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Mon, Apr. 27th, 2009 02:48 pm

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Written and published during the 2000 General Elections, I keep remembering this article every now and then. While some of the mentions are clearly  timed, most (not surprisingly!) are extremely topical.

So here goes: A reproduction of my comment piece (Yeh Dil Maange More) carried in the A.M.Plus supplement of The Morning News in the year 2000. 
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Yeh Dil Maange More

It’s that time of the year again… well to be precise this time should come only once in five years. But no! We Indians always want to break and better on our previous records. And so here we are – with yet another general election, in just over one year!

The politicians have succeeded, yet again, in making a mockery of the democratic set up in India. They have managed to cause yet another constitutional dilemma. The Vajpayee government at the centre has been bestowed the chance to enter the Limca Book of Records, by being the longest caretaker government in India. It is important to state that this eight months of care-taking will be the longest till date, and that there may be many more such caretaker governments in future to break this record.

The one good thing about a caretaker government is that the opposition no more tries to fell the government. This government will run the whole eight months without danger of being overthrown. If only our regular governments lasted as long as the caretaker ones! I think a couple of caretaker governments will do us a lot of good, for most of our regular governments last only months if not weeks!

The great people of the largest democracy are just too shocked to react. Though the so-called political analysts, who have to make a living, are quick to blame the BJP, Congress, Left Parties, and who not for the present predicament, the citizens are choosing to remain silent.

It looks like most of us, democratic Indians, and of course patriots at that, have already lost hope in the great leaders who are busy squabbling with each other to try and rule the country. No matter who the voter chooses to cast his valuable vote in favour of, no matter which party he decides to elect… the result is always the same.

The voter goes to the election booth and casts his/her vote in favour of the favourite candidate or party. But when the ballot boxes are opened and the votes are counted, a unique transformation occurs. Some parties suddenly become secular, while some communal – of course, we cannot forget the Left!

The voter is shaken badly, as his ‘mandate’ is termed to be ‘secular’ in nature, while the single largest party proves to be a ‘communal’ one! This is shocking for the voter for it is equivalent to have a government formed by five people who have one vote each, while the person with four votes is kept out of office.


Then again, it is not as if the largest conglomeration or combination of ‘like-minded parties’ come together to form the government. There is always a Jayalalitha, a Subramaniam Swamy, a L K Advani, a George Fernandes, and even a Giridhar Gomang who have the power to bring a national government down to its knees.

All the nuclear power generated at Pokhran could not help the BJP-led government to remain in existence. A government that lived through the onion shortage, could not survive the vote of confidence brought about by one huge (I not only mean in power, but also in size) lady from Poes Garden. All the Pritvis and Agnis could not protect the government at the centre. Two shrewd women were enough to uproot it.

The voter is justified in losing confidence in the whole election process. Like comedian and satirist Jaspal Bhatti said, we should have the 13th and the 14th Lok Sabha elections simultaneously. This, he said, will not only save enormous capital spending, but also save the valuable time and labour of the voter.

But the voter too doesn’t have much choice to choose from. Either he can cast his vote and bring a ‘communal party’ to power or thrust the reins of the country in the hands of an ‘Italian-born Indian’! This is assuming that the voter does not want a communist government at the centre. Now if we are seeking new records, this would be a first.

The consumer goods manufacturers are now targeting only one aspect to make customers buy their products – offering more value for money. Like the Pepsi ad that says yeh dil maange more, the citizens of this great country are also pleading with the politicians: "Please… yeh dil maange more!".

All that we, the people of this country, are asking the politicians is: Please put aside your differences, please stop your squabbles, please stop behaving like kids… Start behaving like leaders, and do the one thing that we expect from you – rule the country, in a manner that befits a country as great as ours. Forget Ram Rajya and forget Rome Rajya… just give us a durable good Rajya.


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PS: Basically I wanted to share the two paragraphs I have highlighted above, as again this elections we are already talking of post-election alliances... alliances of opportunity to gain power.
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Current Location: Bangalore
Current Mood: optimistic optimistic

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Wed, Feb. 25th, 2009 01:16 pm

I always thought that blogging was the thing for me, as I normally like to write longer thoughtful (and sometimes thoughtless) pieces. But having pushed it as much as I could, I set up a twitter account a couple of months back; December 3rd to be exact.

And here I am now fully hooked on. So if you are on twitter too, you can follow me at http://twitter.com/nakulshenoy

Another instance of the sender, message & receiver remaining the same... the transmitter is what seems to matter nowadays!

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Current Location: Bangalore
Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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Fri, Jan. 23rd, 2009 01:36 pm

BANGALORE: Are you one of those who has been fascinated by magic? Have you ever toyed with the idea of being a magician? Have you ever tried learning magic tricks ? Have you ever felt the need to have a hobby that could entertain your close ones?

If you answered YES to any of the above, then The Magic Space in Bangalore has the perfect answer for you! The Magic Space is launching a new Learn Magic course, in the ever-popular two-day workshop format.

To be conducted on February 28 and March 01, 2009 at The Magic Space premise on Girinagar 50 feet road, this learn magic workshop has been put together with the professional and corporate employees in mind, and will provide them with the know-how, training, and the essential tools to take up the art of magic as a hobby.

Magic has been known to entertain all ages. It has been known to be used by doctors and other professionals as a hobby both for their own enjoyment and also to entertain those around them.

The Learn Magic workshop will apprise the attendees with the basic history and theory of magic, and familiarise them with the various genres of magic. Over a highly-packed two day session, accomplished and well-known magicians would enable and equip the participants to perform magic and entertain their friends and acquaintances.

This basic course will provide the fundamentals of magical entertainment, and pave the perfect path for the participants to take up a more active interest in the art of magic. Along with sharing the theory and workings of the magical craft, this workshop also aims at improving one's presentation and public-speaking skills, which are so integral to the art of magical entertainment.

To know more details about LEARN MAGIC -- The Two-Day Workshop, visit www.themagicspace.net or email workshops [at] themagicspace.net or call 9900 970 099.

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Current Location: Bangalore
Current Mood: optimistic optimistic

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Tue, Jan. 20th, 2009 03:27 pm

When I said January 18th 2009 would be the one and only time Beyond Magic would play as a full-evening show, this is not quite what I meant. But the way things have transpired since, I may never want to try anything similar.
 
Planned and pitched as a world premier the show had all that it needed - the hype, the media blitz, even two very unique acts. I also had some very dear friends making it to the event at the last minute, and making it that much more unique and special.

Special thanks are in accord to Dhiraj and Ganesh with the way they handled the backstage, and helped me with many last minute preparations. Vishakha helped in every way to try and organise the pass distribution and ticket sales, while Umesh was at his inimitable best with the kind of irrepressible publicity material he created for the show.

Giri was a pillar of strength and am utmost fortunate to have him as a friend, for he took care of everything that was needed to get the show up and running. Special thanks to Pravin Godkhindi, Aruna, Navneeth, Divya, Rafi, Prahlad, Sharath, Suhas, Niranjan, Deeksha, Guru, and Raghu, for all the wonderful moral support they extended to make the show a grand success.

Special thanks are in accord to Yashwanth Sirdeshpande for his immense support with media publicity. Thanks also to Siddharth and the folks at MSN India for a wonderful hype created around the event, and Aparna at Reliance Retail for immense support accorded via Reliance TimeOut.

The show was well-attended, although we did not quite make it a full-house. I did a decent job (as always, it could have been better!) and played well to the august crowd that had gathered at the Chowdaiah. It was a fun evening and was well liked by the people that made it.
 
Just when everything was going perfect, and a fairy-tale dream was turning into reality, I had to blow it all off. Perhaps it was the tiredness of a 90-minute solo show or perhaps it was just utmost foolishness, the reason just does not matter anymore.
 
What does is among one celebration, I managed to kill at least three good friendships, possibly more. One moment of unminded callousness on my side, and I lost the trust and faith of the people who had stood by my side and had been providing me with every kind of support. I have hurt them enough to have lost all their trust.
 
At this point of no return, I can only think I did not deserve their faith, trust, and love. Truly, nobody who hurts his close friends in this manner can ever hope to have good friendships. And I guess I am no different.
 
I can only remain sorry, and wonder: Perhaps there really is something called a coincidence, where a series of incidents conspire together against you.
 

 
@ Girish, Aruna, Ajith, Divya, Sandeep, and Vidya: I thank you for making it to the show and contributing to its success in your individual ways. I remain extremely apologetic and sorry for what I made you feel afterwards.

Current Location: Bangalore
Current Mood: sad sad

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Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 01:10 pm

I hope you allow a little of the usual self-indulgence and self-promotion in my blog. Would be great if you would be kind enough to forward this information to your friends and contacts, and help boost the ticket sales.

Thanks!

Nakul


Win free tickets to the Beyond Magic show this Sunday!!

A special staging of the unique psychic entertainment show: Beyond Magic - An Intimate Evening of Psychic Phenomena -- is being held at the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, Bangalore on Sunday the 18th of January 2009. 
 
Nakul Shenoy presents Beyond MagicNakul Shenoy and his Beyond Magic have been wowing corporate audiences worldwide in exclusive and prestigious events for over five years. This mystical show has been featuring as the mainstay entertainment at corporate events, seminars, conferences, product launches, et al. and has entertained the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Wipro, Infosys, GE, HSBC Bank, ICICI Bank, Samsung Electronics, Microland, APC, PAN-IIT, et al. 
 
This is the first time that the highly successful show steps into the world of public mainstream entertainment, and Nakul Shenoy's Beyond Magic is expected to take the city and the country by storm, as psychic entertainment makes its foray into the Indian entertainment catalogue.
 
Being hosted as a full-evening theatre entertainment show at the prestigious Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, the Beyond Magic show is being hosted as an exclusive invitee-only event. Very few tickets are being sold to this world premiere event via Reliance TimeOut (on Cunningham Street, Bangalore) and www.buzzintown.com  
 
To win free tickets to the event, visit: www.msnindia.com/magic 
 
 
In The News:

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Current Location: Bangalore
Current Mood: happy happy

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Fri, Nov. 28th, 2008 05:08 pm

Despite repeated requests from the NSG and the Army personnel to refrain from showing the live footage of the anti-terrorist operations at Mumbai, the media is playing out a farce and continuing to show sensitive live footage of the operations.

I was just watching the NDTV guys play out a live act (yes, I choose to call it an act) where they were ostensibly deciding whether showing the footage was jeopardising the operation or not. Then Srinivasan Jain decided to give a live commentary of what was happening as they were requested not to broadcast live footage.

At one point he said, "I think the terrorists inside already know they are being attacked by grenade launchers. So we can now talk about it".

Why can't these otherwise intelligent journalists understand that any information they are sharing could be sensitive to the operation, and in terms jeopardising the lives of the brave soldiers who are fighting the terrorists on our soil.

Even as I type this newscaster Vikram asked Srinivasan Jain to get the camera closed in on his face, so that no sensitive information was going to be shown.

Barely 10 seconds later there was a loud sound. And the camera immediately panned and tilted and zoomed to the window that was targetted by the security forces! And then Srinivasan was right there asking the cameraperson to zoom right in to show the window being damaged, and then asking to zoom out a little for a better view! Perhaps in the excitement he forgot what he was saying a second back?

After a brief silence he is now back saying "thoda sa left mein zoom kare". The bloody morons (excuse me, but I think this expletive is well deserved) are showing the exact windows and floors and wings that are being attacked.

Whatever happened to media restraint? Whatever happened to Media Ethics?

The adrenaline took over! Ethics is only for the textbooks?

For a brief moment there was news that the news media was blocked out in Mumbai. While this was a good move, what prevents these terrorists from getting their information from accomplices outside of Mumbai?

I am totally for a total ban on any and all live footage (visual/audio) being telecast during the operation. I would go to the extent of saying that the media should be held responsible for the deaths of the security personnel whose operations may have indeed been compromised due to the live streaming of the footage, especially the paramilitary forces dropping in to the building, and the NSG moving in for the operations.

Many of these so-called journalist I had held in high esteem in the past. Not anymore. I am today as of this moment totally ashamed of the media behaviour.

I am close to being ashamed of being associated with the craft of journalism.

PS: And in the meantime Mr Srinivasan Jain continues to amaze me by "not showing operational details"!

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Current Location: Bangalore
Current Mood: aggravated aggravated

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Thu, Nov. 27th, 2008 11:32 am

For a brief moment I had the following as my GTalk status message:
Wanted! For the Indian Government: A backbone and a soul...

Then a close friend pointed out with understandable anguish that the members of the police, fire, and security forces were also the government; the various brave people from the public administration who were involved in solving the latest terror crisis were also the government.

Trying to make a case that my reference was to the ruling party (forming the government) was a battle lost even before it could be started. And understandably so.

So let me try a different approach.


This recent spate of at least 10 different terrorist strikes all across the country in the last one year is slowly but surely poking holes in the internal security set-up of the country. Many questions are being raised to the Indian government which seems to have failed to undertake effective measures to check terrorism on Indian soil.

Among others, the Deccan Mujahideen -- virtually an unheard of organisation until a few months back -- is surely ruling the roost in terms of carrying mass and large-scale terror attacks across the Indian Nation. Or at least being quick and first to claiming the credit for most of these inhuman and evil highly coordinated attacks.

That the top three police officials - who were consistently a pain to the terrorist and criminal organisations - were killed in the initial part of the attacks, points to the intensity with which the terror operations were planned. A news report communicated the shock of the police force when their top officials were martyred, with a sub-inspector recounted the incident amidst shock and sobs.

Checking up with family, friends and acquaintances in Mumbai, brought to light many who had a close call during the terror attack, but had been decidedly fortunate than the hundred dead and two hundred injured. While the legendary resolve of the Mumbaikars came through in their statements, the uncertainty caused by the grim situation also crept through in their statements.

"All well and safe. So far."

"Indeed it's horrific! I'm in Pune and praying for the people of Mumbai."

"Horrendous situation. Still quite chaotic."

"Everything's fine here. At home today. Truly terrifying."

"Was out when the open firing happened. We actually heard the firing and saw police vans everywhere. But luckily we managed to find a cab home immediately. We are safe now."

"We are alive and well, for the time being. And will remain so if Patil permits."

"Situation is very bad out here. We are fine."


In a day or two the media and the rest of us will be talking and heralding the resolve of the Mumbaikars, who will not let anything stop them. But seriously, taking nothing away from their iron-strong resolve, what can a Mumbaikar do? For that matter what can anybody do?

Terror attacks or not, the people (read "the common man") do have to return to work, to continue earning their livelihoods, to carry on whatever it is that they do daily in their lives.

This is a fact of life for most, if not all, of us!


At this moment, I can't help but think to how any other city would cope with such a tragedy. Given the sad state of affairs with regard to the security infrastructure, I can only fear a mayhem.

As the questions that need to be brought up are being raised on the inaction of the Home Minister on the myriad terror attacks, which seem to be continuing unchecked, we also need to remember to pay our gratitude to the numerous under-paid under-equipped under-appreciated security forces who are fighting a daily battle to save our souls.

I do hope the politicians at the helm of the country pull their acts together, better today than tomorrow. For once they can stop bringing in politics into everything.

This is not a time to talk of political ideologies, nor of bringing in religion, nor of breaking the country and its people into castes and sub-castes, and playing vote-bank politics.

This is a time for the Raj Thackerays and Narendra Modis and Omar Abdullahs and Rahul Gandhis of the country to come together to fight for and save our Motherland.

This moment of terror, grief and tragedy is as right a time as any for all Indians to come together as one and resolve to do everything in our power and beyond to fight the enemy that is increasingly affecting our daily lives.

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Current Location: Bangalore
Current Mood: determined
Current Music: Bharat humko jaan se pyaara hain

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Thu, Nov. 27th, 2008 10:50 am

I salute the brave martyrs of my motherland who laid down their lives fighting for the freedom and security of the people of India.

I salute the brave policemen and soldiers who are, even as I write this, exchanging fire with the terrorists holed up in some of the top hotels in Mumbai.

I salute the brave firemen who were busy fighting the flames atop the Hotel Taj -- even as the security forces and the terrorists exchanged bullets!

I salute the resolve of the brave Mumbaikars who will continue to lead their lives against all odds.


True. The terrorists attacked Mumbai.
True, that they targeted some of the hippest hotels in the commercial and cultural capital of the country.
True, that their primary targets seemed to be foreigners staying in there.
True also, that their primary target seemed to be the top three police men who were on a war against terror and terrorists.

Having said that, this has to be seen as an attack on India and Indian-ism. This is an attack on democracy, an attack on freedom, an attack on the people of India.

The Terrorists may seem to have won a battle here, as they mauled down the top three anti-terrorist cops, and also most of the morale of the police force.

But it is a truism and a certainty that the NSG Commandoes, the ATS, the RAF, and the other security and police personnel will win over the situation, and give a fitting reply to whosoever dared attack my country and its countrymen.



Among all this, I can't help but raise a pertinent question: What the heck on earth was the Television Media thinking as they broadcast their up-to-the-bullet LIVE telecast of what was happening at the Taj and the Oberoi hotels?

I sat up in front of my idiot box in the morning shaking my head in disbelief, and wanting to wake up from a terrible dream, as I heard the Times Now newscasters describe every single move that the police and security forces were making and not making!

I could not believe that any journalist could be so foolish (yes, I said foolish) and so moronic (I am not sure that's even a word, but I think it should be!) that he or she was following the actions and plans of the security forces on camera, broadcasting it in realtime and also giving words to what was happening in detail!

"The police are trying to storm the hotel from this door at the back of the nearby building, which has a connection into the hotel"

"You can see the security forces on this balcony of the second floor of the building, getting ready to attack the terrorists"
(Oh!! Did I miss to use the "alleged" word? I don't care!)

"The snipers are now stationed here (with live video footage, of course!) are are trying to get a clear shot of the terrorists from the window"

Did this information and realtime news and imagery help me in any way at all?
No. It did not.

Did this LIVE news footage help any body who was watching this from the safety of their rooms?
No. I think not.

So who did this news best benefit, if any at all?
Yes! You guessed it!

The terrorists who were inside the hotel, keeping a close eye on their hostages (who I sincerely hope are alive and unharmed)! All the terrorists need do is switch on the TV... and watch every plan of attack that the security forces come up with on TV... Live and Realtime!

Tell me my media friends: Are you as dumb as that? Really? Or have we reached a date and time when the viewership and TV ratings have gone on to count above everything else? Even National security!

Think again, Media! Whose side are you on? Or are you really that foolish?

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Current Location: Bangalore
Current Mood: anxious anxious

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Mon, Nov. 24th, 2008 10:37 am

A couple of months back I entertained at a private event in Dubai and sharing the stage with me for the second time in that many events was Harish Pai (as was Sangeetha Mallya, who I have mentioned in the past).



A semi-finalist in the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa World Series TV special, Harish is hugely popular with the Konkanis living in the UAE, and is a regualr feature of most Amchi events there. And why not? Harish has a wonderfully melodious voice and creates wonder with his renditions of popular film and folk numbers.



I am happy to see and hear Harish's karaoke rendition of Kehna Hai now posted at RadioIdli.net.

I hope you like what you hear. I do.

Nakul

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Current Location: Bangalore
Current Music: Kehna Hai

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Wed, Jun. 11th, 2008 01:45 pm

Download Day

Spread Firefox announces that we can be part of a new Guinness World Record by getting the Firefox 3 during Download Day to help set the record for most software downloads in 24 hours!

For more details and to pledge your download, see Spread Firefox

Download Day

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Current Location: Bangalore
Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic

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