//@Cyber Menace@\\

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Long Time No See ?

Yeah, thats what been with me and my blog. I almost forgot that I even had this thing up for quite some time. Being busy is not a justification but being lazy is definitely justified ! The past few months have kept me quite busy but I took out time to pursue my other interests namely reading.
Here is a complete list of what I have perused till now:

01. Q&A by Vikas Swaroop
Rating (4/5)

02. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hoessini
Rating (5/5)

03. A Fine Balance by Rohigton Mistry
Rating (5/5)

04. The Best of Roald Dahl
Rating (4/5)

05. Anything for You, Ma'am : An IITian's Love Story by Tushar Raheja
Rating (3/5) (childish love story)

06. The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese
Rating (4/5)

07. Tripwire by Lee Child
Rating (3/5) (Thriller)

08. Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian
Rating (-5/5) (Started but could not go beyond 100 pages)

09. Selected works by Kahil Gibran
Rating (5/5)

10. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Current Rating (4/5) (In progress)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Letter To Your Pets

As always I am busy so here is a cute one to keep my blog rolling !

Dogs and Cats,
The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate of food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack.

Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets

1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.
(That's why they call it "fur"niture.)
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who
is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: Dogs and cats are better than kids because they:
1. Eat less...
2. Don't ask for money all the time...
3 Are easier to train...
4. Usually come when called...
5. Never drive your car...
6. Don't hang out with drug-using! friends...
7. Don't smoke or drink...
8. Don't worry about having to buy the latest fashions...
9. Don't wear your clothes...
10. Don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and,
11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Finally some Respite

Rains lash Delhi.
Earlier it was the heat, now its the squishy mess on roads that are bothering me.
Can I ever be happy ?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mistaken Modernity ?

Written by: Ms. Barkha Dutt Mangaing Editor, NDTV 24*7

One of the most awkward - and yet, strangely compelling - things about journalism is that sometimes your work makes you hold a mirror to your own life. This past week, a quiet, but determined 16-year-old became an unexpected reflection of my education. I have always believed that my school and college years were the first architects of my personality; like every middle-class Indian, I take pride in where I studied and what I was taught. And yet, the gentle idealism of this young girl made me pause to wonder: Had my public-school education been shamefully elitist? At first, the story seemed straightforward enough. Garima Godara, a CBSE topper, with an astonishing 97.6 per cent had taken the entrance exam for the Delhi Public School (Dwarka), the school closest to her village.

The daughter of a police constable who earned less than Rs 6,000 a month, the school's fees would have been a problem. But the family was undeterred; perhaps there would be a scholarship or a loan; surely the school would be keen to admit the girl who had topped the national capital's merit list. Garima's proud father had spent months battling the entrenched patriarchy of his peers, fending off nosy neighbours who gossiped about why she didn't spend enough time in the kitchen. Now, he was even more determined to give his daughter the best education her marks could buy. This could have been the story of New India and its emerging, self-made middle class; a proud milestone for a country that dares to dream. Instead, here's what happened: DPS turned her down. Her results were good, it conceded. But marks aren't everything, said the school principal to NDTV, and besides, her English was poor, and just didn't cut the grade. Later, listening to Garima in the studio, it was hard not to feel both angry and moved. Angry because of the obvious injustice: not only was she as bright as her results indicated; there was nothing about her spoken English that suggested that she would have been unable to keep pace with the syllabus.

Yes, she spoke with a regional accent that some would consider insufficiently sophisticated. But there was no doubt that she could not only follow a complex argument, she could also make herself understood to any English speaker. But it was her calm that was almost heart breaking; a quiet courage that belied her teen years. It was almost as if we were more outraged and indignant than she was. During the course of the programme, a principal from a well-known school in Dehradun called in, offering her admission and a scholarship; others promised to get DPS to change its mind. But betraying only the slightest sense of hurt, she said firmly that her aim now was to show DPS that she would do better than any of its students. She had already got herself admitted to another school, and DPS could quite simply, take a walk. As she spoke, viewers clearly shared my anger. The online poll showed that 90 per cent of viewers believed that the English language exerted a disproportionate influence over the education system. Yet, were we all being hypocritical and dishonest? This time it was DPS under the microscope, but was any of us any different? Let's say she continued to do outstandingly well in school. The next stage would be college.

I pictured her trying to take the entrance interview at my old college, Delhi's St Stephen's. Would she get in? And even if she made the cut, how would other students react to her presence? Would they admire her for her academic brilliance? Or would they snigger at her accent, titter each time she made a grammatical error and then, melt away, leaving her alone to find her own friends? Garima's story is a metaphor for India's twisted tryst with the future. I learnt after the programme was over - and it is significant that neither she nor her parents brought this up themselves - that she is an OBC. For some months now, as the debate over reservation has raged, opponents of the quotas have made the same point again and again: we should be a society where merit matters. It's a compelling argument, and one that I have personally supported. But what do the anti-quota street fighters have to say now? Here's a girl who competed in the mainstream, her own Hindi medium DAV pitched against the trendier, richer, big names. But her merit was swallowed up by prejudice.

Is it any wonder then that supporters of reservation believe that the system is stacked against them, and that merit is a con-word used by upper-caste tricksters? Her story is also a scathing comment on the class divide in India. It is fashionable for marketers and economists to talk about the burgeoning middle class. Each day a new figure is conjured up to demonstrate the size of the Indian market, and the clout of the new middle class; is it 250 million this week or has it already reached 300 million? We embrace these statistics, because we like the idea of India as this century's favorite financial destination. We feel flattered when Time magazine puts our country on its cover, and we talk glibly, especially to foreigners, of social mobility and how the gap between the rich and poor is closing; we argue that India's tomorrow is being built by its industrious and enterprising middle class, and we feel like the future is unfolding, right here and right now. But here's what we never admit. We're just the worst sorts of snobs.

The social mobility of the last decade has meant that the new middle class does not consist of people like us. Instead, it is made up of people like Garima, who we still find excuses to exclude; we sneer at their lack of Westernized sophistication; make fun of their accents, and we try and ensure that our children have nothing to do with theirs. Finally, Garima's story exposes India's paradoxical relationship with the English-language. Nobody in the world speaks English like us. We have our own idioms, our own words and our own accents. We pretend to love our own English and brag about how it is India's great selling point; the reason we dominate the global outsourcing business. But of course deep down we know that our English is not the English that the West really wants. And so, each time we talk to Britons or Americans, we subtly alter our diction and inflection. When we set up our call centers, we drop the subtlety entirely and start accent classes to teach our young people to abandon the speech patterns of our own society and to migrate to a virtual, linguistic middle America, where they become impersonators of people they will never meet and never know. But within India, we still treat our own English as the great social decider. We laugh at regional accents, smirk at those who make grammatical errors and feel most at home with those who talk like us. Everyone else belongs on the other side of the English divide. And as it turns out, the other side of the class and caste divide as well.

Maybe we cling so tightly to this tiny community because secretly we are just insecure. Outside of our little bubble, India is changing. Every major institution in recent times - Parliament, the bureaucracy, the military, our colleges and schools - is being forced to re-write the rules. A new breed of Indians who no longer look towards the West for self-affirmation, is making its presence felt. We like to call this a decline in quality. But actually, it's the rest of India waiting to get in. How long are we going to keep the gates shut?

Monday, June 19, 2006

KickAss Friendship Poem !

Are you tired of those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality? Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship. You will see no cutesy little smiley faces on this poem, just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.

1. When you are sad - I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

2. When you are blue - I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile - I will know you finally got laid.

4. When you are scared - I will rag on you about it every chance I get.

5. When you are worried - I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.

6. When you are confused - I will use little words.

7. When you are sick - Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall - I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.

9. This is my oath..... I pledge it to the end. "Why?" you may ask; "because you are my friend".

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Back To Incredible !ndia

I am back in my homeland.

Amsterdam was chic.

San Diego was cool !

Pics will be uploaded soon

Also finished "The Impressionist" by Hari Kunzru. He may be touted as the next Salman Rushdie but honestly this novel can be safely bypassed as one of the mediocre "a-la-carte" servings of the literary world.

I am still busy .. more than ever :(

And thats the story of my poor life !

PS: The above pic is that of a beautiful house in Amsterdam. Made me homesick ;)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

My conspicuous absense on my blog will be further extended as I am flying to Los Angeles followed by San Diego. The last few months have been pretty hectic and hopefully my workload will become lighter after this stint where I should finally resolve all pending issues.

Its eerie but I have realized that everytime I become active on my blog my workload increases exponentially leading me to cut myself off the blogger world. Or is it the other was around? i.e. when I get busy I stop blogging?

Food for thought to mull on in the plane :)