Saturday, December 18, 2010

Amul ads

Advertisements of Amul butter have been legendary. Not much needs to be said about it, we are all familiar with the funny hoardings on current affairs that have grabbed our attention since we were kids. But what not many people know is that the entire collection of utterly butterly Amul advertisements right from 1976-77 is available online.

For all those who are interested, click here

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rajinikanth jokes

Yesterday, 12th December was Shivaji Rao Gaikwad, aka Rajinikanth’s 61st birthday.  As one of the most popular actors of popular cinema (pun intended), Rajini is a legend. And not only his movies, Rajinikanth jokes are legendary too. Some Rajini jokes for the occasion….

ü      Two ghosts were talking….one consoled other “Don’t fear brother....there is no such thing as a Rajinikanth”

ü      Rajinikanth got admission to a medical college and gave viva exam. In the end he asked the examiner to come back after proper preparation.

ü      This year’s RAJINIKANTH award goes to ………Oscar!

ü      Once Rajinikanth participated in 100 meter running race. The result? Rajinikanth won the race. Light came 2nd.

ü      One day Rajinikanth bunked school. Since then, the day is known as “Sunday”.

ü      Question: Rajinikanth cannot work in a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) company. Why??? Answer: Because he himself is a process.

ü      Rajinikanth once won an argument with his wife.

ü      Rajinikanth has already been to Mars, that’s why there are no signs of life there.

ü      Had Rajinikanth been born 100 years earlier, the British would have fought to get independence from India.

ü      When Rajinikanth logs on to Facebook, Facebook updates its status message.

Long live Rajinikanth!

Monday, December 6, 2010

This can happen only in India!

When travelling in a launch from Marve beach to Manori Island, I came across this unique sight.

Ganesha and Jesus share a common garland

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What is the 'weight' of the Eiffel Tower?

Sorry for this, but this article is not about the Eiffel Tower. It’s about the 2G scam. By the time you finish reading it, you will understand the relevance of the headline though.

The 2G scam. We have all heard of it. But most probably, not paid more than a passing attention to it. After all, there is a scam every day. Just the other day, we heard of the CWG Scam. The sporting extravaganza became an excuse to loot the nation of  hundreds of crores. Then, it was the Adarsh Housing Scam. Politicians, Babus and Military Generals appropriated flats worth Rs.8 crore by paying Rs.80 lacs. All in the name of Kargil widows. Then, it was 2G. Until came along the Housing Loan Scam.

We have come to treat corruption as passé, something we take in our stride and carry on with our business as usual. Every scam survives till the next one hits the headlines. After that, all is forgotten. The attitude of the common population is - why waste time thinking about it when you can spend ‘quality’ time on the Facebook, or watching cricket, or the latest SRK flick? This is what our attitude to corruption is.

So why am I writing about 2G scam now? What’s so great about it? Why am I writing about something which is already all over the media, and is probably stale news? Why think about it when we know that “nothing is going to happen?” (Meaning – ultimately nobody is going to go to Jail)

I am tempted to write since the sheer scale of the scam is extraordinary. It is something we all need to sit up and take notice. We should not forget it. The sheer audacity with which the country was literally auctioned out, causing mammoth losses to the people of India (i.e. you and me) is astonishing. The losses are mind boggling.

As per the CAG report, depending on the method of valuations used, the country has suffered a revenue loss of anywhere between Rs. 58,000 crores and Rs. 1,52,038 crores when the 2G spectrum was sold by the Government to private companies. How much of it went to the politicians’ pockets is anybody’s guess.

We cannot even imagine how big this amount is. For the sake of this article, I am taking a mid-point of these figures – Rs.1,05,019 crores and trying to find out - exactly how big is this amount?

Ø               Adjusting for inflation, the size of the scam is equal to 477 “Bofors”, India’s most celebrated corruption scandal (Without adjusting for inflation, it is equivalent to 2625 Bofors)

Ø               If this amount is distributed to all Indians living below the poverty line, each one of them will get Rs.2,386, which is equal to their 2 month’s income (or 20 days income of an average Indian).

Ø               If this amount is distributed to all the people in Mr. Raja’s constituency, each one of them will get Rs.13.78 lacs!

Ø               This money can buy 52 lac Nanos (No typo here – 52,00,000 Nano cars!).

Ø               The amount is equal to more than 30% of India’s fiscal deficit. This can loosely be translated to mean that our inflation could have come down by a third, had this revenue been earned by the government.

Ø               If the amount is collected in Rs.100 notes and the notes are laid side by side along their length, it can create a ‘chain’ which circles the earth more than 4 times.

Ø               If the amount is collected in Re.1 coins, it will weigh more than 50 lac tons, which is more than the weight of 500 Eiffel Towers, a structure made of heavy metal such as steel and as tall as an 81 storey building.

You can do the calculations yourself. If you take the top end of the CAG figure, all these numbers will go up by another 50% (76 lac Nano cars, and so on).

I strongly suggest you atleast glance at the Executive summary of the scam report, which is available here . The detailed CAG report is also available on the net. Those who are guilty should not go unpunished. As they say, bad governments are elected by good people who do not vote. The country needs anger – a lot of evil exists because good people do not get angry enough. Jai Hind!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our airfares are too low

was amused to see the following report in the papers:

Read this or this or this.

Ostensibly, the airfares have gone up. And the Civil Aviation Minister Mr. Praful Patel and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is preparing to ‘take action’ against this ‘loot’.

“Civil aviation minister Praful Patel on Thursday asked airlines to price fares in pre-notified “bands” and avoid any kind of predatory pricing……….. Warning erring airlines, he said the government and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had taken serious note of ‘exorbitant prices’ being charged on most routes in the last few days.

“DGCA has already sent notices to airlines ... it can invoke special powers if required .... it will discuss with airlines on ways to regulate fares in low and high bands.””

To be sure, the Airfares have certainly gone up. I flew from Bangalore to Mumbai last week, and the cheapest ticket on the sector for a Friday night (ostensibly, a peak period) was upwards of Rs.12,000. Reports suggest tickets on the Delhi – Mumbai sector have gone up to as high as Rs.25,000 on some days. For those used to flying for a couple of thousand bucks from one corner of the country to another, this would seem certainly high.

But is it?

Come to think of it – what does an airline do? It transports people (and goods) from one place to another. In this respect, it does nothing different from what any other transport operator does – such as a bus, train, taxi or a rickshaw. In fact, an airline actually competes with these other modes of transport (i.e. bus or a train) to get its passengers. When airfares went down a few years back, passengers actually shifted from trains (especially Ist class / IInd A/C) to flights. And this is what led to the aviation boom in the country. Airlines, such as Air Deccan created a ‘taste’ for air travel among those who had never flown before.

But they did it at a throwaway cost.   At prices which were unsustainable in the long run. (For example, between 2005 to 2008, I flew several times between Mumbai and Bangalore (a distance of 860 km) paying fares of Rs.2,000 - Rs.3,000). In the process, they made huge losses and shut shop. Air Deccan, which pioneered low cost flying became bankrupt and was taken over by Kingfisher. Air Sahara was gobbled by Jet. Paramount is grounded. Those who are still running (or flying), are also making losses. For example, Kingfisher’s entire capital has been wiped out, and it is surviving solely on the largesse of the Banks and Financial Institutions. Air India runs on tax payer’s money. All other airlines are also making losses. Even a chaiwala will tell you, for any business to survive, it should be self sustaining – it should generate atleast some amount of profit. Doesn’t the Aviation minister and the DGCA know this?

Now, look at the ‘exorbitant' airfares that the Minister and the DGCA have been talking about. In Mumbai, an auto rickshaw costs Rs. 6.50 per km. Taxi costs Rs.10 per km. (Rates in some other cities such as Bangalore are even higher). And we don’t find these rates high. Now compare the operating costs of a rickshaw or a taxi to an airline. An aircraft costs a bomb, they are forced to hire highly specialized pilots and aviation engineers and pay them huge salaries, they keep the airline spic-and-span. They buy expensive non-subsidized fuel and maintain a huge inventory of spare parts – even a single screw missing from the plane can cause the aircraft to crash. How much does it cost to run an auto rickshaw business? Compare the comforts of flying vis-a-vis the comforts (actually, the lack of) travelling by road. Also add the money value of the time saved. Don't you think you should pay more per kilometer for travelling by air, than travelling by road?

Mumbai – Delhi distance is around 1100 km, Mumbai Bangalore is around 850 km. Thus, theoretically, if we were to travel Mumbai – Delhi in an auto rickshaw, it would cost us Rs.7,000 (Rs. 6.50 per km X 1,100 km), Mumbai – Bangalore would set us back by Rs. 5,500. If we took a taxi instead, Mumbai to Delhi fare would come to Rs.11,000, and Mumbai to Bangalore Rs.8,500. We won’t find these rates ‘high’, this is the normal rate he would charge 'by meter'. But we expect that an airline which flies us these distances in luxury in a couple of hours should do so for Rs.3,000? What are the minister and the DGCA ‘warning’ about? Can they please explain?

I am surprised Praful Patel, a businessman himself, does not understand this simple economics. Perhaps he does, he is just playing to the gallery. But you and I should not  be fooled. If airfares have gone up, they better be. If the airfares come down, the airlines will come down too. Don’t crib. Buy airline stocks instead. That is what I am doing.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Noise pollution

When I went to Bulgaria 3 years back, one of the first things that struck me as remarkable (and there were quite a few!) was the extra-ordinary level of “silence” in the atmosphere. There just weren’t any sounds around. Nobody said anything loudly, nobody shouted. No cars honked. No hawkers selling their wares. Smooth and noiseless vehicles. No loudspeakers blaring music or ‘celebrating’ festivals. No noise at all. It was almost haunting, even during daytime. You could actually ‘feel’ the silence.
It was quite a change from the noisy world that we are living here in India. There is noise everywhere.  Just switch off the TV (here you go!), close your eyes and try to listen. Even in pin-drop silence, in the middle of the night, you can actually ‘hear’ something. Some of it will be specific sounds made by clearly identifiable objects, like the fan or the air-conditioner, or an occasional car passing by on the road below. But you will also hear a slight humming in the air. If you don’t, then that’s because you are not able to identify it, to distinguish it from a truly silent atmosphere. Because you have never ‘heard’ the real silence.
I think the biggest contributors to noise pollution in our atmosphere are the automobiles. Autorickshaws rattle as if the silencer is yet to be invented. In fact, I am surprised how such a vehicle is even given a license to be sold. Some of them create so much noise that they deserve to be out of the roads. It is a clear encroachment of an individual’s right to privacy, to a calm and peaceful surrounding, a right not to be disturbed. Another and perhaps the biggest contributor to noise pollution is the incessant honking of vehicle horns all around us. It is just too much, we honk anytime and everytime. Just start observing once you step out on the roads from today. We don’t even realise it. Here are some of the reasons people honk on our roads:
·         To tell the vehicle you are overtaking “I am overtaking you!”.  This is universal, followed more religiously than even the traffic rules themselves. I won’t be surprised, if, in a survey, someone finds out that more than 50% of the drivers think you SHOULD honk while overtaking others, that is the rule!
·         To tell the vehicle in the front “I am overtaking you from the wrong side”. This is used as a ‘disclaimer’, once you honk, you have the right to overtake from the left. Nobody can complain!
·         To tell vehicle in the front “I am overtaking you rashly.”  Same as the point above, disclaimer. Now the onus is on the other guy to ensure there is no accident.
·         To generally announce “I am coming!” and warn everyone else on the road and on the footpath to be careful (!). Shows how much confidence the driver has in his own driving.
·         To “announce” that the signal has turned green and now everyone can start moving! As if, the signal was red for so long that some of the drivers might have fallen asleep at their steering wheels. I find this the most amusing – just observe how many horns blurt the moment a signal turns green. I have never understood why.
·         To shout at the pedestrian “abey, andhaa hai kya?” or some other such homilies.
·         To call the security guard to open the gate.
·         To tell the security guard to open the gate fast!
·         To call someone in the balcony from the road below (!)
The list is endless, you can go on adding to it.
Most of the people honk quite mechanically most of the time, it comes as naturally as applying the clutch, break or the accelerator.
According to my observations, 99% of the honking is futile. Whatever you are trying to tell, the person is already doing it. A simple slowing down of the vehicle will do. In fact, the most interesting thing is that honking does not avoid slowing down anyway, since everyone honks so often that most of the people ignore it, defeating its very purpose. Excessive honking is a reflection of the agitated and irritated state of the driver’s mind, it just reveals his impatience, and even immaturity. It causes stress to everyone around. Noise pollution leads to aggression, hypertension, high stress levels, sleep disturbances and other harmful effects. Stress and hypertension in turn lead to several other severe health problems.
The U.S. President Barrack Obama, during his recent visit to India, said that India is no longer an emerging nation, it has already emerged. In some respects, this might be true. But in many others, we still have a long way to go.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Joke of the day

"I resigned because of the Congress party's moral stand on such issues. I resigned on my own." - Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, after being kicked out of the CM's post in the wake of the Adarsh housing scam. Link here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thought for the day

"If you want something that you never had, do something that you have never done" - Anonymous

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I have often wondered why people celebrate birthdays.
We start doing it right from childhood. Children look forward to their birthdays. On your birthday, you need not wear the school uniform; you can come to school in your favourite dress. Distribute chocolates to the entire class. To me, not getting to wear the uniform for a day was the biggest attraction when in school. Unfortunately, I myself never got to do it, as my birthday happened to be during the vacations. I looked at others with envy, who were luckier. But since it was vacation time, my father used to take me out for English movies – Bruce Lee movies, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, which I still remember fondly. In college, the uniforms were gone. Here, a birthday meant going out with your friends to a nearby Udupi restaurant and eating your favourite dish. Onion Uttappa. Pao Bhaji. Cassata ice-cream. Those days, even this was a luxury, and so birthdays were eagerly awaited.  In many of the offices I have worked for, there is a custom to cut cake within your department on the birthday. Others bring the cake and you cut it. Then someone comes and applies it to your face. Sometimes, they even kick you in the ass. Everyone laughs (obviously). I don’t know what’s in this that is worth enjoying. Is this a celebration or a punishment? By the time you are working, even the joy of growing is gone. You wish you were younger. Birthdays never came.
An achievement would call for a celebration. A victory would. Good news would. But a birthday is none of this. From the dumbest idiot in town to Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, everybody was born on some day or other. So what is the big deal about a birthday? Why do people celebrate birthdays?
I have raised this question many times to many people, but only once have I got a somewhat meaningful answer. This only shows that most of the people who celebrate birthdays have no clue why they do it.  They probably do it because it is the custom. Because others do it. How sad.
But once, a friend told me it is a celebration of life. You are glad to be alive. That’s what you are celebrating.
This set me thinking.
This is probably how the custom might have originated. In the olden days, death rates were high. Epidemics devastated nations. An entire generation would get sacrificed in war. Floods and famines would ravage the lands, and no formal relief mechanisms were available. Infant mortality was high. Medical science was not developed. Life expectancy was low. Yes, staying alive itself was an achievement. Call yourself lucky if you are alive and growing (in age atleast!).
But is this argument valid today? The answer may be yes, if you are born in sub-Saharan Africa. But ironically, they are not the ones who celebrate their birthdays. Those who do, face no such challenges. Unless you are very very unlucky (and die in a plane crash or something, which was no fault of yours), and if you drive sensibly, don’t drink too much or smoke, maintain decent eating habits and give your body sufficient exercise, it is not difficult to stay alive and survive till your average life expectancy. The world population is growing. And growing fast. Which means for most of us, there would be no justification to celebrate birthdays till the age of 70 or so.
There is another – and a more important point. What have you done all these years that justifies your being alive, that makes your life worthwhile? Try to answer this question – what good deed have I done today (something over and above the normal duties at home and office)? Or this past week? Or this past one month? Or one year? Or several years? Try to prepare a list – and see how difficult it is. Seriously.
If your list is empty, what are you celebrating really?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Who is Robert Vadra?

Priyanka’s husband, of course. But that is not what I am asking.
I was curious to see that a couple of days back, The Times of India carried a half page interview of Robert Vadra. For a man married into the India’s First Family, Robert has maintained a surprisingly low profile, avoiding the glare of the media that rest of the Gandhi family members have constantly been under. In the above mentioned interview, Robert Vadra comes out as a soft spoken businessman, running a small business exporting costume jewellery and handicrafts to Europe and elsewhere. He refuses to give any figures on the size of his business, but claims he employs 38 people. He also comes out as a fitness freak and a sports enthusiast, a passion he says he shares with brother in law Rahul. He claims to have never used his position as Priyanka’s husband for his personal and business’ benefit and downplays the frisking controversy since it is applicable ‘only when he is travelling with Priyanka’. (For the uninitiated, Robert Vadra has been exempted from frisking at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, a privilege available only to a select few VVVIPs like the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Foreign Diplomats etc. ) He also claims he can win an election ‘from anywhere’ and does not rule out joining politics in future. But at present, he is happy and content running his business and spending time with his family. Click here here for the full interview.
For a man who has always been shy of the media, I do not know what the sudden provocation of giving this interview was. But the very absence of media glare on Robert should, in my opinion raise eyebrows. For a media that has often been accused of sensationalizing trivial things, Robert’s background provides enough ammunition to provide full time employment to an army of journalists.
  • Robert was born to a Rajinder and Maureen. Rajinder belonged to Moradabad in U.P. while Maureen was of Scottish origin, and the family was originally called Wadhera. It is not known when and why the surname changed to Vadra.
  • It is not clear whether Robert is a Christian or a Hindu. His marriage to Priyanka was carried out with Hindu rituals. But the first names of the Vadra siblings (Robert, his brother Richard and sister Michelle indicate they may have taken the religion of their mother)
  • Robert was not on good terms with his family, and had disowned his father and his brother legally through a press release. He alleged they tried to misuse his name and position (as Priyanka’s husband) to seek undue favours from third parties. The claim was vehemently denied by his father who challenged him to bring even one witness to corroborate his allegations.
  • In 2001, his sister Michelle died in a car accident.
  • In 2003, his brother Richard was found dead in his room.
  • In April 2009, just a few days before the country’s General elections, his father was found dead hanging down from a ceiling fan. His death was declared as a suicide. Surprisingly, the Indian media, so ever eager to “generate” news out of trivial nothings, completely supressed this news and never reported it. So much for a free press! Was there something that his father knew?
Even the interview mentioned above skirts all the inconvenient questions and only seeks to ask what Robert would like to answer. To me, the very secrecy surrounding Robert sounds suspicious. Will the truth ever come out?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good news

Over the last few weeks, I have been consciously searching for ‘good news’ in the country’s mainstream media. I don’t see much of TV, but I do read newspapers and browse a lot of news related websites. I am surprised how difficult it has become to find ‘good news’ these days.
Open the newspaper and see what is making the news today – corruption charges, murder, terrorist attacks, thefts, protests, strikes, rape, dacoity, frauds, accidents and so on. Downright depressing. 
Then, there is a second category of news, which can be classified either as good or as bad – depending on your point of view. A corrupt politician is exposed. A gang of dacoits arrested.  A child rapist sentenced to life imprisonment. I don’t know whether this should be classified as good news or bad. Though a gang of dacoits being arrested is good news, the fact that dacoities happen is not. We know that for every one thief who is arrested, there are nine others who go scot free. For every one corrupt politician who gets exposed, there are nine others (or ninety-nine?) who never get caught. Here, the glass is either half full or half empty, depending on your point of view.
These types of news form a large chunk of the front page and the first few pages of the daily newspapers. This is not what I am looking for.
There is a third type of news which I call the ‘neutral’ news. Plain and simple reporting of events or objects. A foreign delegation visits our country. A sports event takes place in which one side wins and the other side loses. The Election Commission announces dates of a particular election. A book fair is organised in the city. A local festival is celebrated by the people. And so on and so forth. These happen in the normal course of one’s day to day routine. Nothing great about it. This is not what I am looking for either.
I am looking for ‘good news’ in its purest form.  Something which truly radiates positive energy.
More than four hundred volunteers have agreed to contribute four hours a week to help the traffic police manage the city’s maddening traffic (see the blog a few days ago). Not only will they perform this free, they will in fact spend money out of their own pockets to take training, buy badges and so on.
A hospital in South India performs free Angioplasties on 175 poor and needy people. An angioplasty costs Rs.2 lacs. For the paan-wallah and rickshaw-wallah who benefitted out of this scheme, it is like getting a new lease of life. They would never have been able to afford an angioplasty at full cost.
Residents of a locality in Malad celebrate Dussera by sweeping up the entire locality and making it spic and span.
This is the type of news I am looking for. Good news in its purest form. Surprising how difficult it has become to find it. Try it out yourself.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Relevance of Durga Puja today

I went to the local Durga Puja festivities yesterday. The “Durgostav”, as it is called, at Lokhandwala has become very popular lately, with not just the entire Bengali community in the area coming together but everybody else too. The below photograph is main deity from this year’s pandal.

Watch the photograph. To be politically correct, it symbolizes the victory of good over evil, with Goddess Durga holding a spear in her hand and killing a demon. This is our original culture, and I find nothing wrong in it. Kill the demons.

The idea of non-violence came later on, and was probably ‘promoted’ by the British (our enemies at that time) since it suited them the most! Better have a non-violent enemy than a violent enemy, right? We need to bury it now. Now-a-days, I find ‘the spirit of non-violence’ has become an excuse to hide our weaknesses. As a nation, we have become too docile and lazy. We have become non-violent not because we believe in it, but because it is the easy way out. We take refuge in it under the wrong notion that it gives us the ‘high moral ground’ in front of others. The result? It allows evil to exist, sustain and spread. Time to shun it. If not, why worship Durga at all? 


A pigeon had laid a couple eggs outside our bedroom window. I wasn’t sure the eggs would hatch, but today one of them did. The below photograph shows a baby dove within hours of its birth.

The next photograph is of a bird I captured from my balcony this morning…looks like it’s a very ‘birdy’ day today.

Or is it an Omen? I am 'flying' to Bangalore tomorrow....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Today there are reports that Mukesh Ambani is ready to move into his new home, the 27-storey Antilla. Dubbed as the world's most expensive home built at a cost of anywhere between Rs.200 crore to Rs.9000 crore (depending on who you believe),  Antilla is a 50,000 sq. feet home with 600 servants and a parking space of 6 floors for 160 cars. Some stunning photographs of Antilla can be found here. While some have gasped in awe, others have criticized this vulgar show of wealth in a country where millions of people don't have enough food to eat two meals a day. On which side are you on? 

I, for one, don't mind it at all. Mukesh Ambani's contributions to the country are so extraordinary that he deserves every bit of it. In our country, a gas cylinder was a luxury just a few years ago, now we are self sufficient in gas and exporting petroleum products to other countries. Mukesh turned his father's dream of making 'a phone call as cheap as a post card' into reality. Reliance has more than 30 lakh shareholders (the most for any company in the world), who have become richer because of his extraordinary vision and project execution skills. Writing about Mukesh and his achievements is not the subject of this write-up, it is a separate topic altogether. All I want to say is that if he deserves it, if he has earned it, why can't he spend it the way he wants?

One question however interests me - now that the elder brother is moving out of Sea Wind, where will Kokilaben stay? Which of the two brothers will get to say "Mere paas Maa hai?" Lets wait and see...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Traffic Warden Scheme

Today's newspaper reports that the city's Traffic Department's scheme to enlist Traffic Wardens has received an enthusiastic response. This is good news. Under the scheme, the Traffic Department will enlist volunteers who will assist the Traffic Department to manage the city's traffic better. The volunteers will be given initial training by the department and later will be required to serve four hours a week assisting the department in managing the city's traffic. The Department has published eligibility criteria at its website. More details of the scheme can be found here

Not only is this a welcome initiative, the fact that it has received a good response it heartening. India has one of the worst traffic disciplines in the world, not only in comparison with the developed world, but even in comparison with the relatively  more 'backward' countries. I hope this initiative will make this better. Within India of course, Mumbai is much better (or should I say less worse?) than other large cities. Other cities should also emulate this initiative. There are so many good Samaritans around, who want to do something good for others, but don't know where to start. Such initiatives give them an avenue to do it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

SKS Microfinance

SKS Microfinance is in the news today. A minority shareholder holding a few shares has gone to court and obtained a stay on the summary sacking of its CEO Suresh Gurumani. So, looks like the issue may drag on now. I am neither a shareholder in SKS nor do I plan to become one (surely not now!). But the episode interests me. It is one more example, as if any was needed, of how company promoters pay lip service to Corporate Governance. Small shareholders are held in utter contempt, and have no rights to any information whatsoever, even in companies that they put in their hard earned money (at much higher prices than the promoters do). You can sack a CEO and not bother to explain why he was sacked! Just say that it was done in the interest of the company - what a joke this country has become! Company boards too continue to be rubber stamps - nothing meaningful has come out of the Satyam Saga, where this issue was discussed and debated so intensely. Ironically, SKS has the God of Corporate Governance in India, N.R. Narayana Murthy as one of its investors. I wonder what he must be thinking now.