08 December 2009

To tell myself

Make your own compass. if you do not have one you do not know where you are going. The strong wind might change your direction and you may get lost.Do not despair.This is where your compass comes in handy - you will know where you are. Redraw your direction and you will eventually reach your destination.

22 October 2009

Specialization is for insects.

Last summer when We were on Route 9, a route with rivers and lakes and a forest of trees in New York, a route where many art studios - sometimes too small that one will fail to notice, we chanced upon a studio. We saw a very elderly man and some sculptures at the entrance and slowed down the car. There were a few minutes left for closing, and he said that we could come in.

We were entering through the back yard - What we saw were bell peppers and tomatoes and zucchinis, many kinds of ornamental plants, an apple tree - flowers every where, a japanese maple and more. He later told us that the backyard was the handiwork of his neighbor, a horticulturist. It so happened that the current studio, which also functioned as his house was a funeral parlour once.

Little did we know whom we were meeting and what was in store. We entered inside. Paintings by artists and sculptures - A-m-az-ing. The place was small. But it was packed. While I marvelled that was sitting at the top shelf and the middle shelf and the bottom shelf, hidden behind paper and wrapped inside fabric - my heart leaped at seeing them. It is not every day that you see the artist and the creations at the same spot. it so happened that his daughter also used this place as her studio and she did oil paintings and so did his current wife.

while I was left to examine everything inside the studio the sculptor and my husband were engaged in conversations. They talked physics and - stochastic calculus and more. I interrupted their conversation by saying, he had beautiful hands. He said - "my hands are under the complete control of my brain".. something to that effect.

He went on to say that he wanted to study physics in college, but since it did not have prospects as a career and getting jobs in Iceland with a degree in physics was difficult, where he was orginally from, he studied medicene. He moved to the United states almost 50 years ago and worked at the Mayo clinic in Minneapolis. But he had retired from a career where he was a Neuro Surgeon in Albany, New York. It so happens that his father was also a sculptor.

Robert Anson Heinlein said…
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Currently I know a couple of friends:

A friend who studied electrical engineering in IIT Bombay plans to go to film school next year. It was her childhood dream. All the best C. Promise me, you will give me a voice over role when you make your movie.

Another friend P who also happened to study chemical engineering from IIT Bombay and a Ph.D at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor wants to pursue music some time later. He hasn't studied music, but married somebody who did. when he was doing his ph.d he would say that he would want a " music room". He plays the piano, and tabla. His wife plays the harmonium.

Another engineering student V, was an all India Radio Singer. She is trained in Carnatic music. My husband always looks forward to meeting her.

Another physics graduate G, studied physics at IIT bombay and later studied at Cornell, sings ghazals - her first performance was sometime in august in delhi.

Another anesthesiologist, could easily pass off as a fashion designer. She knitted, crotched, stitched fabulous clothes for her kids when she was doing her MD at M.S University in Baroda.

Yet another woman, if she would have been born in this generation would have been a physicist - gardened hybrid roses, marigolds (when none of this was heard in india) sewed, knitted, crotched, painted, did metal crafts and played and won chess games with her son (who topped IIT JEE with a 108 rank.

Intelligence is a gift. It is also one of the best kinds of freedom that a human being is gifted with to pursue what she chooses when she chooses to. Isn't that what Leonardo da Vinci did ? And for those fortunate who nurture their freedom and intelligence they contribute much to human kind. For them even sky is not the limit.

I had already written long comments on sraboney ghose's blog and would look like i am spamming her blog if i wrote another one, hence this post.

16 October 2009

Life Style and earth

When We were growing up, my parents used cloth bags to go to the market, canvas bags to carry books to school, cloth instead of kitchen tissues (my mother did not know what kitchen tissue is) in the kitchen, reused tins to grow herbs and plants, used vines of certain plants as scrubbers.

Fullers earth (multani mithi) for a facial, leaves of hibiscus plants for a hair shampoo, earthen wares to cook, recycle old bedsheets into pillow covers, use an earthern pot to cool water, drink sugar cane juice to quench our thirst come summer instead of carbonated drinks, handwash clothes instead of a washing maching, make washing soap, use pestle and mortar to grind until the magic of an electric grinder was found, eat whole grains and use 100% whole grain flour for making chappatis(flat bread), reuse milk plastic bags to store leftovers, have seasonal vegetables and fruits and used ceiling fans to circulate the breeze.

Walking,cycling and public transportation was a way of life.
Food was for the plate and the left overs were not for the trash.
Cakes, Biscuits, Ice cream and Meat was a luxury.

We slept on woven bamboo mats /cotton/coir mattress and had 2 shelves of clothes. The furniture was made of solid wood and they are still strong after 3 decades even when all of us have tested our strength on them. This and so much more.

We lived large in a small space..700 sq feet to be exact.

We did all this, because that was the best way of doing things and those were the only options. ..That was the only way we knew.

Now As I have my own family - I still buy used items, and recycle furniture. Baking soda,and vinegar is used generously for cleaning. I still hand wash my cotton and linen clothes and dry them at night when the heater is turned on during winter and dry them on the line during summer.

But I still have to use a washing machine because shower areas are not convenient enough to wash many clothes at a time.We still hand wash dishes and use libraries vigorously, Use energy star appliances and a pressure cooker for cooking, try and eat seasonal food. I use lunch boxes and not brown bags. Walk and use public transportation. Car is only used for places where we cannot access without public transportation.

I enjoy being in the midst of trees and now go hiking more frequently.

Our added baggage - Computers, cell phones, TV, a car. I need to unplug them when not in use. I am still persuading my Greek grocer to sell his earthen ware (in which he cooks his stuffed grape leaves )to me. There is room for progress, but I am happy with what I am doing..

Edited to add on 10/17/09:

A Note to the Political leaders:
Slow and steady emission of poisonous gases due to the consumption of plastic, oil and gas will make this earth hell on earth. And Our kids will ask us "Why didn't you do something" ?

On a global level Countries wouldn't agree on a commmon level of emissions, therefore laws without loopholes should be made so that nobody will escape. And that includes YOU. Will you frame such policies at the cost of receiving campaign funds from Industries who will compromise to increase production?

Is your seat in the senate more worthy than trying to save the earth? Trying to achieve a balance between political ambitions, who elected you to serve as leaders and to look after the welfare of the earth which you are equally responsible is challenging, but doable.

You can choose your pick - you can be known as the leader of climate change that helped to decrease carbon emissions or go down in history as gluttonous, greedy and a conspirant in the destruction of the earth.

11 October 2009

The President of America , NOT Obama and the Nobel Goody Bag.

A shocked Colleague,Steven:Lehman has filed bankruptcy.

An: Steven,It is time to get your coffee.

Colleague : Look at the screen. - pointing to the rolling banner of news.

October 8,2009
A friend called in : An, the Swedish have gifted the Americans. Guess the gift ?

An: gift or prize ? - ?

Friend: Obama got the Nobel prize for peace

An:OMG– So the American government has pulled an “Al. Gore” again for a gift, Nobel Prize ! Let me get back to work. Catch you later.

So Is the nobel prize for peace a cliche .. ?

A prize, A scholarship, A trophy marks an achievement or should mark an achievement. We all know too well by now that for coveted prizes such as these marketing is key.

So whom did they award the Nobel prize : Obama, the man or the president of America. Newspapers, bloggers and all man and sundry have put it gracefully, the prize is 'aspirational.'

If it is so, there are many aspirants in many fields – why have they not been given ? Why is it exceptional for only one 'aspirational' candidate. Doesn’t it smell “fishy” all over ? Needn’t it be any more clear that the prize was given to the President of America and not Obama, the man. That means even if Sarah Palin would have been the current president of America, She would have bagged the prize.

It does not require much thought to deduct that Obama was strategically placed by the democrats to win this election. A muslim,that would warm the hearts of many Islamic countries, that held a sour taste of America. Obama balmed every religious fanatic, and race in every country on earth. There was a song and a dance.No,he had not done anything concrete.Yet Obama got a celebratory dance because he was purely 'aspirational'.

Another thought that seems to cross my mind is this – Was this prize given to add a bigger and extra “Halo” to the position of president of America, who was seen as the leader of world? Was this prize given to indicate that America has taken a U turn to establish peace. ( Just like all the Ms Universe’s want to establish peace after they win the award ) –Isn’t America the only country that has attacked more than 20 countries so far after world War II, and after the establishment of the UN ? And the on going wars iraq, afghanistan, next in line, perhaps Korea, Iran, – Was this prize a way of marketing American president to the world as the embodiment of peace, when all actions belie the talk?

I know that India is worried about the increasing aid to Pakistan. Guess What ? America is always playing the two edged sword here. They give Pakistan AID to make the Islamic extremists happy and let all the Islamic world know that it is supporting them but in reality the Americans are creating an insurgency. There is more than what is said in the media. Don’t we all know that Taliban was erected by America themselves to create havoc on the Russian border. American sword is always ready to strike and it also pretends to provide a
“Tiger balm”.

Coming back to the Nobel prize. In order to establish a new legacy to the position of president of America, have the American strategists deemed it necessary and twisted the Nobel prize committee’s arm to give the prize to the current president of America.Thus it will be announced to the whole world that American government is correcting itself from being a monster and trying to play cherubim.

On the other hand Republicans are going to have a field day every time the current president of America sinks in its diplomatic duties or have to sign an international policy. Is Obama going to be a sitting duck ? Now the republicans can see themselves clearly back in office after 4 years. This prize has done more harm to the democratic party now and for a long time,since officially speaking – Obama receiving the Nobel prize is like democrats getting the iced cake and the pie with extra cream before doing anything concrete. Because if it was not a democratic election win, the president of America would not have got the Nobel goody bag.

Sometimes I wonder Was this the Clintons & Co’s way of having sweet revenge. Have the Clintons influenced the Nobel prize committee in giving the prize to the President of America ? So that they can make the sitting president squirm every time he sits on the presidential seat and the candidate would have wished that Hillary Clinton should be the rightful candidate. Anything is possible in politics and this may not be far off either. The Clintons have always had an extra sugary way of presenting the sword.

To:Barack Obama,Who sits at the highest seat in the land despite all Odds. May you prove your mettle. My good wishes always.

13 September 2009

Run to the woods

At 1000 feet
The Youngest Hiker - a girl, 4 years old with her brothers 5 and 6 accompanied by parents.

Woods, Won't You hide me ?Wild berries - More tart, than sweet.

Spiced nuts - introduced by another hiker to us. She said she adds it to tea.

Only Woods.Always a pleasure.

This is at Hariman State Park.

11 September 2009

to tell myself

"When the going gets tough, the tough gets going"
- i am glad someone said this.

06 September 2009

Confucius said :

It’s not how many times you fall down but how many times you get back up.

01 September 2009

to tell myself

There is no room below.It is overcrowded.
Keep looking up,
For what you seek you shall find
What you ask you shall receive
Regain your power and yourself.

Live and Life is your reward
Happiness and Peace your right
First Comes thought, then Action

Peace and Happiness is yours
Success and Prosperity also yours
Go get it without Delay
It has been Waiting, Waiting for you Always.

Onward, Forward.

26 August 2009

The Kennedy that gave me a thumbs up.

I read about kennedys for the first time in the Readers Digest, India Edition. President John F Kennedy's father made his wealth in smuggling drugs, the literary piece said. He amassed enough that he now wanted a stake in the country's official power and cast his sons in the political net. The only thing I understood as a kid was John Kennedy as a President of America was shot. But didn't know why then. Now I assume, that his father's enemies may have got something to do with it. We didn't talk about American Politics then. Shiv Sena , the Sharad Pawar fodder and the highly dramatic Indian politics was more than sufficient to add extra flavor at the dinner table. When the discussion would peak my father would say, "Can't you guys show equal enthusiasm in your school work?", at which point the heated discussions would slowly wane.

Fast Forward late 1990's - When Junior JFK died it created NEWS and was the story for the day and several days after, even when he held no official capacity. I was in the US then. The thought that went through my mind over and over was - Isn't that a charmed life - JFK's son and Onassis's oil money, this guy definitely has struck not gold, but platinum! The impression that I got from the media then was - the Prince charming of America and a potential presidential candidate was snatched away young. Those days I was more worried about school, career, moving and gave less thought to what happened in washingtonian politics.

Later in school,when I took clases in washington, it was a very matter o fact to discuss about people in politics. I was even asked, Did I know of a man named kennedy? I learnt from classmates (much senior to me ), How Sr Kennedy wanted to make an investment in official power politics and that is why the kennedys are into politics. The kennedys are trust fund babies and politics was a hobby for them. This was what my washingtonian classmates who worked in good positions in the government told me. So now I had some interpretations about the kennedy's from americans themselves.

Few years later I was in the building of the congress , meeting various state senators aide in promoting an issue that I struggled with. I was also at a protest march. Standing on the road that leads to Capitol Hill I was at one of the traffic signals with the banner that read," Don't punish me for following the law". One of the cars that stopped at the signal had rolled down their windows. I saw a guy whom I recognized as Senator Ted Kennedy. I looked inside the car and waved my banner at him. He gave me a thumbs up. This is how close I got to one of the people in America's political history. It is not a big deal, but a memorable one for me.

Edited to Add: As I was seeing the funeral on TV, the prayer that echoed in my mind is: To have the courage to go on in my pursuits. Success is yours. There is always enough light and courage to make this world a better place.

Image Credits

20 August 2009

Mullings and More

The weather is humid. It has been like this for days. At night if it rains it is a blessing. But the next morning the sun is blazing in all its glory. I have a ceiling fan at home and I enjoy the breeze. My friends are shocked when I say I do not use air conditioning and the windows are open at night. Friends say I am cheapskate, but I am just economical - quality over quantity.Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. This is a lesson I learnt from my father who grew vegetables, fed the cows, made sure the hens were back in its cage ( for lack of a better word) when the sun set and learnt his school lessons under a kersone lamp, because there was no electricity in his village. Today He told me what he tells me everytime I talk to him over the phone - "to believe in myself".

I said it was easy for him to say that because he did well for someone who did not know the language when he came to Bombay. He even risked letting go a cushy job at the Bombay Muncipal corporation where he started as a junior engineer. When the
Shiv sena's accused him of employing Laborers from Tamil Nadu he was relentless of not letting go his employees only because they were not localites. Many of his colleagues and some good friends at work were the Maharastrian marathi manoos itself. My mother voted for the shiv sena . I never understood all those political dynamics growing up. They emerged victorious for having a small business in a land where their ancestors did not live. And this was the 70's.

In many ways my father's and my life are similar. He migrated, I immigrated. But I had many leverages which he did not have, but he made sure that I did. Better schools, More resources, but I know for sure something is lacking in me. When I sit back and evaluate myself today I realise that I am underachieved than what my father was. I told him this in unexplicable terms . In his reply there were only 3 words. "Believe in Yourself". May be I need to push the envelope, get out of my comfort zone, take risks..Is that what he meant ?

24 July 2009

to tell myself

Talk to your fears, Listen to your Hopes.

23 July 2009

thanK You for NOW

Yesterday and Today,
They were, but dreams .
We worked to make them real.

Love and Laughter
Chatter and Delight,
Fights & Disagreements,
These are going to be there.

We lived together for one more year,
That itself is a feat!
Knowing that you will be there when I come home,
It is always a feast.

For Yesterday and Today
And For All tomorrows
Until Next year ?
Happy Anniversary.

Image credits

09 July 2009


A friend passed this on to me through email, and it documents very well my growing up. My personal additions are in italics and are edited to suit me. I do not know who the original author of this write up is but I did not write this from scratch.

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 60's, 70's and early 80's probably should not have survived, because our baby cots (beds ) were covered with brightly colored lead-based paint (there was no other paint available and parents put fingers in our mouth and made us throw up, if and when we picked up chipped paint and put them in our mouth.)

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to Play with matchboxes!! (Not really. with parents constantly yelling at us we were told to keep away. They would try to hide, but we would find where they hid them and grabbed them again. And mostly the matches were kept out of our reach.

When we rode our bikes, there were no helmets ( i never saw one growing up, nor did my parents know about it, otherwise for sure it would be on our head ).

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags - riding in the passenger seat was a treat. I grew up without a car. we walked everywhere or took public transport when required. Rides in cabs and autorickshaws were a luxury.

We drank water from the garden hose ( straight from the pipe or a glass ) and not from a bottle and it tasted the same.

We ate chips, bread and laddoos and drank sugarcane juice with lots of ice in it, ( refrigerator came much later in my life ) but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing. ( on the terrace of our apartment building during summer ) and the playground was filled with those playing cricket! )

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or glass and no one actually died from this. ( My parents reprimanded us for this, if the info slipped from our mouth) In summer if we go home before dark our parents would ask us to come in, so we took turns going to each other houses to get cold water filled in recycled bottles ( i did not know what bottled water was until i read it in the only 'glazed sunday newspaper of the times of india before actually seeing it much later). summer was for drinking rasna, which was completely different then what is shown on the website.

We would spend hours riding cycles (during noon in the hot sun) without support wheels and then went top speed down the road, only to find out we were not still so confident on the bike!!! ( and once even hit a standing truck. And the shopkeeper on the corner betrayed me by telling it to my parents! By then the scars on my leg and elbow were healed. I tried to lie, but was not successful, because the shopkeeper was backed up by another parent who saw me washing the wounds in their bathroom and gave me a bandaid.)

After running into stinging bees / thorns, bush a few times, we learned to solve the problem. ( and tried to hide the scratches/wounds on our knees so as not to hear another lecture from our parents, bribed the siblings to keep quiet and nursed each others wounds in hushed tones, only to be found out in horror. Those scratches were far less painful than the lectures)

We would leave home in the afternoon and could play all evening, as long as we were back before it got dark. (Not in my house. We were only let out to play at 5,o clock in the evening. My parents/someoneelse's checked on us periodically. the people who stayed in the next lane and would not give a smile otherwise, would come and complain to the parents when we played pranks.)

No one was able to reach us and no one minded. We did not have Play stations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. (TV came much later in our house, precisely when i was 12 years old. I couldn't sit patiently for a 3 hour movie and turned off the tv after 20 minutes)

We had only one channel on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, NO landlines either (by the time we had a landline i left home in 6 months) no computers, no DVDs, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends - we went outside and found them.

We played with marbles on the main street without footwear and sometimes that road really hurt! We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones ( not to forget being grounded for a week) but there were no law suits.

We had full on fistfights but no prosecution followed from other parents.

We played pittoo(seven tiles) ( i loved it. we called this lagori) , hide-n-seek, langdi, hopskotch and were actually afraid of the owners catching us.

We walked to friends' homes. We also, believe it or not, WALKED to school; we did not rely on mummy Or daddy to drive us to school, which was just round the corner.

We made up games with sticks and pebbles. We rode bikes in packs of 2 and wore the same flipflops all summer!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of...They actually sided with the law.

..May be after 30 years I will look back and will look back on this blog and the imprints left by other bloggers. Because of them I have known only more..


President Truman once remarked: "its a recession when your neighbor loses his job. it's a depression when you lose yours"

06 July 2009

Human Resources Confidential ?

Y was one of the members of the interview panel on which X interviewed at the investment division of the bank.

Y realised that X stays in his same apartment building from the address on the resume but both X and Y did not know each other. Y worked with the Corporate Human Resources at the bank. On returning home Y passed on the daily musings at work to his wife C. C and Z works with the apartment dry cleaners and knows the regulars like X very well.

Z asked me, Has X interviewed with Bank of America? Knowing nothing of the above I said, "May be. X is interviewing in many places." And I was dumb struck at the trail of information.

My brain went for a spin. Doesn't Human Resources have access to corporate personal files including ALL information for a person.
Doesn't Human Resources division conjure up the code of ethics for the rest of the company ?

Do the Human Resources have a different code for themselves ? In 2007 the identity theft increeased 26%.

And if this can happen at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch corporate, there would be a riot with information in the hands of the Human resource staff at any corporate.

04 July 2009

July 4th - Freedom from the current Depression.

It is no news that after every war the country goes through regression, repression and then recession.... The economists refuse to warn us, in fear that the consumer stops spending and when the recession finally sunk in, the wheels of the economy lost the traction and skid. Now the country is trying hard to find its feet.
Wall street casinos may have anticipated this and carried out the'Sub Prime Mortgage industry Mela'. The few cases of exception that one would be given a loan turned into a habit for the loan officers and every body have landed in puddles ...No. actually it is a trench and many whirlpools. The prices have fallen everywhere (we don't need any ph.d to see why) but there are hardly people in the malls buying even with 50 to 70% discount at retail shops.
Jobs barely raises its happy hood in the horizon and if it comes up, suddenly it is on hold for who knows how long? and the people who are instrumental in causing losses of many kinds have all huddled up in their cozy corners. You may think why I am repeating the same story again and again ...Only because how much ever I want to see myself out of the water, the speed is slower than I would really like it to be.
The unemployment rates are expected to only peak and the government seems to have the tiniest snails feet. With the car industry in the doldrums, build the railways PLEASE. There will be a multiple fold rewards. There will be mass employment, lesser dependence of oil, decrease in fiscal deficit, turning sustainable and better connected rural towns to cities and accessibility to resources, which means houses will start gaining values.
But you know what, the wall street casinos are DOUBLE dipping... You read that right, and I am not very happy about it. If the stimulus is about printing some money, please send it our way too. Do you hear it Tim Geithner, the US Secretary of Treasury ? Common folks also like a free cold beer sometimes. And it shouldn't break your back Mr. Geithner because the Mint press is doing the works and not you (You don't even pay the taxes on time and you are chief of treasury..Can you beat that ?)
But We do keep up our HOPES and FAITH in ourselves. So as the 4th of july fireworks goes up in the sky, commerating independence, I sincerely wish the country to be independent of the depression that it is in right now.

15 June 2009

Invest wisely.

At the citigroup trading desk -

A colleague was lost in thoughts as she was staring at the prices of stocks on her computer screen.
Should I buy myself breakfast for $3.40 or a citigroup share ? she asked her colleagues.

Some colleagues burst out laughing. others had a grim face.
And many stared blankly.

The next minute she was heading out to buy breakfast.

- from the diary of an analyst

13 June 2009


As seen in a museum in philadelphia ..do not remember the name.

12 June 2009

29 May 2009

to myself

keep NO statue of limitations on your dreams

20 May 2009

Color informal by Virginia.

Nobody could put it better than Einstein when he said The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. Virginia's creations is a testament.The titles for her creations are equally captivating.she was awarded the blog of note last year.
Thank You Virginia for you definitely light up my day with color informal.

12 May 2009

The idea of a nation (contd)

My comment on Kislay's post the idea of a nation was getting too long and hence this post.

the nation is still an idea, is a popular notion that exists among its citizens. Though its geographical boundaries exist, it seems to be gnawing away in the north and in the east . Any country that sits at its borders is playing with the idea of cutting across the existing border line or the people of the state is helping the country across the border to chew it – that is the first reason that india still exists as an idea.

One of my family members has immigrated into India and though he was raised in the central part of the country, he still feels emotionally closer to the state that speaks his native language. People like him exists in millions in india.

It was a bolt from the blue when I heard something called as “south india” exists , and that too no where else but at the orientation of international students in the university in the US – that is the 3rd reason why india as a nation is an idea. An anonymous comment adds their own perception "As much as JalianWala Bagh brings sadness and the thirst for revenge for many a so called Indian, it also brings out another point in post-independent India. The northerners, Hindi, Punjab and others were suppressed brutally by the Muslims, I mean literally butchered by the Moghals and Ghazni’s and also by the British. To this day some of them boast of their struggle against the British and the sacrifices of their Guru’s against the Muslims. But today in the rest of India northerners are proliferating their way of living and language just as the British were doing in the past. Hindi is a damn nuisance especially in the south of India. Their conniving business practices are not unknown to the locals and their refusal to respect the local culture and tradition is an abomination. It almost makes the locals wish the British were back and gave them a good old taste of the Raj. And the ghetto’s they are forming will lead to the disintegration of India which might result in more hatred and bloodshed. You have already seen the beginning of it in Mumbai!!!"

It has been proven that one is more closer to the region that one is raised in.One can see this dyanamisim in universities .All from the same region huddled in groups. Multiply this in millions across the country.This is the 4th reason.

The politics in every state is tied to its state – and tied mostly to religion and caste and dynamics of the land. In India the kid is raised to say words like “ I am a rajasthani or a maharashtrian or a Kannadiga or a jharkhandi and an Indian only second – This my friend put regionalism first. Thus not visualising themselves as an indian first. Add some more millions. This my friend is the 5th reason that the nation is a idea.

As school children millions of kids are not raised as saying “ we are the most powerful people in the land." We all were children first before growing up and we only know it too well – that children like to be the superlatives and that is eluding us as a visualiser. We have continued with the british education system,which was to exalt everything ‘english or western’ and look down upon anything indian(I hate using the word vernacular in the same sentence)–Count this as the 6th reason.

India’s government as a kingdom still exist – with the dynastic rulers becoming the majority party since its inception – call it the democratic tyranny. And as one of my washington classmates once told me, the british has left, but has left the british in the form of babus (the civil service offficer). the heavy beat of the british has jeopardised the process of thinking in india and has collapsed the idea of nation in existence. They made sure that religious violence spread like virus and it has become an epidemic. Sadly our nations leaders at the rebirth of india on the day of independence was more gluttoned with power than the idea of a “powerful nation”- and the current ‘young political big wigs’ are only chips of the old block. this my friend is another reason that india is cracked and its geographical boundaries are being drawn time after time and our indian leaders have no time governing the country because they are buzy playing chess recklessly within themselves – this my friend is the 7th reason that we are still debating and discussing.

India is buzy creating things for other countries and conveniently forgotten to create a governance for themselves.(why parliamentary or presidential system – there might be completely something else that works out for us, honestly I have not given a serious thought.) Our leaders became the FOLLOWERS of the british system and PHOTOCOPIED everything AND they pretended THAT THE NATION WILL BUILD ON ITS OWN. Power blinded them so much on 15th august,1947 that they thought that governance would blindly follow. intelligent leaders are becoming puppets in the hands of goons. Here's the 8th reason.In reality many parts of the country in parts is centuries old (who counted – 60 years?.

TO CARVE A GOVERNANCE is every generation’s work. India has not started it yet. – that is why india is still an idea. To add to it POLITICAL WILL is a word NOT found in the country’s dictionary and that is the only force that one needs to create a vision and a mission, goals, objectives and timelines to create a powerful, impressive country for the citizens to be proud of. Talking about it is one thing and working towards establishing a nation is another thing – A very serious note that is still not included in the idea!

DO NOT sit on the fence on the country or DO NOT HEDGE your own country. Nor mince the works that is required to prove again and again the existence of a COUNTRY. You do any one of this anytime,the idea of india as a nation is still only an idea !

I am not great with history nitty gritties so please expect the errors. Only a million or so think what you have written in practicality, though in theory it is all good. As much is the beauty of diversity in india, the same are its perils for nation building. It is a great visualiser,And a grand mission on hand. And the most important of all,as citizens we have not stepped up, which is where the locus of the failure lies.

11 May 2009

Organized Religion and America

This is what the Media has been successful in propogating:

Proud to be Jewish
Ashamed to be a Muslim
Understanding if a christian
Neutral, if Hindu or Buddhist
Atheist, Because America is a free country

10 May 2009

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of 2008 -

YOU CAN FIND MORE INFO AT United States department of Treasury.
Location : Washington DC
Country : USA, the superpower of the world.
Northern Hemisphere.
Enjoy more political cartoons at http://www.cagle.com/politicalcartoons/
Images from the world wide web

09 May 2009

Bombay and its suburbs as the locals know it

When my husband's mother first asked me “will you take me around Bombay?” I replied her a polite yes. But was not quite sure what is so distinct other than the crowds that would strike someone who lived in smaller towns most of her life.Years later when I sit back in a different country and think about the suburbs of Bombay and the city I realized that I was raised in one of the most exciting places of the world. The place that will stimulate all the senses of a human being, even those of the most lethargic ones.

Bombay and its suburbs create hyperactive and tired human beings who thinks that
running to get a local train is just a part of life.So anyone thinking about visiting India to get a bird's eye view about the country, you may want to visit Bombay. However a point to be noted is- Bombay is not like the rest of India, just like New York city and its adjacent boroughs and few towns that spill on to the other side of the river in New Jersey is not like the rest of United states.

Bombay is a fishermans village and is made of 7 islands. But nobody would recognize that now at first.It has become home to the people from across the seas who have taken refuge from wars, oppressive rulers, religious persecutors and people who come from the villages with dreams in their eyes and hope in their hearts.If anywhere else you won’t find work,here you sure will. These communities creates the rhythm and the breath of these islands called Bombay and its suburbs and a spirit called Resilience by force not by choice.

Satish at Bombay Lives links to the 100 things that one can see, and do in Bombay and its suburbs. My comment was getting longer and hence decided to link them here and add to the list.

1) sit on the steps at the Institute of Science at midnight and play the quiz "which foreign car?”. Well, 14 years ago it was a sight and fun.

2) go to bandra band stand if you want to meet the Eunuchs. Also a popular place for filmshootings.

3) climb the hillock near bandra band stand ( near the old sea rock hotel ) to get a free aerial view of the bay.

4) go to the Bombay natural history society at hornbill house to see free environmental movies (the lanes there were very quiet)

5) Go to Tardeo to see mansions of the Newspaper owners.(or just walk around to get the old feel of bombay )

6) The
mahakali caves near Andheri is a dilapidated one! ( dating back 2000 years ago) is not a safe place to visit.

7)Befriend a police {to know chapa chapa of the city (a slang used in bombay translated as 'everything'of the city} they will tell you who,where,what,when - the best guides of the city.

8) GO to Tata Institute of Fundamental Research to hear the waves and see some great paintings and sit in a cafeteria ( with high ceilings ) ( you have to get a student or an employee here )

9) Take the local to Vasai and Enjoy the Quiet vasai beach ( at 3′0 clock in the afternoon ) Have a beer and some fresh catch from the sea.

10) see the Byculla station ( 1857) perhaps the oldest station in the country. They also have a train yard – for all train lovers.

11) -
visit a 10th century temple in Ambernath.

12) Thane ..a city that borders bombay ( around 25 kilometers from bombay by train ) is called the lake city - Have fun boating !

13) See the Maharastrian Wadas ( old maharastrian houses in Kalyan in tilak chowk.(i am hoping they are not broken and converted into housing complexes !

14) Enjoy the Gulmohar trees and the green jungle in IIT Bombay (located on a hilltop) in summer. Behind the campus is one of the quietiest place in the city but it is gated and prohibited. But you may a take a chance if you know somebody at the IIT campus and not get caught by the local police. The road to NITIE is a green paradise. The IIT guesthouse has a nice view of the powai lake(you just have to ramble an old ID no and you can get in …)

15) EAT misal pav ( thackerachi jeevann !… i am kidding )and visit the shiv sena bhavan in dadar - ( you will get overwhelmed with the size of the tiger and the color orange !!)

16) Spent a day at a Police station as an observant.(you need special permission)

17) If you want a glimpse of a middle eastern country visit Mumbra,just outside Thane.

18) Do you want to get fresh vegetables for a bargain, go to the vegetable market at 5.oo am.

19) Visit the flower market at Dadar station, just a block or two away from Dadar railway station.

20) Befriend a Ticket Collector at VT station to get a free ride in an empty compartment of a long distance train. (this generally happens when the compartments are reserved for reservations from points such as dadar, kalyan, or Thane)

21) Watch the crowd at VT station during peak hours. You will see that people run in the opposite direction of a running train .

22) Look out to see giant artworks on the ground – it could be a picture of a Hindu god.

23) Visit Masjid, adjacent to VT – the mecca of shopping ( Malls are only a recent phenomenon). Each lane has its speciality – fabrics, electric , electronic parts, and more. There is nothing that you cannot get here.

24) Check out the houses built by the British near Kalyan railway station. They are used as quarters for the Railway employees.

25) A visit to Ulhasnagar is like visiting sindh in pakistan

26) Yum Yum biryani can be eaten in Byculla/Sandhurst Road . – Watch out the gap between the sandhurst road station and the train, otherwise you might slip in between the tracks.

27) The architecture of the Old age home of the parsis built inside the J.J compound is something to be marveled - Few such remain today.

28) If you feel a little more adventurous venture out to the airport in Kalyan. ( this is one of the things I have not yet seen)

29) The durga di kila ( a fort ) is also in Kalyan.

30) And if you are lucky, you could even manage to get to see Dawood Ibrahim’s mansion near Mahim Police station. – Chirag Din , the store owned by them has some very good shoes. I wonder if it is still there --

31)some of the bylanes of Bandra, is still like a village- narrow lanes with cottage like houses and you could spot a chicken coup and rabbits.

32)your turn now..

Bombay also greatly resembles to my current neighbor New York city and its boroughs and this is how I felt when I first got

It would also be great to know about the city that you love or live in - If you decide to write a post on it I will link you -just leave a comment.

This is not an exhaustive list.
Image : The quintessential Bombay - The dabbawala

05 May 2009

Beyond borders, caste, religion - finding hope and sustenance to live and let live.

He is an Anglo. She is a Hindu - of the Vaisyas caste. (I do not know the sub caste. I did not know such a thing existed until 10 years ago.) They got married under the special marriage act when they lived in India. They currently live in the US and are raising their children in the suburbs.

They go to church. Their children go to Sunday school at the community protestant church. She used to sing “bhajans “on the All India Radio while she lived in India. Jehovah Witness is breaking down their door.

His parents do not like the fact that their son’s wife is not an anglo.His parents likes the grandsons brown hair. But they do not like the brown skin of their daughter-in-law.

Her siblings are not happy that she is leaning towards the church. She still sings bhajans at Indian functions here. When they go to India she goes to the temples in the surrounding places trying to explain temple architecture to her children.

She was not raised eating meat or fish as per religious norms,and continues doing so for practical reasons. However the husband cooks meat and the children are taught not to mix serving spoons when they eat family meals. (Buffet styled).

When they are vacationing and when the husband and kids want to eat meat, they split going to different restaurants,(if it is not available in the same restaurant) taking one kid along with them. she also makes ham and cheese sandwiches for the kids lunch.

Medical schools and some ivy leagues have raised the bar for Asian students so she has checked the box – white for her kid at school.She says Christians say something and do something else! She also says she loves Christ. Go figure.

Thanks Manju for pointing us Parkinsons law of trivality.

04 May 2009

I have a question

My 8 year old neighbor (of indian ancestry ) knocked at the door.

"I have a question", he said. “What color is your skin?"

"What do you think it is?"I asked.

"Brown".Even my parents have brown skin, but my mother has clear skin." Yes,she does. I added reaffirming the kid’s observation.

"So is it okay to have brown skin?"

"Yes"."But some of my class mates who has white skin do not talk to me."

I explained to him how skin gets its color. And told him that he will learn more about this in his science classes at school. I also explained to him no matter what color of the skin, the blood that flows in our body is always RED in color. He seemed to understand, but did not seem to feel happy.

This time it was my turn to ask the kid a question."what is the color of President Obama’s skin?"

"Brown", with a big smile and joy in his eyes.
I smiled in agreement.Now this was a clear sign of perception. I did not try to explain how Obama's skin color was perceived by the rest of america or the world.

"Can I become the president of America?" He asked.

"Yes,You can."

The kid jumped with joy and ran to his mom. I overheard him saying,“An.aunty said I can become the president of America, Ma".

I didn't. The kid inferred the question himself.I only affirmed the kids statement.

Note : I am constantly asked many questions by kids whose parents are my friends. I do not answer every question because I think some questions are best left to be answered by parents. In the above case I very well knew the kids parents judgements and so proceeded cautiously.

Image Credits

Thanks Solilo. Our discussion helped me recall this incident.

19 April 2009

Liars, Thieves and ...it takes a society to raise them

Dogs, monkeys, cats, rats and the bed bugs knew what was happening and nobody did not Do a thing”, said the professor at Stern business school (NYU), referring to the financial tumble down in the hedge fund class that I attended last week as a guest.

Even fire flies saw it in the darkest of the night. These vigilant eyes and ears belonged to CEO’s, CFO’s and Financial modelers who bundled up the products and sold them on Wall streets as a road side vendor would sell momentos on the streets of Manhattan. They enjoyed them to the hilt seeing their products fly out of their shops. After all they studied at the best schools and burned the midnight oil! PhD’s and MBA’s from Berkeley and Cornell, MIT and Brown and Princeton but they didn’t blink an eyelid as the shops were crumbling under their very own feet.

The C.F.A’s let loose their creativity and the lawyers from Yale, Columbia, and Harvard signed on the dotted line. And Goldman Sachs is still shielded because right from Treasury secretary Paulson (of the Bush government) to many senior members at the treasury department everybody has a tremendous stake in the company and so they have protected their booty without even throwing themselves at it! They made laws that protected themselves first. And as for the Ivy League lawyers, currently all of them are making money walking up and down the street offering opinions.

While the family down the road spends sleepless nights how to fill a prescription for their 8 year old sick child, the financial stalwarts are still chilling,– one just have to take a hike in the hoods where they sit relaxed under their roofs. Around 90 percent of the nations citizens do not have health insurance and a fee for one visit to the doctor is $200 and above – tests excluding. What relation between the two you ask? The fall off of the credit default swap down the cliff is but an insurance product. Health insurance started in the best of the intentions is now a conspiracy running wild and the visual statements are the mansions of Greenwich and upper east in Manhattan and personal skiing resorts in Colorado and Idaho.

The only word that screamed the headlines during the democratic campaign was Change - The same things written in a different color or a delta change in the economic system? Can the American people handle it IF he really bought about a stark difference. On some issues Obama has dropped his "stick" which he held strongly during the campaign. "My back is breaking" Obama confides to his treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner – (the man enveloped in a controversy for not paying taxes)as he pretends to pick up the stick.Were people already scared to even raise a sign of protest of this action of the newly elected President Obama who was choosing candidates for key posts. I ask "
President Obama,What should I look for? Light at the end of the dark tunnel, a silver lining or headlights of a speeding car?"
The only curve that is rising currently is the rates of unemployment without knowing gravity. What balks me is the communications department of companies who do not even think twice as they write white lies in their annual report because they leverage on shareholder complacency. And so the audacity of White lies continue to be written in the press and talked about on financial NEWS channels

How does it matter if another bank is defaulting? It should not have been established in the first place!(you would know by now that the mom and pop banks that spring up are sneaky ways of collecting funds from people by offering them eye popping interest rates)But another Managing director in a bank who was let go a few days ago says,"all the financial stalwarts were not richer than god (like how they are in Goldman Sachs)".Can we trust her?

As financial loans become fiercely difficult to come by and the real estate values even in New York ( the last of the markets where values drops) are tumbling down as I write this,the next morsel of one more heart wrenching news is just on the horizon – May be you will have to pay for your children’s public school? What next? Rationing on Electricity, groceries, (socialistic/communist countries do ) Water and Oil for the cars? Voters should make their elected representatives accountable {with a check list in hand this time} when they come asking for votes. democracy is a cliché now, but way better than communisim or dictatorial rule ( like indira gandhi's emergency period in india)

Few days after the Barclays logo went up the Lehman building in New York city at the end of September last year, an eerie atmosphere and the noise that sounded like a deafening silence surrounded the place. Christmas saw a decrease in celebrations and sales still wouldn’t run… It still does not. .Recession discount is a banner seen in many window displays so does closing signs. There is a recession price for everything – clothes, apartments, renovations (books, perhaps not) groceries. But there is a larger crowd in grocery stores and lesser crowd at the video games and electronic shops.

Some fathers/mothers are pursuing new careers at 40 and some have promised never to come back to the financial world. Enough is enough? As mankind trips to take a grip on this kind of financial cycle during their life time – the normal cycle of life continues – birth, anniversaries, weddings, milestones, graduations .... and death.

As for me I am planning to grow a green thumb.

06 April 2009

Which way !

  • Have you wondered why company executives lie and cheat ? Because they know they will not be caught and even if they do the punishment will be their backyard!? They will have jails with all the amenities and necessities.They wouldn't be treated as common criminals!(pun intended) The people who made these laws are themselves or their bum chum pals- they just handed over the administration to others ! -- god helps those who help themselves --now isn't that true ?
  • the bailout was decided by the very people who first pocketed the money and they knew beyond doubt that the government(in reality it is the tax payers) who will support them. The Bailout is another gimmick -- it is not the answer for what has happened -- if it was sub-prime mortgage and credit default swaps fiasco yesterday than tomorrow it is going to be a black swan.
  • Were any executives bought to task because of the subprime mortgage loss, but they all collected huge bonuses and commissions of the pseudo profits that was shown in the annual report year after year and have retained their position if they were not let go or resigned themselves! (sorry - not lost. but the money lies in their personal lockers and personal treasury).
  • The road from wall street is a two way road - from wall street to the treasury department in D.C and right back. It is not even funny that we bend backwards to make these frat boys in wall street casinos help become rich.
  • But on the other hand a thought goes through my mind as I write this ---If we collected all the money in the world and distributed it equally among every single person is it possible the same financially rich would have collected back more or less the same amount in a few years ?
The process of garnering money is a state of mind -- some can do it and others cannot !
images -- pictures scanned from an annual report of a financial company. ( i don't remember which one )

18 March 2009

spring on the plate

edited to add

Ingredients by color

Burgundy = roasted beet root.
White = cooked barley
Brown = raw walnuts
Green = salad leaves

The vinaigrette
Pale Yellow = olive oil, ground mustard seeds
White = salt
Beige = a spoon of lemon juice

Your Bowl.
Dice the roasted beets and mix it with a handful of cooked barley and a spoonful of soy sauce. Your white barley now turns fuchsia. Set them aside.
Dress salad leaves in the vinaigrette.
In a large bowl toss them all together.

where's your fork?.

13 March 2009

More room ? But where ?

Ever since Al Gore 's movie " An inconvenent truth " has hit the the theatres, climate change and global warming is a hot topic for everybody. Financial analysts reports show that a " green industry" has been taking shape in the last few years and the projections have shot up only higher. Green Century Funds, and other industries are beefing up their social responsible activities through some environmental intitiatives to increase their ticker value at the stock exchange.

Food and Drug Administration have relaxed their definitions for "organic". Coco cola has asked a jewellery maker to make ear rings using old coke cans which they can list on their corporate social responsibility report. But many serious scientific minds know that only this time the " Green industry " will become black if serious conscious attempts are not taken, which scientists are keeping silent, lest the people get panicked ! A veneer of green is attached to any products that you buy these days.

What fails me is, one still finds shelves stocked with eco-friendly green products such as
seventh generation. It is paper being used again. Umpteen number of 'Green" cleaning products are in the market when vinegar and baking soda will do the job. The number of products and attractive packaging have only been increasing all in the name of green ! I fail to see the green aspect when people are having a TV in every room and putting up a solar energy on there roof tops.

Every children's toy has a battery and each kid is profusely playing with it. Parents do little encouraging in asking the kids to play in the park or in the backyard.I did not know how to react when a six year old girl told me that she is fat and that her mother has asked her to hit the gym) Retail stores give discounts and ring up sales when products green and not green is flying out the door.

The heater is set high that an egg will start to cook! An extra layer of clothing at home and insulating the windows will save some energy. Such inertia is yet to be found in many households and retail chains. Our so called politicians-cum leaders who are using climate change as an election gimmick are only using more number of green alternatives - when the number of things used are not decreased ! My imagination says the green shall soon deplete.

Al Gore is smart enough to have established his legacy having won a Nobel prize, but that does not solve the pollution of soot. Oprah, the cultural icon for many North Americans touts
" favorite gifts". Consumerism galore is definitely not green. Only a change in attitude about what earth means to each of us will bring about change.

When children grow up in urban jungles with very few trees or no trees around, they do not develop a love for the earth that they live in, because what they know is the superficial, electronically sophisticated jungle. Learning through imitation is the fundamental nature of mental development. And more so as a human species, because children learn as they watch what adults do.

So when as adults we do not observe actions that inculcate a love for the earth that we live in, children will fall behind, which has happened in the last few generations. When adults doused their own agricultural land consumed with greed went in rigging for oil destroying the forests, the earth turned backed and lashed on us.

Edited to add:
http://discovernavajo.com/a7.html : Take lessons to love your land from the native americans.
http://www.bishnoism.com/thefirst.php : environmentalists of india

08 March 2009

corporate chicken

corporate chicken is a post where i have written my impressions on american food culture.
This is how some americans feel about their food. Art on
Apartment Therapy does not mince words in writing about the same.

"In my opinion,
In order to make a real difference, we have to change American culture.

It's interesting to look at the food cultures of countries that we consider to be poor. Mexico, India, Vietnam, China, Iran for instance. These cuisines happen to be among my favorite to eat. What's interesting to me is that a poor family from one of these places will take a pound of beef or other meat and create a multi-dimensional dish for an entire family. Why? Because they are poor? They cannot afford a giant piece of meat for the family? I don't know. All I know is that through the use of spice blends, fresh herbs, vegetables, rice, noodles, broths, chili peppers, citrus and so on, meat becomes secondary and flavors and textures are more important. And what's more important, is that the family is fed and fed well and fed together.

But I digress.

Americans want more for cheap. We will not stop this quest until something breaks. Even when it breaks, we don't stop, we just try to mend it or throw water on the fire. Broken ozone, broken waistlines, broken economies, broken families, broken borders, broken values.

People are not dependent on cheap meat. They have just been led in the wrong direction and they have become permanently disoriented. As long as there is a meat lover's pizza in every little hamlet, don't fear, you know you're in America. And TGIF! There will be a $10.99 three course meal waiting for you with a 10 oz. mechanically tenderized off-cut of holstein as your main course! Remember, it's not quality, it's quantity! (more bang for the buck!)"

Art posts a 2nd comment onthe same post -

"think it's fair to say that Europe generally has a much different food culture than America. Generally speaking, many of the countries and regions have centuries of food tradition. These traditions are based on regional products. Needless to say, many of these food traditions are based on resourcefulness, using regional products to their full potential.

In America, the drive to assembly line everything has assembly lined our eating. It will be very, very hard to reverse this. It doesn't matter if meat prices go up. They always do during certain times of the year. It doesn't curb demand. Besides, we've figured out ways scientifically alter meat product to make it cheaper.

For example. There is an industrial technique used to extract albumin, a natural glue almost, from muscle tissue. Lean pieces of tenderloin trimming that would otherwise go into ground beef can be glued back together with albumin, formed into a cylinder and then sliced into an 8 or 10 oz. "filet" and be sold for a few dollars. These are often marketed wrapped with bacon in a plastic blister pack in the meat section.

While you and I may be trying to cut back on our red meat consumption and to eat organic grass fed beef, suppliers are constantly figuring out ways to give the masses what they really want--more meat. More meat in their hot pockets, more meat for their hamburger helper, more meat for their favorite fast food burger, taco or toasty sub, more meat for their hot dogs, more meat for their empty food culture."
Here is the paradox. America is the richest country in the world, and yet is a slave to corporate gimmicks ?!

fanatic cook : a blog that prompts you to think about your food buying habits and politics of the plate.
other interesting opinions found at the link on the subject of food.if the editorial team at apartment therapy has objections i will take this down.

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