Monday, December 19, 2016

Crossed The One Lakh Mark In This Blog

Now with that one hit, this blog registers its crossing the one lakh visitors mark. The journey was long, sometimes tough and during those tough and trying times, writing was my only way through those crooked and tiring roads that kept me going. I have not written the best pieces; yet, I believe, this blogging business just got my writing get better than what I started off with and I wish to learn to read and write a lot better in the future. At times I wrote for others and mostly just for myself and have been glad to get the feedbacks, comments and criticisms that helped shape my writing and those that did more in shaping me. Thank you all!
With that, here is a song that is quite important and close to my heart for it helped me in a day when I needed to restore one of the most important relationships in my life. Incidentally this song  also reminds of the journey I had with this blog. At the end of the day, not too heavy cos it just made me strong enough to carry... 

Here is that song for you (the lyrics and the video at the end):

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where

But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy he's my brother

He's my brother
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

- by The Hollies 

Monday, December 12, 2016


This is a poem that is said to have kept President Nelson Mandela going during his time in prison. Perhaps the one that helped save a nation at the end.

A beautiful poem that I just adore that I have recorded and am presenting in the form of a video. Most of the clippings were shot around the place where I stay and the voice is a result of an experimentation in my make-shift studio. 

This poem is titled "Invictus" - a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). It was written in 1875 and published in 1888.

Out Of The Night That Covers Me  (Invictus)

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 bludgeonings 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.

- By William Ernest Henley  (1849-1903)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Secret To Being Still

The unethical have a lot to speak about ethics. This is my learning from a set of recent events.
Maybe they do so to cover-up their own misgivings by pointing their fingers at others, to deflect the audience's attention from them or perhaps this is their defense mechanism of denial that is at play or maybe they should be diagnosed with selective amnesia where they forget their own wrongdoings that they beg to be reminded of.
No one is a saint and everyone has a skeleton or few hidden in their own cupboard; every saint has a past and every sinner a future; yet, we like to point out to the small slips and accidental falls of others trying to wear a halo around our head as we carry our self with a 'holier than thou art' attitude while speaking a hypocritical and sacrosanct language all the while.
Do we ever forget to look at the log in our own eyes (?!) before we try to pull the speck out of other's???
Every fellow manages to somehow reach a point of dissonance to justify their stand while criticizing others - the easiest being, 'I did it for his/her own good' statement that is often made to justify their cruel and rude actions. (Bull crap). However, how good are we in the first place to pick on others and/or criticize? Best left to oneself, the least one can do is remain calm and not condemn. If our concern is to help build and change the other, we better do that with gentleness - this takes time. Fruits don't ripen by force.
Why can't our concerns be real as we deliberate a peaceful way to help people.
Some people take this patience for granted and use their very nature to manipulate and get things work their way or they are too stubborn to change or perhaps filled with a heavy and blinding ego, they refuse to see the consequence of their action. Sometimes I wonder about any other choice we have other than being more patient in situation such as these that tests our patience even more. This situation tests us more than it tests the other I suppose.

"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.
And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee." said Fredrick Nietzsche.

The universe that must support our plans must be supported by our plans too. If energies around can have an effect on us, wouldn't it work the other way around too? To bring the mind to rest, thoughtless and to be still, seemed difficult and impossible at first. With a little bit of reflection, the mind does become still and when we pause, the universe does control the rest around us. If goodness is in our heart, peace can be spread even in silence - while riding a bus, while making tea or even while walking away from chaos - without the need to even set apart any time for deliberating it. There is always space and time for goodness and peace. Perhaps this is zen or perhaps why bother to name it at all...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Pros and Cons of Abolishing 500 and 1000 Rupee Notes

Yesterday night was a bit of an excitement mixed with frenzy for many as  a NEWS spread in India during the midnight hour, once again, since the declaration of our independence. The NEWS was that Modi has abolished notes of Indian Rupee valued at 500 and 1000 overnight - the highest denomination in the notes currently printed. Everyone who has these notes, have time till December 31, 2016 to account it and exchange it in banks or post offices.

The Pros: 
  1. Black money stored in the form of currency notes within the country will be flushed out as people will not be able to account the same or exchange it unless they put in a lot of effort to do so
  2. Future storing of black money in the form of notes will be difficult as Rs.100 would bulk up more than 10 times and consume as much space than the situation is at present
  3. Price of gold will raise; as this will be a safer and more culturally common and relevant way of storing excess money now. This means more returns for people who have been investing in gold already
  4. Money might be easier to handle and track with debit card transactions that might become more common as card transactions might be preferred over bulky cash transactions - making business faster and waiting in queues shorter
  5. The use of plastic money might boost e-commerce and cashless exchanges - the new trend for start-ups in India
  6. Thefts and pickpockets might go down taking crime rates down with it

Thats all.

The Cons: 
  1. There is a hint that the notes have been replaced with 'new' 500 and 2000 Rs. notes. Then this whole thing is a humbug. Point 2. of the pros is then off the list (Source:  PM Modi had today banned not just these two high value currency denominations, he had also unveiled their replacement, in the form of a new Rs 500 note and one of Rs 2,000.)
  2. Black money storage from the current point forward becomes easier with the current highest denomination doubled. Which means Point 1 and 3. of the pros is off the list too since people will find an alternative means to shrink their storage place and find new space to store more with a higher denomination being made available
  3. The whole frenzy of the people to dispose the notes they have is foolish as there is time to do so till this year end. So calm down people; the world is not coming to an end (...yet)
  4. Business - especially chota valas who refuse currency notes of 500 and 1000 denomination are more foolish. Business is more important and customers harder to get. These notes can anyway be exchanged and it would be a boost to the business if a shop keeper accepts the notes and gets the commerce going using this situation and reaping the harvest. Requires sense to think in this case - the hardest commodity to ask for anyways these days
  5. The corrupt will become more corrupt and find reasons to accumulate what they have lost in this barter in the near future - habits, not notes, that needs to be abolished
  6. In this case of taking old notes and releasing new ones, then, is just going to be like how Mohd. Bin Tughlak shifted his capital from Delhi to Daultabad/Deogir - a 'tughlakian' decision that made him lose more than he thought he could earn and an earner of negative press that we learn about till date of 'what not to do'
  7. One more ban, one more renaming and one more flop awaiting - as is the sequence in a country where people think like a slow starting tubelight 
  8. Anyways, the initial election manifesto was to bring back black money deposited abroad into India within 100 days that entered a delay as it required a change in taxation policies. What happened to that? Did we change our double-taxation system? Are we still talking about that?
  9. Wouldn't this exercise make the people who foreignized Indian black money look smarter than their Indian counterparts and help set an example for the corrupt to emulate for the future?
  10. Is this once again the typical re-naming stunt that is not uncommon these days. After all, what is in a name?

Seems like the con's outweigh the pros in this (dis)regard just for the simple reason that the notes are going to be re-introduced and very soon, in higher denominations. Was that a calculation intended or a consequence unthought of?! 
However, this great idea (minus the reintroduction bit) I remember coming from a Tamil movie called 'Pichaikaran' that was released in March this year and here is the scene from the movie for proof that the idea is not something that was born yet only something that has been adopted. Talk about originality...

Monday, November 7, 2016

Types Of Children (including the Trophy and Token Child)

Recently I realized that children fall into at least four categories - depending on the reason why they are born or based upon the way they are parented later.

The trophy child like a trophy wife, is the child one has for the status it brings along. Much like how a just divorced and quoted to be impotent man or an infertile woman finds the fastest and quickest way(s) to have a baby... just to prove the point - nothing more and nothing else. For them, the child is nothing more than a showpiece - parents seem attached to this child yet more for self-obsessed reasons than anything else - to create envy among the snoopy ex and/or to shut slanderous mouths and as a proof for their own active sex life. These are children one 'has to' have.

The token child on the other hand, is more like a child/children one has for the very heck of it. Much like how one has one for the very reason that one 'must' have at least one; or when 'more the number of kids, more the verility', is assumed to be true by absurd personalities in some even absurd societies.
Here, it is all about the numbers. How many girls? - this in case it is in the North Eastern part of India, How many boys? - this applies to the rest of India. The token child in many marriages is just born out of no reason at all; with no purpose and of little value. It is like a token exchanged to evade the stigma it might bring otherwise. Born out of the duties performed connected with marriage (including having a child) and raised as a duty connected therewith thereafter. These are children one 'must' have.

The accidental child, like the name suggests, is born out of what the parents might see as a "mistake" including (yet not limited to,) a goof-up while trying to use protection or being too drunk and/or carried away to not use one. These are re-creations made by mistakes during recreations - a foolish one to regret for the rest of the life.
Or these could also be the ones a person is pushed to have not as a matter of choice yet one that rises out of force and compulsion like in the event of a rape or as a matter of tradition (like in the case of a child born to a Devadasi). These children carry the burns and scars and the damage more than the parents. These are children one knows not 'why s/he has'.

The love child on the other hand, is born out of love. A symbol of trust, care and respect that the parents have for each other. This child carries with it the genes and the energy that created it in the first place and enchants others with its very presence. Unlike the other two, these are passionate children who are easy to love and fun to be with. Not just made out of skin and bones, these are children with a heart and soul. Rare yet the most sought after.

Biblically, at least,  we are taught that we are born out of sin; Psalm 51:5 says, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me". This makes sex - a natural need according to science and a non-verbal form of love according to psychology, seem like a sin... if I were to believe it.
Perhaps this is just an(other) attempt by the church to make people feel guilty even from the womb so that they may establish their authority over them for the rest of their freakin life. Children are not conceived by sin, atleast in this category; they are conceived out of love, as they need to be. Love between the father and mother passed on to the child. Love formed out of trust, care and respect above anything else. These are children one 'wants to' have.

Having a job, is similar to having a child - nevertheless a want and never a need - some have it for the heck of it, some to avoid the stigma attached in the event of not having one, many have one by accident and very less for the fun of it.
We get stuck with jobs just because 'we have to' rather than take up a job 'we want to' - much like those arranged marriages many find trapped into which later one justifies to attain a state of cognitive dissonance to put up with it.
Very often, we are stuck with trophy jobs, token jobs and whatever other bastardly job comes our way in the event of not being able to find the true passion or love of our life that brings life and commitment to what we do. It is not just the person who suffers yet also a great deal of injustice done meanwhile to the job s/he holds as well.
Today, we all sell ourselves cheap. The mind especially, is always up for sale to the highest bidder. From becoming the 'other woman' in the white house to becoming a lot lizard for cheapskate punters during a hoe stroll, our opportunities seem limitless when we are not decided. Sometimes, it is not for us or for that money that we work anymore... it is perhaps just for the heck of it and for the fact that we have nothing better to do...          

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Excerpts From An Essay On Identity, Conflict And Violence By Fredjeev

Chapter 5 - The Upward Mobility of the Downtrodden

The plight and fight of the socially (pushed) backward and traditionally oppressed communities is more like a life on the wheel. The victims of violence and injustice today being identified and recognized as such, command more than demand their special provisions for upliftment in the name of social justice - be it the Dalits from India or the Africans settled in America or the indigenous people who were devoid of their rights in their homeland like the Maoris of New Zealand or the Red Indians of America and every other colonized country like India that is yet to recover from the after-affect of the mad nightmare of the past.
This self-imposed need to be identified and recognized as one belonging to the victimized, marginalized and scheduled groups is a mandate to avail the welfare rationed from the stored loot of his/her majesty’s invasion supplied in the form of grants, aid and other concessions. This identity of the ‘receiver’ as an ever-marginalized group or as a forever-developing country at large, gets further cemented by the media and good Samaritans of the development sector who make a sensational coverage of this group time to time to showcase them as dirty, humbled and always dressed up in rags while at the same time, the ‘giver’ wears the cloak of superiority, authority and pride to break and throw morsels for the rest to fetch.
On one hand, the people who carry the burden of the earlier oppressors and who are widely pointed to for the blunders committed once for which they have no rationale claim to be blamed, are subjected and go through the same level of human disregard and discrimination which once their predecessors (alone) had to be blamed for. This phenomenon is a turn of the wheel as we see the ones who were up yesterday being crushed by the ones who were down today - just for the simple way in which things have turned. Sadly, identities that were fought to be cast away have simply become more certain, defined, nurtured, wilfully promoted by many and unwilfully thrust on the rest - for the same reason it was earlier done - for survival. 
A resulting paradox - an ingroup that fought against an outgroup for stratifying and discriminating it by labeling it, now takes up yet another fight to belong and be identified with the group it is fighting with - quite ironically incidentally is the new identity the ingroup wants to establish while taking pride in upholding it only reaffirms its identity rather than find opportunities to shed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

To Bike Or Not To Bike

Just got into a dilemma on personal choice.
During recent events in the domestic line, and after test riding a few bikes - something I did after a long time, a very long time of course - the best of all the bikes I rode, I enjoyed riding a 535cc stove-like thing which shares a part in the vintage period on its own. The Continental GT a.k.a Cafe Racer from Enfield is a sure good ride.
The issues however are a few; and as most issues go, they were seen more by others than by me.
Issue 1, was the riding position. You got to crouch. Many who do not pick the bike because of this unconventional riding position when compared to the regular and majestic Bullet (that my brother decided to pick for himself). Yet then, there is a difference between a legend and a racer. This is a Cafe Racer and you ride it the way it should be. The issue however that I faced during the few test rides was the way your palm slips off the handles when you cross the 100kmph line. Perhaps that is why you have riding gloves. Yet, it moves.

Issue 2, was what my daughter pointed out to. She said that with that 'red' seat-end at the back, I looked like a baboon on the lose while riding it. Issue mitigated if I chose a 'black' one and chose to look like a gorilla instead.

One of the worst bikes I ever rode - the enfield himalaya - over hyped, boring and devoid of any riding pleasure. Think my kids were right when they called it a "toy" and the people in the shop laughed and grinned in agreement.
Recently, a friend of mine said that he saw a girl ride it in the high range; perhaps that explains it all. And with that being said, I think I should be able to rest my case on this one.

Meanwhile, Mahindra comes out with this NEWS today: Mahindra reboots two-wheeler business, will revive vintage brands BSA, Jawa

And with that, what will I do?!
You got this JAWA - a bike immortalized by my Dad (on a personal front) - the key to the bike which he had that I still hold. A vintage by all means and still looks like a retro holy 'stove' just like the other, (don't know what is on with me and the stoves...) is still powerful with its 350cc engine just like an ordinary Bullet and above all, I wouldn't have to look like a baboon or gorilla by choice while riding it.

In the meantime, as I dread reaching the Hobson's choice and wanting to choose just one and be contend with it rather than have an affair with the other all the while. Decision-making has not been so difficult for a person with no wants for a long time. Well perhaps this is what life is all about... where one can play dice with the universe in the context of time. And what way better than to bargain with the past...  

What Did You Say

Case 1:
A few years back in 2008, during a cricket match between India and Australia, a balle-balle spinner 'is supposed to have' referred to Symonds, an Australian cricketer as a 'monkey'. Incidentally, Symonds is a Caribbean by birth who was adopted by Australian parents; which seems to give him all the required reasons to feel bad by this name-calling. This incident was discussed widely as a racist-spur and as a lowly act by the turbanator.
When I read that, I couldn't help laughing at the possibility of misunderstanding what was being said and a diversion that worked well for everyone at that point of time.

  • First of all, an Indian cricketer who knew so much to twit(?!) Seriously???
  • Second, the possibility of not being heard correctly during a multilingual meet in an international arena and
  • Third, a more possible word that was used that perhaps was best left misunderstood in this situation that rhymed the same as 'monkey.'

Considering the fact that the turbanator (as he was fondly referred to), was a boy from a middle class family from rural India with an educational background not exceeding school-level who played galle-cricket, the word that must have popped out during the moment of frustration, as suggested by the local dailies (and promptly removed later), must have been the common verbal abuse used in the Indian context-'makhi' and not monkey as cleverly reported later.
Surely Bajji must have thought that a word against the mother must be more offending than the racial slur inflicted - a point to be considered from an Indian perspective. While perhaps Symonds, from another perspective, would have been better entertained had he gotten a chance to understand the actual meaning of the word used than the altered word later suggested for all that he must have undergone as a kid. However...

Case 2:

This is what a 'Fakir' a.k.a 'holy man' from India looks like:

This is what Gandhi looks like: 

Any resemblance between the one above and the one below cannot be counted as coincidental unless the person perceiving so, is either a deliberate fool or completely blind. 

The point in focus is when Sir. Winston Churchill referred to Gandhi as a 'half naked Fakir'. 'Half naked'-by the measure of the khadhi cloth waggling on his body, agreed. Referring to him as a "Fakir"?! makes me reach the three point question once again:
  • First of all, a Brit who knew so much about Fakirs(?!)
  • Second, the possibility of not being heard correctly during a multilingual meet in an international arena and
  • Third, a more possible word that was used that was felt best left misunderstood in that situation that rhymed the same as 'fakir' that perhaps would be synonymous with the Biblical, 'Go forth and multiply' statement - if you know what I mean.

These words come from the same guy who in 1937, told the Palestine Royal Commission: "I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place."

The same guy who during his role as minister for war and air in 1919 on being criticised for advocating the use of chemical weapons - primarily against Kurds and Afghans said, "I cannot understand this squeamishness about the use of gas; I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes".

This is the same guy who said that Indians had to be blamed for the Bengal famine and quoted that "Indians breed like rabbits".

Churchill told the cabinet on another occasion. "We should be rid of a bad man and an enemy of the Empire if he died." This about Gandhi.  And do I still believe that he would be good enough to refer to Gandhi as the 'fakir' when he could have jolly well called him with another word sounding similar in terms of rhyme and rhythm?! 

Interestingly, Gandhi is said to have regarded Churchill's expression as a compliment. He felt unworthy of being called "a fakir and that (too) naked - a more difficult task." He then implored Churchill: "Trust and use me for the sake of your people and mine and through them those of the world."  
If only he had understood or read between the lines, I wondered... or what if perhaps he did... 
What a diplomatic escape and a political opportunist he must have been either way...

Monday, October 17, 2016

Movie For The Thoughtless Or Others Likewise

A movie I watched a long time ago, provided me with a grim reminder me of where we are heading to as humanity... humanity that is forced to comply to thoughts and suggestion without a thought of its own. Often in classrooms today, I make it a point to ask the class to "THINK"-though that is (definitely) not a part of the portion the Universities want me to cover. 

Mentioning that, 'thinking' seems to be too much to ask for these days; perhaps, the loftiest idea to have even suggested something like that in the first place. Having spent most part of one's precious life conforming to authority and adhering to ridiculous disciplinary routines and procedures with unquestioned submission in school(s), at home and in religious and other related mental institutions, the essence of becoming a thoughtless human being seems too easy to reach for a depleting generation for whom the major "source" of information comes from the facebook. 
A huge vote bank success for the politicians, media and educationalists in achieving a set of thoughtless parasites who will never have the spine to stand up or question the lot. 
And a big round of applause in standing ovation to all the idiots who pile up into the making of this system...

Suggested movie to see: Idiocracy and here is a clip from that movie:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What If Every NEWS Had A Connection

A fellow gets bitten by a snake while trying to take a selfie with it. This happened in India's northwestern Rajasthan state (where else?!) after forest department officials removed the snake from a school. No kidding check NEWS here: Snake Selfie

Talking about snakes, imagine coming back home after a long day only to realise two huge pythons have picked your roof as the perfect spot to settle a score. For one family in Queensland, Australia, this sadly was a reality. Read the NEWS and watch the video here: Pythons on the roof-top And all this while I thought watching our Priest waiting to talk about sin (ironically) was the worst that could happen coming back after a long days work.

A new species of a ground-dwelling lizard has been discovered in Goregaon's Aarey Colony and Thane's Badlapur forested belts, 130 years after the last such gecko was discovered, and has been named after a Bengaluru-based scientist Varad Giri. Finally Indian Scientists discover something-so what if it is a lizard that was just right up the wall?! check NEWS here: The Indian Edison

A video, currently trending on YouTube, shows the adorable moment a little girl hugged actor Sunny Leone and simply refused to let go. Apparantely, the child wanted to go home with Sunny. Surely the mother of the child must have realized the truth in the phrase 'Like father, like daughter.' Catch the NEWS here: Everyone loves Sunny

Doctors at a Chinese hospital said a baby boy born with a total 31 fingers and toes will receive a series of surgeries free of charge. And here I am wondering what is wrong with the Chinese... Check NEWS here: China has more than it can handle. First people and then toes

Meanwhile Docs from the US of A have succeeded in creating the world's first baby using a new "three person" fertility technique today. The five-month-old boy has the usual DNA from his mum and dad, plus a tiny bit of genetic code from a donor. Perhaps the need of the hour in that country. Check NEWS here: Whose kid is it anyway?!

Also, Nathan Desai-(one more) disturbed lawyer in US of A of Indian origin was wearing military-style clothing with Nazi symbols during the 20-minute shooting spree when he fired at passing cars. Desai's name was written with the 's' capitalised in media reports in Houston, making it sound European, but his father was identified as Prakash Desai which helped confirm his nationality that will help stereotype the rest.
See now that is the advantage of having just one father. Check NEWS here: What is in a name?!

Well, if you guys still wish to continue this streak, this might be the NEWS you needed. An Indian-origin doctor from a UK sperm bank has launched a new mobile app for women who can browse and pick the right candidate online to father her child. Check here: App'se Baap takh

Humanity should be wary of seeking out contact with alien civilizations, Stephen Hawking has warned once again. "One day, we might receive a signal from a planet like this," Hawking says "But we should be wary of answering back. Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn't turn out so well." Well he was at least right about that. Read here: This man seems attacked

Now that brings us to the end of the NEWS for today and I wish I could start a NEWS channel to provide humanity with NEWS that no one cares. Until then, keep making NEWS for the world... 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On Staff Meetings and Other Gullible Academic Pursuits

Since I have been writing for a while about some acts fit for a circus happening within the academia, thought that I might as well write one more as an add-on to what has been said so far.
This one is to all those departments, schools, colleges and universities who proclaim that they are conducting 'seminars and conferences' at 'state, national and international' levels-yeah right(!) for they settle for nothing less...

To the fellows who Organize:
Why? Well, here goes your modus operandi (that you thought we never noticed.): You make one of your several phone calls to establish a 'quid pro quo' with a classmate or a glassmate living across the district and convince him/her to send some of the students from his college so that you may return the favour when s/he is in need sometime later-over a secret and convenient handshake thus, a pact is signed and the deal sealed-once that part is done, you gladly go on to announce on a carefully hoisted banner that a 'state-level seminar/workshop on (some God-cares a damn) some random topic is to be conducted in the campus soon. 
After having learnt this invaluable lesson on how to fool around-now that you are recognized as one of the greatest organizers of events held in the campus by authorities who buy your crap, you would then proceed to call a person from across the state and call it a 'national-level' program. The next greatest career achievement of your life time. 
This only to proceed to the next level of marking your star-studded achievement-by bringing in a tourist (preferably a white skinned one and preferably with an accent to match that no one understands) who you pick up during your stroll into a neighbouring supermarket to light the 'kuthuvilakku' (the lamp) and call it 'international-level' program. If nothing else works, the international seminar/conference can still be conducted if you invite your neighbour, the NRI, who just returned for a short break and let him/her do the honor of whatever the otherwise tourist must have done-technically this fellow holds a foreign passport too and what if s/he has a funny Indian name(?!) we shall cover it up with his/her fake accent.
As you climb higher in this ruthless pursuit, you only seem to be falling lower, lower and lower at this only to get better and better in doing so... and hey, just to mention, we are watching.

To the fellows who Participate:
The sad lot who sit like mute animals waiting to be butchered. Who are you people? Where do you come from? What do you even get in return for being a part of this sado-masochistic endeavour? Do they push you to attend these or are you pulled towards the food and people during these gatherings? Did you even realize that if you weren't there (together with everyone else,) this endless nonsense would never happened? Does anyone stop you from walking out of this deep-pitted pit of despair if you chose to-perhaps just to make your point clear to the spineless and senseless rest? Still, you refuse to go and decide to stay. Don't tell me that its for the content; seriously(?)! Could it be then for the lousy certificate they give at the end that perhaps someday may add points required for your promotion or the required formalities to be completed to get that degree they might put on hold? Don't you already see an emerging consensus network operating in synchronized coordination feeding into each other's gullibility? Duh!

To the fellows who write and read those papers in these seminars/conferences:
Surely cut, copy, paste and plagiarize is not yet considered an art in academic writing. Has anyone really read an academic journal or anything else of that sorts in the recent past? Crap, nothing less than pure crap is what most of the writing has reduced to-in content as well as style. Perhaps those sheets of paper if not wasted, could have been put to better use-perhaps to make toilet papers-the difference being-instead of shit transferred to paper like it does in the former, one would at least be glad to see the vice versa happen in the latter. 
At the end of the day, what else do the readers deserve more than this enh?! One begets the other with the fall in quality and the whole system is so flawed and grossly stinky-with everyone together in it-that no one gets the right to question the other about each other's stink or each other's contribution to the pollute.

Staff Meetings: 
Stored the best for the last. This is one place where Einstein's Theory of Relativity would take a humble bow towards the nearest exit for sanity's sake. This is where time stretches irrespective of how relatively senseless everyone feels about what is happening before, during, after and around these so called meetings.
This perhaps is the most seeded ground for the powerful, powerless and the clueless to gather under one roof to prove 'who is who' and for the rest to understand 'why so'; this brings together the shamelessly agreeing 'Yes Sir Community' together as they pledge their loyal devotion to the ones who take their positions above-setting an example for the rest to follow suit; last yet not the least, this holds the majority-the audience-who put up with this gruesome task of waiting as they wonder with an earnest angst within about the delay in the arrival of the samosas and bajjis to fill the vacuum in a place void of any decisions or common sense that has been there for a while.
Seriously, do you even have an agenda in these meetings? Have always wanted to ask, 'How on Earth do agenda-less meetings last so long?' How are things made to appear so organized in this chaotic mess?

Until then, let me run to catch one meeting or perhaps two and wish that this time, they will serve some vadas too... 

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Politics In Tea

'So how would you like to have your tea?' if asked, one would probably start imaging the Darjeeling, the green, the oolong, the silver tips, the golden tips perhaps or maybe even the orthodox or the humble Indian chai being served and sipped with a delight... seldom would any normal one even remotely think that someone actually asked you 'on what you deserve it to be served in?(!)' 'Would it be in a porcelain cup, tumbler, clay pot or coconut shell perhaps...' Somehow, like many other finer and more uncouthed things that happen in India, this question of 'what to serve the tea in', comes with a need to reveal one's caste-based identity-an identity that could determine your dignity, respect and esteem more than anything else that you would not have to work on to deserve the same. 
It is sad yet a reality that in some shops in India and still many homes, there is a 'double-tumbler' system that prevails when it comes to serving tea. In some tea shops, people considered and labelled, 'the untouchables', are served tea in cheaper and/or broken glass, aluminum, clay, plastic or other disposable containers while dominant caste groups get served in stainless steel tumblers or shiny cups made of glazed china clay. If you are too unfamiliar or unslottable into a particular caste or due to some strange reason, your enigma/charisma is such a put off that the tea-master (the guy who brews the tea), will dare not ask to your face the caste you belong to, then your caste is assumed and to make no mistake, you will be served in a disposable cup and anything equally less. Some of these places-shops and homes included-have even separate entrance for different caste groups-usually the higher through the front and the lower through the rear. 
Why does this happen? I don't know. Why does this still happen? I really don't know. Perhaps people do find some excuse or the other to stratify and discriminate. I really do wonder if there is any scientific research done on this issue in this area to prove that majority of a particular so and so community often let glass or stainless steel cups slip through their fingers and in order to reduce loss to the enterprise, such a scheme is laid. Other than that what else can be even close to an excuse?! Ignorance? Apathy? 
Recently, I came across a canteen inside a superior college, in a state that claims to be 100% literate and in a district where a hartal can be declared at the drop of a hat for any (non)issue-where not two yet a 'triple-tumbler' system is still prevalent. Paper cup, stainless steel tumbler, cup and saucer-student, teacher, clergy-you decide who gets what. Now what do I blame it on?! Ignorance or Apathy?! or a socio-cultural idiosyncrasy in a cultural context in motion? Shame, shame puppy shame... 
Technocratic discrimination has dwindled bureaucratic lines and at times rides comfortably in the girdles of our blindness and our failure to even notice these marked stratification and discriminatory lines. This is the same hollow tunnel through which the comfort of the oppressor creeps in along with a support system that encourages these practices. Everyone is to be blamed. Some for being blissfully ignorant, some for being comfortably apathetic, some for being the confident perpetrators and others for being silent promoters and humble acceptors of these practices. Following the tea trail, the ruin of its reign seems to unfold the more and more one tries to ponder-straight from the slavery used to lay the plantation (Have you read 'What Colour Is The Soil In Munnar?!'to the system of slavery that is installed by the way it is served. 
For now, when I look around and see teachers, students and clergy sip through their tea in a hurry-choosing to carefully ignore this simple yet deliberate mistake happening around them in this canteen-situated within an educational institution-in a state ruled by a group that promises equal treatment to all, I am amazed at the complacency of the discriminated lot who choose not to stand up, nevertheless ask-for whom I write this; as the famous quote by an author unknown goes, '“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” 

Well, at the end of the day, how do I like my tea served? Pretty plain, neat and simple-like everyone else's please. Until then, my ahimsa, my way-am boycotting the canteen until they chose to change the cups along with their attitude. Chai anyone?!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Unbelievable Fight

So of all the things, I never thought fighting could be so much fun. Should one laugh? Should one cry? Should one do both?! You see; you decide...

And for a bonus, if you are still up to it, try this too:

And let me know... is it only me or did anyone else feel that this bout would have looked better had the fighters worn frocks... By the by, these are scenes from old Tamil movies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Photo From 1800's

On the pursuit of collecting, restoring and archiving antiques, found an old photo-perhaps the only one remaining of my great, great Grandfather-that makes it even more personal to me.

This is a photo of Rev. Devasahayam in his graduation robe and Thalappa (Indian head gear). A graduate in English Literature during 1800's, he was also a reverend in the old State of Travancore. Another treasured possession in my antique's archive is an English dictionary used by him-perhaps during his college days-a beauty of its own. 
Recently during one of my walks in the graveyard, I discovered his tomb as well-in MM Church, Trivandrum. These discoveries make you search for the person's life history-that is seldom recorded and that is very often distorted and twisted by hear-say accounts-yet is interesting.

Wish time travel was real and if I could travel time, I'd rather prefer travelling back than forward and meet some people I love-many I haven't even met-one such person I would love to hear stories from would be from this great, great grandfather of mine for all the exciting accounts of his life I have heard so far-some that ended a search for what I refer to as 'an interesting genetical coding' that like most other 'interesting' things, is proclaimed 'faulty' by most-that runs in our family-that all started with him. Hahaha! 

By the by, like his shoes-one more justification for my shoe fetish...           

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Surviving Academic Politics

Uproar in the media about a 'deemed to be Doomed' private University in Bangalore last week did not catch me by surprize. What happened was bound to happen... perhaps my un-hippocratic self won't shut from telling me, 'This won't do... we need more!'. From levying exorbitant fines for silly reasons, to watchmen at the gates being asked to feel the pants and/or lift the dupatta of girl students to check if they fit into the prescribed dressing code of the college, to unsanctioned extortion from parents in the name of fees, to horny priests and their hornier superiors walking the corridors, to the disappearance of teachers who stand up to these unreasonable woes time to time-this compound is one large circus of clowns with a guaranteed show everyday... Thanks to the clowns.

For example, there is a half-baked bald head who sits in a department or two in this compound. This guy's modus operandi is flawless, he tries to intimidate any new staff by taking them for a walk through the parking space, where an old, green, used-van would be shown off and he would go on to declare, 'I donated this... you know!'; later he would point to exactly ten rolling chairs to repeat  'I donated this... you know!, I donated that... you
know!' 'I, I, I, Me, Me, Me, Myself, Myself, Myself...' repeating endlessly; later, he would parade the staff back to his cabin to start of with his-almost eulogy sounding-self trumpeting speech (perhaps that no one else listens outside this compound and perhaps the reason why the family of this guy gave up all hope for a cure) about what he supposes must interest mankind the most-unbelievable stories about himself-for as long as his old self can throttle. If anyone dares to cut his crap, they call for his wrath and what else his little donations can achieve through his connections with the higher-ups.

Interestingly, this guy passed a post-graduation degree at a time when dinosaurs lay eggs in his backyard and claims to have a PhD but from a different discipline; adding to this, he neither has a NET certification-nor will he in this lifetime-this makes him neither fit there nor here nor anywhere else; even UGC won't be happy with this occupation of a chair which otherwise must be held by a more respectable, responsible and reasonable human. This here, is an unqualified fellow who has been given the task of running a department by the other circus clowns. With things like this happening, where every clown thinks that they are far above the UGC or any other regulating body in the country, just because they think regional-connectivity-with Varghese, Kuriens and Chackos from their gate all the way to the parliament-can get them whatever they want, what can one expect other than... Yeah DOOM! and that is what has happened so far.

Not many of the students who study there get to study what they must be and later not many of the students get a job or exit the gates with a plan-nevertheless a future-ahead of them. With buffoons like this guy sitting there to just water their egos as their central duty by holding on tight the thrones they are strapped to, how would academic concerns matter? Yet, this clown thrives and continues to run his show titled, 'I donated this... you know!' Perhaps unfit, unqualified and ineligible people like this fellow must survive on these donations they make.

These are the fellows who do nothing and get away with anything; and to show that they have of course done something, ensure that they trip others from doing anything and thereby establish a fact that they are ahead of the rest. These are fellows who would like to sit in every committee nameable and imaginable and fight over titles that other better thinking and talented people perhaps will not care a rat's arse about. These are fellows who would like to straddle on the loins of power-a compensation for their lack of it in other aspects of their rather pathetic life. Interestingly, parasites of this kind use 'buttering' as their only progressive tool in their career path to move ahead. They try to stay close to the proximity of people who assume power, investing their time in feeding the management. administration and anything that moves above them with gossip, rumours and anything that will keep them sadly entertained, sidelined, uninformed and distracted from the factuals, logic, reason and rationale; and it seems like the management likes it too and it is likes of these hypocritical liars that they like hanging around them having fallen for cheap tricks that is shoved down their throats with hints of praises about the listener to add that 'buttering' effect in between-a perfect formula, a recipe that these buggers seem to have learnt and perfected over time that seems to work for them to seat their fat bottoms in. These are fellows who get offended if they don't get the respect they demand... And that perhaps is the beginning of the large book titled, 'How academic politics originate... a field guide to dummies with no other specific talent and professors with special needs.'

What else can I pray for other than for the students who enter this campus with a hope to get a shot at the future... that they be saved and redeemed and not deemed to be doomed like this trap they walk into... 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Surviving Backstabbing

'It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.' said Adam Smith.

'Self Interested, Self Obsessed, Self Centered, Selfish'-a few words with which I would associate people who I met last week. Realized that one picks enemies the moment one begins to give others the threat of being a competitor.
Once threatened, some will go as far as to stoop so low that they would resort to backsliding, backbiting and eventually backstabbing-yeah right, sports academicians-especially Indians, more specifically Indian academicians play-to compensate for their lack of actively participating in any form of real sports during their better part of life.

What do they get in this bargain?! At times I wonder would these fellows be so good as to be able to see their faces in the mirror? How would they look? Would they be able to see themselves? Would they be able to see the different person in the mirror-if they reflect-and would they like it? Would they be happy? What do they get to take home at the end of the day?

Yeah, the saddest part though is that backstabbing catches you off guard as it comes from the people who you consider as a part of your inner circle. After a while, you either become immune or become paranoid enough to avoid being prone to more of such attacks. Lessons taught over and over-yet, remains a lesson never learnt.

Also having been there and having had a fair deal of knives pulled out of my back-many stuck by those I mingled close with-those knives that I perhaps someday must hoist in a museum with a personalized note. Realized recently that there is no need to fear or respect backsliders as well. There is no need to necessitate the need to talk to the face of the ones who do most of the talking behind other's back.
What is the need to talk ill, and pass vicious and venomous comments about someone in their absence? Isn't that itself a sign of cowardice? Wouldn't the one's who sit to listen to such cowards see through that?
Have you noticed how these slithering, disgusting crawlies operate only in the dark too? Perhaps their need to work in the dark is necessary for their lack of presence at work during the day when the rest of us do.
Everyone must perhaps know that the fellow who gossips about someone in their absence, will soon be gossiping about everyone who is listening to them too. That is how they operate, that is how they are tuned, that is how their DNA runs and that is how their fathers and mother unfortunately made them the pests that they are and to be. My prayer meanwhile to the dear One above will be for pest control or maybe just a stronger back to pull me through this pest infested mold.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Rose By Any Other Name

These days, somehow, the idea of classification, stratification, categorization, reservation-no matter what you prefer calling it, at the end of it, the idea of discrimination-surrounds me.

Aparna recently was on a visit to Korea to present a paper in an(other) "international" conference. Upon her return when I asked whether the idea of living in another country fascinated her, she said that she would like to visit not settle. She felt that the hospitality of people lasts for not too long and lasts up until the natives begin to feel that there is 'some other person' in their territory-talk about guests and meat stinking after three days! What interested me was not about the natives yet about a young western girl (performing the duties of a secretary) who had been assigned to take care of the logistics during the conference. The white girl ensured that the fifth floor, from where the view was the best, was carefully allotted to the whites (only whites), keeping the next floor for the Asians (the browns) and the lower floor for the Africans (the blacks). Except the whites, the rest were restlessly uncomfortable with this logic of separation and everyone's discomfort was choice-fully ignored; and you know why. God! I thought... it must have looked like stripes on the United Colors of Benetton though I didn't think out loud and chose to reserve my comments.

Personally, recently I had a humbling experience learning that the word 'discrimination' is quite offensive and too difficult a 'word' for people to digest if one uses it to communicate a more offensive, difficult and deliberate 'action' of the 'other.' I was soon to realize that, you would be advised-with utmost sincerity by the 'other'-to use more 'diplomatic' words to portray the violence without offending the violent. This diplomatic use of words assures that perpetrators of violence and injustice, remain unoffended and unaffected and receive the required sanction to carry on with what they do sans hurting their ego, conscience and sentiments; meanwhile abolishing everyone who would take a chance with words and offend them or perhaps prompt their conscience and attempt to stop them from doing what they otherwise do with comfort. Safe and sound in their serene shangrila of immorality, assured uncouthed impunity by thrusting the idea of diplomacy on others. While claiming to live in a civilized world, the cowardly few, carry on with their most uncivilized actions with no one to offend, question or stop their cowardly action with nevertheless-words-or perhaps the lack of it. It seems that the want to live in a "civilized" world (whatever that means) applies to only them and no one else...

Just imagine a situation where you are driving on a dark, curvy road at night and you just forgot to dim the car's headlight for an approaching vehicle. Do you think the guy who is driving towards you is going to take it easy, digest your mistake and cheer the idea of being diplomatic and polite?! Of course not! Before the vehicle zips by, your entire family's history, geography, dignity and honor would have completely collapsed with the choicest use of well rehearsed words, leaving you with time for a thoughtful reflection for a while within the comforts of your car and the audience of the ones travelling with you. What emerges out of this (so called) 'filthy, vulgar, impolite and undiplomatic' use of words is that the next guy who will be driving past you, is assured a dimming of headlight as a response sans a reminder or a need for request. An automatic and classical conditioning to respond to a stimulus. Thanks to the unreasonable, undiplomatic and indecent bugger(!) my action becomes more reasonable, diplomatic and decent... isn't it?

Diplomatic communication, I think is a trick on us. While we try to scramble, juggle and trampoline our brain into choosing a 'better' word, like we do in a game of scrabble, those smart cookies who hide their sins under the blanket of diplomacy, play the game with no one to stop them and escape in the cover of diplomacy and claim for civilization. What else will one call that racist, discriminating, secretary from the west-reliving in a prehistoric world with a retarded, apartheid-mindset-who threw people on different floors based upon their colour-anything but... 

'A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
the least syllable of thy addition.'?!* 

Note: ...if anyone has a problem with the use of words, kindly take it to Sir William Shakespeare. *lines extracted from King Lear by William Shakespeare for my lack of 'diplomatic' words to refer to the otherwise wonderful Secretary.