Wednesday, July 18, 2007


At an e-commerce seminar last month in Kolkata, it was both hilarious and horrifying to see hierarchy being displayed in the most bizarre manner.

Like all good Indians, we believe in rushing towards the future even as we cling to the tailcoats of a rapidly disappearing past. And nowhere was this more evident than the inauguration of this forum on new-age economy... in true desi paradoxical style.

Why should public-sector corporations be obsequious to ministers? Is it part of their KRAs? Their culture? What?

The inauguration of this seminar took place not with a mouse but with a candle lighting a brass lamp... I kid thee not! And the flame was (literally) lit first by the State's IT Minister and then passed on to a Joint Secretary who, having added his flame, handed over the wax baton to the head of the PSU that was sponsoring the event while the remaining wicks were lit by lesser mortals.

What absolved this minister, though, was his speech. Not quite what one expected but a crisp monologue with a lovely insight.

He pointed out that all villagers ask for electricity, a school, water and a road that connects them to the highway/the city. Wouldn't it be better if we could just give them a broadband connection that would connect them to the world instead?

On that thought... adios.

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