Sunday, 28 June 2015

Why buy a Newspaper these days? : Blog # 228

Why buy a Newspaper these days?

              We are living in a day and age where information is no more an elitist entity. There was a time when information was available only to a select few who had either the access or the resources to engage and please people who had that kind of access. Today, the tables have turned. One is blinded by information. There are numerous channels where information is available.

            Let us begin with electronic media. A political leader’s speech or a business leader’s conference or a film star’s movie launch or a cricket match is being telecast live. No one is waiting till the next morning to get these updates. But, not all of us are in a position to analyze the outcomes of the above events. More importantly, many of us lack the expertise to understand what sort of an impact the above events might have in our lives. This can be facilitated by an expert in that field who can be a news reporter.

            Also, when an event of importance occurs, one might not know how it originated. Many a time, we get to see only a Ratan Tata driving out the first Nano car from Sanand. One might not know what relevance Mamta Banerjee has in this context. Here is where a good news paper’s researched article comes handy. Gone are the days when a reporter used to print verbatim of a speech. In today’s world, we have already seen it live. All I am interested in knowing is how is it going to affect me, my family, my state and my country. Good Newspapers tell you that.

            The next medium is the all pervasive Internet! I love internet. But Internet is like that friend of ours who keeps us updated about our social circle but has a tendency to lie. The sad part is we always get to know that our friend has lied only after a long while. The same is the case with our dear internet. There is a lot of misinformation floating around the web. If eminent people like Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam come to know of the kind of quotes attributed to him in the internet, he would want to logout permanently. As much as information it gives, there is no way to know the truth from the fallacy.  Here is where one should read a news paper.

I am not saying newspapers do not mis-report. They also do. But it happens much rarely than on the internet. Also, like us humans, internet is also good at pointing out mistakes in others. So when a newspaper gets some facts wrong, there will be enough and more trolls on the internet that you will come to know sooner that there was a mis-reporting.

          Thanks to our busy-to-breathe lifestyle, none of us have the time or inclination to read and understand about things outside our periphery of concern. The chances of a person working in IT seeking out and reading about Infant mortality rate in our country is very thin. Same is the case with a banker reading up on Cloud technology and its business impacts. A good newspaper will cover almost entire spectrum of   various realms of our lives which one should be at least aware of in order to effectively play the part of a contributing citizen towards the society we live in .

Arun Babu

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

F.R.I.E.N.D.S After Life # 4 : Blog # 227

F.R.I.E.N.D.S After Life # 4

*We, all diehard F.R.I.E.N.D.S fanatics have been waiting forever for the best sitcom ever made on Television, to resume. Here is an attempt to look at what our favorite characters are up to these days.

Joey was at the shoot of DOUL – The movie. There was such a demand among the fans of Dr. Drake Ramoray that the makers of ‘Days of our lives’ had to make it in to a movie. He was trying out a scene where a friend of his lady love was telling him about a tragic neurological disorder. The impact of the disorder was that Drake’s girlfriend loses the ability to understand the concept of loyalty in a relationship. The director was telling Joey that Drake is heartbroken when he listens to this. Joey did not understand why it is such a bad news for Drake. He was arguing with his director that in fact Drake should celebrate such news! 

Phoebe was a frequent visitor to Dr. Gupta’s house these days. They used to have long discussions about extra terrestrial life, the concept of religion, the stupidity of humans’ perceived superiority over animals and such. Mike was not very happy with these meetings. “Phoebe, don’t you think our neighbor is a bit weird?”, Mike asked. People consider me also to be weird Mike. “There is a difference Phoebe. You are the kind of weird person whom one wants to love to bits. Mr. Gupta is the kind of weird person who makes you want to dial 911.” No wonder I love you so much. I did marry a man who knows his way with words. Well done Phoebs!, Phoebe wondered aloud. He is a good guy Mike. Just that he phases out at times. When I ask him where he went, he says he was floating around on the periphery of Himalayas! How cool is that? One day, I will also go along with him. “You do know that a ticket to and from India will cost us a bomb, right phoebe?” This is the problem with you lesser mortals! I am talking about extra sensory perceptive time travel, Mike. “See, now you have even started talking like him! You are freaking me out Phoebe”. Ha ha, aren’t you used to it by now my dear husband?

Ross went over to Monica and Chandler’s place. “Mon, I am thinking of going to Paris. I kind of miss Rachel. What do you think?”. I think you should take me along. These babies are after my life! They don’t let me sleep, eat or live! What do they want from me?” Ross turned towards Chandler. “Dude, what so you think? Should I go?” When you are booking tickets, try and check if all three of us can sit near to each other. That way, I can keep you both entertained during the journey. May be I should take it up as a profession! I can entertain all the passengers on board. I will be the first flying comedian! “Chandler, the airline and the passengers will sue you for mental agony and torture”, said Ross. The first signature on that petition will be mine, signed – Mrs. Bing!, added Monica.

Previous Episodes :

Thursday, 18 June 2015

How Human! : Blog # 226

How Human!

Patricia and Robert were a happy couple. They were neighbors and grew up together. Both of them were adopted and may be because of that, they understood each other better. They told each other of the perennial void they felt in spite of having such loving families. They confided in each other as to how difficult it was to make those families their own in spite of the love they showered them with.

They do not remember when they met each other for the first time. All Robert remembers is that it was during a morning walk. Patricia says they had met even before during a house party at her place which Robert couldn’t recollect. It was love at first sight for Robert although Patricia took a while to take a liking towards him. But once she started liking him, in Robert’s words, “Patricia’s was a love he had never known before and he was certain he wouldn’t know ever later”.

There were times when they did not get along. But they were a couple who valued each other more than ego and false pride. Their fights were shorter than a midsummer rain. Others told them in words and through lingering eyes that they were destined to be together. The way some of their friends lived their lives reminded them that theirs was a companionship that comes along once in a long while.

Days went by and Patricia was expecting. Robert couldn’t be happier and he took time to be with his beloved. He was there with her at every stage of the most beautiful stage of her life. And the day came, when Robert became a father to Patricia’s children. They promised each other that they will bring up their little ones with so much of love and affection that they will never feel the void which they felt in their childhood. Their children, there were three of them - a girl and two boys were so adorable and well behaved. Their friends told them that they started believing in the phrase, “Children are God’s favorite angels” after seeing Robert’s and Patricia’s kids.

Patricia was in the kitchen. She heard a loud cry which she will remember with heart wrenching anguish,all her life. She rushed out of the kitchen and saw Robert and her three kids being dragged out of her home and being taken away. She ran after the van. She doesn’t remember how far she ran for her friends said they found her lying on the road, unconscious. One of her friends told her that which she did not want to hear. Her husband and kids were brutally murdered.

       Patricia and Robert are dogs, not humans. The brutality which happened to them is Yulin festival. Yulin festival is where poor, harmless, clueless dogs and cats are captured and killed in cruel ways which only humans are capable of! What an irony, isn’t it? Only we humans can inflict so much of pain and remorse and still call it a festival! 

You think only humans have emotions? You think only humans have families? How selfish! How ridiculous! How human!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Who will finish these stories? : Blog # 225

Who will finish these stories?

She was graduating that day. Her parents had flown in to be part of the function. She was the family’s first child to go to a foreign university. She wore the robe and looked at herself in the mirror,happy and proud.

They grew up together. They both went to the same school, same college and found jobs in similar firms. Tired of the routine, they decided to start something of their own. That day, they were opening a new office, the first step towards their dream of a life time.

He was thrilled. It was a special day. At work, there was a project deadline which he had to complete by end of the day. Still, he found time and bought a gift for his wife. He wanted to surprise her. It was their anniversary that day.

His daughter called up early in the morning. She said “Dad, you are going to be a grandfather. The test results just came in”. He could hear the joy in her voice. Even though she was continents away, he could see the sparkle in her eyes. He told her that he can’t wait to be with them. He went to book the tickets.

She was dearly fond of her brother. They weren’t talking for a week. It was a silly fight and now, she was missing her dear brother. She wanted to say sorry and bought his favorite chocolate at school. She thought she will give it to him in the evening.

The old uncle next door was getting increasingly lonely. After aunt passed away, he had been struggling to fill his day. He knew that he should spend more time with uncle. While leaving he told uncle that they will play chess in the evening once he is back from college.

He had dreamt of this day for years. To be a published author was his very purpose of life. Countless nights and endless hours that he spent on writing and then the struggle to find a publisher was coming to fruition that day. His book was going to be launched.

It was a hardship posting for him. When his friends and family fretted, he said that it is to serve the nation that he took up a life in the armed forces. He put his heart and soul in to the assignment that was given to him. That evening, he was to go home.

These and many such lives fail to live through their destiny. Their stories remain incomplete. The reason? Terrorism!

#Brussels #Myanmarinsurgents #Terrorism #26/11Bombay #Maoistblast #Bodhgaya #Srinagar #Mumbaitrains #Akshardam #Peshawar #Charliehebdo  #9/11USA #7thJulyUK 

Arun Babu

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

You stole our hearts, Lufthansa! : Blog # 224

You stole our hearts, Lufthansa!

One of the early memories I have from childhood is accompanying my mother to the local market. While we walked back to our home, I asked her as to why she bargains so much? She told me that it is something she imbibed from her mother. My grandmother used to say that “One never has too much money to not bargain”. My mother told me that the science of economics and common sense says that one should always strive to maximize utility out of something one buys or owns.

It is said one of the reasons why Asian countries are prospering slowly and steadily has much to do with the habit of saving that people of the continent have. Interesting is the fact that austerity is not limited to people with limited income. Even people who have considerable disposable income keep their ears and eyes open while opening their wallets or swiping their cards these days. I must say the much appreciated Airline world over; Lufthansa has so very rightly tapped in to this very ethos of Indian consumer. Them being a premier airline from Europe, one would assume that their prime focus would be on luxury and comfort. But very swiftly, they realized what I would like to call the ‘mindful spending’ attitude of the Indian traveler. This is exactly why they launched Lufthansa’s Premium Economy ( ). To someone who is a stranger to the most beautiful expression of diversity that is India, ‘Premium Economy’ might sound like an Oxymoron. But if you are Indian, it just makes absolute sense.

I do not know how many of you watched the Advertisement of Lufthansa which talks about having an Indian Heart. A Grandfather very sweetly tells his grandson that Lufthansa is German and how they are different. The advertisement goes on to show that the airline is as Indian as it comes! My sister recently traveled to Atlanta on a Lufthansa flight. She says that the advertisement could not be truer. She says one should have seen the delight on the cabin crew’s face when she was bringing an Indian meal for my sister and that she almost felt at home.

The other day, my fiancee and I were discussing as to where we should go on our honey moon. We were discussing locations and airlines. Fretting over the recent media reports, my lady did mention to me that she would prefer an airline that would understand our sensibilities in a better way.  Having known all of what I have read till date, I can see myself almost looking at a boarding pass with LH printed on it. One knows when the women in the family recommend about something, one should always lend an ear ;)


Saturday, 6 June 2015

He : Blog # 223


Theirs was a broken relationship. Like any other father-son relationship, it had also started with unblemished love and care for each other. He had fond memories of his father from childhood. His was not a typical loving, showering with care sort of a father. He was treated as an equal. For that matter, his father treated everyone as equal to his age – be it children or those from the generation bygone. Neither did his father shower love and affection towards children, nor did he show visible respect towards elders.

All through childhood, he grew up struggling to understand the dynamics of the relationship they both shared. It was so unlike what his friends had with their fathers. When he entered adolescence, he enjoyed the relationship thoroughly. At an age when one yearns to be treated as a grownup, when one’s own father does that, what more could one ask for? It was during the first year in college that he learned of the growing distance between his parents. When he came to know that the reason is another woman, he couldn’t wrap his head around the situation. His parents eventually got divorced. The books he read, his friends and even his mother after a while asked him to forgive his father for what he did. His friends told him that whatever he did, that person is his father and so, forget and forgive.  He asked his friends as to why is it so very necessary that one should forgive one’s father or mother? They said because that is the nature of the relationship. How would he know for he has never experienced that very nature of the relationship!

Time passed by like milestones do on a long lonely journey. He thought to himself that may be it is time. The unpleasantness is not helping anyone. Mother used to tell him that she was in a happy place in life now and so was his father. She asked him as to why he is bearing the burden of their broken relationship.  By now, age had altered his perception of righteousness. His idea of self and being selfish had undergone a sea of change now that he had a family of his own. His wife told him to visit his father on his father’s birthday. He asked his wife to come along. She told him that it was a journey he should sail alone.

He thought he will call up his father. Even though his father wasn’t one who liked surprises, he thought this might be one that he may like. He reached his father’s new house and he noticed how similar the garden was to one he had at his childhood home. His father’s wife opened the door and welcomed him with a broad smile. She rushed to call his father.

They had not met for many seasons now. He did not know where to look or what to say.His father looked at him and said “Thank you dear son. Today, I too forgive myself”.

Arun Babu

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

What Should Maggi do? : Blog # 222

What Should Maggi do?

        Most of us Indians are good at telling others what they should do – be it with their  education, career or life at large. We believe in being generous in that sense. And we really do not care if the other person is listening or not. The point is that we should express ourselves ;). On that thought, let us tell Maggi what they should do?

            To begin with, if they really believe that there is no health hazard with regard to their product, the top executives of Nestle can have a press meet at each of the state capitals where in they have a plate of Maggi. The journalists who are attending the press meets can bring packets of Maggi available in the department stores. This way, we ensure that the packets are not rigged (intentionally made safe by the company). Also, it is a good enough sample size for a country of our size and scale. In Bombay, Madhuri Dixit may also participate for the luncheon .This way, all the controversy about whether or not actors be held responsible for the products they endorse can be put to sleep.

            Let me tell you, I love Maggi. I have had it for years together; be it after school or during an internship away from home or during the first job. Maggi has always been a trusted aid to rein in my insatiable appetite. But with all these news around, I have turned a bit skeptical. The social media hearsay isn’t helping either. What I would suggest is to change the packaging. May be a new colour other than yellow for the packet will help. If it is possible, try and change the colour of the product too. This way, I can be sure that whatever I am putting in my mouth is produced after the said fiasco and is safe to consume.

            Many of us believe in Karma. If you have committed some wrong doing somewhere or even if you haven’t, good Karma always helps. All you need to do is to tell us that you are going to do spread some goodness around to get over this bad phase. This may be by sponsoring a day’s meal for the kids in orphanages across the country or by sponsoring education for a handful of children. That decision we leave it to you J

p.s. Maggi, we still love you. Do some good, spread some cheer and come back home