Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Queen Rania herself.

Queen Rania of Jordan herself on her YouTube Channel. I loved the way she spoofs David Letterman's Top 10s.

Friday, December 26, 2008

We - Starring as Dancing Elves!!

Here's a creative and innovate animation made possible by jibjab -Starring yours truly with wifey Joyce and kids, Jennifer and Janelle.

We made complete elves of ourselves.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Muslim Perspective

It is now a couple of weeks since the Mumbai attacks.
But the newspapers are filled with stories and articles related to it.
Here's an intersting muslim perspective I found from Khaleej Times.
An article by Aijaz Zaka Syed called No Time to Hide for Muslims' .
Check it up.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dear Terrorists......

Are you satisfied? Are you content?

With the murder and mayhem in Mumbai?

But what have you achieved? By killing hundreds of innocents. By injuring women and children. By smashing up wonderful buildings. By creating fear and terror. By bringing this death and destruction? Yes. Tell us. What have you achieved? What have you gained?

In what way do you think you have furthered your cause? Did you? Bunkum! Hogwash!

You think your cause is so great? That life has became so cheap? You think your freedom is so important? That you can wreck others’ freedom? You think your wicked minds are so great? That you take pride in bringing this devastation?

You know what? You are just evil and shameless. You are daft and brainless. You are depraved and soul-less. You are wicked and heartless…. I can go on and on like this. But do my words hurt you? Of course No. They won’t.

How can reason penetrate thick-skulled people like you? How can remorse or regret be ever felt by those numbed in senses? How can love or respect have any meaning to you who spread hate and violence? How can care or compassion be ever felt by those driven by irrationality and insanity?.

Otherwise, which sane man will open fire on simple people, waiting with loved ones, at a railway station? Which sound individual would plan to bring down historical buildings? And for heavens sake, which rational person would use guns and grenades to try and kill people at ‘a hospital’??

Accept it, my dear terrorists, you are twisted. You may be thinking you are masterminds - that you used satellite maps, AK 47s, grenades and RDX. You may be thinking that you are clever – that you have hijacked boats, beheaded people, infiltrated into territory that is not yours, and planted bombs.

But, you know what we think? We think that you have contorted minds. That you are gullible birdbrains and brainwashed cowards. That you have spun your web of lies and deceit without any human feelings.

But remember. You cannot bring us down. Your blazing guns speak no reason. Your cunning plans lack the soul. We are the ones who stand tall with courage. Because we can defend our beliefs. Because we have the will to persevere against dastardly acts like yours.

We won’t give up. We will fight terror. And we will fight terror mongers you. With your limited capacities to think, and with our unlimited potential to persist, you will surely be defeated. Again and again. Like how you just got defeated.

Your malevolent acts will be no match to our will power based on love and respect for one another - irrespective of differing ideologies.

So, give up arms. And sit across the table if you can. Choose brains over brawn. Stop these cowardly acts and be courageous. And stop these inhuman acts and be human.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Games Politicians Play

The Mumbai terror drama ends. And the political circus begins.

Heads need to roll. To appease the masses. And politicians do what politicians do.

So, Shivraj Patil, Home Minister of India resigns. (And Manmohan Singh takes up the Finance Minister's portfolio himself, making Chidambaram the new Home minister). Why did Patil resign??

Because Scapegoats are necessary. Because BJP has been crying hoarse that security of the country is being compromised for long. And because half the country would be very happy that something very strong was done by Congress. And Congress would hopefully look good during this election time.

But quick comes the reply from BJP that Patil's resignation is itself 'too little and too late'. BJP attributes the nation's security lapse and a host of problems - often blown out of proportion - to the entire Indian government itself and not just to the Home Ministry. It projects the the ruling NDA combine - which the Congress leads - as weak and incapable of weilding power. Why? Because BJP would hopefully look good as a patriotic and concerned party during this election time.

Evidently, each party has its own interest. Showing us their skills in Games Politicians Play!

मेहरबान और कदरदान
आईये, आईये

politicians का खेल देखिये
Narendra Modi का one-crore offer देखिये!
Vilasrao Deshmukh का ताज यात्रा देखिये ।

इनका बेटा को Ram Gopal Verma के सात देखिये (Btw..here's the latest on this)

इस पर Veerappa Moily का व्याख्या देय्किये!
और उस पर NDTV का coverage देखिये
Star TV का सनसनी खुलासा देखिये
The Great Indian Political circus देखिये !

आईये ... आईये ...

मेहरबान और कदरदान
हुम्रारा ये इंडियन तमाशा देखिये !!

What do some other bloggers say?
Amandeep Singh Bachoo


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Murder and Meyhem in Mumbai

Over 80 people dead. Hotels and hospitals attacked. 4 Top cops killed. Army called in. Guests held hostage. Tourists in panic. Its complete chaos all around.

Murder and Meyhem in Mumbai. Terror has struck like never before.

As I write this, I watch on TV - almost every news channel is covering this live - a fire growing atop the heritage building of Taj Hotel. I see the smoke engulfing Hotel's dome. I hear gun fire as the army is storming into a Hotel. I see the TV news reporters cover their head and ears between their hurried words into cameras.

And if watching all this on TV is scary. I wonder how the people there must be feeling. Particularly those families of the dead, those people held hostage, those policemen crouching outside hotels, those doctors looking at the injured, and those pamedics lifting the corpses.

Oh.... the ugly face of terror! Where is it taking us all?

Why O why do these shameless cowards attack the innocent??

Why O why do these misguided fanatics create such havoc?

Why O why do these tactless terroritsts trauamatise the commoners?

Whatever their cause is, whetever they are fighting for, does it merit this horrible blood shed? Does this massacre solve their problems?

Why don't they realize that it is in no way going to further their cause.

I strongly feel that 'they will be brought to justice' is a too soft a phrase. Its just a worn-out platitute and cliche.

These horrible mudereres should be not just quickly caught, but they should also be so.... so very...severely punished that no one should ever dream of doing this again.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Copyright or Copying Rights?

Did you know that over 6 hours of video is being uploaded onto YouTube, every minute??

That is why I wasn't surprised when I read that this enormous uploading of videos - throwing copyright law to winds - has now resulted in an interesting development - Video Identification Tool.

The content owners can now use a video identification tool that will act like the video fingerprint embedded into the video. If anyone else uploads a similar video, the tool identifies a match. If a match is found, the copyright holders' policy preferences are applied to that video (Rights owners, apparently, can choose to block, track or monetize their content).

How cool can you get??? eh?

Now that Google owns You Tube things would be good I think. Some would remember that last March, Viacom, owner of Hollywood studios Paramount and DreamWorks, launched a $1bn lawsuit against YouTube for copyright infringement.

Oh btw, among those who contributed to this development are Time Warner and Disney!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh! This Online Culture!!

"If you haven't been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged,
You might as well not have existed" - Ben Walker

To all of us, online junkies, here's a bit of philosophy. I've come across this defining song on youtube, by Ben Walker ...(lyrics are pasted below the video)


You're no one if you're not on Twitter
And if you aren't there already you've missed it
If you haven't been bookmarked, retweeted and blogged
You might as well not have existed

In the old days it was all about achievements
Collecting all your trophies in a shrine
Then everybody came across the internet
And suddenly you had to be online

A home page was all you really needed
To seem like a success but not a geek
As long as you updated semi-annually
And checked your email once or twice a week

You're no one if you're not on Twitter...

Technology was moving rather quickly
And the next thing you needed was a blog
With intimate and detailed press releases
And now and then a photo of your dog

More recently the students brought us Facebook
And everybody has a hundred friends
The parties in the photos look amazing
They're not so great but everyone pretends

You're no one if you're not on Twitter...

Now you need to publish every movement
And every single thought to cross your mind
I'm told the Twitterverse is full of rubbish
But most of us are actually quite refined

We validate each other's insecurities
And brag about the gadgets that we've bought
We laugh out loud at every hint of jolliness
And try to self-promote without being caught

You're no one if you're not on Twitter...


Michael Jackson & Bahrain's Sheikh

I feel its an amusing turn of events.

Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa Vs Michael Jackson would be an interesting case for the London High Court to handle.

The Sheikh says he gave MJ a full 7 million dollar amount as an advance - for an album and an autobiography that MJ never produced.

And MJ says that he thought it was a gift!! ( Ofcourse MJ used a part of the 'gift' amount to pay of his Neverland Ranch's Bills).

Now its the turn of lawyers on both sides to twist the facts (or fiction) to their advantage.

Knowing how one feels about the slick US lawyers, who knows what they will come out with to defend the great MJ?

And Knowing...sorry, not knowing... how one feels if they lose 7 Million dollars, who knows what our Shiekh's lawyers would do?

Whatever the case may be, or however the case might turn out to be, I know that, ultimately, it will be the lawyers who will be laughing all the way to the bank :)

I'm sure, our Shiekh, the now once-bitten amateur song-writer, will make MJ sing a different tune soon.

Check out this news on,
BBC website : MJ too sick to travel to witness in case
CNN website : Sick Jackson may not attend trial
USA Today : Arab Shiekh sues Michael Jackson
GDN (Gulf Daily News) site : Jackson betrays firm


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Zain's zain?

I had experienced a slight problem with Internet Connection to Zain, the ISP that I subscribe to. And I soon put forward my observation in a slightly round-about way.

But here's the nice way they responded. I am sure you will say 'zain'!

(Some of my non-arab friends might know that 'Zain' is also another word for 'good')

Click here on this link and read for yourself :-)

Just thought of sharing - as a good example of customer service/PR response by the company - eventhough it happened a couple of months ago.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

McCain? Obama? Who?

Who will become the most powerful man on earth? In less than 24 hours, the world will know.

Over the last two years, we have certainly seen one man battle it out - first with Hillary Clinton and then with John McCain. First, in order to become the Presidential candidate of the Democrats. Then, in order to, hopefully, become the President of the great United States - regarded without a doubt as the most powerful country in the world.

We don't know whether he will indeed become the President or not. But what we know is that the neck-to-neck race to the white house has become very very exciting in the last few days. Obama's aunt's illegal status, Sarah Palin's foot-in-the-mouth lines, John McCain's poor republican jokes and joseph Biden's faux pas.

Now, the death of the Obama's grandmother could give him a small sympathy wave of votes too. But the fierce speeches of John McCain in an incredible seven-state tour in just a day, could buy him more votes too.

So, Obama? or McCain? A Democrat or a Republican? Who? Who will become the most powerful man in the world? (Ok Ok.. those thinking I should be talking about the UN Secretary General or about the Pope can relax and bear with me).

I feel it will be Barak Obama.

My reasons?

  1. Most of America is tired of the George W. Bush, the Republican, they see. And they want a 'Change'. Which Obama strategically kept hitting at the masses as 'Change we need' (ofcourse its another matter that very few US Presidents faced the crisis situations Bush faced - a horrifying 9/11, a few disastrous Hurricanes and an earth-shocking Financial Crisis, even if we hastily conclude that war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran are his own doings, which are not entirely his.)
  2. Obama's campaign, I think, has succesfully tied up John McCain to Bush and his unwelcome policies. (So much so that John McCain had to keep saying 'I am not Bush', and had to keep reiterating that he and Obama do not agree with the Bush-policies).
  3. McCain is unable to get out of the Bush shadow..that is horribly large and unfortunately hated-a-lot in the US and outside.
  4. The choice of Sarah Palin has been unwise (Choosing the Governor of Alaska aganist several worthy candidates from other 49 states has not gone well with Americans... even if she is a beauty...and yes...even if she is one with the brains (but her brains have spawned thousands of jokes on youtube or elsewhere, making McCain seem like a victim of bad decisions).
  5. There would be a massive black turn out at voting (even if they did not hitherto cast even a single vote over decades of US Presidential elections. Which black wouldn't want a black President??).
  6. Despite John McCain's wonderful experience and excellent oratorial skills, I feel that Obama has the charisma that two other former democrat presidents, Keneddy and Clinton had.

Well, I am an Indian. I may not know much about US politics. But this is my take on the world's greatest event going on.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Ode to Meeting 2204

At our Toastmasters Club this Saturday(1-Nov), the theme was on poetry and it was an exciting and refreshing difference.

The entire programme - business session, educational session, joke session and evaluation – was peppered with the sharing of short poems and couplets by different members. It was good fun. And drawing some inspiration, I composed the following lines at the end of the meeting. Then, I refined them after coming home, and mailed it to all, and they were all glad.

Ok… Ok…. You will think I am just showing off.

But you know what?....… Yes. I really am showing off. :-D


Ode to Meeting No. 2204

After some Ballads of Business
Sprinkled with marriage announcements
Emcee Madhavi – a passionate poetess
With her poem-filled pronouncements

Next, for all folks, were
Gopan jokes,
Of diapers of kids, and photos of wives
Of men who knew too much like oaks
And all of those cops after our lives

Then came the words of d'anger and damage
Spoken by our own – cool and calm –
If anger you fail to quickly manage
You’ll have no friends. – They will say , “See ya”.

Later for all of us, O ladies and gents
Osama on 'body', and its intelligence
He observes with care – maids and labourers
And doesn’t even spare, men in wheel chairs

After some pastries and some black tea
Abdulrahman, the engagement sign-er
He became all bullish, ‘on global bankruptcy’
And made many a master, a share-market whiner

Then from the hills, came Nepalese
With serious and sombre, General ‘Evalesh’
(Evalesh? (I know!) Its a new word I made up
Inspired and enthused, by our emcee’s work-up)

Yes, folks. Today’s Ballads of Business
And those Epics of Education
Along with lots of Rhymes of Recess
Made it more than mere couplets, in conclusion.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nagma's Interview

Continuing on the coversion topic is this intersting interview with the hindi film-actress, Nagma.

Click here to read it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I, The Convert

My earlier post touched upon the sensitive topic of Conversion.

You would have noticed that it was a digression from my normal writings. I needed to speak out because of the high voltage scenes in a certain district of Orissa state against the Christians - with some Hindus arguing that force and inducements were being used to convert people.

But I was very surprised to see this article 'I, The Convert' by the Editor of Outlook Business. It makes very good reading for analytical thinking. So don't miss reading it by clicking here . (I also copied it and pasted it down below, as you may need to register on the outlook website)

And on the opposite side, over the last few years, I have read and I have seen many intellectuals from India being moved and motivated by the strong writings of Francois Gautier. He is a French journalist who has amazingly acculturated himself to becoming an Indian - much much more an Indian than we indians ourselves. Here is his piece on Hindu Anger, though not directly connected to Orissa.
I, The Convert
My conversion was not a change of religion; it was a change of heart
by Anand Mahadevan

I was born a Brahmin and am the grandson of a priest whom I dearly loved. I am educated and my current professional standing indicates that I am reasonably intelligent. I am also affluent and my income would put me distinctly in the upper middle class bracket. I guess that would make me high-caste, rich and smart. In other words, I am not a tribal, or poor or dim-witted. And yet, I chose to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

The world would call me a convert to Christianity. I have no problems with that, though I see my faith more as a relationship with God through Jesus Christ than as a religion. And for the record, I can truthfully claim that no one financially induced or threatened or deceived me into converting to Christianity.

I am fiercely proud of my national identity as an Indian and I am completely at peace with my cultural identity as a Hindu. I retain the name my parents gave me. My wife, who also shares my faith, continues to go by her Hindu name. We have two children and we have given both distinctly Hindu names. In fact, many of my colleagues and acquaintances who may happen to read this column are likely to be surprised. They have no inkling about my faith, for I generally don't go about announcing it. But if someone does ask me the reason behind the joy and hope that is everpresent in my life, I am always delighted to share it with them.

I write this piece to make one point—that my conversion was not a change of religion but a change of heart. To explain this, I need to go back to my childhood in Chennai, similar to that of so many other Tamil Brahmin boys like me. My grandfather, every bit the virtuous priest, had enormous influence over me. I absolutely adored him and as a toddler, always clung to him. He too loved me to a fault. There was no wish of mine that he would not rush to fulfil. But even in my early, formative years I was unable to relate to the religion he fervently practiced. Later, in my school days, I once spent my summer holidays with him in Trichy. Memories of dawn walks with him, for the ritualistic dip in the Cauvery river, cow in tow, are still fresh in my memory. I learnt many shlokas, some of which I still remember. But I never understood any of it and none of it helped me connect with God.

When I was 19, a Christian friend with whom I used to play cricket invited me to his house for prayer. If he had invited me to a pub, or party, I would have gone too. At his home, he and his sister prayed for me. It was a simple yet delightful conversation with God that lasted all of five minutes. I don't remember it verbatim, but they articulated a prayer of blessing on my life, future, career and family. It was a simple affair—no miracles, no angels visiting. All they did was utter a deep human cry out to the creator God and His only son Jesus Christ. When they said Amen, I felt in my heart a desire to follow Jesus.

It was a faith encounter with God that I shall not even attempt to understand, rationalise or explain. I simply accept it. It is my faith. It is what I choose to believe. That evening I did not change my religion, for in reality I had none. Hinduism was my identity, not my religion. It still is.

The Christianity I acquired that evening is not a religion. On the contrary, it is an intensely intimate relationship with Jesus. Over the past fifteen years, I have come to know this Jesus even closer. I know Him as the pure and sinless Son of a Holy God. And I know Him as a dear friend to whom I pray and talk to every day—about my career, my dreams, successes, failures, finances and even my sexuality.

If I read a good book, watch a good movie (Rock On is terrific, mate), or eat a good meal at a new restaurant, I would naturally tell my friends about it.In Jesus, I have discovered a truly amazing friend, guide, leader, saviour and God. How can I not tell all my friends about Him? And if anyone does listen and he too comes to believe in Jesus, I am delighted. The world would call it a conversion; I call it a change of heart, like mine.

But I would never force anyone to listen to me, leave alone financially induce, coerce or con him into believing. That to me is pointless and against the very grain of my faith. But I do have a constitutional right to practice my faith and to preach it without deception, force or bribery. It pains to see such basic rights of mankind being cruelly violated every day in this great Hindu nation.

God bless India.

(Anand Mahadevan is the editor of Outlook Business.)


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Attacks on Churches in Orrisa

I am a Christian. Or that's what I call myself. But I have a number of Hindu friends. And I also have number of muslim friends (In fact, I live and work in an Islamic country with muslims all around). Even Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists are my friends. I like them and I respect their beliefs.

Now, despite my long resistance to speak out on this sensitive topic, I decided it's time my friends heard my feelings. The continuing attacks and attrocities against churches in the Indian state of Orissa are extremely disturbing. The burning of churches and killing of christians - saying that christians are being 'converted' either by inducements or by force is slowly and steadily getting me all worked up. Especially, when I hear that... BJP is even asking for a new legislation, an Anti conversion Law!

I am upset, firstly, because some misguided fanatics - who are calling themselves Hindus - who with the seemingly visible backing of VHP(Vishwa Hindu Parishad) or Bajrang Dal, are spreading violence against christians. And, secondly, because some sensible friends who call themselves Hindus, who move around in the so-called higher echelons on power - are being shockingly silent to this growing hate-phenomenon.

Silence, in a way, is an acquiescence of what is happening. And I think sensible Hindus should see reason and speak out against these atrocities instead of being mute witnesses.

I am sure - all will agree - that it is not doing any good neither to India nor to Hinduism. And I don't think Hinduism is an insecure faith that needs these violent defenders.

The question of faith and belief is largely individual, and I do not think anyone can be 'converted' by coercion or by inducements. If anyone did convert that way, it is no conversion! It is only a display of ignorance or greed. But if it is a conversion to earn the so-called 'respectability', then it must be addressed in an entirely different manner - by finding out how and why they were disrespected in the firstplace.

One must also understand that those of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are infact losing government-given opportunities (of university and job reservations), by becoming christians. So, how can anyone easily assume that becoming a chistian is financially beneficial?

As far as I know, churches and christian schools (which are being blamed) in India have always promoted education and knowledge so that people can become more enlightened in their choices.

Though born in a Christian family, I have (as a child) argued and debated with my parents and church leaders on why I should believe in Christianity. I read books for and against christianity. Even the controversial work 'Why I am not a Christian' by the great Philosopher, Bertrand Russel. And I read books of and on other religions too, apart from the Bible. And I've listened to and participated in many inter-faith dialogues and can, perhaps, with reasonable clarity explain the diferrence between Vedic Hinduism based on Advaita from that of the general Hinduism that people know of.

As for me, I can say with confidence that I am a Christian by choice. Not by birth. And certainly not because some great-grandfather had converted to Christianity. While I do not know the actual reasons for his conversion, I do know that it is not for 'inducements' or 'financial traps' or any such mythical monies. Because I do not recall any way in which the church has given anything to us 'financially' , but I do know that we ourselves have contributed to the churches in whatever way we can. Just like how many other christians do. Infact, some do this very very sacrificially.

Anyway, before I close, I suggest that my Hindu friends read a write-up by a Hindu TV journalist whom I admire a lot - Karan Thapar - by clicking here. It can broaden our thought processes.

Or another link where you can read another view (You must go down a bit on that webpage) by Dipankar Gupta by clicking here.

When someone is really on the quest of 'Truth', I am sure he or she will always find it.

Who is Karan Thapar?

Karan Thapar born in November 1955 in Srinagar is perhaps India 's best known television commentator and interviewer. Thapar is noted for his aggressive interviews with leading politicians and celebrities - his interviews with cricketer Kapil Dev where he broke down into tears, Manmohan Singh, General Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto , US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and His Holiness The Dalai Lama are particularly well remembered by Indians. An alumnus of The Doon School and Stowe School , he graduated with a degree in the Economics and Political Philosophy from Pembroke College , Cambridge in 1977. In the same year, he was President of the Cambridge Union. He subsequently attained a doctorate in International Relations from St Anthony's College, Oxford . He began his career in journalism with The Times in Lagos , Nigeria .


Monday, October 06, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I know I am reading it a bit late, compared to many others, but reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hossein, is really an experience worth sharing.

I am more than half-way through it, and there have already been quite a few places, where I had to just pause and take a deep breath.

I feel its an exceptionally well-crafted work of art. The lucidity of the description of rural Afghanistan will appeal to you just as much as the grim portrayal of emotional upheavals that the characters face. The loves and hates, the joys and struggles, the sacrifices and betrayals of ordinary people among the changing political scenes of the Afghanistan, are amazingly informative and thought-provokingly entertaining.

I still wonder how he was able to write like women. Right from within their souls.

If I was moved by his earlier book, The Kiterunner, I am now deeply touched by this one. And I strongly recommend it to all who enjoy a good reading.

Watch this space. There could be more coming up as I finish the book.


You can find the NYT's Herald Tribune review of the book here ...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympic Feelings

Call me sentimental, but lack of emotional control has turned me into a joke among friends and family.

Since Sunday, wife and kids have been telling everyone that, 'he cried watching the closing ceremony of Olympics'.

'Can you believe it?' they've been announcing completely embarrassed. 'He sometimes cries at sad movies, and we somehow bear it. But now, tears at this closing ceremony?? Its plain ridiculous! He is losing it!!'

They have been mocking me ever since. And I feel sheepishly wimpish or wimpishly sheepish. Or whatever. But Yes. I admit. I had teary eyes.

But seriously, somehow, something about the Olympics always makes my heart go all lumpy, into some hard-to-explain twists of joy. A strange vicarious sense of pride wells up within me - every time I see the champions standing on the podium, receiving their medals, and mouthing their national anthems as they watch their countries' flags go up. The joy and pride so largely writ on their faces, the sense of accomplishment so evident in their hearts after their successes, gives me some delicious goose bumps - Even though, of course, I had nothing at all to contribute except as being a wide-eyed, open-mouthed TV viewer!

And watching the peoples of nations coming together, in the opening and closing ceremonies, is simply awe-inspiring. The acts of precision seen in organizing these events, and the feats of team work in managing them, goes to show the astounding heights to which human effort can take us.

Since 1984, when I saw the live telecast of Los Angeles Games as a child, I have been hooked to this international celebration of human endeavour. And watching on TV, the games that followed at Seoul(1988), Barcelona(1992), Atlanta(1996), Sydney(2000), Athens (2004) and now at Beijing (2008) have not lessened but only increased my appetite. To see the eyeful feast of human fortitude. To see the athletes rival one-another in strength and agility. To see the wonderful coming-together of nations in peace and harmony. And to see how far, and how high, the mighty human being can reach.

As 204 countries participated in these Beijing Games, reaching peaks and breaking records were sport stars like Superfish Michael Phelps, and Jamaican runner Ussain Bolt, who together set 10 out of the 43 world records set here. An amazing 132 Olympic records were broken.

And a fitting tribute to this human triumph was the closing ceremony where the surprise appearances of Leona Lewis, Jimmy Paige, David Beckham, and Jackie Chan only enhanced the euphoria. And very soon, we’ll call this nostalgia.

But whatever it is, instead of just watching on television, I think its high time that I now make some live contribution of my wide-eyed and open-mouthed viewing. Not to mention the teary-eyed farewells. So, 2012 London Games, here I come.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

For a Few Dinars More

What do you feel when you read this sad news?

An Indian manager is on his way from Dammam, Saudi Arabia to Bangalore, India via Bahrain. He checks in at the Bahrain airport. Refuses to give his details to Immigrations. Looks around the officials strangely. Refuses to go up the escalater on to the plane. Starts making weird noises and gestures. Starts sucking his thumb. Begins to act like a child.

Simply put, he has a nervous breakdown. And is admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital.

(Its actually a complicated situation because he has already checked in. And he is not a Bahrain resident. But somehow the officials were working around)

The following information can give us some insight into the background

The 24-year-old had worked as a manager for a manpower supply company in Ras Tanura, near Dammam, for more than a year.

Sources claimed that his sponsor had cancelled his visa and he was being sent back home without his contract being renewed.

"He was reportedly depressed because he was blamed for an accident involving a company car and was threatened to pay BD5,700 compensation," said the sources.

"He began to show worrying signs of depression. Members of a Dammam social group, Navodaya, learned about his plight and helped admit him to a private clinic.

"Due to intervention of Saudi authorities, the sponsor agreed to cancel his visa and send him home at the company's expense."


Obviously, he was shaken at the loss of job, and probably didn't know what to do, or what to tell his folks back home. He may be feeling he has been wronged. Or that he was being blamed for a fault that wasn't his. He came to earn. And he is going midway, with no renewal.

We are not fully aware of the whole story, but I have a few questions and thoughts on this. Specially, with regard to the accident. Wouldn't a company car be covered by insurance? Why would an employee be asked to pay BD5700 (that's a whopping 6 lakh rupees)? Where would he get it from?

Well, there could be reasons. Like, either the company car was not insured or its insurance not renewed. Or alternately, the person driving was not licenced to drive. If its the first case, its definitely the company's fault. If its the second case, I wonder how he got to driving it.

Whatever the reasons, I feel it is the story of a man who's been accused and abused. It is not of a person with a weak mind, or of a person with no courage. Because, I assume we can credit a worker called as a 'manager', with atleast a bit of common sense.

So, I smell something fishy. And I fell terribly sad. For the way foreign workers are treated. And for the way they are made to feel stressed and depressed. In fact, to the point of making the worker insane!

It is a well known fact that many indians come to Gulf for just a few dinars (or a few riyals more). Hoping that jobs here would get them more than what they would get in India.

Well, not just indians, but filipinos, pakistanis, bangladeshis, srilankans, ethiopians, sudanese, lebanese, jordanians and a host of other nationalities also come here.

It is common knowledge - when you look at many countries today - that the overall growth of a national economy is largely dependent on migrant workers, and sometimes immigrants' toil. When there is a shortage of labour locally (or when there is a lack of expertise or skill locally), it has become imperative for countries to import the same from outside.

Even the great USA is made up of migrant workers and immigrant labour, over the years. We see Canada, Australia, NewZealand are actively seeking immigrants, and they are eager to take them in, for the knowledge and the skill the prospective immigrant is useful for the country.

When you consider geographic mobility over the centuries, shouldn't we ask questiions like these? Did mankind just pop up in diffrent places, at random, and bred generations? Did people stay stuck to their own lands without moving at all? Did countries get formed only by themselves without people coming in or moving out?

In a way, what I am asking is, aren't all countries, made up by labour in motion?

So why disregard people?


Monday, August 11, 2008

Digital Data Merchants

“7 million Americans searched for Apple's iPhone on the Net in April 2008 alone.”
“27 million people watched more than 3.5 billion videos online in UK in March 2008.”
“11 billion videos were watched online in US, in April 2008.”

“Internet audience grew in India by a whopping 27% from April 2007 to April 2008 -the highest in the Asia-pacific region.”

Now, reading the above lines makes one wonder how it is possible to collect data like this. And who keeps track of this information.

Well, its interesting to note that today, there are companies spending thousands of dollars on thousands of employees to keep track of information like this. All aimed at understanding the cyber world to help businesses and individuals in decision making.

I found out that while an organization like 'IDC' - International Data Corporation -keeps on its research of information technology companies and markets, there are organizations like 'ComScore' which maintain massive proprietary databases that provide continuous, real-time measurement of the several ways in which the Internet is used.

IDC provides global market intelligence on IT companies and IT markets around the world. And this Business Intelligence and the Analytics can be downloaded or bought at a price by the information-seeking organizations. The price could seem very high at first, but when compared to the value they have to offer, and when compared to the amount of research-effort that has gone into it, it would be fully justified.

IDC is actually a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. Founded in 1964, IDG had 2006 revenues of $2.84 billion and has more than 13,000 employees worldwide. It offers the widest range of media options which reach more than 120 million technology buyers in 85 countries representing 95% of worldwide IT spending.

The world’s huge amount of IT spending makes the need for well-researched information very relevant. And the need is being ably met by companies like IDC.

ComScore is a company that measures the digital world. Its core competency is the measurement of the usage of internet around the world. How does an internet user behave? What does he search for? What does he buy online? What does he listen to? What videos does he view? Which websites are the most trafficked? Which products are the most searched for?

Answers to most of these questions can be found in the output of continuous surveys and studies published by ComScore. This information is now extremely critical for marketing decisions by companies that want to reach specific market segments, with specific internet habits.

Market research agencies used to rule the roost at one time. They still do, but with lesser significance now. Because, these days, the new researchers are on the rise. These cyber data vendors. These data-sellers whom you can’t ignore in a world that is fast getting wrapped in the digital media.

In these days of pay-per-click advertising by Google or pay-by-click transactions by Paypal, who can ignore the need for up-to-date information on a host of things? Its is, therefore, from these research organizations that we learn that the world’s changing. Especially, the digital world. And that…

“Internet advertising spending in US has increased by 23.9% (to $7.1 billion) in Q1 of 2008 over the last year.”
“Google remains the leader in the U.S. with 24.8% of the Internet advertising market share.”
“US Internet Ad spend by 2012 is forecasted to be 16% of the total ad spend compared to the current 11% now.”

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Job

Close to our home in Hyderabad was a market place, where there was also a place called adda. This is where, each morning, the daily-wage earners waited and looked for jobs. And then they were picked up by the job-givers to be taken away - to serve that day as cleaners or masons or brick layers or painters based on skills they said they possesed.

But here, in this video you will see an entirely different scenerio. A bit scary or a bit comical, depending on who you are.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

'Comprises'? Or 'Comprises of'??

I was just involved in an argument on the usage of english on phrases which have the word, 'comprise'.

When we say that something is 'comprised of' we, obviously mean that it includes the items being refererred to. For example, the building is comprised of a bathroom, two bedroms, a kitchen and a living room.

But my friend was saying that it was ok to say : the building comprises of a bathroom, two bedroms, a kitchen and a living room.

And I was saying that he was wrong. I said that it should actually be : the building comprises a bathroom, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room.

After much debate and verification with experts I have decided to stay my ground.

So, here's what I think:

(1) If the sentence is "The building ............ a bathroom, two bedroms, a kitchen and a living room."
(2) If the sentance is "The new group …….. Joel, John, Jaani, Janardhan and Joyce."

is comprised of......OK
is composed of ....Ok
comprises .........OK
consists of ......OK
contains ......OK
includes ....OK

comprises of..............Pleugghhhh!!

Hee hee....I picked that last one after some investigation on internet from here.

Anyone still thinks that I am wrong??? Comments?

Oh, btw, you can also check these..



Monday, June 23, 2008

Ken Lee - The Sensation on YouTube.

Did you see this? The video of Valentina Hassan's performance, on 'Bulgarian Idol'?

You haven't?

Well, you have missed something important on the internet! She sang a song which no one understood...initially. But then, when she mentioned the language she was singing in, and the singer's name, she, instantly, she shot into fame.!!! She got TV interviews, rave reviews, album offers, and became an instant celebrity!

Seeing is believing. So, I am embedding six videos here. Three of hers. Three of others who try to sing like her.

Take some time.... turn on the speakers... and enjoy.

Comical....and true.

Her performance

Her TV interview

Her appreciation - by Mariah Carey

She inspired others! ;-)

She inspired many others !! :-)

She inspired many many others!!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

College days

Just a couple of days ago, while driving, I was thrilled to listen to this lovely song on 104.2 Voice FM. I've searched for it, and am embedding it below. So that you can listen and enjoy too. Ofcourse, as it is in hindi and english, my non-hindi-speaking friends may not fully follow it. But do check it out if you can.

It made me think of my college days. The jokes, the pranks, the last-minute assignments, the last-minute studies, reading the exam paper, and getting angry at whoever set it!! The fun days, the troubled days, the friends we made, (for life, sometimes), the friends we lost, (and we hope we knew where they are now).

Nowadays, when I watch my students who are writing their final exams at the University, I feel that many may also be going through the same feeling. Of what they will miss. From their "college days"

कब मिलेंगे न जाने हम
यारों फिर से सबी
लौट कर अब न आए वह दिन
मस्ती भरे दिन कभी
ओ, दिल ये अपना कहे , ये दोसतों
I am really gonna miss this place
I am gonna miss my college days......

Find some time, and listen to it by clicking below. I found it wonderful. Gaurav is the singer. It is also on you tube...but u must listen to it before watching it. Enjoy the memories of your college days.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Kite Runner - And Nostalgia

I am half-way through the book I started this week. The Kite Runner. By Khaled Hosseini.

The book is a touching narrative of an Afghan boy, and his joys and fears as a child in the pre-taliban Kabul. His wonderful emotional bonding with his friend, Hassan, begins to strain at the weight of the boy's guilty actions. To tell you all a little more, would perhaps make this a spoiler. So, I'll stop there.

But with each page I turn, I couldn't but help go down memory lane. To the time when I was growing up. When I was between my 10th and 14th year. In Hyderabad. In India. In the months of January. When flying kites seemed a great art. And a great skill.

I still remember a certain boy, Subash, who was known as the greatest kite slayer in our neighbourhood in Ramnagar. My kite had to bite dust many-a-time to his.

There were legendary stories about how he acquired the maanjaa, the string that cut my kite's string. His family made it, by mixing finely-grounded glass with some special plant's leaf called kalamadaa-aaku...and some other herbs, and some choice colours...and after mixing it into a special paste, it is then applied to the strings and made to dry... .. It was normal in those days to walk in some streets where you will see....strings dyed in various colours...pasted with ladi left to dry...strung to nails on walls.

The dried string becomes so tough, so sharp, and so strong that when one's kite's string is battling with other's, it could neatly rip the other's string. Often, the kite flyer's expertise and thereby, his reputation depended on the design, type and size of the kites he flew, apart from the strength of the maanjaa.

We had a name for almost every design - wonder if people of my age still remember doppan, gilloraa, langot, naamam, naaman-langot, gillora doppan and host of other such names. The threaded-edge kites were called dhaagey daar.

Size also mattered - Ek Pound, Do pound.

You cannot forget the wonderful whirling of the spool of string in your partner's hands as you let go the string when your kite is soaring high into the sky; the joyous feeling of a tug of weight on your thumb and forefinger; the palpable tension when you decide to dip your kite toward's your opponent's kite, to fight him.....the troubled momements when you are deciding whether to let go more string (deeel) or pull it back in rapid wave of arms (keench).....and the ecstatic moment when your opponent's kite is finally cut.....and the ear-shattering cries of 'saaaaaaaaf' from your friends, when your opponent's kite - cut loose from the taunt string - begins to float away in short jerks and dips.

And the kite runners, running ater the slain kite, sometimes with poles attached with throny bushes, going after it to capture the kite floating down. Then, the group of kids fighting for it. To come under it. To catch it. And then one would finally own it..and walk away beaming with awesome pride that only......yes.. ...only a kite runner would understand.

I still remember a time when I (known for my timid and soft nature), was unable to contain myself and brutally bashed up another kid. He had jumped on me and tore off the kite in jealous desperation, after I had run and caught the kite painstakingly. I was claiming it over several other kids. The others watched our fight and no one came to his rescue. Because they all knew it was rightfully mine. In fact there were cheers when I knocked him down. My friends who knew I would rather run away frightened than to every fight a bulky kid at anytime where absolutely shocked. They were amazed at my new and sudden burst of courage and strength!! Such is the impact of Kite Flying!

I had bruises. They were painful. But they were also trophies in leiu of the kite I lost. And, they were also scars from a worthy battle!

Oh.... the joy, the pleasure, the power of Kite Flying!

I miss it.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My Talk-Time Trouble

People say that they've stopped visiting my blog. Because I don't update it often.

So, a big 'Hi!' to all the new comers...Thank you for coming over, to visit this page. I am glad you came here.

And I hope you will keep coming back. Unlike all those..... psssssssst.............those lazy, crazy, hazy people who don't appreciate that I'm a busy man, and that I have a hundred other things to do. Even if I don't update this blog. Ofcourse, you might call a lot of the things I do as crazy and hazy things. But I am certainly not lazy.

Those who know me well would know that I am the type who will always end up doing more than one thing at a time.

I know I bite more than I can chew. I know I accept responsibilities when I'm already loaded with others. I know I can't say easily say 'No'. But what can I do? Altering one's own personality is not an easy task.

Well. among the many things I know about myself is this. 'That I "talk" a lot'.

I know I go yap yap yap even though I am amidst wise company. I am trying hard to learn the fine-art of listening. But 'listening' seems like an art-form that doesn't easily come to the likes of chattering magpies (who, btw, have recently complained to my wife that I was giving them an inferiority complex). And my wife, obviously, was in complete agreement with the opinion.

She is, therefore, going to hit me on the head next time, if I keep speaking in friend's parties.....she is even carrying around a large cellophane-tape to shut my mouth in emergencies. So, in the interest of my almost-bare head, and also in the interest of my moustache which would be seriously damaged in the event of a cellotape attack, I am hereby attempting to talk less.

But the main reason for my wife's state of exasperation is that her repeated calls to order have gone utterly unheeded by yours truly. It is because she has already told me to control my mouth 12,448.75 times.

No. You did not read it wrong. That '.75' is not an error.

It was that time when I had walked out, in a huff, after 'three-fourths' of our conversation. Well, to be precise, you couldn't have called it a 'conversation'.

If both of our voices were hitting decibels of a higher level during the said oral verbal communication process, would you call that 'a conversation' or 'a spat' or something else?

Whatever you call it, just don't call my wife about my 'talking' problems, in case I lose control when talking to you.

Yes. Some have drinking problems, and some have smoking problems. But I have 'Talking' problems.

Is there an organization like Talkers Anonymous, that I can join?

Like those joining Alcoholics Anonymous or something, maybe I will be rehabilitated.

Or my wife will throw me out of the house. And I will then be re'habitat'ed'.

I'd prefer changing my ways, than my homes. By talking less. But...oh my god.... look how far down you have already scrolled reading this, my nonsense talk!!! I just can't stop......

See????.... I think you are now getting the drift.

Maybe, I must shout like Jim Carey.......'Somebody, stop me!'

'Somebody, stop me!!!!!!!!'


Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Officer and a Policewoman

It was great. Listening yesterday, to Dr. Kiran Bedi, perhaps, the Best Indian Police Officer the country ever produced.

Actually, it is probably right to say that she was the one who produced the best in the Police Officers of India.

(Here, in Bahrain, she met the Minister of Interior, Lt. General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdula Al Khalifa, yesterday, and is supposed to have agreed to assist the Ministry's police on community policing and prison reforms).

Click here to read the news Item in GDN

Btw, She is the Civilian Police Adviser in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations now.

A woman wanting to be a Police Officer was unthinkable in 1972. But not only had she become the first woman who became an IPS (Indian Police Service) officer, but she excelled at her job for 35 years, and brought a whole new meaning to the Police job.

She became an inspiration to the women of India. Because she transformed a semingly-uncomfortable profession into a dream-aspiration for many women.

Listening to her in Bahrain was a delight, as she eloquently explained the predicaments she faced, the resources she harnessed, the prisoners she reformed, the family she was blessed with.

She spoke about how the Education she had, the Environment she grew in, and the Experience she had had shaped her life. And how they usually do in everyone's lives. She spoke about how four tenets that affected her and how they can affect us all... 'We reap what we sow';, 'Change is the law', "giving is good' and 'Happiness happens.'

Remembering that what we do today will affect us later, that 'change' is a necessary aspect of life we must all embrace, that the attitude of gratitude is essential, and that Positivism of looking at joys more than at sorrows leads to happiness, was what she put into her lecture.

No wonder the organisers, ILA (Indian Ladies Association) gave this, their Annual Leela Jashanmal lecture, the title - Kiran - a Ray of Inspiration !

It was inspiration indeed.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

OMG! Is this place really that??

Watch these pictures, and try to guess for what purpose this facility was built.

And I am sure you would be as surprised and shocked as I was.


Yes. This is a Jail in Austria. Justice Centre of Leoben! (Justizzentrum Leoben)

It sounds crazy but this Justice Centre of Leoben in Austria, was designed by about 10 artists and built in March 2005.

It was developed as an exercise to implement humanitarian thoughts in the building and design of the prison.

Can you believe that? They even say that they took ECHR (European Commission on Human rights) and Other Human Rights and Prison laws into consideration.

When I got a mail with these pics, I laughed it off as one of those crazy emails, but was shocked after a little bit of research. The only thing that made it plausible for me was when I read that this place has courts, prosecutorial offices as well as the prison.

Just imagine criminals having a whale of a time by ending up in this five Star Prison. I now know that if you have to comit a crime, Austria is the place to go and do it.
  • For more pictures on this click here.. [ Remember 'vor' is next, zuruck is previous, schlieben closes the window]
  • For a pdf file on Current issues in Penitentiary Organization and Management, click here
  • For a webpage on Postmodern Prison architecture, click here


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pakistan up ahead

The recent scenes in pakistan are reminiscent of the scenes in India in 1991.

Rajiv Gandhi, the former PM of India was killed in a suicide attack. Just like Benazir Bhutto the former PM of Pakistan was killed last month. And both were on their election campaigns. And both were children of former PMs of their respective countries.

In both cases the elections were postponed. And in both cases their parties swept the polls. Riding on the massive sympathy-wave, both the parties (Congress-I in India & PPP in Pakistan) led the formation of new governments.

Isn't it also a strange coincidence that parents of both, Rajiv (Indira Gandhi) and Benazir(Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) met untimely deaths? While Indira Gandhi was assasinated, Bhutto was hanged.

Very few may even recall that Zulfiker Ali Bhutto had actually writen a book titled If I am Assasinated.

Well, whatever, now the parents as well as their luminary children have stopped emanating the bright light they used to. But their political parties are still going on. And going strong.

Seeing the election coverage on pakistani channels, one can be sure that the future seems tough and wrought with many difficulties, but the determination in the country to make democarcy work is very much palpable. The fact that arch-rivals, PPP [of Benazir's, now led the widowed Asif Zardari], and PML-N [of Nawaz Sheriff] shaking hands is a very very strange occurance in a country like Pakistan. But it is indicative of the willingness to let go egos to form a democratic government. The joy of ousting a dictatorial, Pervez Musharraf, has clearly converted these two ecstatic 'rival political parties' into seemingly willing bed partners.

It could have a strange impact on the US Foreign Policy, as they have already pumped billions into the country in their 'fight against terror'. But then, hopefully, the assurances given by the emerging leadership of the soon-to-form-government must have assuaged apprehensions.

The seemingly uncertain future - I am certain - is going to turn out much better than what was in the past. Maybe no government completed a full term but Pakistan has been learning. And the massive pakistani youngsters, and the growing education systems, can only lead to a brighter outlook.

Time will tell. And I am sure it will tell well.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Indiana Jones is coming back!!!

I am very glad he is coming back. The archeologist, historian and adventurer, Indiana Jones is going to be back on cinema screens after a long long time.

I won't forget how - after watching the first movie, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark - I was waiting for the second one Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom which unfortunately was banned in India for its ill-portrayal of indian customs. I was able to still watched it with friends - the father of one of whom got it from Mozambique somehow.

Trailer of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Then, there was the third one Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I watched it in Kishore theatre near Kacheguda. It was about The Holy Grail and I won't forget his amazing escapades, and specially the scene of the large ship's propellers chopping the water, and also chopping off the small boat in which our adventurer is fighting villians. Amazing action.

I just wonder if Harrison Ford is still fit to do his stunts after aaaaalllllll these years. In this fourth one Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

But looks like I must wait till May 22 !

Well.... to get some good things in life, one must be patient.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's - A day too late

It was a different feeling. Very strange. Very special. Sweet Sorrow? Lovely longing? Didn't know what it was. A warm inner glow. A calm simmer of joy. Didn't know what it was called.

It had been happening for a while. Everytime I met her. Everytime I talked to her. Evertime I laughed with her. Everytime she laughed at my jokes. A lump in my throat. A gulp to swallow my thrill. Trying to keep a straight face, when my knees grew weak. Trying to speak normally when my heart thumped at high speed. And I hoped, desperately, that she was feeling the same too.......

Click here to continue on to my old post


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bahrain's Crown Prince speaks

Here we have.

Directly from the Crown Prince, and the Chairman of EDB (Economic Development Board), Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

I liked the way he responded to the Davos Question, on economy. Listen to it. He speaks a bit slowly but very wisely. We sure have a Shaikh who is unshaken when it comes to clear thinking. :-)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sunshine Ahoy!!

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.
It's not warm when she's away.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And she's always gone too long anytime she goes away.

Wonder this time where she's gone,
Wonder if she's gone to stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And this house just ain't no home anytime she goes away.

Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away

In Seef Cineplex, I used to enjoy the lovely picturization of a Cigarette Advertisement they almost always showed before every movie. It was about a glamorous woman executive, who has gone away. And friends who miss her, are waiting in a yatch, for her to come back. She comes back in a helicopter - or rather, on a sea-plane - and then two steam-boats, travelling in opposite directions, cut the shape of a heart in the water, welcoming her, as she flies in. (And we hear these lovely lines, ...Aint no sunshine..). ......And its the sunshine part that I am drawn to, as she seems to bring it in, or take it away! Or I think that's what Bill Withers meant when he wrote it first.

Just today, I got to know why people seek 'sunshine' so much. This realization dawned upon me, with the sun, this morning.

After the last few days of rain, drizzle, haze, and chill, today, when the Sun finally peeped out of the clouds this morning, it felt warm and it felt wonderful. A special thrill. Especially when it fell on my eye, as I drove to work, near the A'Ali roundabout. It reminded me of yet another song, Top of the World, by Carpenters which, many of you know, has the following words:

Such a feelin’s comin’ over me
There is wonder in most everything I see
Not a cloud in the sky
Got the sun in my eyes
And I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream....

The pleasant feeling of sun that comes in from the cold, is really a joy hard to explain. No wonder the Bollywood lyrist Javed Aktar also, penned these lines, giving a list of pleasant sensations.

Ek ladki ko dekha tho aisaa lagaa
Jaise khilata gulaab
Jaise Shayar ka khwaab
Jaise ujali kiran
Jaise van mein hiran
Jaise chaandini raat
Jaise narmi si baat
Jaise mandir mein ho ek...
Jalta diyaa....

Ek ladki ko dekha tho aisaa lagaa
Jaise subhon ki roop
Jaise sardi ki dhoop..
Jaise beena ki taan
Jaise rangon ki jaan

Pay special attention to the line about the 'sardi ki dhoop,' which - let me explain to my non-hindi speaking friends - means 'it felt as lovely as the sunshine in winter'. and 'ujali kiran' means the 'soft bursting out of the sun-ray'

Sunshine, therefore, is lovely. And it is essentially there for us to enjoy. And we should. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…”

So, lets enjoy the sunshine. Let the sun shine. In all its warmth! In all its Glory!



Btw, here's a corrolary to the theorem!! Opposing views.

Two quotes :

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”

“It takes both rain and sunshine to make a Rainbow.” (I liked this one)


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In Bahrain? Just Chill.

Brrrrrrr.......Itttts Ccccoooold.

And this weather is the coldest in 20 years I understand. Or that's what GDN says.

And just look below at what I saw on Bahrain's weather website this afternoon. Can you believe it? 7 degree celsius ! In Bahrain!!!

These days, my wife and kids look like eskimos on a visit to Bahrain. Wrapped up in mufflers, gloves and socks, apart from layers of sweaters. The heater - turned up to the max - is only making futile attempts at buzzing away cold. I must get two more blankets today, if I have to cover the three-layered blankets even more securely for my two little kids. The water-heater is the only saving grace....but we can't even wait for the cold water to run out of the tap before the hot water gushes out. Its taking its own sweet time. Brrrr.....The warnings from newspapers are just adding to the tension.

On the personal front, I also discovered that a man with hair on head is a lot more luckier than me. Because the icy hand of winter can be placed more firmly and flatly on a bald head like mine, than on those with good hairy heads. :-(

I also realize that God in his infinite wisdom, made feathers for those birds, and fur for all those animals to prepare them for these days.

But its sad to see school kids and working people waking up to meet their tryts with the same enthusiasm as on the non-cold days. But then, I know there will be some who'll say, "you call this cold??? Come and see Canada, USA, Greenland or the North pole"

Well, whatever they say, Bahrain is ccccccccoolddd.

And, some like it hot.

No...nowadays..we all like it hot.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Indians in Gulf - An Opinion

Surprised? To see Arabic here?

Well, I found this interesting opinion on Global Voices (its english translation is below it) and wanted to share with you all.

The author, Hafez Bucheery is thinking about the development of the Gulf societies in general; he writes about the role South Asians, specifically Indians, have played over the years:

جاؤوا وما علموا بأنهم كانوا وراء نهضة قد امتثلوا, يختبئون خلف السطور الأولى التي تقترف النجاح, سطور سطرها أصحابها بابتذال, وكأن البنيان شيّد في محض من الخيال, أو كأنها سقطت من أعلى السماء. تناسوا في لحظة أن هنالك أناسا يعملون ليلاً نهاراً في دعك الاسمنت وصف الطابوق فوق بعضه البعض, أحداً منهم ينظف طرقاتنا المتعفنة, ويا ليته ينظف معه ضمائر شعوبنا المتخلفة, وأحداً آخرٌ يسهر على تنظيف ما نرمي من أوساخ خارج بيوتنا وداخلها, إخلاصاً منه في العمل, ورغبة منه في البقاء.هكذا حرضهم فقرهم, وحضهم على بلوغ الصعب من أجل تحقيق معنى الإنسانية, معنى ثقافة الوجود, معنى أن يكون للبشر قلب يضحي ويتقاسم الحياة مع من يحب بشرف. لا تغره تلك الحياة في لحظة من لحظاتها المنتكسة, ولا تستطيع أن تحرك فيه ساكناً من أجل الانحراف. لا نقول هنا الجميع, فطبيعي أن في كل قاعدة شواذها, ولكن يبقى الأصل في المسألة هو ان هؤلاء الفقراء علمونا كيف للبشر أن يعمل, كيف للبشر أن يخلص وأن لا يكون اتكالي, ينتظر وضع اللقمة في فمه, من بعدها ينتظر من يمسح له مؤخرته.فصرنا نفتخر كوننا أشباه هنود في ما مضى, لم نجد ذلك الاعتزاز صدفة, أو أنه تكون معنا لمجرد الإفراط في كمية الدهن في شعراتهم, وليس لأنهم يصنعون من ” السمبوسة ” وجبة عظيمة, بل لأنهم هم من نذروا أنفسهم للعيش الشريف, وحققوا الهدف السامي في الحياة بالرغم من التفات ضوء الشمس عنهم, وتجريد الناس ثوب الحياة منهم. شرفٌ لهم أن يكونوا أحفاد غاندي, وشرفٌ لنا أن يعيشوا في أراضينا بسلام

They came without knowing that they would be behind a boom, hiding behind the first lines which celebrate success, lines which its owners have penned with excess, as if what was being built was a figment of the imagination, or as if it had fallen from the sky. They pretended to forget for a moment that there were people working day and night in mixing cement and putting bricks on top of each other. One of them was cleaning our rotten streets and I wish he would clean the consciences of our backward people too. Another was staying up late cleaning the filth we throw inside and outside our homes, out of loyalty to work and a desire to survive. This is what their poverty had pushed them to do, and encouraged them to face difficulties to achieve the meaning of humanity, the meaning of existence, the meaning for humans of having a heart which sacrifices and shares life with those you love with honour. He isn't taken in by this life in any of its changing moments, and you cannot alter his stride. We don't say here that everyone is like this, as it is natural for every rule has its exceptions. But what remains in this issue is that those poor people have taught us how humans work, how they can be loyal and not depend on others to feed him and then wait again for them to wipe his behind. And so we were proud to be likened to Indians in the past and that pride did not come to us by chance, or was formed from admiration of the excessive oil they use in their hair, and it isn't because they create a great feast from samboosa, but because they have sacrificed their lives for an honourable living. They were able to achieve the noble goal of life despite being away from the spotlight, and despite their dehumanisation at the hands of others. It is an honour for them to be the descendants of Gandhi and an honour for us that they live in our countries in peace.