Sunday, June 26, 2011


people this ones from the archives. i wrote this way back in 2008 when India had one a gold medal at the beijing olympics. little has changed since then, so hope its a good read.

' India has finally won a gold at the olympics' said the pathetically underpaid and extremely disoriented bunch of DD sports commentators. Finally!!!! the country heaved a sigh. We had grabbed a gold at the games and the country was a buzz with pride. Even non sport connesiuers turned into shooting experts and lauded Abhinav Bindra's shooting techniques. For once no one joined the mudslinging or for that matter even cared that Dhoni and his millionare bunch of glamour boys were getting thrashed in Sri Lanka.

Every news channel repeatedly played Abhinav Bindra standing in pride with the JANA-GANA-MANA playing in the background and for once no one complained about this monotonous repetition. Abhinav a.k.a gold bindra must have never in his life met so many people or had so much media glare ever . News channels ran hours and hours of shows about his life and ran exclusive interviews. corporates and sports authorities had announced crores in cash rewards. His first words after this magnificient achievement were a bit of a dampener. He, in a very calm tone said that a country like ours should win many more medals and should achieve many more feats than just a one off gold. He also added that he has achieved this on his own efforts with little help from the authorities in INDIA. By saying this he had putforth the gruesome reality of the management of non chirkut sports in our country.

Thanks to the media the country was now shifting focus from cricket and turning to other sports. The authorities were being questioned for its management or rather the lack of it. Cynics still thought that this medal mania in the country would last for a week at its best and then fizzle out. Nothing would change. This was turning into reality as the indian challenge didn't hold fort in other sports.

But suddenly somewhere in the boxing rings of beijing, three men were on the brink of creating history. akhil, jitender and vijender kumar were landing strong punches and slowly getting themselves into the limelight. All three of them had reached the quarter finals of their competitions. The country now stood up and took notice of these young boys with very very humble backgrounds. Suddenly a small village in Haryana now became the place to be. Bhiwani was on the world map. Everyone now followed every move of these young boxers quite literally. people slowly began to think that we were no more just one medal wonders.vijender won us a bronze and akhil and jitender lost out in tough bouts. India had three medals including one from sushil kumar in wrestling and this was a first for us.

news channels ran shows after shows discussing these achievements and analysing the possible future of olympic sports in our country. As we celebrated, our competitor to be the next big developed nation CHINA was sending shockwaves through the sporting fraternity. every other medal was being bagged by them. some here wondered what was going right with a country that one its first medal in 1984. the answer was hidden in the austere authorities in china whose only goal is to succeed.

being a die hard optimist, i optimistically hope that these medals are a step in the right direction. we may not need the sports passion like an australia or the strict laws of china but facilities and federations who give respect to the spirit of sports. may be tomorrow we may have a small boy in a small town in our country saying that he wants to win an olympic medal for his country and his parents wont stop him from pursuing this dream. so is beijing the beginning? it may just be.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and it truly does. When you see you see your country from 5 time zones away and wake up at a time when your country goes to sleep, you realize how much you miss your country. So, as I wake up to the rains outside my apartment which many say are like mumbai rains (and i say no way...) and sip on my cuppa coffee, reading the newspaper on my laptop. suddenly lightening strikes (not outside the house but in my brains) and i marvel at how an Indian newspaper website carries news which makes you proud and at the same time makes you wonder what the heck is happening, all in one page. 
A few days back a sudden urge of watching the world cup final rose in my otherwise empty mind and so with a rash of goosebumps I watched it all unfold again and cursed myself again for not being there in Mumbai on that night. more importantly I ran the YouTube video of Dhoni hitting the six and also his presentation interview at least four times. It for one gave me the idea for this blog and also made me think and marvel as to how he reflected the whole of India through his character. a small town guy makes it big, shows character, fights it out and yet stays confidently calm about himself. that's how we as a young nation think and work. we no more want to take crap from people, we want to think out of the box, take up unconventional professions, take that bit of risk which our fathers didn't take and yet at the same time remain simple at heart and have a sense of confidence that we as Indians can achieve anything we want( i dont mean this piece to be a eulogy of mr. dhoni but just use him as a point of reference). It reminds me of a boy my brother spoke about who studied at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences some years back.The guy came from a tribal village in Jharkhand, where his tribe still thought that if someone was down with malaria, it meant he was being engulfed by some evil spirit. the guy becoming a doctor didn't just remove the malaria myth but also inspired a whole tribe to come out and learn and grow.
Wading through this newspaper webpage i also discovered an article about 'sakshat', India's 35 dollar tablet PC. sakshat the adjective in sanskrit means (visible, within sight of). if the Indian think tank behind the development of this tablet have the same vision, it could work wonders in taking the nation to a new high. imagine a person in a village googling his way to the entire world, thereby encompassing the whole world in one's hands. a dampener to this beautiful project though is the apparent delay in its launching thereby creating doubts in ones mind, is this one more of those tall empty claims never to see the light of day? lets see, time will tell......
a yoga teacher and an activist fighting corruption using Gandhian means. I am no one to comment and wouldn't want to offend anyone but it seems rather hard to believe their conviction and resolve towards the cause. on the other hand we do have imprisoned politicians learning candle making in prison. have the people at the helm decided to clean the mess or playing to the galleries, makes me think....
some other classics include 'i can marry, have kids, drive a car but cant drink until Im 25', another rape in delhi.- do the aloo chaat and dahi bhalle shops add sexually arousing drugs in their roadside delicacies served to men or is it that we remove the z and z++ security from the politicians and hand it over to the ladies of the national capital.
the ones that cracked me up were, reportedly Sachin Tendulkar has bought a 1BHK flat in a suburb in Mumbai. this is not the fun part, the amusing part is that he has taken a loan to buy the flat- with the money he has, he can very well set up his own financial institution handing out loans. the really good one was how Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will either have twins or a baby girl who will be a superstar in the coming years, how she may have a C-section and that she should have a lot of milk during her pregnancy all this was said by not a gynecologist but by a numerologist.
i was watching coke studio India on MTV the other day and saw a beautiful rendition between musicians who don't understand each other's language but created magic with their music. a particular piece was a solo bit on a 'sarangi' which was truly divine. it did create hundred different colours of music and there i drew parallels with our nation. different hues blended together into beautiful rainbow...

P.S : if you people are wondering why i keep commenting about India. well it has been a very long cherished dream of mine to become a political commentator or a journalist. for once i even thought of giving civil services a crack and also bought books off the dusty by lanes of nai sadak- chandni chowk in old delhi. but may be lack of conviction, resolve and more desire towards technology led me to being a techie..... so here i am sharing a very personal secret with the world... so much to the social networking world...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

the world's grown out of the snake charmers....

lord Shiva played his drums and the sound which it made led to the invention of the language sanskrit. this was told to me 2 months ago in a land which is millions of miles away from India, in north east U.S, bordering Canada by an 18 year old part american part Argentian red head. That says something about the global village we live in. but thats not the point, the fact is that we are a land not in Asia (according to people in america) and the global hub of outsourcing.
The reason I mentioned the red head is not because shes hot...which she is but she knows things about India which I bet majority of educated Indians wouldn't know. the 10 minute conversation that I had with her was an amazing lesson in how we are a land so complex that the girls sister has spent a whole summer out of the  10 years in India just to understand the harmony between cows and cars on a crowded Indian road. the things I will speak about now are a compilation of things which have happened and which speak a lot about the global impression of India. The world looks at us with so much respect almost bordering at fear. fear that we will take their jobs and rule the world in the next 20 years.
one of my friends from a south american nation told me with apparent disappointment and envy  that people in most parts of the world cannot think of their family beyond two generations and their grandfathers migration from a European country, while in India each household has a mythological story to tell. the conversation led to another important discussion, that of India not being high on the science and technology research list even though India spoke about nuclear arms and technology during 'Mahabhartha' itself and believe me when I say this, the person who told all this to me hasn't even been to India. Another such moment of surprise was when a guy from New York was up at 2 in the morning to watch the cricket world cup final, supporting both India and Sri Lanka because he learnt the drums from Sri Lanka and the Tabla from Lucknow.
A late friend of mine recited this Latin phrase 'ad astra per aspara' meaning rough roads lead to the stars. and many years later this phrase was interpreted by my boss at work (who is american) from the Bhagwad Gita saying that milk lasts without getting spoilt  for 2 hours, the same milk made as curd lasts for 2 days, the curd made into butter lasts for a week and the butter made as 'ghee' lasts a lifetime.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Castle.. CSI and multiple re-runs of HYIMYM

'the great American dream' is a cliche used and reused multiple times with  middle class Indians who have been the quintessential 'lukhas' for four years and dragged themselves through the echelons of 'high grade'graduate education in India.

One day lightening strikes on them , 'I need to do something different with my life'. Something which only millions of Indians before me have done. Go to the U.S earn the stack of green leaves, get a green card and paint the SF bay area green...(sorry guys!!! just wanted to continue with the 'green' tone for a few lines). So they mug up tons of English words, puke it out in 3 hours of the GRE and few months and a few thousand rupees of application stationary waste later, wolah...!!! they are on the road to the U.S of A. the first thought that strikes every guy or girl who has gone through this process is that his or her life would be like the cult show 'F.R.I.E.N.D.S'. A bunch of friends who hang out all the time, have fun, pop in a few beers, score a girl every other night and basically have a life of which dreams are made of. In the minds of these young souls, they have made their own version of a Bollywood potboiler. guy goes to the u.s, studies, make a lot of money, gets his green card and a few years and a few million dollars later comes to India on a whirlwind trip of 15 days and gets married thinking that girls are just waiting outside the airport to marry a guy with a green card and then credits role with a happily ever after sign...Little do they know that this life it isn't a potboiler but an Art film full of struggle, boredom, torture and most importantly 'HAIR LOSS'.

So coming back to the journey, after the truck loads of 'aartis', garlands and sobbing relatives later, you are on that flight. Realization strikes you very fast, when you realize that the air hostess is happy to offer you a Pepsi but isn't as forthcoming in offering you water and you think 'WATER', the thing that I waste gallons after gallons of, hopelessly during Holi.(you see I live in the U.S so the units are 'gallons and not litres'...LOL!!!!). You finally land at your destination after multiple hops all around the world and a feeling of a zombie which you later realize is what jet lag is all about. The first few days are just filled with the excitement of a new kid in a toy store. you want to try everything, every drink (please don't make the mistake of trying Dr. Pepper.. It is liquid IODEX), food item and see everything. finally school starts. the thing that you have actually come here for. you decide to wear the best of outfits that in India would have made you strut like a peacock and when you finally reach your university, the balloon bursts. guys are in shorts and some weird tee and the girls...ahem ahem.. lets not even get to their clothes or rather the lack of it. then the classes begin. another balloon bursts, you thought colleges will be like those shown in those teen flick Hollywood movies, certainly find  extra intelligent classmates who fantasize about Maxwell, Einstein and the likes. So there begins the aptly named season 'FALL'.

As for your home, you become this invincible superhero, a combination of shantabai- the maid, ramu-the cook, chotu- the dhobi and many such thankless people from back home. The same grocery store where you refused to accompany your mom because you wanted to hang out with friends now becomes a place where you roam hopelessly looking for 'GREAT VALUE' products. that same kitchen sink where you just threw your plate like a frisby now becomes a place where you hold your breath and choke out the sewage and clean utensils till your hands peel off and when you finally wind down to call it a day.. it strikes you that you have a project to work on so you put on the study lamp and after a night, a third grade project and huge dark circles later you barely have energy left to pick yourself off that study table.

Your best friend through all this struggle is your laptop. that thing which you never switch off. that which sleeps off besides you on your bed and which is your largest source of entertainment through these times. It is the device that runs those episodes of your favorite american shows and also reruns them for you tirelessly.. and when you finally shut that laptop lid at night before your eyes shut you still dream of that Bollywood potboiler of getting a green card....... such is the 'American Dream'....