Thursday, January 24, 2008


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

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

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 number of things that I wanted to say. The speech was a little longer than I could afford and yet I kept it in there. However, I was particular that I speak without notes. When I got up there it was as though I was in a trance. I spoke about most of the things that I had noted down, but I missed a few as well. The common thread in the feedback was that I did not use notes. Most people seem to appreciate that. When I sit in church listening to the sunday sermon I always tend to listen to priests who speak without notes. They always seem to speak with a lot more passion about things that are more relevant to day to day life rather than the things that people expect to hear in a sermon.

What does that say about prepared speeches by politicians running for office?

Friday, January 04, 2008


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 light and sound. What a spectacle!

Then the skies open up. I remember sitting outside the kitchen door, on the verandah sill watching the rain soak the grounds. I watched the water dripping from the brick tiles and filling up the gutters with nowhere to go. Everything appeared a little more greener than it was a few minutes ago.

Now it is raining outside. Something about it does not appeal to me as much as the time I got my feet wet from the raindrops that wiggled its way down the old wooden roof in that cold dark verandah. I wish I was back in that moment. But even if I was I guess I will never hear my grandmother calling out to me from the kitchen admonishing me for getting wet in the first monsoon rains.

Rain is not what it used to be.