Friday, May 29, 2009


The news of Indian students being attacked in Australia comes as a disgusting shocker! At a time when one expects people to focus on technological improvements, adherence to civil culture and peaceful coexistence, such grim incidents are certainly unbecoming and reflect on the mindset of a social system which is unfortunately harbouring a great deal of racially motivated hate in its thoughts and actions.

Least expected are barbarous acts such as the victims' houses being burgled at a time when the entire community is expected to be offering their condolences and help to the distressed lot. Apparently, this hate and racially motivated mindset is leading to many violent attacks on Indians in this Island continent and the Australian government needs to handle this more seriously and with more maturity.

While fresh incidents of racial attacks on Indians continue to occur, I call upon the Australian people to standby their Indian counterparts in ensuring peace and harmony, and condemn such uncivilized and heinous acts of violence against any community.

Repeated calls for ensuring security of Indian citizens, students in particular, have fallen on deaf ears, as any concrete action remains yet to be taken. It is well past time that the Australian government buckles up and takes some action, while also realizing that an attack on an Indian is an attack on the Indian sovereign!


Images Courtesy - The Times of India

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NO to landmines

It is believed that more than 200,000 square kilometers, across several countries, are contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance! This is apart from the several thousands of civilians and armed personnel maimed or killed by landmines.

A relatively little heard of movement called The International Campaign to Ban Landmines has been striving hard to propagate the cause for eradication of landmines. One would recollect Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales being among its most vocal and visible supporters.

I was reading the Landmine Monitor Report - 2008, and found some shocking facts, which I decided to outline here;

In 2007, Landmine Monitor identified 5,426 casualties caused by mines, explosive remnants of war (ERW), and victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Of these, 1,401 people were killed, 3,939 injured, and the status of the remaining 86 is unknown.

These figures are by no means complete as they only include recorded casualties plus casualties Landmine Monitor was able to identify through the media. In 2006, at least 6,022 casualties were reported in 71 countries and areas.

More than a decade after the Mine Ban Treaty was signed, a truly reliable estimate of the size of the global landmine problem still does not exist.

Since May 2007, new and additional mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination occurred in several countries notably Afghanistan, Colombia, Gambia, Iraq, Mali, and Niger, as well as states not party to the Mine Ban Treaty such as Georgia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. As a consequence, more than 70 states, as well as six areas not internationally recognized, were believed to be mine-affected as of August 2008.

The adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in May 2008 highlighted a specific threat that Landmine Monitor has reported on for many years—that of unexploded submunitions. Although the full extent of contamination is not yet known, clearance operations in 2007 and 2008 revealed at least 25 countries with uncleared submunitions on their territory.

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to see a significant part of the world's population severely handicapped in a few decades, owing to the effects of landmines!

I will leave you with an after-thought, one to ponder upon, that civil society has the power to change the world.


The International Campaign to Ban Landmines - Wikipedia

The Landmine Monitor

Monday, May 25, 2009

Man on the Moon

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

Neil Armstrong, on July 20, 1969, on the Lunar surface as part of the Apollo 11 moonlanding mission.

Exactly 48 years ago, on May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy made his speech before the joint session of the US Congress, supporting the need for America to put a Man on the moon. The speech came days after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space. Thus began the Apollo Program, which put among others, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on the Lunar surface. Ironically, Kennedy himself couldn't witness the historic manned moonlanding mission, having lost his life to an assassin's bullets in 1963.

The Apollo program was not without its failures, in particular the not-widely-known deaths of three astronauts, Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, in the Apollo 1 launchpad fire. What a lot of us do know, thanks to the Tom Hanks starrer, is the failure of Apollo 13, while its crew was safely returned to Earth.

This post pays homage to the three astronauts who lost their lives as part of the Apollo 1 mission while also celebrating the moonlanding mission which will soon be 40 years of age, thanks to the vision of one man amidst disbelief and apprehension from many close quarters.


Image Courtesy - NASA

Image Description - Taken by Apollo 8 crewmember Bill Anders on December 24, 1968, showing the Earth seemingly rising above the lunar surface. This phenomenon is only visible from someone in orbit around the Moon. Because of the Moon's synchronous rotation about the Earth (i.e., the same side of the Moon always facing the Earth), no Earthrise can be observed by a stationary observer on the surface of the Moon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Remembering Rajiv

"A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be."

-- Rosalynn Carter

Today is the 18th death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi.


Image Courtesy - Google Images

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The I in the ballot

Singh is king! Its official now! Perhaps, it would do good for some people to note that personal attacks on a high ranking office does more damage to themselves than the intended. Many accusations of being a weak Prime Minister and the likes, despite, the incumbent of 7 Race Course Road and the Spin doctors of 10 Janpath have good reasons to celebrate.

Indians are a very hopeful people! Ambitions are one thing, but realities are quite another and ambitions misplaced are certainly unpardonable, especially if a certain someone from an upper northern state considers that her right! The elephant-ride to Delhi fizzled badly, with the people rejecting the elephantine misadventure outright! Thankfully, the Republic of India has had a saving grace in the international community with this misplaced chaos not riding the wave to power! Losers, here, it seems, need to learn grace, for blaming communities for their failure only reflects their own poor show in the arena of performance and good governance, if they knew what either meant, that is.

I'd rather not spew more disgust by talking about a western heavyweight's dreams-in-waiting and his quick volte-face but opportune overture to align with the 'alliance' when the mandate became clear. Trapeze artists would be put to shame by the continuing flip-flop of our political honchos.

Is it therefore any surprise that the BBC seems to have echoed a better coverage of the Indian general elections than any other Indian news agency, while Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai kept yelling breaking news at every breaking moment? After all, the very thought of the world's largest democracy marching into a governmental transition is a matter of acute interest to many people and nations far and wide, considering the circus type enactments that keep happening every day!

The air of dramatization was all too evident with many a contender vying hard to get a place into the coveted 'people's house' from where the remotest confines of the republic can be accessed, tapped into, and 'effectively' ruled. With an eligible 714 million voters having embarked on a momentous task of deciding the next Prime Minister and associates, this exercise is said to have cost the exchequer a whopping €176 million or Rs.1,120 crores.

The earliest tirade words began among the custodians of the exercise, the Election commission, which remained split on opinion about the dates itself. What followed was an ugly spat between the Election Commissioners themselves over their capacities and relevance in office! The all powerful bureaucracy too succumbed to petty politics. No blames here, it is the season after-all! It was as expected as was the statement made by Manish Tiwari of the Congress stating that "Film stars and cricketers are also achievers." Of course disagreements here! It was no surprise to see a certain tainted former cricketer clinching a position for himself.

And then, all of a sudden, the suave and articulate Varun Gandhi made headlines for his alleged hate-speech while campaigning in Pilibhit. It certainly does not matter to the present government in Uttar Pradesh even if the Supreme Court called for invalidation of a needless NSA invocation against Gandhi, for after all, the BSP leading lady is all out playing what she does best - Vendetta! Double whammy, now that the BJP too attributes this alleged hurt speech to have affected its otherwise bright prospects.

The Election commission did not want to be left out of the arena and so the outgoing Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami brewed his share of controversy by recommending the President to remove his colleague (former) Navin Chawla, only to find the reverse happen! Elsewhere, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh addressed a rally in a government school while a Class X board examination was in progress, while his counterpart in Tamil Nadu sang praises for the dreaded terrorist, Prabhakaran of the LTTE. I'm wondering how much more of his whining will be needed to convince President Rajapakse of Sri Lanka not to extradite this dreaded criminal to India. It seems that political endorsements for an outlaw also pay off handsome gains.

Birds of the same feather do not always flock together! This revelation came from the ranks of a certain political party from the Hindi heartland, with one member-in-prominence accusing another of distributing her obscene pictures to undermine women power in politics! I'd rather not comment on that!

What I would love to comment on is the plight of the comrades, and their brothers-in-arms, who were for the first time ever routed out of their home grounds. The red bastion simply collapsed like a house of cards! I'd expect the politburo and the other organs of the left brass to hang themselves in shame, let alone sulk in defeat and plan a come-back strategy. The people of India have had enough of their arrogance and destructive stance which is the reason states such as Kerala and West Bengal continue to exist in the stone-age, despite appreciable human capital. No, don't get me wrong. I'm not against the Spartans of the AKG and EMS kind. What I'm opposed to, is the diluted ideology that these sicko new-commies profess!

As always, some realizations come too late, as in the words of Lalu Yadav! I'd recommend one not to read that as a post-incident introspective response, for this bihari is only eyeing a cabinet berth, while attempting to please the high-command with his opportune statement! The move paid off too, in an instant, with the high command inviting him to be part of the cabinet meeting scheduled to happen today.

What is particularly remarkable is the undying spirit of the quintessential Indian, which despite being battered for years due to the misrule of the products as a result of the election action, still dutifully creates an urging stir in the minds of the voter to exercise the privilege accorded by the constitution! Take a look at this picture of a 91 year old lady in Varanasi who chose to caste her vote when the time came! I'm suddenly and shamefully reminded of myself and those others who chose otherwise! This pleasant Sunday afternoon, as I ready this post, I'm wondering how much my vote would have mattered! As always, after the incident even the fool is wise.


Image Courtesy - The Hindu

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Are we really alone?

Neither its origins, nor its future are known! It is 13.73 billion years old and its observable confines are estimated to be at least 93 billion light years in diameter! The universe is a very large place and is constantly undergoing change.

I have not once believed that, in such a vastly unimaginable expanse, us earthlings could be alone, let alone assume superiority and importance by a mere belief that we are the only life forms existing!


Image Courtesy - Wikipedia

Image Description - Hand-colored version of the Flammarion woodcut, depicting the Aristotelian conception of the Universe that preceded the models of Copernicus and Thomas Digges.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Remembering the holocaust

67 years ago, on this day in 1942, Hitler's notorious SS murdered 588 Jewish residents of the Podolian town of Zinkiv! The holocaust is perhaps the darkest acts of modern history, one that still serves as a grim reminder of how cruel and despicable human beings could be to their own kind.

Camps Auschwitz and Birkenau, among the many of their kind, witnessed some of the most grotesque events mankind could ever experience. By the time, Nazi Germany was brought to its knees, several million people had fallen victim to concentration camps established by Hitler's armies to systematically exterminate those unfit to be part of the superior race!

May such an act of Satan, never ever come to be!

Ironically, it is on this day, in 1945 that Germany's final surrender was signed.


Image Courtesy - Wikipedia

The entrance to Auschwitz I was, and still is marked with the sign "Arbeit Macht Frei", meaning "work makes one free."

Thursday, May 07, 2009


In a time of turbulence and change, it is more true than ever that knowledge is power

-- John F. Kennedy

Darkness and sorrow fill the day, along with anxiety and sheer dismay
In anticipation of good times, the soul will seek to stay
knowing that every single moment will bring with it something astray

Sleepless nights and weary days, take a toll on the self and the mind,
Forgotten, I have to listen to the birds chime or the leaves rustle,
while struggling to believing that times will change!

Sudden are some changes in life, random and irrepressible
their purpose, no one can seem to understand but call cruel!

I have but no choice but to believe that, every tort is meant to make me strong,
and, that the tough get going when the going gets though, I know,
but many a saying is easier said than done!

How more tougher will you make me to become?
Malleable and ductile that I already am!
Oh Creator, test me and my person as much as you wish
but spare those loved ones who I unreservedly cherish

For all your might, power, supreme and glory,
you still come far lesser than the ones I call kin!


My Mother has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which is an acute form of muscular rheumatism. It has been extremely painful for Her, over the past couple of weeks. Recovery is slated to be slow and long drawn. Tied with work, and located far from home, neither my brother, nor I, are able to be by Her side and offer support and provide comfort! I request all of you to say a prayer for Her speedy recovery! She means a lot to us!

Additionally, my Grandmother in Kerala isn't keeping well too! Age has taken an immense toll on her, although she continues her daily chores without any interruption and support! She has been at the forefront of our family, leading us in times of good and bad, providing us inspiration and comfort at all times. It's been 4 years since I last met her and hope to travel to Kerala later this year! I hope my prayers are answered!

Today is the birth anniversary of the famed poet, Sir Rabindranath Tagore

Image Courtesy - Google

Monday, May 04, 2009


Blue skies & Blue hills

Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived -- Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Nothing else matters much, not wealth, nor learning, nor even health, without this gift: the spiritual capacity to keep zest in living. This is the creed of creeds, the final deposit and distillation of all important faiths: that you should be able to believe in life -- Harry Emerson Fosdick

Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired -- Erik H. Erikson

Mum's rooftop garden

April has put a spirit of youth in everything -- William Shakespeare

I will be the gladdest thing under the sun. I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter -- Rachel Carson

All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within -- Horace Friess

Simbha's morning routine - Warming up & Cooling down

The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you've had -- Anonymous

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom -- Marcel Proust

Ooty - Unlimited

My profession is to always find God in nature -- Henry David Thoreau

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished -- Lao Tzu

Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles -- Anne Frank

Be like the bird, who halting in his flight on limb too slight, feels it give way beneath him, yet sings knowing he hath wings -- Victor Hugo