Sunday, November 7, 2010

Welcome Letter to Mr Obama

Welcome to India Mr Obama, we simply love you like the way we loved Mr Bush, Mr Clinton….Mr Nixon and rest of them. Even though you will leave in the next 2-3 days Prannoy, Barkha, Arnab, Rajdeep, Sagarika and Vikram will ensure that you will stay in our living rooms for the next 10 days. We will get the breaking news of what you said, what you did not, what you ate, what you did not, what you are wearing and what you are not…etc etc.

Bad entry, you spoilt the Diwali for the Mumbaikars…but both MNS and the Shiv Sena decided to forgive you this time as they are glad that your team rubbed the CM & Dy CM on the wrong side even before you landed….it saved you from the trouble of making your speech in Marathi. I am sure the ‘Old Tiger’ will be glad to share his bathroom with you like he did with MJ for pronouncing Dharavi properly and referring Mumbai as ‘Incredible Mumbai’, because he has been trying to tell the Ministry of Tourism that it’s not Incredible India its Incredible Mumbai as for him Mumbai is India.

If you are feeling home sick and missing the great bashing by the stronger Republicans back home don’t worry right after your Taj emotional athyachar speech BJP has ensured that you don’t miss home. As you rightly said both US & India are the largest democracies in the world and we have a lot in common, including the opposition and unexpected election results. I humbly request you not to take offence of Mr Rudy’s direct remarks on you, BJP was just trying to put its best man forward, you can check with your TV monitoring staff, he never dresses in a suit for a press conference and he is the only young and good looking BJP leader.

You must also realize that Sena was happy that you called Mumbai incredible, you won over the Congress by referring to Nehru, you spoke about the brave cops and many other, but you did not say a word that touched BJP in your speech, trust me if you had just said hey Ram that would have been enough, next time please tell your speech writer from Bangalore not to miss out on anyone, representation is very important.

But I must thank you for visiting the Mani Bhavan where Mahatma spent some quality time and even inspired Martin Luther, its good once in a while to remind us about our Mahatma, also Gandhi story really sells. Did you watch the super hit Munna Bhai? maybe you should give up beating up countries and start giving them Jadhu ki japi or even start sending flowers to Taliban till the time they vacate Afghanistan.

Many of us are upset that you did not mention Pak-is-tan in your ma(i)de(i)n speech, maybe in India we did not realize that you-are-tan..oops was that a racist comment sorry!! We see things differently in the Asia for eg Afpak in India means you get only 10 cigarettes to smoke, Pak in Pakistan means Pakistan, America and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh means Tibet in China, you see we are all part of very old rather 5000 year old civilization after all.

I particularly like the fact that you are here to fill vacancies in the great US, I thought you were anti-outsourcing, but if you want us to hire people for you we will be glad to do that too. But just wondering if you are putting all your eggs in Indian basket? We already run your banks, software, websites, school tuitions, hospitals, shops, politics etc it’s just we do not want to be called a monopoly on a later date.

Our Harvard, Wharton, Silicon Valley returned and Desi business leaders seem to be very impressed by your long well rehearsed, flawless sales pitch, must say that they have not been used to it at all, they have generally been told what to do and what not to do by the politician in this part of the world. It looked like a welcome change; they seem to be soaking it up before you land in Delhi with a different agenda or a changed tone given that you are also a politician and your party has just got crushed in the mid-term polls.

You have brought in many business leaders from US to sell their products in India and to attract Indian investment in US, dangling a carrot of opening up imports and high-end technology to India. Sure we will export fresh fruits, vegetables, grains to the aging Americans whom you are struggling to keep alive and in return you can shove the Coke, Pepsi, McDonald, KFC etc etc down the throats of our young kids who are really the future of the great American economy. About Indians investing in US don’t you worry, the accumulation of the gold owned by middle class Indian exceed the gold reserve of US treasury, so we have a lot of ‘faltu’ money in our lockers, but don’t complain on a later date that we are controlling your economy like we already do in UK, buggers are now realizing how it feel to be colonized.

There are many who are very critical of your sales pitch, they tell me that you are playing for the galleries in US, and that your speech was for the Americans and not us, it’s ok we get to experience the same all the time out here, we never understand whom our politicians are talking to or talking about all the time. You signed 20 deals worth $10 billion that will create 50000 jobs in America, but you did not mention how many years will it take to create those 50000 jobs? Good you did not, it’s just two more years for the election dude don’t screw up your chance of being re-elected, knowing our and your bureaucracy these 50000 jobs could take 50 years and the American people are not in a state to hear that, no way. Simple call it the Diwali gift for the Americans as Diwali keeps comes every year.

Is it right that your visit is costing the US tax payer $ 900 million, and people back in US are asking if this visit was needed when the unemployment rate is at 10%, and your rating is at the lowest? Hmmm if you get SRK and Mrs Obama to dance to Bollywood songs I assure you that 100% of the Indian-Americans will be with you and that can swing the rating in your favor. Also try to influence your market research organizations to run popularity ratings survey online, we will ensure that Catherine, Liz, Anna, John, Ben from Bangalore vote for you, they too are trying to save their jobs you see and would not mind voting in your favor.

If nothing works on the job front may be its time you implement MGNREGA, you can still keep the same name and just remove rural since you consider Mahatma Gandhi as your Hero. You can get all the information from our MGNREGA champion Mr Rahul Gandhi, I am sure you will be meeting him since you are meeting his mother, kids stay with their parents out here in India. It’s important to meet the BJP president Mr Gadkari too, in case its missed out of your itinerary, don’t be overwhelmed by his enormity, he has been our undisputed ‘Biggest Loser India’ ever since. Its politics and you never know when the BJP will be back in power, maybe will be good to meet them before Mr Gadkari takes them back to the good old size 6 or may be 4.

Are you wondering why I have not mentioned anything about our great PM, you know him very well, you have already met him six times, he really looks up to you for support and kind words. He does not mind being looked down at, he is used to it, everyone in the opposition always looks down upon him, but we the citizens don’t care, we are happy that our PM is one of the most educated and brilliant minds, he is the inspirations to all our young people he is too keen to handover the PM‘s job to the next baba. Hmm I know what you are thinking….we can’t outsource our PM’s job to US it will be too costly we have cheap options.

On the lighter note, heard that some people were not happy that Mrs Obama visiting the red light area, simply ignore it, even our cricket team captain MSD did, since she danced for our Bollywood music we will not tell anyone not even Mr Clinton.

Kindly note, Indian press is giving you a lot of air time and space does not really mean that you can take them for granted; they understand politics and politicians very well, so watch what you speak or say, they can be very nasty like your channels back home. If Arnab calls you on his show don’t say no, just say Time(i)(s)now to go, NDTV thinks you are the President of India, now that you have mentioned your daughter would like to know more about the save Tiger campaign Vikram must have already taken a flight to meet her. Be assured that Sagarika has not put on that extra make-up and draped in a jazzy sari just for you, she always dresses like that. If Rajdeep is interviewing you please mention that cricket is a great game and that IBN is really the number one news channel in India. Don’t ever accept an invite to be interviewed by Karan Thapar, you will be impeached even before you go back home.

Lastly, Bangalore visit was removed from your itinerary; I totally understand dude, the city is already hearing enough from the Americans on a daily basis and they may recognize your voice. But I should not forget to mention that you really missed the guided temple tour by our CM, tips on the best way to perform black magic, how to get god’s blessing for America and the great opportunity to learn how to convert Republican senators to Democrats back home.

Aatithi devo bhava, once again welcome to India, enjoy your stay in India, after a long time we get to see a tall dark and handsome politician.

- Kavitha Reddy

Saturday, November 6, 2010

ಜಯ ಭಾರತ ಜನನಿಯ ತನುಜಾತೆ

Vandalizing the advertising boards that were in English, senselessly destroying the hoardings that would have cost advertisers lakhs of rupees is how some of the so called pro-Kannada activists decided to celebrate the 54th the grand birthday of Karnataka, also some intellects decided to celebrate the Karnataka day by calling for black-out of non-Kannada movies, all of these mostly rather only in Bangalore!!

Watching these ugly and totally dis-appropriated scenes on TV left me with nothing but outrage, wondering when will we stop this nonsense and start looking within. The barbaric, senseless attention seeking so called Kannada activist have no right to speak for Kannada by causing damages to others hard earned property.

What is the fuss about the language? Karnataka has been the epitome of amalgamation of various cultures and languages; we proudly speak of our diversity. Our tourism campaign is “One state many worlds”, we are one of the few states that has many of its own languages (Kannada, Urdu, Tulu, Konkani, Kodava Takk).

Few years ago I met a Canadian who had visited a shop on MG road, she told me that she was bargaining on the price of a brass idol and in the process discussed with her friend who was with her on the final price they should buy the idol for in French, after more bargain the shop keeper quoted the same price in English. While packing the idol the shop keeper spoke to the two ladies in fluent French leaving them totally stunned. For me this represents the true spirit of Bangalore and the very soul of Karnataka, we as people from Bangalore represent the modern India, the India of opportunities and the true global India.

Bangalore is the ONLY city in the world where a traveler or a citizen can speak most of the Indian and many of the foreign languages and we should never be ashamed of our strength. We should never sabotage our spirit in the name of Kannada, no one owns Kannada we are only the mere representatives of the language and not the language ourselves. Drunken driving can never be the reason to ban cars; we need to look within, we cannot ban the personal choice of communication because it’s not in Kannada.

Today representation of a language is not just in books or literature work it is also in very popular media of movies, internet and music. Where do we stand in this popular media, has one heard the names, dialogs, the lyrics, the content of our Kannada movies and programs!! How do one even related to these atrocious and ridicules usage of Kannada in the most popular media. Why are these Kannada activists not raising their voices on the brutal act on the language in the popular media instead of targeting the boards or malls or offices?

People like Narayana Murhty, Nandan Nilekini have globalised Karnataka; once a lesser heard Bangalore is today the city that gets mentioned by even the President of USA as a city that has changed the face of business worldwide. All this would not have happened if we were not enterprising and were not truly multi-lingual. Today countries with rigidity on language like Russia, China, France etc are moving towards being multilingual, what is the need for us to step back?

My mother tongue is Telgu, I am a Kannadiga by birth, I studied Kannada as my 1st language, my renowned Kannada Mastru Vasudev Ballal also thought me slokas in Sanskrit, encouraged me to take Hindi exams and made me read Shakespeare, beautifully narrated William Wordsworths poems and cracked jokes on me in Telgu. I have always believed that the more languages you know the better it is, language like civilization changes constantly imbibing the goodness of other languages and influencing its greatness on other languages.

Let’s not forget that our state song starts with Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate....we are part of a large country with amazing diversity. Kannada literary works has won the most number of Jnanpith awards, hence let us not make fun of Kannada by these trivial acts of self-proclaimed activism which in fact has no purpose or agenda or even a clear plan to promote the language of Kannada.

As true Kannadigas we should not let our language to be represented by forceful, violent and undignified behavior of the so called self-proclaimed activist. No language is or can be an enemy of the other; it’s our failure to promote Kannada as a language of peace, acceptance and richness and it’s our responsibility to revive the language to its glory in a civilized way. We truly need to introspect on how we can make Kannada a language of ‘Choice’, let us also leave the choice of becoming part of a community and political process by shedding the ‘outsider tag’ and learning to speak Kannada is to the citizens.

If the government is unable to ban these ill-ideology outfits then they should at least crack them down with penalty to every penny they destroy in the name of the language. Forcing anyone to speak any specific language is against the freedom of expression and is against the very roots of our constitution and our democracy.

- Kavitha Reddy