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Incredible October

October 15:

We inch towards (or gallop towards -> depending on how you feel about this year) the closing of 2012. I don't know if the present month of October has been more frenetic than the rest of the months. But it feels to me as if it has been. So I am inclined to do a running summary of the month as a diary entry for future reference.

Among the many October surprises have been the *win* attributed to Romney in the first Presidential debate as we approach the quadrennial presidential election in the U.S. Felix Baumgartner jumped from 40 kms up in the atmosphere and thanks to the magic of TV, perhaps billions of human beings -- sitting in their drawing rooms, waiting at the airport lounge, drinking beer in the bar or elsewhere -- were witness to the successful accomplishment of this feat of superhuman dare-devilry. There are not many records to be made left to make - this was one of the last for the forseeable future and the door is now closed on this one as well. Unless someone wants to go up to 50 kms in a balloon and perhaps attach a jet pack to his back and after jumping towards Earth, fires the jet pack to propel him to a speed of 2,000 kmph momentarily before opening that parachute. Is there anyone out there crazy enough to try something like that? Well, not likely. But who knows. May be that supersonic car that holds the land-speed record could get yet faster.

All the Nobel Prizes have been announced as per their October schedule -> predictably, the Nobel Committee has flummoxed the betting types and the prizes have gone to folks whose names we all have conveniently and easily forgotten one week after the prize announcement. The last Nobel Laureate in Physics that I can recall right from the top of my mind is John Mather - he of COBE fame from my favorite institution in the whole wide world -- what else but NASA. Wolfgange Ketterle is a modern-day genius experimental physicist too but he won a while back. Lastly, the Economics Nobel is yet to be awarded as I write this on the 15th of October. But it's not like the Nobel is going to go to Kaushik Basu or anything. Krugman has got one already which rules him out. Same for Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen. Ok. It can still go to the perennial contendor Jagdish Bhagawati adding one more item to the list of October surprises.

Which nicely leads to a couple of others -> thankfully, that war with Iran is yet to take place. I wonder if anyone in the global strategic community is yet confident that he can bet that it won't after all happen in 2012. The unemployment figures in the U.S. have gone below 8% after a long, long time which is a positive surprise.

The Taliban continue to do crazy stuff such as shooting to kill 14-year-old Malala. As of today, she is off to the U.K. for treatment. It seems to me that common sense suggests she should have been airlifted to India which is 200 to 400 kms and 30 to 60 minutes from anywhere in Pakistan. In India of course, society is such that rape victims either commit suicide or society chooses to ostracize them. This is a perfect storm of enormous proportions which require deep changes such as a favorable sex ratio. I dare not insert myself into this debate and offer comments such as that 'provocative clothing will lead to rape' or that 'the lopsided sex ratio in rural Haryana and the lack of availability of female sex partners probably makes rape the last option that boys are forced to resort to'. I will merely keep quiet and observe how this one pans out. Keeping in mind that the gender debate is yet to be resolved in even the most egalitarian or advanced of societies in the West or anywhere, my standard response has always been this (and not entirely in a light-hearted fashion) -> soon enough we'll all be androids and males won't feel inclined to rape females as things like 'sexual arousal' or almost anything prefixed with the word 'sexual' will cease to have meaning.

What else has occurred this October that is of historic import? May be I have forgotten a few as I write this post.

Oh wait, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal has fully plunged into the cut and throat world of politics with spectacular revelations pertaining to the net worth of Robert Vadra, who's the son-in-law of India as per the snide description of Subramanian Swamy. In a related note, the India Today Group (Aaj Tak TV channel to be specific) has come out with wild allegations of misappropriation of funds allocated to an NGO run by Mr. Salman Khurshid's wife. This has unduly angered Salman. He was seen vociferously defending himself and getting quite agitated at the journalists asking all sorts of questions. I'm afraid, Mr. Khurshid -> please recall how Ms. Sonia Gandhi made similarly wild allegations against Mr. George Fernandes, the then Defense Minister, during the Kargil war days. So, Mr. Khurshid, what did you do then? Did you tell Ms. Gandhi that accusing Mr. Fernandes was pathetic and stupid? Did you condemn Ms. Sonia Gandhi and defend the integrity of Mr. George Fernandes? No Sir! You did no such thing. Mr. Fernandes' reputation was duly sullied with all the mud thrown at random and  he had to resign -> a case of a person being pronounced guilty until he was proven innocent. And of course, everyone knows -- and most of all, Mr. Fernandes' colleagues in Parliament know best -- Mr. Fernandes is not into deal-making.

Another similar case of tragic and meaningless accusation-mongering happened long time back -- nearly 18 years back -- when an ISRO scientist was accused of being a spy. His career and life were finished -> it took 18 years for his name to be finally cleared by the Supreme Court and all cases against him to be dismissed. He gets a 'compensation' of 10 lakhs (one million precisely) for all his suffering - how tragically paltry and indeed it remains to be seen if even that amount manages to reach him before his death considering the labyrinthine ways and snail-like and sloth-like pace of the Indian bureaucracy.

Any other "big ticket" items that occurred already this October? I don't remember any. Let's wait and see what else transpires in the second half of this month. We'll of course see two of the remaining presidential debates which hopefully won't spring any surprises and Obama will go on to win on November 6 -> albeit with a smaller number of electoral college votes than last time around.

October 19 Updates

Expectedly or predictably, President Obama came back quite strongly in the 2nd debate with Mitt Romney and showed Mitt to be the bully that Mitt is. It was quite an incredible bully-like behavior by Mr. Romney and thankfully, Obama was in fighting form. But I have written separately on this blog about the debate.

So Nike has 'pulled out' from being a sponsor of Lance Armstrong. I guess they must have done some survey shit or weighed the pros and cons to the company and then decided that it was not worth the risk. I think they had earlier dropped Tiger Woods when his marital mess came out.

Dinesh D'Souza meanwhile was sort of caught with his pants down when he was seen with a pretty, young, blonde thing while still married to his wife. Clearly, I am not a supporter of our society's prudish norms about whether someone is married or not and how that relates to that person's 'right' to have sex with others but of course being the 'evangelical crazy' that he is, Mr. D'Souza being in violation of the law in his personal behavior and failing the 'morality' test that he might easily set for others was telling. To me it is an unrealistic and unnecessary bit of artificial restriction -> this whole business of 'extramarital affairs.'

Why can't we just admit that humans like to have sex -> at least, I think I can speak quite confidently about the males of the species <- and will use any opportunities that arise. Speaking as a male, I would be the first to want to have sex if I was 51 years old and had been married to the 'same old woman' for 20 years -> if a pretty young scantily clad sexy woman was 'willing.' So I feel for you Mr. Dinesh 'Dick' D'Souza.

October 21

This month seems to be the 50th year since the Cuban Missile Crisis and India's defeat at the hands of the Chinese in the '62 war. Rajat Gupta's sentencing is due in three days. Rajat Gupta's friends including Bill Gates and Kofi Annan have written letters to Judge Rikoff pointing to the humanitarian sides of Mr. Gupta. It remains to be seen whether the sentence imposed will be on the harsher side (a long jail sentence) or more lenient involving a short jail sentence and more community service (and Mr. Gupta is even willing to work in Rwanda).

October 23
Stuff continues to happen. Kingfisher -> the King of Good Times -- is dead. Well, more or less. Ajit Singh -- BTW -- appears to be a better civil aviation minister, than, say, Praful Patel, Rajiv Rudy, or Ananth Kumar.

Also, about 4,000 people without a job now? Because of Kingfisher's closing of course. Or is that like 7,000 people? Who knows ... and in India, most earning people have about six people depending on them. Though I happen to be an exception. Young Indians getting a taste of what liberalization and living in a global economy is all about -> high salaries when the going is good. And then Kaboom! And you're WITHOUT a JOB! Welcome to the BRAVE NEW WORLD kiddos!

And Lance Armsttrong is dead too -> I mean metaphorically. He had his seven Tour de France titles stripped from him. So, to repeat a much-repeated joke -- I have the same number of Tour titles as Lance. With Nike dropping him as well, I wonder if the legend of Lance will disappear entirely very quickly. I don't think so. Though Armstrong has resigned from Livestrong as well, once people are sort of so deeply invested in the idea of Lance as a hero -- because of whatever reasons -- I think it will take some doing for people to realize that Lance is not all that chaste and great as he has portrayed himself to be. It's the reason why people find it so difficult to let go of silly concepts like their various gods of various religions. Well, another hero bites the dust.

Which reminds me of Rajat Gupta. But I already noted that a couple of days ago. We'll know tomorrow.

Yash Chopra is really dead of course. Dengue killed him! If that's correct, it's a bit strange. But then that young photographer from Tehelka died from malaria. So these little buggers -> mosquitoes <- can be pretty merciless killers, I guess. 40 years of making (mostly kind of silly) Bollywood romantic movies is quite a career, ain't it? I guess many tens and hundreds of millions of Indians have traveled to the Alps and other 'foreign' locales only through Mr. Chopra's movies. Or, more specifically -> the songs in his movies shot in picturesque locations.

Apparently, Mr. Chopra was a great admirer of the beauty of nature and the beauty of women. His 'beautiful' women include -> Sridevi to Kajol (??) and many others apparently. But what's the point of 'admiring' the women and 'shooting' them through a camera. I am more the kind of guy who admires those who are 'available.' I mean, at 70 or 80 or for that matter as a movie director to admire top actresses, I guess there won't be that many 'benefits' ... in a 'physical' sense ... you know what I mean. Oh well. I know you do. But then how much do we know about the private lives of Bollywood movie directors or top actresses ... I mean I would be pretty, pretty stunned, dumb-founded, and devastated if -> say <- Sridevi or Madhuri were monogamous (or rather what I mean by that is -> 'one man woman') or if they were 'virgins' when they got married. 

I mean, do the people of India -- all those who watch the 'stars' in a darkened theater think they're so 'innocent' nubiles? Think of Kareena or Priyanka. I mean -> here's the advice I want to give to the 'innocent' unmarried young people of India -- both boys and females -- those actresses (and add Katrina to that list) are not and were not virgins either because they are unmarried or till their marriage. So, YOU grow up please.


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