Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hopeless and Helpless..

Ever since I can remember, I have always been fond of train journeys. And when I say train journey, I mean travelling sleeper class, not in AC compartments. The variety of people one gets to see is quite interesting. I have had some really memorable experiences and journeys, both long distance as well short ones.. Some of those journeys seemed like nightmares at that time. However, given a chance, I don't think I'd mind going thro' them again..

Most people would say the worst part of the journey would probably be the unlimited number of beggars who keep bugging you throughout the journey.. One also gets harassed by Hijras at times.. I remember what my dad told me once about giving alms to beggars.. He said something to the extent that if he paid a rupee to all the beggars in our country, he'll probably go bankrupt..

Every day when I go home, I find this father-son duo on the way.. The father's handicapped and the son would probably be 5-6 yrs old.. Without fail, every day the son walks up to me and begs for alms and every day, I pretend to ignore him and walk past him.. (Reminds me of the song "Another Day In Paradise") .. I am not sure how much money they make everyday.. I dunno whether they actually eat everyday.. However, I am not really sure it'd help matters in any way if I paid 1 buck to them everyday.. What is the solution to this problem then? Here's a post in the Dog Journals which has inspired this post of mine. I admit I haven't been as kind and generous as the author of Dog Journals..

I wonder what to think when people talk about Billion dollar companies, Richest Men in the world, Exotic locations, Best Hotels, Luxurious Cars and Flights and a whole lot of other accessories which that kid and his father would be least bothered about. This is the earlier post I had written on similar lines.

As I thought about this, I realized that I am just about as selfish as anyone else.. And I am right now not really feeling too good about myself.. I think I might just give a rupee to the little boy today.. I am not sure how much of a difference that would make, but I think I'd be slightly more at peace with myself tonight.. As for what to do to improve the situation, I am as clueless as anyone regarding this..

At this point, although I don't really believe in god, I can only think of the song "Krishna Ni Bhe Gha-ni" by the Colonial Cousins.

It happens NOT only in India..

If you thought it was only in our country that all this "culture" consciousness was present especially at the political level, you might like to read this.

I don't see how it matters to anyone as to who a politician(or his wife) should go and meet.. But then, such is politics..

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Underwriting 60 years of war-making - this is an article in The Hindu written by Richard Drayton.

It only makes one wonder how much of what you read in history books is true and what sort of facts have been distorted in order to cover up atrocities committed by the victors themselves.This reminds me of a conversation I had with one of my friends on Da Vinci Code, about the part where it says "History is always written by the winners".

Would the facts be the same if the outcome of the world wars had been any different? Isn't it very convenient to imagine that only the Nazis and their supporters were capable of atrocities? The Allies were all fighting for a holy cause and everything they did was pardonable. Indeed, this is what all of us want to believe.. Just like the war on Iraq which will be hailed 50 years from now as a great vistory over one of the "worst dictators" seen in the world after the II world war! And the US along with its loyal ally, Britain will be seen as the "rescuer" of democracy.. Sigh!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I believe..

Came across one of my favourite topics - astrology in India Uncut yesterday. No, not because I believe in astrology.. Its more because i am fascinated by how people claim that they can predict the future based on some planetary positions.. And the majority of the people give credibility to them by believing in such predictions.. A lot of my own relatives are included in this majority that I am talking about..

Here's another link from Amit Varma's other blog - The Middle Stage. The best part of this post is the link to the Douglas Adams interview. I like the part where he says "I do not believe-that-there-is-no-god. I am, however, convinced that there is no god, which is a totally different stance". I would have to say I am an Agnostic right now, and definitely need to make the intellectual transition to Atheism.

Here's a link to one of Bertrand Russell's writings on "What is an Agnostic?" .. A writer way ahead of his times.. Many of his essays have a lot of significance even today.. I am currently reading a lot of his thought-provoking essays.. Will probably write more him and his writings once I am through reading his selected papers..

Monday, May 09, 2005

The evils in society.

The Sunday Times contained this special report called "Conspiracy of Silence".. Although I know that this is a problem which is present in our country, this article was an eye-opener in terms of the extent to which the problem has percolated into our society..

Two of the headlines are really chilling:
1. Every hour there are two women getting raped in our country.
2. One out of every five victims is a child.

Is this just a problem with security in our country? What can one say when another stat is thrown at you - in 2002, 132 policemen were found guilty of rape!! I am not sure how one can go about controlling this problem.. I don't think any measures taken so far(if any) have worked..

Some facts pointed out in the report is:

"What is seldom recognised is that rape often is not about lust. Assertion of dominance and the concept of teaching them a lesson is often the reason."
"Women are taken to symbolise the izzat of the community and raping them is seen as the ultimate humiliation that can be heaped on one community by another."

The worst part about the whole situation is that the majority of the accused walk away scot free and it is the woman in turn who has to suffer further humiliation not only from the society but from her own family!

I really cannot think of any way in which any of these victims can be compensated.. And I can't believe that the victims are most of the times "married off" to their offenders.. What sort of justice is that? But then, is there any way in which justice can be meted out? In my opinion, even hanging the accused is a lighter punishment compared to his sin.. I am still wondering how justice can be achieved..

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The power of youth..

After reading two very good reviews, I decided that I have to watch the movie "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi".. Here are the reviews - one in Rediff and the other in Amit Varma's blog..

Yesterday night I finally sat down and watched "Hazaaron Khwaish...." .. Personally I found the movie very interesting.. It is more about the three central characters in the movie and how they react in that period of Indian history than the actual history of the naxal movement..

Perhaps Vikram's character (played by Shiny Ahuja) is the most intriguing one in the movie (or so i think).. Siddharth (played by Kaykay Menon) is also a very strong character who joins the naxal movement and drags Geetha along with him mid-way through the movie.. Geetha(Chitrangada Singh) is extremely beautiful and her character really evolves with the movie (or is it vice versa!!).. All three actors came up with really good performances and they make the movie very realistic.. And I don't think there could too many(if any) better endings to this movie.. Sudhir Mishra has come up with a very different movie and I think it is a 'must-watch' for all Indians, especially for people like me who were not even born during the period shown in the movie..

I don't know why, but in an odd sort of way, I can relate to the characters of both Vikram and Siddharth.. I am still trying to decide whether this is the romantic or leftist in me saying this!! I guess it is a combination of both..

Thursday, May 05, 2005

A woman and a communist..

Although I have seen a lot of Brinda Karat on TV, especially whenever there is anything in the news about feminism or women's rights, I never really understood why she would wish to join the CPI(M)..

She explains here about how she was brought up and what influenced her to join the Marxists.. It is interesting to note that she left a job in London to join the communists in India.. I wonder how many of us would do so even if we were influenced by any new ideology.. Kudos to the lady.. There is more about Brinda Karat in the next part of the rediff interview.. And I am eagerly waiting to hear the full story!!

What a night!

After totally messing up my sleep cycle over the past two days, I hope I am able to get a nice 8 hours of sleep tonight.. I am not really complaining though after watching the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League...

Although the first semi-final between Chelsea and Liverpool turned out to be a disappointment in terms of quality of football, there was no shortage of that in yesterday's encounter between PSV Eindhoven and AC Milan.. I am a big fan of AC Milan (largely because of one man, Paolo Maldini) and I would have to admit that PSV were desperately unlucky to concede the late goal to lose out on the away goals rule..

Personally, I was very pleased that it was two asian players who made a huge impact in this game, Ji-Sung Park, who scored the first goal and Young-Pyo Lee. I guess Guus Hiddink is carrying on the good work he did for Asian football during the last world cup.

Coming back to the match, PSV dominated play right from the word go. I am sure Milan would have started wondering whether last year was going to repeat itself. Van Bommel, Lucius, Johann Vogel, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Jefferson Farfan - all these players played out of their skins.. I was not aware of too many of the PSV players as I had not watched a single match of theirs in the whole tournament. But from what I saw yesterday, it is really surprising that they had not scored more than one goal at home against any team in the Champions league this season. My man of the match would have to be Philip Cocu who came up with the all important header which got the aggregate score level. Even after Ambosini scored and secured the tie for Milan, Cocu came up with a stunning volley to score PSV's third goal and ensured that there were some frantic moments right at the end for Milan..

This match reminded me of two other matches involving France - one last year against England in Euro 2004 and the other against Italy in the final of Euro 2000. I am sure most football enthusiasts will remember Zidane's 2 late goals against England last year. The other match was when Italy seemed to be home with a 1-0 lead and France not really threatening their goal at all, when all of a sudden, Wiltord came up with an equalizer from nowhere.. The match extended to extra time and France got the Golden goal with Trezeguet scoring the winner. Up to the point when Wiltord scored, France never looked like scoring and Italy could have easily made it 2 if not 3-0.. However, what mattered was the fact that France was able to find the net at the right time.. Just like Ambrosini did yesterday 1 minute into injury time after the second half..

All in all, I am definitely happy that Milan have got through. At the end of the day, no-one is going to bother about how they got there. All that matters is that they'll be facing Liverpool in Istanbul..

I won't be able to watch the final though (sob sob).. I shall be on a stupid train heading home at that time.. What a tragedy.. So its not only PSV, even I am missing the final..

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

New comment feature..

This is a post especially for all the people who have commented on my blog so far..

I have installed HaloScan commenting feature in my blog.. This has unfortunately resulted in me losing all the earlier comments (all thanks to my ignorance and carelessness!)..

Many thanks to each and every person who has taken the trouble of commenting on my ramlings so far.. (I still have most of the comments in my mail Inbox)..
These are some people who have bothered to comment so far:

Soultan of Swing
Elf (Sylvanlands)
Jugular bean
Couch Potato
Bridal Beer

My apologies to them as well as anyone else whose name I have missed out.. Hope every person finds it easier to leave his/her comments (and leaves a lot of 'em too!!)..

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Random Ramblings..

Top 10 things on my mind right now:

1. How to stay awake till 2.30 A.M. tonight to watch the Champions League semi-finals..
2. I am going home on 24th night after almost a year.. hurray..
3. Need to wash piles and piles of clothes.. :-( ..
4. When do I meet the long list of people I haven't met in Bangalore for a loooong time..
5. Dire Straits is my favourite band..(this is subject to mood..I am writing this after listening to "Tunnel of Love")..
6. When will I start studying again..
7. What do I want in life..(this is a question which is at the back of my mind always.. and I've never quite managed to answer it)..
8. Will I ever meet "all" my friends from college again..
9. Why would anyone be interested in reading my blog? (Don't think I can answer that one..)
10. When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse, Out of the Corner of my eye,
I turned to look but it was gone, I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, The dream is gone.
And I have become Comfortably Numb......

soccer crazy..

Finally a football post after a loong time.. About time, one might say.. tonight the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals this year gets underway..

Liverpool hosts Chelsea at the Anfield after an impressive performance at the Stamford Bridge last week in the first leg.. The game is evenly balanced with neither side having scored at Stamford Bridge.. What this means is that a 1-1 draw is good enough for Chelsea.. It remains to be seen whether Liverpool will continue their impressive run in the Champions League at home.. Chelsea's defence would be difficult to break with the in-form Jon Terry and Ricardo Carvalho holding fort..

The other semi-final is definitely tilted towards the six-time european champions AC Milan.. However, they cannot afford to be complacent and should be wary of a resilient PSV side.. They wouldn't have to think further than last year's tie against Deportivo La Coruna where Milan lost 4-0 in the 2nd leg after winning 4-1 at home.. As for PSV, it's a tough ask against the Rossoneri.. Especially with Nesta and Stam in central defence, with Cafu and Maldini completing the bask four..

It is tough to call the two finalists.. But I would like to watch a Liverpool-Milan final at Istanbul..
Its about time Mourinho started losing!

Promises and loyalty..

Was listening to this song on Radio City yesterday night.. I get moved whenever I listen to this song..

kasame vaade pyaar vafaa sab,
baatein hain baaton kaa kyaa
koI kisii kaa nahii.n ye jhuuThe,
naate hain naaton kaa kyaa

kasame vaade pyaar vafaa sab, baatein hain baaton kaa kyaa

hogaa masiihaa ...
hogaa masiihaa saamane tere
phir bhii na tuu bach paayegaa
teraa apanaa...
tera apana khuun hii aakhir tujhko aag lagaayegaa
aasamaan mein ...
aasamaan me udane vaale mittii mein mil jaayegaa
kasame vaade pyaar vafaa sab, baatein hain baaton kaa kyaa

sukh mein tere ...
sukh mein tere saath chalenge
dukh mein sab mukh modenge
duniyaa vaale ...
duniyaa vaale tere banakar teraa hii dil todenge
dete hain ...
dete hain bhagavaan ko dhokhaa, inasaan ko kyaa chhodenge
kasame vaade pyaar vafaa sab, baatein hain baaton kaa kyaa..

I really don't have anything to add to this.. Manna Dey at his brilliant best.. As the channel V tag-line goes "Listen, Learn and Enjoy!"..