Thursday, January 31, 2008

Afghanistan

It is very rare that one learns a lot about a never-seen-country at approximately the same time in two forms of communication media: a novel and a film. I happened to read The Kite Runner and see The Road to Guantanamo just about the same time. They both spoke a lot about Afghanistan.

While the latter, like Bollywood Kabul Express, concentrated mainly post 9/11/2001, the novel on the other hand explicitly narrated the riches that Afghanistan once held. And then, slowly, agonisingly, painfully, it spurns the story about how the country became what it is today. And the author, Khaled Hosseini, hailing from Afghanistan but now staying in US, laments about the dear country that Afghanistan once was...

For some reason, its always truly fascinating to know one's rise and fall.....be it a man, or a country.

Note:

1. While the novel does touch upon the country, it isnt really all about the country by itself. The story is about sinning, of repenting, of redemption, of a lost brotherly love, of being a failure, of staying as Afghans in US, of beautiful characterization, and in essence, an excellent read.

2. The movie is a true-story about a UK settled Pakistani groom Asif (and his friends) being tortured in Guantanamo bay by Americans for being erroneously suspected as Taliban-ites. The film ends saying, post 9/11, in Guantanamo, 750 suspects were imprisoned, 500 still there, 10 charged but none have ever been found guilty of any crime. Asif finally could get married on 7/2/2005.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A common question

Of late, parents, friends, relatives and even some chat friends whom I have never met are asking me one single simple question. Well, in fact, they are making a statement.

"How come you don't have a girlfriend when you are working in a company like Infosys for so long."

What does this sentence really imply?

If you work in a company like Infosys for many years as a bachelor, you are bound to find a life partner there?

A company like Infosys fosters relationships amongst opposite gender friends to end up in a wed-lock such that its mutually beneficial for the company and its employees?

The Infosys campus is set in such a romantic mood that its practically impossible not to find the girl of your dreams, or rather, practically impossible for any gal to say no if you woo hard enough because the landscape is adding its share too to the holy union?

That girls in Infosys will say 'Yes' a shade easily compared to non Infoscion girls?

That there is a matrimony-like-intranet mechanism within Infosys which lists down the girls with their photos, caste, religion, interests, marital status and even online horoscope which makes 'traditional-yet-modern and well-cultured' Infoscion grooms easier to zero down on the nominations?

:) Just musing....

But to be fair, I have asked the same question to myself too. And I have come up with my own version of the answers...of course, Infosys has got nothing to do with it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The best of the week that was

The movie.
..Road to Guantanamo

The novel.
… The Kite Runner

The food.
…Bisibelebath

The work.
…Consistently 9 to 6

The play.
…Half-hour early morning Saturday shuttle

The Greenery.
…Tree planting behind IIMB

The violin class.
…Mohana Raaga Varnam

The Carnatic Vocal concert.
…O S Thyagarajan’s Shyama Shastri krithis

The Tyagaraja Anniversary celebrations.
…Rendition of Pancharatnas

The labour.
…Manually rejuvenating domestic chores

The chant.
…Vishnu Sahasranama

The sleep.
…Fitful and peaceful serenity

The health.
…Good enough to donate blood

The blog.
…A notification of having led a supreme life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Phrase of the day

"Take it with a pinch of salt"

Wiki definition: to accept a thing less than fully

My definition: a way of putting things across with subtle opposite implied meanings :)
[Smiley included in the definition!]

Ma

I recently saw Taare Zameen Par. It’s a very nice movie, kid has acted tremendously, Aamir Khan adds another feather to his cap, and all that. But the purpose of this post is not to write a review on the movie but to highlight a point that I thought about when I saw a song in the movie.

It was a song where the mom wakes up early morning and prepares breakfast for hubby, lays the dress to him and then when hubby leaves to office, again prepares breakfast for first son, lays the uniform for him and when first son leaves to school, the chores start all over again for the second son.

It made me think as to what would make a woman do this as against being like the hubby who just wakes up, has breakfast and leaves to office? Isnt it infinitely simple and rewarding to earn money to the family than undergo this constant 24*7 routine of ‘being the good house-wife’ which actually has no value in present-day outlook of life?

But then I realized, I mean its a big sacrifice to her career and all, yes, but doing all that for your loved ones is an even greater joy, and one that can even be considered as a project of a different dimension; of bringing up your kid in a way that makes your family and society proud; especially that scene in tennis match when they want to see the child win is like seeing the output of your program! And the scene when she cries because she left her son in boarding school is synonymous to project going bad and she as a prime member being responsible for it. But all these would be at a more a personal level than a project which is executed in office for which there is really no personal or emotional attachment and value.

But then, an important point was raised by my dear friend Harini when she said that a real career oriented woman would want to achieve the best of both to the best possible extent. Not necessarily being a high achiever in office but sufficient enough for her to be recognized as an individual outside the confines of the house and her family. Any given time the personal project will have more priority but definitely a career oriented person wouldn’t just want to stay at home.

Well, suffice it to say that I am proud of my mom...

The Sun and the Moon

The Sun and the Moon
Both are in the sky
Both are round
Both rise and both set

The Sun burns itself
And emits light
Its made Earth a warm place to live
And has made life easy to sustain

But the Moon is appreciated more
For its beauty
For its grandeur
For its splendour

Although crowds gather for sunrise and sunset
The moon is appreciated for its presence in the night
The moon is written about in poems
The moon is compared to for things of beauty

So there is the Sun
All through the day
When we are busy with our chores
And hardly notice it
Yet forgetting that we are awake
Because he is there
To offset the darkness

And then there is the Moon
All through moon rise to moon set
When we have to just look up at the Sky
And appreciate star-studded moonlit sky
Thoroughly thanking
Because he is there
Amidst the darkness

Irony, isn’t it?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Memory

I had an excellent memory for a long time. But off late, it simply has vanished. I am finding it difficult to remember names, remember faces, conversations enjoyed, jokes shared, storylines of novels read, coding done in different languages. And this lack of remembrance, lack of memory is extremely disconcerting.

I met a guy in Gayana Samaja today at a Carnatic Vocal concert. We had worked together for a couple of days in putting up a Classical concert during Oct of last year (hardly 4 months ago) in office, but today I failed to recognize his face and his name, much to my embarrassment.

I then found a profile in Orkut who happened to be my 3 yrs junior in Engineering. Apparently we used to travel in the same bus 6 years ago and she remembers me very well even though our paths have never crossed since 6 yrs and even in Engineering, I had never ever spoken to her nor made friends with her! And this is what she had to say: “How can u forget a person in this short 6 yrs?” If she knew about today’s incident, she would think I am demented!

And then later today, I was chatting with another junior of mine and she said “One day in bus u called me and when i turned and asked what, you said nothign turn back.” Christ! This was too much!

And like a drama unfolding itself, another chat window opened up and popped “u remembered abt my US plans? I had told u once…” Well, to say that I had no clue abt the person's US plans would be an understatement! Since this drama seemed to be only by me and for me, I couldn’t help laughing at me!

But when I saw recently Life in a Metro, I could easily recollect a similar storyline in The Apartment. Bless my memory (or at least the lack of it)! Speaking of movies, I saw Chak De too. Perhaps it was my high expectation based on its huge popularity or perhaps it is because of the number score of sports-coach related movies that I have seen (like Glory Road, to name one for instance), it didn’t seem all that great, but yeah, watchable.

Well, the mere fact that I am able to relate and compare means I haven’t lost it all.

At least not yet.

When the God smiles…

…all will be right, and the stars shine down…

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Of Sin

"If what the teacher says is true, Baba, then you drinking alcohol makes you a sinner."

"I see that you have confused what you are learning in school with actual education. Now, no matter what the teacher says, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing. A man who takes what is not his to take, be it a life or a loaf of bread...I spit on such a man. If there is a God out there, then I would hope he has more important things to attend to than my drinking scotch or eating pork."

- Khaled Hosseini; The Kite Runner

Of Bygone Relationships

Odd, Galahad Threepwood, was thinking, how after 30 years, he could still have that choked-up feeling when he thought of Dolly Henderson. Oh well, what had happened had probably been all for the best. Pretty rough it would have been for an nice girl like Dolly to be tied up with a chap like him, he felt, for he had never had any illusions about himself. His sisters had often spoken of him as a waster, and how right they were. His disposition was genial, he made friends easily and as far as he could recall had never let a pal down, but you couldnt claim that as a life partner he was everybody's cup of tea. And people who knew them has described Dolly and Jack as a happy and devoted couple, so what was there to get all wistful and dreary about?

- P G Wodehouse ; Galahad at Blandings

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Traits of a successful man?

Hair
Prominence to hair and hair-style.

Attire
Dressed-to-kill and dressed-for-the-occasion.

Brand
Its either branded or its not.

Knowledgeable
Fluently knowledgeable on most topics. Evokes a jaw-dropping monologue.

Speech
Clarity in speech and focus of mind. Knows exactly what he is speaking.

Humour
An amazing sense of humour. Might not rip you with laughter but surely a joy to talk with.

Confidence
Meets an eye with an eye. Exuberates power and liveliness.

Girl Friend
Wins a girl than being handed on a platter. The beautiful adjective is superfluous.

Wife
Marries the girl friend and leads a happy life with her for the rest of his life.

Foreign
Settles down with a luxurious life in US or UK.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Saying of the day

When you’re looking at the planet from space, there are no borders… Borders are what people create.

-Sunita Williams, in her telecon with Infoscions during an event.