Friday 29 January 2010

Beating Retreat!

Marking the end of republic day revelry is the Beating Retreat Ceremony held today at Vijay Chowk. The the ceremony that dates back to the time when sounding retreat pulled to a halt the day’s fighting during the time of war. The idea for the parade goes like this:

In olden times, when the hours of darkness meant a cessation of hostilities until the following day, the object of the call was to collect and post the necessary guards for the camp, garrison, etc., for the night. It was also a warning for those outside the camp or garrison to retire or they would be kept outside the night. We thus find that there is some confusion arising between "Retreat" and "Tattoo". This confusion may, in part, have been caused owing to the French using the word "Retraite" for the familiar call to our "Tattoo". From the following extracts from old orders, it would appear conclusive that Retreat was meant to be separate from Tattoo and to be beaten at sunset.

Coming to my experience of the ceremony, well we were late for the ceremony and the place we were supposed to be seated was full, so we had to rush to the arcade towards the left of where some of the seats were supposedly vacant. Reaching there was a task too, as we managed to enter the arcade, we had a hard time locating somewhere to sit. Where-ever we stood, people seated behind us started shouting, and it was quite an experience... Clearly you should not block some one's view, and as a friend said to me be the change you want to see, we decided to stand somewhere we would not block view of others.

It was then that the smartness of an engineer came to play. Well my sister located two un-taken chairs and rushed to ask the security personnel, sir can I take the chair. He promptly agreed and here were we both trying to position the chair towards a metal chamber so that we can stand up on the chair and get a frontal view of the ceremony. It was like two people standing on one chair.

Now we all could pay attention to what was going on at Vijay Chowk. The President Pratibha Patil, was sitting conveniently inside a glass chamber along with the also the Supreme Commander of the three Forces, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, the audience also sat through a ceremony that elicits a feeling of nationhood and pride! The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also sitting amongst the audience with wife and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Thirty-five bands from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force took part in the ceremony that began with the arrival of the President marked by fanfare by trumpeter. Well synchronized parade playing bands were performing and adding poise to the retreat were men on camels standing inside Rashtriyapati Bhawan! The pillars also stationed some buglers who kept playing their musical instruments at frequent intervals, in tune with the band marching performance. The tempo set the feel and audience did not miss applauding several times through the ceremony.

A brief research took me to the sequence of the ceremony, which goes as:

The first march of the massed band was the popular Sam Bahadur, named on a popular Indian army officer. This was followed by the performance of pipes and drums which had the audiences tapping the feet with their Surya, Sky Boat Song, Pipers Cave, Highland Laddie and The Marquis of Huntly, among others. The Naval and Air Force Bands, striking in their appearance and confident in their bearing, charged the atmosphere with their repertoire that included the beats of Ocean’s Splendour, Bharatiya Navsena, Sky Hawks, Nocturnal Cry, Swatantra Bharat ki Shan and Subroto. The military bands with their Hanste Lushai, Gangotri, Abhinandan, Dhola-Re-Dhola were as spectacular to the eye as they were an aural treat. Next it was the massed bands again enthralling the audiences. Their quick march to the tunes of Saare Jahan Se Acha brought the curtains down on the ceremony!

The president's house and the parliament was lit and it looked like a marvelous palace, wow came out of everyone the moment the place was embedded with golden yellow lights! Now the horses started marching towards the parliament, as it was getting dark, the spark generated due to friction between horses' shoe and concrete road was added zing to the festivities. Following it was the indicators of bikes and jeep signaling that its the time to go. By this time the audience started moving out of the arcade, but we stood there for some more time as we did not want to miss anything and also we had to locate a friend, who had to park the car. India gate was also decorated with an imprint of tricolour.

We could see him, kept waving at him as he was waiting at the other side of the arcade, where we were suppose to be technically seated. As no mobile phones were allowed and I succeeded in shouting his name, I went home happy that I am not a complete cell phone dependent :D

It is an art, science and a theatrical display of courage, spirit of nationhood, patriotism, and a call for global peace!

Author's Note: The Beating Retreat ceremony is worth witnessing.. I wish I have done justice to the ceremony through this blog post!

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Happy Republic Day 2010

The 61st Republic Day Parade of the Year 2010 had the honour of me sitting amongst the audience. Yes, let me rephrase it, this year I happen to witness the parade live at Rajpath, while me sitting with my friends at the neatly organised chairs in India Gate Lawns.

To begin with the Republic Day of India commemorates the date on which the constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India act 1935 as the governing document of India on January 26, 1950. The date January 26 was chosen to honour the memory of the declaration of independence to India in 1930. 

The day is one of the three national holidays, while the Republic Day Parade takes place at the Rajpath, New Delhi this year in presence of the President Smt Pratibha Patil, Chief Guest Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The invitation to Korean ministers reflects upon strengthening bilateral relations. State capitals also have their state celebrations on the day, where the governor of the states unfurls the National Flag. 

The revelry of republic day for me started a day before. Due to security reasons buildings at Barakhamba Road where I happen to work and Kasturba Gandhi Road had to be vacated by afternoon of January 25. So me and my friend had a strolling time on the streets of Connaught Place. Which of course came after a long time, and I have decided to make such strolls a regular part of my life. This was also an auspicious day when I got my VIP passes for the parade. 

Coming back to the R-day, we expected the day to be bright and sunny but to our surprise, we got on a foggy morning, we stepped out of house at 8 am, while we could barely see clearly at the distance of 20 meters. As we were not suppose to carry mobile phone, cameras, bags, such day came to me after a long long time. We finally made up to the venue on time, and were seated at a better location, something that was practically (not actually) opposite India's first woman's arcade. 

Prior to the commencement of the parade, the Prime Minister lays a floral wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti a memorial of martyred unknown soldiers at India Gate. Then he reaches his dias and hoists Indian flag as the National Anthem is played. A 21 gun salute is also paid to the spirit of nation-hood, this was amazing and enough to scare off a two year old child sitting in the front row. 

What followed was commemoration of significant awards Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra given by the president. Ashok Chakra was awarded to Halvindar Rajesh Kumar of 11 Rajputana Rifles, Manoj Mohit Sahrma (posthumous) and Major D. Sreeram Kumar. Sub inspector Bhopal Singh of the Sashastra Seema Bal and Constable Rel Deo Sangam of Meghalaya police were conferred Kirti Chakra. Two officials of the Border Roads Organisation were amongst Shaurya Chakra awardese. Due to fog, I could not see the award commemoration ceremony, but could hear the update clearly of a loud speaker. 

By then we started to realise that a similar seating arrangement is been made opposite us, and towards the left of it was a decorated arcade, for the delegates and top officials. The parade started with men riding horse, which was amazingly synchronised. Each battalion had strikingly balanced marching skills, made us clap while they pass in front of us, on Rajpath. Clapping was also meant to keep ourselves warm on that foggy day. One of the battalion had three army personnel walking in the front, they held a long equipment with a spherical top while marching. Its worth mentioning their precision and synchronisation of throwing the equipment in the air, at certain height the equipment rolled and came back to the marcher's hand. It left us all amazed and applauding!

Following marches by the military personnel was beautiful display of decorated boogies from a military, missiles, few states, ministries. The ones that left visionary mark on me were Bunkers, Multiple Missile Delivery Equipment, Agni Missile, Shaurya Missile, ICT System, Radar Communication System of Indian Army. The boogies of JaipurInternational Film Festival of India, Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 where legendary sports persons like PT Usha and Milkha Singh were standing up at the boggy and waving at us, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, were strikingly done. Dance performance by school children was not visible to us, but the music got me foot tapping enough to give a feel of it. Tricolour balloons and flags were released in the sky from each direction, which exclaimed India celebrates its republic status. 

The aircraft show finally offered a hooting zeal leaving the viewers all the more mesmerised. By the end, we walked up towards the grill to get the booklets which were being distributed, but could not find any of the distributors.At last the President, Korean Head, PM waved bye to the by standers. While walking towards the exit, my cousin wanted to hold the rifle and requested the guard to let him hold it, but the guard politely refused, and had a chat with with him for sometime. While he was chatting up with the army guard, I happen to get the booklet from a child, who happily gave me the booklet. 

All in all, the parade is worth witnessing. I feel proud that I happen to go to Rajpath on the R-day, and glorify myself with being able to associate with the display world's third largest military power's credentials. It instigated the feeling of being Indian in me :)

Author's Note: Thanks to everyone who was involved in the course of getting passes and getting up on time, reaching at the venue on time, and being able to stick to it in a foggy serpentine day! My sister had fever, she did not disclose as she did not want to miss the parade, the display of art and science of synchonised theme. The efforts were unquestioningly worth it! Happy Republic Day 2010 to all Indians~~

PS: For those who don't know that India holds the National parade only for the Republic Day on January 26. And on the Independence Day (August 15) we have the PM delivering speech at Red Fort, and innumerable kites flying on Indian skies, symbolising India's independence!

Friday 22 January 2010

Vintage Cars

As I am one of the potential owners of Vintage car in future, and I herewith start with a brief account on it. Its just once that I got to see a vintage car, at hotel Le Meridian. It is said that the owner of the hotel takes it out on the road once a month. But I was an ardent lover of vintage long back. I remember hooking to the Television when a vintage car rally took up from Delhi to Jaipur. The look, fancy colour and flamboyant style is a reminder of the era gone by and the era which I would like to live. 

Vintage cars are defined as the car build long back during the transition era of the automobile industry, till the end of World War I. Passionate followers collect these cars and show it in museums like pro Bono Publico, a private vintage car museum with more than 70 vintage cars, is located in Mehraulli, NCR Delhi, an hours drive from Delhi. The cars showcased here include series of vintage Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevrolets, Austins, Mercedes, Pacards, Jaguar, an ancient dodge, an Alpha Romeo, a vintage Studebaker, a Pierce Arrow, and rare Belgian Minerva. Ahmedabad and Udaypur also house renowned vintage car museums in India. 

The affluent section of the society has the craze to own one or more! Understanding that vintage section is a crowd puller, this year the AutoExpo 2010 had a separate segment for vintage beauties. Unfortunately I could not pay a visit to the expo, but had been excited about the fact that vintage segment is being displayed. 

My affection for vintage cars can also be attributed to the fact that when I was born, my dad took me home on his delighted possession cetroen, way back some 25 years! He kept it for a good number of years and then I don't know wheres that car. It looked something like the pic above here!

Author's Note: Now that one of my best friend has questioned my liking vintage cars, I happen to dedicate a post to the topic. Yes dude the feeling of vintage is as beautiful as the word.

Thursday 21 January 2010

Brand India

As Republic Day is around, I am tempted to post something on India. Yes of course it is the day when India's constitution was implemented, but the country has come a long way in economic growth, social satisfaction etc. 

According to management thinker Gurcharan Das, the national populace will be happy if national governance is streamlined. India's growth story has been on for the last 20-25 years now, reforms and liberalisation. The global financial turmoil (all those fancy words christianed to the crisis emanating from American Sub Prime Mortgage thing), affected India and the adjoining Dragon the least.

The rise in Double Income No Kids segment (DINK) across major metropolitan Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, proliferation of property by youngsters spells enthusiastic for the economy.  Quality consciousness has moved ahead of TQM, six sigma, etc. 

India's growth is driven by domestic forces that is believed to be the key reasons that India achieved more than 5% growth in 2008-2009. The growth in population has come down from sky rocketing figure, which applies only to Metros and Tier 2 cities. Anyways I don't find population a problem, the only issue for me is that the country should be able to manage the population, literate them and provide employment opportunities. However, it is easier said than done. Yes, I know many solutions to many problems exists, but when the planners narrow it down to implementation, a lot of obstacles emerge. 

India's development model is unique. As implies that one cannot redo a development model of a state and rise up the development ladder. Therefore India's growth model envisages the following viz a viz the growth models adopted by East and South-East Asian Nations:

- India's growth is driven by domestic demand, while the latter is primarily dependent on exports.
- India has become a services hub, while the later focused more on manufacturing.
- As demand is driven by domestic factors, India is a consumption economy, viz a viz investment focus by the later one.
- India has risen to a high tech capital intensive market, while the later is low tech labour intensive. 

India's domestically led growth implies that the economy is insulated from global economic shocks, less volatility, faster recovery from global crisis. On contrary, a services led highlights that India's industrial revolution did not flag off, we have to offer platform for the agrarian population to be able to fine employment in the cities. 

How will India, a capitalist economy be able to capitalise on SEZ bandwagon. Do we really need SEZ, establishments of capitalism in a capitalist economy. Chine being a socialist has adopted SEZs as islands of capitalism, but I think India should be able to provide parallel incentives across, without the need to imitate Chinese model. 

Success of India will be market led, while for China it is state induced. The concept of entrepreneurship is centric to India's growth model. Indian companies have risen globally to competitive levels like Reliance, Jet Airways, HDFC, TATA, etc. 

Counting further on India's achievement are:

- 100 Indian companies have market cap of USD 1 billion
- 1,000 Indian companies have received foreign institutional investment 
- 125 of Fortune 500 companies have R&D bases in India
- 390 Fortune 500 companies have outsourced software development to India
- 2% bad loans in Indian Banks
- 80% credit in India goes to private enterprises as against 10% in China

Counting on obstacles for India's development are:

- World's largest dynamic democracy with freedom of speech, with poor governance
- Failing institutions, coming up of judicial activism only in the metropolis
- Government is not taking up actively on social sectors education, employment, infrastructure, agriculture, defence etc
- Private sector active in the sectors which spells boom like banking, telecom, insurance, entertainment etc
- Satyam fraud, issues of corporate governance coming up and are being debated

Reference: India's Future or prosperity will spread in India but happiness will not, until we fix governance - Gurcharan Das 

Author's Note: So a friend suggests that I must expand the horizons, though my blog is meant for inner expression. Well primarily it is, actually I wish to become a spiritual, management consultant. I strive top achieve perfection in whatever possibly I can. Plus I have to share this SMS here, many of you might have received it, "We live in a funny nation, where pizza reaches home faster than police or ambulance, where we get car loan @10% interest, and education loan @ 12%."

Self Realisation

You have two options:

- To be a part of an excellent profession, as a mediocre
- To excel in a mediocre profession

My sister was into a self realisation session yesterday and I feel proud to have such people around me, their attitude keep to hooked to scaling new heights in life. So its a family heredity to get into self actualisation sessions. 

On excelling, I feel that reaching perfection in cases where excellence is sort of a whim.  I am told that when Sanjeev Kapoor; the celebrity chef, big time goofed up his CAT exam, his friend suggested:
"Its good to excel in a mediocre profession, than to be a mediocre in an excellent field ~ courtesy 'G ya Joe'!"

Many more examples of such valuable achievements exists, like Galilio, Einstine, Amitabh Bachchan etc!

Author's Note: At times when excellence is not possible try to be a perfectionist. It counts!

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Happy Lohri

First of all Happy Lohri to all... I know you al would be reading it a day after, but still better late than never!

Its coming a bit late but I have celebrated the festival today! I simply love this festival coz, its a feel of warmth in cold january night. Bonfire, pop corns, peanuts, rewari, gajak and the rituals that my mum follows the next day marks the beginning of the new year for me in true spirits! The sundar mundariye song, dance, roof top late night party all are just related to the festivities of Lohri! Taking rounds of the bonfire, and making a wish has always been a ritual for me. I get a high during this festival with the true punjabi spirit!

I feel its the cleanest of festivals, overlooking the pollution caused by the bon fire. Diwali clogs my respiratory track as I am allergic to pollution, and during holi I prefer staying indoor coz I dont want a water baloon to hit me on the head, leaving me wondering if I am hit, though I just admire the spirit with which all festivals are celebrated.

Author's Note: Happy Lohri!

Saturday 9 January 2010

This one is cool!!!

A guy phones up his Boss, but gets the bosses' wife instead. "I'm afraid he died last week." she explains.

The next day the man calls again and asks for the boss. "I told you" the wife replies, "he died last week."

The next day he calls again and once more asks to speak to his boss. By this time the wife is getting upset and shouts, "I'VE ALREADY TOLD YOU TWICE, MY HUSBAND, YOUR BOSS, DIED LAST WEEK! WHY DO YOU KEEP CALLING?"

"Coz," he replied laughing, "I just love hearing it..."

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Yahoodi Ki Larki

Play: Yahoodi Ki Larki
Script: Agah Hashmi Kashmiri
Director: Hema Singh
Screened on: December 24-25, 2009

Plot: The play was written in the 1930s, where the story dates back to medivial times and a love tale in the backdrop of hatred amongst Jews and Romans.

Review: It stars with a glittery entry of Desia, Roman princess who is about to marry the prince. Her attire speaks volumes about her character, who is madly in love with with the Prince of Roman Kingdom, Mansiya/Marcus. On the other hand, Mansia romances around with the Jewish 'Rahil', he fakes his identity in order to spend sometime with the girl. 

It aptly gathers the Roman atrocities on Jewish civilization, the typical communal drama where a self respecting minority fight back wrong judgements, on human rights grounds. Please note here that no human rights NGO was established at that time. 

What I could gather from the play was, a girl fighting with the Roman kingdom, for a betrayed love, and then taking aback. The prince, who is likely to become the king of the empire, is standing by redundant thoughts of the society. Ideally being the king, being a hero.. he should have fought. The climax is rather melodramatic, where Rahil learns from her father that she was born of a Roman parents, and he just took care of her.  

At last the Princess and Rahil sharing getting along happily with the guy!

Author's Note: On acting account, the play was very well directed and coordinated. However, nothing that justifies the sensibilities of Generation Y was there. But then the play was written back in 1930s, so someone who is into history would find it.

P.S: My sister played the lead character  'Rahil' in the play! Proud of you sis~~

Tuesday 5 January 2010


It took me a while to recollect dialing for ambulance. Dial 100! No that’s police... 107! Fire brigade. For ambulance its 102... I think so... yes. But damn no one is picking it up! I moved out of the room looking for the warden, each step left blood marks on the floor. I wanted to locate the warden. I just did not know how to reach; this was the first time when I felt so confused. My mate attempted suicide, and I had not one around to help me. Most of the girls went home during diwali, and we were the unfortunate ones, to be stuck on work. Me and Prachi work in the same office and are the best of friends! Not being able to locate anyone to help, I controlled my trembling hands and dialled eight times two. The service got me connected to ambulance service of a private hospital. The ambulance reached within 15 minutes, and we got her inside the cab. Now I am waiting for the doctors to update me about her status...

Author's Note: This is again a story with an open ended ending!

Friday 1 January 2010

Happy Twenty 10!

This year the Delhi government is geared to host the Commonwealth Games 2010. The year gone registered hike in bus/metro fare, even rickshaw pullers gauge the opportunity by asking for a bit too much. I keep loosing track of petrol, diesel, LPG cost as it kept changing very frequently!

On a personal account, the year gone went great. I am finally looking forward to life. Yes I was upset in 2009, but on retrospection I feel that there was nothing to be upset about! Putting it in simple terms, such feelings exists when one is reaching office at 9:30 and reaching home after twelve hours!

Though its not that the year went really upsetting, I did spend a lot of time with myself and my loved ones, took long walks alone on a weekend. Posted blog posts more often, thought about starting a contemporary dance group.. Just thought about it, nothing concrete came out of it though. You know its the same situation where I day dream and try to gauge the feeling something that does not exist as of now, but under all possibilities its gonna come up some day. 

In 2009 I stuck to my resolution, 'to stop people I know from littering around'. Yup I know two people are smiling, as they have to carry plastic bottles for miles while accompanying me to those long walks, in order to throw it in a dustbin.

Well 2009 was also the year where I happen to witness two theatre plays in which my youngest sister acted. Hey sweets I hope to you you in more such plays in the coming years! So have placed a picture too.

Amongst the accomplishments in 2009, I happen to find my childhood friends, it was memoir of years that just passes like waves in ocean! Love you all, facebook and orkut are beautiful creation of the virtual world!!

Next good thing is Nevitta, my best friend's daughter. She is such a cute baby. I hope that her parents are reading this :). When I first went to meet her, she was mearly a week old and kept sleeping. On other occasions she often pulls my hair or scratches my face.

Another achievement is that I happen to see Omar Abdullah, he is such a hunk and his style is just awesome. I also met the Indian Formula 1 racer Karun Chandok, gotta crush on him too. Yes Joe, Kay, Nish and the likes, I know that you are smiling :). Apart from that I also saw minister Salman Khurshid, self proclaimed environmentalist cum minister Jairam Ramesh, Delhi CM with a hat-trick Sheila Dikshit, celebrity Chef  Sanjeev Kapoor, Nutritionist Shikha Sharma amongst others.

For the coming year, I would stick to the last year's resolution! Try spending more time with my loved ones. Post more blog entries. Keep planning for an entrepreneurial venture. Dance often! Yup I do it when I go home, but winters have got me struck to the quilt. Keep teasing my sister.. as that is my birth-right :p

Not to forget to mention that I don't carry any hard feelings for anyone. I would prefer taking it out then and there!

Author's Note: Happy New Year Twenty 10 to everyone! Please chase your dreams, believe you me 2010 is the right time for that.

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