India

Posted by Kiran

We recently came off an election in Karnataka and I watched with interest the proceedings and the result. The BJP successfully lost the only South Indian state that ever gave it a mandate and the Congress roared back to power.

While the new CM, Siddaramaiah, seems to have taken a different approach to governance than the first CM from the previous ruling party — atleast his first actions were something to do with governance and not a pilgrimage — only time will tell how effective the governance will be!

However, I can't stop thinking that we, the Indian voters, are taken too much for granted. And rightly so I regret to say. One look at the after-election analyses and you will see that the analyses are all about how the Lingayat vote was split thanks to a certain corrupt politician; not about governance, or the lack thereof. Every one of the commentators stressed on how the votes had gone based on caste. How losing certain members of the BJP had cost the party dearly in terms of votes from certain castes.

Posted by Kiran

Back in 1991, on my 9th grade school trip, we had an incentive to look forward to. We were all going to be allowed access to some money to buy stuff of our choice from the shops during one of our breaks. For a 14 year old who did not normally get access to cash, this was a big deal. That opportunity - to handle cash, bargain with shopkeepers and buy stuff of our choice - was something that each one of the about 100 students in my batch looked forward to.

As it so happened, some of the boys in our group decided to step out of line and as a method of disciplining them, the teachers accompanying us decided to withhold that shopping privilege from them. Not to be out-done, they soon got in touch with their friends with requests to buy stuff on their behalf. I too got one such request from one such defaulter. Hoping to be of some help to my friend, I agreed.

Tiger! Tiger!

19 Jun 2011
Posted by Kiran

As we drove through the Bandipur Forest in the safari jeep, the mood was getting increasingly desperate. We hadn't sighted a thing! On the safari the previous day, a lady in the seat behind me had been yapping off as though there was going to be no tomorrow and whatever chances we had had of sighting any wildlife, diminished with her high-pitch, high-volume voice regularly piercing through the forest. We pinned our exasperation on her and requested a more private safari for our next day.

Today we were on our own and yet, things had gone from bad to worse. Even with the lady's continuous commentary, we had managed to see a family of elephants yesterday. Today we hadn't even seen a langur! It was like the light rain had driven every animal into some secret hiding spot deep within the jungle.

At each fork on our trail through the forest, with each turn we took, I found myself wondering "Are we taking the wrong turn? What if there is an animal just beyond the line-of-sight on the path we aren't taking?" Turn after turn we saw only wet trees and muddy puddles.

After having fruitlessly driven through the forest for more than an hour and a half we had all but given up hope of seeing any wildlife. It was then that our luck changed.

Posted by Kiran
Nagarahole Wildlife Reserve
Nagarahole Wildlife Reserve

Recently, I got the opportunity to visit two of Karnataka's well known Wildlife destinations: first, as a birthday present to me, my wife planned a day visit to the Dubare Elephant camp; second, we decided to take a break from the work schedules and head off to the Nagarahole Wildlife Reserve.

Both outings were planned spontaneously via Jungle Lodges & Resorts (JLR) and turned out to be extremely enjoyable; we came back thoroughly refreshed and elated.

This blog post is to share our experience as well as some of the pictures I managed to click on these trips.

The Signature Parody

05 Dec 2010
Posted by Kiran

We have all learnt that it is imperative that we read any document in its entirety before we sign it. By affixing our signatures on any legal or contractually binding document, we effectively affirm that we agree to every word that is written on it.

However, how many of us really stop to read and understand every word on that document before we sign it? Most of us don't.

What is more amazing is that people have come to expect that you don't read the document before signing it. In fact, I have had multiple experiences in India, where people clearly got irritated if I'd stopped to read the document before signing it. Somehow people in India seem to believe that we must simply put all our trust in them and sign the dotted line. They seem to believe that by reading the document first, we would be wasting their time.

Posted by Kiran

It is no secret that what happens on the Indian roads is best described as controlled chaos. Expecting orderly traffic while driving in India is probably not the best idea. I have driven in India since 1994; even then, each time I go abroad and return, it takes me a while to get used to the kind of driving witnessed in India.

I read somewhere that driving in India is basically pointing your vehicle in the general direction you want to go and stepping on the accelerator — and hoping to god that you don't get hit by something. That description quite summarizes what drivers in India go through every day.

Here are a few points about Indian driving and Indians that everyone who wishes to visit India and possibly drive here should know.

Posted by Kiran

In early May, the Special Court in Mumbai convicted Ajmal Kasab for his role in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai and sentenced him to death.

Kasab is going to die, eventually. But before he is put to death, he will probably go through several appeals, mercy petitions, so on and so forth; he might actually die of old age before he is hanged! Take the case of another Pakistani terrorist on the Indian Death Row: Afzal Guru. Guru was supposed to be hanged in 2006, but still remains on death row. The government seems to be incapable of taking a decision one way or another!

When Kasab was sentenced, it was quickly proclaimed by many as a victory for the Indian judiciary. I was amazed at the number of people, including the media, who liked to believe that it meant closure for the numerous families who were directly affected by the horrible attack on Mumbai. However, I can't help but believe that this is just a shallow victory.

Kasab was undoubtedly the killer of numerous innocent people, but he was just a pawn. While there is no doubt in anybody's mind that he deserves to die, there also has to be a realization that while India has been able to bring this one man to justice the organization and the network of terrorists that backed him up that day still remain at large.

Posted by Kiran

Language is a means of communication. As long as you are able to get your message across to the other person, the purpose of communication is served. At least that is what I always thought until I read this excellent piece about the death of a language — the Bo language. The piece has been authored by Mr. Ishaan Tharoor on the Time Magazine's website.

As per the statistics published in the Ethnologue, there are around 7000 languages in the world today, 26% of which are spoken by less than a thousand people each. It also states that about 94% of the world's languages are spoken by only 6% of its population!

Posted by Kiran

It was in July 2009 that we heard and read the news that the Indian High Court had struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code as unconstitutional, effectively legalizing homosexuality in India. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was an old piece of legislation handed down to us from the British Raj. The British started the process of legalizing homosexuality back in 1967; however, we Indians still carry the notion that individuals need to be policed to ensure that they lead every part of their private lives as per the general diktat of the majority!

Posted by Kiran

Sometime back, I wrote about how we should be prepared to say "No". Well apparently that made for interesting reading for a colleague of mine who is from Eastern Europe. She immediately pointed out that saying "No" was second nature to people elsewhere on the globe. However, for Indians it seems like a big deal. She went on to say that when Indians commit to doing something, it usually cannot be relied on. We Indians tend to say "Yes" to everything, even when we aren't really sure of being able to deliver on that commitment.