Monday, December 29, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

1) You know the words to ‘In-pin-safety-pin’ and ‘akkad-bakkad’ by heart
2) Cricket is almost a religion for you, and you idolize at least one of Kapil Dev/Rahul Dravid/Sachin Tendulkar/Saurav Ganguly
3) You have read at least some Chacha Chaudhary or Tinkle comics
4) You’ve watched Shaktimaan on TV at least once in your life. And you can immediately recognize the character when you see him.
5) You have some ‘NRI’ relatives.
6) You couldn’t wait for it to be December so you could have the Toblerone chocolates your NRI relatives brought you.
7) You watched Cartoon Network, and then the late night movies on TNT that came after Cartoon Network ended. *nudge-nudge-wink wink*
8) You watched corny dubbed versions of Small Wonder, Silver Spoons, Different Strokes, Street Hawk, Knight Rider and I Dream of Jeanie.
9) You were THRILLED when McDonald’s opened in your neighborhood (or even eight kilometers away). (Heck, I was happy the Mac had opened in my COUNTRY!)
10) Your first burgers were at Wimpy’s or Nirula’s.
11) A visit to Pizza Hut used to mean a special treat. (Still does. :) )
12) You have seen Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun at least 5 times each
13) You still remember the theme song to Hum Paanch.
14) You have played hours upon hour of Pukdam-pakdai, oonch-neech, kho-kho, ‘Doctor, doctor, help us!’, ‘Lock and key’,'Ghar-ghar'.
15) You have played ‘Crocodile Crocodile’ more times than you can remember.
16) Dog ‘in’ the bone was your favorite co-ed game.
17) Much of your free time in school was spent playing UNO.
18) You collected trump cards of wrestlers, cricketers, and airplanes, and did not quite understand why your younger siblings were obsessed with Pokemon and the other Japanese trends that followed.
19) Your summer vacations were often synonymous with visiting your grandparents
20) Your parents, at some point, told you ‘Dark Room’ was a bad game to play. But you still loved playing it.
21) Bole mere lips, I love uncle Chips!
22) You know the song ‘Made in India’ by Alisha Chinoi by heart.
23) You have seen many many many episodes of ‘Antakshari’ on Zee TV and know the only thing constant in the show is Anu Kapoor.
24) Many evenings have been spent watching little kids gyrate vulgarly on Boogie Woogie on Sony.
25) You were the coolest thing in class if you had a computer in your house while it was still the 90s.
26) You learnt LOGO in school!
27) You couldn’t wait to start 4th/6th standard so you could start writing with PENS instead of with pencils!
28) You often used terms and phrases like ‘kutti’, ‘abba’, ‘same to you, back to you, with no returns’, and ‘shame shame, puppy shame, all the donkeys know your name.’
29) You most probably saw Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge at the cinema at least once. You also fantasized singing songs in mustard fields like in the movie.
30) You have seen David Dhawan and Govinda movies and laughed at them.
31) You have said ‘haw’ or ‘haw ji ki pawji’ when you saw people kissing in English movies
31) You have seen Titanic at least 12 times.
32) You thought seeing English movies and speaking English made you the coolest thing ever.
33) You remember the Orissa cyclone, even though you didn’t know what a cyclone was.
34) You remember the Gujarat earthquake very clearly and could possibly tell everyone EXACTLY what you were ding when the earthquake occurred.
35) Barbies for girls, and GI Joes for boys were the ultimate status symbols. You just wanted more more more and more. And how can I forget Hot Wheels, for both boys and girls? I personally have a collection of over 30 little Hot Wheels cars.
36) You have worn Osh-Kosh B’gosh and United Colours of Benetton(Asli ho ya nakli!) clothes while growing up. And you thought ‘imported’ clothes were definitely way better than ‘made in India’ clothes (never mind that a lot of clothes brought from overseas by NRI relatives were actually made in India, before ‘Made in China’ started appearing on EVERY existing thing)
37) You know the words to ‘Posham Paa’, and like it better than ‘Oranges and Lemons’ even though you’d sing the latter to sound cool (see 32 above).
38) At some point or other, cool was your favourite, and therefore, most overused word.
39) Captain Planet was your first introduction to environmental awareness.
40) You have tried to convince people around you to not burst crackers on Diwali, and then gone straight back home and burst them yourself.
41) You have had endless packets of Parle G biscuits, and of Brittania Little Hearts biscuits.
42) You loved licking off the cream from the center of Bourbon biscuits.
43) There were no Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Puma- Bata and Liberty was the way to go for your sports shoes.
44) You have probably consumed more Frooti in your lifetime than there is oil in Iraq.
45) You watched Baywatch on Star World even though (or because) your parents said you shouldn’t watch it.
46) You bought packets of potato chips for the specific purpose of collecting Tazos. And you had Tazos depicting everyone from Confucius to Daffy Duck to Daffy Duck dressed as Confucius.
47) For the longest time, the Maruti 800, the Premier Padmini, The Fiat, and The Ambassador were the only cars you saw on the road, and the Contessa was cool because it was bigger.
48) You would literally jump up in excitement if you ever chanced upon an imported car (Oh my gosh, is that really a MERCEDES?)! (Now a Ferrari/Porsche drives by and you don't even turn your head.)
49) You spent a good part of 1998 drooling over the Hyundai Santro and the Daewoo Matiz , debating which one was better.
50) You used to Fuzen gum. You also chewed Big (big) Babol and/or Boom Boom Boomer chewing gum. They were bright pink and disgusting tasting, but you loved them for the temporary tattoos.
51) Talking of temporary tattoos, you sometimes had contests with your classmates about who had more tattoos on their arm, leg, knee, hand, forehead, wherever.
52) You thought Mario and Contra were the coolest things ever invented, especially if you were a boy.
53) You knew that having the latest Hero or Atlas bicycle would make you the coolest kid on the block.
54) You can imitate Sushmita Sen’s Ms Universe winning gasp to perfection.
55) You have, at some point of time, worn GAP clothes (real or fake) like SRK in KKHH.
56) Seemingly senseless acronyms like SRK, DDLJ, KKHH actually make sense to you.
57) You have at some point debated who was more beautiful- Aishwarya or Sushmita.
58) If you lived in Delhi, you went bowling at Essex Farms, or Go-Karting at 32nd Milestone and couldn't think how you could get any cooler than that.
59) Baskin Robbins ice-cream was THE thing to have!
60) You know what Campa Cola is. And you also knew that Coca Cola was THE drink.
61) When you would watch WWF keenly every evening/afternoon and really think that Undertaker had 7 lives and he made an "actual" appearance in the Akshay Kumar- starrer Khiladiyon ka Khiladi.
62) When all backpacks (or 'schoolbags') and water bottles and tiffin boxes had strange cartoon characters that were hybrid versions of seven or eight different characters, and you still bought them, because a green man wih a water pistol, boots, a jet-pack, Johnny bravo hair, a rajasthani mustache, gloves, and underwear (long johns) over his pants, called 'Mr. X' was OBVIOUSLY a status symbol.
63) You remember the washing powder Nirma jingle.
64) You remember the Nirma girl. (Twist-twist-freeze!)
65) You remember the 'doodh doodh' ad and also the 'roz khao andey' ads.
66) You grew up reading, if you read at all, some or all of Nancy Drews, Enid Blyton books, Hardy Boys, Alistair McLean, and Tintin, or Archie or Marvel comics. Because naturally, reading foreign authors made you much cooler than reading Tinkle/Champak/Amar Chitra Katha. (Re: Point 32)
67) Towards the late 90s (1998-99) at least some of us started our Harry Potter obsessions!
68) You absolutely HAD to go to Essel World if you went to Mumbai! "Essel World mein rahoonga main, ghar nahin nahin jaaonga main!"
69) You watched the Bournvita Quiz contest on TV pretty religiously. The smarter ones amongst you actually took part in it and had your entire school and your entire extended families watch you on it!
70) "Jungle jungle baat chali hai, pata chala hai. Tururururu, Arre Chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai, phool khila hai!"
71) Maggi 2 Minute Noodles = ultimate snack (and tiffin, lunch, dinner)!
72) If you grew up in the early 90s, you recall the nation's obsession with Mahabharata on TV
73) In the later 90s, you religiously followed Hip Hip Hooray on Zee. Maybe Just Mohabbat on Sony too. (I was a huge fan of Just Mohabbat, n almost cried when they replaced Jai. :P )
74) You eagerly awaited Friendship Day, so you could give friendship bands to all your friends, and get bands from them in return. Then, of course, those with the most bands loved to show them off (and on Rakhi, boys with the most Rakhis loved showing those off too!)
75) This list made you smile.

Regarding point 75, This list actually brought tears to my eyes thinking how true most of it is, and how I actually have been thru most of the things mentioned! Yes, I am a proud 90s baby!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm sick and tired of companies who would rather spend millions lobbying and giving their senior management golden parachutes and golden handshakes even as the relevant industry goes belly up. Industry should be retooling with new cleaner technology that will save our fragile planet from the doom that is impending upon it, rather than looking for short term profits. Governments should be steeply subsidizing green technologies, and sharply cutting down Carbon production. Now, if the argument is made to the effect that the Petroleum and related industries are crucial to the economies of the Superpowers, well at this rate, we won't have to worry about Superpower status, we'll have to worry about the very existence of mankind.
Where are we going? What are we doing to our home? This is the only planet that we know is inhabitable. Although we look for other places in our solar system in inhabit, we're destroying out current habitat too quickly and too recklessly to go back. Already glaciers are melting at rates that were thought to have been possible twenty years in the future. Fairly soon, rivers will dry up as the snow capped mountains will have lost all their snow. Ocean levels would have risen and complete countries will be inundated. And then the real problem will rear its head. Globalization will take on a completely different meaning... For in a globalized world, everything is interconnected. Climate refugees will pile into their more fortunate neighbors' homes. With resources dangerously low at the moment on the planet, who are we kidding by thinking that the neighbors will actually open their doors to the refugees and welcome them with open arms to share the little of what they'd have?
If they were expected to do so, it wouldn't be fair, and there would be chaos. And as the Joker once said, "Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!"

The symptom, the disease, and the cure.

     So, I was having a late night chat with one of my friends. And he sure was in a mood today! He had been to a government office this morning to enquire about his Voter ID Card. Having been snubbed twice, once in September(when the card was supposed to have been ready) and again in November(until when the card delivery was postponed), and then again in December(this morning when he was told to check again next month) Mr Shivam Sarawagi lost his cool. Now let's get one thing straight here. Shivam isn't someone who is angered easily. I mean, had it been me in his place, I'd have done what he did on my second visit to the office itself! Oh yes, Shivam is the epitome of a gentleman. However, he lost his cool. And he gave it to the government employee (the class of whom are strangely referred to as Public Servants!). And Shivam, my man, used foul language. Oh yeah, he really had it in for the fella! And legend has it that the officer actually had to give in writing the exact day that he would deliver the Voter ID Card.
     However, I am not here to talk about inefficient and sub standard government employees/public servants, or gentlemen who lose their temper rarely and spectacularly. None of that. What I am here for, is to show to the best of my abilities, where India as a nation is failing. 
     As we all know the state of the nation is abominable at best. We are 1 billion strong. We have the world's largest supply of manpower. We have the brightest minds on the planet. We have the oldest culture. We have had a 10,000 year old library at Nalanda. We invented the Zero. Blah blah blah. Those are achievements that any country would be proud of. And now for the part that would make most readers squirm in their seats. We have had the most number of terror attacks in the past 35 years in any country in the world. We have had the most number of deaths resulting from religious riots than in any country in the world (There have been countless deaths during the Holocaust as well as the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and of the Tutsis in Zimbabwe so I guess we're better off than some other countries on this count at least!). We still have a large fraction of our population below the poverty line, illiterate, and helpless to the vagaries of nature. In spite of all this, we dare to say that India is shining?           

     Reality check, folks; India is not shining! India is far from shining, actually. We as a people are condition to love and/or to hate people of particular communities. Shivam said that those people hate India. And something inside of me made me ask him, "abe kisi ke liye bhi love ya hatred inborn hota hai kya?". The conversation that followed is pasted below. Straight off the chat window. Portions have been edited to maintain sanity, but the content is mostly intact.

Abhishek Joshi: "abe kisi ke liye bhi love ya hatred inborn hota hai kya?"
Abhishek Joshi: is anyone's genetic wiring such that they hate or love a specific country or person?
shivam sarawagi: inborn nhn hota
Abhishek Joshi: it is taught to them, isn't it?
Abhishek Joshi: taught by the illiterate society they live in..
Abhishek Joshi: taught by their selfish evil leaders
Abhishek Joshi: taught by their parents blinded by hatred...
Abhishek Joshi: is it not so?
Abhishek Joshi: we can't just think of destroying the symptom.
shivam sarawagi: haan
shivam sarawagi: we must kill the disease
Abhishek Joshi: as long as the disease remains, the symptom will keep on returning..
shivam sarawagi: hmm
Abhishek Joshi: the disease is not those ppl, but it is that those ppl are unaware and illiterate
Abhishek Joshi: the disease is the evil bastards who teach the poor folks hatred 
Abhishek Joshi: the disease is the vote bank politics that goes on in our country each and every year that continues to divide the country in the name of religion and caste.
shivam sarawagi: iska kya illaz hai??? (What is the cure???)
Abhishek Joshi: you understand what i'm sayin now?
shivam sarawagi: haan
Abhishek Joshi: so the cure for this disease is education and nothing else.
Abhishek Joshi: education is not just math physics and chemistry..
Abhishek Joshi: learning subjects is just literacy..
Abhishek Joshi: education is when ppl are taught facts
shivam sarawagi: haan
Abhishek Joshi: education is when ppl are taught neutral versions of history
shivam sarawagi: haan
Abhishek Joshi: it is when they are taught to NOT hate any person or religion or caste
Abhishek Joshi: it is when they see that hatred and destruction NEVER brings any result
Abhishek Joshi: that is the cure

     And that is all I said to him. I believe, or rather, I hope that he was converted by this tirade of mine! But I meant each and every word of what I said to him. I'm sick and tired of parties dividing the people into vote banks. I'm sick and tired of people looking at each other with doubt clouding their vision. I'm sick and tired of government after government serving term after term remaining unaccountable to the people who put them there in the first place. I am sick of people killing each other just because they aren't educated enough to not listen to what their religious leaders have to say. I'm sick of the governments not wanting to educate the people because they would then see through the facade that goes in the name of governance. I am sick of lame duck Prime Ministers and Presidents who "condemn these dastardly attacks on the strongest terms possible" and who say that "the terrorists have no religion nor any love for human life" and who sit twiddling their thumbs while the country burns bit by bit. I'm sick and tired of politicos who want Maharashtra for Marathis and who would rather spend precious public resources renaming a city from Bombay to Mumbai, from Madras to Chennai, from Calcutta to Kolkata, from Bangalore to Bengaluru rather than doing something productive for those cities. 
     I'm sick and tired of successive governments dragging their feet on issues like clean energy. I'm sick of governments who would rather have criminals occupying Parliamentary positions than have rivers cleaned up so that the people living on their banks would live in peace. I'm sick and tired of religious parties taking out dharnas and demonstrations on shitty issues rather than cleaning up our so-called "holy" rivers and "holy" cities. I'm sick and tired of people being fooled in the name of religion into doing stuff that they wouldn't dream of doing otherwise. It's time we got MAD. It's time we got MAD at those religious fanatics who are destroying our society in the name of Ram, Jesus, Allah (Any other name you want to fill in). And it's time that you got mad too. 

Friday, November 28, 2008

We deserve better than this...

Here are bits and pieces of a conversation I picked up from The Dark Knight. The conversation is between Bruce Wayne(B) and Alfred(A).

A: "A long time ago I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of local leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being invaded in the forest by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But for six months, we never met anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had thrown them away."
B: "So why steal them?"
A: " Oh, because he thought he was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for something logical like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
B: "That bandit, in the forest of Burma. Did you catch him?"
A: "Yes."
B: "How?"
A: "We burned the forest down."

I hope that this time, our leadership does something other than giving the lip service that we are all used to hearing now. It is time that we took decisive action. It is time that India mustered global support and took a few bold steps in the right direction instead of crying about "dastardly attacks that we condemn in the strongest possible terms and that the terrorists do not love humans or humanity and that they are cowards" and shit like that.
We have heard it a thousand times till now. We have heard it over and over again. We heard it when Bangalore burnt, when Surat/Rajkot/Ahmedabad burnt, when Malegaon was affected, when Assam burnt and as Bombay has burned. We are sick and tired of the stupid and miserable excuse for a government that we have. A President who has no personality, a Prime Minister who is a puppet, and a Home Minister who is just an innocent bystander.
Please let us not bring any religion into this mess. Need I remind people that When bombs explode and bullets fly, people of all creeds are victims. Just check on the lists of victims if anyone has doubts about this. When it comes to killing people, interpretations of religions have almost always been equally to blame, and fanatics have always misinterpreted religions of their choice to whatever benefits their version of it, and killed people. I believe that enough blood has been shed thus far. And the God that I believe in must be shedding tears of blood seeing what we are doing to each other in His name. At this point, I don't believe in the absoluteness of any religion because to me, they all are weird interpretations of human behavior under different climatic and social circumstances. Nothing more.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terror strikes Mumbai. Again. Again. and Again.

Terror has struck Mumbai again. The first time this happened in 1993 was in the form of serial bomb blasts, striking critical centers in the financial capital of India, killing scores of people. TADA was brought in and quite a few people were apprehended. After that? Nothing. People were sure sentenced but no government is ready to take any further action for fear of losing a critical vote bank. The next time it happened in 2006 in the form of train blasts. Each and every time something of this sort has happened, governments have done next to nothing to pre empt future attacks.
All that has been done is to "condemn the cowardly attacks in the strongest possible terms". And that "terrorists have no religion or compassion" and other sound bites such as these. Thank you Mr PM and Mrs President, but what's the outcome? Where are the friggin results? Terrorists still enjoy a free run in the country as and when they please. Our intelligence is a failure and our cops are a joke. This is India Shining? I have my doubts. As does everyone else. We have placed our faith in our leaders. We deserve to have our faith rewarded.
How long are we going to be like sitting ducks? But another thought strikes me. Those "leaders", the politicians that we elect year after year do not want us to be peaceful. They do not want us to look at all mankind as our brothers and sisters. You know why? Because the day that there is peace and equality in society, we won't need them any more. We would simply throw them away like a bad habit. Just the same way that no company will ever release a perfect product to the market. Because once a perfect product or a perfect system is in place, we would not need anything else anymore. In the buyer's market, consumer is king. Or so they would have us believe. No matter how much we consume or are able to afford to consume, they will always be on top. Don't you see? Consumer is never king. The consumer on the other hand, is always a slave. It is the producer who is king. He has been king, and will remain so till kingdom come.
Getting back to the moot topic. The voter very rarely if ever has any say in a democracy nor does he get what he deserves, or what he wants. Strange isn't it, that in a system of the people for the people and by the people, it is the people who have been conveniently sidelined? Isn't it funny that the person we voted for never leads us... That we only get led by some arbitrary third person who is most easily manipulable by all the tiny parties that join together at the crucial moment, prove majority and make an alliance under a creative sounding name.
In the process, we get what is coming to us. They say that democracy is a system of government that is no better than what the a country deserves. Maybe we do deserve this.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

There will be anarchy...

I have been proved wrong! Of course, this is not the first time that I have been proved wrong, but it definitely is the first time that I am happy that I have been proved wrong. Apropos to my previous blog post ***** I see the governments of the world taking action, together, to combat climate change. The US government, which has, since time immemorial, sucked up to the Big 3, finds itself to have finally caught the GM-Ford-Chrysler cartel by the balls.
As the Big 3 find it unable to sustain themselves, no thanks to their own business models, the people see a change emerging from the sidelines. The darkest cloud truly has a silver lining. In this case, all the layoffs from the auto biggies the world over has got them wondering where things went wrong.
Primarily, it’s time folks realized that the Internal Combustion engine is a part of the past now. We cannot afford to sustain ourselves by burning gasoline and the sort to run our vehicles. Electric vehicles and mass transit is the way to go. This had to be seen about 30 years back, during the Oil embargo of the 70’s. But highly effective lobbying on the part of the Big 3 saw to it that this solution never struck the collective imagination nor did any such suggestion ever be passed by the Congress. Time and again, these companies have warded off requirements to increase fuel efficiency on their part, which was an extremely stupid thing to do. These guys obviously did not see the next curve coming. The way IBM had infamously said in the 50’s that the entire world required just 5 computers, and the way that Western Union had said that they thought that the telephone was an impractical invention, and scores of other such examples of bozocities, hence missing out on being the next big thing of the curve. The Big 3 ought to have quit the oil dependency in the 70’s and begun research on engines running on renewable, clean energy sources. But heck, no! What did they do? They maximized their profits by refusing to retool and to re-train their workers, and to do more research. With the amount of cash those companies sit on, they could very well have retained their top spots for all these years, saved the climate from being ruined the way it is being ruined now.
Next, This might sound like a chapter lifted straight out of the Zeitgeist Addendum, but it’s true nevertheless.  All the while that the world has been using dirty fuel sources such as coal and gas and nuclear energy to power its energy requirements, we should have forced our governments to go for clean energy sources such as Solar energy farms, Wind Farms, and Tidal energy. These energy sources have practically no repetitive costs such as buying oil, coal and gas and paying all those “friendly” governments to remain so and to then pay for all the externalities of using these dirty fuels. Think about Chernobyl, and the Polar Ice caps melting the way they are, threatening to raise sea levels by about 10 meters. Just imagine how the world would look like if things continue the way they are right now. London, Florida, Bangladesh, Australia, all submerged under the oceans. The number of climate refugees would be overwhelming and economies the world over would be thrown haywire by unexpected arrivals.
Unexpected? Think again. All this is a very very plausible scenario. And it is not an alarmist’s point of view. As politics in all countries fight for votes and power and money, the world is going down the drain. Literally. It’s time we stood up for ourselves. It’s time we stopped worrying about our jobs and our security and the sort. Because fairly soon, there will be nothing to worry about. If things continue the way they are today, there will be anarchy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Petro Dollar Scam

I recently got a mail from a friend about the PetroDollar Scam. I was completely astounded by its content. If what it claims is correct then a lot of my perceptions about the United States will have to change.
Firstly, we all should stop looking at the US through the lens of Hollywood, completely altruistic, and self righteous. What we to realize is that the US has never been dragged into any war thus far. They have had an underhand interest in all of their recent military incursions. They talk about the sovereignty of Georgia that Russia had recently pushed back. Georgia has always kissed the great big American ass and yet they were unable to get any help from their godfathers because Russia has recently emerged as an oil supplier. For a country that consumes over 25% of the world's oil supplies that is major incentive to not act!
Secondly, we should stop asking for US intervention for every goddamn issue that folks in a country have with any other country. Successive Pakistani governments have surreptitiously sought and received American help in the form of military aid, in the form of aid against Taliban(which the US itself supported at one point in time to chase the Russians out of Afghanistan). The global community must stop things like this from happening. American foreign policy has always been one to support its own ends in any local mess, even in Iraq. Under the veil of "restoring democracy", they have attacked sovereign countries. They have invaded invalid countries such as Nicaragua and Vietnam, getting the permissions for those wars from the Congress by depicting a false danger in the form of the US being "run over" by Nicaraguan Contras or the Commies in 'Nam.
Finally, I would really like to see ONE solid reason why we all trade in US Dollars when the currency clearly has no value. What will they do when folks come around asking the Fed for the real value of the US Dollar in gold? Is it that because they have an ulterior understanding with the Sauds, the rest of the world should keep the USD in their Forex? A currency that cannot stand for itself in the standard that is followed in the rest of the world? What are we so afraid of? Upsetting the established World Order? Have we asked who established the "world order" in the first place? Why should the rest of the world pay for the American Glutton so that he can have Mac Burgers n Fries to go, for free?
Don't get me wrong, America is a great country. A country where anyone who can dream it can do it. A country where the human will overpowers any other will. Inspite of all this, one must keep in mind what flimsy roots this country is standing upon. A house of cards, in due course, must collapse.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Demolition Accomplished

Here's a very interesting article I came across by Paul Krugman, okay it was shoved down my throat by the RSS reader, about Republican politics/policies and why the Democrats(Nancy Pelosi et al) are now exacting revenge on the Paulson $700 billion bailout plan. Read and enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sub Prime crisis

I was in a very interesting discussion with a bunch of rather interesting people this evening. I actually got to know what the Sub Prime mortgage crisis was that destroyed the American banking sector. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have been bought off by the government, Nobody wants to touch Lehman Brothers right now, Bear Stearns has been totally annihilated, and now there are talks of Goldman Sachs going down too. Where does this end? These companies are the cornerstones of the American economy. With an absolute idiot for a President and another one closely competing for the next Presidency, I really fail to see where the world's so-called leading economy is headed. Well, I do see it going somewhere, but I really don't want to believe it. For years, generations have looked up at the US, emulating and well, just sucking up to them!
I really don't know if that's been such a great idea now. Their spending patterns are plain stupid. They waste the planet's resources like there's no tomorrow, and they think that everyone else in the world except for them is to be blamed. The global food crisis is blamed on increasing consumption by countries like India and China, whereas the real culprit happens to be the excessive wastage of food by developed countries like the US. They blame developing nations for increasing oil consumption whereas the US happens to consume about 25% of the total oil consumed in the world, even though the population fraction turns out to be much lesser than that; I'd say, 4%? Are the Americans really blind? Or is such the tragedy of their lives that they just cannot imagine life without consuming so much of the planet? So whether this is a moral question or not is up to you: Would you rather emulate the people of a country who are hell bent on destroying the planet, or would you stand up and be heard?
Buck the trend, make a difference. Don't be blind. The real tragedy is not when one is blind, but when there is no vision.

Sure has been a while...

Folks, It's quite a while since I've posted something my blog. First things first, there has been a bit of an upheaval at my end and just in case someone doesn't know about this, I quit my job at Aditi, Bangalore in July after completing a year and two days there, and moved back home to Jamshedpur. Not that I wasn't really satisfied with my job or anything, but I thought that it was time to move on to something new. People who know me since I was little will vouch for the fact that I was never really a computer geek/nerd. I had always preferred to be on the user end of the computer end, rather than a producer end, so that's that. No regrets, I'm happy I took the leap. There's this law that I heard of in the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch named the Law of Diminishing Intent that I had decided to beat.
This law says that if we put off something to later, we lose the passion and intensity to do it and we keep on postponing these life changing decisions until we put them on hold indefinitely and we finally give up on them because there are just 30 million reasons for not doing something, but not ONE excuse. So enough circumlocuting, let me take control of my blog and start putting something on it for a start!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The human being will become extinct one day

There's something wrong with the world today,
I dont know what it is,
Somethings wrong with our eyes,
We're seeing things in a different way,
God knows it ain't His,
Its surely no surprise,
Yeah, we're livin on the edge.

Steve Tyler wrote these words sometime when he saw the world crumbling to bits. It sure is crumbling to bits, isn't it? We humans are eating it all up. And we want more. More of the world to plunder and pillage. We don't want to stop. I had a passionate discussion with a friend of mine sometime back about this. She wanted data on Global Warming and climate change. Words tossed around too oft these days. What I don't understand is why do people actually lie to themselves in seeming interested in saving the Earth, per se, to look fashionable, perhaps?
The same people who "want" to do something are the same people who do not take a bus instead of an auto-rickshaw, the same people who go to the market and bring home polythene bags instead of carrying their own cloth bags with them, the same people who do not turn off their monitors before going home, the same people who waste half a dozen tissue papers each time they wash their hands. Those are the same people who buy a car with their hiked salaries and commute alone, leaving behind a gargantuan carbon footprint. And these people claim to be interested in saving Mother Earth?
We humans are the only species that I'm aware of that's capable of slaughtering it's own brethren. And finding better ways to do away with more and more of them. We clear out rainforests everyday, and yet we cringe when someone brings up the topic of Climate Change in a conversation. I have actually been in situations where people have turned around and walked off claiming to have "work" to do when this topic came up. So this friend of mine, she asks me, why don't people do anything about things they only talk about? I had just one answer for it. It's not like we can't change. It's more like we don't WANT to change. We dont want to make changes to the choices we make everyday. We don't want to change ourselves. We would rather make fun of someone making an honest effort rather than look within ourselves and think about whether what we're doing is right or not.
And at the end of it all, when we all would have died, and death and disease has claimed every one of us the very last human being will think, "Did we do this to ourselves?" but he would already know the answer.
It's true that the human being will become extinct one day. God knows, we deserve it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yeah, right!

Ummm, I realized that I've been posting more and more links in my blog, rather than writing something concrete, no excuses, I've just been busy reading up a lot and I feel I must share it with you folks. Here's a link to the Baccalaureate Speech delivered by Guy Kawasaki. For people who already know about Guy, I needn't say much, but for the uninitiated, it's really awesome, and I bet it'll make a lot of difference in all your lives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Green IT

Just sitting and worrying about the demise of the Earth as we know it will get us nowhere. Feels good to know that there are actually some companies that are actually taking steps towards doing something about it.
Here's a link to an article about Dell's greenest computer yet.

Obsolete Technology

I often wonder what people do with all the really ancient technology that they used once upon a time. Upon reading the following article on Gizmodo, I was surprised to know that they don't throw it all away, they do,in fact, USE it!

Monday, March 24, 2008


"Something is about to give,

I can feel it coming,

I think I know what it is,

I'm not afraid to die,

I'm not afraid to live,

and when I'm flat on my back,

I think I know what it is."

The above lines have been shamelessly lifted from a song by my favorite band of all time, U2. The song is named "Kite". It's about letting go of somebody you don't want to let go of. Could be a lover, could be a father, could be a friend, could be anyone. I took a day off from work today to recharge my batteries. To get out of the rut of everyday life. And, what a day it has been! I got up pretty late, about 9 am, having dreamt of my life thus far.

I dreamt of my school. I remembered my first day there. I still remember it very vividly. The first day at that hallowed institution is something that can’t be easily forgotten by anyone who’s studied there. I thought of the great friends I’ve made there, Guys who’ll stand by me for life, Guys I’ll stand by for life. I can’t start naming people here because it’ll take forever and a half to get them all! Indians, and foreigners alike, they’ve all contributed to shaping me. They all are responsible for what I am today. And amazingly, I dreamt of each and everyone and everything that I have ever encountered in school. Thanks for the memories, guys. Good ones, not so good ones J. Thanks for sticking by me all these years.

That was my first dream sequence. And then I slept again in the afternoon, post-lunch. And then I don’t know why I dreamt of my Kodachadri trip. Now, not going into facts, but dreams are normally weird. So, I dreamt of me climbing the Kodachadri peak. The strange part of it was that to a large extent, the detail was accurate. I dreamt of being drenched even while we got to our starting point, which was true, I dreamt of climbing the terrain being washed by rain over and over again, which was again true. But the funny part was that the guys who had taken the trip, they were kinda different. Their appearance in the trek was totally out of context. Totally weird! Can’t imagine how funny it was then! It was a great trip though, and that’s why I dreamt of it. It was a great learning experience. It was the first time in my life that I really was drenched for an entire day! Now, for an urban lad like me, that is quite something to write home about. The trek taught me to not give up at any cost. It taught me that no matter what, a peak is there to be climbed. That no matter what turns up, unexpectedly or expectedly, it has to be dealt with. There is no way out. And when you do finish it, there’s no feeling that can be compared with it. Life for me has been like that trek, of sorts. The leeches that kept getting into my shoes were like the little thoughts and doubts, meaningless at the time, but which slowly suck on the flesh and draw strength from the body. These thoughts are to be removed at the bud. And one must move on, strongly and resolutely so that the fewest of these thoughts percolate through the clothes to the skin. And those leeches that do, must be removed by means of a sharp knife, or be taken with a pinch of salt, which removes them.

I hate to be preachy, but I end up being that a lot of the time, and I’m sure my friends hate that in me! Getting back to my dreams. I got down to writing this entry only in the evening. Having lazed about all day, I guess I have realized that I can’t live without sitting at the computer for a few minutes at least. So, here I am! Gotta go grab a bite now. It’s getting late, and I don’t like a late dinner. (No, there’s no philosophy in that, it’s just a habit.)

Monday, March 10, 2008


A friend of mine recently discussed the topic of Life and Death with me over lunch. Well, initially we both agreed on the concept of Soul. Tried hard to define it, but eventually couldn't decide whether it's a physical entity or a conceptual one. Went on to have lunch, and then a thought struck. Balance. I attempted at foregoing the concept of Soul completely to go with the Zen philosophy of Balance. I put forth my view that the an entity lives because of the balance between the factors that
a) try to keep one alive (positive)
b) try to kill the body (negative)
The first factor keeps the second factor subdued and one lives. In a state of Coma, Sleep, or Meditation, the positive and negative energies are just a hair's breadth apart and so one remains in non-consciousness in any of the three states. The brain sends out signals to the body to maintain its internal functioning, but it's only enough to keep one remaining alive.
Well, Sleep and Soul are two things that nobody can ever understand or define. They remain two of the greatest mysteries known to mankind. I believe that the concept of Balance can somehow explain those two mysteries.
So, coming back to our lunch-time conversation, we concluded the discussion by wondering how many of us really worried about the Balance in our lives. The Balance of having friends and being wary of our foes, the Balance of a Work Life and a Personal Life, and God knows how many other balances. We live our lives, spending time worrying about our project deadlines, stuff that we're gonna buy over the weekend, the next party we're gonna go to, the next alcohol/nicotine/dope/sex induced high, food, money, power, love, hate and many other things. And I believe now that thinking about these things is what makes us human.