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moving-umennetChanges come and changes go but this one is here to say… well maybe, not here but on blog.umennet.com !! 

That’s right folks, I have moved on to something bigger and better… like the maple trees changing its myriad colours in autumn, my blog and me have embarked on a new journey… A journey full of hopes and surprises…and maybe something that will enrich my mind and spirit for times to come…

As trusted confidantes and friends, I want you to embark on this journey along with me and create history together… as always, I hope to have you there… so long, my friend…!

You can also visit my site at http://www.umennet.com. So, do check back there as i wont be posting anything here from hence forth.

 

Its time of elections. For those who vote and even for those who prefer to abstain, there is always a clear stand about who should be the nation’s next Prime Minister. I recieved a mail, in this context, Just posting here.

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I have been witnessing a spate of  ‘feel good’ propaganda films of Congress on TV these days, transporting me back to the golden ‘Shining India’ times. The publicists have very cleverly used rural background in nearly all these advertisements. I have deep roots in my village and firmly believe that unless rural economies improve and people have decent incomes and dignified life, people will keep streaming into cities and all cities will slowly become mass slums – with people leading dog like lives in these slums.  

General Elections 2009 umennetFrom this point of view NREG scheme is welcome. But, unfortunately it has become like all socialist schemes – a money making racket for the middle men, mostly belonging to ruling parties. You just have to read Jean Drez’s interview in TOI to understand what I mean. Thus, all the hard earned money of citizens like me has been sent down the village nullahs by this government to garner votes. Just as farmer loan waivers have only benefited their big fat farmer friends and not those who are actually starving to death and giving up their lives. The numbers are mind numbing. It is ironic that the government which came up through the funeral pyres of unfortunate farmers couldnt reduce, let alone stop these suicidal deaths. 

But, for the present, let me speak as an urban citizen as most of the politicians take urban voters for granted, though they collect all legal and illegal money for official and unofficial purposes from cities. 

Mr. P. Chidambaram, who has been the FM for nearly the whole term and talks down to anybody who doubts his superior knowledge and intellect has done his best to nearly halt the liberalization process initiated by Mr. Manmohan Singh  in his earlier avataar, as a person possessed, to  undo whatever he had done as the yes man of socialist parasites during great 5 year planning eras. NDA had taken the momentum forward and took some bold steps in a very graded and planned manner to unshackle the economy  with stable policies. Thus, we saw an unprecedented growth trajectory, which Indian economy had never seen under Nehru rate of growth, taking our economy to a new orbit.   

This government of ‘aam aadmi’ has made the taxation system incomprehensible again By increasing the scope of service tax and TDS to include more and more ‘aam aadmi’ in the net and  empowering more and more ‘babus’.  

Just take an example – one first charges service tax then the payee deducts TDS. Then, one adjusts service charges that one paid against the service charges one charged!  We have FBT to penalize the companies who work harder and have people on the street to sell more and work harder. We also have various kinds of surcharges and cess to compound the confusion further. Thus, more and more paper work has helped auditors and babus, but not the ‘aam aadmi’ who sweats it out to earn is daily bread. Privileged classes like Doctors and Lawyers don’t fall into this spreading out of net. As an esteemed lawyer, he knows best why they shouldnt be brought into the net. 

Ofcourse, he has a soft corner for his rich friends, so periodically he allows them voluntary disclosures so they can sleep well. No such luck for poor salaried class. The driblets of concessions he gets in basic income tax are more than offset by reduction in savings incentives. Yes, our FM is smart! All the talk of less paper work for common man is a cruel joke on him/her. The attack is from both sides – income as well as expense. Our intelligent FM believed that Indians save too much and don’t gamble on things like stock markets – the Gods of modern economies – so incentives on all kinds of savings has been reduced. Ceilings on housing loan deductions have been reduced. In the process, we have also squeezed the infrastructure based savings through housing finance etc. Idea is to discourage savings and drain them on consumerist life style, the bane of western civilization. We haven’t learnt the lessons of history that real growth comes from real savings. Now, having been hit by recession, the truth may dawn on us, but at what cost?  

In return for all this pain, what have I got? Infrastructure? I think, I will die counting pot holes, dug up roads, horrible roads, drainage system, poor conveyance options. My power bills have gone up, thanks to ‘privatization’ without accountability. May be my kids will enjoy the fruits of this painful crawling growth, may be my grand sons/daughters? Highways stopped expanding. I wonder where is my petrol cess going? All trains seem to lead to Bihar where nobody pays for them. I still have to go through a loopy root to Bangalore taking 25 hours though the direct and shorter link is available. May be the bus operators offer good incentives to our rulers for not paying attention to this region. I still take 17 hours to go to Hyderabad while buses running on such poor highways take only 13 hours! I have no fast connections between Mumbai and Chennai. I am told that many of these are still single track routes. I sincerely believe that Railway ministry should be rotational so the whole of India benefits. 

Yes, air travel has grown multifold, courtesy a few brave men like Capt. Gopinath. From our government we have received two dozen foundation stones in the last month of its existence, so the sauve Civil Aviation minister and his generations to come will see his name plastered all over India. I think, after Nehru Gandhi family, his name would appear in maximum numbers all over India! But, till things improve, I will suffer with poor infrastructure  and always take a flight with prayers on my lips for safe landing. 

The lack of fiscal discipline and disincentive on savings, lack of infrastructure has magnified the impact of global recession much more than it should have. Had this government been prudent and carried on the good work already done by earlier govt., our economy may not have been in the shape that it is today. Here we have a government that likes to pat itself on its back for reaping the fruits of past government but eager to shrug off the failures on global trends! 

And now my honest and well meaning PM, who couldnt control his FM or put some simple home truths to him wishes me to vote for him. What for? To preside another term of anarchy of a cabinet where each minister is on his own trip and country is left at the mercy of such a cabal? 

Ratan Sharda (rnsharda@gmail.com)
29th March, 2009

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This mail was sent to me by:

Mr Sandeep Singh (sandeepconsultant@gmail.com)
Author: Business of Freedom- an initative for school of Indian Management
www.swastiks.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: umennet does not support/recommend any party that is contesting for the Indian General Elections, 2009. We are providing a platform for general public to interact the public and help them take an informed decision. It is upto an individual to vote for a party/candidate at his own discretion.

The Mega thing called Nano

 

Nano is the biggest Launch this year. All the auto experts in the world were waiting eagerly for the launch of, world’s cheapest car which costs less than $2000!!! Finally it is launched and it is up to the expectations. But as per our Indian tradition, there are people opposing it. Here are few points which have been said against NANO, and its answers

Its Too small: Yes, it is Small, but Spacious. Tata Engineers have built a small car, which looks like a toy, but it still has 20% more space than Maruti 800!! The back seats can easily accommodate 2 persons, without them being uncomfortable. The front of Tata nano has a space of around 80 Lts, which can be increased to 500 Ltr, by folding the back seats. Tata Nano is taller than Santro Zing, making it easy for tall persons also to sit easily.

Its not safe: Tata Nano is not made of fiber or other light material as Reva. Its a normal CAR. Its made of sheet metal, with a strong framing inside. It is as strong as any other car. yes, It lacks ABS & Air bags ( to be provided in future versions), but it still is safer than 3-4 people travelling on a bike.

Its cheap so compromization in Standards : Wrong. Tata has been known for their strict standard adherence. Tata Nano has been built up to standards and no compromise has been made.

It will cause pollution - Again Wrong!! Nano’s emission norms are Euro-4 ready. where as most other vehicles in India are just Euro-3!!

Tata Nano umennet

So, how come Tata can build such a car for such a low budget?? here’s the answer:

1 – The engine of car is rear mounted. So there is no load on front wheels which makes it easy to maneuver. so no need of power steering.

 2 – Base model of Nano has no AC, No power windows

3 – Engineering, Nano Engineers has designed Nano with some specialties to save money on  production. For e.g., the Rack & Pinion system for steering is generally in 2 parts, but Tata Engineers made it 1 unit so that the assembly time & money is reduced.

All these points add to make Nano the cheapest car in the world!!!

And lastly,

 

1 – Its a Dream Car!! –  yeah!! in India every family dreams of having an four wheeler. We cant negelct this dream by giving excuses of traffic! Its the Govt.’s duty to have more wider roads, and proper traffic managing.

2 – We dont say a word, when long, wide, costly cars ( taking up space of 2 small cars) are allowed in India, costing from  few lakhs to some crores (Hyundai i10 to Rolls Royce), but you cant digest a car which is affordable by most of the Indians. 

3 – Now a days, parking is a big problem. parking Smaller car means small parking area.

4 – Can you imagine, if Nano is replaced with all the taxis & autos, It can be more comfortable, cheap n safe. Tata are going to launch CNG and even battery operated Nano. Its much more safer for kids, makes city beautiful, The foriegners coming to India will feel good about India. 

5 – last but not least, We should be proud of India being the first country to produce our very own “The peoples’ Car”. Which every car manufacturer has always dreamt since years!!!

Do Good Guys Finish Last?

Even if the Bad Ones do have the most fun…

Do destructive qualities help to build the Man that sees him through? Do so called negative traits form the fortress that keeps harmful agents at bay and allow a focused man to get on with his mission? It is a fact that men are equipped with the armory to fight Evil – Physically constructed to withstand harsh conditions, loud and somewhat abrasive voices and logical minds permanently set in problem-solving modes. These qualities topped with natural streaks of suspicion, arrogance, aggressiveness, secrecy, anger, self-centeredness, and coldness, help men to identify with the Enemy and deal with Crime accordingly. It is due to this that the greatest Justice Deliverers have been men as have been the Evicted. But what happens when the men that we respect and seek to be around and be influenced by disappoint us, leaving us crestfallen and shaking our heads?

All marvel at a Man with Power! We are even willing to overlook their eccentricities and shortcomings in the bargain. When a man sits comfortably on the highest point of his success graph, the world is at his feet. Little does this admiring world realize or they do, but don’t openly accept it, that the methods that he utilized to get up there, employed Playing A Highly Strategic and Manipulative Game and more importantly, Winning It… All the way!

invisible-man umennetImmense success comes at a price. All those who have paid it are aware. In some cases this cost is in the form of compromise in personal values and priorities; in others it extends to affect those around him. For most of the lucky winners, they are no delusional ideas about life and its cruel ways. They are prepared and get into it full throttle. They thrive on competition and crush it with glee. Their aim is to conquer and most will go to any extent for it. They can cheat, confuse, dominate, and strike when the time is right. And they do it with pizzazz.

Successful men can be spotted in most social circles and gatherings. They are the ones who dress impeccably, flaunt the latest gizmos, mingle with the right people and give off an aura like no other. Their conversation engages the ones that matter yet, impressing the ones who don’t. They appear dependable though egoistic, brash though skilful. They charm and seem involved, but are fashionably aloof. All in all, they are not afraid to take risks and we believe in them.

These… Ladies and Gentlemen, are Victorious Con Men whom we are drawn towards and aspire to be associated with.

So where does that leave the average Joe – a good man at heart, with virtues of kindness, empathy and trust. Where is his place in a fast-paced, cut-throat environment? Well, not here… as there is no place here for the Hurt and Withdrawn.

nice_guy umennetIf there’s one variety of man’kind’ that women are repelled by, it would have to be a pathetic, whining disillusioned adult male. Yet, if one asks a woman which qualities they seek in their men, it’s always humor (yeah, everyone likes a funny guy!), sensitivity and security, necessarily in that order. But when a dashing, overpowering con man woos her, she just cannot resist… He may not crack the most hilarious one-liners nor is he able to show a remote sign of softness. Yet, she swoons! Does that mean that we are Slaves to the Sinner or is it again just Plain Hypocrisy?


When men in high places let us down we are quick to judge as, of course, what he did was wrong…there’s no doubt about it. But is it so unbelievable? It shouldn’t be. When the young Gandhi spoke (or was duped and dubbed!) against the legendary Gandhi, we were shocked and disgusted but does offering the other cheek and the like really work in today’s world? Where does honesty stop and manipulation begin? Can one be successful and be good at the same time?

Exceptional results can only be achieved through taking the biggest of risks. Where there is Risk, there is the obvious chance of Loss.  The very qualities that take certain men to the position of Power and Envy are the ones that cause their downfall. Had they not possessed exceptional traits, they would have never got to the point where the risks were that high. So, the question remains… is it better to be good than jeopardize oneself and others around by being bad?

Well the best of the con brigade including our own Raju Ramalingam or the legendary Charles Sobhraj, Frank Abagnale Jr, Charles Ponzi et al didn’t believe so…

The truth is that not every man can be Bad and Successful. It is a lot easier to be good. It’s safer and it doesn’t require risk taking, talent, compromises or long hours. Great achievers are rare and unless one is pretty sure their deeds are destined to go down in the annals of history, they shouldn’t bother making the effort.  Wannabe con men are easier to detect than the real ones! So for the majority of us, it’s preferable to be labeled Nice than a Loser.  If one has it in them to make it big as a nation altering politician, he/she should know what to say and when, as one of the most important aspects of being a successful (con) man is TIMING. But fortunately for most, the time is never right!

good-guys-finish-first-umennet

Relatively guarded lives however allow Good Guys to see their responsibilities through and are therefore more dependable. The risks they take are more calculated and their lives spent dwelling rather far fromthe edge, allow for dealing with the unnatural ups and rather de-motivating downs of life much better. A surplus of good qualities may not have their place in a competitive field, but they are more than welcome to most women, who these days, expect their men to spend time, communicating and bonding with her and other close ones. So though the Good Guys may come in last, they do arrive intact and with lesser damage.

All said and done, a good, decent and predictable boy is by far a less stressful option when introducing to the parents! There are no surprises and all goes as planned. And no parents really want their future son-in-law to be a potential Scamster or Serial Killer, even though their starry eyed daughter considers him to the centre of the Universe…

Note:  This write-up has been authored by  Barkha Prabhakar, who is a Guest Author  at umennet.wordpress.com.

Bollywood in Comics

 

Bollywood has been exremely popular all over the world. In recent times many of the bollywood Actors, characters have been used in other ways such as toys (Krish, Ghazini), Or Stickers etc.

Soon we would see Bollywood glam girl Priyanka Chopra as a comic strip heroine in an international comic book series.

British businessman Richard Branson is all for Priyanka Chopra. After showering accolades on the actress, the entrepreneur is keen on turning her into a comic strip heroine for his publishing house, Virgin Comics. The character will look like Priyanka and will also be named after her. With this new facet as a comic strip heroine, Priyanka becomes the first Bollywood star and the second in India (after Sachin Tendulkar) to be featured in Virgin Comics.

An excited Priyanka is all thankful for Branson. She Says: “It’s a great honour. Big filmmakers and actors like John Woo, Nicholas Cage, Shekhar Kapoor and Terry Gilliam are associated with Branson’s comics. Even our Sachin has a comic book series with him. I’m working on two projects. One is a completely fictional story and character. The other will be a super hero who looks like me and will borrow incidents from my life.”

But This is not the first time any Bollywood actor has been roped in for comic book series. Star Comics had created A Superhero was also based on our own Millenium Superstar Amitabh Bachchan named – Supremo. created by None other than Gulzar, It was an instant hit among all the age groups. 

supremo-amitabh-umennet“Supremo was supposed to be the costumed alter ego of Indian film superstar Amitabh Bachchan. He has 2 boy sidekicks -Vijay and Anthony (they are again normal human beings and do not wear any special costume). He has a falcon, named Shaheen,  as a pet, who also acts as scout.” 

Identity/Class: Normal human
Affiliations: Vijay, Anthony (sidekicks); Shaheen (falcon)
Costume: Conventional superhero couture of undies-over-tights has been avoided, and Supremo has a piece of brown cloth draped coyly around his waist, held there by a hip-holster.
Base of Operations: India
First Appearance: Adventures of Amitabh Bachchan (Star Comics)
Powers/Abilities: Supremo has no super-powers. He has the combination of strength to defeat his human adversaries and intelligence to get out of traps laid for him.

 


you can find a group related to supremo here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amitabh-Bachchan-Supremo/36098809810

You can also see some pictures and even read his comics!!!

We have won the BEST MUMBAI BLOG Competition conducted by Mumbaibloggers.

Here’s a result summary:

Best Mumbai Blog umennet

Our sincere thanks to all Our Readers, Mumbai Bloggers Team & Judges!!

Is an ambitious, dare-devil, high-flier youth breed a figment of our imaginations? Or a hope we harbor to console ourselves that the world will be handed over safely into better, more able hands? The conditions are all facilitating and the opportunities galore! The world is our oyster and together we can….or can we?!

MTV roadies umennetIf the latest shown through Reality TV was to offer us a window into what the next generations have in store for us, I believe we could be in for a rude shock! Either  channels look for the kind who should not be permitted to breed, let alone be aided in the process of getting them together and finding perfect matches! Or then… THIS IS IT!!! This is what the crux of India’s youth consists of…. Badly brought-up, selfish brats of low intellect who have zero sense of loyalty or integrity.

To begin with, I strongly feel that INDIANS CANNOT DO REALITY. It just doesn’t fit the frame. We’re too conscious, with no wit and atrocious senses of humour. That’s a fact. When a camera is put in front of us, all these qualities assume gigantic proportions and due to insecurity woven into the very fabric of our beings, the result is anything but candid. To further develop on the idea, Reality shows involving typical Indian youth is even more unbearable… I have nothing against any TV channel but the fact that shows such as Splitsvilla and Roadies originate from the similar shed, is hard to miss. Yes, it’s the same TG…agreed. But what are we trying to project to the  impressionable lot?

  • That’s it’s quite alright to live your life oblivious of any social or civic responsibilities?
  • That I can cheat and lie as long as no one finds out. Even if they do, it’s their bad luck?
  • That I can get fame and money by being a total B*&^% ?!
  • I don’t need to have respect for ANYONE, let alone any elders. When I’m rich and famous, none of this will matter in any case!!
  • That abusive language sounds cool and peer pressure is to be bowed down to?
  • I have no family that matter.  The friends I make because of this show are those who will be by my side throughout!
You get the drift, I’m sure.

The dismay according to me however is manifold. Primarily, I worry about the motivation that lures the youth into aspiring to be associated with these programs. I have managed to sit through a few episodes in which starry eyed juveniles claim that it is their dream to be on “so and so…” program. How does a platform where you will be subjected to embarrassing and aggravating situations appear as a dream to you? Where are those ambitions that aim to lead with innovative yet honest ways? 
This reminds me of one episode which I must mention here, no names, no references but more real than reality itself… The teams were offered laxatives after a heavy loaded meal. Post consumption, anyone who could not ‘hold it in’, would get out and let his/her team down. The rest is up to you to imagine… I know that the brainstorming department of this particular episode, must have been mighty pleased with itself, but how is this of interest or entertainment to anyone….I fail to understand. And what is it a test of? The most constipated bowels?? I don’t get it! Maybe I am getting too old…
Another aspect is that of the viewer – It’s the youth who watch of course (right on target with the TG) but why? Some think that they’re so much better that the idiots on TV and so are highly amused! Others are just like them and so can identify totally. The shows, mind you, don’t really require any qualifications except a good face and or body for camera. They also tend to make special efforts to select those who possess the power to aggravate the viewer the most!

mtv-spitsvilla-umennetOverall, my worry however is the tendency of our society to take part in and then watch these shows, week after week. According to me, they encourage ‘wrong’ and validate it. As Indians, we are known to put one another down and revel in another’s defeat but the behavior being displayed in these programs takes disgust to the next level. I’m sure the families of the participants cannot be watching and encouraging their children, and if they are, God help us all! As such are the families from which those that can go to the extent of murder in the name of ragging originate. 

With a youth potential of almost 50% of our total population, there are some important questions we should be asking apart from which of Satan’s creations will win this week’s episode!
It’s not the show concepts that are faulty, it’s more the bi-products and after effects that need to be given due attention to….as the TRP’s keep rising….!!! 
Note: This write-up has been authored by Barkha Prabhakar, who is a Guest Author at Umennet.wordpress.com.

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