Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Dengue that doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"

My brother was hospitalized because of Dengue last week and he was there for about 4 days. That was the first time when I had a first hand experience of having a member of my family's "first circle" to be hospitalized for some condition other than the likes of pregnancy or a cataract... for something life threatening. There was a twenty minute window when the possibility of losing my brother was clear and present. I can spend the next one hour walking through it second by second. But that is neither the point of this post, nor would that be rewarding emotionally or intellectually. I would rather use this space and the rarely available time to write a blog post to analyze what lessons I can learn and remember to use going forward.

  1. Dengue is one of the many diseases caused by virus. With whatever I have seen so far, a viral gives us one good head start with its classic symptom that should be perceivable without a degree in medicine. Fever and body ache. When we have this symptom, I think it would be a good idea to directly go to a diagnostic centre first and get all the diagnostic test done, and then go the doctor for consultations. I don't think we need to wait for the doctor's advice on this since his/her advice is not a prerequisite. And we are advised to be taking such tests on an annual basis.
  2. Dengue is going to decrease the platelet and WBC count. Platelets work to clot blood while WBC, as we all know, provide immunity. Once detected for dengue, doctor would advice platelet count checks on a daily basis through blood tests.At least in India, it take about two hours for the results to come in. For a healthy person the count should 2.5lakhs though, I have seen normal people with counts as low as 1.5Lakhs. Dengue has no vaccine and don't have a direct medicine for cure. 
  3. The way to combat dengue is to ensure that the platelet counts don't decrease to a dangerous level while simultaneously addressing the fever by taking paracetamol advised by the doctor. To keep the platelet count from decreasing, one has to have a lot of fluid intake like fruit juice (esp. those rich in vitamin C that improves immunity) and eating well. But eating well was a problem at least in my brother's case since there was a fluid accumulation in his abdomen that messed with his appetite. Papaya fruit and leaves is widely spoken-of for being very good at helping in platelet count increase since papaya has a lot of vitamin C and other anti-microbial properties that purges the microbes from the body. 
  4. Just to put the above discussions in context using my brother as an example, he was hospitalized with a platelet count as low as 11,000. He had to take about 6 "packets" of blood platelets. He took two teaspoons of papaya leaves crushed in a mixer, twice a day. He emptied about 300ml of papaya juice once. In addition he emptied about three litres of water. His diet usually contained a bowl of tomato soup, Spinach, dahl and mixed fruits. All this with the IV of saline solution dripping into his blood stream almost 24 hours a day, he took about three days to recover from 11,000 to 1.15 lakhs in terms of platelets. 
  5. The hospital is going to puncture the patient with needles for a twice a day platelet checks. It is usually a progressively painful routine. But an increase of  8000 to 10000 in platelet count is a very good sign. The worry is when it is decreasing and goes back to 20000 or lesser.
  6. After discharge he is at home taking rest for at least one more week, taking normal diet and medicine prescribed by the doctor.  It would be a good idea to do another platelet check after may be a week to be sure that the count isn't going down
The experience was traumatic at least for the 20 minutes, and it was one of those rare "it can happen to me too" moments. But, bitter as it may be, I should acknowledge the fact that it was a very valuable experience during which we have lost nothing more than a few tens of thousands of money, a few tear drops, but gained a lot of knowledge, more strength to take on an unexpected emergency, and last but not least, the realization that when you or your loved one is down, there are a lot of friends, relatives and colleagues who would respond to your call for help with urgency. I have heard of a saying "Anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger". At least in this case, it sure was true.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Lessons from cooking

My wife has been gone for her maternity and is not due to return until early next year. As a result I had an opportunity to cook for myself. Here are what I learnt from the experience

  • Cooking has always been a source of fun. It is a great stress-buster especially when combined with good music, but only if you start early to have enough time. Me being me, I think of cooking only when I start feeling hungry. Till then, how Jake Sully saves Pandora from the dream walkers and wins back Neytiri's love this time around in Star Movies seems more important.
  • Once you start cooking, it is important to list and line-up the raw-materials first. I have been cooking on and off for about 10 years now, with about a gap of a year or so between two bursts of cooking. But even now, I first put the vessel and light the burner before I think of the vegetable oil!
  • A little less salt and spice is always better than a little too much. But the problem is less and more are relative. As long as you are cooking for yourself, less or more doesn't matter, of course. You screw up, you eat and don't tell anyone. Or your throw it out, have the ever-reliable bread-butter-jam combo.. and shut-up again. But the problem comes when you cook for others. A few people can take when the salt is a bit too high, but not when it is a bit too low. For a few dishes, adding the salt later works, but for a few, it doesn't. But from my experience, if salt is way to low, adding some salt helps to a certain extent. But if the salt is way too high, you can do nothing but feel bad about it!
So  far I find that there are four big challenges in cooking
  • Finding the difference between toor dhal, moong dhal, urad dhal and when to use what. 
  • Finding the difference between, gingeli oil and ground nut oil
Again, after over 10 years of part-time cooking, I am not able to sleep-walk through this
  • Judging the correct quantity of rice and vegetables to use to achieve the correct quantity of the dish by the time cooking is done. Sometimes, I choose to prepare a dish that I plan to use for over a couple of days (like tomato chutney). I take four tomatoes and come up with a real tasty one after about 45 minutes. But I find  that it wouldn't last after the first meal. I wonder "Wasn't four enough?". Then it strikes. "Not when the tomatoes are as small as lemons!"
  • Maintaining consistency in taste. All the challenges I have mentioned earlier, I have got over at some point of time or the other. But consistency is still too high a bar for me to jump over. I remember that, as a kid, during family occasions my mom and aunts come together and cook for the extended family. I used to have each dish and by their taste, I would be able to say who cooked what with a fair degree of accuracy. THAT is consistency! 
Cooking is easy if you think of it as an isolated task on just one particular day. But if you consider cooking as churning out multiple dishes in correct proportions each day, maintaining consistency in taste over multiple days and maintaining variety over any given week. Then you really see how tough it is and how easy your parents have made it look for you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Choice between currency and coin

When I was in high school, it dawned on me that money with higher denominations are all currencies (made of paper) and the one with lower denominations are all coins (made of metal). I had time and again wondered the reasoning behind the counter intuitive choice of transitioning from the higher valued metal to the lower valued paper as the denomination goes up.
Recently my uncle gave me an explanation for that. The choice of using metal or paper to represent a particular denomination is made based on the frequency of transaction as cash. One rupee denomination pass hands more often than say a hundred rupee denomination. So, if we make the one rupee denomination as a currency, it would soil faster and would significantly increase the recycling effort. So, it is made as a coin thus increasing its life. Since a hundred rupee denomination is likely to be transacted with lesser frequency, it would soil slower. So, a currency would suffice. After listening to the explanation, I suppose it isn't so counter-intuitive after all. But with the inflation shooting up, I think it is about time to consider a hundred rupee coin :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What I make out of the Lokpal issue

Anna Hazare led protest against the introduction of the Lokpal Bill and the corruption in general seems, at least to me, to have gathered the largest number of supporters to one single cause across the nation than any other non-political or non-religious cause. Emotions run high, as the government struggles to handle the juggernaut of India Against Corruption's (IAC) protest. But as any mass movement, the fundamental questions seem to be left unanswered in the most clear terms.

The most important question I find unanswered among the mayhem, of such emotion and hyper-reporting is "What specifically Anna Hazare fasting for (or against)? Is it to withdraw the government's draft from the parliament so that discussion for the consensus should continue? Is it to table the Jan Lokpal for discussion in the parliament's houses? Or is it to pass it?" Sometimes, I hear IAC say that ultimately they want a "strong" Lokpal Bill to be passed and sometimes, to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill by Aug 31. The fasting, protests and the mayhem has yielded the obvious result. Confusion and lack of clarity

I am clearly against, the present version of the government's Lokpal Bill which excludes the prime minister's office and thousands of other politicians from the Lokpal's reach. So, I am clearly against the passage of the government's version of the Lokpal. On the other hand, Jan Lokpal as explained in this slideshare seems to be pretty sound. For example, contrary to the popular allegation that the Jan Lokpal as proposed by the IAC would be an unelected entity, there is a chance to propose names for Jan Lokpal membership at least for the educated masses and those with access to the medium of electronic communication. I think it is better than the current scenario where the common man has no means to propose names for the vigilance departments like CBI or CVC. Similarly, I also welcome the proposal to empower the Loklpal to file FIR against High Court and Supreme Court judges without the permission of Chief Justice of India.

However these are just parts of the Jan Lokpal Bill, and despite spending some time searching on the Internet, I couldn't find either a draft of the Government's Lokpal Bill or a comparison of the bill with that of the Jan Lokpal bill by a neutral party (neither IAC nor government). So, (against all my gut feelings), I have to allow for the government's draft version to contain at least some element that is worth discussing to be part of the final "strong" lokpal that should be passed. So, I would support Anna's fast fully only if he does so to stop government's version of the bill from being passed thus keeping the Jan Lokpal alive and up for further discussions to take the best out of both versions. But if he wants the Jan Lokpal to be passed thus killing the Government's bill, I must conclude that Anna's (and the IAC's) intentions are "equal but opposite" to that of the government's intentions

Monday, August 15, 2011

National Anthem and Patriotism

Its The Indian Independence day. Today I witnessed the usual. A lot of Indian flags fluttering around, the chanting of the National Anthem (not always as it is supposed to be, but as was taught in school), distribution of sweets and inspired patriotic speeches amid local politicians. During the flag hoisting ceremony I asked a little girl, probably in her second or third grade, what language is our national anthem written and she promptly answered "Hindi". Now I can start judging things about her and her school, but I tried not to, because I am sure I wouldn't have known the answer to that myself at that tender age. And the schools (accepting the fact that they are business houses and are getting more professional about it with every passing day) would care more about her academic scores and extra-curricular activities than clarifying this particular detail.

But then I suppose we should know certain basics about our own national anthem. Like what language it is written in, and its meaning. The first one seemed easy. Written by Tagore, it has to be Bengali. But why guess, when we have Wikipedia! I looked up and it was indeed Sanskrit, but heavily sanskritized. As of the meaning, I must admit, this is the first time I cared to look it up despite conspiracy theories that the National Anthem praised King George V instead of God. Neverthless, here is what I found in Wikipedia

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people,
Dispenser of India's destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sindhu,
Gujarat and Maratha,
Of the Dravida and Orissa and Bengal;
It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas,
mingles in the music of Jamuna and Ganges and is
chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.
They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise.
The saving of all people waits in thy hand,
Thou dispenser of India's destiny.
Victory, victory, victory to thee.

But there is one question in my mind. Does the fact that a lot of us don't know about our own National Anthem or the details around it make us unpatriotic? I will struggle to answer this question all my life. I suppose we think about patriotism very less on a daily basis. But Independence Day is a good opportunity to think about it. The way I see it, National Anthem is an important tool to instill a sense of patriotism and however, wrongly we pronounce the words or how many ever times we sing the anthem without stopping to think about the language the Anthem originates from, the fact that we stand up, stay still, look at the flag and salute it should be testimony enough for the fact that we have some sense patriotism to the idea of India. But getting it right and knowing about the National Anthem better definitely shows that one is at least curious to be more educated and rational about her or her patriotism, which otherwise merely be an unexplainable psychological feeling.

Any piece of writing on India and patriotism wouldn't be complete without thinking of Mahatma Gandhi. But I don't want to use this space to praise him. But instead remember a piece of dialogue that Ben Kingsley delivers as he played Gandhi. The piece struck me because of its contemporary relevance.

Nehru: "But I thought you were against fighting"
Gandhi: "Where there is injustice, I always believed in fighting. The question is, do you fight to change things or do you fight to punish? I've found that we are all such sinners, we should leave punishment to God. And if we really want to change things, there are better ways than derailing trains and slashing someone with a sword"

Friday, August 12, 2011

"I keep reading your blogs!"

For the second time I hear within one week I hear from a friend "I keep reading your blogs Badhri", and I go blank, wondering "Did I even write a post?" The question should have been written all over my face. So they go on to provide highlight of my blog post. Apparently they show more interest in my blog than I do. I keep promising them to write more. I hope in its own self-referential manner, this does some justice! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The India Story summarized!

I have my LPG at subsidized rate, while my servant maid pays more for the same since she takes a private connection. Solving her problem is tricky since she doesn't have a proper photo ID or a residence proof! She pays more for being poor, ignorant and migrant.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

"Nothing gets done in a goverment office without a bribe"

When I think about government offices, what comes to my mind is an old building painted yellow or pale green with corners stained by chewed paan, unmarked corridors and doors that confuse one to the point of giving up, a lingering "What is the procedure?" question hanging over head that lead us right at the feet of blood-sucking middlemen who get the job done at a non-negotiable and usurious charges and a job that never gets done without bribe. In short, corruption and painfully long waiting time characterizes my perception of any government office that common man deals. No exceptions..

Or so I thought till today. Last Monday, I had to go to the Regional Transport Office at Krishnarajapuram, Bangalore to get what is called a "B-Extract". In short, it can be considered as a "duplicate" of the Registration Certificate. You can't show it as an RC to the traffic policeman when he leans over your window and asks in a stylish accent, "License and Registration please". But it sure can be used by your bank as a proof that it has provided loan towards the purchase of your car.

When I went to the RTO, a familiar scene greeted me. Pale green building. Middlemen chewing pan sizing you up as you approach the building. Even as I approached the building, one guy approached and within no time made me cough up my purpose at the RTO. He said, "Oh B-extract? It won't be available today. I will take a couple of days! But if you want to get it today, I can arrange it for you.". I politely declined the offer and proceeded inside the RTO. But as I went over to an unmarked counter, I couldn't help but wonder if just closed the only possible way to the B-extract that I am after. But the guy behind the counter, directed me to another guy who I should contact. That guy asked me to write a request letter and give it to another guy who looked like an officer. The "officer" held out his hand for the letter, but didn't even care to look at me. When I handed the letter, he considered it, wrote "B-extract. Rs. 10" and gave it back to me and told "Cash counter. Ground floor. Pay Rs. 10/- and register with that lady in yellow colour saree over there" and held out his hand for the next letter from the guy standing behind me. This is the tricky part. When a guy sitting behind the counter starts taking of money, he won't say "Actual charge Rs. 10, Bribe Rs. 50, totals to 60. Pay Rs.10 at the cash counter and give the 50 to the peon standing over there". Instead, there would be subtle gestures and I have to be smart enough put together the pieces and solve the puzzle. Or so I have heard from those who have got things done. But I couldn't see anything here.

I started picturing in my mind, going to the cash counter, holding out a 10 rupee note and this letter. I was certain that he would put a pissed off expression and hand the letter back saying "Come back 10 days later, the printer isn't working. So I can't give the receipt for this TEN rupees you have paid". With visible hesitation I approached the cash counter and held out the letter and the ten rupees and braced for the response I didn't want to hear. He printed out the receipt and handed it throwing a weird look at me in the eye. I didn't know if I am supposed to read something from his looks or not. But I just collected the receipt and walked to the "lady in the yellow saree".

She took my letter and reluctantly entered my car number and "B-extract" in a bulky register and said "Please come back on Wednesday after 4:00 PM" and held her hand out for the next letter to the guy standing next to me. No gestures here too! I asked "Can't I have it today?" trying to keep her attention with me. But she said. "It will take two days. Come back on Wednesday and just tell us your car number and we will give you the B-extract." She looked away and yelled "Next!"

I turned and walked back confused. Did miss any gesture suggesting "Pay extra and we can arrange the document right away"? May be they would hold the document to ransom when I come back on Wednesday. But when I went back today (Wednesday), she asked for the number and within minutes a clerk walked up to me shoved the B-extract into my hands and disappeared before I could even register his face. The document was on a poor quality paper and printed poorly. But what the hell! I pay ten rupees and walked away with what I wanted!

I must say, I have a new respect for at least this RTO in KR puram. I do realize that there is some falsehood in our perception that "All government offices are corrupt" and "Nothing gets done in a government office if you don't pay under the table". I write this post as a token of appreciation and expression of my thankfulness to the "officer" who didn't care, the "guy who gave me a weird look" behind the cash counter, the "lady in yellow saree" (today she was wearing rose, but...) and the "clerk" whose face I couldn't register for a job done without expecting a bribe.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Some deep thought here!

Among a lot of addictive non-sense in Facebook, sometimes there surfaces a few things that are deep and worth the time giving a thought. I came across one such message in philosophy! Don't know who hold the patent for this, but thanks Bhaskar-garu for sharing! :)

There’s usually a little truth behind “Just Kidding”,
some knowledge behind “I Don’t Know”,
an emotion behind “I Don’t Care”,
and pain behind “It’s OK”.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Is education all about innovating gibberish to remember things?

I visited a local NGO run school during a corporate CSR activity. The NGO was well run as the school they have set up offers not only the mainstream education, but also the vocational stream. I "co-facilitated" a session on "How to ace an interview". It was gratifying as the presentation was at the right time, when students graduated and got ready for the interview.

We had a free interaction session with the school kids before closing the day when one kid asked "How do we make studying simple?". I jumped at the possibility of conducting a science demo. Before I realized, a colleague said "You should imagine what you study! it makes studying easier". He gave an example. He said, "By remembering a simple phrase, "MaGoMahendra", I used to be able to answer any kind of questions, be it fill-up, multiple-choice etc. What does this gibberish mean? "Ma" stands for Mahanadi, "Go" stands for Godavari and Mahendra is the mountain range that stands between the two rivers! Voila!

I thought "Where is the imagination part in this? Look at what we teach them? Is education all about innovating gibberish to remember things?" But the students looked amused. He sensed the attention he got and started off on a continuous rambling that lasted about 30 seconds. Nobody could figure out what he was saying. After a moment's pause and suggestive smile he said, "It is the phrase I coined to remember the entire periodic table". I heart sank. But the shock was yet to come. To my utter disbelief, the teacher started to clap loudly and the rest of the gathering joined! Now I feel, a science demo will either sell big, or it will fall flat!

Friday, April 08, 2011

FAQ on Anna Hazare (forwarded mail)

1. Who is Anna Hazare?

An ex-army man. Fought 1965 Indo-Pak War

2. What's so special about him?

He built a village Ralegaon Siddhi in Ahamad Nagar district, Maharashtra

3. So what?

This village is a self-sustained model village. Energy is produced in the village itself from solar power, biofuel and wind mills.

In 1975, it used to be a poverty clad village. Now it is one of the richest village in India. It has become a model for self-sustained, eco-friendly & harmonic village.

4. Ok,...?

This guy, Anna Hazare was awarded Padma Bhushan and is a known figure for his social activities.

5. Really, what is he fighting for?

He is supporting a cause, the amendment of a law to curb corruption in India.

6. How that can be possible?

He is advocating for a Bil, The Lok Pal Bill (The Citizen Ombudsman Bill), that will form an autonomous authority who will make politicians (ministers), beurocrats (IAS/IPS) accountable for their deeds.

8. It's an entirely new thing right..?

In 1972, the bill was proposed by then Law minister Mr. Shanti Bhushan. Since then it has been neglected by the politicians and some are trying to change the bill to suit thier theft (corruption).

7. Oh.. He is going on a hunger strike for that whole thing of passing a Bill ! How can that be possible in such a short span of time?

The first thing he is asking for is: the government should come forward and announce that the bill is going to be passed.

Next, they make a joint committee to DRAFT the LOK PAL BILL. 50% goverment participation and 50% public participation. Because you cant trust the government entirely for making such a bill which does not suit them.

8. Fine, What will happen when this bill is passed?

A LokPal will be appointed at the centre. He will have an autonomous charge, say like the Election Commission of India. In each and every state, Lokayukta will be appointed. The job is to bring all alleged party to trial in case of corruptions within 1 year. Within 2 years, the guilty will be punished. Not like, Bofors scam or Bhopal Gas Tragedy case, that has been going for last 25 years without any result.

9. Is he alone? Whoelse is there in the fight with Anna Hazare?

Baba Ramdev, Ex. IPS Kiran Bedi, Social Activist Swami Agnivesh, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal and many more.

Prominent personalities like Aamir Khan is supporting his cause.

10. Ok, got it. What can I do?

At least we can spread the message. How?

Putting status message, links, video, changing profile pics.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

For a departed friend

It has been exactly a month now since this happened for the first time in my life. A former colleague and a beloved friend of mine who had been a bundle of energy and enthusiasm in almost everything she did was silenced forever by meningitis.

I was told, she had prolonged fever and hence applied for some time off work. Following persistent fever, she had seizure that never ceased and after fighting the disease for the whole of February and for a week in March, finally lost the battle.

I never traveled to Hyderabad to visit her. I didn't do so because, I honestly thought (until one week before her death) that it was a matter of time before she recovered. But she didn't. I didn't attend her funeral because, I had to admit it... I wasn't brave enough. But I don't regret it either. I remember her smiling face and explosive laugh rather than silenced body.

But I do regret one thing, days before she was hospitalized (and when she was still well), she came up on chat and complained that I never called. I had to run then, so I promised her to call and left my number. I wish I had called her. But I didn't and now I can't.

Apart from being a good friend, she is one of the very few people who took active interest in my efforts in the social sector and was the only person who taught English to the kids whom I taught Physics. I suppose one thing I can do in her memory is to restart this effort. I will.

I have come to realize a few things, albeit the hard way from her departure. I had listed this to a friend earlier which I think is worth sharing here too.

  • Life is a gift and we are all very very lucky to have one especially because it can be snatched away brutally in a matter of minutes.
  • A healthy life is even more a precious gift. We better live it more responsibly (as per ones' own definition)
  • And Friends. I am sure all of us have friends who are as sweet as her they can't be taken for granted (she wasn't a granted for us). And they are priceless gifts. We meet them by pure stroke of luck and they end up playing such a positive, sometimes decisive role in our lives. We better treat them well. Keep in touch. Before it turns out to be too late.
  • It isn't just friends. Anyone (relatives, neighbours) whose departure may affect us as bad as her departure.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lest we forget...

World cup is on (and is almost over). Everyone, everywhere is discussing how India should have played, did play, should play and would play. Its a great atmosphere since we seem to have reasons to think beyond the plethora of scams in India. Great.

But let us also remember that just a few months ago when we bit the dust in the Commonwealth hockey finals, we were talking about how India's sports scenario is over run by different versions of cricket leaving no room for not just Hockey but other sports.

Lest we forget the unsung heroines and heroes, like Akunji, Preeja Sreedharan, Kavita Raut, Manjeet and Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose (Track and field), Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Mangal Singh Champiya (Archery)

Best of luck India in the ICC World Cup

Monday, February 21, 2011

A few observations about Mani Ratnam's movies

Yesterday, I was watching Mani Ratnam's "Guru" after so many times, that I was mostly sleep-walking through it. But at one sequence, I observed something that is probably a less observed uniqueness to his movies.

In this sequence, a bunch of officers visit the paralyzed Guru in the hospital to serve a supreme court summon for the irregularities in his company. That actor who played that role impressed with a silent, sharp and subtle show of confidence and attitude which made the scene more lively than otherwise. Thinking about it, I find that this has been one of the silent differentiators of Mani's movies from others. These actors usually don't have the underlying "I don't play an important role in this movie" attitude, but rather stand up and make their acting be accounted for.

The lady doctor in "Alaipayuthe" who leads Madhavan from the hospital's reception to the ICU, the CBI officer who raids Priety's home after the foiled republic day bombing and Manisha's "brothers" in Dil Se are other examples for this.

Another observation (by someone else) is that all the amazing locations that we get to see in his movies ("pachai nirame" song, any random scene in "Roja") are shot in India. All of them! None outside the country. I thought about it myself, and put this point to my friend who is much more of a movie critic than myself. Both of couldn't place one single scene that we can say "that was shot outside India!". It is quite amazing! But can you think of any?

Monday, January 03, 2011

Of TV, imperialism and live music

I have spent a lot of new year eves that was very insignificant to me. Especially the ones after 2008. Nothing special happened apart from the usual "Happy New Year" mails. This time though it was different. We bought quite a few stuff and those that would be put to some use. A spacious shoe rack, an economical (in terms of price as well as space it occupies) TV stand and most of all a 32-inch LG LED TV! Though this is the first LED TV I bought (for that matter the first TV I have bought), there was a feeling of deja vu! I realized that a new TV at home now brings about the same excitement to me now as it did when I was a kid. I guess, the only difference is, now it take a LED TV while then a Onida TV without remote control did the trick!


My brother visited me for the new year and we chatted like crazy meandering from one topic to the other. The usual guy talk. All relevant to the world and nothing that is relevant to home. But during the discussion on colonialist and imperialist past, we discovered how British imperial ruler, while being brutal, were better than the other imperialists like say, Nazi Germany or, the Spanish or the Portuguese. My brother highlighted that Gandhi's commendable strategy of non-violence, while deserves all the credit given today, worked partly because it was used against the British whose governance and judicial system were based on a more civil and democratic principles. I recalled, on the other hand, how the present day Brazil, Columbia and parts of Africa like Ivory coasts, all colonies of imperialists other than British have lost their traditional identities, for example, how they have started speaking Spanish or Portuguese as their language. On the contrary, if we take an erstwhile British Colony like India or South Africa, irrespective of how brutal the regime was, the cultural identity largely remains intact. All things considered though, there is no denying the fact that slavery and imperialism were unfortunate part of world history.
Today was like any other day of work until as recently as noon. All of a sudden, we heard the sweet music of guitar and the familiar "Give me some sun shine, give me some rain..." from 3-idiots. All of a sudden, I saw heads popping up from the cubicles (and remembered "Angrez"). It was an invite from the event managers for the upcoming new year party. For five minutes, my heart soared with excitement as the music filled up the bay. Damn, it is awesome to hear some live music during a serious day of work!