Devil’s Paradise

Idle mind is.. you get it!

Forced bachelorhood is a curse, at least for me. Not having the family around just did not get well with me. With constant thoughts on “How’s the family”?, there was not retreat in sight. Will be leaving shortly to join them in India and hopefully I will not be at my fussy-best and get along well there. With gray hair ‘side-lining’ my head, I have become a boredom to myself. I do not recall anything that made me useful during family’s absence and frustrated I am, I went back to my old ways of ‘retrospection’.

Potterfied: The last decade had been shared with Harry’s journey into magical world, be it the books or the cinema. With a large heart (heavy), went on to immerse myself into the final saga of the epic and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it but left the theater with an unusual sorrow. No more potter movies or books, and bidding adieu to the charming boy took some toll on the heart.

The rescue: Last night watched the Hindi movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ (No second life). Not only the movie lightened up the heart, it taught me what I am not best at, life. There were many before but, this movie had in it what we all call ‘aura’. The light will strike places in your heart (if you have one) that shall remind you where you are, why you are and who you are.

0600 EST: Nor I can complain nor I wait. At 2100 hrs today I write these lines in anticipation of tomorrow to wake up early by 0600 and watch the ‘God’ step into the Lord’s Cricket Ground. As much hype as one can, around the world the Cricket lovers will be waiting desperately to catch the wholesome experience of raining themselves into watching a competitive game of ‘Test Cricket’ between what everyone believe as the best batting line up in the world vs a ‘tall’ bowling attack.

Devil’s paradise has enough blood to suck upon and its happy now.

….all things 🙂

The face of the coward

Call it jihad or terrorism, extremism or fanatism, when it ends with the loss of innocent lives, the most appropriate meaning of such action is nothing but ‘cowardice’ and the group or person responsible is nothing but a coward.

Wednesday’s Mumbai bomb attack, make no mistake is not a lapse in intelligence or governance or democracy; it is nothing but a bunch of impotent individuals or groups who hide their faces behind and perpetrate an attack on innocent civilians who does not either care their ideologies or don’t give a ‘damn’ to what ‘principles’ these cowards adhere to.

My heart goes out for all those innocents who have lost and got their lives effected by the bomb blasts.

Our biggest opponent

Being a ‘curious’ cricket fan, nothing draws me more than the game towards controversies. My continuous engagements of arguments only yielded hostile comments and commensurate rhetoric. Nevertheless, my relentless support for Indian Cricket Team unabatedly walk the talk. Just before the World Cup build-up, several of my wonderful friends had discussed and are discussing spending considerable amount of their lifetimes (nonetheless, I always win in quantities!) analyzing and anticipating the outcome. One thing that always stood common among everyone except me (till now) is that they never refute from passing on invaluable comments on the team.

I always wondered, what it takes to be a good Cricket Team and I do not have to think for a second for an answer. Its the opposition. More nerd, this is not an uncommon feature of all our friendly debates. The media, commentary and even our lunch chat always end up in the same mundane analysis that, it make me think often, why are people so dumb? Its so easy to ‘pass on’ comments on a team sitting relaxed in a chair with little bellies popping up while the receiving end is a fit gentleman, who knew nothing but Cricket and works out 10-16 hours a day, thinking, walking, talking and eating the game.

The media never hesitates to criticize the team when they loose and never backs out to demoralize if they win, small. In the end, the headlines bring me more boredom and dissatisfaction than enjoying the win.  If India drew against England, they feel bad that we did not win and could not stop England hitting that last minute six that Munaf conceded. While it really goes behind the scene how the other 5 balls in the over prevented them from actually winning it. So, I ask my friends to think like this. “You worked so hard all your life till now and you are finally recognized to be fit to play for Indian Cricket team out of billions of people. On top of it, you are selected for the World Cup squad. Now, you are asked to bowl to an opposition who requires 10 runs to win from the last over. What are your chances that you would want to bowl a bad ball that even a tail-ender from a stupid team like England can hit a six?” Think!

So, before we even talk about competition, we have totally eliminated it. Whom does Indian Team have to play against. Unfortunate but totally true, it will have to play against its own people, who love and die for a game that is bigger than their religion. It is so sad, that thousands of people come to look up to their team and still are not satisfied with their team’s win. I feel pity for those unfortunate souls. A heart or brain that cannot rejoice a victory is worthless to the core. Mahabharata was actually called ‘Jay’ and not ‘Vijay’. As Devdutt Patnaik puts it, “Vijay mean victory over someone, where you always win because someone looses, Jay mean victory and yet no one loose”. Now, you decide, you want India to be Jay or Vijay; I should put that right, you want to believe that  you want to side with Jay or Vijay.

Not England, not South Africa, not Australia and neither Pakistan and either Sri Lanka, India’s biggest opponent is YOU!

On a given day

“Whatever that exists in this World, exists in this story and whatever that doesn’t, it either exists anywhere”. This was Vyasa’s quote on his book ‘Jaya’ widely popular as Mahabharata. Obviously he was talking about the knowledge and wisdom that the story has to offer and also about the intricacies of humans and their relationships. Seldom he would have thought that the same is applicable to India today.

If someone consolidates all the news about India on a given day, it would be so overwhelmingly astonishing to observe that there is literally nothing that you can image that you cannot find it in there. A mother killing her only child, a daughter being raped by a father, person killed for a penny, student abused by teacher, teacher shot by a student, wife killing her husband, husband burning his wife, student committing suicide, people of same language fighting amongst each other, war over property, demand for separate state, atrocities of the minority, religious fanaticism, etc., the list is so long and unending that even Gods above would spend their entire life gulping it.

It is no wonder that India remains the only place on the planet which is pluralist. The gamut of cultures, religions, races, traditions, languages, all contribute to its rich vibrancy and simultaneously participate into its myriad problems.

On a given day, everything under the sky happens in India. The corrupt politicians still live in their 80’s, more than national life expectancy eating national resources like mud worms, raping their own children and sleeping with their own mothers.

On a given day, if God has to decent on earth and clean the sinners, he would ask for two days, one for India and the other for the rest of the world.

God bless India.

HBD

Last time I think I celebrated (did I?) my birth day without my family was in 1998, the year that I came to US. 12 years after here I am; alone and aloof (wrong word!). Wife and kids are having their time in India with Kids specially having tons of fun.

Well, everyone has their resolutions over new year and I normally (usually, actually generally) don’t. So while messaging my wife this morning I promised her that I would do some things that I suppose to and be a good dad (which I am :). Conviction is a step away from realization, and when they both meet together, you need will power to stay put. So, for a change I make my resolution over my birth day that I will always try to do my best, for the best. God had been kind, very kind and bestowed me with everything I wanted and I did not, so no complaints there. If there is a way to become a good human, I guess all my strengths should be there, which I will try to. If there is something that I still wish to ask God, it would be me.

My wife always tell me that I have so much that I can give to my family and specially my kids. Yes, I do have a lot that I can give and I haven’t. So for a change it is time that I give gifts on my BD. One that stays for ever and one that lasts for ever, LOVE.

May God bless me on my BD to share only my LOVE to all others. Happy Birth Day to me 🙂

The Idol

Happy Independence Day.

Symbiosis of aesthetically pleasing blissful notes, colossal happiness of rhythm, blissful and revitalizing sensation of flawless music, electrifying yet sensual sound, an ecstasy of boundless experience, mixed in proportions of mathematical precision, Indian Idol 5 journey was a true yet inspiring magic. It is not wonder that the breath of singing talent comes from a nation who listens with heart and soul and made music their walk and talk. Kudos to Sreeramchandra to have become Indian Idol 5 to have proven once again that talent and hard work are so precious that it takes someone to excavate and refine it. When Independence Day celebrates with such melody, the nation simply sails on, millions of people were at their blissful best listening to the chorus of their proud sons and daughters.

There were participants and there was participation. People who believed that they are competing against their soul to discover their inner sanctum are no doubt have come to the finals. Most musical shows have one thing in common, melodious music with suspenseful twits, turns, comments and commodities (ads). What they achieve in the end is more than all of these combined. Personification of one’s soul, discovering inner-self, glorification of talent and expression of love.

It is our boon to have watched and cheered the contestants all along, traveling musical miles with the thirst for talent and bestowed with blissful music. More than anything, voice is a God’s gift and when it reaches millions, the soul is happy and more than anything, God is happy. One is not an Idol because of the crown, one is not an idol because of victory and one is certainly not an idol because of a prize. Idol is ‘IDentification Of Love’. A truth so deserved for winning one-self and respecting the sanctity of voice, a gift, that one got from God.

I am happy to have followed if not the complete journey, at least some of it and truly have enjoyed every single moment of it. Thanks again God for giving me the ability to hear and hear Go(o)d.

Congratulations! to all the participants.

Test…..Cricket

I am not writing because India has won the test match and leveled the series, I am writing to explain myself why we won and why we should win.

Perceptions are like mirror, you see what you see in front of it,  you see what you also want to see. I do not know if its a mistake to come to an opinion based on few incidents but, I can say for sure that given some circumstances, if a person acts out of selfishness and disguises himself to overcome defeat, then I would definitely say that opinions can be changed. I had great respect for Sangakkara and Jayawardhane as they are two of Cricket’s most prized bastmen. However, recent incidents have prompted me to change my opinion not on their batting abilities but their deceptive practices. There were a total of 5 incidents with Sangakkara appealing caught behind when very clearly either the ball has missed the bat or the bat the pad are in different zip codes and the ball has brushed the pads and was given out. These incidents happened during a spinners spell and keeper stands right behind the sumps. He is no ordinary wicket keeper nor an inexperienced campaigner. For his stature, he knows what is right and what is wrong and yet he chose the path of deception. Jayawardhane normally stands in slips again during spinner spells and either he held a catch off of the pad or taken it after a pitch, repeating this incidence again more than 6 times recently and yet appealed and got the wicket. Anyway, the discussion is not about these two individuals. Its about team India.

So Jayawardhane had an opinion  that India does not deserved to be #1 in Test ranking because they were able to beat them by 10 wickets in the first test match. He was partly right for the fact that Indian never went with their #1 team to Sri Lanka. Had that been the case, Jayawardhane would be putting socks in his mouth for all the three tests. He is wrong because his team is almost in second place but have never won a test match against India in India and Australia in Australia. So their credibility does not give them an advantage of speaking about ranks. There is a difference between #1 Team and #1 Side. While the Team means that a specific set of players needs to be present, a side is any player playing for that country. We did not took our #1 Test team to Sri Lanka and only represented with a #1 Test Side. However, a commendable performance from the team made sure that they draw the series and with thumping authority. Had Sri Lanka lost any toss, they would have never won a match, forget about winning in my opinion it would all have been innings defeat for them. India showed why they are #1 side, placing their first and second innings of the 3rd test match to perfection. Had not our run-rate is in excess of 5 in the 1st innings with Sehwag’s blistering batting literally putting his left leg on Sangakkara’s head, there would have not been any result for the match as Sri Lanka were always trying to save the match rather than winning it, they displayed their ability in the second test match by exactly doing it.

I do not deny that Sri Lanka is a good side, but they are immature and deceptive. Ishant Sarma’s wicket was a good example of Sri Lanka’s sportive incompetence and umpire’s inability to overcome pressure. Much hyped Mendis was nullified while “I don’t know why Malinga bowls” ended up expensive. To declare Mendis a spinner in itself is a big joke (sorry! but I do not have anything against him). He himself does not know what he is bowling. All he does is to vary his finger positions frequently and see what happens. Unlike orthodox spinner or an orthodox break bowler, his bowling is inconsistent to the best. You ask him to bowl two similar balls, forget about the spin, he would not be able to do it. His run up to the stumps and delivery far disqualifies him to be called a spinner. Sri Lanka always had these deceptive advantages, one with Muralitharan who got an exception from ICC to be able to bend his arm, as if there are no spinners in that country who can bowl without bending an arm.

Test Cricket and Cricket in general is a joke in Sri Lanka, they would like play on player’s disabilities and deceptive practices rather than playing on merit and skill. I don’t know whether Jayawardhane knows that his side does not even deserve playing Test Cricket or not, but definitely they should not be in 2nd or 3rd position. I am glad that India had won this match as more than themselves it was critics and unreasonable cricket fanatics (self declared Indian Team haters) who needed their win. It will satisfy their ego of going against their own team and give an opportunity to shut their mouths for a while until India loses another one.

All the teams have produced some of the best Cricketing ambassadors and yet India had the unique distinction of producing ‘the greatest’. Dravid’s legacy is much bigger than his failure in this test series and Harbhajan’s intelligent bowling is more than his failure (of course few people knew that he was not even physically fit to play for that matter any match due to flu). Suresh Raina has maturity in his batting and I am glad that we are again producing some great batsmen of his calibre. Irrespective of how consistently he scored, certain players show the ability to learn from mistakes that take them to great heights. Samaraweera is one such great example on Sri Lanka’s side. His resilience, attitude, ability is what makes him a great cricketer, I hope to see him and scale new heights in his career and contribute greatly to Sri Lanka’s cricket.

Understanding the game and thinking to have understood the game are different. Even a persona like Tendulkar says how he learn new things every time, we are mere mortals. The game has enough charm, brain, wit, fortitude and brilliance that it always scores above the pupil who play it.

Long live Test Cricket and Test…………Cricket.

Smart(er) Phone

It looks like we’ve been behaving more like those idiots who inadvertently established self-imposed brand loyalty shelling money without self-realization. Stranger than fiction this truth changed the land scape of human relations. People take their brands to their hearts and arguments, debates and comparisons have dominated simple, loving, caring and thriving relationships. I personally do not have a favorite phone, because technology evolves and so does we. My calculations are obviously simple, do we get what we want for what we pay? However simple this may sound, the current smart phone market has changed the way we think about phones. Very unfortunately, Apple the company well known for their quality designs have completely changed the way people perceive their devices. I hate Apple more for making a smart phone a smarter phone. The phone is something that does what we want and how we like, however, we started liking what it does and what it gives. This is sad for civilized people who make decisions based on brands. I don’t own an Apple product because I hate it, it is simply because it is an useless product for me. I would rather prefer to buy a desktop/laptop, printer, web cam, good set of speakers, a 22″ LCD, smooth and wide keyboard and a mouse which responds to the way I want rather than buying a Apple Laptop for double the cost for these combined stuff. The math doesn’t match my requirements, that’s all.

No two people think the same, but when thinking is dominated by stature and the stature is dominated by a brand, you loose yourself. Many of my peers think iPhone is a superior product without even bothering to see if there is competition and how they fair with one another and ultimately what is it that makes more sense to them. Again, there are no comparisons here.

I have a Blackberry Pearl, i picked it up as a choice in one amongst the others that I was getting FREE for signing up a 2-yr contract with AT&T. I never had plans to check my email on a phone nor browse internet over it. And the so called APPS (most people think that Apple invented APPS, dumber!) were available on my Blackberry even then. For some stupid reason AT&T goofed up my monthly charges simply because I gave my BB to my wife as I started using another touch screen phone which I borrowed from my deceased cousin (a memorabilia of sorts). It took me 15 calls and 8 hours of talk-time to fix the issue (hopefully fixed). I bought a cell phone for being able to call someone from anywhere, whether in need or not. The current day so called smart phones have defeated that purpose. People are fascinated with their GPS on their bright LCD, but still carry a stand-alone GPS, they are fascinated by their browsing capabilities on their phones, yet 99% of their browsing is done when a convenient and a faster PC is available within their reach. Or they would simply browse something that makes no sense at all. People are buying APPS for money without realizing if it makes sense or not. Smart phone are now smarter and smarter people are now smart, actually dumb.

Why would a person stand in a line for days to buy a phone? I simply does not get it. I would like to ask that person what is it that made him happy at the end, having that phone or its usage? Of course humans are extremely smart for justifying everything they do. My friends ask me, “if iPhone is really not that great, why would people buy it with such craze?”, I do not have an answer that will satisfy them, but I do have for myself. Because, they are buying a smarter phone and not a smart phone.

Now its my turn. I need a phone, just a smart phone and nothing more than that. Why? Because I could not do somethings that I would like to do over the internet when I am at my office. This is ridiculous because you are supposed to work and not browse when you are at office, isn’t it? Anyway, as I said before, we have our own explanations for everything and anything we do. I am not buying an iPhone because it costs me more, I am not buying an Droid because it costs me more, I am buying a EVO (most likely) because it costs me less.

I hate to see any company dominating the land scape of technology because its simply is not in our best interest. I love Microsoft for not its products but making our lives simple over the period for much less that we get from the competition. Google’s Android is picking up not because its better than iPhone’s iOS4 but because its open and available. Microsoft is coming up with their Windows Phone 7 OS, which promises better integration between APPS which simultaneously helping enterprises incorporate their WAP, wireless based technologies work in tandem. Most managers love to check their emails on their BB, come Windows OS, I guess they would love to check their Outlook directly without mediation.

I hope to see one day we just buy smart phones and become smarter. Long live civilization.

Where the ends meet

I have been craving to write for long time, but my thoughts never met it ends. So much to read and so little to write, somehow the equation is not setting right. There is a void in the air with kids spending their summer in India this time. We both miss them and dear, it is heavy! There is so much time now for me and my wife that we spend it thinking what to think. One by one things pile up and the weekend goes by in a zip with complete ineffectiveness, keeping our lazy spirits still at bay. Reading continues and my mind found its solace, it is the heart that turned into a monkey just jumping from nowhere to everywhere. Its confusing and yet clear, its hard yet normal. Its more of WTF attitude you know.

Reading Maximum City brings me back my ’96 days of spending some wonderful time in Mumbai. Thanks to Tassi Maama (my wife’s cousin) to have dropped two of the best books. Was little disappointed to look at my Sis (Prabha) after they came back from India, she looked tired, an expression and state she never knew before, at least I never knew. My VISA, Lakshmi’s passport; a bureaucratic tussle of sorts were finally done (not done done, but done). Now I need to go all the way to DC as if I can fly and get that stuff from the Embassy and the newly outsourced office next to Georgetown Mall. BTW, when I went this morning there, after parking in a structure, I realized that its right under the shopping mall. It was vintage in its look but was gorgeous. Sometimes its good to be in a place where you can ill afford to go by car.

Be it New York or DC, cities have always fascinated me. Again, Maximum City is just drilling my brain right now and shoveling those memories. In my usual ways, I keep reading the Apple bashing these days (wont’ lie, but I like it) and the gulf-oil leak and other potpourri. Like me their ends doesn’t meet either.

So I ask myself, should I walk on the left line or the right? In any case they don’t meet right now and I think I need to buy a chalk and draw a line across. Only, I don’t find one right now.

More later…BTW what is this fuss all about?

NEWS……..All things considered

Honestly, I did not know what the title should be! So, went with the traditional North, East, West and South. Anyway, had to cover lot of stuff for being lazy, lame, excused and guilty.

Mouse Magic

Our family spent the week of Spring Break @ Disney World bringing much required smiles on our cheeks, BACK. Awesome it is, we had great time there visiting Sea World, the 4 Disney Parks and the real icing on the cake was a brief stop-over at Daytona Beach. Obviously, kids had great time and both of them took time to snap their cute faces along with their favorite and not-so favorite characters. Dining at ‘Chef-Mickey’s’ was I guess the best that we had as my childhood fantasy of hugging Mickey Mouse came true. Princess dining was neither less, Nikhita had a dance with Prince Charming and Cinderella. In a nut-shell, the best Spring Break we had to-date. Well! the tradition is established now and we may have to follow the same next year. Looking forward to that. No matter how much I deny, spending time with Family is what makes a person like me a MAN, and more a Good Dad! Thanks to my wife for planning this one up and kids were just wonderful.

Work-O-Rama

Office is keeping me very busy off-late. Doing something really proud for the organization as well adding jewels to my resume crown. I hope it will pay-off and I shall cherish this wonderful milestone in my professional career. Really lucky to be part of the project and really awesome to be the chosen one. For the next few weeks, its all work-o-rama……

iWon

Well, my hatred towards Apple is just growing day-by-day. Not only the company sucks but it successfully made at least a million fools with their iPad. People have long forgotten that iPhone is also a phone (its a different story that it is a useless device as a phone) but have been hearing complaints that people have been suffering from social disorder. Most of them knew that they can ill afford to drop their iStuff than their relationships. My garbage can has more ROI and I feel proud about that. What more strange is that, well, we’ve all built a Frankenstein out of Apple, its market cap is very close to Walmart, ridiculous as it sounds, one day it will be worth pennies.

T20

Cricket is being played so much now, watching it makes me feel that its actually one single match being played an entire year. Next year’s IPL will have two more teams and God only knows how many matches will be played, 90, 100, million, sucks!

Big House – Small House

Yes! we almost did it and Thank God, we kept our urge under control. With house prices coming down (this is probably the world’s firth false truth), we were almost tempted to buy a bigger one and then in the last minute, something bit, very alien, but Godly and we are living happily in the same house again. A small debt is what we chose and I hope we chose the right one. But God it was some experience, granite counter tops, gourmet kitchen, dark Brazilian wood floors, master suite with 6×10 closets, lake view, green lawns, deck, patio and what not, dreams were flowing like Cumberland and at the end, we did not drown.

Turtle in the head

On my way to drop Tanmai to his school one day, a baby turtle was crossing that deserted street on a beautiful sunny spring morning few days back. I slowed down a bit and let the turtle come between my wheels and peeked into my rear-view mirror to make sure I haven’t ran it over. Cute it was but something told me that I should have stopped by the side, picked him up and leave that life by the small pond next to my kid’s school, but I did not. I dropped my kid off and when I was on my way home, I saw that creature by the shoulder with his head down, probably sad being departed from his family. I haven’t stopped then yet.

The next day, my eye balls were circling around to spot that bastard, but I was out of luck and felt bad thinking that I should have stopped yesterday and did what I wanted to. Its been a week now and I still check my luck to see that little rascal again. I do not know where it was then, but I know where it is now, in my head. Sorry turtle!

64 Squares

I may not follow the squares closely, but I am fascinated by its aura. Congratulations to Vishy on keeping his World Chess crown, AGAIN.

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