Thursday, January 29, 2009

Onde Ponde Ghoomde Phirde, Is Duniyaa Vich Challe Oye

things that rile me up today

1) rich people balking on paying their gardners, give or take $80 dollars a month. "all on the oooh-its a global crisis, we have to cut back". yea you should cut back. cut back on your lavish dinners, outings, your gazillion cars that just pollute - try car pooling, or even better take the bus, cut down all your omigod-i-need-the-new-iphone-craze. not someone's livelihood. have a brain. and a heart.

2) rental prices in my beloved bankrupt dxb. i will still love you no matter how poor you become. heres a dekko.

so i looked over the property prices for a measly studio. and at the lowest end is the yearly rate of 35K AED. (approximately 10K USD). upfront. and this isnt even in the heart of the city, forget living in posh areas or in a skyscraperish building, giving you the view of the sea from some obscure corner of your house (usually your bathroom ).

ok granted, dubai is relatively tiny compared to say, i dont know texas. but my rent in texas was 1000 bucks a month for a 2 bedroom/2 bath appartment. why are they milking people so much i have no idea. and the salaries arent noteworthy at all. my first job in Dubai i wouldnt been able to afford a studio on that rent. you can do the math. granted, i was just an intern. and it was before dubai went all crazy on raising the rent. just long enough for people to madly raise it, and then when things went out of control they put a cap. and now when property prices have fallen, they want to increase it again. this is totally bs. but salaries haven't been inflated as much, and a vast majority of people are still making less than 1000 dollars a month, and so they cannot afford to live in a basic stuido. a studio is shared by two, three and sometimes four people.

i live in a studio now, and i find it small by myself. and if say five pple are standing in my kitchen, it can give you claustrophobia. im not kidding. so this really really riles me up. just coz people have to make money and therefore they suck it up and stay with these conditions and they cant afford to complain, it doesnt mean they are happy. shouldnt the overall governemnt care about the happiness of these people? shouldnt everyone at least be paid so much that that they can afford to live in a basic studio. or shouldnt the prices of studios be affordable so that everyone can afford to live in one. and then they wonder why supply is so much greater than demand. and why they are going bankrupt. (i still love you)

3) slumdog millionaire mania.
first of all, its a good movie, its not the most awesome movie ever written. but thats okay, the oscars/golden globes aren't the pathar ki lakeer. so its great, that it got nominated coz it has desi actors and technicians. and yes barring the main director and the producers everyone else is indian. so thats still something good for india. so props to the team. and yes, it doesnt show india in the most awesome light. but no one can say that its not the truth. yes its not the whole truth, not everything in india is like what they show. but it is someone's truth. in fact a big slice of the people's truth. bollywood movies on the other hand, show a way tiny sliver of the truth. im sorry but regular people cant go on euro rail, or drive racer bikes for con operations, or do a dance performance in the alps. so im sorry mr bachchan. and guys slumdog is a slang word. at least to me, its a mixture of slums and underdog. and believe me no one i know has had any problems being called an underdog. so stop getting all preindependance-british-called-us-dogs. news flash british have left. and the only one calling u a dog, is you with your own banner signs. so stop all this morcha nonsense. and honestly, not the slums but your propaganda is giving india a bad name. ok wait that also is.

things that im confused about.

so air india have bit the bullet and have started weekly flights from dxb to srinigar. all for 99 AED. (~$27) one way. quite cheap i think.
I honestly dont know what to feel about it. i mean i dont even know if this is even a debateable thing. its good in a way since the tickets are cheap, a lot of people will now want to go there and then take a local flight to their homes. so its good tourism or commuter i would say business for srinigar. and perhaps a very good thing for the whole area. which has seen a lot of crap. but its also a quick getaway thing, as everyone and thier mom knows. dubai - which i never knew until recently, is really the getaway place for gangsters and their moms. in the book maximum city, the writer writes on how lot of these shooters when they do a job to disappear from india, go straight to dubai, and then cool their heels. they are well taken of. they have a flat, they go for movies, they blend into the city - a city full of expatriates and a city that minds its own business. but they get bored and itch to go back to india again. when i read this it shocked me, and when i would see a lone guy sitting in a cinema hall i did think of it. maybe im taking suketu mehtas word for everything, but im just saying it could be a bad thing as well. so im two sided. good that it might ease tensions when you have so many pple commuting to that region, bad since it may become easier for the wrong pple to blend in.

things that im happy about today

that tommorow is a friday. oh how i love you friday. you are so dependable and you shine your grace on me every week. life is about appreciating the small things. =)

have a good weekend, all.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Amor Vole Fe" — Love Needs Faith

What easy used to be
What love used to be
What drugs used to be
What TV used to be
What music used to be
What luck used to be
What art used to be
What you used to be.
Comma drama, come on drawl your skin your mile longer, love song, sure it tells the future, fingers crushed and run 'em under water, shark-infested sea of secrets, in the open fire beat it, broke it, don't believe it, just keep it in it's box.
What the city used to be
What fun used to be
What dreaming used to be
What fame used to be
What fast used to be
What low used to be
What New York used to be.
- The Kills, What New York used to be.

so this weekend i went to the metrop. musuem of art in the city. they are open till 9 pm on weekends. its just awesome, i dont know any mususem anywhere in the world which is open tilll late. new york is truly s a city that does not sleep =).
they had a special exhibition on art & love in renaissance italy. and thats the first wing i saw. i have to say i m not an art expert, but i do appreciate the energy, time and talent that it takes to make a painting. these are paintings which are 3 centuries or more old, so there is definetly an appreciation for people who tried to preserve some of their lives for posterity so beautifully.

and just like today, paintings are the luxury of the rich. and thats exactly what the paintings give insight into, basically the private life of the rich during the 14th and 15th century. there were paintings, jewelery, glassware, that depicted marriage, engagement, courtship, childbirth, parenthood and even adultery. and its pretty amazing that one can learn so much about another culture/period through their paintings.

what i never knew was that the whole practice of dowry is not an asian thing. and is actually borrowed from the europeans and it was existent in 14th century in italy. mumbai, itself, was part of a dowry from the portugese to the british. and i find it pretty weird that the whole system of dowry is traced all the way back to the entire city.

it got me thinking (yes i have way too much time on my hands (NOT)).what happens now exactly? who pays for what in the west? traditionally, the bride's family pays for most of the expenses. this is perhaps a watered down version of the archaic tradition of the dowry system in the early centuries. of course, its no typical dowry as the conventional desi sense. bungla, ghari, motor-wotor ecetra. no such thing. just wedding expenses. although lately a lot of people have moved away from tradition, rightfully so, and now the couple's family divides the expenses equally. and even better, is that some of my friends who got married split the costs between each other, without having their parents contribute at all.

so like the change that has occured in the west, im guessing another 100 years before dowry gets abolished from india. hopefully sooner. recently an article came out in times of india, about a village in kerala, that has pledged to be a dowry free village. that is change. but then you hear about some guy in lucknow shaving his wife's head because of insufficient dowry. and then you think change is so far off. some 6,000 women get killed every year due to dowry demands. it shocks me, its so wrong. so unbelievably wrong. i was recently watching kiran bedis new show on tv, aap ki kacheri, it gave me a splitting headache. the case was pretty simple, two women, sisters, and their fight with their mother in law. who apparently thinks, acha nahin lagta if they go out of the house. so the girls, cannot work and have imposed reclusion at home. and in betweeen their arguments, the mother in law tosses insults like kuch nahin leikar aye types. like its her god given gift. the husbands are even a bigger disgrace. even kiran bedi herself was pissed. she quite smartly was also able to pick out that one of the girls actually got married as a child. and so sonei peh suhaga child marriage too. ridiculous.
i know these are just thoughts and i know i dont have the capacity to change the world and most of the time these are fleeting thoughts. thoughts that make you feel you should do something, thoughts that make you feel guilty for not doing anything. but you forget coz you get involved in your life. but when you do remember you try - you try with small steps. you try to help people who you know and who you think you can help. people who are around you. you might not be able to help everybody. but you try with one person someone who may listen to you. little by little you change their thinking and hopefully others see that and will follow.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

from chandni chowk to china..kyun dekhi yei picture mujhei nahin samaj aaina

ok so lets just say my title gives away my feelings for this movie. i was reading akshay kumar's apparent invitation to amitabh bachchan on watching this movie and he asks him to leave his brains at home. i would like to add just leave yourself at home as well.

ok so the story is pretty simple in a complicated way.haha. theres this goofy good for nothing guy (akshay kumar) who works as a chef for mithunda (his adoptive dad or something like that). anyway so hes in chandni chowk and theres this oppressed village in china who are looking for their saviour, who has been reincarnated in the form of akshay kumar. The villagers come to india from china. there is no relevant explanation on why they think akshay kumar is their reincarnated hero, it almost looks like they pick up the first desi dude they find. then theres ranvir shorey doing the sidekick-bad-guy-will-turn-into-good-guy role, apparently hes half chinese in the movie. and lets not forget the leading lady(ies) deepika padukone in her first double role- wait does omshantiom count as a double role? anyway shes half chinese in this movie too (i have no idea how they can even get away with saying that?) anyway this is a hindi movie so basically her double role consists of playing a sidekick to bad guy, and the other one consists of a tv shopping network celebrity of some sorts. theres this whole angle where the bichrofied sisters are united with their dad who lost his memory thanks to the bad guy (played by Gordon Liu).

i think akshay kumar has done so many similar goofy roles, that its just getting repetitive. and i want to like him but i cant. its just boring. i like mithunda, so no comments there. he can just sit there and stare at the screen and hell still get my support. the rest are bleh. i have absolutely no idea what nikhil advani, the director was thinking. copying from boring asian-english movies is not smart. be like the abbas mastan guys and copy from movies that actually will impress. and i have absolutely no idea what warner brothers were smoking while deciding to finance this movie.

my rating : -1/5.

here's another glorious review by blogger ashraf


yei shehar nahin..mehfil hai

so this month is the month where no one absolutely no one will be out of the office, since this is a do or die month. the die signifying the typical, my sister's favorite phrase, haath ko aya par moon na laga, i.e the bonus that you are so close to but so far away from. (some will argue- what bonus? especially when a certain bank announced that the pool is down by 90%). but this is cruel though to be laid off a week before. so a friend at work, spread the "rumor" that tommorow associates and analysts are going to be axed at a certain bank. since i have friends at that bank, i freaked out and then my chinese whispers extended to a flurry of text messages. apparently there is no smoke with no fire. and everythign is a wait and watch. for tommorow. but till then we have today, and so today afternoon this news comes out.

seriously a million bucks spent on interior decoration is so not cool, especially when pple are losing so much money.this makes me so mad. they behave like chindi chors for a couple of bucks when you want to stay at a hotel closer to campus but they have no qualms paying out pathetic amount of money (practically one person's salary) on a rug, especially when things are bad. thats just wrong. im sorry its not socialistically wrong. its just wrong. any way you look at it.

and why did no career counselor ever tell us that being the driver of an executive is so lucrative.

so then i read this other piece of news today, where michelle obama encourages the middle class to become teachers and nurses and not chase after money, and be dabofied in loans paying them off till your 40s when you are supposed to be saving for your kids. and she says its only coz of the president's best selling books that they are actually okay financially. i dont believe that for a minute. and i dont know if i agree with her statement, the whole american model of success, is built on the whole idea that the middle class can now afford to go to colleges and universities and build a future for themselves, which includes expensive things. which sadly require money. the actual idea being, you can make yourself financially better off given the opportunity. and this shouldnt be the priviledge of the rich. the american system gives you that opportunity. that being said, the world needs more teachers and nurses. and if it were left to me, they would be the people who would be getting a bonus this year, and yes - i would throw in a rug or two.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

barack hussein obama became the 44th president of the US today. and like the rest of the world today, i am hopeful


Thursday, January 15, 2009

yei new york hai merei yaar, bas ishq mohabat pyaaaaar.

i have been having those moments where im like omigod i have to blog this. this is usually when im work and i can do anything but blog. no thats not true, i cant google/yahoo/aim or anything or check personal email. sad. anyway, work goes fine, apparently the situation is now such that the markets are so bad that people are apparently sick of bad news that it doesnt affect them anymore. and frankly no one cares, no one is looking at their 401 K accounts and whats another 1 billion when Abu Dhabi fund is facing a 125 billion loss. How the hell they manage to blow up so much money is beyond me.

anyway, i have joined the microfinance club at work. so far they need people who write well and can interview high profile executives. i think im too unskilled for the job. no seriously. i am. i honestly dont know why i want to get into microfinancing, people who are usually in this have a solid idea. I haven't even started to read Yunus's Creating a world without poverty book. I just know that i want to do something good. i just know that I want to do something meaningful. especially when everything related to finance is equated to corruption. hell, even good ole desis in IT are now looked with suspicion. ok this is all in my head. desis are those diligent worker bees and barring desi politicians they are the only glimmer of hope for our country. i mean im the firm believer indian schools, indian corporate houses work work work and work hard. Im willing to bet all my full year salary that the CBSE system is much harder than British American education system. I know this since when I started undergrad, everyone (all desis) in my class found everything a breeze and had been coding since 7th grade. even if i studied all night i would never reach that level. the schools work their students to the extreme. the corporates work their workers to the limit. when i was back in dubai, in a firm full of desis, mostly mumbaites who play the game, and know the game. i would be the first one to leave and would be looked on as a slacker. and would be made to feel like crap coz of it. but ironically here im the last. and thats only coz im desi and the others arent. =) hahaha. but i dont let anyone feel bad for having a life. theres a big difference. and my whole belief is that the only thing stopping us from ruling the world is a way out of control population and scheming conniving politicians. oh and religious facists.

at least i thought so before the satyam scandal broke loose.

i dont know how this will affect outsourcing in the long run. maybe it will be okay two months down the road, maybe worse - who really knows. But, at least i now know that there is a crook for every geek. Worse comes to worst, multinationals will move to china, there was an article on this in businessweek. It might be bad in the short run and good in the long run. I have always been very two sided about this whole call center mushrooming in India. As much as Im a fan of put on accents, thats not really my bone of contention. I think call centers are dumbing down the nation. I know, a very controversial statement to make. Since, its brought out a lot of boom in the country, now 20 somethings dont have to wait till their 40s to actually spend money. They hang out at baristas, have fancy dinners, enjoy going to multiplexes and can afford to buy a car etc. they are making good money relatively to someone who spent years in uni doing post grad. but i will still argue, making money so, relatively easy, will be the achilles heel. a cousin of mine didnt graduate and decided screw college, let me get into call centers. he is doing well for himself, i wont argue with that. not everyone who goes to college is successful. but his brother now is tempted to the same, and drop his first choice of law. another way to see it, if you have money down the road, you can actually go back and do whatever you want - that which you couldnt get into due to lack of money - be it a post MBBS surgical residency or a film school. and after accumulating money you can go back and do it. and if you never went back, then you simply werent interested in it and is there any point in doing a degree in it in the first place?
or perhaps the time has passed and who really wants to be 25 sitting with a bunch of 18 year olds.

khayr, i pass no judgement, i just give my opinion.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

have you ever wondered where the story ends and how it all began?

disclaimer: this is a completely random post.

so first things first, wishing everyone who reads/stumbled on this blog a very very happy new year.. May the year bring you whatever you wish for and more.

I was away the last 10 days on my super short holiday (ok new years resolution: no complaining. no whining) , at least i got a vacation, which is a big thing. So I visited the UK for 4 days, mainly Leicester, Lake district and Birmingham. after that it was a 4 day stop over in dubai. UK is super laidback its unbelievable and i dont know what recession people are talking about coz the days after christmas, all the stores were chaotic, like you would think the stuff was for free the way people were shopping. after christmas, and they werent being cheapos like us picking up holiday cards at 50% to be used in 2009. hahah. but quite a few desis doing that, we all think alike. it may just be genetic.

i ended up sitting next to a guy from tzakistan (sp) on the plane who got terribly offended that i had not heard about the city hes from. For a moment I felt like whats his problem, but then it occured to me, I feel irriated too when people dont know what Dubai is. He then proceeded to show me all his pappers, his admission letter to college. I was quite shocked as to how pple can be so open.

Anyway Leicester, I didnt see much apart from looking at trees and brick houses worth millions of pounds and which incidentally are owned by cabbies. yes, that is the hot profession for the year. =). i kid u not. i think i may have taken some pictures, will post a few.

Birmingham, is desi town, and all desis look alike. The desi girls/ladies,all super thin and have 1 kilo of make up on, and something which i observed and thought was pretty great was how people wore their salwar suits bindaas in malls, that too the young young generation, whereas here in US even in very desi-ish localities like Queens, you wont see too many pple in salwar suits. The desi guys all look like SRK in Rab ne Bana di jodi. They all have the same hair cut, maybe better dressing sense.

Lake district is the place one should go if they want to get away from it all. We stayed in those lodges in the middle of mountains, with no internet connection and cell phones connection and a 12 inch size tv. its the antitech and i was totally loving it.

Dubai, nothings changed really in terms of infrastructure. A new mall has popped up again and has an aquarium inside,which honestly is pretty neat. The bad news is that dubai is on the verge of being bankrupt, and had to ask Abu Dhabi for help. The effect isnt immediate but a lot of pple have been laid off at banks and real estate companies, people who had taken loans be it personal, home, car loans and now can't afford to pay back the loans, so apparently they leave. Some huge number of cars were found at the airport with the key in the ignition. The situation will be even more grave in Dubai than in the US, since its a smaller country and made up of expats who take personal loans to actually build a house in their home country and for the Dxb govt to actually take possession of that will get messy and Im not sure if there are any laws that will help. jo hoga dekha jayega. a friend of mine who gave up his job in the US to move to Dxb, now cant find a job no one is hiring.

Me and doctorsaab (aka as my mom) finally did the road trip of Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. And since we dont have a GPS system in Dubai, we relied on highly built up places from the internet. So we ended up driving around aimlessly in Ras Al Khaimah. Considering it was new years, the park, the mall all were empty. And Fujairah, an older version of Dubai, definetly pretty was a bit shady I thought. We ended up eating at a dhaba and everyone kept staring at us. Finally we decided to ask someone, anyone kya hai at least to see in Ras Al Khaimah. We see a pathan walking on the road, we stop the car and motion to me. Heres how the conversation

me: Khan saab, Ras Al Khaimah ki beach kahan hai
Pathan: Beach, toda paani hai wahan par, jidhar bachei shaam ko kheltei hai. Par aisi koi beach nahin hai.
me: Ras Al Khaimah, mein dekhnei kei layk kya hai
Pathan: Kuch bhi nahin, hum logh khud pareshaan hai. Dubai wapis chalei jao. Kuch bhi nahin hai yahan par. Chalei jao wapis (im sure he wanted to add aur hamein bhi lei chalo)

and so, we drove back home.


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