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Friday, April 3, 2015

On AAP, YY, PB, AK


I don't know if my opinion counts for anything or not. I have mostly been a passive volunteer with few monetary contributions, but nevertheless, I was a strong AAP believer and supporter. 

Today, I find it very hard to support AAP. I have spent many many hours reading everything out there, heard every video and have been following the party for last couple of years very closely. Here are my few observations and opinions - 

  • I find Prashant Bhushan to be impeccable. When AK or Kumar Vishvas claim that they had 12 candidates investigated, they forget to mention that PB had to fight really hard to get those candidates investigated by Lokpal. I will admit that he may have a proclivity to go public but in this case, he was arm-twisted as AAP was not ready to get them investigated in the first place (by PB's own account and i trust him [1]). Also, out of 12, 2 were removed, 4 were given clean chit and remaining were cleared conditionally with a warning issued by General Secretary. [2] What those warnings were are not disclosed.  For a party who claims to be honest, this is a very bad sign. My expectation is that they should have welcomed an investigation in the first place. 
  • There has been no reply in regard to investigate the distribution of liquor by AAP candidate or the dubious money issue. Again, these are red flags. If anyone has any pointers of investigation, in this regard, please share.
  • The way PAC ousted YY and PB. Read Mayank Gandhi's blog [3]. Very disappointed.  And the way Ashish Khetan attacked Mayank Gandhi on Twitter post his blog, it was sad. I had loads of respect for Ashish for his Tehelka articles on Godhra, I still do, but i do not support him at all as a leader in PAC/AAP or any other body.
  • The way NC ousted YY and PB.  Kumar Vishwas is saying that he asked YY to stay after the voting had taken place to discuss it. Shouldn't this be done before the voting. If AK is hurling such accusations, shouldn't there be a platform for the accused to make their defense to the council at large.  
  • The way Admiral Ramdas was asked to not come, the way people showed up with those "gaddar"  placards,  the way people with valid invitations were not allowed to come in, all this in itself was quite sad. And then if there is an iota of truth to bouncers claim, then all hopes are lost. 
  • I admit that YY could have political ambitions as well. If AK has some minor deficiencies, even YY also has some. But overall, I do believe that YY is a well-intentioned man, as much as AK is.  If you recall, YY had earlier resigned from AAP last year and had pointed very similar reasons. Manish Sisodia had attacked him then as well [4] . That the internal democracy was not followed (even by YY as well) is true and that is again a red flag.
  • In the recently shared Arvind Kejriwal's speech, he shares "hum yahan jeetne aaye the, haarne nahin" . He repeats it again, this time louder, and then again and then he adds a line "imaandari ke saath".  Even though he adds honesty, it definitely comes across that winning was more important here.  (This point is my reading, you can call me biased)
  • AK's decision to form government with Congress was very naive and it speaks about his desire of winning at any costs. I am sure that as a Delhi CM he will do loads of goods and he was hungry to prove it. But, for me, the means is equally important. Since this has happened in past, I don't doubt that AK will allow candidates with grey backgrounds to contest as long as he is convinced that it improves his winning chances. While it may be ok for AK, I think it has to be a decision of the party, not just one man. I agree that it should be one man making decisions but if the same man is not listening to the voices of dissent, then it is problematic.
I am a man of process, the journey is more important than destination. I would rather loose Delhi elections  than win with tainted candidates. I want to give an honest effort and i do believe that people will support good. I am not a cynic yet, and thats why i was a loyal AAP supporter.  But with what i have witnessed, i am filled with despair. I don't think so I will be able to support AAP anymore, atleast for some time to come.  

I agree that the system has to be cleaned from within. But I am not sure that AAP is the right channel for it, atleast for me. This time, the cynics have been proven right. Maybe time will heal this wound, or maybe I will find some other champion to support, howsoever small way that i do.





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Here is another article that i found to be quite pertinent after the whole episode - 








#FenceSitting



Win you should,
Win you must.
Blind people here,
Cant see the fence rust.
-------

Fools amongst them
Morons amongst you
It doesn't matter
Thousands or a few
I search for a Kabeer
Darkness lies there
You are pale blue. 


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Couple of poems I wrote before Delhi elections, 2015. There will be a post on what has happened to AAP post Delhi as well. 

Movie Review : Boyhood



Boyhood
By Richard Linklater


There is certainly a lot of charm in watching a movie without knowing anything about it. Sometimes, it is more than enough to know that its made by Linklater. The fact that Linklater has made it piques curiosity on its own.

About 40 mins or so into the movie, the realization dawns on me - its the same boy. This boyhood by Linklater sahib is actually shot using the same boy or person as he grows up, over 12 years. Shot for a week in a year, for a dozen years, with the same cast, Linklater keeps the look natural so that we can witness the aging as a natural process. It could have been a documentary but then it would rob us of fiction. That there exists a script is interesting, but the way it gels and progresses just proves that Linklater is a god amongst us.

Soon after my realization, nothing mattered anymore. It was evident to me that watching this film is an experience in itself. I was in awe with the art. The natural growth of this human being, the travails and joys of being a teenager, the journey through adolescence, and the search to find oneself and the true meaning of life at the same time, it is like life being captured on reel. I was reminded of Tree of Life several times as I was watching this film. How much they talk about the same thing, yet how differently they treat it.

Ethan Hawke plays the boy's father and there are some awesome scenes between the two, including a discussion on what makes Beatles so great! Patricia Arquette plays the mom and her performance is brilliant. It was no wonder that she has won every award where she has been nominated.


After watching Boyhood, i was confident that it is an effort worth the best picture oscar. To dream a project of this magnitude, to deliver it in this manner is a feat extraordinaire. That the film was denied the best director and best film just reinforces our belief that even Oscars does not get what true cinema is.


Boyhood must be seen. It must be experienced. It is amazing!



Wayanad - The second part of Honeymoon

Wayanad - Where we planned to do nothing and ended up meeting that expectation.


We wanted to do a road trip as part of our honeymoon. Wayanad was chosen only because we saw Banasura Hill resort . It was the best decision as it is a unique place to stay.

We started around 8ish from Bangalore and drove continuously. Breakfast was done on some place along the highway. The drive was good. The route to Wayanad goes via Kabini lake and both of us were curious to see water from close. So, at one place, we could see an open ground, followed by some fields and then the lake. This visual cue was enough for us to go for a small hike to the lake. Kabini lake is quite beautiful and serene. What should be a 6 hr journey took us 9 hrs to finish.


Banasura hill resort is very nicely done. Located at the foothills of Banasura hill, it is completely made of mud. At the foothill, there is a small forest. These folks have just removed few trees and in place created mud houses. So, it feels like you are living practically within a forest. Living in a mud house is like living inside a matka (ghada), it is naturally cold.









So, while on one side, Banasura is a natural paradise, on the other side, it just spoils you when it comes to food. They prepare proper Kerala food and it is mind-numbingly tasty. For people who live to eat, I can not recommend it enough.


We had taken a package at the resort. As part of that we visited the Meenmutty waterfall and Banasura dam. The waterfall was nice as we even got to hike on stony rocks to see the source of fall up-close. Banasura dam is known to be second largest natural dam, we took a speed boat tour to enjoy the cool air. The evening was spent to relax our old bodies by means of a kerala oil massage.





The next day, we hiked to see a local waterfall and saw some coffee/pepper trees along the way. The evening was spent in watching movies sitting at the porch. We watched The Wind Rises and Alive Inside. The Wind Rises is the last Miyazaki film and a decent one. Alive Inside is just brilliant, it will move you to tears. What couple goes on to honeymoon, stays at an awesome natural resort and ends up watching movies on their laptop. Well, I don't know how many have done it but for us, it was a memorable experience. Later that day, the resort guys had set up a candle light dinner for us.





On the day of return, we did a short hike and toured their local tea plantation. Kanishka by this time had realized that if Arvind Batra hears that there is a hike, he will be on it in a short while. We also visited a small cave which was used by some Raja as a hiding place during British era.




On our way back, we ended up touring the famous Kuruvadweep, an ecologically preserved island on our way back to Bangalore. The only thing that I would like to remember from Kuruvadweep visit is to not visit it ever again. The place is underwhelming beyond description. But thanks to its elaborate setup, our 6 hr return journey became 12 hrs. 







The end


Andaman - An ideal itinerary

Kanishka and I went to Andaman for our honeymoon. As a touristy destination in India, it is one of the good ones. As a honeymoon place, it is as cliched as they come. To give you an example, on the plane from Chennai to Port Blair, it was filled with couples, all recently married - an easily observed fact as almost all women had mehendi up to their elbows, at-least, and long set of bangles (chuda) on their arms. This pattern was repeated or every touristy destination that we visited. But thankfully, there were only a few of those.



Day 1 : If there is one place that you must stay at Port Blair, then it is Sea House by Noble's homestay. It is a small house standing in the middle of sea. There is no electricity, but there is potable water and a stove. It also has an awesome balcony, hammocks inside and you experience perfect serenity. We saw the Sunset, the sunrise and the steady flow of sea water under the house the whole night.












For this experience, you have to be at Port Blair by 2 pm and start for the Sea House early. We landed at Port Blair and straight went to AnnaPoorna, the best Veg place in town. We packed our dinner as well from here. The food is pretty good.



Day 2: We had to leave the homestay early as we had booked an early morning ferry to Havelock island. Makruzz is the cruz operator we had used. The sad part of ferries is that they don't let you go out. The govt. operated ferry on the other hand is cheap and you can stand on the deck. We took it on the way back and highly recommend it. At Havelock, we had chosen Barefoot at Havelock as our place for next couple of days. Barefoot was chosen based on TripAdvisor's recommendations and its photos. We did not knew that it is next to RadhaNagar beach, the best beach at Havelock.

As we entered, the guy at reception welcomed us by saying - "There is no internet, no cell phone connection, no cable connection, no intercom, basically, you have come here to relax" Radha nagar beach is very clean and beautiful. We just hung around the beach during the day. We rented a Scooty there and felt liberated. We roamed around downtown and went to a local Mela at night. Though there is a lot of tourist influx, all said and done, Havelock is a small village and the mela there, was a reminder of that.  I played those little mela games that i had played when i was a kid. It was awesome to relive that memory.









Day 3: Kayaking time. Tinaaz Noble was our Kayaking guide and she was awesome. Kanishka and I were on one kayak and it was brilliant to navigate on our own. We took the local mangrove tour. The tour lasted for an hr or so and to compensate for all the paddling done, we went to the Full Moon Cafe (For my Bay area friends, this place was as good as the cafes at Half Moon Beach) . Now, half moon cafe is awesome. We had the hummus platter, some milk shakes, and an amazing Banofee pie.

Post the heavy meal, we did a small trek to Elephant beach and spent the afternoon doing water sports . Kanishka, as usual, was quite brave and says to me in the end "It was not that scary". Meanwhile, i was holding the handle with all the energy that i was able to transfer to my grip.  We trekked back and by the time we were back, we were tired and relaxed by watching the Sunset at the beach.




Day 4: We had planned to go for Snorkeling but laziness is a trait quite difficult to loose. We relaxed during the day, took the ferry back to Port Blair and then visited Kanishka' cousin sister over dinner. Our second Port Blair stay was booked at The Sea Princess, a decent place at Wandoor. On the plus side of Sea Princess, it is next to a beach and a decent quite place. On the negative side, the food is horrible and it is far away from Port Blair.


Day 5: Before, i share our Port Blair journey, it will be a good time to explain Port Blair. Port Blair is a lazy town. People here have long lunch breaks. They close their shops just after sunset, which happens at around 5 pm and by 7 pm, the city is deserted. On top of this, they will have Monday off because the usual Sunday holiday has been taken away because of tourism. 
We rented a day long cab at Port Blair and ended up visiting the Archaeological museum, Samudrika museum and finally the Port Blair jail. The jail is a good place to visit, a very sad place if you look historically. The exhibitions inside the jail are fairly well documented. It is a must see place, though not sure from honeymoon point of view. They have a song and light show in the evening, which i strongly recommend should be missed. 




Day 6: Our initial plan was to visit a limestone cave, some 100 kms away but that plan did not materialize because the town takes off on Monday. We ended up just roaming around Wandoor. There is a small Gandhi museum there, which is only open from 8 am to 10 am, and even this small 2-hr-a-day museum was closed, because it was a Monday. We strolled on the beach and enjoyed a swim in the pool.  A nice day to relax and not do anything is sometimes enjoyed more than destinations. And in between, Kanishka saw a puchka wala and both of us ran towards him. Kanishka is counting number of states/UTs where she has tasted Puchkas. 





Day 7: We started the day with the idea to see the Sunrise and checkout a Japanese bunker nearby. Even after walking for 30 mins, we could not spot the bunker, so came back. Before the flight, we quickly did a tour of Ross island which is a beautiful place. We also took a small adventure ride to reach the island. The way back was peaceful. 





The end.