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    Sin
    September 7th, 2009 by Shaluu Bhucchar

    We were both looking at the same thing
    You needed it more than i did
    But i pulled some strings
    You’re out, I’m in.

    That, to me is sin.

    You cried
    I laughed

    That’s Sin

    I made you feel like a piece of shit
    Nothing mattered -
    Not your feelings
    not your esteem

    That’s Sin

    You were hungry,
    I had food
    I ate
    while you drooled

    That’s Sin

    You tried to snatch
    I yelled, called you names
    kicked you in the shin

    That’s Sin

    WE are responsible
    September 7th, 2009 by Shaluu Bhucchar

    I watched Parzania again today. And again it moved me to a torrent of tears. I’m still shaking with anger for what we as a society have become. We’re playing God by giving life – cloning – and by taking life – killing, genocide, murder in the name of protection of rights and “My religion, My God” and so on. And then we play helpless human. We sit cocooned in our worlds watching bullets whiz past people’s ears and shells whistle while they drop and blow up a young man’s limbs and we shake our heads and tut tut away. We feel sorry for the young man who’ll probably either die of gangrene or will never walk again and blame one man and his insatiable need for power. Then we change channels and watch another part of the world go at each other’s throats for a mere piece of land and we shake our heads and tut tut away. We feel sorry for mankind in general and go on with our lives. We pick up the newspaper and read about the extent to which a sick mind will go to to fulfill their fantasies. Turn the page and there’s more blood and gore displayed in full glory. And we shake our heads and mutter to ourselves, “What’s to become of this country? It’s gone to the dogs.” And life goes on.

    Do we do anything about it? No. Ask the question, “Why not” and you’ll get the answer, “…because the system is such. The country is in the hands of goons in the guise of politicians and the police do nothing.” I ask the question, “What do WE do about it?”

    Sadly, I join you in answering thus: WE bring the goons into power. WE perpetuate corruption by giving a fifty rupee note to the traffic policeman who caught us jumping the red light. WE fan the embers of fanaticism by saying things like “Muslim area, Hindu colony, Sikh school”. WE divide this country into Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Parsis and Marathas and Tamilians. WE look the other way when we witness eve teasing. WE dumpgarbage on the road…hell, WE use the road as a spitton or even as a loo! WE go to the most beautiful of places only to read in Hindi – do not litter.

    But for how long will we take this and do this? Till the day the blood that drips from some sword is ours? Till the day our children will turn around and question us – why do I have to breathe through a mask? Till the day we find out that the end receiver of the Rs. 50 note is our dearest friend? Till when? Till when?

    If there is anyone responsible for the state the country is in today, WE are. If there’s anyone who can change the state of this country, WE can.

    Can we?

    Where do you live?
    August 16th, 2009 by Niraj Sharan

    Some might flaunt their penthouse on Fifth Avenue- NYC, or the Bastille area in Paris. Some would talk about the much touted Nottinghill address. There are zillions of places around the world where we all aspire to live someday.

    Our Asian friends cannot be left behind – most valued properties globally in the past few years  tend to fall in China, India and Russia. Mumbai is touching $ 1000/square feet in some areas. I am sure  rates in Shanghai and New Delhi are not that behind and catching up fast, if not already ahead.

    “Earlier stage in life”  people will find themselves pondering a bit when asked this question – as they  always seem to be caught up in the cycle of moving from a studio to a one bed to a 2 bed or up the scale to a  4 bedroom place . The pressure of a nice address reflecting where you might be in life cannot be undermined. No questions on that, as long as the larger picture is intact.

    How about a simple answer? Where do you live ?   :  I live in the moment.

    Think about it – wouldn’t life be different if this were  true ?

    Affluenza
    August 16th, 2009 by Niraj Sharan

    Wikipedia defines affluenza as: the bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses( read our desi  Kumars and  Talwars here).

    But what I am seeing in India is this contagious middle class (crossing over to the rural class)   virus causing depression, anxiety, addiction et al, that is arising out of placing a very high value on money, possessions, fame, physical and social appearance. It is one thing to move up the value chain, work hard and up your standards. To work hard and wish for having a home, a good car, providing the best of education and health care for your family, lifestyle that is inclusive of fun, entertainment, travel.  But it’s a complete different story when wanting translates to having. And  when the wanting/having oversteps limits of all basics. For then, more is always less.

    And then the purpose of working hard and smart blurs to just trying to catch up. Look around and you can tell who has fallen prey to this consumer fest. It reflects in their lifestyle, inner peace, happiness and stability. And if you don’t break free soon, you will implode.

    Remember, life is mostly about contributing, not just consuming

    Nomadic Lifestyle
    August 15th, 2009 by Niraj Sharan

    There has been a sea change in the way Nomads relate to time and place – today, Connectivity ( to the Internet, Cellular networks, Facebook and Twitter to add to the list…) and not motion is crucial, as was in the past. Telecommuting, back end work, Knowledge Process Outsourcing, Cisco’s Telepresence or for that matter, the every- person’s affordable Skype, has changed the landscape the way we work and live.

    IP address has taken on a great significance – and taking that to unbelievable business heights is CISCO that is designing smart grids and cities using the backbone of Internet.

    It’s every day’s routine to receive emails with a cryptic “ sent from my Blackberry or iPhone” – with no relation to definition of physical space. Twitter is catching up like  wild fire and between them and FB, a large population of the world is living or “maintaining”  their ”social” life.

    In all this, privacy will be an issue – for when we are switching much of our lifestyle   to a   digital platform, Google and Bing will pull up whatever is out there in that global database. These will push limits of what is okay and what is not. I guess, time will tell how we deal with this issue.

    As for now, enjoy the benefits of this Nomadism and live in a “ global” community.

    Born Free!
    August 15th, 2009 by Shaluu Bhucchar

    I can go where I want

    I can do as I please

    I can say what I want to

    I can walk around at ease

    I can be who I want to be,

    Whenever I want to,

    I can be me

    All because I was born free!

    Freedom
    August 15th, 2009 by Shaluu Bhucchar

    To me, freedom means I’m able to walk free….without having someone ask me for my papers
    It means being able to get out of home and drive in the middle of the night just because it’s raining.
    It means being able to speak whichever language I want to.
    It means being able to crib, moan and groan about the potholes on the road or the dry taps in my house.
    It means being able to bring in the right people to lead the country.
    It means being able to say no to the person who asks me for an extra “gandhi” to get my work done.
    It means being able to hold on to that empty glass till I get to a trash-bin.
    It means being able to use my civic sense and stop at a red light rather than jumping it.

    To me, freedom means being able to write this.

    What does freedom mean to you?

    Emerging Business Opportunities in India
    August 15th, 2009 by Niraj Sharan

    In a developing economy and Country, opportunities exist in almost every segment and scale – infrastructure, health care, education, transport, Energy, Retail, IT, Construction, Insurance…. The list is long and endless. I believe this is true for India as well.

    There are two opportunities that come to my mind though – both represent all economies of scale and may not  have not been debated or reported as much. These are in the areas of Food Storage, Transportation,  Food Processing & Water treatment, distribution and harvesting.

    The latest FICCI report indicates that 40% of India’s produce in Food, Vegetable and Fruits and Crops perish unused. Imagine 40% wastage in a developing economy ! And to make matters worse, US and EU’s figures are in the 2 to 5%. To me, this represents a huge opportunity – Captive Food processing plants close to where they grow across India, setting up of Cold Storage warehouses and state of the art refrigerated Trucks are going to be needed for decades to come. And these can be done in the micro,  small and medium sector also, not just by the large Corporate sectors.

    Even in 2009 India is unable to provide drinking  and usable Water to it’s Citizens that is a fundamental right as per Indian Constitution – recently Justice Katju and Justice  Verma of the Indian Supreme Court passed an order directing the Indian Union to form an Expert Committee cutting across various Departments, Private Sectors and the World to evaluate , develop and adopt technologies that suit India conditions and resolve this Water impasse. This and earlier demands throws up many opportunities in Water Treatment, Distribution, Harvesting and related areas. Again, this can be done in all economies of scale and across India – from the rural to the city domains.

    As I said, there are many opportunities in India, but these also represent depth and width and a long term promise that make good Business sense.

    Watch out for more leads and opportunity in this column.

    Bringing home the dough…..
    August 13th, 2009 by Niraj Sharan

    My mind is wondering to millions who bring home the dough and bake the bread too. This is done day after day, week after week and tirelessly. There is no rancor, no self- pity. Behind this grit is a multitude of reasons: responsibilities, wanting the best for the family or a deep burning desire for success.

    Their life is structured – and very disciplined. For there is no room for error. And inspite of not being able to indulge in many clichéd activities, their faces and lifestyle reflect a very deep sense of accomplishment and contentment.

    Watch out for these people and get inspired. Unless you have in you that desire your real journey does not begin.

    Season for “Secularism”
    August 13th, 2009 by Niraj Sharan

    India is at the cusp of spring – summer. But I believe this year because of the Lok Sabha elections in April/May, we will have a prolonged 2 month of a “season” that is Secularism. The interesting thing about this season is that it comes only when there are State or National Elections. And it has a proven track record of last 62 years of Independence. You don’t need Supercomputer and its advanced algorithms and Artificial Intelligence application to predict this Season. It just coincides with the electoral process.

    I’ve risked watching a few debates on National TV past 2 weeks to double check if the 2009 season had anything new to offer. But as they say in management parlance, why fix something that is not broken and delivers. So the 2009 debates that seem to have hogged a lot of our media bandwidth, continues with its proven past record. Throw in a spokesperson from all the leading National parties, bring in one or two suave media/advertising person, ensure the anchor is the loudest and rave and rant over secularism for 30 minutes.

    Do we expect anyone to say anything diplomatically wrong or accept any wrong doing by the parties? You guess.

    And the definition of Secularism veers from minority appeasement for Votes ( not withstanding any real understanding or caring) to bashing anyone who does not tow this line. It’s the most fashionable thing currently and you’ve got to be seen wearing it.

    And while all this goes on, the young Indian feels more lost, more dejected and more unsure of what’s going on and if ever anyone will ask them their opinion.

    As I said, this is the season for “Secularism”.

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