Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
63 years old or 63 years young?
I would prefer to imagine that young is the word.
It is afterall, that youthful, zesty energy, the lust for life that defines my beautiful country, India. And young is the way it will be, for 63 years is merely the blink of an eye, in the shifting sands of time, millenia after millenia.
India, on the face of it, is undoubtedly chaotic. It is much like a bowl of spaghetti with innumerable strands of contradictions intertwined and messy enough to un-entangle.
But it is the tangy, fiery, spicy, bright red sauce that holds the strands of spaghetti together. That's true for India. The vibrant raw energy is what holds us together, despite the embedded and inherent contradictions.
But then there are those doomsday pundits, who cry to be heard, predicting that the worst is yet to come. They talk of Kashmir, of the Naxalites, of the Commonwealth Games fiascoes, of the decrepit state of urban India, of the great socio-economic divide.
True, these are problems, but they are not insurmountable.
We can tackle all this, the way we had tackled the really BIG issues that so bothered us very much, in 1947, in the hungry 1960s, turmoil filled 1970s, lacklustre 1980s and the economic disaster that struck us in 1990-91.
But to ensure that we, as a nation, handle all this, we need to need to rediscover ourselves, our potential, our capabilities, recognise our great demographic dividend that is almost bursting open. We need to revel in the contradictions and we will.
Metaphorically speaking, just as AR Rahman wrote "जय हो जय हो. आजा आजा जींद शामियाने के तले, आजा जरिवाले नीले आसमान के तले. जय हो." in his song, Jai Ho, we are, practically, standing under a star filled sky with innumerable opportunities, hopes and possibilities.
We need to rediscover our ourselves as a nation, that should be the agenda for each of us as wake up into the glorious morning, which happens to be our incredible nation's Independence Day, our Independence Day!
Let's all rediscover ourselves, our nation and rejoice in the liberty of a free India!!!!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench.
She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was okay.
Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was okay. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled.
"Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," she said in a clear voice strong.
"I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were okay," I explained to her.
"Have you ever looked at your hands," she asked. "I mean really looked at your hands?"
I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.
Grandma smiled and related this story: "Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shrivelled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.
"They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.
"They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.
"They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand."They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.
"These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side.
"I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.
When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma.
I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
It said "Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason...."
Shit is the commonality.
We get shit simply because we take it lying down.
The numerous fiascoes of UPA II are symptomatic of our attitude.
Our outrage over their inaction is short lived, we accept and we tolerate.
So we deserve what we get! Shit!
Friday, August 6, 2010
That's what Octopus payment systems is all about. Their punchline "Making Everyday Life Easier" says it all!
Octopus prepaid cards can be used to pay for your commute throughout the territory of Hong Kong. You can use the stored value Octopus cards for travel on the MTR train system, on trams and on buses. McDonald's, supermarket chains like Wellcome and some pharmaceutical outlets also accept payments though Octopus.
But recently, Octopus was rocked by a scandal. There were allegations that data on 2 million Octopus users had been leaked out to their to business partners.
This proved lethal for the CEO of Octopus Holdings, Prudence Chan, who was forced to quit.
But in India, it's a very different scenario. There is scant respect for customer's privacy, even with the respected names.
Everyone would have received calls from telemarketers offering credit cards or time share holidays or unit linked insurance plans or anything under the sun.
Data finds its way into cubby hole offices in Bombay's Ballard Estate and Delhi's Nehru Place from banks and telecom operators.
The data is systematically sorted. And you can buy CDs of data for say HNI people, people having deposits over Rs. 50 lakhs, those owning Honda Citys, etc.
And the tragedy is that the much talked of Do Not Call (DNC) registry does not work.
For me the worst offender is Standard Chartered Bank. Even though I am registered with the DNC registry, I get calls every two weeks offering me a free card or a personal loan.
All my colleagues get similar calls.
I wonder if Mr. Swaroop will quit for excessive calling?