Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Gandhi and Hitler

These are two men who changed the history of the world. Both men of strong character(?) in their own right. Gandhi had once said that "Man’s nature is not essentially evil" and maybe the F├╝hrer would have said "Man's nature is not essentially good either". Two men who draw passion among people, love or hatred, very strong indeed. But think about their similarities. Both loved their people. Gandhi fought against the British to ensure that his people were free, whereas Hitler fought against some "suspected" forces which were out to disintegrate his people. Both of them had unbound love for their people. Both have written books-An autobiography,the story of my experiments with truth and Mein Kampf standing testimonies to it. Both were highly religious. Hitler a Catholic and Gandhi a Hindu greatly impressed by all religions especially Jesus Christ.

Coming to their characters. Both were very charismatically hypnotic when it came to casting spells on people with their speeches, inspiring them and getting them to follow them. They were very stubborn and determined and no power could make them change their minds when set. They believed in their cause and the confidence they exuded was phenomenal. Would Gandhi have been different from what he was if he was born in some other age? What if he was born after India was free? Would we have had our own brand of Hitler sans the strong negative aspect (for we can never imagine Gandhi in that light)? Gandhi too was one who loved to have mass following and could shake the people with his speeches filled with conviction and make most follow his path, which was of love and non-violence.

One stark difference between these two men was the way the world looked at them due to the approach followed by them. The Gandhian brand of non-violence and Satyagraha brought him many admirers from all around the world including Martin Luther King Junior who used the non-violence and non co-operation principles expounded by the Mahatma in the Civil Rights Movement. Whereas Hitler believed that Force was the one and only way of subjugating people and getting them around. while Hitler's speeches were filled with power and hatred, Gandhi's speeches though powerful were soft and full of love. Gandhi Research Foundation had once said that, if Gandhi was born a Jew, he would have fought and won against Hitler too which seems just very possible given the strength of mind this man had. Gandhi is reported to have written to Hitler urging him to stop the atrocities he was committing.

I always wonder how Gandhi would have been in a Free and Independent India. When Gandhi was killed today 60 years ago, there was a newspaper in England which was quoted as saying, we put up with him for so many years and you Indians could not keep him for more than 5 months.

With their unique abilities both these men changed the world, one brought about freedom to the masses he loved and the other almost achieved the "Holocaust". The main difference between these men - Gandhi, his people love, Hitler...well....!!!!

A Salute to Gandhi and the multitude of men who lived for our India,laid down their lives for India, and those who are continuing to live and laying down their lives for our country.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bharat Ratna

The controversies regarding the highest civilian award is totally unnecessary making the award seem like a political gimmick.

Capt Sunil Kumar Chaudhry is an example of exemplary dedication with which one can serve the country and it is indeed touching to read bout the Captain giving up his life hours after he got the Sena Medal. He is one worthy person for Ashok Chakra and he is my Bharat Ratna. More power and glory to people like him who unflinchingly fight the destructive forces. I am sure our country is safe as long as such sons are born to Mother India.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Save the Theppakulam

I received a mail from a friend who has written about the state in which the Perumal Theppakulam is in Madurai. I will reproduce the message I received below -

Recently I had been to Madurai. While walking along with my brotherin law in Town hall road , we wanted to look the water level in Perumal teppakkulam

as lot of efforts were there by previous govt. in rainwater harvesting and pouring it into teppakkulam. We found that the Teppakkulam was completely surrounded by shops in all the four sides. There was only a very narrow space at the south eastern side as approach to it. We went through that passage and found a shocking atmosphere.

It was a Sunday. At western side, the bank of the Teppakkulam was shrunk

And illegal construction was going on by encroachment. While we were looking into it suddenly a lady appeared and asks us to get inside. We shock to notice that there was a small passage which lead into the gap of periphery wall of Teppakkulam.We understood what is going on there and who was the Lady. The entrance to the Teppakkulam is controlled by criminals. Between the gap of shops and periphery wall of the tank four square streets were established as Red light area. The activities are not visible from out side as the Teppakkulam is completely covered by shops from all the four sides.

We are sure if the condition is allowed for some more time the tank will vanish.

This is the high time to save the Teppakkulam.

All shops surrounding the tank must be removed from all the four sides and

Water filled tank must appear for darshan of devotees and tourists.

Tepporsavam should be conducted for Koodal Alagar Perumal.

We are losing a lot of water bodies due to a variety of reasons. If this message is true, I fervently hope that something is done to protect this Theppakulam which is part of our ancient heritage

Friday, January 25, 2008

Amul Topicals

Cricket still seems to be the pet topic for the Amul ads

Selectors exclude Sourav Ganduly from the Indian Cricket Team one-off Twenty20 match against Australia and the triangular series with Australia & Sri Lanka in Australia – January '08.

Rahul Dravid left out from the Indian Cricket Team for the lone Twenty20 match against Australia and the upcoming tri-series with Australia & Sri Lanka in Australia – January '08.

Tata Motors unveil “Nano” the world’s cheapest, cost-effective and technologically advanced car with affordable price tag of Rupees one lakh at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi, India – January ’08.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Smile and Drive

The expression on the faces of most drivers in India, well atleast in Bangalore is either a scowl or a grimace. We hardly find any drivers who smile. The reason for all this being the utter chaos on the roads with people jumping signals, lanes, honking incessantly and we all end up blaming our city and other road users for it.

What are some of the things that we can do to ensure calm on the roads and see to it that we are smiling drivers? Inter alia,One, follow traffic rules to the T, two, be caring towards our fellow drivers, three, dont jump lanes, four, dont honk unless necessary, fifthly, of all pedestrian pavement not to be used by two wheelers.

Check the "Smiling Drivers" who strive to make the roads a pleasant place to be on, to make the drivers smile as they drive and it is all about making Namma Bengaluru a better place to be in.

Visit their site and learn as to how this movement can be strengthened

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Utterly Butterly Delicious

Though the Indian team has moved on from Sydney to Perth, Amul seems to be having a "Sydney Fixation"

Earlier posts here and here

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Salman Khan at Madame Tussauds

Well, Salman Khan beat among others, Lata Mangeshkar, Madhuri Dixit, Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan in a poll to have a place in the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. He is reported to have polled 10,000 votes to be chosen the next "Bollywood Star" at Madame Tussauds. He personally is reported to have chosen the clothes his wax image would wear. He is the fourth person from Bollywood after Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai to be immortalized at Madame Tussauds.

It is defnitely an amazing world at Madame Tussauds. All life size wax images, most of them life-like.

A good honour for Salman Khan, but is he worthy of it? The actor, who has been sentenced to five years in jail for poaching, was given permission by the Jodhpur High Court to travel to London for the unveiling of his wax image. Is it only about being an actor?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Roads and Lanes

I enjoy driving, though of late driving on Bangalore roads can really drive you up the wall. Still with my music on, that is an hour and a half of time I spend with myself, listening to music most of the time and generally relaxing, not minding the unending traffic snarls or the incessant honking by fellow motorists.

Many roads in Bangalore are changed from two way to one way overnight and it sometimes becomes a little difficult to keep tab of that. I have had an experience, quite nightmarish of entering a lane which was two way till the previous evening and which had overnight become one way (the lane which connects Cunningham Road and Ali Askar Road, parallel to Millers Road), I had a tough time coming out of that lane. Driving on the Outer Ring Road used to be a pleasant experience always but the past couple of years with that bustling with activity, it is traffic jams galore.

I always tell people that if you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere in the world. Am I right in thinking so?

I read this which was written by Ross Koeser, who is the Executive Director of ICPHSO.

I am in England with my wife visiting our daughter and her family – husband Andy, a pilot in the US Air Force and two young daughters. I rented a car because I wanted to see the English countryside. Most of you readers are international travelers and have rented cars in the UK and survived. But, I was not prepared for the shock of riding on the left side of the road, shifting with the left hand, round-abouts (always look right), narrower than narrow roads, and trucks traveling at 60 mph missing you by 9-½” and never slowing down. In addition, I rented one of those GPS travel guide systems where “Stephanie” supposedly guides you effortlessly during your travels – NOT. Now I’m sure some systems are better than others, but I would say that our “Stephanie” did not graduate at the top of her class. For example, she says “turn left” – I turn left; after ¼ mile I hear, “at first opportunity – turn around”. What did I do wrong? – I turn around and after another ¼ mile I hear at first opportunity – turn around”. OK, get the map out and strangle Stephanie.

I now more than ever understand the meaning of safety, because I never felt safe. Somehow I managed to not have an accident in 5 days, although many a British driver increased their curse word vocabulary over my driving.

Do not ever underestimate the power of prayer.

The first time I saw traffic on the right side was when my flight was about to land in Dubai. It seemed odd to see traffic on the "wrong side" of the road. One experience I have had was when I was in New York and waiting for a bus. This was a "One Way" and so I walked upto a point where there indeed was a post marking a bus stop. I stood there and was watching the bus come, but it stopped on the other side and went away while I stood on the opposite side. Only then did I foolishly realize that, I should have stood on the right side and here I was standing on the left.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hello Nano

Ratan Tata has done it. A car for about a lakh Indian Rupees. Unimaginable even a few years ago, but a reality today when Ratan Tata unveiled it at the Auto Expo in Delhi. He aims to market it around the world. Newspapers across the world from Washington Post to New York Times to Reuters are agog with this news.

Moreover, environmentalists are also taking up cudgels against the Tatas for the pollution that might ensue. But Ratan Tata says it conforms to the Euro-4 Standard which is still not mandatory in India.

The launch of the Tata Nano in all probability could result in many, who otherwise would not have dreamt of owning a car going in for cars in India and it could definitely benefit many but do we have the roads for new cars. Traffic problems are galore in cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and most other cities which witness chock-a-block traffic through the day. This will only add to the number of vehicles and thus adding to the congestion, confusion and chaos on the streets and not to forget the ever-increasing road rage.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Taare Zameen Par

Oh What a movie!! A very moving, realistic one. Aamir Khan, the perfectionist he is, has done extremely well in his debut as the director. The child, Darsheel Safary is too good, what expressions. A knock-out performance. The parents of Ishaan too have acted very well, Tisca Chopra is very beautiful indeed. A moving movie. Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy too very catchy. Some songs, lyrics and music all make an impact.

It is the journey of an eight year old which you travel through the movie, share his frustrations, apprehensions, and all the emotions and in the end, it leaves you feeling joyful and uplifted. Aamir Khan is a thoughtful, silent, observing, director who does not overdo. Even sarcasm is underplayed which leaves a very strong mark on the audience. A very special movie with the tagline, "Every Child is Special".

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Monkey Business

Australia might have won in Round One but Cricket as a game has lost. What one fails to understand is did Harbhajan really call Symonds that, all this when Channel Nine Technicians say they have no evidence of that? Why should Symonds feel hurt and imagine being called a "Monkey"? The Ugly Australians are at it again, at what they are good at, sledging!!

India has lodged a protest against Hogg saying he has called an Indian player names. This will be taken up in a separate hearing.

Days after the unpleasant match between Australia and India, not every Australian is happy about the way in which the Australians have "upheld" the game. Even the Prime Minister of Australia has called for settling this issue amicably as soon as possible. One thing we should remember is, that culturally we Indians are very different from many others in the world and not by any stretch of imagination can anybody hold Indians "racists". We have seen the way the British contestants treated Shilpa Shetty and the uproar that was subsequently created.

It is a relief that Harbhajan has been cleared to play the 3rd Test beginning in Perth and that Billy Bowden will officiate in the place of Bucknor. But the other umpires remain. Let us see what we have in store for us in the remaining tests. What was surprising earlier was that neither the two officiating umpires could hear any racist remark nor the Channel Nine Techinicians could pick any audio or video evidence of any remark. God alone knows how Michael Proctor came to the conclusion that Bhajji had indeed called Symonds names.
Cricket in Australia is at its all time lowest. Possibly this could be the lowest in Cricket in general after Jardine's Bodyline Controversy of the 1930s.

Meanwhile there have been calls for the sacking of the Australian Captain Ricky Ponting. I cannot imagine the captain of a cricketing nation behaving the way Ponting has. All through his cricketing career, I have never seen Sunil Gavaskar wait even for a moment if he was out, to see if the umpire had noticed it. He would just walk back. That is an Indian for you

The next that the BCCI should ensure is that the Sydney Test is taken off record and BCCI should stand firm on this. After all, India contributes to around 70% of the revenue that ICC generates and ICC cannot just ignore India's concerns. Whatever might ensue, India has been wronged and it will take more than the ICC's superficial gestures to assuage the hurt Indian sentiments.

Truly Monkey Business this!!!

Pic- Deccan Herald

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Umpiring Goof-Ups

Second Test Match between Australia and India
Venue - Sydney
Players - India - 11
Australia - 14

It is sad that India had to play against 14 in the Second Test Match at Sydney. In a very controversial and unfair game, India lost by 122 runs to the cheats, the Australians. The thing that riled me most was the attitude of Ponting and Clarke. When the "God Almighty Benson" asked the fielders in the Second Innings if the catch off Ganguly's bat was taken, they said "Yes" and Ganguly was given out. What business does the umpire have asking the fielders when there is a "bigger than thou" 3rd Umpire sitting up there with high-tech gadgets to help him. Can Clarke, a person who would not walk out when he was caught till he was given out, be depended on to give his verdict. And Ponting stand there saying, "Yes Caught". Not to speak about Dravid being given caught and out by Bucknor when the ball was not touched by the batsman. Despicable umpiring indeed!!

Ganguly's Wicket

Even in the first innings there were decisions galore which went against India. But is it too much to expect the players to be fair even if the "umpires" arent. For now, the score card will show that India has lost to Australia in the Sydney Test though we all know how it was that India lost. Sad that Lakshman's, Tendulkar's contributions and in the Second Innings, Kumble's grit all went in vain.

A question that comes to mind is are these umpires really competent? Bucknor seems to be quite old to be standing there in the middle of the field all day long for 5 long days. Time he bade a goodbye to the game.

BCCI should lodge a strong protest to ICC and also ensure that this test is taken off record for bad umpiring. That will set a precedent of sorts and will make people have some faith and trust in ICC as well as the umpires.

Ofcourse Tendulkar could have played better in the Second Innings and also Dhoni cheaply sacrificed his wicket too. They could have played a little more responsibly. What saddens the mind most is that had India managed to stay on and faced 7 more deliveries, they could have drawn this test, but ultimately..Umpiring surely did India in.

Updates- One, Two and Three

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Horn Ok Please

Horn OK Please!!

We have seen this phrase on trucks mainly. I always used to wonder what this means with the OK in between and found the Wikipedia entry on this. This is supposed to mean that if someone wishes to overtake, they have to honk.

Probably this shows the Indian psyche of honking incessantly on the roads at the slightest or no provocation whatsoever. As I sit in my office and listen to the blaring of horns, it is like one single continuous sound, with the variation in pitch, strength and also the output decibel.

I read this bit--

As our one and a half hour drive (only 30 kilometers) continued, I began to realize that in this mess of cars, people and huge puddles, honking is the only organizing factor.

"Honk, honk-hoooooonk, honk-honk! Watch out, I am intending to go non-stop where I am going! I am not going to stop just to save your life!"

"Honk-honnnnnk, Honk-Hon! I see, you are on my tail, going non-stop where you are going. Aye, why do you rush so much?"

Honkkkkkk-honk-honk-honk-hooooonk! I am trying to kill myself and these two stupid foreigners."

"Honk-Honk. You must do what you must do."

And so it goes, non-stop, the music of Indian roads. We make a sharp left turn and with a brave acceleration, speed towards a very (and I mean VERY) narrow street of Maja-ka-Tilla (a small Tibetan quarter in Delhi). I am convinced we are going to kill a few people but no, despite our speed and incessant honking, a few pedestrians (many of them red robed monks) respond with a surprising sense of calm and trust. Trust in the driver? Trust in the inevitable? Divine intervention? Our mini-van barely misses; sometimes it actually brushes against their torsos. Only later do I learn that personal space is highly negligible in India: especially on the streets. Cars, cows, donkeys, motorcycles and people, all rub each other as they negotiate crowded streets and small spaces. Amazing, there are few accidents.

where Misha narrates her visit to Delhi.

And another site which gives instructions as to how to drive in India, it says dont hesitate to honk. Honk to let someone know you are behind them, honk to tell someone they better move out of the way or else, honk to get someone's attention, basically honk for just about anything.

Yes!! It is democrazy on the Roads. Go ahead, Honk or you might be a murderer.

There are reports that there is a crackdown in Mumbai on noisy motorists.
But now the Mumbai traffic police, in a move that runs against the very culture of driving in this city of 18m, have begun cracking down on noisy motorists. Police have booked 368 car owners for shrill and "non-regulation" horns and for violating silence zones that prohibit honking near hospitals, educational institutions and places of worship, according to the Mumbai traffic police website.

The offending horns ranged from the shrill high-pressure variety used by trucks on the sub-continent to other kinds that have been modified to play the latest Bollywood melodies or even to sound like dogs barking.

Still, honking is second nature to Indian drivers. Hope we too are able to effectively introduce noise-less driving on our roads soon.
Pic- The Internet

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

"Love" by Swami Vivekananda

I am reproducing here an article on Love by Swami Vivekananda.

I once had a friend who grew to be very close to me. Once when we were sitting at the edge of a swimming pool, she filled the palm of her hand with some water and held it before me, and said this: "You see this water carefully contained on my hand? It symbolizes Love."

This was how I saw it: As long as you keep your hand caringly open and allow it to remain there, it will always be there. However, if you attempt to close your fingers round it and try to possess it, it will spill through the first cracks it finds.This is the greatest mistake that people do when they meet love...they try to possess it, they demand, they expect... and just like the latter spilling out of your hand, love will retrace from you .

For love is meant to be free, you cannot change its nature. If there are people you love, allow them to be free beings.

1. Give and don't expect.

2. Advise, but don't order.

3. Ask, but never demand.

It might sound simple, but it is a lesson that may take a lifetime to truly practice. It is the secret to true love. To truly practice it, you must sincerely feel no expectations from those who you love, and yet an unconditional caring."

Passing thought... Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take; but by the moments that take our breath away....