Just some guy who reads a lot. And don’t take anything I say seriously. Unless you want to, of course. But the point is to think for yourself. If you like some of the things I say, great. If not, that’s fine too.

But, to answer your question, my name is xyz. I’m 25 years old. I grew up in Austin, Texas. Went to school and lived in Boston. Traveled and lived all over the world for about seven years. Now I live in New York City. I enjoy cats and whiskey, although not at the same time.

Most of what I write is written for myself, first and foremost. I don’t share these ideas because I think I’m right and other people are wrong. I write them because I think I’m wrong, and correcting my own misjudgments on a public platform seems to help out a lot of other people in the process.


Article 1

Is Modi 2019 a done deal?

Last week, BJP won big in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly elections. The extent of its victory was not expected by pollsters or even by BJP itself. In these two states BJP won 381 of the 473 seats, or over 80% of the total.

However, the win in UP alone was far bigger than losses in smaller states. After all, when it comes to 2019 Lok Sabha elections, gargantuan UP has 80 Lok Sabha seats, nearly five times the number of seats of Punjab (13), Goa (2) and Manipur (2) put together. Hence, no matter how much Rahul Gandhi acolytes try to sweeten the bitter news to him by claiming Congress didn’t do so badly, the fact is simple: BJP did spectacularly well. The current victory sets the stage for a huge BJP advantage in 2019. It cements Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image as an effective leader. In 2014 Modi represented change, something voters craved. In 2017, Modi’s victory means they are happy with the change they made. In that sense, the 2017 victory is a bigger deal for Modi than even 2014. In 2014, Modi came in with so many expectations that he was bound to disappoint. However, that didn’t happen. His popularity, at least in the states that matter for Lok Sabha elections, stays intact. People like his workaholic nature, the constant attempt to announce radical schemes, his vision and his attempts to restore Indian pride in the eyes of the world. 


With the national parties themselves doing what people of UP need, it becomes difficult for the likes of SP or BSP to justify their existence, apart from shallow identity politics. And frankly, the number of votes that kind of crude identity politics can pull in is just not enough.

Even AAP is having a bit of an existential crisis. Formed on an anti-corruption plank, AAP is finding it difficult to pull in voters for itself with Modi’s clean image and no big scams haunting the current government.

Hence, with a strong Modi, a weak Congress and regional parties becoming irrelevant in key Lok Sabha states, Modi’s victory in 2019 seems like a pushover.


article 2

In Mumbai, where I live, I don’t really get invited to many functions and parties of consequence. I eat too many carbs and sleep too early to be invited to Bollywood bashes. My air-kissing is too sloppy for page 3 soirees. Needless to say, an invite from the Government of India for the oath-taking ceremony of the new PM sent me into a tizzy. Nonetheless, I did make it.

Many asked me what I felt about the ceremony. Here’s my candid take on it. First, the serious part. There were many, many things right about the event. The most incredible aspect was the meaning added to what is, after all, a ceremonial event. There were many firsts. Not just politicians and government officials, but people from a cross-section of society were present. The gathering had spiritual leaders, CEOs, artists, actors, prominent citizens and party workers. What does it mean? Why the big crowd? Is it just grandeur? The answer lies in what my mother told me about why Indian weddings are big affairs. The big wedding, she explained, would make the couple realize that their union was a big deal, the world was witness to it, and they, in turn, were accountable to the world now. Modi’s gesture of bringing several stakeholders in society to the event brought in a similar accountability. It is one thing when a minister takes an oath in front of an insider group of politicians, quite another when he or she does it in front of thousands of people. It doesn’t guarantee integrity . However, it signals what is expected from them. While on this, I must say the media using terms like `plum’ and ‘reward’ to describe allocation of ministries is disturbing. 


The third important aspect -the ministerial allocations -warrants a separate discussion and analysis. However, the fact that the cabinet is compact and younger is a good thing. So is a larger representation of women.

There were other nice touches. Post event, simple snack counters were set up. Guests had dhokla, basic sandwiches and cookies along with tea in cups that sported the Ashoka lion emblem. This lent a touch of modesty to an otherwise larger-than-life event. No elaborate dishes were cooked overnight, and no grand wedding type counters were put up. It was a big event, but humble.





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