Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Need for Speed !!




In the early nineties, a Japanese Business delegation visited India to explore investment opportunities. There were the usual cultural shows and a visit to the Taj Mahal, among other things as part of their itinerary. An interesting part of their visit was a train journey from Mumbai to Pune. The journey was largely uneventful and took between three to four hours. After reaching Pune, one of the members of the delegation curiously enquired about the total distance between the two cities to their Indian host accompanying them.

“It would be anything between a hundred to a hundred and ten kilometres.”, the Host replied.

“Just over a hundred Kilometres?? And the journey took over three hours?”, the Japanese visitor asked, aghast! “In Japan, this distance would have taken anytime between half an hour and forty five minutes via bullet train.”

The host did not have any answer to his visitor’s claim. But the conversation does open up a new and radical line of thought. What if an ultra-high speed train service was to exist between both cities? And what if it were to exist between all major cities in India?

India ranks among the largest railway networks in the world with a staggering Sixty Seven thousand three hundred and twelve kilometres of route covered (source: Wikipedia). Given the huge size of our country along with the extent of our railway network coupled with high demand and traffic, it is very surprising to know why High Speed Rail (HSR) networks were so long in coming to India. One only wonders why it took so long for the authorities to wake up. After all, major countries including China have developed their own HSR networks. Why should we fall behind?

The Indian Government’s recent announcement of setting up a High Speed rail network in the ultra-busy Mumbai Ahmedabad route comes as a welcome relief after years of speculation and false promises. Of course, Rome was not built in a day. Feasibility studies are ongoing. Other viable routes are being studied and it will be some years before dreams materialize into reality. But anyhow, it’s a step in the right direction. Towards progress. And let me illustrate how. The Mumbai Rajdhani Express, the fastest train in the Mumbai-Delhi corridor and the third fastest train in India covers the distance between Mumbai and New Delhi (1384 kms) in an average time of Fifteen hours and forty two minutes. Imagine how wonderful it would be if the travel time between both cities is reduced to a mere four hours. The Super-fast Mumbai Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express covers the 500 kms distance between both cities in an average time of Six hours and forty five minutes. What if the travel time between both cities would be reduced to a mere one and a half hours?

The Japanese 'Shinkansen' model bullet train.


Time saving and speedy travel is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other inherent advantages. Let’s say a person Mr. X is a Computer Engineering professional who stays in Mysore. Due to a local paucity of jobs he finds suitable employment in nearby Bangalore. It takes two to two and a half hours for him to travel between both cities one way, something which is not convenient on a daily basis as his job demands that he work hard and stay long hours. Therefore, he is forced to take up accommodation in Bangalore. Accommodation is expensive as rents in Bangalore are sky-high. But given his situation, he has no other choice. His tale is similar to that of many young engineers in his position who are forced to stay in big cities like Bangalore, adding to the growing number of residents in the city. This in turn puts immense strain on civic authorities to provide basic amenities such as clean drinking water, public transport and sanitation to cities with a burgeoning population which are already oversaturated. More number of people in the city also means more crowds, more security hassles, more vehicles and more pollution. 

But imagine if the situation was reversed. What if there was a high speed rail network running full time between Mysore and Bangalore which took only fifteen to thirty minutes to complete the journey? Now Mr. X can happily live in Mysore, take the morning train to Bangalore and work till late. He can return again by train in the night, just in time for a steaming hot delicious dinner after which he can sleep easy and get fresh for work the next day. Now he is no longer on the mercy of greedy landlords who charge ultra-high rents for sub-standard accommodation. He no longer has to face the merciless travails of living in a big city such as traffic jams, high cost of living, congestion and poor cleanliness, among others.

As illustrated above, introduction of HSR networks have huge potential for benefits in terms of reduction of travel time and other advantages as mentioned earlier. But if the HSR network only connects the big cities, then it would be a task incomplete. We should actually connect smaller towns and cities to major metros via HSR. As mentioned earlier, most of the jobs are concentrated in these major urban areas. People living in small towns are forced to migrate to big cities in search of employment and stay there despite the many pitfalls they will face. Introduction of High Speed trains between small towns to big cities will greatly reduce the travel time. People will now be able to live and commute easily from their home-towns without getting uprooted. This means fewer people will now migrate to bigger cities. This will bring down the already swelling population level in metros. This in turn, will reduce the congestion and pollution which currently plague all big cities in India. This shift in demographics will also force the Government to now concentrate its’ development on smaller cities. Overall, it’s a win-win situation.

But there also lie major challenges in HSR implementation. Cost is the major factor. Current studies have indicated that it would not be feasible to setup HSR networks on existing railway lines, as our current track setup is not stable enough to support a high speed train traveling well in advance of Three hundred kilometers per hour. Therefore, a special elevated line is planned to be constructed for the same. Costs of constructing such an elevated network spread across many hundreds of kilometers will run into thousands of crores of rupees. Ticket pricing would be another major challenge. Tickets should be priced low enough for the common man to not feel financially burdened to travel by HSR, but at the same time be competitive enough to enable the government to recover its’ money fully and start making profits in a relatively short span of time. There are other hurdles as well such as setting up the related infrastructure, land acquisition etc. which could take up a huge amount of time and resources considering red tape and how lethargic government processes generally are. But our newly elected government is citizen centric and is eager to win the trust of the people by speeding up processes and removing unnecessary hurdles. Of course, no cost is too high to make your citizens happy.

But then again, not everyone will be happy with the introduction of HSR. The thriving domestic airline industry will surely take a hit. If the HSR tickets are priced competitively, making it within reach of the average middle class salaried person, people will surely prefer travelling by train rather than flight. Airline Companies would be forced to lower prices in order to stay afloat. Many will resort to lay-offs and ruthlessly cut corners in order to add revenue and make their business sustainable. Those who will not be able to do so will have to shut shop. Also in the not-happy-with-HSR list will be real estate agents and brokers in big cities, people who have been making a tidy living of the earnings of hapless people by charging exorbitant amounts in rent and brokerage. That will be due to the fact that speedy means of transport by HSR will ensure fewer people are forced to migrate to big cities, which means fewer customers. Demand will fall, rates will crash and builders will have to target smaller cities.

Whatever the pitfalls and challenges are, HSR’s are surely a step in the right direction. Change is inevitable, no matter what the cost. And this change has been long in waiting. History has taught us that those who have adapted to change and have accepted it have been the ones to survive and prosper. But there is a very wide line between expectations and reality. How soon and how effectively the government delivers on it’s promises is yet to be seen, but for now one can only be contended waiting … and dreaming !!

Here’s my artistic impression of how the proposed HSR network should look like across India. Sorry for the crude map and haphazard lines. For now, I have only connected the metros and major cities of India. But time permitting, I will add detailed regional maps soon.



A note for my brethren from the North-East(NE): Apologies if you see the NE region not included in the high level map. I have very little idea of the topography and the locations of the capitals and major cities of the seven sisters. As I said earlier, time permitting I will add more detailed maps and the NE region will definitely be included too. In fact, I urge the government to also consider the NE in the scheme of things for HSR. Of course, it goes without saying the government will consider the NE much, much later as they will first concentrating on introducing HSR in the mainland first. But surely, our brothers and sisters from the NE deserve it. For too long have they been isolated from the growth and development process of the country. Any positive change towards progress should also include the NE, else the process will not be deemed complete. There are major challenges which lie in implementing HSR in the NE; the main one being the rugged and mountainous terrain which will impede speedy construction. But the task, no matter how daunting it may seem is definitely not impossible. Countries having similar landscape to the NE such as Switzerland have implemented effective rail networks despite the physical challenges, so I don’t see why it should be any different for the NE. In fact, planning and executing this task could be just the challenge our nation’s engineers are waiting for. If planned and executed smoothly, the HSR in the NE region could be one of the world’s foremost engineering marvels.

Another engineering marvel would also be accomplished if we build these HSR networks ingenuously rather than depend upon foreign nations for technical know-how. That again is a daunting task, but nothing challenging or rewarding comes easy. True, we might need their technical expertise initially, but later on we need to phase out and start building our own.

Edit: One of my many friends in Facebook dropped an interesting comment for this post. Repeating my friends' words, there is no point for Mr.X to travel 100 km from Mysore to Bangalore in under 30 minutes and then get frustrated for traveling for over 2 hours to reach his office 20 kilometers away from the train station, given the current state of Bangalore's traffic. Of course, it goes without saying that local and regional development have to go in step with national development.   

Well, that’s just my two cents. Comments and criticism are most welcome.

Regards,

Srinivas Pavan Addanki      

Friday, August 19, 2016

Go for Gold !! Probably some other time ......

P.V. Sindhu has come in the limelight by creating history and becoming the first Indian woman to win a silver medal in the greatest of all global sporting competitions ... the Olympics itself. For the next week and onwards, Indian media will be pouring rich tributes to India's golden (or rather 'Silver' :) ) girl . Her photo will appear on all newspapers and magazines while TV channels will be screaming her name. Various companies will approach her and vie to make her their product brand ambassador. This spectacle will continue for some months before the euphoria dies down.

In a country which idolizes cricket at the expense of other games, including national games like Kabaddi, Hockey and Polo; Sindhu's medal comes as a breath of fresh air. Parents will take a leaf out of her book and will hopefully encourage their children to pursue their passion rather than force the mundane and soul killing world of studies, endless cramming and the beaten-to-death choices of Engineering, Medicine and Commerce upon them.

With only a few days remaining before the Olympics wraps up, India's has opened her medal account, but her dream of obtaining the coveted Gold medal might just remain a dream ... with only a few left to compete. After the players return home, it's going to be the usual game. The media is going to have a field day criticizing our players efforts. The same old tagline of "A hundred and twenty million people, but not a single gold medal." is going to make the rounds. Many will once again compare India with China and point out how woefully imbalanced both sides are. Some will criticize the training and the facilities. But then again, all this will be forgotten in a few months. Till the next Olympics at least. Then the whole cycle starts again.

This is not an analysis blog. I am not analyzing India's performance in Rio. God knows, there are enough and better qualified people than me to do that.  

For all those who plan to indulge in this banter, either as a past-time or seriously, I would advise them to lay off. There is no point in flogging a dead horse. Please leave the athletes alone. Especially, please don't spray the tagline of "A billion people and no gold medal." It's not as if all the billion people of India train rigorously for four years to qualify for the Olympics. A majority of the billion idolize cricket and train long and hard for it, but despite their effort, only a few qualify. And for all the fanfare associated with the game and the players, India has only managed to win the World Cup twice in forty years. Whereas a country like Australia which does not put Cricket in top priority has managed to walk away with the world championship five times!

Random and negative tweets such as Shobha De's do not help either. Actually, her tweets do open up and interesting line of thought. I would definitely agree that her tweets were ill advised. But I believe her ire should have been redirected towards the officials and the so called political well wishers of the Indian contingent. Just read this article and you will know what I am talking about:

There's a saying which goes:

"If you keep doing what you're doing, you will get what you have always been getting."

There's also another one which says:

"To get something which you never had, you must do something you have never done."

Enough said.

Till 2020!

Jai Hind! 
          

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Stop reading! Start Doing!

Have you noticed one thing about motivational articles, self-help books and videos? When you’re down and out, when you’re lost and searching for inspiration; that article which tells you how to focus on your strengths and get the best out of life; the great achiever who gives you tips on how to get your desired results; the superb motivational video with soul-lifting music which causes adrenaline to pump into your heart might be just the tonic your waning spirit needed. But notice another thing! Very soon, you start to get addicted to them. You’ll find that without reading one motivational piece a day, you won’t be able to get your spirits on a high and start your work. In short, you are now addicted to self-help articles.
Absurd as it may sound, it’s true. I have visited numerous bookshops and seen the shelves cluttered with self-help books written by various authors. There are books which tell you how to make friends and influence their thoughts and actions (How to win friends and influence people — Dale Carnegie), there are books which tell you how to grow wealthy (Think and grow rich — Napoleon Hill), books which help you boost your self-confidence and think positive (You Can Win — Shiv Khera, The power of positive thinking — Norman Vincent Peale) and books which help you use the power of your conscious and sub-conscious mind for your benefit (The power of your subconscious mind — Dr. Joseph Murphy).
Notice one thing common about them? They all mention the same thing. In a nut shell this is what they will say to you:
a) Don’t lose focus
b) Always believe in yourself
c) Follow your heart
d) Take risks
e) Never give up
f) Ignore the naysayers
g) Go for your goal
h) Face your demons and fears
i) Learn from failure
j) Be consistent and good in all you do
k) Stop procrastinating
l) There is no substitute to hard work
m) Follow your passion to the ends of the earth
n) Never neglect your dreams.
And so on and so forth. It feels good reading them at first, but later on you realize that you have been gypped. You have been tricked into reading the same thing again and again. You slowly find out that their words have replaced your own subconscious thoughts and instincts and instead of following your own gut feeling, you tend to follow their clich├ęd advice and more often than not, end up with a result you are not happy with. You invariably end up trying too hard doing the thing you naturally do best.
The best thing to do for shaking yourself out of this rut is to stop it right here, right now! Stop reading and start doing! Actions speak louder than words. Ask successful people on how they conquered the odds and got to where they are currently and their answer will most certainly never include: I read a motivational book, written by XYZ. That prompted me to change my life and it’s because of that book that I am where I am right now. No sir! Reading a motivational book is like drinking a bottle of chilled coke on a hot summer day. It feels great and makes you want more. But after the second drink, you realize that the first drink was good enough and you probably should have ended it there.
Now don’t get me wrong. These books act as great tonics when your spirits are down. But you should be mentally strong and know when to draw the line and not get addicted to them. I don’t mean to offend all the writers who have put up some great articles of advice and motivation on various sites. No doubt, your articles are great. But my message is to those who read them.
Readers, realize this! No book ever made anyone rich, no matter how rich it was in content and advice. No book can motivate you enough to change yourself. Self-Change is something which will happen at the right time, at the right place. Self-Change is something intrinsic, which is triggered most of the time by external events. We all seek advice and try to emulate those successful hoping to attain similar results, but most of the time we fail to realize that the power to succeed or fail lies within us. When the light of enlightenment shines upon us, when we stumble upon the realization that we can alter our own destiny no matter what the odds, when we develop the courage to follow our own heart and instincts despite how foolish and impractical they may sound, then an only then can we say confidently that we have stepped on the true path to progress and success. And this can be realized by stepping out of your comfort zone, by doing things which you have never attempted before, by failing and learning from your failures. No book can ever teach you all that. You have to go out there and grasp it yourself and if you truly wish to succeed, you will!
Stop reading, and start working on your dream right now!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit Ahoy !!

It finally had to happen.

In what could very well be termed as one of the most significant moves of the new millennium, last Thursday the United Kingdom voted to move out of the European Union. Given the significant amount of clout Britain wields over the European and world economy, the importance of this move cannot be underestimated.

The world did not take it lightly either. As soon as the decision became public, stock markets across Europe and Asia started tumbling. The Euro and Pound currencies took a huge nosedive and fell to new lows. A pall of gloom descended among British youth and Europe in general. British PM David Cameron stated that he would resign the coming September citing personal responsibility.

But I believe it was an event waiting to happen. In fact, given Britain’s unique and chequered history, this move should have hardly come across as a surprise. Geographically isolated from continental Europe, the British have always viewed themselves as politically and culturally separate from the European Mainland. In that sense, the English Channel separates Britain from Europe in more ways than one. Apart from James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Jeeves, Bertie Wooster, Royal Enfield and Jaguar; the one thing which the British are famous for, the one unique trait which differentiates a Brit from the others is their die hard patriotism and pride in their national identity and their stubbornness to influence from outside culture. It is this pride and stubbornness which made them heroically resist Nazi Germany’s air attacks during world war two. While any other nation would have buckled under the constant barrage of the Luftwaffe, Britain heroically resisted and also responded in kind by bombarding German cities. It helped to turn the tide of the war in no small way. It was this same stubbornness which made Captain Scott persist with his ill-fated quest to find the South Pole despite the numerous odds which were stacked against him. The same stubbornness and British pride which made the captain of the Titanic stay on board knowing very well that the ship was on its’ way to Davy Jones’ locker. All that and the cognizance of the fact that their nation colonized nearly half the planet not more than a century ago has acted in no small way to fuel British pride and instilled a deep patriotic sense of identity among their people.

And this could perhaps the single most reason for Britain to pull out. On the surface, they (The British) do cite valid reasons for leaving the EU. The less than ideal financial condition of the EU(not helped by Greece and the Euro crisis of past years) and the potential economic and employment problems Britain faces from member East European immigrants are pressing concerns. But knowing the British, I would say the single most important factor for leaving the EU could be a deep rooted fear of losing their national identity, a fear of being typecast as ‘One of those developed European Nations’ instead of being known as ‘Great’ Britain, a fear of being relegated to a mere speck on the map of a bigger Europe rather than being known and respected for it’s own.

Whatever it may be, the British have spoken. A rocky path lies ahead, given that they will soon lose all the prized privileges of being a powerful member of the EU and the fact the founding members have not taken Britain’s decision very sportingly. The British will soon have to carve out their own path, not an easy task by any means. To compound matters, Scotland and Northern Ireland have made very clear their preference to remain in the EU. With such complications, the United Kingdom might not remain so ‘United’ in the near future.

But all is not lost yet. Critics and pro-pounders of doom for the British might have just underestimated her strength and determination. In fact, this could be just the tonic the sleeping British economy needs to rouse it from its’ slumber. There’s nothing quite like a hard challenge to perk you up. Spain and France have also given indications to quit the EU, a move which will further weaken union and exacerbate matters no less. And if other countries do follow suit, Europe will start looking like how it was back in the late nineteenth century, with each country vying for financial and economic superiority. Two devastating world wars were the direct consequence of a divided Europe back then. God knows what will happen now.

The full impact of ‘Brexit’ still remains to be calculated and only time will stand proof of the soundness of the move. But there’s no denying the fact that once again the British have created a Big Splash, the ripples of which are being felt the world over. Trust them to stay quiet! I say what ..old Boy!

Cheers to the British!



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Changing Face of India

The sixties:



Son rushes into house jubilant and excited.

Son:   Mom, I have good news! I have graduated with top honours in my college. I have also got a job as a Junior clerk in Seth Makhichand’s firm. I will be getting a salary of three hundred rupees a month.

Mom:   God Bless you my son! If only your father was around to see this moment. He would have been so happy.

Son touches mother’s feet and takes her blessing. Mother bursts out into tears and hugs him. Overall, it’s a highly emotional moment.


The Seventies:



Son walks in the house, depressed and dejected.

Mom:   Any luck getting a job son?

Son:   No mom. There is no hope. You need a special recommendation to get a job. You need to be the son of a minister, industrialist or someone with high connections. Without that, I don’t stand a chance. I have roamed around the whole day, from one office to another. My slippers are torn to shreds and my feet are bleeding. They want people with experience. And how does one get experience without starting somewhere? This degree and my entire education have no value at all.

Frustrated, he throws the file containing his qualifications to the ground.

Mother:   Don’t get unduly disheartened Son. You will find something soon. Have faith in God and yourself.

Saying so she hugs her son. Once again, the atmosphere is heavily loaded with emotions.


The Eighties:



Still the same old scene. Son walks in dejected, a file in one hand and a bag of vegetables in the other.

Son:   Mom, here are the vegetables you wanted.

Mom:   Any luck son?

Son:   Still the same old story. There’s a huge waiting list for each job. They are asking a bribe now even for getting a chance to sit at the interview. I wonder why I ever took up studies. There is no value to this degree at all.

Saying so, once again he flings the file with disgust to the floor.

Mom:   Don’t get disheartened son. I have something for you. I spoke to Seth Makhichand the other day. He says there is a vacancy for a junior clerk available in his firm. I will request him to give you the job.

Son(Getting angry):   How can you even think of that mom? I am a graduate Engineer First class with honours. After doing engineering, how can you expect me to take up the job of a clerk?

Mom:   Why don’t you realize? We need some money to run this house? We have to get Chunni (younger sister) married. Where will the money come from? You have to take up this job, whether you like it or not.

Son gets dejected and hangs his head down while the mother bursts into tears. Once again, an emotional moment.


The Nineties:



Son walks into the house excited and happy.

Son:   Mom, there’s good news. I got a job in the new foreign IT company which just started its’ operations in India recently. The salary and perks are very good.

Mom:   That’s good news beta. I am so happy for you.

Son:   Yes. Thanks to the new economic liberalization policy of the government, foreign companies are investing in India. They have started new factories and offices. New jobs are coming through. It looks like our bad days are over.

Son and Mom hug each other in a … once again …. Emotional moment!

Dawn of the new Millenium:



Son walks in with laptop and travel bag in hand. His mother is waiting eagerly.

Mother:   How nice to see you again son. You should take some time off to meet me often from that hectic work schedule of yours.

Son:   Mom, I have good news. I have three job offers in hand. But my current company didn’t want to let me go. So now they are sending me to Europe on a long term assignment. It will take four to five years.

Mom:   Such a long time? What will I do without you?

Son:   Don’t worry mom. I will visit you once in a year. We can also be in touch via Skype.

Mom:   But son, you are already coming of age. What about your marriage? You need to settle down in life.

Son:   Oh c’mon mom. Don’t bombard me with your soppy emotional sentiments. I can’t afford to miss this opportunity. It will be good for my career. Marriage can wait.

Son touches mother’s feet and walks away without even looking back, not noticing the tears she is shedding. A totally one sided emotional moment!


And after the First decade of the millennium:

Son walks into the house screaming abuses in the cell-phone. It is evident from the wrinkles and warts on his face that he is going through great stress. He cursorily stoops to touch his mother’s feet, not really looking at her.

Mom:   How are you beta? Where are you wife and kid? Haven’t you brought them here?

Son:   No mom, they couldn’t come. Wife is busy with her job. It’s a critical period.

Mom:   What about my grandson?

Son:   I have left him in a proper day care centre. He will be occupied all day. The centre has excellent facilities.

Mom:   But why should she (your wife) also work? Isn’t it enough if you work alone? The kid needs his mother’s care.

Son(angrily):   Now don’t start that again Mom. Prices are rising. We cannot afford to survive on my salary alone. Do you know how expensive it is to buy even a small 2BHK these days? You have no idea.

Mom shrugs and sighs helplessly. Son keeps ranting on the phone oblivious to his mother’s presence. A moment totally devoid of any emotions.


Present year:



Our hero is lying on the sofa, animatedly chatting with someone on the cell phone. His mother walks in.

Mom:   Still here? Are you not going to college?

Son(laughing):   College? What are you talking about? I dropped out a long time ago.

Mother(flabbergasted):   WHAT??!

Son:   Yes. I and my two friends, we’re starting an online real estate business.

Mom(angrily):   And all this time you fooled me telling me you were going to college. Why did you lie to me?

Son:   Because I knew you wouldn’t agree. You always try to discourage me.

Mother:   I just want you to be safe. Can’t you at least wait till you finish your studies?

Son:   What for? I mean what’s the point? There’s never been a better time to become an Entrepreneur. The government has launched the new ‘Start Up India’ scheme. There are a lot of angel investors out there. The time is ripe. We must capitalize. Now, who would waste one’s life studying and sitting behind a desk and cubicle in a mundane and boring nine to five job? Ok mom, I have to be going. I will be back late. Have your dinner. Don’t wait for me.

Son walks out and mother is left behind shaking her head in disbelief.



© Srinivas Pavan Addanki

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Wish you a happy and prosperous 2016

Hi Folks,

2015 is history now and 2016 is the 'in' thing. I wish to thank all those who have spared some time to read my blog and hopefully gained something from it, wherever in the world you are. I want to take this opportunity to wish you a very healthy, happy, prosperous and exciting new year. Let's hope 2016 will give you all that you have hoped for. I pray that all your dreams come true and you reach new heights in personal life as well as your career.

Let there be peace and happiness all around.

With Love,

Pavan 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A case of Poor timing !!

There’s a new buzzword among the Indian media these days – Intolerance. After 67 years of living in harmony, some people feel threatened and insecure and have termed our nation ‘intolerant’. They feel they are being singled out and being discriminated against since they follow a particular religion. Their fear that their freedom of speech and their fundamental rights will be threatened. The irony is that most of these people are those who have received tremendous love and affection from our citizens who have placed them on the highest pedestal of fame and glory. And yet, they feel insecure. They should in fact feel tremendously safe. They have nothing to fear. That’s because far from being ‘Intolerant’, we are really the most tolerant nation in this world. Too tolerant by half in my opinion. Indeed, if anything we should be criticized for being ‘over tolerant’. Let me show you how.

Let’s take the clock back seven years. Seven years, on this very day a group of heavily armed terrorists across the border sneaked in by boat to South Mumbai and attacked popular targets such as the Mumbai CST and Taj Hotel. The drama continued for five days until all the attackers were either apprehended or killed. By the time they were done, hundreds of innocent people were killed and scores more were wounded. Their mission was more or less accomplished. They had come to spread terror, death, destruction and they had succeeded. The world was quick to condemn the attacks and expressed their sympathy. For the next few days, Mumbai and the rest of the nation boiled as angry citizens came to the streets and demanded justice. We all knew where the perpetrators had come from, despite their vehement denials. And what did our government do? They snapped all Cricketing ties with that nation. Yes you heard me right, Cricketing ties!! Jeepers! And here I was, thinking of a nice old black cat commando operation Entebbe style to nab or kill the perpetrators, and all I got was ‘No Cricket!’.

Now pause for a moment and think. Did the planners of the 26/11/2008 attack even consider this outcome as one of the consequences? Did they, in their wildest dreams ever imagine this step by our government? No self-respecting nation would have tolerated this kind of attack on it’s soil and would have taken steps for immediate retribution. Keeping that in mind, the planners and all those involved would have been on high alert! Imagine the look on their faces, when instead of a deadly retribution, they hear the usual ‘Stern Warning’ and ‘No Cricket!’ message. They would have simply laughed their @$$es off. For all that we know, they would have simply died laughing. 

Ok so what’s done was done right? So the Cricketing ban would have hurt some players and some officials. Well, it was some kind of retribution at least. But then what does the BCCI do? Seven years after the dastardly attack, when the wounds have yet to heal for some of the survivors (or should I say, victims) the BCCI goes all out and announces resumption of Cricketing ties with our ‘Friendly neighbour’. That too, on the very anniversary of the attacks.
 
Now who would dare call our nation ‘Intolerant’ after hearing all this? To those who still brand our nation as intolerant, you have underestimated the magnanimity and the big heart of our government. Terror merchants across the border, perpetrators of scores of heinous and deadly attacks in India live a life of safety and leisure with the knowledge that justice might take a lifetime, if ever to catch up with them. That being the case, You: dear citizen of India can rest easy! Nothing is going to happen to you!