An Ode to Air India! or as it will known in the future: The Air India Scam.

I have a fondness for the Indian national carrier and am definitely biased towards it. My parents flew for Air India in the 70’s, they met & fell in love at their jobs and I am what is often referred to as an Air India baby. It helped introduce me to the world outside India and helped start a passion of travel that has defined my tastes and personality in profound ways.

The systematic rape of the airline and the constant barrage of accusations have forced me to speak up and inform people of what has been known for long in private but has not been made public.
Air India was nationalized by the Indian Government as it could not start an airline of it’s own but wished to have one.
Even during the closed economy days Air India bore the burden of the desires of elected officials, whether it be international travel or staying in local five stars.
The Centaur group of hotels were dismally loss making for over 20 years, to keep the hotels alive, Air India staff was forced to stay at centaur locations for inflated prices and forced to keep staff at the hotel for stand by.
Cabin Staff within Mumbai were put up in Centaur hotels for 8-12 hrs when they were on standby, whereas previously they stayed at their homes and were informed by phone and then picked up by a company transport. All of this was done to fill up rooms. This way the airlines revenues were diverted to centaur and lowered centaur’s losses while dragging Air India into the red.
Once the economy was opened up centaur was sold off in a hurry and most of the transactions had evidence of crony favoritism and outright corruption.
Now the good part: Politicians from across the spectrum have huge financial interests in private airlines.
The number of airlines allowed to fly a particular sector are limited and hence priority is given to older airlines. For newer players to get these often lucrative routes they need Air India (the older player) to give them up.
As a result Air India is being forced by it’s upper management which comprises of IAS officers chosen by the government to give up lucrative sectors such as JFK – Mumbai Non stop, Gulf Sectors, European Sectors, Asian Sectors so that private players can profit from the international game. Air India’s middle management which comprises of employees who have risen through the ranks, hence have far more to lose with Air India failing than upper management (Pensions, PF’s etc), have been unsuccessful in stopping this loss of lucrative sectors.
Air India has placed one of the largest aircraft orders in the world.
Air India will now be in the news for its losses and how it is financially unviable for the government to run. Losses will be ballooned with smoke and mirror accounting to make Air India seem like a financial time bomb.
Then when popular opinion has reached a critical mass and there is support for the sale of Air India it will be sold to private players, new aircrafts in tow, at stupidly low prices (similar to the centaur sale).
The private airlines, thanks to their political guardian angels, with get new aircrafts at bargain prices and the Indian taxpayer will be left paying the loan installments on the aircrafts for the next 60 Years.
This is how to siphon public funds 101.

The artificial scarcity of land in Mumbai (Bombay)!

The Mumbai Port Trust owns thousands of hectares of land in East Mumbai (Harbor Line), within close proximity of Mumbai city. it takes a mere 20 minutes on the new JJ flyover from Cotton Green to Nariman Point.

The Mumbai Port is defunct and unviable in the long run, it will remain a port for Military and Naval vessels but all commercial traffic prefers to use Nava Shiva (JNPT) cause of lower turnaround time and newer facilities.

The govt has permission to sell the land but is refraining from doing so because of the builder / politician nexus.

Opening up the port trust land will drop realty prices considerably as the artificial scarcity of space is lucrative and has driven up realty prices.

This artificial scarcity allows the builders and their silent political partners to charge higher prices and to over develop the pre-existing land.

Once the land has been completely over developed and sold they will release the east mumbai land and begin developing that.

It might sound like a good plan to develop in phases but due to this scarcity model there is no talk of parks and open spaces.

Recommendations for open green spaces (which do not make any money) are said to be unviable and the need for apartments and housing is glorified.

We should learn from the mistakes of Urban planners in Shanghai (where open spaces are non existent and traffic snarls, pollution and other side effects of over development are the norm) and instead look at the urban planners of cities that understood the importance of a balance between development and open green spaces.

Letting squatters live on government land earmarked for open spaces and then stating that they have a right to accommodation and the only way to achieve that is by selling the land to developers who will give them a flat in return and turn land meant for open spaces into buildings and towers, is the essence of this scam.

What ever happened to the open spaces the land was originally ear marked for?

Short term gains are trumping long term benefits, unless this nexus is exposed and the greed rooted out, life in Mumbai will prove to be exhausting and unsustainable in the long run.

If you’ve read this far, on the note of Land abuses, I am amazed at how politicians use all public land under their constituency as their own and to be used for their profit.
Some examples are:-
1. Letting squatters live on government land and become a loyal vote bank.
2. Illegal billboards glorifying and reminding residents of the accomplishments of their elected representatives, for reasons as unworthy of praise as aging by a year.
3. Setting up dummy development companies to give them the tenders for developing the same public land which was earmarked for open spaces and then squatted on.
4. Allowing squatters to put up 1 concrete wall per election till they have a concrete house and then allowing them to build one floor up and on and on.
5. Allowing religious functions to trump resident concerns in the desire for votes.

Are Intelligence & Education a political liability in the US?

In the most recent spat between democrats and republicans, President Barack Obama took a very different approach from previous occassions. He schooled the republicans. He acted like a professor speaking to a student who keeps interrupting with baseless mundane questions purely to disrupt the class proceedings.

This is something Barack Obama can do easily and repeatedly. Yet he refrains from being condescending and curt towards the republican disruptions and distractions.

This makes me wonder if the professorial attitude has a negative connotation in the US, and where did this belief stem from?

The position of President must be an aspirational one, and hence must be filled by an aspirational person. Someone who we look up to, not someone we want to have a beer with, someone we want to have a profound conversation with.

Phrases such as Media Elites, Professorial, are all compliments in a lot of the world.. it says that you are special, have achieved distinction, yet in the US they stand for “out of touch” and insensitive.

This debate in my mind arises from the glorification of the blue collar worker and the vilification of the white collar worker.

But this debate has now been simplified and used to political advantage.. surely there will always be more blue collar workers than white collar workers, but does that mean we start putting into offices of power those with lower credentials, less education merely on the merit of them being blue collar?

More importantly it is a farce being committed on blue collar workers and does not benefit them in any way.

Instead it supports mediocre white collar children of privilege who cannot rise to the top even with the resources available to them and hence choose to paint themselves as people who represent the blue collar worker and are fighting against an elite and cold system.

This seems like a dangerous and expensive habit .. George W Bush is a perfect example of this farce. Born to wealth with immense resources available, failed to do well at school. Could not get jobs on his scholastic merits and then rebranded himself as a working class joe who understood the common man.

He was no good at the job of president, and that should have been the end of the trial with a president just like us!

Barack Obama was elected by individuals who wanted a well educated, intelligent president. One who will quiet the trouble makers and more importantly silence them with his intelligence.
President Obama should flaunt his education and his intelligence. I want to see more statements like “it’s not class warfare, its math”. I think the core supporters of President Obama want him to act as the no-nonsense professor we are sure he can be and bring sanity and discipline back to the process of legislation.

But alas as the topic title says, maybe that won’t win him the next election until Intelligence & Education are revered in the US as much as Military duty & beer drinking capacity.

Lobbyists = the death of democracy.

Democracy is a system for the people, by the people of the people.
Yet everyday it’s foundation is being eroded by lobbyists for big business. Who wish to bend the laws to favor their business interests.
This nexus is killing democracies: from wall street lobbysists buying politicians in the US congress (who approve a bailout but don’t enact stringent government regulations as safety measures for the future) to
the recent spat of scams in India’s Telecom & Mining sector. Berlusconi’s taxation of individuals but not companies. The list is long.
We are seeing the death of Democracy when Governments work for furthering business interests and not citizens interests.

Who will stand up to china?

The recent release of the chinese boat captain and admitted humiliating defeat of japan in the diplomatic chess game, makes me wonder who will stand up to china?

India stands up by allowing the Dalai Lama Indian Citizenship and keeping the Tibetan Government in Exile within their borders, but who else?

The US is in Debt to China, the Aussies pose as toughies but are actually money hungry theives and sellouts, the europeans are waiting for their turn to rule again and hence dont want to rock the boat, who will stand up to china?

Are we capitalists or are we all just endowed to a socialist nation? Can’t the democratic nations come together for any cause or is Money the only driving/motivating force in our governments.


For a while now i have been observing how our attention span has diminished. People don’t want copy ads anymore instead they want picture centric ads. Everyone is eager to read the conclusion than the story that led to that conclusion. This is in my opinion a result of our instant gratification impulses. But how does it affect us in the long term. Does such snippet hunger make us less able to comprehend complex issues cause we crave a quick answer.

This article in the NYtimes gives a detailed account about how the information we are getting is influencing our decision making process.

It’s a good read for anyone who’s been feeling like there just isn’t enough due diligence done before making major decisions in todays world.

How alike are Politicians and Advertisers?

2 Faces 1 Body: How can ppl not see it?

You’d think not at all, and you’d most likely be in the majority.

Both these professions have vastly different requirements/ambitions/practitioners as per common sense.

Politicians are supposed to be representatives of the people. They are mirrors that reflect the ideals and beliefs of their constituents in government. They are supposed to stand for all that is good or be voted out in the next polls.

Advertisers are marketers. Sellers of goods and services, at any cost. They are known to be hoodwink artists, small print practitioners and generally low moral individuals. Always ready to confuse and then place their brand as the solution.

Today, Age old Advertising tricks are being used in politics. Advertisers are considered the 2nd lowest profession for ethics (only used car salesmen beat them). So how can Politicians, who are answerable to the public, act like advertisers (false claims and the like) and get away with it?

By muddying the commonsense of an individual, by resorting to emotional tactics and ever more often to religion, creed, race and all that divides us as human.

When it comes to ads about a product we know to take it with a pinch of salt because the ad is made by and paid for by the company selling the product.Yet there seems to be no disconnect about trusting political ads paid for by the candidate they are endorsing.

Laws are now being passed that look like misleading ads, which say one thing then deliver another (tax breaks for the rich, laws that benefit companies not people etc). Almost as if advertising copy writers had written it themselves.

Advertisers are always trying to find a rtb (reason to believe) it could be a celebrity endorsement, or a testimonial (like dove ads where “regular” women vouch for the product and its claims). We are starting to see this same logic being used with the Joe the Plumber and Tea Partyers who claim to be “regular” people. They aren’t, they are paid for by the opposition. Just like the dove ladies are paid for by dove.

Another common advertising technique is the “Vs. The other leading brands”. These ads or dummy tests are always done under conditions favorable to benefit the brand paying for the advertising. Just like studies, statistics or research findings are exploited to further the political agendas of those paying for them.

When our purchasing decisions are made by advertising gimmicks why can’t our political decisions be influenced by the very same tactics.

Today advertising and politics are bedfellows. Consumers are voters and vice versa.

The New World Order

False Advertising.
False Advertising on this side too.

We form our opinion of musicians by their music videos not by their music.

We judge our presidents not by their actions but by their image.

When perception overtakes substance. What we’re told becomes what we think.

When one’s substance is of little value and only the packaging matters. There will be no more substance only pretense of substance.

Good looks will overtake intelligence.

Is this the new world order?

Will Israel’s latest action create new terrorists?

The recent Israeli attack on an aid flotilla to Gaza, has forced Israel into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. I concur with Mr. Amoz Oz (World Famous Israeli Novelist) who says “Israel is turning into South Africa in tImage Courtesy the Guardian Newspaperhe Apartheid days … We will become a pariah state that nobody wants anything to do with.” If that’s what an Israeli has to say what will an Arab have to say?

Such irresponsible, hard-handed and anti-humanity actions by Israel will only bolster the claims of militant Islamic outfits that they are right in their violent ways. This will fill their ranks and make moderate Islamists seem out of touch with reality.

President Obama needs to distance himself from the new Israeli Government and strongly condemn Israel’s actions along with backing  The United nations in it’s call for a full international inquiry into the raid.

On Thursday, Israeli officials rejected that demand in favor of a narrower, internal investigation, news reports said. It’s crucial that the US use it’s close relationship with Israel and make it accept an UN inquiry in order to curtail fundamentalist Islamists from making this incident a rallying cry.

How much can one man really do

This one man broke a colonial empire, now Obama has his own empire of the rich to topple.

Edison gave us the affordable lightbulb! He made the night a less dangerous place and a more productive one.

Gandhi showed that resilience and morals are stronger than violence and fear.

One man can change the world, but only if he is allowed to make that change.

The fact is a brilliant man is President of the World (for all means and purposes) and if we allow him to do his work he could bring us all out of the darkness.

But sadly Obama is answerable to Americans (who as my previous posts have stated.. have fallen greatly in the world’s eyes). This is why Europeans, Asians are vocal about their support for Obama and his policies.

Not because we want the US to mirror Europe or be answerable to Asia. We respect and enjoy diversity, what seems bizarre is that the opposition in american does not. A country founded on and built by immigrants and whose secret to success has been  immigrants. An Immigrant Einstein helped the US win WWII.

The world is watching and waiting to see if the opposition will have its way and stop Obama from making changes or will sanity prevail (the teapartyers gave everyone a big scare) and Let the man do his job.