Culture Czar

Where I talk about cricket, and the books I love, and cricket, and music, and cricket, and movies, and cabbages, maybe, and kings...

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Lifetime of Work, One Moment In Time

It is with an overwhelming feeling of joy (and a touch of surrealism) that I must let the world know about my selection as Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

When I opened the Time website just minutes back, I was the last person I expected would get chosen. This may sound like my usual fake modesty, but the thought had seriously never crossed my mind. You can imagine my shock when I opened this page, and found that I had won.

It is with a deep sense of humility that I must reluctantly accept this. This is as much a tribute to me, as it is to the many people who have made this possible. If I name just a few persons who have contributed to this, it would be an insult to the many I may not recall immediately, so I shall refrain from praising even a single person. I am sure they will understand.

Of course, a lot of hard work has gone into this, and I refuse to single out a single achievement. Who am I to judge what brought more joy to people, whether it was my painstaking, gritty (and matchwinning, dont forget matchwinning) 78 in the Finals of the Intra-University Tournament at College or my frenzied, last-minute piece of inspired guesswork that went into spelling "chamois" , a feat that clinched the 9th Standard Spelling Bee at school? How can *I* decide whether the effortless cracking of the Guardian Crossword one evening was more meaningful than my finally managing to complete Kafka's "The Trial"? What IS my greatest achievement? Was it the adeptness with which I managed to reserve as an e-mail ID (alas, now defunct), or was it the culinary perfection that my Maggi Noodles has been known to achieve?

Different people will have different viewpoints on this, and I respect this diversity. My work must speak for itself. In my victory, I shall also be gracious- I shall not talk about any of you losers who weren't selected.

Thank you, I once again thank you from the bottom of my heart for this rare honour.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Misinformation, Disinformation

Once in a while, a news item comes along that can manage to make me amused and pissed off at the same time. This gem joins that august list. (If you want a write-up on the ICICI-Sangli Bank story, this is a decent place to go.)

For those who are too lazy to click, the piece is short enough to copy and paste:

The Communist Party of India deplored the reported move of the ICICI Bank to take over the Sangli Bank Limited and said such "clandestine moves'' was not acceptable.
"It is very distressing to see that foreign banks are allowed to take over Indian banks. This will adversely impact the job security and other rights of the employees,'' the party's Central Secretariat said in a statement.
It said that when the Left parties and the United Progressive Alliance were discussing banking reforms and other issues "such moves are clandestinely allowed to take place." "It is not acceptable.''

Hmmmm. I know that ICICI Bank is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Either that's enough to make it a "foreign" bank, or our friends in red tend to associate good "Indian" banks with half open iron grills, threadbare red carpets, chaiwallahs scurrying to serve the DGM's Guests, and rude tellers with iron tokens.

Which means that any bank that markets itself with any kind of flair (Read: Snazzy ATMs all over town, Neon-and-Orange billboards, and an unfamiliar in-your-face slickness) is assumed to be the local arm of one of those huge multinational banks. Which leads to the logical conclusion: They didn't think Indians had it in them to do it so well.

As I said- amused and vaguely irritated.