Category Archives: Musings

FanGirl-ing over Daniel.

I generally don’t do mid week posts. And certainly not early morning mid week posts! But here’s one thanks to Daniel Fernandes; and my roommate who rushed around the house waking up probably every soul in the building while she tried to not miss her morning flight from the airport 72 kms away!

Why I hate Fawad Khan – Daniel Fernandes Stand-Up Comedy

So Daniel Fernandes hates Fawad Khan. Quick update for all those who are lost. Well, Daniel Fernandes is a stand up comedian I admire because his genre of comedy does not necessarily involve literal below the belt material or undertones and overtones so harsh and vile that they need to categorised as adult material. Fawad Khan is a Pakistani actor who is the latest but not the last butt of Pakistan hatemongers residing in India. So why does this deserve a post, you ask?

Because :
1. I was surprised to read the title of the video. I didn’t think Daniel would actually say this. Considering it is a pretty baseless thing to say. Because Fawad is an actor by profession who acts to earn his livelihood and is nowhere involved in the policies and decision making of Pakistan and India not coming to a peaceful resolution to the 69 year old enmity.
2. I was too sleepy to remember that Daniel has a classy sense of humour that has enough sarcasm to make my day! Every day.

Now that we are at the point where we are being smart rather than liberal, I have a confession to make! Remember the chai wala who became famous and then landed a modeling contract? The same one Daniel is talking about.

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I didn’t like the pictures from his modelling assignment. The first picture was rustic, reflected what he is and showed such an honesty in his eyes. The one from the modeling assignment? Well, it just looks so made up, which it actually is. I am not saying he doesn’t deserve a modeling assignment, but is that all we can give him? Is the equation forever going to be so simple? Every good looking person should be handed a modeling or film assignment. Will their looks always overpower the values that define them, the stories they’ve lived through, the love they spread, the depth of their thoughts, the reason for their existence?

There are so many arguments Daniel has sarcastically and directly slipped in to his act, that I could write half a dozen blog posts on them! And maybe I will. But that’s for another morning. Not this.

I’ll leave you to do your thinking. You have a brain. Be smart, not liberal.
I think. Therefore, I am.

Graciously Yours!

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Thought Flash #7

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Warning : Quick Geography lesson ending in History!

Look out at the sky tonight. Every night. Till you can shift your gaze from the waning (or waxing, depends on when you’re reading this) moon, to the dimming stars barely giving us a glimpse from the clouds, haze and dust these days.

The Sun is the nearest star to our planet. Go a little further and you have the Proxima Centauri which is 4.2421 light years away. A quick Google search indicates that the top ten nearest stars to the Earth are all within ten light years away from us.

Do you know what this means? There are a billion stars around us we can lay our terribly limited human eyes on. And the light coming from them that helps us see them is from a lot of years ago! 4.2421 years in case of the Proxima Centauri. Or 10.322 years in case of Ross 248, the tenth nearest star. Or ULAS J0015+01, the farthest star from the Earth which is 900,000 light years away.

As you look into the sky, you, my dear friend, are literally staring into the past! Every single night! Those stars may have long moved away or collapsed or given birth to black holes today, but you get to be a part of their history by simply casting a look at them.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Maybe somewhere, from one of those celestial bodies, a past you could be staring back at the present you in the multiverse! I’ll stop right there. 🙂

Picture Courtesy : Martin Mark.

 

What’s your coffee like?

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We are all broken. Yes, you read it right. We are all broken, in some way or the other. A heartbreak, death, failure, lost friendship, loneliness, disease – the demons are endless and varied. It’s a spectrum, where every person has their individual place reserved. Yet, we fail to acknowledge, accept, deal with such a simple truth. We fail to be a support, a shoulder, a helping hand to others. We choose to not look beyond ourselves. We worry our own worries, magnify our own problems, fail to rejoice life’s little moments of happiness, forget to be kind to others, judge galore and appreciate paltry.

No one, not you, me, the richest, or the strongest, the oldest, or the holiest is perfect – perfection is an illusion. Our scars help us stand out, tell our stories, make us human, be our lessons. There’s nothing wrong with pulling down your walls and opening up to others. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a strength which not many have, a strength which gives you the courage to love back even with a broken heart. It’s okay to be scared, afraid of another scar, fearsome of the negativity others may poison you with, but it’s also okay to trust, to take small steps towards an outstretched helping hand, to acknowledge another’s love, to shed the cloak of invisibility, to remove the mask of a smile.

Life may seem difficult when you’re facing it all alone. But you don’t have to. Help comes to all those who ask for it. You just need to ask. There’s a heart out there which will make your breaks whole. Don’t let go of that hope. Also. Be that hope to others.

Graciously Yours!

Thought Flash #6

If marriages are indeed made in heaven, are you telling me God actually went about match making on the basis of caste? Or religion? Or even for that matter on the basis of gender?

Souls, as per last understanding, were gender-less. Caste-less. And religion-less. So how can my soulmate be from the same religion or caste as me?

Shouldn’t arranged marriages and ‘matches are made in heaven’ be mutually exclusive?

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Graciously Yours!

P.S. : This post is by no means an attack on your personal beliefs. I’m rather questioning mine.

THOUGHT FLASH #5

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It has been heard that 5 years ago, Mamata Banerjee won the West Bengal CM elections by painting the ruling Left Party and their debt ridden decisions in ‘red’, much of which was not exactly unwanted.

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The Republican Convention seemed quite similar in how Trump was being backed, not because he was good, but because Hilary was (apparently) bad. If the people of USA keep getting swayed such, they might even ‘trump’ the mistakes which we Calcuttans made!

Good luck, America. You need it.
Good luck, World! We need it even more.

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: I wish I could have said I made those memes, but I did not. I am still working on my humour clogs.
[Update – P.P.S.: Hilary Rodham Clinton, you are a ray of hope in the vastness of bleak!]

A Suitable Boy.

A suitable boy – now we know what defines a boy, but what defines suitable exactly? A boy who loves you passionately but is from another religion by birth is unsuitable? A boy who believes in pursuing his passion for writing over his profession of law is unsuitable? Or a boy with whom none of the girl’s choices, views, and even interests match while also being torn over another female whom he couldn’t marry is suitable? And why?

Well, for starters, no, I am not getting married or being appraised by future mother-in-laws. This is the result of reading the book which shares the same title as my post.

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I don’t know about the world in general, because no one can claim to know or speak on behalf of the world, considering we are a big, fat group of 7 billion people and counting steadily every second. But I can speak for what I have seen. Why try and define suitable? Why put people in boxes and categorize them away like they are files to be indexed and filed away? Why can’t we invest time in building relationships and understanding people rather than checking off their ‘suitable’-ness off a checklist? Why do parents feel the need to thrust their opinions on us all the while expecting us to listen and abide by it because we were borne into this world by them? Now, now. Don’t get me wrong. The opinion and blessings of parents are an absolute must – because they have seen your faults and frailties and still accept you lovingly.

To quote John Green, ” Whenever you’re furious with your parents or you think they’re terrible, just remember, you vomited on them and they kept you”.

John’s right. But I am concerned when parents who are generally free-spirited, open minded and modern turn into society-fearing, tradition-abiding and decision-thrusting parents – and that generally happens when it comes to marrying off their offspring. Of course, you want the best and the most suitable boy for us, but what scales are you using to weigh ‘best’ and ‘suitable’?

I doubt anyone’s getting answers to these questions any time soon. But if someone does, please let me in!

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Without any disrespect to Mr. Vikram Seth, I am quite disappointed with how his story turned out to be. Or maybe he meant to write it as a satire. Then it would make more sense, yes. Because when he’s casting a web of love, passion, lies, deception, extra-marital affairs, incest, prostitutes, (along with politics, religion, cricket, shoe-making and poetry) and then telling me that an arranged marriage of a bold, talented, intelligent and strongly opinionated young lady with a man who’s heart lies with someone else but a steady job and good management skills make him a suitable boy, then I’m mighty disappointed. Because your web has a lot of loose ends that need tying up.

Oh and let’s not discuss the length. A mere one thousand four hundred and something pages. With possibly as many characters and plot points. Beautiful but a tad unnecessary. Enriching but not satisfying.

P.P.S. : The P.S. seems to be half as long as the post! Vikram Seth after effects! 😉

Thought Flash #4

You know you’re finally understanding physics if you recall fluid dynamics while seeing the shampoo coil on your hand. If you use the hand shower to deliberately feel the recoil effect! If you consider wind speed when dropping something from ten floors high! Something that wouldn’t break someone’s head, obviously! I’m not violent, just curious. 😉

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Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Thank you, Destin for doing what you do!

Picture Courtesy : Smarter Every Day.

We, the Indians?

A New Zealander’s view on the reasons for corruption in India:

Indians are Hobbesian (a culture of self-interest).

Corruption in India is a cultural aspect. Indians seem to think nothing peculiar about corruption. It is everywhere. 

Indians tolerate corrupt individuals rather than correct them.

No race can be congenitally corrupt.

But can a race be corrupted by its culture? 

To know why Indians are corrupt, look at their patterns and practices.

Firstly:
Religion is transactional in India.

Indians give God cash and anticipate an out-of-turn reward.

Such a plea acknowledges that favours are needed for the undeserving. 

In the world outside the temple walls, such a transaction is named a “bribe”. 

A wealthy Indian gives not just cash to temples, but gold crowns and such baubles.

His gifts cannot feed the poor. His pay-off is for God. He thinks it will be wasted if it goes to a needy man.

In June 2009, The Hindu published a report of Karnataka minister G. Janardhan Reddy gifting a crown of gold and diamonds worth Rs 45 crore to Tirupati.

India’s temples collect so much that they don’t know what to do with it. Billions are gathering dust in temple vaults.

When Europeans came to India, they built schools. When Indians go to Europe & USA, they build temples.

Indians believe that if God accepts money for his favours, then nothing is wrong in doing the same thing. This is why Indians are so easily corruptible.

Indian culture accommodates such transactions morally. There is no real stigma. An utterly corrupt Jayalalitha can make a comeback, just unthinkable in the West.

Secondly:
Indian moral ambiguity towards corruption is visible in its history. Indian history tells of the capture of cities and kingdoms after guards were paid off to open the gates, and commanders paid off to surrender.

This is unique to India.

Indians’ corrupt nature has meant limited warfare on the subcontinent.

It is striking how little Indians have actually fought compared to ancient Greece and modern Europe.

The Turks’ battles with Nadir Shah were vicious and fought to the finish.

In India, fighting wasn’t needed, bribing was enough to see off armies.

Any invader willing to spend cash could brush aside India’s kings, no matter how many tens of thousands soldiers were in their infantry.

Little resistance was given by the Indians at the Battle of Plassey.

Clive paid off Mir Jaffar and all of Bengal folded to an army of 3,000.

There was always a financial exchange to taking Indian forts. Golconda was captured in 1687 after the secret back door was left open.

Mughals vanquished the Marathas and Rajputs with nothing but bribes.

The Raja of Srinagar gave up Dara Shikoh’s son Sulaiman to Aurangzeb after receiving a bribe.

There are many cases where Indians participated on a large scale in treason due to bribery.

The question is: Why do Indians have a transactional culture while other ‘civilized’ nations don’t?

Thirdly:
Indians do not believe in the theory that they can all rise if each of them behaves morally, because that is not the message of their faith.

Their caste system separates them.

They don’t believe that all men are equal.

This resulted in their division and migration to other religions.

Many Hindus started their own faiths like Sikh, Jain, Buddha and many converted to Christianity and Islam.

The result is that Indians don’t trust one another.

There are no Indians in India, there are Hindus, Christians, Muslims and what not.

Indians forget that 400 years ago they all belonged to one faith.

This division evolved an unhealthy culture. The inequality has resulted in a corrupt society in India where everyone is against everyone else, except God ­and even he must be bribed.

Brian from Godzone

NEW ZEALAND

A friend sent this to me a month ago. And all I could say then was, “If I think he’s right, it makes me less Indian. If I think he’s wrong, it makes me untruthful to myself. Undoubtedly, his is a very Western point of view and I’m sure there are cases in non Indian countries where bribes have won them wars and treachery for money wasn’t unfamiliar. But I neither have the information right off the tip of my tongue nor do I intend to look up for it because that would just result in mud slinging and digressing from a thought process which deserves a second thought, at least.”

A month later, I think it’s time we gave it a second thought. What are we doing to ourselves? Are we so afraid of failure that we will keep kneeling before idols? Don’t we want the chance to retrace our steps to find out our mistakes? Or is the ultimate goal always money? Isn’t that what makes us corrupt? Isn’t that what has always led to wars, be it Indian or non-Indian? How does it matter what the other person’s religious beliefs are? How does it matter if they pray five times a day or once a week? How does it matter if I am an Indian or an Irish? After all, country borders are nothing but ‘shadow lines’.

Yes, Brian from Godzone is right in a lot of ways. He’s right when he talks about wealthy men giving more to Gods than to other poor men. He’s right that temples collect so much that they don’t know what to do with it. He’s right that our caste system separates us.

But he’s wrong if he says all Indian men are self-centered! India is a large country. 1.25 billion people out of the Earth’s 7 billion live here. If we were all equally selfish and vain, the world would be far from over by now.

He’s wrong if he thinks only Indians played underhand in wars. “At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War.” (And it took me just 30 seconds to lay hands on this information.)

He’s wrong if he thinks it’s our Hindu religion which makes us worse as humans. No. We are the ones who choose to pay to the Gods. They didn’t ask us to. Let’s not sling mud on Them. I wouldn’t want to point out how many controversies the Churches are embroiled in.

He’s wrong if he thinks only Indians have divisions in their societies. At least we don’t pick people on their skin colour. Oh wait. We do. Fair and lovely. Fair and handsome.

This isn’t about WHO’S RIGHT and WHO’S WRONG. This is about WHAT’S RIGHT and WHAT’S WRONG.

And corruption is wrong. War is wrong. Dealing with religion in money is wrong.

But so is intolerance. And mud slinging. And generalizing!

Let’s just try and make the world a better place to live in. There can be nothing more right than this. Would you want to agree, Brian?

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Friday post! Because Saturdays were becoming too predictable 😉