Monday, December 1, 2008

Article by Suketu Mehta in NY Times

Op-Ed Contributor

What They Hate About

Mumbai

Published: November 28, 2008

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

Audacity of Hope

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

PROBABLY NOT!!!

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.

Congratulations America

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Watching---The jane austen book club


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

Updates....

Wow Its almost been 2 months since I wrote on this page of thoughtless ideas. A few of my friends reminded me that I haven't put anything new... that means some of you are reading my nonsense..

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................


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.

Can I be a sports Psychologist?



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 am a loser!!!!!!!!!


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.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

AMU---- Give it a watch


I recently watched the movie "Amu". And I loved it. This movie captured many of my experiences across different phases of my life. Before getting into that, let me just say that this movie is worth a watch. Konkana as usual, brilliant. The guy cast opposite her (Ankur khanna, ya I think thats his name) is cute too. The best part of the movie is that it is shot in actual locations and nowhere do you feel that the characters are placed in sets, they just belonged I felt. The movie dragged at places but a DVD watch never hurts.

For all gals who have studied in DU, you will be effortlessly transported into the Delhi where we lived some precious years of our lives. Yes, Meenakshi (I know you read my blog) there is Miranda House, there is mention of Chacha's bhatura, Blue line buses, there is Dilli haat and on the whole the flavor of Delhi. I never thought that I will say I miss Delhi.

The movie also captured many issues relevant to social work. They actually shot in Delhi slums, and I could actually visualize myself doing field work in the jhuggis. Man, I would be totally lost during my field work projects. They even showed street plays.

I really felt comforted seeing Delhi, as the way I lived it. May be its because I am mostly surrounded by people from Mumbai at present, that I have no body to discuss my experiences with.

This movie even took me back to my school years. I saw Tara's name in the credits (Tara Roy). I felt proud knowing her as a friend years back.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

This winter did not get to me this time



Come November, and I get the november blues. I think of the next 6 months that will be spent whining about the cold, we being confined to the house, and basic restrictions on many "things to do". The gloomy weather got to me last year, and I think that I was suffering from seasonal depression. No sun, no fun.

However this season was very different. It is the end of march and the winter is no where out-of-sight. We friends often discuss how long the winter has been, and how cold it is. And I dont know why my view would stick out as a sore thumb from the groups. I would say, it hasn't been that cold, its okay......

At home I asked my husband then, that has the winter been that bad this year? He said "No".

I was wondering why the winter did not get to me this time. Actually this winter My husband and me decided that no matter how cold it is, we will not stay indoors. we will go out in the evenings like the way we did. And thats precisely what we did. And somehow now that spring is knocking at our doors I realized that the long treacherous winter is gone.

Unfortunately for us, when we went to Chicago over Good Friday weekend, it snowed like crazy. We still decided to move around, and did not let the snow get the better of us. Well probably thats one thing I admire about Chicago (or may all big cities). People don't stop doing their things because its too hot or cold.

I think that it was my personal battle against the winter, and I won it this time. Last year I lost miserably.

My trip to Chicago

This is about my trip to Chicago during the easter break. My brother's friends had decided to meet up at a club and he said that we come along as well. My husband and me are acquainted with a few of his friends but not that well, so we were apprehensive about going. But I had a great time there. There were about 7 girls and all of us danced together, no boys. Wow... it reminded me of college times. It was a lot of fun. So I think that next time we go out here in Indy, we girls can have fun on our own. And that makes me thinking that when will have our girls' nite sleepover again. The last one was so much fun. So my friends if you are reading this lets plan on one soon. Girlfriends are indispensable.


Chicago reminds me of another funny incident. We all had gone to the signature lounge in the Hancock tower for a drink. I had heard that the view from up (95th floor) there is great, and why pay to watch chicago from SEAR's Tower when you can have a drink at the signature lounge. Well even though I had been up the SEAR's tower, another view of Chicago from up-above never hurts. Since it was a saturday, there was along line for people going to the lounge. When we reached, all seating near the windows (a window table is a great place to sip a cocktail) were gone, and we didn't want to wait for any other opening. So we sat at a table in the middle of the room. People were getting up, going to the glass walls, peeping down on Chicago, and coming back to their chairs.

There was this couple seated on a table next to the wall. The guy had ordered a Champagne and I think that he was there to propose to his girl. The girl was dressed for the occasion. It was amazing how people create their own space while being in a crowd. The guy was holding the girl's hand etc etc.... However there was an Asian family, not Indians, who were standing (literally towering) over their table to get their photograph being clicked against the backdrop of Chicago skyline.

They seemed interesting a little unusual so we were looking at them. We were feeling a little bad that they were disturbing the couple on their big day. And they were posing for the photographs, posing again and posing again and I think that they never stopped clicking photographs. They were blissfully unaware that they were barging into someone's private space and ruining their evening. Now come'on, from how many angles can you capture the view of the SEAR's tower. At one point, you will saturate. But I don't think that they had that feeling. It was as though they were hell-bent on getting their money's worth.The guy gave the ring to his girl with two people standing over his head. The girl accepted the ring with two people (plus a baby) looming over her head. I am not exaggerating, the asian family stood in the same spot, and clicked photos against the same backdrop for around 25 minutes. Made we wonder how much does the 'third world people' still hold on to our "Survival of the fittest" motto and always on the move to getting maximum output.

Different ideas that I wanted to blog about

It's been so so long since I wrote something on my blog. Its not that I didn't have ideas but I didn't think they had enough substance....

Like I wanted to write about Jodha Akbar- there were such mixed feelings. Such a long movie, but I couldn't blame the actors. I think that the director was to blame for he thought that every thing he directed was so precious that it could not be edited. I think that some scenes could have been taken off. Also there wasn't any coherent theme in the movie. It was a good buffet... but don't we always get tired of buffets. It wasn't clear if he wanted to demonstrate Akbar's greatness, Jodha's strength of character, the love between Jodha-Akbar, the political instability at those times, etc etc.... Anyways Jodha Akbar is long gone and most people I have known have liked it...


Then my friend had said that she was waiting for me to write about JUNO. After I watched the movie, I didn't have enough motivation to write. I had heard so much about the movie that frankly I didn't feel ga ga over the movie. Its a good DVD watch. Also it is directed by the same guy who directed 'Thank you for smoking'. I liked his earlier movie and Juno is good as well. The manner is which teenage pregnancy was handled was very positive. No blaming the victim, a supportive family environment, available resources etc etc.

I also wanted to write about the winter. I think that I will pull myself and write about that.

What else-- ya I also wanted to write about the anxiety that I faced when my sister was giving her boards. Wow.... there is just so much pressure. She is done with that and there is even greater anxiety about where next? The expectations on children put them through a lot of stress and I think that guardians sometimes blur the fine line between being supportive and encouraging to being over-encouraging (for lack of a better word). My sister's very good friend's cousin brother committed suicide in Pune a few days back. She has been so troubled after hearing it. She repeatedly said that how can someone have the courage of hanging oneself by the fan. After hearing this I suddenly wondered if I ever crossed the line between being supportive and over-zealous sister wanting her sister to excel.

I also wanted to write about my friend's daughter sanskriti..... Every time I see her she makes me so happy. Trust me that child is divine, there is just so much peace surrounding her (touchwood). She gives the word Tranquility a face. We all have so much fun playing with her, and not once does she makes us realize that she does not like our company. She smiles in between letting us know that she is reciprocating our feelings....

And yes, I wanted to write about a few incidents of my trip to Chicago .. so will do that on a new blog.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The original Korean song--- lifted in entirity in the movie Race

I really like Atif Aslam and I really liked the song from Race which he has sung. However this weekend my friend pointed out that the entire song has been directly lifted from a korean song..... I am so proud of Bollywood.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When will the blogging bubble burst?


The idea of this article came to my mind so long back that I don’t even know if I will remember the facts clearly…. Well on our last trip to Borders I picked the GQ magazine to give me company while I slowly chipped at toffee and macadamia nut cookie (trust me, it was heavenly). I was pleasantly surprised that the GQ magazine held my interest much longer than I anticipated.

Anyways getting away from the distractions, let me come to the point. I began to read an article on blogging. I don’t remember the title too well, but it spoke about blogging in a negative light. Being a budding blogger, I immediately took to the article.

The article said that the blogging bubble would soon burst. When Justin Hall (yes the first blogger) started his internet diaries (as Wikipedia refers it as) in 1994, this movement has since seen rapid and exponential growth. Justin Hall soon started writing intimate details on his blogs, I am not sure if he is still actively blogging.

Blogging gave the common person a voice and it lead to the democratization of the internet. GQ article quoted that there are approximately 106 million bloggers currently and more than 200 million bloggers have called it quits. Even as these numbers sound formidable, the article said that the blogging bubble would soon burst.

Yes, it said that blogging gives the common man an unfair advantage as it makes it equivalent to science. “Who is interested in personal histories of bloggers, their intimate details, what they had for breakfast etc etc”. “How long can people sustain their interest in blogging”. “Its more like a hobby from which one will move on”.

As I read these statements, I find that there is truth in them. How long can personal histories engage us? However I don’t think that all blogging boasts of just personal histories. I enjoy reading what some interesting people have to offer. And if I don’t like it then I can just close the webpage.

But I surely understand the threat that blogs do eat our time that we may have given to “scientific stories” “news” or “useful things”.

Whatever the outcome,,,,, I think that Blogging is self-sustained community that has a lot to offer.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

try this link

Rare human oddities- some pictures are horrifying. View the sideshow

vellagiri.blogspot.com

I have realized that may be I have too much time, or I am utilizing too much of my time on blogging, hence my new blog name is vellagiri.blogspot.com. LOL.

I think that this reflects my state of mind better than my name. what say??

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Beliefs, religion - is it the same ... or may be not ?


I have recently started to watch the detective series 'Without a trace' on TNT. I think it used to come on CBS or whatever but I am catching the old series on TNT. Well this blog is definitely not about the show (as much as I would love to write on it), but a line on last night's show that made me think.

" We all need something to believe in".

We all can have different reasons, power, justice, vengence etc etc but we need something to believe in.

Religion is often a topic that is part of my household discussion. There is just so much confusion there.

Am I religious ?- It is a question I often ask myself.

This question can only answered if I correctly operationalize the word "religion" as it appears to me.

What constitutes a religion. Why not Google the word religion.

So here is what I get.

"A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader" - Answer.com.

"A religion is a set of beliefs and practices generally organized around supernatural and moral claims, and often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction"- wikipedia.

Now if this is what religion constitutes then I clearly do not follow my religion. Ya I know what sort of food is associated with the different festivities that are associated with my religion. I even bow my head in front of gods and goddesess. But I definiely feel that I donot do enough to be called a believer in a certain religion. I follow no ritual, religious law, or practices.

I really struggle with this, but in all my struggles I am definitely sure that I believe in some power.This power may be supernatural, or may be within me. I am somehow (and I don't know why) not comfortable calling myself an agnostic and or an athiest. I donot have that passion to get into a mode of conflict rather that find a path that is comforting to me.

So can I say that my belief is a function of my expectations and the perceived capabilities of that power.

As I think more about the line spoken in the television serial, I think that the purpose that drives my belief is "justice". I somehow believe in the principle of supreme justice, and that what goes around shall come around. I am not sure that this principle works, but I think that it certainly does for me. It helps me stay away from a lot of anxiety.

Hence forth I believe that even though many people follow the same religion, everybody has a separate, individual, and a personal relationship with that religion and at the same time they have a shared understanding of that religion with others (and this level of shared understanding is controlled by the person)


I have also come across many people who do not question as to why are they religious, why they believe in a particular ritual, etc etc.

Some can say conditioning " I have seen my mother/ father do it so I do it". For some it is FEAR. " If I dont do it then something may happen". For many it is positive reinforcement " A good thing happened when I did that so I will perform that ritual again".

There may be many reasons, and it is not my job or purpose to critique them. However, the existence of religion in our lives intrigues me. And to sum it up.... do we all need something to believe in???

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Patriots and charity

Ya the Patriots are doing charity work after losing the super bowl. I heard a piece of news that the Patriots had printed millions worth of sweatshirts and other sports accessories that reflected that the Patriots were superbowl champions, 19-0 team, the perfect team etc etc.

Now that they could not do anything with that post superbowl, they have shipped the entire stuff to Africa. Imagine the African children wearing 19-0 jerseys, Ha ha ha. ....

Monday, February 4, 2008

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander--- the stars aligned for the Giants.



When the Patriots took to the podium after a shocking loss to the Giants, they echoed the truth. As Rodney Harrison said, “Nobody can take the credit away from the Giants today, they were the better team on the field and they deserve the victory. However it is the truth that the Patriots have had an unbelievable season and their 18-1 season will go down in history well remembered.”

As we can carry on to debate, whether the Giants’ conquest was a “major upset” or a “great win”, I am just too thrilled that Giants did it. I somehow hoped for it and I am so so happy that it happened. It wasn’t a fluke either, the Giants were gathering momentum all along and the finale saw it delivered.

Eli Manning was backed defensively and he delivered offensively.

I was just so thrilled to see Peyton Manning jubilant.

The Patriots are famous for pulling through a close win coming from behind when the last few minutes are ticking away, but today was not their day. The stars aligned for the Giants…

Friday, January 25, 2008

Feminism----- A perspective on men

Feminism.............. Wohhhhhh this word ticks off "many" people and I assume that the majority of those "many" would be men. Yes, this is true, but surprisingly in recent times there are lesser younger women who associate themselves with this term.

I am writing this blog as an offshoot to a discussion in class. My professor made a comment that "my husband is a feminist, he will not do the car oil change for me, he does dishes, and he cooks too".

I understood what she meant, " breaking away from traditional gender roles" is as simple as she described her husband's trait.

To me then, feminism works wonder for both men and women.

Why is that the word feminist arouses strong emotions and reactions. And please to all those reading, dont start cursing under your breath. And some how I do realize why many dislike the word.
I know many people perceive feminism to be equivalent to men bashing.

As a lay person, Feminism to me means providing equal opportunities to men and women and treating men and women alike. But definitely the feminist movement has been associated with more radical approaches, aggressive strategies, and somehow portraying that women are better than men.

However the discussion in class made me realize what feminism means for men.

  1. It means that men should not be so pressured to have a high-paying career or for that matter to have a job.
  2. It means that men should be given space to express themselves emotionally. We don't have to expect them to be super cool, brave etc. etc all the time.
  3. They are not our provider.
  4. There are many more.....
I also learnt that stress among men takes its toll physically, and shorter life span is one of the many outcomes.

When I asked my husband if he believes in this principle of gender-equality, he said he does.

So I said " Can I assume that you are a feminist".

He said " No"

"Why I said, you believe in the principle and you practice it too"

He said " the word feminism has its roots in femininity, and it appears to favor females over men, so I will not accept that I am not a feminist. "

And he added, "if a neutral word is coined to espouse the principles discussed above, I will be a member of that club".

I reclined once I realized that the discussion would soon turn into argument.

However I think I get his point. Some terminologies get so value-laden, full of judgment and prejudice, that it is difficult to go back to its roots.







Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pleasing men!!! Not as easy as it seems

Recently it was my husband's birthday. Birthdays are fun, but they bring along some anxiety with them.

The million dollar question- What present shall I get him?

I can brainstorm this issue and still never arrive at a satisfying conclusion.

So lets begin..

If your husband is finicky- you can not buy clothes, shoes etc etc (if he doesn't wear it, I will feel bad)

If he is tech savvy- then he knows what is the best thing to buy, read all the freaking reviews and even know a better place to get a decent deal.

If you had earlier asked him to prepare a wish list (I tried that too), then all the things were so expensive (I could not spend that much money).

If your husband prefers tangible things, then all other ideas such a surprise trip, and other fancy ideas can be thrown out as well. (Last time I bought him a package of guitar lessons, I am not sure if he thought it was the best present).

If you are too finicky then you dont want to be repetitive and give something similar to what you may have given earlier.

I think that gifts are over rated and exaggerated.

Whoever has a special day can have the privilege of buying themselves what they want.

I have finally realized that this is the best strategy.

But some how I wanted to put in some effort- so I got a nice cake... and I am working on making a scrapbook. Inexpensive presents can be very meaningful and reflective.

What I learned, is that somehow we are so caught up in constantly thinking about what the other person wants, rather than taking a moment to realize we want to give.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Siding with the underdogs- Manning keeps the hopes high


What is it with me being so unsportsmanlike...... Well sports isn't all about skill , or is it!!. Ever since Colts lost to Brady, I would side for any team playing against the Patriots. But Giants held a special place, after all they are somehow linked to Manning.

I am so thrilled to see Giants win the NFC championship. It was an extremely exciting game and I am openly wishing and secretly praying that Giants score a big upset and trample the Patriots. Well may be thats going a bit toooooooo far, but a wish is a wish.

Siding with the underdogs is a not so rare phenomenon. Like if Roger Federer had lost to Tipsarvic, it would have been exciting.

Education- its meaning for students

Ya thats my style

My brother's defense on beautiful Indian girls (His writing)

Let me tell you a story related to India. No it is not related to Information Technology nor a tale on the land of fakirs or Taj Mahal or Gandhi for that matter. It is about beautiful girls from India, and my attempt to convince my colleagues That they truly are Indian.

It started when I forwarded the email I received, carrying the Kingfisher calendar (featuring the beauties from India) to my friends. So my white friends reacted that "they look like any people in the world" “…Well I countered with “Why is so difficult to accept these girls as Indian.” It seemed as if my friend wanted to say that “no you guys cannot be that beautiful”.


It struck me that my friends had a narrow view about a billion people, and that I should help them better understand that these dames are truly and purely Indians, as I am or technology support girls working in the office are, likewise they are “Indian” models.

“Ah no” …well “mixed breed was what they were most ready to concede……My irritated state tried best to put down the mixed breed argument and stated that being an Indian I know these girls well (not really) and you can just simply agree to that since you don’t know much about the billion + population. And not the majority but there are beautiful (pure Indian) girls too so don’t be sure about your judgment.


One of them said Ohhhh common, We have so many Asian here who are Americans so they call themselves Asian Americans like wise they might be “middle eastern Indians or may be Oriental Indians even better Asian Indians” for that matter . I wasn’t so sure how to answer them as India is not a country of immigrants and we just have Indians and Anglo Indians and we can mostly make out who is what.

Another argument was just mind boggling. These girls are so beautiful that some white man may have slept with some one in their ancestry. And boy, don’t mind as India was under British occupation for a long long time and no one comes forward to tell the truth about these matters. It is common here too , if here somebody got pregnant but married other guy, then who would know about the fathers original father .


Tell me about it…you can only have all this drama between white skin people. But let the girl carry a baby of an African American boy and marry a white guy, I bet even a blind person would have an opinion about the father of the kid by just touching the hair. Quite similar logic applies to Indians too. I just thought my friends are truly American and they know least about any other place.

I did not realize how the conversation became an argument and took such a shape after all I just wanted my friends to see some beautiful Indian girls. I am not too sure but after the outsourcing, IT, economy etc, people don’t want to look at too many things that have “Made in India” tag.


None the less, Guys incase you know anything about the kingfisher models (Deepti Gujral, Sheetal Menon, Moni Kangna Dutta, Shruti Agrawal, Preeti Desai, Melissa Mehra and Tamara Moss) background/heritage/something..just share with me as it would make my friends really happy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

2 days .........and no work

My husband left yesterday for out of station on an office visit. This meant that I was alone in my apartment for 2 days and 1 night.....

Well what does that leave me with.

Finally some alone time..... or back to bachelorhood days (as my husband teased me) or that I will be eagerly waiting for him to return, counting every hour?

Yes, counting every hour is precisely what I did. And as I am writing it, I am truly ashamed of it.

I suddenly had this feeling that just because one spends all their time with their partner or is habituated to living with someone, it is hard to go back to being one your own..

I told my husband that it is hard to imagine how people live alone. And then he said to me that living alone is not a problem, but once you get into the habit of living with a partner, then it is hard to go back to living one.

This reminded me of a lecture on social psychology in my undergrad that for people who have not been in love, Love is not a big deal. But for someone who has experienced love, love definitely has much more meaning or significance for them.

Bottom-line... I think habits a bad. Be it cigarettes, alcohol or a partner. Don't lose yourself to it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Colts-- hmmmmmm

I am in state of shock, well the shock is wearing off slowly but still, the COLTS loss to Chargers today was very disappointing...

Could we have played better, I think so. May be I am one of those fans who is only satisfied in a win (may be not a true fan then), but we failed to deliver as a team in the crunch time.

Sports psychology man, I think it really counts. Coming from the bottom, and then clinching a victory is not a very common trait to possess. " Confidence " .... may be Manning could work on.

When we lost, I was feeling like one should stay away from attachment. But no ya... life goes on.

Colts you rocked.. Hopefully better performance next time.

However it makes me realize how good TOM BRADY is. Like Shailesh says " with Patriots you have to play all 4 quaters".

However I am enjoying my interest in Football. A sport I could barely make sense of a year ago.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Taare Zameen Par

Hats off to Aamir Khan for directing this movie. He has made a splendid movie, right from the heart. It carries a beautiful message, and has brilliant performance.

Aamir comes at the interval and is present only in the second half. He is selfless in the sense that there is scope for every actor in his movie to have their space, ample screen time and deliver their best performance.

The little one in the movie Darsheel is brilliant. For all who dont mind crying while watching movie, there is ample scope for you.

Go watch everybody... you won't regret.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Caste system in India

I have just gotten off the phone with one of my friend. She had called me to discuss an email that had been circulating to my list serve in school. The email highlighted an incident in Chicago where a Hindu person is accused of burning alive his daughter and son-in-law because she married a person of lower caste. Such emails which highlight atrocities are common to our social work list serve, however the last sentence of the email read

" Hindus carry and live with their caste wherever they go".

I took great exception to this statement as it was clearly making a judgment on all Hindus and especially since it was coming from all another fellow Indian. I cannot speak for all but I know of many people who have come a long way in denouncing the caste system and working towards a India which does not practice discrimination.

Spread information as against propaganda....


Back to orkut

The word ORKUT is synonymous with many thoughts, some good and many bad. Well after a hiatus of I dont know how many months, I am back on orkut. I have mixed feelings.... 3 months back I had told my sister to delete her orkut account and concentrate on her board exams. I know what she will think when she gets to know of it. But anyways, since the usuage of phone to call not-so-near friends has gone down (at least by me) so much that I am sure I will make positive use of orkut. I am also glad at the many measures initiated by orkut to make it private..