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.

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