Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lord ! oh lord!

Dear God,

This is not a spam. But we have millions of God in the Hindu religion and I wouldn’t want to be rude addressing only a few of you. I am , therefore , like the Marketing gods of present times, mass mailing you all. Hope you understand.

I promise lords, that I shall pray thou, the complex mathemagicians that you all are , if only you help me solve some of the pretty nasty equations in my life which I am unable to comprehend.

I have answers to some pretty easy ones like what is life after death, the non equilibrium thermodynamics of heterogenous systems, Memristors and swift chips.

But there are some complex issues I have no clue of. Help me dear God. Life would be that much simpler and I would have more time to think, thank and pray!


1. The prettiest girl in the lift smiles at me only when I am nursing the worst hangover.
2. The ball lands on the zero of the Roulette wheel always a spin late after my bet at the casino.
3. The fattest guy sit next to me in the aisle seat on a long flight.
4. The kid next to me in Mcdonald trips and spills Ketchup on my shirt only when I have my whitest shirt on?
5. Only the important mails go to the spam and the spams come into the inbox.
6. Whenever I jump the light at the signal, an officer is round the corner?
7. Do I wake up at 5.00 am on a weekend but find it hard to do so when I have to catch an early flight?
8. the battery of my mobile discharges only when I am on some very important call.
9. the people I really enjoy chatting are always busy and the people who are a pain in you know where are always free.
11. The best shows during vacations are only the next day when I am leaving.
12 . does it have to rain when I have an interview and wearing my best suit and am without an umbrella.
on the highway, I get the urge to go the rest room only after I read the sign saying that no service area for the next 25 miles?
14. People pay to read when a jerk called Murphy chronicles it and call it as Murphy's Law but dismiss it as attention seeking whinging of a frustrated ranter when i write!

Waiting for your email.

A disillusioned soul.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Environmental ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was taking up the Myer Briggs assessment for an interview. The Myer Briggs test is a psychometric test which is designed to test how you react to various situations and your decision making abilities in different circumstances.

I was going through the maze of questions , each question repeated in ten different ways so as to get the most authentic answers

As I finished the test and collected my things to leave, the lady at the counter smiled and me and said, “ Thanks young man. We will get back to you.”

I was taken aback. Young man! Then I again looked at her. She looked a ripe sixty or more.

The West and the East have different ways of looking at age. In the West it is just a number. In the East it is more than that.

I remember a young Indian lady who became my fan after reading my blog and started chatting regularly. One day she thanked me for some advise and cutely said she loved me. I was flattered. Her next comment brought me crashing down. She said I reminded of her father. I asked her how old is he? She replied dead pan , “70.” Thanks young lady you made my day!

Another time I was having dinner with some young Indian students in Virginia. We were in a Mexican restaurant and had already knocked off a few margaritas. We ordered delicious chimichangas. The portions were sumptuous. I was unable to finish it.
A kind hearted but concerned student from Kolkata enquired if I was unable to finish it because I was oldie or I was avoiding cos i was fatty. I knew he meant no disrespect.

I looked at him again. He was definitely heavier than me by a few stones. And I was going to the gym regularly.

I remembered my neighbor who was a good friend of mine. He was a single parent and so sometimes I used to help him in picking or dropping his twelve year old son Ralph.

Ralph was a chatter box. He had lots of stories to share. His school, his studies, his teachers and his girl friends. But he used to sternly warn me, “ Look I know you are my dad’s friend. But you are my friend too. So you better keep this a secret.”

I had to cross my heart several times.

There was a swamiji I met a few years before. He had said that you can find your mirror image in the nature. I had jocularly asked him if I could look in some four legged animal.
He stared at me long and then replied , TREES!.” I asked which one. He waved me off saying go find it our yourself.

I am imagining. How these folks would see me?
The pretty girl would see me in a Bunyan tree. The Bengali boy would look for something equally old but with a girth.

Young Ralph may select a tender plant which he could reach out to.

Me ! I am confused. Maybe an oak tree.

The four legged animal would have been better.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I am not a Pig Farah!

The Pigs never had it so good. They simply refuse to yield their top position in the headlines.

The distressed people, the mango junta , tired of swine flu were looking for stars for some respite. Alas, the stars couldn’t themselves think beyond pigs.

Manoj Kumar was indeed a big star of yesteryears. So when he accuses Farah of calling him a Pig, well , every one sits up and listen. Not surprisingly there were more than hundred comments.

Farah must be kicking herself for being such a sow. Now she may be obnoxious , but to be fair to her she was just using the ‘propah’ term. All she said was that his movie was a chest nut of ham scenes which literally meant that he had overacted.

After the outbreak of swine flu , people are wary of eating pork.
The geriatric actor may be missing the delicious sausages in his breakfast.
Perhaps that’s why he only read ham and saw hmmmm pigs!

But if it is any consolation to Farah , she may not be the only victim of the queens English. It is a great leveler and treats every one with the same disdain. That’s why perhaps its called the Queens English!

One British gentleman was asked to open his bag at the airport. He jocularly commented, “ Better be careful. Its so loaded with clothes that it may explode the moment you open it.” The alert official heard no further. This guy was taken in and strip searched!

Once a pesky friend of a friend of a friend from India was bugging me for getting him a software project. I explained that it would be unethical as I was being paid by my company to do precisely that. When I couldn’t shake this guy off I tried to excuse myself by pretending I was busy. “ I am afraid I cant chat with you now.” I wrote. The valiant entrepreuner kept asking me who was I afraid of ? was my boss sitting next to me?

I therefore prefer to simply wish some one good luck instead of the rather theatrical , go break a leg. Knowing Indian generosity, I shudder at someone praying that I break both my legs!

Sometimes I do wonder if language is meant to communicate or to leave you clueless!
My experience with all the banks has been terrible. When you send them a mail, they reply in such a garbled, incoherent and stupid way that you are left none the wiser.

In those frustrating moments , I swear at them calling them Pigs! No hamming there , I swear.

My sister mentioned this remarkable talent and now I am a big fan. I am sure we will see a lot of him in the future.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lion of the senate

Rest in Peace

EDWARD KENNEDY ( 1932- 2009)

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Jinnah conundrum

Jinnah died many an autumns ago. May his soul rest in peace. He must be enjoying his time puffing his favorite cigar in the garden of Eden.

He was an urbane, literate old man. Although the Mobile was not invented in his time, I am sure he would be a quick learner and if asked to send an SMS to Jaswant singh on his latest book he would send a terse , LMAO ( Laughing my ass off! )

The equally urbane Jaswant singh, not be outdone would send a ROFL ( Rolling on the floor laughing). He would have loved to invent something like LATWTTB ( Laughing all the way to the Bank).

Indeed these two must be the only people laughing in this sordid episode.

I have always been a great supporter of the BJP. I found them a lot refreshing and democratic than the power hungry and sycophantic congress.

Another big difference was Vajpayee.

I grew up listening to his fiery oratory. I remember as a kid, I used to throw my books and rush to the square where Vajpayee used to speak and listen to him mesmerized.

The day he lost from Gwalior was a sad day. I must admit, though, that Late Scindia was a credit to the city. He can take credit for a lot of development. But he wasn’t half as charismatic. I missed Vajpayee who never forgave Gwalior and shifted to Lucknow.

With Vajpayee gone and Advani on the wane , the BJP has started looking like a B Team of the Congress. I can hardly distinguish. Actually Congress looks much more refreshing and democratic today.

I once described congress as a circus with an Italian ring master with all the lions and tigers gone. And what were left were only clowns and monkeys.

Today the BJP looks like the Disney has been outsourced. The mickey mouses and Donald ducks, you will find all of them there.

There is an intellectual vacuity now. Sudheendra Kulkarni, one of the finest brains in the party resigned and Arun Shourie looks to be on his way out. God help!

We criticized Congress on Emergency. Can we condone Modi on banning the book in Gujrat? Isn’t something like democracy alive?

should really anyone care too much about this book?

Jinnah is dead. And so is Nehru and Patel. Partition is something real and irreversible. It doesn’t matter who was responsible. Pakistan is as much real as India. for the modern generation, these tall leaders are nothing more than frames on the wall. They have more important issues of survival than the academic interest in who did and who didn’t.

I never quite understood why do we treat any praise of Pakistan or its leaders as unpatriotic. Are we so insecure? We should be proud of our democracy. We are not Pakistan. Any healthy debate should be encouraged.

For a country to flourish, the opposition is as important as the ruling party.we do not have a shadow cabinet like say UK. but that doesnt reduce its importance. The country needs a healthy BJP as much as it needs a vibrant Congress.

The congress to its credit has been pretty dignified in its response. I wish the BJP remains too.

A modern India cant be built by performing autopsy of a dead historical issue.

History has its own value. But when we allow the historical issues to override our counsel, there’s a risk of making your party a history. beware of becoming prisoners of history.

The BJP should remember that.

It doesn’t matter what Jaswant Singh personally thinks. He is anyway LATWTTB

It's saddening to know that MJ died of overdose of medication. genius like him are rarely born. To lose him this way is a shame.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ganesh Chaturthi - The Lord and me.

Tomorrow is Ganesh Puja , the birthday of lord Ganesha.

I prefer to be called non religious but that doesn’t annoy the lord. Contrary to that He has always showered his blessings on me.

Although I am a North Indian, I have some great friends in the South. When I was leaving for USA the first time , my friend’s mom advised me to visit a temple called ‘Annavaram’ in East Godavari in AP. The temple is a charming shrine on a picturesque hill top. As we were seeking the blessings of the lord, my friend explained to the priest that I am a North Indian. The priest gave me a coin and advised me to keep it always in my wallet. I later saw it was lord Ganesha.

Later when I moved to UK, I got my first car , a modest powder blue Mercedes. When we went to offer our prayers, the panditji there gave me a small idol to keep it in the car and a picture to , yes you guessed it right, keep it in the wallet. Lord Ganesha.

When I look back at my life , there were two Gods who indirectly removed the stage fear from my mind. One was the Goddess Durga and another Lord Ganesha.

Dad was in the Air force. These two were the community festivals which were celebrated over ten days. Each day in the evening the puja used to be followed by cultural programmes and we used to take part in them with a lot of enthusiasm.

The audience comprised of our parents, neighbors and friends and so was in general good natured , benign and appreciative.

Naturally less talented performers like yours truly were tolerated.

I wasn’t ,therefore ,booed till I reached college! My dad had retired by then and there was no puja. The Lord had to remind me of his benevolence!

The Ganesh Puja was celebrated by the Maharashtrians and the Durga puja by the Bengalis. The players would be the same. just the organizers changed and so did the menu. We relished both the lunches with equal gusto.

My dad was the secretary of the organizing committee for most of his career. That meant our house used to be converted into a Cultural workshop with countless cups of teas and snacks being served by my cheerful mom and happy sister.

One room used to be cleared to keep the sacred pooja things including ‘Kheerapat’ the delicious Prasad, the offering to the lord every day. It was made of dry desiccated coconut, rock sugar, poppies and generous sprinkling of dry fruits. The ladies worked hard to prepare them and keep them in tall containers. Ten containers for ten days.

My best friend was also a maharashtrian. His father used to be the President of the committee. That gave him the excuse to sometimes stay back overnight in our house to help.

When everyone slept after a hard day’s work, we used to sneak into the room and gorge ourselves with the Prasad till we couldn’t eat anymore. This was totally blasphemous.

But Greed always overcame faith.

It was only on the day of the immersion that guilt took us over. We used to wade into the river and close our eyes and seek forgiveness. This happened every year. I guess we were forgiven by the lord. Nothing bad ever happened.

Each day the coach used to take us to the city to admire the various public celebrations. The decorations and the grandeur is seen to be believed.

But coming back to the story.

Our association in crime continued as his dad and my dad were again transferred to Chandigarh.

New school. New friends. But we remained the best of friends. Until we met her.

We both had a crush. I guess we both prayed hard for her. But She knew her worth.

She ignored us both.

During one such immersion in Sukhna Lake , I was lost and couldn’t find my parents in the huge crowd. When I spotted this family , the father ordered the girl to hold my hand. I had a wicked smile as I thanked the lord and winked at him. It couldn’t be a coincidence. The lord planned it for me!

Just then my friend came searching. His eyes filled with rage as I proudly displayed , the ultimate trophy, our clasped hands.

He felt betrayed. He felt jealous. We broke over a girl.

Needless to say, we were growing!

The next day I lost my friend and I lost my girl. She continued where she left. Ignoring me.

I had no option but to wait for the next year for another Ganesh Puja.

Lord Ganesha is the God of Wisdom, prosperity and auspicousness.
I pray the lord for your happiness and prosperity.

Friday, August 21, 2009

NRIs or Not Required Indians!

India has it own national flag. It’s own National Bird. Also it’s own National flower.

What if we have a National fruit?

I would vote for an Orange!

Nothing describes us better than an orange. We look as one united country till we peel the cover.

As if the divisions based on caste, religion, state and geography are not enough, we keep reinventing ourselves. Now it is a NRI vs. RI.

I was reading an interesting blog deriding the NRIs in the ‘Times of India’. The writer was extolling his readers to royally snub them. Interestingly his biggest grouse against the NRIs was and I quote ,

“Taking advantage of a more connected world, the professional NRI (who knows no other identity) has stepped up his battles to cast India in his own confused image. No Indian website is free from the voluminous but pernicious comments of the know-all, ultra-nationalist NRI banging away on the computer in splendid isolation.” Unquote.

Looks like the writer is in need of serious medical attention. His head is stuck in his ass. Else he would realize that he was doing the same precise thing for half his life. Worse still, he was getting paid for it, unlike the hapless NRIs who were doing it for free in their fits of “ Ultra Nationalism”!

O Tempora O Mores!

I wish people like him breathed a little less so there would be enough fresh air for nice and decent people.

I do not wish to blindly support NRIs.

But there are good and bad in them.

Two years back I was returning from Kanpur after visiting a dear friend in IIT. The Kanpur Airport is a very small one . Understandably, there is a limit on the free luggage since the plane is very tiny.

In came an NRI family.

They brought so much luggage that I got the feeling that perhaps their home caught fire and they had to bring everything to the airport. They were not the first time visitors and very well knew the luggage rules. I bet they do it every year to sneak in some free baggages.

The girl at the counter was very patient and polite. She explained that they had exceeded the limit five or six times over and will have to pay. This Diva threw a tantrum and acted pricey .She complained to whoever would listen that she had traveled all over the globe and had never seen such discourteous behavior anywhere in the world.

Luckily the station manager came in. He was a no nonsense man. He curtly told the counter girl that if they don’t pay the penalty ask them to leave. (Hats off to him!)

Then she insisted on paying by credit card. The counter girl again explained that this was a very tiny airport and does not have that facility.

My bad luck I was behind her and she could make out from the size of my bag that I was an NRI as well. So she looked at me for support and commented that these people love harassing NRIs. I cheekily commented, “ well Mam. You have exceeded the limit.
If you commit a crime you pay for it ,right? It’s the same everywhere in the civilized world. You are doing no favor ”. i deliberately used the word crime.

Her stare was so cold that I feared that I would catch a flu.

Her husband , meanwhile , was staring wistfully at a burkha clad woman. I bet he would have paid in dollars to wear that .

Her behavior was utterly disgraceful and cannot be condoned in any way.

Another time I was coming from Hyderabad by AP Express. The train reaches Gwalior at 3.45am , an ungodly hour in the best of times. To make matters worse, it was winter.

The attendant failed to wake me up and I was in Agra before I knew. There was Shatabdi Express in an hour. I boarded that.

A mild mannered avuncular gentleman sat next to me. He was going to Bhopal.

Now the ticket fare in this train covers for the breakfast and lunch. They grade according to the distance. since Gwalior is close, they simply give a coffee/tea and some biscuits But a full breakfast to the passengers going to Bhopal.

So the waiter served only for the passengers going till Gwalior.He served my co- passenger also by mistake. The most embarrassing thing that could happen was that as that good man picked the biscuits, this young waiter snatched it from him and said this is not for you. To make him feel better, I immediately offered him mine and lied that I had my breakfast in Agra.

I presumed that he must be some retired government officer. Turned out that he was a doctor living in UK for the last 30 years and was on a vacation like me. Such Humility!

No fuss. No show of annoyance. Just an understanding that the waiter wasn’t educated. He was simply trying to do an honest job. I felt so good.

As I was alighting at Gwalior, he shook hands and with a twinkle remarked , “ Sorry to keep you hungry, Young Man!”

He was a wise old man. It was my turn to think of that ubiquitous Burkha!

I can say it with conviction that the first type of incident can happen once in ten times. The second one can happen all the time.

The NRIs are Indians too and their heart too beats for their country. Don’t treat them as pariah just because they live far away. They are no different.

As someone from India once succinctly wrote to me:
“ Dooriyon ka matlab fasle nahi hua karte.”

Distances cannot pave way for differences.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To her with Love- Happy Birthday

Dear Onal,

Yesterday as I was carrying my cart out of the shopping mall, I saw a very pretty seven year old dressed as a princess. She was running with a magic wand as her mother was chasing her playfully. Not knowing where to hide she came and hugged me hard.
As her laughing mother came to collect her, the child smiled to me and said , “You are my Uncle Davie.”. I smiled and patted her head and said , “and you are , my angel, my little Onal”.

I suddenly felt like Kabuliwallah, the delightful central character of Tagore’s evergreen masterpiece. He sits down on the floor as he thinks of his daughter. I sat on the bench ,with a Cuban coffee, thinking of you. Never mind his loose pyjama and shirt and my shorts and tshirts. We both were far away and were thinking of someone we loved!

As the French say “ "Plus ca change ,plus c’est la meme chose"”
The more the things change , the more they remain same.

There is always a Kabuliwallah deep inside all of us. It needed the genius of Tagore to pen it down.

Tomorrow is your birthday. Let me walk you through the memory lane. The lane filled with happiness , cheer and sunshine and where your uncle was young and charming! (Or young at least!).

The memories are more and the space is short. So I look into my kaleidoscope and pick up random what I like. If I could, I would have gifted the whole kaleidoscope to you. Alas. Youtube has yet to develop the technology to upload pictures captured in my mind.

Remember how you loved animals. It always fell upon me to take you to the zoo. In your innocent mind the seven seater ‘Tempo’ was a more regal vehicle than our sad Maruti. So , I had to carry you on my shoulder along with your lunch of cream biscuits, chocolates and water bottle and trudge a mile to the main road and then wait for an empty one. As I wiped the sweat from your forehead , you were incessantly chatting, your cheeriness totally oblivious of my discomfort. There in the zoo, after talking to all the monkeys and zebras, we used to always sit close to the lions. They were your pets. You wanted to offer them biscuits. We used to shriek with delight when they roared. Your biscuit thrown by me was loved and accepted by them.

The return used to be quiet. You sleeping in my arms peacefully. I longing to sleep peacefully!

Do you remember that journey from Mumbai to Goa in a ship. Remember the picture at gateway of India? You running with childish delight after scores of pigeons! You captured every one’s heart with your smile.

Remember as a family, how gifted we were musically. How grandpa teased me that I was a greater artist than a singer. When I happily asked if he liked my drawings , he would quip no but I hate your singing. We also were a family with two left feet. All except you.

One day you brought the traffic to a halt in Panjim , as you started dancing in the middle of the road. The laid back , good natured people of Goa clapping enthusiastically and the smiling policeman posing for a picture with you.

Then there were birthdays. We used to keep gifts at your bedside and you would wake up to the alarm set at 12 am and the squeals of delight and laughter as grandma used to feign anger at disturbing the neighborhood.

Remember I used to sing living doll every night before you slept. And you used to listen as if I were the best singer in the world.

We didn’t have a care in the world. It was all happiness and sunshine.

But we all knew. Childhood is one borrowed time. The only happy time. Hence it comes at a premium.

As your grandpa waged his losing battle against death , we all watched helplessly. Destiny can be cruel. That day I spoke to you as an adult. Told you that your dear Gram is dying and it was time to be brave. Your eyes brimming with tears, yet not a drop falling, you nodded your head as you listened silently.

There were two deaths that night. Your innocence died with your gram.

Both would never return.

My coffee is over. But the train of thoughts aren’t. I order one more. The Cuban coffee is strong. It kicks you like a horse. But today it seems a little watery. The lovely lady gives me a warm smile. She can see mentally I am not there.

Remember the time I came to Mysore to your college. It was just for two days. But it was fun. When you gifted me the shirt with your first salary, I choked.

Time just flew , like the painted kites we loved to watch on sankranti.
Like those migratory birds that came only to go.

I sigh as I think how much I lost of your growing years. Once Yugesh had asked me how much I really knew you guys since I was seeing you for hardly two weeks a year. I had no answer. I cant turn back the clock. But it sure crosses my mind, was it worth?

Your grandma always complained that we relate better to animals than human beings. Even now I find my biggest happiness when I am with the neighbor’s dog or the majestic ducks who come regally as if feeding them is my job and they are born to be served.

Tomorrow is your birthday. It is the time for celebration. With people you love.
Your grandma was right. We relate better to animals.

So we shall celebrate your birthday together.

Happy birthday sweetheart.

The ducks send their love.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shahrukh kkkking Khan

President Obama is ignorant because he doesn’t read the Indian Press. He therefore thinks Singh is King. He knows nothing.

The Indian press knows. They know the importance of news.

Some days are marked for some people.

Like fathers day is for the fathers. Ignore that old man for the whole year. But be good on this day. He will forgive and you can move on with life without any pangs of guilt.

Ditto Mother’s day.

Independence day is a blind spot. We are never sure who should make the news. So in their benevolence , the Indian Media allows the PM , yes the man who cannot sing or dance but give boring speeches about the problems facing the nation and how he plans to tackle them, to hog the lime light.

Sometimes this protocol has to be circumvented. Because something more important happens. Like our King Khan being interrogated. And so our PM and his address is relegated to the third or fourth news.

The nation is agitated. Rightly so. It is OK to frisk a President. But King Khan! How dare you.

It is more important than swine flu. After all what is swine flu.

We read every minute detail. How he felt humiliated. How he promised he will never come back to USA ( USA’s loss, he can still make his millions shaking his ass somewhere else!) and how many anti depressants KJO has taken ( Damn he makes JLO sound tacky!)

No President Obama. This is not right. Your papers claim that Bob Dylan too was interrogated. Forgive me!BOB WHO?!

Your officials claim that he was only interrogated for 66 minutes and that he is a better actor in real life than on screen. So what.

Your papers claim that even the most revered Edward Kennedy was detained numerous times. So was Vice President Al Gore.

No President Obama. that won’t do. Its not OK. That is an absolute no no.

Please remember. Indians are tolerant people. It doesn’t matter if you frisk our Defence Minister or our President. But the king! now thats blasphemy!

Prime Minister Singh is not King. He is just a wannabe.

In a country there can be only one king. Treat him with respect. Will you!

Now all the NRIs. Bow your head to the King.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Independence day!

Long back I was in Lome, the capital of Togo, a small country in West Africa. My escort had done a real good job. So I wanted to take him for a drink.

I was shocked ,though, when they stopped him at the entrance of a five star hotel. No natives allowed. I pleaded in vain. Finally, we went to an African joint. The locals there were shocked to see a foreigner. But when my escort explained, there was a big cheer. I had a great time there and came out glassy eyed with all the beer those kind hearted people offered.

Imagine you are living in a country where you are not allowed to even go in any hotels or restaurants. No wonder Africa was always referred to as the dark continent.

This story becomes poignant when you are celebrating your Independence day.
We may have many drawbacks. There’s a lot which needs to change. But thank our stars.

We are free.

Freedom brings responsibilities too. My dad was smart. We never had any restrictions. But we never ever crossed our limits. Not because we were angels. Far from that .

But every time we tried to say sneak out for a movie, or smoke with friends some where something tugged at our heart strings. We were outsmarted by a wise man I guess!

For me freedom means free from poverty, free from hunger, free from disease and free from illiteracy.

I have seen my country grow. We were a young nation scarred with the pain of partition. Now no more. The scars are gone. The pain is gone. What we see is a sure footed nation assured of it’s position on the world map.

For this transformation , we owe our gratitude to many people. They in their own ways brought glory and pride to our nation. The architects of our nation, the planners , the builders, our able defence , scientists, sportsmen , musicians, writers, actors and above all the unsung heroes, the common men and women of the country.
They withstood hardships, they withstood attacks but never gave up.
We bow our head to all.

Greetings to all. Happy Independence day.

(President Clinton has always been my favorite. couldnt resist
posting this one instead of the original.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Janamashtmi - The celebration of love.

Today is Janamashtmi , the birthday of Lord Krishna.

Some one sent this delightful notice he saw outside one of the temples in Pune.
(The temple is closed due to the outbreak of swine flu. )

The notice reads : “Lord Krishna will not be born today because of Swine flu.
So devotees are requested not to come to the temple to celebrate”.

It reminded me of another very funny notice I had seen in a temple in Birmingham in the UK.

“ You are not allowed to touch the Gods. Only the priests.”

As a child i still had faith. Lord Krishna was my favorite god. He is the symbol of Love. Also,He has that peter pan image. He never grows up. My grandmother used to narrate stories of his mischief and how he teased and flirted with the gopis. It all made very colorful listening. I specially loved the part when he stole butter and ate mischievously blaming others.

I can close my eyes and remember the countless nights in the open yard where we slept during summers. No Studies.The cool breeze, the open sky and the shining stars above and my grandma's emotion choked voice as she narrated.It was Magic.

I remember the dahi handis back then. The handi is a clay pot filled with buttermilk that is positioned at a convenient height prior to the event; the topmost person on the human pyramid tries to break the handi by hitting it with a blunt object, and when that happens, the buttermilk is spilled over the entire group, symbolizing their achievement through unity. The crowd meanwhile tries to stop them by using water jets.
Its all very messy but fun to watch.

Various Handis are set up locally in several parts of the city, and groups of youngsters, called Govinda, travel around in trucks trying to break as many handis as possible during the day.

I am not a very religious guy. My God died young.

But then a dear friend tried to instill my faith back.

Last week , Caroline visited my apartment for extermination. She too advised that in these tough times its better to keep your faith alive.

I am trying.

I did visit the local ISKON Temple. It was soothing.

This year I plan to visit Vrindavan. Maybe I will celebrate my Janamashtmi then.

Festivals are a state of mind.

Diwali is when your pockets are full. Else its Diwala.

I am sure God will understand.

Happy Birthday Lord Krishna. Eat as much Butter as you can!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Swine Flu - Symptoms and Precautions.

I have cancelled my regular post to publish this very important information regarding Swine Flu. I saw this in India Today and am reproducing it for public Information. Remember guys prevention is better than cure.

Symptoms and treatment
• The basic symptoms for swine flu are similar to the seasonal flu - fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, headache, body aches and fatigue.
• H1N1 strain is a mutated form of the swine virus. It is communicable only through human-to-human contact.
• Swine flu is not a food-borne disease and does not spread through pork.
• Tamiflu, Relenza are prescription drugs effective against these strains of Swine Flu.
• There is no vaccine for swine flu as yet.
• The incubation period is one to seven days.
• If an antiviral agent is warranted, it should ideally be initiated with 48 hours from the onset of symptoms.


Here are a few simple dos and don'ts that will help prevent spreading the infection.
• Maintain hygiene, wash hands frequently.
• Avoid contact with those who cough and sneeze.
• Avoid crowded places and social gatherings.
• If there are any symptoms, contact the doctor immediately as the treatment drugs are not available in the open market.
• If infected, stay home and avoid travelling.
• Always cover mouth while coughing or sneezing, to avoid the disease from spreading.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sexual Adventurism or plain perversion!

Vatsyayan, the author of Kamasutra, is dead. But if alive, he would have been a busy man today. The most celebrated voyeur in history would have been hopping from one studio to another.

Sex is the flavor of Indian TV.

Picture this : An elegantly dressed distinguished gentleman. A senior citizen.
One look at him and you want to emulate him when you are his age. Utterly charming.

And then the confessions tumble. He has married thrice. Divorced all. Now lives with a girlfriend for the last six years. Had sex with a girl younger than his daughter. Yet says he is still waiting for his dream girl. Has an illegitimate child . If that is not all, steals bed sheets from Hotels. He proudly claims that he uses woman and has no sentiments for them. All the while the three women of his family look stonily with a frozen smile on their faces. Tales couldn’t get whackier than this.

Another picture : A decent middle aged family woman with her adolescent son, husband and her in laws watching ,is asked if she would sleep with another man if her husband is unaware. She says no. but the polygraph test says she is lying!

The son squirms. The husband holds his head in his hand in dismay. The mother in law looks like she has been hit by a copy of playboy!

No. These have not been lifted from the salacious confession corner of a Men’s magazine. You don’t read them anymore.

If you want sleaze or sex or both, just switch on your TV.

Vatsyayan would rub his hands in glee and say , “ Asambhav”.

Welcome to the adult world of Indian Television. From peeping into the drawing rooms , now we have graduated into peeping into people’s bed rooms.

This is Sach ka Samna , The Indian version of ‘ The moment of truth’.

Sach is not all. There are others too.You have everything. Just ask.

In another reality show ( the clip is very popular on Youtube), the show hostess, a girl , as mean and slutty as you can get, is pretending to rag young student and perhaps to make it look more realistic, slaps one of the guests. In a reflex action, the angry boy slaps back. Suddenly the entire production team pounces on him and beats the guest to pulp. Its all recorded.
Wonder if the girl with her lackeys was put behind bars. I am chivalrous. But only to females! And yes ,violence must lead to only one place – Jail.

Another show shows( wow check out my alliteration skills) skimpily dressed actresses trying to survive in a jungle. The focus is more on the skimpy dresses than on survival.

What next ? Jerry Springer?

‘Sach Ka Samna’ brings out the naked greed. Money at any cost.

If it brings some shame , well it goes with the territory.

That is the Sach. Doesn’t matter if you have to face in front of the whole nation.

Maybe even Sigmund Freud could make a living sitting on NDTV analyzing with Prannoy roy!

There is an unerring predictability though. Pretty innocent questions to start with. The family and close friends sitting and beaming good naturedly. A happy close knit family coming here to extend their support. Slowly the questions start getting personal. The smile starts fading. Some giggle nervously and squirm in their seats. Slowly the giggle is replaced by a ghastly attempt at a smile which is pretty ugly.
The participants know what they are in for. But the glitter of gold! Alas.
All that matters is the Jack pot. Relations be damned. The relatives are really damned!

The jury is out. The parliament wants it to be banned.

Let me confess ( No Pun) It wasn’t amusing watching the façade of decency being ripped off normal looking people.

Also I am thinking of the larger picture. Their lives beyond the show.

Will the daughter ever see her father again as a doting dad or as an evil sexual predator? Will she feel comfortable or safe bringing her friends to her home. Will the friends feel safe with him lurking around?

When he next time checks out of a hotel, will he be humiliated with a body search? Don’t blame the hotel. i feel sorry for him though. poor guy has to buy bedsheets from now on. recession time guys!

Will the son ever look at his mother with the reverence he once had?. Will she ever be able to move around in the society without sniggers. Will the husband feel cuckolded every time he sees his wife? Will he be the butt( forgive the pun, but we are talking about sex!) of bawdy jokes behind his back in his office?

I guess the society has to answer these questions.

I am just a blogger expressing my thoughts on random issues. Judgment seat is not for me.

It’s a privilege to have lived in the East and the West. Both have great cultures.
But USA has a greater freedom of expression. There is no moral policing or state interference.
I have seen the show many times here in Miami. It works here but it may not work in India.

Or maybe it would!

Life never ceases to amaze!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Omkara Movie - a review

I dedicate this post to Ramdev Baba. Thanks baba for giving me inspiration to review a movie. Well if you, a self professed celibate, can comment on sex to a national audience , I sure can write a review of a movie.

Guys I have more shirts in my closet than I watch movies per year ( which isn’t much by the way). So I cannot exactly claim to be a connoisseur.

But in the last six months two movies hit me hard. One was this movie Omkara and another was Dev D. I can see a perceptible change in the way movies are being made. So just felt like adding my two pence on this

Both the movies have the director's signature. Both are iconclasts. they have no respect for reputations and both are hard hitting , in your face kind of breed. Both are extremely talented.

Imagine taking a classic. Shakespeare’s Othello in this case. Ripping the story apart and rebuilding it in a very ghetto milieu and still retaining the flavour.

The narration is raw. It blinds you with its crudeness and hurts your sensibilities. The vulgarity kind of stuns you. There is no pretence of sophistication. And yet it leaves you spell bound.

The one complaint I always have with Indian cinema is the length. And yet , there I was glassy eyed , well past midnight, not wanting the movie to end.

The story has a remarkable flow. Very gripping

Its simply a tale of blindness. Blind faith and blind jealousy.

Faith of Omkara in his deputy believing he would understand the master stroke of making vivek oberoi , the bahubali so they can garner the college goers votes. He is blind in his faith that Langda will understand.

And Blind jealousy of Langda who feels he’s been short changed. All he thinks of is revenge.

The writer has constructed each character with remarkable dexterity and he has been supported well by the dialogue writer and with power packed performances. The director hit a stroke of genius by choosing Saif as Langda. This performance has raised him to another level. Well done Vishal Bharadwaj.

Ajay Devgan as the intense , brooding Omkara is tailor made. Vivek Oberoi is excellent.

The Indian audience has failed to recognize the genius of Naseeruddin Shah. He has has once again shown his versatility. Observe how he gets into the skin of the wily politician. Just one word. Brilliant.

The music is good and the rusticity has been captured brilliantly in the songs.

The only weak point I felt was the female characters. The writer seems to have spent all his energies in giving meat to all the male characters. All the female characters are pretty diluted. The actors, moreover, failed to do justice to whatever they got. They almost sleep walk through the negligible role they have.

Only Konkana Sen sparkles.

Kareena just manages to scrape through .

Bipasha Basu is the weakest character. She looks too posh for that role. I would have preferred someone more rustic say a Rakhee Sawant. But perhaps it may be her box office appeal which may have drawn the director. I can imagine the bawdy ‘ beedi jalay le’ must be a super hit with the hormones charged young generation.

Apart from the acting the dialogues are outstanding. Like Kareena’s father warning Omkara to be careful. ‘ Jo Ladki apne baap ki nahi ho saki who kisi aur ki kya hoyegi’ Brilliant!

This movie may not be suitable for family viewing for the rather offensive language.

However give the credit where it is due.I am sure Shakespeare would be proud of this adaptation.

I read somewhere that he got inspiration of writing this story when he was in the tub.

I can almost imagine him standing naked and applauding in his tub. My Kodak moment!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Leaving on a Jet plane.

The countdown has begun. I am ready to fly back to India. I shudder involuntarily.

Now there are only three kinds of flights – the boring , the more boring and the most boring.

There is nothing funny about keeping your butt planted on an uncomfortable chair with your knees hitting the front chair for almost twenty hours. And yeah I am just 5.6”.
Tall guys , I feel for you.

Gimme the long pleasant travels in the train any day. You can see me grinning ear to ear like a Cheshire cat even if it is an overnight journey.

But I have some anecdotes to share. What is life without a few anecdotes.

Back then in the 90s, there weren’t many people flying. The travel was more laid back. The airhostess were really pretty as in well … errr………. Pretty , not the matronly mamas that the western airways specialize in. Looks like Rip Wan Winkle joined their HR department and went for a long slumber without any fresh appointments for 20 years.

I remember the time when I was flying to Nairobi. I was pretty young. The flight was half full and the air hostesses were pretty relaxed. I loved their red wine and asked in my sweetest convent school boy manners if I may have another one. The airhostess took an immediate fancy. Maybe they had a stock of red wines due for expiry.

All the three girls conspired and made me tipsy to the point that I was pretty glassy eyed and tipsy. I slept like a new born baby for more than six hours. And when I woke up the mischievous ladies were ready with hot steaming black coffee. I fell in love with Ethiopian Airlines. My love affair was grounded as the next trip which was supposed to be in another three months never happened. Suzanne if you ever read this, which I wonder would happen, this is for you and your friends

Emirates was my preferred Airlines till I was in UK. But USA it would be like going in the passenger train. Too many halts. And too many changes. I have loads of sky miles which I just have to donate. Ditto my another favorite KLM. They have closed shop for Hyderabad. I miss those three magical words those lovely ladies poured into my ears after a decent lunch " Like some liqueur". damn i remembered my mom. " beta gajar ka halwa khayega?" doesnt hurt sometimes to have matronly women. does it?

So what do I really hate about flying apart from the long hours. Well everything. I only love the anticipation of reaching the Indian shores, breathing that familiar air , bracing for the maddening chaos. Ah ! I can suffer many such flights to be home.

I too had my shares of mishaps. Engine snafus, terrorist alert , losing my passport and all documents in Geneva , bad weather detours even once to Canada instead of Miami just everything. Once while picking up a bouquet from a friend, I pricked myself on the thorn. Well life sure isn’t a bed of roses.
In fact three years back I once was late and bracing for a last minute rush only to find an evacuation in Miami airport. In the end I was the first passenger in the queue.

There are some songs which kind of become anthems. John Denver’s was sure one for people leaving the country. It was a must for all farewell parties. For the GFs to drown into. The men had the booze.

I remember the first time I left. Hugs and kisses. Tears and emotions. But I wasn’t affected. I was wearing the dollar dream. I felt like I was above emotions.

Today its only me who is crying. I tell myself. Damn boy, you are alone but not lonely.

Then with a sigh I admit as I board the plane.

I am both.

Life can be a big leveler. What giveth cometh; like a boomerang.

It hits you where it really hurts. Either the heart or the groin.

Boomerangs have a mind of their own!!!!!!!!!