Sunday, July 18, 2010

When the walk becomes a run!

"Gati Pragati ka Mool hain! Yeh Mantra na bhoolna"- these lines from an old bolllwood song keep repeating in my head continously. Life is no longer a walk in the park. Life has become a race to finish first.

So the nomad moves on and will be available in his new avatar at:

The nomad will return here when he wants a lesiurely walk in the park...but for now its onto newer horizons and fresh dreams.

"Aasma ke paar shaayad aur koi aasma hoga"

Monday, November 09, 2009

Time has come!

The time has finally come… it had probably had quite some time back… it’s just that we didn’t acknowledge. After all we are mere mortals. Greatness is not easy for all to fathom and digest especially for those who are miles away from it. Instead we relish in our endeavors to crush the spirit of the genius. We look for faults where none exist and conveniently sidestep all that really matters.

I talk of one Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. As he completes 20 glorious years, we still don’t grant him what was always his. Perhaps it doesn’t matter to him. Perhaps he is above all of it. What if he really is God as his supporters like to believe? We may never know. But after yesterday Tendulkar is no longer one of the best batsmen in the world. He is the best and by a huge margin. The Laras and Pontings of the world are not even close and the reason is clear - Sachin is out of the world.

Statistics and records overwhelming as they won’t even begin to do justice to the phenomena called “Sachin”. For starters, can numbers ever replace smiles?

Close your eyes and try to visualize his best innings. Remember the joy you felt every time he found gaps in the field when it seemed none existed, when he made a good ball look ordinary by depositing it across the ropes, when you suddenly saw him on 80 * and it seemed like he had scored a half century just a minute ago, when he played the most cheeky shot around and beamed as if he had won a lottery, when he ran twos ( for his partner) on a tired pair of legs, when he made the opposition look hapless and totally beaten. Now realize that around a billion people felt pretty much the same way and you can begin to realize his importance in our lives.

Do a similar exercise for the time he got out and we lost.

A nation laughs or cries depending on a split second decision he takes while batting.

We talk of Gandhi and Mother Teresa and how they uplifted the masses. Sachin does much the same as he wields his willow on the field. It’s just that we don’t realize. Sachin has given us a reason to dream and dream big. Remember the India when he started playing and compare it with the India of today. So much progress has happened and yet the fact that he remains our ultimate role model is no coincidence. With every boundary he has scored, with every record that has come his way, he has lifted the collective morale of a nation.

The crown of the world’s best batsmen no longer matters. Sachin is already past that.

We may not see the halo around him but its indeed time to bow to the Lord!

Even Sir Donald Bradman will agree!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Lull After the Storm

This sequence of events is all too familiar now for most of us. On the 26th of November, we were attacked, wounded and most importantly humiliated by the gang of no more than ten. We watched haplessly as the trauma and the grief ran into minutes, hours and days. We picked up every gory detail of the attacks, we lapped up all that the media fed us, we argued and argued more, we decided in our minds who the enemy was and decided what the best course of action, we looked up the Internet on varied topics from Taj, Oberoi, Mumbai, India's comparative military strength, the origin of our border dispute, the cost of waging a war, the demographic makeup of country, Article 370, Nehru, Gandhi... anything remotely connected to that fateful day. We watched as our political leaders failed us yet again. We called it India's 9/11 (this was a first for us) and thought we had the means and the will to retaliate the US did. We perversely rejoiced at the attention with we getting on the world stage, satisfied with the lip-service doled out to us by the powers that matter. We wrote on chat forums and on our blogs. (As I indeed write on mine now). We changed our orkut and facebook profiles, we joined umpteen number of online groups expressing our support in this time of need. We made personal vows to hurt the enemy in whatever ways we could. We paid our 2 minutes of respect silence and We decided we needed to change... everything. We decided we needed a fresh new start.

And then we moved on.. not instantly but gradually maybe but definitely. They said it was time to move on...i saw the first signs of it when I saw the headline "Mumbai limps back to normalcy"... no doubt the editor didn't lose anyone dear. We saw as the "news" lost its novelty. It was relegated to other more "important" and "news-worthy" incidents like the crash of the stock exchanges worldwide (something that happens with far too much regularity nowadays), the IT meltdown and how Infosys wont hire anymore, England's resumption of the cricket tour... heck even Maradona's coming to India suddenly seemed to be more important than the crisis of the hour. Should the fact that a woman from Haryana gave birth at 70 really be hogging the front page news? How many more 26/11's (another of media's wonderful creation-thank you for giving us memory aids for remembering the dates on which we lose fellow countrymen by hundreds for no fault of theirs. ) do we need before we realize that its not right to forget such incidents in matter of days. How many more lives do we need to lose before we stop treating this horrible breach of our trust as merely an inconvenience and a soap opera all bundled together by the media as a wholesome side-dish to our evening dinners? The enemy is closer than we think, its among us. Its inside each one of us... its called complacence. "Chalta hain" attitude definitely nahin chalta hain. We cant forget what is wrong! It would be doing ourselves and the generations to follow a great disservice.

I am reminded of a stanza from a hindi poem

Khoon jo ab na Khaula
Woh khoon nahi paani hai
Jo desh ke kaam na aaye
Bekar woh jawani hai.

And please don't change channels... Saas-bahu can wait.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A November to remember!

Watching a great drama unfold from the sidelines for someone with limited knowledge but keen interest has its share of pluses and minuses. The lack of knowledge is often overshadowed by the ability to see the things without the prejudice of history and to identify the grey in a sea of black and white.

As an alien in the Promised Land, the Presidential elections slated this November provide me with all the ingredients of a great drama and I have been fortunate enough to witness many of its twists and turns.

The preceding winter was all about Hillary and Obama and how the winner of this contest would eventually find his/her way to the White House creating some kind of history along with it?
As the winter gave to spring and summer, this presidential race also changed its character for reasons sometimes beyond the control of those in it.

If this election were to be neatly wrapped up into bullets points I would present mine as:
1. What is this election about? Both the presidential candidates would be mistaken if they though the election was about them or the issues that they thought were important. The truth could be the farthest from it. If ever the election was for the common man, this one is. Talk to any American and the issue most close to his heart is the mess that the American economy finds itself in. Spiraling gas prices and job cuts are just the symptoms of something far more sinister. For the time-being Iraq can be put on the back-burner. National building exercise must be done at home first.

2. What each one is saying: This election was the seen by many as the clash of two diametrically opposite opponents, the clash of the old vs. the new. Sure enough both had their agendas and their plan of actions if elected to the white house. But it doesn’t matter anymore. The events of the past month have ensured that whoever is elected to the White House will have his hands full in undoing the damage done.

3. Do they really want the job? The White House is the seat of unbridled power and its occupant is arguably the world’s most powerful person. Who wouldn’t want the job? Both the candidates are on the verge of creating some kind of history if they make it to the White House. But surely they wouldn’t want to earn the dubious distinction of herding US deeper into trouble should things get out of hand. I wouldn’t be surprised if both the candidates have had second thoughts about the enormity of the task potentially ahead of them.

4. Battle of the vice presidents: Once the vice-presidential candidates were announced, they have in their own way managed to overshadow the presidential candidates and the election itself. Sarah Palin has managed to tilt the advantage in favor of the Democrats by displaying her evident lack of experience at this level. By nominating an inexperienced candidate like Palin, the Republicans have lost the moral right to attack Obama’s inexperience.

5. Who’s the winner? When America first went into election mode, it was all about Hillary and Obama. The analysts certain that the Republican regime would end soon; it seemed like a cake-walk for Obama once Hillary opted out. One sensed that the feeling of quiet optimism in the Obama camp gave way to one of overconfidence much earlier than required and somehow he couldn’t connect to the masses in the way that he had during the primaries. The central theme of Obama’s campaign has always been “Change”. Then came the realization that the anticipated depression in the US economy was already here and bigger than expected. In such times, I don’t know if the message of “Change” is the best possible one for Obama, not when he confronts a nation that yearns for things the way they always were-the time of $1 menus, fuel guzzlers, a strong dollar and jobs that stayed at home. But atleast he has a message but McCain sadly has none, not atleast that comes to my mind immediately.

Till some time back both were almost neck to neck. And many voters were undecided. Sarah Palin may have unknowingly helped many voters make up their minds, sadly against her party though.

One reckons it’s going to be Obama on 4th November but only just.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Great Indian Oscar Debate

Every autumn (or fall as it is known here in the land of the Oscars), a committee appointed by the Government of India chooses the official Indian entry to the Oscars for a nomination in the Best foreign film category. Like anything that is connected remotely to the government, the entire process is invariably linked with controversy and to the common man; the entire process seems a futile exercise. More often than not, the official entry is not the sentimental favorite. That would work out fine if the jury sent sensible films to the Oscars. Previous entries like Jeans, Paheli & Saagar don’t fit the bill by a large margin and one is left wondering how movies like Roja, Ek Ruka Hua Faisla , Satya, Lakshya, Monsoon Wedding or even Sholay never made it to the list.

Going through the list of nominations over the years, the movies that I feel really deserved to be on the list are Mother India, Manthan, Saaransh, Salaam Bombay, Bandit Queen, Earth and Shwaas. Even Lagaan for all its pomp and show, drama, cricket and patriotism made for a poor choice compared to Monsoon Wedding, a crisp 90 min movie that brilliantly portrays contemporary Indian urban life against the backdrop of a wedding.

Agreed that you can’t win all the time and this category is one of the most competitive one but shouldn’t we sending movies that atleast give a correct picture of India. I work in the US and still have to answer questions regarding the great Indian rope trick, child marriage and Sati. This inspite of the tremendous progress we have made in the past ten years. Movies like Jeans don’t help.

This year however seems to be different. The official Indian entry is “Taare Zameen Par”, a beautiful and sensitive story about an 8 year old dyslexic kid. The movie is particularly pertinent in a society like ours that refuses to accept disability in more ways than one and preventing them from being a part of the mainstream. With the kind of awareness that is already there in the US regarding dyslexia, the film may not actually appeal to the Oscar panel but it nonetheless deserves to be our official entry for the role it played in sensitizing all of us into accepting all that we perceive to be “not normal”.

My best wishes to the entire “Taare Zameen Par” team… thank you for the job that you have already done. You are already winners in our eyes.

And thank you to the jury for not goofing up this time around.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Let the Games Begin!

So the great games begin tomorrow on a numerically wonderful date of 08/08/08. A few wishes before the frenzy takes over:

1. Let the rains not ruin the wonderful opening ceremony promised to us.
2. Let the focus of the games be the games and not the quality of Beijing air or such frivolous issues.
3. Let the media bring us the games and not their biased opinion about all that is wonderfully correct or horribly wrong about the games.
4. Let us not be pulled into the frenzy of “USA v/s China” as this edition of the games are being billed as. There are many worthy teams in the fray.
5. Lastly let the best team win.

P.S. Happy Birthday Mummy:)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Learn to be Still!

My thoughts in the words of "The Eagles"... thank you for the music

It's just another day in paradise
As you stumble to your bed
You'd give anything to silence
Those voices ringing in your head
You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will- Learn to be still

We are like sheep without a shepherd
We don't know how to be alone
So we wander 'round this desert
And wind up following the wrong gods home
But the flock cries out for another
And they keep answering that bell
And one more starry-eyed messiah Meets a violent farewell- Learn to be still
Learn to be still

Now the flowers in your garden
They don't smell so sweet
Maybe you've forgotten
The heaven lying at your feet

There are so many contridictions In all these messages we send (We keep asking)
How do I get out of here Where do I fit in?
Though the world is torn and shaken
Even if your heart is breakin'
It's waiting for you to awaken
And someday you will- Learn to be still Learn to be still
You just keep on runnin'
Keep on runnin'