevolent, visionary ecosystem. Have never met Runa Banerjee – would love to though!
Kudos to her and Happy Mother’s day, once again to all the lovely mothers out there…
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About Chikankari ( from Sewa Website)
The origins of chikankari (Hand Embroidery) are shrouded in mystery and legend. As early as the third century B.C. Megasthenes wrote of the fine flowered muslin worn by Indians in the court of Chandragupta Maurya, perhaps the first historical reference of chikan. It seems likely that chikankari was prevalent in East Bengal during the reign of the Mugal emperors, from where it came to Lucknow in the 18th century during the time of Nawabs of Avadh, and where it flowered into an art of exquisite refinement. The city of Lucknow, India, evokes emotions and reactions of wondrous nostalgia. It’s culture blends aesthetics, refinement, elegant graciousness and impeccable mannerisms with evocations of poetry, music and other distinctive art forms. Amongst these has been the delicate art of very fine “Hand Embroidery” which is termed as “Chikankari” famed not only in the oriental world but prized in all citadels of culture. It is noteworthy that during this period the Master craftsmen were all men.
This highly acclaimed craft fell to abysmal depths once the patronage of the erstwhile Nawabs and landowners ended. It was relegated to a low standard ill paid commercial activity in which almost entirely, only women were involved. Manufacturers used middlemen to exploit women artisans who were not only very poor but also women cloistered and in “Purdah”. (Behind the curtains)
Since 1979 there were constant interactions with the community for understanding the need of becoming self-reliant as well as a support for the earning members in the family. Regular value and earnings for their work that would enable them to contribute respectable amount in the family.
In 1984, Thirty-One women came together to register an organization of women artisans under the 1860 Society’s Registration Act for “CHIKAN KARI.” “Self Employed Women’s Association” (SEWA – Lucknow) was thus formed with a major agenda of doing away with the middleman and the organization to act as a platform from where the artisans would address the market directly. For many, profit, acclaim and may be the craft itself are central issues, for SEWA-Lucknow it was, is and will always be the craftswoman moving to increasing excellence in her vocation as well as in the quality of her life.
Kudos and Happy Mother’s day, once again to all,,,
The joy of Indianness
We Indians are a super sensitive lot. Call us poor – how dare you! We will, we will show you, they shouted from the rooftops . And away went the snapchat ratings-right down the tube.
Well- calling someone poor- is that wrong? To me, it may be just wrong perception based on some stupid average index. What Snapchat didn’t realise- Indians are superrich, rich, average, below average- just as any other community in the world. There is a vast mix of peoples with an average number that sits somewhat below America. So do people really care? Yes, they do indeed!
The Amazons, Tescos, Googles of the world know this allright. When it comes to India- poor is not the right word indeed. It is not the right word at all. It reeks of ignorance. Perhaps the right word, if that were to exist, is “unignorable”. A country that no one can afford to. Be it for tapping into the vastly intelligent employee base, or going by the sheer untapped marketsize, it certainly is “unignorable”.
The smart ones – the’ve figured this out long ago. And are well on their way to getting entrenched here. Tescos, Best buy, Target- they are just part of the beeline making its way, standing to enter. For India may be unignorable; but is not easy to get into either. Another word for India maybe “Hard-to-conquer”; as Alexander the great, the Moghuls, and many others knew; many aeons ago. But tried they did- for it was worth the while; the pot of gold that lay within. And as they do even today- the Ikeas, the Walmarts and many more.
When you think of India- Unignorable, Hard- to- conquer, Awakening Tiger and many more adjectives and metaphors spring to mind. Perhaps they should be added to the Oxford dictionary, to make it easy for some poor ignorant souls. But “poor”- that’s only for the ignoramuses-like Snapchat has proven now!
A BMTC(local) bus ride!
It had been many, many, days since I took a BMTC* bus ride. Not that one doesn’t want to. It’s just that there never seems to be the right combination of available time, a suitable bus route, or leisure that one can find. It just seems so much easier to hop into an auto (and now that Ubers are here, even more so), than wait and take the trouble to get into a bus. It came as a welcome change, when there was the chance to go to Richmond road, which very conveniently , is served by multiple buses on the arterial old airport road.
And so, it was the BMTC bus I got into. Not the fancy – airconditioned Vajras, but the regular BMTC ones . The ones that get washed perhaps, once a year. Or maybe its gross exaggeration- more likely to be washed once a month. And having got in, and secured a precious seat ( it was off peak time on Saturday), it was an experience certainly worth its while.
For starters, the ride was smooth. No jarring music, no loud mobile phone conversations. Simple folks, looking out of the window, as would be expected in a bus ride. As it used to be, in the olden days, before the mobiles took over almost every minute of precious existence. I sat there and looked too. And that was what made the bus ride so much more worth the while. I must have travelled along the old airport road at least a thousand times before, but, it was only this time, that I saw it anew, with the luxury of the heightened seats that only a bus affords. The view of the army camp, unobscured by the ubiquitious compound walls, was what I got. So much worth the while. The beauty of the Army land- churches seen for the first time, old buildings, perhaps built during the British Raj, swathes of green- lush trees, and a langour that one can dream of, almost like someone had painted the entire stretch of the camp with a broad, stillwater brush.
And along the way, some more interesting experiences. A girl got in, wearing a white school uniform. Seemed like a regular schoolgirl, nothing much to note there. But, soon after, at the next stop, a set of five boys got in too- wearing similar uniforms, and sat next to the girl. It was then that the journey changed gears completely. From a slow, relaxed second gear movement, it suddenly skipped into the 4th , maybe the 5th gear. And how? The group of six school kids now started chatting. Completely throwing my imagination out of whack. They chatted in sign language. The girl talking the most, with her rapid sleight of the hands- occasionally interjected by a comment from one of her friends. She talked, almost non-stop through the ride. Fascinatingly so, for I never knew of the speed with which the signs could be used, seeming to surpass the human voice by leaps and bounds. It was a moment of revelation, a moment of happiness too. For, when I saw the children, enjoying their banter- so differently, the bus ride became so much more enjoyable for me too.
And then the stop arrived.. as they always do. But life goes on, peppered by the taste of an unusual, joyful BMTC bus ride.
- Bangalore Municipal transport corporation
This land- our own?
Every now and then comes a post that shakes you and makes you want to cry. A 2 year old who wants to die as a refugee ?This is so.. unbelievable – it belies belief itself. Who gives us the right to kick others out of a land, a place, a country even? Who are we to call a place our own and not that of others? Who decides what we own?
It is very easy to forget that we ourselves are living on borrowed time, on land that has never been ours. We mark our territories thinking and assuming that they belong to us. When in fact nothing is ours for keeps. One fine day, we will leave this earth too.. we have to.. its not ours.. it has never been.
To all the bigots out there.. the aces and the trumps.. don’t forget that you are just an insect in the vast expanse of the universe. The walls, the regulations, the restrictions you make, just a creation of your imagination. You think you rule this earth.. Read on..from Kabir, the 16th century saint :
” mati kahe kumbhar se tu kya ronde mohe
ik din aisa aiyega mai rondogi tohe”
” Clay says to the potter- are you kneading me today , wait for the day when i will knead you into dust…”
After the quirky characters- the amblingindians and the blog, here comes…
A fun story on India–Bollywood, IITs, IIMs, politics & more, a laugh-out-loud read !
The BOOK- AMBLING INDIAN by Aina Rao
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Thanks for reading and sharing !