Monthly Archives: March 2011

>Why does the PM want to watch the India-Pak match at Mohali?

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There only a couple of options to choose from:

1. Because he can’t think of other, more cruel ways to inconvenience the public. And to add to the cricket crazy Indian janta‘s woes, has invited his Pakistani counterpart too.

2. Because he’s tired of talking about WikiLeaks and the India-Pak match in the World Cup semi-finals seems like a good time to divert everyone’s attention away from it.

3. Because all vague attempts at Indo-Pak peace, such as the Indian and Pak premiers sitting together in the VVIP boxes while the cricketers bay for each other’s blood, get the media to put the spotlight squarely on misplaced notions of what is peace between the two countries. And that works well with a rudderless government.

4. Because he’s a cricket crazy Indian, just like the rest of us – and that’s just to give MS the benefit of doubt.

But reason # 4 isn’t good enough for the Prime Minister to descend with all his cavalcade, security entourage and problems at the cricket ground in Mohali. So could there be another reason?

But without much ado, I’d like to say the PM should just stay home and watch the match there instead of agonising so many people with his presence.

I’m doing a short poll on whether the PM should or shouldn’t go for the semi-finals (see right). Watsay you?

UPDATED TO ADD: 72% of the respondents to the poll said they DID NOT want the PM to come and watch the match. Public opinion counts?

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>We’re getting rich so quick, it’s scary

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The other day I was sitting with my 70-year-old neighbour who looks nothing more than 50, and who is such a wonderful conversationalist, full of stories and anecdotes that I wish I could spend more time with her. That’s just for the perspective, not the point though. She was telling me about her grandson, who’s getting engaged to his girlfriend sometime soon. So the young chap told his mom he wanted to gift his wife-to-be a diamond solitaire on their engagement, at least a 3-carat diamond solitaire. The family’s not a steeped-in-riches, leave-your-son-an-eye-popping-inheritance kind of family. So the mother refused, saying she just didn’t have that kind of money (3 carat diamond at the family jeweller would cost about 7 lakh rupees approximately). No problem, the son retorted and said, I’ve saved enough.

This young chap I’m talking about is all of 26! And hold on. The boy’s also bought a three-storey house in Delhi. Already! I mean, what is this if not a wow-inducing moment? Saved enough for a 3-carat solitaire set in gold? And a house to boot at 26? Wow indeed!

I’m sure you know at least a couple of these kind of youngsters – who’ve already been there, done that at 26 or some age nearby. But I don’t how to react to such awe-inspiring success stories (except, of course, to be a little in awe of them), because there’s some part of me still rooted in childhood memories of people using up all their savings of a lifetime to get a home. Remember, all those stories we heard of our grandfathers and fathers using their hard-earned money to build a house? At 40, if not post-retirement? People who owned houses were usually landed people, from families who could give their sons a house in viraasat. In India, owning a house is the surest symbol of social security. It’s great that we have social security so soon in our lives, but is it right? I mean, shouldn’t people in their 20s be living like they didn’t have a care in the world instead of thinking of EMIs that gobble up half their salaries? Weren’t we supposed to wait for our 30s to settle down and the 40s to look for social security? Such redundant concepts, eh?

It all sounds good, these fat pay cheques that can get you anything that money can buy. But up close, it’s not that rosy a picture. A friend’s husband is climbing up the corporate ladder so fast, it seems he’s taking two steps at a time. He’s bought a house in the NCR at 27. He’s second in command in his company. And he has no time for his family. My friend works too, but not like the workaholic that her husband does. And she complains that he wants to move up so fast, he has no time for her. Guys like him say they plan to earn enough by 40 to retire. Seriously, do you think such people can ever quit the race?

Contentment and satisfaction were considered virtues in our society. They’re looked down upon as cover-ups for complacency and lack of ambition in a person now. A person who comes home early from work is considered either to be wasting his time or downright lazy. That he may want to spend time with his family means nothing these days. What if someone did make the choice to be happy with just enough money and more than enough time and to be back home early? And what if that person was living in a rented house? How bad would that be?

And even while I say this, I realise that of the two kind of people I’ve mentioned – ambitious and not – more people will still aspire to be the ambitious sort of person. Is that what happiness has come to mean for an entire generation of people?