Barack Obama

I have always maintained, two of the biggest underachieving politicians of the past decade are our Ex PM Manmohan Singh and the US President Barack Obama.

The following picture with Anthony Bourdain is an apt reminder of the Obama Presidency, plenty of Photo Ops, very little substance.

obamabourdain
obamabourdain

The history will always remember Obama as America’s first black president. Period! Nothing more. And that is the real disappointment. The high point of his presidency was the day he took the oath in 2009. Despite being the most powerful person in the world for 8 years, he never did anything substantial.

George W Bush Sr stood against Saddam, Bill Clinton tried to bring peace to the middle east- the historic occasion when U.S. President Bill Clinton stood in the background when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (L) and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat shook hands don’t happen everyday.

oslo accords
oslo accords
.

George W Bush Jr will be remembered for standing on a mountain of rubble at ground zero with a bull horn comforting America in crisis.

George Bush Jr
GeorgeBush

Obama will be remembered for … ??? well, his colour of skin.

He had eight years to make a mark. But nothing! In a way, he has now paved way for Donald Trump – the anti-politician. American people have given up on politicians, and decided to throw their weight behind a businessman, who speaks his mind regardless of it being politically incorrect. They have taken liking to a person who has never held any public office, nor served in the army.

Not that I am against Donald Trump. Infact, I think, even I am fed up of the typical politician who value being politically correct over being just plain correct.

It’s time to throw caution to the wind and just give brashness an chance. What is the worst that could happen – Status Quo?!?

past posts
Obama Presidency
2008: King in waiting

English is a very funny language!

We have all heard this line, made famous by a certain Bollywood star 🙂 And he gave a series of brilliant example as to why is it…

Getting to the point of this blog, most of us must have seen and had a hearty laugh at the signages with wrongly spelled english. I too have had many laughs. Child Beer! But a recent one really got me thinking. Are these ‘misspelt’ words funny or actually brilliant. Think about it. Phonetically they are perfect. And mind you, ‘English’ is not our native language. It was thrust upon us by the British. It’s a different matter all together that today, we Indians, probably have the largest population speaking the Queen’s english.

But getting back to these signages. Think about those for a while. Most of them are done by small businesses, mostly in rural india, trying to target the people who might not know the local script. The guy writing the signages, probably has limited knowledge of english which is not his native language. Should we not admire the ingenuity of the guy who, armed with just 26 alphabets, spelling the words purely on how they sound, not knowing the intricacies of the language. Isn’t that amazing. Isn’t that how a language should be. Most Indian languages are! We write it as it sounds. Why did English as a language introduce so many exceptions! Shouldn’t we ridicule these exceptions rather than the person who makes an attempt to guess spellings on pure phonetics…

I wonder what the Spelling Bees make of this issue

India 2014

What an watershed year this was in the political sphere of our nation. The man who was touted as enemy number 1 by the Congress and all the news media houses of this nation triumphed in the most epic fashion. Narendra Modi won the hearts of Indians. All through his campaign he brought forth the naked truth of the so called seculars aka sickulars for the enlightened lot. He stuck to his agenda of development for all. He went hammer and tongs after 60 years of misrule of Congress (INC). And emerged victorious at the end. If ever one needed a example of how to beat the odds, Modi’s campaign of 2014 was it.

Not even me, a hardcore NaMo fan thought he could pull of the win. My realistic numbers were around 210-230. And I was expecting Amma to help him pull through in the Lok Sabha. But Modi and Amit Shah proved us all pleasantly wrong. For the first time since the 1984, had a national party won the clear majority to form the govt on its own. The last time that had happened was in 1984, against the backdrop of the assassination of Indian born head of Congress, Smt Indira Gandhi, a clear case of mass outpouring of the sympathy.

When on the 26th of May, 2014 the worlds most famous chaiwala, Narendra Damodardas Modi, took the oath to the Prime Ministers Office in the presence of SAARC leaders, for us – the NaMo fans, it was a moment of pride and joy. From that first Google Hangout with Ajay Devgan, to that inspiring speech at SRCC, and to that historic speech in Patna, NaMo went from strength to strength, uniting Indians who loved this nation, and who had watched helplessly as it decayed under Manmohan Singh. Modi instilled hope, and that all is not lost for us, and that we could still gather the pieces together and re-ignite the path to development and success.

Today, 6 months down the line, many more people have realized the dedication and determination of Modi to deliver on all that he has promised. With his charm, he has single handedly tried to bring forth a new image of India to the world. Be it his Make In India campaign, or the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, he effort to get a world yoga day, or his interaction with Indians abroad, and with other heads of state. Modi is revamping Brand India. He is making it more vibrant, young and positive. If the past 6 months are any indication of what lies ahead, than most definitely, the next 5 years are going to be most important in the history of this nation.

Achhe din anyone !?!

A tale of 2 movies

I watch very few movies in the theatre. I guess its the whole hassle of going to the movie theatre in a city like Bangalore that puts me off. Like book a ticket, get through the traffic, pay the parking, buy the way over priced pop corns, and mostly watch a ‘oh-so-ok’ type movie. No, I don’t really need that.

But it so happened that this past week, I happened to watch two movies – one is a typical cheesy rom-com – Happy Ending and the other – Interstellar. And boy, the contrast in the movies couldn’t be greater. Happy Ending was a typical run of the mill Bollywood movie and Interstellar was just a stellar statement of what movies could be, when done the right way. The incredible world that was created by Nolan brothers just makes you take a step back and acknowledge how far we can push the limits of what can be created on a screen.

Happy Ending was just a like a packet of instant pop corn, that we get at a supermarket. Same ingredients with different flavors – for a price – pop it in a microwave and its ready to eat. it doesn’t matter the brand making it. We all know what we are going to get.

Interstellar, on the other hand, wants its audience to pay attention to everything in the movie and then at the end, it pieces together all of it to give the audience an experience that they will never forget. I did not get all of the movie, but it made me curios to know more about the dimension of time, wormhole and the threat of extinction that we could face in the future.

The big regret was that I paid almost twice for the rom-com than I did for Interstellar. I so gladly wish it was the other way.

Microsoft CEO

Yesterday, Microsoft announced it’s new CEO bringing to an end months speculation. Satya Nadella has been given charge. This 22 year old veteran had suddenly become front runner in the last few weeks. Indians naturally were over the moon. One of their own had been chosen to lead perhaps the most important firm in the world. Times of India ran a headline “India makes a power point”. Every Indian, usually a very cynical lot, probably takes this as yet another vindication of our values, and the importance given to education. No doubt, it’s a very proud day for us. But for me, the real story is how America is still holding to tag of being the Land of Opportunity and that the American Dream is for everyone. Its biggest and most important organisation, can so easily hand over its fate to an immigrant from half way across the globe. And that in corporate America, it’s your work that defines you rather than you roots, color. Compare this to India, and you see the stark contrast. In India, the top job at an organisation is hardly every handed to an outsider. Family always comes first, and this is expected and largely accepted. If we had handed over the reigns of our organisation to an outsider, there would have been a serious debate as to why we couldn’t find someone amongst are own for the job. Just look at Infosys, how a couple of bad years/ results, and they had to rush in a get back Narayan Murthy. Even his son was welcomed into Infosys.

So if I were the editor at Times of India, I would make the headline – America makes a power point!