Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dogs and Indians

My late grandfather, hated the British. He hated the British more than he hated Pakistan.

Which to me seemed weird, everyone I knew hated Pakistan. Especially on a Friday when there was a game at Sharjah. Nobody hated the British. Everyone actually wanted to be British, and here was an old man who hated them more than the arch enemy itself.

But his logic was sound, or at least in his mind.

"When I was growing up" he would say "the British wouldn't allow dogs and Indians in to their private clubs".

However as the world changed, our exposure changed, and our world view changed. Pakistan and Pakistanis, looked no different from us. They had the same issues in their lives and they looked just as miserable as the rest of us. So did Americans, British, Chinese, Japanese, and pretty much everyone.

No one seemed different as a race, but definitely differed from person to person. I met Indians in the US who lived like they never left their mohalla from 1989, and Indians in India who lived in a first world country.

People are different, people are the same.

Why am I ranting all this, and what does this have to do with you?

That's because I got an email in my inbox today, which went something like this.

This is to bring to your notice that over the last few years it has been observed that Foreigners (of all origins) and Bachelors (including Indians), who have been residing on rent, have over-run the peace and tranquility of the esteemed XXXXXX Society. They have been a regular cause of nuisance and insecurity by means of vandalism, arson, violence, misdemeanor towards ladies, creating late night ruckus and disturbing the ambience of the society by performing illegal acts (Including drugs).

They are posing a serious threat to the families of flat owners residing here. It is to the extent that there have been some recent incidents whereby some flat owners and their family members have received beatings and physical harm and injury from these foreigner resident goons/ bachelors, when they requested the foreigners to refrain from performing acts of vandalism or misbehavior.

Owing to such serious threats to life and property and based on considerations above, we hereby request you "By Order of the XXXXXX Residents Co-operative Housing Society Ad Hoc Committee", invoking the legal powers and authority vested vide Letter from XXXXXX Builders Corporation (Memo Dated: 25th January 2012), to evict Foreigner/ Bachelor rental occupants from your Flat by 28th February 2012

XXXXX - Society name redacted on purpose to protect identity and confidentiality

It's wrong at so many levels, that I'll not bore you with everything. Just that a fatwa against foreigners and bachelors renting flats is pretty common all over Pune.

But not every foreigner is unwelcome here. Americans, British, Australians, and pretty much everyone who is Caucasian is ok. Foreigners are only Irani (not Iranian, Bahraini, Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti… just Irani. Another way to be Irani, is to be not white, brown or black) or African (he of black skin). What's more, this is acceptable.

Which makes me wonder, whether the gripe my grandpa's generation had, was not that they were being disqualified simply for being brown skinned or Indian, rather that Indians were being compared to dogs.

Maybe if the British had placards which went like "Lions and Indians not allowed" we'd probably still be happily under British rule J

Friday, February 24, 2012

Caught and Bowled...

Now hang on a second..

Someone please tell me, why exactly Sachin Tendulkar should retire?

If your point is that he has achieved all that he could possibly achieve, my answer to that would be that he has achieved all that you wanted him to achieve. If he has different goals, he has never said so. In fact he has never said that he has specific goals, not 20,000 ODI runs, not 25,000 test runs, nothing.

If you think he’s made enough money that his 15 future generations will live comfortably, I’m reading the Forbes list of richest sportsmen (let alone individuals), and he’s nowhere near.

If you say he’s 39, and so should retire, well, I’m 34, and do you want me to retire in 5 years? I would LIKE to, but I don’t think I will be able to (that’s for another day though)

I say he’s enjoying himself, he thinks he can still play at this level, and hey, if he doesn’t want to retire, no one can force him to.

Not because he’s done so much for the Indian team, or anything like that, but because regardless of whether you’re Sachin Tendulkar or Sujith Somasunder*, you should be the one deciding whether you want to play on or become a software programmer (which is what Sujith Somasunder is doing now, btw).

Are we asking Mr. Tendulkar to retire in the middle of an away series? And then what, do we do? Send him home? Play with 13 available players for the remainder of the series? So can we stop this nonsensical meme till the team comes back?

Now, if you say that he shouldn’t be in the Indian national team, well that’s another matter altogether. But then, I don’t think he (Tendulkar, not Somasunder - I don’t think even Sujith’s mother wants him in the national team anymore) decides whether he’s in the team or not.

There are 5 gentlemen who pick the team also known as the Selection Panel. They pick 14 players for a tour. If a person is on the 14, and is fit, he is ready for selection.

Which brings me to the next question:

Can someone tell me why Sachin Tendulkar was selected to play this tournament?

*If you don’t know who Sujith Somasunder is, man you need to stop watching Aaj Tak, and be a true cricket fanatic..

Friday, February 17, 2012

Overdraft at the Vote Bank..

So I voted yesterday.

Not that it will make much of a difference to my life. At least not right away.

You see, I live about 15 wards away from where my name is registered.

Because I find it easier to vote in my parents ward once every 5 years, rather than go through the procedural requirements of changing my address.

I don't do that, also because if I go through the entire process of registering a new address, I fear I'll find our dream home suddenly available another 15 wards away, and then everything is moot again. 

So, I voted yesterday, for the person who my mom said would benefit her ward the most in her opinion.
Not really any different from any of the people who vote for whoever their sarpanch, community head, mukhiya or maulana tells them to.

But then, this level of ignorance hit me hard somewhat.

So I made a promise to myself,

The next time I vote, I will vote for the person I know the best.

I'd like to say that person would be me.

But I need to get the pulse of the population
So to paraphrase Paul McCartney...

What would you do, if I ask for your vote..
Would you stand up and vote for me???
Lend me your ear, and I'll make you think,
And I promise not to let things be...
So let me know if I should contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Pune.

You may "like" it or "+1" it to show your support.  
Especially if you're a sarpanch, community head, mukhiya or maulana :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cult Classic - Finding My Religion..

Considering Wikipedia calls it a “pejorative term for a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre”, I think I should start a cult.

Because, I have realized that most of my beliefs are what normal people would call bizarre, and therefore one could argue that they are also abnormal.

Here’s what followers of my cult would believe

• God exists. That much we know. In what form, shape and quantity, that we don’t know.

• We don’t plan on knowing either.

• We just need someone to put the blame on, when we don’t know the cause for something that we know happened.

• Almost everything we know about God till now, we suspect we are wrong.

• We don’t believe that humans are children of this God. We have strong reasons to believe that humans are children of other humans.

• However, we do believe all humans are equal. Not in the eyes of God, but in our eyes.

• We don’t believe in any laws which prevent humans from doing what they would like to do, as long as they don’t harm other humans. For instance, laws and processes that prevent humans from freely moving from one place to another are work of the Devil.

• In fact, we hate Visas so much, we prefer MasterCard

• That was just a figure of speech. We don’t know if there is a Devil. We’ve never seen any Devil, plus in our model, we blame God for everything good or bad, so the Devil is somewhat inconsequential.

• We believe that there are only three aspects in life which are true. Art, Science and Emotions. The rest is just noise.

• Our definition of these goes something like this:

Science: Anything we experience that can be replicated

Art: Anything that we experience that cannot be replicated

Emotions: the human response we experience when faced with an instance of Art or Science
• Things like success, failure, fame, fortune, etc. don’t matter much. We’re still not sure if these are a part of science or art. We do know these affect our emotions, so we know that these are either art or science, probably both.

• Since we are a cult, we’re bound to believe that the World will come to an end. But what sets us apart, is that it doesn’t matter to us when the world comes to an end.

• We don’t know if there is a heaven or a hell. That’s a can we prefer to kick down the road. We’ll find out when the world comes to an end, or we come to an end, whichever is first.

• Based on our experience, humans really have no clue about anything. We believe we are human. Therefore, what you read above, are actually our best guesses about what we believe in.

• Whether you agree or disagree, it’s your choice. We don’t have the enthusiasm or outrage to prove to you anything.

Actually the cult is already formed.

But my problem is what to call it??

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Lord is one Mean S.O.B.

So the 3-year old performs like a pro at her annual Day concert. Comes out with a heartfelt rendition of the School Anthem, and the Welcome song. Then she rocks the party with a fabulous dance in a flower costume to the tune of Aaware Bhaware. So the parents do what any normal parent will do and treat her to a McDonald's Happy Meal, Doremon toy, Sprite et. al.
And she gets a throat infection and a temperature.
I mean, what sort of a just, fair and merciful Lord does this?
Where is Karma when you need it?