Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, *Common Sense*, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn’t always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I’m A Victim
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Give the man a break... ever since Slumdog Millionaire made it big in awards circles.. suddenly everybody has a opinion on the movie and they want to express it right through the media.
I have been following debates over whether Slumdog does India any good.. is it only a gimmick....
Does it selectively highlight India's filth and backwardness....
Is it a foreigner's perspective on showcasing India..
Somehow when I saw the movie.. I loved it. Probably I saw it much earlier that it caught all the hype for bagging most of the awards..
I found it very entertaining, positive and full of great performances.
As a social work student in India, I have visited the slums (Jhuggi Jhopri as they call in Delhi) for my field work. I am surprised as to how well the director captured the appropriate characterization of slums.. there was no exaggeration in depicting the slums.
Isn't slums a reality in India..
Isnt child labor a reality in India..
And anyways its a movie.. Its not documentary that aims to project India in its true light..
We never make a big deal when Karan Johar makes a movie in which almost all Indians live in palaces.. wear wierd heavy clothes all the time, or for that matter that NRI's live in palaces in the states and are so loaded with money and servants .
We see it as a movie so why not accept Slumdog as a movie.
Agreed .. that the international recognition it has recieved has got people asking all sorts of questions.. that is India really like this, are we so bad to children.. is there nothing good in India.
However we should like or dislike the movie "judging on the merits of the movie alone", not because suddenly that it is lapped up by the western media..
Coming to the point of potraying India's filth.. aren't we all aware of it. It is not a lie.. Its just that we are closet critics of India....
Its a hypocracy.. Its like saying that if an Indian makes a movie on the racial divide happening in the USA,... then the Americans will cry foul and say that the movie is a sham.. there are many good things to showcase about the US so why depict the ugly.
When I saw the movie.. I could get beyond the way the children acted. The director has brought the best in their acting.
I feel bad that they are not here attending any award functions.. they truly were the best.. especially little Jamal.
I understand people's perspective that India has many strengths despite its weakness.
That is true and there is no denying that..
But in the end.. let our prejuicide not come in the way on how we can enjoy a well made, beautifully enacted movie..
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Ya ya yaa.. I know its late to write about new year resolutions now, We are almost a whole month into 2009.
However, I just wanted to pen down my thoughts on New Year Resolutions.. I think I must have made at least a million resolutions, may be just not New Year but you know.. like from next month... from tomorrow, from next monday and the list goes now.
And its no secret that I haven't kept any of my resolutions. Losing weight and studying harder... is I guess I always resolve to do in mind.. but I am not sure how it translates into action.
This year was very different. I didn't feel like having any NY resolutions. I realized that we make resolutions when we are lacking something we want to achieve. We only foresee the result that we want to obtain, and we make a resolve about achieving it.
I have always said that I would like to lose 20 pounds (okay.. may be I need more, but lets stick to 20 for now). For a day I remember it and the next day its gone. I never paid attention to the process of getting the result or keeping up with my resolution. I never prepared myself on how to stick to my plan, keep going despite failures, handle a success (like gorging on an icecream just because your weighing machine is nice to you one day).
When I made the resolution, did I even check my motivation level.. or my readiness to change (stages of change... important theory in social work).
It can not be a miracle that on the eve of New Year all good things will align for me and help me stick to my resolution.
Its only a date... It does not have the power to change my lifestyle...
So this year I was low key on making resolutions but attempting to make small changes in lifestyle.
I also had another thought in mind that I would rather have a happy ending that a great beginning. Year 2008 ended on such a pleasant note for me that I didn't feel like wishing for a great beginning to 2009. I am sure it will be great if I work at it.
My husband always had never believed in resolutions. He always says start now... and I was like "next sunday".. "tomorrow".. LOL. I guess I will start listening to him from next month..
Monday, December 1, 2008
What They Hate About
MY bleeding city. My poor great bleeding heart of a city. Why do they go after Mumbai? There’s something about this island-state that appalls religious extremists, Hindus and Muslims alike. Perhaps because Mumbai stands for lucre, profane dreams and an indiscriminate openness.
Mumbai is all about dhandha, or transaction. From the street food vendor squatting on a sidewalk, fiercely guarding his little business, to the tycoons and their dreams of acquiring Hollywood, this city understands money and has no guilt about the getting and spending of it. I once asked a Muslim man living in a shack without indoor plumbing what kept him in the city. “Mumbai is a golden songbird,” he said. It flies quick and sly, and you’ll have to work hard to catch it, but if you do, a fabulous fortune will open up for you. The executives who congregated in the Taj Mahal hotel were chasing this golden songbird. The terrorists want to kill the songbird.
Just as cinema is a mass dream of the audience, Mumbai is a mass dream of the peoples of South Asia. Bollywood movies are the most popular form of entertainment across the subcontinent. Through them, every Pakistani and Bangladeshi is familiar with the wedding-cake architecture of the Taj and the arc of the Gateway of India, symbols of the city that gives the industry its name. It is no wonder that one of the first things the Taliban did upon entering Kabul was to shut down the Bollywood video rental stores. The Taliban also banned, wouldn’t you know it, the keeping of songbirds.
Bollywood dream-makers are shaken. “I am ashamed to say this,” Amitabh Bachchan, superstar of a hundred action movies, wrote on his blog. “As the events of the terror attack unfolded in front of me, I did something for the first time and one that I had hoped never ever to be in a situation to do. Before retiring for the night, I pulled out my licensed .32 revolver, loaded it and put it under my pillow.”
Mumbai is a “soft target,” the terrorism analysts say. Anybody can walk into the hotels, the hospitals, the train stations, and start spraying with a machine gun. Where are the metal detectors, the random bag checks? In Mumbai, it’s impossible to control the crowd. In other cities, if there’s an explosion, people run away from it. In Mumbai, people run toward it — to help. Greater Mumbai takes in a million new residents a year. This is the problem, say the nativists. The city is just too hospitable. You let them in, and they break your heart.
In the Bombay I grew up in, your religion was a personal eccentricity, like a hairstyle. In my school, you were denominated by which cricketer or Bollywood star you worshiped, not which prophet. In today’s Mumbai, things have changed. Hindu and Muslim demagogues want the mobs to come out again in the streets, and slaughter one another in the name of God. They want India and Pakistan to go to war. They want Indian Muslims to be expelled. They want India to get out of Kashmir. They want mosques torn down. They want temples bombed.
And now it looks as if the latest terrorists were our neighbors, young men dressed not in Afghan tunics but in blue jeans and designer T-shirts. Being South Asian, they would have grown up watching the painted lady that is Mumbai in the movies: a city of flashy cars and flashier women. A pleasure-loving city, a sensual city. Everything that preachers of every religion thunder against. It is, as a monk of the pacifist Jain religion explained to me, “paap-ni-bhoomi”: the sinful land.
In 1993, Hindu mobs burned people alive in the streets — for the crime of being Muslim in Mumbai. Now these young Muslim men murdered people in front of their families — for the crime of visiting Mumbai. They attacked the luxury businessmen’s hotels. They attacked the open-air Cafe Leopold, where backpackers of the world refresh themselves with cheap beer out of three-foot-high towers before heading out into India. Their drunken revelry, their shameless flirting, must have offended the righteous believers in the jihad. They attacked the train station everyone calls V.T., the terminus for runaways and dreamers from all across India. And in the attack on the Chabad house, for the first time ever, it became dangerous to be Jewish in India.
The terrorists’ message was clear: Stay away from Mumbai or you will get killed. Cricket matches with visiting English and Australian teams have been shelved. Japanese and Western companies have closed their Mumbai offices and prohibited their employees from visiting the city. Tour groups are canceling long-planned trips.
But the best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever. Dream of making a good home for all Mumbaikars, not just the denizens of $500-a-night hotel rooms. Dream not just of Bollywood stars like Aishwarya Rai or Shah Rukh Khan, but of clean running water, humane mass transit, better toilets, a responsive government. Make a killing not in God’s name but in the stock market, and then turn up the forbidden music and dance; work hard and party harder.
If the rest of the world wants to help, it should run toward the explosion. It should fly to Mumbai, and spend money. Where else are you going to be safe? New York? London? Madrid?
So I’m booking flights to Mumbai. I’m going to go get a beer at the Leopold, stroll over to the Taj for samosas at the Sea Lounge, and watch a Bollywood movie at the Metro. Stimulus doesn’t have to be just economic.
Suketu Mehta, a professor of journalism at New York University, is the author of “Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found.”
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
What a night it was. History was made for the right reasons. I felt proud being associated to this election through my television, through the free flowing discussions in my college corridors, through the hush-hush conversations at my desk at office.
As a commentator on CNN rightly reported "It is the triumph of FEAR over Hope"
When I was new to this country I was often surprised to see the number of fear tactics used by people in power to influence the public. I in no way undermine peoples' grief and shock over devastating events 7 years ago, but living in fear and spreading fear is not the right path to take to overcome it. To have color codes for terror and attune peoples' mind by fine tuning color codes is no way to lead the country.
For me the most important thing that I took away from this election, was not which ideology prevailed, BUT THAT IT WAS AN ELECTION OF THE PEOPLE.
So many people voted, and they did not think "does my vote count, what is one vote going to do". They did not put a discount on their votes. Each person felt that they made a valuable contribution and YES their vote was valued.To see so many young people motivated and participating in the elections has been something we can all learn from.
WHERE HAS THE VOTER APATHY GONE??
This brings me to the point that we often express among discontent amongst our peers from India over the state of politics in India. We so proudly claim that politics is dirty and gone beyond the point of no return.
I have never voted in my country and infact been very dismissive of the electoral process in my country. However if I have never really partcipated in the elections , what right do I have to criticize it. I am as good as a cynical relative (Ya, we know we atleast have one of those) who just criticize because they have to.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Very early when I started to blog, I wrote about an incident when my husband was away for an office trip (his first one) and how miserable I was the whole time alone at home, feeling as though my wings had been clipped.
Well after that trip, my husband took many more and slowly my wings kept growing. I can't say that I am flying but definitely I am trying ............
Hmmmm this blog is slowing turning out to be about my wings.. It is not intended to be so..
Today I watched movie (Ya my husband is away for 4 days).. "The Jane Austen Book Club".. Ohh this movie is for you, my girl friends. A recommendation from my side to all of you. Light, yet meaningful and insightful. I am a sucker for romance and there were different shades of romance in the movie.
Temptation, boredom, jealousy, lust, love and betrayal... all covered.
I must admit that I haven't read any of Jane Austen's Books but I am tempted to do so. For us Indians one of the first images that must be coming to our mind is the hideous "Bride and Prejuidice" with our very own Aishwarya Rai.. Lets keep that image away cause surely that movie will turn us off from reading any of the books
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I have thought of jotting down some lines many times... but I guess these thoughts were not strong enough..
These 2 months of summer have been bliss (with many interrupted by strong thunder storms). I have not seen such lightening before. And there was an earthquake too. I was alone in the house and I got up too. As my PANIC threshold in very low... I panicked and the rest is history.
What else.. I visited Detriot in May. It was nice, may be only for spending 2 days max. We went to the Casino and as played good amount of Blackjack. We won lots and finally left when we lost it all.
In June I also attended a ballet done by the Gregory Hancock Dance theater group in which they performed on songs of Devdaas, Lagaan. It was a delight. The performers were all white but they infused bollywood as much as they could in their ballet. However what impressed me most was their performance on a couple of Telagu songs. God I could not understand a word, but the beats were awesome. I have heard that Telagu junta is very possesive of their movies, actors and music. And why not Guys... the music was amazing. The steps were full of jhutka mutka.. full of life.
This past two months my brother and me were also busy over the phone regarding my sister's admissions. She just graduated high school. College admissions is India is whole another story. So much disorganization, lack of information, disappointments, too much reservation, too high cut offs, and above trying to decipher Mumbai University on the web.
Man, Mumbai... you need to centralize admissions, and please use the web more often. Finally my sis has joined a National Law School in Raipur. 5 years.. too much studying. I don't even know if she knew she wanted to be a Lawyer.... There is so much to think about the educational system in India and how one is forced to make career choices , not being totally informed.. and to top it all many decisions are irreversible.
This past weekend we went camping with another couple. It was great great fun... I also realized it is a very inexpensive way to have to getaway.. especially when you have kids..
I am a big Bollywood fan, but always prided myself in not spending a dime on it.. I mean I wouldn't buy posters.... etc etc.. But this coming August I am going for the Amitabh Bachchan Concert in Chicago. Lately I have become a big fan of big B. I loved him in Sarkar Raj. So I thought why not go for this one.. I hope that it will be a lot of fun.
So much for updates.. and I have also posted 3 blogs.... too much writing today.
Jaane Tu is a very pleasant watch... Please watch it guys.
I am not sure why it didn't hit the theaters in my city.... Love Story 2050 (no comments... you know what that means) is in the theaters now.
I loved Jaane tu.. every one must have read the reviews so no use for detail. But its light, fresh and predictable...
Romance is always a great watch especially when movies don't force other angles (action, drama, death, separation, family issues, rich poor... blah blah) in the movie.
The movie focuses only on the relationship and that it its USP.
Well this is precisely the question my husband asked me " Shweta, Do you think that you can be sports psychologist?".
This question was popped to me while we both were engrossed watching the "Federer-Nadal Wimbledon Finals". Now you may wonder how this question came about.
Well when everyone was watching Federer struggle to match Nadal's mighty strokes, I wasn't. Truly. I was huddled in my bedroom crossing my fingers. I was pacing up and down from the living room to the bedroom and from bedroom to living room. And Poor Virendra, his job was to shout the score every time the point was played (Yaaa he is nice!!!!). I was praying, but God could not answer my prayers because Nadal deserved to win.
Anyways coming back to the question, I told Virendra that "NO" I cannot ever become a sports psychologist. I will be much more emotional than the player and may be the player will land up giving me counseling instead. I am still feeling bad for Federer. And to top it all everyone is saying that Federer is gone... GONE... dude (my brother) he is # 2.
Is no 2 not good enough. Well technically he still number one..
Well this blog is really not about Federer, but my inability to control my emotions about sports. And to top it all, I am going to watching the Cincinnati Tennis Finals. Sitting in the stadium I won't have anyplace to run if my player is losing. I can totally imagine myself. My head buried down somewhere... haha ha what a sight.
When colts lost.... they damaged me.. LOL.
Coming to football, I am eagerly waiting for the NFL.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I have never been a fan of video games... I think we had a Atari growing up, but I was never attracted to it. In fact I always found it a waste of time. However my husband does not share my views.. (isnt that obvious, when do couples agree not to agree on something).
Veeru, devoted (wasted) a lot of time playing video games in school, but somehow after marriage, my constant hammering had made a dent in the amount given to it. On his last birthday he bought a playstation and on my birthday he bought me a Wii (isn't it a wonderful idea to gift your spouse something u want). I guess as relationships grow older people start to become more of themselves... Which means that Veeru is playing more and more video games nowadays. And I think I am okay about it....
But what has happened is that I myself am spending some time with the Wii.
Well whatever the story is, and how much I hate to admit, Wii is amazing. Its so easy and user friendly and easy and it makes a non-gamer feel very powerful when they able to do good on the Wii.
So I played tennis (I love tennis). I did well. I played other stuff but for a long time I avoided to look at the Mario Galaxy or Mario Racing stuff (I categorized them as traditional video games.... and I was not going there).
Somehow, as Veeru kept praising Mario Galaxy so much that I thought I will try my luck. And to my horror, I enjoyed it. Seriously the graphics are good (All you PS3 people I know you have better graphics), and it is a lot of fun.
Now coming to the statement " I am a loser". Well I am, after moving up to a certain level, I am not able to complete the level where there are Mandibugs. Damn it, I am not able to kill them. I have tried, tried again and tried again, and given up. Seriously those damn bugs made me feel like a loser.
I could never believe that video games could do this to my self-esteem. I haven't touched my Wii since 3 weeks. Veeru says " Patience" is important. So I am trying to build patience then I can attack those mandibugs.. It makes me feel like a bigger loser, when I see Veeru do it so easily in front of my naked eyes... Haha ha ..
Well this blog was cathartic.. I feel better.