I have moved to my own domain, please follow the link to visit my new blogsite. Thanks!

Pun Of The Day

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Dear Friends,

I am proud to announce that I have bought my own domain and hosting space for the website.

I have MOVED my blogs to my website and would be writing my future posts on those blogs only.

For the sake of convenience and avoiding duplication, I won't be updating my blogspot blogs from now, so to stay tuned, please bookmark my new blog locations mentioned below.

However, for the sake of backward compatibility, I am not going to delete these blogs and they continue to exist on the internet.

Hope to see you on my new blog:

See you there!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Column: Benedict who is basically Charu Lochan!

Those of you have been regular readers or have at least read the last few posts would know that a few weeks back my wife and I had an animal encounter. A stray cat that opted for a career switch and took up the offer of becoming our pet for a day. And as much as it was a disappointment that the cat went away the next day, it was a relief too that I would not have to be responsible for any mess it created in the neighborhood. However, that was not to be, as our masquerading Puss-In-Boots had returned after exploring other options in the neighborhood for a couple of days.

It was quite a surprise when I opened the door in the morning two days later to find the cat waiting outside. I could see it was hungry and hesitant to ask for food, probably because it was feeling embarrassed for having rudely rejected our offer the day before. For me, it was a time to display my graciousness by offering food and shelter to this cat who apparently needed food more than shelter as we realized later. Rashmi was filled with joy and excitement; she was already planning to set up a litter-box in the balcony, despite the "No-Pets" policy at our apartment complex. However, as we have spent time with this grey-blue feline, we have understood the independent nature of their species a little better. And also we have seen how they like to keep their ablutions a private affair, especially if they haven't been trained by humans. Don't tell on us, but we haven't been cleaning up after our cat. If we can call it our cat.

Yes! This right here is Benedict, who is basically Charu Lochan, our adopted but not legally so cat. As you can see, he likes to sleep with his eyes open and fist drawn, giving out a Bond like aura. As if you could hear him muttering in his sleep,"...the name is Bond, James Bond!"

It is hard to imagine that a cat could have the intelligence of a 2 year old. You sometimes get to see that happening in some remote corner of this world on a YouTube video with 434,345 views and 12,234 comments. And you are not sure if the video is doctored or real. But to have such an experience first hand is quite a unique experience. I don't think I could be as excited about my own kid learning to walk and talk, that is when I have one, as I am to see a non-human display such vital signs of intelligence that we humans have so arrogantly assumed to be our species' patent. What I am referring to his this cat's ability to acknowledge basic commands like, "Stop clawing the carpet, now!" Of course that is not how I say it, in fact it just comes out like a big "Noooooooooooooo!", which automatically conveys the message. And you can see the cat retreat from whatever it is doing at that time. I know, it is not as marvelous as it sounds, but still to have someone listen to your command and obey, especially when it doesn't even have to comply to the intra-species obligation of understanding the commands. That is intelligence!!!

I have picked up a few things in last three weeks like how to tease the cat into having a fit of excitement in which all it wants to do is claw and bite. Of course playfully! And before PETA comes after me, let me make it clear, I am not causing any psychological or physical harm to the cat. By the way, I had a narrow escape the other day; I almost had my hand bitten, of course because of my own fault. The cat was excited and clawing the claw-mat I was teasing it with. And I tried to pet it, in an attempt to calm it down when it expressed its displeasure. Thanks to Caesar Milan, from whose videos I have learned how excitement can be eased into "calm-submission".

However, Benedict aka Charu Lochan is a gentleman and very chauvinistic in its approach. He is a cool cat and the only thing that makes his hair stand up straight is traveling in the car. We have tried twice to take it for a ride, without success. We have already given up on that for now, until we can build more trust with him and it has realized that a red Eagle Vision is not a monster waiting to gobble it up.

As I am writing this post, he is curled up next to me on a small red foot mat at the entrance of our kitchen. That is its favorite spot, because that is where he can see my wife and I for most part of the day. And I am begining to feel that this post is turning into a boring ramble so I am going to call it quits for now. I have lost track of what I originally had in mind as I have written this post over a span of 10 hours, with three breaks in between.

So, until next time, adios! And stay tuned to learn more about the adventures of Benedict.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rememberance: Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju - An Exemplary Life!

In profound grief I drank my cup of tea last evening. Rashmi told me that Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju had passed away. It was an instant shock. A sense of bereavement encompassed me and my wife as we sat there in silence, interrupted by her occasional muttering and intermittent sorrowful sobs.

In that moment of numbness, my mind posed a question. Who is Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju? or Who was Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju? I couldn't retrieve the memory of a face related to that name. Yet, I knew I had known this person for a long time. I had heard his name directly or in an indirect reference somewhere or the other; quite often. How was it possible that I was feeling a sense of loss for a person whom I had apparently never met in person? And while I was trying not to pose an insensitive question to her, my wife relieved me of my dilemma and guilt. All she had to say was "KPJobs".

Mr. Ganjoo's was the name that I had always read of in the emails that were exchanged over the Yahoo groups. Kashmiri Interchange, KPJobs, AIKS and what not? Slowly, my head was flooded with all the memories of mails that I had read either from or about Mr. Ganju. I could recall the initiatives and activities towards which he had contributed. And then came the realization. That that chapter had come to an end.

Those regular emails that originated from the Inbox of Mr.Ganju and went out to so many needy young and old Kashmiri Pandit community members on a regular basis, informing them about a job here or an admission there, would no longer be there. A fellow community member, whom we had learned to trust, love and respect (despite our egregious social behavior) was no longer going to be available with his valuable advice and counsel. That an unsung hero, who showed us new ways of salvaging ourselves, had departed. Oh God! What a loss? It takes a lot of good luck to have people like Nag Ji live and share their lives with us. And our luck had run out.

Let me ask this again. Who was Mr. Nagarjuna Ganju? And what my mind tells me is that he was an example of noble life. A binding force for a perpetually multi-polar community. He was the hope that our identity as a society couldn't disappear, until there were people like him. He was a constant that people like me, who have not experienced Kashmir but have observed the volatility of being Kashmiri Pandit, can hang on to.

It has been such a painful experience learning about that fateful accident that took Mr. Ganju away from his family and from all of us. A wrongful death is very hard to condole in itself and there is no compensation for the loss that we have incurred as a community. I personally feel very much in debt of Mr. Ganju for his kindness and unconditional love. My wife and I could do nothing much except sulk about our helplessness.

Alas! In death, there is nothing one can do except for offering a prayer. And we pray that "May your journey hereafter be that of bliss and harmony." Our hearts go out to Mrs. Ganju and kids, who will now have to learn to live with the void that you have left behind, dear Nag ji.

In the end, the only thing I hope for is that may Nag Ji's life inspire us to be like him and follow the path of kindness.

Rashmi and I are going to miss you badly, Nag ji!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Column: Marley and Me - Pet Catharsis

It wasn't a very bright day yesterday. Especially because my wife and I were not looking eye-to-eye for some difference of opinion on a matter of principle. No! This is not a post about what we were fighting about or how we resolved it. So take it easy.

As the day ended, I decided to burn all the negative energy in the gym and spent an hour on cardio. It felt very refreshing and I could once again admire the beauty of life. Apparently, my wife chose to take the cue from my workout session and went for a long walk herself, only to return with what I can call the best animal experience I have had until today. She had found a stray cat and decided to lead it to our home, as it appeared to be famished. It turned out that she was correct in her evaluation, the cat was able to gobble up 100 ml of milk and a large potato fry followed by some 20 gm of minced lamb and felt all happy and gay afterward.

Now, I don't call it the best experience just because I had found a fellow gobbler in another specie (for those who don't know, I can eat a substantial amount of food in one sitting), it was because the cat appeared to be not that much of a stray. The nicely groomed fur, friendly nature and good manners were quite an evidence that the cat had probably lost its way on one of its adventurous prowls. It responded quite well to commands meant to keep it in discipline, at the same time it was happy to be around us and be naughty.

The best part was my wife and I were instantly able to forget the difference of opinion we were observing for last 24 hours and had our attention completely focused on this cute little meddler.

For the first time I realized what a therapeutic effect a pet can bring about. I have never been in favor of having pets, primarily because for most part of my life I have been scared of dogs and secondarily, I don't like to be committed to taking care of something that can't survive on its own. However, yesterday I realized the message conveyed in the movie Marley & Me that a life can be enriched by having a pet around. I believe one can achieve catharsis by owning a pet that doesn't mind to play by the rules set by you. Also, it gets your mind off the stress you observe in your personal and/or professional life and subsequently enables you to focus on brighter things in life.

The cat, however, decided not to stay with us, as it was too impatient to sit back and sleep easy for the night. And since our apartment complex has a "No Pets" policy, we decided to leave the cat outside our apartment so that it was free to chose its way. The good thing is that the cat had finished all the food and water we had left outside for it; the bad thing is it was no longer there when my wife went to check on it this morning.

In a strange way that it happened, I believe the cat was a cosmic intervention in our lives, especially mine (my wife loves pets and has had them since childhood) to let us know what we need to fill our lives with constant love and companionship; a friendly pet.

Even when the two intelligent human beings with the most advanced communication skills and capable brains can't make the sense out of each other, an intellectually less capable pet can go a long way to bring some sense, in its mute and playful ways.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Column: Lacking Depth of Knowledge!

There are two things I am trying to achieve from this post, first I am trying to drop all pretense and write about myself, my life and things that matter to me, the way they matter to me. Second, I want to be able to spill my guts more often than like once in a millennium.

I was recently, heck today, told that I lack depth in my understanding of certain things. It was being implied that I only have the partial knowledge of "How?" and no clue of "Why?".

Well, I was pissed as I usually get when I am told that I lack anything, even if it is something as natural as absence of fully functional mammary glands. I mean even though I am the male of my species, and was not designed to have them, you better not tell me that. I am more likely to get offended for your pointing it out than appreciating the fact that you can distinguish between the males and females of my species.

Anyway, as pissed as I was, I also felt a deeper sense of relief for being told that. No matter, how angry I am right now and how much I hate the guts of a roadkill, I know it from inside that whatever it was that was pointed out, was true. In all senses of the word. However, the rationalization that my mind draws to compensate for the feeling of humiliation, inadequacy and incompetence is: "damn the circumstances in which I grew up." As if I was born to a farmer living off his two acres of land near the Line of Control separating Pakistan Occupied Kashmir from India owned Kashmir.

The relief that I felt for was - I feel it more burdensome to have people believe that I am greater than I am. But then, making it clear that I am not greater than I am, I feel very bad that I am not. You see! That is the paradox. I mean I want to be great. And I want people to think I am great. However, I know I am not great. Though I can imitate greatness by keeping the pretense, I get tired of keeping the pretense eventually. And then people automatically realize that I am not great. So, it is better not to pretend to be great. And then when you are not great and nobody thinks you great, you end up being ordinary. And it is very hard to be ordinary when you want to be great and you are not great.

The biggest fear in my mind is to have to accept a defeat and then never be able to draw enough strength to fight back. That is the reason I keep telling myself that it's not me, it's them. How convenient and rejuvenating such a feeling is, when you are assured of the fact that whatever wrong there is in this world, it is with the others.

I am brooding right now with the realization that I lack something but at the same time I am telling them to "Go to hell..., I will continue as it is." The only thing I lack is advertisements.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


If you are going to read it out of curiosity, let me warn you, you might end up lighter by a few grands.

I am raising funds for a community member, 31 yrs Male, who has been diagnosed with Leukemia. He is married and has just started his married life, unfortunately this critical medical condition has rendered him defenseless against the brutalities of life.

The economy is poor, the new jobs are scarce, we are all saving for the rainy day but one amongst us may not be fortunate enough to see another day if we do not squeeze in some little bucks and pass it on to him.

Read more about it at Abhishek Sinha, battling the cancer, with a smile...

Please show your generosity, by either donating directly (at the link above) or through my campaign at: Medical Relief Fund

Let us preserve our humaneness.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Con Gress

There are words that explain themselves.; you don't have to refer to a dictionary to find out the root of the word, or origin or synonyms or correct spellings etc. For instance the word FCUK. (I know it is misspelled and I am not trying to infringe the copyrights of a Fashion brand that used this scrambled form of the original word that we are so familiar with as it's fashion statement.) The F word has multiple connotations, most of them considered a profanity but many forms of this word can be used to express quite genuine feelings, like Osho explained in one of his seminars, of course he doesn't strike me as the actual mind behind the lecture, so whoever wrote it hats-off to you. And with that I will stop being vague in my references.

Unfortunately, there are words that are quite subtle in their meaning and far too complicated in the conntations they bear. One such word that has haunted the great Republic of India is the word called Congress. Once Indian National Congress, later Congress-I and now UDP. One of the everlasting ailments of our nation is this word and its derivatives.

Congress. Let's look at what the word means in general and what it has come to mean for our country.

In general Congress means a body of individuals (representatives of various sections of society) that come together for the common good and progress of all mutually dependent and/or co-habitating societies of a Nation.

In India though, Congress is not a single word, something that most of us have failed to realize even 60 years after it was formulated and inspite of all the evolution or devolution it has gone through. Congress in India actually is a concatenation of two root words,

Con: Against or opposing something, and
Gress: The flow or movement representing activity.

When we combine the two words what we get is a force that opposes the growth and development acitivities of the nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me persent to you, the Congress as the United Democratic Party of India that is going to take control of the Nation once more, while we watch like idiots, surprised at how they managed to win with such a landslide mandate.

I have my theories, but I don't want to impose them on any one, I am just going to put down some random facts, you are open to interpret them as you please:

No transparency means greater control. Be it the Nuclear Deal, Stand on Kashmir, Support to politically volatile neighbours (viz. Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Tibet), Trade Relations, Commerce practices, you name it and you got it. All of them under the table. No one really knows what is happening, until months or years later, some wacko journalist blows his trumpet for having identified the real nuance of all the cryptic regulations that government enforced without the knowledge of the commonfolk and starts explaining how it will all be in favor of the Nation. No reason. No evidence. No facts. Just plain interpretation, on the editorial pages of the national Newspapers or News channels.

Create volatility and confusion. Bombay Terrorist attack (six months later, we are still not sure what really happened or who was responsible), Stock Market Crash (strange that government didn't get as much as even visibly perturbed on such a phenomenal rise and fall of the market. Why?)

Divide - Divide - Divide (Rule will follow automatically). I don't even see a single State, City, Community, Segment or Group of people that doesn't have alternative views on things that are common to all of us. In fact, even the neighbourhood milkman thinks that he and his needs are different from another mikman, even when both belong to the same village in Bihar, or Andhra Pradesh (it doesn't matter), and feels that he and his buffalos are far superior in terms of the milk they produce and therefore deserve better returns as compared to others. So, when you create such different opinions in people, they tend to forget that it is the strategic placement of Super Markets in the neighbourhood that is driving them out of business rather than their business rivals. Now all you gotta do is, tell milkman A that his milk is better and you will support and promot his domestic dairy over his rivals, you tell the same to milkman B and simultaneously, you give the permit and financial support to a low price super market to start selling milk that is produced by one of the government own bodies, at 1/4th the price of what is available at the nearest dairy. Finally, when the milkmen and the mall owners are trying to fight to keep their business alive, you go to them separately and tell them that you can help them in their business and ensure that the other businesses (the competitor) will be put down once you get the reigns. You can rest assured that 2 out of 3 parties that you were responsible in creating a divide in, will be favoring you in the forthcoming elections. How hard is that to do? And while these three parties were busy fighting to survive the competition, you can easily ignore mending the roads, fixing the water supplies, providing municipal services and make them appear as non-issues while the greater cause of being in business occupied the minds of everyone.

Suffocate Talent, Suppress Innovators and Small Industries. The business class people who are capable of removing the dependence of common man on governement should be completely disabled. That keeps them from bringing education, life support and progression to smaller and non-privileged sections of society. If they have no problems, they will start looking at who is ruling better, rather than who offers them bread and butter for free (not free actually, it is payed for the tax payer who benignly keeps giving away a big chunk of his earnings to be splandered amongst the governments servents, and their plans to keep the poor poor.) Now if they start dwelling on such issues, they will not be able to value the importance of a free meal once every 5 years.

This is where I am ending my first part, I am not done yet, just taking a break and giving you time to breathe... will continue from where I leave...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama comes hard on outsourcing. Would rescission add to the recession?

What might have come as a great shock to the millions of BPO employees in India, may not necessarily be something bad for them and the nation in the long run. Barack Obama proposes a rescission on the tax cuts to the companies that have been outsourcing their work to India. This might lead to a further dampning of spirits and the Indian economy, adding to the recession's force. However, I would like to argue that this might not be true if we look at the bigger picture.

What it means in the immediate effect is that only those companies that are serious in outsourcing the work to India, where they can't do with their local staff, will continue sending work to India. That in turn implies that the employees working with well established BPOs will be more secure in their jobs and the trend of small time BPOs opening around the country will diminish leading to a better quality of service and better employment terms for the BPO workers that have been working 16 hours a day and 24x7, for peanuts.

There is an indirect effect of BPO culture: kids dropping out of schools and colleges to make quick buck. This is adding to growing population of the non-graduate youth, with lot of spending power but no direction and unrealistic expectations. The non-serious attitude and carelessness towards the responsibilities that come as a part of adult life is growing at a phenomenal speed and we can see a great deterioration in our school level education . Last decade of BPO has stolen from the nation a potential segment of doctors, engineers, lawyers, architects, artists and even innovators, because they have all been sucked into the abysmal hole of BPO.

The self-esteem of BPO employees is always exposed to a great deal of damange by the virtue of the nature of their jobs. A lack of self-worth and diminishing desire to excel as an individual is the psychological impact that most of the BPO employees receive after working in a stressful and non-appreciative environment for long. More so because they are young and of influencable age. This might lead to a generation of psychologically challenged individuals. And thus our nation will be fighting with another pandemic.

Finally, it is time to think of India as a producer. We need to focus on production more than services. We need the intellectual strength to innovate and create things that the world can consume. We need to fire up our economy with the manufacturing industry. We need all these people running after BPO jobs to help build a nation strong and capable. For example, we have not tallest-towers-in-the-world or high-speed-jets to talk about, we have no state-of-the-art museums, exhibition centers or convention centers, we have no space-age transportation, our online governance is primitive and we hardly emploe control-systems in our civil strucutres. The medical services are still backward and non-proactive. So on and so forth. We need Architects, Designers, Doctors, Scientists, Policy Makers, Beaurocrats, and Engineers for accomplishing this, not BPO employees who try to pacify some remotely placed american who can't switch on his TV or start his computer.

I would say, Mr. Obama might just have nudged us into the right direction by declaring a recission of the tax cuts. All we need to do is look at the brighter side.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Reactionary, Media Crazy, Senasationalist Society of India! That is what the title of this post stands for.

This is what defines us as the modern, awakened, enabled and active population of India. We only know how to react to things, be it the Pubgoing Girls' Molestation, Pink Chaddi or Pink Condom.

Courtesy: The Hurst Review (Blog)

Somebody makes a movie and we protest.
Somebody makes a cold-drink and we protest.
Somebody opens a car manufacturing unit and we protest.
Somobody gets an admission to a school and we protest.
Somebody doesn't and still we protest.
Somebody makes a painting and we protest.
Somebody wins a medal and we protest.
Somebody fails by an inch and we protest.
If one buys a cheap car, we protest for the lack of infrastructure.
If one buys an expensive imported car, we protest for sales duty.
If you are a Hindu, you protest against Muslim.
If you are Muslim, you protest against Hindu.

All this for what? For creating sensation and to be featured on a TV show.
Ten forums, twenty debates and thousand public reactions later, what are you supposed to do?
Pick another thing to protest about!
There is either no soul left in this country, or the soul is so inertia-trodden that it simply can't raise its head above the ground.
When will it be enough? I am still looking for a solution...will be right back with it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama: New President and New Precedent

Courtesy: Obama Magazine
From the childhood of an ordinary boy to the ultimate career achievement of inhabiting White House with family, has the change really arrived? In America? In the whole world?

I can't help but recall Shakespeare at this moment:

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.

Which one is true for Obama, only time can tell. But one thing is for sure that he holds a great promise for the much needed change that America, along with the rest of the world, has been seeking for some time now. Especially since the economic crisis struck the worldwide commerce.

There are a few things, however, for which I feel like congratulating the Americans. They have shown that they might be late in realizing the need of the hour, but they do know how to stand together and make change possible in spite of their varied opinions. US is not just the best example of fully functional decomracy (even though it is also a capitalist society), they also mean business when it comes to showing the world how flexible they are in their opinions when it is for common good.

A tussle between the two never-befores in US politics - a woman on one side, with long and illustrious political career and an African-American rookie (relatively speaking) who had hardly arrived at the national stage when he found himself nominated for Presidency by his party, ended up in revitalizing the party and the country as a whole, contrary to what many had predicted as the political death for Democrats in US, when the campaigns began two years ago.

An African-American President in US is an indication that Americans have come a long way from believing that the world was just the United States to accepting that there are other countries and races who have contributed equally in development of human species. Such fast pace social progress is something that one doesn't witness that often.

On the hand, looking at the practical problems at hand, it feels that Obama might have bitten more than he can chew. The kind of change he has promised might take longer than his term of four years. And the growing expectation of the modern world might force Obama to make errors in judgement and end up defeating the whole idea of change he has advocated so far. It is indeed a tight-rope walk ahead for Barack Hussein Obama and the Democrats, but his confident smile and carefully chosen cabinet might hold the key to the success.

Let's wait and watch!


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