Thursday, April 30, 2009

CBI-A Tail Wagging Dog of Central Govt - 4

Probing the CBI
Critical to national credibility
From The Statesman
Just because the demand for probing the probe-machine has been made by opposition parties in the thick of electoral mudslinging does not render it invalid. The functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation has for far too long been marked by a disgraceful blend of brazen bending to political power and professional incompetence. The upshot being that most Indians have lost all faith in the investigative apparatus. Fish, the saying goes, rots from the head. So when what is projected as the country’s premier investigative agency is widely perceived as dancing to the tune of the ruling political entity there is an inevitable trickle-down effect ~ aam aadmi despairs while accepting the reality that the rich and powerful can get away with murder, and worse. And by natural extension, the credibility of government at large stands corroded. But do our netas give a damn? The quality of the CBI’s investigation has been covertly ridiculed by courts abroad, indeed even their foreign counterparts treat it with skepticism, hence attempts to extradite terrorists and hardened criminals make little headway. And like the netas, the top brass of the CBI (with rare exceptions) also do not give a damn. All the denials and clarifications from the Cabinet ministers concerned convince nobody. They are party to the crime.
Does anyone with a modicum of intelligence swallow the CBI line about there being no evidence against Quattrocchi, Tytler, Sajjan Kumar etc? The Bofors investigation and the probe into the state-sponsored massacre of 1984 must surely constitute classic cases of cover-ups. Yes, the CBI has no evidence against the principal accused simply because it deliberately did not collect it. If nothing worth the name is presented to law officers, what other opinion can they offer but to drop the charges? And what about the Arushi murder in Noida, did the CBI not make an unholy mess of that? This is not the first time the CBI has failed the nation: efforts by the Central Vigilance Commission and the judiciary to de-link the CBI from politics have failed, probably because few of its senior officials had the spine to stand up to “government”, or had been rewarded with those positions “for services rendered”. Regardless of what cobbled-up majority constitutes the next government, a comprehensive probe into the dubious conduct of the CBI, and genuinely insulating it from political influences is critical. But who will bell the cat? Not the entities now crying foul should they scrape their way to power a few weeks hence.

From The Sentinel
To add to the list of its ‘glories’, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), scoffed today as Congress Bureau of Investigation, has also freed Bofors kickback case accused Ottavio Quattrocchi by striking off his name from its list of most wanted persons. Quattrocchi is an Italian businessman and said to be a friend of the Rajiv Gandhi family — with a patent pointer to Sonia Gandhi’s Italian roots. It has now come to light that the 12-year Interpol red corner notice, or lookout notice, was taken off from the wanted section of the agency’s website reportedly on the legal advice of Attorney General Milon Banerjee. In the wake of the development and clean chit to Quattrocchi, the BJP and the Left have charged the Congress with frantic efforts to bury the investigation against him for obvious reasons. Even a former CBI director, Joginder Singh, has joined in, saying that the CBI had proof of Quattrocchi receiving $7.32 million as kickback in the Bofors case. However, the Congress has refuted the charges — the expedient argument being that nothing could be proved against the Italian businessman, implying thereby that the CBI has ultimately done a wonderful job by freeing an ‘innocent’ person. So what better godsend for the Congress, given that key figures in the case such as arms dealer Win Chaddha and former defence secretary SK Bhatnagar are already dead! But the question remains: Does the CBI today have any credibility worth the name?

The above is from a Editorial in "The Statesman" and "The Sentinel" of 30.04.2009.
It states what I have been saying all along.
People have lost all confidence in the CBI and foreign governments like our own Supreme Court laughs them off as jokers.
The CBI changes its brief as the government or its allies change.
Our last UPA government sometimes favoured Mayawati and sometimes Mulayam Singh and the CBI came to the Supreme Court with cotradictory briefs.
That is one of the reasons why most of our corrupt politicians (99%) are never convicted.
If we want that our inspection agency be taken seriously, it should be overhauled and made independent and free of the manipulation of the Central Government and its allies.
This is one PIL which every Indian would want.

Black sheep in the Medical profession

Teen-death docs off rolls

A father’s belief in justice was renewed on Tuesday with the West Bengal Medical Council striking off the names of two orthopaedic surgeons accused by him of medical negligence causing the death of his 17-year-old son Rajnis.

“We have got justice at long last. The loss of our only son is irreparable but my wife and I are relieved that the doctors responsible for his death in 2003 have been punished,” said Manoj Patel, a 45-year-old property consultant in Bhowanipore.

Rajnis, a promising cricketer, had collided with another fielder while attempting a catch during a match at Vivekananda Park on February 6, 2003.

He fractured his left shinbone and was admitted to SSKM Hospital, where he underwent five surgeries in four months. Though he was admitted under a senior doctor, Dilip Majumdar, the surgeries were allegedly conducted by post-graduate trainees.

Rajnis died on June 2, allegedly because of a series of botched-up operations.

Manoj Patel then lodged a complaint against Majumdar with the West Bengal Medical Council and also accused the resident medical officer Debabrata Banerjee of negligence for not being present during some of Rajnis’s surgeries.

After more than five years of investigation, the medical council found the two doctors guilty on Tuesday but went easy on the two accused post-graduate trainees.

“The names of Dilip Majumdar and Debabrata Banerjee were struck off the council’s registry on Tuesday as they were found guilty,” said Dilip Kumar Ghosh, the registrar of West Bengal Medical Council.

According to council officials, the doctors can appeal for restoration of their registration after six months.

The council had earlier wanted to know from the defendants why Rajnis Patel had been operated upon in the emergency OT instead of where planned surgeries are conducted.

The chargesheet stated that the surgeries had been performed by junior surgeons under the supervision of their seniors and no step was taken when the haemorrhage from the wound spun out of control.

Though the two “guilty” doctors were not available for comment, their lawyer Dipit Bose said there was “no truth in the allegations” and they would appeal to the principal secretary of the state health department against the verdict.

“The complainant had singled out these two doctors but they were not guilty of medical negligence. Dilip Majumdar had conducted the surgeries himself,” claimed Bose.

A case is also underway at the West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. There is another criminal case on at Alipore against Dilip Majumdar and four other doctors.

Sometime back I had written about the medical profession calling them Vampires, Leeches and blood suckers.
Some people had raised objections that all of them were not so.
The above article goes to prove what I had said.
It has taken 5 years for the medical coundil to pronounce them guilty and has struck their names of the coundil's registry.
However, they can appeal.
If I read the medical council's mind, they will appeal and get reinstated.
Why couldn't they be tried for culpable homicide?
Doctor's take their patients forgranted.
We should have more stringent punishment and fine like in the USA.
I had also said the Doctors in South India were much much better as they had service in mind.
But those in Norh India are surely vampires.
The IMA is mostly interested in protecting its kind and very few complaints are taken action on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jharkhand beats Bihar and Congress beats BJP

Jharkhand’s edge over Bihar...

Statesman News Service
NEW DELHI, April 28: Leaving Bihar behind, Jharkhand now has the highest percentage of Lok Sabha (LS) candidates with a criminal background, at least in the first three phases of elections. Of the 51 candidates contesting from Jharkhand, 30 per cent have criminal cases against them. The percentage of such candidates in Bihar is 27.13 per cent which is the second highest and it is followed by Maharashtra ( 17.84 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (17.30 per cent).
As per the figures released by National Election Watch (NEW), of the 5573 candidates in the fray in the first three phases of LS elections, 909 (16.3 per cent) have criminal cases against them. Of these, 401 are charged with heinous crimes.
In terms of number, Bihar has the highest (175) of such candidates and is followed by Maharashtra (144) and Uttar Pradesh (122). All major political parties have fielded candidates with criminal records, with Congress having 100 such candidates, BJP (98), BSP (88) and SP (39).
Among those charged with heinous crimes, the Congress has 36 such candidates, BJP is next with 35, BSP with 32 and SP (25).
The number of crorepatis in all phases so far is 862 (15.5%) with Congress topping the list with 202 candidates. It is followed by BJP with 139, BSP with 95 and SP with 41. The percentage of contesting crorepatis has increased from 9 per cent in 2004 to 15.5 per cent in 2009. The number of crorepatis in the contest is highest in Maharashtra (139). This is followed by UP (118) and Andhra Pradesh (117).
Among the main political parties, the average asset per candidate for JD(S) and TDP is at 12 crore, Rs 5 crore for NCP, Rs 4.7 crore for Congress, Rs 3 crore for BSP and Rs 2 crore for SP. Despite the high number of rich candidates in this election, 61.5 per cent of them have not furnished their PAN card details.
NEW comprises more than 1,200 NGOs and other organisations working on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India.

We must all stand up and congratulate the Jharkhand government on winning the dubious distinction of having beaten Bihar in the number of criminals contesting the elections and the Congress for beating the BJP.
What a pity?
This was a newly formed state.
They could have started with a clean slate in having a corruption free government.
That was not to be.
They have fallen in the same rut.
All these polticians require to be beaten with hunting whips and bayonets to bring them in line.
They won't do it themselves.
Some external agency will have to do it.
The people.
Let us be vigilant and not tolerate corruption, no matter from which party.

How much do our poor MPs earn?

Politics is not a SERVICE anymore but a PROFESSION.

An Important Issue!

Salary & Govt. Concessions for a Member of Parliament (MP)

Monthly Salary: Rs. 12,000/-

Expense for Constitution per month: Rs. 10,000/-

Office expenditure per month: Rs. 14,000/-

Traveling concession (Rs. 8 per km): Rs. 48,000/-

(eg. For a visit from South India to Delhi & return: 6000 km)

Daily DA TA during parliament meets: Rs. 500/day

Charge for 1 class (A/C) in train: Free (For any number of times)
(All over India)

Charge for Business Class in flights: Free for 40 trips / year (With wife or P.A.)

Rent for MP hostel at Delhi: Free.

Electricity costs at home: Free up to 50,000 units.

Local phone call charge: Free up to 1, 70,000 calls...

TOTAL expense for a MP [having no qualification] per year: Rs.32, 00,000/-

[i.e. 2.66 lakh/month]
TOTAL expense for 5 years: Rs. 1, 60, 00,000/-

For 534 MPs, the expense for 5 years:
Rs. 8,54,40,00,000/-

855 crores could make their life livable!!
Think of the great democracy we have
(Nearly 855 crores)
This is how all our tax money is been swallowed and price hike on our regular commodities.........
And this is the present condition of our country:

This has been sent by Lalit Narayan.
This is exactly what I have been trying to say

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Red Colour Notice removed for Quattrochi

In last days of UPA govt, Quattrocchi is off CBI’s wanted list

With just three weeks to go before the Congress-led UPA government’s term ends, Ottavio Quattrocchi, the lone surviving suspect in the Bofors payoff case, no longer figures in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s list of wanted persons.

The 12-year Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) against the Italian businessman has been taken off the “Interpol Notices” section of the agency’s website.
Ostensibly, the CBI’s move is based on the legal opinion of Attorney General Milon Banerjee dated October 28 last year. According to the opinion, a copy of which has been obtained by The Indian Express, Banerjee calls the RCN “a continuing embarrassment.”

Banerjee writes: “The CBI is under an obligation to have the matters set right at the Interpol level as there is no basis on which the RCN can continue...I am of the firm opinion that immediate action should be taken to withdraw the Red Corner Notice”.

When asked when and why the Red Corner Notice was withdrawn, CBI Director Ashwani Kumar told The Indian Express tonight: “The Government will reply to the issue because the matter is sub judice.”

Sources said the CBI is expected to inform the Special Judge of a Delhi court of this decision when hearing comes up on April 30. The agency is expected to argue that it has gone by the AG’s opinion.

The push for withdrawing the RCN came in October 2008 after Quattrocchi’s counsel filed a “protest” to the CBI “complaining against the continuation and legal validity of the Red Corner Notice issued by the Interpol Secretariat General”.

When Advani talks of bringing back all the black money in the Swiss banks, I always laugh.
Here the Congress is driving the last nail in the Bofors scam and he was unable to bring back the money although he had one full term in office.
They are all birds of one nest.
The warm each others nest and hence you cannot nail any one party.
I understand why Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi is so much against independents.
It is only the Independents who would book them when they rise as a force.
At present, the independents are a dispersed force, many candidates fighting from one seat.
Once they understand they are all fighting for the same cause(to remove corrupt politicians) and put up one candidate, that will be the waterloo of the corrupt political parties.
The day of reckoning is soon to come.
Above, we have an Italian , President of the Congress party, removing the shackles from her fellow Italian family friend.
Bye Bye Quattrocchi and India's 65 crores in bribes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Helping the less fortunate

At a fund raising dinner for a school that serves children with
learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech
that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff,he offered a question:

'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does,
is done with Perfection.
Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do.
He cannot understand things as other children do.
Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued.
'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself,
and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:
Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys were playing baseball.
Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?'
I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team,
but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play,
it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some
confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting
much) if Shay could play.
The boy looked around for guidance and said,
'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning.
I guess, he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat
in the ninth inning.'
Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt.
I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart.
The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few
runs but was still behind by three.
In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and
played in the right field.

Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic
just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I
waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.
Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was
on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away
their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all
but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat
properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that
the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life,
moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least
make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the
ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit
a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown
the ball to the first baseman.

Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's
head, out of reach of all team mates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to
first! Run to first!'

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far,
but he made it to first base.

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and
struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the
ball . the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be
the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he
understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the
ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him
circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him
by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to

Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators,
were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who
hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his
face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and
humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having
never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home
and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!


We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize
the 'natural order of things.'

So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us
with a choice:

Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up
those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's
least fortunate amongst them.

May your day, be a Shay Day.

The above has been sent by partha Sengupta.
Partha always sends inspiring pieces.

Appointment with Dentist

This is from Jimmy Keir.
The mirror tells the truth.
It is only we who do not care to believe and still consider ourselves heartthrobs and lady killers.





















Sunday, April 26, 2009

Throwing stones from Glass Houses

Only 10 paise out of Rs 100 reaches beneficiaries: Rahul

GANGTOK, April 25 – AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi today said that mismanagement of Central funds continued to be a major bane in the implementation of the Central development and welfare schemes for a long time and claimed ‘only 10 paise out of Rs 100 reaches beneficiaries even now’.

“My father Rajiv Gandhi used to say that only ten paise out of Rs One reached genuine people, but I say that the needy people still get 10 paise out of Rs 100 under the Central development and welfare schemes,” he told a public meeting at Paljor Stadium here.

The country has no shortage of funds, but the same has to be used judiciously so that genuine and needy people benefit from development and welfare projects, Gandhi said. The youth leader added that it was the State Governments that should be blamed for the unsatisfactory implementation of the Central schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

The Centre could only design programmes or schemes for the benefit of the people, but the onus lies with the State Government for implementing them to ensure that the fruits of such schemes reached the needy, he said. Rahul pointed out that a number of States have not sincerely implemented NRGEA, which was meant to provide 100 days employment to poor people.

Discounting the impact of the global meltdown in the past two years on the Indian economy, Rahul said that the country has made rapid strides in terms of economic development in the past five years under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The country has registered a growth of nine per cent during the five-year tenure of the UPA Government, he said and claimed that there was no shortage of funds for undertaking development work.

However, the funds should be properly utilised for the implementation of the Central welfare and development schemes, like NREGA and Mid-day meal schemes, the Congress leader said.

Gandhi, a popular youth leader, stressed formulation and implementation of policies and plans for the benefit of youth, who he said, have two major requirement – education and employment.

“There should be a thrust on providing quality education to the youth and giving them jobs in all States,” he said.

The Northeastern States should especially focus on the twin requirements of the youths, Gandhi said and praised the youths of this region for being educated, skilled and hardworking. The MP from Amethi also urged the youth to join the mainstream politics in large numbers to change its present dynamics.

The Congress general secretary also sought to correct media reports that it was his maiden visit to Sikkim and said that in fact, he was visiting the State for the second time, but after a long gap of over 20 years. “I had spent a month in Sikkim to complete the mountaineering course from the Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute (SGMI) at the age of 18,” he informed. “I will visit the State again after the polls,” he said.– PTI

We have made good progress since Rajeev Gandhi was assasinated in 1991.
Before his death the poor man (God rest his soul) lamented that out of every Rs 100.00 which is sanctioned by the government hardly Rs 10.00 reaches the beneficiaries.
Now his son says that hardly Rs 0.10 out of Rs 100/- reaches the beneficiaries.
I would like to thank Rahul for being frank and honest.
He has put the seal on what we already knew.
But he seems to be criticising the non-congress ruled states.
He forgets that quite a few states are ruled by the congress party.
At least the situation should be better there.
Is it?
We will ask the people of the congress ruled states to answer that.

Ex-Chief Election Commissioner Rues

Gopalaswami’s Concern

At a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday after demitting office, outgoing Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami rued the growing criminalization of politics in the country and favoured barring of candidates with heinous criminal charges against them from contesting elections. That his concerns are genuine and stem from the rot that Indian politics has reduced itself to, need not be overemphasized. It is not just criminalization of politics but also politicization of crime that has made this country one of the most notorious nations in the world with little or no regard for democratic and constitutional norms. If we take pride in India being the world’s largest democracy, it is solely because of the fact that we are the world’s second most populous country in the world (thanks to our uncontrolled population growth and the failure of the successive governments to strictly implement a pragmatic population policy) and that the most populous country, China, is a communist state. In other words, that we are the world’s largest democracy should not at all be a reason for any kind of euphoria, especially in view of the functioning of our democracy and how our legislative bodies are now crowded by lawmakers who are the best lawbreakers too and have criminal backgrounds or propensities. The last Lok Sabha had over 120 MPs with criminal charges against them, ranging from kidnapping and rioting to rape, loot, murder and mayhem. And what is the guarantee that the next Lok Sabha will be free from such elements, given the best immunity on earth they enjoy just because they can manage to be elected as MPs by wielding muscle power and thus by intimidating the helpless and defenceless electorate? This is what Mr Gopalaswami points to as he harps on the unbridled flow of criminals into the realm of politics, as if goons are a necessity in today’s brand of politics.
The former Chief Election Commissioner also said that the use of money power was another major problem facing the electoral process of the country. ‘‘I am not saying that the rich should not contest... the amount of money that is now being spent is enormous... For parties who say that the sealing of Rs 25 lakh is too little an amount, I would say that there are parties which are managing with that amount. Then why can’t others?’’ Mr Gopalaswami asked. The answer is simple: the more you spend money (which means the more you distribute money to buy voters) and the more you are assured of the flow of money (which means the more you know of the ways and means of pooling money from various sources, mostly black), better are your chances of winning the election without having to perform anything at all. Money power is a reality in Indian politics because votes are a purchasable commodity, thanks to the rampancy of poverty, illiteracy and backwardness that characterizes the majority of Indian voters, who are in rural areas. As for muscle power, it holds sway because hooliganism and intimidation of voters are a security against the pitfalls of non-performance. After all, it is power that matters and must be had at any cost. What then is so representative about Indian democracy? The likes of N Gopalaswami know the answer. And hence the lamentation, despite the fact of democracy in a region where neighbours like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal are still grappling with the very idea of democracy.

The above is from an Editorial in "The Sentinel" a reputed paper published from Gauhati.
No futher explanation is required for me.
However, what I lament is why did not Mr. Gopalaswami do something about it while he was CEC.
The CEC enjoys tremendous powers, if only he uses them.
This was proved by Mr. T N Seshan, who set the benchmark.
If they had followed up from there, condtions would have improved further.
Why don't they scrutinize the nomination forms more thoroughly and disqualify persons with criminal record for giving false information?
Why do they allow people with criminal records who have been convicted to be released on bail to canvass for their wives and mothers. All such people people should be put on a list maintained by thanas and put in jails during elections.
Why are't extortionists too similarly put in jails.
Why don't they countermand elelctions whenever any candidate or his agent is murdered, why countermand only if a candidate of a political party is killed. Why the difference?
Violence can be reduced if we punish violence.
When we condone it, it increases as it is very paying.

Vote for Rapist, Murderer but not for a Jew

Priya's hubby is a Jew: BSP
Ninad SiddhayeSunday, April 26, 2009 3:17 IST Email

Mumbai: The Muslim community in the North Central Parliamentary constituency is going through a dilemma. The Ulema across sects have allegedly asked Muslims not to vote for Congress candidate Priya Dutt since her husband, Owen Roncon, is a Jew.

Although this is being claimed by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Haji Ibrahim Sheikh during his campaign, Roncon has made it clear he is not Jew, but a Christian.

In the Muslim-dominated pockets of Kurla, Bharat Nagar and Behrampada, "Muslim Ulema belonging to sects such as the Wahabi, Shia, Ahte Hazeer, Deobandi, Bohri and Khoja have been saying that since Priya's husband is a Yehudi (Jew), Muslims should not vote for her," said Aftab Ansari, a local from Kurla.

Asked about this, Haji Ibrahim confirmed that such a fatwa was being issued by some of the Ulema. "We need not spread this word around. It is not a part of our campaign. However, it is evident from the fact that she still uses her maiden surname instead of her husband's," Sheikh told DNA.

However, Mumbai Congress spokesperson Krishna Hegde said: "Owen is a Christian, not a Jew. These kinds of rumours are being spread to malign Priya's image. But people of the constituency know about Priya's work and her background. They are sensible voters and will definitely not fall prey to such dirty strategies."

Is this the secular India which the Congress party talks of?
People are asked not to vote for a candidate because he is supposed to be a Jew.
The question is moot whether he is a Jew or Christian.
He may be a criminal, smuggler, rapist or murder. That does not disqualify him
But he will be disqualified because he is a Jew.
If our MLAs and MPs had even a quarter of the love of country which the Jews have, India would be a Ram Rajya.
It is ironical that a Congress candidate has the same s..t thrown at her face which they have been throwing at the whole nation.

“Generation Me”: Are we in a narcissism epidemic……?

Perhaps, one day, we will say that the recession saved us from a parenting ethos that churns out ego-addled spoiled brats. And though it is too soon to tell if our economic free fall will cure America of its sense of economic privilege, it has made it much harder to get the money together to give our kids six-figure sweet-16 parties and plastic surgery for graduation presents, all in the name of "self esteem." And that's a good thing, because as Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell point out in their excellent book "The Narcissism Epidemic," released last week, we've built up the confidence of our kids, but in that process, we've created a generation of hot-house flowers puffed with a disproportionate sense of self-worth (the definition of narcissism) and without the resiliency skills they need when Mommy and Daddy can't fix something.
Indeed, when Twenge addressed students at Southern Connecticut University a couple weeks back, their generation's narcissism was taken as a given by her audience. The fact that nearly 10 percent of 20-somethings have already experienced symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, compared with just over 3 percent of the 65-and-over set? Not surprising. That 30 percent of college students agree with the statement: "If I show up to every class, I deserve at least a B"? Didn't get much of a rise either. When they're faced with the straight-out question—do you agree with this research, that you guys are the most narcissistic generation ever—there are uniform head nods and knowing grins to each other. "At the end of the day I love me and I don't think that's wrong," says Sharise Tucker, a 21-year-old senior at Southern Connecticut State, a self-professed narcissist. "I don't think it's a problem, having most people love themselves. I love me."
But as Twenge goes on to illustrate, all that narcissism is a problem that can range from the discourteous—residential advisers at Southern lament students disregarding curfews, playing dance music until 3 a.m., demanding new room assignments at a moment's notice and failing to understand why professors won't let them make up an exam they were too hung over to take—to the disastrous—failed marriages, abusive working environments and billion-dollar Ponzi schemes. Seems that the flip side of all that confidence isn't prodigious success but antisocial behavior.
Armed with a steady influx of trophies just for showing up, "I Am Special" coloring books and princess parties, it is hard for kids to understand why an abundance of ego might be bad for them. Hot off their own rebellions in the late '60s, my parents struggled to give me the freedom to be me while also teaching me generosity, compassion and humility. I didn't make it easy on them. I was the kind of kid who threatened to drink Drano if asked to load the dishwasher. "Don't get cocky, kid," was the response from my dad when I declared my grades too good for my behavior to be monitored. "Pretty girls are a dime a dozen," my mother would remind me when I came up with the brilliant idea that school was getting in the way of my social life. My mom would also trot out fables to keep me in check. Ever read the original ending to Cinderella? The evil stepsisters get their eyes plucked out by pigeons and end up beggars. But it worked, mostly, and "Don't believe your own bulls––t" became my mantra. Of course, I still hate to be told what to do, dislike following rules and will waste hours trying to get out of the simplest household task; but hey, I'm a work in progress.
But no matter how you were raised, the handiest cure for narcissism used to be life. Whether through fate, circumstances or moral imperative, our culture kept hubris in check. Now, we encourage it. Pastors preach of a Jesus that wants us to be rich. The famously egocentric wide receiver Terrell Owens declares at a press conference that being labeled selfish is fine with him. Donald Trump names everything he owns after himself and calls his detractors "losers." We live in a world where everyone can be a star—if only on YouTube. The general sense among students on that New Haven campus is that with the world being such a competitive, cutthroat place, they have to be narcissists. Well, you may need a supersize ego to win "America's Next Top Model" or to justify your multimillion dollar bonus. But last I checked, most of our lives don't require all that attitude. Treating the whole world as if it works for you doesn't suggest you're special, it means you're an ass. As an antidote to a skyrocketing self-worth, Twenge recommends humility, evaluating yourself more accurately, mindfulness and putting others first. Such values may seem quaint, maybe even self-defeating, to those of us who think we're special, but trust me: it gets easier with practice.

(Newsweek, April 2009)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

How Long should Mercy Petitions be kept pending

Prosecutor Nikam advocates early disposal of mercy petitions

Mumbai: Once the death sentence to a convict is confirmed by the Supreme Court, his mercy petition before the president should not be left pending for a long time or else the very purpose of capital punishment would be defeated, public prosecutor for Mumbai terror attacks, Ujjwal Nikam has opined.

He was referring to Pune's Rathi murder case in which the mercy petition of the accused is pending since last ten years although the Supreme Court has confirmed death penalty
to three convicts who had killed eight women of a family.

"If mercy petitions are allowed to be kept pending, there is always a possibility that capital punishment awarded may be reduced to life imprisonment, and in doing so the very purpose of giving deterrent punishment would be defeated," the prosecutor told a function organised by a private organisation to felicitate him as "People's Lawyer" here on Friday night.

Nikam, who has secured 713 life imprisonments and 33 death penalties for accused in various cases, said capital punishment is given so that it could serve as a deterrent
against heinous crimes. About the Mumbai terror attack case, in which Nikam is
the public prosecutor, he said the events of November 26, 2008 shook the entire world
rosecutor Nikam advocates early disposal of mercy petitions

Nikam, who was special public prosecutor in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case also, said the 26/11 case has international ramifications and the entire world is watching the trial.

I fully endorse the public prosecutors statement that the mercy petitions of criminals who have been awarded the death penalty should not be kept pending.
The death penalty is given in the rarest of rare cases after much thought.
The sessions court gives it and it is normally confirmed by the high court. sometimes it goes to the Supreme Court also.
Hence, just as the death penalty is awarded in the rarest of rqre cases, the mercy petition too should be entertained in the rarest of rare cases.
The President of India acts on the advise of the union Cabinet and the union Cabinet is a political animal. It cannot take a decision if any vote bank is involved.
Hence, any mercy petitions should have a life of only six moths,
If no decision is taken by the President within the stipulated time, the petition may be considered as lapsed and the death sentence should be carried out on a particular date/day after the six months.
Whether it is Afzal Guru, or Kasab or any other criminal, should make no difference.
By the way, I would presume, no such petition from Kasab should be entertained.

Msgs from Friends 16

Msg from Bishan Dewan

Bishan Dewan has found the secret to the vast improvement in our cricketing prowess vis-a-vis the other games like hockey or football.
He has explained it graphically below.

Msg drom Jimmy Keir

Talking of games, Jimmy has sent some god photographs in sporting attire, watching Rugby and Golf.
Jimmy has also sent a very humorous piece about a granny at court which I have added to my weekly mail.

Msg from Safiul Haque


Although I have been remiss in my correspondence, I have been forwarding all kinds of tidbits to everyone. I do read the GMS blog. Enjoy those little jokes and so and all the correspondence of how everyone is doing, especially the ones of photographs from those days! The thing is, despite my first contribution being about the election in the US, I am totally apolitical. Indeed, politics I give a wide berth to. Politicians [in all countries] have only disappointed, so I just tune politics and politicians out.

On the other hand, politics seems to be your passion. You might consider going into politics. For that you will need a forum. A newspaper – or, more 21st century, a blog. This blog can become your mouthpiece, provide you a forum. But then won’t contributions like the one I am attaching, be utterly incongruous? Please let me know. If you think, such patter [as what I am attaching] can be of ANY interest to Goethalites new and old please upload it on my behalf to your blog.

In the meantime, congratulations on the weddings, grandparenthood and the wonderful branching of the family tree. May God heap upon you more and more blessings. Your happiness is my happiness.


It was a pleasure hearing from you after so long.
Yes, I have been receiving your titbits and posting them whenever I received them.
No, politics is not a passion for me. It is only when I see my country going amiss, I cannot help but pointing it out.
I would never join politics.
I am not a very good speaker.
In politics, you must be able to show that black is white and white is black by use of words only
I only know what is good for my country and what is not.
Until some time back, I had no hopes as there was darkness all around.
However, with Swami Ramdeo having taken up the war against corruption, I am seeing some light. Now, I can voice my concerns and raise awareness among the bloggers.
I have been posting most of my articles on the political corruption in India on another blog also

All my blogs, specifically my views, I am gradually shifting to this blog as I don't want to bother our boys with my views which sometimes may appear very radical.
You people in the West are lucky as the politics in your countries have developed to a more sane level.
Your article on skiing is very very good.
Seeing the weather has become so warm (crossed 41 deg (cels), just thinking of skiing cools us down. It is very informative to people like us who have never seen an actual ski.
I am posting it immediately, with the photographs, if possible.
Now that you have again broken the ice after a long time, do keep writing.
Don't go into hibernation again.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Secularism or Pseudo-secularism

Given below is from an Editorial from "The Sentinal" which is published from Gauhati in Assam, published today.
My comments are not necessary.
It says all I wanted to say.

It is very important not to forget that the elections that we are now going through are the parliamentary elections of a secular democratic republic and the size and complexion of the majority in this democracy. It is also useful to bear in mind that when we became a republic on January 26, 1950, we were just a democratic republic without the “secular” prefix which came only as a result of minority pressures in the year 1976. Thus, unlike many other sovereign states of the world that are democratic as well as secular (but that do not proclaim their secular credentials from housetops), we were obliged also to proclaim the fact that we were secular at the bidding of such minority groups that did not have the means to be secular within the framework of their respective faiths. No wonder, for all practical purposes, our so-called secularism has degenerated into a kind of pseudo-secularism that has one characteristic feature: it is vehemently anti-majority by being rabidly anti-Hindu. To be a dyed-in-the-wool secularist in India, even the Hindu must spew objectionable untruths about his own religion.
Some of the recent statements of the Prime Minister and the actions of Asom Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi have demonstrated only too clearly how hollow our claims of being democratic and secular can be. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in New Delhi that the “secular-communal divide” was important in the country. “I do not see (that) this country has any future except by staying with secular values,” he added. The pertinent questions that arise are: What secular-communal divide does he have in mind? And what kind of secular values does he envisage? The kind of anti-majority values that pass for secularism with the Congress? For the Congress, the terms communal and secular are merely tokens of convenience. According to the Congress’ warped notions of secularism, anything that goes against the majority Hindus of the country is secular. When the Congress goes in for a coalition with the Muslim League either in Kerala or at the Centre, this is an alliance with a secular party. But whenever any political party forges an alliance with the BJP, both parties are communal. The Congress has sought to perpetuate this brand of pseudo-secularism long enough. Today the people are much wiser. They may nod their heads in agreement, but not many people will swallow this kind of perverse logic much longer. In fact, we may get a taste of the people’s growing awareness of the total fraud that this much-touted ‘secularism’ is sooner than the Congress thinks this will happen. Is the failure to conclude the trial of the SIMI activists who carried out serial blasts in several Indian cities due to secular tolerance or electoral pragmatism masquerading as secularism? One cannot fool all the people all the time.
Asom Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was so concerned about the emergence of the AUDF causing a split in the Muslim votes for the Congress that he deemed it proper even to invite a Muslim religious leader to speak to the Muslim electorate in the State to prevent such a split. And this is called a secular republic! In which other secular republic of the world has one heard of the head of a State inviting a religious leader to address election gatherings? If he is so concerned about the split in the Muslim votes, why is he not concerned about the split in the Hindu votes? After all, despite a Muslim majority in eight districts of Asom, they do not constitute the majority in the remaining 19 districts. Has the Chief Minister not indicated very clearly (a) that he is counting only on the votes of the Bangladeshis who have swelled the list of illegal voters in the last few months and (b) that winning by resorting to communal practices is all right for the Congress even if it is not all right for other political parties? Obviously, what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. And we still pretend that this is a democratic country and that we practise genuine secular values!

Is Kasab Juvenile - So what?

Friday , Apr 24, 2009 at 1618 hrs IST

A special court ordered Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman on trial over the Mumbai attacks, to undergo dental and bone tests to determine his age following his claim that at the time of the strike he was a 'juvenile' which would help him escape the gallows.

Judge M L Tahiliyani allowed special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam to examine witnesses comprising doctors and the jailor at Arthur Road prison on April 28 to prove his claim that Kasab, a Pakistani national, was above 18 and not a juvenile at the time of commission of offence.

Jail authorities were ordered to take Kasab, said by the prosecution to be 21, for ossification and dental tests for age determination.

The radiologist and dentist who will conduct the tests have been asked to submit a report on or before April 28.

Kasab will be taken for these tests under heavy security, his lawyer Abbas Kazmi told reporters here. If the inquiry establishes that Kasab is a juvenile then the case will be transfered to the juvenile court.

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The maximum punishment prescribed under Juvenile Justice Act is three years, said Kazmi, who had earlier claimed that he was only 17 years.

The court ordered the inquiry after Nikam moved an application urging that the age of the accused may be determined before the charges are framed against him.

Earlier, Kasab had himself pleaded that he was juvenile and that the case should be transfered to Juvenile Justice Court but the court had turned down his plea and opined that he did not appear to be juvenile and if the court feels that anytime during trial that the inquiry should be held to determine his age it would do so.

It is surprising that the defence is bringing up the question of Kasab's age.
The crime he has committed is unpardonable, no matter what his age.
He should be treated like a mass murderer and punished accordingly.
If we are lenient on him now, we will be opening the gates of a flood of such cases.
The Pakistanis will push such juvenile criminals and create havoc in our country.
Let this be a precedent.
If a juvenile terrorist commits terrorist acts he should be treated as an adult criminal and punished as any adult is punished, including hanging.
How old was Khudiram Bose when he was hanged?
He was born on 3rd December, 1989 and was hanged on 11th August 1908.
He was hanged for fighting against the British for our freedom for planting and throwing bombs when he was only 16.

The Lost Balloonist

This has been sent by an office colleague, Parthasarathi Gupta

A very interesting story.

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost.
She reduced altitude and spotted a man below.
She descended a bit more and shouted, 'Excuse me
sir, can you help me ? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago
but don't know where I am.'

The man below replied, 'You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately
30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude
and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.'

'You must be an engineer,' said the lady balloonist.

'I am', replied the man. 'How did you know?'

'Well, answered the balloonist, 'everything you told me is technically
correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact
is I’m still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me at all. If
anything you've delayed my trip even more.

The man below responded, 'You must be in management.'

'I am,' replied the lady balloonist, 'but, how did you know?'

'Well,' said the man, 'You don't know where you are, or where you're
going. You have risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air
within. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people
beneath you, to solve your problems

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How old should parents be at birth of child?

Pappu Yadav's mother just seven years older than him

Patna, April 21 :The mother of murder convict and MP Pappu Yadav is just seven years older than him, she has said in the affidavit she filed while entering the Lok Sabha polls as an independent candidate for the Purnia seat of Bihar.She is being supported by the Congress.

Shanti Priya has said in the sworn affidavit that she is 49 years old.

Pappu Yadav, who has been barred from contesting elections by the Patna High Court after his conviction, had declared he was 37 years old in the affidavit submitted by him during the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Going by that, he should be 42 now.

In 2004, Pappu Yadav's father Chandra Narayan Yadav had also claimed that he was only seven years older than his son. That claim came in the affidavit he submitted while filing nomination papers to contest polls as an independent from Purnia. However, he had withdrawn from the elections later

But the wrong information provided by Shanti Priya in her affidavit is being taken seriously and a complaint has been lodged with the Election Commission by another independent candidate.

Pappu Yadav's family members are not the only ones who do not seem to know how old they are. Going by the official Lok Sabha website, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan was 23 when he became legislator for the first time in 1969. The Constitution says a candidate has to be at least 25.

The website says Paswan was born July 5, 1946 and entered the state assembly after winning elections in 1969.

Recently, there was a new item that a boy of 8 had become a father.
Th mother is 13 years old.
I was surprised, how could this be possible?
But now we have news from Bihar that Pappu Yadav's mother is just 7 years older than him and his father is also 7 years older than him.
Well, everything is possible in the land of the Kamasutra.


Smileys -

Today we had the second phase of our elections.
We'll only know later on how many people have been killed.
Should not be less than 17 which was the number in the first phase.
Our politicians are literally dying to serve the people.
The weather is still very hot.
Today it must be 37 deg celsius.
Normally every year we have thundershowers in April. We in Bengal call it Kal Baisakhi.
This year we have not had a single shower.
To reduce your boredom in this heat, here are some lessons of life from Rex Barker.


Am I Mental?

Darryl and Harold were in a mental institution. The place had an unusual annual contest, picking two of the best patients and giving them two questions. If they got them correct, they were deemed cured and free to go.

Darryl was called into the doctor s office first and asked if he understood that he'd be free if he answered the questions correctly. Darryl said "Yes" and the doctor proceeded. "Darryl, what would happen if I poked out one of your eyes?"

Darryl said, "I'd be half blind."

"That's correct. What if I poked out both eyes?"

"I d be completely blind." The doctor stood up, shook Darryl s hand, and told him he was free to go.

On Darryl's way out, as the doctor filled out the paperwork, Darryl mentioned the exam to Harold, who was seated in the waiting room. He told him what questions were going to be asked and gave him the answers.

So Harold went into the doctor's office when he was called. The doctor went thru the formalities and then asked, "What would happen if I cut off one of your ears?" Remembering what Darryl had told him, he answered, "I'd be half blind."

The doctor looked a little puzzled, but went on. "What if I cut off the other ear?"

"I'd be completely blind," Harold answered."

"Harold, can you explain how you'd be blind?"

"My hat would fall down over my eyes."

Management Lesson...1

A sales rep, an administration clerk and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke.

The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one."

"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk."I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Poof! She's gone.

In astonishment, "Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an Endless supply of pinna coladas and the love of my life." Poof! He's gone.

OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager.

The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Management lesson?

Always let your boss have the first say.

Management Lesson, Part 2...

A crow was sitting in a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him,

"Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?"

The crow answered: "Sure, why not."

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested.

All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Management Lesson:

To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Please Hang Up And Try Again...

A man calls home to check in with his wife, to let her know he'll be home early, when suddenly, a strange woman answers. The confused man inquires, ''Who is this?''

''This is the maid,'' answers the woman. ''We don't have a maid,'' says the man.

The woman says, ''I was hired this morning by the lady of the house.'' "I told her we didn't need one, " the man muttered under his breath.

''Well, this is her husband. Is she there?''

The woman replies, ''She is upstairs in the bedroom with someone...who I thought was her husband.'' The man, suddenly realizes what's going on and begins to fume. Moments later, he says to the maid, ''Listen, would you like to make $50,000?''

The maid hesistates, but answers, ''What do I have to do?'' The man explains to her: ''I want you to get my gun from the desk, and shoot the witch and the jerk she's with.'' The maid pauses for a moment to consider the awful deed and puts the phone down.

A minute later, the man hears footsteps and then two gun shots!

The maid comes back to the phone breathing heavily, and with a slight quiver in her voice asks, ''What do I do with the bodies?''

The man, quite despondent at this point, replies, ''Throw them in the swimming pool.'' Puzzled, the maid answers, ''But you don't have a pool.''

A long pause follows.

Another long pause.

Finally the man asks: ''Is this 567-5309?''

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Skiing with Safiul

The weather has become unbearable.
The mercury is crossing 41 deg celsius.
In this hour of crisis Safiul has brought us some relief.
Let us read of some of his exploits on the heights, skiing.
Just reading it brings some coolness in the air.
And it gives us all the terms we may require for skiing.
Now let us find some snow.
The article is really enjoyable.



I glance at my car thermometer and think it must be broken. It reads one degree Fahrenheit [ negative 17.22 Centigrade/Celsius]. That can’t be right! When I was putting stuff in the car, still suffused with the warmth of the house, it hadn’t felt different than any other day. I keep going. The temperature reading changes to zero, then to negative one, negative two … The temperature at my destination is negative four degrees Fahrenheit [ minus 20 degrees Centigrade/Celsius]. In this frigid climate, I’m going to spend up to 3 hours outside hurtling down a slope, going back up and hurtling down again. This activity is otherwise known as skiing. Tell me this is not insanity.

If you’ve been caught by the skiing bug, Winter? – you no longer somehow get through it; you look forward to it. You love the snow. You don’t even mind shoveling it – the old fashioned way, with a hand-held shovel. Skiing is basically of two types: (1) Nordic, also known as Cross Country – where you propel yourself across terrain with the help of a long pair poles, [it is very strenuous] and (2) Alpine, also called Downhill -- where you are taken up to the top on a chair lift and you ski down. Here are the component parts of the Alpine skiing experience [a la Safiul Huda]:

THE ATMOSPHERE: Breathe deep [or, if you insist on being a grammarian, breathe deeply]; feel that cold crisp air cleanse you; feel the immediate uplift. There is freshness and joy from exerting yourself in the cold outdoors that must be experienced to appreciate. On bright days, with the winter sun low on the horizon, the sky turns a brilliant blue against the gleaming white snow. If there has been an ice storm, nature dresses up all branches and twigs in hard glittering crystal. If there has been a snowstorm, everything is softened. Either way, the allure is enhanced. But most beautiful of all is if snow is filtering out of the sky converting everything into an enchanted world through which you float.

Naturally, you have to have adequate clothing and equipment. For clothing you’ll need special socks, micro fleece shirt/pullover, polartec vest, windproof [and cold proof and waterproof but breathable] ski jacket, wind-water-cold proof breathable ski pants, preferably double layered gloves or mittens, a neck gaiter [that’s what we say in these parts instead of garter], a helmet. The latter is to protect your head and so is more part of your equipment than clothing, but turns out to be the warmest headgear in bitterest cold, and I find it to be the most crucial item needed to keep warm.

For equipment you need skis, poles, boots, goggles [to protect your eyes from snow glare and freezing winds either blowing or generated by speeding down the hill] and helmet.

All of this must be color coordinated and in current fashion. As in all athletic leisure activity, if you are not making a fashion statement, why are you doing it? I am a misfit in this regard.

LEARNING TO SKI: Skiing is easy to learn; skiing is difficult to learn. [Do you hear an echo of, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times”?] It depends on the person’s athleticism and age. Skis were different when I first clapped a pair of them on to boots. Today, with the new shaped skis, one can reach a level of proficiency in a single week that used to take a couple of entire seasons to acquire. Also, kids today start younger. I personally know kids who started at age one!

For people starting at my age, skiing “don’t come easy.” The very first time I tried skiing, [it was at a friend’s behest, enthusiasm and encouragement], I was already 45 years old. Never ever very athletic, even in my youth, by that age my klutziness had settled in and hardened. For the next 10 years, I skied only a few times each season. That wasn’t enough to develop sufficient “muscle memory” and I began each new season as though I had never skied before. Only at age 55 did I start buying a season pass at a local mountain and begin skiing avidly. So, I’ve been skiing regularly for 7 years. Having started so late, I’m never going to be as good a skier as I am, for example, a bicycle rider. I’ll always have to be conscious about initiating a turn, edging, pressuring, pole planting, facing the fall line, leaning forward [one skiing buddy has a rule of thumb: if your nose drip is falling on you instead of your skis, you’re not sufficiently forward – yes, your nose will drip when you go from the warmth of the Lodge to the cold of the slope], and so on. These haven’t yet become automatic, unconscious behaviors, and probably never will. Of these, the most important is counterintuitive: you have to lean forward. Normally, when standing on a slope looking down, you lean backward into the slope. Skiing, you have to lean forward, away from the slope in an action, which combined with forward motion is best described as “diving down the slope.” This is very hard to do because all instincts and previous experience has taught the average person to do the exact opposite on a slope.

With shaped skis, one’s goal is to: (1) put the skis on edge, (2) put pressure on them so they bend [the bending or flexing causes them to turn] and (3) leave two parallel lines traced in the snow. Minimal snow is thrown up. This is called carving or double carving. Because the surface of contact with the snow is very small – just the sharp ski edges – there is much less friction resulting in much greater speed. Seems simple; but the body contortions, positioning and dynamics involved are many. I now do have shaped skis, but haven’t unlearned the old style skiing methods completely. Despite all my efforts, I have not achieved effortless carving. I know the theory, I know what my body must do; I just cannot make the old bod do it. It no longer has the flexibility, dexterity or strength. On my best days I succeed in leaving a smudge wherein, upon minute inspection, one might, with healthy doses of imagination and kindliness, find traces of a double carve.

THE EXPENSE: Skiing is expensive [for a person of my means, let me hasten to add, not everybody]. Which sport isn’t? To reduce expenses, a good idea is to buy your own equipment [skis, bindings, poles, boots, helmet, goggles] rather than rent them each time you go skiing. This might take a thousand dollar-plus bite out of your wallet [much more if you want to be picky] but then the stuff will last you years and years. The jacket, gloves and ski pants will set you back a few more hundreds – but these too shall last.

A huge part of the expense is the ticket you have to buy to use the chairlift. It usually runs from $ 50.00 for a day at the tiny mountains, such as the one I go to, to $ 72.00 for the ones in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. If you intend to ski more than 10 days a season, it makes sense to buy a season pass. You pay a large sum up front but the pass gives you the right to unlimited skiing during the season. You also get some extras thrown in [for example, a free ski tuning]. Of course, the pass then ties you to the mountain. You’re loath to go to another mountain and pay a large sum to ski when you can do it for free at the mountain where you have your pass.

It is smart also to take a lesson or two at the beginning of the season. You can save by buying a group lesson. Private lessons are more expensive. They benefit seasoned skiers. For beginners, a group lesson is quite beneficial. I have often lucked out: I signed on for a group lesson and was the only member of the group! So I got a private lesson at a group rate.

THE DANGER: Skiing can also be dangerous. This fact one must not overlook. For one thing, you are bound to fall. When you do, you don’t say, “I fell.” You say, “I took a fall,” as though you graciously accepted the indignity. There are several descriptive categories of taking a fall. Two of them that I remember are (a) a “face plant” which is self-explanatory – you fall face forward and leave an imprint of your countenance in the snow and (b) a “yard sale” – after you fall, components of your get-up come off and you leave a trail of gloves, poles, skis, helmet, goggles and perhaps other paraphernalia on the slope as though displaying them at a yard sale.

Falling takes you totally by surprise [I mean, who would do it on purpose?] and that’s what saves you most times from being badly hurt – because you fall naturally. Tumbles will occur; thus it is foolhardy to ski without a helmet. Every year I fall 2 or 3 times. Till this year, I had escaped injury. This year, in early January, unlike my usual thundering crash, I had a gentle, slow-motion fall. Unfortunately, I fell, pardon me-- I took the fall, in such a way that I tore strands of one of my calf muscles. Needed a whole month to recover [i.e. for the swelling and bruising to disappear] but it still aches from time to time, reminding me, lest I forget, that I was remiss. Too, other people may smash into you, especially [often out of control] snowboarders. I’ve been hit by them several times. Twice severely -- one of these resulting in a cracked rib [also required a month to heal, but this one doesn’t give reminders from time to time any more, having happened a few years ago – so there’s hope my calf will completely heal as well].

Such injuries tend to crimp my learning curve. See, every year, when I begin, I have regressed to way below where I had left off in the previous season, but not all the way to the beginning. By the end of the season I end up with a little advancement beyond the previous season’s best. This year that incremental progress was smaller than usual. But my injury was trivial compared to others I know who have had to have operations and physical therapy.

THE SNOW: You meet your buddies and start the conversation by asking about snow conditions. In the West, all the snow on the slopes is usually natural. There, an overnight snowfall might dump 4 feet [121.92 cm] of snow on the slopes. This “powder” is what skiers ski through knee-, thigh-, even chest-deep. It calls for a different technique. I have never been [grammarian alert! – skiing out West], but everyone who has says it’s just wonderful.

In the East [actually, the North East, because the best places in the East are in the Northeast and there is nothing in the South of the East Coast– this is contrary to the West – there you have great skiing places all over from the North all the way to the South], without snow making a full season of skiing would not be possible. Snow is made by snow guns. A snow gun consists of a nozzle to spray water and a device [such as a powerful fan] to break the spray into tiny particles. When the temperature dips below freezing, snow guns are turned on; the sprayed water freezes and collects as mounds of snow. It is a very expensive process requiring lots of power and water. A ski resort without a plentiful water source is doomed. Snow cats [‘cat’ from “Caterpillar”, I imagine, although that company doesn’t necessarily make them] – special low-slung tractors on treads – then spread the snow and smooth it down. This is called grooming. A groomed slope has a look of corduroy. And freshly groomed corduroy is what everyone wants to ski on. Hence the rush to be first on the slope before all of it is skied off.

In the East, therefore, the feel is different. The snow below the surface of the slope is pressed into ice. Over it is a layer of freshly fallen or freshly made snow. I most love to ski on an inch or two of freshly fallen groomed snow, on top of a solid hard base. The feel is unique and exquisite, as though gliding on clouds.

It does not last. On a small mountain like the one I go to, the snow gets scraped off pretty quickly to the layer with a semi-snow-semi-ice consistency which is also fun. In places it scrapes down to solid ice [“boilerplate”]. And that ain’t so much fun, especially on steeper sections. Sometimes boilerplate sections come about because strong winds blow off the snow cover and expose the underlayment of ice. Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, NY, is famous for that. Some call it “Ice Face.” But we Easterners grow to love these conditions.

When you look out at the slope from a distance, no matter what the conditions, it looks basically the same – smooth and white. Up close, the consistency of the snow might be sandy, soft, hard, crunchy, pebbly, chunky [a friend calls them “death cookies” which expression captures the alarm when finding oneself inadvertently in such a segment of a slope], slushy, wet, frozen, icy, churned up, and what have you. Any of these conditions will make skiing difficult and the skier susceptible to taking a fall. A good, versatile skier will ski graceful carved curves on all these surfaces and enjoy the experience. I am not of them.

SKI RACING: The best way to become an expert skier able to ski well in all conditions is to ski race as a child. Our mountain has a ski racing team. My son was a member. [He graduated from the team when he went off to college.] I had to take him skiing early mornings. I would sit in the Lodge and read a book and sip coffee all day. Finally, after about 2 or 3 years, I had a ‘duh’ moment: – why not spend the time skiing? And thus began my avid skiing period.

There are 4 basic types of downhill ski races. They are differentiated by the number and sharpness of turns taken. They are, in descending order of sharpness of turns and ascending order of length of the course: (1) Slalom, (2) Grand Slalom [GS], (3) Super GS and (4) Downhill. It is in the Downhill races that the world’s best skiers reach speeds of 80 mph [ 129 km/h] and higher. Each of these events requires skis designed specially for it. So, for racing, there are slalom skis, GS skis, Super GS skis and Downhill skis. For people like me, we have “all mountain” or “general purpose” or “recreational” skis.

Ski racing is wonderful for kids. First, there’s the social aspect and camaraderie of skiing with friends. Then there is the learning of responsibility, discipline, being organized, etc. that comes with it. The best result of all: becoming lifelong expert skiers.

Ski racing is also wonderful for the parents of ski racers. I call them “ski parents.” They get to know other parents from different walks of life. They form their own social circles. They ski together. When you ski with people who ski better than you [and everybody skies better than do I] your skiing improves. You travel to various other mountains where meets are and you belong to a group with a feeling of solidarity. There’s sharing of pictures, video, information. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

THE VIDEO: By the way, if you’ve seen any ski racing on TV, don’t think I look like that when I am skiing. They are the world’s best. I am, arguably, among the world’s worst. So imagine accordingly. However, to me, when I am skiing, it feels as though I am going very fast even if in reality I am going no more than 20mph [ 39 km/h] at my fastest. Well, 20 mph without the protective cocoon of a car’s body, zooming down a steep slope, can feel pretty scary. At first you try [in wild panic] to shed speed. Slowly the panic subsides [to mild]. Pretty soon you still feel you’re going very, very fast at 20mph, but you’re comfortable with it. It is only human frailty to advance to the next step and delude yourself into feeling and believing you are skiing almost as well as the world’s best. That is why it is important to shoot video of your skiing; it provides a reality check.
My son video’d me on March 20th. His comment: “New helmet, new goggles, new jacket. Same skiing.” Very galling. Upon watching the video, I am compelled to recognize I’m not quite the poetry in motion I thought myself to be – diving down the slope in a smooth, carved, elegant curves. I am stiff, herky-jerky, slow and tentative, a poster child of awkwardness, providing comic relief for all the other skiers, not an example to emulate. My wife says she can spot me quickly in a whole slope full of skiers – I am the most ungainly one.

My son tuning his skis in our basement before a race. One of the skills you learn if you ski race. You can (a) wax your skis or (b) sharpen the metal edges (that’s what he’s doing in the picture). If you do both, it’s called “ski tuning.”
Strangely, all this doesn’t discourage me. I spot the errors in my skiing from the video and am motivated to correct them. After all, even Rabindronath (what a guy! – him, not me – OK, for you grammarians raising your eyebrows, that should be “he, not I”) said:

Hethha jey gaan gaitay asha amaar
Hoi ni shey gaan gawa.
Aajo keboli shoor shadhaa amaar
Keboli shetar baa[n]dha.
[The songs I came to sing
Hereupon – yet unsung are.
Still am I scales practicing
And – tuning my sitar.]

No, no, no – I’m not saying I’m Kobiguru [a term of respect and adoration used by Bangalees or Bengalis for Robindronath Thakur or Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913]. He achieved perfection [according to the rest of us, if not, as per above poem, according to himself]. But there seems to be a human trait to try to perfect, in sporting leisure activities anyway, no matter how far short one falls or how ridiculous it makes one appear in the effort. Look at all the millions of golfers trying to be Tiger Woods. So I keep ‘tuning my sitar’.

A thought just occurred. Do you notice this tendency [recently acquired] of mine to quote from stuff long in my past? I have not read any, as far as I can recall, Tagore since before coming abroad and whatever I read was long before leaving Dhaka, in my childhood almost – decades and decades ago. Yet my quotes, if not absolutely accurate, are still only slightly off the mark. On the other hand, I cannot remember accurately the name of the book I read before the one I’m reading currently [Tony Hillerman’s “Finding Moon”]. This is worrisome. Isn’t this tendency – to remember vividly things long past and forget things from recent experience – indicative of a dread disease? Either dementia or Alzheimer’s – can’t remember which, which lack of memory, being symptomatic of the disease, provides dread confirmation of being afflicted with it.

[P.S. I just finished a book by Lisa Genova called “Still Alice.” Read it if you ever get the chance. No, don’t wait on chance; make it a point to do so. Good example of how a wonderful book should be written. After reading it, you’ll not talk about Alzheimer’s in jest. I get the impression that the erasure of memory is called dementia and the disease that causes it is called Alzheimer’s.]

Moi. Atop the little mountain I do 90% of my skiing on-- about 14 miles [22.5 km] from home. You can see the grey roof of the Lodge [where this trail terminates] and a section of the Parking lot and other smaller buildings behind it at the bottom of the hill.

SLOPE GRADES: Slopes are graded according to the degree of difficulty of skiing them. They are marked as follows: The easiest slopes of a ski resort or ski mountain are called green and marked with a green circle. The more difficult slopes are categorized as blue and marked with a blue square. The most difficult are called black diamond and marked with a black diamond symbol. Black diamonds are the steepest and scariest trails of a ski resort. But that’s not all. There are double black diamond trails. These are not only steep and scary, but also packed with large [or medium] sized icy humps [called “moguls” for some weird reason], or else wooded – that is, full of trees. If you tilt at a tree with your ski pole at even a mild 15 mph [24.14km/h], that tree goan win, chile, jess like da win’mill wif Don Quixote. Moguls are easy – you’ll fall on the very first one you encounter – problem solved. If you find yourself in trees or moguls, stop; take off your skis and walk back to safety. Unless, of course, you have a death wish.

This is Bretton Woods Ski resort in New Hampshire, a relatively easy place to ski with gentle slopes that make a beginner look good. The building in the foreground is Mount Washington Hotel at which the Bretton Woods Conference was held after WWII whereat John Maynard Keynes and company set up the World Bank and IMF

Slopes are deceiving. If you stand at the base of a very steep slope and take a picture of it, in the photograph the slope will seem mild. But if you pull back far enough to see the whole mountain, even slopes you thought were unimpressive will seem quite steep. If you go back in summer and hike a slope you considered tame when you were skiing it in winter, you’ll find the climb rather difficult because of its pitch.

Here is the trap: just because you can ski black diamonds at a certain ski place doesn’t mean you can ski black diamonds at another. Because the black diamonds rating means “the most difficult for that particular ski resort.” So the blue trails of a resort with generally steep mountains may well be steeper and more difficult than the black diamonds of a resort nestled in gently sloping hills. Something like the concept of millionaire. You can be a millionaire in Zimbabwe; you can be a millionaire in America. But the

I took this picture of my son on the summit of Sugar Bush in Vermont on March 20, 2009. The sign behind shows one trail is a black diamond and two others blue squares. Because of me, we took the blue square (trail visible on the left; we could’ve, and later did, go over the top keeping those signs to our left). From here it is some 2100 feet [ 640m] down to the Lodge at the base.

two aren’t the same. I have found that if you don’t possess this knowledge, you can ski without any problems on all blue trails. Just as when you learn that your many Zimbabwean dollars that made you feel so smug are nothing compared to, say, Australian dollars, you begin to feel deprived, poor and panicked, as soon as you know that a blue trail of the slope you are on is the equivalent of the double black diamond of the place you frequent, you are paralyzed with fear and unable to ski. This predicament manifests itself in your taking a fall.

On March 21st, a good friend and fellow ski parent, overestimating my abilities, took me and released me atop a black diamond trail. This was on a large mountain in upstate New York – if you skied from the summit down to the lodge, you’d have descended 2300 feet [ 701 meters]. I froze. My skiing down was not a pretty sight. But it was mishap free. That’s what the incremental improvement in my skiing has done for me this year.

THE LODGE: The Lodge is the central place of a ski resort. After putting your skis and poles on a rack outside, you enter the lodge to don your boots and gear and store your non-skiing stuff. The Lodge houses the all-important cafeteria as well as ski-shop, equipment rental and ski waxing and ski tuning shop, tables, lockers, restrooms, ticket booths, information, and so on. It may be huge and impersonal or smaller and cozy, depending on the size of the resort and mountain. Indeed, there may be several lodges. They may be all at the base or sprinkled on the mountain at different elevations.

So, you arrive at the resort where you hold your season pass, rack your skis and go in to change. You meet all those ski buddies [ski-parents] who’re there and sit with them and start chatting. These guys [at the place I mostly go to] are all well heeled, but in that unassuming American way, don’t care that I am way down on the economic ladder and are happy to be my friend, at least where our paths cross at skiing venues. I am sure, given my low position on the economic totem pole, other folks whose incomes reach $259 million for failing – i.e. for running their corporations into the ground – with them I would have no chance of being seen, leave aside being heard. But the people I am talking about are not in that stratospheric income level, though affluent.

Maybe this goes with affluence, but almost all of these folks are right-leaning. Since I am rather liberal, the adda [Bangla for shooting the breeze] gets quite interesting and involved. Almost every single one of them skied, and many ski-raced, in their youth. They’re a different class of skiers than yours truly. Nevertheless, they are willing to ski with me, give me pointers, and be patient.

There are always ski-parents sitting together at some table. I join them. After a while we’ll get coffee and snacks from the cafeteria [low on the taste scale but high on the price scale – basic economics – it is a monopoly situation.] Soon food services folks will get the barbeque going on the deck. A long line will form. I’ll join the queue, get a miniscule hamburger at a gargantuan price, bring it in and continue the adda.

In the group may be engineers who design and build jet engines, architects, builders, professors, lawyers, financial folks. The conversation is intelligent and lively. Just the other day, I finally learnt that one of the gents that I’ve been chatting with works for a firm that specializes in conversions of existing structures to large, high-end single family dwellings. His beat is Manhattan. That surprised me because I know that there are not many large, or for that matter, small, single family homes on that island. He explained that what he does is combine several living units and covert them into one residence which they define as a single family residence. The current one he’s working on is 45,000 square feet. Forty five thousand square feet! – that’s not a residence! – that’s Wal Mart! He explained that once you’ve put in a 50-seat movie theater, a 100-seat dining room, smaller dining rooms, 10 or 15 large bathrooms, chef-suitable kitchens, a personal gym, etc., etc., etc., all of them world-class, of course, a lot of square footage is easily swallowed up. The rich are different.

Here is a picture of Biltmore in North Carolina. 250 rooms. 174,240 square feet, French style chateau, completed and opened in 1895.

One day I learnt that some corporate shooting star is going to build a single family residence in the town I live in that will be the biggest family home in the U.S. after the Biltmore in North Carolina. The rich are indeed different. I have no clue where in my town that house is to be built. I live in the very middleclass section of town and don’t have occasion to go to those wealthy, secluded areas. Therefore, I feel no urge to find out the location of these high-end residential areas in town.

This is the largest home in my town right now. This is the rear view. Only 62,432 square feet, 15 bedrooms, and 12 bathrooms. It is for sale at a price- reduced $14.5 million in thecurrently depressed housing market. I genuinely don’t know where in my town it is. I don’t live at the most prestigious address in town!

Another day I learnt that they test jet engines by actually throwing tons of water and birds and other objects into them! The test is to ensure that if the engine shatters, the housing will contain the debris. Skiers are friendly folk. Even those you don’t know will not mind sitting for a spell and yakking.

As I was saying, you learn all kinds of fascinating stuff that you were never privy to or even aware of. So where’s the skiing you ask? It is outside – it’s whatever those crazy mothers are doing on the frigid slopes – practicing the mother of all crazy sports.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Breaking the barrier - Obama

Dear Heather

You call it ` nice `, I call it one of the `` MOST POWERFUL `` photographs I have seen.
It makes a statement that somewhere ``we are all equal, brother ``.
What a lesson for youngsters , what a lesson for the College/ Business School students.
What a lesson in CLASS APART behavior for guys like us who call ourselves First/Business Class travelling Corporate Guys or Bankers.
What a lesson for anybody.
I wish we Indians, especially our Ministers, would learn something about behavior from Obama Barrack.
For the sake of our world , I wish this man succeeds like no other US President has ever done.

Thanks & take care


Life is not how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
You won't see this photo on CNN. Everyone is too busy showing the Queen being touched. This was a moment of "touching" that won't be forgotten by this bobby.

"This is the most powerful photo in the series. Remember they are not supposed to shake hands, but the two brothers couldn't resist the historic moment. The black royal cop never imagined in his wildest dream that he would usher a black American president into the British corridors of power. Nice."

The above has been sent by Partha Sen Gupta.
I don't have much to say after seeing the picture.
Partha has said it all.

Girls Can Never be Too Careful

This is n extract from Rediff for sharing.

Date rape: 'You can't be too careful' by Insiyah Vahanvaty

Back in 2003, we were horrified when a young girl in Goa [Images] was drugged and gang-raped by her friends after she smoked a 'cigarette' they offered her.

In 2007, headlines carried the tragic tale of a British tourist who was drugged and sexually assaulted by a friend in her hotel room in Delhi [Images].

And last week, we recoiled in horror when the media carried a story of how a 23-year-old American girl, a student at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, TISS, in Trombay, was drugged and raped by six male friends.

The common factor in all three stories? The shocking fact that all the above victims were betrayed and violated by those they knew and trusted -- their friends.

Much as we may like to believe that date rape is a curse of the Western world, we have to open our eyes to the fact that the crime is much closer to home than we realise. Instances of date rape are steadily rising in India -- so much so that most of us know someone who has got into a pickle with people she knew and trusted.

The free availability of sedatives and party drugs over the counter have led to an enormous amount of misuse and numerous girls wake up the morning after with no recollection of how they spent the night.

These drugs are colourless, odourless and tasteless, so spiking someone's drink with them is extremely easy. They are available at pharmacies even without a doctor's prescription. The victim of a date rape drug might experience disorientation, memory loss and time-space confusion, which makes it very easy to rape her.

Says 30-year-old Delhiite Shaurya Roy, "I remember this one instance a few years ago, at a party I attended. It was at a farmhouse and I noticed that one of the bedrooms in the house was locked. I thought there might be a couple inside, so I left. However, later I was told that a friend of mine was drunk and had been taken in there by a guy she barely knew. We rushed inside and found her sprawled on the bed, naked. After kicking the guy out, we dressed her and took her to the doctor, where she regained consciousness. She chose not to report the incident or press charges."

Such shocking events are not as isolated as we may be tempted to believe. Simar Suri, a 24-year-old law graduate who lives in Mumbai [Images], has the following tale to tell: "When I was in law school, a friend of mine went out drinking with her buddies. Though she didn't have too many drinks, she says she got really drunk and blacked out. She doesn't remember anything that happened after that. The next morning she found herself in her bed, undressed. We don't know what was in her drink, but she slept for two whole days after that."

Explains Simar, "Whenever I go out drinking, I make sure I get my own drinks, and that bottles of beer are opened at the table itself. I also keep my guard up with boys I don't know too well -- if they seem pushy, warning bells start sounding in my head. I also limit myself to one drink when out with people I've met recently. And no matter who I'm going with, I make sure a friend or family member knows where I am. After all, it can happen to anyone, anytime. As women, we have to be on our guard, because it just takes one slip-up to ruin your life."

Shaurya agrees. "It's a very sorry thing that we're seeing these days. If it were left to me, all perpetrators of this crime would find themselves either behind bars, or serving time in a mental asylum. It's sick! Women need to take care of themselves -- to watch how much they are drinking, make sure they are in an environment where they can call for help if required and not leave their drinks or food unattended."

Being drugged is not the only thing you need to be careful of. Date rape can take place even when you're completely in your senses, in broad daylight.

If you don't know them very well, beware of men who suggest taking you home when nobody is around, dates in isolated places, long drives alone etc.

Visiting an isolated place, where no help is readily available puts you in a vunerable position that a potentail rapist could take advantage of.

Unfortunately, the rising occurrence of date rapes has its backlash on a woman's liberty itself. She can't let her guard down, even when hanging out with friends, feels the need to protect herself at all times and might curb her own freedom in the interest of her safety. Hostels are tightening security and making more strict their guidelines for students, parents are regulating their daughters' whereabouts more vigilantly, and women themselves are frightened enough to be wary at all times, even when surrounded by friends.

Asks 25-year-old Mumbaiite Sharayna Desouza, "Who can we trust? These incidents have us looking at everyone with suspicion. It's not fair that we have to constantly feel threatened. You can't be too careful -- I've started taking precautions to protect myself. For instance, I try to go out in a group as much as possible, always finish my drink before going to the loo, never go drinking on a first date, and try not to attract unnecessary attention. In this situation, the only person who can protect yourself is you."

To help prevent yourself from becoming a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of someone you know, here's a checklist of dos and don'ts to adher to the next time you're out to have a good time with friends:
# Meet male friends you don't know very well in public places, where help is readily available.
# Make sure your friends and family know where you're going and with whom.
# Keep your guard up, especially with people you don't know too well.
# Try to have a trusted friend go out with you.
# Make sure you know how you're getting home.
# Go out in a group as much as possible -- there's safety in numbers.
# Watch your drink at all times when you go partying.
# Have the waiter open bottles of alcohol at the table.
# Control how much you drink.
# Stick to one drink if you're with people you don't know very well.
# Drink lots of water and eat while you drink to make sure you don't get drunk.

# Go on dates to isolated places, long drives or put yourself in situations that make you vulnerable, where getting help would be difficult.
# Ignore warning signs, like men who don't take no for an answer, or men who seem eager to get you drunk.
# Go alone to house parties.
# Attract unnecessary attention.
# Let someone you don't know very well drive you home.
# Ask someone else to get you a drink.
# Leave your drink unattended.
# Drink too much, or use substances that could intoxicate you.
# Think it can't happen to you!

Safety tips for single women-Dr Diwan Rahul Nanda

How's this for frightening statistics: In India, a woman is molested every 26 minutes. A woman is raped every 34 minutes. There's one being sexually harassed every 42 minutes, another being kidnapped every 43 minutes. One woman is killed every 93 minutes. And these are just the reported cases!

Unfortunately, ignoring personal safety and security is a big mistake most women make.

Incorporating these safety tips should help.Safety at home

Most people actually make it easy for burglars to work, but you can reduce the chance of becoming a target by using a little extra care and thought about the security of your home, apartment and neighbourhood.

~ Get new locks or have the tumblers reset when you move into a previously occupied dwelling. A locksmith should be able to do this for you.

~ Don't hide a key outside the door, under mats, flowerpots or under rocks. If you want extra keys nearby, leave one with a trusted neighbour.

~ Make sure you have good, safe locks on all doors. Use auxiliary dead bolt locks on all exterior doors and make sure they are installed properly. Lock all doors when you go out, even if it's for just a minute!

~ Install an alarm that can detect entry or smoke.

~ Be cautious when strangers enter your home. Use a peephole or look through a window to check. If you must talk to a stranger, never open the door wide. If you have a security chain attached, only open as far as it will allow.

~ Report broken streetlights in your neighbourhood. Well-lit areas discourage burglars.

~ Do not leave your house and car keys together with attendants at public parking lots. Your house key can be quickly duplicated and your address obtained from your plate number.

~ Don't give information to strangers over the telephone. On wrong number calls, don't give the caller your number. Report continued wrong calls to the telephone company.

~ Don't give your computer password or other pertinent information to others.

~ If possible, use metal grillwork on entrance doors.

~ Report any strangers loitering in your neighbourhood or people asking vague questions about your neighbours.

~ Store ladders inside. If you can't, lock them up securely somewhere else. Suggest your neighbours follow this rule as well.

~ Use lights effectively, leave several on in different areas of the house when you go out.

~ A safe inexpensive window lock can also be made.

~ Leave a radio playing quietly when you go out to give the impression that someone is at home.

~ Vary your routine. If you follow the same routine week in and week out, a would-be burglar could watch your movements.

~ If your phone is attached to an answering machine, make sure your message does not give the impression to a caller that you are not at home. Make sure your phone does not continue to ring and ring, giving an indication that you are not at home.

~ Remove your name and address from any magazines or papers before discarding them.

~ Shred all papers that contain pertinent information about you and members of your family.

~ Single women should never place their full name in a mailbox -- your first and middle initial may be used, not 'Miss,' 'Ms' or 'Mrs'.

~ Keep few valuables in your apartment.

~ Keep your mailbox empty. If you are away, arrange with a neighbour or building manager to have all mail taken out.

~ Check references of maids, cleaning women or anyone else who may have to work inside your apartment while you are away from it.

~ A dog can often prevent a burglary. Place a 'Beware of dog' sign in your windows.

If you don't have a dog, purchase a heavy-duty dog chain, a large dog collar and dog dish. Place all three items in plain sight where a would-be burglar can see them.
In your car and parking lots

~ Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating or working and just sit working on their chequebooks or making a list, etc. Do not do this!

~ Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. Check under the car as well.

~ While driving alone, lock yourself in. Do not give lifts.

~ Better have your tank full during the day. Never even think of stopping at a gas station alone at night or on the outskirts of the city.

~ If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. You could be attacked/ pulled into the van when you are attempting to get into your cars.

~ Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest to your car, you may want to walk back and get a colleague/ guard/ policeman to walk you back out.

~ Keep a pencil and paper in your car. If you see a prowling car in your neighbourhood, take down the license number. Ask your children to be alert for suspicious vehicles.

~ Become familiar with your neighbours' cars. Any car that does not belong in your neighbourhood should be considered a possible suspect.
Better safe than sorry

~ Always take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone.

~ Do not get into an elevator if there is someone it in with whom you are not comfortable.

~ Do not stand in the corners of the elevator, be near the front by the doors, ready to get off.

~ Women are always very sympathetic. Do not help a handicapped man or someone asking for an address on a lonely street. It sounds rude, but you never know.

~ Continuous eve-teasing by locals should be notified to the police.

~ If stalked, walk to the local police station. Change direction of walking and never enter a lonely area.

~ Always keep your distance when walking past strangers on the street or in dark areas.

~ Get a cell phone. Keep it charged.

~ If you are walking alone in the dark or in a lonely area, and you find someone stalking you, scream 'fire' and not 'help'. People don't want to get involved when people yell 'help' but 'fire' draws attention because people are nosy. Then, run!

~ Offending phone calls from an ex-boyfriend should be clearly avoided. Be polite and firm. If he doesn't stop, report it to the police.

~ Avoid travelling by train after normal working hours.
At social events

~ Young women in dating situations should never leave drinks unattended. A 'date rape' drug can be easily slipped into a glass. When returning from the dance floor or restroom, get a new drink from the bartender.

~ When making plans to go out for the first time, consider meet your date at a public place. Also, let someone know whom you are meeting and where you are going.

~ While dating online, do not, under any circumstance, reveal any personally identifiable information in your profile, personal ads, or private e-mails. Use only the communication tools provided by your dating service or chat rooms.

Use your judgement here.

When you e-mail in private, you may want to consider using an anonymous e-mail account at a free site.

Take your time to establish communication and move at your own pace.

Be careful with your email signatures. They sometimes include phone numbers and addresses.

~ Remember, you are in control. No one should pressurise you into revealing anything about yourself that you want to keep private. Anyone who does is not respecting your boundaries and is probably not worth contacting any further.
While exercising outdoors

~ The most important thing you can do is stay in well-travelled residential areas. Avoid isolated areas.

~ Never wear headphones while walking or jogging outside. It not only increases the likelihood that you will not hear someone approach from behind, but doing so sends a clear message to the outside world that you are not attuned to your surroundings and hence vulnerable.

~ Always assume hostile intent from strangers and keep your distance. Remember, many attacks are preceded by one of these three questions: 'May I use your phone?', 'What time is it?' and 'Do you know how to get to...?'
Other things to do

~ The eyes are the most vulnerable part of the body. Poke the attacked there and you have possibly your only window of opportunity to escape.

~ Aim for the groin area. A hard kick or a knee jammed into your attacker's groin will temporarily leave him unable to attack you.

~ The neck is also a vulnerable spot, but have you know where to grip and you have the strength to cut off his breath.

~ The last place is the knees. Everyone's knees are vulnerable and a swift kick here will get anyone down.

~ Take a self-defence course and carry pepper spray if you wish, but don't let either give you a false sense of security. Better to avoid areas where an attack can take place.

~ Don't depend on a dog to protect you all the time. If you are single and have a dog, let it be trained professionally to defend you.

~ If someone points a gun at you and demands that you get in a car, don't! Few criminals can shoot accurately at a moving target, so you are less likely to be injured while running away.

~ Finally, remember: Assuming that none of this will ever happen to you is ridiculous. No one expects it, but we must be aware and prepared.

Dr Diwan Rahul Nanda is chairman and MD, Topsgrup. Tospgrup is India's first and only security organisation to be accredited with the coveted ISO 9001:2000 certification.