Aug 26, 2010

In a Jam, not yet a Pickle

I used to have this recurring nightmare of getting stuck in a traffic jam where I would be stuck for an entire day.
But when I got to read about the epic jam in the Beijing-Tibet expressway, it was a real feeling of dread and a bad premonition that I could be stuck in one in Bangalore very soon.
After all, our politicians have been trying to turn Bangalore into a Singapore. I don't know if they're still working on it. But I guess, their sights were more on making Bangalore into a Bangladesh.
Over-filling drains, power shortages, traffic snarls, we seem to have all of it here.

In a larger picture, India is an enigma!
How on earth did a nation in the hands of such scrupulous people at the top manage to survive and better still capture the hearts and attention of the modern traveler and businessman?
A country that is ravaged by nature and man has managed to keep itself alive despite all odds.

We have such brilliant examples of ingenuity and talent.
We have contributed such awe inspiring people and ideas to humanity.
Yet...

The 'epic jam' however lasted for more than a month.

The pickle that we as a nation are in have lasted for several decades now.

A will that has been weakened by centuries of political plundering, our society is slowly loosing its grip on the future. The politicians here hurry to amass obscene amounts of wealth so fast that it looks like greed is going out of style!

What surprises me is that there is a growing resentment among my peers, tax payers who are educated, independent and honest. While they acknowledge that the system needs to change, what exasperates them is the fact that not many people will walk the talk when it comes to the D Day. A packet of food, some cheap alcohol and few hundred rupees is all it takes to lure our rural folk en mass to the Polling booth.

Don't blame the rains (or the lack of it) because if Israel (a arid land) could make its soil lush, I am pretty sure, India can do better.

It is a vicious cycle, actually.
India has never been poor. Actually, measure by measure, pound by pound India has held more wealth and lured more people in history than all the other countries put together.

Farmers will milk politicians when elections approach.
Politicians will wash, lick and dry the unmentionables of their voters until they get elected.
Once in power, they will do all that they can to either stay in power or to make enough wealth and connections to last a few generations.
Did someone say farmer suicides? Well, what goes around comes around. Come elections, all will be forgotten and forgiven. Bed the enemy.

What we need is a new breed of statesman.

Someone who will learn from lessons past and not be complacent.
Someone who will understand how corruption breeds an society that is ill.
Someone who will have the gall to stamp out bureaucracy and bring in accountability.
Someone who will resist being a puppet in the hands of higher sinister powers.
A person who will not only be eloquent in speech but effective in action too.

In short, we need someone who will talk the talk and walk the walk.
We need help!
Lest we be known as a 'Epic Fail'

Nowadays, I have different nightmares.
No, its not about snakes and ghouls but the impending sense of doom that my kids will face in a Nation that refuses to grow up.
Its not a pretty picture and I hope we don't live long enough to face their wrath and answer their scathing questions.
Sorry kids, we screwed you.

Aug 24, 2010

The Paradox

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers,
wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less,
we buy more, but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families,
more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense,
more knowledge, but less judgment,
more experts, yet more problems,
more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much,
smoke too much,
spend too recklessly,
laugh too little,
drive too fast,
get too angry,
stay up too late,
get up too tired,
read too little,
watch TV too much,
and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.
We've added years to life not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We conquered outer space but not inner space.
We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.
We've learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information,
to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion,
big men and small character,
steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce,
fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips,
disposable diapers,
throwaway morality,
one night stands,
overweight bodies,
and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.
A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, 
                              or to just hit delete...

Aug 18, 2010

Anyways...

Saw this in the most unlikely places... (in the Loo)
Thought this was an interesting thought to remember..

Downloading..

People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway

If you are kind, people may accuse you
of selfish ulterior motives; be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends
and some true enemies; succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
be honest and frank anyway

What you spend years building
someone may destroy overnight; build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
others maybe jealous; be happy anyway

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
its all between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.

Aug 17, 2010

Royalty Recognized

Question most often heard at traffic stops, airport counters, Q's of any kind and pretty much anywhere in India:
"Do you know who I am?"
Meaning: How dare a low life scum like you have the bladder to question my superiority and not recognize my royal status?

We, as humans feel that we need to be recognized and rewarded for whatever nonexistent power we imagine we possess.
I have seen ordinary people who when they get a windfall of unexpected money or good luck, are transformed overnight into a slave. A slave to money and power.

So the world is filled with people who are pompous and love to throw their weight around. Make their presence felt and authority recognized. But how many times would you hear of a person of absolute Royalty coming down, humbling Himself even to the point of being persecuted and killed for being humble? Sure, we've heard of Rags to Riches, but how many of the Riches to Rags?

We tend to assume that Christ lived a charmed life and in our mundane everyday life, we forget the enormity of His sacrifice.
I had a friend who faced the prospect of being jailed for a offense that he didn't commit. Overnight, he became a shell of his former self. Very humbled, very sad, he could not fathom the fact that he would loose all his freedom and the disgrace and the humiliation that he would need to go through having 'come down' to a life that would be much more lowly than what he was living then.
While he was still grieving and dreading the future, he also began to appreciate the small joys of life.
If you and I, knew that we would be executed by hanging for a crime that we didn't commit tomorrow, would you live your today more piously?
Maybe yes, maybe no, but we will certainly not be the most cheerful people around.
Brooding, we would replay and die a thousand times everyday.

Did Jesus go through all this?
Of course, we know that He was the creator and Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and The End. The Truth. 

Going through Philippians 2:5-11
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      and became obedient to death—
         even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
      and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.
We see one of the most enduring passages that tell us of how limitless, His love is for us.
But did He dread coming to earth, being born in a Manger, to parents who had the most lowly jobs in Israel then, to live a human life, resisting it's temptations of sin, and flesh. 
Did He ask His heavenly Father to make sure that He lived a charmed life? No. 
Did He invoke His Angels from heaven to come down and destroy all those who persecuted Him.
He could certainly have done this, with just a thought in His heart, but He didn't.

He chose to suffer the long way. Fully Human, Fully God, He could have given in to the temptation of avenging the cruel murder that He suffered. But He didn't.
The Scriptures right from the Old Testament tell us that the coming of Christ was only a matter of time and occasion. Rightly summarized, Jesus is concealed in the Old Testament, Revealed in the New Testament.
When Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, we see the enormous grief that he went through. We of course know how everything turned out. But the scriptures show us that we are supposed to be obedient to our Heavenly Father. Even to the point to death. Our Father does not need our dollars. He needs our undying affection. He needs us to acknowledge Him.

Perhaps, if He came in His truest glory with all the Angels and Archangels of Heaven, history would have been different. But then, the Bible would have been just another biography.
Of all the religions across civilizations, Christianity is the only religion where humility is practiced and not just preached. Our Lord, The Creator of all that there is, was and is to come, is a humble God. He is not pompous, not self gratifying, does not seek Himself, is not arrogant, does not find fault, is ever forgiving, always looking for ways to give you another chance in life to redeem yourself from the fires of hell. 

Come to think of it, He does practice all that He preached. 

Maybe it's time we followed our true King, our real Father. After all, He did come for us.

Aug 12, 2010

Enlghaish Mangled

All credits for compiling this invaluable piece of literary massacre goes to the patient yet infinitely humorous person who kept an ear and an eye peeled open..

    * I am forwarding my marriage certificate and six children. I had seven but one died which was baptized on a half sheet of paper.
    * I am writing the welfare department to say my baby was born 2 years old. When do I get my money?
    * Mrs. Jones had not have any clothes for a year and has been visited regularly by the clergy.
    * I cannot get sick pay. I have six children. Can you tell me why.
    * I am glad to report that my husband who is missing is dead.
    * This is my eight child. What are you going to do about it.
    * Please find for certain if my husband is dead. The man I am living with can't eat or drink until he knows.
    * I am very much annoyed to find that you have branded my son illiterate. This is a dirty lie as I was married a week before he was born.
    * In answer to your letter, I have birth to a boy weighing ten pounds: I hope this is satisfactory.
    * I am forwarding my marriage certificate and my three children; one of which is a mistake as you can see.
    * My husband got his project cut off two weeks ago and I haven't had any relief since.
    * Unless I get my husband's money pretty soon, I will be forced to lead an immortal life.
    * You have changed my little boy into a girl. Will this make any difference.
    * I have no children as my husband is a truck driver and works night and day.
    * In accordance with your instruction, I have given birth to twins in the enclosed envelope.
    * I want money as quick as I can get, so I have been in bed with doctor for two weeks and he doesn't do me any good. If things don't improve I will have to send for another doctor.

Aug 10, 2010

Trust Betrayed

About a couple of years ago and when I was sufficiently 'house-trained' about the intricacies of Technical Support, I got this joke about Helpdesk Rules. Several of the jokes were utterly funny.

Most of what was mentioned there was what many of us would have thought of atleast once during their careers but of course would never have the gall to think aloud, let alone act on.

However, all that changed when I read the newspapers 2 days ago. The headline read: 'Tech Support steals woman's naked pictures off her computer'.
I was appalled! What shocked me more is that this happened 3 years ago.

However, that was 2 days ago and I don't see any reaction around. Am I missing something here?
What defeats my understanding is how we, as a society, can create such a ruckus when fuel prices go up or when some no good politician twitters but stay mum when it comes to something that will tarnish our already miserable reputation in Outsourcing.
India is a nation of great misnomers!
We will go to war of principles and morals against poor neighbors burning our National flag, but when it comes to safeguarding the reputation, jobs and dignity of a million of it's citizens, we exercise amazing restrain.
Lest we come across as a nation of hasty village idiots, we need to wait and watch.

After all, all news dies in 2 months.

What I cannot fathom is why a news like this didn't cause so much stir to even warrant a revolution?
Why Dell and the local law enforcement agencies played this down for so long before the media raised hell?
Why isn't Dell doing or appear to be punishing the culprit more severely so as to set a precedent?
Why do we consistently appear to be shooting ourselves in the leg when we could so easily redeem ourselves as a nation of the smartest and most enterprising Asians?

Back when I was working as a lowly agent, 9 years ago, I remember my Clients used to entrust me with their Credit Card details almost with the same innocence of a 3 year old. I had to take the details down so that I could help them make purchases online. I could have misused them, but never did. I never felt the temptation to own something I didn't work (hard) for. Never had the glib intentions to con a person who trusted me with so much. I won't call myself Mother Theresa but I somehow never had the intellect to steal.

But like water that follows gravity, we always forget to learn the good lessons of our collective bad judgments. The media will pick another headline, the Victim becomes another statistic and India like a rickety yellow school bus will move on in its own momentum.

While we are known to be a resilient bunch of people, we must strive to be a smart and sensitive citizens of a resurgent planet.
We must learn to be more conscious of the values that we as a civilization espoused while the West were still a bunch of unruly gun totting semi naked natives.

Wake up, India. Its time to go to work!

Aug 8, 2010

Lord of the Angels and Mosquitoes

As I sat down to pray, SWAT
With a swift thud of my palm, I killed a mosquito.
And then as I sat scrapping out the mangled remains of whatever that survived and its diet of my blood off my palm, I wondered if God had decided that it's time on earth was up.

Matthew 10:29-30 says 'Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without the Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered' 

I have often wondered what it means when a loved one suddenly dies.
Is it God's will that the person dies? And the questions get more painful if the person died young and at the peak of his life, leaving a trail of forever grieving family and friends.
Did He wantonly punish the person by snuffing out a young soul?

It is common to see complete strangers console the grieving kin by quoting the Scriptures. They prefer to lay the the tragedy on God. Some Priests do the same too. God is a convenient scapegoat after all.

We get the picture of a don who is sitting in his throne snapping fingers, signing execution orders against the good guys and supporting and celebrating with the bad guys? Something like a perpetual 'Mogambo'.

Sounds a little too kitschy but I know that this is definitely as far away from the truth as the East is from the West.
My picture of God:
He is yes, sitting at His Throne. But He aint dishing out termination notices against the good guys.
Matter of fact, He isn't even 'killing' the bad guys.
He is waiting, watching patiently wanting the bad guys to confess and repent and the good guys to continue to be a shining example, making sure that they don't fall for the zillion temptations themselves.

To know God in the most intimate way, just as you would read a biography of a famous person, we must read, understand and apply The Bible in our lives.
Find out what God says about himself (Exodus 34:6-7). Then find out what the writers say about Him and His remarkable attributes.(Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:16-20; 1John 4:8-10).
Finally take a look at the amazing things God has done (Gen 1:1, 14:10-31; John 3:16)

He is the God of the most awe inspiring fact of life and of the most annoying pest in the world.
He has never caused pain, even though His most prized creation; Us, did.
He never avenges. He waits. He lets us make the right choice so that we can feel proud that we followed the right path instead of forcing the path on us.

Get to know God. He is our God, our Lord, our Rock and Redeemer.
He is not on your tail counting your minutes down. He is carrying you on His shoulder.
God Bless!!
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