Thursday, November 02, 2017

Trump phenomenon

I challenged myself to describe the Trump phenomenon in USA, on how and next what scenarios as succinctly as possible. All are my opinion after reading and watching reporting on the events surrounding the elections last year.


Trump nomination itself was a surprise to most of the conservatives. Everyone waited for him to quit right up until the very end. But as he has shown increasingly a penchant for, he survived many setbacks which would have floored any other politician. His approach was not to be apologetic but to accept and be brash about it or just outright deny and lie. This characterized him as a bold strong man to his supporters and not weak due to his indiscretions that he refused to apologize for, to his haters. The pundits missed a very important factor in his strength. There was and still is in my opinion about 20% of Americans who truly feel the same was he does where racism is concerned which was his most important  campaign agenda. Immigrants are all criminals and African Americans are better off as slaves. A part of that percentage (25%?) the Nazis advocate that view openly, the rest in private. This was his solid base. To this his campaign cleverly tagged on pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-christian, anti-LGBTQ, pro-coal to attract conservatives for which this was important. I doubt he himself cared about any of these but was clever enough to dog whistle these issues to show he was for them. None of his conservative challengers could advocate all these as openly as he was doing which eroded their support letting him clinch the nomination. Next up the presidential elections. I feel he won this because of a perfect storm in American politics. Over confident Hillary, Russian hacking and interference, middle class white america feeling marginalized and ignored, 8 years of a black president who a lot of white conservative America hated, Hillary's email and Bengazi issues and a misogynistic streak in American which does not like strong and smart women. All favored Trump. Remove any one of the above, chances are he would have lost.

Next what

Trump will shortly complete a year as president. For most of this haters it has been a disaster. For his supporters he has delivered on all the bluster they wanted from him against things they hated or liked. The fact that there is nothing concrete that he has achieved wont matter to them. So, he is a success for the 20% and some 10 odd % hanging on because of their favorite issues. All indications are he will not complete another year given the pace of Robert Mueller investigation of this presidency. In all likely hood he will resign before he gets indicted and impeached and go back to making his brand more lucrative using the infamous publicity he generated. My prediction by the end of 2018.

To conclude, my pet theory  is Trump ran for presidency solely to increase his brand value and hence his net worth and most likely expected to lose the nomination after making noise in the campaign. I doubt he ever thought he had a good chance of winning the presidency itself. After surprisingly himself, I feel he is just looking for a way out before things get too hot and all this shady business deals come to light as has happened for Paul Manafort. Note that he is yet to release his promised Tax returns.

All said and done, Trump is nothing but a crooked (much more appropriate here) business man and the only thing he really truly cares about is Money!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Marathon #2: Namma Bengaluru!

Well, here we go again! At least I am sure that's what my family was thinking when I said I was going to run the inaugural Bengaluru Marathon. I had some reservation on how well it will be organized considering that the sponsors were doing it for the first time, but with some persuasion from my running partner, Bipin, I also registered. Bangalore hosts many runs already, TCS 10k, Midnight Marathon, Life is calling/Celebration half marathons as well as the Ultra Marathons. So, why is this inaugural? Well, the organizers are trying to position this as a signature FULL (42.2 km) marathon event for Bengaluru on the likes of Chicago, London, Mumbai marathons. Accordingly the run is through the main city streets so that the citizens can also take part albeit by cheering. Of course they have a long, long way to go, to even be thought of in the company of those mega events. But a start is a start, so inaugural run it is!

We allocated about 4 months training for it, which should be enough as we both run regularly and were already fit to run 10 km comfortably. For me, the debacle at my first marathon attempt in Mumbai was hanging over my head.  My primary goal therefore was to correct those mistakes and have a good comfortable run. It helped that my friend was also looking to just complete without any injuries.

And so began the grueling training. My training schedule was to run 2-3 times a week with a long run on Sunday with my friend. In addition,  I played about an hour of Badminton twice weekly and couple of hours of Basketball once. Enough for fitness, I thought. Total running distance per week started from 20 and went up to 45 km with the long run at 10 km in the beginning and reaching up to 30 km in the last month. I also did the Mysore celebration half marathon during this period in 2hr15min. In total for the 14 weeks, including the final run, I had done about 400 km. Ideally, some more running is advisable.

Even though the event publicity was low key, the organizers did a great job helping out the runners prepare. They organized many long training runs with support of volunteers and critical aid stations. We could participate in only one though, the pipeline run behind Art of Living center, where we were able to run for 28 km. It was great and gave us the confidence that indeed we were ready. They sent a free training t-shirt with our name, providing some much needed motivation. Pacers were designated early enabling runners to contact them and get some useful training and nutrition tips for our target time goals.

Some mistakes which I corrected by leveraging from the experience of my 1st attempt and advice of veteran runners:
1. Train more this time. I did 4-5 long runs (20+ km)  compared to just one last time.
2. Carb(Carbohydrate) loading. Started 2-3 days prior rather than just the previous night! I snacked on bananas, apples and bread(multi grain or whole wheat). Too many apples did cause constipation, so I laid off it a bit the last day. Also ate extra roti/chappathi and 25% more rice for lunch/dinner in the days prior. And the obligatory, runners favorite, Pasta for lunch the day before. These preparations are very much individual, so figure out what works for you during the training runs and NOT on the actual run!!!
3. Hydration. This time I planned to take electoral laced water as early as possible and continue that all through the run.
4. Painkiller spray. I also decided on getting the painkiller sprays as soon as my legs start aching instead of gutting it out as I did until the cramps hit.

Did it help? Well....find out below.

Race Day!  Our morning routines and commute went as planned. My friend and I made it in perfect timing to the 5 am flag off and soon we were pounding the streets inside Cubbon Park on a very cool and pleasant early morning. There were plenty of aid stations with friendly volunteers to follow my hydration plan. I did
not grab and run but neither did I stop too long. Just enough to drink comfortably and continue running. I took bananas or biscuits at each station. Few times both. Oranges only a couple of times. In all I must have eaten about 10-12 (small) bananas, 15-20 glucose biscuits!

My family had come to cheer me up at Adugodi U-turn with bananas and water. It was nice that they could see my huffing and puffing. Advantage of a local run! Kudos to a gentleman near Ulsoor Lake who was handing out chocolates and reminded me of Mumbai! Traffic Police did a great job cordoning off the roads until about 4 hours into the race. It is so much easier to run without having to worry about vehicles zipping past inches from you.

Highlight of the Bangalore Marathon for me were the awesome Army people who lined up along the inner ring road near EGL for about 2-3 km stretch. They read out the names from our Bibs and clapped all the time as we passed them. Both ways! Fantastic. Of course, thanks to all others who took time out of their Sunday routine and cheered along the way.

I was feeling really good as I crossed the 30+ km mark which is where I was worried about hitting my wall as in Mumbai. But it did not happen! Guess all my precautions and the slower steady pace paid off. Body felt really good coming into the old airport road near Domlur Flyover. In fact, I increased my speed slightly here even though it was going up! If not for the traffic getting released I could have gone even faster but maybe it was for the best that I stayed with the pace. I was on auto-pilot from here on out running steadily on a fairly free and very pleasant infantry road and started stretching (6 min/ km) as I went down Kasturba road for the last few kilometers. The final ping at the finish line on the Kanteerva indoor running track was a welcome sound. I had completed and was still able to stand! Very different from Mumbai where I had immediately limped over to the medical tent looking for help! Here, I did not even notice the Medical tent! :) Instead I walked over to the water station and hydrated well.

We had some nice breakfast provided by the organizers and then drove home happily treating ourselves to some well deserved ice-cream on the way.

So, preparation, planning and sticking to a reasonable pace and goal were the keys to a successful marathon run. Good luck on your attempts!

My official timing/splits can be found here: (find Shriram Properties Bengaluru Marathon 2014) and enter my name Nanda Ramesh or bib 43115. I finished 410 overall out of 716 finishers. 61st out of 108 in my category. Veteran (45-55yrs) Mens.

You can check out a flyby of the route (click onthe 3D button) and much more details like elevation/pace at the following link where GPS data from my actual run is uploaded.

By and large, a commendable effort by the organizers in pulling of this event. Their support and encouragement during the days before the race was fantastic. Race day logistics could have been better but then this was their first time and their enthusiasm balanced out the hiccups.

Thanks to all who contributed making this event a success!  And here's wishing you will be bigger and better next year. Target: 2000 finishers! Looking forward to it!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

And now comes IBL : Indian Badminton League

Five years back IPL or the Indian Premier League for Cricket was launched and I blogged my thoughts on it. This year, IBL (Indian Badminton League)  for the badminton fans has been launched with much fanfare. Though the games are miles apart, the player auction and marketing is modeled after IPL, so a comparison is inevitable at least as far as the league is concerned. Personally, IBL is much more easier for me to follow and analyze as I have played the sport for more than 30 years.

First, about my first hand experience of the IBL when the Awadhe Warriors beat Mumbai Masters 3-2 in Bangalore. We went for the 600 Rs stands. I picked this tie out of the 2 played here primarily to see Lee Chong Wei. That is, I don't feel much allegiance to Banga Beats or any other team. I did not go wrong. He was clearly a class apart when he shifted to higher gears. I also enjoyed seeing PV Sindhu taking on Tine Baun and a chance to see top 5 doubles players in action in the Mens doubles.

Good things:
We reached there by 7.30, 30mins before start but were still too late to get parking at the venue and were able to get seats only about 10 rows up or just 3rd from the top in the upper tier! But, we were pleasantly surprised with the view as it was pretty good and court did not seem too far. We could follow the action live quite well. The arrangements were done well and looked very colorful, especially considering the short time they had. Seats were new and clean. Replay screens were well placed. Scoreboard was large and visible. DJ Music and the Juggler during the breaks was a nice touch.

There were no updates or attempt by audio to inform the viewers about the matchups and updates until the games started. It was shown on the big screen but tough to read from the stands. There has to be someone talking and keeping the fans spirits up along with the DJ.  Food sold in the stands were too pricey.  A tiny box of popcorn was sold at 50Rs. Muffin at 120Rs! Pav-bhaji and Chat available outside were priced better at 50 and 30 Rs, but were not good. When outside food is not allowed, arrangements have to be made to provide reasonable choices. Parking has to be organized better as it is easy for them to estimate the number of cars. I was forced to go around the stadium and park in a unsafe place. There was a good chance the car could have been vandalized given that we were not going to be back before midnight. We were also not informed about pre-game programs that they had arranged outside the venue.

Now, my take on the whole concept. Well, to be honest, I did not think I would have such a good experience live. This is the first time I have watched badminton from the stands and it was quite enjoyable. The length of the tie was still too long in spite of the scoring changes and given the starting time of 8pm, finished just past midnight. Both my kids (12,8) dozed off towards the end. Not acceptable if they have school the following day. There should also be a block of tickets at a more affordable cost, say 100Rs, for the common man as well as to attract new fans. There were plenty of empty seats in 300Rs stands even though the game was "sold out". Not sure why.

Will it be successful? Tough to say. Right now, they are riding a high on the novelty and it all looks good. But I feel individual sports such as badminton, tennis, squash, etc are more exciting when played in the tournament format. This is because each win has much larger value and players play harder and it is easier to root for the individual. In league format, I can never relate to a particular team with its motley mix of players, some of whom I don't really care for. League format such as this works for team sports like soccer, basketball or cricket where it is easier to follow and like a team. The auction was not conducted properly with some average players fetching high prices while good contributing players paid low. That will make the stars balk at participating in future editions.

So, the question is: Would I prefer watching matches in IBL format or in a Super Series tournament (if they can  bring it) in Bangalore. I would definitely prefer the Super Series. It is much easier to root for your favorite players then and enjoy their success. IBL is fun but I cannot see it sustaining interest for a long time and without attracting serious TV ad revenue.  But, I would love to be wrong in that regard. Good luck to them!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Running the Mumbai Full Marathon

A Full Marathon was something that I had never before considered even though I have been an avid runner since high school, which *ahem* means,  I have been running for more than 30 years now. I have done my fair share of  5k and 10k's during that time. However, the thought of doing a full marathon took seed only after I successfully ran a Half Marathon in just under 2 hours. Feeling good, I thought, how much more difficult can a Full be, especially if I ran at a slower pace and trained a bit more. Surely, I can run another 21kms? Little did I know how wrong that assumption was!

Excited, I checked on possible venues for my maiden attempt. Pondicherry did not have timed runs, Chennai, Pune were done on a smaller scale. Midnight marathon in Bangalore was not my cup of tea. Since Mumbai is the biggest and best organized in India, I selected it and promptly registered as soon as it opened in Jul 2012 with plenty of time to prepare for the run to be held on Jan 20th 2013.

I trained for about 5 months, running 3 times for a total of 15 to 25 kms every week. That is a bit less but I thought it was enough since I was also playing some intense badminton and basketball, 6-8 hrs every week.  Long runs I did were 27 kms, most of it inside Lalbagh (thanks to family for the water breaks!), Mysore Half in Oct and several 10 to 15km runs.

Finally D day arrived and I flew into Mumbai 19th morning and got picked up by my nephew who I was going to stay with. The logistics to make it to the venue is quite a challenge as my nephew stayed in Bandra and the run started at 5.40am from CST, Colaba (20kms away). I had to get up sometime after 3am, eat something(apple,banana), do my morning duties and catch the local train to Churchgate by 4am! After using the station "facilities" once more, I was in the holding area at about the right time. So far so good.

The dusk and the chillness of the night was not on my mind as I pushed along with the crowd from the holding area onto a road. I walked slowly towards start mat, which was by now pinging incessantly as the runners crossed it, glad to finally start running.

The runners were stretched out well enough for me to hit my pace quickly and I felt really good and confident as I crossed the first few kms in slightly faster than my target pace of just above 6m30s/km. I slowed down a bit hitting my target pace by the 4th km. Feeling confident, I rejected the initial water breaks. Very quickly we were on the long and scenic marine drive. Quite a few spectators were already out, some supporting all with colorful banners and others looking anxiously for their chosen runners enthusiastically encouraging them as they passed by.

At the 13th km or so, we turned onto the Bandra-Worli Sea-Link. Surprisingly, it felt quite flat as the slope is gentle. I tried to enjoy the view of boats on the sea, terns flying overhead as well as the beautiful sunrise  over the Mumbai skyline, while running. Photographers were sitting in the middle of the road here trying to capture runners against the bridge pylons which towered over us. The link ends at about 18th km and I was still running along steadily reaching the half way mark of 21km in 2hrs 19mins which is what I had planned. I was well ahead of the 5 hr Bus (pacer).

It was at this time that I started feeling some fatigue in my leg though my aerobic stamina was still good. I dropped pace a bit mindful of the fact that I still had 20+kms more to run. But the fatigue increased so much so that I started cramping first in the legs and then the hips and pretty much all over by the 25th km. At this time the leading bunch of the Elite runners who were flagged off at 7.40am passed us as if we were at stand still! I had been hoping this would motivate me but the cramping was too much, so I decided to stop and walk for a bit. My goal of not walking at all during the run was now broken.

Even after walking for a couple of kms, the fatigue did not reduce. The 5 hr pacer group passed me around 28th km and when I tried to start running and stay with them, my body just refused. I walked for another 2 kms when the 5.30hr pacer group came by on their walking break. I walked with them for a bit but again was unable to switch to running when they did as I cramped up pretty badly after just a few steps. So, it was another 5mins or so of walking.

I realized that if I kept walking it would be well over 6 hrs before I could finish with no chance of an official timing. All this time I had taken as much liquid, water and energy drinks as I could. I gingerly started running at a very slow pace and thankfully did not feel any cramps. I decided to be extremely conservative from now on out with the goal of finishing under 6hrs. So, it was 800mtrs of slow jogging and 200mtrs of walking.

During this extremely hard last 10kms of the run, the help and support of the Mumbaikers cannot be praised enough. They were out there along with the race volunteers almost every 100 mtrs or so, kids, women and men all handing out water, chocolates, candy, biscuits, banana etc.., I took all their help as much as I could. A lady even held out cut up banana pieces as we looked too tired even to peel one. A welcome gesture which enabled me to grab a few pieces. They were providing wet sponges and ice packs to cool us off. But as the weather was quite pleasant I did not feel much need for it. I let them rub my legs with the ice pack once to relieve the cramps and another time used some pain killer spray.

It was the longest 12kms run I have ever experienced taking me almost 1hr45mins. The end point seemed so far away even when I saw the 1000 mtr marker! My mind and heart wanted to stretch out and run in a burst of energy and glory at this time but my body flatly refused to co-operate. So, it was very much a subdued and limping me that crossed the finish line, happy to hear the final pings from the chip timing recorders.

I had finished my first Full Marathon. At that time it was very exhilarating and all other factors such as time taken, body ache, etc.., did not matter at all.

I then wobbled over to the Medical base camp to get some help for my cramps.  I looked in on a scene straight out of some war movie, minus the blood! The tent with 30 or so beds was fully occupied with runners in various states of agony. Doctors and volunteers were bustling all over giving drinks, massages and comforting smiles. After drinking some fluids and lying down for a bit I got out to find my nephew who was getting worried since I was way past the optimistic finish time I had given him. Together we went to collect the goody bag which contained much needed nourishment. Then we walked out of the area and had some nice Mumbai style grilled cheese sandwich and chats from road side stalls as I could now ignore my diet restrictions!

I had finished 1652 out of almost 2600 runners whose bib numbers show up on the timing site though I believe there were well over 3000 who started. Splits and other details can be seen at this link.

Upload of my Garmin data which also gives you a nice aerial flyover of the Marathon route can be seen here:
(click on the View 3D map of this route, Large version to the right)

Final thoughts. Well, this experience was a revelation to me on my own running limits. Just because I could do the 21km or half comfortably did not mean the same with the full. A veteran runner told me that the challenge of running the full starts after you have run 30km and I have to agree. I am still trying to understand why I cramped so much. Reasons could be that my training (continuous running and not just fitness level) was not adequate, not enough hydration the previous day, not enough carbo-loading prior to the run or a combination  of the 3. People later also explained to me about stored Glycogen getting depleted at around the mark when I hit my energy limit and started cramping, commonly called hitting the wall. I feel what happened to me was that I hit the wall around 27th Km marker. Then my walking rest and nourishment that I had  in the next 30 mins gave me just enough energy to finish the race.

More information on that can be found at the following links:
Another long one below. Thought this guy had it worse than me, his initial description is close to what I went  through. FYI, as per my Garmin I burnt more than 3000 calories during the run.

Good luck to you all in your runs or other similar crazy goals!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Only men please

Well, don't try to interpret the title too much and start wondering about me! :)

It is the title of a book in which one of my stories got published. Yes, my first ever in book form and I feel quite good about it. You can buy it here at a good discount.

It is an anthology of 35 stories, selected and edited by Meenakshi Varma and published by Unisun Publishers.

My story in that, "Ghosts of Guilt" is quite serious and written when I was in that particular sentimental mood. If you do read it, please leave a comment about it here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Running through Mysore City

As soon as I saw the ad for Half Marathon as part of the Dasara Celebration, I immediately decided to participate. One, running through the city of Mysore was very attractive and two, after having run 10k's for the past few years, I was looking forward to moving up. Since my unfulfilled goal is to run a Full Marathon, this seemed like a good opportunity to test my physical ability.

I trained for just over a month. Since I was already fit enough to run a 10k under an hour, it was enough time. In my only other previous Half in 2005, I had cramped up badly around 14km while doing the up slope near Windsor Manor in Bangalore and only barely managed to limp to the finish line. I had to make sure that it would not happen again this time which meant better preparation. Towards that I ensured that during my training I ran a couple of ~15km runs and finished feeling good enough to continue for another 5km. Also, planned my food properly in the last week, avoiding fried food while loading up on carbs and water.
My training routine can be viewed here.
I key thing I felt after the fact, was a good week 3, where I totaled about 46kms with one run of 16km at just outside my targeted pace.
So, when I boarded the train to Mysore on Oct 1st, I had a good feeling, though still not sure, if I could achieve my goal of finishing under 2hrs. Dinner and stay at my Aunt's place was perfect. Ate 3 roti's with lots of potatoes and kept gobbling Bananas all the time. Drank several bottles of water, so much so, that I had to get up 3 times during the night to take a leak. Maybe I overdid it a tad bit there..but since I did not feel thirsty during the run, it seemed to have helped. In the morning, just a apple and Banana and I got dropped at the Venue by my Uncle and BIL.
A small crowd of 250 runners got behind the tape for the flag-off around 6.45pm. Then came a delay of about 30mins to accommodate the whims of the local official who wanted to give a speech and do a mock run for the TV! Crazy is all I can say.
Finally we were set free around 7.10 or so.. and I got into my rhythm quickly. The runners stringed out shortly and I was soon running by myself. Initial few kms had a significant gradient which took away quite a lot of my energy to keep up the pace of 5m45s/km that I was targeting. About 6kms in the middle was around the Kukkrehalli Kere on the bund which was quite pleasant. Coming out of there, we hit a steep climb where I was forced to slow down..and managed only a 6m15s 14th km. Thankfully, the rest of the route was on a down slope (what goes up has to come down, eh? :) ) and it helped to gain the lost time back. I managed to give a good finish in the end to finish a comfortable 30s under 2hrs. The satisfaction of finishing is of course the primary reward! Next up Full....

Route map from my GPS tracker
Official timing of my run (Bib # 1079)
A mug shot to show I was indeed there! :)

Some training tips I gleaned from this experience for other aspirants.

  • 2 months of preparation is good unless you are already a regular runner with about 15km/week, then 1 month should do.
  • Ensure you do at least a couple of long runs, about 15km, at around your targeted pace.
  • Don't overdo during other runs and exhaust your body. One or two 7-10km runs along with shorter but faster runs should be enough. I mixed my training with other sports like Badminton and Basketball to keep fit. It helps to break the monotony of training.
  • You should asses your ability and set your goal quickly, then train towards that. Under estimating will leave you unsatisfied and over estimating...well...can leave you with cramps well short of the finish line! :)
  • Pace yourself properly in the race, that is, not more than 10% variation from the targeted pace. I never like to stop or walk even at water stops. Don't get excited on a down slope and run too fast. If an up is too strenuous it is fine to slow down a lot. Ensure at all times, that you do not feel the burn in your legs. Increase pace in the last few kms as per how your body feels. Good... go for it and finish strong. Tired... then keep the pace and finish comfortably.
  • Food is important. No fried or outside stuff for at least a week to keep it safe. Lots of carbs from Potatoes, Bananas, Apple,  Rice, Pasta, Bread, etc. Hydrate well the day before. Pee should be clear the previous evening. Plan your water stops during the race to get enough water to avoid getting de-hyrated.
  • Stretch well after the race else the muscles will stiffen up later on and it will take longer to recover. Walk around for 10 to 20 mins and cool down. 
  • Nipple burn is an issue for this long a race. I used vaseline and it worked. I saw one runner with a large blood patch in his chest! So, beware of this problem.
Good luck and hope my tips help you in your attempt!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Political decay in India

Disgusted from watching the worst kind of politics being played at the state (BJP, Yediyurappa, Reddy Brothers, Mining scam, Kumaraswamy, Justice Dinakar, ...) and at the National level (DMP, UPA, 2G scam, Adarsh Scam, Posco and many others), I sent these thoughts to Deccan Herald for their Letters to Editor section.
As we read the political exposures and the responses from the accused, it appears to me that India has now entered an era of "No Shame". Gone are the days when a person in power took responsibility for his actions and resigned in shame or immediately took remedial actions with due apologies. Now we have people who instead of facing their short comings or blunders prefer to point fingers at others with the same problems. Does this mean it has become all right in our great country to be corrupt, lie or make monumental mistakes as long as there are others who have done the same and gone scot-free? I sincerely hope not else we have entered a deathly spiral which can only end in anarchy.
It got published. But what is the use really other than a bit of ego-boost that my name appeared in print. Do those people who are in power read them and change their mind even infinitesimally? I really doubt it.

Still, I wanted to expand a bit on those thoughts for my own gratification here in my private world that is my blog.

I am not savvy with the intricacies of the scams or how some fraud gets pulled off. What I am truly concerned as a citizen if India is that the most(50%+?) of the people in power, elected representatives as well as the salaried bureaucracy have become completely bereft of any ethics and morality. Most of them are focused only on making money or consolidating their power. There is no sense of service or working for the greater good of their constituency in particular and humankind in general. Not even the bare minimum required to avoid public ridicule. The pleasure one probably gets when accomplishing something in the public domain which will benefit only the community at large seems to be completely lost on them. The main driving factor has become fully selfish.

They do not worry that their actions will cause irreversible damage to a city or state and its future population as long as their own kith and kin get the spoils. When confronted with proof of their selfish law breaking they either lie or point fingers at others who have done the same. How can they be so disgustingly devoid of any moral fiber? It truly boggles my mind.

Will Anna Hazare's Lokpal bill bring about some change? Maybe. A little. But unless an under current of cultural change in the ruling class is brought about, it will only mean that once the bill gets passed, the morally corrupt people will think of new ways to pillage and plunder while avoiding Lokpal scrutiny rather than change their ways. I do not believe the fear of prosecution will matter to them.

How? The only way I can think of is if a morally and ethically perfect but strong leader and organizer emerges out of the scrap heap that is now the political class. He or she can set the tone that others will eventually follow and it will hopefully become the culture. Anna Hazare for PM anyone? :)

Will it happen? One can always hope!