Friday, November 10, 2006

Impressions of Frankfurt Airport

Well, hello again my dear reader, from Frankfurt airport this time - my fifth visit to this airport this year. Thanks to the fact that security checks took all of two minutes as opposed to the two HOURS that they took last time and were also intimated to us passengers by the landing crew to take this time, I am, as you can see, left with a bit of time on my hands before I board my next flight. I'm not complaining though, because guess what I got to do in my spare time here - eat strawberry cheesecake ice-cream from Haagen-Dazs, my favourite! Yeah, I still think most people would certify me crazy for deriving such orgasmic pleasure out of such a simple thing. I even lurked about cautiously with the ice-cream in my hands, half-afraid someone would be able to read my mind and learn how insanely happy I was. This was the first time I was tasting that divine taste since my time in London in 2003, and boy, did I savour every lick of it!

And guess what I saw on sale at an electronics shop in the duty-free area a while ago - frikkin' PORN! I kid you not. I always knew Amsterdam was liberal but I didn't think Frankfurt was a place where you'd see porn in the airport. Ha ha.

Frankfurt airport is also smoky. I've been here many times before but this time the smell of smoke was the first thing that assailed my senses when I entered the terminal. I prefer airports like Tokyo to this - at least they have dedicated smoking rooms where all the smokers can go and inhale their self-created fresh air (as one of my smoke-addict colleagues puts it!!). I mean..I'm fine with smoking as long as it is in an open area. I'm also fine with smoke if its in pubs or clubs (I know pubs are closed spaces, but I think it's the logic of a pub/club being created for people to drink and smoke and generally have a good time, and I'm certainly not opposed to that). Sort of contradicts what I just said maybe, but that's just what I think and I'm a person of contradictions - so sue me!! Anyway, I'm pretty sure smoke is part of the reason why Frankfurt airport is the way it is - 'mechanical and clinical', as my friend the Raccoon opines about Frankfurt airport in HIS blog. And it's probably marble-floored for the same reason - imagine the stink if they had carpets that the smoke clung on to. Changi Airport in Singapore, in comparison, is a superb airport - carpeted all over, with designated smoking rooms and probably one of the best airports in the world.

So that's my take on Frankfurt airport for now. I've got Kiran Desai's 'The Inheritance of Loss" (yes, finally managed to buy a copy at Bangalore airport) to keep me company, and also an Indian lady I just met who seems to be in the mood for conversation and I don't want to seem rude - so I'll catch you guys later. Auf wiedersehen!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


......also known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles :-) I caught a glimpse of them on TV this morning and couldn't help but remember the days when they were all the rage when I was a kid. Following the adventures of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michaelangelo, accompanied by the svelte April O'Neil of course, was so much fun back then. I've watched most of their cartoons and all their movies, and usually it was with a whole group of kids of the same age so it was always a communal thing. Ha ha.

Kids, I tell you!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Seen on NDTV's We The People yesterday....

So I did a bit of TV-watching yesterday. I have a colleague who doesn't even own a TV and professes he never has and never wants to (plays video-games in his spare-time on his laptop though, ha ha), but sometimes, when I see some programmes that I find myself actually getting involved in, I don't know if that is such a good thing. Information dissemination is part of the reason for a TV being invented, right?!!

On a more serious note, I wanted to blog about some thoughts I got after watching NDTV's 'We The People' yesterday. Barkha Dutt was discussing the role of media in covering high-profile criminal cases today, with reference to cases like those of Priyadarshini Mattoo, Nitish Katara and Jessica Lall, with a group of people including Vinod Mehta-Editor of Outlook magazine, Nalini Singh-Journalist, KTS Tulsi-Senior Supreme Court Advocate, with Sabrina Lall (Jessica Lall's sister) and Neelam Katara (Nitish Katara's mother) also in the audience.

I think there is a difference between reporting news, and journalism as it exists today. Mere reporting of facts would be news, but most forms of media today, whether it is newspapers, magazines or television have a viewpoint about the news, or in other words, what happens. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I don't think it would be necessary for more than a few newspapers, at the most, to exist if it was just a matter of letting the public know about what happens around the world. The reason the media plays an important role, especially in a volatile political atmosphere such as the one we live in today, is that they provide an OPINION about what is going on. And everyone is entitled to an opinion, which may or may not be right according to you and me. But what is important, I believe, is to hear these opinions. Because that is the only way we will understand different perspectives on a subject, get to know more facts about it and be able to collate all of it to form our own opinion of what is going on.

If anyone argues that it is NOT the role of the media to take up the case of people like Jessica Lall et al, because everyone has the right to a fair trial and by throwing the limelight on the accused in a case they are creating a negative image and a bias against the accused in the minds of the public and even the judiciary, perhaps they would like to think about what Sabrina Lall mentioned yesterday - that indubitably, Manu Sharma, the key accused in the Jessica Lall case, 'deserves a fair trial, and that he deserves the right to get Ram Jethmalani as his counsel, but where is it a 'fair' trial when justice is being subverted at every step, and witnesses bought?' If the trial was fair in the first place, then, in my own opinion, that group of people wouldn't even have been there on TV yesterday - justice would have been dispensed long ago and the case would have been closed. And as far as the judiciary is concerned, if they make up their minds to convict people based on what they see and hear in the media, then they shouldn't be there in the first place.

One important thing that the Indian judicial system lacks today, that is key to the existence of a non-partisan, fair trial, is the existence of a strong Witness Protection Programme. That is exactly what is responsible for witnesses in these key cases either turning hostile or refusing to co-operate in the first place. Mr.Tulsi brought out this very salient point and I think it is something the Indian legal system needs to work on with immediate effect, because it is the only way we can ensure that justice is served to ordinary citizens of India like Jessica, Nitish, Priyadarshini, and IIT graduates Manjunath Shanmugam and Satyendra Dubey.

Seen on Discovery Travel and Living yesterday....

"The important thing in a marriage is to separate the big things from the small things, deal with the big things and let the small things fall by the wayside."


Roshan, I'm taking the cue from your extremely courageous classmate (how did he put himself through that?) and am letting people who read my blog know what waterboarding is all about.

According to the Geneva Conventions, waterboarding is a form of torture used in interrogations, but according to a 2002 memorandum from the US Attorney General, it's not. In an interview with the Guardian last week, Dick Cheney even referred to its usage in the war against terror as 'a no-brainer'. You see this for yourself and decide.

And by the way, I couldn't bring myself to sit through the whole thing.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sleepless nights..

Is it worth it to stay up working till 2 AM in the office when you know you need sleep and will be groggy and bad-tempered the next morning for your 8 AM meeting, all for the sake of a job you will be quitting in 22 days?