31 August 2008

Poverty

I walk away from you
I run.
I have no desire for you
And you are not listed in my plans.

You stare at me
I look right back at you.
You walk down the road
I wipe away the dust.
You knock at my door
I close them on you.

I bolt my windows too.

I bake bread
And drink water from the well
I collect wood and kindle fire
I build a home.

You try to haunt me,
Many atime you called me
But I turned a deaf ear.

I caught you peeping in the mirror
I turned around
But you ran terrified

The sun rose
And my spirits lifted higher
I picked up the flowers and the leaves
I collected opportunities
And I brought home happiness

I walk to work
With a spring in my step.
I hear whispers of joy.

Now you shy away from me,
And from the light.
Into the darkness you disappear.

28 August 2008

Race and Sex Overwhelmed !

Adjectives were heaped left , right and center as the case was being made again and again for Barack Obama at the democratic convention. Generally a normal routine at every convention this roll call turned into a historic moment when Hillary Clinton, a white woman acclaimed Barack Obama, a black man as the democratic presidential nominee. America watched as Hillary made her speech at the convention and though the presidential nominee was Barack Obama, all eyes and ears were on the Clintons and every nuance of their body language was scrutinized with great intensity. Hillary managed to sound right but her body language and her facial expressions betrayed her.

When Indira Gandhi (no connection to Mahatma Gandhi )became the prime minister of india, becoming the leader of the largest democracy she did not crack the glass ceilings but when Hillary ran for the presidential nominee she made "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling" (borrowed expression). I couldn't identify with Ms. Gandhi because of her silver spoon upbringing and her seat of power came in easily because of her father's name and the family's clout and she had walked this ramp ever since she grew in the limelight of political bigwigs. Indira Nehru Gandhi was not an ordinary indian, but a British bred indian citizen. But I could identify with Hillary because she was raced in an ordinary family and she worked her way up.
When Indira Gandhi became the prime minister of India, I couldn't dream that I could become the prime minister of india, but when Hillary cracked the glass ceiling a million times, I can instill confidence in my daughter that they can become the leader of the free world!

American electorates have a short memory. it is wonderful for elections and second chances. Hillary fired key people in her campaign at the peak of the race. Perplexed but unshaken her supporters clung to her as a baby would cling to a mother ! hispanics, the swing voters exalts Hillary. They tout her as Mother Mary whom they think will release them from their woes !

An american psyche once so unwilling to get a woman into the white house, has embraced Hillary and want her orders to release them from the emotional clutch that they still hold on to their democratic presidential nominee in Hillary.
Still angry and embittered Hillary made the case for her opponent , in true political style. She clenched her fist and bit her tongue but she said it ! – true support for Obama ! In some ways Hillary reminded me of a Martha stewart coming across with similar traits. Promises such as tax gas cuts seemed like white lies. But just like Martha stewart she will bounce back , and make a glorious U turn. And time will tell.

In the overbearing of the historic moment of race transition, the media lost out in mentioning that that the democratic convention roll show was steered by an all women ship -The person who called upon individual roll call was a woman, the secretary of state was a woman and the person who acclaimed the roll call was a woman. 88 years ago women of America fought for voting rights. In the year of 8/8/2008 the Chinese auspicious number proved lucky for American women. Women spearheaded the historic moment at the democratic convention - both race and sex submerged into ONE moment. It took 210 years after American independence to arrive at this moment ! But only 45 years after a man who dared to declare his dream to the world.

And so this is my prayer -

Let every child, men and women be taught to dream

Write your hopes in black, white and in color

Learn and Unlearn

For Thoughts and Faith are powerful

Ask Questions, Seek answers.

Raise your voice against injustice and inequality,

Plough with Unconventional wisdom

For to you and only you, your world belongs

27 August 2008

how is Power?


Audacity in dreams,

Silence and Words,
Actions, not rhetoric,
Decisions, not ambivalence,
Hope not fear,
Wisdom and Intellect,
Is Power as powerful can be.

14 August 2008

when Spies talk


The democratic membership meeting at door county in Wisconsin meet to discuss on issues and learn on issues of common interest by guest speakers. At this meeting the guest speaker were ex- CIA analysts .
These analysts, a husband and wife team went on to explain that as CIA agents they conducted covert operations in over 30 countries. They worked as undercover reporters bonding with the local community and key personnel in their governments and businesses and bought home information that would help to understand the motivations and the thought process of the people of foreign countries their local and national leaders, and drafted reports that would help the American government to draft foreign policy and create strategy for defense, economics et.al.


One of the analysts who worked as an inspector in the UN party in the investigation of Iraq said that the present government had turned a deaf ear to the information provided by them that Iraq had no nuclear weapons. A role reversal had taken place where in the present vice president had ordered for certain information, which is not how the CIA usually functions where their task is to supply information. A very unhappy analysts mentioned the bureaucracy, high handedness, shortage of staff, contracting work to private contractors, and low wages characterized the current CIA. Normal friendships and family is not part of working at the CIA.

With election at hand, the electorates present raised questions of how best they can understand the contesting candidates view on foreign policy, defense though it does not make a direct impact on residents of a local town where school reforms, infrastructure, local economy are of most important issues as a community. They questioned the paradoxical candidature of the electoral candidates that they were casting their vote for.

ON a personal note my thought processes ran as follows..
Several political leaders have been categorized and analyzed. business leaders churn economies and create new markets and politically powerful leaders walk the red carpets of many national functions, I leaned to think why do we accept them as leaders ? Why do we elect these men and women as leaders when we do not know what kind of perspectives they have on bigger issues that affects a country or an image of a country. And they would reevaluate them again and change them once elected !


Though contesting candidates have their website and a podcast and have debates and come for town hall and have written documents on health care and foreign policy on their web site, aren’t we giving them the benefit of doubt and human hope that they will do good for the country but would let us down when they have received the title as senator or vice president or president.

Don’t we make impressions on the widely cast public image of the candidates who are mentored by political image consultants who are paid an enormous sum to propagate an image ?

Don’t we depend on the cameramen that depict our leaders as they show them in different angles on different channels ?

We hear them amidst crowds giving speeches written by a speech writer and advisors who brief them about community issues and strong advise of how it will ultimately impact the vote bank and their legacy.


So Isn’t a gut feeling or charismatic image of the contesting candidate score a great deal in the deciding factor in casting them as the future elected leader of the country. Aren’t human emotions a dominating factor of the masses with little facts (!) throw in between, a deciding factor in creating his-story?
That is history. It is. what do you think?

13 August 2008

Wisconsin- Impressions


little did we realize when we told our friends and colleagues that we were going to wisconsin on a vacation that we would get a response, "What are you guys going to do there ?". honestly we didn’t know what we were going to do. With tickets to Chicago, an atlas and a book “ off beat path to Wisconsin”, we were on our way.

Wisconsin famous for its Scandinavian, german and swiss settlers, a logo for its touristic visitors is as ambivalent as it can be. In the last 200 years only impressions of them have been left behind in the form of gift shops with some swedish goods, Danish furniture, german flags, and swiss cheese. And Wisconsin has become famous for its cheese made with pasteurized milk and enzymes! and rolling hills (not so much ) in Monroe, the cheese capital. However the huge farms of corn and more green along the roadside with cows, and horses , sheeps looked really charming to an urban dweller.

For me driving along the lake enroute to another town is always a pleasure. So we first picked up the famous kringle ( a danish pastry) from a pretend(!) scandinavian shop at Racine and drove up along the lake Michigan. For me a vacation is meeting the locals, going to the farmers markets to observe the interactions of the locals, the buying and the selling , sitting at places where I can watch passer bys without being spotted while curiously watching them as they go about their way. I like to feel the city where people get on with their lives.
On the eastern side and north eastern side of wisconsin where we were mostly traveling it is dotted with the usual fare- American super stores and farmers markets where they had a sign for sale mostly in their yards mostly because it is summer and the berry season and Wisconsin has an agrarian economy. Except for Milwaukee and Madison which are the cities others are smaller towns and have mild traces of scandinavian countries, with scandinavian flags on smaller boards at Wal-Mart! Though SUV ‘s and pick up trucks formed the major transportation it was equally surprising to see two wheelers on the road, people walking and jogging in the evenings and even cycling which I did not expect of the rural American folk. And there are many antique stores with plenty of Scandinavian finds, a real treasure I must say. And one will not miss anything if they do not have the famous fish boil in green bay. A tourist attraction where they will boil the water and drop the fresh catch of the day in the pot and everybody who makes a reservation at the restaurant gets to see the spectacle!
My expectations to see the native Indian folk and their settling were dashed when the local community center said that such things does not exist except for a museum. I expected a huge one but it was a small cottage with about 1500 sq. feet in all. It was dotted with mannequins dressed in Indian clothes and ornaments encased in glass boxes. model of an Indian house, few paintings, some Indian dolls, Indian jewellery and few postcard with Indian paintings and we saw all of it in less than 10 minutes. Isn't this a pity considering the fact that the first settlers are the tribes and they loved the hearth and tended the earth. I didn’t encounter any native Indians even on the Indian reservation ! Instead I found a crystal café in the Indian reservation with contemporary décor and women playing cards in the afternoon and a casino.

The museum was staffed by a woman of Scandinavian descent. It was quite a pity and also reflects the inhuman attitude at alarge of the colonizers who plundered the land and left nothing. The ex-CIA analysts whom we later met at a democratic membership meeting at door county in Wisconsin said, the best insurgency done by the government so far in its history is against the Indians.

Attending the democratic membership meeting was a highlight of our visit to Wisconsin where we met the locals and heard their questions and concerns as residents of the town they were living in and were citizens at large... ( to be contd.,)

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