Thursday, April 29, 2010

Remembering Rwanda

April 1994 marked a gruesome turn of events in a relatively quiet Rwanda.

The assassination of Presidents Juvénal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi sparked a cycle of violence that has since come to be known as The Rwandan Genocide, acts of unspeakably appalling horror that continue to haunt people of the entire world, let alone a nation!

I first heard of this heinous outbreak on The World this Week, a focus program by the NDTV. Prannoy Roy and the Late Appan Menon were bringing us some very updated but awfully uncomfortable images and data pertaining to the merciless killings of Tutsi natives and all those who were inclined to a peaceful Rwanda.

But this post is not to gloss over unpardonable actions of a few barbaric cowards because of whom millions in the hope and quest for a peaceful life were cut down, neither is this to serve as an almanac of events that dominated the troubled Rwandan social system and government apparatus. All of that simply cannot be summed in one mere blog-post!

This post has been made to pay rich tributes to the persons of Pierantonio Costa, Antonia Locatelli, Jacqueline Mukansonera, Paul Rusesabagina, Carl Wilkens and André Sibomana, all of whom have well beyond their human capacities performed feats that would equal in measure and will only to acts of God. In their concerted efforts to halt the genocide they saved and subsequently sheltered hundreds of Tutsi people and brought upon themselves great danger. But for the remarkable efforts of these wonderful people, humanity would never have known the intricacies of dignity, fellowship, brotherhood and compassion, all of which were grievously periled in the midst of the genocide.

The following video, titled One Million Voices is a reflection of hope in the backdrop of war and ruin in Rwanda. It is an adaption from the now popular movie titled Hotel Rwanda. Take a good look at it and do follow the words of the soundtrack, which will surely move you a great deal. It is hoped that the likes of the Rwandan Genocide do not find place in our times ever again, for the sake of our children who deserve nothing less than a world built on the foundations of peace, happiness and compassion! We owe that bit to them - a great deal!


As is always the case in the aftermath of such events, there has been no consensus with regards to the number of people who perished during the genocide in Rwanda.  The official figures published by the Rwandan Government estimated the number of victims of the genocide as 1,174,000 in merely 100 days of violence. That accounted for 10,000 people murdered every day, 400 every hour and 7 every minute!

The wounds will live on, for more than a lifetime!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Made in Japan


-- The vision that drives Sony Corporation

Inspiration comes from many sources, if only one can observe and absorb, that is!

One such resource is Made in Japan, autobiography of the famed Akio Morita, erstwhile head of the Sony Corporation, an organization that is synonymous for cutting edge quality and excellence!

The book is replete with instances of commitment, dedication, enthusiasm, innovation and perseverance, doses of which can be liberally adopted and replicated by all of us in our daily lives. The key, according to Morita, is discipline without which nothing can be made possible and with which there is nothing that can come to be impossible!

What is striking is the narrative itself, which is extremely simple, warm and very personal. It is a work of art that depicts the working of a very evolved mind that does what it loves the most, with a very strong sense of dedication and will power that has ensured what Sony is today!

For those of you who are looking for a very good add to your collection, this is a masterpiece and an absolute must read from which a lot of lessons can be well-learnt.


Sony is presently a $79.6 billion enterprise employing over 180,500 people, with total assets of over $123 billion.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Swindler's List

Goldman Sachs, as you know, has been the latest entrant into the list of multinational organizations that have been charged with defrauding their investors and customers! Adding another string of shams to a long list which has emerged forerunner in the news, thanks to a hyper recessive state of the market, this falling of corporations like a house of cards, emerged noticeable enough in the eyes of the world after the Enron fiasco in October 2001. Since then, monolithic conglomerates which were hitherto blue chips of the industry have been going under in unimaginable numbers!

My point is that of disgust! These supposedly clean-slate businesses have long emphasized on corporate governance and transparency while claiming to uphold the values of corporate etiquettes and what not! In doing so only on paper, while amassing colossal profits and dishing out hefty bonuses to their leadership branch,  they have unduly harassed their employees into making them clock extremely long hours under very high pressure, often in the most derelict circumstances, something that is almost always never addressed, despite the presence and operations of supposedly superior human resources functions.

Those of you, who are part of the corporate culture know very well how integrity and transparency are mere buzzwords etched only in glossy presentations and brochures, their meaning, letter and spirit never practiced even in the least possible measure.

Is it therefore worth the effort to be enslaved to such well crafted evil that totally disregards human capital and its potential, while instances of white collar crime such as creative accounting, just to name among the very many, goes unpunished?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mission Radiance

It is believed that if you desire something long enough, it eventually comes within reach and becomes one with the mind! One such thing that did happen was our visit to the Government School of the Hearing and Speech Impaired earlier this week! I've been long wanting to visit there and organize a little something for these special kids, so when Manesh, my good friend, suggested a well laid outreach and giving program to put this into effect, my joy knew no bounds as if realizing a long awaited endeavour that was finally coming to be born!

Such an expedition does a lot of good, for, as an outsider, one comes to understand the intricacies of how special children go about their lives and conduct themselves in their routine, something that is done with a great deal of relying upon within than outside, contrary to what is popular belief. They truly are icons in the sense that they derive strength, courage and determination from among themselves than looking upon to an external source for all of that!

It is truly heartening and to see how much they can connect with you and more importantly teach you some very valuable lessons in life! It may, for some of us, be very easy to overlook the basics of life that we consider a necessity. But when you step into the realm of these little ones, you realize that there is absolutely nothing that can be taken for granted indeed.

For starters, we were received with a great deal of love and joy, something that I truly didn't deserve and therefore was moved very much by the honorific gesture. It was a hard task to keep my emotions under check while interacting with these ambassadors from another world.  I consider myself very fortunate to have been permitted to get a glimpse of these special lives and they way they are furthered. There is indeed no greater joy than the joy of giving, for it enables one to experience a sense of happiness and fulfillment like no other!

So for me, this was a mission, one which involved seeking happiness in those of another who surely, as much as me, has the right to live a life in dignity and satisfaction!


Some of the pictures taken during the course of the event can be viewed via this link.

I cannot say enough to thank Manesh for his marvelously well orchestrated skills of coordination and execution that have ensured the smooth conduct of this effort. Thank you Sir, but for you, this would have never happened! 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Marathon of Hope

October 15, 1979

My name is Terry Fox. I am 21 years old, and I am an amputee. I lost my right leg two-and-a-half years ago due to cancer. The night before my amputation, my former basketball coach brought me a magazine with an article on an amputee who ran in the New York Marathon. It was then I decided to meet this new challenge head on and not only overcome my disability, but conquer it in such a way that I could never look back and say it disabled me.

But I soon realized that that would only be half my quest, for as I went through the 16 months of the physically and emotionally draining ordeal of chemotherapy, I was rudely awakened by the feelings that surrounded and coursed through the cancer clinic. There were faces with the brave smiles, and the ones who had given up smiling. There were feelings of hopeful denial, and the feelings of despair.

My quest would not be a selfish one. I could not leave knowing these faces and feelings would still exist, even though I would be set free from mine. Somewhere the hurting must stop....and I was determined to take myself to the limit for this cause.

From the beginning the going was extremely difficult, and I was facing chronic ailments foreign to runners with two legs in addition to the common physical strains felt by all dedicated athletes.

But these problems are now behind me, as I have either out-persisted or learned to deal with them. I feel strong not only physically, but more important, emotionally. Soon I will be adding one full mile a week, and coupled with weight training I have been doing, by next April I will be ready to achieve something that for me was once only a distant dream reserved for the world of miracles – to run across Canada to raise money for the fight against cancer.

The running I can do, even if I have to crawl every last mile.

We need your help. The people in cancer clinics all over the world need people who believe in miracles.

I am not a dreamer, and I am not saying that this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. But I believe in miracles. I have to.


It was on this day, in 1980, that Terrence "Terry" Stanley Fox, a Canadian athlete and cancer research activist began his Marathon of Hope. He has, since, become an icon of superhuman stature! His marathon raised $1.7 million and his legacy continues to evoke deep emotions.

Today, close to 30 years after his death, Redefining Oblivion salutes this herculean idol and celebrates his lasting legacy that has benefited several thousands of people in their arduous fight against cancer, by giving them what they needed above all else in life, that element being hope!

The contents of this post is a letter written by Terry Fox to the Canadian Cancer Society informing them of his endeavour.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Excerpts from the epic

"When Brahma created living beings, he was filled with anxiety. 'These lives will multiply and soon their number will be beyond the capacity of the earth to bear. There seems to be no way of coping with this.' This thought of Brahma grew into a flame which became bigger and bigger until it threatened to destroy all creation at once.

Then Rudra came and pleaded for allaying this destructive fire. Brahma controlled the great fire and subdued it into the law that is known to mortals as Death. This law of the creator takes many forms, such as war or sickness or accident and keeps the balance between birth and death.

Death is thus an inescapable law of existence, ordained for the good of the world. It is not true wisdom to be impatient with Death or to grieve immoderately for those who die. There is no reason to pity those who pass away. We may have reason indeed to grieve for those who remain."


I have presently completed reading the Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari and thought it apt to present this excerpt which moved me beyond anything that I have ever felt, known and heard! I feel unnecessary, and also grossly unqualified, to explain this simplest of truths any more than what has already been so wonderfully illustrated in this marvelous epic.

However, I have come to realize how true these words are, along with those others spoken at length, especially in the context of our lives in the present day!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Notes of life

Theres a great deal of emotion in music, you will agree!

From the notes of subtle staccato on the piano to the deeply crafted compositions on the violin, the clumping strums on the guitar or the thumping percussions from the drum, there have come about some of the finest pieces of wonder that the human mind can conceive and create for it's likes to intensely indulge in enjoyment!

What would be a world without music, if the maestros had not assumed their will and power over the instrument to create many a relic for the rest of us to relish? Can we imagine a realm where sound is merely a cacophony of our menial verbiage grossly cluttered in chatter and monotony at best?

To experience the sheer amount of joy that is a result of a musical treat is sanguine not just to the ears or the mind but also to the soul, or the inner being, I suppose! How else can you justify an amount of disproportionate rush that overwhelms the self while being subject to the brilliant modulations of sound that we know and term as music?

Would you therefore, like me, not empathize with Henry David Thoreau for his belief that "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer? Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.


This post was created as an inspirational result of a mad rush obtained while listening to the creation of one of music's most respected masters - Hans Zimmer. His conception for the movie Angels and Demons reflected to me, while writing this post, how intense an emotion music can bring upon to the listener and the splendid outcomes as a result thereof!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The world in a page

They say, that as a child a library card takes you places, while as an adult a credit card does the same job! Well, the former part still holds true in my case and it so appears that there aren't a lot of stones unturned in my efforts to constantly dwell over my most prized hobby - reading, that is!

So, when I walked out of Higginbotham's a few days ago with armfuls of superbly serious literature on history, Indian jungles and statecraft, I felt a mad rush that could well be equated with the ecstatic high which almost always is a result of a very successful culmination of events in a way that the mind has envisaged and so desired, so often termed as picture-perfect!

Those who have cultivated this magnificent inclination, and a strong liking for it, will certainly agree that it is surely a matter of unrivaled pleasure to sink into a couch with an honorific possession, engaging with which can delightfully transport the reader into a world that is a lot more than just worth visiting!

Maybe that is precisely why I so emphatically agree with William Styron who rightly remarked that "A good book should leave you slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it."