Saturday, October 08, 2011

Excerpts from the mouth of a Great monk!!

"I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal tolerance, but we accept all religions as true..I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refegees of all religions and all nations of the earth...I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnants of the Israelistes, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very yearin which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny...I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and still fostering the remnants of grand Zoroastrian nation...I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: As the different streams having their different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee...whosoever come to Me, through whichever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.'

Swami Vivekanada - The man, who embraced American people as brothers and Sisters. Those words, that shook Amricans on World Parliament of Religions.
And it was on 9/11.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gender inequality - A dark finding of 2011 census

Gender inequality is perhaps the biggest setback of otherwise good looking 2011 census of India.
It may not have drawn similar media attention as compared to population, literacy etc. But ever increasing offset of male-Female ratio deserves a serious study and discussion among the policy makers of country. It is one of the biggest social threats to modern India. The natural dislike for a girl child has the potential to bankrupt the morality of a family, of a society, of a village and eventually of the country.

We call our country as MOTHER India, worship goddess Durga , Lakshmi, Saraswati and many more, We take a holy dip at the lap of mother Ganges and still console ourselves when baby girl born in the family. The country has marched forward by abolishing disgusting religious rituals like SATI, bal vivah (child marriage) etc. It is trying to come out of ever practiced discriminations against women by introducing laws on many fronts. Yet it has been witnessing the heinous and unpardonable crime against female – Murder even before she is born.

Where are we going wrong? Is this our culture? Poverty? Illiteracy? Or something else? Although poverty and illiteracy do have a role to play, in my opinion, is not the root cause of this social cancer. Poverty and hunger stricken poor give a damn about the gender of the child. Poverty and illiteracy may be the biggest reason for population crisis, but may not be for the gender inequality. It is the fair earning middle class of India who are victim and culprit of this disease. The sex ration has fallen very sharply in states like Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra, which are among the richer Indian States. Today's middle class is caught in the web of the vicious social system where a girl is still considered as a burden of the family until she is married. Although we have almost abolished the dowry system which used to be the main reason for not wanting to have a girl child, the desire to spend a lot of money to maintain the social status is the modern form of dowry. As soon as a girl child is born, parents start saving for her wedding.
In my opinion, if every family starts imparting a good education, if every parent strives for a dependent, self sufficient daughter, things will automatically take a U turn from where we are heading right now. Most families do not look investments on their daughter's education as a profitable affair. For many parents, cost of daughter's education does not fetch any return in future. If money spent on a boy child is an investment for a secure future of his family, money spent on a girl is an investment not only for her future, but for her family, society and the whole country.

Many studies have been conducted for gender bias in India. Factors, like economical, social, religious, biological, traditional, cultural and many more have been attributed for insatiable desire to have a boy child. Surely, the analysis of such analysis and researches throws the dark reality of the situation. But is time to act now. Let’s stop pink fading to white. Let’s stop blue become black

Sunday, March 13, 2011

JAPAN - Never say Never again

One of my friends commented on facebook – “Ppl in our japan office walked long miles to reach home as train n all transport r closed!!!! At office, They r planning to clean up the wreckage n mess in the weekends...” This simply blows my mind off. These people have not learnt to buckle down in any circumstances. They simply throw a challenge to test their resilience, perseverance and dedication. We call them workaholic, but the work ethic is ingrained in their blood. That’s how they built a developed Japan, almost out of nothing. Japanese don’t work for themselves, rather work for the country.

The rise of Japan post World War II is true example of their determination of building the country. A country with no natural resources, vulnerable to frequent volcanic eruption and earthquake, war torn and savaged after World War II faced lots of economical and political challenges after the war. 1973 oil crisis was yet another shock to the country which was highly depended on the oil. Yet it is the strong will of the people, high work ethics and principle that have made Japan what it is today.

Having seen so many disasters and having successfully overcome them, I feel this Tsunami is yet another challenge. As always in past, they are ready to embrace and come out of it stronger and more prepared.

After all Japan teaches us never say never again. God bless the country.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

House Shifting

Last week end we moved to a new apartment. This place is closer to Boston. Although my travel time has gone up significantly, I feel good for my wife, whose commute time has lessen from humongous 2 hours to 45-50 mins one way.

Looking back, I realize that I have lived in quite a few places in and outside India. Though some of my close friends may not buy this statement and blame me for sticking my ass in a place for ever, from my reference, I have lived in several places. May be I would have been living in many more places, had I not found my love in the city of Pune.

Keep moving, wherever your job takes you to. It is the demand of new workforce in a flat world. You never know where you would be working next month. Earlier, shifting a city didn’t seem to bother much, leave aside shifting a place. On the contrary, moving to new place used to make me excited. Dump all your clothes and other belongings in a bag, move on to a new place. If something is not worth taking along, leave it. However, post marriage shifting a house is becoming a torturous thing to do. What used to be a wake up, pack up and go to a new place, is now keep on awaking, keep on packing and don’t yet ready to go. What keeps you awake? - so many things to consider, so many options to weigh out, so many trade offs to make. What keeps me on packing? Well, Post marriage - this is quite obvious.

Although it’s only me and my wife, I can visualize why people look to settle down after having a family. Age is merely an excuse.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

3 idiots - A memory to cherish – PART 1

Time spent with good friends is always a precious possession. It is something that you can always cherish and enjoy. No matter where you are, what you do – your memory is always with you. I was lucky to have some good friends in my college. Out of many good friends, some friends are meant for ever. Ours is one of such. Dalprit, Himanshu and Biswajit - the tripod of our everlasting friendship.

We had some fun memories in IIT KGP. Some of them are really funny and worth sharing.One of such incidents that come to my mind immediately is, making Himanshu and Mahesh Jha run 2.2 after making them drunk. We pretended to participate in the race and elevated Himanshu’s enthusiasm to win the race. The common word for doing such act was ‘Tempo high karna’. It was our (Dallu and I) ploy to make Himanshu run. We all got ready. 3…2….1… and we all started running. After few yards, dallu and I stepped back. Himanshu’s fuel tank was already full (with?) and he ran like a jet in high throttle ready to take off. Dallu and I reached the end point from the other side. Basically it was circular track (total length of 2.2 km and hence the name 2.2). While we were resting and having some chit-chat, Himanshu was approaching the finish line. We could not resist our laughter. A drunken cheated Himanshu did not take it easily and poured his anger with all sorts of desi gaaali. Applaud on his commendable win didn’t seem to pacify his anger. He didn’t even realize his co-runner had also stepped back midway....:-) ( to be continued....)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Car Accident

My brain went blank as I found myself at the middle of the intersection while taking the left turn. A speeding car from the right lane of the opposite direction banged my front wheel. Before my brain could react, the damage was done. By the grace of God, neither of us was injured. The moment of staring at the speeding car was horrific and beyond any words. It was like helpless and petrified in front of a bullet train, like an idle rabbit ready to be grasped by sharp paws of a haunting eagle.

It all happened in a bright sunny winter morning. I was getting ready to drop my wife in the train station. My wife once asked me not to start so early. She had an option to catch the next train and hence we could have started bit late. But who can beat the destiny? I was on my way back from station and just then the incident happened. Good Morning….

The accident blocked the traffic and the scene was crazy in a busy Wednesady morning. Called the 911 for the first time and with in 5-10 mins officers were busy clearing the traffic. After few initial formalities, they called a tow truck and my car was towed away.

Now the fun part - while heading to home in a cab, the driver started a friendly discussion with me. During the conversation, I told him about the accident I met with. Suddenly he made a call to his office and told everyone about the gentleman he is picking up. Later he told me that his office was informed about the nasty traffic jam where my accident had taken place. All the drivers were informed about it. It seemed, he took pride in picking up the person involved in the incident and informed everyone about it. Feels good to be known and to be felt important in someone’s life - does not matter how.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Items On Sale

‘Grab the best deal on thanksgiving…’. Thanksgiving passed by. Here comes another sale season of Christmas. Just when Santa is done with his shopping of gifts on sale, shopping malls start alluring customers with yet another attractive sales offer for new year. Well, things are going to be quite for some time – I thought. Long live consumerism, TV commercials are flooded with post holiday season sales. Then winter sale, spring sale, summer sale ….Sale season does not seem to end in USA.
During post holiday sale in first week of New Year, I could not control my curiosity to visit the shopping mall. I was surprised to see a full parking lot. People leave no opportunity to garb the best deal of the sale season. In other words, they keep shopping through out the year. Sometimes, I wonder, I would be most foolish person on earth if I buy some stuff with its original price, because, the item might retain its original price tag for just few days. Rest of the time it will be sold with the SALE price.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One winter morning, I headed for office and something unusual drew my attention. Most the cars in the car parking had their wind shield wipers up. Although the view drew my attention, my mind didn’t find it significant enough to think about. May be company is providing free car wash to all the cars in the garage, may be its wiper up day in the company, or may be…who cares.
After the office time, I was excited to see my first snowfall in US. It was a great feeling until I reached my car and found it buried behind snow. I started removing the snow. At this point it crossed me that somebody mentioning, the car roof top, lights and wind shield glass should be snow free before you hit the road. I managed to clear good amount of snow but my hands were numb. I jumped inside the car and thought that rest of the snow from the windshield could be removed by the wiper. Turned on the wiper, nothing happened. Checked again, same result. When I came out to find what had happened to the wiper, just then I realized why everybody kept their wipers up. I learned it a hard way. It took around 10-15 mins in freezing cold before I could make the wiper work again.
The very next day, I changed my browser welcome page to
Weather forecast plays a significant role in New England, if not in whole USA. Almost accurate prediction of day’s weather determines how the day will shape up. I am writing this from my home today late at night, because I don’t need to be worried about waking up early tomorrow. predicts a snow storm tomorrow.
It reminds me the scene in Swedesh, where the head of the village asks Sahrukh :”…what do you do in Amrica? …”
Sahrukh : “….well… I work in NASA…”
Vilagers: “..what des it manufacture?....”
Sahrukh: “..Hmm..well…”
His Aunt interrupts and to show off the her association with Sahrukh, promptly replies: “..Satellite helps us to do weather, where it would rain, when it would rain etc..”.
One of the wise man among villagers(sarcastically): “..well, Sahdev (a native villager) can also predict weather, by looking at the sky..He does not go to Amrica for that..”. he then calls Sahdev.
Sahdev comes and staring at the sky: “ Sky is clear..Its not gonna rain for 2 days …”

Long live

2010: the year that was

2010 passes by and leaves behind lots of good memories to cherish and bad memories to forget. It was one full year outside India and just passed by in the blink of the eye.

Shaken by the brutal winter, First half of the year was quite and dull. On top of that my back injury and frequent visits to doctor and physical therapist was making the life miserable, needless to say the hole in pocket by the co-pays and medical bills.

Having just arrived in USA a month back, I was still coping up with initial formalities like getting driver’s license, searching for a home, Social for my wife, above all….settling down. During this time I was dependent on my friend Swami for office commutation and household shopping. I am really grateful to him for helping me out in those tough initial days. We had a great time together until he had to relocate to NJ. Meanwhile I purchased my first car here and it brought a sense of mobility in our life. The excitement surpassed the cruelty of weather and we hit the road to make an exciting trip to my cousin’s place in New Jersey. This trip was special for me as I was meeting my class mate and close friend, Arunava after almost six years out of college and this time as my bor-in-law. We had a great time, got a glimpse of big apple night life and enjoyed it thoroughly.

So far so good, but life is not a box of chocolates. Life brought some bad news from our family back in India. We were very depressed for not able to be there in that bad time. My wife also developed some health problem and our frequent visits to doctors resumed once again. At one hand she was living with excruciating pain of ear infection, her state of mind on the other was bothering me a lot. Strong dose of Antibiotics and painkillers made her weak. As our life was going through same turbulences, spring brought some fresh change in the air. I took a break and thought of exploring the great city of Boston. We made frequent trips to Boston and some beautiful places nearby, like Rhodes Island, Vermont, NH etc. In May, we went out for yet another ride to New Jersey. My friend with his family joined us in New Jersey and we went to DC. The trip was great but exhausting.
I saw my wing mate Anand and had a good dinner together. It was a great get together after so many years. My museum freak wife was heartbroken for not able to see enough of DC Museums and vowed to come back again.
Overnight camping in Connecticut with friends was a very refreshing experience. Food, drink, poker and lots of fun. It was a typical Bengali style Picnic with lots of eatables, drinks and cards. Chicken, mutton, eggs, sweets – you name it and we had them all. Only Fish didn’t find its place in the platter.
We welcomed summer with a bang with a trip to Vegas and Grand Canyon. We were the group of 3 couples flew down to Vegas from other three corners of the country. Raju flew from Seattle, Rudy manna from Orlando and I from Boston. The experience in Vegas can’t be explained here as what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas :-). Leave behind all your tensions, worries and simply grab a beer, a cigarette and relax in the land of gambling. Never ending nickel sounds of slot machines and lively environment elevates the mood and takes to a different world of rich and famous. The place tests one's capability to control the temptation of...well, quite a few things. :-) . In one line, the experience was very rejuvenating for me and my wife. Mona had a childhood dream of visiting Grand Canyon and she was more excited for canyon than Vegas. We had a terrific ride to canyon. With the steroids of Raju paul’s energy and my wife’s excitement, it was a perfect trip. In the first glance, the magnanimous, gigantic view of canyon left an indelible impression and forced me to think how a small tiny Colorado River can cut through such a rocky land of Arizona to make it visible even from space. This is simply wow!!!
Rest of the summer passed by very quickly and in winter when I retrospect, it seems that it is mercy of winter to throw a tiny patch of summer upon mankind. Already colorful vegetation got some more streaks of color as the fall arrived. The trip to Loon Mountain with Apurva and his wife Ananya in a bright fall morning was similar to a trip to fairy land. In my child hood sometimes I used to paint such scenic beauty and wonder if they really existed. Fall in New England does not leave any doubts.
Rest of the year was quite good and brought some good news into our life. My wife's uncle recovered miraculously from Cancer. Meanwhile my wife got her work permit and started looking for job opportunities. Life didn’t disappoint her. She cracked one of the best jobs that she could think off. I am very happy for her and am relieved from the thought that she left her good job in India just to accompany me. I might not have done this sacrifice if I were in her shoes.
More or less 2010 was a mix bag for us. We sailed through the turbulences together and enjoyed the life in all possible ways.
Looking forward to a great year ahead.
Happy new year 2011.