A Picture from APEC 2014

brother from across the sea!

Erasing from our memory who the two persons in the picture are, look at them as if you are seeing them for the first time. They look like brothers though the expressions suggest otherwise. Their features look-alike but behind those features lies the recent history of conflict, war, oppression, mistrust and tensions.

Remove that memory from everyone’s archives and there stand two brothers meeting after a long time!

An Hour that Strikes Twice

Come November and Daylight saving time (DST) ends in most of the countries close to north pole. You get an hour extra to sleep on the first Sunday of the month. Or you can watch a two-hour movie in one hour if you start it at 1AM (First one). Most of us wake up to find the cell phones and computers clocked back one hour while manual ones are ahead. You may be little confused unless it strikes you, not first time but at least the second time!

And this day the debate over its effectiveness comes alive. May be you hit 1, twice, the box opens. Personally I think advancing clock one hour in the summer helps in doing more activities. You may be going to bed early but you don’t want to see sun raising at 4 in the morning. At least you can console yourselves that Sun rise happens at 5am.
Kids can play longer outside until the mosquitoes wake up and get active, elders can work on their gardens or work out their bodies/mind. I don’t know how much electricity it saves but you have sunlight for the most of the time you are active.

Its Halloween

The way leading to the place we are all invited was dark. We neared the entrance, black robes were hanging down as if snakes waiting for the frogs. We entered and the place was gloomy, strange orange-colored creatures with big scary eyes and wide mouths were staring at us. One was really scary with mouth side open, showing all its teeth and chewing a head on one side of the mouth, spewing intestines. there was an old ping-pong table on one corner with cobweb engulfing from all sides. Immediately above the table there were skeletons hanging. There was a flashing light one side of the hall as if warning us to go away.

This was not scary at all but was refreshing as it broke the cycle of scary daily routine. The lunch room, decorated for the Halloween party was more welcoming than on any other normal day. There was a rabbit like creature running around the tables while two self-styled doubles champions at Seoul Olympics playing ping-pong over the cobwebbed table. A monster was chasing a roadie with fake tattoos over his hands while a single spectacle-d detective watching over is big mustache. And there was Joe.
There were the funny looking characters among the routinely dressed revelers. A few were tasting the chili while others munching the hot dogs they got from Mean Weenie. Somehow Weenie was not so mean today!
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pumpkin carving

It was a fun party, a nice break from the routine unless you are working with Troy (my colleague). Nice to see many participate in Pumpkin carving(many were first time carving the fat pumpkins) and Chili making a few appearing in Halloween costumes.

P.S.: The place was Henniges Automotive lunch room and occasion was Halloween party.

Capitalism or Communism – What Works Best?

Once upon a time, but not in distant past, there was a small village in the middle of dense forest. A river flowed through the village. River flowed from east. No one cared to know where the river was coming from as it flowed all round the river. Some said its source is in the mountains and it springs out the hair of Lord Shiva. Some said it springs out of a crater made by the Sword of a demon. No one cared to explore as they had plenty of fresh water to drink and water their fields.

The village had 300 families but the old man living under the tree said village was a single family like a tree with 300 branches with leaves and he was the oldest leaf ready to wither. Others do not think so. they say ” That leaf does not wither even in winter. – very stubborn leaf!” He told people all kinds of stories from the past and they all thought they were true as no one else is old enough to verify.

The village was self-sufficient in all ways. They grew their own food, made their own clothes, had a school with a school teacher who also doubled up as village doctor. They recycled their waste and made manure for the fields.

EXTRA MAN
Everything was going well until one day they find that there is an extra person in the village who does not have anything to do. There were no fields left where he can work. There was no other place he can lend a hand. The village council calls everyone for a meeting. The old man asked “How did this happen?” He was very worried but what happens to the village. He told the village council that, ” when similar thing happened 100 years ago, one of the elders went into the forest so as to not disturb the balance of the village. No one listened to him.

The Village Council created a resolution “This is a very serious situation which we never faced in our life time. We cannot have a non contributing member in our village, this will disturb the balance. We have two proposals
1. Everyone to contribute a share of their food and other essentials for the extra man.
2. Cut down part of the sacred forest to create an additional land to till.”

COMMUNISM or CAPITALISM
The village council was undecided and called for a referendum. This was the first time, the village had voting. The old man wanted to third choice added to the referendum – voluntarily allowing any one villager to decide if they wish to live in the forest. But the council was adamant. The village had to choose between Communism and Capitalism!

Voting day arrived and lot of the villagers are still confused what to choose and uncertain of the consequences. Voting finished and the results were out.

It was a tie with each getting 50% vote. The villagers got emotional about their choice and villagers were divided into two groups. One fine day there was a big fight between the two groups and many were injured. The women tried to stop it but to no avail. The village got divided into two with river being the border. Common resources were shared, relatives separated, friendships broken..

Seeing all these, the extra person went into the forest but the damage was done and here to stay.

WHAT WORKS BEST?
If we have enough food and space, the settlements are self-governing. They need protection from external elements.
If number of humans increase or their basic needs increase and there are limited resources to be shared, there arises the need for some system. With the system, there comes rules and responsibilities. The system to be successful needs full support of every member. Any kind of system works as long as it is fair and transparent.
The more the disparity between Demand and supply of material, emotional and other needs, more pressure on the system. There is no system that is perfectly suited for this as some section of the society will be unsatisfied and vulnerable for interpretation.

Source: ww.landryamps.com

Source: ww.landryamps.com

We have experienced what an imbalance can do in Germany before World War II. Did Herr Fuehrer Hitler brain wash people into embracing Nazism? He merely channelized the angst brewing in the people due to sky rocketing prices and food shortages. And many of us have experience through movies what horrible things Hitler made his followers do and what price the world had to pay for one man’s foolishness.

Arab Spring is another perfect example of an over strained society with either increasing needs of the people or growing population. It’s not the growing awareness or education or the internet that was the main cause but the growing unrest (numbers or needs) that was channelized into an uprising. But what they got after the uprising did not fulfill their needs. The terrorist organizations, the world over, are channeling this unrest into creating more. Now ISIS is mobilizing the disenchanted population of the whole world into committing atrocities against their fellow humans!

China, though successful in arresting rapid population growth, could not cap the growing needs of the people. Its economic growth is remarkable. USA, the largest consumer of goods and resources of the world, is a perfect example of the success of Capitalism in generating wealth and prosperity, but needs of the people keep growing and it’s not environmentally sustainable. The growth is limited by the availability of resources, climate change. The climate change deniers will refuse to acknowledge until the water wets their pants.

It’s hard to decrease our numbers rapidly but for turning this world into more peaceful, sustainable and environment friendly, human consciousness has to grow and they should become aware of needs of the planet to keep supporting life. That sounds so utopian but we cannot wait until nature takes corrective action!

If Socialism, Capitalism, Communism were born because of people’s longing for a better society, If Buddhism,  Confucianism, Zoroastrianism were born because of spiritual longing in us, If Terrorism, Maoism is born out of radical thoughts, Its time for PRAGMATISM and HUMAN-ISM.

And an update on the warring villages – The dam they constructed upstream to cater to their growing needs was breached during a flood and both the villages were wiped out and along with it, their differences too….

India MODI’fied!

On this counting day in India, I got up dreaming about Narendra Modi giving victory speech and this is one of the rare days the reality is no different but more pleasing!

India has Won!

India has Won!

Its time to congratulate Shri Narendra Modi for giving the BJP this stellar performance. Partly vexed with the ruling party’s inept performance and inability of its Prime minister candidate Rahul to please the country, India has chosen its man of the hour NAMO.

Shri Narendra Modi on this performance says ” Bharath has won! Hope it is as India is in need of a dynamic leader who can steer India in the right direction.

Jai ho Bharath! Jai ho Bharathwaasi!

Andhra Pradesh Divided

Finally Congress has divided Andhra Pradesh and carved out residual state of Telangana. The haste with which the bill was passed in both houses of parliament shows the desperation of Congress government to see Rahul as the next PM. The most surprising thing was how all the MPs, AP NGOs, MLAs stood as mute spectators to all this drama. Only thing they did try was to use pepper spray, hold some banners for the cameras, play snatching with the speaker. Did Pepper spray or banners stop the process? they stalled it for some time but could not stop it.

VAGUE TERMS
No solid conditions or terms of division were laid down. There was no discussion, consensus about how to divide the state, how to share the resources, employees, property. While everyone knew in the back of their hearts that Congress was hell-bent to form separate state, we lost crucial time in having a consensus, in discussing the terms. Meanwhile these congress leaders made promises of stopping this process, NGOS formed JACs but did they make any difference other than fighting for TV space. They never resigned from government, parliament, assembly, or their jobs but showed dreams of stopping it. The only sensible persons Chandra Babu Naidu and Venkaiah Naidu were relegated to back seat. While these two tried to negotiate the package to Seemandhra, they were portrayed as Division supporters.

CONGRESS CONFIDENCE
What was congress party’s confidence in dividing the state. They know they will not get support from Seemandhra, they may gain some seats in Telangana. what is their confidence in losing 25 Lok sabha seats compared to 17? Are they foolish in raking the wrath of Seemandhra voters? Will they be content with just Telangana? No one thinks so. Then why did they not care about Seemandhra and went about the division so blatantly?

DEEP DIVIDE
Their confidence is the deep divide among the people in Seemandhra. While emotion filled may come together to vote for TRS or Congress in Telangana, they are pretty sure that Seemandhra people will not come together and vote for a single party. They have systematically cultivated divisions among people on caste and religious lines and for that they supported new parties on the same lines. The last lok sabha elections were a proof for them that the votes can be split despite anti-incumbency factor. They nurtured new party of Chiranjeevi and made sure opposition votes are split. This is their confidence.
With their callous attitude towards Seemandhra, they are pretty confident that TDP would not be the majority party. Jagan’s party and expected new party to be formed by Kiran Kumar Reddy and Lagadapati Rajagopal would play spoil sport.

TDP DOWNFALL
Now it is very clear that TRS, Chiranjeevi party and YSRCP are formed solely to weaken the strong TDP. Whatever new parties will be formed, it will be for the same purpose. They want to weaken the regional parties. These parties blame TDP for everything. They know BJP is not strong here so once TDP is weakened they dream of dominating AP with their sister parties.

PEOPLE’S VERDICT
People’s emotions are high on both sides of Telangana and Seemandhra. We have to wait and see how this will be reflected on the ballot. Will Telangana people vote for Congress-TRS as gratitude or vote for BJP-TDP for their dynamic leaders? Will Seemandhra people vote for TDP or pseudo Congress parties?
I wish people stop for a moment, keep aside their emotions. Only then they can make a good choice or else we will fail again as responsible citizens.

Let there be prosperity in all Telugu households as well as the nation.

An Interview with Constitution of India

INTERVIEWER: Wish  you all, the fellow citizens of India a very happy 65th Republic day. Today we have with us the book who is born on this day 64 years ago  which is celebrated as Republic Day. On this day India has got its constitution. The one that has rules, rights and duties  that are  binding to all people of India.  Please join me in welcoming THE CONSTITUTION of India to our studio.  Welcome to our show

CONSTITUTION of India: Thank you very much, I wish all the people of India a very Happy Republic Day. Thank you for inviting me, privileged to be in your show.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me how are you feeling on the occasion of your 65th Birthday, the day you came to validity and as an Identity to  Indian Independence and marking the country becoming an independent republic

CONSTITUTION of India: Honestly I am very thrilled for being valid! India has done well in keeping me upheld as the supreme precedent. Though they made a few changes, I am still the same person!

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about the Drafting committee under the chairmanship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Do you miss them?

CONSTITUTION of India: Dr. Ambedkar was really a great scholar. I am fortunate to have him as one of my creators. Others were wise and learned. They were successful in creating a very good constitution. Yes I miss them in a way that the amendments done to me did not have  people’s good as the sole purpose.

INTERVIEWER: Are you proud that you are the longest national constitution in the world?

CONSTITUTION of India:  Hmm, I feel I am going to stay incomplete until all the people have a sense of pride in it and desire to uphold its sanctity in all situations. There is no use until people are looking for loopholes and turnarounds.

INTERVIEWER: Do you feel that you are still incomplete?  Do you feel that still there is scope for a better draft?

CONSTITUTION of India: I am complete and more than adequate but to a utopian society. Dr. Ambedkar and team envisioned that the freedom earned would be dear to people and that Indians would be very law-abiding and ideal people.

INTERVIEWER: Do you feel that Indians do not deserve you?

CONSTITUTION of India:  I do not imply that. See, Indian Constitution was made for an ideal society.  The draft committee and the contributors may have thought people of country would stay together keeping aside the regional, language, caste differences. They thought people would take pride in their freedom and work for it. That did not happen, people in power largely used it to further their interests.

INTERVIEWER: So, do you think we failed as a nation?

CONSTITUTION of India:  We did not fail as a nation. We are successful in keeping the enemies at bay. We have built missiles and boast of a good Space program. We have a good foreign policy.  We are still evolving as a society.  We don’t appreciate our freedom anymore and take it for granted. We put ourselves before the country’s  good.

INTERVIEWER: Why do you think we do not appreciate our freedom?

CONSTITUTION of India: Since early days we existed more as individual communities largely ignorant of happenings outside. We once came together  to drive the British out. We went through a painful partition but again moved ourselves into our comfort zones.
I think Poverty and fear of it  is one of the reasons for not appreciating the freedom.  The lack of economic opportunities for the people and largely dysfunctional government programs made life a constant struggle.  Excelling in exams, getting job, getting married, taking care of kids, parents has become the priority in life.  No one has the freedom to choose their field of study, which is decided by parents or the economic conditions. So where is the freedom?  These factors have largely influenced our way of thinking and our opinions of others.  In spite of the recent economic boom we did not lose our insecurities, we are still the same selfish, self-indulgent, future fearing people. We do not strongly identify with anything national but with caste, region, religion…
It’s easy to divide us on any petty issue. But its time we value our freedom, and work to stay united.

INTERVIEWER:  How can we do that?

CONSTITUTION of India:  We have to stop being hypocritical.  Any leader saying he is fighting for a cause, has something in it for him. Lets clarify about what they want and we decide whether having him as our leader  is beneficial for all and the nation as a whole.

I am proud that 1.2 billion people are under me! but not many are aware of me. Rather than adding more to the hungry mouths, we need to be aware that population is no more an asset.

INTERVIEWER:  Do you have anything to say to the youth?

CONSTITUTION of India: The way the social studies and Civics are taught in our schools, for students I am just another subject.  They have to know that I am not a fixed or done deal but an evolving one. It’s in their hands to make or break this nation. They have to become sensible to the challenges this nation is facing and take part in politics actively or passively.

INTERVIEWER:  Thanks a lot for sparing your time. Wish you again a very happy birthday.

CONSTITUTION of India: I am all yours! thank you  and  I am getting old and its time you all gave me a facelift!