13 December 2005


A sense of clueless ness where your mind is under a grip of aching want that you quite don’t know what it is but you feel it pervading you, immersing you into a state of inertia where all purposes seem pointless and you know, you are LOST!

Feeling lost,perhaps, is the most lingering emotion of our life that doesn’t get as much importance as “Happy” or “Sad” yet you seem to endure it as much as them. Is feeling lost, being sad? Not in the complete sense but there is sadness for the loss of things you have and more importantly, the things you don’t have. A Yearning. A Desire. A Need for a particular kind of person, particular lifestyle, an acceptance in the way you like it! It is strange to see how you can lose something that you don’t have. But what the mind can conceive and perceive, it tricks us into believing we can have them even though it has not transmuted into reality. And that’s where the loss for the things/people you don’t have comes from. A disconnect between the mind, heart and reality.

Being lost wasn’t such a bad thing when you were young. It had that sense of adventure, sense of awe and above all, you were never afraid at heart. You always knew you would find your way back. There is also that phase where your career is not taking off or you don’t find the job you’re looking for. But this lost feeling has hope even though at times you feel angry and agitated. And you have age by your side then. You know if you fall down, you have enough time to get up and keep running. But the worst kind is, feeling lost when you are made. A stage where certain things have a sense of inevitability about them and you can’t shake the applecart because you are sunk half way into the ground. Lost without hope of recovery!

You live out of your roles. You live out of yourself with your mind constantly preoccupied with yearning for the things you lost – without having them! You can sense how slowly you caved in to giving up your dreams without trying. How you don’t have the courage to make the hard decisions because your life yarn is intertwined with so many others and one selfish act can rip many. How you have cocooned into that existence without really living and always feeling your mind someplace else. You’re just standing still clueless as life passes by you and you look for a calling, hoping one day you will find it and find peace.

Who knows? Maybe the very things you are looking for is in the very place you are trying to run away from! If only you can stop feeling lost!

Pic Source: http://away.com/photos/behind_image/abrahm_lustgarten/china-gobi-march.html

08 December 2005

How OLD are you ?!!!

I turned 15 when I was 7, when my Dad slapped my mom in front of me!
I turned 7 when I was 15, when my Grandmother hugged me after her surgery!

I turned 18 when I was 10, when my mom finally left my abusive Dad!
I turned 10 when I was 18, when I had a pillow fight with my roommate!

I turned 25 when I was 13, when my mom dropped me at my cousin’s place to study!
I turned 13 when I was 25, when I bought my first car!

I turned 30 when I was 21, when I squeezed her palms reassuringly at the altar!
I turned 21 when I am 30, when she squeezed my palms in her deep slumber!

My pains make me older!
My smiles make me younger!

My needs shrink as I get older!
My heart expands as I feel younger!

My age is determined by my emotional shards!
So, what’s the point of Birthday cards?

The Immigrant Vacuum!

They say beware of what you dream. It may just come true. And when it becomes true, you lose your survival instinct. The rope called survival necessity that was holding you back, suddenly disappear. And you rise above, floating high, aimlessly.

You enter the land of dreams. You make a decent amount of money. You wear nice clothes. You drive a big gas-guzzling SUV. You meet your own kind during weekends while trying to blend in with the locals during weekdays. You sit with thousands in the freeway in an orderly fashion and wonder how organized the traffic is compared to the chaos in the streets of New Delhi. You admire the strange perkiness and courtesy as they wish everyone ‘Hey, How u doin?’. Your manager is not watching your back as you browse Samachar.com for the first one hour at work. You go into meeting as your Boss makes it clear what he needs done and you go back to your seat knowing exactly what needs to be done. You go back home without too many complaints as your wife asks you, Chinese or Italian take-out tonite? Your eyes get used to beauty around u and after few months, you don’t even notice them. After few years, you don’t even appreciate them since you expect them that way.

What am I complaining about then? A good Life? A well-oiled system? Lack of Chaos? Lack of uncertainty? Boredom? I guess it’s the lack of feeling of being part of something bigger than you. Like sharing the smile with total stranger because India had just won a Cricket match; feeling the immense human energy that flows, stinks, surrounds you until you gasp and search for your own little spot in the market; riding an auto-rickshaw whose driver spouts more philosophy than Socrates;watching the passage of one rupee from one hand to another, trusting total strangers, to buy the ticket from the bus conductor sitting in front of the Bus and the extra flowers that the flower vendor throws in because you are being nice to your wife. It is impossible to be lonely in the world’s most populous democratic country.

When the materialistic needs of self get fulfilled, you grow to realize how wrong you have been in your priorities. It’s like Family. You fight your best to run away from their unjust judgments about you, from their inconsiderate taunting and when you finally manage to go to different city far away from them, you long for that morning coffee, you long for that irritable little neighborhood boy who hangs around with the cricket bat in your yard, you even long for those ‘know-all’ relatives who pop up at the oddest of hours, only to eat your share of curry and vanish! Maybe it’s loneliness that makes you long for these things since am sure two weeks back at your home, you will be longing for the quiet ‘Law & Order’ episode in your room.

There is a huge immigrant baggage that you bury deep under layers of economic and infrastructural necessities. Once you reach the threshold of materialistic comforts, you slowly begin to wonder about your acceptance in the society you live in. Sure, no one questions your place in this country but can you really BE a part of this society? The problem could very well be inside you than theirs since every immigrant wants the economic security and infrastructure of their adopted country and the matters relating to heart from their home country. And as time moves on, you are just stuck in-between forming your own unsure identity.

A new self emerges from the amalgam of your life experiences with loss from the place you came from and yearning for the lost things in the place you decide to settle. A constant nagging feeling trying to balance your needs and wants. As you vacillate between these two choices, you realize you either have to sacrifice one of them or make sure what you miss is compensated on the side you decide to stay forever.

Maybe I just need to take a trip back home to fulfill my vacuum!

How many would attend your FUNERAL ?!!!

Questions like these pop in your head when you’re brought into ER room at 3am for Kidney stones and you are screaming in pain at a scale of 12 on a 10 point scale and the ER-nurse is busy counting the number of letters in your long-desi-name asking you in that southern accent, “Is it r-a-m-a-sh-aan-d-ar-en?” and all you can muster to reply is, “Gimm-eee…daaaa…F&%#@# morphineeee!”.

Once the ER-special episode is over and you slowly slip into that unconscious and see a glowing light slowly approaching you, you wonder, how many would really attend if you were to die NOW!

Serious question but remote possibility for kidney stones, but then, we Indians, tend to be overtly emotional and sentimental even for urine test(which some of us confuse for sperm sample since they just give the plastic cup never explaining what it is for!).

So, the count begins.

My wife (1) – Obvious choice! If she has tolerated me for a decade, she sure can tolerate the funeral expenses for one more extra week.

My Mom (1) – Since she is on vacation in US and her visa doesn’t expire until March of next year.

Friends at Work (10-20) – Will probably declare a holiday for my department but considering “Clients come first”, I think it would just be my region in the department.

Friends in Atlanta (10–20) – Since many have enjoyed my rhetoric on “Why apathy is the root cause of all evil” or why it helps your heart to say “Yes Dear” in the long run!

Friends in US (5-7) – Depending on rates at airtran.com or southwestern.com on the funeral day!

Relatives in US (1-2)—Can depend on at least one of the two cousins to turn up and the other one depending on whether he decides to pick his cell phone after seeing the caller-id!

People from India(1) - Don't expect anyone other than my brother to spend and come for my funeral!

That’s it? Is that all? Is it really over? Am I missing any more categories?

So, if I die today, I have been able to piss-off, cause pain, irritate, bring joy, pour sarcasm, and give love only to minimum of 29 and a maximum of 51 people?

Damn! And here I was, thinking, it would be at least 100!

Maybe I should spend more time in the real world giving more reasons for people to miss me when I am gone (or carry my body to India and say free food to 100 people in my will)!

Pic source: http://www.rantmorgan.com/howto/death/death.jpg

I say You Say!

I say, “Unborn Killing!”
You say, “Right to Choose!”

I say, “Time for Charity!”
You say, “Money for Charity!”

I say, “Speed before accident happens!”
You say, “Slow down to avoid accidents!”

I say, “Unrealistic Movie!”
You say, “Escapist fantasy!”

I say, “Karl Rove!”
You say, “Michael Moore!”

I say, “India!”
You say, “US!”

I say, “Be Prepared and have kids!”
You say, “Have Kids and be prepared!”

I say, “Horror!”
You say, “Romantic Comedy!”

I say, “Socialistic Communism!”
You say, “You say Capitalistic Prosperity!”

I say, “Existential Conclusions!”
You say, “Divine Interventions!”

I say, “Burn all Bridges!”
You say, “Calculated Risks!”

I say, “Outdoor fun!”
You say, “Indoor quality time!”

I say, “Freedom in Renting!”
You say, “Happiness in Owning!”

I say, “Big Picture!”
You say, “Details!”

I say, “Experimentation!”
You say, “Keep it in your pants!”

I say, “Passion!”
You say, “Loyalty!”

I say, “Genetic dysfunction!”
You say, “Behavioral deficiency!”

I say, “Selective listening!”
You say, “Inconsiderate Moron!”

I say, “It’s not the whole truth!”
You say, “It’s a complete lie!”

I say, “Grey!”
You say, “Black or White!”

I say, “Empathize!”
You say, “Justifications!”

I say, “I love you!”. You say, “I love you!”. In the end, nothing else matters!

Picture Source:http://www.pbase.com/ykeesing/root

Are you "COOL" ?!!!

It’s not WMD. It’s definitely not 911 or e-mail or Internet. The award for the ”Word” of the decade goes to the coolest word in the new-age lexicon, ’Cool’. From a non-existent eighties to limited edition usage in early 90’s,”Cool” has made a big splash in late nineties and is here to stay. Being cool; wearing Cool; acting cool; walking cool; even spelling cool in a “kewl” way; it has slowly permeated every aspect of our life and suddenly become an important factor in our daily decision making process. Even Friends are chosen based on their “Cool-Quotient”.

What is being cool? I know being polite (yeah right!), obedient (what difference does it make between one and ten lies?), caring, lovable, honorable, confident, etc. But no one ever taught me how to be cool? Perhaps it is one of those things you figure it out yourself (like Love, Sex, Marriage). All of us use it in many different contexts. ”Cool! That’s awesome!”, ”That’s a cool dress” ,”She is Cool”, ”I am cool”, ”The Manager is very un-cool”. What do we mean by it?

When you say “That’s a cool dress”, do you mean, “I am surprised you would dare to wear that crap? “ or “You don’t look that weird that would stop me from hanging out with you?”. Or are you are saying it’s a nice dress. But if you felt it was nice you would have used the word nice. Why “Cool”? Perhaps it was ‘different’ not nice. So if something is different, is it Cool? Now I am very un-cool trying to figure this thing out and worse, sweat about it. My coffee-break mate was more candid about his reason for using it. He said he is just too tired of saying ‘Ok’ all the time. He said Cool kinda sounds, you guessed it, cool.

The problem with being cool or acting cool is that no one really knows what it really means because it’s very subjective. What you think is cool might be plain stupid to someone else. After intense analysis and research of personal cool-compliments, my definition of being cool is having the “Could care less” attitude!
“Are you disappointed that you were left out of team?”
“Cool! I could care less!”

“Are you hurt that you were not invited? “
“Cool! I could care less!”

“Are you not worried about piercing your ear and tattooing your forearm? “
“Cool! I could care less”

The moment you decide to do what you want to do without worrying about other’s approval, you display Confidence; Certitude; Assuredness; Attitude; in other words, ”You are Cool”. Being cool is being comfortable in your own skin. It’s not the outfit; it’s the attitude in the outfit!

Lifetime Movies!

I remember the first time I watched “Nayagan”. Lost in the dark theatre , seeing the eyes of young Velu Nayagan ,his helplessness, loss, anger, pain,wondering what would happen to this orphaned kid who looks just like me; empathizing, sympathizing, despising , feeling his injustice as my own ,his need for retribution as mine, his love, his fears ,his ironies and how all those elements come together in that climatic act, when I knew he was going to be shot yet wanted someone to scream and save him, that queasy feeling in my stomach saying something bad was going to happen , palms sweating ,heart filled with strange sorrow, holding that loud crying scream inside my throat so I wouldn’t burst …and finally unable to hold them, my tears tumbling down along with Velu Nayakkar getting shot, as Ilayaraja weaves his melancholic magic in the background! SIGH…that’s what I call a “Lifetime” movie.

A lifetime shrunk, felt, experienced in those three hours. A surreal experience that I know would travel with me the rest of my life! Few movies have evoked such emotions in me. ”Satya” took me to Mumbai , ”City of God” took me to Rio De Janeiro, ”DDLJ” wanted me to fall in love, being ”Godfather” was all I could think of during a stage of my life, “Gandhi” invigorates my patriotic fervor every time ,”Anjali ” makes me wanna adopt an autistic girl, “Bombay” makes me angry at the stupidity of fighting over religion, “Droh Kaal”, “Kalyug”,”Salangai Oli”(“Saagara Sangamam” in telegu),”Mahanadhi” and the list keeps growing as I grow.

Its surprising how those 2 or 3 hours, live inside you as pockets of consciousness, pockets of entity, pockets of experience, all bottled inside forever to cherish, forever to recall! You may not even want to watch these Lifetime movies again .You don’t want to re-experience some of them bcoz they have given you that moving, visual visceral experience already and ur afraid you may not feel that again!

Somewhat akin to not wanting to see your old friends now, as you have changed and they have changed and u don’t want the current existent self to destroy that sweet memory of idyllic ideal past! But sometimes you want to go back to that idyllic past with them so you can share new ones and similarly you want to re-experience that lifetime movies again to appreciate an aspect that you didn’t know existed before. It may not be the same experience, but u know it will still be satisfying because u know it has already taken you once to that plane of “illusory reality with a happy or sad closure”.

There are other kinds of “Lifetime movies” which is significant not bcoz of the movie but bcoz it represents a time of your life and reminds of the people you watched it with. I remember the first movie i watched with my girlfriend (“Indecent Proposal”) sneaking without anyone’s knowledge, finding a theatre where no one knew, only to pretend I didn’t know her for the rest of the movie bcoz of the party-pooper sitting next to me who was from “known” circle. The movie (“Muthu”) where i remember the bus ride more than the movie bcoz I was not part of the bus structure, hanging two feet away, holding the last window in one hand and some stinking drunkard’s collar on the other, hoping the strength of his sweaty shirt would save my life; the movie (“Khal-Nayak”) where after my initial attempts to shush my loud-mouthing whistling friend, I took the plunge to join his act ; the movie(“Magalir Mattum”) where we clapped incessantly when no one else was clapping in the theatre; the movie(“Vaaname Ellai”) when i jumped the hostel wall ,broke a thousand rules ,only to find the hostel warden in the same theatre!

Movies have become the pages that I can turn to look into my past anytime. I know they would continue to form new exciting pages of my life! It would be a lifetime of movies and movies that would last a lifetime! How about you ?

Motorcycle Diaries!- Movie Review

“Going on a journey with a map requires following directions - going on a journey without one requires following your heart.” - Tom Krause

There is a moment in everyone’s life where you know, some part of your self has changed irrevocably. For some, it is sudden, like the loss of a family member. For some, it is a slow, mutating process inside you, like that of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, riding on a beat-up Motorcycle with his friend, Alberto Granado,on a 13,250km road-trip across Latin America.

The movie starts off in an unpretentious manner where Alberto, a biochemist by profession, explains his life-long ambition of going on his motorcycle (“The Mighty One”) across Latin America before he turns 30 in six months. Ernesto, his best friend, 23, accompanies him. You can feel the excitement of a road-trip across the continent and wish you were sitting at the back of that Bike as the Director, Walter Salles, takes you through some amazing, empty road, wide-open field shots with blue sky hovering over the riders. You are transported to the muddy roads of Argentina, green fields in Chile, Mountains of Peru including an amazing view of Machi Pichu and the backwaters of Colombia splintered with changing sceneries and emotions of a young man.

There is a great cinematic effect on movies that don’t try to be cinematic because you can feel it’s real and authentic. Not for a moment you doubt the audacity of the characters or the situations because of the way the characters speak, act and the way the situations transpire in front of your eyes. There are no trick shots, special effects or torturous villains. It’s a pure and simple slice of life story, drawing you into the plight of two travelers with nothing but hope, love, anguish and, ofcourse, no food and money.

The story moves from funny trip mishaps in Argentina to free-spirited adventures in Chile to angst at the plight of workers in Peru to sadness of Leprosy patients in Colombia. Very rarely, you find a movie that captures the essence of the purpose of road trip. This one gets it without compromising the length of scenes, without over-dramatizing the plight of poor and leprosy people and above all without any lengthy dialogues which is very important for a subtitled movie. The pacing could have been a little fast but it might have compromised on the essence. Rodrigo De La Serna (Alberto) gives the most natural, glib-talking funny yet loyal buddy performance while Gael GarcBernal (‘Che’) looks, feels and acts honestly without over-doing it.

The movie reminded me of the train trip sequences in “Gandhi” and how it changed him to understand the real India. ’Che’ went on to become a great revolutionary leader as part of Cuban Revolution and wrote the book “Guerilla Warfare”.

A must-see movie that leaves you with an experience of a satisfying journey!

Daily Pockets!

Are you the kind of person who shakes your head animatedly as if in a seizure while driving? Well, I do when Rahman’s ‘Fanaa ‘ song plays in my car CD! Immersing in my favorite song oblivious to the outside world while I am in autopilot mode in the highway is almost spiritual. It’s a daily pocket of time that is just between my car, my song and me! I am not a husband, not a father, not a professional, during that time. Just me! A closed time warp filled with melodies and beats.

It’s impossible not to get carried away while the beats of 'Fanaa' fills inside the tinted glass windows!

’Hone ne do… Dard kho…Dabaa…’!

My fingers tap around as if I am Sivamani’s protégé beating those unseen drums around my steering wheel!

‘Aaona Aaona…Hona hai Fanaa’!

Lost in the amazing percussion of Rahman, I increase the volume as I step on the gas and a gleeful smile spills over as my speedometer rises to 85.

’Aaona Aaona…Hona Hai Fanaaa!’.

My mind whizzes through the dance floor as the song enters the string portion rising my adrenalin.! My whole body swings back and forth as the guy in Ford Explorer in adjacent lane thinks I am licking the steering wheel! My left foot taps unconsciously as my hips move sideways!

‘NiNisasa NiNisasa gagasa’!

My voice tries to keep up with the rhythm in the alaap

’Papaninipa Papaninipa ninipapama ninipapama Saaaa’,

as I scream at my highest voice, comfortable in the fact that if someone thought a cat was being strangled, I will be long gone from that spot before they recover. As the song winds down with the beat vanishing into my rear speakers, I feel an elated exhaustion as my CD player moves to next song. It stuck me that everyone has his or her own kind of Daily pockets. A pocket of time spent just by them, for them, replenishing, recharging and unwinding!

I realized what I thought as quirks with my other half were actually her time capsules! Her scholarly pursuits in bathroom (she loves reading in bathroom), has made me add a bookshelf (Vital), TV (Essential) and Internet (Desirable) to the bathroom in our dream home which would be bought the day after winning the lottery! Her other pockets include watching Jacques Torres at food network (what’s with Women and chocolates), re10-reading Pride and Prejudice and other Jane Austen uptight English women stories! I, on the other hand, apart from my wanna-be-symphony-conductor in car, I love my early morning ‘not asleep not awake’ moments where I try to re-enter my dreams after hitting the snooze button twenty times. Nothing seems impossible in those early morning controlled dreams; whether you want to be Neo, Darth Vader, Spielberg or talk with Salma Hayek (yeah right!).

These satisfying fillers in the day are more important than we think. Without them we would be out-of-breath, cluttered, racing towards each chore without a moment for ourselves! So take a break to unwind through your daily pockets! Enjoy your very own Fanaa song before you are consumed by your work!

Source of Cute Puppies Photo:
http://jilmil.blogspot.com/ by Pallavi Barua

Give Me!

Give me sex not just love – Husband to “loving” wife
Give me love not just sex – Wife to “loving” husband
Give me time not money – Old Age home inmate
Give me reason not a lecture – Teenage daughter to parent
Give me courage not reason --Patient waiting for Chemotherapy
Give me reason not rhetoric – Lila Lipscomb,mother of dead soldier, to Bush
Give me food not sympathy - Kids in Ethiopia
Give me Life not fear - People in Dahfur, Sudan
Give me medicine not just support – Aids patient in South Africa
Give me hope not just flowers – Russian Mother in Beslan tragedy
Give me my country not with illegal immigrants – illegal immigrant protester
Give me equality not just talk about equality–African kid in local college
Give me my job not corporate reasons of cost cutting– Outsourcing victim
Give me faith not Jihad – A moderate Muslim in London
Give me credibility not the other guy’s distortion of me – John Kerry
Give me the vote not for my record but because Kerry is useless - Bush
Give me Freedom not occupation – People in Iraq
Give me truth not necessarily the whole truth - Lawyer’s in most countries
Give me patience not knowledge– First grade teacher
Give me knowledge not failures – NASA after failure of Genesis project
Give me melody not just noise – Music fan’s opinion of Rap

Maybe if we can listen to what people really want and give what they actually need, the world might become a better place to live!

The only way to end Give me’s is to have more Give you’s in your life!


Early morning, deep slumber face.
Cursing the alarm, hitting the snooze face.
Hearing wife talking to herself in bathroom,puzzled face.
Coffee aroma from kitchen mixed with some other kind of flavor, smelling face.
Realizing the other kind of smell is the open bathroom in the bedroom,disgusted face.
Walking in sleep to brush and hitting the shoulders in sidewall, screaming face.
Humming a tune that irritates your wife while brushing, mean face.
Switching the TV and sipping hot coffee, bright morning face.
Seeing George Bush smile, pissed off changing channel face.
Only to hear Kerry Flip Flop in the other channel, annoyed face.
Wife urging to move your lazy ass, being interrupted face.
Feeling the forceful shower and dancing in bathroom rain,eyes-closed happy face.
Looking at shower clock,canceling the dance with Preity Zinta in reverie,rushed face.
Trailer changing lanes in front of your tiny Honda, scared face.
Admiring Blonde lady in next lane,missing hitting the car in front,‘Oops!' face.
Reaching office and eyebrow shrinking looking at ‘to do’ list, swamped face.
Hearing blaring radio from the newbie in next cube, wondering ‘what the’ face.
Attending another unnecessary meeting, pretending to listen,’Get me outta here’ face.
Your team member claiming your work as his own, ’what trick did he pull’ face.
Newbie's lunch box smell driving me to nearest restaurant,'Hungry beast' face.
Warding off sleep and calling other friends at work, ’I am so bored' face.
Going back home thinking ’Law&Order,Donald Trump,Scrubs’ excited face.
Wife cuddling in couch expecting romantic speeches while u burp, sorry face.
Getting back in mood and kissing, ‘lover boy’ face.
Only to be disturbed by your uninvited neighbour, ’Damn!’ face.
Wondering when he would go, exasperated face.
Hitting the bed and stretching the arms, tired face.
Looking at the stars through window, smiling to oneself and drifting to dream face!

So many faces, wonder which one is real! Maybe it is buried deep inside! Introspective face!

The "Other" Woman!

Who knew that an open computer screen could shatter your family into pieces in an instant? She stumbled on my emails to “her” as she wanted to know how many teaspoons were required for that special recipe she was making to surprise me. When I came back and found her sitting in my chair, I knew, Mr.Hyde has been found.

Love is a strange phenomenon with unseen, unknown number of dimensions. It’s not necessary that one person fulfill all those dimensions. I didn’t expect the woman of my home to understand my need of the "Other Woman". Maybe I should have been a better Man and told her the truth up front. But strange as it may sound, it was my love for her that stopped me from telling her the truth. Maybe it was because I was conflicted in my own head as to where my relationship with "her" might take me ultimately. Every day I was confronted by thousand questions. Do I have the courage to abandon my family for her? Can I live with that guilt and still be happy? Or is sacrifice a greater virtue? Duty or Love?

As she sat in that chair with tears rolling down her cheeks, I knew her heart was broken. I had cheated on her and I didn’t have any excuse except that my heart was with the ‘Other Woman’. All that this beautiful woman crying in front of me had was my respect and admiration for her sacrifice. She had trusted me and I had used that trust to betray her hopes. There was no melodrama. Just grief. Funeral homes had more charm than my home during those first few weeks she found out. She was sure I was going to leave her and the little one for ‘Her’. She conjured up scenarios where ‘She’ seduced my innocent heart by sashaying her little skirt in front of me. She obviously had to be a paid escort or a slut sleeping with everyone in her street, according to her.

A person’s true intentions are revealed only when you threaten to take away the most important things in their life. And I was already seeing its effect at home. During Breakfast. During Lunch. In front of the little one. Ranting. Screaming. It was hurt bleeding in words. People won’t tell you where they bought that special lamp hanging in their wall but the moment you have an extra-relationship, the whole circle of unwanted-uninvited-unbearable relatives know about it. Even though she didn’t mean them, I knew I had to make a decision. My assurances weren’t going to make her believe that I wont leave the family but I had to do what my heart wanted.

I finally decided to bring the ‘Other woman’, my girlfriend to the lady of my home, my mom!

Life in the Equilibrium!

Perhaps we live our entire lives trying to maintain our equilibriums. Equilibrium in our relationships, where you have forgiven the past sins and not pre-occupied with the fear of current one being committed. Equilibrium at our workplace where you hope your past performance will serve you well and your current projects will keep you from getting fired. Equilibrium in our financial security, where you have come to terms with your past poverty and hope the current reserves will carry you good for couple more years. It seems we keep yearning for that peace of mind; settled feeling; like the calmness and beauty of vastness of ice in Alaska you saw last week in Discovery channel! Until that happens, a part of your brain remains in siege of the problem. Your Life is on hold. You are incapable of enjoying and experiencing even the good things that happen in the interim because there is a bigger problem still lurking at the background.

You hate that queasiness at the bottom of your stomach when the deadline to pay your bills near. You hate that hospital smell that seems to have consumed the rest of your life. You hate the fact that so many people have it easy in their life because they got their little Daddy’s dough. It’s a perennial depression swallowing each part of you, slowly but surely. You are exhausted from hoping when it would be over.

If we caused the imbalance in the equilibrium, we accept its consequences as our own making. Sometimes it’s necessity that forces us to disturb it. Sometimes it’s the fault of our loved ones. But the worst kinds are the ones where you or your loved ones had no part in it but you’re the one to suffer from it! Poor parents! No parents! Single parent! Born with a handicap! Waiting for Green Card in the terrestrial black hole called INS! A freak accident where you are not at fault! Being fired by your firm because they didn’t make their numbers or some blind auditor saying he didn’t know how 9 extra zeros got after the number 3 to SCC!

When Life hits you with one of those, you see your life’s priorities shifting places like numbers in a slot machine and you realize all that matters is to have someone say ‘I love you’ everyday; to have friends who accept you for what you are and as you are; to have at least two people who believe in your dreams no matter how far-fetched and crazy it is.

Maybe those are the things we should be really worked up about. Those are the things that we should work for in our life. Meaningful, fulfilling, satisfying relationships. When you have that, no matter how many times you lose your equilibrium, you can still be happy! Because Life don’t mean much without people who genuinely care for your well being!

Before Sunset!- Movie Review

Ever had that feeling where you are completely lost in your strange imagination of sequence of events between you and the most sophisticated woman you have met till that point in your life? She just gave u a smile, walked past you and is sitting three rows in front of you in the local Bus. You create in your mind those little impossible realistic events between you and her where she happens to live near your apartment; she is your best friend’s cousin; she gets stuck in the road because her scooter broke down. You miraculously happen to be in that exact spot helping her; You walk with her to her home talking politics, women and shoes, Men and infidelity, soul mates, your dislike for searching the missing pair of socks, her love for the depth in ghazals, cold coffee, Calvin & Hobbes, her dilemma with size of heels, why Men don’t file their nails, why kids always find the urge to shower u when u pick them up, everything and anything under the sun as if there was no one else on the road.You can’t help but admire her laugh. She can’t help but notice the way she is teasing you. You don’t want the evening to end but she is standing at the gates of her apartment. You try to act appropriately so as to not ruin your chances and she feels the connection strongly and doesn’t want to enter her home. The moment lingers on as u say, “Goodnight!” You are sure in your heart, its love! A hunch! An instinct! A voice deep within you telling, “She is the One”!.

And then suddenly,you are thrown from your seat as the Bus comes to a halt and you hold the steel bar in front of you trying to wake up from ur ‘realistic’ dream. She stares at you and gets down from the bus leaving you dazed, crazed, confused, happy and sad at the same time. You don’t know her name. Her number. You realize it's too late to stop the bus and follow her. Suddenly you see those magic events you had built up,crumbling down but you are still hopeful. Hopeful that u will see her again. She might be sitting at the doctor’s office or she joins the company as new trainee and assigned to you or she is your sister’s classmate. Those sweet moments that you conjure up in the vacuum of daily drudgery lingers on for a long time in your life and brings a smile to your face every time you think about it!

“Before Sunset” is one such movie that takes you back into those moments of your life!

It’s about two people, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), who spent one great evening together (prequel-Before Sunrise) and decided to meet after six months in Vienna. They neither have each other’s phone number nor address. The first movie ends with that promise and the second one starts with Jesse signing his new book in a small bookstore in Paris after eight years. His book about that one night with Celine has become a bestseller. We understand Celine didn’t show up after six months as Jesse sees Celine standing in the corner of that little bookstore.

They have few hours before Jesse has to catch a flight to NY.

From the awkwardness of meeting someone very close after so many years, the characters chatter away slowly walking down the streets of Paris without any cinematic gimmicks. The movie is almost shot in real-time in the streets of Paris. It’s real. Honest. Emotionally charged. And like your ‘realistic’ dreams, it gives you a sense of ‘it could happen’. Both Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have acted brilliantly. You feel for the lost opportunities of the characters involved yet get excited about the future possibilities between them. There are two kinds of directors. One who is visually oriented –Oliver Stone, Spielberg, Kubrick, Maniratnam etc. and the other who is dialogue oriented – David Mammet (Glengarry GlenRoss), SpikeJonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich), Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) etc. While the former genre amazes you, the latter stimulates your intellectual senses. You get a rare dose of that heavily dialogue-oriented movie genre that transports you in to a different plane as it plays along.What surprises you is that to make a good movie, you don't need big actors,big budget,eye-popping special effects but just a simple strong narrative as this movie proves!

Intelligent, smart, witty, moving, emotionally honest, touching, slice-of-life movie after a looooong time!

Don’t Miss it!

Are you really UNIQUE ?!!!

I think I am. I know, you think you are. But are we really?

We would like to believe our pains are unique. Our joys are unparalleled. Our marriage is unmatched. Our kids are extraordinary. Our choices profound. But the fact is that millions have lived through them before us. Millions will go through them again, after us. So, Is there anything really unique in this life of ours?

You are Born. And if you are in India, 45 others along with you at that exact instant. You top your class. So does hundreds who are in different schools. You think Math is for people who love abstract paintings. So does everyone who can’t multiply. You dream of becoming a revolutionary leader who would transform India in to an economic super power and wipe child labor, poverty and corruption. So does thousands who are currently making money for multi-nationals. You complain your dad is an alcoholic who can’t understand your smart mother. So does thousands who live in middle class poverty. You fall in love and think your love is like no other love. And yet there are millions who would claim in the same breath, their love is supreme. You think yours is the most peculiar marriage story. So does millions who swear on the drama of missing rings, relative’s tantrums and Husband’s cold feet. You are certain your baby experience is the most breathtaking ever. So does the billion in China.
Your Car.
Your Home.
Your Family.
Your Language.
Your City.
Your Country.
Your Goodness.
Your Devilry.
Even when you think your suffering is the most unique and you are the chosen one by God to be the most tormented soul on planet, there is a little kid in Sumatra who is laughing at you right about now. Every little possession that you claim, pride and thump your chest with, there are millions others who already have them or had them or in the process of getting them at this very moment.

Perhaps the folly is in trying to be unique instead of accepting the fact that you are no different than anyone else. Whatever you do, has already been done. Whatever you write has already been written. You are not inventing. You are not creating. All you do is discovering for yourself what others before you have already discovered, experienced and understood. For all one knows, the uniqueness is not with respect to others but with respect to your very own self. You became unique by doing something that you didn’t do yesterday. You wrote something today that you didn’t yesterday. You learnt something today that you didn’t know before. Maybe that’s the goal of our life. The quest to find a new ‘You’, by pushing our limits of uniqueness within us until we breathe our last.

So cheers to a constantly evolving UNIQUE YOU!

House Of Flying Daggers! Shi Mian Mai Fu !

“The ultimate satisfaction in a movie is when it exceeds high expectations.”
-Me (So what if I am narcissistic ;))

A good movie takes you up two notches but a great movie takes you up four notches. You get to see them once in few years. If you are lucky, maybe once a year. I call them Lifetime Movies. They have a strange power to immerse you into a visceral world. Take you on an emotional rollercoaster, from smiling to crying to shocking to screaming for the characters involved. You feel restless and your heart begins to palpitate as you wonder what would happen next. When it finally ends, you are still sitting in your seat, your emotions washing away slowly as the credits go up. You have a mixed feeling of sadness and happiness. Sad that it is over and happy that you have just had a satisfying experience. Zhang Yimou’s ‘The House Of Flying Daggers’ is one such movie.

If Yimou created unforgettable colorful paintings in THE HERO, this time he creates a literally ‘moving’ drama filled with suspense, betrayal, strategy, action, friendship, loyalty and above all passionate love. I was afraid I would be reading the subtitles and miss the whole impact of the beautiful images. But Yimou makes sure that it doesn’t happen by avoiding any lengthy dialogues.

The story begins with a simple plot. The movie is set in 859AD China. There is an uprising in Tang dynasty by an underground rebel group called ‘House of Flying Daggers’. One of the captains, Leo (Andy Lau), in a Tang province, learns that a blind girl in the local harem is a member of the rebel group. He devises a plan with his friend and fellow captain, Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro), to trap the blind girl. Zhang Ziyi, of “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” fame, is the blind girl, Mei. The movie hooks you immediately in the opening sequence of Mei. The local Harem has butterflies embedded in the floor, musicians dressed in blue, drums with red roses imprinted in middle and to top it all, Mei, stands in the middle of the room, looking like an Indo-Chinese doll wearing a dress that seductively slides from one shoulder. She dances to a mesmerizing tune, swaying her scarf across the room. As Leo threatens to arrest her, they both indulge in a unique game called ‘Echo’ where Mei has to echo the beat made by Leo with her scarf beating the drums. The scene rises in crescendo with each beat as the game finally ends in Mei being captured. Jin rescues Mei trying to win her trust so she may lead him to the leader of House of Flying Daggers.

Love is a strange thing. It happens in unseemly places at unexpected moments and questions all that you believed in until that moment. And here, it happens in the jungle, as Jin and Mei, escape the deadliest of Tang Soldiers. Mei tries her best not to get caught up in Jin’s charm while Jin feels conflicted between his loyalty to Tang Dynasty and his care for Mei. The Tang soldiers follow them relentlessly as each fight betters the previous one. Daggers flying like boomerangs in a field of wild flowers; Arrows traveling right in between your eyebrows in the big screen; Bamboo sticks falling like pellets on the ground as Mei and Jin run; the action sequences are balladic, swift and spectacular.

Zhang Ziyi gives her best performance as she wades through various shades of her character and kicking butt with élan when she has to. Meanwhile, Takeshi Kaneshiro, is the first Chinese actor I know (which is very few) who can emote. The chemistry between them is electrifying although I have to say, they kiss pretty badly.

Just when you think, you have figured out the movie, Yimou, brings a complete twist and you immediately scream in your head, “Oh Shit!”. The next ten minutes that follows the twist, you, as the viewer is conflicted. Your mind understands but your heart doesn’t want to accept it. Mei’s predicament becomes too complicated a knot to untie. As the Tang general sends his army to House of Flying Dagger’s hideout, in the midlands of snow-falling forest, one of the most beautiful heart-wrenching climaxes transpires. This sumptuous, romantic,martial art saga ends with the same song that Mei danced in the opening sequence.

A must-see!

Posting the picture of Takeshi Kaneshiro because my wife wants me to. As if drooling over Colin Firth, Clive Owen and Hrithik are not enough!

Fahrenheit 911-Docufeature Review!

My first documentary feature(really?) that I watched in theatre. After brushing the fear of deportation by INS or being put on FBI watch-list if I go to watch the movie, I finally saw the movie last week. Just one word to describe it ---Brilliant. Very rarely you see a movie full of wit, satire, irony, sadness, regret, shock, helplessness, anger and finally determination.

Determination to see the ouster of George W. Bush from office...(too bad I can’t vote). Are there cheap shots at Bush? —Yes. Are there points of view about Bush Administration that is one sided? –Yes. But are there indisputable facts that makes you think about credibility of Bush Administration? – Most definitely yes. If not for any other reason, you can make your decision to vote out Bush purely on the “Incompetence” criteria for the job of President of US.

The movie starts with “Is it all a dream?” poking fun at Ben Affleck standing behind Al Gore declaring victory in the mother-of-all-2000-elections. You are sucked into the movie right from that frame. The movie pretty much moves chronologically from there. It shows the discrepancies in 2000 election where you are shocked to see the convenient coincidences in Florida Election. Then 9/11 event, without showing the collapsing of the twin towers one more time, proving Moore’s sensibilities for the families involved.

He takes you through the Saudi connection, patriot act, and Bush family’s relation with Saudi Business groups namely Carlyle and UNOCAL. You are startled to know where Hamid Karzai (current Afghanistan President) comes from. You feel nauseated to hear a congressman say “We don’t really read most of the Bills that gets passed in the house”. You are astounded to see how the Bush administration used fear psychosis before the Iraq War.

The second part of the movie is about Iraq –the Why’s, How’s and finally the “What the…”’s. I have always felt that the people who have the right to criticize the war are the one’s who have their family in armed services. They are the one’s making the ultimate sacrifice. This movie has Lila Lipscomb as a sort of heroine to drive home the point of “unjustified sacrifice”. The camera follows two Marine recruiters and how they scout for people from the lowest of the classes to make the greatest of the sacrifice for their country. Moore ambush’s the senators and congressmen to sign their kids for Iraq war since they supported it.He rides on a Ice cream truck reading Patriot Act infront of Capitol Hill.Antics like these makes the movie both entertaining and thought provoking.

He does not leave the democrats Scot-free. They supported without asking the tough questions. They did not come forward for the 20000 disenfranchised black voters in Florida. They kept quiet when they should have been fighting for the people who voted them. The movie is interlaced with Moore’s opinions and Facts. As a responsible viewer, it is for you to figure out which portion is what. It is not Moore’s responsibility. The following link would help you in that.

Fifty-Six Deceits (although most of them seems to knitpicking! )

Bottom line, it is a movie to be watched by every responsible citizen of world and make your own judgements. You will be re-invigorated, more informed and feel responsible for the vote you cast as you come out of the theatre.

The HERO - Movie Review

“Good is not good when better is expected”, said Thomas Fuller

And when you enter the theatre expecting “Great”, you know deep inside, it’s not going to measure up. But the first forty minutes of the movie, did come very close to it. That’s saying a lot about “HERO”.

After the initial shock that the dialogues are in Chinese, you hurriedly try to get over it since the movie has already started. There is a voice-over explaining how China is divided into six regions-Qin, Zhao, 3,4,5 and 6. (Don’t expect me to remember all the Chinese names). The ruler of Qin wants to unite all six regions. The King’s logic being without wars there can’t be everlasting peace. The King has summoned Jet Li, the nameless warrior, since he claims to have killed the three deadly assasins, Long Sky, Broken Sword and the Flying Snow (wonder who picks the character names for martial arts movies).

You know you are in for a great adventure when Jet Li climbs the steps of Qin King’s palace as the camera pans out showing thousands of warriors standing outside the palace. Jet Li begins to tell his first conquest of how he killed the brave warrior, Sky. Great directors go beyond the normal scene and give you an entirely new way of thinking about that scene. Zhang Yimou proves he belongs in that group by combining chords of music and Sword Play. A musical-sword-orchestra executed in slow motion in rain enhanced by the sound of each raindrop in the sword. It’s a visual treat.

Next, it’s the story of conquest of Broken Sword and Flying Snow where Yimou now mixes the art of Calligraphy with Swordsmanship. The assembly of Qin Army with their equipment to fire arrows, outside the village of Zhao, is a sight to behold. You see the prowess of Snow in action. When you see a 11 by 6 m screen completely filled with falling autumn yellow leaves and two women (Snow and Moon, disciple of Sword) involved in a wild, acrobatic, leaves dancing action sequence ending with all the falling yellow leaves turning Red, all you can do is sit back and enjoy. With each story of conquest, Jet Li , gets 10 feet closer to the King. And you immediately guess the Nameless Warrior is there to kill the King. Just when you think, is that all? Is it going to be a short movie, Yimou, brilliantly pulls you back in the story when the King says “All the stories you have been telling me is Bullshit” and gives his version of the story. Jet Li, corrects the King’s story with another version. The movie takes a tumble from there on.

With multiple versions, each shown as flashback, your attitude at the end of it,is like “Whatever”. After an hour, you get used to picture perfect shots; slo-mo/wire action sequences and they take you one step further batting water droplets with swords in the lake. You go through the motions as the story has taken three somersaults. You are just waiting when it would return back to the “real” version. I was strangely reminded of the pain of last half hour of “LOTR: Return of Kings”, when I got out of my seat 4 times, thinking the movie was over. All the Wow-factors of the first 40mins,vanishing with each passing minute. And finally when it ends, you wonder why Yimou forgot to scream, “CUT” half hour before. Nevertheless, it is a movie to be watched in Theatre.

To repeat the first quote, “Good is not good when better is expected”. Expect Good not Greatness.

Is being Good,being Boring ?!!!

If being good is being predictable and being predictable is always boring, are good people, boring? Of course, first we have to define what “good” is and we all know that definition differs from everyone. Let’s take relationships. If a husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, boyfriend/boyfriend and girlfriend/girlfriend (just to be politically correct) share everything they have between them, just to show that they “love” each other or to say,” I tell you everything, now its your turn”, what’s the surprise? Wouldn’t the relationship become stale after few years?

Someone w(v)is(c)ely said, ”A man without vices is a man without virtues”. If a good man is someone without vices, should we conclude that he doesn’t have too much virtue? Vices definitely give purpose to relationships. Without the drama of trying to get rid of vice in the other partner, it’s just salad without the dressing. It might be good for health but would you taste it everyday of your life? Life is about solving the mysteries, a journey to understand the puzzle, an exploration more than the destination. And in these “tell all” relationships, over a period of time, it becomes “know all” which sets the rote that leads to boredom. Perhaps the biggest paradox in relationships is that women love surprises yet they want to “know” their man fully. And when they understand him fully, they don’t want him anymore since the guy is so predictable and therefore no surprises! While there is a comfort in knowing what your man is going to do, if the man is not willing to stray from expected behavior, the relationship will become the peak-hour traffic at I-285, crawling at snail’s pace. Secrets in a relationship lead to Mystery about the person. Mystery leads to Unpredictability. Unpredictability leads to Curiosity. Curiosity increases Anxiety. Anxiety increases Heartbeats. And when your heart beats faster, it leads to Passion in the relationship.

Does that mean people in relationships need to have secrets to sustain the interest? Yes, as long as the secret is not about an affair or their sexuality. That would be a surprise surpassing all your expectations. When familiarity breed’s contempt, when routines consume your life, when habits become necessities, it’s important to surprise yourself by doing something you would never do! Both for you and your partner!

To me, people who are good are usually “Safe” players. They like routine. They like rules. They work 9 to 6.They have fixed roles for their lives. Wife, Kid, Father, Friend. They trust the news on TV. They are hospitable to a point of ‘beyond self’. They follow the life’s time-table to have a kid before 30,keep the job, follow their parent’s advise even at 40. They are contended simple human beings without too many complexities. Is there anything wrong in it? Absolutely not! Just not the kind of person i would choose to be in a long-term relationship!

So, Don’t be Good! Don’t be too bad! Be Unpredictable! Surprise your partner!


So it is one of those days where you get up after cleaning the mess by your little baby and hope there is enough diapers left in the closet for the rest of day and all you can fantasize is that some day, your lazy husband would hold the kid for few minutes instead of being glued to the television all the time and still expect you to cook three times a day since you are the one without the job now, as it was your fault to get pregnant and sacrifice your career for the sake of those innocent eyes staring at you, refusing to leave you out of sight even for a moment, and just when u sit on that couch feeling elated that those tiny eyes are falling to sleep, the wide open closet stares at you with that last piece of diaper and now you have to catch a bus to go to the nearest medical store as you change your dress quickly before your girl's overactive bladder reacts and you run to catch the growling bus which is in a hurry of its own as you try to hold on to the steel rails in the steps, balancing your sleepy kid in the hip and at that exact moment, shaken by the sudden impact, your kid begins to imitate Pavarotti, screaming at her loudest voice, as u try to calm her, the bus conductor mercilessly rushes you to move to the front and you try to nudge the imbecile morons who wouldn’t move ,for lack of space or lack of courtesy and ,suddenly, out of nowhere, you feel a set of hands pulling you down to the seat next to her, taking your crying baby from you, as your little girl suddenly calms down from the new smell of different woman as you heave a sigh, smiling nervously at the generous lady and thanking her with your eyes for giving you, your first moment to yourself that day and you begin to pray, the last diaper holds on for the rest of bus journey!

Do you have the courage to be CRAZY ?!!!

Do you have the courage to run naked in the street to make a point about nudity? Do you have the courage to resign your job, start over from scratch, in a new dream career? Do you have the courage to walk to your workplace because you believe Gasoline pollutes environment? Do you have the courage to say, “Michael Moore is great” in Republican Convention?

Do you have the courage to be Crazy?

Extreme achievements come from extreme amounts of belief. All great achievements have come from people who deviated enormously from the norms. They were able to do great things because they believed in something that was outrageous even to think. There is a fine line that divides eccentrics and Achievers. If their beliefs don’t work they are called eccentrics, even stupid and if it did, they are called Geniuses. Napoleon was stupid to wage a war during winter in Russia. On the other hand, if he had succeeded, he would be called the greatest strategist in the world.

When I see someone with pink fried Hair standing straight with a bikini clad women tattoo in their right arm, my first gut reaction is “How can You? Don’t you have a mirror? “. On second thoughts, I know he has the courage to do what I could never even imagine. I am bound by social norms and controlled by societal acceptance. I am afraid of being called crazy which restricts me from experiencing something new while the pink fried hair KISS fan is not. He is FREE, not controlled by someone’s approval and believes strongly in his self-expression (or Self-Attention).

When we have so many unwritten rules of life fed constantly from childhood, it can only take a person who doesn’t follow rules to achieve greatness. You can be always become successful following the rules but you can never be Great. If you have to be Great, you have to think outside the box. To think outside the box, you have to be CRAZY. You have to believe in the impossible, outrageous, incredible, because when it’s successful, you will be a crazy-SOB-rich-ass! Just ask the guy who thought Wookies, Drones, Jedi’s and Dark force were ruling the space!

Imagine someone suggesting in NASA, “Let’s have two stuntmen in parachutes and ask them to catch a satellite when it falls into Earth’s atmosphere”. Huh? Well, they tried it with project Genesis. Imagine someone saying, “Wanna become Invisible? Try my Cloak ".Yeah Right! Imagine someone saying “Why don’t we sell Water ?”. Sell Water? The most natural ingredient that covers 70% of Earth ? How about the guy who said "Let’s have a tool to pick food from the plate called Spoons! ". Just some of the "Crazy" ideas that aren't that crazy anymore.

We have to go beyond our personal limitations, public criticism, social norms, family cynicism and enormous belief in ourselves to be Great! Being Crazy is having the courage to attempt something that no one has ever done. Being Crazy is pummeling through criticism and working harder. Being Crazy is in having a vision of your goal. Above all, whether you are successful or not, being crazy is BEING FREE. The Freedom to be you. The Freedom to do what YOU want to do! So Be Crazy! Be Great!

Are you asking whether I am going to run naked to my work place because its casual wear on Friday? Are you Crazy?

Conjectures of Love!

I came, She saw and He saw it too!

I came to see if it was just Lust!
She came to see if it was Love!
He came to see wondering what She hoped to see!

She was pushed into this because He didn’t see her!
I was pushed into this because I had seen her!
He was pushed into this because She dared to see someone else!

With each step, she could see-through her own motives!
With each step, I could see why she deserved better!
With each step, He could see where he went wrong with her!

She realized finally that she can be seen by someone!
I realized finally that I can trust her to see the real me!
He realized finally that they are too far apart to see each other anymore!

While I was seething through, hoping for the distance between us to disappear,
While He was searing through with shattered ego and lost opportunities,
She felt her seesawing moral contradictions come to an end as she stood close to me!

I saw,
He saw,
As She turned back,
Seeing herself walk with renewed strength and a new self towards an unsure future!

New World Order!

“Economic immigration will accomplish what Religion could not in thousands of years. UNITE PEOPLE!”

Jonathan Reeves working as foreman in Bangalore. Srinivasa Reddy managing Call Center in Uganda. Ho Chin Minh selling fishing boats in Tasmania.

Perhaps in the next 50 years, the above job profiles may not look so strange. Slowly but surely, the low income population of developed countries whose jobs have been outsourced, will have no choice than to move to different countries to survive. What do you do with the set of population whose jobs have been outsourced? Learn a new skill at 35? 45? 55? If you say, go back to college to a 45 year old man, who has another 15 to 20 years of service left in him; he is going to laugh at you. It’s not an age for college or developing new skills. What are the choices left for a guy in his 40’s, who was a foreman, all his adult life? He can move to different stream. Earn significantly less as a salesman in Wal-Mart store. But will that pay for his son’s education? Daughter’s College Fee? His wife’s Medicare bill?

The only viable choice seems to be to immigrate to another country where there is a better job for him and his family has a better chance of survival in that country’s economy than their own. This discarded by-product of capitalistic economy will become the new immigrant community in developing economy of some other country. All through History, the highly skilled, willed, people from developing and under-developed countries moved to Developed countries for a better standard of living. In 50 years or less, I can see the low-skilled workers earning less than 30K per annum, living in US and Europe, becoming the victims of Capitalism and Globalization, settling in Developing countries.

A New World Order is slowly being created! Every country becoming more multi-cultural than it is now. We are more connected than ever with people from other countries and cultures. The effect of labour strike in China is felt the same day in a store at Wal-Mart in Queens, NY.There are new rules of engagement between countries. Multi-culturalism becomes commonplace because of fusion of population from economic immigration. Prejudices gets altered and even shattered in some cases. White, Black & Brown makes no difference. The only difference between Haves and Have-not’s is Jobs. Only Religion is Economy. Only God is Jobs.

An ever-shrinking world means an ever-integrating economy of countries, a fusion of cultures, a fusion of race, a fusion of minds and hearts. Will we have problems in transition? Absolutely. Will the world go back to protectionism and not bother about other counties and people? Possible but unlikely!

Or Is it all just mumbo-jumbo-world-peace-world-economy-one-race-utopian-prophecy by me? No harm being an optimist before someone nukes the hell out of this world!

In the Good Ol'days!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
I wanted to be an ‘Archaeologist’ because I could spell it!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
I had only one channel and no one fought for the remote!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
I knew True freedom meant learning to balance myself in bicycle!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
I believed Rajnikant can REALLY catch a bullet in mid-air!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
I thought I was a great singer when my mom asked me to practice in an empty room!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
I believed in Satan because my brother experimented pillow-strength on my face!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
I posed for Colgate every time Sujata from third bench turned and smiled at me!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
Love was Simple, Singular and Eternal!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
Everybody was a friend, rich or poor, good or bad!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
Loyalty meant sharing my answer paper to all my friends in exam hall!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
My intentions were not tainted by my motivations!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
I meant what I said and did what I meant!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
Changing the world and being a Hero was always possible!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
Impossible only meant not trying enough!

In the Good Ol’ Days,
Life meant School, Friends, Grandma, Mahabharatha on Sundays and Street Cricket!

Maybe my good ol’ days are over but twenty years from now, I know, today, will be a part of my Good Ol’ days then. So I better make it as good as the previous one.Without regrets.Without sadness.Without self-imposed Limitations.And always grateful for what I got in my life,RIGHT NOW!

Phoenix Prema!

“I want to see Rajan”, I told Hari firmly.

I didn’t expect him to understand why. He didn’t know the history between Rajan and me…he didn’t have to..

They say life is made of moments. And I had a lot of moments with Rajan.
The bicycle rides with him to school. The mindless gibberish all night in the terrace of our building. The day he jumped into water to save me even though he didn’t know swimming (next door Shekhar uncle had to save both of us). The day he understood he can’t touch me freely anymore since I had become a “big” girl, the day we shared our first kiss...when we realized we were more than “friends”, the day he asked my dad to marry me,the day he waited for me in the Kerala border hoping i would come to lead a wonderful life...with him forever...

Well, much has happened since then. They say time heals everything. They sure did for a long time until my last prognosis, which gave me utmost 3 months to live. I wasn’t afraid of dying. All I could think when I found the news was I should see Rajan one last time. I just didn’t want any regrets before my death. And one of the biggest regrets of my life was not giving Rajan,an explanation.

Tell him why I didn’t stand up for him, for our love, even though I knew it was the best thing that would happen to me . Tell him why I wasn’t strong enough. Tell him how stupid I was to believe in a myth called Society. Tell him how I believed in sacrifice for the happiness of my parents although I did not question how they can be happy when I am unhappy. Tell him why I was such a coward...and didn't come on that fateful day...

Guess finally its time for this 80 year old grandmother to stand up, muster the courage and strength to see her old boyfriend and share my true feelings. After all, he is the only reminder of my childhood…my first love..and certainly the happiest days of my life…

Picture Source:http://www.santharia.com/pictures/quellion/rise_of_the_phoenix.htm

Take those Shades Off!

Take those Shades Off, so you can feel the changing rays of sunlight in your eyes!

Disconnect that Cell phone, so you can connect to the person standing next to you!

Shut-down that Computer, so you can shut-up your constant need for information!

Turn-Off that Television, so you can turn-on your wife cooking in the kitchen!

Open your heart, so you can close your prejudices!

Stop focusing all the time on self, so you can start doing something for others!

Bury the skepticism, so you can dig out the positives!

Look at the big picture, so you can blind yourself to petty misgivings!

Don’t blame your circumstances, so you can praise your conviction of choices!

Rest your mind, so you can work your body!

Wake your ambitions, so you can dream yourself to fulfilling!

Give your best, so you can take the experience of doing it!

Live in the moment, so you can die without regrets!

Love for what it is, so you can stop the hatred for what it is not!

Life is a Joy!(Yeah Right!)

I just heard my friend got his Labor Certification for Green Card. I am really happy for him…(didn’t u see my fake plastic smile while saying “Oh really ? Congratulations” while screaming “Damn” inside my head..).He was elated..that..he got it in six months..(just what I needed to hear..before I break my keyboard..)..while mine is stuck in a black hole called Texas INS for the past two years.

Whoever said ‘Life is a bitch’ must have been the first candidate who got rejected at 485 stage. Now I know how philosophers are made. You see..now I have to come up with some philosophy to move on…to be nice to him..to be nice to others…so I started wondering things..like…”Life is not measured by Labor,GC…its about travelling more..enjoying family..spending time in Hawaii..”..(oh..shut the justifications...u got f****d…just deal with it…than rationalizing). But I guess we can’t move on until we do create a personal philosophy that is filled with great inspirational stories…(basically stories of people who got f****d more than you).So I started looking for some…

Imagine the guy who goes to doctor and the doctor tells him..”I am very sorry..wish u had come last month..you just moved to advanced stage of cancer” or the guy who has a disease with a name that u can’t spell nor say it..and they tell him…”this disease can be treated only when ur less than 10yrs old…”... I don’t think I am in that deep a hole…but I guess we do live in a world where things get better as time passes by..

Imagine my Grandma, who had to wash clothes , clean the vessels all her life and finally ending up with hip transplant..and today I take more time trying to put the clothes from washer to Dryer..or my 1600$ camcorder I bought a year ago costing just 600 bucks today…or how I missed the internet age by just a few years and the “possibilities” that come along with it… but..it got me thinking “Does technological advances mean a better quality of life ? it’s just another flavor to life that wasn’t available before..( who am I kiddin ?..)..
Anyway..i think I can't regret too much about things that are not in my control..and I got enuf stories..and analogies and rationalizations..to move on to my friend’s party happily…knowing that there are other’s who got screwed more than me!

Written on:Tuesday, 29 June 2004

Is the Fastest always the Greatest?

Stephano Baldini, Mizuki Noguchi, Roman Sebrle. Who the hell are these people? In a world of short attention span, you can’t blame why we don’t remember the winners of Marathon and Decathlon in the recently concluded Olympics. If I had said Justin Gatlin, Marion Jones or Shawn Crawford, we wouldn’t be asking twice who they are. Has the world come to believe the fastest as the greatest? In the world of recognition and respect, has 26 miles lost to 100 m? Or is it just a reflection of how success is defined in our current world?

When you delve deep into how every action is judged nowadays, you realize the fastest is considered as the best. Just see who gets the bonus at the end of the quarter. It’s usually the one who does the job quicker. Doing a job faster is perceived as doing the job efficiently because people don’t have time to analyze and judge whether it was done in an effective manner with long-term credibility. ‘Get the Job done’ has become the motto of most companies, not ‘Get the Job done rightly no matter how long it takes’. Performance is directly proportional to how many jobs did you complete. Quick-fix solution has become order of the day. Instant gratification is more important than long-term liabilities. We have gone from “Lets figure out how to do it effectively” to “Lets do it right Now” to “Lets do it right now before I get fired”. There seems to be an in-built clock that’s telling us to do things faster, quicker. Not necessarily doing it right or efficiently.

Would you choose to have your car fixed immediately with some long-term problems or have it completely repaired but would take 2 weeks? Would you choose to fix the code that would get the client up and running or do analysis of the problem, find out the origin of issue and then solve it which would take a month? Would you choose to work on your marriage, which might take few years or get out right now and find another partner? (With 50% divorce rate in US, you know what half the people here are choosing). ‘Fix now, worry later’ has become a part of our culture because we strongly believe there may not be a ‘Later’ in most cases.

We even want our Kids to grow quickly. I saw my friend praising his wife for teaching his daughter the entire syllabus up to third grade while she is just in her first grade. I asked him what are you gaining by doing that? Why would you want your kid to grow so fast instead of letting her enjoy her moments as a kid? His answer was that she would have an edge over her competition. Is growing up early worth it? While Sharapova, Jody Foster, Olson Twins might make you think so, Martina Hingis, Tatum O’Neil, McCaulay Culkin prove otherwise.

Measuring someone’s success by his or her age has become the cynical way of determining someone’s worth nowadays.
‘Look at that young manager.’
‘See he bought a house at 25.’
‘It’s surprising he is getting paid so much so young.’
‘Sorry you are too old to do this Job’.
It’s not about how far you have come from where you started in life but “How soon did you make it”. There doesn’t seem to be much glory in endurance, perseverance and patience in today’s world. Infact, they take so much time, either you don’t have time for it or it is just plainly boring to follow through them. Right now, it does seem like the Fastest is greatest!

Who cares about the Marathon runners anyway?

In the End, is it just about “feeling-good”?

The Voter-get-out Armies are ready. The Lawyer Armies are ready. The Media-Army is ready. The battle lines have been drawn. Sides have been picked. No! I don’t believe in the undecided voter at this stage. The only ones allowed to be undecided at this stage are Animals, Aliens and people living in Timbuktu. I am glad it’s going to be over and scared of the unfavorable outcome at same time. While I look at 50% of voters and think, how can you guy’s get it so wrong, the other 50% look at me and say, “You have no idea!”.

Great truths are often found in simple ways. Buddha attained nirvana under Banyan Tree. Newton found gravity under apple tree (What’s up with trees and history of world? Maybe a subject to research later), Ben Franklin found electricity while flying a kite and Rama found the American Bush-psyche while being lectured to in a Barber shop (the only way to get my name alongside those greats is to write it myself!).

“Are you from India?”
“So can you vote in this election? “
I flinch knowing it is Georgia and deeply republican forte.
“No I can’t! But I am watching it closely!”
“Well! We are all voting Bush here!”. I told myself, of course you’re. I see the confederate flag hanging in your store. I didn’t want to continue the conversation since I did have a knife under my throat. Literally!

He continued with his ranting.”Am sure you support Bush unless you like French!” followed by a Bollywood-villain style loud laugh.

“I am so happy Clinton or Gore weren’t the President during 911.They would not have kicked anyone’s ass”. And at that exact moment, i could see in my mind a big white circle forming behind my head.Nirvana! The hidden magic bulb above my head also started sparkling!

So, that’s what this American Bush-pysche is about. Bush kicked someone’s ass. And he did it in spite of the whole world saying No! Isn’t that Leadership? So what if Saddam didn’t have WMD.He would have got it one day, maybe, 20years from now! Isn’t that imminent enough threat to warrant a pre-emptive action?

A friend of mine said “Dude! We had the guts to go in and occupy the country in 30 days. Just see how powerful we are!”. There was a sense of pride and arrogance in him, which comes only with being born in the greatest nation of the world. I am sure I would have that arrogance if I were born here. But I know just like the other 50% of America, I would probably be marching for a different kind of war. War on equality of races and women’s pay, War on Corporations influencing policy, War on Election reform where the winner doesn’t take all electoral votes in a state, there by disenfranchising someone’s ‘other choice’ in a state. Why should I even bother about this election when I can’t vote? Guess its because I have chosen to live here and would raise my kids here. This has been a country of hope for so many immigrants that when you see the country being polarized, it adds to the woes of the immigrant community wondering about their place on this land.

Over the course of past one year, I have come to realize that this campaign has sent out strange deep-seated messages that represent each party. These powerful, hidden messages are the motivating factor for everyone in US being so worked up.

If you are a Republican, you must be
1) Angry White Man.

2) Staunch Christian (thereby Homophobic)

3) Who believes United States of America is the entire World. They could care less about what other people in the World think.

4) Who believes that there are BAD guys and Good guys in this World. None in-between.

5) Who believes that America’s way of life is being threatened by immigrants and minorities. (to some extent, even NAACP)

6) Who believes America’s greatness is being challenged and the only way to show its power is kick some ass, whether you’re right or wrong, because it massages their low self-esteem and pseudo-patriotism.

7) Believe more in character than action.

If you are a Democrat/Centrist, you must be,
1) Hating Bush.

2) A Moderate.

3) Holds a World-View of things, usually analyses issues, and facts.

4) Believes a lot in individual freedoms. Abortion, right to research, right to speech etc.

5) Who believes America should mind its own business than poke its nose in other country’s affairs.

6) Who believes in inclusiveness than excluding people.

7) Believes more in action than Rhetoric.

A democrat/centrist can become a republican if they feel they are right but the reverse will take a long time and lot harder. It’s about the mindset of Republicans that scares me. Stubbornness. Unwillingness to accept facts.

In the end, a week after Nov.2, I will still be battling with my ever-shrinking bank balance, every-day-threatening job scenario, pending Oil-change for my car, bills for my Best-Buy purchases and whether my wife will be in special mood tonight! It won’t be about Abortion, Supreme Court judges and people dying in Iraq.
If my candidate wins, it will be a feel-good feeling that would make me proud for doing my part (even though I can’t vote), which would immediately vanish in a month, as I will have my own pile of shit to deal with. If he doesn’t win, I would go back to blocking Fox news for another 4years!

May the Best Man (my man) Win and Let’s hope for a better America for the goodness of the World!

Written by:Monday, 01 November 2004

Why “Smart” people can never be completely happy?!!!

You have a deep urge to know how stuff works. An irresistible intellectual curiosity that ponders questions like the corporate influence in the expansion of British Empire, or socio-economic impact of flattening world, or why Men have nipples when they have no use for them. You understand the nuances in the writings of a poem or prose because you digest the impact of a phrase and react accordingly; Smile; Make a Pouty face; Bite your nails; Curl your hair; caress your goatee(scratch your balls, pick your nose for the intellectually unclean ones). You can appreciate the verbose dialogues in Glengary Glen Ross or Before Sunset or Good Will Hunting! Your definition of perfect day will always have a place for Upamanyu Chatterjee or John Grisham or Alvin Toffler. And above all, you have been in love, lost some love and always in search of a new love. Guess that should put in context who I mean by “Smart” people.

Although it might sound like an oxymoronic topic since smarter people are supposed to figure things out before it’s too late, nevertheless, it is true because of the various creative addictions of these intellectual nomads.They lack the ability to be completely happy because when the moment arrives, it never matches up to their ideal scenario inside their head. They always compromise since they have experienced something better in book world, cinema world and virtual world and if they do enjoy it, it needs to be arrived on their own volition without any disturbance from their vagaries of moods. Alas! How u wish they were just simple, normal human beings!

Their other creative addiction is that their attention span lasts only until they figure things out. That goes for people too. Once they have “conquered” the issue/people at hand, know how it works or atleast know how it “will” work in the longer run, then they go in search of something new that they haven’t figured it out yet. Something that they can spend their rest of day, week, month and years to agonize about and fill their void inside.

That’s why the idea of “Lost love”, “Lost opportunities” and “Lost dreams” is so addictive. Nobody can go wrong with the above three since now they have a constant problem for their minds to be pre-occupied with inorder to escape from their mundane daily drudgery.

With “Lost love”, after the initial feelings of rejection, they slowly start to build an internal tomb, where they retreat and torture themselves with “What-If” scenarios and begin to nurture those possibilities. Over a period of time, the idea of the person is much more alluring than the person itself because you have spent so much time on glorifying and romanticizing the idea of perfect love and given it a face. It’s not that they don’t know that it is just an idea. But if they abandon that idea, then all there is left is that empty feeling and they know they can’t allow that to happen. They are already addicted to this pain of lost love. They enjoy the sadistic pleasure of torturing oneself with a lost cause because it makes them feel alive. It enables them to appreciate the subtleties that they wouldn’t notice otherwise. Without them there won’t be poets, writers or any artist for that matter.Perhaps the folly lies in their assumption that this torture makes them feel they are DEEP. Deep in emotions; deep in experience and above all, deep in exploring the depths of their soul. Maybe it does!

Without these addictions, the smarter people are just simple,plain and uncomplicated alias Boring.They become a part of those “Happy” people who are content with their lives, watch daytime soaps and wonder what happened to Jassi. They become a part of that crowd which laughs at silly jokes, thinks Katrina is an European Dominatrix and believes people below 50 are allowed in Larry King Live.

The biggest irony is that smarter people wish they can be like those contended simple dumb souls. Have that peace of mere mortals who just live without complicating every situation and accept things without questioning. You wish!

Re-defining "Home"!

8 Schools, 7 cities, 3 countries, 4 jobs! And after 28yrs, one wonders where “home” is? And an even more significant question that one ponders is what do you call as “home”?

Is it the place that is most familiar? The place where one has lived the longest? The place where one gets a sense of belonging? Or is it that place where you spent your childhood when time stood still and you didn’t expect your best friend to ever leave from the place you lived?

Maybe it’s the place, which you appreciate as a growing teen. Its probably the smell of your street as you raced from school in your first Bicycle or the smell of tar that kissed your knee when you did an “Arc” in your new Bike to impress the girl from Block E.

Perhaps nothing deserves the title of being called Home than the “most-hated-by-parents” sidewall, where you sat for hours with your friends, talking about every crush since first grade, ripped the morality of every Politician, passionately defended your sports heroes, and sometimes sharing pure meaningful silence with your buddies with a strong sense of bonding. If “home” is a place where you are accepted unquestioningly without being judged, that sidewall ranks high among all other places.

The closest thing that comes to the sidewall would be the cheerful, witty Nair’s tea-shop outside every college. Even after a decade, he remembers every “tea group” that encroached his shop and had made it their “Home” for those short yet memorable years. Would visiting Nair’s tea shop give you a sense of being home?
They say home is where the heart is! And I have my heart in all those places. To feel completely fulfilled, I would have to create a place that is a combination of all those places and people. Unfeasible. But What I can do is, make a new Home with new memories and new people.People who would accept you for what you are and not what you could be.

When you pick the phone and hear the voice of your high-school friend, you know in your heart, you are home. You realize, being home, is a feeling .It is not embedded in some physical location. It’s the people that make a place your Home.A place where you can be yourself, feel safe, confide, confess and know “you are going to be Ok bcoz you are not in it alone!”

Who says we can’t make our home wherever we are ?

Is a Satisfying Lie better than an Awful Truth?

When you realize you have made a mistake, would you trust the other person to forgive you and tell the truth? Or tell a satisfactory lie to avoid hurting the other person? Perhaps the most glorified virtue of our times has been ‘Telling the truth’. ‘Search for truth’. ‘Finding the truth’. When in reality, truth is just a point of view of a person, Family, Society or Country. A widely expected expectation of behavior. An accepted norm in society. Words like Morality, Ethics, Values and honesty can never be defined absolutely by someone since there are no absolutes about them. It is always tainted by prejudice and conditioned behaviors from our childhood.

Does that mean lying is a virtue? That depends on the intent of lying. When you get injured in a minor accident, do you tell your far-flung parents the truth? Or tell them a satisfactory lie that ‘You are OK!’? When you have a patient who is going to die in a week, do you tell him the truth or give him a satisfactory lie that he will get well soon and let him die happily? When you know you have cheated on your wife, do you tell your wife the truth and break her heart? Or do you tell her a satisfactory lie since you know you won’t do it again? (You definitely tell your wife so you fix the problem. You can’t trust yourself too much ;)). Kind Lies. Not hurting Lies. Safe lies that doesn’t alter the balance of things in your life.

To understand why people lie, we have to understand how people react to truth. There is usually a slap or two thrown around. Cussing. Cringing. Crabbing (that’s two hands holding ur neck and shaking vigorously). And finally a loud siren from deep throat that alerts all your neighbors to dial 911 asking for animal services, as they fear an unknown species has escaped from their local Zoo. Yes. Truth is awful. Truth Hurts (not the music band that remixed ‘Kaliyon Ka Chaman’ even though our guys stole back the stolen song with additional beats). People are just not equipped to handle the truth. Our parents protected us from harsh realities. Our government protects us from everyday terrorist threats. Your friends avoid confrontation by not telling the truth. It is our nature to get comfortable in new situations, new job, and new people in our lives, wanting to believe that we know them enough to feel safe in that environment. So when you learn the truth, it’s like applying brakes to your life. It takes time to restart your vehicle. Even worse, if you make another mistake before they have actually recovered from your previous admission of truth, you better LIE.

The fact is, in any situation, there are only FACTS. There are many hidden facts that both the parties involved do not know. And that’s the real truth. They never told those facts to each other in the first place. They lied and to cover it, they lied more. And one fine day (not the Michelle Pfeiffer-George Clooney Movie), all those lies fall down like a deck of cards and you go from King Size bed to small couch in living room (Unless it is a Sleeper Sofa).

So, Should you lie? Or tell the truth? Truth always triumphs. What they forgot to tell you is that it always triumphs, the first time. When you tell the truth often, it means you messed up each time. The only way out is not mess up in the first place. Messing up is like jumping off a cliff. The emotional high while falling down is exhilarating. Exciting. Even the view is better. But telling the truth is your parachute to land safely on ground. If you don’t, you will end up with a thud! Or you just have to lie to yourself that you are an aerial geologist exploring the type of soil!

Written on:Friday, 14 January 2005

Universal Unifying Symbol!

Its not the hand shake, its not the salute, its definitely not the folded-hands to chest “Namaste”.

Yes! Its the instinctive, moving of ur head to the guy who almost hit you with his motorbike and swinging your scarcely used left hand to spring up, fold all the fingers and raising just the middle one, with a stinging stare in his direction!

The award for universally unifying symbol goes to “Giving the Finger!”.

The universal symbol, that makes even the obedient, PETA member, who wouldn’t squat a mosquito, to vent his frustration, anger and take a stand against the atrocities of the vehicularly challenged!

From Australia to America, Asia to Antarctica (apparently the penguins have learnt this art to show their dissent against the substation folks!), Papua old Guinea to Bitua New Guinea (both ruled by Lalloo’s cousins), it’s the symbol that is most widely used to convey exactly what’s on a person’s mind and understood in an instant without a long lecture on how to change lanes!

Its use extends beyond the Interstate highways and the side lanes with two wheelers!
Women use it to ward off losers who think they are gifted with Lord Krishna’s flute music in their whistling sound and the Gopika in front would be doing a “la Elizabeth Berkley” after hearing it. But they don’t know what’s really coming when the Gopika turns back!

Polticians use it all the time! When they raise their index finger and middle finger to show the victory sign, all they are saying is “I didn’t mean to raise the index finger”.

Employees all over the world express their deep gratitude to their bosses once they reach home with this symbol and at the manager’s office the day they get fired!
Environmentalists use it on Oil companies and Oil Companies return the favour by drilling more!

Relatives use it when you ask for help and you use it to them when their turn comes!
Your girlfriend uses it when she finds out your online affair and you use it when you find out about her date with Ex!

Your company uses it when they lose their quarterly earnings and you use it when you miss your bonus because of it!

The guy in customer service uses it because his job is getting outsourced to your country and you use it because he put you on hold for 20mins and then disconnected!
Perhaps the only place you don’t feel like using it is when your kid screams at 3.30am after you have worked non-stop for 18 hours and all you can say is ”Its because of that symbol you’re here Beta!”

P.S: I can already see lot of fingers raising for this blog, but hey isn’t that the whole point ? Chill!