Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Spidabutt

He who is not with me is against me!

-- Matthew 12:30 & Luke 11:23 -- The Holy Bible

The blogosphere has been known to enjoy a sense of calm, a lot of peace among it's inhabitants while being relatively incident free and contributing to the coming together of many wonderful minds individually and collectively responsible for some of the finest creative expressions known to the world! However, that very fabric upon which it has been diligently woven together, with multitudes of cultural interchanges and the warm bonhomie among it's co-creators is being gravely threatened!

Of late, two conflicting ideologues, one of evil and the other of it's opposer, have been fast engulfing this hitherto serene world and escalating in a very dangerous proportion, unprecedented in this sphere! Imminently about to create violent divisions, and factions, each sworn in their belief stronger than the other, this vast vestige of human intervention is surely coming to see the likes of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War, which one sincerely hopes does not manifest into a full scale war of epic proportions!

The person responsible for this is none other than Vimal Vijayan, popularly known to his friends, fellow-bloggers, family members and associates as Vimmuuu, and the contention is his ill-placed belief of Spiderman being the true superhero of the universe, which, as many of you know, is based on fallacies, lies and fantasies at best! So technically, here is someone who is ardently propagating what is malicious and false, knowing fully well that his claims are refutable and baseless. Worse still, over a series of exchanges, he has had the audacity to deride Superman in ways that would put the worst Indian politicians to shame! :) As a truly peace loving citizen of the  blogosphere, I offered him many chances to redeem himself and come clean, thereby accepting his monumental blunder and make amends by pledging his allegiance to Superman, something which he has sternly refused to do, even as I write this post!

Therefore, knowing fully well that a battle is at hand, I now call upon fellow bloggers to seriously contemplate and opine about the sides they are about to take, or, in the course of time, be forced into! Ask yourselves, if your true purpose lies in upholding the good or partaking with the evil? :) To think of it, there cannot be a web-spinning, creepy jerk of a joke that can be worthy of being recognized as a hero! Would you want to cast your fate at the hands of a spider? Or rather, the legs of it? (Spiders don't have hands, do they?) One that has no lineage of excellence and virtue but simply driven (madly) by impulses created as a result of a chemical reaction, that it has no control over? Would you want your children to be known as impudent beings, won over by the influence of malevolence? Remember what Edmund Burke said about evil that "all that is necessary for it's triumph is that good men do nothing?"

So, when the time comes, who would you find yourself being aligned with? I'm asking this to your respective states of conscious, as true keepers of justice and integrity! Responsible citizens with a clean slate, you don't have to be seen thinking hard on this, for the choice is simple! Is it not easy enough to support the just, and join the cause to exterminate the evil web-spinning horror and grant the world a measure of peace that we all so much owe it, as part of our duty? So then, come up without dither, doubt or fear and be part of Operation Spidabutt - mankind's singularly most concerted effort to rid the universe of iniquity!

Finally, I'd like you to be reminded that "he who is not with me is against me." :)

Monday, July 26, 2010


What did you think? Time?

Now, there are somethings I'd so want to do, rather need to do, before I die! Call them wanton pleasures of a wishful man, but since they are on my list they become absolute must do's, speaking for myself that is.

1.Travel the world over and meet fellow bloggers, every single one of them I'm connected with, Moscow to British Columbia, Toruń included!
2. Visit the poles; Nothing beats tranquility and the massive white expanse, does it?
3. Para-drop from 30,000 feet; I want to do the helicopter spin! Sweetheart Samby, where are you?
4. Fly over the Everest; I'm guess I'm too incompetent to climb it, or even think of it!
5. Visit the headquarters of the United Nations and NATO! Even diplomacy needs some working understanding, I suppose, geo-politically speaking that is!
6. Scuba dive in the Mauritian waters; Maybe that's where I can be underwater and still get a tan! Talk about attitude, huh?
7. Donate, donate and donate! I learn't that from my parents! Ted Turner and Warren Buffet are textbook examples, at best!
8. Fly into space; Can you imagine how powerful and overwhelming a feeling it would be to be able to see the Earth when you are not on it?
9. Not get married, but have children; Sorry folks, no explanations here - no clarifications either! Haven't you heard that happily-married is just another oxymoron?
10. Meet Stephen Hawking! What can I possibly say about the father of time?
11. Go on a pilgrimage! Om Namah Shivaya! In case you don't already know, salvation is more than just a quest to embark upon, more potential than stepping out on a search for the Holy Grail, I presume!
12. Die young! Better to be a force to reckon with, than be a spent force!


The human mind, it is said, is fickle and hence this list automatically becomes far from exhaustive! No sarcasms here, only realistic assumptions, conditions notwithstanding that is! Forgive me for appearing to be convenient.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Life 2.0

Gadgetry has perhaps changed our lives in ways we cannot possibly imagine. I'm not talking about the numerous benefits of being connected and to be able to hear and see each other, despite the distance! I'm reasonably sure user literatures have educated almost all of us enough to the point of being able to smartly distinguish one offering from another!

Whatever happened to the handwritten letter culture and periodical courtesy visits that were routine exercises during childhood? Quite like languages, cultures and people, these pleasurable aspects of life seem to be dying down at a pace that cannot quite be understood! There is a serious sense of individualistic realm that seems to have encroached upon our minds today, taking us far and further apart from one another, making us so aloof that we have begun to forget how we were together!

I'm not about to elucidate the wrongs and rights of such an upcoming trend. I'd rather leave the statisticians and the psychiatrists to publish their well learned facts over time. But, I'm surely concerned, if not always alarmed, about how perilously distant and single we have become, often seeking companionship in snazzy gadgets that allow us to view the world through a seemingly magnified perspective, not knowing that we are being robbed off the human element and most importantly a sense of forbearance, which was once so very abundant!

Little wonder, some enlightened soul once remarked that one telephone is necessity, two is luxury, three is opulence while none is paradise! I couldn't agree more!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Defining a paradox

Life is so full of paradoxes! Efforts do not always lead to desired results. Ends hardly justify the means. Right doesn't always mean being right and wrongs, are like what they say, almost always subjective! Even time and nature hold paradoxes. Things may seem ordained in a certain manner but they are rife with contradictions. Questions relating to life, poverty, results, mannerisms and so on do not have definitive answers and yet linger in us at all times, not very unlike the passage of water in a brook, unfamiliar of where it would end up over the course of time, or merely keep flowing on!

What really are these paradoxes and their purpose, I wonder! Are they stumbling blocks purported to arise and exist in order to contribute to our evolution which happens over a period of time? Do they actually serve as a measure of understanding oneself? Maybe they are randomly occurring variables coming to being as a result of a certain course of action? But having said that, one wonders why there is a compulsion to embark upon a certain path that leads to an action that results in a paradox!

I'm not sure if I'd be able to chart a path forward! I'm often riddled with possibilities and yet really unsure of how to walk! There is a reassuring voice inside, but I'm not too sure if it is bias that is being vocal in an effort to nudge me forward! Unbeknown to me, there probably is a story unfolding in time, or so I'd like to believe, one that will bring about some sense of clarity!

Not a day passes without the thought of what it is that I'm really waiting for! And the more I think, there are only questions, hideous and painful ones, all too far from the answers!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hello, Mr. Hawking

Just the other day I was intently watching a feature of Stephen Hawking on TV and couldn't help admiring the man for his profoundness in passion and the ability to dream outside permissible limits, such as for instance, time travel! He has always fascinated me, and that began several years ago, when I first read his very articulate account of the universe, space and time, titled 'A brief history of time,' which, most certainly, is a very authoritative text on the four dimensions that we surround our existence in!

It amazes me beyond imagination how someone so severely disabled, (by motor neurone disease also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS), continues to delve into the nuances of space and time with a sense of ease and passion like that employed by a child during it's course of play.

What is certainly commendable about him is his ability to transcend boundaries despite his massive incapacity! Sometime in early 2007, he became the first paralytic to undertake a zero gravity flight as a precursor to his sub-orbital flight in space, which I'm not sure has happened yet.

Perhaps, the two things I absolutely like about him are, among others, one, his belief that alien life does exist in other parts of the universe, and two, his answer to the question of 'What came before the Big Bang?' which he asserted was meaningless, when he compared it to asking 'What lies north of the North Pole?'

Monday, July 12, 2010

Simply complex?

What do you like yourself to be seen as? Complicated, unknown, mysterious and unpredictable? Hold on, you aren't alone and that supposedly individualistic feeling of being unique in thinking or saying so is not so uncommon after all! Have you realized that it is a fad now, for people to say that they are complicated and not too easy to understand? I'm wondering if all of that jabber is as a result of serious insecurities from within, after all!

With relationships and their durations going bonkers with each passing day, it seems to be more of a statement, or an in thing for one to declare about oneself being complicated in the mind, and tough to understand, often failing to realize that such a statement almost always betrays one's fragile and utterly weak state of being, rather than appearing to sound uber-cool or chic!

Undoubtedly, the most appreciable state is that of simplicity, which if displayed from the outside wins admiration and if reflected from within, wins devotion. Simply, how difficult is that to understand? It's absolutely strange of how people, these days, don't want to be understood, when in reality that is exactly the biggest quest each one of us undertakes on a very continual basis, with or without realization!

Psychologically, perhaps, the ones who claim to be difficult to understand surely find themselves at loggerheads with their own personalities, coupled with a delusional understanding of the self that often borders on a very deranged sense of being from within!

Thank God for simplicity now!

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Russell–Einstein Manifesto

55 years ago, on this day, in London, a note was issued, urging world leaders to recognize and understand the threat of nuclear weapons in the hope of nuclear disarmament. It was signed by, among others, as the name itself suggests, Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell.

Today, the cold war is history, but if estimations are to believed, there exist about 23000 active nuclear weapons, in the form of either missiles that can be launched within a matter of minutes, or strategic weapons placed in different nations. One can seek consolation from the fact that their numbers have fallen from the total of 65000 active such weapons known to have existed in the year 1985.

Reduction in the number of weapons of mass destruction simply isn't a solution, for the threat nevertheless looms large. For instance, a gun with 3 rounds poses just about the same threat to life as another fully loaded one. Treaties such as START, SALT and the NPT, among others seek the ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, however, they are not without flaws and bias!

The last time the world came dangerously close a nuclear conflict was in October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, nations and people have come to work closely with one another thanks very much to the politics of diplomacy. Yet, the threat of a dirty bomb is ever present, thanks to a rabid proliferation network established by the likes of A. Q. Khan with the complicity of intelligence services of China and Pakistan, to name a few that is!

Therefore, E. L. Doctorow couldn't have been more right when, at the thick of the cold war, he wrote, that "it was first our weaponry and then our diplomacy, and now it is our economy! How can we suppose that something so monstrously powerful would not, after forty years, compose our identity?"


Full text of the Russell–Einstein Manifesto

Monday, July 05, 2010

Goodbye my Lord! So long!

I have known them since 1986, and very intimately at that! To me, they have been iconic, and a very significant and powerful representation of timeless existence of courage, charm, strength and endurance.

They have been more than just a landmark and have known to have existed for over 80 years! Towering well over the tallest of man made structures here, they have been a symbol of nature's unconditionally everlasting process of creation to make this a wonderful place to live in. One cannot, therefore, possibly imagine the legacy, and void, that they leave behind in the minds and hearts of all those who have loved them and opened their eyes to them every single morning - me included!

On the morning of the 30th, sometime last week, as I was leaving for work, I heard an electrostatic hum of some machine. Stopping to gauge it's source, I realized that the culprit was a battery powered chainsaw being put to use to bring down two magnificent Eucalyptus trees in the neighbourhood!

What I could say about those wonderful trees, even in the most descriptively flowery language, will not make up for what they truly are, rather were, now since they have been consigned to history and exist only in the depths of our minds!

The last one fell yesterday, painfully, amidst a nasty persisting drizzle and the sweeping cold. I stood still, numbed by what was unfolding, ashamed at containing a beast-like rage and not being able to do a thing about it!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Charity does begin at home

That charity begins at home is perhaps the most compassionate statements one would hear universally! Nothing can outshine it in intent, good will and most importantly in being humane and cognizant of another person’s condition and the effort to constantly work towards remedial measures which are so much of a dire need in today’s circumstances.

Speaking only for India, I've made a compilation of the following facts and figures which are absolute shockers!

The World Bank estimates that 456 million Indians (41.6 % of the total Indian population) now live under the global poverty line of $1.25 per day. This means that a third of the global poor now reside in India.

A 2007 report by the state-run National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) found that 77% of Indians, or 836 million people, lived on less than 20 rupees per day, with most working in "informal labour sector with no job or social security, living in abject poverty." However, a new report from the UN disputes this, finding that the number of people living on $1.25 a day is expected to go down from 435 million or 51.3 percent in 1990 to 295 million or 23.6 percent by 2015 and 268 million or 20.3 percent by 2020.

India is home to the world’s largest population of street children, estimated at 57 million. The Republic of India is the seventh largest and second most populous country in the world. With acceleration in economic growth, India has become one of the fastest growing developing countries. This has created a rift between poor and rich; 22 percent of the population lives below the income poverty line. Owing to unemployment, increasing rural-urban migration, attraction of city life and a lack of political will, India now has one of the largest number of child laborers in the world.

Street children are subject to malnutrition, hunger, health problems, substance abuse, theft, commercial sexual exploitation of children, harassment by the city police and railway authorities, as well as physical and sexual abuse, although the Government of India has taken some corrective measures and declared child labor illegal.

So, when on the morning of 30th June, Elizabeth Sholtys, Co-founder and Chief Executive of an non-profit organization called the Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC), wrote me an email introducing herself and her organization and what they do, along with a request to show support for their efforts, I decided to feature them on my blog, knowing fully well that such a noble cause requires marathon effort, courage, persistence and above all a sense of dedication that cannot for once be compromised.

The Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC) is dedicated to improving the lives and shaping the futures of vulnerable children in Pune, India by advancing educational opportunities, nurturing holistic development and building healthy, empowered communities.

AIC is in the running for $250,000 through the Chase Community Giving contest via Facebook. AIC is currently #12 in the list of more than 500,000 organizations, and is trying to secure more votes to move up to be within the top 5. Each organization within the top 200 will receive $20,000, but if AIC can make it to the top 5, they will receive $100,000 when the contest ends on July 12th. Only American organizations are eligible to compete, so there are very few other organizations that work in India participating in the contest (AIC is the only organization working in India that has been placed in the top 40 list).

Quoting Elizabeth Sholtys herself –

Even $20,000 goes a long way for AIC - for example, it pays for ALL of the school-related expenses for ALL 200 street kids and slum children in our Education Outreach Program. This includes school tuition fees for both public and private schools, exam fees, uniforms, underwear, shoes, sweaters, hair ribbons, lunch boxes, textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, art supplies, backpacks, external tutoring fees for our oldest students who attend a year-long prep course to help get them ready for the 10th standard board exams, and many other things.

You can help make a huge difference in the lives of 200 extremely needy children, just by voting. And in honor of our 5 year anniversary, please spread the word to at least 5 (or more!) friends and family members and convince them to support our cause.

Thank you so much!”

Folks, take a few moments to visit the following link and caste a vote to ensure that this effort is sustained.

AIC’s campaign on Chase Community Giving contest on Facebook


Statistical facts and figures, as per reports and publications, given hereunder.

Poverty in India 
Street children in India 
India: Urban Poverty Report 2009 

Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC) on Facebook and Twitter

The official AIC video

CBC documentaries on AIC
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3