New direction... to my life...

A dad thinks...

Its right here, the day we were all waiting for... For the past year or so, there were so many things we wanted to happen, so many things we wanted to not happen, so many tests we wanted to come out positive and so many tests we wanted to come out negative... The stars lined up perfectly and everything turned out ALMOST as we planned it... 

Tomorrow is the day when the babies will be delivered... S did an exceptional job of nesting the babies - so much that they dont want to come out at all... So, even if the delivery does not happen naturally, the babies will be delivered by a ceasarean operation... so, both S and i feel bad that we are pulling the babies out even though they dont want to come out... This thought makes my heart bleed...

To make S go through a surgery, where they will cut her belly and pull the babies out - the whole idea makes me feel like crying.

After umpteen days where the babies would move inside S and I would feel their movements with my palm, tomorrow, i will actually hold them in my arms. I dont know what I will feel then, but it will be the best feeling ever for sure.

Cant wait!!!

I know what you mean, and better...

Coming back after a really long time on the blogosphere... Blame it on work or stuff going on in personal life or the eternal time hog (a.k.a. cricket) or sheer lethargy, here I am back after just 14 posts in the year and none in the past 5 months or so... 

Strangely, one of my favorite blogger Prem is back after a long hiatus as well... He posted again after a long time yesterday... So, a good coincidence there... 

And what a topic to return after a sabbatical... To attend the book launch of Abhinav Bindra's semi-autobiography, one of the very rare gold-medal winners Olympians from India, and that too when it was launched by another giant in his own might - Rahul Dravid - is special.

To have a great feat written about is great, but to have it launched by an equally great and yet humble athlete is even better. For me, RD is the epitome of selflessness and discipline. He might have not got his due and has often been overshadowed by his more famous compatriots, but he is still has had a better fling at publicity than AB. So, the comparisons of their outlook is very refreshing, although unsurprising.

  • If a choice of another sport was give, AB would choose IPL (glamor, publicity) but RD would choose golf (privacy).
  • For AB, success comes once in 4 years and he looks forward to it. He is not even afraid to share his secrets. For RD, it is intimidating.
  • Both agree that hard work is the key to ultimate perfection which has its own criteria of determination. So, the journey is the same, the destination is different, and its undefinable.

One more unsurprising attribute among all great athletes is the mutual respect. Rafa-Fedex, Sachin-Warne, Anand-Kasparov and countless others share this mutual respect towards fellow athletes where they look to each other as rivals and not as enemies. Though AB and RD are not related that way, but I am really heartened by their mutual admiration.

Another point I noted above is that this is a semi-autobiography. It is not entirely written by AB. He was assisted by one of the best sports writer in India - Rohit Brijnath. I feel ghost writing is one of the most difficult and thankless jobs to do. The key to ghost writing is to be essentially transparent between the author and the reader. The substance of the topic has to flow through without getting polluted by the style of the medium of writing. If you are successful at doing that, then the ghost writer will be invisible and there will be no mention of the good work and the real author takes all the plaudits. If you are fail at curbing your style, then the ghost writer will be criticized at masking the topic. I have not read this book, but reading this review, and especially this section, I have no doubts that RB has done a great job at it.
When reading a particularly fine passage in a co-authored autobiography, the almost inevitable question in the mind is, how much of this is the voice of the subject, and how much the voice and skill of his amanuensis. I was at the time a little less than halfway through a book studded with passages of stunning eloquence, and already that question had occurred to me multiple times.
Now, after an evening of listening to the ace shooter speak, at ease extempore, I know: the skill, the craft, is Rohit’s, but the voice is indisputably Abhinav’s.
What an occasion to miss. At least I look forward to reading the book.

Anna - the idea and the execution

We Indians are doing our very best to emulate the freedom fighters from Middle East and trying to grab our share of freedom from our government. The government - which operates under the definition of "by the people, of the people and for the people" - is returning the favor by doing their very best to not succumb to the demands of the very people that they represent.

I did not expect the government to lay down at the first poke and accede to every single demand of the people - that would be akin to a kid agreeing to not eat candy just because the parents are asking not to. But I am more surprised that there are lot of people who are hand-in-glove with the government and are opposing this movement tooth and nail. A very good example of this resistance is this interview by Karan Thapar

From my extensive experience of "Devil's Advocate" series, I have come to know Karan Thapar as someone who mistreats his guests with a barrage of allegations without giving them a chance to respond. If someone is smart enough to give it back, he is prompt to leap to the next allegation and drop the previous topic as a hot potato. Here Karan Thapar plays the quintessential Karan Thapar to the hilt, doing just what he does every single time, and runs out of time when the guests have their answers ready. What is unclear from the confrontation though, is why Karan is being so pro-government and anti-reform.

And Karan is not the only one. I know at least 5 other friends / acquaintances who do not like / support the movement. Some of them do not like the idea, few other do not believe that the idea will work and the others like the idea but not the execution. I have heard counter-arguments like -- 
1 - This is a unconstitutional way of demonstrating and registering your protest
2 - What is the guarantee that vesting more powers, powerful enough to override the government in a council, will not create a Frankenstein monster, bigger than one that we are dealing with one right now?
3 - Why such haste and adamancy in a particular format of the bill?

There have been some ridiculous counter arguments as well like -- 
1 - From Dalit groups -- This protest stinks of pro-bramhinism. This will stop reservations for us.
2 - From Muslim groups -- This protest stinks of pro-hinduism. This will stop reservations for us.

Probably, a very good indicator of the insecurities in their minds and how crippled these groups are going to be without these crutches.

To all these groups, I have just 1 question - do they acknowledge that corruption is the biggest termite infesting hollow the bark of this country? If they do not accept it, then it means that they are a part of the corrupt brigade and are worried abt their future when, and if, corruption is eradicated. And if they do acknowledge, then as long as the idea is good, the execution does not matter.

The current cause has been the most peaceful one, probably since the candle light march after 26/11, and a mighty testament to this was the march in Mumbai on Sunday. So much, that the cops did not even have a bandobast (vigil) for this march. They were so confident that stone-pelting and burning of property will not happen that the cops did not even think it was necessary to oversee this march.

Having said that, no revolution is devoid of blood, no revolution has ever been achieved purely by the might of the pen. There has been a sword or a dagger lurking beneath the cloak of the pen wielding writer. And every revolution has been tainted by the red of the blood as much as the blue of the ink.

And if this revolution taints a few cloaks with the blue of the ink and the red of the blood, the blue and the red will look very pretty on the background of the green, white, saffron tricolor.


Back on the blogosphere after a long time -- 2 months to be precise... Its been a busy time... 

During my school days, a select group of students who had done well in studies were nominated for a advanced class called as "scholarship". This class taught the students Math, IQ and English  meant for senior classes. I did well enough to be a part of this esteemed group.

During my scholarship days, as a part of my verbal course, I often learnt a lot of sayings like -- 

Do not judge a book by its cover
Grass is always greener on the other side
All that glitters is not gold

At that time, the only use of learning was to score more marks in the exam. We never had a chance to understand the meaning of those sayings. May be we were not mature enough to learn from experiences of life then. May be the safety net of our parents then was good enough to shield us from the heat of those moments.

But now that we are long out of the safety net of parents and home, we will will feel the heat and burn our fingers from such flames.  Sadly, another saying comes to mind now

Experience is a comb that comes after you turn bald

Some experiences in life make you question your beliefs, ethics and everything that you stood for. It forces you to not spend time with someone whom you really want to spend time with. It is makes you postpone the things that you really want to do now. It does not let you sleep when you really cant stay awake any longer. It makes you do things on weekends when the only thing you want to do is to put your feet up and relax.

When the core principles, that you led your life on so far, are questioned, it is a confusing time. You do things that you would not allow yourself normally to do. You make decisions that you know you are going to regret in the future.

This may not be the best decision on some other day, but in today's circumstances, it is the best decision....

You take the decisions in best faith, and just hope that -- 

The book with a torn cover is an awesome read... 
The brown grass on the other side is soft and cool... 
The non-glittering metal is platinum... 

Empty the bucket list...

This post is dedicated to a bunch of people whom I have met over a period of last few years - friends, families, acquaintances etc. and my interaction with them... 

1 - Live, don't just exist -- I have heard this quote from umpteen forwarded emails over the years. Never had a chance to get a justification. Then one day, all of a sudden, one close relative was suddenly unwell. When we called to check on him, I mentioned that I was worried about him. He said - "I have enjoyed my life, I have lived my life and done almost everything that I wanted to do. If I die now, I will die happily with all my wishes fulfilled. My bucket list is almost empty". That one statement changed my perspective about this quote.

2 - Listen to your heart but obey your brain - or - think with your heart, decide with your brain -- Another quote passed on to me as a bit of wisdom from my old roommate. He was almost 5-6 years older than me and had been there, done that. A very wise statement that lets you choose the right options and then choose the wisest one amongst all. Even to date, I follow it to the core and have not regretted it.

3 - Empty the bucket list -- A very good friend of mine recently chose to quit a good job, drive all across the country, spend a month with entire family, another month with friends (a day or 2 with each good friend) throughout his journey to a well thought destination from the career point of view. He obviously took a big risk, which I would not dare to do today, but was probably banking on the fact that he has a very good reputation at work and he can always come back to this workplace in the worst case scenario. In any case, he would not have incurred anything other that some financial hollow. Turns out he has landed up a good job at a very prestigious company. Aal is well now.

4 - Empty the bucket list -- This topic has the same description as the previous one, intentionally. Another colleague quit his job after working for 12 years. He has saved enough money to last him for a couple of years and he wants to do everything that he ever wanted to do. This is much riskier than the 2 month break that the earlier friend has taken, but this friend's motto is - do it when you can do it. The risk is worth it.

5 - Its never too late to empty the bucket list -- And for the rest, who are not quite the risk takers, don't hesitate to start checking off the items now. Its never too late or too early to do it. And when you do what you always want to do, it is still equally exhilarating and satisfying.

So, last weekend, when S and I checked off one more off our list. It was supposed to be a surprise for S, the bubble burst just a few minutes before that though. It was still an amazing feeling to say "CHECK!!!"

Fully worth it... Just that the list is too long!!!

Feels good... again...

After 2.5 long years, the house is a home... again... 
Feels good... again... 

Top of the lot...

Glancing at the TIME Top 100 people list.

Its a list of 100 people from so many fields of life - politics, sports, medicine, social service, entrepreneurs, artists etc. Some I have followed very closely in the past few years, some that I knew of, some I wasnt even aware of.

But then, if I have to find 100 people every year and only for good reasons, then I admit it is going to be not so easy. Still, i believe that a lot of the names here are purely due to the position they are occupying today -- and this applies mostly to the politicians (David Cameron, Angela Merkel, Michelle Obama, Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, Joe Biden, Gabrielle Giffords, John Boehner and a bunch of them others). Its an ode to the chair, not to the chairperson. Some of them are here due to their 1 year of fame -- Julian Assange, Wael Ghonim, Mark Zuckerberg, Colin Firth etc -- not due to consistent good work. The real hat tip goes to the selfless individuals whom I had heard very little (or almost nothing) who have been slogging real hard, anonymously, for a lot of years of humanitarian causes like water, education, human rights, democratic rights and often ended up on the wrong side of the lawmakers. No wonder there are so many of them in the list.

My winner from the list though is Takeshi Kanno. why? Read here.

Here are a few thoughts that sprung in my mind when i was scrolling through the list -- right at that instant --
1 - Wael Ghonim -- The google boy to caused the Egypt revolution. For me, he was the face of the revolution, not the brain. Every cause has a brain who masterminds it, has a martyr who is sacrificed for the cause, a beneficiary who gains due to the cause and a face who publicizes the cause. In Wael's case, he was just lucky to publicize the cause. I dont think that his contribution to the revolution in Egypt is bigger than any of the martyrs who lost their lives or who are permanently disabled / crippled. But he gets the publicity here because he was the face that everyone saw. He was the identity of the revolution.
2 - Julian Assange -- The Wikileaks guy. The only difference between him and Wael Ghonim is that while Wael was the face, Assange is both the face and the martyr in this whole Wikileaks episode. Not only has he lost his anonymity, funding and freedom, the only thing he has earned is a rape lawsuit.
3 - Dhoni -- someone who really is wearing a crown of thorns while sitting on the most revered throne in the country. The sole reason he deserves to be here is because he still has his feet on the ground.
4 - Mukesh Ambani, Azim Premji, VS Ramchandran, Aruna Roy -- Proud to be an Indian
5 - General David Petraeus -- The US Army General. Weird to read his name in this list, on the day he is removed from the post.

Those who, I feel, rightly deserve to be here -- 
1 - Reed Hastings -- CEO of Netflix, just for totally revolutionizing the movie rental business.
2 - Kim Clijsters -- It takes a lot of courage and character to leave a sport at the age of 23 when you are right at the top. And if thats hard enough, she became a mom, came back and won the US open twice in a row. Hats off.
3 - Aung San Suu Kyi -- Burma's democracy advocate. Takes guts to survive out there championing her cause. The fact that she is alive should get her to this list, every year.
4 - Fathi Terbil -- The lawyer in Libyan revolution. The martyr there. To take the Gaddafis, in Libya, via the legal route is not easy and he dared to do that.
5 - Maria Bashir -- Fighting for women's rights in Afghanistan. Try living in that country as a woman first, you should get your name on this list just for that.

Those who, I feel, did not deserve to be on this list -- 
1 - Mark Zuckerberg -- Just at the crest of the success wave of FB. Declined a big buyout offer from other companies, may have done a big mistake. With every Tom Dick and Harry jumping on the social media bandwagon, FB may not be a mighty force in a couple of years and he might be left ruing his decision. Just look at Orkut's fall from grace - nowadays, even the profile page does not load any more. Does anyone recall that scrapbook was the most craved communication medium a couple of years back?
2 - Colin Firth -- Does acting well in a good movie make you an influential person? Lucky to be at the right place at the right time.
3 - Joe Biden -- This is the first time I am hearing of him after he got elected.
4 - Ahmed Shuja Pasha -- Pakistan spy chief. The only thing mentioned abt him was that the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai happened within a week of him taking office and that he does not trust the US. How does that make him influential, important or famous?
5 - Gabrielle Giffords -- Only claim to fame is that she was shot and is now recovering in one of the best medical facilities in US, on taxpayers money.
6 - Michelle Obama -- If I have heard very little of Biden, I think MO doesnt deserve here because I have heard too much abt her.
7 - Michele Bachmann -- A politician who loves to shoot from the lip. The easiest thing to do, sit in the critics chair and point to the problem. No words abt the solution though.
6 - Justin Beiber -- Riding on the crest of momentary success.
7 - Oprah -- this one cant get enough of the publicity
8 - John Boehner, Paul Ryan -- Riding on the opportunistic budget crisis.

Not sure if you would agree with my opinion or not, but this list deserves a perusal. Go fetch!!!