Thursday, April 26, 2007

The sister act

When a baby girl is born to Indian parents her parents have great dreams for her. They dream of her going to a convent school and then to a convent run college and then getting herself a husband due to her "convent educated" status. In fact the craze for convents is so much that we now have anyone and anybody opening "convent schools". I think Mr Rupinder Singh who runs the St Jesus Convent School and Ramesh Kedia who runs St God Convent School are visionaries. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they have branches called St Convent School , St Sister, St Church and St Cemetry. Anything that sounds remotely Christian is prefixed with the "St" and used as a name for these schools. Recently a school called St Anthony's was in the news for physically punishing a child. Turns out the owners were an ordinary couple who also had a flower nursery.

When people run out of names they become innovative and we have St Lilly, St Rose and St Lotus to name a few. Some people go for an authentic touch and we get schools like St Meera and St Radha. Well they were saints weren’t they? The word ‘saint’ in any other language would still be a saint!

Among the upmarket schools we have names like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and even Ivy League. I heard there is a school called IIT!!!

With education becoming a lucrative business with millions to be made, schools are mushrooming everywhere. The St God School was a two room tenement. Today it had classes from Nursery to 10th in a span of just 5 years! The owner incidentally is uneducated. That in my humble non MBA opinion is the best example of business acumen!

The other category of schools is the Kindergarten variety. The owners of these schools are more sober though some do go a little overboard with names like 'Little Angels' (guffaw) and 'Dolls'(double guffaw). Excuse the loud unlady like laughter but I was a KG kid too some time back and neither was I an angel nor a doll. Neither were my classmates. We were more like mud encrusted devils with bald patches of scalp from where many an enraged classmate had pulled our hair out. There was more hair flying in our class that in a fur factory. (I dared to grow my hair only after reaching high school!)

Most of these schools are garages or asbestos sheet covered tenements. But the full classrooms do give you hope that education is finally being regarded as an asset by people who rarely sent their kids to school once. On the flip side if this unbridled growth continues then education will become just another commodity, but like a commodity, competition may just keep prices in check.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Appy Fizz Radio Jingle

I fell in love with this hilarious radio jingle when I heard it for the first time. It still brings a smile and a chuckle when I hear it. Wait for the video to load and Enjoy! :D

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Instant news!!!

I saw something on CNN IBN ( streaming content) the other day that made my jaws drop.

The program: CNN IBN special program

Title: Cricket's dark side

Presenters:Bhupender Chaube, Bob Kalra and a Geo TV rep live from Pakistan.

Bhupender Chaube to Geo TV rep in Pakistan: Your chanel has allegede foul play in Bob Woolmers death.

Geo TV Rep: We haven't alleged anything, but Inzamam ul Haq gave Bob a lot of trouble by not reporting for net practise.

Bhupender Chaube: This is a serious allegation. You are saying that Inzamam was the casue of Bob's death.

Geo TV Rep: I did not say that. I said he gave Bob the maximum amount of trouble.

Bhupender Chaube (shouting):How?!

Geo TV Rep( looks like he wants to slap Bhupender): He stressed out Bob by his disobedience and failing to report for net practise.

Bhupender Chaube: Thank you for coming on the show.(turning to the camera) As you can all see the Geo TV rep has made a serious allegation that Inzamam ul Haq and the Pakistani team stressed Bob to his death!

Bhupender Chaube kept screaming CNN IBN style and was desperately trying to sensationalise the issue,a trademark strategy of CNN IBN! News presenters from CNN IBN can be seen visibly excited when a news breaks and every effort is made during news hour to sensationalise the same. Background music adds to the melodrama.

How does this reflect on CNN I wonder. Or does CNN have no hold over the instantaneous content creation, sensationalisation and delivery of its Indian subsidiary?

( p.s will post the link to this video if I can get hold of the same. This program appeared around March 23rd)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Caught between two worlds

My very good friends in school were the Anglo Indian twins Audrey and Mel. Audrey and Mel left for Australia like the many Anglo Indians who left the Indian shores in search of a better life amidst "their own people". Their father a lathe worker soon got a job, and so did their mom. They finished their schooling and are now working in Australia.

A few years back Audrey and Mel's mom Sheila and elder married sister Rita came down to India to visit relations, make a pilgrimage to Vailankanni and spend a day with us. They come down every year and always make it a point spend a day with us. My mom and Sheila were and are good friends having called each other up numerous times to check on our homework, school notes and the innumerable school concerts and plays where they helped with the costumes and music. Sheila is an accomplished Pianist, my mom is an accomplished seamstress. Between the two of them they did manage to make some lovely music and clothes for our school plays and concerts.

During Sheila's regular visits, we realised how lonely she was in Australia. Her annual trips to India was what kept her going insane from loneliness. Her elder daughter who did her schooling and college from Bangalore also tells a tale of loneliness amidst plenty. She tell us of her neighbours of 12 years whom she hasn't seen till date and many other tales. Mel and Audrey miss Bangalore like hell but are yet to make the kind of money to visit India.

My aunt who had migrated with her family to New Zealand too faces the same situation. In her case she did the wise thing of not accepting New Zealand citizenship and hence can come down to India for longer periods as her kids are grown up. She stays with us mostly and from her we hear of the good future her kids have in NZ and how reluctantly they return to New Zealand after every holiday in Kerala. Her children spend all their holidays in India unlike their peers who go abroad for holidays.

The story repeats itself with many people that I know have migrated to Australia and New Zealand. They are happy, they have the best life has to offer yet they go back with tears in their eyes and a lump in their throat and after every visit to India start saving with a vengeance for that next trip to India.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Fears and phobias

Recently I realised that I harbor some really irrational fears. Most of these fears are due to real life incidences that have happened to others. Some of the things that make me worry unnecessarily are:

1. While driving under a flyover I feel that a bus or a truck will fall on my head :p

2. I always carry a duffle bag with my laptop inside while driving my Kinetic. Every now and then I must check the bag strung on my back to ensure that my lappie is inside. I am sure one day I might leave the zipper of the bag open and my lappie will fall down or someone will steal it from the bag at a red light or traffic jam.

3. I am very scared of geysers left too long to heat. I feel it will burst and spill hot water all over me.

4. I am scared of gas cylinders. I feel one will burst, chumma just like that when I am around.

5. My greatest fear is my lappie crashing and hence I do data back up once a week. I have a pile of CD's with data backed up. In fact it was this fear that made my last boss and this boss issue me with a PC too. But I still back up my files on a CD :p

6. Due to some horrible coincidence I almost always end up flying in an ATR aircraft. I am damn sure that one day those giant fans will come loose and make a neat pile of 'sliced silverine'.

7. While reversing the car I am so sure that one day I might run over a small child. So I double and triple check to see if there is no one behind before I reverse.

8. I am scared of construction sites and walk as far away as I can from them because I feel that something will come crashing on my head.

9. While walking my doggies I make sure that they walk to my left. I am afraid that a vehicle will go over them since they so small.

10. I drive both my brothers crazy if they are out late (and vice versa). I just cannot sleep properly till I know that all members of the family are all under one roof safe and sound. SMS'ing me just does not help.

11. I am damn sure that one day I will forget the password of my blog :p I can remember what I wore for my 4th birthday but I cannot remember passwords. To counter this when I change my password I immediately store it in my PDA.

12. Another great fear, now fast subsiding is someone hacking my blog and taking it away or worse putting objectionable content in it.

Now someone please tell me their irrational fears so that I know that I am not the only one.