Thursday, May 28, 2009

PM's Team (Cont'd)...

The PM seems to have read my earlier blog (PM’s team – May 22) and seems to have inducted the people whom I had mentioned – Shashi Tharoor, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Dayanidhi Maran to name a few.

There are 33 Cabinet Ministers and 45 Ministers of State (MOS), decided after 4 days of intense negotiations / bargaining. The 78-strong (very very strong!!!) Council of Ministers includes 59 from Congress and 19 from five allies: 7 each from DMK and Trinamool Congress, 3 from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and 1 each from Muslim League and National Conference (NC).

Former Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh (of “Terror Tourism” fame post Mumbai blasts) also finds a place in the cabinet as also does the old war-horse, Farooq Abdullah (NC Leader, J&K).

4 ministers from Karnataka find a place in the council (Cabinet - SM Krishna, Mallikarjun Kharge, Veerappa Moily and MOS – Muniyappa). This is touted as Congress’ attempt to strengthen the party in Karnataka (after the trouncing it received in Assembly and LS polls). I think this is more of Caste Politics since all these 4 guys represent different castes and is an obvious attempt to woo the respective voters!!!

The grand old man has managed to get 7 DMK ministers in the council (3 cabinet berths - Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja, MK Azhagiri) and 4 MOS. Talk about Regionalism in politics!!! Sadly his daughter missed out on a ministerial berth (she apparently decided “to opt out” from the cabinet and made way for her brother and cousin). Sacrifice at its best!!!

The average age of the PM’s team is pegged at 57 years with the oldest member being SM Krishna (77 years) and the youngest one being Agatha Sangma, daughter of PA Sangma (27 years).

All that matters finally is the performance and let’s hope with a stable govt and a decent team by his side, the PM is able to give us all something that we have been hoping for a long time – GOOD GOVERNANCE!!!

FYI (Sappu wanted to know!) - Difference between Cabinet Minister, MOS and MOS (Independent Charge):
Union Cabinet Minister – Senior minister in-charge of a ministry. A Cabinet minister may also hold additional charges of other Ministries, where no other Cabinet minister is appointed.
Minister of State (MOS) - Junior minister with an overseeing Cabinet Minister, usually tasked with a specific responsibility in that ministry. For instance, an MOS in the Finance Ministry may only handle Taxation.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) - With no overseeing Union Cabinet Minister for that portfolio.

Simply put, while a MOS has the opportunity to make money in lakhs in INR only, a cabinet minister can do the same in crores in different international currencies!!!

Courtesy – CNN IBN, Indian Express, Yahoo

PS - Looks like our new minister for External Affairs his hands full with the Gurudwara Shootout in Vienna, Racial attack on Indians in Australia and the bomb blasts in Pak keeping him occupied!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm Loving It!!!

Well... Am not endorsing Big Mac nor did I visit them recently... The words just reflect what I feel every time I listen to the songs from the tamil movie "Vaaranam Aayiram"... The movie directed by Gowtham Menon (Minnale, Kaakha Kaakha, Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu etc) stars Surya and has music by Harris Jayaraj... And in my opinion this is one of the best albums to have come out in the last 2-3 years...

6 months & 50-60 listenings (for want of better word) later, why do I feel that way... just read on:

This album is an eclectic mix of 7 songs and touches different genres and is the kinds which you would love to listen to on a rainy evening with a hot cuppa tea & some bajjis!!! It has a couple of amazing melodies, a typical "kuthu" song, a nice fusion number...

Two songs which stand out in this album as far as am concerned are "Nenjukkul Peiydhidum Maamazhai" and "Mundhinam Paarthene"...

"Nenjukkul", in Hari Haran’s honey-coated voices, oozes melody right from the word go... The guitar strings in the beginning are just amazing (am trying to learn that) and then Hari Haran takes over... "Nillendru nee sonnal, en kaalum nagaradhe; nee soodum poovellam oru podhum udhiradhe; Kaadhal ennai ketkavillai; kaettal adhu kaadhal illai"... just love these lines... What a song!!!

"Mundhinam", set in the 70s in the movie, has a retro feel to it... It starts off with Surya's voice with a sort of love-message… Naresh Iyer and Prashanthini are just fabulous in this number... The sax interludes are amazing... Sheer magic I should say!!!

"Oh Shanti Shanti" (Sappu's favourite) is a spin-off from "Nenjukkul" and is a foot-tapping number... SPB Charan certainly shows that he is a chip of the old block (a big fat old block in that!!!)...

"Adiye Kolluthe", sung by Benny Dayal and Krish, consists of heavy bursts of synthesized music... Shruti Hassan lends her voice as well to this song... Decent voice, nothing out of the world though… Reminds you of Vasundara Das actually!!!

"Yethi Yethi" and "Ava Enna" are nice "timepass" songs, if I may call that... Ava enna is the kuthu song I was referring to earlier... Both make for pleasant hearing...

Special mention needs to be made about "Annal Mele" sung by Sudha Raghunathan. This is a listener's delight (quite like Vaseegara from Minnale sung by Bombay Jayashree)... I didn't quite like it initially but the song slowly starts growing on you... There is a gentle sorrow and a haunting-kind of a feeling when you listen to this... Sudha Raghunathan sings in a way only she can... Out of the world!!!

Harris Jayaraj has often been accused of being repetitive in his albums... This one’s no different though... But still hats off to him for this amazing collection!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Well done RCB!!!

Its finally curtains for IPL Season 2 and DC were crowned champions, a deserving one at that I should say!!! The action now moves to the T-20 World Cup in England from Jun 5 and I must say India is well placed to defend their crown...

Coming to the IPL, what a fantastic performance from the Hyderabad team... From being the last placed team in season 1 to the champs in this edition, their hardwork, determination and confidence alongwith some wonderful captaincy by Gilly ensured that they took home the cup this time… Though they didn't really dominate over the other teams during the tournament, they held their nerves during some crucial moments (incl the finals) and came up triumphs… Hats off to them!!!

And the challengers from Bangalore!!! What do I say??? From being the favorite whipping boys of the other teams last year to the runners-up this year, they have definitely come a long way… Though they started off pretty slowly, they climbed up the rankings steadily (esp after ‘Jumbo’ took over the captaincy) and though they played well in the finals, they were not good enough for DC on that day… Mr. Mallya will surely be proud of his team and hopefully, would be providing free supply of beer for one year to all the team-members… And probably he would be ruing the fact that he could have saved $1.5M (that he spent on KP) for obvious reasons… Well done boys!!!

And finally, this year’s finals would have given some hope to KKR & MI who are now tipped to reach the finals of season 3 with KKR the favorites to win the cup!!!


Friday, May 22, 2009

PM's Team

Nothing to do with the IPL (which seems to be the flavor of the season… check out Sappu’s latest post if you have any doubts!!!)

Just finished watching the swearing-in ceremony of the 19 ministers alongwith Dr. M Singh… Well… same old faces again (most of them atleast) – PC, Pranab Mukherjee, Kamal Nath, AK Anthony, Sharad Pawar, Jaipal Reddy… New Additions - Didi (Mamata Bannerjee), Veerappa Moily, SM Krishna (getting his due finally!!!)… Expected ones – Ghulam Nabi Azad, Vayalar Ravi, Ambica Soni, Sushil K Shinde, Kapil Sibal, Murli Deora… and some unknown faces – CP Joshi, BK Handique, Meira Kumar, Anand Sharma…

This is round one of the swearing-in ceremony and the next round is going to be on Tuesday after the final discussions/agreement with the DMK… Hope Mr. Singh plays tough and doesn’t give in to such blackmail politics by the grand old man (Mr. Karunanidhi on a wheelchair these days)… Looks like he wants a cabinet post for everyone in his family – right from his son/daughter to the cook/watchman of his house!!!

Now coming to the point… Where have all the young guns gone??? Congress claims that it is the only party which is grooming youngsters but where are they in the cabinet?? All part of political gimmickry I guess… just to garner votes… Rahul Gandhi was tipped to be in the cabinet (guess he would not settle for anything less than the PM post!!!)… I would have loved to see someone like Shashi Tharoor (not exactly a young gun though) taking up MEA… I thought Dayanidhi Maran was really good as the IT Minister earlier (until some dirty politics by the grand old man did him in and he was relieved of his post)… And this time around, though Congress wants him, DMK is not too keen to field him (that’s politics for you in India!!!)… Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot… Where are they???

Two dozen more ministers are expected to be sworn-in on Tuesday apart from the MOS and junior ministers… As mentioned earlier, I hope we have lots of young faces in that atleast… And as the name suggests, hopefully junior ministers are really juniors!!!

Ciao for now…

PS – DD 77/2 in 10 overs (my money’s on them)… Hopefully Sehwag & Co pull it off against DC!!!