Monday, October 26, 2009


My well wisher insisted that I should seriously consider writing as a vocation, since, according to him, I had considerable talent in the literary department and unlike many subscribed to the British English Fan Club and had a distinctive style of articulation. In short, he believed that I was one of those latent talents who would take the world by storm once the floodgate of my literary deluge is unleashed. Soon, I was convinced that I was empowered with such prowess about which even I myself did not have sufficient inkling and that credit went to his discerning acumen to uncover the prolific writer hidden in the mundane mails that I exchanged with him.

If only discerning could stop him, the matter would have died a natural death. But my well wisher galloped ahead in proving to me and himself that a J.K. Rowling was in the making and made it his prime concern to remind me everyday that the world was waiting with bated breath to witness my creative genius. When I protested and procrastinated on the pretext of time constraint, he was quick to advise me that such matters could not be postponed to post retirement leisure and that I should immediately take pen to paper and at least sketch out the “First Chapter” of my self-indulged literary assignment for his critical evaluation. Day after day he sent me mail after mail to that effect. He called it instigation; I doubted whether creativity could flourish under coercion as instigation though subtle in its implication was nevertheless an instrument suggestive of compelling circumstance. However, he was so diligent in his enterprise that soon I started feeling guilty of not complying with his wish. But somewhere, in my heart of heart I knew if I now inked the paper it would not be to give expression to myself and my creativity but to impress him and somehow prove to him that he was right.

That is why, one fine morning, I requested him not to send me anymore bugging mails as I thought I knew the measure of my literary worth and caliber and therefore could not hide behind somebody else’s dreams. Though, on hindsight, I feel I have been very abrupt even rude in my attempt to put a stop to this otherwise fruitless exercise and in the process have ruthlessly snubbed a friend’s selfless enthue directed at my own good, which is nothing less than criminal. Though he refrained from arguing on the subject and acquiesced in a quiet manner, I could make out that he was hurt and very, very disappointed. So was I. Disappointed to have disappointed a friend who unconditionally extended unadulterated encouragement, which is a rare deed and a rare gift, indeed. Disappointed because I could not live up to him; to his expectations. But ink should speak the truth and so have I.

And one day, my friend, perhaps I will live up to your dreams and word a tale left untold for now………………..

Monday, October 19, 2009


I am at present updating my knowledge on “Corruption” – types, forms, magnitude and of course, methods of eradication. As I delved into the subject, I found that the topic itself can constitute a separate discipline of specialized study with the recommended foundation-laying at the school level itself (NCERT listening?) since we have to deal with it on almost day to day basis. Most of what I have gathered must be common knowledge to many; to me it was new and I wanted to put it in black and white so that I can refer to it as and when required. Also writing facilitates memorizing.

It is said that corruption treads stealthily in the corridors of power. Power is where money is. Here money signifies the much wider realm of public finance management e.g., public purchase & procurement through high stake tenders and contracts, international aids and loans, investments in and funding of developmental projects, capacity building of developing countries by developed nations etc.; the list is long and indicative of a macro sweep, at times, transcending political boundaries and mega investments where digits multiply into astronomical figures.

Corruption, as we all know, is born out of temptation. However, it operates under disguise, therefore, is difficult to detect. It intrudes and spreads surreptitiously corroding the fine fabric of society. If not confronted and sabotaged on time, it can take institutional proportions. It has existed and thrived in socio-economic inequalities, political instability and weak and permissive governance. Contemporary corruption, however, is more intricate in design and mechanism, as it misappropriates new age information and technology, for selfish calculations, at the cost of the State and Society.

However, these are facts, which are well known. But what surprised me the most was to find that there are various nomenclatures of corruption. There is a Situational Corruption which is unplanned and is provoked by a particular situation like when a person driving a car breaks traffic rule, is caught by the police and offers the policeman a bribe to escape punishment. Contrary to this is Structural Corruption which is pre-meditated and as the term indicates structured and is carried out in a systematic manner. For example, when two bidders pre-decide to collude to grab a tender. But the highest form of corruption, in my opinion, is State Capture when the politicians and political parties are “captured” to exert undue influence on government policies, laws or regulations for the benefit of the vested interests. The means of capture is easy guess……. huge contribution to party fund.

Then there are various types of bribery. When huge amount of money is passed on to the higher echelons of public officials to influence the decision making process, it is upfront bribery. When comparatively lesser sum is given to lower officials to accelerate/facilitate a process, it is known as facilitation payment. When the bribe is consumed by a single official without the knowledge of the organization, it is personal bribery. On the other hand, when the entire organization is involved in the process of bribery, it is institutional bribery.

The area worst hit by corruption is public procurement (common knowledge) as it constitutes 15% to 30% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and in some countries even more. Moreover, these procurement procedures are complex and involve significant mobilization of public resources. Though, accountability, in these processes, is supposedly high, unfortunately, procedural transparency is found seriously lacking and thus rendering the system extremely vulnerable to corruption. The next public domain in queue is defense and defense procurement. (Imagine the security hazard!!!!!!)

Corruption has all encompassing impact. Besides, financial, it burdens the government with operational, maintenance and debt servicing liability, adds to environmental and security risks, health hazards and is a serious bottleneck in the way of competition and innovation. But, above all, It immeasurably damages the value factor i.e. trust in the government, honesty in competition, human incentive etc. While corruption is known to add to the cost of procurement, it is difficult to quantify corruption as it may be in “cash or non cash advantage” form. Moreover, there is the problem of cultural relativism where the line of demarcation between bribery and socio-cultural norms gets imperceptibly blurred.

One of the Non-Governmental Organizations, fighting against corruption world wide is Transparency International (TI). TI firmly believes that arenas susceptible to corruption should be under constant public eye/scrutiny so that continuous public attention and debate can leave no scope for corruption to entrench its roots. With this motto, TI envisages a strong civil society monitoring mechanism or the “Third Eye” to uproot corruption. It is this underlying philosophy that manifests in the appointment of Independent Assessors, the representatives of Civil Society, to independently and objectively monitor the progress of the procurement procedure from inception to culmination. Needless to say, the External Monitors are required to be professionals of high repute and acumen having experience and expertise in their respective fields of proficiency.

However, having exhausted my corruption knowledge bank, I am still at a loss to figure out an appropriate terminology for the sort of “situation” where X through undue influence on Y gets away with most of the things without exerting much…..comes late, goes early, has lunch on time and innumerable cups of tea, day-dreams, prolongs and procrastinates and replies to queries (like phone call, e-mail etc.) after interminable interludes of deep silence and of course takes a beauty nap each afternoon (on a fixed sofa in a quiet corner specifically designated for this purpose). And all this in broad daylight, in full public view. Here, as you can very well guess, Y and X are in a “Boss-Subordinate” equation (no-gender-specifics attached). The moral denominator in the given situation is very high and the consequences far reaching almost open ended.

What nomenclature do we fix so that the enormity of the possibilities and probabilities of the situation becomes comprehensible by a single term……

“Boss Capture” perhaps?

Then there are various other forms of aberrations…………….

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Nobody would believe if I say that nowadays I am battling against"Puppy Power"!!!!!!!!!!!
Every morning, around 5.00 am, as I unlock the gate, they rush out in a horde -------five of them, in full gusto they charge at me and Mr. SnowBoot; we have to run pell mell in order to save ourselves from the onslought. Good exercise for me but very exhausting as keeping pace with Mr. SB is very difficult and tiring.
Small feet, scrawny body infested with ticks and fleas but what reservoire of energy and speed!!! It doesn't take them a minute to overpower us. Little feet crawl all over us , tickling and nibbling, they have great fun-feast on our feet and legs. Even Mr. Boots is perplexed how to deal with these tiny nibblers. The smallest of them makes the greatest noise and scares the shit out of Mr. S.
One of them is like a ball of wool, round, black with a white star-mark just above his nose and looks more like a baby guerilla than a pupply. But he is the most timid of them all and goes into a contemplative mode now and then. Two of them are sick and always scratching themselves. I tried to spray some medication on them. But they ran away. I wish I could do something for them.
Their mother is a docile creature and has already lost one puppy (it was the most beautiful one.......white with black spots, plump and happy). I have saved their lives once about which I have already written. I want to save the two sick ones now. I am sure God will show me the way. Although, Mr. Boots does not like my playing with them. But I think he'll not mind my helping them.
Today, one of them followed us quite far. I hope they don't get lost or the bigger dogs don't harm them.
God be with them.
So long...............