Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Happy New Year

I'm posting just to wish all of you a very happy, prosperous, healthy and peaceful New Year.

I will save my rants and memories for the New Year. I ought to have something left to post in the whole of 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Tale of two C.V's

Disclaimer : I don't know about the veracity of the information presented below. I have presented it as it has been received by me.

The following is the subject of a mail sent to me by a very good friend who is also a Pakistani. He is made of the same flesh and blood that you and me are made of.....that's why I sometimes wonder why we bay for each others blood as a nation.


EDUCATION /Qualification:

1950: Stood first in BA (Hons), Economics, Punjab University, Chandigarh ,
1952; Stood first in MA (Economics), Punjab University , Chandigarh,
1954; Wright's Prize for distinguished performance at St John's College,Cambridge,
1955 and 1957; Wrenbury scholar, University of Cambridge ,
1957; DPhil (Oxford), DLitt (Honoris Causa); PhD thesis on India's export competitiveness

OCCUPATION /Teaching Experience:

Professor (Senior lecturer, Economics, 1957-59;
Reader, Economics, 1959-63;
Professor, Economics, Panjab University, Chandigarh,
1963-65; Professor,
International Trade, Delhi School of Economics,University
of Delhi,
1969-71; Honorary professor, Jawaharlal Nehru
University,New Delhi,
1976 and Delhi School of Economics, University of
Delhi,1996 and Civil Servant

Working Experience/ POSITIONS:

1971-72: Economic adviser, ministry of foreign trade
1972-76: Chief economic adviser, ministry of finance
1976-80: Director, Reserve Bank of India; Director, Industrial Development Bank of India;
Alternate governor for India , Board of governors , Asian Development Bank;
Alternate governor for India, Board of governors, IBRD
November 1976 - April 1980: Secretary, ministry of finance (Department of economic affairs);
Member, finance, Atomic Energy Commission ; Member,finance, Space Commission
April 1980 - September 15, 1982: Member-secretary, Planning Commission
1980-83: Chairman, India Committee of the Indo-Japan joint study committee
September 16, 1982 - January 14 , 1985: Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

1982-85: Alternate Governor for India, Board of governors, International Monetary Fund

1983-84: Member, economic advisory council to the Prime Minister

1985: President, Indian Economic Association

January 15 , 1985 - July 31, 1987: Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

August 1, 1987 - November 10, 1990: Secretary-general and commissioner, south commission, Geneva

December 10 , 1990 - March 14, 1991: Advisor to the Prime Minister on economic affairs

March 15, 1991 - June 20, 1991: Chairman, UGC

June 21, 1991 - May 15, 1996: Union finance minister

October 1991: Elected to Rajya Sabha from Assam on Congress ticket

June 1995: Re-elected to Rajya Sabha

1996 onwards: Member, Consultative Committee for the ministry of finance

August 1, 1996 - December 4 , 1997: Chairman, Parliamentary standing committee on commerce

March 21, 1998 onwards: Leader of the Opposition, Rajya Sabha

June 5, 1998 onwards: Member, committee on finance

August 13, 1998 onwards: Member, committee on rules

Aug 1998-2001: Member, committee of privileges 2000 onwards: Member,
executive committee, Indian parliamentary group

June 2001: Re-elected to Rajya Sabha

Aug 2001 onwards: Member, general purposes committee


India's Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth -Clarendon
Press, Oxford University, 1964; also published a large number of articles in various economic journals .


Adam Smith Prize , University of Cambridge, 1956

Padma Vibhushan , 1987

Euro money Award, Finance Minister of the Year, 1993;

Asia money Award, Finance Minister of the Year for Asia ,
1993 and 1994


1966: Economic Affairs Officer

1966-69: Chief, financing for trade section,

1972-74: Deputy for India in IMF Committee of Twenty on International Monetary Reform

1977-79: Indian delegation to Aid-India Consortium Meetings

1980-82: Indo-Soviet joint planning group meeting

1982: Indo-Soviet monitoring group meeting

1993: Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Cyprus 1993:
Human Rights World Conference, Vienna


Gymkhana Club , New Delhi; Life Member, India International
Centre, New Delhi

Name: Dr Manmohan Singh

DOB: September 26 , 1932

Place of Birth: Gah (West Punjab, currently Pakistan)

Father: S. Gurmukh Singh

Mother: Mrs Amrit Kaur

Married on: September 14 , 1958

Wife: Mrs Gursharan Kaur

Children: Three daughters

*This man is Indian Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh)*

Resume -II
President of Pakistan

Education: no formal qualifications proved, he claims he has done graduation from London but we are still unable to find that college or university , and Zardari is unable to remember its name as well.

University : unknown.

Claim to fame : Husband of a famous, now ex (RIP) Prime Minister

Previous Laurels : Involvement in several murders most famously of his brother in law, possibly wife (not proved yet!)

Involvement in famous events : Wrapping a bomb to the leg of a famous UK businessman to ask for money!

Services to Pakistan : Embezzlement & looting of Billions of Pakistan's wealth, Suspected of killing his wife .

Family Business : Playing x-rated movies in family cinemas.

Personal Qualities : He never sticks to his words , and has no diplomatic manners


Well I leave it to the readers as to what they want to make out of this...............

My thoughts, I would not want to launch into a lengthy narrative of why Pakistan is currently in the state it is.......It will take a very long time, a lot of cyberspace and also the time of the readers to understand what I wish say........and also not speaking of the patience of readers to read through all that trash.......

Well coming back to my thoughts, Dr. Manmohan Singh is the best Finance Minister we ever had. If I had any say in politics I would permanently have him as the Finance Minister irrespective of which party is in power. He was the one who put India on the path to recovery with those fantastic path breaking reforms when the previous third front goevernment had pledged our gold to Bank of England for precious Forex. I would not want to comment on his achievments as the the PM of India. I'm not sure on this issue.......... What I certainly did not know that was Dr. Manmohan's resume would put the best of CEO's to shame.

As for Mr. 10 percent ( A A Zardari, he was really invovled in sanctioning projects for 10% when his wife was the PM) the less said the better, considering the number of flip flops he is currently doing, he will put a top-flight gymnast to shame............

Readers your thoughts....................

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Experiencing Z Plus Security - Part III

After that great trip to the Dead Sea, which I thought I would never be able to see in my life we returned back to Amman. ( Of course there are a lot of other places I would like to visit, let me see where life takes me................)

The next day I was returning back to Dubai. I got up early and finished my packing and was ready by 8.30 and waiting to say my good-bye's and thanks to the client and everybody at his office for the great time I had in Jordan. My client's office is situated bang opposite the hotel and was to open at 9. I went there a little after 9 and finished my thanks and bye's and returned to the hotel to pick up my luggage and head to the airport.

As I entered the Marriott gate I saw a crowd at the entrance. I thought it must be for some event to take place at the hotel. I kept walking from the gate towards the long corridor before the main lobby of the hotel. I saw the corridor empty till the entrance of the lobby where another crowd had assembled. As I was walking down the corridor a tall gentleman, all of probably 6' 4" start walking towards me. He was tall and well built.

At this point let me describe myself. I'm around 5' 11" and only 53 kgs to boot. So you all can imagine how I would have measured head to head with that person.

I thought nothing of the person walking towards me till he reached me. I was concentrating more on the crowd at the entrance. The people seemed to have formed a circle around a person and there were flash bulbs going off periodically. As soon as he reached me he put his hands out straight as if barring my way further. I was flummoxed by this action. I asked him what did he mean by that and told him I was a guest in the hotel and I was going to my room. He looked back and noticed that the crowd had parted and started to move forward. He put his arms around my extremely small frame and had me in a lock which left me unable to move totally. He then proceeded to pin me against a large ornate pillar, one of the many which lined the corridor. By now I was angry and confused and started arguing with him to let me go. He just stood there impassively with out speaking a single word the whole time. It was also futile to struggle since he had me effectively locked in this arms and moving my lips was the only thing I could do in those circumstances.

Giving up, I started staring at the crowd that was moving out of the hotel. There was a distinguished short gentleman with a shock of white/graying hair speaking to reporters with microphones thrust in his face. All while the photographers were busy clicking his pictures. Surrounding that gentleman were more persons in black suits and of the same height and build as the gentleman holding me. Something clicked in my mind, but I still could not fathom the situation. The crowd passed the place where we were standing and moved further away. The person holding me let go of me and ran forward ahead of the crowd, living me confused and bewildered. I stood there for some time staring at that spectacle and then walked back inside the hotel.

I went to the reception and asked for my room keys and also what the whole incident was all about. The person at the reception replied "Oh, that, that was the President of Algeria".

I was stunned for a moment and also a little happy that I got to witness royalty at a very close range. Emotions took a different hue altogether from the ones I had 2 minutes back.

I rushed back to the room picked my luggage and came down to clear the bills and board the car for the airport. I reached the airport and was lost trying to find the counter for paying the airport exit tax. I asked a security person the way. He again asked me in Arabic "Wal Hindiya?" I replied yes. He came all the way with me to the counter and was chatting in broken Hindi and
English about Indian movies and Amitabh Bachchan. Very nice of him, but then through out the trip I found that as an Indian I received very nice treatment from the people of Jordan.

Boarded the plane and was back in Dubai 3 hours later.

Thus ended a memorable trip and also the experience with Z Plus security. Of course nowadays head of the state security is not as simple as my experience, still.............

Experiencing Z Plus Security - Part II

I landed at Amman airport after the interesting journey. I and the U.A.E lady parted company at the immigration. The immigration counter person was surprised to have a visitor with an Indian passport. He looked at a few times cross-checked my face with the photo and asked me 'wal hindiya'? I assumed he was asking me if I was an Indian and replied affirmatively.

Immigration over I encountered customs where a gentleman in an immaculate suit and beard was counting the beads. He asked me in perfect English whether I had anything to declare. I replied in negative and he told me in a very gracious manner "This way, please", pointing to the exit. After experiencing Indian customs personnel I was flabbergasted by the Jordanian customs.

My client had arranged for me to be picked up from the airport. I settled in the Marriott Hotel in Amman. My client's office was bang opposite the hotel. Over the next two days I finished my business with my client.

During the course of business I had been on market visits to Amman and the nearby Zarka town. Zarka is a small suburb similar to any central Mumbai suburb. It mainly comprises of Palestinian settlers and lower middle class Jordanians. During the visit I came across a theatre where a poster looked familiar and I asked the gentleman accompanying me the name of the movie of that poster. He read it for a minute and told me it was a Indian movie and the actors were somebody called Jacky Sharief (Shroff), Amir Khan and some name for Urmila Matondkar. I knew immediately that the movie was 'Rangeela'. I also came to know that Indian movies were very popular and that if you buy a ticket in the morning it is valid for all the shows of the day.

I had a lovely trip on the second last day to the Dead Sea. My client's manager drove me to the Dead Sea. Though I knew about the Dead Sea I was apprehensive about taking a dip in it because I did not know swimming. The person accompanying me assured me and pointed to the other bathers that drowning in the Dead Sea is impossible.

Thus assured I removed my clothes put on my shorts and also the thread from my shoulders and the chain I was wearing and gave to the gentleman with me. I was initially hesitant to do so, not knowing what his reaction would be. He was simply curious and asked me about the significance of the thread and the god's image on the pendant.

I had a great time splashing, floating in the water. It is a strange concoction of salt, minerals which does not stick to your skin, rather it simply rolls off. During one of my rolls in the water, it got into my eyes which then proceeded to blind me completely and water for around the next 2 -3 minutes. The water is very salty, indeed, I found it out the hard way.

Bath finished we strolled around the bank looking at the lights of Gaza strip which is visible from the Jordanian side. The person accompanying me asked whether I wanted to go to Israel and that it is only an hour's drive from where we were standing. I declined fearing repercussions about an Israeli stamp on my passport as I worked in a Gulf country. He replied that the border authorities would not stamp my passport and everything would take place on a piece of paper. I declined.

We drove back to Amman after a nice dinner on the way.

The real incident comes in the next post which will also be concluding part of this trip.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Experiencing Z Plus Security Part I

The year was 1997. I was working in Dubai. I used to handle the Middle East region sales for the company. The boss had asked me to go to Amman, Jordan to visit my client and close a deal which would have given the volume for the month.

It was my first visit to Jordan. I had no previous experience of the country, the customs and the people. I was aware of the net but had no resources to find out about Jordan. Wikipedia was not born then. One fine morning I check-in at the Dubai airport counter of Royal Jordan Airlines. As I was checking in the person at the counter asks me whether he can add another persons excess weight to my ticket. I was a bit apprehensive and looked confused. The person pointed to the lady next to me and said that she had excess baggage and whether could I help her.? I said ok and collected my boarding pass and left the counter. I completed all the formalities and was waiting to board the plane. I was wondering how I would be able to cope alone (first trip to another country without any colleagues accompanying me) without knowing Arabic. I need not have worried as I later came to know that Jordan was once under British control, therefore English language is the norm there.

I boarded the plane and occupied my seat and a few minutes later found out that the lady who I helped out at the check-in counter was seated next to me. She started the conversation as I was a bit apprehensive about initiating conversation with a local ( U.A.E National) lady. She seemed free enough and started chatting amiably. Like most people unaware about India, its customs, Hindu religion, she started asking me about them. She surprised me by telling that she had relatives in Hyderabad, India. I asked her about her family. She told me that she had a local father and Iraqi mother. She was going to Jordan for her brothers wedding. I got invited to the wedding. We had a great conversation to the envy of the passengers who kept staring back at us wondering what were a Arab girl and an Indian guy talking together for so long. She kept smoking every 5 minutes and drinking black coffee. The stewards would keep plying her with the coffee and totally ignore me...............

The recollections of the conversation have dimmed over a period of time but it went something like what is Hindu religion all about, why do Hindus worship cows, trees, etc?

I shall post part II of the trip shortly where the explanation of the title of post becomes evident. That incident was a part of the memorable trip, that's why the long prelude to the main event.........

Friday, December 19, 2008

A brave lady...

Tonight me and my sister will be leaving to Chennai to attend the 10th day ceremony of my aunt who passed away last Thursday. She was a very brave lady........

She was the one who showed me how live in a dignified manner even when braving tough circumstances in life without ever talking about it to me on a personal level.

A lady born in the pre-independence era, in a small village tucked away in the interior of Tamil Nadu. She was the eldest daughter in the family after two sons and thus the responsibility of rearing up her younger siblings fell on her. My father was the youngest of her brothers and to this day refers to her as more of his mother than my grandma. She had a solid impact on the upbringing of my father and her other siblings.

She got married at a very early age (as was the norm in those days) to my Uncle who was working with Binny Mills in Chennai. Uncle was a genuinely nice and understanding person and my aunt was lucky enough to be married to him. Though money was not very abundant in those days she managed to adjust and run a family comprising of 5 children (four girls and a boy) very efficiently.

A very smooth and untroubled life has not been lived by anybody on this earth and so was the case with my aunt. Binny mills got locked out due to a prolonged stirke and my Uncle was out of work. This imposed great hardship on the family. Though Uncle tried very hard he could not get any alternative job. Aunt somehow managed to run the show by taking on cooking jobs and other small tasks at other homes. My cousin started to work in a small business of his own and managed to get in some money monthly. This was just about enough to feed everybody and save a little. She somehow managed to get all her daughters married off and finally also her son, which was the highpoint of her acheivements.

She was happy managing her sons house, bringing up her grandchildren and generally leading a contended life till last year when cancer struck. I still can't fathom why god makes the good people undergo such severe trails. She bravely managed for a year, was running the house till she was bedridden for the last four months.

My abiding memory of her over the years has been her uncomplaining and kind nature, cheerful conversation and her positive attitude in the face of hardships. She has taught me to persevere in toughtest of situation and things will get better. I have tried to change my nature becoming more calmer and accomdative because of her.

This is my small tribute to a very brave lady......................

A tentative start.......

Today after much encouragement from good friends like Ugich Konitari and Kavi I have decided to bravely enter the world of blogging. I don't know what I will end up writing. I don't know whether the readers will be able to make sense of what I write. I definitely hope to give my best shot to whatever I will write.

For long I have been following blogs. I was introduced to the blogworld by my good friend Kavi and through his blog I have started following other blogs. Ugich Konitari has been urging me to start my own blog and put down my thoughts in cyberspace.......therefore this attempt.

Hope, dear readers, you will like what I write here.........please do not forget comment. Both positive and negative comments are accepted as I need to improve.