Sunday, January 16, 2011

Indian Crab Syndrome by Shobha John

I remember watching the movie 'Ek Doctor Ki Maut' on DD many many years ago. Pankaj Kapoor plays a doctor whose seminal research is met with stiff peer opposition. The movie was inspired by the real-life story of Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhaya. Dr. Subhash's story is tragic and the movie brilliantly portrays his frustration and in effect portrays the story of all individual in India who dare to have a mind of their own, or is creative or has seminal ideas. Sadly, hierarchical structures in all aspect of human life is a truth in India and this fosters nepotism, false sense of entitlement and concentrates all power at the top. Energy is spent on fighting this structure instead of doing something constructive. A piece in the Times of India made me remember the movie and I felt like sharing that article on this blog. The article titled 'Indian Crab Syndrome' can be fond here. The article follows.
Indian Crab Syndrome by Shobha John
Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness — George Orwell
Doctors, especially those in India, can relate to this. When the 2010 Nobel Prize for medicine was given to Dr Robert G Edwards, many said it was 32 years late. Edwards and fellow researcher Patrick Steptoe did pioneering work on IVF but had to constantly wage a psychological and physical war on the opposition. They also had to battle to pay the bills. Eventually, they won through. But so many don't, particularly in developing countries like India.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mausam ki adla badli mein ...

I am not a big fan of the movie 'Black'. I think the true inspirational story of Anne Sullivan-Helen Keller was turned into a overtly dramatized average movie.
I have never understood the mind of Sanjay Leela Bansali. A director of a movie is primarily a story-teller. I wonder if Bansali ever tries to tell a story. He directs his movies as if he is trying to paint a sequence of paintings. It's possible he uses the colors as metaphors. It's possible! Only I don't see it. And I wonder how many do if there are any. 
Anyways, seems like, so distracted was I while viewing it that I missed one gem that was embedded in the movie. The song 'Mausam ki adla badli mein' sung by Gayatri Iyer, almost flawlessly. Now, I am not a music expert by any standard but as a listener I do consider this song as one of the best compositions of the last decade. It's crafted to near perfection, if not to perfection. The composition is haunting, the rendition mesmerizing and lyrics sheer poetry. 
Yet, I have consciously avoided listening to this song since last year and half. 
I get strongly affected by some songs and sometimes the emotions and memories that they carry destroy the tranquility of the heart. Nostalgia is an element that enters a song subjectively. We all associate songs to different times in our lives; to different emotions. A few of the songs carry the aroma of moments frozen in the past. Once these songs fall on the ears the moments begin to replay in your mind, the cocktail of emotions begin to affect your state of being.  
Last evening, I happened to listen to this song accidentally on the radio. Each time I listen to this song I am reminded of the moment when this song was first introduced to me. The emotions and memories come flooding back. Even though the memories are ones that I am extremely fond of, somehow, it leaves me regretful. I, hopelessly, wish to go back in time just to live one extra moment.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

IPL: Some team's contracts terminated

'Sharad Pawar is homosexual. He removed two beautiful female faces from the IPL. And he let Shahrukh Khan stay', my friend argues. However strong the argument may be I would rather have to disagree, at least partially. 
Gender discrimination?
Lalit Modi created IPL selling one of the easiest things to sell today. Cricket. He let all the his blood relations and relations from marriage to eat as much of the pie as possible. And I am surprised the BCCI bosses took 3 long years to realize that there is money in IPL and not in ODIs and Tests and that they needed to have the reign back so that they could fend for their relatives. As I argued in my last post, as Indians we are a very family oriented society. Our ethical code is rather simple - if it is good for the family, it is good, if it is bad for the family, it is bad. So now all the teams which had Modi and his relatives benefiting will be terminated and all the ones having BCCI bosses' stakes in them will prosper. 
That explains the female faces being shown the door out of IPL. I still cannot argue the Shahrukh Khan angle.

Monday, September 27, 2010

CWG 2010: India's Pride

"Indians defecate everywhere", commented Naipaul in his "Area of Darkness", first book in the trilogy on India. As an outsider this is how he viewed Indians on his first visit to India.
Off course, many of us thought it to be a statement made due to ignorance of what Indianness is and we openly romanticize the idea of 'maidan' visit early in the morning. Sanitation is a western concept and therefore we don't really think very highly of it. We do not want our faeces to go waste and would rather use it to fertilize our agricultural land. We take pride in such organic way of life.
With scarcity of space in urban environments we have been forced to defecate in our own homes. A revolting idea. We do that with a lot of shame but we do make up by urinating in open public spaces. It satisfies our urge to be and behave Indian. The Indian government being Indian supports this idea of Indianness by not providing for basic sanitary amenities and utilities in our cities. By not providing for basic amenities the Indian government helps all of us to protect and preserve our cultural heritage. An important mandate of the government.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Of Mice and Monologe by By Mark Leyner

Check this article. I loved it and could not refrain from keeping it away from you guys. Won't say more on it, just go straight to the article. You will find the article on Op-Ed section of New York Times.

Of Mice and Monologe By Mark Leyner

I AM absolutely baffled as to why the announcement of a scientific advance heralding the advent of talking mice has not generated a peep from the chattering classes, particularly since it’s a story about chattering ... and chattering mice, to boot.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have engineered a strain of mice that possesses the human FOXP2 gene, considered by evolutionary biologists to be among several crucial components that endow people with the capacity for speech. Already, the swap of mouse FOXP2 for human FOXP2 has altered the way the mice communicate with one another (their ultrasonic whistles have become slightly lower-pitched).

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bihar: Now

I found this article at this link, and found it an interesting read, more so because this was published on Nov 14, 2006, almost an year after he became the Chief Minister of Bihar. This election, even though not an assembly election, will decide whether the people of my home state have started to cast their vote for development and progress or are still voting their caste.

History Grants Nitish Kumar An Opportunity in Bihar
By Ramesh Menon.

India is looking at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Will he take the reins that history has graciously given him to change the future of one of the most backward states of the world’s biggest democracy? Some television stations in India have conducted polls on the popularity of chief ministers and Nitish is one of the best. If he wants a place in the history of India’s fractured politics, he can bid for it. But it is not going to be easy.


One cannot help feeling tickled with the poll predictions that the media toyed with before the results of the Bihar elections came pouring in. Most of them were far off the mark. Sometimes, the media would do well to look into the mirror and accept how poorly prepared it is. Even in Bihar where the majority is illiterate, unemployed, hungry and poor, voters can vote for change and hold out a candle of hope for democracy. The golden rule in old-fashioned journalism of yesteryears was that if a journalist had his ear to the ground, he would hear the tremors. But in the age of Google, the way most journalists get information has changed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ganguly and his fake team mate.

There is an over left and seven runs needed. Ganguly at the crease - I expect KKR to win and began writing my post in praise of Ganguly and his famed resilience.

It is Ganguly's turn to remind us of the stuff he is made up of. When KKR looked dead and gone Ganguly comes to the party and guides 'his' team to a fantastic victory. We are continuously and imaginatively 'informed' about the insides of IPL and KKR in particular from someone called FakeIPLPlayer, and we know now that Dada will ...

And then the unthinkable happened. Ganguly fell in the penultimate ball with his team still needing two runs to win. What followed can only be described as the most entertaining thing to happen in IPL 2, after the blog that has King Khan (I am avoiding the nomenclature used in the now famed blog of the FakeIPLplayer, even though I am tempted to do so) fuming.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An argument.

When Noam Chomsky was asked for his views on religion, in an interview, this was what he had to say:
"...if you ask me whether or not I'm an atheist, I wouldn't even answer. I would first want an explanation of what it is that I'm supposed not to believe in, and I've never seen an explanation."
I am sharing this with you all because I simply loved the beauty in the argument.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Story of the poor and hence of India.

Last week I read an article titled "I am just a poor boy though my story’s seldom told", that I would like to share with you.

As an introduction to the article I share with you the first two paragraphs of the article here:

That the children of the poor underachieve in later life, and thus remain poor themselves, is one of the enduring problems of society. Sociologists have studied and described it. Socialists have tried to abolish it by dictatorship and central planning. Liberals have preferred democracy and opportunity. But nobody has truly understood what causes it. Until, perhaps, now.

The crucial breakthrough was made three years ago, when Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania showed that the working memories of children who have been raised in poverty have smaller capacities than those of middle-class children. Working memory is the ability to hold bits of information in the brain for current use—the digits of a phone number, for example.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

IPL in South Africa. It's different!!!

IPL began today. Mumbai Indians defeated the last year edition's runners up, riding on a fantastic knock by Sachin Tendulkar. The surprise for me was Royal Challengers beating last edition's champions Rajasthan Royals. The big performers for RC were Rahul Dravid, who played some fantastic, delightful shots for his 66 runs in 48 balls, and Anil Kumble, who finished with figures of 3.1-5-5. But, not before Shane Warne displayed his craft. Class and not youth is this IPL's character.

Oooops ... Rahul hot again?


Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Road Not Taken

The last few months have been very difficult. Almost everyday, I have looked back to the past and have wondered about the major decisions I made in my life and how they have maneuvered my life and brought me to my present. Almost everyday, I am reminded of last stanza of the poem; The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I am not sure if the roads I took were the ones less traveled, but the last stanza haunts me always.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Life List


At fifteen, he sat down and made a list. At such a young age he jotted down all that he wished to do in his life. The list included things like; exploring the Nile, Colorado and more, learn about the primitive civilizations of Congo, Brazil and more, climb the Mt. Everest, Mt Fuji and many more, photograph Iguacu Falls, Niagara Falls and more, explore the underwater coral reefs of Florida and The Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Visit places like the Taj Mahal, Leaning tower of Pisa and others, write a book, make a telescope, publish an article in National Geographic Magazine, light a match with a .22 rifle, go to the moon and plenty of others. Puff! And that is just some of the items from his list that had 127 items in all.
He called it "My Life List".
Today, he has ticked off 111 items from the list. Some of the items still not ticked are; go to the moon, visit every country in the world (he has 30 to go) and feature in a Tarzan movie. Ha.
John Goddard is an explorer, adventurer, author and lecturer. Check his complete "Life List" . You will be bulldozed to amazement. I promise.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The best goodbye ever ...

What would you do if you came to know you have only a couple of months to live? Amar Kaul, the character played by Vinay Pathak in 'DASVIDANIYA' makes a list of things he wishes to do before he dies. He has three months to live. And is successful in ticking off all the items in the list before he says his goodbyes.


His journey through the last months of his life is not only moving but inspiring and an education. Its one of the movies that makes you introspective.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Illusion of Wealth and a Fraud.

When Lehman Brothers evaporated and the official anouncement of recession started to do the headlines, I started to search for answers. I was lost. I had little or more correctly no understanding of the stock market then. And my understanding of economics did not go beyond the demand and suppy curve. So, for the next couple of weeks I read and reread a lot of material on the internet. Became, for a change, a listener in discussions that broke out at office over coffee and lunch. The frequency and duration of coffee breaks increased and I was educated.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Finding sense ...

I collate here some of the comments and excerpts from articles that I read after the Mumbai terror episode. Maybe, just maybe, as a group, these thoughts will make some sense amidst the confusion, anger, hopelessness and hate that has gripped the nation.