Tuesday, July 31, 2007

black Mark ?

The Indian media and the Asian media at large, have gone all over town, hailing Dr. Haneef’s release by the Australian authorities, as a victory for democracy. While that particular emotion might have justifiable ground, to prosper, there’s a larger malaise that has gone unremarked upon.

My beef( god forbid!!!) is that no one seems to be asking the Australian immigration minister, who had ordered the cancellation of Dr. Haneef’s visa, ( “ it was done, keeping in mind his CHARACTER”), on what basis, he made his (un)sound judgement.

In any normal, justice dispensing process, Dr. Haneef could successfully sue the Australian government, for slander. Without any conclusive proof to backup the illegal detention, on the flimsiest of excuses ( he was a 2nd cousin, for god’s sake, even siblings often have no clue what their relations are upto!!), an Indian citizen, was detained and his character was under scrutiny and then released, without an acceptance of a mistake, nor an apology.

But why blame just the Australian minister alone? After all, this is a country where a marvel like muralitharan is regularly jeered for throwing, while brett lee is held up for public adoration.. Perish the thought, this isn’t racism. But truth be told, atleast the judiciary proved it’s impartial credentials, by calling a spade a spade.

No, what really got me worked up, is that while the central government was silent and working in the back channels, the Karnataka government took it upon itself, to suddenly announce how it was helping the authorities to uncover terrorism related information!!! In the rush to earn some praise, the first commandment of law- Innocent till proven guilty, was forgotten.

A hapless wife was left to defend and plead for her husband’s release, in the media.

Yet another chapter in the 3rd world, where subservience to the 1st world( why exactly are we 3rd? I do not know) continues unabashed. Where a Pakistan regularly throws it’s citizens to an American prison, for FOREIGN exchange.. Where India accepts a humiliating 123 nuclear deal, to get American acceptance of it’s nuclear status..

When will we realize, that today, we are the biggest market for the so called developed world? When will we gather our collective arms and flex them for our benefit? When will we start demanding treatment as equals? When shall we start promoting regional unity and pride?

Maybe never.. maybe never..

Monday, May 14, 2007

A matter of Alma Mater

forgive me, if i switch back to my school days, when i used to watch WWF..

" Finally... I've gone back, to being... a Newbie again"..

college just got over. Not as in end of semester. But as in KAPUT!! BANG!! Adios kind.

while there is the usual grumbling of what little good an education of 5 years did to me, which of course is the badge of the student tribe, there is an unexpected hollowness too.

This arose when i wrote a poem dedicated to my class ( which has thus far, only been appreciated by exactly ONE person). Here's a list of things that i think i will miss the most about my college.

1) unsurprisingly , first on the list are the 10 best friends i have made.. hey, i do sometimes get sentimental you know.. NOT!!!

2) The absolutely fantastic college grounds, which we made good use of. battles were fought, and invariably lost, when i used to play.. must be coincidence

3) even when i used to feel like i hadn't learned anything useful yet, there was always that comfortable thought- " I still have 5 more years, 4 more, 3 more, 2 more, 1 more, NO MORE!!! oh the tragedy!!!"

4) The ridiculously inexpensive canteen where even i could afford to hog out.. of course there were only 3 items i ever ate, but that's another story.

5) the look of respect i used to get, when i declared myself a student of ANNA UNIV.. and the inevitable look of disappointment when i burst the bubble and confessed to being a student of Electronic ( oh, you mean computers!!) Media.

6) My delightful class, with the 63 most decent and nicest human beings to ever have been assembled in a classroom. Exaggerated sense of modesty prevents me from adding my name on that list.

7) The 2 Funtastic IVs we went on. nuff said about them.

8) Always asking for a treat, always getting the same answer- " what the hell will u eat?"

and the worst part is.. now i am officially a member of that club, which i used to ridicule as a child. Now, i must become a pompous dandy, who must never watch cartoons again, worry about bank balances, careers, property, get acidity while keeping tabs on classmates, worry about that bulging waistline, try to act like 18, when i'm 80, argue to all that i do not wear a wig..

OH GOD, Have mercy.. i am ( GULP!!!) an Adult...

Sunday, April 22, 2007


The world remembers, not just those
who won for themselves, victories galore.
So long as you fight, an earnest fight,
no one cares, if you were dark or white.

Glory is his, who lives for the battle,
whose attack leaves opposition rattled.
A path to possible victory, one who chose,
inspires poets, to abandon prose.

Farewell to thee, prince of trinidad and tobago.
the last of the windies, around whom did we rally.
We shall miss , on the pitch, your waltz and the tango,
the centuries that racked up your tally.

How you disptached both pace and spin,
to parts of the stadium, crying for attention.
The way you surged past, Tendulkar Sachin,
became the best batsman of this generation.

The way you disdained from using your pads,
ensuring bat and ball, did always meet.
Never was a day, you moped around,
your bat made a music, always sweet.

The way you collected multiple tons,
when mortals were satisfied, with just one.
When you chased down a target, impossible they said,
you shrugged and got the job done.

The way you were atlas, bearing the weight,
while dwarfs around you, deserted the sinking ship.
We hail you more, for bearing the brunt,
yet never devaluing your craftsmanship.

You left, on top, throne never conquered,
leave it safe, from any usurper.
Walk away, son of port of spain, with a head high,
rest assured, there's not a single dry eye.

Never shall we see the likes of you again,
wish you luck, as you move on.
It was said, of Bradman once,
i say to you,
Brightly fades the don.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

a fishy tale

well folks, a short one this time. some really swell people in my class, decided to throw a bash to celebrate the bunch of them getting a job offer at EFX. so, these mighty generous folks agreed to sponsor a smashing time at mayajaal. for over 50 people.. count that, over FIFTY people..

while all of us had a great time( well, i shall skip the lunch part, and paruthi veeran), my post ain't about the time we spent there..

remember the old adage, " you can't ever forget cycling, nor swimming!". well, it's evening time, and some guys decided to make the maximum use of the trip, and decided to wade through the swimming pool. while it took time for the guys, to shed their inhibitions and their clothes( they did wear swimming trunks, you dirty minded you!!!), in the presence of the faint hearted maidens(term used very lightly) from my class, eventually, almost all of us were in the water.

while a few were thrown in the deep end, yours truly decided that a dignified dip was better than a forceful push. so, i removed my shirt, causing severe trauma for some of the unfortunate witnesses( hope they manage to recover someday), and remembered the adage and leaped in.

this being the first time in 7 years that i went inside of a swimming pool, the first sensation was a slap in my stomach. before i had time to register the pain, my brain chuckled" you are so drowning!!"

all i could see were bubbles in my eyes, and then, GASP, air... before i could shout for joy, i was submerged again.. and my life started rewinding.. now, 22 years of garbage is a whole load of crap, to comprehend in 3 breathless seconds.. anyways, just before i could focus on Keira again( god bless her), i heard shouts of friends, asking" dude, you sure you know how to swim?"..

before i could answer " Oh hell yeah!!", H2O decided she missed me too much, and took me in her cold embrace again..

then, i swear, i heard my NCC drill master scream" get a foothold, or you never going to get your bread!!!".. the stuff of my nightmares..

somehow, i dug deep into my reserves [ which is about 3 kilos of saturated fat, at this moment :( ] and kicked onto the floor, and my head suddenly burst through the water, and i rose to breathe..

and i am thinking, at that moment " this ain't supposed to happen!!! need memory plus bad!!!"

well, as a souvenir, i have been struggling with a cold that refuses to part, like a bad ex girlfriend.. maybe, the bottom of the pool wouldn't have been that bad, after all..

Friday, March 30, 2007

grave reservations

hurrah to the supreme court, for showing us that it has the guts to stand up to the dirty game that goes on, in the name of politics.

i refer to the recent staying of the reservation policy that arjun singh tried to push through, with the full complicity of the parliament.

reservation is a sensitive topic, i agree. however, it seems to me, that most people forget the first passage about reservation, that was written in our constitution. baba ambedkar himself wrote, that he envisioned the reservation policy to continue, for not more than 10 top 15 years. unfortunately, with the kind of votebank politics that is practised in the " world's largest democracy", we are stuck with a legacy, that, in the words of the SC " promotes backwardness".

if the intention is to remove the admittedly barbaric practice of caste ism, then the reservation policies are not the best way to go ahead. imagine this, when a child gets admitted to school, his caste is noted. when he fills his board entrance forms, his caste is noted. when he enters college, his caste is noted. and if the congress party has it's way, soon, when you enter employment, your caste will be noted.

so, at every crucial step in life, your caste identity is given more prominence than yourself. way to go!!!

blatant flouting of the constitution is seen everyday. for eg. one of the provisions of the reservation policies, is that at no stage, should reservation exceed 50 % of the seats. however, the state of tamil nadu has " enjoyed" nearly 65 % reservation policies since independence.

many people think that anti reservation thinking is a manifestation of a pro forward caste mentality. far from it. barring rajasthan, in no state will you see the forward castes pressing forward for a reservation for themselves. why? because, one of the main reasons for the huge exodus of many forward caste students to the USA and UK, is that college seats are open to all students.

i also see a situation in the future, where the battle for dominance between the MBC, OBC, SC/ST will see politicians try to weasel out with further reservations. no one will attempt to take the correct way.

build more schools. pay parents to send children to school in rural areas. increase the number of seats in colleges. ensure that faculty are qualified enough to teach subjects. have a more student friendly education loan program. abolish mention of caste in the public sphere. let us all learn to become ourselves first.

then again, it's too much to ask a monkey to learn swimming you know. expect to see more protests, bandhs( our lovely state leads again. tomorrow!!), interviews with people who would otherwise never come on national news.

3 cheers to the caste-ing ouch!!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

a tale of two cities

i know for a fact that a good majority of the blogs posted today, from india, will moan or vilify the indian cricket team's performance. but i shall touch on that topic later.

what really has made an impact in me, is the continued courage that the people of Pakistan have shown, in the battle for democracy. If you are a reader of Deccan chronicle, you would have read a column, where ayaz amir reports of an army committee's recommendation, that a fully functional democarcy would be feasible, in pakistan, by 2030!!!

he asks " why has democracy taken such a long time, to take birth in our country, when our neighbor, India, having inherited the same laws and public institutions that we did, has been a " fully functioning democracy, since 1947?"

almost all of us take our right to vote for granted, not realising what a gift it is. for instance,history is replete, with cases of women and people who lived in social minority, who had to struggle and fight, for the right to universal adult franchise( or right to vote, for those whose civics lessons are slightly weak). yet, we in india, have given this right, to all those above the age of 18, right from 1950( when the first elections were announced).

while USA, which calls itself a champion of democracy, has yet to elect a non christian, or a member of jewish, hispanic or african origin, to the top posts, we in india, do not give too much importance to the fact, that our president is a mussalaman, our prime minister is a sikh, our chief justice is a dalit and the chairperson of the ruling coalition was born a roman catholic.

while the american media is busy salivating over the prospects of hillary clinton becoming the first woman president( which she won't as the american heartland is still conservative), we can take a look at our record and see that women have always he ld important posts in most political parties.

and hats off to the indian army, for never placing itself above the parliament, the judiciary and the executive , despite their abyssmal track record, over the last 60 years. as we approach the 60th anniversary of our independence, we can solemnly thank the armed forces, for never taking powers unto themselves.

i hear a lot of bickering by people from all the religions, who crib constantly, that they face persecution and restrictions on the practice of their faith. i humbly ask them, to undertake trips to italy, nepal, or the gulf states, or the latin american countries, before they pass judgement on the freedom or lack of it, in professing their faith.

and about the world cup, well, it's only just a game. the sooner people accept the fact that we are better off with a calculator in hand and not the bat, the lesser our disappointments would be. we need an overhaul of our batting and ask sachin, dravid, saurav to make way for another generation to build a team. between them, this is the 5th world cup, which should be more than enough opportunity to have won the trophy.

Man utd rebuilt their team two years ago. a painful two seasons followed, in which the young inductees made mistakes, learnt from them, got used to each other. now, no matter how the season ends, they have performed superbly thus far. we need to adopt the same approach,

i definitely feel sorry for Sony Max, for having placed such a huge bid for the telecast rights. honestly, 75 % of the potential audience would be wiped out, were bangladesh to beat bermuda today. it would take sometime for them to recoup their losses.

and this is a very bad time to be the head honcho of pepsi right now. having paid ridiculous sums of money, and making one of the worst ads i have ever seen on TV( tiger- ladega to jitega, howz that for a boomerang? ), somebody must be sweating buckets right now.

interestingly, aside from the subcontinent, the rest of the world has not given too much importance to this world cup. evidence can be seen in the post match ceremony, where th eadvertisers backdrop has only indian companies on it.

poor timing and ticket sales plus more or less dull play have made this one of the most zzzz inducing world cups ever.

oh well, atleast aus vs south africa should be interesting.

but for a sport that only 30 odd countries play( overoptimistic calculation) it's sad that someone got motivated to kill bob woolmer, for whatever reasons.. it's about time people realised it's not a serious sport at all

Monday, February 05, 2007

Losing Neverland

When chocolate’s too fatty, ice cream too cold,

it’s a sure sign, that you’re getting old.

When cartoon network, induces a yawn,

but Ayn rand, keeps you up till dawn.

(most satisfying line I ever wrote)

A visit to a barber, you did not care,

of the state of the abundant hair.

Each clipped strand, now a cause for care,

for that patch of scalp, now laid bare.

Days were once, when you run for miles,

a whole day outside, brought about a smile.

Now you remember those days way back,

when that potbelly was, once a six pack.

when once, you just could not stand girls,

fussy and snooty, obsessed with their curls.

now you rack your brains, invent some guile,

to make them reward you, with a smile.

When a pass book was abstract, mind numbing bore,

Fashion of the day, turned your eye sore.

When each day was different, from the one just spent.

Weekends and weekdays, now no longer different.

As I wrote this, I realized,

I’ve grown older too.

if you agreed more than once,

then so have you.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

of nonsense and ability

You know something; I was reading the newspaper in the morning. And one thing caught my eye. I read that there was more outrage and anger expressed by the English, over the alleged racist remarks directed against shilpa shetty, than when the video tape of saddam's execution was shown, on prime time news television.

And then, I turn to that paragon of balanced reportage, the epitome of unbiased opinion, the BBC (note the caps)..

What do I see? reports of Gordon Brown's comments in India, where he said stuff to the effect that UK was a multicultural society, and that any programme on TV, that gave an impression to the contrary, was open to govt scrutiny..

Hmmm.. Mission accomplished, producers of big brother, I would say. you have managed to get the best advertising that one could ever have asked for( imagine, PATNA Shilpa fan association is protesting against the racist conduct, in big brother), for a prog, that sells itself on the baser and sleazier conducts of people, shut off from their normal surroundings.

Wait, what's archith saying? Isn’t this the same programme that is being aired called big boss?

Well dearie, what we are seeing in India, is kind of like the Indonesian playboy.. Just Google big brother and go to some 5 results and you will see what I am talking about..

It’s sad, that people can't see through sham, when it's being thrown at their face.. the whole situation's so beautifully orchestrated( she even cried, CRIED!!!!), it's as obvious as the fact that India wont won the next 2 world cups, that it's all scripted.

One more prime example I would say, of the age old adage- the public is an ass, that doesn’t recognise a beating, when it's given one..

Iraq, saddam, big brother.. We’ve got a long way to go baby..

In other things, I saw a superb match between baghdatis and Gael monfils.. hands down, the best match of the tournament, not because of the comeback, as I think safin's was better, but for the quality of tennis, that was produced..

And monfils came back from the brink of exhaustion, to win the 4th set, 6-0..

I think, in a season or two, this guy could become the roger beater all of us are searching for..

Well, that just about wraps things up, for now, but I must mention, that we are in for a super super weekend..

all EPL fans, better get your trumpets and team songs ready... with Chelsea and Liverpool and arsenal and MAN U(woo hoo!!!) squaring off, there couldn’t have been a better reason for me, to have opted for a set top box..

Ciao till the next time

Friday, January 12, 2007

The silence of happiness

The most enchanting line, I have ever read in a book, remains “ I shall never forget the day, my father took me, to the graveyard, of forgotten books..”

Memory fails me(quite often it seems, nowadays) and the title remains, not even on the fringes of my tongue..

But, it forced me to think, how true, the allegory is. Fact is, most of us shall end, no matter how valiantly we fight against it, nameless stats in the census that a government shall take, sometime in the future.

I would even argue, that our greatest fear, and cause for discontent, and anger, remains the thought, that someday, we too shall lie, unmourned and unremarked. Underground and unloved.( both words show up as errors in WORD™)

Unless you’re a hindu of course..

I see around me, people lining up, to make that JUMPstart to their careers, “stay ahead of the competition”, “earn that 6 Lakhs per annum” minimum salary, get into that “TOP INSTI machan!!”, get into that “fortune 500 Company dude, that’s something you know”..

And know what, maybe most of them are genuinely happy at getting those things. But somehow, somewhere, the impression I get, is that more than the elation of success, it’s the crushing blow of failure, that seems to occupy the minds, most of the time.

What’s really at stake here? A house? A car? Jet setting status? A trophy wife/husband? Or, your ego/ability/inability, to get those things, while people around you, are getting those?

Sad fact is, I see people treating the above, as the end, rather than the means to an end..

The greatest line for me, in Fight Club, is when Brad Pitt’s character says-
“ your life is worth more than the last column in your pass book”.

Maybe that’s why, we tend to remember the guys,who challenged our notions of what happiness is.. you know the conversation-“ can you believe it? That guy Left his mit seat, to join some ashram somewhere..MIT!!!!” , or “ how a person could leave a 7 figure salary, MNC job, to come back home, is beyond me, you know..”

Somewhere underneath that veneer of skepticism, is the reluctant acknowledge, that that person is a reminder of our own personal failure, to breathe life, into our dreams..

Despite all the “ BOOMING ECONOMY©®” talk, I also see a mushrooming of psychologists and Lifestyle gurus.. you would think that a job/car/house/wife/jetsetting would do(maybe not in that order).. maybe not..

I remember this dialogue from before sunrise, where Julie delpy’s character says.-“ people with the greatest ability to change the world, often remain silent and we stay ignorant of their ways. Which is a good thing, cos once they come back into this world, they become part of it” or words to that effect..

I have many dreams.. seeing Gangotri once, before it melts away forever, seeing St. Peter’s church, going to Jerusalem, learning Aryan Sanskrit, to read our epics and texts, the way they were written, learning to speak in atleast 6 languages, write a poem in Tamil someday(yeah, scoff all you want), working with VALVE or Rockstar in my lifetime..

Atleast, I am aware that these are things that I truly want. But I fear that they make look at the world, not see it.

I cannot honestly say that I know what the joy of a delicious meal is, because I have never faced starvation. I do not know loneliness, because I am yet to enter a place full of strangers, I do not know the solutions to the world’s problems, because I do not know what it’s problems are.

I do not know what’s wrong with me, because I cannot pretend I know myself completely.

I think that we have restrained ourselves, in the chains of expectations, to drown our happiness, in the sea of dreams..

I cannot hear the call of happiness.. but I do not know, if I have turned deaf, to the sound of my inner self.

all i know is, nothing.