Saturday, December 19, 2009

Come again to Copenhagen

All eyes or to be more realistic many eyes and ears had been focused in the direction of Copenhagen during the last two weeks. I would feel left out by not making a statement about this much talked about “Climate Summit” as it had a grand closing yesterday. The climate summit was not surprisingly given contradictory ratings by various countries as some terming it an unprecedented outcome while other saying it a good start and a few terming it an outright failure. Probably they have to come back to Copenhagen or maybe Mexico to take this further.

What does it really mean to us lesser mortals? We quite do not understand the difference between 2° temperature rise and 1.5° rise and how can a nation control that. It is particularly difficult for someone like me to perceive this extremely relative affair concerning temperature. I feel cold at 15° while my friends live comfortably at -25°. I guess it will be prudent to leave this complex issue of climate change and global warming in the able hands of the scientists and the leaders as their spokespersons.
But there is a thing or two we could all chip in to make this world a better place for us, our coming generations and other forms of life with whom we share our planet.

I feel particularly sad to see people waste paper. I equate paper with deforestation and destruction of the habitat of the animal kingdom... if there were to be a kingdom. This is something we need to consider with sincerity. We can start by using both sides of the sheets and when it comes to free leaflets and pamphlets we need to rethink before we pick one up.

A few years back I was involved in the making of restaurant in a five star hotel. As the operations took over the restaurant and started to prepare their staff for service, we got to hear a few very important instructions going out to the waiters. "Serve water as soon as the guest takes the table" was one and "try to sell more" was the second. We have to add one more bottle to the already huge pile of plastic while it is difficult to believe that such a state of the art property do not have reliable water filtration installed!

We all can help in the recycling process by separating the different category of trash. We human generate a huge amount of trash every day with our mindless lifestyle churning out bottles, cans, cartons and other forms of plastic and paper every moment that we are awake.

And finally we can make a statement by buying only what we require and not what we desire…….. Well, As much as practically possible!

Bins in the roads of Dubai

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The New Year is synonymous to change as we bid goodbye to the old and welcome the new. This year I am very nostalgic about the Bajaj Scooter as we bid farewell to this icon with a heavy heart. The scooter has been a part of the life of every Middle class Indian and even if they did not own one.

The Message from the president said: “We have sold the last of our Chetak scooters and Bajaj Auto will not be building any more of these classics. Bajaj Auto has"retired" the Chetak tooling and closed the plant……”

I remember those teenage days as I first learned to ride a scooter and it wasn’t easy to synchronize the clutch and the gear and the accelerator. A smile crossed my lips as I thought of the college days when a friend wanted to try the scooter and nobody was ready to ride his pillion. I had volunteered and he managed to get us airborne followed by a nose dive to the amusement of all others.
A few years later I moved to Delhi and I had my own scooter, a Bajaj chetak and it was my companion as long as I lived there. I have very fond memories of those days but I also remember quite vividly the two near death experience on the Delhi road. On one occasion a Blue line Bus pushed me so hard that I got quashed between the bus and the pavement fortunately I was unharmed but my chetak took the pressure and developed a crack right in the middle of the chassis. Living up to its name on this occasion as it was named after “Chetak” the legendary horse of Indian warrior Rana Pratap Singh.
The Bajaj Chetak was a very popular homemade motor scooter produced by the Bajaj Auto Company. The original design was based on the Italian Vespa Sprint. We can still recall those days when waiting lists for Bajaj scooters stretched into years and people were willing to pay a premium equal to the original cost to possess one of those. This became the symbol of resurgent India and was a popular wedding gift in certain parts of Indai. I remember people trying selling their allotment at a premium and some trying to get hold of foreign quota to get their hands on one.

Bajaj’s long-running advertising campaign ‘hamara Bajaj’ will continue to find resonance in the ears and minds of the people of our generation while the young generation will never know how much the life has changed after the economic liberalization of the nineties!! And will never see the scooter being tilted on one side and kick started to glory…..

Watch the video here

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Celebrating Christmas

Over the past four decades that I have been roaming this planet Christmas had been part of my life bringing new flavors in new ways and had rediscovered this most celebrated Birthday everytime. My early memories are of more traditional celebrations in my first school “The Holy Cross School” which was run by Christian missionaries. In Kolkata the Christmas day is known as “boro-din” a popular belief that the days starts to become longer and night shorter from this day. This day is ear marked in all Bengali’s calendar as a day to go out for picnic. Our college campus which is on the bank of the river Ganges and adjacent to one of the oldest Botanical garden in the country used to have hundreds to visitors mistaking it to be the botanical garden, which turns into a family park during holidays.

In Bahrain I have some very dear Goan friends and we had great time together during the whole week leading to 25th and without a doubt had the best Christmas of my life. But all in all this day has always been a day for celebrations!
I am sharing some of the lovely pictures that I have received by emails and unfortunately cannot stand by for the authenticity of these information but they do look marvelous.

The Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C.

Christmas tree display rises up the slopes of Monte Ingino, Italy
A Christmas tree is projected onto the exterior of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka,Tokyo.

Illuminating the Gothic facades of Prague's Old Town Square

In Venice 's Murano Island renowned throughout the world for its quality glasswork


In the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon, Portugal

St. Peter's Square in Rome

In Singapore

Against a backdrop of tall, shadowy firs, a rainbow trio of Christmas trees lights up the night (location unknown)