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Showing posts from 2008

Tough Love

The reason why we are fat is because McDonalds does not serve healthier food. They do serve fruits and salads but they still serve a lot more burgers and all the advertisements are geared towards selling more burgers.

The reason why we are in this credit mess is because the government did not regulate the predatory lending practices that several mortgage lenders participated in. They should have known better not to allow such loans. It’s not the fault of the consumer that the practices allowed the borrower to buy a house that is way beyond their means.

The reason why gas prices are higher is because OPEC countries are conspiring to keep the prices up and maximize their profits. They should increase production and reduce the upward pressure on these high gas prices. The government should step in and warn these countries not to mess with us.

Today Phil Gramm said that we are a nation of “whiners”. Barack Obama jumped at the opportunity and said that the McCain campaign is out of touch with…

The Bicycle

I sat on the horizontal bar but he was the one actually riding the bicycle. I was only a mere passenger. The world seemed very simple. I was five and he was probably twenty four. He was my larger than life cousin who lived with us and was my best friend in the short five years of my life. With wind in my hair I was a free bird. Then it happened, my feet got jammed in the front wheel and he was petrified. He quickly stopped and checked for damage. Then we wheeled the bicycle to next corner store and I was awarded a candy for my silence. Of course, the first thing I did after getting home was to announce that I had my leg jammed and got myself a candy. The incident still lingers deep in the recesses of my memory that I relive once in a while with a broad smile on my face.

Yesterday I spoke to him over the phone across the seven seas. He sounded very different. Years have passed and life has come a long way. He was fighting back tears telling me about his father who is battling a quadrupl…

Offended

Barack Obama mentions that people are so disillusioned by politicians that they have stopped voting on the issue of the economy and always stick to moral issues while casting their votes. According to his rivals, this is insulting to the intellect of the people listening and they should be offended. Well I am not! As a matter of fact I think that even if Barack is not right about his analysis, the spirit of the statement, that people have become cynical about the political process and its impact on our day to day challenges, is obviously lost on these people. So there, I said it, I am not offended and I am actually flattered that someone is addressing the issue of cynicism in politics.

It is shameful the way people tell us what should and should not be offensive to us. That is what is really an insult to our intellect. I think I have a brain of my own which will tell me when I think of something as offensive and I will then do the needful.

Thanks, but I will do my own thinking.

Keeping a journal....

A clutter bug, I am torn between collecting miscellaneous memoribillia and between tossing away unwanted junk. As a child I saved everything with any sentimental value- birthday cards received from the sister, letters from friends and aunts, photographs, clothes, presents, etc. But in the recent past, I have learnt to close my eyes and throw away all these letters and cards and unused gifts with the objective of clearing up storage space and making room for my growing collection of "stuff". Recently on a cleaning mission in my mothers house, I came across bundles of old letters saved. Letters written by me, my sisters, aunts to my mother over the past years. I opened each letter, read through it and found myself smiling as I was transported back in time recollecting the events detailed in the letters. Letters with a hand print of her granddaughter, gossip that was hot at the time. The cards my mom had saved brought a smile to my face. But I decided to close my eyes and th…

Club contest

Friday I attended my first Toastmasters area contest. The setting was a conference room of a reputed Semiconductor company. The turnout was rather slim compared to my expectations. However, our club was very well represented and it was a jolly good time. I had managed to get into the contest by winning the impromptu speech contest at our club. So I was sufficiently nervous about having to perform on the stage.

But the real highlight of the show was the three prepared speeches made by relatively senior members of various clubs. What impressed me most about the experience was the ease with which the waltzed on stage and delivered their speeches. Not a care in the world. They showed no signs of effort or pretense. It was quite astounding.

What is it that makes us nervous about talking in front of a crowd? For me it is the sensation that people are watching me constantly expecting me to be interesting. I also have this perennial fear of looking the audience in the eye because I am scared I …

Journey and Character

Heard this from a friend over lunch:

"You need talent to get up the mountain. But you need character to stay up there."

Another one goes:

"Its not the destination but the journey that matters."

The problem is that I am in such an almighty hurry to climb the mountain and get to the destination that I doubt if I am building any character or enjoying the journey.

Come on

A year back it was Anna Nicole Smith. All leading news channels couldn’t stop talking about her death, her baby and everything else that surrounded her. Never mind that there was a war going on, an impending housing crisis and oil was at all time highs. Just when that was dieing down and you figured that the channels will focus back on the issues at hand, there came along Britney Spears and her little escapades. Not to mention the other minor distractions such as Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, The DC madam, the airport restroom rendezvous and everything else that kept us at the edge of our seats.

It’s almost as if the channels have decided that I am incapable of digesting real news in a decent fashion. Everything has to have drama and intrigue built into it. There has to be a sense of celebration and victory, anguish and defeat. Nothing in between seems to matter anymore. Is it that people can’t consume news in a normal fashion? Does listening to news have to be like reading a novel? Nam…

Why Obama!

As the primaries began I really didn’t care much for the process. My first experience of the primaries was lackluster to say the least. The contenders were uninspiring and really couldn’t speak two sentences without sounding almost apologetic about running the campaign.

That was four years ago. Today I have a whole different perspective on politics. Not because my cynicism for the process has decreased or that I envision a country that would transform into something completely different under the leadership of Barack Obama, but because I “HOPE” to see some of the critical changes that I yearn for in the nation’s political scene. Even if Barack Obama doesn’t achieve half the things he says he would, I would still be glad to see him get ahead in the primaries and move on to win the presidential elections.

Over the last eight years I have watched in utter dismay at the way politics has degenerated in America. In the late 90s, when I began following politics, Clinton was embroiled in his sc…

The Winning Horse

Boom Boom, they called him. I was mesmerized by the man. He was young, energetic and unpredictable. He dove around on the hallowed courts of the All England Club as if it were the courts in his local neighborhood. He showed no respect or contempt and was full of energy for the game. Boris Becker was my idol. I held my breath as he lost another Wimbledon final and craved for one last title. But it was never to be.

I have always been fascinated by the underdog. Something about the unpredictability, the exhilaration in the victory, the agony in defeat and the rags to riches story always attracts me towards it. Be it Indian cricket, Becker, Oakland Raiders, Cameroon, Brett Favre or any other underdog, I have always had the perverse pleasure of being on their side. I think it is the great high that I get when they win against all odds that makes me go with them. Something about consistent champions always turned me off. Even a graceful champion like Sampras was not in my good books.

But the …

Contagious

See if this brings a smile to your face. It makes my day every time I see it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E25cGeY13M0&feature=related

Politician speaking

There is a lot to be said about the ability to speak. As I watched Barack Obama speak after the Iowa caucus, the environment was electric. He was a man possessed by his emotions. Words rolled off his tongue and he made believers out of people in that room and even the ones watching him on television. Today the mood was subdued. He lost a hard fought battle in New Hampshire and his voice was calmer and more measured. However, even with a change in tone the man did not skip a beat.

Hillary spoke from prepared notes. She spoke well but the fact that she looked into a piece of paper to lead her on took something away from what she said. She spoke pretty well but it just wasn’t the same. I really believe that she would be a completely different candidate if she would speak from the heart and not from the notes.

I did my first Toastmasters speech on Sunday and I have a whole new respect for people who can speak without any aid. As I prepared my speech the previous day I tried to squeeze in a …

Rain

I walked out of the house yesterday and the sky was draped with ominous dark clouds threatening to unload its fury upon me. The air in my lungs had a brisk and wet feeling about it that took me back decades. For some reason rain or the anticipation of it always transports me to my grandfather’s house. There is something about the Kerala rain in its entire splendor that makes me nostalgic about childhood.

Summer vacations always ended with the beginning of the monsoon season and I never got to see the rain gods in all its fury. However, if I was lucky they graced me with a couple of visits before I had to go back to my urban living. The few hours before the showers exploded from the sky, the earth always appeared to be coming together to greet it. The wind begins to snake through the trees and the leaves begin to rustle with anticipation. The soil exhales an aroma that only a person in the moment can describe. The light becomes a somber grey just in time for the spectacular show of ligh…