Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gluttony as charged !

Normally, I don't like taking pictures of food. I prefer to bring it to its right place asap i.e. stomach. But a few weeks back, me and biwi prepared manchurian with noodles and it came out pretty good. Biwi forced me to take pictures and they came out good as well. Thought of sharing on my blog for a change to the lighter but fulfilling side of life.

I love cooking and feel that it is the best stress buster in the whole world. No matter what mood I am in, whether it is anger, depression, tension or anything else, it tends to mellow it down to pure pleasure. If there is anything I would like to do in my life at some point of time is to open my own Restaurant.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My dose of 'hatke' Indian Media

I think I have mentioned it several times before on my blog that I am a news junkie. I do not know why but I always feel the urge to know as much as possible going around me from every perspective possible. It is tedious, time consuming and sometimes even frustrating. Even after all this, there are time when I feel, I still know nothing about this world and its working. The famous saying from the Vedas, "neti neti neti" (meaning: neither this nor that, nothing) starts resonating in my head.

Anyways, I thought of documenting some sources for a subset of news which I have been following regularly. Or in other words, how with changing times and priorities, I moved from one source to the other. So, before I lose track, it would be a good idea to document it somewhere. No better way than in a blog post. 

Living outside India and being fed up with the way, the mainstream media in India had been working in the last years made me look for something else, something "hatke". All the big Indian newspapers went online by 2006/2007. Like many Indians, I was a regular TOI & HT epaper reader living outside India. Slowly, I started feeling that these sources were limiting themselves in thoughts and news both. Half of the paper were advertisements. The main news was almost limited to the front pages with a continuation inside. Somewhere in the middle were opinion columns from regulars. The international news was almost limited to a single page. I got fed up with such short sightedness and limited information provided by MSM (Main Stream Media). So, I started exploring other venues on the internet.

Somewhere around 2007/08, I came across Mint. During that time, I has just started to explore the stock market and the business of shares. It had some really interesting and knowledgeable articles back then. It provided me a regular dose of the Indian markets. Another thing which I was hooked onto was its Lounge. It contained some selected articles from different facets of the ever evolving Indian culture. I was impressed by this new form & presentation of Indian media. With time I saw some great minds writing articles for Mint. A famous blogger I used to follow and now a writer, Sidin also wrote for Mint. I felt I was in the right direction. It was then owned by HT with some collaboration from the Wall Street Journal. Slowly, the articles became lame and I was losing interest in it. I felt that Mint had also fall prey to that limited form of media, restricting itself somehow. It made me move on to something else. (though I still sometimes visit it's Lounge) 
Then, in 2009/10 came the time for Open. It was more kind of a magazine but the articles were really thought provoking and their news appeared fresh. Or at least, it's presentation was new. I felt that it was the new and improved version of India Today and Outlook. It was as if Open had started from where India Today and Outlook stopped. It was my new dose. But again over time and due to some incidents at Open, I felt it was starting to go in a particular direction where I did not wanted it to go. Then in 2013, Hartosh Singh Bal, who I was fond of, left Open. I am still almost a regular at Open but now I read it with caution.
In 2010/11, I found my new joint or I can say was looking at something in parallel. It was Caravan. Based on a format which I found similar to Open, it came up with some flow or articles which I had never though or imagined or expected would come from India. Again, its presentation and feel was something I got attracted to as well. To some extent, I can say that Open and Caravan changed my perspective of news information and opinions on several current affair topics. In 2013, Hartosh joined Caravan after being let go from Open. I was happy. Though I might not agree with everything he writes or appear on Caravan, I am a regular there.

I found something different happening with news in 2012/13. A new website came up called Firstpost. It gained more attention during the Anna campaign. It started out with good intentions, it seemed. I was impressed with its format. It was different from Open/Caravan. It was more like MSM but filtered and refined. On and off, I was gradually becoming a regular there. Then came elections and its tone changed a bit. It again took another turn after elections. Now, I feel it is completely in  contrast to where it started. It has started to voice some strong opinions and mindless bashing giving its reader less to think and more to fulfill an agenda (at least what it seems). The website is cramped up with too much things which I would not like to see there. I hardly visit it now.

In 2014, I started following Scroll, Newslaundry, Hoot. Currently, I don't see these with a particular format or seriousness but maybe they evolve into something which can really has an effect. Good luck to them.

It is unbelievable how fast and how different media is evolving and in parallel how fast the taste of people is changing thus moving them to different sources. I hope that Indian MSM also return to sanity soon enough.  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nothing is permanent except change

How would otherwise anyone explain, that of all the people it would be me who would start up with twitter? I was one of it's biggest critiques yet thought of giving it another shot. So, even added it as a widget to the blog. Unbelievable !!

I had already written a post once on this blog critically arguing against the use of twitter but somehow realized that there are many things worth sharing online and it is one of the good ways to do it. One might not have enough time and energy to reflect their thoughts on every topic so this makes it easier to share content with like minded people without writing a complete post on it.

This is just an experiment just like this blog. I would like to see if an anonymous, non-celebrity like me could use and maintain such a thing :)

P.S: I think I got bored with all the election posts particularly seeing the indifference people share with the new government.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

LS Elections 2014 - Result Highlights - N,O,P

- Neiphiu Rio of NPF won his seat from the single constituency state. (CM Chang of the same party won the seat in 2009).

- Almost a clean sweep by the BJD in the state (14 in 2009). Only 1 out of 21 seats went to BJP. INC could not even manage a single seat (6 in 2009).
- JualJuel Oram of the BJP won his seat from Sundergarh.
- The big winners from BJD are Baijayant Panda, Tathagat Satpathy, Pinaki Mishra, Sidhant Mohapatra.
- The big losers from INC are Srikant Jena (former Union Minister), Giridhar Gamang (9 time MP), Hemanand Biswal (former Chief Minister).

R Radhakrishnan of AINRC won his seat from the single seat constituency. 

- BJP won 2 seats (1 in 2009) and its alliance SAD won 4 seats (4 in 2009).
- INC won 3 seats (8 in 2009) while the game changer AAP won 4 seats (non existing in 2009)
- Vinod Khanna of the BJP won his seat from Gurdaspur for the 5th time. I have hardly ever heard about him in national political news.
- Amrinder Singh of INC who is former Chief Minister of Punjab won his seat from Amritsar defeating BJP bigshot Arun Jaitely. Personally, I wanted badly for Jaitely to loose. Maybe because of his arrogance I had always seen on TV as well as in his writings. Ironically, even after losing, he is now the Finance Minister. This is democracy!
- Ambika Soni of INC who was introduced to politics by none other than Indira Gandhi and is a senior in INC lost her seat against Prem Singh Chandumajra of SAD.
- Ravneet Singh Bittu of INC won his seat from Ludhiana defeating noted lawyer Harvinder Singh Phoolka of AAP known for fighting for the cause of 1984 riots victims for free. Bittu is the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh assassinated in a bomb blast.
- Harsimrat Kaur Badal of SAD won her seat from Bathinda. She is the daughter-in-law and wife of Prakash Singh Badal (current Chief Minister of Punjab) and Sukhbir Singh Badal (former MP) respectively. Her educational qualifications are 10th pass.
- Harinder Singh Khalsa (former IPS officer) from Fatehgarh Sahib, Prof Sadhu Singh (former College Principal and known writer) from Faridkot, Bhagwant Mann (actor and comedian) from Sangroor and Dr. Dharamvira Gandhi (cardiologist) from Patiala won their seats for AAP. 

LS Elections 2014 - Result Highlights - M

Madhya Pradesh
- BJP won 27 seats (16 in 2009) and INC won 2 seats (12 in 2009). BSP lost its one seat that they won in 2009.
- Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath of the INC retained their seats from Guna and Chhindwara respectively. Jyotiraditya Scindia is the son of former Maharajah Madhav Rao Scindia and is one of the wealthiest politicians.
- Kamal Nath is a long time worker of INC. His name came up in the 1984 sikh riots. His name also appeared in the so called Radia Tapes. He was held responsible of environment damage and then fined by the Supreme Court. He was once the wealthiest Cabinet Minister in India with assets worth 273 crore rupees.
- Rao Udhay Pratap Singh of BJP won his seat from Hoshangabad. He changed his party from Congress to BJP just before the elections.
- Sumitra Mahajan of BJP won her seat from Indore. She has won LS seats eight times in her life. She is one of the cleanest names on the BJP list of ministers.
- Sushma Swaraj of BJP won her seat from Vidisha. She is one of the top names in BJP and probably my favorite politician. I would have liked to see her as the Prime Minister of India. I admire her speaking skills and way of presentation.

-BJP won 23 seats (9 in 2009) and its ally Shiv Sena won 18 seats (11 in 2009) with SSS winning 1 seat, INC won 2 seats (17 in 2009) and its ally NCP 4 seats (8 in 2009).
- Nitin Gadkari of BJP won his seat from Nagpur against Anjali Damania of AAP who had levied a list of allegations against him and called him a poster boy for corruption in her interviews. He is also the former BJP president who was not re-elected because his name appeared in several corruption cases.
- Poonam Mahajan of BJP won her seat from Mumbai North Central. She is the daughter of former BJP bigwig, Pramod Mahajan and sister of Rahul Mahajan who appear here and there on TV.
- Gopinath Munde of BJP won his seat from Beed. He died in a recent accident. He was one of the top leaders and his wife is the sister of late Pramod Mahajan.
- Ashok Chavan of the INC won his seat from Nanded. He is the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and named in vairous corruption cases like the Adarsh Housing Scam.
- Supriya Sule of the NCP won her seat from Baramati. She is the daughter of former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Sharad Pawar. Sharad Pawar is a political bigwig with a huge list of scams and allegations against him.
- Biggest names for NCP who lost are Praful Patel who was former Civil Aviation Minister named in Air India controversy,  Chhagan Bhujbal who had been embroiled in various controversies like the Stamp Paper scam, misuse of property at PWD etc.
- Biggest names for INC who lost are Priya Sunil Dutt (Actor Sunil Dutt's daughter), Milind Murli Deora (got into controversy as Petroleum and Natural Gas minister), Sushil Kumar Shinde (former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Minister of Home Affairs and leader of the house in Lok Sabha). 
- There were many big names contesting from AAP but none of them won. Big hopefuls were Meera Sanyal, Mayank Gandhi, Anjali Damania, Medha Patkar. Personally, I was a bit shocked and disappointed at Medha Patkar losing the contest. Also, a bit disappointment with Anjali Damania's loss. It was credible to see someone so vocal against BJP bigwig.
- It was amazing to see BJP winning 23 of te 24 seats it contested. DB Patil was the only contesting BJP candidate losing his seat from Nanded against Ashok Chavan. The calculations were almost perfect.

- Both the seats are won by INC (2 in 2009). Dr Thokchom Meinya and Thangso Baite winning from Inner and Outer Manipur respectively.

- PA Sangma of NPP won his seat from Tura. He is an 8 time MP and was also nominated for the post of 13th President of India.
Vincent H Pala of INC won his seat from Shillong.

- CL Ruala won his seat from the single constituency in Mizoram.