I know I know........It has been a long time since yours truly ever typed anything in this page. And everytime I think of something, the only things that come to my mind are things that provoke me. Yeah, methinks I am growing into this grumpy man. You know the grumpy grandpa who is not happy with anything at all? I can see myself grow into that. I should change the way I think, otherwise, I will be a changed man. Anyways, thats a project for me to do. Lets get to why this whole post is here.
Its christmas time. It is the most wonderful time of the year. Its time to give. I do not know why, but I just love christmas time. Its not too cold here in Phoenix. Temperatures range only in the 50-60s (that is deg F). When the rest of the USA shovels snow, we here enjoy crisp sunshine, and cool nights. Not to mention, shops put on their best appearance. A lot of people are out shopping, checking out stuff, buying gifts. That is what yours truly did this past sunday. We (my wife and I) were at a "Cost Plus" world market. This is a really neat setup. They have stuff from more than 50 countries in their store. Everything from beer to chocolate to wine and gift ideas. If you are a person who finds it difficult to find gifts fof your friends, I recommend this place to you.
Anyways, here we are in Cost Plus, checking out some stuff. Oh BTW, there is a whole aisle set aside for chocolates from, yeah Cadbury!!!!! That is the section I like to hang out at. We did some window shopping, and then I got something for Sharon. We proceeded to the payment counter where it was very crowded. In shopping centres in the US, if there are more customers waiting, and the line does not move that fast, they open up another counter to help customers. So thats what they did here. And we were at the end of a waiting line, and as is usual custom, the lady at the counter offered to help. We moved on to that new counter, and nobosy said anything. But as we were getting the gifts wrapped by the lady and paying the bill, this lady behind me said "Welcom to America, where we have lost our manners". I knew it was directed at me. My wife was angered. I was a little bit disturbed by that comment. But this is not the worst I have heard here.
But as we were walking out the door, I was trying to convince my wife that there is no point in trying to correct her point of view. Its is just that she had a narrow view. But thinking more about that incident, I think I should have retaliated. But retaliating to these comments will get me nowhere, right? This is where I really feel good about the tolerant nature of us Indians. Maybe we should export some of this tolerance to the US, as the US is exporting its culture to the rest of the world. It really makes a whole lot of difference when you think of something like this in a tolerant atitude. The US has always been this culture that retaliates first and then thinks what it has done. I hope, as a melting point of different cultures, the US adopts the best of different cultures, and improve its own. That is how legacy cultures are made.
Merry Christmas to you all......have a safe Christmas.
So this latest edition to the hurricanes hitting the Southern coast of the United States has been named Katrina. So what was predicted to be a Cat 3 storm suddenly changed plans, and got a makeover to a Cat 4. Winds upto 140mph, tonnes of rain, and left the gulf coast (coastal cities in Louisiana and Missisippi). Katrina left the whole of the historic city of New Orleans under many feet (some places upto 20) of water. New Orleans to begin with was under the sea level. So to make matters incredibly worse, the breaches that guarded New Orleans gave way to the shear destructive force of Katrina, and the soup bowl effect took place. Experts estimate it will take months to get the water out of the city, and years until the rebuilding is complete.
What is really intriguing to me, is that the richest country (or so it claims) in the world, the most technologically equipped nation, and the world's sole super power, sat and watched as hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless, and literally, left to die. Disaster relief did not reach the affected areas until after 72 hours. 72 hours! you can send your armed forces to afganistan, or any other country in this whole world for that matter, in a matter of hours. But you just cannot send help and aid to your own people. This country claims to be the epitome of civilization. But there is not a single evidence that tells me this country really cares. It took 5 days to get the national guard there! No wonder some people took to the streets looting and killing. There are reports of people committing suicides, even police personnel. They just could not take it anymore. As the whole world watched, the federal officials here just sat back, and did NOTHING. No help! Nothing! This government has let its people down. While Louisiana and Missisippi were still reeling from the aftermath of the deadly massive storm, Pres. Bush was in Arizona trying to sell his new social security plan. C'mon, for God's sakes, there is a national disaster, and you are trying to sell your social "security" plan. Well, if these citizens do not make it alive, then you do not need to give them the social security they need right?????
The world's most powerful, and civilized nation now has a city that lives like a "third world". Well, they set the standards then. Now, they find themselves victims of the very standard they set. How long does it take for a first-world country to transform to a third-world country? Not very long as Katrina has shown. It is a shame that a country with "limitless" resources as the US sat and watched, and took so long to atleast respond. We can only hope that the officials learn from history.
: Rain Rain Come Again..........
- Friday July 22: So it is here. Finally!!!!!! The heat has been swealtering the past couple of weeks. The humidity has been on the rise. The clouds would come, turn grey, and go. I used to wonder why they entice you so much, and then just leave. It might be God's way of playing with the devil in the "valley of the sun". So the heat and the humidity have been rising, and finally it happened!!!! The unimaginable!!!!! By sunset (well, you have to know that Mr.Sun sets at 8pm here in this part of the world), there was a steady wind picking up. I knew what was to come. A dust storm. Told H to keep Asha indoors, as it is pretty dangerous. We stayed indoors most of the time. Then at around 9:30pm the skies let loose!!!! The monsoon is here. FINALLY!!!!! I have been longing for some rain. I have been hearing all these stories from home (that would be Kerala) about rain and the monsoon, and could not wait for one here. Well, the thunderstorm was pretty violent I should say. The winds were pretty strong, the rain pretty heavy. Thankfully, the power did not go off, neither did a tree fall on our car. Thats the last thing we need now.
- Saturday July 23: i always loved the morning after the rain. Especially here in Arizona, the heat kicks in pretty early thanks to the barren desert. I love the humidity still lingering in the air. Walked out to our balcony, sipping a cup of steaming coffee. The morning was great. Wished this happened more often than a random day. I tell my friends that rain happens here when a cloud has lost its way, and then says "Oh f**k! I am screwed!!!". Anyways, saturday was already planned for. I had to help H clean the front room. My office was a big mess. I have to get it ready for school. Can you believe school starts in less than three weeks?????? Asha's place got a makeover too.
- Sunday July 24: Family dinner, at A&D's place. We havent had one in more than 2 months if i remember right. This time we are celebrating H's, G's, and K's birthdays. 10 of us met at A&D's new house they bought in Chandler. It was a 25 min drive from here. H tried her hand at making carrot cake. As usual, she was not very encouraged herself about the outcome. I kept telling her it would taste good. Family dinner was fun. It is always fun to meet and be with people who you love, and who care about you too. Asha had fallen asleep by the time we get there. D tried to take her, but she in the car seat is a heavy "object" I should say. So A took care of transporting Asha in the carseat inside, while I helped H with carrying the cakes (yeah, she made 2 of 'em. amazing huh?) and the other food (a rather insignificant Chapati and masala). So we are in the house exchanging "whatsups" and "how u doins". Now A&D's house has high ceilings, and since they have not furnished it fully yet, the noises are rather loud, and they echo too:-) (just imagine the size of the house ;-) ). Asha woke up because of the slightly high noise levels, and H took her out of the car seat. So here she is, just awake, and wondering "I was in a different place before I went to sleep, and here I am in a totally new place", on her mom, and aunty D comes to her and says "hellowwww ashakuttieeee". The sight of D coming towards her may have scared her, and she just let it loose there. Wailing and wailing.......I was cooking the chapatis, and I hear this. I run to H and pick her up. She is still crying, and I am telling her "its ok dear. its only aunty D". Yeah, like she understands.....waaiiiiiilllllll.......wwaaaaiiiillll......curly lips........ so bappa (thats what grandpa wants to be called) somes over, "heyyyyyyyyy".........WAAIIIIILLLLLL..........WWAAAIIILLL (in the 8th note)......bappa takes this real personal "thats it. i am leaving" he jokingly says......wwwaaaaiiiillllllll......no sign of stopping. So dada (thats none other than me......everybody has a name, why not me huh?) talks and walks her. Asha is still having those broken breaths from crying.......we call it "aengal" in malayalam.....i do not know the english translation to it. It took me a whole 10 mins to get her steady, and all of a sudden, out of the blue, uncle A comes with a teddy bear. WWWOOOOOOOWWWWWW......I lllllloove this teddy bear. It was so fun to see crackle up when she saw the teddy. Just a minute ago, she was crying. Now here she is smiling and crackling up. Aunty D feels better now :-). So this is when H explains that Asha sleeps just like her dad (that would be me), and that as soon as she (Asha) wakes up from sleep, it is necessary for her to completely come loose from the sleep, as apparantly, like her dad, she has "layers" of sleep, and with Asha, only dad and mom are supposed to be there when she is unraveling her final few sleep "layers". Hmmmmm..... what a coincidence. Atleast, my daughter has one quality I have. Layers??? what do you mean by layers????? "Oh, you could be sleeping, and I can wake you up and tell you to do things. You will answer in the positive, as if you are wide awake, but you will never wake up", my wife says. Layers, huh.......so how many layers do I have?????? What is the duration of the longest layer? Back to the family dinner. Everything went well. The food was just awesome. So much food. The cake that H made was the highlight. It was just S-U-P-E-R-B. not because she is my wife, you know.......;-)
As I look out the window of my work, I see more clouds gathering. Is this a sign of more rain....ooops, sorry, monsoon? Hope we get more monsoons here. I have always wondered why people here call this monsoon. The rains are hardly 5-10mins in duration. Occasionally you get a 20minute-er. Here is an explanation of why it is called the monsoon. I thought monsoons were the trademark of India, like the word "Freedom" is the trademark of the US.
Now Listeneing: "Sukhamo Devi", K.J. Yesudas, Raveendran, Sukhamo Devi (1986)
: Will we ever learn ?
K.P.S. Gill in this beautiful article explains the different approaches taken by the security forces, press and most importantly the politicians in the terrorist attacks in London recently, and the foiled attack on the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in India. What intrigues me is the fact that even after decades of experience fighting terrorists at home, we still have not devised efficient means of tackling them. Our methods are crude, and rely heavily on hearsay and rumour. Check out the news cast from the two incidents. There are conflicting reports of the Ayodhya attack, whereas there is only one (and only one) comprehensive information we hear about the London attacks. Really distressing, more distressing is the fact that even after so many years, we still have not come up with a more efficient system of disaster management, conflict management and information interchange. Like Gill pointed out, compared to Ayodhya (not comparing the nature of the attacks here) there was just one source of information interchange. So all press around the world said the same thing, no guesses, no heresay, no speculation. How efficient is that????? And look at the politicians. Blair I should say did an amazing job of mobilizing public opinion, condemning only the perpetuators, and also most significantly, included muslim MPs to discuss further actions. Did we see anything of that sort from our politicians??? Naaaa. Never. Its image folks. Mr. Advani promptly took the opportunity to bash "Pakistani backed terrorists" and "security lapses" (y'know, all those politically charged words) and also called a nationwide BANDH. All for a successfully foiled attack on the most controversial 80 acre land piece in the whole world!!!!!!!!! We Indians are to blame. We elected those people to power, to say things like that and make our lives miserable.
I usually do not like to post political blogs, but this really upset me, in the way things were handled. This is the information era. Information about something is bound to reach the public anytime. It is upto the officials to see that the information comes from a trustworthy source, and that it is coherent. Also, the lack of proper communication channels, and clarity really makes us look lower than third world. Soon after the tsunami, the way we reacted to the the relief efforts was worth a pat in the back. But it kind of died a premature death, as we quite evidently did not go ahead with it to the full extend.
A friend of mine emailed me from Hong Kong and said how beautiful and clean the city looked. Why? The people want to keep the city clean. They take every effort to make it look good and clean. They take pride in doing it. What about a city in India, say Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai. What do we do? We blame it on the large population that these cities are dirty and filthy. But is someone doing something? The same indian who lives in Singapore keeps his neighbourhood clean. He does not throw the banana skin on the roadside, but finds a trash can to dump it. He returns to india, and does he do the same thing? No. He litters. What a paradox. He knows well that he is gonna get his a** fined if did that in S'pore. If we really want to see India Shining, we have to start at the grassroot level. If we see ourselves as one of the economic powers of the world, we have to change the way we think of ourselves, and our country. I do not think most Indians understand that power rests with them. Vote for reliable people. People with integrity. People with vision. And help them achieve it by providing full support. Hey, we elected them goddamit. Best example? This guy called G.W. Bush and this nation called America. Look at the support he has in the US, even after every TD&H knows the things he did to "fight Terror" did not work. India desperately needs a visionary, a new age Gandhi (NO. Not Sonia or anybody from the Nehru family. I was just mentioning about Gandhi the visionary, not Gandhi the politician).
Only then will we really be able to say "Sara jahan se acha, Hindustan hamara....."
Hi Blogworld!!!!! I am back. Yes. It has been over a year since I did anything on this website. It has been hard. To start with, let me tell you that my life has changed from being single to being married, and a dad of a beautiful baby daughter. It is hard to summarize all the events that happened in the past one year, but here is it in a nutshell.
- Sometime in July 2004: My girlfriend for over a year H and I discover she is pregnant!!!!! So much for unprotected.....you know what.
- Sometime in August 2004: The most difficult thing for me was to drop the bomb on my parents and my friends. Maybe its because of my cultural background, maybe its my pride, but whatever......I did bite the bullet. H's parents are the best in the world. Being ardent followers of Christ, Holy Maccaroneeee, they let a country Indian marry their precious daughter. As for my parents, there was some soreness, but they (and I) have patched up, and things are good for now.
- November 13, 2004: H and I got married at her church amidst friends, and her family. My family unfortunately could not make it.
- Christmas 2004: H runs into some complications. Mysteriously she bleeds on Christmas night. The doctor puts her in complete bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. Oddly enough (and very good for us), she never bleeds again. The kiddo is fine, it never knows everything going outside its world. We decide not to know what sex the baby is, until delivery, much to the chagrin of H and her mom. Apparently, they need to "plan" for the baby. Hello???? Are we missing something? Last time I checked, this baby was not planned:-).
- 2004-2005: The year goes by without any special things. I am still in school. H is getting bigger. The thought of having the baby gives us the chills. But we have the best support system we can ever ask for, in our friends and family. Thank god for them.
- March 19, 2005: Asha Jean Jayamohan was born to us at 0126hrs. 7lbs 13oz. 21". Both mom and kid are healthy. I couldnt be a happier man. Mannnnnnnn, I am a dad. There is living thing that is going to (hopefully) depend on H and me for a long long time from now. Amazing.......
- May 10, 2005: The end of a very hard and demanding semester at school. Happy to get rid of the heavy load. I found it is a li'l difficult to manage studies and be a dad of a newborn. But it was interesting. I cannot just describe the feeling of being a dad, and that too, to an angel like Asha. She is my little princess.
- July 12, 2005: Still a student worker. Working full time to make ends meet. The going is getting tougher. But I will hang on. One unsuccessful attempt at getting my work permit has left H with no confidence in this system. Let us see what the government does to us now. But nothing seems to worry me now, when I look at my daughter. She is all grown up now, and growing.....quickly.
So to all you out there, have a great summer, stay cool, and take care......~ciao.