January 30, 2006

Davos for dummies

My ‘Dateline Mysore’ column this week is on Davos. You may ask, what the piece has to do with the dateline. Little, if anything. It’s my way of pushing Mysore, calling it ‘Dateline Mysore’. It is a tag-line to sort me out from other columnists on zine5.com. Literally, the dateline refers to my operating base. My earlier zine5 pieces used to appear under ‘Dateline Coonoor’. I used to stay in Nilgiris before shifting residence to Mysore. Occasionally, I do Mysore-centric pieces, perhaps, to justify the dateline.

My Take on Mysore’s Miseries

If Pigs Have a say, They’d sue the Mayor

Importance of being T S Satyan

No Ideas Please, We’re Mysoreans

MATF: Toothless Tiger on a Thorn in the Flesh

MyMysore Dot Com

Davos fascinated me because of its coverage on blogs. It was in a blog, of The New York Times, I read about the ‘India Everywhere’ PR campaign in Davos. As they put it, there were few places (in Davos) one could go to without seeing, hearing, drinking or tasting something Indian. Davos buses carried ads. proclaiming India as the world’s fastest-growing free-market democracy. The cost of such elaborate charm offensive is estimated at $5 million… For More click on Davos for Dummies

January 25, 2006

Kissa kursi ka (nahi) ?

Sampling from a single day (Jan.25) of politico quotes our media reported faithfully:

Janata Dal (S) is not after power… Mr H D Krishnaswamy, at Kollur Mookambika temple

I am sure that question (Mr Dharam Singh resigning) does not arise…Law and parliamentary affairs minister, Mr H K Patil, to the media in Bangalore.

You have spoilt my reputation ….Mr Deve Gowda to the media in front of his Bangalore residence

He (Deve Gowda) has asked me to tell you to leave. Avoid making him angry……JD(S) spokesman to media persons hanging out in front of Mr Gowda’s residence.

January 23, 2006

Karnataka regime change and I

I claim no insight into impending regime change in Karnataka. Which enables me to write for Zine5.com, a website focused on creative, rather than fact-filled writing. Besides, it was the TV visuals that had an appeal for me. I was inspired to write on Karnataka regime change after reading about reality TV in Thailand. The TV show - ‘Backstage Show: The PM’ – features Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on a five-day tour of the poorest region in Thailand. The Thai tycoon-turned-politician is seen waving at the camera, talking at village meetings halls, plunging into throngs of villagers, always trailed by 40 cameras.
This post is pure plug for my piece on the Karnataka regime change, which I reckon is a poor-selling reality TV. In my long stint as newspaper reporter I’ve learnt this – you don’t ask politicians sensible questions on camera unless you want silly answers. There was this hotshot reporter on TV who caught up with HDK, Sat. morning, at Bangalore Oberoi, as he was about to bundle off his party loyalists in a luxury bus….Click here, if you care to read more.

January 18, 2006

It wasn’t Mr Gowda’s day

Haradanahalli Dodde Deve Gowda told The Hindu that Wednesday (Jan.18) was his political life’s ‘saddest day’. I quote him, advisedly, because Mr Gowda could change his mind tomorrow, and say, ‘No, it wasn’t my saddest'. For the benefit of those whose TV set stays always at B4U or some other movie channel, and those who skip Page One and read newspapers only for sports news, I would mention that on Wednesday there was revolt in the Deve Gowda household. One of his sons crossed the Lakshman Rekha drawn by Mr Gowda, and made a pact with his political Ravana to stake his claim to rule Gowda’s Ayodhya.
It was a day of high drama, featuring a deluxe coach ferrying MLAs through rush-hour Bangalore traffic, speeding cars fitted on top with revolving red lights, and a clutch of media mikes thrust at some ‘B’ league political players for kerb-side briefings, as they rushed from one closed-door meeting to another.
Meanwhile, at his Padmanabhanagar home the JD(S) supremo skipped dinner (raagi ball with soppu) and refused to pose for media photographs.

January 17, 2006

Hurray for a subway ?

No way. That’s what I said when they raised the matter in April last. They are at it again, kite-flying the idea, with a news item that the Mysore civic body’s standing committee on town planning and development has given approval to a pedestrian subway opposite the city bus stand. No blueprint has been prepared. Nor has the cost estimate been worked out. Maybe there is some other basis on which our standing committee gives project approval.
Anyway, a subway, to my mind, is one way we can start heading the ‘Bangalore-way’, in terms of smell, squalor, and the snarls of a big city. To be sure, this wouldn’t be the only subway Mysore would have, if our city corporation is allowed to have its way.
A city subway brings to mind trash and litter, patches of dirt and stain on the flooring and subway walls, and stench (if our sanitation and conservation staff go on strike as routinely as they do). Hawkers and beggers find a subway the most convenient place for business. Well-lit to start with, a subway tends, before long, to have the bulbs stolen and electrical fittings vandalized. Waterlogging wouldn’t be uncommon in a subway after sharp showers.
Our civic body, I gather, is justifiably concerned about traffic congestion. Subway is a solution, if we don’t count the maintenance problems a subway creates. But then, I reckon, our civic body has another standing committee to address problems arising out of creating a subway.

(Click here for the item: ‘A subway? No way’)

January 8, 2006

Is Mr Ibrahim the source of all ills?

Must say this right away. I don’t know Mr A B Ibrahim well enough to wish him ill. In fact, I haven’t had occasion to meet our city commissioner. But he seems to emerge a no-good guy, if we go by media reports. Says a newspaper, citing an association of concerned and informed citizens, that our city is badly in need of a ‘good’ commissioner and ‘sincere’ officer. And here I am, blissfully ‘uninformed’ about this dire need. What’s worse, I wasn’t aware that Mysoreans were fed up with Mr Ibrahim’s ‘misrule’ (Deccan Herald), and that he stood accused of ‘a series of mistakes, including mismanagement’ (The Hindu).
In a democracy we are all entitled to our opinions (read noises). And we have a hand-out driven media in which anything goes as reportage. I am into citizen journalism. And I have no views, only some naïve questions.
Is Mr Ibrahim the source of everything that has gone wrong in our city? Don’t we have anyone else in authority capable of mucking things up?
Is transfer of the municipal commissioner, if warranted, such a hassle that it calls for people-powered initiatives, such as those of the mayor, our councilors, not to speak of the association of concerned and informed citizens (no less, I guess) ?
Incidentally, does this association speak for the Mysore citizenry? Don’t you think they should really call it A(S)CICM ( ‘S’ for ‘some’ or ‘so-called’) ?
Should postings and transfer of bureaucrats be the concern of an association of citizens, however concerned and well informed they be? Weren’t such things the prerogative of the administration ?

January 6, 2006

Why I fancy Mr Prasad

I am a fan of Krishna Prasad. He has a flair for picking telling things to write about. And, he really got down to the root of it in his latest Deccan Herald edit-page column. Mr Prasad refers to a screening of ‘Beru’ in Shimoga. The award-winning Kannada film wasn’t evidently much of a hit. The Shimoga show reportedly attracted an audience of two. Yes, there were just two persons in the hall.
It’s the kind item that sets one thinking (now, do you sense why I fancy Mr Prasad?) The column prompted me to read up on ‘Beru’. Must clarify here, I am unfamiliar with the Kannada film scene; am even less familiar with the language. But then the Beru theme is provocative, and you wouldn’t need to know the language to get the drift of storyline. Maybe corruption is a theme about which pretty much everything had been said before, in the media and cinema, but not everyone has said it. What appeals to me about ‘Beru’ is that it’s a co-operative endeavour of Karnataka film artists and technicians. It was Mithra Chitra’s third film, after ‘Munnudi’ and ‘Athithi’.
P Seshadri-directed Beru’ portrays the degradation of values in the bureaucratic system, and the impact on common man, of a corrupt, insensitive and indifferent administration, says R G Vijayasarathy. For more on his Rediff.com review click here.