Showing posts with label Deaths in 2012. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Deaths in 2012. Show all posts

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Norman Stormin Out [361/365]

A decade and a half ago, he knocked the wind out of the Mother of all Battles. Today, he died out of pneumonia-related complications at age 78.

Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., was the commander of the combined coalition forces during the First Gulf War, 1991.

Having served his country with a distinguished military career, he is clearly one of those men who were lucky enough to die of nothing but old age.

He will be best remembered for orchestrating one of the most one-sided victory in modern warfare with a blitzkrieg that left the Iraqi shocked and awed. They probably never knew what hit them and Kuwaitis have Norman to thank for it.

For the Americans, the success of this war soothed a frayed nation that was reeling after an embarrassing string of defeats in Vietnam and Korea and catapulted the Bush family into the limelight.

As the commander of the first heavily-publicized war, Stormin` Norman controlled how the rest of the world saw and experienced the defeat of one of the largest armies at the time.

I wonder if he ever thought about how he didn't finish the job he was supposed to. Saddam Hussein and his republican guards were left decimated and wounded yet alive. Apparently White House rushed to end the way 100 hours after it started only because they weren't keen on removing the dictator.

It doesn't take a genius to understand how leaving a dictator in an oil-rich emirate would benefit a nation with an insatiable thirst for oil. Norman was just the convenient pawn in their hands.

Rest In Peace, Norman!

Friday, December 14, 2012

When the music died [349/365]

Pandit Ravi Shankar (1920 - 2012) was a man of many words. And much music.
As a commoner who has read, seen and heard about the sitar maestro from afar, I've marveled at how talented the man was.
His death this past week is a loss that India will mourn for years to come.

Leaving behind two exceptionally talented daughters, Ravi Shankar belonged to that generation when lyrics were smooth and music was soothing.
His death truly is a void that I hope we can fill.

May his soul rest in peace and may his family find the courage and peace that they need at this moment.
God Bless You!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

AlrYeddy?! [336/365]

Finally, after many, many months of posturing and empty threats, he did it.
He quit his party of 40 years to launch his own party and BJP did really loose one of its brightest petal.

The real victim here is the middle class.
The poor will get free biriyani and crores worth of goodies soon and the rich will be pampered silly for their votes. It is the non-voting middle class who will bite the dust. We are too indignant to accept biriyani coupons from politicians and too insignificant to be pampered silly for the ink in our finger.

Yeddy gave us so much. A couple of years ago, when he came to power in a quirk of fate, the press went ga ga over how he was 'Mr Clean'.

Yeddy wanted his last bite to be a sting but it lacked any of the pizazz of a matured statesman. His now former party might have lost a petal but better to get to the top without a petal than never get there at all.
Yet, in that brief moment, India's only major opposition party identified itself with the Congress. It was a tearful and bitter farewell to someone who got them their first recognition down south.

He probably was the cleanest guy when he got the highest seat, but the sight of so much wealth and tempting thought that he could actually get away with it might have unseated the demon in him. What followed was a sordid tale of nepotism, unbridled greed and insatiable hunger for power coupled with a dangerous addiction to superstition. The story of his downfall is as Macbethian as you can get.

It is strange to see a grown man cry in public. Awkward even. Men as a species do not make very good teary-eyed sight, but when Yeddy cried, he ripped my heart apart. I cursed myself for seeing something so concocted and conceited at the same time.

The BJP can finally breathe easy. After shedding some of the weight that has been holding the party down for the better part of the last decade, it can finally hope to see the insides of the PMO next year.

Other Stuff that mattered today:
SC puts Maharashtra in the dock over Sec 66
IK Gujral finally heads home

Friday, November 30, 2012

Two funerals and a Party [335/365]

Having postponed writing for quite a while now, I think I have learned my lesson. November was an interesting month. Lots of interesting people dying, some getting killed. Others missing the point completely.

So it does look like the world will end soon.
Bal Thackeray died.
The grand ol' man of Mumbai and the 'Savior of millions' finally packed his bags and left.
Predictably, Hell is all excited about the 'new hires'.
Tomorrow when he is buried/cremated and packed off, he will cause the last traffic jam in his life.
For an immensely talented person, he surely chose the wrong profession.
Bal T is an excellent example of what will happen when a person is influenced by the wrong ideas.

A couple of hundred kilometers away, we saw another death. Totally avoidable, yet an unfortunate example of how subtle and fleeting life really is.
When Chadha and his brother killed themselves in a shootout over a property, they left behind everything they lived for. While the families of both the brothers might want to put the past behind them and move on, killing each-other really didn't achieve anything.

Israel lost its marbles and decided to pound its southern neighbor. What's ironic is how powerful Israel is as an economy and a force to reckon. We have been struggling to keep our porous borders er.. less porous but Israel shows the way to keep its people and its country secure. The rest of the world can go to hell with their opinions and their fake pictures and reports.

Aarushi was in the news again. Apparently our investigation agencies are still digging for truth and found that the blood found on her pillow is not the same as in the murder weapon. Duh!
I wonder how much longer her parents will need to suffer the ignominy of seeing their daughter's life and death played out in the media like an Indian play.

Politics was in the news again.
With Arvind Kejriwal launching the Aam Aadmi Party, the other parties almost shat in their pants. It is definitely a risky proposition but considering how he has had much success in whipping up support, elections next year should be interesting.
As far as branding goes, I think he managed a coupe of sorts by naming his party this way, but what will matter is how honest its candidates will remain and how fast it can frame a political agenda. So far and by the admission of its creator, the party does not even have an economic plan for the country. Deja vu, anyone?
The more important question here is- Can one party change how India has been ruled for decades?
The unfortunate answer is No. Just as it took many parties with vested interests to plunder India in the years since our Independence, Arvind's AAP sounds more like a mango drink advt than a party that can stand against the monster it wants to fight.

On a brighter side, BJP expelled one of its own for daring to question its tainted leader. Not really surprising considering how we love to eliminate our opposition, this will be water under the bridge for the veteran.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Don't f*ck with us - Part 1 [324/365]

Before I start today's post, I must begin with a confession.
I hate Bal Thackeray. I hate the Shiv Sena and I hate their ideologies.
And I'm just reinstating a hatred that I have always had towards what I'd call the 'Scum of Mumbai'.
I don't subscribe to their ideologies mainly because they are populist and very discriminative.
They have instigated the local SUAS (Stupid and Uneducated AssHoles) against the Muslims for far too long now. They have pitted locals against the 'immigrants' who actually make Mumbai what it is - a bustling metropolis with a dream.

But that's the essence of Mumbai. It could be dirty, and crowded and busy and fast. Yet Mumbai is addictive. I can't put a finger on why I love Mumbai, but it grows on you. Mumbai is unlike any other city that I've been to and will never match any other city I know either.

Mumbai is a wonderful place where you'll see the 'can do, or will die trying' spirit. From the rickshaw wallahs to the random person in the 'locals', given a choice I would like to live in Mumbai for atleast a few years. Why won't anyone?

But when the grumpy ol' leader of the brat-pack died yesterday, I was relieved. Phew! But there was a bad feeling and much of Mumbai felt it too, which is why they shut themselves down. Amazing! The city that does not sleep and refuses to rest took a massive doze of barbiturates and went to bed.
Not fair, everyone said. I mean when hundreds died a few years ago, the city didnt miss a heartbeat.

After all, it is the US of India, where people are driven to accomplish and free to speak. Or not.
Today, two girls where arrested.
The reason will have you laughing your last meal out. One of them made a remark about how crippling a strike like this was and the other for 'liking' the post. Now laugh.

I haven't heard of a more absurder charge than this. I mean c'mon! I'm pretty sure that Bal 'No Balls' Thackeray have had more harsher critics than SRK, but this? I've called him and his bunch of rag-tag assholes even worse names in my blog posts and I have no hesitation in saying that. They deserve worse but this arrest smacked of good ol' fashioned Indian sycophancy. The cops who made the arrests were obviously trying to appease the rascals.

I guess I have a reasoning on why this happened. The A-holes seeing how they were not getting a chance to run amok decided to make some news themselves. Which brings me to an interesting question:

  • When the rascals were supposed to be mourning the death of their rat leader, what were they doing on FB? Not checking for new 'friend requests', I hope.
  • What gives them the right to ransack an hospital and who gave them the right to take the law into their hands?
But then I realise the second question is redundant since they aren't really known for their law-abiding skills and this was just one of their ways to release some nonsexual frustration.
What next? Knowing how the well greased Indian Politico works, here's what we can all expect:

  1. The cops will release the girls. Or we'll make them.
  2. The state government will make all the right sounds and mock scold the Sena scum.
  3. The cops will be suspended (some much needed vacation) pending enquiry. They will be reinstated in a couple of months (I'd give them 4 weeks).
  4. The victims will change their statements atleast half a dozen times. No prizes for guessing why.
  5. The government will announce a plan to make the law fool-proof. Not going to happen.
  6. In the time that the above takes, everyone will forget about what happened and Sena will build a memorial and demand that half of Mumbai be renamed to their fallen leader.
Mumbai is a great place to be, except on days when the Sena Scum run amok.
Last Question, Mr Thackeray: Do you think we'd wish you to rest in peace for the ways you didn't let others live in peace?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

No green grass [320/365]

Many years ago, if you had a relative who worked in the Gulf, you'd be proud of the accomplishment. Then a few years later, if you had relatives in the UK, you'd know that they have achieved the pinnacle of good living.
And if your kids immigrated to the US, then you'd know that their lives are settled. India was never the place to live, work or play.

From the other side of the rose-tinted glasses, they would disown everything Indian. Accents are acquired, the sari and the churidars traded for business formals and mini-skirts, and your relatives in India become those village cousins that they knew once upon a time faster than you could say Namaste.

Parents and relatives would call their Westernized 'children' after 9pm IST to save on the long-distance phone charges but then came broadband internet and Skype.
After all, our western relatives - with two cars, two kids, two jobs, one dog, one house and seven credit cards - were living the dream.

We would never know that they are living hand to mouth, in mortgaged homes, driving in cars that were bought at a local used car dealer for discounted price, buying groceries using coupons, struggling to raise their children because daycare is too expensive and working in companies that will fire them without any notice. The grass is really not even a shade of green there.

Our disdain for our motherland is exceptional. Yet, the brain drain wont stop. Nor will the constant complaints about how India is 'so dirty, ugly, corrupt and yucky'.
So today, a piece of news struck me- A qualified Indian dentist who immigrated to Ireland after her marriage died due to complications from her miscarriage.
There are a few nuggets about this incident:

Savita was very well loved and respected in the community that she adopted.
She was denied an abortion since Ireland is a 'Catholic country' despite her repeated requests.
What good is a religion that professes to love life but ends up killing a person?
Why were the doctors reluctant to implement an earlier rule that mentioned they can surgically terminate a fetus if it was detrimental to either the child or the mother?

From a humanitarian perspective, this is an open and shut case. Save life.
Trouble has been brewing for the Catholics for a while now. Their utter disregard for life - in the form of pedophile priests and cover-ups and now abortion is a terrible irony and reminder of how the religion is indeed very archaic and needs urgent overhaul.
Savita's unfortunate and untimely death could have been the most high profile of such injustices but I am pretty sure this isn't an anomaly. For doctors to have refused abortion so strongly, it appears they have been doing this routinely.

If this were in India, I am quite sure a dozen hot-blooded fools would have smashed the jollies off the doctors responsible for this atrocity and then the case would drag on for a few years. Probably with an acquittal in the end. But in Ireland, after worldwide scorn and much unwanted attention, they are finally doing what they will need to do to ensure that this does not happen again in the future.

The doctors can thank their parents and the strange quirk of luck that they were not born in India and will live another day to refuse abortion, because Ireland is a Catholic country

Maybe Savita accomplished more than any one of us would ever have- Change the archaic laws of a mindless country.

RIP Savita.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Houston, we have a problem [45/365]

Whitney Houston: The latest victim of seemingly endless wealth and fame.
The most awarded female singer in history, was found dead in the bathtub of her hotel on the 11th Feb.
Heart-wrenching nonetheless, as millions paid their respects and reminisced her life through the past couple of decades, I prayed silently. I prayed that she finally finds the peace and love that eluded her all her famous life.

How much money do we really need?
And given all the money and fame, do we know how to live our lives unblemished?
Where do you think you'll end up when you've made the wrong choices in life?
How would you like to be remembered long after you've gone?
Pertinent questions that I ask myself every time I hear about a death.
Showbiz is a cruel place, I agree. As harsh as the spotlights and as fleeting as the paparazzi, Whitney will not the last person who had talent, got lucky, became insanely rich (no pun intended), got the wrong habits and ended up dead in a hotel room.
I'm quite sure she might have visioned a different life for herself. She may have wanted to retire in peace while still being remembered for that glorious voice she immortalized. She may have visioned a healthy marriage and a large family. She may have craved to be a role model for her daughter. She may have visioned a death in a lot more dignifying place than a bathtub. She may have wanted her loved ones around her when she shut her eyes for the last time.
But she didn't.

Life is cruel. While she may have had many of the things that mere mortals struggle to achieve all their lives, she also had her demons, that many of us would never want to have any part of. Occupational hazard, I guess but then there are a lot of celebrities, who have maintained a fair semblance of sanity and sanctity in their lives and their careers before taking the final bow. Like clockwork, you will begin to hear shameful accounts of Whitney's downward spiral from people who benefited from her fame and money. Relatives, friends and well-wishers will come alive from the woodwork for a piece of whatever is left of her legacy and wealth. Does she deserve this? Tough question to answer.
I doubt if she'll want to care of what the living will have to say or think anymore.

Death is cruel too. Our debate of heaven and hell ends on earth.
While I am no one to judge her, I can say that her choices in life is not something that could entitle her to a place in heaven. She may have made her peace with God in her final moments, and I sure hope she did.

Death is the equalizer. It does not matter whether you are the most admired CEO of the most successful business on earth or if you've got the most awards in your life, what matters eventually is the choices you make in your life here.

RIP Houston.

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