The Last Word


Mar, 2014

When Rajesh Khanna Reprimanded Shabana

January every year used to be the Great Film Month in Delhi. International Film Festival of India, IFFI used to take place a great get together of film buffs. Youngsters with a taste for the international cinema used to flock from the neighbouring towns. Besides, a quite a few film stars would visit the Capital to rub shoulders with the who's who of the international cinema.

Feb, 2014

My Non-Interview With Sanjay Gandhi I'm Grateful For!

Early seventys was the Sanjay era. His proposed small car was hogging the headlines. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had defended it as a venture of an enterprising individual. About the same time, I had completed my course in journalism and was knocking on the doors of newspapers for a foothold. Opportunities were few and far between. In Delhi, the print media had literally no magazines. And the electronics media was limited to Door Darshan.

Dec, 2013

Shame on Children of Deserted, Dying Parents

Of the 80 odd seasons that he has been through, he savoured less springs and suffered more rains, proverbially. Not that time took a toll on his age, it was his own siblings who dumped, nay disowned, him to weather the march of years. Deprived of a word of solace a hand for support a shoulder to lean on, his walking stick turned out to be his lone support, besides a dark, dingy four walls which a charitable religious organization let him have, that, too, after he had sliced out Rs. 2 lakh from his fast depleting savings.

Nov, 2013

Kitchen No Pyaaza

Onions when peeled bring tears. But this time around the absence of Onions is leading to tears. Already, Onions have a notorious track record of bringing down parties in power. Once again onions are all set to play their part in the polls.

Oct, 2013

Natural Remedies Work Wonders

About a decade ago, I developed a nagging pain in my left jaw. Dentist suggested X ray before treating it. There is a visible cavity. No problem we will fill it for now but later you have to have root canal done, he announced confidently. Cavity filled, I went about my work. Days passed, the pain resurfaced. Back to the dentist again I was advised to get root canal done. Second opinion was sought. The second dentist agreed with the first opinion. He recommended some pain killers before the operation root canal. Pain vanished and I chose to forget it.

Sep, 2013

Looking Back Wistfully……

In early 2006, two friends claiming great concern with the sinking state of affairs of small entrepreneurs in the country called on me, enthusiasm shining clear in their eyes. The two suggested a proposal which could work. In the following days, we sat over rounds of coffee exploring the possibility of launching a magazine.

Aug, 2013

Denouncing English: Pleasing Vote Banks

On a rough count, half of Indians are illiterate, and for almost two-thirds even elementary knowledge of English is a far cry. Yet, India has politicians who instead of encouraging masses to study and be multi-lingual to broaden their vision exploit the vote banks by denouncing English as alien to our ethos and culture.

Sep, 2012

Living with Insensitive Media

More than 40 passengers were charred beyond recognition. Many more may have not survived in hospitals later. We have not been able to know the exact toll. Though one of the most gruesome tragedies on the rails the news which should have led the news bulletins was played down by the self proclaimed 'national' electronic media. A medal had meant more than cries of parents and their innocent children.

Aug, 2012

Reaching Out To Men Who Matter…. !

The belief that the higher a bureaucrat goes in placement, the more inaccessible he becomes may not hold wholly true. However, there are always those few in whom inaccessibility is ingrained mostly influenced but arrogance and ego.

Jul, 2012

CSR : Lessons from a Tea Vendor

Our mighty corporate may be indulging in CSR as a compulsion to display their social face to the world but Rana ji, a small time tea vendor in Rajasthan has been practicing it for years albeit unknowingly and silently.

Jun, 2012

He Departed but His Teachings live on

In the seventies, Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan was the only institute in Delhi offering evening Post Graduate studies in mass communication. I decided to take a plunge in the pool of journalism. Besides others, Mr. Sunil Roy, a senior journalist, used to take our 'Reporting' class. He had his own inimitable style. Ever smiling, his style of teaching, informal and objective, became an instant hit with all the students. His popularity became a legend. At least I never bunked his class. His lectures were lively packed with interesting anecdotes of his stint in China where he represented PTI as Special Correspondent.

May, 2012

More Learned than Educated, You were!

I was speechless. Rather hesitatingly I asked him, “So, what have you decided, Sominder ?” His reply was curt and candid, “I have told the doctors that I don’t want to live life as dumb. Only six months? No problem but I must live and speak.” I was at a loss of words. Here was a friend, my life insurer who was as equally determined to face death too!

Apr, 2012

May I Meet More Like Kailash Kher

“Namaste Sir, mera naam Kailash Kher hai. Sir, main ek singer hun. Main apke office kab aa sakta hun?” It was a baritone of a voice in chaste Hindi.

Mar, 2012

Gen Next on Empty Stomach

The words ring true. Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, the 18th century British social reformist and crusader of the poor and powerless, once said “the first duty to children is to make them happy – if you have not made them so, you have wronged them – no other good they may get can make up for that”.

Feb, 2012

Rest in Peace, Ashwin !

What has happened Rajen, you haven't replied to my email I sent some time back?”. It was a frantic call from Ashwin Merchant November last as if something was amiss in his scheme of things. I felt guilty. “I am sorry sir, I have been travelling,” I responded immediately. His reply was typical of him – a combo of concern and care free ness: “It's ok, no problem. I was worried as you always reply instantly. You know I am not feeling well and am bed-ridden but you will get my column, anyway. I will write in a day or so.” His column did not arrive ob my desk. Later, my New Year greetings went unacknowledged too. My phone calls evoked no response. I did wonder what could have gone wrong him but in the wildest of dreams could not imagine that Ashwin had met the maker.

Jan, 2012

Down the Memory Lane

Zainul Abdin was the only person who would pour his heart out to me in a mix of Urdu-Hindi (Hindustani ) in hush-hush tones during the war-torn Dhaka (then Dacca) in the early 70s where I worked for a news agency -- my first journalistic stint.

Dec, 2011

The Colonel and His Son

This is the story of a father and his son. It may easily be the story of other households as well, though this one has a different flavour worthy of being shared.

Nov, 2011

SMEs Seminar minus SMEs

Seminar is a serious affair. More so when it is organized for the benefit of an industrial sector which is so vital to the economy. Come October, the seminar season sets in. A day after when the MSME Secretary, delivered his keynote address at one such seminar organized by a prestigious industrial body at a five star hotel, he asked me 'how was the seminar ?' I purposefully kept quite. “How many entrepreneurs were there?” he asked smilingly, I replied, “I hardly found any.”

Oct, 2011

A Tale of two Judges

An advocate friend narrated me two examples of sharp contrast of the working of our judiciary. At 10 am all courts start and the day's files are kept in order on the Judge's table by the reader, well before the the day's proceedings start.

Sep, 2011

Why Anna Hazare is relevant?

The passport office takes the crown. The file moves from section to section, clipped with 'cash' at every clearance. The procedural hurdles have been crossed. But wait. A hammer awaits your head. The speed-post man flashes the passport before your eyes and eyes your pocket! He may not say 'bakshish', but mask it with moonh mitha karwayen'. The dictum: ek haath se doh; doosre haath se lo ! You are in a fix! To get the hint and get the much awaited passport. Or stand up? I know a friend who wanted his passport urgently. He refused to pay the constable who visited him for verification. Not obliging the constable paid him dearly. His verifications report was held up for six months.

Aug, 2011

Did Adi Amma Live a Fruitful life?

A year later, I got the news from the volunteer that Adi Amma was no more. I wonder did Adi Amma live a fruitful life? I wonder what happens to the old and the infirm when their children desert them for whatever reason? Adi Amma was lucky to have the patronage of the society but there are thousands and thousands of such unfortunate who remain devoid of any social security. We have old age homes only in the metros but the problem is big enough to call for our efforts. What it costs to leave your parents to fend for themselves in the evenings of their lives is a question only the concerned can answer.

Jul, 2011

Joseph's Rave Party

How much hope was left in this young entrepreneur? How much passion he still had? At least, I failed to gauge. Neither would I know in the near future? I was depressed as well and wondered if it was a rave party for this young entrepreneur addicted to work and prosperity?

Jun, 2011

Vendors Face Police Ire! But Why?

Rajendra Place complex was built some three decades ago by the DDA to offset the Capital's landmark Connaught Place. Today, the whole complex is a picture of unsightly negligence. It is looked down upon contemptuously as an orphan. Come sunset, the sparsely lit complex turns a haven for addicts. Intriguingly, the same very anti-vendor beat police turn a blind eye to this illegality.

What is World Class Anyway

The fact is that every IIT and IIMs in India has a learned faculty who are themselves IIT and IIM alumni. In IIT Bombay more than half of its faculty is an IIT alumni. There is no justification in comparing Indian standards with those of the developed countries. One must bear in mind that India, all said and done, is far from developed. We have all kinds of problems – resources and environment.

May, 2011

A Pat for the Minister

We have reason to congratulate the MSME Minister who has realized the complexities and has come out with a very valid demand. The sector would remain indebted to the Minister if the SIDBI is made answerable to the sector. Better late than never!

Ganga: Can Batters become Saviours?

It is a great irony that on the one hand we worship the River and call it Ma Ganga (Mother Ganga) and on the other we display little respect to the Divine Mother by blatantly polluting it. Our industry has shown little enthusiasm in saving the River and remains indifferent to the directives not to pollute the Ganga.

Apr, 2011

How secured we are?

Nearly 300 people die every day in road accidents in India. The injured remain uncounted. No TV channel has ever made an effort to highlight the system of getting a driving license in India. Ask any driver using car, auto, bus, truck or even a bike how he got his driving license?

A Passing Tribute

“I am happy, very happy on seeing my students going up the ladder of success.” I thought for a while wondering what I should ask him. “Sir, are you fine, are you still teaching,” was all I could think of asking him as we were so used to answering, never questioning him.

Mar, 2011

Adding Blood to the Sweat

Social security is the dire need in a growing economy like India. We need to have more and more Khushpreets around to make India a vibrant country of 1.2 billion strong nation. Let us add some fresh blood to their sweat waiting to be shed in their effort to survive and lead a dignified life.

Feb, 2011

CSR for the SMEs: Lessons from Alibaba

The onus lies with the governance as much as with our industry leaders, chambers, federations, associations, organizations concerned directly or indirectly with the nation's economic growth. Of and on corrupt practices in the higher rungs get noticed but irregular and corrupt practices at lower levels have become like the regulatory orders.

Jan, 2011

Who will Answer the 'Future' of the Nation?

Wonder, who is accountable to the suffering children of India. The future generations will not forgive us if we continue to be callous towards them. Education is the only door to a prosperous India and the 'Aam Admi' of tomorrow. “If we deny education to our children, we are digging our own graves,” said a twentieth century philosopher.

Dec, 2010

Time to Turn our Post Offices into Modern Communication Centers

How come no one has ever thought of our post offices which continue to emote the stink of the bygone century. A visit to the post office, leave out a few in the metros, you will feel rewound to the olden times. It seems the air of progress and new civilization has surpassed our post offices across the country.

Nov, 2010

The Taste of China: Industries in China

What was most pleasantly striking was my failure to make out as to who is the boss and who is the employee. I found most of them with smiling faces wearing the same attires. With language as the main hindrance, I found most of the shop keepers welcoming me with warm gestures.

Oct, 2010

XIX Commonwealth Games 2010: In Defence of My Country and My Countrymen

The main villain was the media which went overboard and churned out negative stories whole-heartedly without even a logical break. It seems our visual media is more concerned about its TRP and for this it can do anything, just anything.

Aug, 2010

The Moral Progress

He asked Maulvi most ardently if his son had committed any mistake yesterday. Maulvi asked him why he is asking this. The father replied, “yesterday when my son came home, he had no mark on his face. It seems you have not slapped him. I feel sorry and beg your pardon for the mischief he may have committed. But for God sake, you must slap him everyday lest he forgets all his lessons. I want my son to be your obedient student and to become a disciplined citizen.”

Jul, 2010

My Proud BPL Club

The ever rising cost of living (huh, what's this, anyway), hardly casts its ugly shadow on my life. Petrol has risen like our 'astra' missile, but I am undeterred. Water is scarce owing to depleting ground levels and has become costly. Believe me, I can have a heartful bath any time of day and as many times as I wish. Our public transport, rail, air and bus fares, has become unmanageable for many with their limited source of income, I can see. But I am unnerved. The cost of our domestic fuel - LPG - has risen like the acid gas but has failed to touch my life. It will never.

Jun, 2010

Doctors Must Stay Back or Pay Back

The Planning Commission report says that India is short of six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and two lakh dental surgeons. Thousands and thousands of...

May, 2010

Kannan Menon Private Unlimited

About seven years ago on a sultry morning, Kannan Menon, a man of about 20 walked into our office holding a box of writing pens of different qualities.

Apr, 2010

Make history to save the millions from penury

Unity is strength. Who does not know this? We have been taught this umpteen times in school with a variety of stories. Unity is not strength only when we work together or fight an evil together; it is also governing together. It is all the more meaningful when one works together to better the lot of millions of our poor countrymen languishing in abject poverty for years together.

Mar, 2010

Invoke the Sun God to Rescue Us

In millions of Indian homes, the Sun God is regularly worshipped. We have umpteen temples dedicated to the deity. Sun is the single source of supplying energy to our planet. The irony remains that of the 1.2 billion Indians, almost about half of us live without electricity. We ardently and dutifully worship the Sun but have not yet learnt how to invoke the Sun God to our practical advantage, religious sentiments notwithstanding.

Feb, 2010

Delhi - India’s Newest Business Capital

Delhi is fast stealing the limelight from Mumbai which is lacking its luster at least in the industrial and business count. There were times when a shopkeeper in Delhi would sell his wares proudly telling the customer that it is Bombay-made.

Jan, 2010

Soft Facts : Hard Times

Travelling from Pune to Mumbai is always pleasant especially when winter is about to set in. A man, in his mid-forties, holding two handbags, one clinging to his shoulder and the other in the firm grip of his hand, rushed into the Volvo looking for his seat number. Tense but not worried, he placed his one bag on the seat while pushing the other into the overhead shelf.

Dec, 2009

Copenhagen in Every Home

When man invented wheel, little did he realize that he has begun the process of the end of this planet and mankind. Centuries have gone by and our race towards automation continues relentlessly inventing and discovering ways and means to make ourselves more and more comfortable and today our beautiful planet Earth stands on the threshold of imminent doom.

Nov, 2009

De-grading the Grades

A bright-eyed Doordarshan (our sarkari news channel) correspondent visits the HRD Ministry for a conversation with the Minister on the proposed changes in the education system at the CBSE level.

Oct, 2009

Can we manage our marginal entrepreneurs?

An estimate says that there are about 3 lakh small entrepreneurs in the capital city alone running their show from every nook corner of the city. These include roadside vendors, daily-need shops, kiosks etc. The daily business churned by these marginal enterprises runs in millions. They have no accountability and don't either come in any official count.

Sep, 2009

Of Bricks and Bouquets

SME WORLD and economic recession appeared almost at the same time. For SME WORLD, it was like taking birth by the roadside, with no cradle; no piggy back.

Aug, 2009

'My Proud Peaceful Club'

The ever rising cost of living (huh, what's this, anyway), hardly casts its ugly shadow on my life. Petrol has risen like a our 'astra' missile, but I am undeterred. Water is scarce owing to depleting ground levels and has become costly. Believe me, I can have a heartful bath any time of day and as many times as I wish. Our public transport, rail, air and bus fares, has become unmanageable for many with their limited source of income, I can see. But I am unnerved.

Jul, 2009

Death of a Doctor

Having been a witness to 85 springs and seasons, his body lay still and serene, unstressed and unconcerned, as if wanting to tell a long tail, in the chill of December's soothing Sun. He always liked the Sun in winter. “It is the most powerful energy your body needs,” he once told me as he laid back on his easy chair holding a platter decorated with neatly cut carrots.

Jun, 2009

Let's Meet Pain

As I started my car for leaving the electricity office premises, I was confronted by an old man in his seventies. “Beta, one minute please. Do you have time to listen to me? I would be grateful to you.” He said it all as if in hurry. His voice was firm and he sounded confident which is generally missing in an urban begger. My initial impression was he may be in need of some genuine help.

May, 2009

EMPTYNL

As the city temperature threatened to rise on an otherwise normal day, I take my seat with a feeling of comfort. I suddenly notice that my internet is not working. Thinking the failure to be another normal breakdown I decide to wait. A few hours pass but the net would refuse to come back to life. Feelings lost in the world with no access to the world, I decide to dial 1504. Here starts my roller coaster ride with MTNL.

Our roadside entrepreneurs need a stare

Outside the cluster of buildings in the well-known commercial complex of New Delhi, Gopal Prasad, a man in his early thirties, finds an obscure place to lay-out his 'business' on the footpath under the shadow of an imposing tree.

Apr, 2009

Make history to save the millions from penury

Unity is strength. Who does not know this? We have been taught this umpteen times in school with a variety of stories. Unity is not strength only when we work together or fight an evil together; it is also governing together.

Mar, 2009

Insurance Uninsured

Someone purchased a car and got it insured from a public sector insurance company. Getting an insurance policy was a swift affair as within no time the policy was issued. The insurance company was good enough to renew the policy every year without any hassles.

Jan, 2009

Soft Facts : Hard Times

Travelling from Pune to Mumbai is always pleasant especially when winter is about to set in. A man, in his mid-forties, holding two handbags, one clinging to his shoulder and the other in the firm grip of his hand, rushed into the Volvo looking for his seat number.

Nov, 2008

The Ravana and the Gutka

It was a grand finale like every year. The effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath were waiting to be consigned to flames in Subhash Maidan in Delhi on the Dusehra day.

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1 Comments >>
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