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When I get time, I listen to music, or read books. If any is left, I blog!

Friday 16 March 2012

The Middle Finger In Demand!

A finger capturing our imagination for the first time, appears in the epic Ramayana.

The chariot in which king Dasaratha was chasing his enemy, began to wobble.  Kaikeyi, the queen who was with him, noticed that one of the wheels was about to come off.  Quickly, she inserted her finger in place of the missing axle-pin, avoiding a mishap.  Pleased at her presence of mind, Dasaratha promised to fulfil two of her wishes.  Years later, on the eve of the coronation of her stepson Rama, Kaikeyi reminded Dasaratha of the promise and demanded: 'Make my son Bharata, the king.  Send Rama to the forest for fourteen years'.

To date, the finger that brought 'Sooryavamsha' the oldest and biggest of the dynasties in ancient India to an earth-shaking climax, remains a mystery!

The finger that is shedding its secrecy however, is the middle one.  Our cricketers were the first to popularise it.  Other celebrities soon followed. The last to enter the 'finger-club', as repeatedly seen on the national TV channels a fortnight ago, was the son of a senior politician under investigation in a disproportionate assets case.   He 'gave the middle finger', and we took it without a murmur!

Those uninitiated in matters pertaining to the middle finger might ask, 'why all this hue and cry?'   Well, the reason is the phallic connotation it carries.  Holding up the middle finger, also known as 'flipping the bird' or 'flipping someone off' is meant to suggest, '**** off' or 'up yours'!

According to experts, there are over two dozen ways of doing it, all but two being innovative variants.  The basic way is to hold up your fist, and then extend the middle finger full stretch.  You can also show your palm with all five fingers open, and then bend the middle finger through 90 degrees.  Give it a suggestive jab and you push home the message!

If you were the target, how would you respond?  Take it lying down?  Turn your face away?   Or return the compliment?

The above is intended solely for informational purposes and not as a recommended gesture or expression in one-to-one or group interactions. Any attempt to the contrary in part or full could invite public rebuke and/or wrath, and this blogger shall not be responsible for its consequences.

Thursday 1 March 2012

Drive 150 km for Tea?

Four youngsters barely in their twenties.  One comes driving a swanky new car.  There is a clamour for a treat.   And the offer is tea at a wayside shop 150 km away!  “Drive 150 km for chai?  Awesome, dude” is the reaction.
Just an ad film (Click here).  Yet it conveys that India may be poor, but Indians aren't!
Fifty years ago, India's GDP was US$ 37 billion.  Today it is a whopping US$ 1729 billion!   The Forbes 2011 talks of 50 Indians in its list of World Billionaires.  As per Credit Suisse, there are 170,000 'rich' Indians making the country the 12th 'richest' in the world.  The 'rich' in global terms refers to those who have assets worth US$ 1.0 million or more, over and above their primary possessions and outstanding liabilities.  In the next slot are 4.5 million Indians with surplus assets of US$ 100,000!

A National Council of Applied Economic Research estimate, puts the Indian households with annual income in excess of US$ 20000 at 3.8 million.   The cash stashed abroad by Indians is said to be over US$ 500 billion!  The black money circulating within the country is in the region of US$ 300 billion!  According to a Central Statistical Office report, the per capita income at current prices stands at US$ 1240, a rise of 14.3% over the previous year!   The average salaries this year too, are expected to move up in double digits.

We are rolling in cash, so much so that manual counting of currency notes is beginning to bore us.  No wonder, a flurry of automatic counting machines has hit the local market.  White or black, cash can now be dusted and counted, and even the counterfeits identified in a matter of seconds.  All for a mere US$ 200!

Are we talking about surplus income?   No. It is the disposable income that is motivating us.  So, why should anyone feel scandalised if four youngsters decide to drive 300 km, have tea, and return?

Money does not not reflect progress, prosperity or well-being, until you start spending it.  One reason, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the economic indicator since the Second World War days, is no more seen as a true measure of the standard of a nation's prosperity.  Today, it is the HPI (Happy Planet Index) combining economic metrics with indicators of well-being (health, education, life span, satisfaction etc.) that matters.  Perhaps, why in a recent HPI survey, Costa Rica emerged right on top, and India ranked 79 positions ahead of the US!

Didn't he sound factual, when Barack Obama said: "Money may not be the only answer, but it does make a difference."
"Money is the barometer of a society's virtue."
Ayn Rand