Friday, December 24, 2010

Indian Politics: Matter over Mind

Just as I had begun to believe that Wikileaks is moving towards an 'alternate entertainment' status, it has led to a national shame for India.

When I first read the Rahul Gandhi wikileak, my reaction ranged from 'misquoted' to 'blown out of proportion', since it is no secret that extremist Hindu thought streams have endangered lives in our country and continue to do so. But what transpired afterwards is simply outrageous.

BJP quickly (and in my opinion, rightly) blamed congress for weakening India's arguement against Pakistan sponsored terror. Rahul helped nobody by choosing to hide behind spokespersons clarifying the matter. And then, Congress went overboard by saying that "roots of terrorism" in India lie in BJP leader L K Advani's 1992 Rath Yatra, virtually absolving Pakistan.

In effect, because of the ridiculous and meaningless politics, a matter of national interest and international significance has been made a laughing stock and a political punchbag. And Digvijay's unsubstantiated claims have only added to Pakis' smiles and giggles.

'Skewed perspectives' is the only thing that comes into my mind...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Random thoughts of a fluttering mind

This has been the title for more than one of my recent posts... seems the flutter is much more frequent here than actual thought processes... Anyways... here goes...

The Asian games have yet again thrown up the unbelievable hurdles that our athletes have gone through in order to reach the stage when they can reasonably expect their name to be read in the newspapers by people other than their relatives and friends. Some lived in 'teen-shades', others had rooms without loos, most used two generation old equipments and almost all had to pay for their Visas and passports in order to win glory for their nation. All this happened as the honorable IOC chairman was busy eating away the money meant to be spent on the betterment of Indian sport, and shamelessly declaring his own 'victory over all odds'.

3 days ago was 26/11, yet again. Indian ministers made hollow promises and rhetorical calls to Pakistan to act against its terror setup, knowing fully well that it is going to be forgotten in a day, yet again. Some Indians paid homage to the martyrs and bravehearts of the fateful day, yet again. Headlines of substandard weapons and non-bulletproof boats made the front page, yet again. I remembered that the key perpetrator has been in Indian custody and continues to make a mockery of Indian Judicial system. Yet again.

We expect Pakistan to act against its friends, when we have been unable to act against our enemy. Ironic.
Kasab used to eat off Pakistani plates. Then he attacked India. Now he is borne by India. Again, Ironic

We expect US to act against Pakistan, but fail to find the will to act on elements within India who threaten to tip apart the fabric of Indian integrity. Yet again, Ironic.

Signing off now... will be back with some more flutter or thoughts, as the case may be.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another tribute to Sachin!

In 1989 at Sialkot, blood falls on the pitch as the toddler in cricket world takes a hit on face from the fearsome Waqar Younis. Asked by the non-striker Siddhu to retire, the kid says "Main Khelega". Next ball is out of the long on boundary for a four. The hostile Pak crowd is stunned. A gritty fifty follows. A legend is born.

That is my earliest memory of the great Sachin Tendulkar. After that, people said his bat is too heavy for a long career. He carried that, along with India's hopes, for 20 long years. They said he can't score when India needs him. He kept on scoring so much that nobody ever felt there was a need for anybody to score. They said he is worn out. He completed 12000 test runs in 2008, 13000 in 09 and now 14000 in 2010.

We rejoiced with him as he led India through desert storm. We cried for him as he lost a battle to a hurting back and India lost to Pak. We stood in applause and respect as he dedicated his century after 26/11 to the martyrs. We felt our goosebumps as he declared in face of regional politics that "I am Sachin Tendulkar and I play for India".
He was the cutest boy India had ever seen. He became the most loved poster boy. He became the mentor in chief to the teammates. He became GOD to cricket fans.
Close your eyes and think Indian Cricket. Tell me if you don't see Sachin. May the God continue to rule over the followers. We will gleefully give up any sight in the cricket world, just to see one of your drives!

The poster at a test match summed it up as "We have seen God. He bats at No.4 for India."

Friday, October 01, 2010

Ram and Allah

This is going to be my shortest blog. 4 lines in Hindi followed by a closing remark. But I guess it says all that is to be said by me.

मंदिर तो बन जायेगा, पर राम कहाँ से लाओगे? 
उस मस्जिद की दीवारों को, क्या पाक कभी कर पाओगे?
जिस चौखट पर लोग जलें, राम वहां ना जायंगे , 

जिन गलियारों में खून गिरा, मौला क्या रह पायंगे

Ultimately, what we should do? Well, let them fight on what they build... Mandir or Masjid and what they read... Ramayan or Quran. Let us see if we can help the poor build their huts and read ABCD.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Is shame the name of this game?

The hottest topic ever... How could I have not blogged on it? So the games preparation is pretty much as screwed up as practically possible... There are bridges falling, canopies collapsing, false ceiling tiles crashing, beds giving way from under your bums, dogs availing the hospitality of the games village, what all and what not. Crazy. Unbecoming. And frightening. Till now the worst we had heard was the wrong national anthem being played. This has redefined all that was known to go bad. But what I actually intend to address and answer are two basic questions.

First one is moral. As a responsible citizen that I claim myself to be, should I blast open whatever happens that is derogatory to my pride as an Indian? Or should I ignore all that and keep goody goody stuff in the front of my mind and presume that all will be well through the hifi jugaad technology and spread the joy of the games? Well, I think patriotism is tough love. Unless we point out what is wrong in us, how do we go ahead? I would rather face the shame that is very real than indulge in blissful ignorance, 'All iz well' types. If the preparations are bad, so be it. I will hate it and feel ashamed about it.

Which brings me to the second question, which makes more sense to me and my life. Where did we go so wrong that when the pot boiled over, there was no way to plug anything? I feel there are two reasons. Firstly, we are so used to things happening wrongly that we sincerely believe that something or the other WILL be wrong. And we ll fix it at the last moment. Jugaad. We need to learn that the times are gone when it could work. Today's projects are not delivered like that. Second reason is management philosophy. We have all seen that in complex projects, privatization alone works. The public sector machinery is neither agile enough not equipped well to handle them, because the best talent is no longer there.

So far as my blog title goes, no, I don't think that shame is the name of the game. The damage to Indian pride is irreparable but can be compensated if games go well. But the lessons from the debacle are, in my opinion, too valuable to be forgotten. Best of Luck to the games. They need it a lot.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ye kahaan aa gaye hum

Things I could do better when I was in college
1. Painting / Drawing
2. Slog mentally
3. Play Volleyball
4. Make jokes
5. Manage events
6. Run complex design softwares
7. Write papers
8. Manage people and teams
9. Keep myself updated
10. Have crushes
Most importantly, Enjoy life! College times are best.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Of kidney stones and dear friends

Just came back yesterday after spending two and half eventful days in a nearby hospital for a mini-stone in kidney (if you may) that got easily flushed out without any surgery or even laser.

It was actually a wonderful time spent... idling on weekdays, TV all day, reading to my heart's content, homemade food from frnds' and relatives' homes, calls all day, jolly visits from friends who ran early from office to see me, so on and so forth. The home-made treat continued even a day and a half after I had been officially discharged.

At another level, it made me realize that the real take-away from the last few years of my life is not a degree from one of the best colleges, not my name on the domestic terminal, not the salary that they pay me for it, but the friends that I made in the period.

Love u all... I couldn't have done anything without you. You turned it into a picnic rather than an ordeal. Can't thank you enough.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Why to hang Kasab immediately

7 reasons why Kasab should be hanged without any delay
  • Because he dared to change so many lives forever, and leave a permanent scar on the face of Mumbai.
  • Because he already has lived longer than he should have. He should have died at the hands of Karkare or ATS.
  • Because he and his colleagues were responsible for deaths of so many of our Jawans.
  • Because an acquittal will be a ridicule all over the world in general, and in Pakistan in particular.
  • Because we already saw what happened when terrorists were not killed immediately and went back to Pakistan through IC814 hijack.
  • Because if he is not hanged immediately, he will invite the 'sympathy' of so called 'human rights champions' and ensue stupid ideas of human justice and the like.
  • Because he is an enemy of India, and should be given a lesson, although belated.
And one reason why he should not be hanged
  • He is the only man alive who knows what happened to the crew of the boat that they came in, and till date their families have not got compensation promised by the government, since in the eyes of law, they are still not dead. Holy Crap!!!
On a different note, the hurt Indian in me wants him to be left out in public for an hour. I know he won't  last an hour, though. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A true Invictus

There are so many times we feel that we need a reason to be happy, but we become sad spontaneously.  Without any apparent reason.

Then there are people like the one in the below video. 

No arms, No legs, No worries

Please see the full video, it truly deserves your time. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Celebration of a dream

This post is one week late, attributed to the fact that I left for IIM Indore even as the inauguration ceremony of the new Domestic Terminal at Mumbai Airport was still underway, and got to pen down just now. Took this pic from my mobile camera on the morning of the completion. Looks beautiful, at least to me :)

Even though the euphoria in my heart has died down, I dont think I will ever forget the feeling as I left the terminal building on 17th April 2010, knowing that all those little battles and all those days (and nights) of fighting against all odds have borne fruit.

Below is the same area 20 months ago (The pic will be replaced in better resolution soon...)

Even as I have celebrated the moment, reminisced on the memories, remembered fondly all the sleepless nights and tough days, I dedicate this post to all these feelings, since the photo on top will never be able to reflect any of the things I talked about later. I am surely going to miss the moments I spent on this project.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Of social responsibility and irreverence

Yesterday, 74 jawans were trapped by Maoists and ruthlessly murdered, many of them in cold blood. Print media had accounts of survivors, pointed fingers towards a failed intelligence and  carried statements of national leaders on the matter. TV media, on the other hand, seem so much gung-ho over Sania and Shoaib that 'Aaj Tak' proudly declared that the entire day will be full of that crap only.

C'mon... more people are dying in maoist violence than in Kashmir terrorism. Almost a third of India's geographical area is affected by them. And some part of the world still cares where two sportsmen-in-love went late night to enjoy themselves.

Sometimes I wonder what incentive drives TV channels to put such useless crap on national television. Do they get more money? Higher TRPs? more sense of satisfaction? Whatever happened to the supposed social responsibility of Media? Thankfully, print media has still retained the good sense in a more fitting manner.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna

It was this day, 79 years ago, when three brave sons of India walked proudly towards the ultimate sacrifice. Singing 'सरफरोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है' as legend has it.

I dedicate this post to the three of them, as well as an entire generation of lesser known Indians who chose the path of fighting for what they believed was right, against all odds, driven only by a fire fueled by desire to see the country independent.

Also, Bhagat Singh being my idol, this is in remembrance of the maturity, grit, tact and foresight shown by this great leader, visionary and thinker who gave the freedom struggle its cutting edge and brought it to the foreburner of day to day politics. All at an age of 23 years.

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if he was saved (I believe Gandhi could have) and having a firebrand like him in the first cabinet to run the nation. However, none of this happened and India was deprived of somethings he was definitely capable of.

Signing off with the below lines which I sincerely wish were true but are not. Sadly, hardly anybody remembers our martyrs.

शहीदों की मजारों पर लगेंगे हर बरस मेले
वतन पर मिटने वालों का येही बाकी निशाँ होगा

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Of unsung heroes and glamorous underachievers

The Sunday Times of India, March 21 2010 was not a paper I was looking forward to. Mumbai Indians, ‘my’ team simply because it is led by Sachin, had lost meekly to Royal Challengers Bangalore, and that was a reason enough. However, as I read through mechanically to ease off a lazy Sunday morning at home, there was one piece that caught my eye between the loud and glitzy IPL coverage

Milkha Singh, the flying Sikh, has decided to hand over his life story for a movie being made. All for a sum of One rupee. Sheer greatness. Here is a man who in 1947 saw his parents murdered in front of his eyes, hid among corpses in a train to escape to India, ran barefoot in initial competitions, and went on to win Asian Games, Commonwealth and later on an Olympics record. Today also, he stands tall as he runs a distress helpline. 20% of film’s profits will go there.
What a pity, icons like him are hardly known of amidst the shrill and glitz of things like IPL which, at best, is a murky money minded madness with a little bit of sport thrown in.

Hats off to this proud son of the soil, quite literally.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Atithi tum kab jaaoge

Admittedly, I am no movie buff. Back in college, I used to be the last guy to be seen near a theater. Further recently, my movie sprees are limited to 'No other option available' scenarios. Similar was my today's encounter with this movie.

However, this is one impressive movie, though I guess is is not gonna be a respectable hit. With witty references to a common Indian's psyche, the movie goes on to touch pretty much all the unexplored areas that we either don't know about, or are not interested to touch. This includes the self induced aloofness of our lives from our famed family systems, utter disregard for little pleasures and pains of life that go on adding up, and in some cases, sheer indifference towards the values that we pick up and impart subconsciously.

At least in my case, this one managed to inspire some thought and introspection. Must watch if you are looking for light humor and substance packaged into one.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A different 'Jeetega Bhai Jeetega'

There is probably no Indian who doesn't relate to the three words in the subject line... Whenever Sachin takes guard, whenever Zaheer starts run-up, whenever Dhoni rallies his troops on ground, whenever the most prolific team India makes a circle after rounding another wicket, the chants rule the ground. But today, I insist on a different one... a 'Jeetega bhai Jeetega' for our national sport.

The Hockey world cup has been ridden with controversies, ironies, rumors and what not. Ironically, cricketers, shooters and actors had to be roped in for advertisements since, sadly, no hockey face is advertise-able. But all that is in the past now.

This is to a team that stood together against callous management, critical media, blatant officials and tentative sponsors, and finally stands tall, amidst chants of famous 'Jeetega Bhai Jeetega', trying to win hearts of Indians like ever before. To try and relive the lost glory of four decades of unquestioned world domination, unparalleled by any other sport (Including Cricket) played in this country of one billion. 

Sorry, I dont know my hockey. I dont know who is in playing eleven. I hardly know the captain's name. But nevertheless, I cheer for this Team India. For the records, we are 4-1 leading Pakistan as of now.

And the crowd is chanting.... 'Jeetega Bhai Jeetega!!'

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tribute to Team India

A living legend sends the opposition on a leather hunt, like he has done for 20 long years
A maverick continues to redefine the boundaries of scoring rate
A braveheart bowls his heart out before subsiding with an injury
A charismatic captain leads from the front to devastate a world class bowling attack
A team becomes the best team in the world… again

Cheers to Team India for regaining the No 1 Slot.

P.S. When I said last week that we will win the next one, few believed

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Invictus... Beautiful Words

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Of Heroes and Senas...

So finally, the long drama surrounding the SRK and his famed release seems to be ending, with the sena clearly and emphatically being shown its place in the dustbin of Indian History. With effigies of Thakre scions being burnt, the common Indian has shown that the sounds of hollow rhetoric and unwarranted hate propaganda do not make sense to the major chunk. This is the third major reversal for the sena in recent days, the others being the utterly mistimed attack on Sachin Tendulkar - the God of Cricket and the forgettable duel with Rahul Gandhi - the emerging youth icon.

This leaves just one thing to be pondered over. Even though it is amply clear that the concept of 'Mumbaikars only in Mumbai' is totally impractical, unwanted and unworkable, why is it that it gets so much mileage? Has the Indian social fabric, with all its famed ethics and morality, become so feeble that it is unable to filter out the good from the bad?

I remember the blasts in Sankat Mochan, a major temple in Varanasi. After that, Vinay Katiyar gave a hateful speech directed (or misdirected) against muslims. However, the 'Mahant' of the temple got him out of the mandir campus, called upon the 'Imam' of nearby mosque and gave a message of togetherness. The degree of appreciation was immense, and disgraced face of Katiyar made it to the news nest day.

But are these pockets of sanity enough? How to tackle this social menace of regional politics? Is it a major flaw of our educational system which, by emphasising on local language, creates a cultural rift that widens with time? Today seems to be a day of questions. Maybe someday I will post an answer.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

All time Favorites

        He worked by day, and toiled by night...
        He gave up play, and some delight...
                Dry books he read, new things to learn...
                And forged ahead, success to earn...
        He plodded on with faith and pluck...
        And when he won, Men called it luck!!!

And miles to go...
        The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
        But I have promises to keep, 
        And miles to go before I sleep

Don't Quit 
        When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
        When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
                When the funds are low and the debts are high,
                And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
        When care is pressing you down a bit,
        Rest, if you must, but don't you quit 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Random thoughts of a fluttering mind

Don't have anything else to do, and hence this random blog...

Yesterday was the Birth Anniversary of one of the greatest sons of Indian soil. One who did for India what most others would have thought as impractical, maybe even insane. Yet, sadly, nobody remembers. Nobody that i talked to remembered, except one. And I am sure that most people will be google-ing to see who I am talking about after listening to what i said just now. To put in perspective, i guess more people remember SRK's birthday (Which, interestingly, I don't remember :D)

Seven suicide attempts by school kids in a day, can you believe it... In the city of dreams, probably the weight of expectations has started weighing a bit too much on young minds... and I can still only imagine the level of stress on kid's minds that would drive them to such extreme thoughts... Lack of maturity definitely, but it only goes on to highlight all that is not right with our social system in general and educational system in particular.

Pakistan Government feels 'cheated' by India (IPL, to be precise) and they ask for 'action from Indian Government'. Secondly, they want to 'Pay India back in the same coin'. For the first one, well, this is by far the most farcial comment I ever heard. They rule a land where murderers of innocent Indians move around like heroes, and 'Inaction from political establishment' is the blame on India. Major LOL. And as far as the second one is concerned... "Are aukaat dekh ke baat karo na yaar, pehle cricket khelna to chalu ho tumhare yahaan, baad mein Pakistan Premier League banao, Indians ko invite karo, Dhooni aur Sahin apply karenge, then u reject them.... How fantastic is that!!" is all I can say.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dear Diary... or, Maybe Not...

Somebody asked me... Do you write a Diary? I had no idea whether writing a diary was cool, fashionable, 'chic' or the 'In Thing'. "Well", I said, "I blog", thinking of saving grace by presenting the most similar aspect of my virtually event-less life.

Reaction: Disapproving.

Frankly, i never thought of writing a diary. It seems to be so much of load to me. Why? Simply because, so long as I have sufficient Gigabytes or Terrabytes in my own memories to remember all the good things in my life, to keep track of all the dreams that I ever dreamed of, to remember to pass the smiles back to those who keep passing it to me, and to remind me of thoughts that keep me who I am, Why do I need a one?

Verdict: It turned out I was apparently a stupid idiot with no sense of emotional well being.
Reaction: A carefree grin/giggle/laugh from me
Counter reaction: Utter disgust