Friday, 20 November 2015

Of News and Other Stuff-the All Things Boring Edition

  1. There is a desert in China called Takla Makaan. My amusement at this is reflective of how bored I am.
  2. Someone should institute a glamour quotient of corruption. The more un-glamourous the scam, the more corrupt a country is likely to be. Everyone can spot opportunities for thievery when a mega event like CWG is being organised or when resources are being awarded. It takes a special kind of criminal instinct to start a ‘Jute Bag Scam’ where new jute bags at PDS packaging centres are replaced with old ones. The new ones are sent to middle men who sell the bags to jute mills at half the price at which the government procured them. So simple and so dull.
  3. In its bid to dumb itself down and sell more copies revamp itself, the Hindu has added entertainment pages in the main newspaper. And to nobody’s surprise, they have managed to make that boring as well. How do they manage this when they have (possibly) the country’s best film writer on their payrolls? Also, whose idea of a design change was to use different font styles on the same page? The consultant in me strongly disapproves.
  4. Talking of aesthetic sensibilities, as a child I used to colour human bodies and faces with ochre. Then somewhere down the line, some art tutor (and I just can’t remember which one), made me switch to peach. Did this happen to you? Was it harmless or was it some deep seated racism that I unknowingly partook in?
  5. The other thing I was made to practice unconsciously was religion. All through my childhood, every place we sight saw had at least one common pit stop-a temple (the other was a movie theatre, because nothing like watching a generic Hindi movie to get an understanding of the local culture).
  6. My sole preoccupation during these visits was the ritual of taking off my shoes while worrying about them getting pilfered, getting jostled in the crowd trying to get a peek at the deity, and then wearing those shoes again, invariably with damp feet, and pebbles and gravel lining the in-soles now. If I had concentrated on actually seeing my surroundings a little more, I would have found it a lot easier to study for competitive exams.
  7. The other annoying subject for study is the institutional maze of India. The National Commission for minorities is a statutory body set up under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. Members of the minority communities can send in their grievances to the Commission. A chart on their website helpfully marks out the religion of each member (2 Muslims, 1 Christian, Parsi, Hindu, Buddhist each and 1 Sikh member seat which is currently vacant). So inclusive we are.
  8. We really need to stop pretending that we are a secular country. It is one thing to provide special protection to the culture/ language of a group. Quite another to give out life terms to people for ‘sacrilege’.  
  9. Kaushik Basu once said that the worst part of coming into policy from academia was that he was consistently misquoted in the media. So his biggest worry was to construct paragraphs in such a way that sentences could not possibly be lifted out of context to prove that the economy was going to the dogs. Apparently even that did not work, so he had to focus on ensuring that no string of words could be lifted and reported out of context. Which meant that he ended up giving boring speeches. Our favourite Central Bank governor on the other hand, before giving a lecture on a completely unrelated topic, gives out the following disclaimer:

"For any hints on what we will do in the upcoming policy statement, please read the guidance in our last policy statement. I quote: “Significant uncertainty will be resolved in the coming months, including the likely persistence of recent inflationary pressures, the full monsoon outturn, as well as possible Federal Reserve actions. As the Reserve Bank awaits greater transmission of its front-loaded past actions, it will monitor developments for emerging room for more accommodation. Nothing I say in what follows is meant to offer further guidance, and please don’t read veiled meaning where none is intended".

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