Leave Us Kids Alone

In your leisure time, what do you like to do most?

  • Š  Play cricket
  • Š  Perform scientific experiments
  • Š  Read and write

To the casual reader this might appear to be a random question with some random answer choices provided.

We would urge the casual reader to look closely. As we are now about to tread the untrodden path. Boldly go where no man has been before. Once again.

What we are looking at is a sample question from an Aptitude Test being introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), designed to enable youngsters make informed career choices.

It is designed in a way that it will assess in three hours what continuous involvement of parents and teachers over ten to fifteen years does not reveal.

It has become necessary because parents and teachers are so closely involved with youngsters that they have no idea what they like or dislike, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what their desires and fears are. They, being parents and teachers, are also naturally in no position to either take responsibility for the children’s future, or guide them.

Moreover, without an Aptitude Test, how would the government play nanny and make the common man believe that it is his welfare they work for, without having to deliver any improvement? As it is expected to by the common man in a free, democratic society. Otherwise, he might even have to start taking responsibility for the upbringing of his own children and, perhaps, their welfare in adult life.

We don’t know if you could, but we could not guess the implication of the answer choices.

It is learnt from reliable sources that if a youngster chooses “Play cricket” as the answer, the test results would tell him that he should take up cricket as a career.

Amazing, isn’t it? There is really no limit to what human beings can do once they set their mind to it.

How could the youngster have known otherwise? Or, how could his parents have, having spent only about fifteen years with him? Educators, having spent ten years on an average, never really stood a chance.

It gets even more bizarre. If the student chose the second option, “Perform scientific experiments” as the answer, the test results would tell him that he should target to become a scientist.

Even if a youngster cannot articulate his thoughts and feelings, he will need to choose one option and hence get a career allotted. From no career to a career. How much more good can a test do?

Doubters be warned.

Never has a test been run so scientifically. After all, it has inputs from reputed academics and psychologists. Not to mention private enterprises who will eventually run it.

It is designed to ensure the youngster faces no challenges in his adult life. If, on account of some freak occurrence, he faces an issue of poor performance at work, all he would need to do is whip out the results of the Aptitude Test taken many years back, read them out aloud to himself, and all will be well.

Grown-up youngsters worried about facing issues of marital discord need not fear. The government has directed the development of another Aptitude Test whose results will be used for deciding who marries whom.

He will not face financial woes either.

Most importantly, youngsters will learn how not to engage with the world around them and how not to take responsibility for their decisions and actions; in fact, how not to take decisions.

The utopia earlier generations may have dreamed about is nigh.

Doubters be doubly warned.

There is a good chance these Aptitude Tests will work because we have been very successful in designing Aptitude Tests that have helped us stamp out murder, rape, child abuse and other heinous crimes.

It will obviously be compulsory as the government and CBSE have a responsibility to ensure that the private enterprise selected to run the test makes money.

Friends of parents, parents themselves, grown-ups in the neighbourhood, parents of friends, aunts and uncles, occasionally older cousins and siblings, doctors, pilots, army personnel, bureaucrats, lawyers, business-people, sportspeople, musicians, actors, in fact everyone who could be accused of being an inspirational figure for a youngster, have heaved a collective sigh of relief. They are off the hook. No longer will they need to shoulder responsibility for inspiring a youngster, through their deeds, demeanour and deportment, to a choice of career.

Pink Floyd has retrospectively changed the lyrics of their 1969 anthem to:

We don’t need no Aptitude Testing

We don’t need no career control

No dark sarcasm about our future

CBSE leave us kids alone

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Book Reviews from Three Indie Authors

My “Office Humour” book gets a second wind, thanks to support from Jacqui Murray, my longtime e-friend, established writer, school teacher, columnist, and lots more. Thank you Jacqui.


‘ve been reading a lot of Indie writers lately. Many I found in the blogosphere, have enjoyed our back-and-forth conversations, and now call efriends.  I’m going to spend a few weeks reviewing my favorites, three at a time. I’ll kick it off with a varied collection from bloggers I’ve been following for several years.

  • What Happens in Office Stays in Office is a light-hearted peek into the white-collar life of a manager in India.
  • Not By Design is a fascinating story about a woman who’s life is turned upside down just as she thinks she’s settling into adulthood.
  • Bequia Mysteries is a three-book series set on the Caribbean island of Bequia, chronicling the escapades of a man who decides to lose his past in this remote corner of the planet

What happens in office, stays in office What Happens in Office Stays in Office: An Insider’s Account of What Really Happens at the Workplace

by Ankur Mithal

View original post 539 more words

All’s Well That Ends Well

‘Twas that time once again. The time that cometh but once every four years. The uniquely Indian festival. The time of celebration, of joy, of revelry. Almost sacred time. Marked out on calendars much in advance. Being prepared for over several years.

It seems like the revelry of the previous event had not even finished when the latest edition was upon us. Time flies when you are having fun, isn’t it?

You guessed it right. I am talking about the period immediately after the conclusion of the sporting extravaganza called the Olympics.

It is the period when many Indians, especially middle-class urban, become experts on the miserable performance of the Indian contingent. For committed participants, of which ilk there are millions, as are of any ilk in India, preparations begin well in advance.

Like creating (based on anecdotal evidence only; FBI and CBI are still trying to trace the creators) and circulating WhatsApp messages ignoring performance data and commending the preparation of the contingent and putting pressure on them by asking them repeatedly to bring in a rich haul of medals beyond their capability.

Like indulging in harmless banter on Facebook by ridiculing the rich haul of other teams and lauding the commendable, mostly medal-free, performance of the Indian contingents in past Olympics.

Like not lampooning (before the Games) folks like writer Shobaa De, who, swimming against the tide of data and trends available on FB and Twitter, and only relying on actual historical data and her own gut, had the temerity to say that the Olympic contingent will disappoint.

And, of course, during the Games, rapidly moving from channel to channel to collect data on poor performance. And expertly navigating away from the performance of athletes putting up a fight and extending the inevitable and preventing a viewing of a larger cross-section of events.

The seat at this table does not come cheap. Participants need to possess sterling qualifications for this task and spend years preparing.

Most of them have spent a good part of their adult life only trying to become rich.

They are committed to the cause of a healthy, physically active lifestyle. Whether it is mowing the lawn, hammering a nail in the wall, or fetching a glass of water, they steadfastly refuse to do anything physical.

Their commitment to a physically active lifestyle regularly keeps them engaged in stressful and physically challenging sporting activities like going for a morning stroll in the car, crossing the street on foot, or spitting out far onto public property. Most of all, they routinely exercise their vocal chords by shouting out for minions for completing any activity that remotely looks physical.

They have a close association with the wild outdoors and are avid travellers. When they go somewhere, they go to see. They go to a mountain to see the mountain and click pictures. Never to climb or hike. They go to a river to see the river and click pictures. Never to row. Why row when you can hire a boat with a 60-year old to row it. They go to the ocean to see and click pictures. Never to swim.

They have so much motivation to play that they are never able to organise themselves in order that they can play. The logic is sound. Why take the trouble when you can buy tickets for, and watch performances of sports leagues created by business houses designed to make them richer.

When called upon to participate, sometimes by family members interested in their well-being, or on account of work related requirements, they demonstrate their supreme ability to put the good of others before self by showing up and skipping out at the first opportunity.

With such qualifications, it is difficult to go wrong.

This august group always manages to find the real reasons behind the debacle. And, to their eternal credit, they find the same real reasons four-year after four-year.

They find that there are more administrators in the contingent than sportspersons and coaches. So many more that the allocated stands for supplying drinks to the nation’s marathon participant have to be left unattended leaving her to collapse at the end of the run.

They find that it was a young team that participated and that this was meant to be a great learning experience which will stand them in good stead for the next one for which they will not be selected.

They find that there is no cost in being unsporting and yet expecting the moon from people drawn from the same stock, many of whom have reached where they have because of personal motivation and desire, and not a supportive environment.

They find that the scoreline never accurately reflects performance. When we win 2-1, the scoreline fails to reflect our superiority over the rival team. When we lose 1-7, the scoreline does not represent how close the game actually was.

They lampoon (after the Games) folks like writer Shobaa De, who, swimming against the tide of data and trends available on FB and Twitter, and only relying on actual historical data and her own gut, had the temerity to say that the Olympic contingent will disappoint, because a silver and a bronze were won between 1.25 billion people.

Not one to stop at mere analysis or fact-finding, this group of experts boldly goes where no official committee dares to; they make recommendations and claims for the future of Indian sport.

As punishment, a different swarm of officials will be sent to disgrace us at the next Olympics.

A team of officials with no idea of sports will be sent to (mostly European) nations like Belgium and Netherlands in peak tourist season so that they can ensure none of their practices are ever introduced for better results.

Officials will travel first class while athletes will go by ship, instead of Economy Air, in order to keep them sharp.

The position of the Sports Minister will be upgraded with better facilities, so that athletes can perform better.

And, importantly, laws will be introduced to ensure that any youngster showing ability and motivation to work hard and perform well in sports, is either packed off to a suitable college of higher studies at the earliest opportunity or given a bit role in the next Bollywood movie. Charges could also be brought against parents of such children for not having checked the desire at an earlier stage. Booking them under “anti-national activities” is also a possibility.

This group has declared that based on performance at the recently concluded Games, it can safely be assumed that this is the beginning of a golden era for the country in the Olympics. They had declared this before the Games had started. Again, the assertion is based on hard facts.

It will be like the Golden Era that started after K D Jadhav won a bronze in wrestling in Helsinki in 1952.

Like the one that began after Milkha Singh came fourth in the 400 metres race in Rome in 1960.

Like the one that started after P T Usha placed fourth in the 400 metres hurdles in 1984 in Los Angeles.

Like the one that started after Leander Paes won a bronze in 1996 in tennis in Atlanta.

Like the one that started after K Malleswari won a bronze in weightlifting in 2000 in Sydney.

Like the one that started after Rajyavardhan Rathore won silver in shooting in 2004 in Athens.

And like the one that started after Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012 that included a gold won by Abhinav Bindra in shooting.

Meanwhile, Bollywood is abuzz with possibilities these Games have thrown up. Makers of Lagaan, Chak De, Mary Kom and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are in a dead heat for producing the next sporting biopic on the lives of famous Indian Olympians, based on concocted stories linked to oppression under a foreign regime and the pain of partition. And if a concocted story shows that the Indian underdog always performs at the crunch, it must be true in real life too. And since we perform so well at the crunch, preparation is a waste of time.

The purpose is noble. The purpose is to inspire the youth to greater heights.

Business corporations are also abuzz. They have selflessly been trying to inspire their employees to greater performance and teaching them the fine arts of Change Management, Strategy and Leadership, by exposing them to rare snippets, that can be seen in movie halls by purchasing a ticket, from these great movies based on real concocted stories, in the confines of their training facilities. On account of the limited variety available in Bollywood, they have even exposed employees to rare footage from commercial Hollywood movies, mostly with a character played by Al Pacino who delivers a stirring speech and changes the world , that could be seen in a movie hall by purchasing a ticket. Now they will have a greater variety in Bollywood to choose from.

Indian coaches have been asked to focus on their own speech-making skills instead of working on their athletes.

Nothing comes easy in life. A few athletes like PV Sidhu and Sakshi Malik had threatened to derail the four-yearly celebration by winning medals at the just-concluded Games. Thankfully, it was not a communicable disease that the others caught.

All is well that ends well.

Already looking ahead to the festive period immediately after the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Panic grips Delhi as monsoon rains lower pollution levels

It was a scene straight out of a Hollywood horror movie. But without an American hero on hand to save the world.

The Great Rush

The Great Rush

There was shoving and jostling and pushing to catch the next train leaving town. Those who could afford to, packed their cars and fled.

The reasonably timely and plentiful rains in and around Delhi have washed away the atmospheric pollution, and with it the last vestige of normalcy, leaving hapless residents gasping for breath in an environment they are not familiar with, clean air.

An earthquake of 8+ magnitude on the Richter scale could not have caused such panic. Signs of distress are visible all around.

Too much visibility

Too much visibility

Motorists are in all sorts of trouble. Suddenly able to see far, drivers are having a difficult time keeping their focus on the road immediately ahead, and are bumping into all sorts of objects, including objects off the road. There is just so much visibility that one can handle.

Looks cool

Looks cool

Even man’s best friend has not been spared.

As can be expected, sports and outdoors people are among the first to be affected.

I Give Up

I Give Up

Cycling for health has gained popularity in recent times. But in the situation the city is presently in, cyclists have no option but to hang up their boots. “If there in no pollution about which awareness is to be raised, what is the point of cycling”, is a refrain one is hearing from the cycling community over and over again. And, indeed, from the running community as well.

What's a Doctor To Do?

What’s a Doctor To Do?

“We were trained to handle chest and lung problems caused by a polluted environment, not by a clean one”, this senior medic can be heard complaining. “We will have to go back to school. This puts at risk the years of hard work we put in at medical school.”

…even as queues at respiratory clinics around the city are rapidly increasing and threatening to go out of control.

But nothing like able leaders to show the way during a time of crisis.

PM Modi, as has come to be expected of him, was the first to take responsibility.

'Twas this finger that did it

‘Twas this finger that did it

In this TV grab, the PM can be heard saying “bhaiyon behnon, yeh is ungli ka kamaal hai; main chahta hoon ki desh ka har nagrik aur har bachcha apni ungli ka theek istemaal kare” (brothers sisters, it is the magic of this finger; I want every citizen and every child to make proper use of their finger). The faithful, of course, understand that he was implying that he reached up and punctured the clouds with that finger to let the rains come down.

Being an intelligent man, after taking credit for what he did not do, and knowing that rains were causing distress to the people, he has promised to tackle the problem on a war footing by launching the World Index Finger Day.

Face masks are becoming redundant.

This has let to sharp cutbacks in production in some factories in a country to the North and East, that manufactures everything in the world. This, in turn, has led to labour unrest in some parts of that country.

But, one man’s meat as another’s poison, they say.

Designers are stepping in to fulfil the need of locals to wear masks, which they have become accustomed to, and without which they feel naked. It is the latest fashion accessory to be seen in, in high society.

Here is an image of a socialite seen in a Prada mask at a popular event in Delhi.

Prada mask

Prada mask

Shopping malls, as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) effort, are stepping in to do their bit by inviting people to breathe in their bottled, recirculated air while they shop.

Breathe in deeply

Breathe in deeply

A busy mall in the suburb of Gurgaon, abuzz with people eager for their “fix” of stale air.

Car companies are eagerly awaiting their turn to do a good turn to society.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, as has come to be expected of him, immediately announced relief for the beleaguered population by introducing the Odd-Even scheme. Readers of this blog might know that Mr. Kejriwal solves all issues with the help of his trusted Odd-Even scheme, be it excessive pollution, unmanageable traffic, or, as in this case, too little pollution.

Odd AND Even

The Power Plant in its heyday

Under the new version of the scheme, the decommissioned coal-burning Indraprastha power plant would be restarted to give the Delhi air some of its mojo back.

The new version is called Odd AND Even. The plant, once restarted will work on Odd days. AND on Even days.

Those were the days!

Those were the days!

Being the good man as all politicians are, or become, the Delhi CM is reported to be deeply affected by the developments. In this image, with a wistful look, he is watching a video of the halcyon days of Delhi. Can he bring those days back?

But there is good news. The Met department has forecast that rains will soon taper off and Delhi will return to its salad days of haze and smoke and smog and dust.

If people who have left Delhi are reading this, please plan on coming back soon. We miss you. More than that, we miss our atmospheric pollution.

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Cover Reveal: To Hunt a Sub

Sharing my longtime Blog-friend Jacqui Murray’s post revealing the cover of her novel “To Hunt a Sub”. Details about the book can be found in her post. Jacqui is an endless source of knowledge and guidance for budding writers and she makes available lots of resources through her blogs. Putting out a book in the “marketplace” is a moment fraught with nervous anxiety, even for a veteran writer which she is, and I wish her all the best with her book.


I’ve been preparing for this day for… years… Maybe longer. Simple words don’t seem enough to share the emotion of the event. Maybe a drumroll (as efriend Rebecca Bradley used to launch her latest book):

Or would Pomp and Circumstance be better, as I prepare for my future as a world-acclaimed breakout author:

Or maybe, Ride of the Valkyries, with its energetic march into the unknown, head up, spirit brave:

I hope this cover embraces the risk-taker spirit of my characters, their noble goal, and the danger that floats just below the surface as they try everything in their power to save a world they believe in:
to hunt a sub

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes

View original post 208 more words

No Mountain Too High

“Chairman of the National Thermal Power Corporation, sir.”

“CEO of State Bank of India, sir.”

“Director of Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, sir.”

“Commander of the Armed Forces, sir.”

Designations, each more renowned and reputed than the last, were coming at him fast and thick. Delivered in a crisp tone, with body upright, as befitted the solemnity of the occasion.

The smile on the minister’s face was becoming harder and harder to hide, as he passed along the rows of youngsters, asking each of them the same question, “With the rigorous training you are getting, what do you aspire to become?”

This was not the graduation ceremony of the reputed Indian Administrative Service.

This was a bunch of youngsters hard at work at a cricket coaching academy in the city, trying to hone their skills at the game they loved. And the minister was doing what only seasoned politicians can do with such equanimity; preventing others from going about their life without any reason.

Momentarily, while passing along the rows, his mind had wandered back to the not so distant past when similar youngsters, after their playing years, would aspire to become coaches, selectors, commentators, umpires and even groundsmen, in order to stay close to the game they loved, and guide the next generation of cricketers in realizing their potential. But he quickly brushed that disturbing image aside and pushed ahead through the rows, bathed in the glow of the brave new world of possibilities.

The change in “sentiment”, that deep, meaningful and measurable, and particularly Indian, index, which logically explains everything from stock movements to the rise and fall of political fortunes, was palpable. There was electricity in the air.

The recent appointment of Chetan Chauhan (CC) as the Chairperson of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), a prestigious institution of learning, had opened the floodgates of aspiration amongst the middle class.

As everyone knows, CC is eminently qualified for the position of chairperson of NIFT. He played cricket for India in the company of the legendary Sunil Gavaskar. He runs a cricket coaching academy. He owns a printing business. What more credentials do you need? As the NIFT Act of 2006 also clearly says, the chairperson of the institute is expected to be an eminent academic, scientist, technologist or professional.

And yes, he bailed out the Union Finance Minister against charges of corruption and financial irregularities in the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA), levelled against him when he was the President.

Meanwhile, getting ready for the role, CC has confirmed that he will be able to spend 20% of his time at NIFT which explains why his appointment as a full-time chairperson was necessary.

Now there is no mountain too high to climb for aspiring cricketers. No river too wide to swim. No jungle too dark to penetrate.

But even the government, always well prepared for the fracas its illogical and unilateral decisions generate, was taken by surprise at the violent reactions to this appointment. The opposition is baying for blood. They want to know why Sakshi Maharaj was not considered for this position. He has impeccable credentials. At no point of time in his life has he displayed anything which could even remotely be considered as studious or academic. CC, on the other hand, during his playing days, is known to have studiously left alone balls he could not play, or took them on his body. Sakshi Maharaj has also displayed an uncanny ability to make inane statements for no rhyme or reason. CC, in comparison, is barely audible. He even meekly accompanied Gavaskar when he walked out of a match in Australia in protest at poor umpiring.

What is a government to do? It takes decisions in the best interests of the common man and all it gets is rebukes.

Like any mature political establishment, the government is not responding to the criticism. When your conscience is clear, and you have acted in total disregard of commonly accepted rules, you don’t need to.

They have plans is what one hears from reliable sources. Sakshi Maharaj may be delayed, but he cannot be denied. He is soon to assume the role of chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India. It is learnt that the country’s reliance on imported enriched uranium will, as a result, reduce. Instead, Sakshi Maharaj’s volatile and inflammable temper tantrums will be used to light the centrifuges.

Other important appointments are also in the pipeline.

With the retirement of M S Dhoni, long-time captain of the Indian cricket team, from active service, nigh, it is learnt that Uma Bharti is being readied to take over the reins. By creating Ram temples on foreign pitches, she could well neutralise the “home” advantage held by teams like Australia, England and South Africa.

Anupam Kher is waiting for a suitable position to open up by hounding an existing incumbent to step down citing personal reasons.

In this reshuffle, driven by knowledge, competence and suitability for the job, Arun Jaitley could become the next RBI Governor.

Meanwhile cricket, always a top choice, is witnessing an unprecedented surge in popularity. If one becomes a cricketer, who knows what one could become.



“I am not saying that at all. It is a responsible role. Sometimes he raises interest rates to control inflation and sometimes he lowers it to control inflation. Sometimes he raises interest rates to promote employment and sometimes he lowers it to promote employment. Sometimes he raises interest rates to improve the Foreign Exchange reserves and sometimes he lowers it to improve Foreign Exchange reserves.

At any given point of time, half the people are in favour of raising interest rates and the other half, as you might already have calculated, are in favour of reducing them. For achieving the same goals.

Once the action has been taken, either reducing or increasing rates, half the people, irrespective of what they were advocating before the decision was taken, are of the opinion that the situation has improved and the other half, as you might again have calculated, irrespective of what they were advocating before the decision was taken, hold the opinion that the situation has deteriorated.”

The recently appointed ruling-party member of the Rajya Sabha, who, for the sake of brevity we will call SS, was at pains to explain the importance of the role of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He had been cornered by a section of the media wanting to know the reasons behind the letter he had written to the Prime Minister asking for the removal of the RBI Governor, who, for the sake of brevity again, we will call RR. But, having studies and taught Economics at a leading American University, he was on home ground in this discussion.

SS had begun the discussion on a bellicose note, stating in no uncertain terms, “Unprofessional conduct will not be tolerated. Senior jobs are only for professionals. We owe it to the common man who has voted for professionalism in public affairs. We need a thorough professional for the position of RBI Governor.”

The gathered mediapersons cast accusing glances around the room at the other mediapersons, as if asking “Did you vote for professionalism in public affairs? Coz it wasn’t me.”

Schooled by their profession to be unfazed by political belligerence, they had shot back at SS with, “Can you explain what you mean by professional? Does RR not come with the highest professional qualifications, having studied at the most renowned educational institutions in India, thereafter continuing studies at a leading American University where he has also been teaching”?

“Unfortunately professional has become a loosely used term. I don’t think you people understand the meaning of the word professional,” SS had shot back with equal energy, which quickly transformed into a masterclass of what professional really means, for the gathered mediapersons. “Do you know who is a professional? A professional is one who toes the party-line; of the party in power. A professional is one who is unable to make eye contact with a passing politician, of whatever rank the politician be. A professional is one who speaks in the voice of his employer and can explain away frequent missteps of his employers, politicians in this case, with arcane theories. A professional is who has little independent standing in the world and is forever beholden to the political establishment for his job.

Look at the legendary RBI governors we have had in the past. Thorough professionals. Very few people would have even suspected the existence of the post of RBI Governor, let alone heard their name. And almost nobody knew how their job impacted anyone’s life. Oh, how we wish for such men in today’s times.”

The gathered mediapersons looked at each other. It was as if a weight had been lifted off their chest. They finally knew who a professional was. But they were mediapersons. It was not in their JD to let go. They persisted: “But surely that cannot be reason enough for asking for his removal.”

SS, seeing that the mediapersons were getting it, mellowed down: “You are right. Everyone knows we are fair people. We are fair to everyone who agrees with us. There is another charge against RR. Do you know that he is mentally not fully Indian and has wilfully wrecked the economy.”

Media: “But how did you measure his mental Indianness?”

SS: “I will tell you how. How many times have you heard him say that mythology, wherever it is Hindu, is equal to history?”

Mediapersons looked at each other. They had heard and seen leading politicians and religious leaders do it, but never RR. They shook their heads and said “never”.

SS smiled wryly and continued. “Have you heard him say ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ without any reason, especially when someone senior in the political hierarchy is watching?”

Mediapersons looked at each other. They had seen and heard leading Bollywood actors and politicians do it, but never RR. The light of realisation was dawning. They shook their heads and said “never”.

SS: “Now do you see why he is not fully Indian?”

Mediapersons were quiet. Sensing his opportunity, SS moved in for the kill: “Moreover, he is also mentally not fully Indian because he has studied and taught Economics at a leading American University. How can you entrust the affairs of the RBI to such a person. We have more mentally fully Indian applicants for the position who have not studied or taught at any leading American University. Some of them have not even studied or taught at any leading, or even lagging, Indian University.

He is not a politician, after all. Only Indian politicians have the ability to study and teach at a leading American University and still be mentally fully Indian. Other than that, the only position open to Non-Resident Indians is a nomination to the Rajya Sabha, especially if they are rich and are likely to invest in unviable businesses by borrowing money from public sector banks.

Besides, he was appointed by the previous government.”

Mediapersons reeled. Logic was difficult to argue against at the best of times. Coming from a maverick leader with a penchant for shooting his mouth off at the slightest provocation, it became an insurmountable task. They struggled to regain some dignity and made a weak query: “But what about the position itself? Do you not think it is an important position for which we should seek out the best person?”

SS’ response is captured in the opening paragraphs of this story. He concluded that analysis with: “As there no clear evidence to say what really happens when interest rates are either reduced or increased, he must be operating against the interest of the country. QED.”

Refreshment trolleys being rolled in saved further embarrassment for the mediapersons. They could avoid looking into the searing eyes of SS with the excuse of picking up a cup of tea.

SS, sensing the need of the moment, climbed down from the dais and mingled with the group. Placing his arm around the shoulders of one, he said, “These are dark days indeed. If RBI governors start opening their mouths and voicing opinions, what will politicians do? Do we want thousands of politicians to lose their jobs just because we have a transparent RBI governor? It will lead to anarchy. Whose utterances will people make fun of? How will we waste the billions we collect as taxes? Senior people need to be careful.”

Picking up a cup of tea and moving onto another scribe, he continued, “Look at toxic debts of public sector banks. Which RBI governor in the past has pushed public sector banks to sever relationships with leading industrial houses by asking for borrowings to be paid back? How will the country finance the next elections if we make recovery claims against industrialists? On whose money will industrialists make merry?”

Moving onto a third scribe, he said, “Have you heard of an RBI governor saying ‘in the land of the blind, one-eyed is king’? Which country’s Central Bank does he think he manage that he has to speak the truth? Norway? Canada? The common man in India is mature. He can handle lies. Again and again. The same ones.”

Meanwhile, at another event, the RBI governor has expressed views. Once again. On the Licence raj and Permit raj. On regulations for small and medium enterprises. On smooth availability of finance. On access to input and output market. On healthy competition. And many other areas that planners and governments need to focus on.

Some people never learn, it seems.