Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Sameer looked around and smiled. It was a good turnout. This was one of the moments when one took stock of the people one has accumulated and treats it as a personal accomplishment. He looked at Ravi. Yes, Ravi's arrival was a surprise. Ravi was always his arch rival and his perhaps most accomplished critic. There was great mutual respect between them, but Sameer could not help feeling that there was something personal in Ravi's disagreements with his ideas. His calm demeanor somehow almost but only almost concealed some dislike which was far beyond reasonable discussion or explanation. Yet, Ravi was here and that had to count for something. His eye rolled towards Rita, who was beside Ravi. Figuratively speaking, she would never be an inch away from him in opinion, so much so, that Sameer often had a hard time comprehending who was doing the actual thinking. Today, literally their flesh touched as she stood beside Ravi, almost sycophantic in her constant approval of his every move. Well, there was no surprise there. Her presence and her behavior were totally predictable.
Sameer forced himself to look further and not obsess over them. This was after all, his special day. He could see Rekha almost clearly, there was a haze in his vision now. Distance did that to him. Myopia, the doctor called it; but Sameer knew this was merely his body telling him to focus on things, ideas and people close to him and avoid thinking of others, no matter how tempting they were. Rekha sure was tempting, in her off-shoulder gown. She always had such amazingly sharp features. Her eyes, blue and piercing, her hair well managed and peaceful were quite an indication of her personality. Somehow, in the haze, he could picture her clearer than he could have seen her. Her dress, sown to perfection, was showing the right amount of cleavage, sensuous without cheapness. Her legs were shown off in an inviting way which simply was not tawdry. There were few women who could manage that look. He knew his wife was not one of them. Yet, Sameer was glad that Rekha was there that day. Life is the most inexplicable thing, he thought. There were so many moments when Sameer knew his life made absolutely no sense at all, yet there were few moments when he could not have called himself happy. A few different turns in the road and who knows, Rekha may have been his wife today. Sameer could not help think that. Who knows, maybe Rekha was thinking the same. Maybe the fervency with which she kissed her husband Raj was just as hollow as the way Sameer touched his wife, Tina.
He looked at Tina. Well, he had to admit, she was in a sense prettier than any woman he knew. She did not have the oomph of Rekha but was the perfect trophy wife he had always wanted and he got her. To be completely honest, she cooked and cared for him, bore him beautiful healthy children and maintained an air of dignity that came with her upbringing and her education. All in all, he had to conclude that his marriage, although perhaps without passion, was definitely not loveless and was more satisfactory than most marriages he knew of. Samu, she called him affectionately. Somehow, the word which made him feel childish was giving the aura of closeness that he had never thought he would have. Today was clearly a special day. Every little thing he could observe gave him that very indication. She was a faithful, dutiful wife and he had to be thankful, especially today.

There was something in the air that night. He was generally a prosaic person not given to romantic excursions of the mind, but that night, he let his mind wander. Sometimes, our minds have minds of their own. He was still enjoying drifting aimlessly in thought, something people would never recommend to a person of his occupation, but he found rather engaging and rewarding. Yes, over these years he learned a lot of things and one of the them was that the more you rely on what people say, the more you befuddle yourself.

He stared at the high ceiling and the decorations on it. They were emblematic of his rise to fame, power and respect. His was not the kind of power that manipulated the stock market or forced favors from government servants, but was that of convincing people once he set out to convince them. He could not get a special table for himself at a restaurant but well...that was not what he valued in life anyway.

He always knew, from a very young age that he was different. He was never naive, never passe, always a step ahead. If he asked a question he knew whether the answer would be the truth or not. He could read people. Always. Somehow he could bore deep into them and find out their true thoughts. While he may have seemed hypnotically gifted in doing so, it was merely perceptiveness and very fast deduction. He was destined for greatness. This was not his belief but firm knowledge. It never betrayed him.

As he looked around his eyes searched desperately for his sons. He valued them the most and made that clear to anyone who knew him. He shamelessly professed that the only real wealth in the world was a child. He always knew he would be a model father. Someone who his children would look up to and emulate. This was one of the very few times he had been disastrously wrong. His overbearing and controlling nature had upset them at first, and then slowly driven them away. They were now busy with their own education and away from him. They rarely visited. Still, he expected them to be with him on this day.
He fantasized of a life with a perfect A grade on his parenting report card. That would be the highlight of his life. He would never achieve it now. This thought was so overwhelming and consuming that he almost did not hear his name being called out. Almost.

He looked up at the announcer, her Swedish accent unmistakable, smiled and walked up to the dais. He stood facing the thousand strong crowd that was present. He cleared his throat and said,"Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for being with me on such a special day. It is not everyday that one wins the Nobel Prize and this day would have been nothing if you had not been there to celebrate with me."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Curry lynch maybe?

Yet another Indian student was found murdered in the US in what looks like another hate crime. This time it was Abhijit Mahato in Duke University, NC who was found shot in the head. Another free spirit was silenced and the Indian dream of making it in the US after doing getting a graduate degree was tainted with blood.
Cue to the incident where two Indian students at Louisiana State University were found shot in the head. One of them was bound with a computer cable. Nothing was taken from house of Mr Allam (one of the victims) where Mr Komma (the other victim) was visiting him. The idea of robbery being the motive is laughable simply because...well..they were graduate students! In all seriousness, they were bound and shot in the head once apiece. This looked like a hate crime.
There are more reports that criminal gangs are on the attack against Indian students in particular.
Back to Abhijit Mahato, this guy was an MTech from IIT Kanpur and worked with GE for a couple of years. This was a promising, qualified and happy-go-lucky researcher who was killed probably by some two-bit idiot who could not differentiate mechanical engineering with being a mechanic.
When you actually analyze this possibility of Indians being the target of hate crimes, you wonder whether you have been transported to the 80's when this was an actual problem. The level of education in America about interracial harmony is simply not good enough. It seems to be restricted to the coastal blue states but the rest of America still wants things lily-white.
With a Democratic congress and most-likely Democrat future President, one hopes that the tolerance level of this country will improve and that there will be more acceptance of Indians and other foreigners.
For the time being however, the Indian community in America, the ones who are well established with their US citizenships or on their way to US citizenships, should form some kind of organization to spread awareness of Indian culture and differentiate us from the people in the Middle east. Indians are a proud and culturally aware people or at least that's what we hope to be. We need to spread this message.
We need to recognize that education is the only long-term solution to hatred. Let us pray for the souls of Abhijit Mahato and other victims of hate crimes and hope for a better tomorrow in this country which truly is a beacon of hope for people everywhere in search of democracy and freedom.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some Intellectual cripples

There are 6.5 billion people in this world. The world is run by the top 1%. That makes it about 65 million. That's a huge number. Mensa, the international high IQ site accepts people in it if their intelligence ranks in the top 2%. Not all these people are contributing to the success in this world.
There are some who are gifted with above-average intelligence but also cursed with complete lack of direction. This makes these people appear lazy, irreverent and incompetent. Do not confuse these people with those with learning disabilities. These are more normal than you realize. It is just their precociousness and their intellectual speed which makes them pretty good at whatever they try. This precludes easy choice of the path in life which is possible for those with lesser intelligence but more determination. These people are naturally motivated in one particular direction and appear a lot more focused than those who are the topic of this discussion.
Such people tend either to wander aimlessly in search of an ambition or implode with destructive thoughts leading frustrating idleness.
Such people are ill and need to be treated. They need some upper hand to show them the needed direction or at least some method by which they may arrive at it themselves. This topic may seem unimportant and these people may not even seem disadvantaged as they are incredibly gifted. No one denies that. The truth is, however that they need help. The even scarier truth is that there are many like these. The hope is there in the fact that these people, if given direction, will solve some of the biggest bottlenecks in the world. This is the most untapped resource for us. These are the people who will shape our future. We have had enough of average people running the world. We need exceptionally gifted and committed people on the job. Someday this untapped resource of brilliance will be harvested.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ponting...yes we doubt you!

In a press conference, Ricky Ponting was asked about the catch which he told the umpire was clean. Firstly, conflict of interest is one of the most important and well-guarded issues today. Cricket used to be a gentleman's game. Now, with the amount of money and interest riding on whether that catch was clean or not, asking a person (who has a conflict of interest) as to the verity of the catch is unfair to the person, the others, the spectators and the game itself.
Putting Ponting on the spot was unfair and foolish. Yes, the Aussies walk when they think they are out. But that's because they usually play pressure-free. From time to time, some team puts them in great pressure and the instinct to win no matter what comes out. I don't blame them, that's why we have umpires; because players cannot be trusted.
To the question, Ricky took offense that "You are questioning my integrity". Now Mr Ponting, we, unlike you have the handicap of education, logic and clear thinking. Here is our take on it. The catch was shown by technology to be dirty. You said it was clean. So, you are wrong.
Either we are questioning your integrity or your eyesight. You pick. We chose the former because you thrash bowlers and pinch women with amazing hand-eye co-ordination. This leads us to your integrity. Here the women pinching thing helps our case!

From Monkeys to...Darwin

The Harbhajan Singh case is a classic case of "He said, she said." Maybe I'm way off, but ties go to the defendant in a civilized society which the ICC seems to be. There were three people involved in the situation: Bhajji, Symonds and Sachin. Symonds accused Bhajji of a racial slur against him, which Bhajji denies. (something he need not do; he can keep his mouth shut and ask that Symonds build a case. His vehement denial is his choice, not a compulsion)
Sachin, the only other witness, supports Bhajji.
Only a police state can convict a person on charges corroborated only by the alleged victim. One may as well conduct this trial under the gavel of Vladimir Putin.
I have to agree with Sunil Gavaskar on this issue. While his righteous indignation may occlude his correctness but he is right on the money here.
As to the Aussie media digging info on how the Indian players are the worst violators, this actually goes to prove our long time charge of racism in the cricket community.
The day the Aussies accuse someone of racism and unfair play is pot callin the kettle "african american."

Monday, January 7, 2008

I need some time

I need some time

I need some time,

That is all I ask for

Some time to breathe

Some time to relax

Some time without competition

Some time without interaction

Some time without embarrassment

Some time to fold

I need to enter my shell

For some part of my life

I need not to be bothered

I need not to be tethered

Some time without judgment

Some time without relent

To life’s continuous annoyances

Some time to contemplate

I don’t want to achieve

The way you think I should

This is my life, my only life

I want to live it my style

Can’t life stop for a second?

Let me take stock of things

I am slower than others, but do I

Deserve to be rushed?

I don’t want to co-operate

I don’t want to co-exist

I want no comparison

No relative grading in life

Who sets these standards?

Why is good good and bad bad?

Nothing is predictable in life

So why should we be?

Freeze this world for a second

Put a stopper in jobs and tasks

So I may exhale

That is all I ask