Thursday, June 29, 2006

Financial lessons from Soniaji's affidavit

A car and a house. That's two of the greatest Indian middle class obsessions. A recent report suggested the Indian middle class had accumulated huge debts by buying these two priority items on loan. In its cities, metros and megapolises, these are the fastest disappearing items.

Real estate dealers are making a killing and middle class dreams travel on four wheels of a sedan. A car and a house or, for the careful ones, a house then a car. You haven't arrived yet if you don't own the two. You are either lower middle class or you are Sonia Gandhi.

According to the affidavit Mrs Gandhi filed in Raebareli yesterday, she doesn't own either of the two. She doesn't own a car, though practically her car has a dozen cars leading the way and a dozen others following. She doesn't own a house, but hers is the best address in town. Sprawling is too small a word for 10, Janpath. She does own a house in Italy. Now all you going wink wink and thinking home is where the heart is, hold your horses.

Her Italian villa is worth just about Rs 13 lakh. With that, you can't buy a jhuggi in Lutyen's Bungalow zone. A one-room flat in Sector Sigma in Greater Noida, or Bhiwandi in Rajasthan would cost you twice that. According to her 2004 election affidavit, that Italy house cost Rs 12.75 lakh then. Just Rs 25,000 appreciation in two years. In Mayur Vihar, a flat worth Rs 15 lakh in 2004 is worth Rs 30 lakh in 2006. Italy is not the place to invest in real estate.

The same goes for Sultanpur or Dera Mandi. Sonia has agricultural land worth Rs 219,000 in these two places and in the last two years, the appreciation amounts to zilch. Had this been in Ghaziabad or the farmhouses in South Delhi, the price would have surely tripled.

But the woman behind the Kendra Sarkar has jewellery that was worth Rs 14 lakh in 2004 and has blown to Rs 21 lakh in 2006. Did gold appreciate so much in that time or did she buy more of the metal in the last two years? The affidavit doesn't detail that. But it does say this: gold for a rainy day remains the favourite investment instrument for Indian women. Since she is not seen wearing all that in public, it's safe to presume it's an investment instrument.

She also had given Rs 5 lakh to Priyanka Gandhi as loan before 2004 and Priyanka, it seems, has not returned the money, because her 2006 affidavit shows that those five lakhs are still with her.

There are lessons to be learnt from the leader. Here are the top five lessons for Congressmen who want to follow the leader in letter and spirit.

Lesson no. 1: Never loan money to your children. They are not likely to return it.

Lesson no. 2: Gurgaon, Ghaziabad or for that matter Hyderabad are best places to invest in real estate. Sultanpur or Turin is not.

Lesson no. 3: It's better not to buy a car. Car depreciates. Become a political leader instead. Car free.

Lesson no. 4: It's better not to buy a house, even though the price of a house appreciates. But a house for free is better than your own.

Lesson no. 4: Buy jewellery. Yellow metal shows your mettle. And gold is gold.

Moral of the story. Meaning of the Story.

Once upon a time, there was a great queen. She ruled the country with the aide of her able ministers. But the ministers sometimes came under the influence of power. And people started whispering things. She never heard any until she heard a voice. It was her inner voice that said: People will get ideas that you love power. You must renounce it. Immediately. She left everything and went to the Himalayas. Her able ministers ran the country, but the throne was empty. The able ministers took their orders from the throne, like the great Bharat, who took orders from Lord Ram, even when Ram was in communicado, in some jungle, for 14 long years. Bharata didn't touch the throne. The queen couldn't wait for 14 years, because one can't trust these ministers for more than 14 seconds. So a week after renunciation, she goes back to her people and says: See, I have proven I don't need power. I can throw it whenever I want. And I want it back. So give it to me. Moral of the story: There are no morals in these ancient stories.
Morals are a myth of modern India. Today when Mrs Sonia Gandhi addressed a massive rally in Raebareli to tell her side of the story, people didn't want any morals out of it. Just the meaning would have been enough, and no, don't get ideas about herr accent. It's because people believe political speeches are profound. Every word out of their mouth means more than what they say. So THE SAY MEAN guide is back. And mean is no attempt at pun. What she means is in italics (no pun intended).

"I am the enemy number one of the critics of the Congress. They blame me for everything. Every stone is thrown at me. Every arrow is shot at me and every bullet is fired at me."
There's nobody in the Congress big enough to face any attack. I am the only one. I am alone. Who will they fire bullets at? I am Congress, Congress is me.

"I am a victim of the kind of treatment they have to Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru."

They made Rajivji, Indira G and Nehruji prime ministers. They want to make me prime minister. Save me from them.

"Whenever the opportunity arises, they say all concocted things. If there is a storm, hailstorm or lightning falls, they say it was all because of Sonia Gandhi. I am their enemy number one."

Remember the Volcker storm, the Quattrocchi hailstrom and then the OOP ordinance lightning? They think it's all because of me. Look at me. Do I look Iike someone who would do such bad things? Say, no?

"I am not going to be a loser. I won't step back. Our fight will continue. This caravan will keep moving."

I will win, you support me blindly, don't you. The caravan will move, I am in the backseat, where the steering wheel is.

"I had spoken with both Rahul and Priyanka before I quit as an MP."

I don't trust any body else. The Family is all one should trust. That goes for you too. Not your family, The Family I said.

"Now I have come to you to seek justice, which I am sure I will get. I know you will give a fitting response to my opponents."

There was no way out. I was cornered. But you benefit in the fight between my inner and outer voices. I give you a chance to vote again. You will feel all powerful. My destiny will be in your hands. Ain't that heady? If I had resigned from only the National Advisory Council, you would have got no such thing until the next election. I bring democracy to your doorsteps. I give you power.

The Sacrifice Song*

It's a human sign
When things go wrong
When the stink of it lingers
And opposition's strong

Into the boundary
Of politician minds
Sweet deceit comes calling
and a way she finds

Cold cold heart
filled with shame
Some things look better baby
when you change the game
And it's no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It's an act in the
theatre of the absurd

But it's no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It's no sacrifice at all

Mutual understanding
After the fact
Sympathy builds
In the final act
They win elections
Opposition burns
No fears to damn them
when the wave turns

And it's no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It's an act in the
Theater of the absurd
But it's no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It's no sacrifice at all

(*Conditions Apply. Apologies to Elton John)

He don't like Bush

Democracy allows us to protest. And it was great to see Indians protesting against George Bush's visit. But did we cross the line this time? We did.
George W Bush was not here on a pleasure trip. He was here on a state invitation. Invited by the government of India, that represents the people of India. He was a guest in the land that believed in Atithi Devo Bhava, A guests is like God.
And our Parliament went berserk. Somnath Chatterjee proved he's a CPM leader first, the Lok Sabha Speaker later. And the electoral interests are supreme, national prestige or image comes later. Television channels showed MPs, including Jaya Prada, carrying placards that said: KILLER BUSH. Yes Jaya Prada who can't spell politics without borrowing Amar Singh's glasses.
So who did Bush kill? What were they protesting against?
Iraq, apparently. But who continues killing Muslims every day in Iraq? Muslims like Zarqawi. Not Bush. If given a chance, Bush would like to get out of the mess. Leave Iraq to the Iraqis. He's losing a lot of money and American lives in the process. Please don't quote the lie that he's getting oil in return.
Afghanistan? Thank God, he went in there. Have we forgotten Kandahar? Have we forgotten the Taliban who facilitated the escape of terrorists from India?
The occupier? India actively participated in Russia's occupation of Afghanistan. We toasted Najibullah. And supported Russians in every possible way so that they can stay on in Kabul.
Because his Army has killed innocent people in Iraq? Our forces end up killing many innocent people in Kashmir. Should we call our President, the supreme commander of our forces, a killer?
I remember Bajrang Dal activists ready with black flags to show to Musharraf duing his visit to India. Calling him names. Hurling slippers at his photograph. Burning his effigy. In one stroke, Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat erased the difference between them and the Bajrangis. People with subversive agendas, trying to impose themselves on mainstream India.
P.S. Even some gay rights activists staged a march in Delhi against Bush's opposition to same sex marriage. But before telling Bush to allow same sex marriages in his country, they should fight against Indian law that makes homosexuality a crime.
Why Was Jaya Prada Protesting Against Bush?
Because Amar Singh Doesn't Like Bush!

Looney Limericks (CD still not cut)

There was a girl allegedly called Bips,
She Singhs out some l'amore tips,
She said a man is never too old,
He said age does make him cold,
and between the covers the drive dips

She was a leader, he showed the way
She owes a lot, it was time to pay
He had his couple of pegs
She asked what to do with 'em legs
He said shave them for a rainy day

People phoned him, he was having a ball
The tapper meanwhile was tapping it all
Cops tapped tapping
Caught the tapper napping
And now no one wants to give him a call

He goes on offensive against madam
In a game of win some, lose some
Her enemies become friends
But the drama never ends
Now even his chums call him a bum

He talks to bhai about fudges,
To Soft netaji about judges
He says he'd been joking
But the tap is now poking
In the lane of loneliness he trudges

Thursday, February 23, 2006

On today's ponderables menu: Chicken 65, French Fry, Russian salad

India has launched a fresh offensive on chicken, because some chicks died of suspected bird flu. So thousands of chicken are being killed and burnt in fire. Not of the tandoor kind. Poultry farmers are crying fowl.

Bird flu has killed nearly 100 people in the world in the last three years, source WHO. Malaria kills 3,000 children every day, source again WHO. India still hasn't started mass murder of mosquitoes. In spite of the fact that tandoori mosquito is not very popular among Indians.

The difference between tandoori chicken and tandoori mosquito?
Man takes a bite into a chicken leg.
Mosquito bites a human leg.

Two movies likely to re-release to cash in on the crisis:
Chicken Run and Chicken Little. Renamed: Chicken! Run man run! and Chicken, Little left of them chicken!

How did the chicken cross the road?
It flu over.

Sale of alarm clocks in Maharashtra villages have shot up.
The roosters are in hiding from health workers.

What's the new name for the dish Chicken 65?
Chicken H5N1. N1 stands for no one wants this.

People who could die for butter chicken till yesterday are saying no to chicken. And they don't mean infected chicken. They don't want any chicken.

Will they say no to sex if they found out that STD means sexually transmitted disease?

Latest research says the bird flu virus can survive cooking. No final word yet on the far more important question: What came first, chicken or egg?

Will Smith was in Delhi. And he told CNN-IBN: I want authentic Indian food. Oh yeah? How about Murgh makhni? Will ya?

French President Jaques Chirac is in India. And guess the biggest problem in the bilateral talks. How to pronounce his name. Hindi media have a double trouble: How to spell and pronounce his name. Those with some knowledge of French call him Yaak Shee-raa-k. But the most likely mistake is Chiraak, chee as in cheek. And one correspondent reporting live from the venue where Chirac was present today, called him more than that. CHI-RAAGH. And threw some light on the old Hindustani phrase: Chiraagh tale andheraa (literally it's dark under the lamp.) Shiv Sena is yet to demand a change in his name.

When facing arrest, politicians play hide and sick. They get themselves admitted to some hospital.

Daya Nayak surrendered today after playing hide and seek for a month. His version of the popular kiddie game was called: Hide and seek bail.

Russia has a solution to the Iran nuclear standoff. It's trying to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium at its Natanz plant, but do it in Russia instead.

Now this country is serious about getting its share in the outsourcing business.

All this apparently on the ground that Iran may not be able to observe the essential nuclear safeguards.

Russian surely know about safeguards. They were responsible for the world's worst nuclear tragedy.

On today's Ponderables menu: Chicken curry, bamboo shoots, lentil soup, capsicum masala, desserts

Chicks continue to hog the limelight since the day India stopped hogging on those lovely legs, fresh out of the tandoor.
Health ministry officials today ate their chicken in front of TV cameras to prove a point: Eating chicken is safe. What they didn't do on camera: Flush it down with a Tamiflu solution.
Jairam Ramesh, again on camera, says people should turn vegetarians. So no murg masala, but shoots and leaves. Like Pandas of Benaras and Chinese basmboo forests.
Talking about pandas, we have one in Manu Sharma. If refused a drink, he eats, shoots and leaves. Seven years later, he leaves again, unscathed. As prosecution eats humble pie after shooting in dark.
Another big shot in lentil soup is Jagmohan Dalmiya. Jaggu Dada of Indian cricket made a lot of money for Indian cricket board, and apparently kept some for himself.
But hold your tongue. Tuesday was the International Mother Tongue Day. And our parliamentarians observed it by talking in mother tongues. Speaker in his mother Bong, Ramadoss in his Tam tongue. No, nobody spoke in Italian. Capsica? Si o No?
The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. The way to a woman's is: buy her jewellery. And for men with limited budgets, there's good news. Jewellery you can eat. So this weekend take her out, buy her jewellery and eat it off her. Men never had it better.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mother, does it sound like a Pink Floyd Song?

Mother, do you think I should drop Mani?
Mother, must I include Ambika Soni?
Mother, do you think Shinde is Sushil enough?
Ooooowaa Mother, why is it so tough?
Mother, should I take Vayalar?
Mother, should age be a bar?
Mother, will the press grill me on the tainted Shibu Soren?
Ooooowaa, Mother should I retain foreign?

Hush, my baby. Baby, don't you cry.
Momma's gonna make your Cabinet for you.
Momma's gonna decide on portfolios too.
Momma's gonna do it all at 10 Janpath
Momma knows every Congressman's worth
Momma's gonna keep the rule, the chair and the rein.
Oooo Babe.
Oooo Babe.
Ooo Babe, of course Momma's gonna let you keep foreign.

Mother, do you think we should take Saifuddin Soz,
Mother, does it really matter where he goes?
Mother, I need help in external affairs
Mother, do you think E Ahamed really cares?
Mother, who's this old man called Antulay?
Ooooowaa Mother, do I have some say?

Hush, my baby. Baby, don't you cry.
Momma's gonna bring in young Maken here.
Momma won't let Ms Dikshit get bigger.
Momma's gonna please good friend Lalu
Momma will elevate his friend Gupta too.
Momma's gonna pick Jairam on the way.
Oooo Babe.
Oooo Babe.
Ooo Babe, Anand Sharma will handle MEA

Mother, Santosh wants a Cabinet place,
Mother, Should Dinshaw be in this race?
Mother, There's an Oriya man called Sahu?
Mother, Andhra should get one in Pallam Raju
Mother, Ashwani I guess is from the Punjab,
Ooooowaa Mother, to pay Vasan, who do I rob?

Hush, my baby. Baby, don't you cry.
Momma's gonna give Vasan independent charge
Momma won't let DMK get extra large.
Momma's gonna give one to Akhilesh Das
Momma will top that with an irritating boss
Momma's gonna give Bansal a place in finance
Oooo Babe.
Oooo Babe.
Ooo Babe, Let momma handle it, why're you getting tense

Mother, should we get NTR's daughter?
Mother, what all have you taught her?
Mother, Shouls Rahul Baba also be considered?
Mother, is my vision getting really blurred?
Mother, one man is totally shockingly Ready to buy,
Ooooowaa Mother, shall I sell a ministry to that guy?

Hush, my baby. Baby, don't you cry.
Momma will handle that Purandareshwari
Momma will get her a seat in HRD.
Momma's gonna give old Arjun some break
Momma gives, so Momma will take
Momma's gonna decide whether to sell a seat
Oooo Babe.
Oooo Babe.
Ooo Babe, but you really gotta be a little discrete!

Mother, do you think Sibal's good enough,
For a Cabinet rank?
Mother, do you think I should just fill in,
What is blank?
Mother will Deora be too right,
Of the Centre?
Mother, will he become another
Mani Shankar Aiyar?
Mother, should I take Renuka out of tourism?
Mother, what if I am looking through the wrong prism?

Hush, my baby. Baby, don't you cry.
Momma's gonna check out your Natwars for you.
Momma won't let anyone oily get through.
Momma's gonna scan every new man who's in.
Momma will always find out where they've been.
Momma's gonna keep Cabinet healthy and clean.
Oooo Babe.
Oooo Babe.
Ooo Babe, you'll always be Baby to me.

Mother, Can Pranab win us West Bengal?
Mother, Is Dasmunshi effective at all?
Mother you know we are going to polls
Mother can we plug all the holes
Mother do you think we need another Bong?
Mother does it sound like a Pink Floyd Song?
Hush, my baby. Baby, don't you cry.

Momma's gonna will win Bengal anyway
Momma's gonna keep the Left at bay
Momma's gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She won't let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Momma knows it does sound like a Floyd song
Oooo Babe.
Oooo Babe.
Ooo Babe, of course, Left have ruled too long

Mother, what if you were wrong?

______________________________________________Crossposted on IBN Blogs.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Insurance company snubs Kumaraswamy, Left is still furious

In what could have wide-ranging political complications, insurance companies have refused to insure Hardanahalli Deve Gowda Kumaraswamy's term as chief minister of Karnataka, saying the risk was too high. This has poured a lot of cold water on the BJP's hopes that it would get a chance to rule Karnataka after all, not to forget the saffron party’s ambitions to have an insurance for its own term.

"How long will this government last, when the coalition of the likeminded parties did not last its term? Churchill said a week is a long time in politics, and here we are talking about 20 months," an official spokesperson of the Max Sun Life told reporters, unofficially.

"Besides, they should also know that insurance is a subject matter of solicitation. After all Conditions do apply," the spokesperson added.

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda was however ecstatic, even though his son's insurance plans came to a naught.

Mr Deve Gowda has received an undisclosed sum, rumoured to be sixty million plus rupees, as part of the insurance claim after his son snapped the bond of loyalty.

After insurance companies started insuring highly risky Bollywood films, political insurance came into being with H.D. Deve Gowda insuring that his sons will be loyal to him. "If Jennifer Lopez's butt can be insured, why can't political loyalties be?" he had said then famously. Since blood is rumoured to be thicker than water, the insurance company was happy to insure that for a small premium.

But Deve Gowda couldn't ensure that his son remained loyal to him. Much water has flowed down the Cauvery since then. And Kumaraswamy has proved that the greed indeed is thicker than blood. And Deve Gowda can't thank his stars enough, as the huduga went, moolah came in.

There is no official reaction from the Congress leaders, who now have nothing to get insured.

The Left however has reacted quite strongly to reports that Kumaraswamy was refused insurance. "We have always opposed FDI in insurance sector, and we condemn the insurance company's refusal," Communist Part of Bhindibazaar national general secretary B.C. Bardhan told reporters in New Delhi. When told that he was backing Kumaraswamy in spite of Kumaraswamy shifting to the saffron side, Bardhan said, "We have always opposed the communal forces and FDI in insurance sector, and we condemn Kumaraswamy's change of sides and the insurance company's refusal."

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Son Song: Appaji, I Am Your True Huduga

You backed the Cong who became king
And you planted on us that Dharam Singh
The buffalo goes to man with the lathi
With Krishna trying to break our party
He played the flute, we did the dance
Like this we would've never got a chance
I tell you dad, they are playing a game
Appaji, I want to be the next SEE YAME

Oh humble farmer, you're a former PM
I am sure you don't wanna be the SEE YAME
You've sown seeds, with your own deeds
The tree has grown and to you it pleads
Leave your secular tag in my lovely lap
And see high in sky your son's wings flap
To glory, carrying forward your good fame
Appaji, I want to be the next SEE YAME

Only racists believe in caste and colour
I don't suffer fools, because fools suffer
I want to play and I wanna have some fun
You love the colour green and I love saffron
But I am your true son as you yourself said
You ditched Hegde, see dad, I am home-made
Your lost ground is what I want to reclaim
Appaji, I want to be the next SEE YAME

Kannadigas will know that I am a good fella
I bring Vokkaligas, Lingayats under one umbrella
And together we'll win term after term
This coalition will be a giant pachyderm
I will fulfill your dreams to the core
If you want I'll drive away IT from Bangalore
I will even change Brigade Road's name
Appaji, I want to be the next SEE YAME

I will change Mysore's name to Mysooru
And every eyesore will become eyesooru
Hardanahalli will become the state capital
Because living in Bangalore is a little dull
We are sons of the soil, we got mass base
We shall overvcome by Gowda's grace
You will be proud with your son at the helm
Appaji, I want to be the next SEE YAME!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Law Minister Will Take His Own Course

Q ho gaya na! CNN-IBN's investigation has left the government and India's politics shaken and stirred. And in the rush to cover their collective behind, Congress leaders went to town saying things they did not know they were saying. Here's to simplify it all.


Abhishek Manu Singhvi says:
The law will take its own course.
He means:
The law Minister will take his own course.

Hans Raj Bharadwaj says:
There was no material evidence against Quattrocchi.
He meant:
The evidence against Quattrocchi is immaterial.

Ambika Soni says:
Sonia Gandhi was not told about it by the law ministry.
She means:
Sonia Gandhi told the law ministry about it.

Sonia Gandhi says:
She means
Congress says:
PM was kept in the dark.
He means:
PM is kept in the dark.

Manmohan Singh says:
Neither the freezing nor the unfreeezing was done under government's orders.
He means:
It was done under orders of someone above the government.

Sriprakash Jaiswal says:
No clean chit has been given to anyone in any case or against charge by the Law Minister.
He means:
The chit wasn't clean. It had things written on it. For example: please defreeze Mr Q's accounts.

CBI joint director A K Majumdar says:
This is purely a CBI decision and Crown Prosecution of London only communicates with CBI.
He means:
CBI stands for Central Blame-taking Institution. Please understand this, people.

Crossposted on
IBN Blogs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

One flu over the....

Turkey has confirmed that a 13th Turkish is suffering from bird flu. Countries around the world are stocking up on Tamiflu, a bird flu vaccine, amid reports that the flu virus can mutate into a Tamiflu-resistant strain. An Indian company has acquired rights to produce Tamiflu.

In short, there's a worldwide war on bird flu. Or is it? To me it all looks like a virus that's spreading faster than one ever thought. No, not the flu virus, but the one that spreads panic.

A simple google News search gave 16,700 results for Bird flu in 0.25 seconds.
Here are some of them—

Another Bird Flu case found in Turkey
Bird flu symptoms often mild, research suggests
Spread of bird flu wider than imagined
Dozens In Japan May Have Mild Bird Flu
Boy is China's 8th bird flu case
Russia bracing for bird flu outbreak
Top bank plans for bird flu hitting half its workforce
European travel firms monitor bird flu impact
Ukraine confirms new bird flu cases in Crimea

Now consider the death toll: Over 70 people across Asia since 2003. Waah!

Japanese encephalitis killed about 3,000 children in and around a town called Gorakhpur in that period. I see no panic. That's the daily deathtoll in Iraq. Nobody's panicking. That's about a couple of massacres in India. Earthquakes and cyclones/tsunamis kill in tens of thousands now. Thousands die of AIDS in the world every day. If not bird flu, some virus else, but death will come in all shapes and sizes. And life will find a cure and bounce back.

It's nice to see awareness about an impending epidemic, but the panic endemic just flies over my head.

I am not a conspiracy theorist but this one smells like pharma giants' ways of creating a market for its product.

P.S. Pharma companies pay researchers to create panic. It's a fact of life. Pharma companies pay researchers to dismiss alternative medicine systems as faith-healing. Pharma companies are capable of creating a scare, so that morons start filling their medicine cabinets with some flu virus, that's as moronic.