Halloween Horror

Years ago on a dark autumn night
one which none can love with any delight.
The ground was still yellow,
and the glowing pumpkins were mellow.

 

Back then I was a damnable fellow,
No less than a devil’s bedfellow
I was still a teen,
And it was only Halloween
My evil wits had already planned
of placing death in a child’s hand.
 

When he returned from trick or treating
Little did he know that it was death he was eating.
I survived from the aftermath
For no clues were discovered from the labyrinth.

Years later it was again the night,
which children love with O’ so much delight.
It was joyous wait for my first born,
but I should have been better fore warned.

For death had come again draped in a candy
and took my child without his cherubic body

Every night since I meet him evermore,
Asking if I could spare some candy for him anymore?

Why we must stop linking the World Cup Victory of Germany with its past!

Worldmasters!

Two days ago, I witnessed, along with over 200 other people the 113th minute goal by Goetze. It sealed the FIFA World Cup 2014 for the German Mannschaft (team). Those few split seconds at the end changed to resounding display of sheer joy. I noticed people crying on this victory.

For a country where football is another religion, it is not hard to believe how happy the people are, within the next few minutes people were out on the streets singing and merry making. The usually reserved locals were smiling at strangers, hugging and high fiving them.

Soon the Internet is also abuzz with articles about the German efficiency, and of course the usual mention of the Blitzkreig (a reference to WW II war strategy), and of course twitter is filled with Nazi jokes. Finally, I am also starting to observe the indirect linkage of the sports victory with the dark past of the Fatherland.

Frankly, it is annoying. Germans are taught enough lessons through school to understand and reconcile with the past, but the world keeps reminding them. They are tired, of the stereotype, of the world not letting them be. It is in bad taste to keep reminding them of the past, where they have made huge efforts to move on, and deal responsibly with their history.

Modern Germany is not the same as Nazi Germany, and will never be. Period. The flying of the Black, Red and Gold flags by fans is a celebration of being World masters of football. The victory of 2014 has probably lesser ‘nationalistic’ significance than the victory of 1954 when the Miracle von Bern happened, that was when Germans could restore some pride.

Probably, the biggest sign of the current times is the fact that Klose and Podolski are much celebrated and loved, or that I could share the final moments of the match with a hall full of people who were Germans by the love of the game and not by their color or race.

PS – Some idiots started trying to sell a victory t-shirt using Nazi symbols on Amazon.de, it is filled with users requesting the product be taken out.

Elections 2014: The People have spoken…

The four words of the above title have been repeated multiple times since this Monday on various news channels. While, I being not in India was denied the opportunity to vote (as postal ballot is not a reality for us), the rest of the country did.

It has been a remarkable 6-7 months, I have seen normal friends on facebook turning into fanatics, have seen the discourse of the lowest quality where an opposing view was either coming from an AAPtard, psedu-secular, communal, pseudo-liberal, pheku and what not.

The saddest part of all this has been the fact that numbers and statistics have been cleverly selected and shared to prove points, everyone has data points.  It seems nobody is wrong. They also conveniently offer that judiciary has spoken while at the same time doubting the judicial results on the opponents.

By the end of it, I also sarcastically started annoying my wife with abki baar… on each sentence. But it is no laughing matter, being the world’s largest democracy we had a chance to speak our minds.

Tomorrow (it’s today already?) the results will be out, and we will soon have a new Government to crib and blame about. Finally, only time will tell if our representatives will again do the 5 yearly Great Indian Vanishing trick.

I may sound cynical, but whosoever gets chosen, I only hope they bring all the change they might have promised. As often said before, my only wish is what Tagore wishes years ago:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Missing: The light heady feeling!

Keep Calm and Stay Positive

Do you know this light heady feeling, when you wake up and believe that it is going to be your day. Years ago I had a string of those days, in 2005 when I had started on my first job. In those first few months, when I’d walk out of my home to commute I’d feel energetic, inspired and positive. The impact, I did pretty well, I worked hard and kicked butt!
But, the attitude gradually died, I know that heady feeling but I hardly feel like that anymore. Yes, you’ll claim its because work in mundane and what not, but the fact is, the feeling did not return even when I switched jobs. The last few years altered me, and that head rush paved way to anxiety and stress.
Last time I felt that heady was in November last year, it was a fine day until I came to work and it turned into something else within a few hours.
Sigh…I miss the days, when I really had the spring in my step.

My patch of land

It has been the most interesting period of time for me in the past couple of years, I love reading about history, particularly the history of the world in the last two major wars of the 20th Century. Living in Europe, and having the opportunity to travel to many of the cities/countries which were ravaged by the wars. Observing the stories of these places & how they have coped up since then has been a tremendous experience.

But there has been a common thread, while many of us have been envious of the European well being with our third world perspective, there is almost a always a common thread of painful history just a few decades ago. Many families had seen deep and painful periods in the past hundred years, displaced from their original place of origin. I appreciate the effort Governments and citizens have taken to remember and if possible, preserve the memorials so that we never let the world through that again.

But the biggest question of this all is the fact that within a century itself, borders were redrawn many times, people have lived to be citizens of 3 or more countries even while living in the same patch of land, seeing the end of monarchy, rise of National Socialists, the wars, communism and finally some semblance of democracy. Their current truth is a nation, but they can never say that a century from now their idea of their country survives or not. The patch of land which we all were born in may change its colors, and our national identities may just cease to exist…

2013 – Looking back

Some believe life is a zero sum game, I do not know how true that is, but it seems plausible. As this year draws towards its end, I reminisce about the last 12 months. Writing from my desk at office on this last day, I am peaceful and calm, this is the best way the year could have ended.

A few posts ago I had mentioned that time is analogous, and we are just compartmentalizing it into units, New Year being one of them, giving us an opportunity to start afresh and face the world again.

2013 was a mixed year for us, lost a few cherished people in our family, welcomed a few new members (by birth or marriage), traveled a bit, struggled a lot with careers and cultures, and finally ending it peacefully. I also end it with new hopes for future, and hope to do a lot more next year starting tomorrow!

 

Turning 30 – Ich suche purpose

Maybe that answers it.

Turning 30 is no fun, today is the last day of my twenties! God, am old, of course I am old, that is how I regarded all people above 30+! I cannot help but remember the episode from FRIENDS, ‘Where they all turn 30’. My feelings are not as extreme as Rachel, but they aren’t exactly as thrilled!

I still remember, exactly 10 years go, on the night of my 20th birthday I was writing a blog, just 20 minutes before I turned twenty. Sitting in a college dorm, I reminisced about watching Forrest Gump that night with my roomate. God, the decade went too fast, life runs much faster than I thought!

Now coming to the purpose part, not that I live purposelessly but then I still need newer avenues of finding some purpose in things, I had always thought that by the time I am 30 I would have figured it all out, sadly I haven’t. I am still as confused, stupid, goofy, lost, funny, irritable as I was 5 years ago! All I have done in the last few years is gained a paunch and lost a lot of hair!

Lets review the decade that was, and maybe make some sense.

First, the List of things to do before I turn 30

If you remember this blog post, around 5 years ago I had planned to do a few things. Lets see how I fared:

  1. Visit 5 countries outside the Indian sub continent. √ You bet, I did more than that, let me count….10 countries!
  2. Learn to play a musical instrument (no specifics which one). I am tired of playing this compter keyboard! Busted, didn’t do this 😦
  3. Learn to paint using water colors (I mean learning formally and�not just dabbling around). I learned for a month in 2009, turned out that I wasn’t that good at it!
  4. Try Skydiving – Well, am a wimp when taken to heights. I presume this is the toughest of the lot for me to even attempt. I guess its also about conquering one of your worst fears! Well, not exactly sky dive, but I did do tandem jumping off a mountain, it was pretty cool. I think you can give this one to me?
  5. Play in snow – Can you believe this? I have never ever touched snow! Ah ha, ended up living in Switzerland for a couple of years, sometimes had more snow than I could handle!

Pretty impressive ha? It seems that I am an achiever!

Second, what about the rest of life? How did I fare?

I don’t think I should turn this post into a performance appraisal. I managed to complete my study goals in the last 10 years, managed to stay employed given the crises of things.

  • Professionally not yet into a state where I would have preferred myself to be (bosses, are you listening to me?).
  • Personally, I have been doing well, had multiple crushes, made nice friends, messed up a few friendships, and managed to marry the sweetest girl ever. Sadly, I also lost a few close relatives in the years including my Grandma.
  • Financially, am not sure where I am, still don’t own a car or home, but no liabilities yet…gotta start planning for retirement?!!
  • Healthwise, I got fat, and balding…but am exercising now…hopefully I fix the fat part…balding isn’t in my control!
  • Emotionally, am still a kid at heart, not sure what the grown man logic is all about, yet!

At the bottom of it all, I learned that life is not supposed to be fair and just, and I also have understood that at times the only thing is in control is my attitude towards a situation.

Cmon, you are doing fine, why the sad face?

Ah, you see, I don’t want to be called 30 this birthday, twenties sounds much younger!

Come tomorrow, I will be 18 with 12 years of experience 😉

Certified!

Its been considerably long since my last post, but with too many things occupying my mind I often found myself without words to share.

Today morning, I appeared for BCS Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis, and cleared it too. It was one of the things I had been chasing since the beginning of the year. The funny thing is, today while walking to the exam center I was feeling the exam jitters, I must have appeared for dozens of exams in my academic life, yet they never fail to make one anxious!

I do not know if a certification is a proof that a person has the skills and can apply them, or it is a means supporting people attempting a career move. To me, it was just a means to make sure that I could support my current experience with conceptual knowledge base.

Waiting for Apocalypse!

Ah, today is the penultimate day of life as we know it? I hope so, else the post title will defeat its purpose. The year draws to its close, and I find it difficult to summarize it, to keep it a short post.

How do I remember this year? Tragic and in a state of flux.

Why Tragic?

You see, we started off fine, with fireworks down at the lakeside, filled with hope, and a fresh beginning. While I proceeded to blow my weight loss goal and lost more hair on my scalp instead, the world took multiple weird turns.

Not too far away from where I live, I hear they discovered the God Particle, strangely they never could take a picture of this particle. Most people, still, do not understand the science behind it yet, they know the God Particle. The name probably indicates that God is somehow linked with this physical entity.

Olympics happened, our nation got more medals, 6 medals in all. Better but still a long way to go, Mary Kom didn’t get the gold, would have loved her to win. And yes, the IOC suspended our Indian sports boday. Speaking of sports, the CWG Scandal has still not output, and as the public suffers from amnesia,  Mr Kalmadi and others are out of jail.

Speaking of Scandals, lets see Telecom scam and Coalgate were the top names, but there is actually a Wikipedia entry on the summarized list of scams, should you need to remember the names for your next exam. If you look at the numbers, you’ll see that the economy is booming. So the scams were pointless, people exchange allegations, MPs didn’t let the parliament function and made a lot of noise with no outcome (all fart and no shit, ha?).

Oh and yes, they managed to hang Kasab. Also, the nation is burning in anger against the rape in Delhi. Hope we skip our amnesia just this once.

Enough said. What about the world?

Obama got re-elected, again. On the other hand two Armstrongs were in news: While Lance was blamed for doping, Neil died after taking mankind to the moon.

Global warming again affected our planet, with no outcome in Doha. EU Union got the Nobel Peace prize, I hope they don’t go pieces next year. Egypt is still not stable, Syria still burning.

What about tomorrow?

Oh the Apocalypse, well thats just pish-posh. The Mayans Y2K if you get the drift.
Chill out, party hard, get drunk and hope that the change of date will change your life for good.

Ciao

Library cards, Enid Blyton & Maggi Noodles

A small dinner conversation took me down the memory lane, to my school days, to the half-day Saturdays when we had the library period.

I have never had an active library membership in my adult years, my engineering college’s library was the place of last resort for me, for Google had long taken over my information needs. The B School library was slightly better off, with some genuinely good books and fast internet surfing enticed me in at times. But these places were purely academic in nature, devoid of any content to do with literature whatsoever.

The only real library I had been to was in School, a whitewashed hall with book racks all over the place with the librarian on one edge of it. We’d quietly enter the hall and sit on the metallic fold-able chairs, awaiting for her to open the doors to the treasures they hidden behind them. One could pick a single book from the specific shelves which were opened according to the librarians whim, and fill in the yellow library card with one’s name, class and the date of return. The card was to be then returned to her, and the book was yours for a week.

Library Card

It was quite interesting for me to fill in those library cards, looking at the past issuers names and their old due dates. What specially excited me were the times when a book had not been read for a few years; such thrill that I paid attention to a title which people forgot. But I was never consciously searching for such books, my favorites were Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven. The adventures with these British kids filled me with so much joy, chasing thieves, camping out in the meadows, exploring old forts, in short everything I wished to do and did with them!

Picking a book for a week, and returning home to immediately start reading it were obvious things for me. To accompany this hunger for fiction was my grumbling stomach, and maggi was the perfect snack for those Saturday noons. Trust me, Enid Blyton‘s more fun with maggi by its side!

As I grew older, I explored a bit more, and peeked into those shelves which were never opened. Surprisingly, these out-of-bound books were not really so, one had to just ask for the key. With this, the reading matured, but there was always the constant library card to be filled, sometimes astonishing me that I was probably the youngest in the library card’s history to read sci-fi by Crichton when I was just 14.

Flipkart came along, and Goodreads is a good support but I long for those yellow library cards, telling me precious little details about the readers before me.

PS – The books were often old and I derived a weird pleasure in smelling the old pages, as they do!