Monday, July 28, 2008

What inspires me

There are often stories in the papers about people who have succeeded in spite of an unfair hand dealt to them in life and they are all so inspiring. The one i read today made me cry - not because I felt sorry for this person but because I was amazed at his outlook towards life. He really seems to believe that things happen for a reason - and never talks about his disability being a burden. I'm inspired not just by his achievements against all odds but his attitude towards life. There are so many people who talk about what's wrong in life and never count their blessings. And here is someone who has the right to complain but has not a single negative word to say. If I could only be 0.5% the person he is.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I am scared

Two days. Two sets of blasts. The second one bigger than the first. And following the incidents in Jaipur not so long ago. And Hyderabad just last year. What is the world coming to? Why does it have to be this way? I believe in being positive always - but how can one continue to be when there is no peace in the world. If people have to step out of their house not knowing whether they will come back home - and not because of some random accident but by a deliberately planned plot not aimed at them but just anyone. All to make statements? And what is the statement that is being made? I am too much of a nobody to understand the politics behind all this but all I know is the more such things happen the more I wonder about the future. I am no doomsday conspiracy theorist (is that a term?) but it is just sad to see random people die. I know I shouldnt question God every time something bad happens in the world, but if he is the creator, the preserver and the destroyer - why does He let these things happen? Everything is part of a bigger plan but what is the bigger plan here. And where's the end to it all? The politicians talk about wars against terrorism and themselves partake in acts of violence just to give themselves and their subjects (yes i use that term deliberately because sometime I feel like the concept of democracy becomes optional to these people) a feeling of satisfaction that something is being done. And yet violence is everywhere. And while the chance of something happening to one person is very small - the point is it could happen to anyone. This is a very far off thought but is this the world I would some day want to bring a child into? I am scared.

I think I'm in love...

with the idea of being in love. I am such an old fashioned girl when it comes to love and romance. Ever since I was 16 I've had fantasies of being swept off my feet. About being wined (umm well sparkling grape juiced in my case) and dined. Of red roses (though I do prefer yellow myself) and long walks. But seriously - there is something about being in love. The idea of someone in your life, someone who will take care of you, someone who is just there. Someone whose very thought would bring a smile to my face. Someone who I look forward to talking to or seeing at the end of every long day. I really miss that. When I see couples in love I couldn't be happier for them, but am left with a lingering thought of when I will find that one that I'm looking for. Don't get me wrong - while I dream of love - I'm not one to believe that we all have this 'one' person who is made for us.

I know there are many people out there that I can be equally happy with and I'm sure whoever I end up with will make me very happy. Until a few months ago the idea of arranged marriage scared me - part of it because how do I marry someone I haven't spent enough time with to really know. But I dont think that was the main reason. I truly believe that most people in this world are inherently good and I don't think I will end up with someone who I won't like. I do trust my parents - and I know that they will give me all the time in the world to make my choice. So why not give it a go. It's just one way to meet someone new right? So back to what it is about arranged marriages that I'm actually against - the thought that my dreams of so many years will remain unfulfilled. The idea of falling in love. The idea of romance. But then the silver lining I see behind every cloud says - why should I think I won't fall in love with said guy? And why would there not be romance in it. My mum and dad had an arranged marriage - they barely even knew each other when they were married - yet you would never know the way my dad behaves! So that's the one wish I do have - whoever that guy is - I hope he is the one I've been dreaming of. And whatever I did dream of does come true.

Actually I take that back. That would be wish number 2 for me (If God gave me three wishes). And what is the first wish I would ask for? That if there is such a thing as another life - that I be born to the same parents again. But more on that for another day.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Is this the news that people really read?

Every time I open I am amazed at the headlines that they choose to display as their front line stories. Either it is about Bollywood actors or some bizarre thing that has happened in a remote part of the country that is just there to create sensationalism. I mean sure even I like my healthy dose of Bollywood gossip and these strange happenings need to be covered - but the headlines? Sify in particular just comes up with the weirdest things. Today's Sify headlines include - "Brit Blokes are the biggest bedroom liars" (sorry?), "Liquor fed chickens sell like hotcakes" (riiiight!), "Wanted: Urine donors for NASA's space lavatory" (HUH?).

But apparently I shouldn't blame the website. Guess what the most clicked-on story of the day from Samachar Top25 is? "Amrita Rao left red faced as her choli slips off"!!!!

I am in shock. Why would someone even write a story like that? Sure she is a Bollywood actress and they know that being part of the news (whether good or bad) comes with the package. But she is still a girl. What would have compelled a journalist to write something as embarrassing as that. I feel sorry for her. And apparently it is the most 'popular' article of today too. Disgusting!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Congratulations on flushing education down the toilet

Read the following article and please for the love of God explain it to me

HRD orders faculty quota, IIT directors livid

I think it was sometime in the early '90s - I was 7 or 8 and I remember a group of college students broke into our school in protest. I have very vague memories of the incident but remember being told that it had something to do with reservations. It didn't make much sense to me then and a few years after that I moved out of the country thus never really felt the effect of reservation. But as I've grown older and seen how this phenomenon has spread I wonder where it will end.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for inclusive growth and I agree that in India perhaps the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting left behind. But the amount of reservations in the top institutions of India is shocking. Plus when it comes to inclusive growth shouldn't it be based on economic condition as opposed to caste. Yes now there is the whole 'creamy layer' thing but there are so many loopholes in there. Is it really fair that some people have to work so much harder to get into the same colleges just because of being born in an 'affluent' caste - where it could very well be that their parents in fact are not that affluent. Anyway, forget all that - that is an old topic that will never die down, but this article today makes my blood boil. Must affirmative action be carried so far that the education of the country's youth be jeopardized.

What is this new ruling if not that? To start a quota for backward classes in the faculty of the IITs? Could anything be stupider? The IITs have built such an incredible reputation for themselves of shaping some of the brightest minds in the country. People all over the world respect you for being an IITian. And what is a college if not for a great faculty? Is that possible when spots in the faculty (including tenured professors) are given out based on caste? FIFTY PERCENT OF THE FACULTY!!!

I am not saying that there are not great candidates for the roles from this group of people. But will it not be that the deserving ones will apply through the general slots (just like they do as students). And that means that half of the people who are supposed to train the future leaders of the country are not competent enough to do so. What sense does that make?

Explain this to me. I understand that spots are created in undergraduate classes for the underprivileged as they have not had access to the same resources (at the same time I reiterate that these should be based on your economic condition). I then question why there must be reservations in graduate degrees - haven't both X (from a scheduled caste) and Y (from a non scheduled caste) been given access to the same education thus giving them the ability to compete on even ground. But no. Here too X must be given an advantage for whatever reason. Ok I will let that go too. Here's the big question pertaining to the faculty. X got into an IIT thanks to reservation and did ok but not enough to get into a graduate degree on his own merit. Thus X once again applies to get a further education once again through a quota.

At this point X has had 8 years of education with the same 'privileges' that Y did (while Y perhaps had to work that little bit harder to do well enough to get into that graduate degree based only his academics). How then does it make sense that X must be given priority for a faculty position? In these 8 years any difference between X and Y has been wiped out hasn't it? Aren't they at least now equal and shouldn't they be treated equally? In the name of affirmative action, why must Y suffer? What has he done that is so wrong? Will it be that some time in the future Y's children and grandchildren will need the quota because Y lost so many opportunities thanks to reservation? Or is it then surprising that Y decides to give up on the country altogether and leave?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na - If only...

Every once in a while I watch a movie where I wish I was the character in it. No it doesn't happen in superhero movies. I have no fantasy of flying or saving the world (though come to think of it, it doesn't sound like a bad idea). That feeling usually comes in cute love stories - though not all of them. I always feel that way when watching Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. If I could choose a love story for myself it would be that one. The movie I watched this weekend gave me the same feeling. It was the perfect story - best friends who discover that they have been in love all along. What could be nicer than falling in love with your closest friend. That's always been my dream since I was a child. Yes I admit it - I was the typical girl who dreamed of love since very young :)

Back to the movie - there is a certain freshness about it that really puts a smile on your face - even though there is nothing new to the story and the climax in particular is oh-so-cliched! Yet that cliche seems adorable here. All thanks to the simple script and the amazingly natural acting by the whole cast. Imran Khan makes a fantastic debut - he could pass off as Aamir Khan's son with that same cheeky smile, a smile that is conveyed even through the eyes! Genelia has long been one of my favourites - especially after watching Bommarillu (there's another movie I would love to be a part of!) - there's something about her - she becomes the character and you never for a moment think it is a movie. Everyone is the movie was splendid - I especially loved loved loved the scenes between Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak - great chemistry there!! And I have to mention the guy who plays Genelia's brother - who I later found out is Smita Patil's son Prateik - he is around in just a few scenes - but absolutely fantastic! My favourite two scenes in the movie are those between Genelia and him - first when he confesses he misses her and second when he tells her she is stupid to think of marrying anyone else.

The story of the movie is very simple - two people who have known each other forever refuse to acknowledge that their feelings for each other are anything but platonic. And to prove it to the world, they find each other perfect partners. Only to discover that they can't stand the thought of someone else being closer to their friend. So perhaps friendship is love and love is friendship?

But whether you believe it or not, to everyone I would say - go watch the movie!! And while you're at it - find me a Jai Singh Rathore :)

Kabhi kabhi aditi zindagi mein koi apna lagta hai....

what's going on?

I must be a crazy one for thinking this but is it so wrong to refuse to drink and not have a reason for it? Why do I find myself constantly in a position of having to explain why i DONT drink? While friends I grew up with accepted this from the very beginning moving to the US was another story altogether. People sometimes thought I was acting pricey and sometimes thought I was trying to put them down for drinking. But I never have - I don't care who drinks and who doesn't - as long as noone asks me to drink. Thankfully after a couple of months people gave up. Why am I talking about this now then? Because this weekend I met a whole bunch of new people and found myself in the same predicament again. But instead of having to explain myself I got myself a glass of a non-alcoholic drink so people could assume whatever they wanted. Or if someone asked I said I didnt want to right now. Just to avoid questions. Isn't it crazy that one must lie about not drinking?

Yet another thing that triggered this off. A radio talk show host said that she doesnt trust people who have never even had a puff of a cigarette or a drug in their life or who don't drink because they are TOO much in control and she is scared of them. What the HELL?? am i the only crazy one here?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The vogue of political incorrectness

A few months ago I got told by a friend that I am the most politically correct person he knows and no it wasn't a compliment. He said I should round up a bunch of people like me and we could form a very good PC police. Right. I actually think it's quite funny that to call a person politically correct is now a derogatory term or maybe it always was since the phrase was conceived. What is to be politically correct? Wikipedia (the ONE who knows everything) seems to define it as languange, ideas, behaviour that seeks to minimize offense. I missing something? Is that not a good thing?

No by this I do not mean that we should all hide the truth or our real feelings all the time - but sometimes is it worth offending others for your own satisfaction of not being PC? Isn't it better to then be politically correct?

The reason I bring this up is now that I have a car again I am finally listening to the radio in the US. And I was a little appalled at the topics that get discussed on the radio and the way people are criticized and insulted. And so much of it is pointless. To me if feels like it is all in the name of being 'cool' Un-PC people.

So is that a trend then? To talk crap just so you can claim to not be labeled PC?