Archive for February, 2008
Origin: Origin of India is a confusing one. The confusion is caused by Columbus when he decided to discover India in a different location. Despite significant migration in the later part of the twentieth century, the relocation was never completed, and the confusion persists. Even today, inhabitants of widely spread call centers across the country insist they are from the land where Columbus wanted to relocate India.
In a mere decade, IT revolution has pulled India out of the anonymity of technological backwater and thrust us into the lime light of cutting edge. Technological advancement has touched all aspects of our lives, social or personal. Divorce is no exception: it is no longer served in secrecy with a dollop of shame and generous sprinkling of guilt – it has gone digital. It is reported that a man New Jersey and his Indian wife, who met through online, will use video conferencing for divorce proceeding in March. Here are some of the reactions across our vedic society in the digital age.
Pakistan has blocked access to the YouTube so that Pakistanis cannot watch an unidentified clip that is considered offensive to Islam. In the process, they made technical mistakes, and YouTube suffered a global blackout. Here are some reactions from the subcontinent.
Rashid Qureshi, the spokesman for Pervez Musharraf: We have every right to protect the ignorance of Pakistani people from the propaganda that is disseminated through low grade short clips on YouTube. Propaganda is the job of our government, and we do not need any help from foreign powers like YouTube. It is not a censorship: our media is free to show occasional assassinations, daily bombing, videos made by Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, pirated movies from Hollywood. This clip on YouTube poses the greatest threat to the current stability and peace of Pakistan. We would do anything to keep the peace: burn embassies, dissolve judiciary and parliament, and impose martial law.
Posted in From Headlines, Humor, Indian Railways, Information, News and Views, tagged Budget, Chak de, Humor, Indian Economy, Indian Railways, Lallu Prasad Yadav, News, Union Minister on 26 February 2008 | 2 Comments »
Lallu Prasad Yadav picked a bollywood theme of his fifth Railway Budget. Chak de Railways, he exclaimed. In his presentation of the Union Railway Budget, he recited:
Sab kah rahe hain humne gazab kaam kiya hai,
Karoron ka munafa har ek shaam diya hai,
Phal salon yeh ab dega, paudha jo lagaya hai,
Sewa ka, samarpan ka, har farz nibhaya hai.
Posted in Cultural, Entertainment, General, Indian History, Movie Reviews, Movies, Observation, Seriously!, tagged Aishwarya Rai, Amitabh Bachchan, Ashutosh Gowariker, Entertainment, History, Hrithik Roshan, Humor, Jodha Akbar, Jodha Bai, Marriage, Movie Review, Rajasthan, Rajput, Relationships on 24 February 2008 | Leave a Comment »
If Emperor Akbar were to watch Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar, he would have said, “Wow man! What opulence, very impressive indeed.” And if Jodhaa and Akbar were to watch Jodhaa Akbar together, they would have definitely fallen in love with each other even if they did not back then. Jodhaa Bai would have told Jodhaa of the story, “Cut that fuss out lady! What else do you need?”
I always bemoaned the lack of humor in Indian entertainment. I am sorry to say I grew out of Sardarji jokes early on in my life. Well, to be honest I was never into it. What passes as humor on Indian TV or cinema only makes me laugh in disbelief: they are just ridiculous. It is irony that I found laughter in the land of our oppressor. British writers are master of dry wit. Talking about laugh, I also have to confess that among all the corrupting cultural imports from the land of decadence called America I secretly enjoy their stand-up comedy. If that makes me a closeted comedy lover who is too eager to laugh with the enemy, then so be it.
Bargain may be just a skill in most part of the world, but in India is an art form. It takes years of practice under the supervision of skillful masters, such as your experienced grandfather, your fast talking aunt, or your street smart uncle. What separates a mere skill from an art is the passion. Indians bargain with passion. While the rest of the world may be happy with simple financial advantage, we seek a deeper joy in a good bargain. Bargain in India is a battle of wits: it tests our cunning, our verbal skill, our ability to think on our feet, and our desire to win. The battled is waged everyday, at every street corner, in every store with every hawkers and shop keepers. We even bargain when we bribe. Most of the times, it has little to do with financial gain. Rather, most of the times it has to do with little financial gain. Yet, for the believers of the art it is a matter of principle.
What did you witness first: a birth or a death?People in our neighborhood had livestock: a few cows, a chicken coup, a small army of goats. There were always the string of stray dogs and cats. It was only natural that we witnessed animal birth on regular basis. All the children in the neighborhood would anxiously wait the arrival of a new calf. We would spread the news of the fresh batch of yellow furry chicks. It was also not uncommon to find dead animals: a still body of a dead bird covered in crawling red ants on winter mornings; at the far end of the mud road, a rotting body of a dog crowded by humming big fat blue flies. At times a few of us would get together and go to the burning ghat on edge of the canal to see the dead bodies of cows, and on special occasions, buffaloes – some white thing coming out the mouth, the tongue sticking out, the eyes still open wide. Those were normal part of daily life in the rural India of my childhood. I am not counting those. I am thinking of human birth or death.
Pinku, though an expert in SMS and smileys, had never seen a landline phone in her five long years of existence. On a rare visit to her grandfather’s house in a small Indian town, she was surprised when the old rotary phone rang.
“Mommy, mommy, what’s that big black thing?” She pointed to the phone.
“Oh, that is a phone,” her mother replied.
“That’s a phone?” She was not convinced. “Why is it so big?”
Posted in Letter from J, News and Views, Politics, tagged Benazir, Democracy, Election, Hillary, Iftikhar Chaudhry, McCain, Musharraf, Obama, Pakistan, Sharif, Zardari on 21 February 2008 | Leave a Comment »
Since I wrote last email, primaries in US has heated up. Democratic race is tighter than ever: Hillary Clinton, the presumptive front runner, is now behind the new comer Obama. On the Republican side, McCain has all but captured the nomination. All other major players have dropped out steadily and silently. Of course, no election season is complete without a few juicy scandals, a few skeletons dragged out of the closet. The latest round goes to McCain: his alleged affair with a lobbyist reported by NYT.
Posted in Cultural, General, Humor, News and Views, Observation, Seriously!, Stories and Experiences, tagged Astrologer, Astrology, Astronomy, Ganges, God, Humor, India, Indian Life, Ketu, Lunar Eclipse, Moon, Planets, Rahu, Religion, Rituals, Science, Scriptures, Sky, Sun, Superstitions on 20 February 2008 | 3 Comments »
Indian science of eclipses is different that rest of the world. We believe that an eclipse is caused when Rahu and Ketu, the two invisible planets, swallow either the sun or the moon depending upon the time of the year. An eclipse in Sanskrit is called grahanam.
Life on the day of the eclipse is very different than other days. Hindus bathe in the Ganges or the sea as soon as the eclipse begins. They will stand up in the water and chant Krishna Mahamantra till the eclipse lasts. (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila 13.124. purport.) This is mandatory even if News services warn you against it since the tides will be high.
For a while I have noticed that Devraj, my colleague at work, has a strange habit. He never picks up his cell at the first ring. He always waits until at least the third ring to pick it up. One day I could not help but ask him.”I know it is none of my business, but I am just curious,” I said. “Why do you wait for two rings before you pick up your cell phone?”
“Oh, it is simple,” he said. “If you pick up the phone too quickly, it is going to be bad news. So I wait.”
I grew up with middle class morality – and mentality. You know the kind that teaches you to be honest and hard working so that you can get a clerical job at a corrupt business. The rallying cry was striving for mediocrity. Not excellence, not even success. Do not be so full of yourself. Have some modesty. Yes that kind where mediocrity is always protected under the veil of modesty. No one ever told in the collective face of Indian middle class: “Don’t be modest, you are not that great.” So we kept struggling to survive. We middle class marveled at our mundane mediocrity.
Posted in Cultural, Food and Cooking, Observation, Stories and Experiences, tagged Cooking, festivals, gulab jamun, Indian sweets, jalebi, jalebi management, mithai, rasgulla on 19 February 2008 | 8 Comments »
We are country of babbling billion. Of all organs, we use our mouth the most: we are either talking or eating. We speak different tongues, and our tongues have different taste buds. Indian life revolves around food; especially, Indians are never too full for some mithai! Every state, every town, every village has its own specialty, and its own favorite halwais too.