This will be my last post for 2009. Right here, sitting in Guayaquil, Ecuador, after a nice long vacation and after I have tried to put together a video greetings (with some satisfaction), I am catching up on all the news that I have missed in the last 13 days.
What a year it was! And how quickly it went by!
If you had a bad 2009, may 2010 bring you lots of good! If you had a good 2009, may 2010 be better…Happy New Year! See you in 2010.
Having a deadline helps. I vouch for this to be true always when it comes to tasks related to my professional life. When it comes to tasks in my day to day personal life, I would say, the above is true most of the times. But very rarely, my brain is at its best and delivers more than expected under a deadline, when it comes to creative tasks. I do believe creativity should not be curtailed by any time limits and should be left to expand or grow till it hits a block. This, is true in my opinion in all form of creative arts.
Which is why, this composition titled “Orchestral melee”, in spite of it being a very short piece, gives me immense satisfaction listening to it almost 2 years after it was composed (conceptualization to final mastering) literally in less than an hour, because of a deadline I had to work under. I consider this a rare phenomenon given my limited experience. But, of course, you have every right not to like it..Do post your comments.
As I was one tile away from snatching a 200 point lead in my 8th Lexulous game over my unknown friend on Facebook, I tabbed through my browser for a quick mental break, as the difference between quirt and quirty was far too confusing, and it was important for me to sort it out because to devise a strategy to break away from a very evident word that was going to provide me a triple letter in combination with a double word score and to come up another word with a triple word score possibility, was not only totally radical but also was like treading into an unchartered territory, leaving behind a chaos that only an experienced Lexulous player can handle. Now that I have successfully managed to complete that very long previous sentence, I can take a quick breath and explain you how this confused state of mind led me to opening up Rediff, where the first thing that struck me was the headline that read “I thank God and Sonia Gandhi”…
Now…I am like you, like any average concerned Indian citizen, whose natural response to this headline was..“Why would anyone want to thank Sonia Gandhi for anything at all?”. Contrary to what everyone thinks, even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is waiting for an opportunity to thank her yet, which he may or may not ever get and should he get, it will only be after he has been asked to give away his Prime Ministership to someone else in the Party, while Congress still holds the majority.
Now..remember, I am like you, very much like you, any average Indian, whose understanding of Indian Politics stretches and shrinks every day and is constantly under scrutiny by one’s own righteous self. So, naturally, the next question that arose in my mind was, “Who would want to use these two words – God and Sonia Gandhi in the same sentence..”?. My other half of mind was still prodding me to validate the existence of the word quirty in spite of it knowing that the probability of a word like that existing is less than 1%, because of the given premise “quirt” being a noun. And my other half of my soul (a.k.a. wife) was deeply engrossed in yet another murder mystery on Television in a sort of humorous way (humorous if you watched only how her face reacted and not listened to the NCIS scream on TV). She very rarely does this on a Wednesday night and this night being an exception because of all the craziness that the winter storm brought with it, she decided to sit through the storm by watching one episode after another, presumably because she liked the idea of how the howling winds added the extra eerie effect to the suspense that was being built . That’s when I bumped onto the answer for my above question – “Who would want to use these two words – God and Sonia Gandhi in the same sentence..”?…As it turns out it can be done very easily, specially if you want to pull both their legs together at the same time with an abundant sense of humor!
Now..at the cost of reminding you again, let me just say that I am very much like you, an average Indian whose view of India from outside is still the same as it was 12 years ago, when I was residing in India every day and night. So, naturally, after these two questions popped out of nowhere in my mind, for a moment I didn’t care (notwithstanding my desperate desire for someone slyly adding the word “quirty” into any online dictionary), if I can stretch my lead by 200 points with that one tile or not..They (the questions) soon gathered critical mass and they brought with them a third question, “Who could have such a bright sense of humor so early in the morning?”. It took me a brief second to acknowledge the disappointment when the other half of my mind confirmed that “quirty” is absolutely non-existent and as my eyes scrolled to the right half of the screen……it turned out that the other half of the same headline had the answer to the third question. “I thank God and Sonia Gandhi, says TRS Chief”.
If you are anything like me, an average Indian citizen who wishes well for his country and dreams of living in an ideal India sometime during his lifetime even if it is for only 200 years, you should be able to relate to my feeling at this point. The first question (technically, it was the 4th question..but given that I have a backdrop to work with, I am resetting the question numbering scheme) that popped in my mind was, “When did he die?..”. Of course, it was a rhetorical question..I knew the answer to it. He couldn’t have possibly been dead because Rediff was quoting him and there was no Breaking News on top which said “TRS Chief dies while trying to pull God’s and Sonia Gandhi’s legs at the same time”. The curious and confused state I was in, I had to know “How could someone have such a bright sense of humor so early in the morning in spite of not eating for a week. Wouldn’t the mind be too weak?”..These were the first 2 questions that came to my mind at that point. As you may have noted, I have reset the count again because the first one above was really a rhetorical one and hence was disqualified to be in the list.
I hope you have had a chance to relate to my feeling. If not, I will give you a minute. Now, if you have, then you will know what I mean when I say, I am like you – an average Indian citizen who is always worried about the chaos that exists in India and yet, how we have managed to come this far. I don’t mean, you and I coming this far to the USA, I meant transformative progress. So, it was natural for me to be in an utter state of shock as my left click on the Rediff headline revealed more about the reason for TRS Chief to be waking up with such a bright sense of humor. It took me approximately 3 seconds to come out of the shock. I wanted to make sure I do my research well before I came to any conclusion. After all, anyone with such a bright sense of humor deserves a lot of respect in my books and hence, before I shower them with my respect, I would like to make sure that the person truly deserves it. This led me to opening up Samachar.
Now, if you are like me, an average Indian citizen, who lives in the USA, but wants to stay connected with his homeland and does so by reading Rediff and Samachar, then you know why I used Samachar for my final level of research on this humorous issue. Rediff for Indian news is like having Biscuits and Tea. Refreshing but not filling. But when you launch Samachar, you are being served Indian news at a whole different level. It is like walking into a buffet. You can choose to have Tea, Coffee, Biscuits, Samosa and Biriyani all at the same time (if your browser allows tabbed browsing). The choices are varied and the spread has something for everyone. Anyway, before we get hungry, thinking about food, let me continue where I left off. The Samachar page was very confusing for an already confused soul at 9:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)..It was like walking into a 24×7 Chinese buffet and you so cravingly want to eat Spring Rolls, but you are lost because you don’t know where to start. There is no order. It could be right next to the Egg Drop soup or it could be next to the Lo Mien. I think I am making you hungry again..by making a food reference. So let me really get back to where I left off. I glanced through the page with the key word “TRS” or “Telangana”. I finally found a couple of headlines. That’s when it all began to clear up.
If you are like me, an average Indian reader who spends 15-30 minutes everyday on Samachar, you would agree with me when I say that we should take everything Sify says with a grain of salt…(or sand, whatever works for you specially if you have high BP). But when you actually have to stop to take your breath after reading a headline on Sify, you know it has to be apocalyptic. Or you have to be reading it on January 1, 2012. At this point, my mind quickly asked another rhetorical question “Did I sleep for over 2 years?”and came back with a sarcastic retort “In your dream”. Things began to sink in. Lot of things that had been going on in my mind at that time including a 200 point Lexulous game lead seemed so trivial at that moment. I had no choice but to accept the fact. Even if I read it thrice, a fact is a fact. It has happened.
Every man is presented with one opportunity to show his sense of humor in his lifetime. Ok. May be more than one. But the key to success depends on how smart you are to recognize that moment and make use of it. By making use of it, I mean “Go all the way”. Here is a man, who had been living in a 5 star hospital for 5 days, being intravenously fed by his 5 star Doctors, who every 5 hours released a press report underscoring how critical his health was (which surprisingly never got worse than how it was on Day 1, meaning it was critical all the way) and if he didn’t break his fast, he would die. Yet, if he had the presence of mind to make a statement like that, I have to say he scores very high in my book of all Politicians with any sense of humor. He defied all odds by single-stomachly going on a fast and breaking it only with his sense of humor. He went all the way.
Now, if you are with me till this point, which I am sure you are because you are already reading this sentence, I have to say, I am like you, an average Indian citizen who has witnessed what politicians are capable of doing in India and historically what successful gimmicks they have used to get their political agenda across even if people didn’t really care about it. So, you would understand when I say that politicians are basically salesmen. They convince people that they have a problem even when everything is hunky dory. Then they make people start worrying about the problem which never existed till that point, and make them start protesting for what they think they don’t have but probably already have it and just didn’t know about it. This vicious cycle goes on and on till they start killing each other and may be killing a politician or two in the process (which is nothing in the larger scheme of things), till election time. Of course, what I just rambled about politicians in general till this point is of absolute no relevance to my experience last night. Or may be it is. I blame my subconscious sense of humor for this distraction.
The sense of humor that we very rarely get to witness on politicians, specially involving each other was a welcome change. Yes, that was exactly what I was thinking as I read through those couple of news items on Sify. The apocalyptic fact that I was referring to earlier was exactly this. In decades of Indian political history, rarely had a politician shown the guts to pull God’s and Sonia Gandhi’s legs together at the same time. And this man, this TRS chief, whoever he is, clearly had this plan etched out from Day 1, probably even before he got admitted into the hospital, knowing very well that this time around the opposition parties of the state are going to be his side-kicks when he pulls off this massive joke.
By now, if you have any doubt that I may not be like you, then this should make it clearly known that I am like you, because I am an average Indian citizen, who can only be amused by and can complain about the anomalies and eccentricities of Indian politicians, but won’t do anything to change it, forget about even making an attempt to do so. So, naturally I was amused by the fact that this lady who apparently wields so much power on her forefinger and had not known a word of Hindi till she met her late husband a few decades ago in England, carries so much knowledge on drawing lines on Indian maps. I mean, we all know she is not a Cartographer, but did you for a moment stop to think how difficult it would have been for her to get a crash course on Cartography overnight? At least, this was what I learned from those apocalyptic news items on Sify, which confirmed that since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was out of the country, she had to wait for him to come back so that both of them could do a group study on Indian maps. She is such an intellectual, knowledgeable, powerful and above all a very shrewd leader that, she sometimes forgets how to spell Pasta. Of course, she does it with a sense of humor that is a very rare characteristic in Indian politicians. But talking about her invincible ability to draw lines on Indian maps and her knowledge on the political landscape behind those lines, you would believe me when I say she is the best we have ever had in India, if I point out the fact that even Shashi Tharoor a great Indian Historian, the one who wrote the famous History book “The Great Indian Novel” and drew his own lines on Indian maps as he imagined thousands of years ago, is taking political lessons from her. Now, I am sure you too believe that she is the best we have ever had in India.
I hope you would also agree with me on this point – This man, TRS chief, whoever he is and whose name does not matter anymore, in spite of his supposedly critical health condition, had the sense of humor to pull one off very easily on the best we have ever had. He made her redraw the map and create a new state, from an old state, just like adding a “y” to quirt and creating a new word “quirty”, which my opponent would have challenged on the Lexulous board, had I done it, all by simply getting admitted into a hospital on liquid diet with the best doctors to care for him . This is exactly why I said that things began to become clear for me at that moment, as I sat through and listened to the NCIS detectives solve a murder mystery, while the other half of my mind still wanting to breakaway to take that radical step of creating a word with just one vowel. I turned to my wife and said, “someone pulled a fast one on someone”.
As the sun broke its first ray though the clouds this morning, I was already flipping through my things-to-do list for today. And yes, while doing so, I remembered the confusion I had in choosing the right word when it was my turn, which I never did because of all of the above thoughts spoiling my otherwise perfect Lexulous night, but also remembered the new lines drawn on the Indian map thanks to a humorist and an overnight cartographer. So I decided to imagine the prospects of the new state that this situation is presenting the people of India with…Needless to add, if you are like me, an average Indian waking up in the morning, trying to go about his daily routine after being struck by an apocalyptic news on Sify the previous night, I am sure you would appreciate when I say that the first thing I did after I got to work was to look at the map of this new state.
Here it is:
Do you see what I see? I see 3 “BAD” things in the map of Telangana:
That was more of a humorous observation but the real question is will Hyderabad be part of this new state or not? The man, TRS Chief, who we shall refer to as just “The Man”, has been very adamant about it being part of his new state. I think that may be his only reason to go on a fast and pull this fast one. Because when you really look at it, what else is there in this new state that can attract people like “The Man”? In all fairness, It is like creating a word with just one vowel. It is like picking a cricket team with just one specialist batsman. But if that one specialist batsman is a Tendulkar or a Sehwag, then “The Man” has every right to be happy and can afford to make jokes on fellow politicians at his will.
As I squandered the morning with all such thoughts, I realized that I had to reset my counter again..and start asking a few more questions…
Ok. I see you are tired. Tired of my questions. Because, I sure hope that by now you have come to a strong conclusion that you are indeed like me, very much like me, an average Indian citizen, who ponders and ponders, is affected by daily happenings in India – both good and bad, gets disturbed by the ridiculousness of Indian politicians and their acts, yet likes to find humor every now and then, whenever possible, to keep our lives going and just to keep our hopes alive.
Yes. I know, We are alike.
The author thinks he was given the opportunity to go all the way today. And with this rather stale attempt at expressing his humor, he completes the 5th in the series of blogging “on such things“. You can read his other equally stale but not necessarily humorous posts “on such things”here.—–
Has the world become so stupid and idiotic that an apparent conspiracy by a few blokes at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit should now make them believe that everything humans have done to the Earth has in fact been good?
Those who want to exploit Climategate and ride the wave of refuting global warming at all stages are having their stupidity exposed more than anything else. Isn’t it simple common sense notwithstanding what the temperature has been in 2009, to look around what is going on (of course it is not possible because these global warming naysayers think with their eyes and ears closed)? Has not there been enough evidence to prove that the earth’s climate is changing for the worse..? Oh..wait a minute, these must be the god fearing religious zealots (most of them church going because they are the ones who are aggressive and abrasive about their beliefs against Science) who want to brandish science at all cost. So, now they have a Palin reason..grr..meant Plain reason to yell and scream and to show their hypocrisy & ignorance to the whole world.
Welcome to the Stupid world of Climategate believers!
PS: Let me just add with all due to respects to people who are religious and who go to church that I have nothing against any religion. But I am just basing it on what historically Church has done in its fight against Science very publicly with a dedicated & clear agenda compared to other religious institutions.
The longer we get to experience Obama presidency, the more I am able to appreciate his political acumen. The progressive liberal in me always wants him to do things that are radically progressive. Radical by any measure that the country has not seen. But the more pragmatic me is sort of waiting and watching the events unfold as policy after policy, the Obama administration is making its plays much like a Chess game.
I am not impressed with the administration on all matters. But again the pragmatist in me is sort of wondering if there is any better way to do handle each of this issue or approach a particular problem, than how Obama has already done. Let me start listing…I am being very objective in my analysis.
Stimulus for Financial Institutions – In a capitalist economy, what else could have been done? As much as the stimulus sounded like socialist measure for most critics, I thought it was an extension of the capitalistic values (as much I personally disagree with them). To me this was the best any President could have done, specially since there is no proof yet as to what would have happened had nothing been done or if the institutions were simply punished.
Stimulus for Auto companies – This was sort of a 50-50 in my mind. Being from Michigan, I am not disappointed with the fact that GM and Chrysler are surviving yet, but the government went too much out of its way to help bail them out. So not impressed with this policy and even though I can’t list what could have been done differently, I have read expert opinions on workable alternatives, which I believed would have helped the country.
Health Care – I think this was a masterstroke..though initially my reaction was more based out of the liberal views inside. He is going to have some reform done – No matter what and that is a success to his presidency whichever way you look at it. In the end, he let the senators and congressmen make their choices by being passively aggressive.
Education – He has had some luxury here without being painted a socialist. So full marks so far.
Climate Change – Not too happy here. Even though the restrained approach can be argued, I would give him 50% because the administration has had more than one opportunity so far to push its agenda more aggressively, which they haven’t done, even passively.
Finally War – To all the Obama supporters, remember his campaign was based on the platform that he will get out of Iraq but will focus on Afghan and fight it out till terrorism is wiped out there. He is doing exactly that. So I don’t understand the disappointment among his supporters. If one thing, this new policy has sort of caught the hardcore GOP conservatives red faced because they have very little to attack him on (of course they have already found ways to do that). So I am impressed…