Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts

Friday, January 01, 2016

Ze List v4.0 | Manna for your soul

Yes, it's that time of the year when billions of people around the world, will transcend language, religious faith and borders, to celebrate the end of one year and celebrate the beginning of the next. 

And its time for Ze List.
The world has been changing and so has Ze List. This year, I look at all the ways we survived amidst all the chaos and I hope this serves as a mirror to ourselves and hopefully a way to correct our course for the year ahead.


Our Father..
We clutched at straws of faith for some peace and grace from our heavenly Father.
Since the dawn of time, we have been fighting. 
In the beginning, it was for sustenance and to survive. Today, we fight over perceived hurt and imagined supremacy. 
We fought, killed, plundered. All in His name. Its always a wonderful when we say we are fighting for God, because if someone dares question the supremacy of my God, that qualifies me to eliminate him. After all, nearly all of our religious texts allow us to take an eye for an eye. Do we need a better reason to kill?

Who art in Heaven
We reached out to the heavens, to planets nearby. Our space missions made mammoth strides and we sat back and marveled. It is said traveling, like astronomy, is a humbling activity. It broadens our perspective and makes us realize how puny and futile our thoughts and aspirations are. 
We don't have to search far and wide, because the Heaven of our Father isn't in outer space. It is within you, within each of us. 

Hallowed by Thy name.
Which brings me to why we wanted to kill.
Back in the Middle Ages, Christian armies of the West plundered and decimated populations that didn't share their faith. Ofcourse, they were just doing what was right.
Today, radical Muslims think their brand of Islam should prevail and everyone should be a Muslim. ISIS isn't doing anything that the West hasn't already done in the past. Yet we find this atrocious and alarming. Suddenly, everyone wants to brand Islam evil. Every Muslim is a terrorist and every Christian, the defender of humanity. When did it become evil to be ambitious. 

Thy Kingdom come..
False prophets and doctrines have always tried to predict the apocalypse. The prophets don't want you to read the portion of the Bible that tells us that He will return at a time of His choosing, and at a time when we are most distracted. Major TV networks like God TV have been prophesying the End Times since the last many years. Gullible viewers have been coerced to donate millions because we need to prepare Israel, God's chosen land, for His coming again. I don't have anything against Israel but what about the millions who live in squalid conditions right in our backyards? There are millions who go to bed hungry every single night. There are millions who will die a death that we can prevent within the next 365 days. 

Thy Will be done..
In the many lessons I've learned in the last decade or so, I've realized one truth - We must be obedient to His will, and patient to His purpose.
As sure as we are about the year that just passed, we can be sure that we will all have moments in the year ahead when our obedience and patience will be tested. 
We will have situations that will tempt us to do what we want instead of what He wants. We will have times when we question His purpose and refuse to wait on Him. Today, resolve yourself to be more obedient and patience than the year that just passed.

On earth as it is in heaven.
As creatures that come with an 'Use by' date, we must realize that we will all die a certain death. Not one of us will have immortal lives. Yet, there are people who have walked this earth, whose lives continue to inspire us. People whose lives changed the course of humanity, not by force but by pure inspiration.
So the question here is - What are you doing today that will guarantee you an immortal life? 

Give us this day our daily bread
Many of us are capable of meeting our primary needs of food, clothing and shelter. Yet, as we make our weekend trips to our places of worship, we will drive by people who are less fortunate than us. I find it strange that we are patient enough to sit through a 45 minute discourse on being charitable, compassionate and forgiving yet we can't seem to practice it in our lives everyday. You and I don't pray for our daily bread, but there are people who have been praying for theirs. Are we ready to answer their prayers?

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
'To err is human, to forgive is divine' is a phrase that gave birth to a more popular modern mutant - 'To err is human, to forgive is not mine'. 
We might chuckle at the humor of this, but there is more truth to this than we'd like to admit. 
Our species has turned in to one large village where we are just itching to fight with someone, anyone who dare bump into us in the wrong way. Many Western countries (and Russia) have been waging multi-billion dollar wars that sprouted out of nothingness and their perceived sense of hurt. 
The Americans and their allies have been fighting wars since the last decade and half and I'm amazed how futile all their technology has been in getting the job done. The Russians haven't seemed to learned any lessons here.
Is this a good time to remind them that we must learn to forgive more eagerly and earnestly today than to sign a truce to end a needless conflict tomorrow?

Lead us not into temptation
Billions got hooked to consumerism. We are tempted to buy things we don't need to impress people we don't care with money that we could have used for better causes. 
My parents come from a major city in the southern Indian State of Kerala, where until about a few years ago, people lived simple lives. Honest and laid-back lives. People didn't worry about credit cards and loans were something that only the under-privileged and the over-ambitious took. 
Today, people worry about not having that SUV if their neighbor already has a sedan. Families flock to over-sized glitzy malls to gawk at designer brands and gobble on food like they haven't eaten in ages. 
Back in Europe and the West, people and their governments have been slipping deeper into a debt that threatens to pull in anyone else who will lend an helping hand. 

But deliver us from evil
ISIS isn't the only evil of our times. ISIS is just the collective expression of millions of people who have suffered from oppressive Western governments. Governments that have discriminated and persecuted Muslims for years, because it was the easiest thing to do. 
Today, Western citizens depend on their governments to protect and deliver them from evil. If results are anything to go by, this is but a false sense of security. 
As Indians in India, we don't need to look beyond our shores to understand what discrimination is. Nearly every person living in India would have faced some form of discrimination in their lives and this is true no matter which country you are in. 
We prefer to be cloaked in a false sense of security, rather than in prayer.

For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory
In the last decade or so, millions of people have lost their homes and the livelihood and loved ones, because of wars, man-made conflicts, human disasters and natural calamities. Recent statistics show that there has been a 100% increase in the numbers of refugees, in the year 2015 alone. Governments refused to open their homes and their borders to this exodus of humanity. Countries that were built on immigrants didn't want anything to do with this human crisis. 
These are the same countries who will talk eloquently about compassion and charity. 

For ever and ever..
I don't know about the 'forever' part of my life. I don't know when I will be taken off the shelf because I reached my expiry date. Millions of people who will party to welcome the new year will not survive to party by the end of 2016. Our earth, on the other hand, will outlive and outlast every single one of us. How we treat our earth will reveal our true inner-self. 
Because we can't depend on governments to do our hard work. 
Because unlike us, our politicians won't have to live through the consequences of their decisions. 
Because earth is the only place we can survive on, let's make our stand here and now.

I hope you've all had a wonderful learning experience in the year that just passed and I pray that we all survive to read my post next year. 
Personally, and as always, I have a lot to thank God for this year. 
'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' successfully transitioned into a blog where I write posts on spirituality as opposed to social and political satire. 
While rankings slipped, I am finally glad that I am touching atleast some of you through my interpretation of words in the Bible and I hope to inspire you to touch someone else's life too - in your own unique way.

Amen!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

While you were gone: September 2013 [Part 2 of 3]

Sorry folks, no hyperlinks this time..

Better sense prevailed.

Obama spared all of us another war. Syria will spend $1 billion to dismantle its chemical weapons.
The courts punished the most famous rapists in the only way it knew - Death.
Rangarajan cut GDP forecasts.
Srini punished Sree in the swiftest way known to cricket - Life ban.

Our government cheated on 1024 promises it made. Nothing official about it, eh?
Modi: First denounced his desire to become the next prime minister, was later crowned the party's prime ministerial candidate. Advani gave in to popular demand (read Modi).
Former Olympian Rajyavardhan Rathore joined politics.
A 16 year old was abducted and gang-raped by cops in J&K and a 14 year old rape victim killed herself.

Well, I never said it was all good news.

If I've learned anything from all the wars we have ever fought, then it is how leaders of our nations have acted with unilateral hate. Sometimes, as self elected representatives of civilized countries that call themselves developed, they assume an air of pseudo importance and consider it their mortal purpose to save us from imagined sins. But in doing so, they only expose their own lack of morality.
I don't think the ordinary American worries about Assad crossing the red line of gassing his own constituents. The only line the West are crossing are the thin line of double standards in humanitarian intervention.
Ordinary Americans have far graver tragedies to deal with. They live a life of incredible unpredictability. They aren't sure if they will have a job tomorrow, will end up as unwitting victims of some raged gunman, or if they can hold on to their homes.
Indian-Americans will continue to fight racism. What surprises me is not how Nina Davuluri beat the competition, but how 'patriotic' Americans sit in their moral high horse and show the world how stupid they really are. So @Granvil_Colt, @jakeamick5, @jayres15, @NateBerard, @sarawhitton, @SHANN__Wow, @Blayne_MkltRain and the thousand others who couldn't believe a land of a billion plus could possibly produce another beauty queen fit to rule the world- Go f**k yourselves. Haven't you heard about the Muslimah World pageant?

Modi promised to put Pakistan in its place, if he is elected to power. I don't know how to react to this. This has doomsday written all over it.

Marissa Meyers fears being imprisoned if her company does not hand over their user's details, anytime it is 'requested'. As the head of a major search engine, this cannot be good news, can it?
For all you staunch Lance Armstrong fans, stay away from 'The Armstrong Lie', a documentary that promises to shred any tiny bit of the aura he's retained.

Voyager 1, the interplanetary probe has left the solar system.
We have been pretty busy too. Launching an ICBM and planning an unmanned probe to Mars. Why? Are we done screwing up earth already?

Paes and Radek brought (respective) home another Grand Slam championship. Three Cheers!
Closer home, communal violence ripped apart whatever semblance of secularism we portrayed.

Ranbaxy got banned, because they found human hair. Relax, we've found worse things in our food. Besides, all this just helps build immunity.

After fighting for what seemed like a millennium, Dell is going private. Finally!

That's all the time we have for the news, folks.
Go out and enjoy the world, while it's still bright and sunny.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

While you were gone: September 2013 [Part 1 of 3]

'Good to have a goal'
Have you ever reminisced of simpler, happier times in the past? In the future, you will think these were wonderful times too.

Our senile little Home Minister Mr Shinde, bragged of how he is going to bring each of our terrorists back to India 'one by one'. How about getting all the money your colleagues have stashed away back, eh?

Serial rapist Jaishankar broke out of the Central Jail at Bangalore. By the time I'm writing this post, our cops have caught him and they are patting themselves on their backs. So that's fodder for another episode of Breakout.
On a more 'positive' note, our juvenile rapist will be a free man in about 25 months from now.
If you thought he got off easy, the monsters at Shakti Mills had previous experience in the field.
Ariel Castro hung himself. Another easy escape for a rapist who was sentenced to 1000 years without the chance of parole.

Along with everything else, biscuit sales took the deep dive too. Which means dogs won't get their daily doze of Parle`G biscuits anymore.

In a mad rush to fix things it screwed up in time for the elections next year, the UPA seems to be bringing all sorts of oddball bills. Correct me if I am wrong, but do we really need legislation that can barely fund itself?

Thought Europe is in the midst of a recession? Right! At € 100 million, Bale is laughing all the way to the bank.
And like clockwork, the government brushed Uttarakhand underneath the carpets of our mind. With wisdom that defies logic, the government decides to stop relief work and start preparing for the next batch of visitors. No lessons learned here.

Syria. Obama's renewed zeal to fight looks vaguely familiar. He told his people Syria won't be another Iraq or Afghanistan. I'd recommend O watches 'Green Zone' .
While the US Congress has set the stage for an limited airstrike with a long list of riders, if it is WMD that the American coalition of the willing is looking for, then they are probably barking up the wrong bark. Again.
There are a lot of things that is wrong about the American urge to set things right in the Middle East. Syria may not be the foe that can bring the US down, but with the Russians and the Chinese with them, is the US biting more than it can chew?
By launching an attack, the rebels and the loyalists will unite against the common enemy and with their loyalists' promise that not even the threat of a third World War will stop them from fighting the Americans, this is one war Obama must resist.

The Malawian government has promised to feed millions out of the proceeds of selling the private jet of its former president. If we were to sell off all the ill-gotten assets of our politicians, our poor can be fed for the next 1000 years. Food for thought.
While Microsoft got Nokia, we got the KitKat. Google signed up with Nestle to market the latest Android flavor. Drool!
Zubin Mehta enchanted the valley and in true nationalistic spirit, we cried coarse and sang praises.
The IOC kicked IOA in the nuts. Ouch! That had to hurt.
If you thought superstition has been stamped out, ask Akhilesh.
And for the first time, the NY Fashion Week will feature plus-sized models. More power to the cause.
Our PM opened his mouth and out fell another nugget of wisdom - He is not the custodian of documents. This I can believe.

And in this week's 'obscure to infamy' category, Ania Lisewska of Poland has won it legs apart (pun intended). All of 21, Ms Lisewska aims to have sex with 100,000 men in her life. So either this is a time-tested way to get famous, or we have an alien running around trying to copulate a'la 'Species'.
Moral of the story: Its always good to have goals.

Au revoir


Saturday, August 31, 2013

While you were gone: August 2013 [Part 3 of 3]

Okay, folks. Stock up on food and water and say your prayers. This could be it.

We love gossip, correction - We love listening to those juicy bits. Towards that effort, we read news of how our most recently famous rapists spent their day after violating the photo-journalist and her male co-worker. One thing is sure, none of the rapists will be punished in a way that deserves their crime

While I've said this countless times before, our justice system needs an overhaul.
By sentencing the lone juve in the now infamous Delhi gang-rape for a paltry 3 years, I wonder how this will deter future rapists. Oh and by the way, our government has no more money for the Nirbhaya fund. How 'bout that!

Over the past couple of months, I've come to believe that we can't punish a person enough for his/her crimes committed here on earth or can we?

But as the cry for sterner punishment gathers momentum, I hope the SC will find it within themselves to ensure punishment is proportional to crimes. The only hurdle though is the government. Seeing as how the government does not want to let the judiciary grow to bite it in its balls, allowing the SC to link punishment with quorum of the crime will mean out-of-favor politicians get screwed too. But I digress.


While I do want the guilty punished,
I don't want the death penalty for any of the rapists. Hear me out.
I don't think hanging him/her will ever work. Death is too swift and too short for these monsters. I want a justice system that will put the guilty through the exact measure of trauma that the victims suffered. In the US, judges are allowed to decide the method and quorum of punishment, which has resulted in many curious verdicts that have both satisfied the victim and reformed the culprit, sometimes. I want rapists to suffer the shame, emotional and physical trauma and the untold agony of their victims. Why do we cover the faces of the guilty, when we love sharing the pictures (and names) of our victims? To rape is a horrible thing to do. And by sentencing them to the noose, aren't we letting them go easy?
So this is what I propose - The guilty and his/her family must suffer the fullest extent of shame, their faces publicized, their financial credit ruined, their careers destroyed and be listed as a sex criminal and predator for the rest of their natural lives. Human rights? Unless you've been raped, you won't remotely understand why victims feel their predators don't deserve leniency.

Juvenile Justice? I recently read a poll that listed Melbourne at the top of the most liveable city in the world. Its citizens felt safe, secure and happy.
And then a couple of days later, I read about a 10 year old girl who raped a 6 year old boy. The girl was promptly packed off to jail for 3 days and is now standing trial. I'll let those who oppose juvenile justice marinate in this for a while.

Over to politics, Jagan - Hero of the masses, closet Billionaire, went on indefinite strike over Telangana. Once upon a time, Anna went on an indefinite fast too. Now, he just visits touristy places in the US.

SC spoke 'No more beacons for VIPs', yet we had to sacrifice on the Whistle-blower Act. Atleast we got Bhatkal, eh? Some victory.

Several years ago, when I lost my driver's license, I visited the issuing RTO. After 3 hours of 'searching', I was told my file is missing. Not one to let go, I slipped Rs 50 to the attendant and they found my file in 5 minutes flat. Just like that!
So when our government reported several files were missing, that is the same shit as 'the dog ate my homework'.

In other inane political news, Sonia and her cronies passed the Food Security Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill. Sonia fainted in parliament (could be a sign from the heavens), Vadra become a 'small' farmer and politicians in Karnataka are working up the mayonnaise while at office.

With fingers on their triggers, Syria is on a tag team match with the US and its allies of the willing. And oh, if you wondered what they meant by that, then its countries that prostrate themselves before Uncle Sam.
On the Syrian side, we have Iran, Russia and China. Heavyweights that can pin America down on any given day.
Uncle Sam said - 'They've used chemical weapons'. Gee! Haven't you heard that before?! But hey! For countries that don't learn shit from earlier misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and from movies like Black Hawk Down, history will (in the words of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) layeth the smacketh down.

So maybe, now could an excellent time for Obama to listen to his people. The same people who voted him to power on a wafer thin margin, believing in his many promises.
Americans: Do you actually think there is anything like a limited strike? If anything you shouldn't let your president make you believe you can come out of this smelling like roses.
Iran and Russia will not take this lightly. As Uncle Sam steps into much camel-shit, another conflict in the Middle East will be the beginning of the End.

Balmer announced his retirement. Wall St. jumped like an eager pup. Curb your enthusiasm, guys!

Google is building its own cars. But we'll need the Mars rover for our roads.

A bunch of Hindu pilgrims thought they could just flag down a train by standing in the track. This would have been roadrunner cartoon funny if it weren't for the sheer human tragedy.

Loved one died recently? Don't hurry with the funeral.

Bradley wants to become a woman. See! This is what happens when you leak secrets. Snowden, you might want to clarify your stand on this.

'Ass'aram Babu
has been accused of raping a minor. Wait! This shit happening again?! I just hope he doesn't say he is sterile like some of those other yogis regularly do.

Watching cartoons is bad. Bugs Bunny will be filing a lawsuit soon.

Anil Ambani suffered from selective memory loss. Why he doesn't forget the PIN codes for his ATM cards baffles me.

And tomorrow is payday? Cherish every rupee you get. It isn't going to last long.

And Poonam. Personally, I am amazed how you beat millions of other sperms to the egg. You are without a shadow of a doubt, the most shallow, stupid 'sell-a-brity' India has known. I highly recommend you sign up for Mars One and get the hell out of here.

Saving the best for last, Miley Cyrus grew up, and how! On second thoughts, I'm not so surprised, because she lost it when she put up a song announcing her exit from Twitter. As if!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

While I was celebrating... May 2013 [1/2]

I'm nuts about May!!
I think it's because growing up, that was when my summer vacations started. And for a boy who loved getting covered in mud and the sheer thrill of adventure, May was the month.


This was also the month of some of the craziest and insaneiest things we did.
After marathons and walk-a-thons, some of us decided we needed to shag a lot and many of us used our hands and imaginations to good use in Philly. Now, to save you the trouble of searching, I've researched and found that the world record for the longest session is held by a Japanese guy who imagined his girlfriend, family, friends and co-workers to keep him stimulated for 9 hours and 58 minutes. Family?! Yew
And Porn got a healthy thumbs up too! Researchers in the Netherlands (?!) claim that porn is positive. Really?! Why don't we have studies like that in India?


In other weird news from across the planet, Jacko's problems simply refuse to die and a school in Washington closed today due to great weather.
The UN threw its weight on repealing the much maligned AFSPA in Kashmir and the North East. One of the reasons why our army will get away with this is because the huge majority of us are unaware of the atrocities the army commits in the name of peace.

Talking about peace, Americans want their government to keep their noses off Syria. The two-year long conflict has divided the Middle East and threatens the fragile peace in the region. So while most Americans are oblivious to the crisis in the Middle East, they still want to keep Modi out.



North Korea sentenced an American to 15 years hard labor, fired a few missiles and now everyone 'thinks' they could have long-range missiles that could eventually reach the great continent of North America. 

Meanwhile, America signed a deal with Australia to sell several squadrons of F-35s and modified versions of the Super Hornets. Sigh!
Now, tell me something - How can a country that fails on every infrastructure parameter manage to create nuclear submarines?


So while Uncle Sam is eager to layeth the smackdown on ruffians in their backyard, we are trying to sit pretty and pretend the Chinese incursion didn't happen. Oh, the irony! Our flag meetings and 'coercive diplomacy', or the lack of it, wasn't going to affect the Chinese outcome. They won a bloodless coup when they capitalized on the perfect time to pitch their tents in our lawn. Our paralyzed government sang its last swan song, our intelligence agencies tied itself in a knot and unlike the military leaders in countries around us, our armed forces are impotent and mere stooges of our corrupt politicians
The Chinese came, stayed for as long as they pleased and left when they wanted. All our bellicose rhetoric and empty posturing only made us look like utter buffoons. Not Mohammed Ali, Mr Foreign Minister.
Even their dailies lampooned our inaction.

The Supreme Court called the CBI, the government's parrot. While we all sighed in fake relief, the PM and his council of ministers took offense. Now, repeat after me- 'Oh Yeah!'

Israel struck out and the world looked the other way
Google touched a few raw nerves when it recognized Palestine as an independent nation and some of our text books gave Arunachal Pradesh to China. In your face, Rest of the World!

Down south, we made our political aspirants sweat it out . Eventually, we made sure we spoke (and got rewarded for it) and when the ballots were counted, the ruling party crumbled and the lesser evil rose to power. The celebrations lasted an entire week and the bubbly flowed freer than water. Alas, it is now time to walk the talk.


Meanwhile, our western neighbor got a new head and we all celebrated the novelty. Promises were made and will be broken.

It has been proven that elections can cause loose talk. The Congress-led UPA government have suddenly developed amnesia and appear to be talking utter trash. Well, seeing as how they have looted us for a decade, I think it is only fair they allow their compatriots from the other side of the fence to loot us for a few years too.


Some of us took the law into our hands when a 14 year old girl was gang-raped in LaLa Land. Not surprising because Didi wasn't really inspiring confidence in anyone with her brand of mickey mouse governance.


India isn't known for her choice of politicians, so when our honorable minister, Mr Manmohan Singh starting shuffling his feet in the mud, it was time for Mrs G to take control.


We did a Sarabjit when a Pakistani prisoner was brutally killed. India said all the right things, again. Our politicians gained political mileage and Pakistan issued a travel advisory to all its citizens traveling in India. And I thought to myself, 'so does that travel advisory also apply to their citizens who've come to kill innocent Indians too?'
Now, can we have the rest of Sarabjit, please?

While most celebrities in showbiz are reluctant to step away from the limelight, Leonardo DiCaprio announced he is taking a break while still at the top of his game. Admirable!

So it is an open secret that Apple and Samsung love to fight with each other, but Nokia said it. Switch


Like a hyena following the scent of rotting meat, Priya Rai is now set to titillate the world's largest democracy. Bring it on!


Johnson & Johnson's has struggled with many of their baby products in the US for a while, but it faced the authorities' wrath when it was using ethylene oxide - a substance used to produce industrial chemicals and to sterilize medical equipment - to kill bacteria in its baby powder and had not conducted mandatory tests to make sure there were no remaining traces in the powder. Shame!


In sporting news, Abhinav Bindra convinced the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take its prodigal son back. And how!

The latest edition of IPL was spicier than a Chicken Tikka masala. Starting from Farah Khan's Jumpin' Japak to  the revelation of spot-fixing. Now, I bet Sreeshanth didn't see this coming when he did a Lalit Modi on twitter as IPL 6 began but I've always felt the KKR win last year was just a flash in the pan.

While Sreeshanth & Co is guilty beyond doubt, how many of you think he is just the fall guy? So that explains how he built a palatial bungalow even though he has played so little. Old man Katju, I hear is preparing his 'Pardon Sreeshanth' petition even as I write this post.

Apathy knew no bounds either. Doctors in the City of Oranges, Nagpur, refused to provide timely treatment to teenager who was 'brutally' raped by her stepdad.
Five deaf and mute orphans were raped and 2 jawans got 10 years hard labor. Simply great!

In the words of the 'Mask'.. Somebody stop me!


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