Thursday, November 26, 2009

How tolerant are we??

I was there. In the city of Bombay, forgetting all about my placements, end semester exams and my parents' anniversary. I witnessed the city come to an abrupt standstill at the hands of terrorists like never before. Heroes were lost and not for the first time. The turmoil lasted for 4 days some would say but for many across India and Bombay it still continues. My point however is not "What happened on 26/11?", but "How was it different?". Agreed the magnitude and method was very different, but how WE handled it was much the same. Blame games, sacking of useless politicians and then their reappointment, money being wasted to keep the main accused alive and once again getting manipulated by Pakistan are things that have happened every time. So why is 26/11 any different?

It forced me to think how tolerant are we? How much can we take? Why do people still live in India after all this? Why does everyone who has an opportunity to run away from the country doesn't go? Some would say everything is the same everywhere. Terrorism is everywhere, true, but in other places your leaders do everything in their power to bring the guilty to justice. Some of you would say, that western countries are racists and look at all Asians with a look of suspicion. I remember during my Europe trip my passport was checked at least 3 times on every train and every cop looked at me like a piece of filth. But in my opinion, this life is still better than no life. Moreover, if they didn't look at US like this, they would be terrorized just the same. It is only people looking like you and me who make bombs and blow them too.

Maybe because I am in a different country, maybe it is the 26/11 thing getting to me, but I am feeling a lot more safe here in UAE. I maybe wrong but I havent really heard of many terrorist strikes outside India/Pakistan. Leaves me wondering how much do we Indians can tolerate.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Shukran Allah

This blog post is dedicated to people preparing for placements and endsems back in India. I wish to thank GOD for giving them me and giving me them. Do well junta and make me proud like I made you proud 1 year back :) God Bless you all.

Some updates from my new life in the middle east:

Food: Mixture of Arabic, Irani, Pakistani, India, Filipino, Chinese and Continental.
Accommodation: Pretty cool, quite literally. Thanks to the pleasantly weird weather, I have to sometimes increase the temperature of the AC.
Work: Getting interesting to say the least.
Football: 2 matches, 3 goals, 2 assists. I don't think anyone can stop me from playing for the company's team :)
Cricket: Can get interesting. Inter Consultancy cup matches take place at the Abu Dhabi International Cricket Ground. However, practice matches are held outside the ground on a cemented pitch where the outfield is sandy. The ball doesn't bounce at all so it is quite horrible to say the least.
Company: As I said before pretty awesome people to hang out with. Played pool and saw Kurbaan. Only 7 working days in the next 2 weeks so should be plenty of fun :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

How old am I??

In India:
Some arbit fellow (SAF): hello how do you do?
IITian: I am good thanks.
SAF: So what are you doing?
IITian: I am working for an MNC in AbuDhabi.
SAF: wow. How old are you?
IITian: I am 22, am a fresh graduate from IIT.
SAF: nice nice. You IITians are the cream of the country. You must be so proud. Your parents must be so proud.....blah blah blah blah for 20 mins....ends with.... Are you people from the ET??

SAF: hello how do you do?
IITian: I am good thanks.
SAF: So what are you doing?
IITian: I am working for an MNC here in AbuDhabi.
SAF: What?? how old are you?
IITian: I am 22, am a fresh graduate from IIT.
SAF: (shocked, after 5 seconds). Why are you here? Didn't you get a job in India? Did you not study well at college? Do you have some relatives here? Whom do you stay with? It is very important for you to do......blah blah blah blah blah.....

This has happened with me at least 20 times till now, both in India and Abu Dhabi.

Friday, November 13, 2009

20 years of Sachin Tendulkar

There is so much that has already been said about Sachin and his 20 years in international cricket that anything I blog will be redundant. People have and will talk about the world record he shared with kambli, the last ball over in hero cup '94, the swashbuckling 1996 WC, the desert storm of Sharjah '98, the broken back innings of Chennai '99, the melodious flowing dominating 2003 WC, the latest centuries in Sydney, Chennai and Hyderabad, the Everest of runs in all forms of cricket and the eventuality of him hanging his boots. But nevertheless here is my tribute to my hero and undoubtedly the best cricketer of all times.

What we often forget is that he is a normal human being. He has his family and may need some peaceful privacy in life. Its like in the movie "The Truman Show". He has been constantly observed, loved, criticized, praised, worshiped since he was 14. And how well he has taken the pressure. Just to give an example of the pressure he faced at that time: He was presented batting pads by the world's leading test run scorer and told by many legends of the game that he would play for India. He was sent letters inked in blood saying please don't retire because of the back injury. When Sachin bats trains have been known to stop minutes just to let everyone on board catch up on the action. When he made 15000 runs in ODI cricket the sensex rose to a new high. Every match he plays in the TRP fall down drastically when he gets out.

It will be stupid to say he doesnt realize how much we love him. Of all the people he will know the most how his countrymen have risen and fallen with each of his innings and with each twist and turn of his life and career. We all thank GOD like he does, after reaching a 50/100 or a major landmark. We all wept with him when he lost his father and dedicated the next 100 to him. We all dance with joy at his every dive, every catch, every run he scores. He might just hit one four and get out but for us it is all worth it.

I think the only demon he has left to fight is retirement. And he will fight it with his own style, just like he has been fighting his own demons for the past 20 years. I am not sure if anyone can thank him enough for his contribution to sports in general but Knighthood for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is the least that should be done.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thank GOD its Thursday !!!

I have been dying to write a piece with this title since I came to know that I will be working on Sundays for some time to come. But now that I have started it I don't quite understand what is so special about working on a Sunday. So what you might miss some F1 races and some early starting EPL matches because of office but that's about it. On the plus side you don't have to go through the monday morning blues and you already are having fun on the weekend when the entire world is just waiting for it. So I think its a positive thing.

So, I landed in UAE after 2 days of sleepless turmoil and in the midst of thick fog. I didn't know whether I was dreaming or flying when I came out of the airplane at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The temperature was about 20 degrees and I was shivering to say the least. The city is awesome to start off. Huge multistory buildings, infinite luxurious taxis, rich people around you all the time, Indian restaurants and shops at every corner and the most important thing is people do know Hindi (or maybe it's Urdu) here. The office is nice and the people around me are too good. I met 4 IITB guys and all are typical IITB junta, I just had to mention that I am from the UK wing and I was accepted. It seems Muchhi-Dopa-Sagu-Khan-Shanty-Anni-Kunnu are internationally famous these days.

After 1 full year I will have the opportunity to wear those thick leather gloves again and stand behind the sticks to keep wickets. Apart from cricket, inter-company football tourneys also occur and the center forward in me is getting excited again. I do miss some people back in India. I have their pics on my comp and on my table here. Don't know if all the feelings are reciprocated but I guess in life you can't get everything you want. To end on a brighter note, some more guys are coming from IITB and after that there is no stopping this gang of chilled out Indians in a chilled out place.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We’re all the same people, yaar

While watching the Pakistan vs New Zealand cricket match taking place in Abu Dhabi, I was wondering what people of Pakistan think about the situation there country is in. Daily suicide attacks killing hundreds of civilians means no cricket can be played in Pakistan because no country thinks it is safe enough to tour. The situation has definitely worsened after the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked some months ago. I wonder why people agree (or should I say don't hesitate as much) in touring India and Sri Lanka where the terror threat is still there, even if not as pronounced as it is in Pakistan. Is it because of the mindset of people of the respective countries or is it because of the very different history of the two countries?

History: Post 1947 Pakistan attached itself to the US and became a toy in the hands of the US authorities. On the other hand India did not align itself to any of the cold-warring countries and headed the Non-Alignment-Moment. It was because of this approach that both countries progressed so differently in the years following independence. Pakistan was constantly used as a playground by the US for keeping watch on erstwhile USSR and Afgan rebels and Chinese development. India on the other hand developed independent trade policies and laid the foundation for an economic superpower.

People: The difference of mindset in people is evident from the fact that Indians value and respect heroes from all religions and cultures. In India a Dilip Kumar can change his name to A.R. Rehman at the age of 21 and still be worshiped. In India Sampooran Singh Kalra changes his name to Gulzar so as to not lose himself in blind religious prejudice and fanaticism, and then go on to be the most successful and praised individual in his field. Rehman, Gulzar and another muslin Resool Pookutty won oscars early this year and the entire country went mad. I cannot remember any such incident in the history of Pakistan. In fact Yousuf Yohanna concerted to Islam and became Mohammad Yousuf.

We Indians define ourselves by nationality, they define themselves by religion. We often hear that people from India and Pakistan are the same in every sense just separated by a border. Both countries and people have similar lifestyle, similar tastes, similar perspective about things. But really??

Acknowledgments: "Counterpoint" by Vir Sanghvi (must read, though some opinions are very harsh and might be unacceptable to many)