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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Phone Bills and mangoes

I've been neglecting this blog. Unfortunately things aren't going to get much better. The phone bills are in for February. The downloads were about 4 GB of which only 1 was free. The total bill came up to 4000 bucks. Not good. Also my cell bill came to 2000. Also not good.

These days I'm planning to go online only between 2 am and 8 am. If I can stick to that it wouldn't do much good this month cos I'm already almost upto 2 GB, but if I don't do it, things will be much much worse. I think these things are subtle reminders that I'm still dependent on my parent's for money. That's the worst part of it all.

Mango season is here. Dada almost fell off the tree today. Steff managed to put the ladder back under his feet so he didn't have to hold on too long. As it is his arm is hurting. Like he said, "85 kilos on one arm is a LOT".

Mango season

Mango season is here again. Loads of raw magoes are filling the trees and pickling is going on full scale :) Dad almost fell of the tree today. He had to hang on with one arm until the ladder was replaced. Wonder how many minor and not-so-minor accidents happen during the mango plucking season.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Old-style elections

On Sunday elections were held to fill 30 seats of the Panjim City Corporation. I'm not sure what that's supposed to be yet so I'll just stick to what I know. There are 30 seats up for grabs and 2 main 'panels' to choose from. The BJP is putting up one panel in conjunction with Somnath Zuwarkar. The other panel was put up by Babush Monseratte...Ostensibly on behalf of the Congress. If there's anyone who doesn't realise how funny all this is, here's a short history lesson.

Somnath Zuwarkar was the 'Zamindar' style Congress ruler of Taleigao. Babush Monseratte was the 'smuggler' who lived in a palatial bungalow in Taleigao. Babush was cultivated by the BJP as politician because of his money power and his ability to challenge Zuwarkar on his home ground. Babush came to power thru the BJP and when they tried to clip his wings because of his meteoric rise he went over to the Congress who welcomed his money and influence with open arms. There was a brief tussle for Taleigao in which Zuwarkar was annihilated. At present Babush IS the congress arm in Panjim.

Anyway, I went along for the elections cos my dad at present thinks Babush is the only one doing something for the people. Atleast he spends a lot on the people, which is more than can be said of most politicians.

I went along with my mom cos my dad had already voted earlier. As usual the elections were in a dilapidited Govt. school on the way to the Dona Paula Jetty. We got to go straight in cos my mom is disabled. No standing in lines for us. Actually my mom could have managed alone with a walker but this way I got to go along with her and vote too.
We entered and my mom was directed to one table with a cardboard placed on it to divide it into 4 sections. Then it was my turn and a lady gave me a piece of paper folded in 4 and a stick with both ends having a raised X. I figured I had to stamp the X on something and I was horrified. I've voted before but I've always had an electronic voting machine. Just press the button next to the right name/symbol and you're done. You can't go wrong. But this was a stick. (Calling it a stamp would be an insult to stamps everywhere.) Just to be sure I asked Ms. gave-me-a-stick what I had to do. She told me I had to stamp with the stick and motioned to the desk. Fine I went over to the desk and looked at it. Nothing. Bare desk. I took a chance and looked at the next partition. Bare desk again. Thats when it struck me. Apparently the paper given wasn't just to tell me I'd voted. I opened it and saw to my relief that I was right. thats when another dilemma arose. There were 3 sections or rows. In each section there was the candidates name on the left, the symbol on the right and loads of space around each. Where was I supposed to place the damn stamp. In the end I stamped the symbol. I almost stamped the name of the candidate too just to be sure but then I wasn't sure whether that would disqualify my vote.

Apparently you can stamp anywhere in the setion for a particular candidate. Good to know incase I've got to do it again though I hope to God I never have to see those election officals again. Embarrassment lasts a long time.

Friday, March 10, 2006

How wormhole's work.

For anyone interested in space/time travel, I'd have to recommend this link. I haven't read through the full article but I will... eventually :D. So if you've nothing better to do (if you're reading this, that's probably the case... admit it!), go ahead and click on the post title.

And then there was light...

As any self-respecting science fiction fan knows, wormholes—theoretical shortcuts through space and time—make for excellent time travel portals. I like to think of my life as a wormhole. Right now I'm shooting thru' one without any idea where I'm headed. I only hope I'll like it when I get there.

My dad has found a new crusade... of sorts. He's always wanted to be the kind of guy who writes letters to the Editor's of newspapers. Yeah I know its a strange desire. Well he wrote one today. Guess he just likes it when people talk about him and in Goa there are just a few newspapers and everyone he knows will know it's him tomorrow. That should make him happy. He's been planning this letter for the past 2 days. The Portuguese Consul General said something and a guy my dad doesn't like objected in a letter and another guy objected to his letter and the war of the letters is on. I don't know whether all these people who take part in these letter wars are retired men but I'm guessing that that's the case. Why else would they waste so much time. My dad drafted his letter and then gave it to me to type out and 'read' which translates to 'EDIT EDIT n more EDIT'. I've reworked it so much that if he intends to continue this 'war' I'll end up being the one doing half the work just to keep the continuity. I tried not to change it too much but it wasn't possible. My dad's too pro-Portuguese and I couldn't allow such sentiments to be published. I'd have to deal with all the angry letters that'd follow cos he'd make me reply to them all.
I'm going to add the letter here and also on my Goa365 blog cos there's been no sign of it in the papers and I'd like to make sure it's immortalised in a public forum even if no one who matters ever reads it here.

I fully endorse the views expressed by Agnel Crasto under the title, Goa’s Portuguese Culture in his letter to the Editor published on the 7th March. I would like to add a few comments on the letter written by Lambert Mascarenhas which was published in the Navhind Times dated 4th March under the title “Expectations from Portugal”.

In my opinion when the Consul General of Portugal said there are high expectations of Portugal here, he did not intend to suggest that Goans are making demands on Portugal. Rather he meant that the Portuguese Government will be glad to help meet all realistic expectations. Infact Mr. Mascarenhas has himself pointed out that the Portuguese Government has in the past been very liberal and has allowed granting of facilities equally to all Goans whether or not they speak Portuguese or English. This has certainly caused a lot of applications that do not perhaps meet the current required standards. As Mr. Agnel Crasto said, we should appreciate Dr. Soares’ act in making all those born in Goa before 1961 Portuguese citizens. The Portuguese Government has taken other steps also that should be appreciated without prejudice.

Portugal is in a position to help Goa not only with Portuguese citizenship (which Mr. L Mascarenhas focuses on) but also through other means such as exchange programmes to help introduce scientific, medical and technological know-how and also programmes to help maintain the rich cultural diversity we have inherited from the Portuguese.

As an example, let me cite here the situation some years back. NIO scientists and some other staff including the previous Director of NIO had the opportunity to visit Portugal as part of an exchange programme, even though none of them knew to speak Portuguese well and none of them had any Portuguese qualifications and though many were non Goans.

I would like to raise another issue here. Mr. L Mascarenhas has stated that the only people expecting something from Portugal are the Goan ‘rabble’ as he says who are desirous of Portuguese citizenship. Many people choose to settle abroad for various reasons, jobs/health etc. Are only the Goan minority who want to settle in Portugal to be insulted and called ‘rabble’ or is Mr. Mascarenhas designating all people with such aspirations as ‘rabble?’

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Corruption in the Goa Medical College

I've always admired people who've decided to stand up for what's right, who've decided to sacrifice their time and privacy to fight the good fight. Well recently I've seen another side to the issue, apparently people actually enjoy the limelight that goes with any fight at all.

Recently a relative of my mom's was operated on in the Goa Medical College (GMC) and my dad found out that a flourishing network was in place to milk the government of a lot of money. Since treatment is all paid for by the Government, whenever a poor patient came in with broken bones etc., certain plates were ordered from certain dealers with the right connections. These dealers tried to pass of an Indian plate as an imported one to my dad and they've probably gotten away with the same many times before. Apparently the doctor involved gives the patient the mobile no. of a dealer who had a man in the hospital itself. This man takes an advance and brings back 4 plates of diff sizes. The doctor picks the size he wants and the rest are taken back by the dealer. In my cousins case he needed size no 4,which the doctor must have known. However the doctor just told him to get a certain type of plate. The dealer asked whether he would be interested in imported plates. When he received an affirmative answer te dealer brought 3 imported plates, but the 4th plate.. the one of the correct size was Indian. They were planning to charge the patient the rates for the imported plates but would use the India one. And they would have gotten away with it if my dad hadn't caught them.

I'm proud of my dad's actions. Though the dealers and the doctors are backed by Manohar Parrikar, the ex-chief minister and current head of the BJP, my dad has gone ahead and filed a written complaint as asked by the Dean of the GMC. Apparently his complaint is by no means the only one received and infact the other complaints are much graver. Still I appreciate my dad's actions, though I think i'd have appreciated them still more if he wasn't enjoying the publicity and the limelight quite so much. Its made me think a lot more about my old perception of the 'do-gooder', the fighter against corruption.
I suppose I ought to be pleased my dad is getting something out of all this in exchange for all the time, energy and petrol he's sunk into the matter. The telephone bills he's racked up calling up people to 'discuss' (i.e. brag about) the matter are another issue altogether.

Couple C eliminated

I think I spoke too soon in my last post. Couple C now no longer exists. The individuals still exist separately as of a few hours back but I can see a worst case scenario which will end with the guy OD'ing on something.

Miss C called up and said she broke up with Mr.C two weeks back. Apparently he's been having schizophrenic fits since then. He's called up and spoken rubbish and he even sent her an sms saying she was a bitch who'd ruined his life. C'mon... What is it with guys. This one is really going around the bend. I knew he wasn't thinking rationally even before, but I didn't think he'd snap to this extent. Apparently she told him they'd better break up cos of their frequent fights. She told him if they continued they might not even remain friends. And this is exactly what he has told me before, though I doubt she knows that unless he's told her the same thing too. Well at times he says that he still wants to be friends and start over, but then at other times he acts too weird. They are currently supposed to be friends, with all the meetings, conversations and interactions that would entail. However considering how much they are still fighting I'm starting to believe that a little time without any interaction would benefit both of them. Ex-lovers make very bad friends. The deeper the relationship, the harder it is to go back to being 'just friends'.

The latest incident was the weirdest. Miss C asked him to go for lunch with her cos another friend wanted to pick his brains about karate and she asked him in front of this other girl. Mr. C said ok n then sms'd her asking whether she'd fucked his reputation with that girl also, whether she knew they had been going out. She told him that the girl merely thought they were friends and asked him if his reputation would get fucked if she did know they were going out. That's when he started his usual rant 'don't act so innocent'. Guys are such fuckers when they expect you to know just what they are talking about. And if any guy ever tells me not to act 'innocent' he is going to be very unpleasantly surprised!