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Life as I'm learning it

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Location: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States

"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an agèd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Friday, March 31, 2006

Look who's joined Blackburn Rovers

With the football season nearing a close, all of Europe is abuzz with transfer speculation. Will van Nistelrooy stay at Manchester United? Is Henry Barcelona-bound? What's going to happen at Real Madrid - a clear-out?

Well, at least one club would consider itself lucky at having made a swift move. Blackburn Rovers have signed a star striker. Trying to guess who? Let me give you a clue. This person's most famous achievement was to wipe out most of Iraq with a wave of strikes. No, not the Iraqi football team, I'm talking about the normal people of Iraq - civilians.

Yup, you got it. It is Condoleezza "Condi" Rice.

However, signing Dr. Rice has invited a lot of criticism.

Blackburn has a large Muslim population, some of whom are unhappy that Mr Straw invited to the town a key figure in the decision to invade Iraq; a local mosque refused to allow her to visit yesterday.

And when the foreign secretary and his guest visited the Pleckgate school in the town, they were greeted by a group of parents protesting against Dr Rice's presence.

Rabiya Adam, a mother of five who had kept her children at home during the visit, said Dr Rice "is not welcome" in their home town. "She was behind all the killings in Iraq. When I found out she was coming here to speak to our children, I didn't want her to preach what she did in Iraq," Mrs Adam said.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Rice had visited Liverpool and had faced even more embarrassment there.

After a day spent valiantly trying to ignore the hundreds of peace campaigners who gathered to protest at the visit of Condoleezza Rice yesterday, Jack Straw must have drawn a sigh of relief as America's most powerful woman settled down in Liverpool's Philharmonic Concert Hall for a medley of classical favourites.

But the Foreign Secretary was set to find himself beset by diplomatic embarrassment beyond his own worst imaginings, as singer Jennifer John began a rendition of John Lennon's peace song Imagine - then switched to the late Beatle's most famous anti-war anthem Give Peace a Chance.

Liverpudlian singer John, who had introducing the song by acknowledging "the people demonstrating outside peacefully" said she had deliberately staged a protest.

[pictures and quoted text, courtesy: The Scotsman]

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Chennai joins the Metroblogging bandwagon

Till yesterday, I didn't know what Metroblogging meant. Well, I don't claim much knowledge even now. But Chennai has been placed on the Metroblogging circuit, and that's great news!

Many thanks to Kaps, Kiruba, Nancy, Keerthi, Chandru, Vatsan and Echo.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A hero and a martyr

This morning, I saw this photo pinned to the cubicle of a colleague. Curiosity overcoming the better of me, I asked him if the person in the picture was Bhagat Singh. My colleague replied in the affirmative, and being a native of Punjab, said in a fit of patriotism that today marked the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

All I knew about Bhagat Singh was that he tried bombing an assembly of something, and failed and was caught and put to death. I confess that I was in the wrong, as these articles from Wikipedia and Kamat's Potpourri would prove. Also, I didn't know that Rang de Basanti has a strong link to the revolutionary sardar.

An interesting sidelight

The article on Kamat's Potpourri has the following lines, which I found very relevant to today's burning(?) issue.

Instead of finding the root cause for discontent of Indians, the British government took to more repressive measures. Under the Defense of India Act, it gave more power to the police to arrest persons to stop processions with suspicious movements and actions. The act brought in the council was defeated by one vote. Even then it was to be passed in the form of an ordinance in the "interest of the public."
Petty politicians never change, huh?

Stunt awards 2006

Is there an award for the best stunts performed in public life?

If yes, then I will back Sonia Gandhi to win this year's award.

Puzzled? You shouldn't be. She just resigned her Lok Sabha seat, stating...

"In the last few days some Opposition parties are trying to create an impression that the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance are using Parliament and the government only to protect me. This has hurt me very much."

"I have stated earlier also that I am in politics and public life not for my selfish ends," she said. "I have taken a pledge to serve the people of the country and to protect secular ideals. So, in keeping with my public life and political principles and according to my own belief, I resign as member of Lok Sabha and Chairperson of National Advisory Council. I have full faith that brothers and sisters of Rae Bareli and the whole nation will understand this feeling of mine."

(quoted text, courtesy: Rediff.com)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Q: Describe a catch-22 situation that you were in...

A: Once, I was in Ayanavaram (a locality in Chennai), and wanted to go to Anna Square (also in Chennai). I didn't have a bike or a car. There were no auto-rickshaws either. I thought I was stranded. I didn't know what to do. Thankfully, bus # 22 came along, and I caught it, and reached my intended destination safely. That's a catch 22 situation I've been in!

Hasta la "Vista"?

Microsoft has announced that it is going to delay the launch of the will-it-ever-come Windows Vista.

Mary Jo Foley of the PC Magazine explains the reasons in her article, "What's Really Behind the Windows Vista Delay?"

To say that Microsoft's bombshell decision to delay the launch of Windows Vista until 2007 was due to quality concerns is an oversimplification.

Microsoft actually is pushing the Vista launch back to January 2007 to appease the marketing gurus as much as the quality grunts...

The week of March 20, Microsoft was faced with an internal deadline, Goldberg said. Microsoft needed to give its partners a firm commitment on when it would deliver to them the final Vista bits.

"We made the decision this morning [March 21]," Goldberg said. Rather than be sorry, Microsoft decided to play it safe and build some extra time into its testing and bug-fixing schedule, he said.

Friday, March 17, 2006

His last bow?

[cross-posted in TN Assembly Election '06]

Rajnikanth's decision to stay away from the political theatre this time around is probably his best move yet. The actor, who was once touted to be future Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, has now politely removed himself from the race. This offers an excellent study of the characteristics a leader requires, most of all, ruthlessness.

Ten years ago...

I remember that day (April/May 1996), and that televised speech vividly. My grandfather was in hospital, and I was at my cousins. There was buzz all round that Rajnikanth might appear on TV to support the then recently formed DMK-TMC alliance. And appear he did. Rajnikanth, who had just had the biggest hit of his life yet (Baasha), was the toast of Tamil Nadu, and people were certain that he would mince no words about the unpopular ADMK government. He didn't disappoint. The statement was made, and the DMK-TMC combine got a great boost. Not that they were on a sticky wicket before, but the support of a man of Rajni's charisma does sway many.

Subsequent Rajni movies were huge hits and were sprinkled with generous amounts of anti-JJisms. No one was in any doubt who the inspiration behind Neelambari in Padayappa was. Padayappa was then the biggest grosser in the history of Tamil cinema. That was the moment. He had to decide. He missed the moment.

Doubts, doubts and doubts

For all his studied pragmatism on-screen, Rajnikanth failed to carry it into his real life. "Will he? Won't he?" filled the air. Some said he would float a party and forge an alliance with the DMK. Others wished he would go it alone. Rajnikanth missed the boat at that moment. His doubts were compounded by the fact that the parties he placed faith in shifted alliances and allegiances at the drop of the hat.

The last blow came when the BJP and the DMK split, and Dr. Ramadoss' PMK aligned itself with the DMK. The BJP sided with the ADMK. Rajnikanth's friends were on either side, and in an uncalculated move, he released a statement that he would vote for the BJP, and that his supporters would work for the downfall of the PMK. Seasoned political watchers knew then that this man had gone to a point of no return. The BJP lost, and the DMK alliance romped home 40-nil.

What went wrong?

Rajnikanth became a victim of his own indecision. A man who spends 30 minutes of a two-and-a-half-hour movie deriding his political rivals would not be doing it just for fun. Thus, one cannot believe that he did things just to please his audience. There was a calculation behind his moves. Where he failed was to capitalise on the right moment to launch himself into the political arena.

In politics, survival demands a high degree of ruthlessness. As the strategists at Toyota will tell you, "Plan carefully, and implement rapidly." The plan was careful, but the implementation never happened. The iron wasn't struck when hot, and hence the man failed to strike gold!

Budding politicians should see a clear lesson in this. Charisma goes only half the way. It is like the business card. Unless it is backed by solid planning, flawless calculation and well-timed manoeuvres, it is of no use. It is sad that Rajnikanth, who might be one of the main characters in a book on Tamil cinema, will only be a forgotten footnote in a book on Tamil Nadu's politics.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Saving the game

South Africa beat Australia and all that. A Himalayan achievement, no doubt. Yesterday's match was a tribute to the human spirit, a celebration of the never-say-die attribute of sportsmen who immortalized themselves by entering the annals of cricket history. But it is also a reminder, of the sorry state of bowlers. About the ruthlessness of the one-day game, and how it brutalises wantonly the men who run up to deliver the ball only to see it wallopped to the fence. So much that the most pertinent comment from yesterday's game was "After watching this game, who would want to take up bowling as a career?"

It is interesting that the comment comes just a day after Anil Kumble prised his 500th scalp. But that was in Tests, and test cricket is not so unbalanced as its shorter version. It is the one-day game that needs some lotsa rethinking. The rethinking did happen, but the results have been counterproductive.

For example, the Powerplays hardly help the fielding team. Unless, of course, if the batting side are five down already. Since that happens seldom, the fielding captain is often left to rue the new change in rules. The futility of the super-sub option is already out in the open, with both Graeme Smith and Ricky Ponting agreeing not to use super-subs in the recently concluded series.

The ICC needs to act, and fast. Some oft-repeated reasons like making the game more entertaining to the viewers are turning out to be short-sighted excuses. How can the ICC say ok to torturing bowlers? In short, how different is Twenty20 from a rape scene in the movies?

I have been thinking of some possible rule changes that the ICC can bring in. None of them might sound plausible, but this is the best we can do to avoid plunder.

1. Three fielders outside the ring

When the batsmen slog blindly, the fielding restrictions during the first 15 overs (now during the Powerplays) are only helping their cause. Just two fielders outside the ring means the fielding captain places a third-man and a fine-leg by default. This enables the batsmen to go over the top in front of the wicket. How about placing an extra man outside the ring? This gives the bowling side extra options. A deep cover, a long-off or a deep mid-wicket to offer extra protection.

2. Only one catcher

This can ideally be coupled with the previous rule. Instead of mandating two close-in fielders, we can relax the restriction to one catcher during the initial overs and powerplays.

3. Naming super-sub after the toss

Nowadays, the super-sub must be named prior to the toss. Thus if Rahul Dravid names Murali Kartik as his super-sub, but he wants India to bat second, the super-sub option goes waste. Thus, the captains can be allowed to name their super-sub after the order of play is determined.

4. Twelve fielders

This is a ridiculous suggestion, I know. The game can be played with an extra substitute, who is always on the field. He won't bat or bowl, but he can be used for fielding. Too often we know that one more man would have done the difference. This extra man would give the fielding captain multiple options, say one extra man on the leg side.

5. Twelve-a-side

Another one, more ridiculous than the previous. Each side can field 12 players, of which 10 players would be regular. Of the other two, only one can bat and the other must bowl. Both of them can field. This is like selecting an Indian team with 11 players, and picking say Murali Kartik in addition. Kartik can bowl his full quota of 10 overs, but won't be allowed to bat. Before the toss, both captains would name their teams including these two special-function players.

6. Restricted slog overs

Restricting the number of overs with field restrictions to 10. As a compromise, this could be split as the first and last 5 overs of an innings.

7. Mandatory bowler-friendly pitches

In a series of five games, at least 2 should be played on tracks that assist bowling. Like some slow tracks in India, or fast and bouncy tracks like in Perth.

I could think of some more, inspired from the Indian street game. Like having four stumps, or legalising the one-pitch catch. The latter was devised, rather ingeniously, I must admit, by some shrewd cricketing brain on some bylane in India, which knew aeons ago that supports were needed to quash the imbalance plaguing the game.

Notwithstanding the aboe, I'm quite sure that the ICC would do nothing, because they are in the money and why would they want to do anything to disturb that? They will come up with some more "amazing suggestions" like HighFives, a game of just 5 balls. Cart 'em and win! After all, when in school, even I was a slogger. For all my vegetarianism, I know how tasty the blood of bowlers is.

"Who's the man?"

I am constrained to repeat the opening line of my previous post.

"How do champions respond to bad patches?

By rising like a phoenix does."

Oh, and there's a similar photo too...

The South Africans, who were mauled earlier in the day, responded like how some superstar-wannabes in Tamil cinema do: "It doesn't matter who gets to 400 first. What matters is who wins the game at the end!"

What a game! What a truly magnificent game! For once, I pity the fact that a large section of Chennai could not play witness to simply the greatest one-day cricket match ever (because of CAS regulations). Mates, you missed it!

Chasing an ungettable 435 for victory, at a staggering 8.7 runs per over, South Africa reached the target with a ball to spare, thanks largely to a fine knock from Herschelle Gibbs, and important contributions from skipper Graeme Smith (90), Mark Boucher (50) and Johan van der Wath (35).

Herschelle Gibbs, who scored 175 off 111 balls, was in a murderous mood, and could have become the first man to cross 200 in a one-day game, before he holed out to Brett Lee trying to go for a hat-trick of sixes. South Africa looked comfortable for the most part, as they were consistently up there with the asking rate. But in a game like this, the chasing team is always precariously placed, because a wicket or a good over is all it takes to swing the game away into the fielding team's favour. But fighters as they are, the Proteas never gave up, and man after man came in a played a crucial knock. Even the portly Roger Telemachus put his morning blues behind him and carted a couple of important boundaries.

This match, the final of this series, has broken a lot of records. The two highest ODI totals, the maximum number of 4s and 6s, and the unfortunate Mick Lewis who was pummeled for 113 off his 10. I feel sorry for him, in fact for all the bowlers. As one commentator put it, "Who would want to take up bowling as a career?" Yes, that is the only sad part to this game. Cricket is becoming increasingly batsmen-friendly, nay, it is becoming bowler-unfriendly rather. ICC, are you listening?

Anyway, it was a fabulous game. One worth the money. It is time to celebrate South Africa's victory (and incidentally, VKpedia's 150th post too!)

Dial 'em for murder

How do champions respond to bad patches?

By rising like a phoenix does.

And that is what the Aussies have reiterated today. The punter and his men plundered the South African attack, making the Springboks look like bunch of schoolboys. Ricky Ponting led the rampage with a blazing 164 off 105 balls, as the Aussies carted the sorry South African bowling to all parts of the ground.

Net result: Australia have posted the world's highest one-day total ever. A staggering 434. This is the first time any side have scored more than 400, the previous best being Sri Lanka's 398 in the 1996 World Cup.

Needing to win the final game of the series, which is tied 2-2, the Aussies have responded with such character and grit that emphasises their pre-eminence in the game. Gilchrist (55), Katich (79) and Hussey (81, off 51) were the other demolition men.

Leading the honours for the Proteas was Roger Telemachus giving away 87 off his ten overs. Ntini and Hall chipped in with 80 each, while van der Wath and Kallis managed to reached the 70s.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Microsoft backs Firefox

If you ask me what the best feature in Internet Explorer 7 is, I wouldn't think twice before saying it is the Uninstall option.

For once, the guys at Microsoft decided that the Firefox guys had done enough to come up with a good browser. So Bill's men decided, "Ok, these guys have toiled hard. Let's do our bit to help them." And they developed IE 7.

With all its supercool features, IE7 offers you probably your worst browsing experience. I haven't felt as bad even about lynx, and lynx was a totally different kind of browser. With an interface designed to make you feel stupid, and with tabs that make you loathe yourself for using tabs and a host of other amazingly useless features, IE7 is your perfect recipe to spoil a nice week.

To describe it in a sentence, IE7 is the most imperfect copy of Firefox that was ever made. For example, previous versions of IE had the FTP browsing option, through which you can browse FTP sites as if they were folders. IE7 no longer offers that interoperability, and lists down files as Firefox or Netscape would do. However if you open an FTP address from a Windows folder, it launches the old IE style window. So Microsoft, why screw up a nice feature?

If you are thinking I'm being hypercritical, that's because I feel so bad about this. How can a browser take ages to open on a machine with a gigabyte of RAM? What can one say about a software which you are only too happy to uninstall? What is happening to / at Microsoft?

A friend described the feeling after uninstalling IE7 thus: "All along, Microsoft was good at copying other people's products and doing a good job at that. Now, they are beginning to do a really sick job even at copying!"

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

No words were uttered, none were necessary

The big ticket

I'm trying to conceptualise a TV ad. It starts like this.

First a long shot of the sun. Then we show random shots of Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn etc. They are all rotating and revolving. The earth too. We focus on the earth. Suddenly, the earth stop rotating. The lights in the background go on. A whistle blows. Deafening shouts of "Barca, Barca" all around as Ronaldinho kicks the ball. It is Barcelona v/s Chelsea tonight. Just a few hours away, the biggest game of the season so far, worthy of the Final is about to commence.

Barcelona have a vital 2-1 lead, with two away goals that they will carry with them to their own Camp Nou. Chelsea know the weight of defeat. Especially when they have lost in the semifinals in consecutive years. Chelsea must win tonight. They must score. And I will be praying against it.

For the second season running, Barca are the best team in Europe. By far. Chelsea's tactical play might win them league points and trophies in England. But their style and long-ball play are boring to watch. Coach Mourinho would reiterate that they play to win, not to entertain. Well, if I wanted to see a side winning, I would rather play the football games by EA Sports. Manchester United look like a haunted team. Arsenal even worse. And Liverpool are counting on luck to bail them once again.

The Italian game is hardly inspiring. They will give you sexy-sounding names -- catenaccio, for one -- that are high on tactics and low on entertainment. Juve, Milan, Inter, they aren't very different. Score one goal and defend like it is the end of the world. In Spain, many a feared side has dropped guard. Real Madrid look like a a team of stars who have run out of gas. Valencia and Deportivo sound like names from the past.

Barca offer the difference because they are out-and-out entertainers. They are like the typical Rajnikanth movie. Flair, finesse, style and sometimes arrogance. And who better to display all that than Ronaldinho - entertainer number one.

Chelsea and Barca met at the same stage last season. Barca carried a 2-1 win to Stamford Bridge. They were riding high on confidence. But Jose Mourinho pulled the tactical ploy of the year. Chelsea began the game with four strikers, and in the first 20 minutes, they lead 3-0. A stunned Barca managed a fightback. Ronaldinho converted a penalty and followed it up the most nonchalant goal of the year. A goal of such quality that tears involuntarily rolled down my cheecks. It was 2 AM then. John Terry ruined the party by heading Chelsea home.

This year though, the story is a bit different. Barca rocked the Bridge in the first leg. A similar scoreline, but this time, Barca play hosts in the return leg. The first game was awesome, but not without its share of controversy. Asier del Horno was sent off for a needless, stupid, clumsy, idiotic etc. challenge on a young Argentine boy called Lionel. True to his last name, this lad had messed up the hosts with some excellent runs, for which he won lots of praise, and comparison with the hitherto incomparable Wayne Rooney. He drew lots of catcalls too, most notably from a chronic whiner wailer called Jose, who felt that his team had been short-changed yet again by poor refereeing. Had it not been for his captain, Jose would have travelled to Barca facing a four-goal deficit.

Two weeks seem like a distant past. A new game. A new stage. The same actors. A raucous, partisan crowd. And two managers, radically different in legacy, approach and spirit. But one thing will remain unchanged - the will to win. I will support Barca, but as our own Ravi Shastri would repeat ad nauseum, "Whichever side wins or loses, it is the game of cricket football that is the ultimate winner!" Be there. Enjoy the beautiful game. This is the night -- glorious night!

Men to watch: Ronaldinho, Messi, Lampard, Terry.


Juventus play hosts to Werder Bremen, thankful to their two away goals, and more so to the fact that Bremen could not manage more than 3 at home. A tantalisingly poised game. Juve might scrape through.

Villareal, hosts to Rangers, too have two away goals to their credit, and one less in debit. Can the Gers pull off an away win?

Sunday, March 05, 2006


CRASH wins the Oscar for the Best Picture this year. That is a surprise - S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E - because, just a few moments earlier, Ang Lee took the Best Director award for Brokeback Mountain.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Reese Witherspoon take top acting honours, as George Clooney and Rachel Weisz walk away with the Oscars for the Best Supporting Actor and Actress.

Tvam jeeva sharadām shatam

The following appeared in the Obituary section of The Hindu today.


Mrs. Kalyana Sundari (93) Demise: 14-02-2006
Kolinjivadi V. Narayana Swami (102) Demise: 24-02-2006

United in Life for 82 years.
Reached Heavenly Abode within 11 Days.

I'm truly stunned by this. These days, when the average life expectancy is around 70, here is a couple that has lived together for almost four generations. Leave alone arguments about modern marriages not working, or about the durability of the marriages of old, just imagine what things of history they would have beheld together...

My uncle, who brought this piece to my notice, throws in another line. According to Hindu religious belief, the soul of a departed person does not immediately attain its destination. Rather it is believed that the soul wanders in this world for 11 days - some say, the soul remains close to the bereaved, and enters Heaven only on the 12th day. This is the reason why the first ceremony is conducted on the twelfth day.

Here are two people, united for so long, and the wife never left her man. She stayed with him in life and in death, and when the time came for her to bid adieu, she took him along.

“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be.
The last of life, for which the first was made.”

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Deconstructing Washington's "wows"

In a February 15 article on Rediff.com - Narayana Murthy wows Washington elite - Aziz Haniffa sings praises of India's international software icon. The Chairman of Infosys Technologies is, without doubt, the face of Indian software. But he has also transcended into a kind of statesman-CEO voicing his views on areas not directly under his domain. The "sage of Bangalore" (as Haniffa calls him) has set new standards in corporate governance, and has raised the bar high enough so that Indians can start competing with global behemoths.

So, if Infy is all that, then why was it downgraded yesterday by JP Morgan? In a point-blank interview to CNBC-TV18, analyst Bhavin Shah of JP Morgan brings to light the fact that "the company is facing a crunch in the middle management layers." Shah points out that Wipro is also on the brink of such a crunch, but that TCS is a bit safe.

Can this be true? How can such a thing happen to some of India's most successful, most loved companies? The fact is, and Indian IT majors are waking up to it, there is a serious shortage of skilled manpower that is hitting the industry. And real bad.

Well yes, you read in the papers that "TCS (or Infy or Wipro) added 15000 into it ranks this year. And the numbers are growing." True, but it pays to find out how many of those joined straight from college. That number would be a staggering 80+ percentage. Given an attrition rate of 10-12%, a company like Infosys would be losing 4000 people every year. Huge as it may seem, one might still be tempted to think "But they added four times that number, right?" The real impact of this can be understood only when we appreciate that these 4000 were people who had served for 3-4 years.

In effect, people with lots of experience leave the company, and they are replenished with freshers. As Indian IT tries to move away from doing the menial tasks to some really challenging work, the people capable to executing such work are no longer there. A year or two ago, the picture wasn't this bad for two reasons. The people who quit one IT major found their way into one of the others. This way attrition was equitably peaceful for recruiters because if 10 people from company A went to companies B, C and D, a proportional number would come from B, C and D to A. These days, however, with the arrival of big names (like Accenture, for example), the other names have become some kind of uncool. Secondly, IT professionals have realised that B, C and D are really no different from A, so that makes them uncool anyway. Recently, a friend of mine, who is a Project Manager at one of the Big Three, recounted how a Vice President of his company accepted that people are no longer seduced by the company. "Earlier 2000 people used to walk in for a single ad in the papers. Now it is hardly 10% of that number we are able to attract. And they are simply no good."

The other problem coming to light in the IT industry is that the growth in the past few years is inorganic in nature. Adding 10000+ new folks into your fold every year is akin to buying out another company. Inorganic growth has one advantage - you can learn from the expertise of others. However, in this case, "this other company" has no skill set whatsoever. And the more people you add to the company, the more expectations you add. But big companies can, by nature, only work slow. Thus things get a long time to get implemented. Which only adds to employee frustration. In effect, "Expectation Management" is a function which bigger companies need to work on.

The "sage of Bangalore" and his disciples (as well as their peer-sages in other companies) have issues to address. If you read in the papers that all is fine, don't believe it completely. Yes, things are good, they are rosy still. But not without problems. Problems whose magnitude we might not realise, and might suddenly rear their ugly heads, when we are most unprepared. After all "t
he greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Friday, March 03, 2006

S for Shameless

Rediff.com reports that the Vaiko-led MDMK in Tamil Nadu has severed ties with the DMK and will go to polls along with the ruling AIADMK.

Irked with the offer of just 22 seats by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which is heading the Democratic Progressive Alliance in Tamil Nadu, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Saturday decided to walk out of the grouping and cross over to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam camp.

MDMK General Secretary Vaiko is likely meet the AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at her residence before Saturday noon to finalise and ink an agreement, party sources said.

I'm wondering if S stands for shock or shame. Ms Jayalalithaa had Mr. Vaiko incarcerated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for the latter's fiery speeches in support of the LTTE. There was so much outcry against this. And yet, like a smitten canine, Mr. Vaiko has proved once again that politicians will remain politicians. Credibility, anyone?