Monday, December 31, 2012

Which way will the wind blow? : My entry for the Get Published contest

The Story

In a society that is steeped in dogma, but is constantly struggling to break free, two individuals are thrown together by their respective parents, in the hope that a marital alliance is created.

Ashwin and Rhea are two strong, independent individuals who are perfectly amenable to the idea of an arranged marriage. However, after having gone through the increasingly annoying process of meeting an infinite number of prospective partners in the recent past, each views the other with a sense of frustration and mistrust. At first glance, one feels that there is hope. That this might just be it. However, a quick succession of flash judgments and trivial misunderstandings make both, Ashwin and Rhea, weary and defensive. This story is about a boy and girl, who spend a day together in the city of Delhi and how as the day progresses, both discover a little of each other. It is a day of shedding inhibitions and realizing that first impressions often need to be discarded. However, the question that begs to be answered is whether a day is enough to make this all important, life altering decision? And ofcourse, which way is the wind finally going to blow?
For Ashwin and Rhea it might not be about falling in love at first sight but about sharing a lot of firsts.

What makes this story “real”

Every strong and understanding relationship does not a marriage make and it is not necessary to marry your best friend to have a perfect marriage. Having observed couples from my grandparents’ era to now my younger siblings, I have learnt that marriage might be about a lot of things, but mostly it is about shedding preconceived notions and making an effort to understand your partner.


As they made their way from Vasant Vihar to GK, Ashwin couldn’t help but get drawn into the city passing by. This was his third visit to Delhi and he lamented the fact that he had not yet been able to see it. He was very keen on making a trip to the Red fort and then to the surrounding area of Chandini Chowk. He also wanted to see the majestic steps of the Jama Masjid and sample the kebabs made from “only god knows which meat”. Maybe after that he would drive down to India Gate and the President’s House. Some shopping from Janpath was also on the cards as he had promised to bring his friends back home “Indian stuff.

“Ashwin look, the driveway is so long and impressive!” barged mommy dearest into his thoughts. And the house, wow! It looks absolutely palatial. Are the pillars out front in marble? Son, you must marry this girl.

"This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India."

 Vote for me here: Promotional link:


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Under the night's sky I lay                                                     
Thinking of my deeds during the day                                     
Same as I did when yesterday began                                      
Hoping to wake up a better man
Endless desert
Sun bearing harshly down
On donkey’s back
Door crack
Makes passage for
A sliver of light
Fading light
The silhouette of two lovers
Against the door
Early butterfly
Searching for flowers
Dances with snowflakes
Summer sky,
In the poppy fields
Children play
Dancing on the river
As lovers kiss
Baked Earth,
Petricore in the air
Raindrops bring
The result season has begun well
Indicating that the markets are about to swell
Due to liquidity induced romanticism
We have also shed our pessimism
2012 has begun on a good note
Have fear though
The markets seldom give one a chance to gloat!

Friday, October 12, 2012

"90% of rape cases are consensual sex"!!!!!!!!!!!

"90% of rape cases are consensual sex" shouted out an anchor on national TV in his supremely aggressive and patronizing manner. My first reaction was that of shock very quickly followed by mirth and disbelief. The anchor was only repeating what a Haryana congress spokeperson had said on the matter of an incredibly rising number of rape cases in the state. Now this is an oxymoron if I have ever heard one, uttered by one of the many morons that make up the Congress government.
How can rape be consensual? The first thing a rape victim in our country has to suffer is complete character assassination. All and sundry have a comment to make on the womans'conduct and lifestyle and somewhere somehow the picture of a "fast"and "scarlet woman" is painted. There is seldom any mention of the culprits. Few comments are made on their character or background. The conclusion is foregone. Women bring it upon themselves because they choose to be free.  There is also a school of thought that believes that these sort of women deserve to be raped becasue they do not fit into some man's warped picture of a "true Indian woman". However, this statement seriously takes the way deluded and perverted men who justify rape think to a completely different level. How can a woman consent to being raped? Or is it a case of women, and in many cases minor girls, first consenting to having sex and then crying rape. I would certainly like to know how and when this survey was conducted which allowed the Congress spokeperson to arrive at a figure of 90%!
As long as such henious acts are going to be justified, as long as there are proponents of such thoughts in society, as long as women in our society are not given freedom and respect, as long as man continues to feel threatened by women, we as women continue to exist in an unsafe environment.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Is it appraisal time for Congress?

It seems like its appraisal time for the Congress government which is going full throttle with key reforms. Last month the government increased FDI in multi brand retail to 51%, relaxed norms for investment in aviation sector, hiked diesel prices by INR 5 per litre and put a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders to six cylinders per household. More recently, the cabinet approved a set of five point reforms which include FDI in insurance and pension. This sudden volte face of the government from a welfarist to a reformist agenda caused many a skeptics to raise their brows. Afterall, despite being at the receiving end of withering criticism by both the domestic and international media over the last few months, the government and especially the prime minister had maintained a laughably ignorant attitude towards the ailments plaguing the Indian economy. The question that begs answering is, "Why this sudden change in attitude?" Is there a hidden agenda? Well, for sure. There always is.
In large organisations the Human Resources department is always beating down on the employees the importance of aligning individual goals with organizational goals. This creates the proverbial win-win situation where the employee gets his fat bonus cheque at the end of the year and the organisation reaps profits. This analogy can easily be used to explain the astonishing vigor with which the current government has donned the mantle of reforms. They seem to have thrown caution to the wind and have audaciously passed key policy measures in the face of known opposition. It is highly likely that this sudden awakening is in pursuit of the “fat bonus cheque”.
However, as is often the case, the employee is working towards achieving his individual goal and any benefit to the organization is only incidental. At a time when the congress government has been belting out chart topping scandals, a common refrain doing the rounds is that while all political parties, NDA included, are corrupt, atleast during the time of NDA, the populous benefited from their pro-reform and pro-growth agenda. The people of this country have been driven to such a state of despair that they are willing to accept corruption as long as even a part of their requirements and interests are addressed. And that is exactly what the government is capitalizing upon. At a recent interview, the Prime Minister was responding to questions on demands for rollback of decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail, diesel price hike and cap on subsidised LPG cylinders by the opposition. When asked to respond to reservations expressed by allies that the recent decisions could hurt their electoral prospects, Singh said, “We are far away from elections.” I think the prime minister was just trying to exhibit a false sense of complacency with regard to elections. Most steps taken by political parties, both ruling and opposition are cautiously cultivated with an eye on the prize. With the intent of winning the elections. That is the ultimate bonus and the congress party is taking measured steps, by way of these sudden reforms, with an eye on the prize.
However, if in the process of this personal goal fulfilling agenda, the country and its people become accidental beneficiaries, then it becomes a win-win situation. I think that is the best we can hope for.

Friday, April 27, 2012

To be or not to be?

It is again that time of the year when the plebian salaried class people employed in the financial sector have to suffer strange palpitations, sleepless nights, irritable demeanor and an all pervasive sense of doom. No, I am not talking about a new bug in town. It is simply the beginning of the new financial year which brings with it the threat of layoffs and salary cuts. I remember the times, although just barely, when April was awaited with a great sense of anticipation of the vacations to be taken and the new possessions to be bought with a fat bonus cheque and an hefty salary increment. And then came the financial crisis which unceremoniously crash landed on our door step leaving “the new normal” in its wake.

People in their late twenties, such as myself, have aged more than decades in capital market years. When we joined the industry maybe a decade back, the stock markets were just gearing up for a massive rally. New businesses were emerging within the financial space which allowed many of us an entry into the crazy world of stock markets. The only problem was that this in your face advertisment did not come with a disclaimer. We worked hard, learned more and were happy to be a part of this moneyed world. Then a few years later markets threw all caution to the wind and rallied like never before. India became the new must have “Birkin” on every portfolio worth its salt. India was after all “shining” and every one hoped for a bit of the star dust to rub off on them as well. Foreigners poured in heaps of money and the markets knew of only one direction. Every stock that one laid their hands upon gave massive returns. Suddenly, our jobs were worthless, but no one noticed. If every stock gave 20% returns then what was the need for an analyst or even a saleperson? Every stock market participant worth his salt became a portfolio manager or a fund manager. And then the excesses of the west came to haunt us. And haunt us they did.

Not wanting to delve on the exhaustively written financial crisis I would like to jump straight to the present. For a while post the crisis we all thought that things were on the mend. Maybe they are, who knows? Its been four years since the crisis and the Indian broking industry is feeling the pain now more than ever. Due to the current government’s lethargy or even worse still its warped policies, the FIIs have simply written us off. Volumes in the market have completely dried up and there is absolutely no trend that is emerging. The only trend that I see emerging is a constant threat to job security. Which brings me to the big question in my life currently. “IS IT WORTH INVESTING MY MOST PRODUCTIVE YEARS IN AN INDUSTRY WHICH IS GRAPPLING TO GET ON ITS FEET?” They say that stock markets are lead indicators of the health of the economy. So if markets are non trending or trending downwards a logical conclusion would be that the economy and hence the other sectors are unlikely to offer much in terms of growth. In which case it make sense to weather the storm currently facing the industry and gear ourselves for the next big run. Unfortunately it is not quite as simplistic as that. With interest in investing in India waning and a complete lack of investor participation in the market, broking houses have no choice but to cut costs. After all it’s the capitalists who brought about the boom in the first place, so its unlikely that we would see them burning cash on a monthly basis. But how does all of this help us, the salaried class? Do we accept the salary cuts for now and wait for a bigger blow in the future or do we spread ourselves thin and try our luck in other industries? Any suggestions Mr Hobson?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Beginning...Happy Valentines Day Joey

The first time I saw you,
I felt something so new.

Your kindness and generosity I could see,
You struck a chord inside of me.

Barista was our first date,
30 minutes I was waiting, you were so late!

You were my first bike ride,
As you urged me to hold tight, I tingled inside.

I remember the long days spent in the library,
When studies were not in the least bit primary.

The auto rides to Ohris and Paradise,
Were a heady concoction of sweet and spice.

In love I think I was falling,
I was so afraid, couldn’t help stalling.

You took care of me, no strings attached,
That’s what drew me to you, completely unabashed.

And thus began our wonderful journey,
Of friendship, love and bon homie.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Irises in the Spring

Irises in the Spring,
Promises of color and joy you bring.
Leaving the frost and cold behind,
As the winter months begin to unwind.
Red, blue, purple and azure,
In the fields you stand so dainty and pure.
Time to bid adieu to the snow,
As the first irises of the season make my heart glow!