Saturday, December 30, 2006

Death of a Dictator

This year is less than 48 hours away from coming to an end. But thatdid not stop the era of a dictator coming to an end. Since the timeUS has invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein has always been in the news.After his capture by US forces, everyone was keenly following the caseagainst him. The judgement was also eagerly awaited. The world wasdivided over the judgement - whether to hang him or not. However, theday of Saddam's execution arrived. He was hanged to death today.

If you happened to see the news channels, they were showing thefootage of Saddam's last few minutes. No doubt, news channels bringyou the latest happenings in the world, but has the media become soinsensitive to show such footages on TV? Have the citizens of theworld become so sadistic that they derive pleasure by watching suchvideos? I am not favouring or expressing my angst over the judgementor the sentence. I am neither supporting Saddam nor the US forces.Sharing news is one thing, but actually showing it is another. Thisis just a concern that I am raising with respect to the feelings ofthe people of this world. Let us not loose our humanity and let ourfuture generations not see this organized and legal bloodshed.

I rest my case here...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Riding High!!!

Travelling in Mumbai is indeed an experience. And it also gives you a high. Mumbaikars know is better than anyone else. Even I have had my fair share of highs... but the one that I enjoyed after a long long time was just three days ago. And I experienced it when I travelled in a double decker bus, sitting on the upper deck, front seat, near the aisle. The advantage of this seat is that you have the window right in front of you, rather than at the side. And the wind just comes on your face... Its an amazing experience.

I had missed my company bus as I was busy with some calls and had some work to finish. Rather than waiting for the next company bus, I decided to leave with my colleague and take the BEST bus. It was 10:20 pm and we went to the SEEPZ bus depot. It was totally empty, except for the BEST employees there. We were lucky to get the first seat on the upper deck. The ride from SEEPZ bus depot to Andheri station was enjoyable. As I sat there, enjoying the cool wind, the lyrics of "Hotel California" came to my mind-

On a dark desert highway,
cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas,
rising up through the air

It was surely dark, but we were not on a desert highway. And the smell was not of colitas, but the usual pollution and/or the typical Mumbai smell. And sitting on the upper deck gives you a very nice view. I agree that the road from SEEPZ to Andheri station does not have much worth viewing, but still. The next day too, when I was going to office in the afternoon, I took a double decker bus and luckily managed to get the front seat on the upper deck. And this time the experience was of travelling in day time, in contrast with the previous night. It really makes me wonder - there is so much to enjoy right beside us, but we keep running after things that are far away from us. Its time to stop and smell the roses around, rather than ignoring or avoiding them and being busy with our professional lives. Believe me friends, enjoying such simple things indeed makes a difference. Hope it makes a difference for you'll too.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mere yaar ki shaadi!!!

Date : 02-Dec-2006
Time : 10:49 am
Event : The number of singles in our group goes down by 1. Ek khaas dost ki shaadi ho gayi. Should I call it "My Best Friend's Wedding"? the similarity ends in the name. Lets not map the movie with the actual event. :-)

Excellent arrangement, excellent decoration, typical traditional Maharashtrian wedding, good food - what more can one ask for? And not to forget the lovely couple who got married. It was only because of them that we could enjoy this much. :-) Had a gala time that day... Met the whole group of college friends. I distinctly remember those college days when we used to have fun and party. I still remember the day of our last T.Y.B.Com. exam when almost all of us met together for a party... And even the times after that, till the weddings began. The girls were first to get married. And then a guy from our group got married. After that, there was a total calm... Four bachelors still remained. But now, only 3 are remaining. Let me not get distracted.

The wedding - aah, what fun it was... Whether it was the actual ceremony or the reception - it was very well planned. I reached the venue well before the time of the muhurat. The groom, Ashutosh, was sitting in a room, dressed in a traditional Kurta-pyjama, with the headgear on, waiting to tie the knot. All the friends had gathered in that room and were having a nice time. But the most enjoyable part of the whole wedding was the event where the bride's sisters steal the shoes of the groom and return it only when the groom gives them some (read, a considerable sum) money. And this is where the bride's party goofed up. By mistake they took the sandals of the groom's dad. And they realized their mistake pretty late. Everyone had a hearty laugh.

The reception was also good. It was just that Ashu hadn't eaten anything since morning. And poor chap had to keep standing and smiling throughout the reception, on an empty stomach. Just before the reception, when Ashu was getting ready, we asked him if he would like to eat anything... And he requested us to get a packet of chips. One of our friends, Piyush, went downstairs to bring a pack of chips for Ashu. But he didnt turn up for about 10 minutes. Deepak went downstairs to search for him. But by the time he (Deepak) came back, Ashu was already on the stage with his bride, smiling away to glory (on an empty stomach). Deepak came back with a packet of chips, which was gladly devoured by yours truly and our friends and kids. And then we found out the reason for delay in Piyush's arrival. He had joined a couple of other friends for lunch in the dining hall, with the packet of chips with him. :-) Ahsu, please note this. We are not responsible for the delay in getting your packet of chips. But I do accept the responsibility of initiating the process of emptying the pack. :-D

When I went to the dining hall for lunch, Piyush was still eating his lunch. So, in short, we all got an opportunity to fill our tummies, except for Ashu. He was still smiling away to glory. Piyush, Maulik, Hiral (Maulik's only better half), Delcy, Gayatri, Ananya (Gayatri's daughter) and yours truly - all had our lunch peacefully. Only after we had our lunch to our fill, we decided to go on stage and congratulate the couple. Ashu had a relieved expression when he saw us. His first words were - "Finally...". I was a bit taken aback. Was he not enjoying his wife's company on stage? Or was he looking for someone else to share the limelight? But I decided to let these questions rest at that time. Though I am still waiting for someone to respond to them. Anyways, after the photosession, it was time to leave. And I reminded Ashu of something, that he could not recollect. Very happily, he commented - "Yaad nahi tu kya bola tha. But abhi bol de..." And then as an afterthought, he quickly added - "Nahi, abhi kuch mat bol. Tu jo bhi bola tha, woh baad mein baat karte hain. Abhi kuch mat bol." And everyone was first confused and then they were in splits.

Overall, it was a good wedding. We had a real nice time. Ashu, can we have it once more please?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Mayhem in Maharashtra

Yesterday's mayhem in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nanded and other parts of Maharashtra has raised quite a few questions. But the most common of them is - "Why does the common man have to endure these hardships and face the brunt of the mob?" And it is indeed a genuine question. No doubt, the desecration of Dr. Ambedkar's statue was a very terrible thing. But was the violence, arson, rioting called for? Will the destruction of life and property revert the damage that was done to Dr. Ambedkar's statue? Will it help bring peace and harmony in the society? Will it help the economic growth of the country? The sight of Deccan Queen burning was indeed horrible. And the same for the local trains.

No doubt, India provides 'Freedom of Speech and Expression' to all its citizens. But is this a way to express yourself? Is this what we call 'Freedom of Expression'? Can anyone enlighten me on this please?