Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yet another clarification…

My previous blog received a number of interesting comments, both here and through other forums. Many commentators seem to have misread my article completely or got sidetracked into peripheral issues that were not the focus of the blog. I suspect that was mostly because people simply don’t have the attention-span to fully read and digest such a verbose article! I apologize and I hope I can give a to-the-point summary here.

In that blog, I was only bemoaning the dichotomy and apathy that generally seems to pervade our every day existence as citizens of India. The point I was trying to make was we become all belligerent when there is the slightest hint of an “external” hand, while we don’t seem to care as much about injustices happening everyday in virtually every part of the country. I hope to clarify with a few real and pertinent examples.

While people rightly condemned the 7-11 bomb blasts, 15-20 times that many people die every year on that same Mumbai suburban rail network because of the lack of proper fencing around the tracks, over-crowding on the trains, etc. Why don’t we hold our ministers and governments accountable for such mismanagement or think of alternate means of reducing the congestion?

I am sure virtually every Indian with even a basic internet access would have received a forwarded email that talks about how proud we should be about “facts” such as 38% of Doctors in the US are from India, 36% of NASA employees are Indians, 34% of Microsoft employees are of Indian origin, etc. among other things. (For those unlikely few who haven’t seen the email, the text is available here.) Though I have no clue about the authenticity of the statistics quoted (it is often mentioned that they were published in a German magazine!), I am sure there are a substantial number of Indians (at least a few million) who lead very comfortable lives in the US and other “developed” countries. And to a man or woman, if anyone ever asks about problems in India, “corruption” will be right on top of a long list of woes that afflict India and most of us will even talk very eloquently about it! Given all that, I wonder why only about 6000 people thought it worthwhile to sign the online petition protesting the proposed amendment to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, which would have rendered it virtually toothless despite the fact that RTI act happens to be the one effective tool that the common Indian public has to fight bureaucratic corruption. I can’t accept that there wasn’t enough awareness about the issue because there was widespread coverage in Indian media (print and electronic) and also there were a number of emails that were circulated. (I personally emailed about 250 people). Can’t these “oh-so-busy/intelligent” engineers and doctors spare a couple of minutes for something that is very important for our country? The common refrain is, “All this is pointless. Nothing will ever come out of it.” Then, why do we keep complaining about the gazillion things that are wrong with India?

It is not my intention to sermonize as if I am the perfect “Indian” who cares a lot about his country and questions every wrong that is committed. I am also equally guilty of many such acts borne out of apathy/disinterest/a defeatist attitude. I’ll give just one example. On my first trip back to India after coming to the US, one of my friends died in a tragic drowning accident right in front of my eyes in a place called Meghadaat near Bangalore. We (5/6 other friends and I) later learnt that the particular stretch of Cauvery was indeed very dangerous. We went there just because our driver said this place was closer to the place we had originally planned to visit and there wouldn’t have been sufficient time to visit the latter. We were devastated and we ranted about how there weren’t any warning signs posted in any language other than Kannada (which none of us could read) and the closest police station was about an hour away. Even the “so-called” warning signs in Kannada were just some random-looking scribbling on rocks. I had a million ideas at that time like putting up sign-boards by paying out of our pockets, petitioning the government to set up emergency rescue posts nearby, etc. to make sure that such a thing doesn’t happen again. But, I doubt any of us ever followed up on that and did something constructive with our anger/sadness these past 5 years.

That apathetic attitude is rightly brought out by the seemingly care-free youths of Rang De Basanti. I think most of us are happy living our own blissful lives, complaining about this and that among friends/colleagues but never taking any concrete action to fix the problems. We don’t seem to value life enough unless somebody we know personally is involved (as pointed by an anonymous commentator here). The previous blog was a plea (to myself and other like-minded Indians) to be more pro-active in tackling India’s woes and not go bonkers only when things like the mumbai train blasts happen. I believe our anger at Pakistan and terrorists across the border would be better put to use if we focused more on our internal problems like corruption, rampant malnourishment, lack of drinking water and proper sanitation, unavailability of basic medical facilities, poor status of women, etc. Though I do believe in the spirit of the "re-born" youths of Rang De Basanti, I don't think such simplistic, violent actions will achieve much either. There are more effective non-violent direct approaches like the Chipko Movement, filing PILs, increased participation of youth in politics (as championed in Yuva (Aayudha Ezhuthu in Tamizh)), etc . The afore-mentioned RTI act actually originated from some non-violent protests to demand minimum wage by some workers in Rajasthan. (This interview of Aruna Roy, a former IAS officer who pioneered the struggle to get the law enacted, is enlightening.)

The title character in one of my all-time favorite TV serials, Chanakya, uses the slogan “Uthishta Bharatha” (translated as “Rise, O sons of India”) to encourage the youth to fight Alexander’s invasion. Do we need another Chanakya to arouse us from our stupor in order to think about problems other than terrorism?

P.S: As far as Israel is concerned, I mentioned it just because I saw many articles on the web drawing parallels between India and Israel. The Arab- Israeli conflict is way too complicated to comprehend and argue about as a peripheral issue like I did in my previous blog. But, I would still maintain that across the border punitive action of the kind employed by Israel (even assuming it is right) cannot possibly work in India for a variety of reasons, some of which I have outlined in the article. Now that I am writing on this topic, I would like to recommend the movie Paradise Now, an oscar-nominated, moving tale about two would-be Palestinian suicide bombers and the human side of the conflict. An argument between the non-violent female protagonist Suha and one of the would-be suicide bombers, Khalid towards the end of the movie is especially worth watching as she explains how Palestinian bombings and kidnappings leaves them without a moral high ground to criticize Israel's occupation.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Newton's Third Law Re-visited

I originally started writing this blog in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai serial blasts based on the expected reaction from our people and government. But, I didn’t manage to complete it because I was either too busy or wanted to write too much. Nothing unexpected has happened since then though for me to really change the tone of this piece. So, here it goes.

Newton's third law states that "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction". Though his laws of motion were meant for inanimate objects, I wish to explore its validity in the domain of people and nations in light of the two incidents that hogged headlines all over the world:

  1. The recent serial bomb blasts in Mumbai and India’s expectedly tepid response.
  2. The kidnappings of three Israeli soldiers and the strong and seemingly disproportionate response from Israel.

As I started reading reports about the bomb blast and a slew of related articles, my initial reaction was one of great sadness and a little anxiety as there was a chance (small though) that my brother could have been on one of those trains. But, after a while, the overwhelming thought was one of rage - I was angry that such things seem to happen so many times in India without anybody being punished/held accountable. I was blaming the “soft” government, our “incompetent” leaders and “inefficient & corrupt” police for letting things come to such a pass. Then, I read some more.

  • This article mentioned that the author's colleague counted 38+ cars in the motorcade that accompanied Sonia Gandhi, Laloo Prasad Yadav and Shivraj Patil pass by while other traffic on the road (likely lot more important) was blocked by the security cordon. When I saw the news about their intentions of visiting, my first thought had been – “What in the bloody world will they achieve by going there now other than cause lot more hardship to the affected people with their posse of security?” and the same seems to have been true. They went there and mouthed clichéd dialogs and inanities that don't serve any purpose.
  • Our honorable home minister told reporters that the government had previously received information of a planned assault, but the “place and time was not known.” Isn't that his freaking job to find out or at least ask everyone to be more alert? May be he expected terrorists to be courteous and let him know where and when the next bomb blast was going to be!
  • A number of blogs/articles mentioned how police didn't arrive in many places even after 45 minutes. People living in slums were far-more forth-coming with help with whatever meager possessions they had.
  • BJP leaders started making political statements about how the UPA government is soft on terrorism and that being the reason behind the blasts. They have already coined slogans for the next election campaign. But, wasn't it Jaswant Singh as foreign minister of the NDA government who went all the way to Kandahar and handed over 3 terrorists including one Maulana Masood Azhar, who founded Jaish-e-Mohammed, to Taliban after the government blundered through the hijacking of IC 814?

As I read all this, I couldn't help but think, “here we go again” and feel angrier. Politicians will make statements “condemning” the blasts, express the “pain” they share with the people of Mumbai, praise the “indomitable spirit” of its people, indulge in blame games and that will be that. Of course, we always have Pakistan's ISI and groups operating out of Pakistan to blame for anything and everything that happens in India and there is never any need to arrest somebody and prosecute for such heinous crimes. Based on alleged “footprints” of ISI seen by the government anywhere from J&K to TN, Assam to Gujarat, one would think that ISI is the most accomplished intelligence agency in the history of mankind! Anyway, based on various blogs and comments I read on the web, I gathered that many others shared my anger at the failures and incompetence of the governmental machinery. A guest columnist on Rediff said “Enough is enough” and contrasted India's “softness” to America's “slam-bang” approach to tackling terrorism. There was another article suggesting India should be ruthless in its vengeance and “take out” the leaders of terrorist organizations wherever they may be in a manner akin to Israel's method of tackling terrorism. Considering the comments on that article and other comments/opinions I read/heard elsewhere, “eye-for-an-eye” policy seems to the policy of choice among all these “angry” people and I wanted to agree. And, I kept reading/hearing a lot contrasting India’s approach to that of Israel. So, as an avowed history buff, I will digress.

I have also admired the strength projected by Israel and the national spirit of its people although I have often questioned some of their “disproportionate” actions/responses to provocation by Palestinians and other Arab nations. India and Israel in their current forms were born around the same period of time. Forget for the moment that the establishment of the modern state of Israel had something (if not a lot) to do with the guilt that Britain and other powers felt for not protecting the Jews and/or the belief that the likely migration of European Jews to "the promised land" of their holy books would rid Europe of a major source of tension among its people. Let us also set aside the notion that creation of Israel on a piece of land that had been inhabited by Palestinians (though not in big numbers) for a long time was unfair to the latter and is the source of seemingly unending conflict. The fact is Israel like India came to exist in an openly hostile neighborhood, possibly lot more hostile than India's. But, with generous help from the U.S. and hard work of its citizens, Israel reached a position of so much strength in less than 20 years that the grand coalition of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq was soundly defeated in a matter of six days during the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1967 and military superiority of Israel in that region has been unquestionable ever since. Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, arguably the most influential Arab leader of modern times, even resigned as President of his nation because his blunder in taking on Israel left the largest and most modern Arab air force in tatters. In years that have followed, be it the brilliant rescue of hijacked passengers at Entebbe Airport, Uganda in 1976 or the pre-emptive bombing of the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, Israel has been strong and forceful (at times too strong and forceful IMHO) in protecting its national interests and that of its people, often with a minimum loss of Israeli lives.

And, that brings us to the recent kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers. A general in the IDF had promised to turn back Lebanon by twenty years and they seem to be well on their way to achieving that goal in spite of protests from a host of nations especially in light of the recent killing of 50-60 children and women in Qana. Of course it helps to have the backing of USA which fights Israel’s diplomatic wars in every international forum imaginable. Now, contrast this with what the Indian government managed when a few BSF soldiers were captured, tortured and killed by soldiers belonging to Bangladeshi rifles (BDR) a few years back. The Indian government condemned the incident and issued strong protests to the government of Bangladesh (a country that probably owes its existence to India), which by all accounts did nothing about it. If one were to go searching, there would be scores of other such instances (Mumbai blasts being the most recent) where India has acted like a “soft” state.

We of course blame it on our “gutless” politicians, rave and rant with articles and comments giving hundreds of suggestions ranging from nuking every country in our neighborhood to “hot pursuit” of “terrorists” across our international borders. Why can’t India be like Israel seems to the question in a lot of people’s minds? Lest we forget, Pakistan is no Lebanon – militarily, geographically and politically! Further, where is the proof that violent action of the kind championed by Israel has produced any lasting solution to problems? To be fair, neither has India’s “condemnation” and “protestation” – possibly because an effort hasn’t been made to address the root causes of the problems (I’ll try to get into this later). I used to think the “non-violence” that is supposed to part of our ethos for centuries contributed to our “softness”. But, then even after Ashoka became a staunch Buddhist and refused to wage wars, his empire was as strong as ever with no body daring to attack it. And, I also got a chance to talk to Mr. S.R. Hiremath, a pioneer in non-violent protests to protect the environment, who spoke eloquently about the strength of non-violence. A violent person is the one that is weak because he/she is easily swayed by his emotions and indulges in an act that plays into the hands of the very forces he/she is trying to fight. The one really “strong” action that India undertook, Operation Bluestar, led to the assassination of our PM and untold misery for the people of Punjab for more than a decade. Does that mean, we should sit and do nothing about all this? Hold that thought for the moment.

It is so very convenient to be critical about the politicians, police and other constituents of the government treating it like an entity that exists independent of us – the citizens of our country. Didn’t we elect them as our ministers and prime ministers? Aren’t the people that are part of the governmental machinery also from amongst us? So, if the government is “soft”, doesn’t that mean that “softness” is endemic to our nation as a whole? Everybody expresses their anger when such major incidents happen. But, where is this feeling of righteousness, anger at being exploited and “josh” to take evil/unfairness head-on:

  • When after almost 60 years of independence, many citizens of our country don’t even have access to clean drinking water leave alone a day’s meal or electricity?
  • When 3600 Sikhs are slaughtered in a few days and not one high ranking member of the government or police gets punished for it?
  • When thousands of people affected by the Bhopal gas tragedy are still suffering?
  • When mobs go on a rampage destroying public property and bring cities to a grinding halt? Many commentators have called the “Mumbai suburban trains” the lifeline of the city after these blasts. Wasn’t it the lifeline when Shiv Sainiks (including the Mayor of Mumbai!) blocked their movement to protest the “insult” done to their leader’s wife’s statue?
  • When more than 100 pilots perish flying old aircrafts while the government debates on buying an Advanced Jet Trainer for 15 years?
  • When a woman is harassed and sometimes even raped in public?
  • When a fellow motorist does not follow traffic rules?
  • When we shell out bribes to get our work done faster or get out of legal loopholes?
  • When an honest engineer is killed by the mafia for raising valid objections to sub-standard constructions?
  • When floods and famines kill hundreds in Orissa year-after-year with no end in sight?

A foreign correspondent concluded his article on the Mumbai blasts with a telling comment about India. Though I can’t recall it verbatim, it went something like this – “India will have to invest crores of rupees on closed circuit television to avoid such disasters, but then the money might be better spent in saving thousands of lives lost every year due to poor drinking water.” Shouldn’t we be more upset about the fact that his comment is so true? Aren’t skewed development, rampart poverty and societal injustices leaving people frustrated and forcing them into violent acts for retribution? Why do we as a nation react with lot more emotion and anger to “silly” issues such as

  • A player being dropped from a cricket team?
  • An actor asking a perfectly reasonable question about the state of people affected by the construction of a dam?
  • A movie that “hurts” the sensibilities of a religion/caste?
  • Insults, real and imaginary, to our so-called “leaders”?

We perceive injustices every day, may be even feel angry about them, but, how many of us do something to rectify the problems? We sit in theatres and applaud movies like Anniyan, Rang De Basanti, etc. and then go back to living our mundane lives amidst all the injustices surrounding us asking “What can I do? The system is bad.” Until we realize we are part of the system and make conscious efforts to fix it, things will not change. A government that is drawn from a nation of wimps can only act like a wimp! I think we have lived vicariously of our “filmi” heroes for too long and forgotten that problems are not solved simply by feeling angry about them. May be Lord Krishna shouldn’t have said, Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya Glanirva Bhavathi Bharatha, Abhyuthanam Adharmaysya Tadatmanam Srijami Aham” (loosely translated as “Whenever there is decay of righteousness O! Bharatha and a rise of unrighteousness then I manifest Myself”) because we seem to be waiting for some divine deliverance from the many problems (terrorism would probably be pretty low on that list) that afflict our nation. I believe if we could direct our anger at fixing these myriad set of internal problems that affect every day life, other problems like terrorism will take care of themselves. We could possibly eliminate the very reason someone felt compelled to place the bombs on those trains.

But, there is a silver lining in every cloud. Srinadh had written about this protest “Rang De Basanti” style against the acquittal of Manu Sharma in the Jessica Lall murder case. Prasanna here urged voters in Chennai to vote for candidates of Lok Paritran, a party formed by six IITians, who chose to give up fruitful careers and focus on efforts to bring better governance to the country. Anantha wrote about the Tamilnadu Right to Information Campaign, which is part of a national campaign against bribery. There are thousands of others who have devoted their entire lives to improving the conditions (economic, political, and societal) in India. The least we can all do is support such initiatives. When the number of people voicing concern and being pro-active reaches a critical mass, India will slowly but surely change for the better. The sooner we reach that critical mass, the faster will our problems be solved and we wouldn’t have to vent our anger at some unknown enemy across our borders. But, will we ever be compelled enough to achieve that critical mass or will we just sit at our PCs in “phoren” lands writing blogs like this or reading blogs like this and going “he is right” and then not doing anything further?

P.S: I wish I had written this more coherently and referred to all other articles I wanted to. But, the blog got so bloated that I simply had to finish it, abrupt and incoherent though it may be!:)

Sunday, July 23, 2006


"Many" of the few readers of my blog have expressed surprise/glee regarding the contents of the first para of my previous blog. I wish to put on record that I thought the incident was an amusing/interesting lead up to the rest of the article and hence included it and not because I was terribly hurt. So, in case the afore-mentioned readers believe they could resort to such tactics to curtail my leg-pulling/criticism, they are in for a surprise! I don't let such trivialities affect my birth-right!:)

And, I owe AMD an apology for a mis-diagnosis. The power supply had gone kaput and not the CPU.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

An Evening to Forget...

The evening of the 20th of June, 2006 was one I would like to forget. The evening started off with a soon-to-be-married girl stating, "Thank God I am not marrying you" in response to a critical remark from me. The evening then went rapidly downhill from there! Over the years, I have heard statements like, "Your poor future wife! I already pity her", "I hope you get a wife who's everything you wouldn't want her to be", "I would like to talk to your would-be-wife before she marries you to warn her of the big mistake she is making", etc. in response to my incessant leg-pulling/criticism (usually justified) of various members of the fairer sex. I suppose a lot of the other women were also thinking "Thank God I am not marrying you" when they said what they said. But, this was the first time I have heard it stated explicitly and I thought it was a bit harsh espescially coming from someone I have been rather nice to by my standards!

Anyway, I was ready to explain it away as a lack of patience and I was visibly perked up by the awesome start that the Mavs made with a 26-12 lead with about 2 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter. Then, the Heat started playing catch-up and thus began what I think was the most profanity-laden 4 hours of my life. People who have known me for a while know that I am a person who swears or uses profanities only on the rare occasion or two. But, last night I was hailing expletives at virtually everyone who had anything to do with the game-Refs, Wade, Avery Johnson, Terry. I got so agitated and frustrated that I was close to throwing things at the T.V. a few times. Thankfully, I remembered everytime that the expensive T.V. did not belong to me!:) I think NBA should draw a virtual 3-D cylinder (like the yellow lines they use to indicate first-downs in NFL) with a radius of 2 feet with "princess" Wade as center everytime Wade touches the ball. It would be easier for the audience (and the concerned players) to discern a foul call. Only one simple rule to remember-If any part of the body of a member of the opposition happens to be in this "Wade cylinder" at any point in time (due to motion by Wade or the defender), the defender shall be called for a foul! I can recall, at the very least, 7 freethrows that Wade got to shoot on bogus calls. Even subscribing to the idea that superstars get the calls in this league, when I contrast that with the number of calls Nowitzki got for all the bumping, shoving and virtual man-handling the Heat defenders subjected him to throughout the series, I am stupefied. I wonder how the Mavs kept their cool and didn't resort to idiotic fouls and were largely well-behaved except at the end of Game 5. I guess that's why they get paid in millions while I'll be extremely lucky to land a job that pays 100K. Inspite of all that, Mavs should have still won the game if not for some of the worst coaching and poor shooting I have ever seen from the Mavs. I hold Avery Johnson squarely responsible for some senseless moves like:
  • Taking out Marquis Daniels in the 4th quarter when he looked like the only player other than Nowitzki who was playing decently.
  • Letting Terry shoot all those ill-advised 3s when none were going in.
  • Letting Howard go careening towards the basket manned by 2-3 defenders when there were open players standing around.
Oh, well! All said and done, Mavs lost the series and with it a golden chance to get theit first title. Marc Stein can now officially call this the most stunning collapse in NBA finals history. I guess they relaxed a little bit after that Spurs series thinking they had crossed the major hurdle on their path to glory. I don't know what to expect next year, what with the Western conference including a seething Spurs team and a Suns team with Amare Stoudemire and Kurt Thomas back in the line-up and pending free-agency of Jason Terry and Josh Howard. R.I.P. Mavs 2005-06 season - a season that turned out to be much better than anyone ever thought but still left a bitter taste in the mouth because of the manner of their exit. Here's my final score for the series
  • Heat 1, Mavs 2 (Games 1, 2 and 4)
  • Heat + Refs + Mavs 1, Mavs 0 (Game 3)
  • Heat + Refs 2, Mavs 0 (Games 5 and 6)
Mavs had no chance really! On the question of referees, I was offended by the inanities mouthed by the court-side commentators about poor calls. I also happened to catch the controversial U.S.A - Italy match on the same ABC network and I was struck by the contrast. The commentator at the football match would have said things like "This referee has no clue what's happening" and "I hope he never officiates another game" (the audio clips are used often enough in the ads) about a zillion times. Agreed the first red card was stupid, but the second one was just a consequence of Pope picking up two deserving yellow cards. On the other hand, in the NBA (and other American professional sports that I have followed for close to 5 years), we have respected people like Hubie Brown look at a call that is blatantly erroneous and make a comment that doesn't even acknowledge it happened leave alone criticize it - John Madden is the only exception I can recall. Why this double standards?

The icing on the cake as far as the evening was concerned - My PC simply stopped working after some burning smell that I didn't realize came from the PC until it was too late to do anything about. It looks like another AMD processor (2nd one) is toast. May be my anger was felt by the processor too! I am even more disappointed because I have been telling anyone who ever asked my opinion about buying a PC/laptop to buy one with an AMD processor and have also been constantly cheering AMD's small victories in its David-like fight against the Goliath-like Intel. I think I am just going to ask Raapi to get me a new one. I believe AMD owes me one!:)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Apex or Nadir of Creation/Evolution?

We, the human beings are supposed to be the apex of all creation - the most sophisticated, powerful, and intelligent creature to inhabit this planet. I wonder what our co-inhabitants think of us though. One often hears phrases like "fighting like an animal", "eating like a pig", etc. If animals could understand our words, they might actually believe we are giving compliments because:
  • When we aren't "fighting like animals", we simply use multi-million dollar machines to kill scores of people just because one group doesn't agree with the other on any number of "important" issues like religion, form of governance, territorial limits, etc. We fight wars for holding on to an inhabitable piece of land covered by a glacier and are proud to proclaim that it is the highest battle-field in the world. I was reading the other day about the Rwandan Genocide after seeing the movie Hotel Rwanda. Some figures were just staggering - almost a million people slaughtered in a matter of 100 days at a mind-numbing rate of about 10,000 people a day. It was not like they were bombed or anything but most of the killings were by machetes or hand-held guns. The rest of the world was just watching! And, we are supposed to be better than animals..huh!
  • When we aren't "eating like pigs", we spend tens of dollars to eat a "salad" in a fancy restaurant while a siginificant portion of humanity cannot even have a single meal a day. A pig's tongue by the way has about 15,000 taste buds compared to the modest 9,000 we humans are supposed to have.
  • We invent things that supposedly make our life better, then figure out there is a problem and then try and solve the problem by inventing a new thing along with associated problems.
  • We keep multiplying, pushing the other hapless creatures to smaller and smaller vestiges of land and then feel proud about protecting them with reserve forests. We even hunt defenceless animals for pleasure and to prove our macho credentials.
  • We consume and consume from nature and give nothing back except polluted air, land and water.
Imagine a court of all livings things on this planet that wants to try humanity for crimes against nature. I wouldn't want to be the lawyer representing humanity in front of that court!

One of my favorite hymns is the following because I simply love the sound of it as well as its profound meaning:

Aum Poornamadah Poornamidam Poornaat Poornamudachyate;
Poornasya Poornamaadaaya Poornamevaavashisyate

It can be loosely translated as:

What is Whole (Infinite) - This is Whole (Infinite) - What has come out of the Whole (Infinite) is also Whole (Infinite); When the Whole (Infinite) is taken out of the Whole (Infinite), the Whole (Infinite) still remains Whole (Infinite).

One may think its a mathematical definition for infinity!:) . I found this interesting blog that compares this hymn with elements of Taoism. Other entries on the blog (esp. comments by kichami on the above article) are worth checking out.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Who would have thought Ghana would score the fastest goal at the world cup (at about 1:14) and that too against Czech republic who by all accounts were just awesome in their 1st match against USA!

and then, they win the game 2-0...they should have won it at least 4-0 - missed a penalty kick and an easy goal on a bone-headed off-side with just the goalie to beat!
Random thoughts to start the day...

I woke up this morning with the dreadful thought that I had left the sun roof on my car open last night and what if it had rained? It turns out, I did leave the thing open and there seems to have been a light drizzle smack in the middle of a hot summer in Dallas. Thankfully, increase in moisture content of the arm rest seems to be the only damage caused. It's as if Nature was warning me, "Don't do this again or I'll kick your butt!". Incidentally, the car parked right next to mine had both its rear windows partially open...always good to have company when you do moronic things!:)

As espn.com analyst Marc Stein points out in today's daily dime, winning Game 5 is more important for the Heat than the Mavs. So, I am still a believer...the belief has been shaken a bit yes...but I continue to believe Mavs will win this thing and Nowitzki will have two monster games that will shut up critics for years to come! Go Dirk!

As a follow-up to my post on Al-Zarqawi, I found this funny cartoon I must have received as a forward a long time ago...

I shamelessly edited it to get this one...:)

If there are any copyright violations, please leave a comment and I'll promptly remove the file(s).

I wonder why support for U.S.-led war on terror has increased substantially in India even though the general opinion about the U.S. seems to have take a beating as per this yearly survey by The Pew Global Attitudes Project?

Friday, June 16, 2006

I should call it a night...

Went to Chaat Cafe tonight and had a pleasant meal with my friend Mansi. As usual, the cashier asked Mansi if she wanted the potato salad or the cucumber salad with the veggie wrap and I remembered Srinadh's humorous take on that very question.

Well, it seems like Jeev Milkha Singh was the 1st guy to make the cut, but way back in 2002 according to this website that claims to be "Everything Indian Everything Golf"!
Miserable sports week continues....

On my way back from work, I heard Stackhouse has been suspended for Game 5 for his foul on Shaq. If they had called all the fouls that Miami committed in Game 4, their whole team would have been suspended! Stu Jackson is a retard!

And, surprise, surprise, Tiger Woods missed the cut at the U.S. open...how often does that happen? How about NEVER since he turned pro in 1996. Looks like the sad demise of his father did affect his game...But, Jeev Milkha Singh did make the cut...now to find out if any Indian has done that before.

That's my 5th post for the day...Hope I can sustain this interest in blogging!
The rise and fall of al-Zarqawi

We have been asked to believe that the death of al-Zarqawi is a major accomplishment and he was "the most" important terrorist leader in the region. But, I wonder (as have some in the mainstream media) if he would have ever graduated from being a petty criminal if not for being anointed the face of terror in Iraq by the U.S who were looking for any sort of justification for the war? I am reminded of the book The Death lobby: How the West Armed Iraq by Kenneth Timmerman, which I read a long time ago. It talked about how Saddam Hussain would have never been what he became without a great deal of help from the west and the first gulf war was just a means of destroying a monster they had created. Sound familiar? That book is an excellent read and excerpts are available at this link.

While I am rambling about the subject of war, one of the most sarcastic and funny movies I have ever seen is Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Anybody who hasn't seen the movie must see it. One cannot but appreciate and wonder how relevant the movie is even after 40 years.
"Children of Heaven" from "Axis of Evil"?!

As I keep seeing articles on Iran and its alleged nuclear weapons program, I recall watching this beautiful Iranian movie, Children of Heaven, a few days back. My friends and I were somewhat surprised by the quality of the roads and some posh neighborhoods that were portrayed in the movie as it didn't seem to fit into the stereo-typed image of Iran that we seem to carry in our heads. The story itself is astonishingly simple yet moving and is centered around a young boy, his little sister and a pair of shoes. The movie is not about politicking and so, anybody will enjoy the movie whatever part of the spectrum they belong to-left, right, center, ultra-left...blah..blah...
Am I crazy or what?

This actually happened couple of days back....There were two boxes - one with some rice and another with rajma. I had to mix the two items and transfer to a lunch box that was washed but not dry. I could have done it in two ways:
  1. Dry the lunch box, mix the two items, transfer to lunch box and wash hands.
  2. Mix the two items, wash hands, dry hands, dry lunch box, transfer to lunch box and wash hands.
I just happened to complete the task using the second approach and I became a tad upset because I didn't think of the first approach while I was doing it...it would have been more efficient! And, even as the thought went through my mind, I was thinking..."What is wrong with me? Am I crazy to have such thoughts?"....
A pathetic week in Sports...

Almost every team/individual I support/like lost this week and the one team I dislike did well. I am in a depression now!:(

It started out with Schumacher finishing second to Alonso at the British GP. Then, Federer lost to Nadal at the French open. How can a guy who is touted as the best ever lose this often to a teenager? "Team India" once again managed a draw in a test they should have won hands down courtesy some inopportune interruption by the weather gods, that maan Brian Charles Lara and some very ordinary bowling! The Dallas Mavericks went from eyeing a sweep to playing the worst game of the entire season to leave the series all tied up with Miami Heat. As if this wasn't enough, England qualified for the 2nd round of the World Cup after 2 prelims!:( The lone bright spot...Jeev Milkha Singh was +3 and tied for 28th at the US open after round 1! I wonder if an Indian golfer has ever made the cut at US open...He's +7 now...oh, well...Hope next week turns out better than this...