Monday, June 27, 2005

The Indian Dynasty

The other day, I was reading something about the Kennedy clan. They are virtually thought of as the princely family of America. So many influential people right from Joseph Kennedy(JFK's father ) to JFK himself, Robert Kennedy, Ted Kennedy and to Maria Shriver. Moreover, it is not the number of people that I am trying to talk about but the amount of influence they weilded over the course of history.

On the same lines, I started thinking about a family in India that could rival the Kennedys in fame, national service and unblemished reputation. I dont know if there is anyone even to compete with the TATAs. The name itself evokes respect. From the stalwart J.N.Tata who went on to pioneer the industrial revolution in India to Sir.J.R.D.Tata who at the helm of the Tata Sons steered the fledgling company to diversify into numerous fields to the current chairman of the board Ratan Tata who with his vision has provided assurance that the Tatas are at the forefront of any kind of industry in the new milleium.

This would have been just another industrial success story like many others. But the Tatas have distinguished themselves by returning to the society and performing that social service which most others chose to neglect.

When J.N.Tata was refused entry into a leading hotel in Bombay in the late 1800s, he decided to build a hotel himself that would rival the pomp and spledour of the British. The result was the Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay. With his vision, he kick-started the industrial revolition. But the starting of the Tata Inst., (now IISc) with his personal purse was probably his biggest contribution to the society.

J.R.D.Tata, with a flying license with license number #1(he was the first person from India to qualify to fly in 1929) , he flew the first airmail plane, founded the Tata Airlines(which was later nationalized to Air India) and became the chairman of IATA.

And not to be left behind, Ratan Tata has vowed to make the dream of a car in ever Indian home come true. For this, he has bet the entire Tata group that they will come out with a passenger car for just about $1000!!!

Who needs princely families when true princes have been ruling India!

(More later about an Indian family that has done more damage to India than anyone can ever do in dozen lifetimes!)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Pretty hard landing.

I set out for Indianapolis on friday with such high expectations. I wouldnt have been so dissappointed even if Kimi Raikkonen had lost. Or even if Schumacher had competitively won it! But what was so disappointing was the fact that 14 drivers boycotted the race and we had to sit like stupid idiots in the stand and see the same 6 cars going round and round.

Who wants to see a race where the Ferraris 'compete' with the Jordans and the Minardis ?!?!?

Anyway, other than this depressing episode, I really enjoyed the visit to the Motor Museum and the stunning display of cars and not to mention the screaming and revving sounds of 19000 r.p.m of that technological marvels and the thunderous sound produced by the traction control at the turns.

By the way, it is so annoying to find that hardly any people eat vegetarian in the US in spite of hearing the contrary about Americans turning not just Vegetarians , but Vegans ! I had to struggle to find some decent morsel of Veggie food all along the trip. Subway became my saviour and had to survive on cakes, apples and what not...

Some pisc of the trip can be found here: Indianapolis Trip Pics.

Current Mood: Depressed.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Is this a shopping experience ?

After coming to the US, I have somewhat missed that amazing shopping experience that I used to experience in Bangalore. It is not that I was a shopping freak or something. It was that superb window shopping experience in Jayanagar 4th Block that is irreplaceable here in the USA.

All that I see in the US are chains ! There is Subway, Mc Donalds , Arby's , Wendys, ... huh the list goes on. You see one... you have seen them all ! The malls look the same wherever you go! They are omnipresent ! They look the same wherever you go. Even the towns and small cities look the same. They are structured in exactly the same way. Exits off Interstates and a couple of miles drive and lo and behold... you see a town with all the above chains, a walmart and a Best Western hostel !

So what is unique to a town that distinguishes a town here ?

And the one pleasure that I miss is walking in crowds ! Here people don't jostle, don't rush and to top it all, they stop and say Thank You and Sorry to Everything !!!