Sunday, December 31


Sort of my contribution on this post by Kavitha.
I do too- everytime I refer to someone as my friend, I think about what exactly qualifies as this relationship that we share. I realize it is plain hard for me to make anything meaningful out of even a short 2-min telephonic conversations. I cannot even imagine how it might be if I were to meet my "friend" in person. It does not matter if it is this girl from school who was mistaken for a long time to be my twin or that guy from college I could not imagine being separated from- I simply dread meeting them in person after so many lost years! What to do you say to each other beyond the niceties of "hi, its been long or hi, how is life?!" Ah, those awkward moments!!
As Kavitha writes in her comments- I still don't understand why I am staying put. I might sound negative but its going to get worse- those ugly moments of stuttering and stammering, unsure of how you could have been inseparables in your distant past, when now, you cannot even look at each other with the same old excitement. I am not sure I recognize these people now, they have changed and so have I. It is not even the distance, even people who I see everyday- I don't know them anymore (so its something unfathomable I guess). I want it all to be the same again fully aware that it never will be (oh well, what is life without hope). But unlike many others who can persist... I feel sad when I think about those "friends" that I don't have anymore. Thats right I don't see any point in persistence. Well sometimes I do and sometimes I don't and may be that is why I am staying put. Whatever said and done,
Men may come and men may go but I go on forever (My favorite poem)!!
For all you who can persist- GO FOR IT, I am sure it will be worth it!

Tuesday, December 26

Indian movies- a feeling of disgust?!

I did not in my wildest dreams think that I would dedicate a post to Indian movies , oh well I guess watching this new movie Don was the trigger. I love both Hindi and Tamil movies (I like Hindi movies better!). When I am watching a movie (English, Indian or any other foreign movie) I hardly expect anything, so even if it is a mindless movies I can watch it (there are still quite a lot of those that seem to escape my tolerable limits!). Anyway this post is not about how awful, disgusting or even mindless Indian movies may be (I don't seem to think they are that bad). This post is more dedicated towards the role of bollywood and kollywood movies in our lives. Haven't we all as teenagers spent a considerable amount of time watching movies with our friends, talking about actors and even humming all those songs on the Super hit Muqabla show. I am sure those moments have become a part of our fond memories. So once we are "here", our tastes improve and we now like to watch classy movies which have good stories or actors or even fight scenes! But that's about it- there are no memories involved with these classy movies. In fact I can hardly associate movies I watch here with any of my friends but I can remember almost every movie I watched back home when I was in college ( I must say I was hardly a movie-watcher back then). There are events associated with each those of trips to the cinema hall and the events come to life when I hear a song from that particular movie or see a scene from that movie. If these movies have such an impact on our lives there is no reason to feel disgusted or have an attitude about watching an Indian movie. For all you know the next time you watch one- it might just be the best 3 hours, best day, best year or even the best moments of your life.

Sunday, December 24

Art and therapy

Here is the much awaited verdict- any art form is therapeutic (yeah right as though the world was awaiting my judgement on it!!) No really, art forms- music, painting, cooking (note this has been added to the new version of top ten art forms that can sure you of your "depressed mind and soul") etc. can really save some of your worst days. You get depressed too often or you end up with a heavy heart after a marathon thinking session about the "world" in general, just try and do "something" that you have wanted to do for a long time and never got to it. The challenging task (now that is the toughest believe me!!) is to push yourself to do that "something". But once you do it, its very satisfying and you feel light. I am sure all of us have days where we just sit down on that damn couch staring at that TV spewing out random people and places. You might also be wondering as to why on earth you are watching this goddamn show that no one else watches EVER. On those days if you achieve the first step of willing/wanting to get out of it the next obvious step- try making a card or a piece of jewelry or even donuts!

Monday, December 11

World news people

I knew when they say "world news" (FOX, ABC...any channel) its not really world news. The media here (at least the local media here) seems to have a skewed vision of the world limited only to the United States and may be Iraq! But today my patience was pushed to its limits. The only world in the abc world news was "John somebody has been training some of the most expensive horses from around the WORLD" and that was it. I am not exaggerating folks. Can you imagine they have all these adverts claiming that their respective world news reports are the best. Seriously if the world news can stretch only up to kentucky derby horse races, I am sorry there is something seriously wrong!! Don't y'all agree?!!!

For all of you who want to eat a cake right now...

Yesterday I did give in and made the damn cake.....I have been wanting to try this cake
for a long time now. So I did, only it took me about 3 weeks to get to it and trust me it was worth the long wait!! The cake turned out awesome. For all you bakers out there...this might seem like a mockery of all baked goods and the good hearted corner bakery store guy, but for me its "yeh! I can make a cake". Just as one thing leading to another now I am waiting to lay my hands on bigger better stuff....and make a grand entry into the "World of wondrous fresh smelling baked goodies".

Don't be scared...go on make this cake!

Wednesday, December 6

Something to be happy about

I could not sleep after 5AM this morning- the reason "my parents 2nd visa interview". Yeah second interview, their visa was rejected the first time because the officers thought I could not support my parents with my meagre earning. Anyway back to my story- I tossed and turned waiting for their call. I was trying to call them but in vain. I thought that my parents were upset and so apdiye beechangarai pakkam poyittanga (you should read with a particular intonation that will make it sound funnier, anyway "so they decided to spend some time by the beach"- for Tamil illiterates). At about 8AM my mum finally called- she sounded so excited that no one can mistake it for anything else. She said "kedaichiruchu!!" and then ofcourse she went to describe the meeting.
From what ever she said- I sort of found this strange connection between the consulate officers and external examiners who come during final lab practical exams. I remember hearing all the time- everything depends on the external "avanga veetla sandai pottutu vantha namma gali" (if they are in a bad mood, we are done for!). Same goes for the consular.....and me like an idiot made double the effort to ensure a green signal for my parents

Friday, December 1

We were not this way before

Beware: a random, possibly depressing tale

Her friend from college, Em, who is her roommate now, came back from her vacation yesterday. They spoke exactly four sentences. It seemed a little odd to her that she kept count of it. Em and she had been great friends in college, they were in the same dorm and they went through all the best times together. But now, it seemed to her that they have moved so far apart that they don't even consider sharing important decisions of their lives with one another (Well she knew she was never good at that- she was not a great conversationalist). She was more of the silent character while Em had been the outspoken one!
What happened that had changed all of this, all the nice times they had- why didn't Em realize that there was a long time well wisher out there who wants to know about her life and the decisions she makes (not in the decision making process though..). She has been through such episodes of feeling betrayed, she thought that those episodes gave her the emotional strength that she has right now. This tryst with Em brought back memories that she has pushed to one corner of her mind! She had gone through such episodes of feeling betrayed. She had felt like a train station- only here the arrivals and departures seemed unannounced. As a teenager, she thought of it as a bad way- she felt like she had the powers of driving people away but as a wise, mature woman she has learnt the art of waxing and waning with the people that brush past her life. Although her heart yearns for a close-knit circle of friends with whom she can be carefree and herself, she has learnt to live her life the way it is. She jolted from her seat, realizing her flight was landing, with a smile on her- I don't need Em to make me feel better!!

Thursday, November 30

Did you miss this show?

So today, I came home early (had to some errands run), I was at home by 4:15PM. I sat down to catch an episode of Oprah show gobbling up some vadas dipped in gorgeous chutney (my roommate had made it) and a cuppa masala chai to go with it (it felt absolutely exciting and great to have a evening snack with tea!!). Dont worry, the post is not about how good the vadas were or how aromatic the tea was.
On the Oprah show, today's theme was sort of "how to be yourself", as a lot of other Oprah shows this show also was mainly for women. Oprah's guests today were 3 celebrities- Dana Buchnan, Sheryl Crow and Ellen Burstyn. These women and a whole bunch of other celebrities talked about at what moment they became themselves or they realized that they were not being themselves and had therefore started a process of getting there.
I was not moved a lot by their stories but it definitely made me ponder- are there many women out there who feel that they are constantly giving and living up to others' expectations that they lose their identity in the process? I am not sure I can blame anyone for the way I turned out to be. I guess its not just women who might feel that way- specially now when we race against one another, race against time and ourselves to achieve the best possible life, well monetarily that is...and in the course of all these tight races we forget who we are, and why we are here in the first.
Any incident that can bring these races to a stand still- boom...we begin to realize that we have missed out on being ourselves for a long time until something happened to awaken us from our dreams. This is precisely what those celebrity women said but is it so hard to figure it out ourselves?!! Anyway after all this rants, do you still feel you missed this Oprah show?!

Tuesday, November 28

So whats cooking?

I never thought I would say it but folks, I think really love to cook. My favourite past time these days- graze through the world wide web for any mouth-watering, curious, "hmm, may be I could try that" or "oh, I need to make that one day' recipes. Its amazing how the blogging world is buzzling with foodies. I remember my grandma telling me many times that cooking is fun and that I should learn the art of cooking (samayal kalai). Well, I never did (I did help my mom quite a bit around the kitchen though). Also when I came here to the US, I was really nervous the first time I had to cook something (I thought I would suck at it!). As days went by I began to experiment,well not scientifically, not like putting together various ingredients in a bizzare my-own-kind of way but more like find new recipes and cook them in my own way!
I went out for lunch with a seminar speaker from Madison, Wisconsin- she was telling us (there were 2 other graduate students) that "if you cannot cook, you cannot do science". I won't take it that far but sure will say- if you are a scientist, you sure at some point or the other begin to like cooking.

Wednesday, November 22

Traditions- how important are they?

It is thanksgiving time and you get to hear all about traditions (Etymology: Latin, traditio meaning act of handing over) around this time of the year. I hear them say it while my mind wanders away- traditions, why are people so hung up on traditions? Are they really important? So there can be two different types of traditions: religious and social. Both types of traditions seem to be passed on by word of mouth (not much of written instructions). Although most people love to follow some of the oldest traditions- new ones are often created and sometimes long lost ones being re-established, an example being although pilgrims set apart thanksgiving day (after their first harvest) in 1620's, it was not until late 19th century when last Thursday of November was declared official day .

I realize that I do not have much of traditions to follow (religious or social)- I guess having been away from home could be one of the reasons. Not just that, our family lacks "traditions"- we are people who are sort of spontaneous. I don't remember my mother or grandmother saying "we have been doing this every year, we cannot not do it now- its our tradition", but I do know that my grandmother's had a lot of those. I am not sure if I feel left out in this whole tradition thing, but I sure do think they form a part of our life and probably remind us, every once in a while, of who we are. Having a constant, say an event (be it a place that you go to or eating a piece of cheesecake on a particular day either all by yourself or with someone you love) that occurs no matter how your life has turned out be or how much distinct you have become than you were a few years ago, definitely means something. It gives people the security and hope they need. Amidst busy lives that we all lead, traditions are reminders telling us to slow down, live and enjoy every moment of it. In the course of this blog I did want a tradition of my own, you know what may be if not now, at least a few years down the line I might have follow a tradition of my own- may be go to spa on the 15th of January every year (why this date and month...I don't know just made it up!!!)Hey its a tradition- don't ask questions, just follow it- its fun!!! Next time your mom asks to cook a complicated recipe grand mom's b'day or wear a sari on Diwali- don't fret...just do it, its a tradition that you need to cling on!!

Monday, November 13

The art of giving gifts

I remember back in the golden days- be it bdays or festive seasons, giving gifts was one thing I loved to do. Nothing expensive coz I was not earning (give me a break, I was just a student!). So one thing that always used to come in handy were the wonderful cards that hallmark carried (have you been to hallmark stores here, I think they are pathetic and boring). They were so many, I could spend hours together at a greeting card shop (infact that was the only kind of shopping I loved- trust me I did not grow up as a normal girl, may be now I am a bit!!). I would not gift the same thing to two different people, it cannot even be similar. Although I would start worrying about gifts a month before say my friend's bday, I would end up giving the gift a month later (in some cases it has been worse)..yikes! Sometimes I would make hand-crafted gifts (well whether they were good enough or not, I cannot tell). Whatever it was, they definitely imparted a bit of my persona as they were chosen with care, love and excitement.
Things have changed now, I still have all the thoughts but I somehow cannot get myself to decide about a gift. Infact I am so pathetic- this is what I say to myself "oh damn its my friend's bday, I need to get him something really nice" and then I hear myself "oh well how does it one cares if I give them gifts or not...why waste their time and mine too!!!" I know its pathetic but I wonder if its all got to do being an adult (now there are exceptions- I know people who still want to give gifts and get gifts) or is it because I am now surrounded by people who do not care for gifts, everything is so fast paced-there seems to be no time for selecting the right gift for the intended person. Forget gifts, sometimes it gets lousier- I send email to people wishing them (whatever the occasion may be)!!! I used to hate doing that......

May be you are not as bad as I am but I am sure there have been times when you have been through this too! So come on if you have not already begun...

Thursday, November 9

Curiously strange

It looked like she had forgotten almost everything about her past, even yesterday was so far behind that she could hardly remember anything of it. Does it mean that her days have been so unenthusiastic and unexciting that she could not tell one day from another or was she suffering from some sort of strange illness that erases her memories off?

She knew it was not the first reason becuase she had a wonderful childhood and teen years (well teen years were mostly spent revolting against issues that no one else cared about!) until a few years ago when she lost her sister to an accident and she knew for the millionth time that she did suffer from any strange illnesses (she had just got her medical report back from her doc, although she did not believe that this strange illness could even be diagnosed). What was it that she was suffering from? Could she blame all this on the traumatic incident....but every wise person in her family had told her "time is healer", so then its not the accident......

what is it then? Do you folks ever go through this strange illness......some people would think of it as being addled or lost?

PS Some part of this "she" here is me but oh well...I have to get inspiration from somewhere!!! And yeah feel free to write what you think about it, in whatever form- prose, poetry, such random musings...whatever folks but do leave your thoughts here

Wednesday, November 8

Election time here!

So its mid-term congressional polls here. Its really amazing to see so many people aware of whats going on around them specially they seem to be very politically aware- who they want to see as their senators, county councillors, governors, house representatives and so on! As who is ruling is becoming more and more important in every country, I wonder how it will be if we, Indians were a bit more aware rather than being lackadaisical as we are now. We can hate our corrupt poiliticians how much ever we want but if need to bring about a change we all need to get our asses to the polling booths and vote wisely. I know unlike here in the US, there are at least a 1000 parties (recognized and registered but recognized, both national and state parties) How do we choose what is right for us, who will do the right things for us?!! Well I guess as a start, we should try and be more aware of who the people are that want to be in "power". And of course we should vote, but when we do, we should not just blindly vote (I am not sure I can give an example for that). As literate, sensible middle and upper-middle class folks are becoming more powerful and popular...a revolution is not far away.Awareness and action people!!

Friday, November 3

I belong to a third world country and I am proud of it

When someone says "oh I really like to visit India but I am really scared to go to a third-world country" I feel like throwing stuff at them or something. I think it is derogatory to call a country "thrid-world"- it means we are much below the industrialized giants such as USA, UK and some of their other western counterparts. But my inquisitveness begged for more answers and so I did some digging- when was this term first used? Why? and what does it mean now? It turns out that the term itself was coined by a French demographer Alfred Sauvy (it was "tiers monde"), what it meant was an ignorant, exploited third world wants to be something. Later it became synonymous with "underdeveloped" but for people like you and me, who do not understand much of economic divides- it became synonymous with more than just economy. People here in the first world nations found it unimaginable that someone could actually live in such countries (this was back in the 50s and 60s). ** At some point though the term probably became derogatory because of its connotation- it comes to mean "oh I am superior to you, you guys are just are just so far behind you will never catch up to me" (this no one knows and I could not find it on the world wide web people!!). That is what is annoying, its ok if you are ignorant and use it, but people from a "developing country" calling it a "third world" is simply hurting because they are fully aware of its derogatory aspect!!

Come on people, we are trying to be something- to do that we need to be cohesive, smart and help the folks out who want to do something. So next time you think about "tiers monde" imagine stuff being thrown at you!

** it is just my point of view!

Monday, October 30

Intelligent design: aren't we the smartest species!!

Sometime back I attended this talk by Dr.Maxine Singer
I went to the talk thinking it was going to be about biochemistry, cell biology....etc etc (Mind you I did read the title, but it never occured to me for even a second that it was a talk about intelligent design mainly for undergraduates!) So, entering a room full of undergraduates who seemed totally clueless was sort of amusing, I mean you could tell that they have been forced to attend (I am sure those who attended got a few extra points!). Lecture was not that great, at least I did not find it to be one. But her talk did make me think about "ID", Dover case so on and so forth. I was astounded that a mighty good number of people want to include ID in science classes. What is scientific about creationism? I mean these are literate people arguing for ID to be taught in a science class. Now how much sense can you put such people?
What more, if you visit this organization that supported the defendants in Dover case, it is even more mysterious. What interests this society might have in order to support "intelligent design"? I cannot answer any of these questions nor can I put my thoughts down coherently about this issue.

Oh btw, I did try to read the 139-page judgement report (dover case): I guess I must have been really naive to do is a legal document, for heaven's sake!

Friday, October 27

Embarrassment- a random trivia or not!

There was interesting article in American Scientist

This piece talks about what is embarrasment and what role does it play in society. First of all, I did not even realize that there are people who actually work on something like embarrasment- I mean, come on it is sometimes so hard to share with your closest ones those very embarrasing moments, let alone think about it from a scientific stand point! Second of all, as I was reading it, it occured to me that I dont remember any embarrasing moments that I might have had (I am sure I have). Well, my friends might remember though...anything against me right people!!! Another thing that caught my attention was the fact that animals also seem to share this emotion, they get embarrassed too!! "Evolution of psychology is as conserved as biology is between species" (I read this somewhere, cant remember where..). This to me is a profound statement because a) it tells us there is something beyond our smart brains and the way we emote, that makes us distinct from other million (random number obviously) different species and b) it should humble us even more- animals are smart (we already knew this), if not smarter and they have emotions too- anger, jealousy and now embarrassment.
Anyway now I am off to try and remember at least a couple of embarrassing moments and I leave you guys smirk at your own or even share it with someone and have a good laugh
Bonne nuit!!

Saturday, October 21

Deepavali: a piece of my writing- Beware its sort of sad!

Its damn Diwali time again, she mused to herself. She could have said it aloud and the walls would have roared back in amusement as they stood still watching her go through this plight. She was going through a plethora of ambivalent emotions- should she be happy that its festive time again or should she moan and fret about the mishappenings of the past which, she cannot do anything about. There was no one who could help her (even if there was someone and they indeed wanted to help, at least that is what she told me!), after all she was living alone in a strange city. Her parents were in Agra and so were her most of her friends. She remembered that it was her choice to take up the job in this strange city and that it was not even to her liking. She wanted to continue with it just because it gave her the time she needed to think, rethink and recount many times how her life drastically changed in the summer of 2000. It gave her what she needed most- some space. As she drew closer to her friend's place for a Diwali dinner party, she resented herself for having agreed to the invitation. She needed some more time to get back to normal, she concluded and decided to turn back. She would have unless her eyes caught the joy of two small children trying to light a wet fire cracker. They were so amused that nothing could stop them enjoying the moment they were in. Suddenly they seemed invincible, larger than life figures to her- she wanted to break free and let go off the past. Neither did she turn back nor did she go over to her friend's place, but she did shove all her thoughts for another time...

We never know when or why changes happen- but they happen, for better or for worse. We, as a mere life form on this earth have to just keep on going as best as we could!

PS I know this piece of writing is strange- no beginning or an end but that is how I write!!

Wednesday, October 18

Fusion music- are you ready?

This past Saturday, my roommates and I went for Pt.Hariprasad Chaurasia's Celestial Symphony at Lisner Auditorium in DC. But for the fact that we paid $25+5.75 (Convenience charges if you buy tickets from ticketmaster), the concert was good. It was really interesting to overhear conservations about how the concert was. There were quite a few people who thought that tabla did not go well with the fusion. Surprising they would say that because the "tabla maestro" Zakhir Hussain was one of the first few musicians to do symphonies. I personally thought the symphony was very good- the compositions were well made, set to a fast beautiful rhythm. The only problem was the sound for the tabla was a little too much in the first half. A very different and interesting addition was a Kathak performance- it was good!

So I was googling about such symhponies and it was rather surprising to know that Pandit Ravi Shankar was almost the first musician to create such symphonies with jazz musicians (the first person I think was Panditji's guru), this was back in the 50's.

Whatever said, I realized any sort of music pleased my senses and I felt awkward coz I seemed the only person who kept tapping her feet, nodding her head and following the taal very energetically.

Saturday, October 14

Science was ...or!!

Sorry about this strange title, that is exactly how I feel especially now that I am far into my PhD. There was reason for me being where I am right now (doing a PhD)- I just love to understand what happens inside of us or any organism for that matter, anything to do with biology triggers an unknown emotion. Interestingly learning so, has and will continue to humble most people. Science was not professionalized until late 19th century (around the time when Darwin proposed his theories of evolution). Not suprisingly, when the one of the first research journals was established, it was ridiculed- researchers thought it was an absurd concept of having to publish their work! Now 2 centuries later, most of what a scientist wants are publications and grants ofcourse, probably there are not be fully blamed eh?! In this mad game of publishing and getting more grants, looks like PIs have lost sight of what brought them to this field. The concept of philosophizing is almost non-exisistent. What is even more disconcerting is the fact that they are passing it on their students..."Just do the experiments, get your data...we will talk about everything else later" seems to be the norm. I really hope this changes, for people like me are here to have fun and lots of it.

Friday, October 6

Acadia National Park- a visual treat!

The weekend trip to Acadia national park was worthwhile. We (6 of us) reached the park on Saturday morning and right away headed for the "Precipice trail"- well the name should have told us something. We had let the most experienced people in our group make the decision of choosing where to hike and they CHOSE precipice. Although it was amazing, I still have to complain...come on they are my roommates!! So, they knew the trail was "the most strenous" and as we started out we realized it was a vertical hike on the face of this ~1000ft mountain. And for a person like me who is just not a heights person...the first time I had to put my feet on the ladder to get on with the trail was a nightmare, after that c'rse I was the pack lead (I am quite proud of that). We also took a longer trail back to get down to the park loop. But folks, there were some amazing views of the ocean, lakes and general wilderness. It began to get cold by about 4PM. The trip to Bar Harbor town to have a decent, not-so expensive meal was just wasteful (the entres were about $20 and guess what...hurray to pizza!). Oh food reminds me of this country restaurant where we stopped for lunch (it was in East Corinth in Maine)-boy they gave us so much food, all of us lost our apetite, it was a really a lot of food for cheap price! This photograph is just so that you guys can have a depth perception- it is ledge and if I let go off the railing..... ram nam satya hai ho jata mera yaaron (for those unfortuates who dont understand Hindi- it translates to "I might die"). If you dont believe me- look at the caution sign below, the last couple of lines say "People have been seriously injured or even die".

If you get a chace folks, you should definitely visit the park, every season has something new to offer!

Wednesday, September 27

Navratri- time to reminisce

It is the Dusshera time, a time filled with fond memories. I belong to the category of people who go down their memory lanes much too often, and Navratri definitely stirs in me a smile.
Back in high school at this time of the year, we used to get about 10 days of break soon after our exams. Almost every house in the neighbourhood would be adorned with figurines of gods, goddesses and other favourite clay dolls in a step-like arrangement (odd number of steps), known as the "Golu". Although we did not have golus that often at our place but we did do something unfamiliar to many, "laksharchnai"- basically you recite a prayer/shloka/praise the Lord, a total of 1,00,000 times over the course of this 10-day festival. My grandma used to lead the way (obviously she was the one who knew the mantras), my sister and me used to follow her. My mom would join us once in a while (she has to make the prasad and entertain the guests).
The routine for those days would be something like this- get up early in the morning, shower and get the pooja hall ready. Once everything is ready we would start the archana which will typically go on till lunch (we repeat the same thing in the evening). Neighbours and relatives are invited to visit your golu. So evenings would be time for socializing and showing off your skills.
Anyway the point of this post is not to narrate what happens during Dusshera.
Going through it all once again in my memory I realize that we (my sister and me) used to feel so grown up. It was a big deal as kids to sit through chanting mantras for over 4 hours a day. And we were also given responsibilites of decorating the pooja area (we did not exactly have a room!), making rangolis (my sister is just too good at it) and things like that.
Now, so far away from home, as a graduate student, I did not even realize it was navratri until I got a flyer from my music school for vijayadasami pooja (well I really cannot blame it on grad school, can I?). Back at home, there is no grandiosity either.
Can I go back in time? Relive all those moments again, feel good about them, cherish them. Because whatever said and done, all I got is my memories!!

Thursday, September 14

Vasudeva Kutumbakam

Well the topic of how we Indians address people, adding some sort of a term denoting a kinship as a way of being respectful or courteous, came up in the lab today. But somehow it has been misconstrued to be an act of disgust.." ooh respect is within the heart, it has nothing to do with the name you address someone with"... "that is so old- fashioned"!, almost to the point of ad nauseam. Here is my take on it- agreed respect has nothing to do with names, but I think it is all a beautiful concept of people of the world being a part of ONE family- VASUDEVA KUTUMBAKAM (which is actually a name given for a sanskrit shloka) So calling someone as your uncle or aunt, even if they are not related, is really a good thing (oh well, why not some respect also along with it). If we can use uncles and aunts for our blood relatives why not for people who are not related (that way we can be at peace, no wars because wee are one big family really!)

In fact, languages like Tamizh have more names than you can imagine to describe every relationship that you can possibly have unlike English which has the same boring aunts and uncles without any variations (its probably one of the few languages that has such a power to describe what you share with people)

Monday, September 11

9/11- history made before our eyes

9/11 is one of the days which will go down in the dark history of wars and deaths. The fact that someone could be so heartless to just ram a plane full of people into a building buzzing with activities, is definitely heart breaking. Terrorism has not been new to people in India, considering the countless people killed everyday in Kashmir and other states,but it was probably unheard of amidst the westerners (especially Americans). That said, 9/11 was a big blow not just to Americans but to the entire world- the extent to which "terrorists" can go is alarming and quite disconcerting. They can not only die but mercilessly kill thousands for their so-called ideologies!
9/11 revealed the best in people- they stood up for each other. Apparently the firemen were just a few blocks away working on something when the first plane hit the tower. They could not have done anything but watch the towers collapse because of the enormity of the attack- fire and thereby heat, shards of metal structures being spewed out and the suddeness of it (everyone was caught unawares). Even then there were quite a few people who got in to save the lives of others. Kudos to them.
The WTC just collapsed within an hour of the attack- the tower, that was tall enough to be the symbol of strength just relented to human qualms. Such structures give us the power and inspiration we need when we look at them in awe. When they go down they take with them that strength and leave us crippled.
It happens everyday (just not the scale of 9/11), let us be aware of it and try our best to stop it while we can.

Wednesday, August 30

Who is to be blamed for Iraq?

I am writing this post as I am reading the news on BBC and listening to NPR's Diane Reem show (9-10PM) about Iraq. It is really disheartening that yet another mass of people were killed today, a total of about 45,000 Iraqis have been . I can't believe that the politicians here in the US still dont want to take any blame for this mess. They even claim that the country is progressing in the right direction. What right direction with at least 10 people dying every day, with people being forced to flee from their houses, with innocent children left with no history about their country other than an ugly movement of so-called democracy!!!! The Shias and the Sunnis (there might have been differences) were living in peace harmony for years now, then how did all this happen? What kept these strifes under control? Saddam's regime may have been bad but is it any good now? I feel deeply for the Iraqis and wish I could do anything about it!!
Hope they keep their spirits high and pull it all back together. I also wish that the killing in the name of religion(s) would come to an end . Will my wishes come true?

PS: Here is an article that sort of summarizes the history of conflict but beware its about "bringing the troops back home"-The ongoing civil conflict in Iraq can only be resolved when the U.S.-led occupation is given a definitive end date.

Saturday, August 26

Can a ticking clock be annoying?

Folks, trust me a ticking clock can be annoying specially on a lazy (and a depressing) Saturday afternoon, when you are the only one in your apartment. As you settle down to go down your memory lane once more for the millionth time on this lazy day, at some point you realize that you have company in the room. Thats when you being to pay attention to the ticking and if you were as crazy as I am, you would probably think-my gawd! doesn't it ever get tired? why can't it just stop ticking? or you would count the number of ticks you hear!!! I know I sound really crazy but that is what not having to do anything does to people, people. Not that I did not do anything, I did go to lab for about 2hrs (this after the fact that I am perfectly aware its a Saturday today).

Friday, August 18

Are we the independent nation?

Well, it was the 60th Indian Independence day on August 15th. At the stroke of midnight on August 15th, 1947 India was an independent country. But our minds and thoughts are yet to be free. It used be the British till 60years ago, now it is the politicians who think they can do anything to get to power and THEY DO!!! I dont know about other states but at least in Tamil Nadu, that is the case. If we had slightest of free thinking, high spirited minds, DMK would not have won these elections (mind you, I dont support AIADMK also!!).
The caste based decisions have reached the level that it now affects each and every students life in TN. All decisions are based not on merit but on caste. The sad thing is people let it happen, they dont seem to care about other children as long as theirs have the best of the best (does not matter if they have to change their caste for that). All I am saying is let the college seats be given to students who have merits (BC or not!!). If you read this column and the comments in rediff, you will be surprised by the fact that there are youngsters who seem to be FOR reservation based on caste. Who does it help- no one knows or wants to know.

I think its time the governing bodies for our nation changes the reservation policy and brings out a fair one based on the economy rather than caste.

In the end the rich gets richer and poor gets poorer.

PS I can go on and on about this topic but I might go overboard if I did!

Saturday, August 12

Liberating dulcet melodies

As a part of 1-week Bhagavad Gita Gyana Yagyam at SSVT , there was a performance by Unnikrishnan. The first one and half hours of the concert was not to my taste - (I like to hear words) it was infested with alapanas and swaras. For most of that first half I enjoyed the wonderful violin (Vittal Ramamurthy) and mridangam (Poovalur Srinivasan)renditions. It definitely got better and better. It was all magical towards the end. All of it came together- the songs, Unnikrishnan's voice and the accompaniments.
But there is something that has been bothering me for a while now. It seems to never matter if it is a good or a bad concert, for an ardent listener can get distracted- worldly conversations (I assure you I have'nt eavesdropped), saying gentle hellos to aquaintances, uncontrollable little brats (some with noisy anklets! I must agree though- they try to be as quiet as possible but you sure cannot miss the bold expressions and that is what is the cause for distraction! But what bothers me most is this, these aret the same people whose attitude take a 180 degree turn when they go to an opera or a symphony. Even the children are taught to put up their best behaviour. Where does this sense of sobriety vanish when they come for a carnatic concert? Why this "taken for granted" attitude? Do other people also take notice of such an attitude or is it just me?