Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eid Mubarak

Belated Eid wishes to all...

Some of us here in Kuwait were off duty for 5 days and this post took time to complete. On the first day of Eid we thought of driving with a cousin and family to Abdali which is close to Iraq border but dropped the idea since it was raining. The rains which had abandoned Kuwait since a few years are now back. It was still drizzling and the weather moody, so we selected the 360 mall to spend the day. Being the first day of Eid and early in the day the place was almost empty. Malls in Kuwait are normally crowded since this is where everyone hangs out.

I had always wanted to take a few snaps and finally got the chance.

Was always facinated by these decorations.

This one goes all the way to the ground floor....

Beautifully Symmetrical

The big children (Hubby and his cousin) along with the children had the Game Zone in their minds specially the bowling area and hence we started from there. It was empty and everyone had a good time toppling the pins.

For hunger, we tried the newly opened Asian express but all their items were too sweet to my taste. The kids had selected the much tried Charley’s Sandwiches and I wished I had joined them instead. We got out of the mall in time for coffee and hot samosas at home.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The ultimate source for many!

The latest campaign in the name of terror is from Idea and one may have seen Junior Bachan urging the nation to talk for India.

I guess the entire nation has been talking much on terror and even major police officers are busy doing their talks.

As for Idea, are they out for publicity?

Will the fund thus collected go for the purchase of safety gears or will the public be left in the lurch as usual?

If their main site shows the following:

*The campaign is an initiative of mobile operator, IDEA Cellular, which has a subscriber base of over 53 million across the country. The campaign will be supported across print, television, digital and outdoor media space. The funds accumulated from calls initiated from the network during the 'Talk for India Hour' will be donated to the Government.

Their terms and conditions shows thus..

Talk for India

Terms to be displayed on
1. Idea will contribute an amount equal to Net Income from all voice calls originating from Idea numbers and made within India between 8:36pm and 9:36pm on 26/11/09 towards procuring safety gear for the police force.
2. Idea reserves the right to disburse the amount to a body / entity/ organization / person or to divide it amongst a number of bodies / entities / organizations / persons suitably identified by Idea for the purpose.
3. The process and time of disbursing the amount shall be solely at the discretion of Idea.
4. The time and manner of contribution will be decided solely by Idea.
5. Subject to Mumbai jurisdiction only.

Why did Idea Cellular chose to put the second condition if the money is going to the government of India?

Should one care?

Just keep talking....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The five pillars that MM Singh will uphold

While searching the net to know the significance of MM Singh’s visit to US, I landed on this particular page and the five pillars.

Supposedly, these are the five pillars that our Prime Minister will uphold while in the US soil.

1. Strategic cooperation that includes arms sales, joint military exercises and joint military cooperation in combating maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden. (There are significant new sales on the horizon, up to $18 billion worth of contracts, for which American companies are competing)

2. The second pillar of the U.S.-India relationship is that of energy and climate change (India currently emits about 4 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases)

3. A third pillar is in economics, trade and agriculture. (Two-way trade with India was about $5 billion in 1990, rose to $14 billion in 2000 and reached nearly $50 billion in 2008, according to U.S. trade statistics.)

4. Cooperation in education ( India will open up the higher education sector to greater foreign investment)

5. Cooperation in science and technology ( $30 million science and technology endowment to be used for joint research and development, innovation, and commercialization.)

Hopefully we shall also hear MM Singh say that Pakistan needs to stop exporting terror etc etc etc etc...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pazassi Raja

Now that I have grumbled and rumbled enough on terror let me write a few words on a movie that the whole family enjoyed over the weekend. The theatre was packed even on the 3rd day of its show here in Kuwait.

It was none other than “Pazhassi Raja”. Had been reading about it before the release of the movie from fellow bloggers who in turn led me to others.

Pazhassi Raja (Theatrical release name in Kerala: Keralavarma Pazhassiraja) is a Indian multilingual biopic magnum opus film directed by T. Hariharan, and written by M.T. Vasudevan Nair. It stars megastar Mammootty in the title role, and R. Sarathkumar, Thilakan, Kanika Subramaniam, Padmapriya, Manoj K. Jayan, Peter Handley Evans, Harry Key, Linda Arsenio and Jagathi Sreekumar in other major roles. The film's music score and soundtrack are done by Illayaraja. A part of the score was produced at the Hungarian National Philharmonic (Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra), Budapest.[6] The sound designing is done by Academy Award winner Resul Pookutty. Originally filmed in the Malayalam language, the film is dubbed in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. The film released on 16 October 2009 across Kerala with a record 130 prints.[7]
Crtsy: Wiki

Think this is the first time that I have sat through such a long movie (3 hr 20 minutes) without being aware of the time. The sound (Oscar fame Resul Pookutty) and the cinematography were brilliant.

Mamooty’s acting was good and had his usual style and maturity. (His performance in “Loudspeaker” was also very good and the actor still has much to give the audience if only the directors and producers would let him and I also believe he is at a stage where he can be choosy if needed)

But in my opinion the actor who stole the show was Saratkumar. His portrayal of the character Edachena Kunkan, Pazhassi Raja's army chief was superb.

(Searched low and wide for a photo of Sarath Kumar and this was the only one I could find)


Manoj Kumar and Padmapriya (one of my favourite heroine) also acted well.

Every movie will have its flaw and one was in the portrayal of those playing the Brits.

I also believe that this movie will evoke an interest in history. At least it did in my household! As soon as we returned home, hubby and the children were more interested in satisfying their curiosity than their hunger. They googled and yahooed and passed bit and pieces of interesting information. Son also wanted to know why he is not studying the great Raja and the other heroes in his history classes and I heard him muttering the same in his sleep too.

Hats off to all those who worked for this movie!

Hail to those great warriors who laid down their lives for the soil. May the memories of their valor and sacrifice echo forever.

For more reading: ( by blogger Nick Balmer - My interest in these events started about a decade ago when I first read the tale of Thomas Baber tracking down and killing of the Rajah on the 30th of November 1805. Thomas Baber was my great great great great uncle)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The road to terror .......

Soon it will be one year since we viewed the shocking scenes from Mumbai and there still remains many questions unanswered. The following news caught my eyes this morning.

According to top officials, the bigger concern for the government is to crack the sleeper cells that both Headley and Rana were in touch with to conduct attacks here. While the arrests may have delivered a blow to those plans, the fact remains that trained terror cells were here for this purpose and they have not yet been busted.

What a reassuring report! Even after a year we still haven’t discovered those Indians who helped the terrorists and now because of Headley we have this exercise just to satisfy the nation’s curiosity.


There is no record of Rana’s departure from Kochi but a few days later, there is evidence of him surfacing in Mumbai.

Does this happen only in India?

Recently when we went to UAE, our passports were kept at the hotel reception and we could have it only when we vacated the hotel. I am sure this is the law in many countries and while applying for a Visa it is mandatory to supply the address of the hotel / place of residence.

I am aware that even in India we have similar laws but do we really have the luxury of not following it even after so many incidents?

Please take a look at a travel advice given to US citizens..

At the Hotel

Foreign security services have well-established contacts with hotels that commonly host conferences and meetings with international participation. Some even have their own office within the largest hotels. If the local intelligence service considers you a significant intelligence target, you are likely to be assigned a room that is equipped to monitor your in-room conversations and phone calls. To avoid this, it may help to make your own room reservation in a smaller hotel less frequented by foreigners.

In many countries, you will be asked to surrender your passport when registering at a hotel. This is a routine procedure, as hotels must submit a daily report to police on all registered guests. Although a routine police procedure, be aware that this information may also be reviewed by a local intelligence service looking for targets of opportunity. Don't forget to get your passport back at the earliest possible time.

But then if one thinks that our government has been sitting idle in all matters then no. We have now signed the world largest defense deal with US worth $ 10 billion which may bring in 126 fighter aircraft to our Air Force.

The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Competition, commonly known as the MRCA Tender, is an ongoing competition to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft. The Defence Ministry has allocated Rs. 42,000 crore for the purchase of these aircraft (Approx. US$10.5 billion).[1]

While I do agree that our fighter pilots deserve the best aircrafts and that our Air Force needs to be strengthened, I wish the same enthusiasm is shown in every other aspects of our security.

Can we leave our internal monitoring / governing in shambles and expect our armed forces to secure our country?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The road to terror..

David Coleman Headley (until 2006 he was Daood Gilani) caught my eyes yet again this morning and while reading about him, I landed on the Chicago Tribune’s page which gives the Federal Complaint against David and his accomplice Rana. One can check this too which is on David alone.

I could not finish the material since it is very long and I understand how much training one would need to decipher so much from normal conversations and emails. If deciphering is difficult can one imagine how harder it is to mask these activities?

If only one would engage their brains and time in more useful pursuits.

But yet again I wonder how the Indian intelligence agencies missed David. Are their antennae’s up only for certain names?

I hope our agencies are being trained at least now to tackle future such ventures.

But then haven’t we already forgotten 26/11?

Haven’t our governments and babus managed to turn the attention away from it so that they can continue with their own personal pursuits.

If not, why is Kasab still not punished?

Why does Kavitha the wife of Hemant Takare need to file an application for the right to information for her husband’s missing vest? Has the nation forgotten this hero already?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can we have our revered Judges back?

If there was a news over the last week (heard on TV too) that warmed my heart it was this:

Justice Dinakaran’s name withdrawn from list for SC appointment
November 1st, 2009
NEW DELHI - Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Sunday said that the Supreme Court Collegium has withdrawn the name of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran from the list of judges who were to be evaluated for appointment to the apex court.

Not sure if I have rights to point to the following post for further reading: click.. but it gives an extensive account of the case.

I think it is time our judiciary is taken to task.

It was from the movies of yesteryears that I came across “Court martial” and deduced that it was the worst punishment any person serving in the armed forces is given.

Courts martial have the authority to try a wide range of military offences, many of which closely resemble civilian crimes like fraud, theft or perjury.

Indian Army has four kinds of Court Martial - General Court Martial (GCM), District Court Martial (DCM), Summary General Court Martial (SGCM) and Summary Court Martial (SCM). According to the Army act, army courts can try personnel for all kinds of offences except for murder and rape of a civilian, which are primarily tried by a civilian court of law.


While reading about Court Martial I do read that it has its own problems too. I also stumbled upon a blog detailing those who are facing court martial and other trials for various reasons.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Indian Army Courtmartial and Dishonourable discharge: Current List of Officers under a cloud

Anyway, since I am talking about our judiciary I think it is time something similar (or is there one?) is implemented before the entire system collapses. Those in the judiciary themselves are calling for action and hence it is imperative that something is done.

As for declaring assets which I had mentioned in an older post, we do have good news:

Madras HC Judge declares assets


Chennai, Nov 9 (PTI) Amid a debate over declaration of assets by judges, Justice K Chandru of the Madras High Court declared his assets at the time of being sworn in as a permanent judge today.

Justice Chandru, who was among 14 additional judges to be sworn in as permanent judges, said he was "starting a new convention" of declaring assets at the time of swearing in.

He handed over an envelope, containing details of his assets along with that of his wife and minor daughter, immediately after being sworn in by Chief Justice H L Gokhale.

The court has a strength of 54 judges, including the 14 sworn in today against the sanctioned strength of 60 which includes the Madurai bench.

SC judges declare assets on website
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 3 November 2009, 03:20am IST

NEW DELHI: Two months after the Supreme Court, faced with demands and growing pressure from within, resolved to make public the assets and liabilities of its judges, the details were put up on its official website.

The significant step towards transparency was marked by some surprise revelations — one of the judges doesn’t own even a two-wheeler, while another has a Yamaha motorcycle as his sole vehicle. There are details of land, houses, investments in shares and flats as well. ( See Ninan’s cartoon )

Monday, November 2, 2009


SMS and win or SMS and make another win.....

For the mobile providers and their partners in business the above was a very brilliant idea which continues to reap harvest after harvest.

I am yet to waste my SMS but yesterday Hubby’s interest was caught by the cricket match (the one that was lost to Aussies) and I got to see yet another such call on TV. I believe it was the Bindaas Khel by the Indiatimes (Times Group) whereby one could win the following prizes by answering a few questions and these answers are to be SMS’d at premium rates.

Daily Prizes: Daily 5- Gold worth Rs. 1,000 each

Bumper Prize: Bumper- Gold worth Rs. 125,000

The site does give enough warnings and disclaimers which take out every kind of responsibility and those who indulge in messaging can do so even if they have closed the contest before a winner is even announced.

TIL expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied. Neither does TIL make any warranty that the items / products made available under the contest will meet your requirements, or the delivery of the item / product will be timely, secure, nor is TIL responsible for any damages done in transit.

TIL reserves the rights to terminate / suspend the Contest at any time and/or withdraw, or extend the Contest without any prior notice and no correspondence in this regard shall be entertained.

If the above is in hope of winning a prize for oneself there is yet another by the Reality TV shows where your SMS will decide the winner (so they claim).

The one from Kerala called Idea Star Singer (Asianet Channel along with Idea Cellular Limited) has been very successful and continues to keep millions glued onto their televisions sets and many among them faithfully send their SMS too. This year’s grand prize will be a Rs 1 crore villa.

Is it the love for art or a personal desire to make the contestant win that makes a person part with an SMS?

I am sure there are individuals and groups sending their requests to friends and co-workers (I myself have received emails) for a particular contestant and this may eventually influence the decisions of many.

Whether it is out of selfish interest or selfless interest, it has been proved beyond doubt that enough and more money can be amassed for a cause through SMS.

The below is an excerpt from

At the end of Aug-2008, the top 5 GSM Mobile Service Providers in India based on no. of subscribers are,

• Bharti Airtel -74.8 mn
• Vodafone - 52.8 mn
• BSNL - 38.5 mn
• Idea Cellular - 29.3 mn
• Aircell - 13.1 mn

If the following news is to be believed,

By 2010 the Number of Mobile Subscribers is Expected to Increase to 348 Million in India!

This set me thinking as to why our NGO’s or even the mobile providers themselves are not teaming up for special projects.

Or have they already?

If one is ready to part with their SMS without much ado won’t a lot more do if a specific cause or a project is featured.

Right now I can think of Projectwhy which could use a lot of help in this manner. Let those who are conducting the business along with the mobile providers take their share, still there should be enough for any project in our country. (Of course one can have the normal checks and balances too.)

But this excericise would also have involved millions in the process of giving for a good cause.

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