Friday, October 29, 2010

Love thy Neighbor... Dirty his doorstep

If there is one advice that I have struggled with is 'Love thy neighbor'.
For an advice that is so simple yet in many ways the easiest way to resolve all conflicts, to love your neighbor is so difficult.
My neighbor is such fine example in my defence.
A family of 1, the lady of the house has a very simple way of screwing my mornings. She simply soaks my morning newspaper while washing her 4 yards of porch! And no, it didn't rain.
She allows all the dirt to flow so that along with the morning paper, I also get the muck.

Clever, I must say.
Vengeance had crossed my mind a billion times and it is so much easier to hurt back. But that is what Satan always wants us to do. Thoughts like: 'Why should we do any less?' 'I must show her who's boss' 'Two can play this game'
But what happens when we hurt back?
A few weeks ago, when I had the chance to go to court for urgent personal errand, I realised that there were tons of people there too. It's an ocean of humanity!Why are there so many people litigating and squabbling? 

Ofcourse the attorneys are laughing their way to the banks.
But if only we could set aside the temptation to retaliate.
All said and much done, it is difficult to not remember how hurt we got. It is like when you get an itch, you have to scratch yourself to satisfy it. And until you do, that itch grows to huge proportions that every thing else is less significant. We are led to believe that by retaliating our oppressor would feel cowered by our might,  would understand that we only hurt back because they hurt us first, and would probably hope that they do not retaliate back. Tall Wishes, young man! Because soon you are the oppressor.
We get drawn into a silly circle of revenge, vengeance and before you know it, you are the greater monster of the two.

I'm not going to wish for world peace and that poverty be wiped off the face of the earth. That's for beauty contestants to say at beauty pageants.
But I do hope that we learn to forgive one person a day.
Do one good deed to one stranger a day.
Give a little more goodness than you get atleast once a day.
Learn to step into the shoes of atleast one person you encounter and say a kind word, a day.


And, on the brighter side, if you start loving your neighbor, you won't have to love your enemies, because you won't have any!
But in the meanwhile, I am still drying the soggy wet newspaper before I can read it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My 15 minutes of fame/infamy/WTF

When I read the latest scandal/uproar that a quasi Celebrity, 'once' Booker prize winner and current tree Hugger: Ms Arundhati Roy proudly raised. My favorite pair of scissors went snip snip.
I love the Children of Controversies.
And India does not disappoint.

I stopped following her ages ago when she released a 10000 word essay on nuclear disarmament on Outlook.
I've always thought her 'God of Small Things' was like a Tata Safari: Over Rated, Over hyped! Thank God she didn't win a Nobel, or she would have nominated herself for the Presidency.
I guess she just makes it a point to wake up every morning, scan the news and does a google search for her name, to find out in how many ways she can ruffle feathers to be in the news while still being safe.
A friend of mine wondered why she was being charged with seduction?

I guess with Kashmir being as much a national past-time in India as Car chases are in the US of A, and with media not getting any more juicy stuff about CWG, it was time to move on.
Talking about the CWG, did India knock the socks off all our collective feet, huh?
It was pretty inspiring to watch Indian athletes compete in such diverse range of sports besides politics and cricket!

And oh which reminds me, Cricket's favorite Scapegoat and former Mascot; Lalit Modi must be muttering nasty nothings to himself. And to think it all began with a simple tweet.
Ahh, technology! Ignorance is bliss, my dear Modi.
Indians will forget this controversy as well, as they have successfully done for every other atrocity that grappled humanity.

The paradox of being an Indian is that even though you just one in a billion (quite literally), it is possible for you to get reams of news rolls. Its a brand that matters.
Any publicity is good publicity.

But what gets my goat is why make a mockery of our society?
3 frogs who got their 15 minutes of fame
Why do we have self appointed activists and leaders of our society holding us to ransom. Sure, Ms Roy might have to live in exile in some Western European country for the rest of her life, enjoying the royalties from her one book. Surely, she will talk fondly about India when she is there, while still enjoying all luxuries of life. Surely, she will live a life that will be much better than what she was 'fighting for' for her defendents.
This is good planning. I can almost see her doing a Salman Rushdie. A victim of her 'Patriotism'.

Perhaps the best way to treat these distractions would be to ignore them completely.
It worked for a former colleague of mine. A nasty fellow who would crack such tasteless jokes that even Rakhi Sawant would puke, all for the sake of some laughs. Ignored him. He quit.

Fed by constant controversies, our genes are conditioned to scandals, scams and corruption. Not to mention the almost involuntary drool when we hear about certain Bollywood actress and pornstars.
This year like any other year, has been a juicy good year with plenty of blockbusters already.

We've had every possible glitch except the terrorist variety so far.
Pakistan, are you listening? And no, exporting Sania does not count.
But wait, they are having all sorts of problems themselves. Funny that we don't have any terrorism when Pakistan is busy with its crippled self. Like a dog that is trying to rid itself of a flea does not bother to bite.

Wonder whats going to be the next big scandal of this year?

Saturday, October 09, 2010


While stuck in traffic (not out of the ordinary), I was waiting beside a sedan. A man and his son. The father could have not been older than 30 and his son, 5 or 6. The kind of age when kids have usually learned how to use the F word and other wonderful words with a flourish. 
As if on cue, the father started cussing and swearing at the hapless traffic lights.
With a look of absolute disgust, the son was trying to look disinterested. But alas, his father had already taken his son's literary virginity.

Humans are perhaps the only creature that uses its talents and capabilities to deliberately harm, hurt and malign others of its own species.
It is said that charity begins at home. But I believe good behavior, love and virtue begins at home too.

I remember the first time I heard the F word was in 10th grade. We used to be so petrified to use it !
We had a 'Use a foul word, Wash your mouth with soap' policy at School.
And the first time I used it, felt so sick that I was blue in the face.  

However over years, having been among children what I notice is how children as young as 3 and 4 years old are not only using the word, but embellishing it with the right gestures.

Growing up, I've watched very little television and I remember watching cable when I was 17 and out of school.
Thank God for that.

However, Media and the Family now babysit and nurture our kids. 
We are slowly bringing up a generation of gutter mouths.
Growing pains, some may say. But I say this is mutation.

'There is no point shielding them from the realities of life..' Some parents might say.

But are we really doing a good job of parenting?

When we cuss and swear in front of (our) kids, we think we are being cool and matured while still being indignant. Boy, can we be more wrong?!
Children are like a sponge. Mopping up behavior, traits, habits and culture and the learning starts right from the womb, some experts say.

But with all the gutter talk going around, I wonder how any of our children will be able to speak a decent sentence without a single word of obscenity.

Out of the very mouth that sings praises for our God, comes the most wicked and foul word. Culturely, sexually molesting a child is portrayed as illegal, immoral and taboo. What about adults who gutter mouth in front of (their) children? Their impressionable minds are forever molested and raped by language that, until a few decades ago was unacceptable.

Indians like to pooh paah all this to Western influence on our society. Movies and television cement that belief in us. I have seen many reality shows that beep every 4th word in a sentence. Indian shows too!!
But having being abroad half my life, I can boldly say that ordinary Americans and other denizens of the West do not talk that way in real life.

So when are we going to clean our mouths with Soap?

Elementary, my dear Watson!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Will Work for Food

Perhaps the few times in a man's life that he humbles himself and when all else seems less important:
Its when he’s desperately waiting for an interview.

India has the largest educated unemployed. Yes, its true.
Any consultancy or recruitment agency worth its salt would have young hopefuls just waiting  for those magical 2 words. You're hired!

Who said BPO's are running out of people? Who's ashamed of working in a Call center?
Not the 1000's of young literate boys and girls who stand, sit and pace for many hours waiting for an interview.

They would come early and many would spend almost the whole day but only a few will get lucky.

Of the many things in life, applying for that job, waiting for your interview and then waiting for the verdict is one of two or three times in a man's life when he turns into the gentlest of gentle creatures. Soft voices, gentle and the most discreet. All sins are forgiven and all indiscretions pardoned. Egos deflated, you can almost walk over the pride of a man and he will never even wince. Nearly everyone around you seem to be more anxious than you. Everyone tries to avoid each other's glances, they all seem to have lost their collective Appetite.
The prettiest young thing does not even get a third glance from the men.

I imagine how many will keep their jobs down for the rest of their active life, but who cares. Candidates will profess their undying love and loyalty to working hard for their future employers.

The recruiters invariably feel like gods, fully aware that their every nod and gesture is being interpreted and scrutinized by eager Candidates.
Many of the men seem to have woken up, and hurried to come. Deodorants are given an obvious miss. The razor too.
I don’t know about the others, but many seem oblivious to good dressing sense. Jeans coupled with formal shoes, formal trousers mated with the ubiquitous white, dirt stained sneakers and nearly all of them carrying a college bag that seems ridiculously heavy (what are they carrying?). And don’t even get me started on the communication skills. I wonder how any of them will ever be able to stand a sentence with a Westerner. Tooth brushes were obviously given a miss too.
The nervous fidgeting, the flitting glances, tapping, the bored yawns, the swinging of the feet, cracking of the knuckles and the more confident ones among them will be trying to demystify their phones, watches or whatever gadget they have with them.
Nearly all of them look as if they have just been given the death penalty.

There seems to be no end to the deluge and while we grownups are haggling with petty laws and debating on the right to education, I would like to ask just one question.

Where is the quality of education and our graduates right now?

We sure are book smart but street smart? No. I have seen candidates come in slippers for an interview.

I suddenly feel old (and a little bit wiser) when i think about how teachers in my day and age gave a lot of importance to proper etiquette.

Something’s amiss here. Perhaps i am old fashioned and this might be the age of the metrosexual male but i think manners still make a man.

But… oh who’s listening.

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