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Showing posts from April, 2006

'These BMWs Look Abandoned'

The weather in Shanghai is pleasant, mostly between 13 and 20 degrees celsius. And its great to walk around, particularly if most of what you are doing is in one part of the city. At one junction, after seeing our nth street-corner parked BMW, my friend remarked, "The way these BMWs are lying here, it looks like people have abandoned them."

Actually that's true. The number of BMWs, Audis and Mercedes cars on the road are just staggering. Remember, this is a communist country that espoused equality not too long ago. Not to mention Volkswagen Passalts. The most common car is the Volkswagen Santana. Most of the taxis here are Santanas as well.

The interesting thing is that it was not just me and my friend who gazed in amazement at another BMW 5 series that whizzed past on a busy Shanghi intersection. Our Taiwanese-Chinese associate Lee seemed to concur. "That car will cost at least a million RMB (1 RMB = Rs 6 approx)," he would say, as an Audi A8 would slow down in…

China: A New Story Of Balance..The Bar Rouge View !

Isn't The View Spectacular ? (Travel Site Photo !)

Green & Clean Neighbourhood, Our Apartment Complex In Downtown Shanghai

From the open deck of the top floor Bar Rouge in downtown Shanghai facing the busy Huangpu River and the glittering Pudong skyline across, you realise, once again, the relentless pace with which China is growing. This breathtaking image combines everything, China's strategy, the vision and the hard work that will take it there. Except that there seems to be a greater than ever effort to balance growth and the environment.

Driving out of Pudong International Airport three days ago, I saw the new airport terminal coming up. As structures go, its futuristic, as scale, gigantic. And seems to stretch for ever. What you can see now only is the superstructure, which will be ready by 2010. By then, Pudong, along with this terminal, will have five runways and should handle 80 million passengers.

The older Hongquiao airport, which is closer to the center of Shangha…

Why Did Aamir Khan Swing For Narmada ?

He is not the first celebrity to do so. But he’s turned out to be the most radical, activist Bollywood filmstar by far, all in day's least as far as my memory serves me.

The reasons why he would back the Narmada Bachao Aandolan
could be several. Ranging from the fact that a cousin associated with the movement influenced him to the fact that he was in and out of the Kutch for six months whilst the shooting of Lagaan.

Lets assume all that contributed significantly. Still, why join the protestors in the manner he did ? Why become a face for the movement ? Knowing well there could be consequences that may not be the most desirable.

Dammed If You Do..

To his credit, he did not buckle to the mob frenzy that followed his signing up a few days ago. Instead, he calmly called the attention of all and sundry and asked if these were really the politicians and political parties they wanted to be led by ? He even accused the political parties of trying to bully him.

There are those who de…

Shame On Bangalore

This writer usually takes up for Bangalore and its citizens. For their determination, grit and perseverance. A city which is now on the itinerary of just about every head of state. And of course anyone to do with information technology.

Yet, its the same city where thousands of youth, among others have taken to the streets following actor Raj Kumar's demise. Pictures of mob violence are streaming in. The contrast between the engineers working in glass towers on cutting edge technology projects and the mayhem on the streets couldn't be starker. At last count, four people including a policeman were dead. The policeman was killed by mob.

The 77-year-old Rajkumar gave up acting almost a decade ago. Its tough to believe that the youth pelting stones at policemen across the city today watched too many of his films, if any. None of the television images showed them to be grieving. Instead their faces showed the thrill one usually associates with the satisfaction of inflicting damage …

IIT, IIM Alumni, Come Up With Solutions, Or Else..

The draft Reservation of Seats in Central Educational Institutions, 2006 is ready. If implemented in this form, upto 50% of all seats in 32 central educational institutions (IIT, IIM, JNU, AIIMs etc) will be reserved for students from scheduled caste/tribe or other backward class backgrounds..

The Cabinet secretariat has put it on hold for now. Not because its bad in principle. But because the move could technically violate the model code of conduct laid down by the Election Commision (EC). At least on the face of it. Elections in five states are coming up. The good news is that matters have risen to a desirable crescendo. The bad news is that no real alternatives or solutions are still on the table. Till that happens, this problem ain’t going away.

In my earlier post, I made a strong case to descend to the streets to protest the government’s move. Not because I am an alumni of any of these institutions. Rather, it’s a move that’s most unimaginative in concept and terrible in principle …

Why ISB will surely beat The IIMs (Thanks To Mr Arjun Singh)

Last year, as a panel member for HSBC's annual scholarships, I (with my co-panelists) was struck by the brilliance of a young boy from a village near Delhi. A farmer's son, he had pulled through his academic career almost entirely through scholarships. And here he was applying for the big one, perhaps the biggest.

There was no debating his sheer grit and raw intelligence. And yet, the boy had had an advantage. He had, somewhere in his first few years of school, applied and enrolled for the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyala. These are not schools some of us living in cities are likely to see while driving into work. For the simple reason, they are not to be found here.

The residential Navodayas are another model of excellence, like the IITs and IIMs. They aim to create a class of bright, young students, mostly from rural and small town India. They give the opportunities that the current schooling system does not. And allows some of them to compete on equal footing from the (snobs !) from…

Why ISB Might Beat The IIMs

Im pretty sure these headlines are unintentional. I saw one this evening which said, "ISB declines to reveal boy's identity." Another one, "ISB is not revealing boy's identity, yet."

Im sure you had the same thoughts I would have had. Some heinous crime has been committed and an organisation that goes by the initials of ISB is refusing to give up the accused.

The Indian School of Business is in the news. A graduate student has bagged a $233,800 (Rs 1.04 crore) job. That beats the previous record set by the IIMs.

Recently, IIM Bangalore kicked up a fuss saying they didn't want to turn their placement season into a circus and their students into animals in a temporary zoo. Makes sense I guess. ISB has picked up from there. And refuses to part with the lucky chap's identity. That makes him lucky twice over. He earns the money and gets to keep it, since the Bhais won't find him easily.

Totally Biased

For various, totally biased reasons, I would like to …

Needed, A Bangalore State of Mind

Two years I penned an intra-organisational note about the need to step up coverage on Bangalore. I argued the nation’s IT capital represented an interesting and exciting new agglomeration of people, views and thus news. And this deserved tapping into. For not just what it was but how it could lead by example, in a manner of speaking

What was interesting about this new agglomeration ? For one, it is a high concentration of knowledge workers. From across the country. It also represented a fair smattering of expatriate hands and diaspora. Many of the latter have returned to India out of choice. Together, they constitute a modern, contemporary world-view that has not, perhaps, been commonly heard.

Finally, there are the fighters. From ordinary citizens to CEOs of companies, they are unafraid of expressing their views. And band together at the slightest provocation. And despite everything the system does to bend their will, they somehow triumph. Or so subsequent events always show. Collect…