Posted in Humor - General, Music - General, Politics - General

Thrilling, yet Bad and Dangerous

What can I say when an icon of sorts suddenly becomes HIStory? I would be lying if I said that MJ’s music didn’t shape my formative adolescent years of listening to western music. Specially, growing up in India, he pretty much was the definition of English music for almost a decade. I am not talking about the elite and well exposed Indian music lovers, but I am talking about the average Indian music lover of the 80s who had the craving for western music, yet couldn’t really fathom or relate to the distortion guitar or lyrics soaked with drugs, loneliness and far-fetched love. To all of them, MJ’s music served as a great remedy. To them, his groovy music was the natural progression from the Boney-Ms and the ABBAs & his dancing style was what the Indian cinema needed. So, MJ connected to them at all levels. It didn’t matter his voice exuded effeminate tones and it didn’t matter you could hardly understand any of the words as the electronic pop beats swallowed the listeners and mesmerized them.

Almost 25 years later, since the first time I listened to MJ, I can’t believe that I would be writing an obituary for a music icon. I had read and wondered about many, many musicians of the 60s and 70s dying young. Many, before I grew up to understand their lives and music. But now, here goes another !

MJ – All your personal controversies apart, as much I have to confess that I was not your biggest fan, I also have to confess that I have tapped my feet many a time to your dancing tunes. You gave many of us something we will always remember..You lived a dangerously, thrilling life and I know how bad it must have been. You were not invincible, now that you have become history and you got to be there where you didn’t want to be there at 50.

You have proved through your death (again) that fame can catch up with inner peace very easily. In fact, it can override the person if they don’t keep their heads steady.

Why MJ? Why did you fall into the trap of pain killers?

Posted in Humor - General, Palin, Politics - General

Palindrama

The past week witnessed the release of the latest episode of Palindrama – a reality TV show, produced by “RCMGOP Hatred Productions”, an old production company, who have produced several chart buster sitcoms such as “Religion and Immortals”, “You are a Conservative OR You are Wrong”, “Whites and Unmentionable colors”, etc.  and directed by a prominent former TV glamor doll, Sarah Palin, who made her Sitcom directorial debut through “800 year old partner and I”, in 2008. This show has been funded by some really rich and powerful oil companies from Houston, where we interviewed Palin, who was there promoting the show along with her sidekicks.

The central character of the new series is a beauty queen, whose IQ is less than the combined IQs of 2 of her daughters put together. She runs for governor from the state of Wildeska, where the voter to elk ratio is 1:10 and where the average voter turn around is directly proportional to swim suit calendars distributed at polling booths. So, she manages to get elected primarily through her make up, rolling (pronounced as ‘rollin’ when she says it) tongue and padded outfits (you get the picture). When she was offered the opportunity to be a sidekick to an 800 year old presidential candidate in the national elections, she pretty much abandoned her state and went on a shopping spree along with her husband, who by the way is a recovering alcoholic, with drug problems. In the process, she forgets that she has a teenage daughter, left alone in a huge governor mansion. By the time, she kicks the 800 year old partner to the side (which is what she thought was the primary duty of a sidekick) and takes the center stage of national politics, her 17 year old daughter gets pregnant. With a coterie of really conservative advisors who think the world stopped changing after 1800, she takes advantage of the pregnancy situation and wins the votes of a guy named Joe the Plumber and a spanish speaking lady called Maria the Maid (who later confessed that she didn’t even know there was an election). That’s 2 out of 3 million. With an immensely popular candidate on the opposition side, this was not enough. In the end, all she could accomplish in that election was being a true side-kick and hog the media, as her 800 year old partner lost it. The rest of the story is about how, even after the election, she continues to hog the media amidst all the controversies, sometimes created by her and sometimes created by others, in a very hostile political environment.

The first episode of this series starts off with a particular controversy, she quite adeptly manages to create out of nowhere, over a poor old talk show host, who has never been ashamed of showing his true political colors. A joke that the talk show host makes, gets blown out of proportion, because, her hogged media friends are able to contort the truth and confabulate the host himself by accusing him as a child molester & how his very survival in media business is a disgrace to the great American culture. With pressure from all sides, he eventually buckles in and renders a public apology to her and her intelligent daughters. The episode ends with her smiling proudly accepting (‘acceptin’) his apology.

Phew! As someone who watches sitcoms regularly (wink! wink!), I have to admit, the series has gotten off to a phenomenal start and I can’t wait to watch the next episode – It will be very interesting to see how she plans to hog the media spot light this time around…

Posted in Cricket, Sports - General

Ego and Age

I am not an AB hater..I just find him to be so diplomatic that his hypocrisy is obvious even to his well wishers. If you followed his recent rant on why he declined to accept the honorary doctorate degree offered by the Queensland University of Technology, then you will understand why I want to ask him a very simple question – “How do you define racism?”. Because, if he really cared about Indian students getting killed or getting humiliated and being served injustice, then there have been quite a few incidents in the past, where he could have taken a strong stand – No I am not talking about incidents outside India. I am referring to decades of violence leashed out to Indian students in India. What has Mr. Big B been doing all these years?  He could have stayed quiet. I would have had no problems or would have had no specific reason to highlight his hypocrisy. But, these are difficult times for everyone – Even to Mr. Big B – who is desperately craving to feed his insatiable ego, which incidentally keeps inflating with his age.

Enough about ego and age. Or may be not. Did ego bring down Dhoni at the T20 world cup? From being the media loved captain, MSD suddenly has become a questionable captain. No, I won’t question him. T20 is a very unpredictable format and there is no easy way to define a true champion because there has not been one team that has been consistent in this format for more than a couple of months. I am not disappointed that India got their backs kicked by England..I am sure, this tournament will be forgotten soon.

Who can forget No. 14 from Roger? He may owe some of his success to Soderling for keeping Nadal in a Spanish island. But, the moment was magical – To see him accept the honor from Agassi brought me goose bumps. Grand Slams are such dignified events – Compare them to the NBA final (which just ended and Lakers have won) or an NFL final – They are world apart and no wonder why games like Tennis will never be popular here. Federer let his emotions out and why not? It is not everyday you get to do what he did on that day at Roland Garros!  Soderling was amazingly humble and fell short of falling at Federer’s feet. Federer was ever gracious and dignified. Age has not altered his Ego. At least, not yet!

Posted in Environment

The Vegan ‘not’ in me..

This post is inspired by one of  Kathy Freston‘s recent columns.

I have often wondered why living without eating animals is such a difficulty for human kind! When and how did this speciesist arrogance begin? Why does mankind think that the other animals including fishes have less of an emotional attachment to their lives and it is ok to kill them and eat them? And it does not even start and stop with just eating the dead bodies of animals and fishes (yes, that’s what we do, those of us who eat animals – we eat carcasses of other species) – We even eat animal byproducts – such as eggs, milk (of all mammals, pretty much), etc.

Many recent scientific studies have proven that the whole “animal food” industry is as perilous to our environment, as the industrial carbon pollution that we all normally associate Global warming with. Unfortunately, enough emphasis on this has not been put by many ‘environmentalists’ yet. Well, we may argue that they are taking “one step at a time”. Agreed. But it is about time that we start acting on this danger as well, else, the ecological balance of this beautiful Earth will cease to exist and our future generations may be living with masks and tubes as permanent fixtures. Or, this may lead to the evolution of a new species and human beings or the species, we call as Homosapiens will become a fossil record for future species to study, if there ever will be some that can survive on this planet.

I am not a Vegan. But I am a vegetarian and have grown up as a proud vegetarian. I am glad that my family background (for whatever reason and it definitely was not environmental) helped me not know the meat-eating lifestyle till I hit my mid-twenties. Then, for various not so excusable reasons, I devoured animal carcasses of several species, some willfully and some just adventurously, all along, unaware of the environmental impact I may have had. After a couple of years of galavanting along the environmentally obnoxious and principally inhuman side, I attained Nirvana, thanks largely to my wife. Boy, am I glad..?

The next step to this (for me) is to get to a state of practicing “Veganism”. If I can do that in the next few years, then I may be considered a forerunner of this lifestyle, which could very well be the norm 100 years from now. In a highly possible scenario, a few decades from now, the newer generations of human kind may wonder how generations of our times (21st century) lived on animal dead bodies.

A fictitious excerpt from a history book in 2100 may look something like this…

“…Back in the 21st century, human beings ate animals and animal products such as milk from cows and goats. They even ate eggs of certain species like hen (a 2 legged bird which largely lived on land and had a lift of less than 2 feet) and fish. They had developed the knowhow to produce several byproducts from cow’s milk (a mammal that was the mostly abused for its times), using processes such as pasteurization and fermentation. They ate all parts of some animals including their head, liver, breasts, thighs, tails, intestines, skull, head, brain, kidney, legs, wings, etc. Some animal dead bodies were eaten raw. Some species of fish were eaten raw (uncooked). Towards the end of the 21st century, when the Arctic ice cap had melted and the then Canadian surface area had shrunk by more than 30%, several scientists and environmentalists decided to propose a new regulation on carbon emissions. The first and the foremost industry that was targeted was the ‘animals for food’ industry. The regulations introduced by the President of…..”

If the rate at which Americans consume meat, which is 100 Kg. per capita per annum (about 220 lb.), then this closely translates to killing 150 million cows, 100 million chickens and 100 million species of fish every year so that Americans can have some dead bodies with every meal of the day. Just extrapolate it to the rest of the world at a slightly lower meat consumption rate and do it over a few centuries. Don’t you agree that the world we live in cannot sustain the balance if this trend continues? The above fictitious excerpt was totally made up by me. But as much fictitious and humorous it may be, I am also painful to think about the world that our children are inheriting from us.

I know I can take baby steps to be a Vegan soon. I am proud that my son is a Vegan for all practical purposes. He has been brought up to live that lifestyle and when he grows up, I am sure he will understand why we chose this for him. Whether he chooses to continue to be a Vegan or not, he will at least be glad that he contributed a little bit to the world around him. My wife and I are slowly making the switch.

Not being a Vegan today, is not an excuse for me not to do other things that can save this Earth and give some extended warranty to its life, as our home. I think Green today but I want to do that everyday.

Happy Environment Day!

(Note: The title of the post is to bring relevance to a similar post I had earlier, which is not related to this at all!)