Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Veteran Toast

The Soldier stumbles into his room like he does everyday. His tall frame stooped with fatigue of the ongoing battle. A battle which he fights not with bullets but with thoughts, not over land but over his soul, not for victory over another but for victory over himself.

Here's a toast to all soldiers, and one veteran in particular. To thank him for helping this greenhorn along his way and to point out when he falters. May he find the peace he fights so hard for.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The King is dead....

While watching CNN last night, a news item flashed on the small bottom banner of the screen which said "UN pledge to give $2 billion in aid to developing countries" (okay I'm not really sure if it was the UN or some other organisation, I'll admit, but the point I'm trying to make follows).

A few days back, GM, Ford, and Chrysler's bailout plan was approved, albeit for a 'lesser' sum of $15 billion. Imagine that. 2 billion dollars for people who can't get three square meals a day, who are besieged with diseases and systems that have been enforced upon them (yes, democracy is not suited for all), and whose stories go untold, "under-reported" - take Sri Lanka for instance, where death tolls have exceeded those in Afghanistan this year, according to Time magazine; but hey, they didn't have trigger happy white boys running around with M60s now did they...

Thomas Friedman, in an article on the New York Times, called the bailout plan the equivalent of several things, my personal favourite being "...the equivalent of pouring money into CD players on the eve of the iPod's release..."

I don't see why they should bail-out the automakers. Granted, there will be massive layoffs and repercussions. But the big three knew that in business, there are risks. It's called capitalism, nimrods. You guys are the ones who espoused it a few decades back. If you can't give the customers what they want, of course they're going to buy someone else's stuff. That's where the hybrids come in, the electric cars, the cars whose emissions are the stuff of clean water. It may sound like science fiction, but then again, so did the Model-T back then.

I was of the mind that capitalism was dying out. (not that I really mind though) That bailouts are becoming the order of the day. But wait, they're now selling senator seats on the open market.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A pinch of salt, a dash of pepper

Taking a backseat and a different perspective, one wonders why the outcry over the terrorists attacks in Bombay seem to be louder this time around. Personally, I love Bombay. The sheer audacity and the fact that I knew people who were there when it happened made me more conscious of the mortality that shrouds us all.

But then again, most of middle, upper middle, and upper income India did as well. Perhaps this goes to prove a theory I expounded long back at the time of the reservations. That to get a populace involved, you have to take something away from them.

Just an observation. No opinions here.


"US intelligence expert says Patil is incompetent" reads an article in an online website, which goes on to describe how the 'expert' found lapses in India's intelligence units.

a) Is this really the right time to be blaming anyone? (and this goes for the BJP as well whose esteemed LK Advani was out campaigning when the Prime Minister had called for an all-party crisis meeting last weekend) One thing that I really (seriously, no sarcasm) respect the Americans for is their unity and their humility in defeat and loss. After 9/11 there was no "it's his/her fault" flying around. Can't say the same for their intelligence experts though.

b) Incompetence is a terrible excuse, but it is far better than sheer indifference. "I told you so" is the current mantra of the Indian public & government to the U.S., whose adulterous love affair with Pakistan has kept it disturbingly blind to the groups that operate from within it. I am not saying anything against Pakistan in general. In the past three months I have befriended three young men from Pakistan and have become incredibly close to them. All I am saying is that there are elements which need to be weeded out. A fact which the U.S. refuses to see. Love is blind, after all.

c) Even if it is true that Tata or even Patil had some knowledge that an attack was imminent, what could they have really done. I have limited knowledge of what they knew and when, but picture being in the Secretary of Defense's shoes 30 minutes before 9/11 and being told that someone flying someplane is going to attack somewhere. I can't imagine what I would do in that situation. (But hey, we all know about them trigger happy rednecks now, don't we)

Even as I type this, blasts rip through the north-eastern state of Assam, not half a day's drive from my hometown and my parents.

Let the blaming stop. Let us remember that the real enemy is not the electorate or even the people who contest them, but we, the people, the public, who forget so soon. Let the rallies manifest not in shouts of anger in the streets of the Causeway but in the ballots of the next generation.

They have caught our attention. Now let them face our wrath.