25 November, 2010


Bihar has said it like never before. No caste, only 'vikas' (progress)

Nitish was quite subdued in his media appearances yesterday. Part of the credit for this landslide goes to Laloo also. In a state which continues to be ranked at the bottom of all human development indices, Nitish can rightfully claim that he has improved things manifold.

That says some thing about Nitish. He has worked hard etc. It says a LOT more about Laloo and the way he had dragged Bihar down.
From Wikipedia -" Per capita income in Bihar grew by 2.45% during the 1980s, against 3.32% per cent in India as a whole. In the 1990s, per capita income grew by 0.12% per cent in Bihar, as against 4.08% per cent in India. The growth rate in agriculture was 2.21% during the 1980s against India's 3.38%, during the 1990s it was 2.35% in Bihar while at the all-India it stood at 3.14%." (the emphasis is mine)
This is Laloo's legacy. He might have earned a few billion rupees while he was at it, but what is even bigger is the money Bihar could not earn during this rule. Those who could left the state.
While the rest of the country was getting its act together, Laloo paralysed an entire state.

The result also says something about India's average ruling class. They are corrupt and lazy. In comparison to them, a straightforward CM who is applying himself to the job shines out.
BSP fielded 241 candidates and won 0 seats. If I was a CM today up for re-election in 2-3 years, I would have a long think about this election result. For my country's sake, I hope that some of India's CMs think about it as well.

My reading list

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here.
There are a few books below which I have read many times - dont ask me why - To kill a mockingbird, Catch 22 and HHGTTG.

Bold - Read completely  - 21
Underlined - Partially read - 6
Changed colour - plan to read - 2

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - 1/2 (currently reading)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma-Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
5 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - william makepeace thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Life of quality

Parts of India are worse off than quite a few poor African countries - poor life expectancy, access to healthcare, water and the like. It is saddening and speaks about the mediocrity of thought and the corruption in action of everyone who is anyone in India - the political elite and the bureaucracy, the middle class who doesn't really care and is too busy enjoying the fruits of India's prosperity.

The middle class should care - but more on that on another blog post. Right now, we are busy having fun.

You don't need to do much. Things happen without moving a muscle. Every household can expect to provide employment to about 5-7 people directly and many more - indirectly. When you stay in Gurgaon, you will need a 2-3 part time maids, one full time servant, at least one driver, one or two part time errand boys. Indirectly, you are a source of income to tailors, electricians, plumbers, civil work contractors and labourers. At the third level, a middle class family is providing fuel to India's economic engine - by consuming services like banking, credit cards, mobile phones, insurance and so on.

What are the problems we worry about -
- Full time maids are in short supply and the agency will charge Rs. 15000 as hiring fee.
- When will I finally afford that BMW and where the hell will I park it?
- Why don't I find about any one of them scams before

Come to think of it, not much else...