• This

    is the locale that the protagonist of the author’s upcoming thriller novel chose to hide for a month. Hiding from whom?

    Property in Mahabaleshwar
  • When

    the clouds hovering outside the farmhouse perched on a sierra permit, a westerly window opens out to the birth of a river from the womb of a mountain, camouflaged by another sisterly rocky prominence, firing the author’s creative cauldron.

    the clouds hovering outside the farmhouse perched on a sierra permit, a westerly window opens out to the birth of a river from the womb of a mountain, camouflaged by another sisterly rocky prominence, firing the author’s creative cauldron.
  • Sometimes,

    the evening sky paints the river in the clouds red, fanning the glowing embers of the cauldron into a roaring blaze.

  • You

    are invited, if you are creative, to read the novel,                                                                                 …

    are invited, if you are creative, to read the novel,
  • ESCALATION

                                                                                                        …

Gandhi scion needs to refix strategy

— By Sunil J. Kamat | Free Press Journal, Sep 9, 2015, Editorial page.

Rahul Gandhi, with his strategic mind, deep thoughts, decisive judgment and anger and youth, is a dangerous man, for the Congress. If he pretends to immerse in intense rumination, remains resolute in implementing minor initiatives, flaunts his fury and fire of youth by tearing and tossing scraps of paper, it is harmless. But his pretentious strategies will wreck the Congress rise.

(more…)

A Technocrat turned Author

DSC_0130_1An IITian and a pioneer of deploying Optimization Engines in Supply Chain Optimization and Process Control Optimization for multiple facility large manufacturers and Process Optimization in Soda Ash manufacturing. In the carbonation process, where Brine, Carbon Dioxide, and Ammonia flow continuously in multiple 30 meter tall towers, producing 24 chemical ions, developed and executed an Optimization Control System to improve the efficiency and production of Sodium Bicarbonate and Soda Ash by more than 5%, solving 300 simultaneous equations in real time, using advanced Mathematics, Thermodynamics, innovative C++ software, and control strategies. Earlier, in the 1980s, used PLC with PID capabilities for the first time in the tempering process in chocolate manufacturing and for handling and processing of coke in the soda ash industry in India.

Anatomies of two honest men

— By Sunil J. Kamat | Free Press Journal, Aug 27, 2015, Editorial page.

Homo sapiens, according to environmentalists, will be extinct in an early stage of the third extinction cycle, which has already begun, but a species, Homo honestus, has extinguished, at least in the public life of India. One man, we have been told over the last 11 years, has been waging a lone battle: Manmohan Singh. (more…)

Can Shashank Manohar return our golden days?

— By Sunil J. Kamat | Free Press Journal, Oct 5, 2015, Sports page.
Cricket is a treasure. A treasure of joy. A forbidden one. “… Chandrasekhar running in to bowl to Bobby Simpson …” The mesmerizing words I used to cling on to as a child still ring in the ears. The victory in the Bombay Test was a climax. No matter how soundly we were beaten in the first Test in the 1964 series against the Australians, it was real. The defeat was real. The victory was real.

Later Gavaskar, SardesShashankManohar-297x220ai, Wadekar, Farokh Engineer and Chandrasekhar proved to us that we too can win Test series. Tendulkar ’s masterly performance raised our ecstasy to a crescendo.

Then appeared a small news-item, on the first page of a leading national newspaper. A police inspector, who enjoyed listening to the 4 a.m. commentary of the India-New Zealand Test match, had debriefed a criminal arrested for some offence. One of the criminal’s achievements was to forge a deal with the captain on behalf of the racket. He called the captain, the cop listening, and offered him Rs. 20 lacs to lose the next match. The skipper agreed and to multiply his earnings asked him to stake his remuneration so earned on the bet that India would lose. The sleuth never got up at four in the morning again.

India and Pakistan were the founding members of the fixing club and pioneered ingenious methods of changing the course of a game to fox the betters. In recent times, though, they tended to be monotonous, predictable and repetitive: roller coaster patterns, a team collapsing from 281 for two to 325 for eight in a ODI World Cup climaxing in a tie match, team A scoring massive wins in two matches and then being pulverized by team B in the third, a team entering semifinals after losing the first 5 consecutive matches and repeating the same ridiculous pattern next year, this time winning the IPL, sprinkling a few non-fixed segments, matches and series to confute the sceptics’ view. In the nascent stage, when only a couple of players took up the challenge, they would get out early, drop catches and, if one is daring and ambitious, run out others. Soon they lured in the West Indians and the Sri Lankans. The Australians, English and New Zealanders would not budge until Bob Woolmer, the Pakistani coach, died in Jamaica during a World Cup Tournament in mysterious circumstances. Australia, securing the third straight ODI World Cup title in the West Indies just four months earlier, lost consecutively in the 2007 Twenty20 to Pakistan and India in the group and the semifinal matches respectively, paving way for the India – Pakistan final, which was always hyped as a dream final by the media.

Tendulkar, perhaps, was the only untouched player because of his stature and supreme integrity. Others, who resisted, fell by the wayside and had to give in ultimately to reap the benefits they deserved because of their talent. Players like Laxman, Sahwag, Gambhir and Nehra had to pay dearly for their non-cooperation. The widening of the net made scripting and execution straightforward, but the greenhorns displaying artificial disgust after getting out was a dead giveaway. All stakeholders except the fans – the board, players, commentators and reporters, benefited, and indulged in hyping every match to sustain the interest of the viewers. Whenever the TRPs waned because of an exposure of a scandal, thumping Indian victories brought them back on track.

I avoided cricket channels and whenever a news channel aired the dreary analysis of such matches, would change the channel instantly, believing that a boycott by fans might force authorities to purify the game. Five years ago, I called my brother to point out the anomalies in the IPL games, when he was readying himself for a fresh barn burner on his hands. “Don’t ruin my fun,” he fumed. “I like what I see. We enjoy movies in spite of knowing it’s a story.”

All prospects of enjoying a genuine game in our lifetimes had evanesced until the news of Shashank Manohar being the consensus candidate flashed. The gust of court actions that routed Srinivasan and brought Manohar to the forefront swirled up our hopes, which had been smoldering for years, into a blaze of optimism.

Shashank Manohar, BCCI President until 2017, is principled, tough, ruthless, fearless and fanatic. A man of few words, he ruled with blunt utterances and an iron hand, shunned the cameras, emphasized fiscal discipline and eliminated Lalit Modi during his earlier tenure as the BCCI President. Not only did he fight the mighty Srinivasan fiercely but insisted on the CBI investigating all the IPL 2014 matches to clean up and restore public confidence.

Have we begun smacking our lips at the thought of the return of the golden days, the surge of the unalloyed adrenaline and the unveiling of the eulogised players? In the midst of fake victories and defeats, invariably at the hands of Bangladesh, Pakistan being more courteous in this respect, will Manohar enable us to savour the thrill, as we are sure that all the 22 players and the three umpires have put in their best efforts, of a hard fought genuine defeat? Let us keep our fingers crossed. Actually, the abovementioned stakeholders, who might feign fair play, operating with the constraints of the systems that Manohar would set in to prevent corruption, are the same manipulators who ignored the sentiments of the fans in spite of earning crores of rupees from the IPL bosses; they are the same because their beliefs have not been transformed; the hearts inside them still beat to the jingle of coins; and now the odour of the new order would suffocate them. The task is beyond the scope of the BCCI and the Supreme Court. The government, with its police power, aided by the BCCI’s intent, should enact stringent laws and weed out the wrong elements. The time is short, the rot deep and the enemy formidable.

Sunil J. Kamat | Free Press Journal, Oct 5, 2015, Sports page.

Hazards of being a dog lover Essay 2

IGCSE English

—Saloni Kamat. English First Language coursework essay – writing to narrate, 2014. Graded A*.

As I watched her affectionately, her eyes did not seem to look any farther than the edges of the bed she was nested in. Until yesterday, she was brimming over with passion and ardour for me. Our sisterly relationship was on the verge of change. Now, she cared neither for my impertinent cDSC_0126_1uriosity nor for me. She did not seem to bother about the persons in the room admiring her newborns, yet my requests to examine and fondle them were politely declined.

Papillon, a female German Shepherd with verve and vigour, jealousy and possessiveness, had become a mother to
five vulnerable offsprings, all females. Their care and protection overrode all other concerns.My attempts to cajole her into leaving her nursery, which was directly beneath my room, and mingling with everyone were fruitless. The pups weaved across her body – some found motherly warmth under her legs and tail, some lay by her head and others undertook great excursions and treks over, around and under her.

Lala, the German Shepherd, could not contain his fatherly curiosity. Peeking through the entrance and leaping through the window, his mother-like affection made its way through Papillon’s snarls and warnings. A fierce fight ensued ending in victory for Lala. I admonished Lala to leave the room.

Though the puppies were tiny, they enchanted me. Their movements intrigued me. Their eyes and ears were shut, however, they had a sense of their minuscule world. Two pups opened their bead like eyes on the eleventh day. Soon afterwards, ears opened and a “woof” was let out. They scared persons peeping through window by concerted ‘ferocious’ barks.  I worked for the dogs with devotion: feeding, comforting and walking them and mediating in their quarrels.Alpha_Abba

One evening, I went down to the nursery. Papillon lay with three of her pups, grief writ large on her face. Where could the two young ones possibly be?

“They have moved to new houses,” my mother revealed coldly.

My father and I had no inkling of their departure. My grief knew no end.

We managed to bring back one of the pups. Both Papillon and the pup rejoiced at their reunion. Will she reconcile to the loss of the fifth puppy? Papillon’s aggrieved cries late at night belied the hope.

The bitter pangs of separation infested my heart when two pups departed after a month. We retained Alpha, who had emerged first from the mother’s womb, and Abba. The reprieve would be short-lived. Alpha was a sportier copy of Lala. When the two young ones wrestled, I frequently pushed Alpha down to encourage Abba.standout-1

Abba and I tearfully bid farewell as she left for a faraway place. Papillon’s maternal instincts had faded away, and surprisingly Alpha was equally despondent to lose her. I regretted discriminating against Alpha and we shared our pain silently.

At seven months, Alpha was transforming into a graceful and powerful beast. She ventured into forests with her mother, visited villages with her father and shared a loving relationship with her aunt, DSC_0074_1Andromeda, the black Labrador. We enjoyed frequent walks to faraway hills and lakes and I forged a deep bond with Alpha.

“We need to recruit a pair of male Doberman dogs to balance our guarding squad. They are better than German Shepherd females,” my mother announced her weird logic one day and requested our gardener to take Alpha to his house, a couple of kilometers away.

“You can go to his house and see her whenever you want,” she offered me a clumsy commiseration.

I was aghast. All the space in the farmhouse darkened and my heart sank again: overwhelming sadness weighed it down. I felt physically weak and broken for a week.

On that moonless dark night, sleep was eluding me.We had tied up the dogs in the rear side of the house as a punishment for damaging plants. Suddenly, I was jolted out of my trance by a soul shattering commotion outside our gate, which is 400 feet away from the house. We rushed to the gate; a dog’s angry snarls and human screams churned our hearts. Three men, clothes torn, were lying down and Alpha was mauling them badly. They were thieves trying to take away expensive electrical fittings delivered outside the gate by a late evening delivery van. Alpha had escaped and had dashed to reunite with her friends. The unlucky hoodlums, unaware of the notorious dog squad, had chosen a wrong time and a wrong place.

My father held Alpha and my mother took her inside the gate towards the house lovingly and full of remorse, which kept drawing from her silent tears; no sooner had she wiped a drop seeping down her cheek, another followed.The endless trickle of tears assured me that we no more needed the Dobermans.

—Saloni Kamat.