Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On Vacation

After travelling mostly in eastern seabed and midwest - this my my first west coast trip. Would be driving around a lot , have good food and hope to get nice pictures.

Happy holiday folks!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Honorable men, all of them

He is a career politician. Not someone who has a career and decided to be in politics - that does not happen in India. His career is politics. One day you are the chief minister - next day you are gone. Someday from the sugarcane fields of Maharashtra he thought he would be the prime minister. He tried it being in the congress , being against the congress and being with the congress. Nothing worked. That's what the name of the game for him. He is an honorable man.

And then he wanted the next best thing. He thought he could be in the power of the cash rich and oh so influential BCCI. He of course had noble intentions in mind - after all if politics is such an important part of everything around us ,why cricket would be left behind? So like a politician he planned his moves well and eventually landed the top spot. He is an honorable man.

Now did I mention he was a chief minister before? He was of course used to ruling with his own men. So immediately after being "sworn in", he had to let the men he did not like go. That's the first thing he did. They may have been good selectors. They might have probably harvested young talent in a big way. But they were not his men. That's all mattered to him. He is an honorable man.

In politics he always did that. People close to him got the plum posts.So its no wonder that he felt its time to give players from his state with immensely forgettable records another chance. And the only way to do it was removing someone he did not like. He had to take those decisions. Tough times call for tough decisions. After all Mr.Pawar is an honorable man.

And so is Mr. More. Opinions change with time don't they? Sometimes not disturbing an winning combination is the right thing. Sometimes it needs to be done. Fairness is just a dictionary word , is not it? I'm sure with a heavy heart he realized that allegiance rather than performance would have to be the criteria. Poor soul - he loves his job.

So lets play some politics too.Why don't our own CPI(M) threaten to withdraw support to the central government unless justice is done? If they can get so agitated over gas price hikes and issues to do with provident fund, this is much closer to heart to the people of Bengal. We had governments collapsing for much trivial reasons in the past! And a staunch opponent like me would probably vote for them next time around if they can do that!

P.S - This wont do anything - but just a way to vent your anger -

Arnab, as always has an excellent post on the episode where he says how its just "not cricket"!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Eight and counting !

Just randomly searching for Gainesville in weather.com , I came up with eight Gainesvilles in continental United States. In case you dont believe it, here is the screenshot -

But note - we are the only one having an airport. Although I would prefer not going into that in details!

Next : Try searching for Springfield!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Scary Scenario

Let us just forget the details for a moment. We all knew that air security folks are panicky. But what happened yesterday signifies how scared these people are. Agreed the guy behaved abnormally - and air marshals could not risk lives of so themselves and so many other people not knowing what the he was actually up to. So forced to act within split seconds , they acted on the side of caution. You cant fault them for doing what they have been taught to. And I am sure they don't deserve to go through the trauma of knowing that they killed an innocent man.

But this much more than that. For the last couple of years - I have flown domestic around the country a lot of times. And I do fit the classical description of a terrorist , a brown skin , single guy in mid twenties, sometimes unshaven, mostly disheveled, flying in a busy route. But I have never been subjected to any additional screening. Yes , I repeat , my experience with TSA has been unexpectedly good. And all these while , I have seen elderly white ladies subjected extensive search. Does not that look weird? A simple sanity check would convince anyone that those people just cant be those elusive terrorists.

Racial profiling is bad. It would reflect badly on policymakers. But that's precisely what needs to be done. Its very improbable that a white man with his wife in tow would be a potential threat - he may be a crackpot , but he wont be a terrorist. But sadly- the system is unable to judge that now. And that is a dangerous situation - if they can shoot a white guy - they can shoot anyone they deem a threat. A lot of times people do behave unexpectedly in airports , even if they are not mentally sick , but just the general travel related stress does crazy things to normally sensible people. Now you know - those can turn deadly. Not a comforting thought.
Now I'm a proud owner of a new shining Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ5. Just have to figure out how to take pictures with this one.

And I still love my Kodak Easyshare CX6330.

P.S - Birthday wishes to Kathakali (5th December) , Rumi (9th December) , Shibani (10th December).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

13 years after the day that changed everything ...

... or did it ? I remember as a schoolboy I was trying to follow the events of that evening - but those were the days of 9 pm (or was it 8:45?) Doordarshan news. No breaking news , no 24/7 online updates. So as the Kar sevaks strode into the structure that they used to call a mosque , there was a total information blackout. Nobody knew whats going on - every other news bulletin giving conflicting signals. This little kid was really tense , could not concentrate on study , eager to hear something. Finally the rumor became official. Our honorable prime minister came to address the nation and he had to confess - that structure is no more.

It meant different things to different people. But till date , that remains to me the most important event in independent India's history. I'm not against any community - but that was the first real protest against the priority treatment meted out to the minority community in a so called secular country. For a while that changed the entire political landscape. Ah those were the days!

BJP swept into power in UP. Won almost everything there in a Lok Sabha election that followed. And riding that high , ABV became the the prime minister , first for 13 days , then for more. And we stayed up till late to hear his mesmerizing speeches.

All good things must come to an end. And it did. BJP of today is so ideologically removed from the BJP of then - sometimes I cant even identify with them. Politics and power does strange things to ideology.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Misplaced Enthusiasm?

A few days back I met one of the enthusiastic volunteers of this society - who are doing good work for the underprivileged kids in India. They were hosting an event and wanted to put up a poster in our department. Fair enough - I directed her to one of the all purpose student post it boards. But that was probably not enough visibility for her - so she wanted to paste it in places mostly used for academic activity and hence more prominent. I objected - politely pointing out that this is exactly not something connected with the academic activity of the department. Then she came up with this amazing statement , " but its (substitute the name of the organization)". I should appreciate her devotion to the noble cause of trying to make a difference. While I may or may not feel that is indeed the right way of achieving some result , thats beside the point. But what I find simply audacious is the attitude of since-I-think-I-am doing-something-great-for-the-humanity-you-should-think-like-that-too.

This is by no means an isolated example. Whenever a natural calamity happened - we were pestered by "volunteers" , who came in all shapes and colors. While their effort to help out the distressed folks was laudable - but to force people by saying stuff like why they are drinking a Pepsi rather than donating was not. Does donation not imply a "voluntary contribution"?

Or think about the spam mails I receive oh so often asking me to donate for some terminally ill kid. While most of them are hoax mails , as a simple sanity check would tell anyone , should not people ever think before populating the forward to field with all his contacts? Did he donate? In all probability no. So why send it to a hundred other people who would not probably do anything about that except hitting the delete (or forward) button either? Is it a kind of self gratification to show people that "I care"?

Its great if you are doing something worthwhile. If you are sincere , and want to spread the word , do it in a way that respects other people's sentiments , not by trying to create a social pressure. Don't try to make people feel they are worthless if they are not getting as involved. People have different priorities , and unless you can appreciate that , I get a feel you are more concerned about satisfying your bloated ego rather than actually caring for humanity.