Monthly Archives: December 2006

Merry Christmas!! ——–> Happy Holidays!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

It’s Christmas of 2006 and I kind of like this festival a lot. And I am quite sure a lot of other people do so too. It’s a chilled out no fuss festival, where even though the build might be a bit frenetic with the shopping and all that, but when it is actually here, the people celebrating it do it in a very calm and chilled out manner. Unlike many other festivals.

But there is something about this festival that you might have noticed quite a lot but rarely think of it. If you pay attention, any organization, brand, person, community or anyone, addressing to the society as a whole, never wishes or says ‘Merry Christmas’; yes you are right, they say ‘Happy Holidays’.

This might seem to be just a way to wish people one might say, but this is done only in the ‘West’. If you think deeper, the reason for this is not too far away. In the West, there are a lot of people, who don’t like the idea or the festival of Christmas. For these people it’s just like any other holiday. I guess it’s fair enough, I mean every one has the freedom to think what they want to. And you can’t exactly blame the people addressing them for being diplomatic.

But let’s compare this to our own country or the Indian society. Here, almost the entire nation more than celebrates much more than their share of festivals. And not only is this done to oblige, but in a manner which cannot be dramatized but only felt. You feel the equal amount of happiness when a friend invites you to his home for Biryani, or another one to light a few crackers or someone else to a langar and all of these people at the end of the year coming together to eat a cake. We don’t shy away from what the others feel about a festival.

Again, I am not saying the West should not think like this, it’s all a matter of your opinion and choice. But having experienced the Indianised version of all the festivals, don’t you think they would be better off learning from us.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

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What in the hell were they thinking?

Seriously, what in the hell were they thinking? If you are wondering what exactly I am referring to, consider the name SHINEY!!

What does it remind you of? Who or what do you picture when you think of this name? a six foot man, or a golden retriever with shiny fur because of pedigree dog food?

But no, this is India! Here, a MAN is named as Shiney, and girls are actually crazy about him!!

Now back to my question. What in the hell were his parents thinking when they gave him that name? Now imagine a kid named Shiney, what is the next thing that comes into your mind? His school life? Kids can be really cruel, they will find all kinds of weird association with your name, and a name like Shiney is almost TOO easy. And I know this, I mean I have a surname like Kandala, of all the people I should surely know about school kids and their cruelty.

And why stop at school? People of any age are bound to be tempted. I know each one of you is; how many corny rhymes are coming into your head when I say Shiney? But seriously, why should someone come up with a name like this and that too in a foreign language? Have we run out of names in Hindi, Sanskrit and even the Punjabi names with an inder as a suffix? Not only would this poor guy have to face jokes in his own country, but if he ever earns enough and thinks of settling abroad to get away from the ridiculing people, he will have to go to a country where absolutely no one speaks English. Another problem he would have would be to understand their language.

All this reminds me of a TV commercial where the kid’s parents and their friends are thinking of a name and suddenly the kid, who is just a few days old by the way, speaks and says some name that HE wants. Ok, that is not a practical thought, but shouldn’t that be how names should be kept. There should be a system in place where the parents give the kids a temporary name like A1 or B19 or something like that. Now if everyone that age has a name like that, then there is no ridiculing right? Then later on at a predetermined age, the kid should be taken into confidence in deciding his/her name. Far fetched for sure, but practical.

All said and done, I guess there is a special feeling a parent has when he/she names their own product. I guess when I become one; I would like to name my kid myself too. But I am already in enough trouble with a funny surname, so I will have to think of a name which more than evens out the odd.

Suggestions anyone?

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Breed of Drivers!

Oh YES!! There are BREEDS of them out there!

Driving is truly an art that not many can master. And I mean MASTER! Driving takes a certain amount of commitment and finesse, which I might safely say, is not available in plenty out there.

Before we start categorizing them, let me say, I myself am a driver and a pretty good one at that, so rest assured, my comments won’t be totally senseless.

One of the most common characteristic of any driver is that he/she thinks he/she is good! Example can be seen in the previous line itself. So now let’s dissect them.

THE TURTLES – These are the people who if given a chance, would drive even a formula 1 car at not more than 40 kmph. They are the people who, forget coming in last, would surely have DNF against their name in any race. Again there are two types of turtles, one who are the detached people. They don’t care which day it is or even which year it is. They would stay out of everyone’s way and make sure no one disturbs their mission of maintaining a speed of 40. The other type too doesn’t care about the day, but they make sure everyone else also goes at 40. They would purposely drive on the right side and no amount of honking will make them budge. Their motto is drive slow and make sure everyone else does the bloody same too.

THE HARES – This would be the most obvious category after the Turtle. These people are hell bent in creating a new land speed record every time they get behind a wheel, and not even the municipal corporations earnest efforts in stopping them by digging holes doesn’t help. What I can conclude is that they have some serious digestion problems which makes them hurry so much every time. Another contrasting feature is, they have absolutely no clue which car they are driving. Everytime they have a steering wheel, they believe that it’s a Ferrari.

THE SUMO DRIVERS – Ohh yes!! They are totally a different breed. And surely the scariest! They truly believe that an automobile is meant for a person to go from point A to point B, and the straighter the road, the better. Not only do they want to get to point B, but they want to be the fastest, most hated, most cursed, most scary one in getting there. When it comes to caring about the people who use their own anatomy to do the commuting, the sumo drivers just don’t care. These innocent pedestrians are absolutely invisible, or a more plausible explanation would be, they see an X mark on every pedestrian and are hell bent in scoring by hitting the X.

THE WOMEN – These are even scarier than the SUMO drivers. It’s almost an urban legend, the curse of a woman driver. I am quite certain they have never read the back of their driving license. It says, ‘Driving is a privilege, not a right.’ But I guess, they don’t believe in this. They believe that it is their birth right to drive a car. No matter whose it is, which one it is and where it is.

I guess I will stop here. I have a suggestion; I guess you readers can add more categories to this. Please leave it in your comments. Not that I am expecting a lot of them considering the trend, but I am willing to take a chance. So until next time, walk safe!

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Time!!!! or rather the lack of it!!

Well if anyone is actually reading the tripe that goes through my mind, then i would like to say that i have not been able to update my thoughts on to the virtual world lately. the reason for this is me being busywith my placements and also the Economics Convention.

So be at peace for a few days, but then i will be back with my thoughts, forcing you to read them.

Rang De…….. Munnabhai !!

A Generation Awakens!!

But did it? Being a part of the generation that we are, we have been witness to events that refused to happen in the space of a generation before. And I am saying this keeping the Indian context in mind.

Ten years ago, and I say ago because it does seem a long time back, hardly had anyone in the country heard of a personal computer. And today you find one everywhere. Even farmers have access to computers and internet thanks to the e-choupal project by ITC. The speed at which this country has developed is something that has not been witnessed by citizens of other generations and neither by those of other countries.

It’s a great time to be an Indian! Well when was it not anyways. Maybe we will talk more on that some other day. For now we go back to the topic in my mind. Rang De Munnabhai!!

With an assumption that everyone has seen both of the movies that I am referring to, I will dive into the topic. There was a time when movies were regarded to be hopeless stories about a man and a woman in love, with the ethereal running around the trees phenomena, with one bad guy and lots of his bald mates. At the end, the good prevails over evil. These were movies that a person with an IQ of a nincompoop could watch and come out none the wiser. They didn’t make anyone think, not surprising that the people who actually MADE that movie didn’t do this exercise either. Nevertheless, time moved on and through evolution, Mr. Darwin smiles again, we got better moviemakers, and more importantly who did the mentioned exercise.

We then saw a breed of movies with messages in it. Not that these kinds of movies were non existent, but they never served the purpose of making money for the producers. The new breed though, hit bull’s eye. People could make a movie with a message in it and people ACTUALLY liked it. These are high budget multi-starrer movies which were just a brilliantly made three hour public service message. But there was an essential difference. People listened. And they liked it.

Now, another question is, do we need such movies? Hell yes we do. If these movies are working then of course it means we need it. Now, another question, keeping both of the movies in mind, which is the one we need more? Let’s see. Munnabhai was a movie which preached old-school values. It told you to go back to your roots as an Indian, and just act, more of a human being. Rang De on the other hand was a movie promising to awaken a generation from its slumber. And it DID do that to an extent. Remember the protests after the reservation proposals? Jog your mind and think, would it have drawn the same reaction had there been no Rang De? I think not. It told you to become a NEW India. An India which party’s, drinks, eats, dances and still wants to stand up for itself. Both were movies that will be eternal.

And do we need more of these movies? YOU have the answer.

A Generation Has Awakened!!

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Wassup !!/??

Now what is the deal with this word?

I mean why do people say it? What I mean to ask is, should one add a question mark at the end of it or an exclamation mark?

To know that we will have to trace out the history of this word, or rather phrase.

This phrase was first made popular in 1940 by the very popular and favorite cartoon character Bugs Bunny. Remember “What’s up, Doc”? In the series all the words were pronounce as per Standard English usage. The more standard one would be ‘What is up’. But that would just sound weird. Then the phrase somehow got fused into a word. So then came ‘Whassup’. This further shortened to ‘Wassup’. This can also be pronounced as ‘Wussup’ or ‘Wuzzup’. This phrase was made popular by the African American Community and was then later taken advantage of by the popular commercial series by Budweiser.

The evolution of this word didn’t stop there. This evolution would put Darwin to shame. The word got further shortened to ‘Ssup’ and later to just ‘Sup’. These versions though are more popular among the internet community.

Now we come to the question that I am addressing to. What exactly do people mean when they say wassup. And more importantly do they expect an answer in return or just another wassup. And even more importantly, what is the answer that they expect? Among Mexican-American street gangs in California, the phrase ‘what’s up’ means ‘there is going to be a fight’ when opposing gangs confront each other.

As far as I am concerned I go all blank when someone says this to me. What is it that I am supposed to say? The bigger reason for the confusion is that people say this in motion and don’t stay for more than a second to even listen to anything I would want to say. Well if you don’t want an answer you might as well just say Hi!

I think it is about time that people think about this. Technically thinking isn’t it a false show of concern? I mean someone can really get hurt you know. Now please leave your comments and tell me what IS the deal with this phrase.

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The Butterfly Effect!!

It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.

This phenomenon is ironically referred to as the Chaos Theory. What the irony is will be explained later. Interesting though this phenomenon may sound, not to mention also impossible, it is a scientific theory which has been immensely researched on a long time ago. There have been books written on it and movies filmed on the same. What it essentially means is that small variations of the initial conditions of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system.

Now if you are still reading this article and not closed the window due to the last sentence that you just read, I would like to elaborate on the reason for me to choose to strain you people with such words.

On 30th November 2006, Mumbai witnessed something that was so destructive that it can surely be figuratively termed as a typhoon. Walls fell, cars cart-wheeled, rickshaws became non existent, glasses shattered, buses demolished, trains burnt and not to mention innumerable people injured and of course the death-count that we will never know. If this can be termed as a typhoon in Mumbai, then the butterfly that fluttered its wings would be 1,288 km away in Kanpur, UP.

We can categorize the damage in two different categories – Superficial and Deep. After all if beauty isn’t only skin deep then why should wounds be different?

One would think that the people inflicting this fury on the commercial capital of the country thought the reason was good enough to cause damage worth CRORES to it. The three trains that were burnt itself caused a damage of Rs. 7 crores to Central Railway. Not to mention they could not run the Deccan Queen the next day too. More than a 100 BEST buses were left damaged. And hundreds of other vehicles were also vandalized. Who is going to pay for it? I guess that is one of the most clichéd question, and now can also be termed as a rhetorical one.

That much for the superficial damage. The deep ones run REALLY deep. Can you imagine how terrified the kids of this city will grow up to? I am not saying this has never happened in this city before. When we were kids we had one of the biggest riots ever in the city. But the difference between then and now is the environment. Then it was something which made the place just go quite. But now there are tens of news channels covering it and running the images repeatedly all day. Kids watch it and don’t know what to make out of the mad people shown on the screen pelting stones at people buses, burning the city and police being shown helpless.

I am thinking what will kids grow up thinking about all this? This can again be termed as another butterfly effect in the true sense, with damage in the long term. Will kids have faith in people? Will they have the confidence to turn to the cops one day? Will the kids growing up in this city be different from those in any other place on earth? Now this can be either good or bad. Kids can become really strong and undoubtedly become adults who are capable of facing everything. Otherwise they can become scared adults. Fearing to board a train or a bus at the slightest doubts.

But there is something in this city that keeps it running. The essence of it will surely be seen again tomorrow which is supposed to be an extremely sensitive day. People will still get up to go to work. They will still try to catch a bus or a train. And if they can’t, they will call friends over and party. But they won’t let this holiday go waste. Maybe our kids also will grow up the same way.

The Great Indian Land Grab!!

Recently the Chinese envoy visiting India claimed that Arunachal Pradesh falls under Chinese territory.

Ya rite Mr. Schezwan!! Do you even know the name of the capital of the state? Next they will tell us they want Kashmir too, and somehow it ‘falls’ under the Chinese territory.

The topic of this article though might be the Indian Land-Grab, it’s not India who is doing the ‘grabbing’.

First it was Pakistan who wanted Kashmir. Then, they consulted the local people and found out that the Indian bureaucratic system was as hopeless as theirs, and if they started believing that their ‘talks’ will help them win over their Indian counterparts and they would one day hand over Kashmir with a ribbon tied around it, they would be dreaming. So they decided to do it their way. And to say the least it’s not the best way to do things.

They then just literally ‘walked’ into India through Kashmir and whatever land that they ‘shat’ on became POK. Then they drew a line across it saying that it is the LOC or the McMohan line and you will have to abide by it. Though this tactic may not sound diplomatic enough, it sure as hell was effective.

Now, are we seeing China do something similar? That only time will tell.

The question that comes to one’s mind is, why is it that our neighbors want a piece of our land?

Though no one knows the exact answer we can nevertheless speculate.

What comes to a person’s mind is, the Indian attitude. Are we so lax in our attitude that another country can pick and choose the best part of land available. They would look at nearest states, compare the statistics, look at the industry possible, the scenic beauty, the resources available and say ‘Yes this is the state I like’.

Funny though it may seem you can compare it to buying a car. Imagine going to a dealer getting the brochures, comparing the features, the mileage, the looks, the power and then deciding and saying ‘Yes this is the car I like’.

Coming back to the attitude, what I mean to say is, would the same course of actions taken place had some other country been in the place of India? For the sake of argument, let’s imagine a European country. Let’s say Israel. Ohh!! Sorry, wrong choice. Let’s say China and Pakistan were neighbors, can you imagine Pakistan telling China that the Schezwan Province (this does exist) is mine. The next thing you know, Chinese military would be all over the border and before we know it, half of Pakistan would be eating Chop Suey for lunch instead of tandoori.

So is it all about the Indian attitude? One might be forced to say yes. Every country wants to capture more territory to command more power. Colonization. But when will it end?

What we can go further and think about is, what is it that might transpire from all of this? What are the extents which the two countries would go to, to prove their point? Are we risking a nuclear war? But come to think of it, we can’t do zilch about anything except wait and talk. We most certainly can’t risk a war. That would be too damaging to the economy, even though we might settle issues with Pakistan, and China would do the same with us, it’s not at all feasible to go for an all out war. I recommend you to go to the website www.costofwar.com and you will get the breeze of what I am talking about.

China for it’s part doesn’t want any conflict for the next fifteen years, after which it would be called a developed country. After that, it’s your guess as good as mine.

So I am still thinking, what is it that attracts our neighbors to grab land from our country? Maybe the answer lies in the fact that we are just plain seductive and they can’t live with it.