November 07, 2005

India Empowered

This is an article written by a senior from school in today's Indian Express. I had earlier posted an article about him Fighter Pilot For A While; Fighter For Life

I havent met anil yet, but he is a legend in our school. Each and every student sooner or later comes to know about him and the lucky ones who travel to pune reverently goes off to meet him there.

I just had to post this one, for the fighting spirit that he still keeps alive (even though he will never be a fighter pilot again) and for the noble cause for which he writes

here is the link

Indian Express

When the disabled stand on their own feet, on own steam

M P Anil Kumar
Former fighter pilot at Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Pune

M P Anil Kumar; Former fighter pilot at Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Pune As was the wont, I called on my old teacher N Balakrishnan Nair during a visit to my alma mater (Sainik School, Kazhakootam, Kerala) in the mid-80s. He told me in the course of our chat that the school had benevolently admitted 25 needy students from Bihar that year.

I scanned our alumni website days ago to ascertain where these students, some from the boondocks of Bihar, had stationed themselves in life. Officers in the Army, Navy & Customs, journalist, doctor, engineers, research scholar, lecturer, executives—all doing well and shinning up the totem-pole. I could not but wonder where these schoolmates would have been had they not obtained quality education? Flotsam and jetsam perhaps.

Roughly a century ago, Shri Narayana Guru, sage and social reformer, had an uncomplicated solution to nudge the oppressed masses of Kerala to unfetter themselves from their social and economic subjugation—education. Unlike the self-styled modern messiahs, Guru never exhorted violence or grabbing as means to amelioration. He foresaw education as the stairway to salvation. It reaped rich dividends.

The above illustrations epitomise the capacity of education to catalyse the upward mobility of the straitened strata of the society. At the risk of luring opprobrious epithets, I would aver that the time has come to defenestrate the reservation policy based on castes. It has failed to meet its exalted objectives. Its beneficiaries are the ones with political leverage and the well-heeled SCs, STs and OBCs, not the necessitous ones.

Instead the government should focus on their education, books, meals and groundwork for competitive exams; building top-notch schools to provide first-rate education to impecunious students; sponsoring the higher education of the bright among the indigent lot. Unimpeded access to quality education will aid them to make the grade through open competition, instill self-esteem and self-assurance among them, breed role models to emulate, and prod their social and economic elevation.

I know my impassioned pitch for skirting the beaten track will fall on deaf ears as no government will have the gumption to groom them that way. It cannot beget instant results and tangible fruition will take decades; hence it will be a political hot potato. Nostrums like reservation, and more reservation, are sly remedies to con the electorate. I boldly believe that empowerment through education is the sure-footed path to pull off the durable uplift of the downtrodden masses. Education is the one-way highway to empowerment. There is no short cut.

I was a fighter pilot in the IAF till a mishap 17 years ago snapped my cervical spinal cord, rendered me a quadriplegic and condemned me to a wholly dependent life. From my vantage point aboard a wheelchair, the world markedly looks a different place, nay a different planet. Disabled persons— variously seen as wastrels, counterfeit coins, eyesores and laughing-stocks—are indisputably at the nadir of the food-chain. Though there are excellent exceptions, lip-service and pity are what we get in abundance. Our Parliament passed the Persons with Disabilities Act in December 1995 after much goading. Equal opportunities and non-discrimination, its cornerstones, have been flung to the winds. Why not? The disabled community is not a mouth-watering, exploitable votebank.

‘‘Disabled persons will never be true citizens until they are defined by their contributions, not needs,’’ bemoaned Sam Sullivan, a Canadian alderman and a quadriplegic. Our society has chosen to be a moral one in which no one should be in need. In a welfare state, a need of one confers a right to the resources of the rest. ‘Needs Assessment’ is the bedrock of our social support system. The classic mechanism of the welfare state is to identify large numbers of similar needs and to assign means to agencies devoted to solving or mitigating them. Alas, people are earmarked by their needs, not by their talents and assets. Think of friendships: They are always based on assets and contributions; no one develops friendships based on what’s wrong with the other person.

In sum, we need to ripen our skills and talents; we need to make our communities aware that everyone, regardless of disability, has vital contributions to make. Communities prosper when all their citizens contribute.

Rehabilitation, that catchall mantra chanted by the government, means more than just equipping with crutches, prostheses, wheelchairs, etc. Livelihood is the crux, not handouts. Governmental props, regrettably, enslave the recipients, stunt their talents and abet corruption. Besides, the sundry arms of the jumbo bureaucracy customarily work against one another to nix well-meant welfare programmes. Yet, the imperative of the state joining forces with the society to enable a delivery system needs no emphasis, but we need a novel paradigm to expedite the deliverance of disabled people from the yoke of destitution. Ergo, I believe that a slick public-private tie-up is the avenue to redemption, as demonstrated by the polio eradication drive launched jointly by the government and Rotary. Apart from access to transport and buildings, the disabled people want to be made employable and find employment opportunities where they live.

Since unemployment is a curse worse than impairment, a two-pronged initiative to boost employability and employment cannot wait. The education model (with accent on vocational training) I broached above is the key to making the disabled persons employable. Since the 3-per cent job quota pledged in the 1995 Act has not swollen employment, a robust blueprint to fuel employment needs to be devised. Everything being equal, an employer will always favour a non-disabled candidate. As the private sector will not do it pro bono, why not ape the German policy of stipulating incentives? Like, higher the number/ratio of disabled workers, higher the tax incentives for the employers. The disabled community will be empowered when the support apparatus will facilitate them to stand on their own feet, under their own steam.

Lastly, India will be empowered when the state of affairs is conducive for her citizens, especially the underprivileged lot, to realise their full potential and live with dignity.

October 25, 2005

Back 2 Blog!

I am back!!!!

About a month back me n my roomies decided to shift from our then abode. we hated the place but loved the location. The flat was supposedly furnished but all the furnishings were slightly older than us! However, the location kinda made up for it. Walking distance to a beautiful beach (a fav haunt of couples n so a fav haunt of us three eligible bachelors too!!), opp food world, few decent restaurants, ATM, a tasmaq (thats the booze seller) shop and very close to a shop which sells smuggled liquor (shhhh..dont tell any one!!).

So we started looking for a 3 bed room apartment, preferably furnished, in the same vicnity. Immediately we lucked out on a beautiful place right next to our old place, brand new apartment, luxuriously furnished (and by luxuary i mean real luxuary not the definition usually used by landlords in their ads!) with brand new appliances. The rent was sligtly high but all three of us loved the place. We will never be able to afford a place like this later and hence decided to go for posh this time :).

Well it was time to shift and everything went smooth..or atleast i thought so!. In the old place, i had a sify broadband connection but the new apartment was connected by Airtel. I thought its cool untill i found out that Airtel wont give broadband connection to bachelors!!!!!!!!!!!. The service guy specifically mentioned that " are all bachelors in the age group of 25-27". Now we thought that makes us "eligible" bachelors while for Airtel it made us "ineligible" bachelors atleast for their broadband connection!

Yeah, it seems some corporate honcho decided that bachelors are not welcome customers for their broadband (while they are welcome for airtel's cellular service). Had to run around for one full month to get this resolved. Thankfully my company had a corporate connection with Airtel and when i cntacted the account manager he was quite apologetic and said he will waiver the requirement for us. i am impressed with Airtel customer service and service quality but mebbe they need to change their rules a bit!. wasnt the end of our broadband travails. We gave them a copy of our lease agreement and it seems a few lines got cut while photocopying (the lease document was of a different sized paper). Suddenly we get a call from Airtel's legal department accusing us of forging a lease agreement (yeah me too rolling my eyes!!). Grrrrr...had to run aorund a bit to sort it out again!.

Finally, we got our much anticipated broadband connection today today. So now we are comfortably settled in our new plush posh home and planning to stay there for a while. I hope to be a more regular blogger now on, its always a pain to blog from office!


September 18, 2005

Female Blogging!

In the last six months of life in blogosphere, i made a startling discovery!

There are lotsa more wonderful female bloggers, especially Indians, than male bloggers. This is not to denigrate the male half of the indian blogging world (of which there are quite a few celebrities!) but just something i saw.

I have often pondered over this, especially after a few pegs when my drinking buddies begin to make "well thats because you are biased towards finding female bloggers than male bloggers" kinda statements.

Well, today i got a partial answer. Was just browsing through old newspapers in my living room (making a desperate and totally unsuccesful attempt to clean up) when i came across this article in Hindu. Immediately went online and found the link as i wanted to share my discovery!

Here is the link : Blog Sisters Are Here

what the article basically says is that women blog because they often need a medium to let out their feelings anonymously. Hmmm..that set me thinking (which i can occasionally do even without having a peg!).

My immediate reaction was to reject it out of hand. Well men too need anonymity. Anonymity is a need for both males/females when they want to express their frustrations about boss, work, client, partner, inlaws etc!.

But, in the absence of a drink to celebrate my thoughtful rejection of an idea, i continued to chew over it!. And that was a mistake, as i found going back on my conclusions, something which i hate to do :( is true that women need more anonymity than a man (atleast in india) when they talk about the relationships they had, the ones they hope to have, their ideas on marriage, love etc..especially if one is single and comes from a conservative family background.

So i dedicate this post to all those wonderful female bloggers i have stumbled upon (and all those whom i havent too!), keep blogging in the brutally honest way that you so often do. u add a wonderful and totally new (atleast to me) perspective!.

Disclaimer: This is not a pick up blog :)) and i absolutely convincingly remain as a true blue MCP as my next post will show. This is just an aberration!


September 11, 2005

Tagging Along

Got tagged by Silverine twice :). First one is still on the works, then for a change i thought i will move onto the second tag. This looked easy enuff in the begining but then found out to my horror that this one requires a lot of honest answers :).

Actually once i started to write this blog it was quite enjoyable. I have never ever jotted down all the things that i want to do. So like Jiby suggested it is good to have them all in one place so that we can check back after 10 years to see how we are doing. So here i go!

Seven things you plan to do before you die (well actually i dont plan to die..but i guess i have no choice there!)

1) Become an entrepreneur

2) Write a book (Sighs by overworked, exasperated editors :) )

3) Run the Boston marathon

4) Climb K2 (earlier it was Mt Everest but people have started landing helicopters there..yuck!)

5) Visit the coldest desolate places in earth and trek through them. The places i have in mind are Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Antartica, Lapplands (sweden)

6) Do a Phd in economics (this is just for intellectual masturbation haha!!)

7)Become a gentleman farmer/planter in munnar or its environs. Retire there with a huge library, gallons of single malt scotch and a cook who can make beef dry fry (well..even a wife would do i guess!!!)

Seven things you can do!

1) Become an entreprenur

2) Run the bangalore marathon

3) Go for the one month mountaineering training camp in Uttarkashi and trekking in ladakh & sikkim

4) Learn cooking (incase no cook or wife wants to settle in munnar!)

5) Build up a huge library

6) Retain all the beautiful friendships i have gathered and build more

7) fall in love and stay down...forever!

Seven things you cant do!

1) I cant be a pessimist

2) I cant look down on people

3) I cant stop reading

4) I cant stop trying to flirt (and fail miserably:) )

5) I cant dismiss "chick flicks"..infact they are my favs

6) I cant tolerate loneliness

7) I cant forgive treachery, arrogance and cowardice

Seven things that attract you to opposite sex (ahem could it be sex?:)) )

1) Adventure

2) Humour (the more sardonic the better)

3) Independence

4) Intelligence

5) women who can give you the space you need and ask for the space they need

6) Women whom i can talk to for hours and still feel the desire to continue talking

7) Women who likes me for what i am and never tries to force me to do anything that i dont want to ( is excused, so is washing and ironing!! )

Seven things you say most!

1) deyyyyyy
2) Athu pallil poyi para
3) machaa
4) beeeer
5) kallu readddddy aano???
7) and several colourful words i use in the company of my school/college friends

Seven celebrity crushes

1) Nandita Das - for the sparkle in her eyes

2) Audrey Hepburn - again the sparkle

3) Princess Diana - for the grace

4) Demi Moore - for the sheer sensuality

5) Meg Ryan - for the innocence

6) Arundhati Roy - for the wild streak (even if i dont agree with half or even more of what she says!)

7) Helen Hunt - I dont know why!

It's been a revealing experience to jot down this blog. I actually spent much more time than i planned on this blog. But every moment was worthwhile. Thankx silverine!

Now that i have written down these desires of mine for all eternity to see (gee..i am really stuffy!!) am planning on how/when to do quite a few of them!

Unfortunately most of my friends from the blog world have already been tagged for this post. So i would tag Deepak George in the hope that he finally resumes his blogging. Ponna are you listening?


August 30, 2005

When A Giant Killer Become The Giant

For the last 7 years or so Google was everyone's darling!.

Initially darling of hard core techies, then of normal people (not that techies are abnormal) who frequently use internet search, then of the general public as they caught up with the David vs. Goliath drama and finally of the financial markets (since its IPO last year)

For silicon valley, desperately looking for a company which can take on Microsoft (and disappointed by failed messiahs like Netscape) Google was the big hope!. I remember joining my post-grad course and hearing about this "search engine" on the net which can give you all the information u need (and some u dont!)..all done at lightening speeds!. Ever since, i have been a google fan.

But the attraction of google was not just its superior product offering but also the "Under dog" image. David vs. Goliath fight always ensures that the audience is one-sided. But what may be google forgot was that if David wins then he becomes the next Goliath and that other lil Davids will be taking aim at him.

Well, the honeymoon seems to be over for the google phenomenon!. Google itself has become a giant, humbled Mircosoft (as admitted by Microsoft themselves). Now the Google giant is moving into so many non-search fields that they will inevitably step on the toes of other startups. Now the cycle will start again. Google will become the company that everyone in silicon valley will want to beat.the competitive streak in the valley will ensure that. good luck guys!

I found these two articles both by New York Times. Made interesting reading!

Relax Bill Gates; It's Google's Turn As The Villain

This is about how poaching and jumping on to every possible opportunity in the net by Google frustrates startup co's

Google Anything, So Long as It's not Google

This is even more interesting. A reporter from CNET wanted to write an article about privacy on the internet. She hit upon a novel way of begining the article. She spent 30 minutes googling on Eric Schimdt (CEO of google) and began the article with what info she found. So what would you expect google to do? well i would have expected them to have a good laugh and join in the debate.

What google did was to complain to CNET abt disclosure of private information (come on came from ur search engine itself!) and then went ahead and announced that it will not speak to any CNET reporter for one year!!!.

Signs of hubris?? or is it a sign of google becoming just another faceless corporation?? well the jury is out..and google better watch its steps

ps: blogspot is owned by google i believe :)
pps: i remain an ardent supporter of google and its products. I hope they dont change , but history suggests otherwise. Every "innovative company" ends up becoming a follower, thats the life cycle i guess!

August 17, 2005

When Genius Comes Of Age

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Well..its been a long while since i posted. Unfortunately, i was down with a severe attack of laziness. Medicines couldnt cure it, well-meaning advice from friends also failed, finally somebody kicked my butt real hard and i woke up with a start. so here goes :)

A few weeks back, I had gone to pick up a friend from IIT Madras. That was the day when over 600 freshly minted JEE successes joined the institute for its renowned B.Tech program.

It was great to see those 17-18 year olds (sprinkled with a few older ppl who made it in their second or third chances). The parents were proud, the kids (more like my younger brothers) were nervous but jubiliant. Both had good reasons to feel the way they did. The kids had slogged, they had focused their entire life in the last few years to make it through what probably is the toughest examination in the world. The parents had dreamed about this ever since the kids were born, doled out huge amounts for coaching institutes and stayed right with their kids during the tough times.

Coming from small towns and occasionally even villages, they have been the brightest kids in their class ever since they can remember. Entire communities would have cheered them on (but they did the slogging all alone) and celebrated with them when their efforts were rewarded. Some of them might be disappointed that they did not get their preferred branch but all of them believe, deep in their heart, that they are the BEST in the country (which given the population almost automatically means best in the world too).

So I thought my next blog will be on them. But why? I never managed to get through the JEE. I went to a local engineering college and was totally happy with that. So I never passed through hallowed portals of any IIT’s (except as an occasional visitor). But, later in my life i have had several chances to interact with lots of IITians. Some of them became close friends. Before i met any of them, i had this awe stuck idea of how all of them were geniuses. But after meeting them, i found out this wasnt the case (despite what the media says). So my title is not exactly correct.

But didnt Thomas Edison say that genius is 99% prespiration and 1% inspiration? This quote is so true in this case. In an age when teenagers want to enjoy life before they have earned the right to do so, these guys (and gals) are so extremely focused that normal human beings (read not so focussed individuals) can get psyched out. I remember a close friend, next door roomie for two years, who had topped IIT. Even during our hectic schedule, i often used to go to sleep at around mid night after saying good night to him. He will continue to burn the midnight oil till 3-4 AM and then wake me up at 7 (he often had to run away from the room as a sleep-deprived enraged mallu arose with murder in mind!)

To the class of 2005 at IITM: Some of you will become hotshot investment bankers, others will strategize for corporations, few will sell detergent powder, others will be sucked either into the IT industry or to academics. Very few will become eminent scientists or entrepreneurs, just like it is at any elite institute be it IIM's, IISC's or the ivy leagues. But you guys have made it thus far!. You have entered the hallowed portals of this institute. For the next four years you will be slogging ur butt out. Some of you will find for the first time in life that u may not necessarily top academically in every exam. A few of you will figure out that engineering is not for you. Dont let these things worry you too much, because you have earned the right to be proud. But dont dwell too much on the past successes either, because future is beckoning and increasingly it is a future which demands achievements made yesterday and not four years back.

Finally two incidents occured while i was in the IIT campus which will remain etched in my mind for a while

scene 1: I am talking in mallu with my friend in front of the Brahmaputra hostel. A mom and a soda glass wearing son passes by. They hear the mallu language and the son, desperately trying to become friends with seniors to avoid the inevitable ragging, comes and joins in "chetta keralathil ninnu aano (as if that wasnt obvious!)". we started talking, he introduced himself, he is from a village near thrissur, joining aerospace dept. i was really amazed and congrajulated him. His mom was beaming. my friend introduced himself and the guy greeted him with the required reverence. Then i introduced myself and as soon as he heard that i am just a visitor and did my engg from kerala itself, he turned away with that "proudly arrogant" look. A few years back i would probably have been offended with that look. But today i am much more matured (dont u dare dispute that!) and was just happy for him. He looks just like a kid. so here is wishing you all success in becoming an aerospace engineer!

scene 2: I am leaving the campus at about 10 PM. Near the gate i can see a small family probably from up north of india. Gal (obviously a fresher), Dad and Mom doing the farewells. Dad and Gal were hugging tightly and inconsolably crying. I believe dad was crying louder!!. Mom was standing next to them with a slightly exasperated look. I had one look at the scene and couldnt help smiling. Mom noticed the smile and gave me a "these are both my kids" smile in return.

i smiled right back!

July 17, 2005

The Art Of Eating One's Words :)

A few weeks back i re-published an obituary, of someone whom i thought was a hero. Since the source was The Economist, there was no need, i felt, to check the veracity!.

Alas, it seems even Economist was fooled. Naki was a nice even brilliant guy whom apartheid broke. But he was not the person who removed the donor's heart during world's first heart transplant.


ON JUNE 11th this year, The Economist published an obituary of Hamilton Naki, a black medical researcher at the University of Cape Town. In that obituary, we described Mr Naki assisting in the first human heart transplant by removing the heart from the donor, Denise Darvall. Our account was drawn directly from Mr Naki's own words in interviews.

We have since been assured by surgeons at Groote Schuur, the hospital where the transplant was performed, that Mr Naki was nowhere near the operating theatre. As a black, and as a person with no formal medical qualifications, he was not allowed to be. The surgeons who removed the donor's heart were Marius Barnard, Christiaan Barnard's brother, and Terry O'Donovan. A source close to Mr Naki once asked him where he was when he first heard about the transplant. He replied that he had heard of it on the radio. Later, he apparently changed his story.

He changed it, it seems, not simply because of the confusion of old age, but because of pressure from those around him. Mr Naki was already a hero, as a man of scant education who had trained himself to carry out extremely difficult transplants on animals. He was also a martyr to apartheid: a man debarred from the proper exercise of his skills, and even from fair pay, by an iniquitous regime. (Christiaan Barnard admitted that, “given the opportunity”, Mr Naki would have been “a better surgeon than me”.) For both reasons, his role was gradually embellished in post-apartheid, black-ruled South Africa. By the end, he himself came to believe it.

The process was assisted by hints from Barnard that Mr Naki had helped him in ways that were not fully known, and by the fact that, under apartheid, any such help on white human subjects would have had to be secret anyway. In the end, a story took shape that looked so plausible to the outside world that not only ourselves, but the Lancet, the British Medical Journal and many others accepted it. Yet the same story appeared so ridiculous to the University of Cape Town, staff say, that they did not trouble to deny it.

To report this misapprehension is doubly sad, apart from our own regret at being caught up in it. It is sad that the shadow of apartheid is still so long in South Africa that blacks and whites can tell the same narrative in quite different ways, each suspecting the motives of the other. And it is especially tragic that it should have involved Mr Naki, a man considered “wonderful” by both sides, black and white, and whose life should still be seen as an inspiration.

July 07, 2005

For Men: Skip The Deo :)

No comments!

Rediff Aricle

What kind of men do women like?

July 07, 2005

Women tend to choose genetically superior men for their short-term sexual relationships and are most likely to cheat on their long-term partner when they are at their most fertile period, according to a study.

Czech researchers, whose study was quoted by Nature magazine, found that the smell of a socially dominant male is most exciting to women in stable relationships, especially on days when they are ovulating.

Jan Havlmcek, of Charles University in Prague, and his colleagues asked 48 men to complete a questionnaire, rating statements in order to score the volunteers' social dominance. The researchers also asked them to wear cotton pads under their arms to collect sweat.

A group of 65 women then smelled the pads and rated the sexiness and masculinity of the scent. Women in the middle week of their menstrual cycle, the point at which fertility is at its peak, tended to prefer the smell of the men who scored highest on the dominance quiz, the study revealed.

This preference was not shown by women at other points in their cycle, the researchers say. The results support a theory of mixed mating strategies, which argues that women should want different things from different men at different times.

Females are expected to pair up with the males most likely to invest in parental care, but any affair is likely to be conducted with successful males who, although they may not be good dads, provide good genes.

"Other studies have shown that women are more likely to get involved in extra-pair affairs during their fertile period," Havlmcek says. "We suppose that in such cases more socially dominant males would be preferred."

June 25, 2005

Lest We Forget

Today is the 30th anniversary of the declaration of emergency in India. It is not a happy occasion but rather a poignant one; to remember how close we came to becoming another tin pot third world dictatorship.

However, i am not going to talk about emergency here; its been talked about and dissected a lot. I would rather talk about "Rajan case", the infamous police custody murder which happened in kerala during emergency period and the tragical farce it has become today.

For those who dont know the story: Rajan was a student of REC Calicut during the emergency period. In the 1970's the Naxalite movement had become very strong in north kerala. Almost any idealistic, young man/woman in those days were attracted to that ideology. College hostels were probably full of sympathizers to the "cause". It is generally accepted that Rajan was not in the movement but likely was a sympathizer but so were thousands of others. However, what allegedly bought him to the attention of police was a play which he acted/directed (i am not sure about the specifics) during a college festival which made fun of a minister in the kerala cabinet.

After he was tortured, murdered and burned (allegedly) in the kakkyam police camp, the government and the police steadfastly maintained that he was never even taken into custody. Prof Eachara Warrior, Rajan's father, could not even approach the courts during emergency as "habeus corpus" was suspended. After emergency was lifted, he filed a case against the government which ultimately led to a judgement by the high court against the government. karunakaran who was the home minister at the time of the murder (and chief minister when the judgement came out) had to resign. Jayaram Padikkal IPS,the man in charge of the camp and Pulikkodan Narayanan, the SI who tortured and killed Rajan were prosecuted but never rally paid for their crimes. Rajan's mother, who was mentally ill, was never told about his murder. She lived for more than 25 years in the fond hope that her only son will one day return.

Even today, exactly what happened to Rajan is a mystery. Was he burned with sugar (to ensure that not even burns will be left behind) or dumped in a dam? Will the perpetrators ever confess? I hope some one will tell the true story like the retired constable who confessed to the killing of Vargheese so that the old man will gain some peace of mind in the twilight of his life.

I once had the privilege of hearing Prof Eachara Warrior speak about his experience. A humble man, he spoke simply but movingly about his futile attempts to get his boy back. As he spoke, I tried to imagine his sufferings but failed miserably. He has written a small book on his experience. English version of the book can be found here

The incident should remind us of the excesses that a supremely powerful government can commit if the "checks and balances" are removed. During emergency, trains ran on time, governent service was efficient, civil servants were afraid to strike but personal liberty, "due proces" and fundamental human rights were trampled upon. In the quest for achieving the former nobody should have to give up the latter.

Finally, politics is again showing how farcial life is. Karunakaran has left the congrss fold and is open to joining hands with "non communal" forces. CPM, which once provided financial help to Prof Eachara Warrior during the legal proceedings and was at the forefront of the agitation against karunakaran, is obviously the "non communal" force. They are likely to welcome karunakarn to LDF fold sooner or later. All those post-emergency strikes against Karunakaran will likely be forgotten. SFI, the students wing of CPM, will follow suit.

To add insult to injury, one of my old SFI colleagues (yes i had communist leanings for a while before better sense prevailed!) still has the signature "Porattangal Nilakkunnilla" (the fight never stops) in his email while blissfully justifying the party position in every issue

this world is f***ed up!


June 16, 2005

A Forgotten Hero!

Hamilton Naki
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I came across this obituary in Economist

I had to post this (please dont sue..its just middle of the month and i am already broke!)

One of the most exciting real-life-story i have heard is about Christain Barnard and the first human heart transplanation. Now it seems that even this heroic story had elements of bigotry involved in it. Read about "Hamilton Naki", the real hero of the event. May be it is time to rewrite our science books!

Hamilton Naki
Jun 9th 2005
From The Economist print edition

Hamilton Naki, an unrecognised surgical pioneer, died on May 29th, aged 78

ON DECEMBER 3rd, 1967, the body of a young woman was brought to Hamilton Naki for dissection. She had been knocked down by a car as she went to buy a cake on a street in Cape Town, in South Africa. Her head injuries were so severe that she had been pronounced brain-dead at the hospital, but her heart, uninjured, had gone on furiously pumping.

Mr Naki was not meant to touch this body. The young woman, Denise Darvall, was white, and he was black. The rules of the hospital, and indeed the apartheid laws of the land, forbade him to enter a white operating theatre, cut white flesh, or have dealings with white blood. For Mr Naki, however, the Groote Schuur hospital had made a secret exception. This black man, with his steady, dexterous hands and razor-sharp mind, was simply too good at the delicate, bloody work of organ transplantation. The chief transplant surgeon, the young, handsome, famously temperamental Christiaan Barnard, had asked to have him on his team. So the hospital had agreed, saying, as Mr Naki remembered, “Look, we are allowing you to do this, but you must know that you are black and that's the blood of the white. Nobody must know what you are doing.”

Nobody, indeed, knew. On that December day, in one part of the operating suite, Barnard in a blaze of publicity prepared Louis Washkansky, the world's first recipient of a transplanted human heart. Fifteen metres away, behind a glass panel, Mr Naki's skilled black hands plucked the white heart from the white corpse and, for hours, hosed every trace of blood from it, replacing it with Washkansky's. The heart, set pumping again with electrodes, was passed to the other side of the screen, and Mr Barnard became, overnight, the most celebrated doctor in the world.

In some of the post-operation photographs Mr Naki inadvertently appeared, smiling broadly in his white coat, at Barnard's side. He was a cleaner, the hospital explained, or a gardener. Hospital records listed him that way, though his pay, a few hundred dollars a month, was actually that of a senior lab technician. It was the most they could give, officials later explained, to someone who had no diploma.

There had never been any question of diplomas. Mr Naki, born in the village of Ngcangane in the windswept Eastern Cape, had been pulled out of school at 14, when his family could no longer afford it. His life seemed likely to be cattle-herding, barefoot and in sheepskins, like many of his contemporaries. Instead, he hitch-hiked to Cape Town to find work, and managed to land a job tending lawns and rolling tennis courts at the University of Cape Town Medical School.

A black—even one as clever as he was, and as immaculately dressed, in a clean shirt, tie and Homburg hat even to work in the gardens—could not expect to get much further. But a lucky break came when, in 1954, the head of the animal research lab at the Medical School asked him for help. Robert Goetz needed a strong young man to hold down a giraffe while he dissected its neck to see why giraffes did not faint when they drank. Mr Naki coped admirably, and was taken on: at first to clean cages, then to hold and anaesthetise the animals, then to operate on them.

Stealing with his eyes

The lab was busy, with constant transplant operations on pigs and dogs to train doctors, eventually, for work on humans. Mr Naki never learned the techniques formally; as he put it, “I stole with my eyes”. But he became an expert at liver transplants, far trickier than heart transplants, and was soon teaching others. Over 40 years he instructed several thousand trainee surgeons, several of whom moved on to become heads of departments. Barnard admitted—though not until 2001, just before he died—that Mr Naki was probably technically better than he was, and certainly defter at stitching up afterwards.

Unsung, though not unappreciated, Mr Naki continued to work at the Medical School until 1991. When he retired, he drew a gardener's pension: 760 rand, or about $275, a month. He exploited his medical contacts to raise funds for a rural school and a mobile clinic in the Eastern Cape, but never thought of money for himself. As a result, he could pay for only one of his five children to stay to the end of high school. Recognition, with the National Order of Mapungubwe and an honorary degree in medicine from the University of Cape Town, came only a few years before his death, and long after South Africa's return to black rule.

He took it well. Bitterness was not in his nature, and he had had years of training to accept his life as apartheid had made it. On that December day in 1967, for example, as Barnard played host to the world's adoring press, Mr Naki, as usual, caught the bus home. Strikes, riots and road blocks often delayed it in those days. When it came, it carried him—in his carefully pressed suit, with his well-shined shoes—to his one-room shack in the township of Langa. Because he was sending most of his pay to his wife and family, left behind in Transkei, he could not afford electricity or running water. But he would always buy a daily newspaper; and there, the next day, he could read in banner headlines of what he had done, secretly, with his black hands, with a white heart.

Link to the original article

June 09, 2005

One For Narcissistic Me!

Visitors to my blog crossed 1000!! (i swear i had blocked all my 3 IP address from the calculations!).

Thankx everyone!

good job anish; may u soon reach the "five figure" :)


June 06, 2005

A "Priestly" Bachelor's Party

My family is devout xtian but has given up trying to convert me, but relatives have not.

So extended family ceremonies can be trying, particularly since i do not want to embrass anyone but more importantly do not want to get embrassed myself. This time it was worse, coz my to-be-wed cousin is a junior priest (in our community priests can marry and even have kids!)and the place was full of priests, methrans, thirumeni's and other "scum of the church”.

So I knew that a big prayer session was coming as soon as i landed up at his home. As is my habit in such occasions, i planned to walk around during the prayers and desperately hoped that my absence will not be noticed.

Ahem..i should have known better. There comes vargheese kochappan, slightly deaf and more than slightly drunk! Being slightly deaf, he likes to believe that rest of the world is deaf too. He starts off by asking (actually shouting) “who are you?”

I know i should respect age (he was ancient when i was a toddler!), but not when this question is asked immediately after the prayer (when a silence falls over the entire group as they plan out the sins they can commit now that they have taken advance absolution!).

As usual, the entire group does an about turn and stares at me. i mumble that i am his brother's wife's sister's daugther's son. He then goes like this (after editing out the expletives and translating!) “oho.. by the suspicious way u were moving about in the dark during prayer time i thought u were a thief or doing something else”.

Now i have no clue about what he meant by "something else”. Any ways, kochappan continues; "so why didn’t you join the prayer?"

I wished I was drunk enough to shout back "because I did not want to”. But being the coward that I am, I mumbled again and decided to move back to the rubber jungle where i was hiding during the prayers.

Well, if god ever had a chance to make me a believer it was then.

If only god had appeared on the skies and said "blessed are the non-believers; they seek proof of my existence and i am honored more by their questions than by the blind allegiance of you fools”

But he did not appear; did not support me when i needed his support; thus wasting the evangelical opportunity of the millennium.

Thankfully the ungles were too thirsty to enjoy this spectacle for long and slowly moved behind the cattle-shed where "drinks" were arranged. Soon all ungles got unsteady with their feet and bawdy with their songs. Aundies passed time making snide comments about the "vellamadi" habit that runs in the family.

Now there were two parallel drinking sessions going on. One the parental generation drinking openly (admission restricted to males above 50 only!). And the second, the younger generation who were making frequent trips to the toilet where a bottle of OP rum was kept!

I was graciously invited to be part of the second group. I refused because i no longer want to drink OPR in the toilet with tap water. My cousins thought i am acting "pricey". Now i got all uptight and said that i dont see why people who are 25,30 or 35 have to drink furtively when everyone knows everything. So I was left all alone; sober and uptight!

Well, a dear uncle (to whom i am eternally grateful!) saw me standing forlorn and called me to the outhouse. At the outhouse drinks had been arranged for the "representatives of god" and boy do they drink posh :). vsop brandy for the francophiles, whiskey for the colonials, anthi kallu for the swadesi's and karimeen pollichathu plus tharavu varuthathu for all!

Uncle was in the side room and in charge of supplying unlimited quantities of the above mentioned items to the main room where “men of god” were having their philosophical discussions. The nice man that he is, he made me his assistant and i finally got my due. It is fun to drink with "men of god" (albeit them not knowing i was spying) and hear the "godly" conversations.


June 01, 2005

Deep Throat - The Final Disclosure

In the last 24 hours, international media has been abuzz with the unravelling of what probably is the greatest mystery in journalism.

Everyone knows about the watergate scandal.

Lots of people have heard about the "Deep Throat" (i have even watched it hehe..).

Seriously, "Deep Throat" was the ultimate insider who decided to turn a whistleblower. He got the sobriquet from a controversial porn movie of the same title, which ahem...featured "activities related to the title" :)

He was the second in command of the FBI who leaked out information about the criminal activities of the President of the US of A. And he chose to remain anonymous; atleast till yesterday. Yesterday, he came clean.

Read the article here.

I Am The Guy They Called "Deep Throat"

Congrajulations Mark Felt, u deserve all the accolades coming your way!

congrajulations Woodward & Bernstein. you guys are not just hard-nosed investigative journalists but also men of honor!

ps: and to think that today US judiciary is about to grant prison terms to journalists who are not willing to divulge their confidential sources!

May 29, 2005

Dan Brown And The Art Of Guerilla Marketing!

I read the “code” because of church-going friends who recommended it to me with a sly wink. Strangely, I was disappointed with the book and a few other novels by Dan Brown. Strange because I am a religion-basher and like nothing better than to read/talk about the atrocities committed by religions through history. So even though the books were fairly stupid (both in terms of suspense and storyline) I should have still liked them for the religion bashing it had. But I figured out the true intentions of the guy!

Dan Brown always portrays situations in this way. Catholic church was bad in the past (preferably a few centuries ago!) and hounded a few small groups of artists and other such intellectuals. But, today the church is pretty decent. I mean I don’t find too many villains associated with present day catholic church in his books. Even if there are a few current church-villains, they are demented souls usually acting for themselves and not for the church. Even these few church-villains usually figure out their mistakes and do penance at the end. The majority of the current church officials are decent people who are saint-like in their devotion to god and humanity!. On the other hand, groups of intellectuals that were persecuted by the church long ago have now transmuted themselves to become powerful, evil groups full of wrath towards the church.

So basically baddies are these groups, which seeks violent revenge, not the church!

Hence, he succeeds in doing what the church always wanted to. He portrays the non-believers as seeking to wrestle control of the human destiny for their own purposes. They are diabolic and await a chance to deliver a final crushing blow to the church. At the end of his novel he often exonerates these groups but by then the harm is done. The reader who becomes so engrossed in the novel will continue to believe in these conspiracy theories.

And then he has a number of historical-curiosities (surely assembled by an army of research assistants slogging past midnight?) to make the book interesting and “different”

I conclude that when Dan Brown was writing these conspiracy theories (and getting millions hooked onto it), he was indeed in the midst of a conspiracy theory. But one in which he himself is the conspirator. My hypothesis (un-tested!) is that Dan Brown is part of a conspiracy with Catholic Church.

Why should church have an interest in the conspiracy?

The church loves him! After all, he is the best thing to have happened to the church after they stopped burning witches in the middle ages. Seriously, church is facing serious problems. Dwindling number of regular worshippers and even people who say they are Christians is a fact of life in the western world (particularly in Europe).

The backyard of catholic church (Italy, France, Spain etc.) is disappearing in the midst of public apathy and increasing secularist credentials of the governments. Further, the church is getting battered from all sides because of its anachronistic stand on social issues such as sex scandals in the church, abortions, female priests, condoms as an tool to prevent aids and finally its condemnation of homosexuality.

Believers are declining; church attendance is falling (hallelujah anyone?) and then comes this Dan Brown! What happens then? The entire f***** Christian mythology is played again and again. All the idiots read the books thinking how they are delivering a blow to the fat cats in Vatican! And what are the fat cats doing? They are laughing their way to the pulpit!

As far as marketing goes, no publicity is bad publicity. Especially for an organization which is struggling to stay relevant. And after the Dan Brown version of science fiction u hear about all these tourists visiting all the locations mentioned in his books (mostly church-connected). Church would hope (correctly I guess!) that at least a few of these gullible visitors could be lured back into its fold.

The crafty cardinals go ahead and denounce these books (thereby ensuring that every one would read it!). How the church would love if Dan Brown became big enough to suppress the other real issues, which it doesn’t like to address.


PS: The accusations made in the above blog are the fantasies of a fervent atheist/agnostic soul. I cannot be sued by any parties mentioned in the blog as I will easily get off on the “insanity” defense :)

PPS: At least no one can complain that reading habits are coming down. Look at the website of the hallowed physics lab, CERN (which is prominent in the book Angels and Demons) and you see that the poor guys even had to issue a “Fact vs. Fiction” report on the book.

May 24, 2005

Class Matters!

I have been busy for the better part of the last two weeks what with a one week vacation to kerala and some work!. The vacation was very interesting and i probably will write something about it soon (IF i dont get lazy again!)

anyway the last few days i have been following this series in New York Times and i thought i would share it

Class Matters

basically, this series is an exploration into the role that "class" plays in today's life in the USA. It shows (though occasionally unconvincingly)that the class difference has widened today in the US as compared to the second half of the last centuary.

A very interesting set of articles. I wish some newspaper in India would do something similar!(Hindu, Express..are u guys listening??). My first guess would be that there are a lot of parallels with the indian society as well. Ability to reach prestigious institutions and study prestigious courses seems to define the career path of most youngsters today in India. And ofcourse the upper middle class (and higher classes) have an advantage in this situtation. so it could be that the class divide is increasing in India as well


May 09, 2005

V for Victory! M for Mother!

Mother's Day (May 8th) comes just after the Victory Day for World War II (celebrated on May 7th in the west and May 9th in the former USSR)

It might well be a coincidence as Mother's Day was celebrated even before WW II but it is also apt that it comes immediately after V Day, in memory of the millions of mothers who lost their sons in the great war.

WW II in a nutshell

Generally, it is accepted that history is written by the victorious. Even in that cynical mood, i have to conclude that WW II was the last great war where the fight was actually "Good vs. Evil".

First world war was just a fight between two sets of armies (both of which were after territories in Asia and Africa) while most of the other major wars that i can recollect (including several that India fought) were mostly territorial/politically motivated.

WW II showed us the extremes of evil that mankind, if left to its own devious leaders, can reach. It showed us what racism and religious persecutions can lead to. It showed us how even a methodical, logical nation can become subservient to a megalomaniac. But it also showed us how nations can unite (albeit in their "national" interest) and people come together to fight the evil.

Ultimately, WW II also allows us to hope for mankind's future because just when the "good" had no more beaches to retreat from, no more bunkers to hide in, no more food to feed on and no more ammunition to fight with, THE TIDE TURNED.

So let us salute the heroes who won the world for us 60 years ago and keep our minds (and knives!) sharp so that evil never ever becomes so BIG

ps: and forgive me mom, for even on Mother's Day only these depressing thoughts come to my mind :)

May 03, 2005

Extinct Species To Endangered Species

Environmental degradation is a fact of life; so is species moving into the extinct list.

But once in a while, against the flow, few previously though-to-be extinct species turns out to survivors; albeit in small numbers. recently two such magnificient creatures moved back from the extinct list to the endangered list

Angola's Giant Sable Antelope

Arkansas Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

These two incidents are a joyful occasion; but it should not turn us away from the challenges of eco-conservation. Just imagine that we are being given a second chance to do better; there may not be a third chance!

May 02, 2005

Contribution To Feminism; Indian Way

FM Raises Tax Rebate For Women

I am no male chauvinistic pig; atleast i believe so!

I am always for female liberation and "freedom from kitchen" for our women folks so that they can contribute to the society. I believe that "man" kind was always afraid that the "better half" is actually better than us and hence tried to oppress them (meaning remove them from the labour market!).

Now that i have my presented my strong (and suitably liberal i hope!) leanings on the issue, i will come to my problem

For a long while, according to indian tax laws, women have had a higher income level when tax kicks in. Is this India's contribution to gender equality? if so what does this achiveve? i dont see this contributing anything to gender equality. why should a women who earns as much as a man pay less in tax?

Sure, the facility is available to senior citizens too but there is a difference. For one, senior citizen benefit is gender neutral; secondly senior citizen benefits make economic sense because most of them have are no longer earning so their income is basically from their savings.

people talk about positive discrimination for the disadvantaged (they compare reservation policy with the tax laws). But is this positive iscrimination? i dont think so!. Because this partial tax exemption works only for women who have taxable income. What about the women who do not come under the tax bracket at all!. My disgust at this law is because
1) This benefits the women who are economically well off; not the poorest of the poor women. Any positive discrimination should be directed at the poorest (or atleast should benefit them too if selective targetting is difficult)
2) This is not positive discrimination at all anyways. positive discrimination is something which gives people an opportunity (like reservation in schools/colles or for a job). The tax benefit does not offer any opportunity; it just offers benefits!

Ofcourse, Indian political discourse/media talk rarely talks about such "imploite matters". But can somebody explain the logic of this to me? it sure escapes me

April 30, 2005

Fighter Pilot For A While; Fighter For Life

The following is an biographical essay written by one of my senior from school. I have never met him (he passed out of the school long before i joined) but he was a legend during my school days. as soon as i came to read this article on one of my friend's blogs i knew i had to repost it. I took this article from my friend's site ( and in the following links you can find more about Anil.

Indian express
Indian Express 2

Anil is an IAF pilot who no longer flies figher planes, he has moved on to bigger things. today he inspires kids (and some adults like me!) to take what life gives you and make what you want out of it!. I often read this when i am depressed, bored or feel like cribbing on the "raw deal" i am having with my life. Reading this article always help me to put things in perspective; hopefully it will do the same with you guys

All my attempts to move my limbs were futile. The pain in the neck was excruciating and it intensified by the second. I was stumped for a moment but quickly recovered to realise the seriousness and significance of my inability to get up. I do not remember whether I screamed involuntarily, then, in sheer desperation. On that abominable night, my mind was in a medley of intense frustration, utmost dejection and extreme disappointment. For some timeless moments, I wished I were dead.

On 28 June '88, at around 2300 hrs, whilst returning to the Officers Mess on my motorcycle after night flying, I drove onto a road barrier just ahead of the technical area gate, inside Air Force Station, Pathankot. The impact of the helmet on the wooden bar wrenched my neck and broke the cervical spine. Fifteen minutes after the accident, I was taken to the Station Sick Quarters in an unconscious state. While being carried, my head was left unsupported. The base of the helmet (rear side) which was resting against the nape of the neck pushed the fractured vertebrae into the cervical spinal cord. (The casualty must always be carried in a stretcher, after immobilising his/her neck with a cervical collar.) The resultant spinal injury completely paralysed me below the neck.

After overnight's stay in Military Hospital (MH), Pathankot, I was transferred to Army Hospital, Delhi (AHDC). Neck surgery failed to mitigate my predicament. Though I had brief spells of consciousness during the fortnight's hospitalisation in AHDC, my memory fails to recollect my fight for survival. On 12 July '88, I was transferred to the Spinal Cord Injury Centre of MH Kirkee, Pune.

Two weeks after my admission, I gathered my wits and eagerly inquired about the prognosis. The medical officer looked up and motioned his hands skywards; perhaps he wanted me to adjure divine intervention. This charade instantly deflated my hopes but it lucidly conveyed the enormity and helplessness of the incurable nature of the incapacitation. Inconsistencies of life have always bemused me but not even the wildest nightmare presaged that one day I would fall prey to such a quirk of fate. The modicum of faith I had in Providence got shattered when I failed to show even an iota of improvement.

The cervical spinal injury (quadriplegia) necessitated me to lead a totally dependent life, tethered to the bed and wheel chair. Now, I am like a man fettered for life; unable to use my hands and legs, incontinent and spoon‑fed. Ironically, the most painful aspect of quadriplegia is the painlessness! It isn’t mere loss of tactile inputs and outputs but absolute dependence on someone else to accomplish mundane necessities and domestic chores that yoked me; even for things like swabbing ears and swatting flies.

Disuse atrophy had set in within a couple of months and took its toll by altering the geometry of my torso and limbs. The mirror replicated the image of a human skeleton swathed in a layer of wizened skin. Two years' stay in MH Kirkee taught me how to battle the numerous encumbrances and how to conquer the bouts of depression. With a smile on my face, I managed to dissemble the pangs of the heart. The Indian Air Force (IAF) realised my uselessness and discharged me from the service on 12 April '90. The silly accident dealt coup de grace to my aspirations and terminated my fledgling career in the IAF. In August '90, at the young age of 26, I got admitted in Paraplegic Home, Park Road, Kirkee, Pune, as an inmate to begin the second phase of my life ‑ afresh.

I was born and brought up in a village by name Chirayinkil, 35 kms north of Trivandrum. At the age of nine, I entered Sainik School, Kazhakootam. A slow learner and an unobtrusive student by nature, I had excelled consistently in both academics and sports. Later on, I was found worthy enough to be adjudged as the best Air Force cadet of 65th course of National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, Pune and as the best in aerobatics of 134th Pilots Course of Air Force Academy, Secunderabad. In Dec '84, I was commissioned into the IAF as a fighter pilot. I had 700 hours of flying experience (including 500 hours of flying in a magnificent flying machine called MiG-21) during my truncated career in the IAF.

All my efforts to rationalise personal catastrophes have always mystified and at times stupefied me. To adapt to the new challenges posed by the debility, I had to unshackle myself from the self‑imposed stupor. Therefore, in Sep '90, I decided to learn the art of writing by holding a pen in my mouth (because of dysfunctional hands). I began scribbling illegibly but was chagrined to find little progress even after 3 weeks' laborious efforts. Then, I decided to change tactic and wrote a letter to Sheela George, the person who kept on chivvying to start mouth‑writing (earlier I had paid little attention to her exhortations). My joy knew no bounds when I completed the few lines that embodied my first mouth‑written letter. Initially, I found my hard work to be a mere pie in the sky; but, 4 to 5 months' assiduous efforts resulted in attaining a readable style of writing. This modest achievement enabled me in reviving the chain of correspondence and begetting new friends.

In May 1991, I was presented with an electrically operated wheel chair, with chin controls for manoeuvring, thanks to the benevolence of the IAF. Motorised mobility, though only a poor substitute for natural one, has enlivened my lifestyle considerably.

It was Wing Commander PI Murlidharan, my former flight commander, who mooted the use of a personal computer (PC), as a writing tool. He added that it would assist me to utilise my mental faculty to the hilt. Hitherto unsuccessful attempts in procuring a keyboard (modified to suit my requirements) have somewhat emasculated my resolve. Nonetheless, my hope of acquiring a PC remains undiminished.

In the meantime, I toyed with the idea of teaching. For some untenable reasons, I kept on declining the offers by bringing one imaginary reason or another as an ad hoc excuse. Aforesaid setbacks notwithstanding, I'm very hopeful of converting the second phase of my life into something as meaningful as the one I would have had from the confines of a cockpit.

Believe it or not, every dark cloud has a silver lining. To surmount even seemingly insuperable obstacles, one has to muster the remnant faculties and shun the thought of disability and then canalise one's dormant energies purposefully and whole‑heartedly. It isn't just physical ability and average intelligence but an insatiable appetite for success and an unflagging will power that would texture the warp and woof of the fabric called human destiny. Greater the difficulty, sweeter the victory.

April 29, 2005

Once a Socialist

Once upon a time i was a socialist (this was during my engineering college days before i knew economics!). Now this is nothing unusual in Kerala (remember that Kerala had the first elected communist government in the WORLD!). Recently i wrote this mail to a group of my friends (who were part of the communist student organization in my college). Thought this might be interesting.
The mail was in response to the following question by a friend who is now happily settled in UK but was once a communist


What are your different views about Comrades working in MNC ...
Boorshwa Companies ?

Is that acceptable ? Please respond with justifications ..Why you
think Yes or No ?

and my long reply was this

Lemme introduce myself first!

i was in gec from 1997-2001, was referred to the
group by deepak george. i think i know most of the guys in the group
(except may be the youngest guys). anyway finished my engg went on to
do my mba in bangalore, worked with infosys for a time and then joined
my present company in chennai

anyway, have a big confession (and possibly a disqualification from
the group!) to make. while i had some socilalist beliefs and some
communist leanings, i was never a member of SFI per se . my sole
contribution to sfi was in organizing one "tech-impact". but then i
was in MH for most of my time and almost all sfi guys in my time were
my friends. and when i moved to bangalore i got to enjoy (for free!)
the company of lots of our earlier saghav's. so feel really connected
to the group.

First of all comments about moderation: moderation should be for
accepting new members (so that "burshaws" like me dont get in. i was
able to join the group without any moderator permission). But once a
member is in (after "saghavu" certification, if necessary) we dont
need any moderation. It just slows down the messages. may be once in a
while the moderators can have some purges (like the one that is
currently happening in the "mother" party) to weed out the
ideologically corrupted

and now to move to Deepak's "philosophical" question :)

The answer to me is quite clear: I was once a believer in the "great
idea of socialism". But pretty fast i grew out of it (even while i was
in engg college). So i no longer believe in the ideology (as in the
"large picture". i might still subscribe to smaller parts of it, but
then i also subscribe to parts of several other ideologies!). Believe
me guys, communism got its chance in the last centuary (and a big
chance at that!) but squandered it. Ok..i wont say sqandered coz after
several philosophical discussions i have come to the conclusion that
while communism appeals to the finer instincts of a man, capitalism
appeals to the baser (and more natural) instincts. so the decline of
communism was inevitable (i know i am talking with hindsight
not much original analysis). However, socialism (distinct from
communism) might have a better chance (as long as its primary
objectives are "equality of opportunity" and a "social safety net")
because it is more adapted to human psyche

The problem with communism and other top-driven ideologies is that
they leave almost no leeway for innovation. and more than anything
else, it is through innovation that mankind has progressed. I will
give a very close example. In the late 80's and early 90's all the
unions (including non-communist ones, but driven by the communist
unions) was campaigning against computerisation of banks/psu's/and
govt departments, particularly in kerala. Doesnt that, in hindsight,
look like a pretty stupid idea?. They were agitating against
innovation and look where that finally got them?.

so what do i think about working in MNC's??. absolutely nothing!.
between whats the difference between MNC's and local companies?. The
motive of both are profit. do u think the poor man in India will
benefit more if ambani becomes richer than bill gates?. By saying
"yes" u r just allowing urself to be used by the indian businessmen
who want to retain the extra profit that they were earlier used to. I
get a real laugh today when i compare what indian communists and
indian "muthalali's" say about foreign companies!. Both say that these
foreign co's should not be allowed in (or if allowed in..tightly
regulated so that existing indian companies, which are not
competitive, can continue to make profits!). so who is using whom??.
And what about the indian communist leadership??. why do they visit
the US/western europe so much when they should be visiting Cuba or
North korea???. And do they stay in anything less than a star hotel
when they visit these places?. Oh yeah, and they support lallooo,
mulayam, amar singh with pleasure!. Did you hear that when tsunami
struck jyoi basu was on "cruise" to Phuket (that capital of "western
decadence") and that he felt the waves passing beneath his ship!. what
was he doing on a cruise to phuket?? i thought all these cruises are
for "muthalalis"! . I am not trashing the entire communist leadership.
I am not even trashing jyoti basu. dont know the guy well. but i am
just giving a recent example about a communist leader, which stayed in
my mind. there have been lots of good guys in the party and there are
still some of them. But thats true of almost any party. show me a
reasonably sized party and i will show some decent individuals in that
(including in BJP, a party whoose social policies i abhor). so then is
the communist party any different from other parties?

And what is so wrong with the word "profit". sure it appeals to the
baser instincts rather than to the more "ethical" instincts. But i
feel that Human nature is essentially selfish and "profit" appeals to
that instinct. u want to get paid for the additional value that u
create. Charity is fine, but then charity also appeals to the
"selfish" nature (u feel good after u contribute to charity..right?).
This is why the communist slogan "from each according to his each according to his want" will not (and should not!)
work. all the people are not same. some are more intelligent,more hard
working and more willing to take risks. Why should they be paid less
than what they contribute?.

Oh yeah, and why is mnc's in manufacturing good but not so in
services??. this to me looks such a stupid comment (no offense to u
anoop.) that i wont even comment!

anyway i conclude my monologue (written during free time whle working
in an MNC and making use of their facilities!) by saying even guys who
really belived in communism shouldnt feel any guilty about working in
an MNC. if u r exploiting people, then so is any one working with an
indian company (private/public) or government. the people in the NGO
field might be different (but not always!!).

i dont know if this mail is gonna get me dismissed from the group but
it was nice to mail a lots of guys with whom i have lost touch over
the last few year.


ps: bernard shaw, the famed socialist and arch-enemy of status quo
once made this comment. i think its very relevant to the topic
"If you are not a communist at 20, you have no heart; if you are still
a communist at 30, you have no head."

April 25, 2005


Watching the sunrise in a beach is always an experience, even if its a beach in chennai !
Mind you, i have nothing against chennai, this is where i have been working for more than an year now and got some good friends too. But boy, is this place hot!!!

I come from a hot n humid place myself, but Chennai is at a "higher level". Today morning got up early (like 5.00 AM, first time in years!) and thought i will visit the beach near to my home. reached the beach at around 5.30 and it was quite a stunning sight. even though the place was crowded (with the morning walkers) the sea was calm n beautiful (especially with the fishermen folks boat all around).

But it was not to 6 AM the fucking place became so was blazing. Even my usually thick skin couldnt take it. and to think that summer probably hasnt reached the peak yet!
anyway almost ran home..and switched on the AC. wow..that was heavenly!..i think the guy who invented AC is far more creative than god himself :)
Check out father of cool

keep cool this summer

April 24, 2005

A New Day

Well its monday morning. somehow found myself at the office earlier than the regular timings :)!
Today is the begining of a new life for me!, i have made some promises to myself. i will not talk about the particulars right now..but may be sometime later i will do that (depending on whether they were succesful or not!)

Just read a good news in Indian Express. 8 employees of the great eastern hotel in calcutta has taken voluntary retirement. This hotel is state owned (by a marxist state government) and been rotting for the last few decades. The government has belatedly woken up and been trying to privatize this hotel but ofcourse the unions oppose it. These 8 employees taking the VRS might shakeup the unions and pave the way for privatization. I have never been to calcutta, but i come from kerala which has a similar communist background. From my own experience (yeah...thats correct!) i know how crazy, stupid can these commies be in their own bubbles... So this is a good news to start the day off!


ps: i soon plan to write about the new keep looking in!

April 19, 2005

Ireland And Its Raconteurs

Well its been 3 posts and I sill haven’t got any comments (other than the two welcome comments!). But the “unread” status of my literary efforts shall not discourage me. After all a blog is as much as about self expression as it is about self publishing!

After watching the first few overs of Indian bowling in the final India-Pakistan series, I decided I am definitely not masochistic!. I am not gonna hang around to watch that lousy (but girls tell me “sexy”) pathan called afridi stick it up Indian arses!

So what else to do? Two roomies deserted me for the environs of Bangalore and I am all alone in the apartment (ofcourse there is this pigeon which keeps coming in but counting it out!) and its too early to invite friends over for a drink. Well I thought I will raid my roomies rather large collection of books most of which I have already read. Found a new one, Tis: A Memoir by Frank McCourt. This is the second part of his autobiography (first is called Angela’s Ashes). i decided if another Irish book is the only one available then it will be my read for the day(rather gloomily I must admit!).

But boy, was this book something. It is not often that an author can introduce humour to a book which has the feeling melancholy running through the entire content. But he does that, and does it as well as Frank has done here, it is definitely worth a read. I have not read (but plans to read soon) the first part of his biography which details his childhood in Limerick (That’s in Ireland..for u dumbo’s ..the Limerick style of poems are named after the place!). This one deals with his life in America as a poor immigrant (not to mention an ugly one!) with a bad accent and no prospects. The books moves on to his mis-adventures with the US army as a volunteer soldier and as a drifter post-army life. He wants to go to college (but does not have a high school diploma), still managed to do that but finds that that he is leagues away from his class mates in terms of social, economic thought processes. The book moves on to his life as a teacher, married life (not much here..may be saving it for the third part?), a father and above all as a dutiful but confused son of a mother (who lives and dies a sad life). I have read many (too many?) sad but uplifting stories, but very rarely do I come across one which is sad but manages to be uplifting not because of the story but because of the author’s outlook to life and his style of writing.

Definitely recommend the book. I am also planning to read the first part of his memoirs and the books by his younger brother (Malachy McCourt). Hopefully the younger sibling will also have the freshness of his older brother’s writing


April 14, 2005

The Nasrani's

Ever since i moved out of kerala to far less greener (literally!) parts of india in search of education and job, i have often come up on people who are curious about my christain background. The questions basically go as "so are you a catholic"? " you must be a protestant"? "who is your pope" ? etc..
I am now an atheist (as u will notice if read the previous post!) but still this stuff got me interested in the history of my community
We are now called jacobites, basically syrian christains, we come under the patriarch of Antioch. So i did some googling and found some interesting history about my community. i am posting the links here

please remember that i dont subscribe to the religious beliefs (if) expressed in these site. i am just a history buff. I will probably keep adding to this list once in a while

March 27, 2005

Unique way to celebrate Good Friday

I currently live and work in chennai, about 600 km from my home town in kerala (and an overnight journey in India's slow moving "superfast trains". While my parents and the extended family are really really into christanity, i have been an athiest for atleast the last 10 years (before that i wanted to become a priest!!). So anytime around religious festivals (like xmas, good friday and easter) i am in a dilemma. i wuld love to travel home for the celebrations but hate to take part in any associated overtly religious ceremonies (like going to church or praying!).

This good friday, though i had a good break. I studied in a boy's only (yeah..can u belive that!!) military school from the age 10-17. the place was a tough one (life there deserves a blog on its own!) but as always tough places help peer-bonding, especially as a kid. so though i have been outta the place for close to a decade now (and dont miss it either!) i still keep up with the batchmates and am very close with lots of them.

Well one of the guys had just returned from Saudi Arabia after a short stint. The poor guy was so thirsty (not for water but for other liquid refreshments for which you can killed if u possess them in saudi). So we planned a small get together for good friday and just for the heck of it decided to invite any one else willing to drink, make merry on good friday (after all christ died for our shall we not enjoy? i am sure thats what christ meant!). Anyways suddenly 8-10 guys landed up including people whom i havent met for a decade or so!!. The morning ofcourse started boisterously in the bar but we soon moved to our hotel room to continue the session. It seems like a haze now, but its so much fun to get drunk on alcohol and nostalgia (for which we had lots of subjects). Comparing how we are faring in life, proud of some guy's achievements, hoping that another guys ill fortunes will change later. But most important subject was gals, an alien species while we were in the military school but which now encompasses most of our dreams. Some of us have learnt to deal with the fairer sex and others (like me!) are still totally at sea in dealing with them. So we compared notes :)

Anyway, after a full day of drinking, we soon moved to something else altogether but soon most of the guys had to depart leaving me and another two guys to continue with the alcoholic induced, grass fed haze. suddenly it was saturday morning and time to face the wrath of my parents who almost didnt speak to me in my entire visit after my good friday escapades!!. All in all, a good way to celebrate good friday. looking forward to many such good fridays


March 24, 2005

Why me? Why now?

The expanded version of the questions are

why should i write a blog and why do it now?

well the second one is easier to answer..i was just too lazy till now

First one is much more difficult. But i shall try, i guess i am passing through a "flux" phase in life crossed my 25th bday (abt 6 months back) . so lots of stuff about my life are changing (to know in details keep reading later posts!!). so may be i should keep track of my "thought processes". who knows, 100 years later historians might chance upon me :)
ok..enough of the bullshit...the reason is that i always wanted to keep a diary (started it zillions of times) but never could sustain my self. lost interest every single time. this time i am determined NOT to be so lets see..wait n watch :)

and what will you find in this blog??

well..anything i chose to write..didnt u read the title?? :)