Monday, March 29, 2010


A few hours into the night I lie down,
looking outside the window that opens to the endless sky,
several thoughts meander.

Several - that my mind finds it hard to indulge into the nitty-gritty of one.

Yet it observes over time, they all converge - into the heart,

which suddenly is the locus of bursts of joy!

I see You, into your eyes.
Holding you in my arms, under the sky,
I mollycoddle you - with lots of Love.

Woken by the fresh wind and the rising Sun,

we walk together, all day;

Endless Love, I feel.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Language Terrorism

Today again was one of those "Hindi Meri Jaan" days which led to unfortunate acts in the Maharashtra Legislative assembly. Violence is anytime not so good and should be avoided.

This incident was enough to keep our media busy the whole day. Among the numerous personalities our media interviewed, I came across two sensible and neutral comments from Kumar Ketkar of Loksatta and Advertiser Bharat Dabholkar. Both went on to say that the scene MNS created in the assembly was severely condemnable. I agree. Dabolkar went on to say, what big thunder would have stuck had Mr Azmi uttered those couple of sentences in Marathi, since he knew what was coming. I am sure he could have easily managed to speak that. But he did not and will not – sheer reason being - he believes that Hindi is our national language. Legally he is allowed to take the oath in Hindi, but the legislator was quoted as saying that Hindi is our National language (Which itself is completely lame) and no one can insult it. In what way is asking him to take the oath in the state’s official language an insult to Hindi? When Mr Azmi is a member of the legislative assembly of Maharashtra, he can definitely make an effort to speak out two sentences in the state’s official language. MNS is not against outsiders. Mr Yadav rallying in Sivaji Park talking about “Tamaam Muddhey” and the rights of outsiders in Mumbai is what triggers anger in the MNS. Then they choose the wrong path to settle it out.

Every time this topic comes up, I have heard a lot of people ignorantly say "But Hindi is India's National Language." Pity! In fact today couple of very senior Indian politicians, who are also founders of a national political party got their facts wrong. Mr Yadav, a three time Chief Minister from India's most populous state, was quoted as saying "I would like to congratulate Azmi for maintaining the honour of the national language Hindi".

That Hindi is our national language seems to be one of the most successful rumors spread in our country - The rumor with the widest reach - that probably gave birth to this Hindi arrogance.
I wish these leaders and crores Indians realize the fact that India does not have a National language. There is no such thing in our constitution. The national language of the United States is English and that of Ireland is Irish. The national language defines the people of the nation, culture and history. India is culturally so diverse, there are so many languages spoken that there cannot be any one such language that defines the culture and history. As of 2009, the Indian constitution recognizes 22 scheduled languages.

Neither the Constitution of India[1] nor Indian law specifies a National language.
Article 343 of the constitution specifies that the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script.
But it was decided that
till 1965, the proceedings of the courts, the services, and the all-India bureaucracy would be conducted in English.
In 1965, attempts were made to introduce Hindi by force, sparking widespread protests in Tamil Nadu. Then the Union Government extended the use of English in inter-State communication.

An article also says that every state has the right to choose its own official language.

Article 354 specifies that the legislature of a State may by law adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the State or Hindi as the Language or Languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of that State.

Communication between the States:

Communication from a Central (Union) Government office to a State or a Union Territory in shall, save in exceptional cases (Region "A") or shall ordinarily (Region "B"), be in Hindi, and if any communication is issued to any of them in English it shall be accompanied by a Hindi translation thereof. Section 3 of G.S.R. 1053, titled "Rules, 1976 states Communications from a Central Government office to State or Union Territory in Region "C" or to any office (not being a Central Government office) or person in such State shall be in English. Region C covers Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

English is the authoritative legislative and judicial language. In fact, one can say that English is the official language of India for all practical purposes. But from time to time, the chauvinists of Hindi tried to press their case.

Yesterday Mr Azmi further said "Atleast I did not talk in Angrezi". English is perfectly fine, Mr Azmi.

The 1965 amendment to the Official languages act[2] permitted the use of English for all official purposes. It also said that communication between two Non-Hindi speaking states or between the center and a non-Hindi speaking state has to be in English unless otherwise agreed upon.

In the National Policy Resolution of 1968 and 1986, the Three Language Formula[3] was proposed. But as of now this policy is hugely successful in very few states like Kerala, West Bengal and Maharashtra.

Personally, having lived in five states, I always make sincere effort to learn the state’s local language. As an outcome of this I can now manage to speak 7 Indian languages. I often get irritated when outsiders expect the localities to speak in Hindi, be it in Bangalore or Hyderabad. The expectation is justified only above Jabalpur. Adding to this they complain that people don’t understand Hindi. Have you seen a Keralite who has migrated to Noida speak in Malayalam to the fruit vendor? Even a Tamilain would learn Hindi when he goes to Noida. [Sadly he doesn’t learn Kannada in Bangalore:-(]. But why doesn’t a Hindi speaking outsider never make any effort to learn Kannada, Telugu or Marathi? Hindi Arrogance probably.
Recently I got thoroughly irritated when I came across a stranger in Bangalore who came up to me and started talking in Tamil, with an assumption that anyone in Bangalore will know Tamil. (I am a Tamilian :-D) There’s nothing wrong in talking in Tamil, but that assumption that everyone in Bangalore will speak Tamil and the resistance to learn the local language is what that’s not so good.

This reminds me of a very interesting and famous exchange between Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and E. K. Nayanar, the late Chief Minister of Kerala. Both were chief ministers at the time. Not complying with the above section from the Indian Constitution Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav wrote a letter to the Kerala CM in his language Hindi. EK Nayanar replied back in his language Malayalam. In response to the letter, Mr Yadav replied that Nayanar should learn Hindi. Referring to UP’s literacy rate, Nayanar came back with a devastating response. “You teach the people of UP Hindi first, and then ask me to learn it.”

An apt response to the Hindi terrorism.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

My travel wish

I was trying to compile a list of places I badly want to visit whenever I have time and a lot of money - and in about 10 minutes I could come up with this -
  • Times Square, New York City
  • The city of Paris (I regret to have missed this while I was in Amsterdam)
  • Burj Al Arab, Dubai
  • Swiss Alps - Eurorail trip - with lot of wine.
  • Leh-Ladakh, India
  • Parthenon in Athens
  • Death Valley, Nevada
  • Valencia, Spain
  • Genting Highlands, Malaysia
After reading the list top-to-bottom about 4-5 times and looking at my wallet, I decided this weekend I would go to Sinhagad fort, Pune - about 20 kms from where I stay. Sinhagad-ka-Quila.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Politics, Tamasha and People's money

The recent protests in the parliament over Dr Abdul Kalam's security check issue have once again proved and showcased the inefficient usage of tax-payers money. Why does our media sensationalize such a news to this extent when Dr Kalam himself cooperated so well to the mandatory security checks? The incident came to light only after three months. Today I could see this report on the first page of almost all national newspapers. On certain media I could also see our extremely concerned people questioning If this would have ever happened to George Bush. First of all, why should we be bothered at all? Even if it does happen, what's wrong in that? I don't think there is anything derogatory at all in it.

During the Zero Hour a prominent MP from the opposition said - “It is an issue which puts the whole nation to shame". What was so shameful in that, Hon'ble MP? I don't think the so called victim Dr Kalam would have considered this shameful :-) From what I have read and heard about Dr Kalam, I am quite sure, he would have cooperated and finished it off in a couple of minutes without any hesitation. But our great parliamentarians have already wasted lakhs of public money on this at the parliament. In fact the airline thanked Dr Kalam for flying with them and for the support rendered during the security checks.

The protesting MP also said that whenever foreign dignitaries visited India, a vehicle was sent on to the tarmac to receive them, while Indian dignitaries are frisked. Wow! What a comparison :-D So the next time George Bush flies Air India, let's frisk him and do a complete security check :-)

I don't know the exact figures for this year, but I know huge amount of money is spent to run every session of the houses of our parliament. A lot of money is spent to enable the MP's to attend the parliament sessions. [1]

I am not saying all our parliamentarians are like this. In his recent tweet, one of my favorite MP said that when the commotion began over some issue at the parliament he made an early exit do something productive. I was surprised when I saw a few MP's work at odd times of the day, patiently answering people's concerns and communicating the action taken. They very efficiently use Twitter as a medium to talk to the people, keeping the conversation crisp and to-the-point. That was very much against the perception I had. When I wrote about this to him, he replied back saying "We politicians are used to this routine- working till late and waking up very early in the morning"

Coming back to the present issue, the Continental Airlines flight was flying to the United States in which case the US department of Homeland Security has every right to frame rules and order the airline to follow them. The security check that is carried out at the aerobridge just before entering the aircraft is done by the airline and not by the CISF personnel. When you and me can be checked at the aerobridge, why not Dr Kalam or Robert Vadra. The US Dept. of Homeland Security might not recognize Dr Kalam as a VVIP or Mr Vadra as a VIP's husband. Even if it does, it might not exclude them from security checks. I was surprised to read that other than His Holiness Dalai Lama, the one and only "individual" name in the list of persons/positions to be excluded from security checks at airports in India is Robert Vadra.

Dr Kalam being told to remove his shoes during a mandatory check and the media and politicians protesting this - Does it at all affect the common man in any way?

Politics, Tamasha and People's moneySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Remembering Rajeev Motwani

Silicon Valley mourns the death of Stanford Professor Rajeev Motwani.

his legacy and personality lives on in the students, projects, and companies he has touched. Today, whenever you use a piece of technology, there is a good chance a little bit of Rajeev Motwani is behind it" - says Google's Sergey Brin.

I have admired him ever since I first read about him in David Vise' "The Google Story". The paper "What can you do with a Web in your Pocket" co-authored by Motwani has one of the early mentions of PageRank technique. His other works can be found at
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Monday, April 27, 2009

Elections and the Eelam

These days, I get put off when I watch the election campaign speeches by the leaders of political parties in Tamil Nadu. Every leader has a statement to make about Sri Lanka and The Eelam. Someone says "Velupillai Prabhakaran is my good friend", someone else claims If she is voted to power she "will not rest until Tamil Eelam is formed". Someone makes a statement that "Tamil Nadu would witness a bloodbath even if slightest harm befell Prabakaran". He was the same person who once said "If the need arises, I will be the first man to take up arms in support of Sri Lankan Tamils. I will gather youths all over the country for this purpose." and was put behind bars under the POTA act for "waging a seditious war against the state." But this time Elections are around. The government cannot afford to do that. Rather everybody is commenting on the issue.

Every election rally if full of promises and solutions to the Eelam issue. Are there not much bigger issues at home which need urgent attention?

I recently read a post by Sanjiva, a Sri lankan himself, where he says the blame for present situation needs to be shared by India, US, UK, Australia, Canada and others.
An editorial in Sri Lankan Sunday Times says ; "Take the typical case of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This week, giving testimony at a Congressional hearing, she asked that Pakistan take more action against (Islamic) extremists and asked Sri Lanka to 'pause' action against (Tamil) extremists. To cap it, she asked Pakistan to adopt a 'paradigm shift' and called for a 'change in mind-set'. Look who's talking."

I am not saying that you ignore the sufferings of the people in North Sri Lanka. Yes, big problems exist there.
But these should not be used as poll gimmicks. The parties should not take undue advantage of such a situation to divert attention of voters from much more important issues which affect them directly on a day-to-day basis.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Lightning Talks

This post is a sequel to one of my old posts "The anatomy of a Cool Dude"
It's been more than a couple of years since my first visit to Subway, described in that entry. And this is what happened today.
I am in Amsterdam for a week. Today I ran into a Subway at Dam Square. I got in and said "Hello" to the person at the counter. Then I asked him "Sir, Do you have any vegetarian options?"
He replied back "Bhai-Saab Hindi mein poocho na".
I was stunned for a minute.
He then says "Aapko ekdum acha Veg sandwich banake deta hoon mein. Isme aapko tamatar, shimla mirchi, pyaz, aur yeh lettuce milega. :-)
I say "Hahahaha. Isko apne vahan Veggie Delight bolte hain."

Then he asked "Saath mein cold drink chahiye?"
I said "Apne wahan Make-it-a-meal? poochte hain"

Towards the end of the Sub process, he asked "Bhaiyan, Mirchi Daloon?"
I said "Haan haan. By the way isko apne wahan jalapeno bolte hain".

Two years and I again remembered "Which bread", "Make it a meal" and "Which sauce" at the local Subway. :-D
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Monday, October 06, 2008

Lake, Forest, Hills and Serenity

Mulshi- A 2 hour drive from Pune into the Sahyadri Hills.

The complete album is here:
Overall a fulfilling weekend as I got to click some photographs as well.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tiger of Mysore

He still stands tall.. Captured while at Cochin Harbour.
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Green Pune

The Commonwealth Youth Games-2008 are nearing and Green is the theme. And the venue - Pune - is indeed green.
My experiments with the lens -


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