Oof, Not Again :-(

Newsweek

Newsweek


Please someone help!!! I’m sick of Rahul Gandhi…He’s not a master strategist and the Congress did not win over 200 seats because of him…Even the international media has joined their Indian counterparts in crediting him for his party’s win…Which PR agency does RG use?

This is what Newsweek has to say:

His [Rahul Gandhi’s] approach—fully endorsed by his mother, the party’s president—was risky, presenting Congress as a national party that stood for secularism, good governance and growth.

Excuse me, I thought the Congress was always about secularism, good governance and growth – what’s so new about this mantra? What has RG done? Oh, OK I forgot…He thought of doing it alone in UP and Bihar because being communal (tying up with regional communal parties) was not working for them…Give me a break…Do you think anyone believes that this was his idea? If the Congress had lost, I’m sure ‘doing it alone’ would not have been highlighted much in the media and RG would not have been credited for it…

Over the past three years he has worked hard to acquaint himself with poor, rural India by making numerous visits to remote, neglected villages, where he would listen to locals’ complaints while sitting cross-legged on their dirt floors, sharing their meals and sometimes even sleeping in their homes.

Gosh! He did all this? Poor guy – what one has to do for power and money…I’m sure the PR agency the Congress uses was told to highlights these visits…RG’ privileged education at St.Stephens, Harvard (both of which he attended), Rollins (from where he finally graduated) allows him to come up with profound questions like “What is the difference between a rich man and a poor man?” His intelligence and knowledge of the country enables him to come up with the answer all on his own – “Opportunity!”

Me thinks Kislay hit the nail on the head when he said RG’s goraness was an asset to him, his party and the media…International journalists can now write about a person they can half identify with…What is the Indian media’s excuse?

P.S. Have you noticed that author of the Newsweek article has not once mentioned the head start Rahul G got because of his Family?

You Scream, They Scream, Everybody Screams For Ice-cream

but I don’t – I mean I don’t scream for ice-cream…I scream when I see it…I’ve never understood people’s  fascination for this chilly dessert…So, what is it about ice-cream that people love so much? As far as I know, it’s just a whole load of milk and sugar and nothing else…Extremely unhealthy especially for adults…Is it because it is so unhealthy (high in carbohydrates) that people are addicted to it? Does it give a high like drugs and alcohol? Or is the texture interesting?

Please someone, enlighten me…

P.S. I don’t like chocolates either…

Are You Religious But Have No Time To Pray?

Don’t worry…Your computer can do it for you…Well, not your computer exactly but for $4.95/month, this website can pray for you…The site uses text-to-speech synthesizers to say prayers in a voice designed to emulate the volume and speed of an average praying person and best of all, each prayer is voiced individually with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen… You can choose from Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim prayers and if you’re unaffiliated, no problem, they’ve got options for you as well! Sorry Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains – you’ll have to wait for some time to use this service…

I’ll never use this service because if I pray, I want God to hear what I have to say…Unfortunately, my computer doesn’t have a soul and so its prayers (for me) will not be audible to God…My $4.95/month will go to waste…I’d rather use the money to buy a Big Mac…

Also, I was thinking, if machines can say prayers for you, why can’t live priests be replaced with robotic ones? This would solve the homosexuality problem of the Catholic Church…

P.S. I forgot to mention that “prices are determined by the length of the prayer. A discounted prayer will cost less than other prayers of similar length.”

While on the topic of weird services and marketing ploys, I just have to tell you about one I heard from my parents’ driver in Kolkata…Apparently, a new cremation ground has opened up in his village and the trustees of the same are offering 2 tolas of gold to the family who uses the ground first…The second family will get a colour TV…Morbid, absolutely morbid…I thought cremation grounds were few and far between and demand recession proof, so why should administrators of one need to adopt a sales strategy? Fishy, really fishy…

Mistake: US Trusting Pakistan

There is a very interesting and troublesome article in The New York Times about Pakistan using US military aid to add to its nuclear arsenal…This is not good news for India or for that matter the rest of the world as it shows the true intensions of the Pakistani government…Instead of focussing on protecting their country from internal militant extremists like the Taliban and LeT, the Pakistani establishment is still very much focussed on its obsession with Kashmir and India…

Pakistan’s nuclear program is based primarily on highly enriched uranium (HEU) that makes its fissile materials particularly vulnerable to diversion…HEU can be used in a relatively simple gun-barrel-type design, which could be easily procured/stolen by terrorists who  intend to assemble a crude nuclear weapon…Therefore, security of their nuclear facilities is of utmost importance…Also, if Pakistan doesn’t destroy the Taliban, LeT and other militant extremists within its borders, there is a threat of its nuclear arsenal ending up in the hands of non-state actors…

The [Obama] administration’s effort is complicated by the fact that Pakistan is producing an unknown amount of new bomb-grade uranium and, once a series of new reactors is completed, bomb-grade plutonium for a new generation of weapons. President Obamahas called for passage of a treaty that would stop all nations from producing more fissile material — the hardest part of making a nuclear weapon — but so far has said nothing in public about Pakistan’s activities [and will continue to say nothing].

India has always known that the Pakistanis are untrustworthy no matter what they say…My only hope is that the Americans have realized it too…But the sad part is that even if they have realized the fact that they have been taken for a ride, they will continue providing military aid to Pakistan because they need the Pakistanis to fight their war in Afghanistan…

P.S. Pakistan could also be stockpiling nuclear weapons in order to sell them to ‘rogue’ countries like Saudi Arabia…After all, it is the worst proliferator of nuclear arms and technology in the world and it needs money…What better way than take US money to make more money for themselves? Also, I think the Pakistani military will not go after the Taliban full on as it needs it to milk the US…

P.P.S.I found the last paragraph of this comment very interesting:

“Unless Pakistan’s leaders commit, in deeds and words, their country’s armed forces and security personnel to eliminating the threat from militant extremists, and unless they make it clear that they are doing so, for the sake of their own future, then no amount of assistance will be effective,” Mr. Levin said.

Yes, Mr. Levin, you are indeed right. But, to eliminate all the militant extremists would require nothing less than a genocide, or at least the guantanamoesque internment of hundreds of thousands of sympathisizers and followers for generations to come. Do you have the stomach for that, good Sir?

The Islamic fundamentalist movement is growing rapidly in that region, not shrinking, and the main reason is because of the perceived inequity and injustice of the system in which the so-called extremists live.

Pakistan has too many poor, hungry, jobless, and very misguided men, young and old, who are offered nothing from their secular government and everything from their religious zealots. Simply put, they’re winning the PR campaign, in both deeds and words, as you so perspicaciously put it, Mr. Levin.

And we will never, never, never win them over with guns and bombs and death and destruction. We’re merely pouring fuel into flames which are only going to get higher and higher… and more and more widespread.

This is serious business, Mr. Levin, and Washington needs serious, honest, and WISE solutions – not status quo geo-political maneuverings that are leading us in only one direction: nuclear holocaust.

Stop fighting them, stop killing them. You can’t and won’t kill them all, but the more you kill, the more sympathisizers you create within their “mainstream” society, and one of these sympathisizers just may someday be one of the tens of thousands of Pakistanis involved in their nuclear arms production.

Actually, it really is only a matter of time before the enemy gets his hands on the bomb. Throughout the course of history no weapon, no matter how big or small or how well-guarded, has been prevented from proliferating around the globe – humans love to kill each other far too much for that.

But nuclear warfare is a different kind of killing all together, isn’t it now? It is the great equalizer, in the Cold War it was the even the perfect peacemaker, and today it is the slothfully surfacing nightmare, the slippery serpent that strikes when least expected. And millions and millions and millions will die, perhaps of their people, and perhaps of ours as well…

Unless, of course, we do the right thing. Come to the realization that western-style freedom and democracy will never take root in Islamic societies due to their religious doctrine… and then leave: militarily, politically, even economically. Just walk away… and dry them up so that they can’t spend billions and billions of American dollars on the bomb, which they will surely pursue, no matter how much handshaking and grinning you politicians do.

Perhaps it’s time we change our perception of the geo-political realities in the world and respond accordingly.

— Col. Michael Stone, Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Song Facts – Tidbits You Want And Don’t Want To Know

While listening to a song, have you ever wondered who or what inspired it? I have…I’ve often wondered who Layla was and if the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds  was really inspired by LSD…It turns out that Layla and a couple of other songs by Eric Clapton Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad and Wonderful Tonight as well as George Harrison’s Something and For You Blue were all inspired by the same woman, Pattie Boyd…Pattie was married to Harrison when Clapton expressed his love for her in the song Layla…Clapton and Harrison remained good friends and Harrison even played at their wedding in 1979…Eric and Pattie divorced in 1988…

I was happy to learn that the inspiration for the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds came from a drawing by John Lennon’s son, Julian and not from LSD but was soon depressed when I read that Sarah McLachlan’s Angel is about drugs and is based on Smashing Pumpkins’ touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin, who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996..The “angel” symbolizes the drugs the addict gives in to repeatedly…

My research revealed some unappealing nuggets like the ‘body’ in John Mayer’s Your Body is a Wonderland is Jennifer Love Hewitt’s body and that the highly controversial You Oughta Know by Alanis Morisette was inspired by her ex-lover Dave Coulier of the television sitcom Full HouseFull House (in case you didn’t know) was the same sitcom that spawned morons like the Olsen twins, Bob Saget and Jon Stamos…

I also found out that We Are the Champions by Queen (written by Freddie Mercury) was originally written as a gay anthem and became a sporting event cliché much later and that You’re So Vain by Carly Simon was based on her relationship with actor Warren Beatty…Some say it was based on her affair with Kris Kristoffson but I would like to believe it was Beatty as I think he’s vain…

I’m sure you must have heard How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You by legendary Motown singer Marvin Gaye (it was later covered by James Taylor in 1975)…It turns out that the title of the song was inspired by the trademark line of Jackie Gleason, “How sweet it is!” as it was said on The Jackie Gleason Show…

If you have heard of other ‘shocking’ origins, please let me know…I’m really interested in such nuggets…

Edited to Add:

  • Paul McCartney wrote the song Lovely Rita, Meter Maid for the album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band after getting a parking ticket from a female warden in Abbey Road
  • Hey Jude was written by Paul in his car…Paul was on his way to visit Julian, John Lennon’s son, who was disturbed by his parents’ divorce…Paul wrote this song to cheer him up
  • The Beatles song Dear Prudence was written about Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence when she wouldn’t come out and play with Mia and the Beatles at a religious retreat in India

Patriotism and India

(Warning: this post may not be too coherent…I’ve just jotted down some thoughts)

This post was inspired by Kislay’s post The Idea of a Nation

What is patriotism? Is it love of one’s birthplace, the place of childhood dreams and aspirations? Is there a single definition of patriotism? If so, what is it? How is it measured? Is waving the national flag and singing the national anthem on ceremonial occasions a true indicator of patriotism? Does the average Indian have reason to be patriotic? Does he need a reason?

Many believe that sentiments like patriotism, noble though they are, are subjective and mean little to the common man…They think that one is patriotic only when one is proud of one’s country and its achievements and since many ordinary Indians live a hard life, they have nothing to be proud of and therefore nothing to be patriotic about…I believe that patriotism should not come with strings attached – the idea of the concept is lost if people consider themselves patriotic when the going is good and unpatriotic when the going is tough…Like one loves one’s mother, one should love one’s country no matter what the situation is…

After some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that the concept of patriotism has aspects of conceit, arrogance and egotism…It assumes that the world is divided into regions, each one surrounded by an iron gate…Those who have had the good fortune of being born in a rich region may consider themselves better, grander and more intelligent than those living in poorer regions…The fortunate ones may therefore feel it is their ‘patriotic’ duty to fight, kill and die in their attempt to impose their superiority upon all the others…It is because of this misguided notion of patriotism that many who love their states try to impose their culture and language on others eg. making Hindi the national language…It is also because of this misguided sense of patriotism that many fortunate people believe that they are being milked by the less fortunates and this results in comments like “…the BIMARU states should be let to go. These states can go screw themselves as they have been doing all this time. Enough of taking money from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, TN and other states.” (This comment was made on Nita’s post Kashmir through the eyes of a Kashmiri and it was also the comment that inspired Kislay’s post The Idea of a Nation)…

I don’t believe for a second that India should be divided – in fact I strongly believe that it should remain as it is despite its problems…People who believe life will be better if states who wanted to separate were allowed to do so are mistaken…Division will not bring peace, it will only increase bloodshed…Thomas Jefferson rightly said, “Patriotism is not a short, frenzied burst of emotion, but the long and steady dedication of a lifetime.” We the people are largely responsible for the mess we have created for ourselves and it is therefore our duty to rectify this mess…

Indians have a lot to be proud of…The idea of the nation has not entirely failed if you believe in the concepts of freedom and democracy which have been guaranteed to us by our Constitution…It is this freedom that allows us to elect our government and it is also this freedom that allows us to criticize it, however bizarre the criticism may be…

As I wrote on Kislay’s blog, patriotism to me is not about religion or region…Patriotism is to do with the state; the idea of a nation…It is not based on shared descent or kinship but on shared history and beliefs…It includes attachment to the country’s land and people, acceptance of its diversit, admiration for its varied customs and traditions, pride in its history, and interest in its welfare and development…

Jeans = My Drug (100% Safe, 0% Side Effects)

 

Ah, what bliss!

Ah, what bliss!

As you may or may not know, we are moving to a new country…Infact, we moved out of our apartment in Gurgaon last Saturday…While my husband went off to our new ‘home’, my daughter and I are visiting my parents till our stuff reaches there…

Anyway, while packing our clothes I counted 19 pairs of jeans – 16 were mine and the rest my husband’s…Seeing all the pairs piled up on the bed, my husband let out a screech, “YIKES!!! What’s wrong with you, woman? How could you buy so many blue jeans?” After looking at a few of them more closely, another screech erupted, “GOSH!!! You are crazy! Not only are they all blue but they are of the same brand and style! What the hell!!! What’s the point?”

The point is simple – I love jeans and t-shirts (let’s not get into that)…It’s not as if I’m addicted to diamonds or emeralds…To tell you the truth, I was shocked at my collection too but I couldn’t let my husband know that, could I?

As I see it, jeans are everygreen – they never go out of style…What could be more comfortable than throwing on a nice comfortable pair of well worn jeans, a soft cotton t-shirt and a pair of sandals? Jeans are versatile and can be worn at both casual and formal affairs (ok, not to weddings and funerals but to almost everything else)…If you want to look formal, all you have to do is wear a pair of nice heels and throw on a blazer with it and you are set for a night out at a club…If your jeans get frayed, just cut them off at the knees and you’ll have a cool pair of cut-offs to spend those hot summer days  in…

I don’t think my addiction is that much of problem (except when we have to move as jeans can get heavy)…I think it is better to be addicted to jeans than to my other love – watches, Swiss ones at that…

Do you have an addiction? If you do, tell me about it…