Stenographers And Secretaries.

I am semi active in one social network which is due to some people very close to me using that network to blog and leave comments on the posts of people in our network.

This morning, I suddenly got an alert that someone had commented on a post that I had written more than a year ago, for the network. I went to see that comment and was flooded with nostalgia.

This article was written much before I decided to launch because, at that particular moment, one of my old Secretaries had contacted me for some personal work and I was musing about the ‘good old days’!

I hope that you will read the old post. I would however appreciate any comments that you may want to make being made here. Thank you.

Willy-nilly, I got involved with the commentator through her new post which has been a remarkable one, talking about her experience as a wife of a surgeon. I hope to persuade her to let me blog about her post too anon.

Matrimonial Commitments.

By now my readers know that I have some very interesting friends. One of them is Karl, a most likable reprobate. Both of us share a passion for good books and keep borrowing from each other. He is somewhat hard of hearing and so, the two of us prefer sending emails to each other, rather than speak over the telephone.

I wished to read a book and as I am wont to, I tried to purchase it. I found the price too high and decided to try and borrow it. The first person that I thought of was Karl and so, here is an exchange of mails that took place between the two of us during the last two days.

On Tue, 21 Oct 2008 I wrote:

“Karl, this is a very expensive book that I would however like to read. If you could possibly borrow it from someone who may have it, or you yourself may have, I should be most obliged.

“I Don’t: A Contrarian History Of Marriage” – by Susan Squire



Karl replied the same day as follows.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 5:41 PM.

“Will certainly try. Are you revising your matrimonial commitments????????”


On Tue, 21 Oct 2008 I wrote:

“You must be joking!”


The reply that I got is as follows

“I was – joking. But why do you intend to waste your time? A happy marriage is a separate universe.”


On Wed, 22 Oct 2008 I wrote:

“Karl, from what I can gather about this book, it is against the institution of marriage! That is why it is called “A contrarian view of marriage”


I got this mail just a while ago. Karl at his best.

“Ramana, what I’m trying to get across to you is this; You’ve no reason to consider the point of view against marriage, so why on earth do you want to?

Personally speaking, and despite a hellish experience, I believe that any marriage is better than no marriage at all. That latter bit emits from a character in a very remarkable series of 12 novels – A Dance to the Music of Time, by Anthony Powell.

You must do the Dance, once before you die.”

Do you have such ‘adorable’ friends?

Is This Good Journalism?

We have a tabloid newspaper in our town, which is distributed free to all subscribers of the parent newspaper. This tabloid is hardly read by anybody pressed for time, but apparently has become popular with a section of the population for some dubious reasons.

This morning the front page screams about a sensational story of how a “Victim” turned the tables on the local traffic police.

The story removed of all sensationalism is simple. A lady was shopping in a Mall and her husband came to pick her up in a car. She was delayed and he parked the car in front of the Mall on the footpath. When the security guard of the mall requested him to remove the car from the footpath, the owner refused to. A traffic policeman on duty on the opposite side of the road was called to settle the issue and the driver still refused to budge and while this argument was going on the lady came out of the Mall and sat in the car and started to record the discussions and also filmed whatever was going on.

The police summoned a tow truck to tow the car away but the lady refused to alight from the car and kept shouting that she was nauseous. At no point did she vomit though!

The reporter has presented the story in such a way that the starting point of the whole issue, the car being parked on a foot path, if front of a shopping mall has not been highlighted but the police force has been made to look as though they are villains.

There are many such incidents taking place in our town because, people do not observe traffic rules and hope to get away with uncivil behavior. The press, instead of highlighting the offences seems to be encouraging such criminal behavior and showing the police up in poor light.

I do not think that this is good journalism. Do you?

Multi-isms Of My Motherland

I came across a very interesting blog this morning, called the Holy Cow, while I was surfing. The blogger has quoted Dr. Salman Akhtar as follows and it is worth reading and cherishing. I am grateful to the Holy Cow for this wonderful quotation.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

“India also has philosophical and aesthetic traditions that are truly majestic in their scope and depth. These range from Vedanta’s unifying existentialism to Ghalib’s playful symbolism, from Bhagavad Gita’s enlightened pragmatism to Gandhi’s unflinching pacifism, from Khajuraho’s informed hedonism to Kathakali’s narrative corporealism, from Buddha’s contemplative realism to Tagore’s spiritual lyricism, from Nanak’s divine eclecticism to Nehru’s sophisticated secularism, and from Kabir’s poetic mysticism to Rushdie’s sardonic surrealism”

– Dr. Salman Akhtar,
Gifted writer and poet, exceptional orator.
Also, a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist.
in ‘Freud Along the Ganges- Psychoanalytic Reflections on the People and Culture of India’

Declare Emergency In India – II

Since some commentators had expressed the view that the earlier post was protectionist, Prof. Natarajan has responded with the following comments, which I thought best to reproduce as a post.

It is true that most economists root for free trade and are against protectionism.
But I believe we need to move away from that dogma. (Incidentally the US was the first and consistent practitioner of protectionism from the 18th century until the fag end of the 20th century when it realised that it stood to benefit from a different policy.)

All systems are cyclic like the swing of a pendulum. The simplest example is the business cycle.

When the Soviet Union was dismembered the West believed that capitalism had finally won and the word socialism could be safely deleted from the dictionary, but now Russia has risen from the ashes on the back of its oil resource.

Likewise the US honestly believed that it become an invincible power, only to be challenged by the 9/11 attack.

IMF and the World bank always pretended that financial collapses of third world countries, one after another was solely the result of their domestic protectionist policies and offered a standard prescription of Devaluation to every one of them that eventually led them to repeated crises. Now IMF has admitted the inappropriateness of its diagnosis and prescription.

I therefore believe that our mind should first be freed from bias in favour of or against any ‘ism’. In a changing world nothing is permanent.

The present version of free trade as defined by WTO is by no means the last word on the subject of globalization. The original concept was mooted when capital was immovable. That has now undergone a huge transformation and the flight of capital in search of the least cost advantage is tending to cause instability. Secondly the fundamental flaw with the WTO model is that it does not address the free movement of the most important resource, namely human resource. This knocks down the claim of level playing ground. Thirdly while it compels low tariff barriers and opening up of opportunities for international competition in every sector, taking away the only means available to economically weaker countries to protect their turf, it has strengthened the power of developed countries to practise Protectionism by raising non-tariff barriers that automatically demolishes the level playing ground concept.

Now of course the biter is bit and the only tragedy is that the whole world has got trapped, with every one groping in the dark for the invisible door, not even sure if it exists, although all economic-political astrologers are assuring us daily that we are only in a tunnel that has light at the other end. In this scenario, several solutions are bound to be considered.

India had gone slow in adopting a policy of total currency convertibility thanks to the political compulsions of the coalition government, and many feel that this has providentially saved us from a greater impact of the international financial crisis.

In the current critical situation it is only natural that at least temporarily we revert to our primeval instinct for survival by ‘protecting’ ourselves till the crisis ends. This solution is a way out until WTO brings in free migration of human resource and does away with other protectionist non-tariff barriers.

I do apologise for this long reply. I felt I owe an explanation for my ‘protectionist views’, since many commentators have expressed their reservations on this issue.”