Tag Archives: Economy

Wish-list of a modern rebel

(1)
I need the prison bars
To clang the metal plates;
I need the unjust laws
To rebel against.
 
(2)
I need a social order
To shake my finger at;
I need a structure, a system
To rebel against.
 
(3)
I need an ideology
That rages against injustice-
I need the grand symbols
To rebel against.
 
(4)
I would like to have a dictator
Or at least a strong leader-
I can even use a weak democracy
To rebel against.
 
(5)
I need the stories of the exploited
(I know none of the poor);
I need the cutouts of exploiters
To rebel against.
 
(6)
I need printed placards and tattoos
I need a huge public square;
I also need a few tanks
To rebel against.
 
(7)
I need glittering glass buildings
That reflects a magnified me;
I need a working economy
To rebel against.
 
(8)
I need the media, biased and vulgar,
I need the police, armed with batons;
And I also need the barricades
To rebel against.
 
(9)
I need a person who loves
To absorb all my hates;
I need a doting dad
To rebel against.
 
(10)
I need sandwich, and coke
And a home to come back to;
I need a system that listens
To rebel against.
 
(11)
I need the best education
To tell me all about freedom;
I need the pillars of the University
To rebel against.
 
(12)
I need the Barista to plan the rally
I need good Nike shoes;
I need the multinationals
To rebel against.
 
(13)
I know not how the tribals live
I know not the extent of their trials;
I need the forest laws on the net
To rebel against.
 
(14)
I need a crowd, a rally,
Full of guys, filled with rage;
I need the orators to tell me
What to rebel against.
 
(15)
I need the street-lights
To smash to smithereens;
I need public property
To rebel against.
 
(16)
I will rage against the Americans
Till I get the Green-card;
Till then it will be the Greenbacks
That I will rebel against.
 
(17)
I need a father to print money
Though I do not know how;
All I need is his sense of guilt
To rebel against.
 
(18)
I know not who makes the laws, or why
But I do know my Rousseau;
I know that the laws are made
To rebel against.
 
***
 

Let them stone Gandhi

The hatred for Gandhi is brimming,
once again. But,
where will they find Gandhi
to stone him?
 
Let them form a society
to stone Gandhi, or his legacy,
and begin thus:
 
How dare he tell us
to clean our toilets?
 
The man is a humiliation.
He sets such a bad example.
He spreads canards
about our great nation-
is poverty
our only reality?
 
We are of an ancient culture-
proud, undefeated in spirit.
Does he not remember
the Vedas, the empires
Aryabhatt?
 
Hunger, caste, naked urchins-
can he not see beyond this?
 
He rants of religious harmony
ignoring that injustices were done.
Sensationalizing the plight
of the widows,
and of untouchables
and what not – bah!
Imperialist stooge!
 
Is he trying to unnerve us?
Humiliate us,
undermine our manliness,
sap our will to rise
once again?
 
Gandhi had heard all this
and would hear it again
if he bothers.
 
But he does bother those
who dream the American dream,
and wish to tell their American friends
about our great nation.
 
He bothers those in smart suits
who roll up the windows of their BMWs
when the urchins press their noses
against the glass.
 
His legacy worries those
who write great columns
on how the nation is forging ahead
on how to act like a superpower
on how to check slum-tourism
on how brain drain is great
on how it is imperative
to invite the top pastry makers
to invest
in our great nation.
 
Why does he pop up
like bad conscience
at wrong times?
 
Let them make a society
to stone Gandhi.
 
It is long overdue.
 
***

Where the worlds clash

Do not step out of the cocoon
of your make-belief sane world,
or question the lies that your parents fed you with,
or the reports of your newsmen in black suits-
 
Do not step into the fields mined heavy
to stop you reaching the places
where reality is under review,
where the worlds clash.
 
Do not cross the barbed-wire fence
where the well meaning guard warns you
where turning back is in your own interest
where light does not penetrate the haze-
 
Do not step into the coal fields and stone quarries
and the brick-kilns and the construction sites
where only the voices of guns are heard,
where the worlds clash.
 
Do not seek to find where or who makes
the pretty dresses and accessories of the Cosmo;
do not seek to know the price in blood
of your glittering finger-ring with the huge stone-
 
Do not step into the sweat shops with zombie children
or step outside the photo-shoots of Bahamas,
do not seek the way to the places
where the worlds clash.
 
Do not step outside your world of seminars
into the poppy fields, into the Tora Bora caves,
into the refugee boats in international backwaters,
or the forest camps of the gun runners-
 
Do not seek to know the financiers of these multiple worlds
or try to look for them outside Manhattan or Rivera;
and whatever else you do, never seek to meet the people
who live in places where the worlds clash.
 
***

Choosing the right career: Top professions of our times (Another top ten list)

Times have changed – no really, I am not bluffing, this time they have. I have prepared a list of top ten get-rich-fast professions/careers, based on solid research. If I do not give actual examples and names along with this list, it is because, (a) everybody knows who the top dogs in each profession are, and how they have reached there, and (b) I want to live a little longer.

Now for the top ten get-rich-fast professions/careers:

1. Looters of the natural resources. These come in three basic categories- (a) Mining (including oil, coal and other minerals like iron ore, bauxite, aluminium and even stones!!), (b) land or real estate and (c) spectrum.

(Spectrum really came as a welcome addition to the scarce resources that can be looted with the help of the ruling class.)

The beauty of the game is that this looting provides a short cut to the No.1 businessman position and with it comes all trappings of respectability. You just cannot go wrong with this one, wherever in the world you are.

Earlier it was the sovereign right of the powerful nations to loot the natural resources (of anybody’s land), but now the political class has outsourced the process of looting to the crooks, who shall be called, from here on, businessmen.

2. The arms dealers. You cannot go too wrong with this one. Again, it is the political class which needs these middle-men, though I really do not understand why they do not cut the commission agents and directly deduct their ‘n’ percent.

3. The politicians. Left, right or centre, they are the ones who own the world. There is no need to be squeamish about the fact that they are the ‘rulers’ and the rest of us are the ‘ruled’. This profession is open to all in a democracy, and there should not be unnecessary jealousy about their riches. It may however surprise some that they figure third on this list. I feel that the average income of this class is being reduced by the cranky do-gooders, the honest types, the self-appointed world changers. Also, the Return on Investment is also unfavorable compared to the two categories mentioned above.

4. The celebrity. Not an actor, not a rockstar – it is the celebrity that has it all. Here, some examples would clear the picture – Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Poonam Pandey, Rakhi Sawant. Predominently female, this tribe has mastered the art of raking in the moolah without doing anything. To launch this career with a sex-tape, or even with a hint of one, can only be a work of a genius, or a ‘celebrity’. Since there is no investment involved, the RoI is infinite.

5. Pimping and drug peddling: Now this is not as bad as it sounds. Think of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Sounds better already? Think of any huge metropolis, and the shiny Mercs. I am told half of them are owned by pimps and drug peddlers. Sounds even better now? The whole ball game is to play it at the right level, on the proper scale. Include lateral branches of this business – sports betting, casinos, escort services, and providing odd assistance to the four categories that precede this one, and you know that there will never be an off-season for this class of professionals.

6. Doctors: Aligned with the health insurance guys, the doctors are rocking and rolling (in money). That they figure below the drug peddlers is again because of the crack-pots in their profession, who bring down the averages, by parking themselves in shanties and the villages and getting bit by mosquitoes for no apparent reason.

7. Lawyers: The traditional leaders of the pack have fallen into bad times, since the top five categories now maintain such good relations with each other that they do not need to meet each other in the law courts much these days. But when they do, there is the black-coat to see to it that the wealth is equitably re-distributed.

8. The Social media owners: A small and exclusive class that rules the world by pampering to people’s egos. Killing the publishing industry, and taking over the gaming industry are their main hobbies. They have an eye on the movie industry and the mobile industry also. Too bad there is scope for only a few here.

9. The new age Gurus: Needed by all the above and also the rest of greedy mankind, the Gurus are laughing all the way to the banks. Yoga, meditation, or simply washing off the sins – they have a long product line. They are branching off to healing and spas, rehabilitation and old-age services these days. The land of the Gurus, India, is exporting their services at a good rate, and the country’s balance of payment is probably helped by the remittances by these Gurus, or donations to them by the ‘poor’ rich of the West.

10. Coaching centres: Not education. This field is different. It is the bye-product of an overpopulated world. They promise survival and are the last recourse for the hungry middle class youth. They are the hyenas who feed on the carcass of society, if we may use imagery from the ‘laws of the jungle’.

As a word of caution, I shall end with a list of absolute NO-NO careers if you want to make it good:

  • Farming, unless you are fed up with the world and want an excuse to commit suicide,
  • Manufacturing – no one does it in the West now. It is way too messy and old fashioned, and
  • Teaching, Writing, Science, Researching – These are now at par with the call-centre jobs in terms of return on investment, so be very careful with people who seek to inspire you to take up these noble professions.

***


Top news of the day in India – Have the humorists taken over?

It is no fun being a humor writer if the mainstream media takes over your job, aided and abetted by the newsmakers. If today (28.3.2012) be taken as a sample, the top news items give little scope for creating a bigger laugh. Still, let’s try to get behind the lines, and see if there is any further scope for improvement.

 

Army General drops letter bomb: Says Army tanks are running out of ammunition, air defence is going obsolete, the infantry is operating without critical weapons and the nation’s security is threatened. (Hindustan Times)

 

  1. World must be a safer place than we thought – an army of one of the largest military power in the world operates without ammunition.
  2. India’s relations with Pakistan and China must be better than what we thought – we have an amazing amount of confidence in our neighbors not knowing all this and not attacking us.
  3. Commissions in the purchase of ammunitions must be increased forthwith – or no one is interested in buying them.
  4. Top levels of government still depend on the postal system for communication – bodes well for the postal department, but does not reflect well on the performance of telephone exchange.

 

Free medical treatment to all, says Akhilesh Yadav: Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today promised that his government would provide free medical treatment  to the poor. (Economic Times) This comes after the promises of free laptops and computers to those passing class tenth, unemployment grants….

  1. UP, one of the poorest regions of the world (not only the country) has suddenly found a treasure trove. Or maybe Sultan of Brunei has adopted Akhilesh…
  2. UP has found a new revenue model – but will not tell. It is a political/commercial secret.
  3. Read carefully – UP expects that no one will pass tenth, so no laptops; poverty line will be defined in such a manner that no one will be poor – so no free treatment; no one will be left employable, so no question of unemployment grant.
  4. Akhilesh has greater faith in the Central government to fund him than anyone else.

 

India to become world’s largest economy by 2050: Wealth Report 2012 by Knight Frank & Citi Private Bank. China will overtake US by 2020 and India will overtake China by 2050. (Daily Bhaskar)

 

  1. In this age of blind faith, we can believe in one more Guru – Knight Frank & Citi Private Bank. How much harm can one more religion cause?
  2. “In the long term, we are all dead,” thought Frank, and wrote his report. “Meanwhile, it will spread cheer among billions of people who constitute this overpopulated region,” he told Citi Private Bank and smiled kindly.
  3. “It was part of an internal competition for best fiction writers in the bank, but it was accidently released as report. We apologize for any happiness that it may have caused,” clarified Spokesman for Citi Private Bank.
  4. Indian government invites Knight Frank to become its chief economic advisor. “Frankly, we want more such opinion before the polls,” government spokesman told the media in New Delhi today.

***


Impact of Social Media: A Top ten list

  • Everyone has become beautiful: Just look at any photograph on a social media site and you would realize that a beauty revolution/miracle has struck the world. No one is plain/ugly. If you don’t agree, you are not the social media. [[Impact: people meet each other only on social media; rise and rise of stocks of cosmetic companies; photo-editing skills become basic survival tool.]]
  • Everyone has become a genius: Going by the profound one-liners, pithy poems and awesome jokes, it seems all my dullard friends (and me) have suddenly been allotted brains. [[Impact: conversations are banned – people just dole out wisdom; google replaces natural memory.]]
  • Everyone has become a celebrity: 20,000 followers on Twitter! 345 likes on a comment on Facebook!! We are the new celebrities. At a time when your “I am feeling sleepy” status update shakes the world, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian can rightly claim to be the Goddesses of the brave new world. [[Impact: round-the-clock status updates for the fans, daily changing profile pics, words of wit and wisdom – one works hard for one’s fans.]]
  • Everyone has become a nationalist, humanist, activist: There are no bribe-givers, no litterbugs, no rule breakers, no criminals / thieves / thugs / rapists / criminals now. All of us remember our forgotten heroes, we celebrate our national days with fervor, we are vocal in lambasting the corrupt politicians – the citizen has finally struck the ‘model’ code. [[Impact: National flag has become the new God – Woe betides anyone who holds the national flag upside down, or who puts a foot in the vicinity of one.]]
  • Every problem has a perfect solution: On Twitter, it takes 140 character, and on Facebook, it takes about 10 sentences to solve any problem in the world. The world economy is being run better by the World Bank because of the tips the director gets (for free) on his Facebook account daily. Obama caught Osama (or was it the other way around) because he was advised by the netizens to do so. [[Impact: The world has become a happier place, where there is no need for negotiating, compromising, surrendering; and there is obviously no losing, crying, dying…]]
  • Every infant is a born movie star: Since the ‘Charlie bit me’ phenomena hit the youtube, parents have been chasing the toddlers with camcorders, and putting up clips of their awesome (not awful, please read carefully) performances. The future of film industry is secure – all this talent will no doubt have an impact!!! [[Impact: all the gadgets now come with a camera; storage-servers of youtube will be kept on Moon – there is little space left on Earth.]]
  • Office has become fun: Scrabble, Farmville and hundreds of other games on Facebook has made the office hours tolerable. It is of minor consequence that productivity has fallen. However, nobody notices – all the bosses are on the social media too. [[Impact: Better atmospherics in the office, less gossip, less back-biting, less bossism.]]
  • War, corruption, crime have come down: Who has the time? Since all the people are on the net, posting pictures, playing games, raking in the ‘likes’ for their status updates or advising the world leaders how to run the world, there is no one left to actually fight the wars, bribe the politicians etc. So, in short, the world is becoming a better place. [[Impact: Stocks crash for the defense production related industry.]]
  • Reality is banished: Not by anyone – reality just fades away into history. Try telling someone (not posting on facebook/twitter) that there are people without food, that they are dying in civil wars, that there is inequality and crime or that the world is facing global warming. Just try it – if you can find anyone to listen to you. [[Impact: No one knows.]]
  • Everyone is in love…with themselves: What mirror could not do, Social media has done. Narcissus fell in love seeing his image in a pond – we have fallen in love with ourselves, seeing ourselves on the social media site. We never knew we were so awesome!!! [[Impact: psychiatrists go out of business – no one has any self-doubt anymore; relationships, marriages and divorces have started looking so out-of-fashion.]]

(Courtesy: Social Network)

***


State of the World – 2012. (Mid-year review: A spoof)

As we wait for the promised doomsday (this year it is 21st December), we are not sure how much to invest in the event. My gut feeling is, the Mayans just ran out of paper to print their eternal calendar, or got bored at this very point, and left the task unfinished. In fact I saw my boy start with the noble mission of writing down ‘all the numbers’ only to leave the task at 3,100 – significantly short of infinity I would say. So I can understand how the Mayans would have felt at 21.12.2012.

But more than that, 2012 is so supremely boring that some of the mystical effect of 2012 may also have rubbed off them, making them a little less driven and goal oriented.

I do not wish to discourage the optimists, but I would advise that it would be a waste of effort to invest in bunkers and Mars rocket schemes, just on the word of the Mayans. In fact I had higher hopes from Iran earlier this year, but then, it is that kind of an year…

US and Iran tried to build up something entertaining, but then again, their heart was not in the job. They cannot match the Israelis for dedication towards goals, and both the sole surviving superpower, and the sole surviving ‘potential-evil-incarnate’ somehow went off to an unearned Spring holiday, and the world was once again left to bide time with the mug shots of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. Between these two, humanity has yet to decide who is worse – it is touch and go as far as I see it.

Meanwhile, oil prices continue to rise, and the pundits continue to forecast that they are likely to rise further. The number of oil sector pundits has shot up to 60 million now (incidentally, the average sperm-count is also 60 million per milliliter, but I don’t know whether the two facts are connected in any way).

The business of oil-sector-pundits is doing well, as is that of the futurologists, but in other sectors there is gloom – the top MBA types in the West (including the bankers) are trying to survive at dollar 5 grand a year, with an assured ten percent annual increment. They predict that such a gloomy scenario is not good for the world – it is hurting the luxury yacht and casino business no end. Last heard, US President was very worried about these two sectors – he is thinking of calling a G-20 meeting on the issue.

Meanwhile, as we wait for the London Olympics, one wonders what it would mean for the city – financial ruin or revival in fortunes? (Make no mistake, Sports only mean business and entertainment now – they have lost their independent sectoral identity.) I believe that in the lethargic 2012, sportsmen would be struggling to match their own selection records, let alone beat the milestones. However one does have high hopes when it comes to WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends), Salman Rushdie and Dow Chemicals to provide some entertainment.

Some hope remains from the Femen protestors, who are working hard to make the world a better place – for males. I hope they will not be afflicted by the lethargy of 2012, and would find sufficient drive to peel off their tops and hound the eager and hard working cops of Eastern Europe. They could, I would suggest, give an annual calendar of protest to their governments, who could then use it to promote tourism in their (economically) depressed countries.

The Russian elections lived up to its promise of pure entertainment – at the cutting edge of fact and fiction – and Putin’s Russia continues to love and hate the man simultaneously. It is however the US, which is such a letdown – I promise you nobody outside of US understands a word what the 1300 Presidential candidates are saying. The fact that they all look frauds of the highest order, specially chosen by Obama to run against him, and speak on issues that may be relevant to small towns in the middle America, makes it a dull year for America watchers (approximately 50 % of the world –  the other 50%, living in poorest of conditions, does not know what America is).

Will America finally leave Afghanistan? I don’t believe that this year the soldiers would have the energy to pack the bags. Their ammunition, their porn mags, their tiffin boxes etc are scattered all over Afghanistan, and it would not be possible to pack all that in a year. Therefore there has been a call to let the wives join the GIs for a while (but with Taliban and other lechers around, it seems hardly likely that the Christian fathers would allow Obama to take that decision in an election year.)

Meanwhile, the Apple Corporation has got its priorities clear – name everything with a small ‘i’ and go for the kill while the aura of Steve Job lasts. Facebook now has more individual on it than the global population, and denies rumors of a ‘bubble’. I have heard even Mark Zuckerberg is tiring of counting his money, and had asked Bill Gates for advice. Gates, I believe told him to just ‘grin and bear it’, and that he is yet to figure out how to stop the flow. Gates was investing in real estate, I am told, hoping for a 2008 redux.

Maldives awaits a slow death, with steadily rising water levels, even as the world sympathetically reassures the Maldivians that with doomsday around the corner, the island would not face a slow oblivion. But the Maldivians are a pessimistic lot – they are not impressed, and keep on harping on cutting carbon emission levels. Theirs is a new version of ‘quit smoking’ campaign at a global level, and to the developed world, just as quirky and fetishistic.

There is little hope that the year would take off – even the Wikileaks is not leaking any more. In my present despondent state, it seems to me that we are doomed to keep on counting meaninglessly till eternity – I mean till 31st December 2012.

***


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