Monkey Business

The recent Indo-Australian cricket series 2008 had a series of incidents. Apart from bad umpiring decisions and aggressive posturing by the Aussies there was the the Harbhajan debacle. Harbhajan Singh was accused of calling Symmonds the Aussie cricketer a monkey which was allegedly due to his racist leanings based on the Australian’s aboriginal origins. I am not sure as to what happened. As it turned out in fact the ICC judge exonerated Harbhajan from the charges since they could not be sufficiently corroborated.

But what was interesting is if calling someone a monkey indeed constitutes racism. There were all kinds of theories from our ever fertile minds. Some people said that since Hanuman the monkey God is worshiped in Hinduism, it is not a bad thing to call someone a monkey. To me that is the worst argument that can ever be used in favor of Harbhajan or Bhajji as he is sometimes called.   It is like saying that calling someone a “sheep” is not bad since Jesus the Shepherd is worshiped in Christianity.  People mock us for these ridiculous arguments and many times with good reason.

There were others who felt that Indians were always racist. Someone came up with the example of the Indian buffalo. He said that the majority of Indians drink buffalo milk (as opposed to cow milk). Yet we worship the cow and not the buffalo because the buffalo is black. Now it is true that “white” is a preferred color with a lot of Indians. People like to be fair skinned rather than dark skinned. But I have seldom seen an Indian being discriminated on the basis of his being black. On the other hand, most Hindu gods are black. Krishna literally means “the dark one”. So a preference to a certain color would not necessarily translate to racism. Americans do like blonde people. That does not necessarily translate to “hair color racism”. Or maybe it does…

On being mac’d

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever” said John Keats.

There is no better validation of this statement than an apple product nor is there a better illustration of a fusion between technology and beauty. Technology is the anti thesis for beauty bemoans Mr.Pirsig. (Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance) Apple comes close to proving his arguments exaggerated.

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Behavioral Merry go round

Wiser heads than yours truly have acknowledged that life goes around in circles. You might have seen “History repeats itself” or some such similar sentiment expounded from pulpits of varying degrees of reconditeness. What it all comes down to is that there are only certain sequences that occur in life. So if you hang around long enough, the same sequence is bound to show up again.

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Cats on the cradle

I have always loved Harry Chapin’s Cats on the Cradle song. It is a very touching song and takes me down memory lane to the happy times I had with my dad. It tells you to act on your noble sentiments – it is not sufficient to have them.

Another song echoing parallel sentiments is “Always on my mind”. This also tells (of course in a totally different context) that the intention is there though the implementation may be lacking.

It has been fairly rough for me to follow these sentiments in real life. Many times I wished I could do something but wont get to do it either because of upbringing, environment or plain old inertia. But I try to get around to doing it some time somehow. Like this blog for instance, it has been there in my mind to do it for a long time but could never sit down in a placid enough state to pen down what I feel. Not that there is someone sitting on the other side eagerly awaiting for the next drop of nectar to fall so they can lap it up. But it feels good to get it off the chest.

It is especially true with my dad. I wanted to do so many things with him, get him to come and stay with me and involve him in multiple ways with my day to day life rather than having this weekly conversation on the phone (we never lived in the same city for the past 19 years) . I did spend time with him but not to the extent that I wanted. With his passing, I had this intense sadness. But somehow, I feel much closer to him. Everytime I see his picture, I know he is around in the room or in the vicinity. And it is not spooky either – just a plain sense of closeness.

So there it is in black and white – I love you dad. Feels good just saying it.

Tourism & the !ncredible India mantra

I sometimes keep repeating to myself “!ncredible India” after the slogan that has become such a successful ad campaign to draw in tourists to our country. I have to do it sometimes with clenched fists and through gritted teeth.

Especially when I am standing in endless lines in front of a temple or a monument and see the filth in front of me.

Or look at the grafitti carved on the outside walls of our great buildings and structures. Invariably, it is etched into the stone of these monuments by some Romeo expressing his insatiable love to his Juliet. No doubt, it is nice to know that X loves Y with such passion that he had to go to great lengths to carve this out in stone. I wonder where he got the implements to do the carving. Did he plan it all out when he started from home that morning and get himself a chisel to do the carving. Whatever he did,the end result is that he has defaced a timeless monument.

Or see the ceaseless line of beggars harassing you in their quest for I dont know what. It looks like it is not just nourishment that they are after. We went to a religious place recently. We had excess food and when a beggar came in search of alms, we wanted to give him some of the food we had. But the man declined it. He said he wants money. For what? For cigarettes? For Pan Parag? Maybe for that fancy apartment? Na, I dont intend to be callous but it looks like beggars can be choosers after all.

As we approach modernism, our attitudes need to be considerably realigned before we become recognized as the potent power that we claim to be. And most of it starts by sparing a thought to others – to the people next door, to the town or to the country.

Once we do that, the dirt in our streets, the general cacophony of vehicle horns, the incessant spitting and defacing of our monuments will be things of the past.

Welcome to my blog!!

Alexander Pope said:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace

So like vice it is my intention to let my blog grow on you to the point when you graduate from distaste to tolerance and to a gentle affection.

Many times as we wade thru life, we get these sudden ideas which make us go like “hey i think i should put this thought into a book”. And for all I know, it would be a great book too! Of course, “random thoughts doth not a treatise maketh” say the wiseth and the knowingeth (oops sorry got carried away a little there) . So the utmost thing I could aspire to do with these thoughts is to publish a nice bathroom book. But before I publish the greatest bathroom book of all time, I thought I should start by penning these thoughts down (if penning is the word I want) into a blog. So here we go. Be sure to take your wireless laptop or a printout of this page to your favorite potty and enjoy 🙂