Friday, September 30, 2005

Raj(Bunty) aur Seema(Bably)

raj basantani.he started his career as a nondescrepit clerk in state bank of india.and now he is absconding. interpol has been alerted. as usual the govt shut the stable doors after the horses bolted. they woke up too late. raj had by then cheated some 20 nationalised banks of rs 155 crores.

his vehicle was his diamond exporting flagship,soundcratft industries ltd. annual sales of rs 650 crores and gross profit of rs 45 crores. he and his wife seema made suckers of seasoned bankers and investors. they used the same set of documents to raise mutilple loans. in addition to his exporting company, rajkumar chainrai basantani had his own brokerage house and utilised the money raised through his socalled exports to play the stock market through some hand picked clients. a merry go round. he rigged the price of soundcraft's shares which gave him higher collateral on which he raised more money. that is called circular trading.

his collaterals were a 2100 sq meter property in new mumbai,a rs 30 lakh fd and 2,00,000 equity shares in soundcraft industries.he piled up a rs 23.75 crores credit line in andhra bank soon using export bill discounting facility.and a foreign currency loan of rs 8.75 crores.and he converted that later into a bill discounting facility.when the several bills drawn on foreign firms actually fell due for payment they were dishonoured. andhra bank lost about rs 28 crores. the same flat was pledged to many banks.and his shares which were provided as collateral had become duds from an all time high of rs 41 in 2000,it crashed to 22 paise in sep 2004.

all the 17 banks have moved the debt recovery tribunal .the banks have realised some of the monies though, as the loans were guaranteed by export credit guarantee corpn. canara bank and sidbi lost rs 20 crores each.dena bank lost rs 17 crores and uco rs 15 crores. and then other banks in all lost about rs 67 crores. that makes it a whopping rs 155 crores.

raj and seema became crorepatis in a short timespan and in 'ishstyle' a la bunty aur bably. will the law catchup with the infamous r and s. time alone will answer that question. in the meanwhile the banks and poor investors have been taken up the garden path!

a right royal ride .

Thursday, September 29, 2005

black is the best

that was my 5th line or so in my 23rd posting on my blog.i was referring to the movie 'black' which i really liked and had even predicted that it would be india's nomination for the 'oscar'. surprisingly,it got left out and 'paheli' has been chosen. i have seen paheli too and enjoyed watching it.why was 'paheli' chosen over'black' and some other contenders,i am not very qualified to answer.excepting that perhaps the jury felt,i thought, that there was a lot more of 'indianness' to this movie than the others.

and thanks lulu for asking me to do may i ask what is the significance of 23rd posting and 5th line.and since i know of no other bloggers than you and rums,and rums will surely be responding,i am stopping and not going beyond.

black is really the blackest.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Sponsored by ITC the WTAP tennis tournament for women pros ended yday at Kolkata. I was very disappointed that Sania didn't make it to the finals and that the Uberoi sisters too crashed out rather tamely. In anticipation of watching Sania unleash her terrific forehand shots(Mats Wilander of Sweden commented that her shots are "as powerful as mine" and his was the most powerful in his heydays), I had planned my trip to Kolkata.It is incidental that we are having our AGM tomorrow!
She had a fair chance of winning in the doubles but she and her partner lost a match point in the semis to the ulimate winners from Russia. And earlier in the week, Sania had lost to Hungarian Zink in the singles and I had half a mind to cancel watching the finals at NSC Bose Indoor Stadium.

When the Uberoi sisters made it to the finals my interest remained alive.I got a good seat, baseline view, et al. But then Anastasia Maskina was too good for Sprem of Croatia and though Sprem did put up some resistance, it was of no avail. And then the doubles pair of Anastasia Maskina and Likihitvotseva of Russia outclassed our Uberoi sisters.The Russian pair was incredible at the net and caught the Indian sisters many times on the wrong foot. The Uberois played well though,but were outclassed.Their baseline shots were strong and deep,services powerful but they woefully lacked in finishing the rallies.

Anyway,it was an enjoyable late evening and one saw some class tennis from Anastasia currently ranked pretty high.She wants to become No 1 soon.She has the technique and the temperament.Who knows she might make it.

Our Sania has to improve her service, and also come up to the net more often and finish the volleys.She has all the things going for her.She can become World No 1,inspite of the Mullahs and Maulvis. She has already started raking in the moolah and is India's highest ad earner after Sachin who is fast losing ground due to his injury.And Sania is going to be the Hyundai Brand Ambassador for their latest Zing model.The 'Sania Mania' continues.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Tarannum no more in Tanishq

After playing ducks and drakes with the police for sometime,the infamous crorepati dance girl has finally thrown in the towel.It all started with the income-tax raid on one of the dancers of Deepa Dance Bar.This famous nightspot located at Vile Parle has been shut since August 14 when the bar ban came into effect.It boasted of a clientele of the rich and famous and had some of the best looking bardancers in town.Tarannum alias Tannu is now secure in the net.She is a little more than 20 years of age and has amassed a fortune that could be the envy of every apsiring crorepati.A huge and posh bungalow 'Tanishq' at Andheri,imported cars,several flats,bank lockers stuffed with cash,and gold and diamond jewellery.Now,the question that is being asked is how come a young dancegirl could make so much money in such a short period.

Skeletons are tumbling out of the cupboard,one by one.Her links with the betting syndicate,and filmstar Aditya Panchsholi,even Srilankan 'doosra' expert Murlidharan.The underworld too.More than 100 phone numbers were stored in her mobile phone.And some of her friends, the grapevine says, are in the present cricket team.A quick message.If you want to make money fast,bet on our cricketers!Totally 157 people have been charged by the police and they have made a few arrests.

Drops of water make an ocean.Tarannum alias Tannu started small with small bets and then raised the 'bar' to dizzy heights.

Tribal crooks to be reformed

Recently,there have been many burglaries in the suburbs of Mumbai.Not that it is an unusual phenomenon.What is different about this gang of robbers is that they are a tribal and nomadic community of Maharashtra. After some recent incidents of burglary, a lot has been written in newspapers,particularly how they look and dress.They are very rustic,muscular,have grotesque features and wear only underwears and banians.They are identified as the 'chaddi-banian' wallahs.The name of their community is phanse-pardhi.In one incident which occurred last week,they beat up a team of policemen sent to apprehend them.They have a lot of chutzpah and have been getting away with their robbing and looting and even committing burglary in the flats of senior police offcials and civil servants.
R R Patil,the state Dy.C.M,who has become famous for giving up his pan-chewing habit of three decades and for closing down dance bars,assured the phanse-pardhis of jobs,even in the police force,as part of their rehabilitation.He referred to them as a very poor and nomadic community and warned that if anyone calls them criminals,Government will take strict action against them.The eyes of these phanse pardhis would have popped out with disbelief and R R Patil's words must have been hosannahs to their ears.R R Patil says that the bar ban has sobered many families.He thinks that the promise of rehabilitation will sober the 'phanse-pardhis' too.No more churis and chakus and no signature 'chaddi banians'.They will become a civilised lot.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

To Hell With The Mullahs and Maulvis

Let them go to hell."Woh,jannum mein jayen".How can they criticise our "Sania" for wearing a skirt while playing tennis.The poster of Sania walloping a tennis ball has become the sore of all m and m eyes.And a Madrasa student was severely reprimanded for hanging such 'obscene' pictures in his hostel room.When questioned he cooly replied that he was a fan of Irfan Pathan too.So,what's your problem,he asked his teacher.And the debate rages on.The m and m are a divided lot on this issue.No official 'fatwa' as yet been given.But Sania is ubercool about it.She says she does namaz 5 times a day and is a devout Muslim.Her parents regularly go on Haj piligramage.And if the dress code in international tennis demands skirts,what the heck?

And after Flushing Meadows she has jumped to 34th ranking.The AP Government have presented her with a Rs 25 lakhs cheque.(Wonder whether it was the return of the sleaze money from Volkswagen) And though Sania crashed out of Bali in the first round both in singles and doubles she is now all set for setting Kolkata on fire next week. And I hope to be there at that time.Let me see if I can watch her playing live.Also by then she would have lost a few kgs.She is on a diet now,as her weakness areas have been clearly identified.It is not the service dude,it is biryani and Barista!.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Originally uploaded by gopoo.
I have a weakness for green vegetables.And I prefer to buy them myself.Not that I am a great expert or a great bargainer but it is an old habit.And as they say old habits die hard.In my youngdays,I used to accompany my Mother for vegetable shopping to Lake Market in Kolkata and quite often to the Park Circus market.I like the smell of the vegetable market,the early morning activity when fresh vegetables arrive from the rural areas and the efficiency with which they are unloaded and displayed for sale.Recently I was asking a friend of mine abour the Lake Market.He said that I would not be able to recognise it.The old one has been demolished and a huge supermarket is coming up at the same place.Maybe in one of my next visits to Kolkata I will visit the Lake Market to see it in its new avatar.Later when we moved to Mumbai,I would visit the Byculla Market for wholesale purchases of vegetables.That has now been shifted to Navi Mumbai.The Fort Market is still there.That is where I shop for vegetables these days.I buy in the Bombay Gymkhana shop too.But then I don't feel like letting down my vegetablewallah.I normally buy once a week.And he is delighted to see me.And S picks up some greens en route home once or twice a week.That takes care of our weekly requirements.And if I feel like having fresh soup of onion bulbs or spinach and plenty of salad,I drop in to a 'galli' near the Fort market and buy the stuff in a jiffy while returning home.And the guy whom I have pictured gives me the best stuff that he has.His day ends on a pleasant note and so does mine.


Originally uploaded by gopoo.
It has become a habit.To watch movies at the Inox.It is just 5 minutes from home if you drive down and about 10 minutes if you walk it up.The latest and the best are screened there and the picture halls are terrific.The airconditioning is just correct,you can take in the eats that you buy from the shops in the complex and the loos are state of the art.The price tag is a bit steep.200 bucks for a single ticket.Overall,though,it is worth it.And this morning I drove down to book tickets for 'Pyar Mey Twist' starring Dimple and Rishi Kapoor.About 25-30 years ago they had both starred in their first film 'Bobby'.This may be their last together.It would be interesting to see them together on the screen.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Cindrella Sania

Cindrella Sania
Originally uploaded by gopoo.
I was awake into the wee hours this morning.I seldom do that.Tonight had to be an exception because Sania was playing her fourth round in Flushing Meadows.And I didn't want to miss the excitement.Lucky Lulu who was sitting in the gs box and getting a fantastic view.The day appeared to be exceptionally sunny,less windy and ideal for our Cindrella to put up a great fight.But she surrendered meekly.Her service was appalling and that finished her.Groundstrokes were great,she shook up Maria somewhat several times but it did not last.Good groundstrokes alone don't win you matches.Basically a baseline player, she seldom advanced to the net.And how could you if half your first serves are faults and then you serve a meek second which gets converted into a winner by the opponent.The message is clear.Better dramatically improve your service.Jack Farrington better do it fast.Then she can get into the world's top ten.Sania Mirza can do it.But then six double faults cannot win you matches.

Cul de sac

Cul de sac
Originally uploaded by gopoo.
During my last visit to Kolkata which was only a few days ago,I felt very sad when I read a newsitem in the Statesman that in another six months handpulled rickshaws will be taken out of Kolkata streets.Having spent my childhood in Kolkata and having used these rickshaws to go to school,I immediately could empathise with the rickshaw pullers whose fate now hangs in the balance.The Goverment has a point when it says that this archaic transportation must go and that rickshawpullers must earn their bread in a more honourable manner.The Govt proposes to train the rickshaw-pullers to acquire new skills for driving aurorickshaws.Easier said than done.Most of the rickshaw-pullers are in their late forties and above and not certainly trainable for acquiring new skills.There are about 45-50000 of them in all and how are they going to earn a livelihood?
The lanes of Kolkata are notorious for their narrow widths and have remained so from the time I travelled on them.In particular, the streets of Shyambazar or Baghbazar in North Kolkata are so narrow that they cannot accomodate modern day cars..Only the rickshaw can negotiate these lanes and bylanes.The rickshaws do not pollute the environment and are an economical means of transport.Many towns and cities have switched over to cycle rickshaws.How many of the rickshawwallahs will drive the cyclerickshaws is anybody's guess.The sight of a handpulled rickshaw will soon become history.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Bye August,Come September

A rather difficult month has passed away.A sacred month,part of it being Shravan.Let us hope September puts back the bad memories of the monsoon fury in Mumbai,the London bombing,the Iraq stampede and the Katrina .
August was earlier referred to as Sextilis till 8 BC when the grand nephew of Julius Caesar,Caesar's heir apparent,took control after Caesar's assasination. He fought Mark Anthony and Cleopatra and won and established his hereditary right to rule. If Caesar had killed the Senate by running Rome like a kingdom, his grand nephew buried the Senate by declaring himself the first Roman Emperor. And he ensured that for several generations the rulers were all from the family. Sons or stepsons. Don't blame the Nehrus and Gandhis for dynastic rule!.
There was great prosperity during the rule of Caesar Augustus. He built roads,trade flourished,rituals were encouraged,marriages were revived,taxation was introduced and he created a large personal army loyal to him of 150,000 men and had personal bodyguards. He lived probably till 14 AD and had the name of the month changed from Sextilis to August after his name Augustus which was earlier Gaius Octavius.The etmyology of the word is from the two words 'augury' meaning ritual divination and 'auctoritas' meaning spiritual authority. He even asked the Senate to declare his granduncle and benefactor Julius Caesar as"God".
And how part of the same August month which is Shravan in India is also a sacred and religious month makes interesting history. In September we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. Lord Ganesha is the remover of all obstacles. Let us seek his blessings for sailing smoothly from September onwards.