Sunday, May 31, 2009

Die Hard , Bloggers !

Ladies and Gentle-Bloggers(in a booming voice) , I give you, a guest post by, Zivana ( said - Zeee vaa na !). She is not a blogger, but has quite a few things to say about us. So without much ado, scroll down, read the post and comment, for the love of the BLOD (BLogging-gOD – is it too cheesy? ) .

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I spilled soda on my table. As I started to worry about the sticky mess and then fret over how I would I clean it and further worry that I may not have that super duper cleaning liquid that instantly washes away the stain, keeping it “So clean that you can eat off the floor! Look, no germs! I don’t see those black little buggers scurrying about on the floor, crawling all over”. By the by, who has a hospital floor at home? (Remember Lizol?) I mean that spotless white, cold floor doesn’t exactly say home sweet home, if you know what I mean.

To come back to my spilt soda, I was then reminded of how many friends have kept warning me not to succumb to my OCD. I am compulsive because it gives me control over a few things in my life. However, it is stuff like this that controls me.

The sarcasm I want to dole out to blogging:

That topic suddenly got boring, so I want to switch to something more interesting. Should I blog? Not sure really. I have always detested blogging. Stupid people from the middle class who think it’s a great talent to waste server capacity dumping their tonnes of crappy opinions on just about anything and everything, from the color of their coffee spoiling their day to feminism and why a certain Mr. I_am_a_whipped_PM has got what it takes to run a country that, well, half the population gives a crap about. And these bloggers come under that section. Not all, but I’m sure, quite a few. Then enthusiastic bloggers (read: idle mind is the blogger’s workshop) go over the stuff, dish out their opinions and again, waste space on the internet. And then, they congratulate one and other on being the real enlightened Buddhas of India and hope one day, that all will spare more time to listen to their ranting and raving. Oh puhleeeeez!! So lame.

Why, oh why do you talk? Barring a few bloggers, who have actually taken their blog to the next level and put it to use, the rest are simply content with their 15 microseconds of internet fame. In this sense, I can call it a rat race of restricted rats; the rats who think they’re not rats.

One look at the average blogger’s page will tell you just how much the human mind can trick its unfortunate owner into thinking how much self importance one can build around oneself. Let’s take a tour, shall we? On the top, you have the title. Nice and catchy. This blog is all about expressing yourself, but let’s face it, we care how others view us, don’t we? Please make way for all the impressive awards people! Now, these are given out ( generously) by other fellow bloggers in recognition of their comrade’s talent, or maybe because their frequencies match, or because its free and they need to feel good about themselves from time to time. Aww, you guys!

One must never forget the power of hyperlinks. You find them jammed into the columns along with the other long, winding text and you wonder why you are even trying to make sense of it. It’s like an obstacle course for your eyes and a marathon for your brain. Perhaps its because of the colours and sizes. Sprint past the black text, jump over the big white link, then again slide again, dropping down to the next paragraph, where, if you were stupid enough to get lost in that wormhole of a link, it will be some eons before you can find your way back.

Some people think it’s cool to dish out fancy words when they give an opinion. Others choose to kiss ass the blogger, saying “oh my, you took the words right out of my mouth!” And then, to themselves “Wow I actually have the same mindset as this guy who’s got 100+ comments so far. So then, they’ll come and read mine too! Yippee! I shall be the next King BIG_BLOG_UGA_UGA.” What a load of humbug and hogwash!

Stunned ? Shocked ? Aghast , as to how can some what hate benign blogging ? Hurt ? Embarrassed ? Introspective , trying to figure the reason why you started blogging , and the reason why you do it now ? Agitated ? Indignated ? Pursed-lips-frowny-face-condescending-look-ated ? Furious ? Murderous ? Picturing yourself , shooting or stabbing Poor Zivana ? Suicidal ? I hope not ! Hold your horses , it ain't over yet !

The good things about blogging:

Ok, so I haven’t been fair about the little guys. So I will scratch the thingy that is my brain and come up with something good on the bloggers. Why, in spite of all that is mentioned above, they are still good for society ( I choose to say society and not India because that ain’t gonna happen anytime in the next century).

As I have said, most of these people are from the middle class, which is the backbone of the country. These are the most progressive thinking section in any country. Their success and school of thought is crucial to push forward the nation . When you see opinions like theirs made public for anyone in the world to see, you get a glimpse of what the future looks like for India.

Blogging is a creative outlet, where you can totally conceal your identity and bare your soul at the same time. Thank God for technology! What I’m saying is, it is a vent. You can give vent to your bottled up emotions that have crushed and melted inside like the onion broth in my pressure cooker. You hold it in for as long as you can. Then the pressure starts to build up. And oops, there it goes, you have unleashed the torrents of demons in you. Jesus would be proud indeed.

Better (and healthier ) than that is to blog. You are put in touch with millions of other lost souls, searching for meaning just like you. Then there are people who just want to be listened to. And believe it or not, people do listen J Yup, you’d be amazed at just how many people can give two hoots to their monotonous lives and read about something in your life. You’d be further surprised at how many more will reach out to you. “Dude, I so totally know how you feel. I’m so worried that because of everybody’s bad karma, we will be obliterated and I’ll be reincarnated into a spider with a giant brain and hairy legs.” (hairier than my own L).

“ Oh honey, I’ve been there. I remember this guy I used to have the hots for in high school and he wouldn’t go out with me because I had tiny tits! Boo hoo.”

“I wanted to commit suicide because I was so fat. I broke the swings. I got stuck halfway on the slides. Each day I got depressed, I just ate. When I hit rock bottom, I wanted to eat my dog. I am with you. Hang in there, girl.”

Or you can even talk about issues that affect a nation as a whole, which is what one of my friends does. He talks about feminism, patriotism, incumbent governments, the right wing, the left wing , all kinds of wings, relationship with the U.S, threat from China, how we need to beat the crap out of Pakistan, corruption, criticizing certain politicians because they aren’t fully Indian, dynasticism, philosophy, discussing his quirks, the beauty and hope for humanity, while degrading it at the same time.

I can go on and on but instead of boring myself, I will say, “Get the drift?”

Just post your thoughts up there and wait and pray. Then, a marvelous phenomenon I’d like to call the Oh_blogger_where_art_thou effect, happens. Across the globe, they come. From far off servers, they come, first in small groups, then larger and larger until its like fireflies hovering around a tree, or bees to nectar or drug addicts to drugs or simply, fellow brethren/sistren ( ha ha) to thy fellow Blog soul in need.

(The number of bloggers frolicking in your blog-o-yard is directly proportional to the popularity and fame(or infamy) of your blog )

(By the way , does anyone feel that the gender of English is male? Here’s an example. Sistren was used in the middle ages, but fell out of use. Personally, I always thought Spanish had a feminine quality to it. )



The next phenomenon involves the generation of intense energy and emotion, exceeding millions of joules that transcends human mind, body, boundary and shoots up to the cosmos. You see Physics and Chemistry at its very best. It touches every blogger who has come into contact with your post. It infects everyone like a putrid fever and for the few seconds that this happens, comments after comments are generated.

And finally, to fulfill Newton’s third law, oh and let’s include Bohr, or he’ll feel left out: Everyone is fully discharged and returns back to ground state, retreating into the shadows, just as strangely as they had come. You think to yourself, “ Was this all a dream?” . But no it isn’t. For lo and behold, they have left behind comments for you, which you are expected to love and cherish like the Ten commandments. The only proof that there is life out there in World Wide Web! Now don’t you agree with me on the mystical and nonsensical power of Blogging?

All crap aside and on a more serious note: I read once that a young girl, who was sexually abused by her father for more than 7 years, finally got the courage to get help and get that perverted bastard of a father arrested. Where did she get it from? She kept a blog page, and it was one of her followers who told her that she should talk to the police. She acknowledges that this was the only thing that prevented her from committing suicide.

So what can we conclude from this? Blogging is good. If you have a great idea, share it. You never know who else out there has it too. If you need help, confide in that anonymous friend. You might be given a new life. If you think you’re cool, please blog. You might end up feeling like you need a new personality. If you disagree with the government, do blog. You will be arrested and charged with being a left or right winger. Then all the news channels reach out to you and SPLAT!! You are on every front page and every T.V screen. People will hold candle light marches for you. They will make T shirts and cards and friendship bands in your name. While these card corporations profit, one of the media people will let it slip that you don’t like the government. After some time, when dust settles on everything, you will be released and people will have erased you from their minds.

Still indifferent ? Happy ? Elated ? Ecstatic ? Socially Elevated ( Cause you are back to being cool , an educated blogger )? Just-touched-head-to-check-for-a-halo-ated ? Levitated ? Still-not-ready-to-come-back-to-Earth-ated ? :D Maga , Chill Madi . And back to Zivana :)

But that’s not the moral. The moral is: Why the heck are you listening to me? Follow your heart. Do what you want. I’m just writing for my own joy J

Credits
: This is the result of a fever and mood swings and an unsatisfied wish to pick a fight.

Friday, May 29, 2009

With love , from the Land Down Under

This post is dedicated to one of my closest friends, Ishan , who is studying in Melbourne . This guy has managed to turn around his life , from the disordered state it was in , and is now on the road to success many will envy . He has battled quite a few challenges in his life , and emerged victorious . He has taken decisions , audacious ones , that some of us can only contemplate about and then dismiss dejectedly . And I know , the tough guy he is , he will face racism and any other ism thrown his way , and come out on the top . Kudos to you buddy . I have never told you this , but I am proud of what you have achieved so far , and you are an inspiration to me . I mean it man .

This post is inspired by the recent racist attacks on Indian students in Australia . As per the news reports , 4 students have been attacked so far , and 1 is battling for his life . I emailed my buddy , to inquire about his well being , and a general WTF-is-going-on-there . The contents of our conversation have been sanitized for you , as the original was peppered with slangs and swear words liberally employed by both of us . This is what he said -

"I am good man . We plan to protest in the heart of the city in some time . The venue has not been decided as yet . You would not believe that one of my friends and I were actually planning to do so , before the attacks took place. So far, there are 10 students who are willing to join this movement. But, there must be like 200 students in the university. Most of these Indians are cowards. That is the reason these goras get them so easily. They dare not attack the Asians cause they know they will get their asses kicked. Not even the Pakistanis or Afghanis , who are lesser in number, as compared to Indians. Some of these attackers are on drugs and/or unemployed. They have no jobs and no money , and that is the prime reason. A side-effect of recession , may be. Indians have been staying in Australia for the last two decades, but this usually does not happen as compared to States . This place is quiet . Only a few suburbs are notorious infested by these crazy guys. I have made some posters and I am putting it on the university notice board. I have taken permission from the dean to organize a protest of sorts. Let me see how many call or contact me . I need at least 50 student to be there for at least 4 hour so that the media can cover them. That is all I want, the whole world must know that we are not happy. Even I have my exams and project work , yet , I have taken the initiative ."

My advice to my friend, "Do it Gandhi style" . I am ashamed and aghast at the response of these Indians . I think , If you try and reason with them , they will come up with excuses like "We are here to study" , "You can't help it , this is part and parcel of life here" and "Stay low on the radar and avoid getting into confrontation" . I bet if the father of this nation had some similar thoughts , he would not have been the father of this nation . My question here is , for how long should one tolerate and bear with racial or any other discrimination ? There must be a threshold, and I think the line has been crossed. These Indians did not go there uninvited . They are not illegal immigrants . The bloody Aussies thronged all over Indian cities , holding road shows and what not , to attract foreign students . And now , they are bearing the brunt of being brown, in the White man's land . I am not saying that these students should pick up hockey-sticks and start fighting . But they must protest . They must shout out loud , that they won't be discriminated against. Can you imagine , living a in a foreign land , thousands of miles away from home , in a country “supposed to be the First World” , and yet , feel threatened and insecure . I hope some of them muster the courage to protest . I cannot envision a multi-polar World Order , with India as one of the poles, if its citizens swallow their pride and be humiliated , for being Indian, and not white . We need to get over the White Man syndrome .

Just imagine how different things would have been, had it been the other way round. A white person getting killed raped or mugged in India. First of all, I think even our own media would give it more attention, well, because they are ass-lickers in general, and what is better than kissing the White Man’s ass? Secondly, their respective government, French, German, English or American would be at the Indian Government’s throats, demanding an explanation, not merely expressing “apallment at the horrendous incident”. And thirdly, they wouldn’t hesitate at labeling India as not safe enough for their citizens to travel, if it came to that. It is a reflection of how they value the life of their citizens, and not just consider them a source of votes. If you remember the Graham Staines murder, which was not racist, but equally or more bad considering the reason, you would get an idea. The furor created by these attacks are not even close. You might think I am getting agitated over nothing, as in the Staines case, 3 people were burnt alive, and in the Aussie one, the students were brutally beaten and no one has died so far. But for how long, before the beatings turn into murders? And when you stab someone, the intent is not exactly benign. And is this just limited to Australia ? I don’t need to embark on narrating the tale of Air France VS Indian Passenger.

Respect is earned , or fought for, it is not handed out as an alm .


p.s. No disrespect intended toward those who were attacked, and are living in fear. I hope this ordeal ends as soon as possible . I am sure a lot of our fellow country men are praying for them .

p.p.s I wonder what Andrew Symmonds has to say about this .

Edited to add : Stay away from Australia , says Bajinder Singh

Friday, May 22, 2009

The case for our next PM

Super Blogger and hyper commentator (Is it the right word?), Ms. Awesome Indyeah wrote a kickass post on why she loves Rahul Gandhi. The super vella aadmi I am these days(Thank you Recession), I couldn't help but make some observations on that blog in the form of comments, which got me a few smileys and ROFLs. That inspired me to put them together, and some more in this post. So here it goes. Pardon me for those who have already read and laughed (hopefully) at my comments, some of the points are repeated here. My apologies if my zany humour offends your sense of humour .

(Rahul is in the air, ta ra rum pum, ta ra rum pum, Raaa-hoool is in the air !)

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So , you think Rahul Gandhi should not be the PM , in the near future(2014), eh ?

1. First of all, get off that dope you are smoking, injecting or snorting. It is making you "communal”. Who sold it to you? A guy in khakee shorts? He said he was some kind of a volunteer? Hmmm. Disturbing. It’s getting saffron-er everyday. No wonder you are talking through you black topi, err, I mean hat. You are living in denial. Once you clear your brain of all the saffron cobwebs , you will start seeing day light. That is the first stage of acceptance.

2. Did you even know that geneticists have come up with a fit-to-be-the-PM-of-India gene, and the descendants of Nehru family have it? No kidding! I swear on INC. Apparently, there is a gene for everything. For believing in God, believing in your Nation, and may be, and this is a very wild guess, for being communal as well. On a side note, if the communal gene thingy does come out to be true, then all the sanghies plaguing the landscape of India need your help. The rabid, Hindutva-hailing, minority-haters will have to be cured of this virulent disease. We would have to install giant BBS's in every saffron infested corner of this country. What is a BBS? Dumbass! Claims to be secular and doesn't even know that. How would you know, you bloody MCP (Malevolent Communal Pig)? I will tell you about it in detail later, for the time being, know that it stands for Black Box of Secularism. Enough digressing! So, I dare you not to question why shouldn’t Rahul Andhi, bole to, Gandhi be the PM-in-waiting, just toe the line like everyone else.

3.Rahul baba is half-a-gora. That is half the reason why he should be the PM, the other half being the sur name. And I will tell you why . It is sad, that some of you ARE willing to let go of your colonial hang over. Absolutely pathetic, makes me want to weep. Did you forget the glorious days of our Gora sahibs? The ones who gave us trains, telephones, English, our nation and an inferiority complex. Do not speak of the millions who died during the process (The Bengal Famine). How dare you question the intention of such white, benevolent and magnanimous people, you brown bugger? They did even have to use any fairness cream for their complexion. *The moron gasps in awe* Goras rock, they kick ass! And DO NOT, under any circumstances, let go of that colonial hangover. For the Love of secularism and India, drink some more of that "white" wine. “White English” wine has been found to very beneficial to a brown sahib's health. If your communal-dope addled brain raises any objection, then try some other liquor, anything European will do. If you have anything Indian, it will taste nothing better than tharra (country made liquor); and God knows, that after your West-influenced education, you have no taste for it. Only pseudo-Hindutva-followers drink Indian-made, because the actual-Hindutva-followers do not drink at all. If the booze is not Western (preferably European), you will puke your guts out. So, in short, you just cannot let go of that hang over.Always be willing to acknowledge and accept the fact, that only a White can rule us, for they are way superior . It would be awesome if someone from England could come over, but Italy is not a bad option. May be France as well, we can ask Sarkozy after he retires. I propose a round robin algorithm, with all the European countries, and USA involved.What say you?

4.Terrorism will be done with in 15 minutes in his reign - “I am confident that this country can take on terrorism. Defeating it is no problem. If we empower those people in villages, we can sit back, relax and we will destroy terrorism in 15 minutes," . Terrorism and terrorists , Gone . Poof . It will do the Vanishing Act . Houdini and P C Sarkar would be proud of him . And empower people ? I say we arm them all to the teeth . Get in touch with the NRA , and Kalashnikov-ize the country . That would solve a lot of problems . On a side note , if you remember the day when a crazy Korean killed his fellow students , the NRA had actually said that had every student on that campus been armed, somebody or the other would have shot him soon enough.

5.For his awesome General Knowledge – Gujarat is larger than UK*, said the great man . I do not know whether he implied area or population, or both . I think some one who can shoot out “facts” like these , for some one who has traveled nationally and internationally and is apparently very educated , it is a clear indication . If only BQC had started when he was younger !

6.This is what I hope we will get from his Columbian connection , Weed and Coke. That is marijuana and cocaine . It will surely make some urban voters very happy. Don't you get the connection? How can you, you dope. And I won’t tell you , find out on your own. After all, you were living on non-secular drugs; it will be a while before you realize the merits of brand Columbia. The World knows how good it is. Hollywood swears by it , even Bollywood, you can ask Fardeen if you don’t believe me. Did you even know that Pablo Escobar, the Columbian Drug Lord , was listed as the seventh richest man ? How would that be even possible if his product was not world class? May the good Lord grant this great man some peace. I am looking forward to the movie that is being made on him, so that he can inspire me, and after imbibing a few of his qualities, I may start my own business and never ever code again for a living.

The above are the reasons why he should be the PM. The following are the possible perks I could come up with, when the “Indiano-Italiano” ties are strengthened and given a new dimension by this gentleman.Pardon my loopiness. :)

1. Football. Yes you fool. Football. Italian coaches and players. Our third rate Indian team will get trained by, say someone like Marcello Lippi, and get a chance to play with the Italians in their leagues. They will have a shot in the International arena. I say this, as honestly as possible and as an upcoming football fan, if Rahul Gandhi promises to make this possible, I will vote for him once. And yes, in case the Indian team does not make it to the Top 32, we will be supporting Italy, business as usual(2006 WC France-Italy Final , Congress workers were rooting for apni Italy).

2. Free trips to Italy and other European countries - Why not? All Rahul Baba fans have a right to visit the country, where a part of his roots are from (nanihal). All Sonia Madam fans have the right to visit the place she is from (mayka). Wouldn't you as a fan, of any great soul, want to visit or explore the place that person was born at, raised in or frequented. So why should the fans of the current Gandhi family be denied the same? It would be an almost religious experience, and Ambika Soni can be the tour guide. And while you are in the neighborhood, have a dekko at the other European countries as well. After all, one must know where one's masters came and are coming from. Get a swig, straight from the flask, that hang over will last for a very long time.

3. An IIT and IIM in Italy - May be. Who knows? But it will be cool, huh? I hope the IIM thing happened soon. I am too poor to go abroad for an MBA. This can be the only shot the likes of me can have at getting a phoren education. Yes, I see the obvious flaw, the fly in this ointment, how will I ever make it to an IIM? I don't know, let me try . Will changing my name to Kislay Gandhi do the magic ?

4. God father 4, 5& 6 will be shot in India. An alternative scenario, where Vito Corleone immigrates to India instead of the US, where he fights and conquers the communal forces and establishes a secular yet criminal business empire. Just imagine, you can boast of this to your non-Indian friends, that the new "God-father trilogy was a shot in a India”, with hand motions and an acquired Italian accent(which could become a new fad and replace American). If you have seen Russell Peters, you will know what I am saying. You can also brag about the fact, that a filmmaker can envision a secular criminal empire , only in India. Yes sire . Bery bery sickular ( Try saying that with the Russell-Peters-Indian accent).

5.Cheaper Olives and Italian Food. For once my dream of going to expensive and exquisite Italian restaurants might come true. I mean, wouldn't spaghetti with meat-balls and pene pasta be more popular and cheaply available? I am pretty sure most Congress workers/members will change their diet. I picture myself, seated in Little Italy, savoring Pasta Paprika and sipping Rosso di Montalcino. And your cocktails and desi-italian recipes will never run out of Olives or Olive Oil. My dream of making Vodka Martinis (as James Bond drinks it in Casino Royale, also called a Vesper) the national beverage might just come true.

And last, but not the least by any measure , his name .

His first name is Rahul .Do any of you dimwitted dunderheads even know what Rahul means? My source , is Wikipedia .

a. Conqueror of all miseries, according to some Upanishad. You bet your saffron ass, he is. He will end our miseries by wiping out the Communal forces.Three cheers for Secularatva !

b. The later use of the word is attributed to the Buddha, who named his son Rahul as he felt that family ties could be an obstacle in the path to renunciation and nirvana. If Grade a Columbian Stuff does not get you nirvana, and helps you renounce this world , (temporarily), nothing else will. While I am not sure whether he would renounce the world, the new era ushered in by him will ensure that others will have a stab at it , provided the Columbian connection is not lost.

c. Rahul also means Moon, Able/efficient in Sanskrit. We all saw how efficient and able he is, the 21-seats-in-UP feat that he pulled off “entirely” on his own speaks for that. And isn't he cute as a moon? And before you jump to any conclusion, let me just tell you that I am still straight. I say that as a neutral and not neutered observer. The girls (not all of them) do go gaga over him.

His last name is Gandhi .Need I explain as to why is that important, you nincompoop numbskull? Seriously, the dope that those khakee shorts guys sold have fucked you up pretty bad! It is the most powerful name in this nation, quite possibly in the World. And the irony is that original bearer has no idea, how his name has been (mis)used and milked in this country. It happens only in India. By Gawd, something suddenly struck me ! If the scientific community (even the tiny one we have) was steeped in this very dynasticism, can you imagine what would have happened ? The family members of tthe Nobel Laureate Sir C. V. Raman banking on the fact the top job of IISc is theirs for the next few generations ! Did a shiver run down your spine ?

Rahul bhai, sure is one lucky guy. Good Education, good Looks, greatest possible name, soon will have a great job. I think we can start using the phrase "as lucky as Rahul”.

A possible repercussion of his becoming the PM - Thousands, may be lacs of kids, born after 2014 will be named either Rahul (firtsname) or Gandhi (lastname). I might name my male child on those lines, if a woman agrees to marry me in or before 2012. So, you won't be able to throw a brick without hitting a Rahul or a Gandhi. Get ready for it. What did you say? BJP? Why can't they come to power in 2014? You jackass, how the hell do you think that will happen? They will be almost wiped out by then, a ghost of their former saffron suffused self. *Brainwave* Unless, they rename their party. From BJP to, wait for it , and it is going to be legendary, the BGP. Ha! How is that? *Visible Halo around yours truly*. And I swear on everything that is holy and sacred to me , if you ask me what the G in BGP stands for , I will %@$#^@&%#&@&#&@ !!!!! If you still don't get it, then I think you need a red and burning mark on your cheek , in the shape of a hand . Jai Ho !

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This is a satire, if somebody missed on that. I hate nepotism as many other people do, but I do not hate Rahul Gandhi, at least not now. I hate the fact that the helm of the affairs of this country will be handed out to him, way before he actually proves himself worthy of it. That does not mean that I won't support him if he does appear to me as the next Great Indian Leader. Most importantly, he does not need my support,permission or respect , I want him to accomplish things that will make me respect and support him , or any other person who aspires to be the Prime Minister of this country. To all the die-hard dynasty fans, and RG lovers, my apologies, if you were offended. Chicas of the Delhi University who apparently have an orgasm at the sight of RG , please don't curse me that I never have one ( I actually saw a female DU student scream a out loud and quite orgasmic "Rahul ! I love you! " ) . And read Mr. Vinod Sharma's analysis . He has taken into account his past and present actions and statements , which do not paint him in the same light as the very unbiased Media houses in our country are doing .

* Gujarat is smaller than the UK , both area and population wise .

Edited to add : I was wondering about Rahul baba , and I actually want some one to do an exclusive post on him , biographical in nature , and tell me what his achievements have been so far , and where did he go wrong . I want to know why do people think that he is a ray of hope , and good enough to don the PM's robes in the near future. Seriously , what has he done , and this is a question, not a sarcastic remark . And on the same note , if him then why not Priyanka ? Priyanka's interview

Monday, May 18, 2009

A story about Gender Discrimination

The not very unlikely juxtaposition of a quote from Solilo's post and a conversation with a friend of mine sowed the seed of thought for this post. This is the quote from Solilo's blog post “Brusque” –

"Do not keep quiet in the face of injustice and gender bias. Those who knowingly keep quiet are as guilty as the perpetrators of injustice”.

And how are they related? Well, they are related because my friend is a woman, working in a reputable multinational software company has been the victim of sexual discrimination. This MNC tries hard to maintain a decent sex-ratio, and I guess it is because of some tax incentive they get. Now my friend, let's call her Mridul (she is very polite), and her colleague and friend, let's call her Aparajita (she is very spunky), have together faced the brunt. Their victimization has been so subtle, nondescript, and insidious, that even they failed to notice it. Or, they did sense it, but did nothing about it, because as a woman, you are used to facing a more than average resistance than your average man faces. They, being the decent and helpful creatures (and confound them for being nice), have been facing a slew of shit since the day they joined their team. Before I start telling you their story, let me tell you, that it suddenly dawned upon me ; what they have been facing is not just due to the misfortune of working in a software company in recession hit times as a fresher, but a significant portion of this "crap" has been dumped upon them on account of their sex. In one moment of epiphany, all the stories I heard over the past 5 months fell in place, illustrating the real picture. And it is ugly, sad and absolutely preposterous.

Here is the scenario - Mridul and Aparajita are freshers as I told you, and they were on bench for quite some time. For those fortunate enough never to have heard this term before, let me tell you what it means. It means that you are rusting. Your company has no work for you. And in these times, the axe may fall anytime. So these girls , along with another guy , one of the protagonists of our bitter-and-real life story , whom I shall name Mahamoorkh Chapanduk Pakhandi ( A big fool - A duffer - A hypocrite ) , i.e. M.C.P. , were grouped informally as a team , to be trained for the particular project soon-to-be-their team was working on. They were not formally allocated , but rather on their way to allocation. That is a like a state of limbo, between heaven and hell, neither here nor there.

So the three of them started their training. This involved mastering a technology, by doing and learning. And these three, as unofficial members of the team, had no access to individual computers, but rather had to share one. Three people - One computer. That is shocking on an altogether different level, for the MNC is multi-billion dollar company. Anyway, I think you all get an idea of what happened. One computer shared by three people, all of whom were supposed to practice their theory. Clashes were imminent and unavoidable. But after the initial unrest, the girls worked out things between them. But then, one computer, shared by two girls and one M.C.Pakhandi. This jackass, instead of being a gentleman and a professional, and trying to adapt to the situation, eventually turned out to be a pukka MCP, one that would make any other MCP proud. Like a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, eventually he showed his true ugly colors. Now, Shreeman Pakhandi , hogged the computer , rarely offered them the one chair they all had to share or relinquished control of the mouse/keyboard .He went through the material they all had to study together at his own pace. If he ever did offer any help and/or the computer, it was more out of condescension, rather than a genuine sense of fair play and team spirit. It was a gesture of magnanimity, doled out to make the other feel small and insignificant. Whenever these girls expressed their difficulty in grasping some concept or the other, it emanated a smile from him, one which said “You dumb girls”, the emphasis being more on 'girl' than 'dumb'.

A completely unrelated, and yet, a significant incident. There is a quiz where you have to write the name of girl, the first one that comes to your mind. Now the jackass who came up with this quiz, was probably banking upon the fact , that like him , most other males would also write the name of the girl they are secretly or openly in love with. The purpose of this charade being to ascertain the name of your love, so that your friends can have a nice time pulling your leg. So our friend, Mahamoorkh, in the presence of Mridul and Aparajita, wrote a name. And as expected, the girls started teasing. And can you take a shot in the dark, and think up what his response was?

“I do not think of her like that. She is NOT beautiful”. Now you call me a loon, but this gives an insight into his character. Had the words been “I am not attracted to her”, it would have been no more than a blip on the radar. But the ones that actually came out suggest that, to him, Love is a by-product of sexual attraction. From that, I conclude that either he is sees woman as sex-objects, and only those beautiful or hot enough are worthy of his love. I may be wrong. I hope I am.

Our friend, M.C.Pakhandi, then ganged up with a fellow pig, lets call him Sidekick Swine (Pigs are in the air, eh?) , and two of them together, then made fun of the girls. Now, a very interesting observation is that, in this entire episode, he has never passed a single lewd remark, or made any obscene gesture. He has done nothing, which can actually be construed as actual sexual harassment. But, even this is sexual harassment. And I do not need a pair of ovaries, and a dose of estrogen to come to this conclusion. In the events that have unfolded in the past 5 months, the actions of MCP and his two bit sidekick, SS, have been more or less influenced by the fact, they Mridul and Aparajita are two girls, normal girls, neither bitchy nor meek. He behaves so, because, maybe, he sees them as not worthy of competing against him, or his bloated ego cannot digest a challenge from the fairer and apparently weaker sex.

This was one man. Now for some more.

In this team, all the girls, the ones who were lucky enough to get allocated got testing, as compared to the guys, who got development. Testing is commonly perceived as a job beneath the dignity of any coder worth his salt. But in a company, where most of the employees have not studied CS as their major, most of them are not coders. So the assignment should be done purely on the basis of their performance in the training program, and not on their sex. But, the girls get testing, not because they are not good at coding, but because they are girls

What some guys actually think about the role of the female members the team – To act as a stress buster, for the overworked male colleague, by letting them flirt with them anytime they want, objects to practice their macho act on and an interesting way to engage yourself when at leisure.

There was a team meeting in which the members were supposed to write down suggestions and ideas to improve the performance of the project. Our troika attended that meeting as well, even though they were not contributing towards the project. As they had no idea about what actually was going on, Mridul and Aparajita, could not have possibly come up with any idea or suggestion. So while they stared at their blank post-its, it caught the attention of senior male colleague. Initially, he coaxed them to write something. And soon it turned into a game, where another team member joined them, and unloaded a pile of post-its. They took verbal jabs at them, had fun at their expense, and shared this awesome in-joke. And guess what, M.C. Pakhandi, and S. Swine were nowhere around. Sexist? Or I am over imaginative?


Personally, I would thrash guys like MCP and SS within inches of their lives, but that would not do anyone any good. His complex, his antagonism towards woman, in general or particular would only increase. I just don't how can people like these be cured.

Now that the story is over, some of you may challenge the neutrality of the story teller, i.e. yours truly. For the past 5 months, whenever I heard their stories, Mr. Pakhandi was never the villain. He was just a male colleague, sometimes very irritating and obnoxious, and un-co-operative, but never the enemy. The girls never saw him in that light till I pointed it out, and they gave an unbiased account, telling it as it happened . As I said before, the realization that something sexist was going on was sudden, and hence, the story.

It is high time the girls kicked some serious MCP ass. I hope they get his balls as a trophy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Idea of a Nation

It started of at Nita's blog , on her latest post , "Kashmir through the eyes of a Kashmiris" . where a gentleman said so -

"This may seem uncomfortable, but I think India should not only give away Kashmir but also let go of North Eastern states if they want independence. Who are we to impose our rule on them? Actually I don’t even know why India is even one country. Our states have less in common with each other than the countries in EU do. What’s with this artificial sense of national identity, forced language (Hindi) and fashionable talk of secularism (asking Hindus to be secular is a mockery).To begin with, the BIMARU states should be let to go. These states can go screw themselves as they have been doing all this time. Enough of taking money from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, TN and other states."

There other such comments as well , questioning the Oneness of India , and the incredulity expressed at it being one country without having a common language, culture or religion . And I came across a new definition of nationalism . Nationalism , it seems , "is nothing but the regionalism of the Hindi imperialist north Indians" . So the martyrs of 26/11 , Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan , a Keralite , Hemant Karkare , Ashok Kamte , Vijay Salaskar and Tukaram Omble , all Marathi's , were not Indians , but rather a Keralite and Marathis defending Mumbai for their own selfish interests . Irrefutable logic . Yes , Hindi was imposed , the imposition of was not fair . Even so , the mere imposition of Hindi , making the official language of India does not imply that Nationalism is Regionalism of Hindi Imperialist " North-Indians" . In one stroke, I have been reduced to an "imperialist" and a "North-Indian". And this is just an interesting tit-bit , V D Savarkar , who was a true blue Marathi and a Nationalist ( I beg of you not to drag the assassination angle), wanted Hindi to be the National Language . Shocking , right ? I cannot comprehend why . Once again , I do not suggest that it should be . If it were up to me , I would have a common script(Sanskrit's script could be the best) for all Indian languages , and make English and some-other-unanimously-decided-upon-language , as the official ones .

The concept of a nation is not just born out of a common language or culture . Diversity cloaks everything, without fail . This planet does not have one species , one climate or one vegetation . Should life on Earth cease to exists just because all the living beings have nothing in common apart from being alive ? I see India as a microcosm of the World . A rather big one though . You have different languages , religions and cultures . You have different , or rather a mixed race as well . So if we, cannot survive together , tolerate each other , then I have no hope for humanity . If we cannot learn to exist within the realms of diversity , then we will either perish or live very tumultuous lives. A common language/religion/culture may seem the ideal way , but sooner or later , some other issue would crop up . People following the same religion fight over caste and sect . Brahman and Dalit, Forward and Backward , Gujjar and Meena . Shia and Sunni . Protestant , Catholic , Baptist and Syrian . People following the same language ay start arguing over dialects . Hell, you have blonde , brunette and red-headed Caucasians, and even that could be turned into an burning issue by some diabolical genius. And if that doesn't brew up anything, you can always bank on : Communism Vs Capitalism . Male Chauvinist Pigs 's Vs Feminists . Straight Vs Gay .Maybe Vegans vs Non-Vegetarians . The question here is , to what extent are you willing to tolerate the differences between you and the people around you ? Do you want to live with people who look,talk,eat,pray,copulate exactly like you ? Ever come across a jungle with just tigers or rabbits living in it ? Humanity will never be short of reasons to fight over . The trick is to try and keep it to a minimum .

And it is not just race or language or religion , but also shared historical experiences which is important , for nationhood . I bet people were not wondering whether we were one or not in 1962 . It seems as if you need a common enemy to unite everyone , even if not for long . It reminds me of the movie Watchmen , where Dr. Manhattan takes the blame for the nuked New York , unites the World, and de-escalates the tension between US and Russia, who are shown to be on the brink of all-out nuclear missile shooting match . It is fictitious , but makes a lot of sense . So some day , if a hostile alien ship is found hovering above Earth , I guess Chavez , Bush and Osama would also come together . How do you unite people even in the absence of a common enemy ? How do you pull off something like what Hitler did with Germany , without the Jewish fixation ?

The children of a mother may have nothing in common , but that doesn't nullify their bond, does it ? Diving people into smaller and smaller groups, on some nonsensical “common” ground , might be a good short term solution , but in the long term , it will come back and bite us in the ass . It is very easy to crib about how India is divided , how we constantly fight amongst ourselves , how there is not even a semblance of unity . Well , first of all define One . If you expect a nation of 1.15 Billion people to sway in unison over every damn thing , get off the dope you are smoking . That is only going to happen , when , as I said , there is a grave external threat , say , China attacks again . And in the absence of that , you need good leaders to bring out that united "Aye" . And secondly , you are one , if you want to be one . You need the collective will of the people to be a nation. It is like living a big joint family , it seems like a nuisance , but has its advantages . I have said this before , the mass of humanity is a force , if tapped the right way . And yes, it can be mother of all chaos as well . I bet the Nagas , the Tamils , the Kashmiris will be ecstatic to secede . It will be good for a while , until the next despotic dickhead decides to add them to his empire or exploit them for it . And the smaller you are the weaker you are . Gone are the days of nations like Sparta , where 300 held off an army of thousands , may be millions . The concept of India as a nation comes at a price , are you willing to pay for it ? It is an idea ,a bold and imaginative , and it won't be that easy to materialize completely . For those "love-lorn" Indians living in the US who disparage it , please read American History . The US of A came at a price , after a lot of struggle and blood-shed , but that is what makes it strong , among other things . They had a Civil War . May be , even for us , a good spell lies ahead , after the turbulence settles down . Don't we all love be to Global citizens , and rant about Globalization , and how boundaries are created by shallow selfish power-crazed politicians . Well , if you can learn to be a citizen of India , it will teach you everything you need to be a good global citizen .

Indians need validation from the West . So , take a look at a huge chunk of the West , Europe . What is the European Union all about ? They are trying to bring down the walls, after fighting amongst themselves since ages, coalescing themselves as a single unit . Why the hell are they doing that ? Aren't they a bunch of fools, falling for “united we stand,divide we fall, even if the unity involves diversity” ?

Quite a while ago , I had written this as a comment on IHM's blog . What does patriotism mean to me ? It is an extension of the feeling I have for my family . You love it unconditionally . And why do I feel that way ? May be I was born like that. May be there is a gene for it , you can trust the geneticists to come up with something like that . My up-brining is responsible , yes . My grandfather taught me that the motherland comes before religion , or anything else . And education . Not the crap I learned in school . The NCERT History that is taught in our schools is very clean and very guarded. I bet if they added the parts about the creation of Jan Sangh and RSS , it will create a furore . I heard about a man called Deen Dayal Upadhaya through chance, when we all should have heard about him through school books . His words -

"We are pledged to the service not of any particular community or section but of the entire nation. Every countryman is blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh. We shall not rest till we are able to give to every one of them a sense of pride that they are able to give to every one of them a sense of pride that they are children of Bharatmata. We shall make Mother India Sujala, Suphala (overflowing with water and laden with fruits) in the real sense of these words. As Dashapraharana Dharini Durga (Goddess Durga with her 10 weapons) she would be able to vanquish evil; as Lakshmi she would be able to disburse prosperity all over and as Saraswati she would dispel the gloom of ignorance and spread the radiance of knowledge all around her. With faith in ultimate victory, let us dedicate ourselves to this task."

His is the kind we need . And he died under mysterious circumstances .

The above , like many other historical facts, I learned on my own . Through observation and by quetsioning things . From the left,right and center angle . I think if you want the complete picture about a Historical event , you should read about it from the different kinds of Historians . You know , Saffron,Secular,Marxist etc . Then , a semblance of the truth might emerge from it . I use "semblance" and "might" , as this is just a theory . It took me a while to realize that History , is his(or her) story , and not just a cold,unbiased and unemotional assortment of facts . And that it only acted as a soporific while I had to mug to score , in school . :)

I wonder what scares the custodians of History in this country from writing as it was , as humanly as possible . Why can't the coming generations be trusted with the tales of the past , even if they are full of blood , gore and pain . Are they afraid of creating a rift ? I think the absence of truthful historical accounts would create it instead , when one fine day , you suddenly discover what happened , and you feel cheated , and suddenly , all of it seems like a conspiracy directed against , you / your kind / community . I think we just not need to teach the right History , but we also need to teach how to assimilate it the right way . If India was invaded by Mughal/Arab rulers and thousands of Hindu heads rolled in their bloody quest , that does imply that Muslims in India , today , be held accountable for that . I have read about the hundreds or may be thousands of temples destroyed by the Muslim invaders , and kings like Aurangzeb , and that makes my blood boil . But , I am not picking up my demolition kit , and going to destroy mosques in turn . Isn't the study of History , our past , supposed to teach us a lesson for our present and future ? But how will that happen , when those lessons are doctored by the people in power , to suit their ideology ?


Coming back to patriotism, a few days ago, after reading a fellow bloggers comment , I question myself . Why am I patriot ? Why does the motherland mean so much to me ? Am I patriotic because I am a Hindu , one who has been not faced any caste-based discrimination ? A Hindi speaking one ? Is it so , because so far , this nation has not been unkind to me , as could be said in the case of all Kashmiri Pundits or certain parts of the Muslim and Sikh populace , or Dalits ? Does this feeling of patriotism stem out of your association with this land , or is it measured in terms of your net gain as a citizen of this country ? Discrimination or denial of rights alone could be held responsible for having an apathetic attitude towards your nation . I have known quite a few affluent Hindus , who would ditch Mother India , in a jiffy for the land of milk and honey . And I don't think I am patriotic because I am a religious Hindu , cause once again , I think there are thousands of this kind , who will and have gone abroad , but still look up to India as the Holy Land . And if religion alone is the reason to fuel one's love for motherland , than shame on such a patriot . Love for one's country should flow naturally , and without reason , as does your love for your own mother . If the change is one's faith leads to a change in the loyalty for your country , then shame on you , and shame on that faith as well . The prime reason behind my love for my country is that I was born here , and I belong to this place; by virtue of birth and history is this land my motherland . And I can say that his sense of belonging can only be discovered and realized on your own .

Edited to add :

"The human hand is very different from the leg , as the kidney is from the heart , but together they are one functioning entity , and the soul , the consciousness resides in that body , not in the limbs and organs that make it up . And when you chop off a piece of that body , it may live , but in pain . And if you keep hacking off pieces from it , one day , it will die for sure. My sense of patriotism directs me to respect and revere the entire body as that of Mother India , and establish a bond with her soul . "

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Evolution -> Aham Brahmasmi

This is my friend, DJ. I have known this genius for about 14 years now. And he wrote this incredible post "Aham Brahmasmi“. And that made me think, no surprises there. :) All I do is waste my time thinking on everything under the sun except those subjects, the diligent study of which might bring me some moolah. :D Anyways, without much ado, what I thought of was Evolution.

The very concept of evolution is so beautiful, bold, brilliant, and terrifying. It is in sync with the ubiquitous cyclic universal phenomenon around, Change. Evolution is a direct product of change. And change, is brought about by Evolution. They are so symmetrically in tune, balancing each other. And I call evolution terrifying, because things can go horribly wrong as well. When the change brought about is disharmonious, like a self destructive defense mechanism, evolution leads to oblivion. Remember Dinosaurs? And Evolution is in the Blueprint of this Universe, intricately embedded. And by Evolution , I am not just implying the biological changes that the millions of species have gone though , but the process in which everything passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage) . The eternal cycle (my favourite phrase) of birth-death, creation-preservation-destruction of every entity composed of what we perceive as matter, which, I think is one of innumerable iterations of the process; one of the uncountable spokes in the wheel, of Evolution. That is the real Intelligent Design. Not the creationist bunkum about a creature bearing the appearances of a man, in a fit of benevolence, deciding to make mankind out of clay or whatever it was. Moving on , we , our species , have climbed quite a few rungs on the evolutionary ladder, from one celled organisms , to , well , I don't know how to describe the complex organism we are now . It is the world's best machine. It is perfect. It has a BRAIN! And what lies ahead? What do we evolve to now? A super-species, taller, stronger, faster, maybe smarter? Maybe, maybe not. What I think is that, the next evolutionary hurdle, for a human who is truly evolved so far, would try to grapple with the Reality. The Real Reality. To escape the pull of this Virtual World. The moth and the Maya. The delusion we call Worldly Life. To achieve a state of super consciousness, where we resonate with the universal spirit. Where you, in not a very human way, realize, that you are the universal spirit. There is no I or You. Where you become the part of the giant web of pure energy permeating the entirety.

That is what "Aham Brahmasmi" is all about, I guess. That is what I understood of it. That seems like the ultimate Evolutionary jump to me. And what happens next? I think that state would be beyond the 4 dimensions of space and time, so there would be no next. Again , just a speculation . Thank you, Dj. gave me some good food for thought. And everyone, please feel free to correct or supplement my understanding of “Aham Brahmasmi”.