30 August 2006

Our pledge is sheer genius

Just like in many countries, in India there's a national pledge that all schoolchildren are taught. It goes something like this:

India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters....(blah blah blah)... In their well being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.
When I was in school and had to say this every day, I had a problem with the first line. As you can see, if all Indians were my brothers and sisters, then I couldn't marry any of them. Later on, however, I realised that this line is sheer genius. Nehru and gang had figured out that each Indian wanted a lot of kids. This would lead to a population explosion that would outpace any development the country would have. If all Indians truly believed in the pledge, they could only marry non-Indians, resulting in fewer marriages (and probably fewer kids as most of those marriages would long-distance affairs). Also they would have found lots of people from neighbouring countries, resulting in complete peace in South Asia... after all you're not likely to want to fight your uncles and take their land when it would just pass on to you based on inheritance in a few years.

Unfortunately most Indian parents disagreed with this and got their kids married off to their childhood friends' kids, resulting in a population going from 330 million to 1100 million in 60 years. If only our grandparents had followed the national pledge we would be some majorly exotic people who looked like Lisa Ray and probably not be fighting wars all over the place.

27 August 2006

24 August 2006

Birthday

So, my roommate aka long lost twin Lova had a little birthday celebration at his blog for me where he asked people to wish me in different languages on my first post on this blog. So, I think he owes me a bottle of Lafayette's finest Scotch by now... as we have doggish, french, la reunion creole, tamil, malagasy and english greetings. Oh wait, need one more language... so close... anyway I promised to post a picture of me at Halloween dressed up like Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction so here it is:



Maybe if I wasn't smiling so much and I had a gun in the hand would have been a dead ringer for him...

Anyways a my friends turned up at midnight (Ginga and BooBoo's aunties who had been making a wonderful chocolate cake for 2.5 hours and Superman, Lova, doggies) and the rest sent their apologies for being busy with stomach bugs and Ph.D. defences so it was all good. Although they missed the wonderful cake and presents. My family was there over the phone, so had an all-round good time. Now that I'm physically on the cusp (29) I think I can mentally advance to be about 15 years old. Yay!

delicious food

presents

Good stuff! Now if only I could finish the thesis as fast as I can get through these! Thank you very much!

20 August 2006

Church of Christ welcomes you

Very nice... but um... doesn't this imply that the other churches are not of Christ? What are they then, Churches of Mark, Luke, John, Mary, Judas, Satan? Mohammed?

19 August 2006

15 August 2006

My first brush with patriotism

Happy Independence Day! The Republic of India is 59 today. An amazing experiment to see if a nation could be created from a people who speak 800 languages and dialects, have at least 5 different religions, and every 250 or so kilometres, the clothing, language, diet and customs are unrecognizable. Think of Europe and North and South America as one country and imagine the mind-boggling implications of that.

I went to school in Delhi, which did not encourage patriotism at all. Everyone always talked about what all the problems were without seeming to involve any solutions to it. We let these problems cover us like a blanket without once lifting it up to see the light. Once I left to go to Zambia, again, India was not really on the radar any more, it was mainly what was going on in African football and in the European leagues and so on.

In 1999 I happened to be in Delhi again, at the height of the Kargil war. While I was having dinner at a nice restaurant with a live band, boys my age were storming peaks and engaging in hand-to-hand combat and losing their lives for a few centimetres of land and the nation's pride. Nobody in the restaurant paid attention to the songs being played by the band until they started a particular song. Then everyone's eyes filled with tears... the song goes...

ए मेरे वतन के लोगों, ज़रा आँख मे भर लो पानी,
जो शहीद हुए हैं उनकी ज़रा याद करो क़ुर्बानी।

O the people of my country, just fill your eyes with water,
those who have martyred themselves for the country, just remember their sacrifice.


That was when it clicked in my head that 1 billion people who had banded together to form a country had done so because they could choose their representatives themselves and boot them out if they didn't perform. And this was what guys my age were trying to protect with their lives up on those mountains. So since then, Independence Day has had some meaning other than oh cool we kicked out the British empire without firing a single bullet. Everyone in the restaurant clapped after the song ended and the feelings that we had that evening were equivalent to a 1000 2-minute silences. India represents a microcosm of the world, having 1/6th of the world population and a lot of diversity, a land where buddhists, christians, hindus, jains, jews, muslims, sikhs, zoroastrians and a lot of as-yet-unnamed belief systems try to live with each other in harmony under one banner. Once this experiment succeeds (which I would define as ensuring that all citizens have food, clothing, shelter and access to education), it will be a great system for the rest of the world to emulate. India 2020 anyone?

So that's my little independence day speech, Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan, Jai Hind.
(Victory to soldiers, Victory to farmers, Victory to India)

14 August 2006

you blogged the thoughts from my head

There's been an epidemic of me thinking about things to write about and then discovering that somebody else has beaten me to it, so I'll just take the easy way out and point to their posts. I'm getting the right ideas, just not at the right time.

50 fun things for non-Christians to do in church

Advice for Bush while visiting Africa and advice to Americans about moving to Africa.

Oliver Stone does a JFK on World Trade Center by introducing 'single plane' theory

Enjoy!

13 August 2006

Freespirit tagged me

Bohemian Free Spirit Ramya tagged me... rules of the game are to mention 8 things about myself and then tag 6 people to continue the chain but since I tagged 5 people for the last one I'm going to skip the forwarding of the chain.

Where to begin? ah... yes I've been chased by an angry momma elephant across the savannah.

I once momentarily lost the plot and jumped off a bridge 111 metres into the Zambezi river with nothing but a piece of rope tied to my ankles (I have a certificate that says exactly that to prove it).

I refused to learn driving until I had to at 21 because I was worried about taking on the responsibility of steering a guided missile through the roads.

My first car blew its radiator and engine head gasket the first time I drove it and was smoking so much from the engine that I couldn't see where I was going.

A little more than a year ago I had an epiphany that a certain dog was mine (and the dog heard the same epiphany) so despite not knowing anything about dogs I found myself the owner of one and brother of another one and started a blog about it.

I used to have curly hair till below my chest... so when I extended it it went down to the top of my stomach. Either people really loved it or they really hated it.

I've watched the movie Love, actually about 15-zillion times. I particularly enjoy the moments when Keira Knightley walks into the church and when Hugh Grant offers to send the SAS after his love interest's ex-boyfriend.

I've never been in a fight. I was close to one twice but the first time a girl came to the rescue and the second time I laughed my way out of it. Very manly behaviour of me, right?

12 August 2006

Nail fail rate?

There was a little hardware repair going on in the house with attendant French and German experts. Of course they hired the Indo-African (myself) to hammer the nails in. Taking a page from Russell "No, no, no, you plough the fields and I'll do the accounts and we'll make a lot of money" Peters, I professed a complete inability to get the nail in without bending it or slanting it, thus making the foriegners do all the work. I fussed around with the little details and found this:


nails


What's the failure rate on the nail-making process? 3/100 as per my calculations, with my two bent/slanted ones and this one.

04 August 2006

JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say?

"X" marks the spot where the car was when the bullets hit... the infamous "grassy knoll" in the background.


INT2 228


The building where the assasin was hiding...


jfk


The window that he shot from...


jfkzoom


The building has been turned into a museum with the room kept as it was after the investigation... I like how the Americans make sure that people know their history well. Something that we could learn from them that would be useful for our future.

White Trash ?


whitetrash


(communicated by Just AG and GSL)