Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bullet

Unni was walking back to take guard for the final delivery of the match. As I rubbed the tennis ball on my dirt stained shorts, I realised it’s just 4 runs that he needs to raise the Five-Star Cricket Cup – the prestigious gully cricket cup we both played for every Saturday, the loser buying the winner a Rs.10/- Five Star chocolate. As I was about the take the run-up, the match got interrupted. Not rain, not bad light; a Royal Enfield Bullet came speeding up the lane. Unni hadn’t expected his father to return so early that day. The Bullet went past me into the porch of Unni’s house. I was slowly walking back to my home when I heard Unni screaming. ‘Regular’. When I turned back, I could see his shadow twitching.

Unni was (and still is) 4 years younger to me. There were times when we fought over the ‘not-out’ or ‘out’ decisions dished out by the ‘biased’ umpire during our gully-cricket days. There were times when I advised him on his studies, taking advantage of being his ‘senior’ at school and ‘confidant’ of the Principal (so he believed). I despised him on occasions. But most times, I had my sympathies with him.

Unni’s father reminded me of the quintessential villains in Tamil and Malayalam movies. He was tall and built; had a penchant for thick moustache. He trimmed and tidied it religiously. He was respected in the neighbourhood for being fearsome. Like any other parent, he wanted his son to study well. He made sure that Unni stayed in his room almost always – except on Saturdays. On Saturdays we played Five-Star Cricket Cup.

A day never passed without Unni being beaten up – literally, by his father. Sometimes we smelled burning skin. To those people who advised Uncle (that’s how I referred to him) against such punishments, he would say, ‘I love my son a lot. I want him to be successful’. May be it was burning love he had for his son, after all.

Our Five-Star Cricket Tournament got cancelled very soon.

Uncle was diagnosed with cancer.

Tertiary stage.

29/11/2004 - Saturday

The news came in the morning. Uncle passed away.

As people waited his body to be brought home from the hospital, Unni was preparing for the Five-Star Cricket Cup. With death came freedom. ‘Chetta! Kalikkaan vaa’! I declined his request to play the match. That didn’t stop Unni from playing – he got hold of his cousins. They played hide ‘n seek since the road was crowded.

“Deepu, call them inside” told my mom.

I took them to my room and played Tom and Jerry on my computer.

Why is Unni behaving like this? May be he doesn’t understand the meaning of what’s happening around him, he is just 10 years old after all.

“Unni” I called him.

“Do you know what’s happening here?”

“Yes – they are going to burn my father into ashes.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lonely Angel


This girl caught my attention. She was different. I was in Cochin, attending a 2 day Seminar on ‘Indian Law and Women’. She seemed to be just the person for whom laws were made – frail and pink, silent and lonely. When the other participants were keenly poised to take their points across to the ‘Distinguished Panel’ she sat at one corner, indifferent to the proceedings unravelling in front of her.

 I believe that the Women’s Reservation Bill will not empower, but subjugate the lower class women of our country. It is in the interest of our nation that we scrap............
She became my ‘subject of interest’ for her silent demeanour. She was different from the stereotypical I-will-not-let-others-speak-females at Seminars. During the breaks, she walked alone with a longing look on her face. She was mostly lost in thought, fidgeting with her iPod.

Why?
Why is she silent?
Why is she indifferent?

May be she is in love with someone, unable to adjust with his absence. Or did she have a break-up recently? Possibly. The sudden vacuum might have made her vulnerable. Her silence spoke volumes; feelings of despair and dejection. I couldn’t empathize with her; never been a girl myself (bad joke).

The first day of seminar ended rather late. Interested participants made it a point to be repetitive when conveying their ideas. Their over enthusiasm stretched the proceedings to 8pm. Everyone got out of the building exhausted, in need of some fresh and cool air. I walked slowly, noting every movement of hers. In the moonlight outside, she looked divine. I couldn’t just keep my eyes off her. What began as a literary fascination was fast turning out to be.... No! No! I wouldn’t let that happen, I told myself. With that self-assurance, I walked to my hotel room.

But...
No buts! Just sleep!!
But I can’t!
Just sleep Raghu! You can sleep! – Self instruction.

Shakira’s voice woke me up the next day (Hips don’t lie – to be specific). November 1 it was; Kerala State formation day. The organisers had provided the participants with the traditional attire of the state to be worn on the last day of the seminar. Having been born and brought up in Delhi, I barely knew how to wear a ‘Mundu’ despite being a ‘Mallu’. With several ‘extra fittings’ and more than 45 minutes of efforts, I was finally ready for the day ahead. I got out of the room into the hotel lobby and there she was in her ‘set saree’ looking absolutely stunning! Indian women look infinitely better in sarees, I thought while unsuccessfully trying to divert my attention into random thoughts to avoid falling for her. I followed her to the auditorium rather inconspicuously, making and attending fake calls in my mobile phone. Inconspicuous I thought, theatrical I was. My loud ‘phone conversations’ attracted curious glances from people around. But I managed to reach the auditorium without further damage to my reputation.

Arun Jaitely came and went.
Soli Sorabjee came and went.
Ram Jethmelani came and went.

I didn’t care. I just cared about her. Vaaranam Aayiram, my inspiration.

During the evening tea break, I approached her.

Hi... eh... I am Raghu. Raghu Padmanabhan, I told her extending my hand.
Namaste. I am Anjali Menon.
I retracted my extended hand. False start.
Eh... so... wassup? I asked her, trying to be ‘cool’.
I am doing my MA in psychology. Delhi University. Eh?, her voice seemed to be unusually bold.
Oh... nice. Even I am going to finish my Masters this coming July. Masters in Political Science.
Thanks Raghu.
What??
Thanks. I am really thrilled.
I don’t understand Anjali. Why are you thanking me?
I was working on my MA project thesis. And I just completed my last case study.
Why should you thank me for that?
She answered with a naughty smile, “Because you were my specimen for the case study on The psychology of an Indian Stalker”

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Namesake Update - On beauty and sports

Aju has been quite busy updating his blog almost everyday… Sajad and Sushmita are not far behind… even Chetana managed to update her blog during this vacation… This one is just namesake… ;-)

Venus Williams crashed out of Wimbledon Women’s Singles. She lost to… eh… damn! I can’t even remember her name! But, she is not bad… I mean, she is quite good looking... :-)

Why is that??? I mean, ramp or reel suits them better than the dusty world of sports! Quite a few names come to my mind when I think about good looking sportswomen… Sania, Saina and Sharapova… Kournikova and Kirilenko… (racket sports ~ beauty??)…

But my vote goes to World #11 chess player Alexandra from Russia



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tales of two birthdays

Why am I writing on birthdays? Well, because I recently 'celebrated' my 19th birthday. I am going to share with you stories - personal stories of two of my past birthday celebrations.
 
18th birthday
One of the most memorable days in my entire life. My 18th birthday was special. Past midnight, i get calls from my friends and hilarious messages. That evening Pratap sir and Vishnu comes home to gift me a t-shirt. The next day morning, I get a surprise visitor in the form of Sajad, who gifted me the book "Not a penny more, not a penny less". These little surprises made that day very special.
 
8th birthday
Not so happy one. See, I had this problem. Sometimes I feel things are happening very fast though they are not. The visual feedback I'm getting seems to be fast. I perceive things to be happening very fast. And I slowly lose control over my voluntary actions. On my 8th birthday, it so happened that this problem recurred. I was walking aimlessly, everything moving very fast around me. I soon tripped and fell. My mother had a tough time controlling me.
 
To ever lose the control over your 'voluntary' actions is the biggest 'calamity' that can happen to us. To not know what you are doing is a sad situation. Because of God's grace and others' blessings, that has not happened to me since. Let's keep voluntary actions voluntary itself.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Namaste! - 2 : Handshake

Did I tell you that I was afraid of girls? I did tell you that in my post 'Namaste!'. This is the second part of the Namaste! series. This is called 'Handshake".

March 21, 2010 : Sunday
10:55am

I was walking towards the NSS office for the monthly DOS collection. (Those who know what DOS collection is, skip the next para).

DalOilSugar is a monthly collection drive in the IIT campus conducted by the National Service Scheme volunteers. The volunteers go to the residential zone in the campus to get food, clothes, books, toys etc which will be then handed over to an NGO which will redistribute them to needy people.

As I was walking towards the NSS office, a guy stops me and asks the way to Himalaya. Here is the conversation that I had with that guy.

Guy : How can I got to Himalaya building?
Me : You go straight, take a left, again go straight, the building to your left is Himalaya.
Guy : Neenge tamil pesuveegla? (Do you speak Tamil?)
Me : Kocham kochama pesuven. (Little bit)
Guy : Ohk. I am P******t from A**a University. I came here to meet my friend K*****n in Saraswati Hostel. He is in Elec department. Do you know him?
Me : I don't think so. I am in Humanities Department.
Guy : Ohk.. You guys have a big campus.
Me : Yeah. It's 632 acres.
Guy : What's you name btw?
Me : I'm Arun.
Guy : You are from Tamil Nadu?
Me : No. I am from Trivandrum, Kerala.
Guy : Can  you just give me your number?..or just give me a miss call.
Me : Ok.
I give him miss call. We both save the number. I save the number as P******t A**a.
We shake hands and part.
I proceded to the NSS office, satisfied that I helped that guy find Himalayala.

March 22, 2010 : Monday
02:30
Zzz....
I was sleeping. Suddenly my phone rings.
P******t A**a calling.
Only half conscious, I took the call.
Guy : Hey Arun. Do you remember me? I am P******t from A**a university.
Me : Eh...Yeah.. I remember you.
Guy : How are you, Arun?
Me : Yeah I am fine.
Guy : I am coming to IIT today to see my friend. Can I meet you?
WHAT????? I THOUGHT TO MYSELF.
Guy : Will you be free sometime today evening?
I was becoming very uneasy. Suddenly found a way out.
Me : Oh..sorry. I have a project work to do.
Guy : Oh! I would luvvv to see you project!
Me : Oh..it's a group project. There is a group meeting.
Guy : Will you be free at night? After the meeting?
Me : Sorry, I can't say when the meeting will be over.
I THINK I NEED TO CHANGE THE SPELLLING.
Gay : In which hostel are you in?
Me : Tap...ti
Gay : Is it near Saraswati?
Me : See, I have to go for the meeting.
Gay : Ohk. Call when you want to see me.
Call disconnected.
OMG! What does this guy/gay want?
Vignesh, my classmate and friends have contacts in A**a university. With two phone calls, he discovers who this guy is and has assured me that if this gay/guy calls me again, it would be taken care of.
I changed the name from P******t A**a to P******t A**a DANGER.
I got two calls from him after that. Both the times, I didnt take the call.

Did I tell you that I was afraid of girls? I did tell you that in my post 'Namaste!'.
In this post Handshake, I am telling you - I am afraid of guys too!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cabinet Reshuffle

After the first 'performance analysis', I have made minor changes in my Cabinet.

Apologies to anyone if I have offended anyone by giving them (or not giving them) a particular ministry.


Prime Minister
Arun Sudarsan
I will also take care of the Finance Ministry and Defence Ministry.

Prime Minister's Office
Jerin Jacob Mathew (who will also be the Home Minister)
Chandni Chandran (who will also be the Finance Minister)
Sajad S Santhosh (who will be a MoS in the PMO)
My office will be run by my trusted aides

Speaker, Loksabha
Manjari Shankar
With the view of making the Parliament sessions more interesting, we have Manjari as the speaker and Baasma as the deputy speaker.

Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha
Baasma Parvi

Ministry of External Affairs
Siddharth Srikanth
An exceptionally talented writer, thinker and debater, he is given the task of redefining India’s image at the world stage.

Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs
Jayalakshmi 
Angel Jeana
Gautam Ramesh 

His love for Parliamentary behaviour makes him the best choice to see to it that decorum is maintained during the sessions.

Ministry of Human Resources Development
T P Kurian
Binny Alexander
His wide ranging experiences in the education sector will help in my government’s effort to restructure India’s educational setup (to be aided by Binny Alexander)

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Vigneshkumar
Former Paparazzi, he will infuse the kind of energy that is required to run this ministry.

Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Suraj Nair
Preshant Sekar
The Grub God as he is affectionately called, Suraj is the most suited person to run this ministry aided by Preshant Sekar.

Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs
Aju Basil James
Amrutha Gayathri
Oviya Govindan
Being excellent players of football, swimming and basketball respectively - the three games that need revival in the country, I hope that Indian Sports will improve under the amble guidance of these minds.

Ministry of Happiness and Grievances Redress
Deepak Johnson
Angel Jeana
Pratyusha Govindaraju
Blessed with special powers to make anyone happy and forget their miseries, Deepak Johnson will head the ministry.

Ministry of Law and Justice
Sneha A

Ministry of Forestry
Sriram Chenji

Ministry of Labour and Employment
Akhil Bharathan O  Ministry comes under the PMO
ABO (as he is affectionately called by his followers) will be the in charge of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, considering his untiring efforts for the Indian working class.

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (brought under the Ministry of External Affairs)
Sabnam Gafoor

Ministry of Union Capital Territory Affairs
Manish Kumar

Ministry of Water Resources
Polash Mukherjee

Ministry of Women and Child Welfare
Anu Joshy
Amala Devi

Ministry of Information Technology, Gaming and Spying.
Kanishka Bandyopadhyaya

Ministry of Textiles (to be integrated with Ministry of Cultural Affairs)
Chetna Sabnis
Sushmita V G

Ministry of Cabinet Affairs
Sushmita V G
Amala Devi

Ministry of Cultural Affairs
Swathy Kumar
Lakshmi Parvathy

Ministry of Peace (Ministry Abolished)
Sajad S Santhosh
Preshant Sekar
Binny Alexander
Extremely talented in putting peace, these three will rejuvenate the ministry.

Ministry of Absentees (Ministry abolished)
Vikas Gunasekhar

Ministry of Communication
Raisa Sherif

Ministry of Horoscope
Gayathri Mahedran

Ministry of Tourism (newly formed Ministry)
Chetna Sabnis

Ministry of Social Empowerment and Justice
Mohan K

Ministry of Family Planning and Welfare
Gauthaman M

Ministry of Language Studies
Jayalakshmi
Rakhi Kumar

Akhil Bharathan, Gautam Ramesh and Vikas Gunasekhar currently removed from the cabinet. Hopefully they will be re-inducted in the next Cabinet Re-shuffle.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Blogger's Honesty

Dear Readers,

This post is an attempt to discuss an issue which has manifold manifestations in the public and private lives of bloggers and people in general. During the past few weeks, I have been bombarded with criticism with respect to my posts in this blog. It has been argued that my posts are attempts at self-glorification and achieving 'social gain'. Be what you are - 'don't pretend' is the advice that I am getting from various quarters. In this context, I wish to analyze to what extent I can say truths about myself.

By virtue of being the school leader, I also became the General Coordinator of LAFest 2008, an inter-school Cultural Fest organized by my school.
- from 'Namaste!', my March 18, 2010 post
Prime Minister
Arun Sudarsan
This is my blog and I deserve to be the boss. I will also take care of the Finance Ministry and Defence Ministry.
- from 'My Cabinet', my March 5, 2010 post
When I reached 9th standard, I became the assistant class leader and became known for my 'truthfulness' and was named Gandhi by friend Abraham George.
- from 'Nicks!', my February 13, 2010 post

Seen as my attempts to glorify myself, I will have to humbly reject the argument because these sentences put those posts in its right contexts and did nothing to enhance my 'image'. 

But the pseudo-morality in me prevented me from using these fantastic sites during the first three months of my stay here in Chennai.Soon I realized that there is no use hugging on to my pretentious principles.
- from 'Facebook and me', my February 4, 2010 post.
  • How much of truth about oneself can be posted in a public space like Blogger.com? 
  • Since my life is linked with so many other lives, is it appropriate on my part to tell the 'darker' truths about myself involving other people? 
  • Will that be an infringement into their privacy? 
  • Is it necessary that I tell all about myself to the outside world? 

To each of these question, I have an answer.
  • So much that it won't affect your public life. (Isn't this hypocrisy?)
  • It's not appropriate.
  • Yes.
  • No.
Hypocrisy is a feigning to be what one is not. Am I being what I am not by not telling some truths about me? Only I can answer that question since only I know whether the truths I am hiding are in fact contradictory to my actions. And I feel that I am mostly not a hypocrite, but sometimes I am. 

I need your opinion on this. How honest can we be about ourselves in the public? How honest should we be in the public? What information about oneself comes under the realm of privacy? What to be shared, what not to be? 



PARTICIPATE IN THE POLL AND POST YOUR OPINION AS COMMENTS.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Namaste!

Having spent 8 years in Loyola School Trivandrum, a boys only Higher Secondary school, I had become the sort of guy who was very shy to look at girls (for the fear of being considered an ogler), a guy who was very shy to speak to girls (because I never spoke with girls of my age apart from my cousins during this 8 year long period) and a guy who dreaded learning with them after passing out of school. I remember not giving sweets on my birthday to the girls in my Physics tuition class because I was afraid to approach them. I remember my 'namastes' to avoid handshakes. A small incident from my life is given below.

By virtue of being the school leader, I also became the General Coordinator of LAFest 2008, an inter-school Cultural Fest organized by my school. Below given is a phone conversation I had with one prominent girl in Holy Angels school about the festival.

A (that's me) and M (that's her)
A: Hello, I had got a missed call from this number. May I kindly know who this is?
M: Oh yeah.. I am M calling from Holy Angels School. Had a few doubts regarding the festival.
A: O K Madam. Please carry on.
M: Don't call me madam, I am just a student.
A: O K Madam.
M: Eh..OK. Can you please extend the last date for submission of the entry form?
A: Differential treatment is not possible madam. The last date is fixed as Monday. You should send the forms to us by Monday evening.
M: Ohk.. Thank you.
A: Good night Madam.

Anybody who doesn't know why she being a student from Holy Angels is important, then here is the 'funda'. Holy Angels is 'the' prominent girls only school in the city. Loyola is 'the' prominent boys only school.

May 15, 2009
HSEE results are out.
Finally, I was moving into a Co-Ed institution.

August 6, 2009
First day at IIT
Our Faculty Advisor Sudarsan Padmanabhan was taking us around the institute. I was consciously avoiding talking to and walking with girls when suddenly Sabnam Gafoor, my classmate came up to me and asked "You are a very serious guy, aren't you?". Taken aback by that question, it took me a while before regaining composure. But by that time, she had walked away, clearly unimpressed by my response.

I found it very difficult to adjust to the co-ed system initially. I was not used to girls shouting out answers in class or trying to impress the faculty with myriad techniques. (Madam, I have published a collection of my essays on Pottery). But in due course, I got adjusted to the reality that I have to be here in the institution for five long years.

Now, after six months of studying together with 'the-other', I don't feel the same way I felt last August. But a tinge of shyness, timidness still remains in me which I think will get solved in the years to come.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stop a nuclear disaster

Hi ,

Our government is churning out one hazardous bill after another. This time it is a bill called the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, and it's coming up for a vote in a couple of days.

The bill lets U.S. corporations off the hook for any nuclear accidents they cause on Indian soil. They'd only have to pay a meagre amount, and Indian taxpayers would be stuck paying crores for the nuclear clean up and to compensate the victims.

Without any public debate, the Prime Minister is appeasing American interests and ignoring our safety.

Greenpeace is launching a petition asking the PM to hold a public consultation before introducing the bill.

I have already signed this petition. Can you join me?

http://www.greenpeace.org/india/stop-the-vote

Thanks!

arunsudarsanloyola@gmail.com

You are receiving this email because someone you know sent it to you from the Greenpeace site. Greenpeace retains no information about individuals contacted through its site, and will not send you further messages without your consent -- although your friends could, of course, send you another message.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Black Comedy - A DoHSS Production


Visit www.nomadplayers.co.nr for more details!

A Stable Pakistan and India

When the then President of United States Bill Clinton visited India in 2000, he observed that the Indian Subcontinent is a ‘nuclear flashpoint’. Though this observation invited immediate condemnation from his Indian Counterpart K R Narayanan, it remains a truth that the mutual distrust between two of the youngest nuclear weapon nations in the world is a matter of grave concern. While there is no reason to worry about the security of India’s nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands, it’s not beyonddoubt whether Pakistan, currently led by a fragile civilian Government under the strict watch of its independent Army and the ISI, can safeguard its warheads from extremist elements. This concern is shared by India and the United States, two of the main stakeholders in the affairs of Pakistan. They believe that only a ‘stable’ Pakistan can ensure the safety and security of more than 1.5 billion people of the subcontinent. Pakistan, from it very birth in 1947 along with India, has remained an unstable democracy. During the 63 years of independence, the nation was under military rule for 33 years, the last phase culminating with General Pervez Musharraf resigning from the Army and handing over the baton to Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The civilian government under Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani went through tough times when PML-N withdrew its outside support, but has managed to survive till date. The power struggle between the Premier and the President Zardari also raised doubts on who exactly is in control of the nation. With contradictory statements coming out from the two offices, Indian PM while on a visit to the United States last November said, “I do not think whether we have a partner right now. I think when General Pervez Musharraf was there (president of Pakistan), I was to ask him and he said well I am the army, I represent the armed forces, and I represent the people. Now I do not know whom to deal with. It is not clear if the president is in charge of the army.”The present indications from Pakistan, though seems clearer with the Zardari neutralised and Gilani asserting his powers as the Prime Minister. But whether a stable neighbour is in the best of our interest is still a topic being debated. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is the strongest advocate of talks with Pakistan, asserting that the only alternative to talks is war. The fact that the recent Foreign Secretary level talks went on despite the Pune blasts indicate this paradigm shift in India’s position since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Despite overwhelming support within the administration for the ongoing talks with Pakistan, there arises a historical inaccuracy regarding the stability of our sister nation helping to bring peace to our nation. When Pakistan broke-up in 1971 resulting in the formation of Bangladesh, 20 years of peace followed. With no funding from the earlier East Pakistan, rebels in Nagaland and Mizoram died down. From Kashmir Insurgency to Kargil War to the attack on Indian Parliament, all happened when Pakistan was either under a civilian rule or a stable military rule. If at all India is supporting the secessionist movement in the Baloch province, our has nothing but gains from it. Because it is beyond reasonable doubt, that a stable Pakistan, is not in the interest of India.

P.S: This article doesn't conform to my views. I am in support of a stable, democratic Pakistan and for talks between the warring nieghbours.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

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Contact number: +919790876931



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Photo of the Day: February 24, 2010


Phasing out of unmanned railway crossings in five years is one of the proposals in the Railway Budget 2010-11, presented on Wednesday. Overcrowding of trains is a common feature of Indian Railways, evident from this photo taken on Tuesday in Patna. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

sourced from http://beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article112439.ece?homepage=true

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Kiran Bedi Lecture


My heartfelt gratitude to DoHSS for postponing afternoon classes for today.


IC & SR Hall, IIT Madras, Chennai



Her lecture was on "Secrets to Success". I beg to differ. Her methods were never a secret, but we never wanted to find those three basic principles of success, the three Ms.

  • MASTER: Master your emotions and strive for excellence in your academics
  • MEMBER COMMUNITY: Be a useful member of your community
  • MEANING: Find a higher meaning for your life
Her words were inspiring, thought provoking and straight on the face. When the others dished out the cliched words - You are IITians, the best in the country. How can I make you any better? - she had the courage to tell us - I checked your website. I couldn't find the details of any patents that this institute has achieved in the past 51 years.

She made us introspect. She made us feel bad of ourselves for not doing enough as the students of this premier institute. If YOU decide to be ordinary despite being in this extraordinary institute, then who will be?

I believe she has convinced us to act. And I sincerely believe that we do act.

I end this special Lecture post quoting her.
People who make sacrifices for themselves might reach positions. When they turn their backs, we'll curse them. People who make sacrifices for the community as a whole become great. When they turn their backs, we follow them.




Saturday, February 20, 2010

Politics and youngsters

Vladimir Putin was 42 when he became the President of Russia.
Tony Blair was 44 when he moved to 10, Downing Street.
Barack Obama was 47 when he became the Commander-in-Chief of the US Forces.
Gordon Brown's cabinet's average age is 49.

Indian Cabinet: Average age - 67

Shashi Tharoor in his recent TED Talk said thus.

.....the last elections, five years ago, gave the world the extraordinary phenomenon of an election being won by a woman political leader of Italian origin and Roman Catholic faith, Sonia Gandhi, who then made way for a Sikh, Manmohan Singh, to be sworn in as prime minister, by a Muslim, President Abdul Kalam, in a country 81 percent Hindu
The pluralism in our democracy has transcended the barriers of religion, caste, gender and region. Still we don't have enough youngsters in our political system. Let me define two words before I move any further.

Cynicism is an attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives.

Politics is the art and science of government and public life.

The popular cynicism about politics among the youngsters in our country is disheartening. Immediately after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, NDTV ran a campaign, ‘Enough is enough’. I would like to quote from an NDTV report dated December 01, 2008.

The 26/11 terror attacks have left Mumbai in shock, anger and outrage. The city known for its spirit, finally said, “Enough is enough”. Everybody in Mumbai is angry. Vikram Bawa, a Photographer said, “I think we can shut all the politicians up and tell them to just get out of here and let us live our lives.”

NDTV is not the only channel which did such preposterous and irresponsible reporting. CNN-IBN went out gauging the Indian Youth’s opinion on politics. And the opinion was, obviously – “I hate politics and politicians”. In fact, one of my friends wrote a year back thus.
I do dream that one day will witness the extinction of the political race and then political parties will become defunct. I do dream that elections will be eliminated and precious public money will be invested to make life better for the people and not to bring pests to power.

It is this attitude that will hurt India in its quest to be one of the most leading and respected world nations. While it is true that the youngsters are upset about the way Indian politics is working nowadays, it is surprising that most of them don’t want to enter politics and try and make a difference. Because criticizing from the outside is always easy. Getting in and bringing about change is difficult.

A Politician is corrupt unless he proves otherwise – this is what is holding back many from entering the political arena. All politicians are painted corrupt by the general public and the media. The Indian youth has this habit of criticizing politicians for being corrupt, misappropriating funds when they themselves do it at a lower scale. Be it a school fest or a college fest, money is laundered from the budget by showing it under a non-existing head against a fake voucher/bill. To imagine that some of these students eventually would end up as CEOs or IAS officers or politicians or public servants of any capacity is frightening.

May the best youngsters join the Political System of India and make it a better place.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

True Love

"Rahul, I love you".

"I love you too",he told Meenu.

Sitting in an empty classroom on a Friday evening, Rahul and Meenu decided they should run away if they hope to be together. They knew their parents wouldn't agree with this proposal. They would say its too early. After all, they are still studying.

"Meenu, I can't live without you"

It was two years ago when they first met. Both of them were standing with their parents near the office, waiting for the admission procedure to be completed. They knew they loved each other the moment they met. His eyes followed her, when she left for home with her parents. He longed to meet her the next day.

In two different rooms, in two different homes, in two different places, Meenu and Rahul spent that night wondering what the other person might be thinking. As always, people in true love think the same.

True lovers ignore each other in public.

How universal are the concepts of love?! Meenu and Rahul indeed met the next day. But they never spoke a word to each other, occasional glances and blushes apart. Her eyes followed him, when he left for home that evening.

Forward to present

They are still sitting in the empty classroom contemplating the possibilities of eloping. No proper education, no other means to survive. Their confidence was melting.

"What shall we do?", Meenu aked Rahul.

"May be we should do our homework", he said.

With that, he took out his Math notebook.

Rahul Krishnan, Std 3B, Lakeview International School.




Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nicks!

Tell me your name, I may not know you. But tell me your nickname; it is almost certain that I know you well. Most of the people here in Chennai know me by my nickname. In this post, I am going to give you an idea about all the nicknames that I have been given and the final christening.

It was in 1996, when I was in Upper Kindergarten (UKG) that I got my first nickname. A fan of Tom & Jerry since childhood, I had spent most of my time in front of the television set. So at the age of five, I started wearing glass. For that reason, I was given the name "Gandhi appooppan" (appooppan = Grandfather). I had to wait till 1999 to get my name revised to "kannadi" which when translated to English means spectacles.

Before letting you know my next nickname, I think you should know a few facts regarding my stint as a class leader in 5th standard. I used to make sure that all the talkative boys got adequately punished by the teacher. By the time I reached 7th standard, I had started giving details to the Principal regarding students who copied during the exams and those who brought mobile phones and other banned things to school. Fed up of my behavior, I was given the name by my classmates, paadunna pishachu meaning singing devil.

When I reached 9th standard, I became the assistant class leader and became known for my 'truthfulness' and was named Gandhi by friend Abraham George. I went on to be the reason why two of my classmates got suspended for half a day. For a month from then on, I was called the Hitler, but was later withdrawn.

Now, even after four years, my nickname remains the same.

The list of nicknames that my wing-mates have; please don't ask the fundaes!

Room No

 

 

 

 

 

 

366

Gautam

Anda

Kurian

Big Daddy

 

 

367

Mohan

Bunny

Sajad

Pocks

Suraj

PP

368

Arun

Gandhi

Chenji

Uncouth

Kanishka

iStrap

369

Gauthaman

Handshake

Jerin

BSNL

Siddharth

N cube

370

Binny

ICM

Polash

Booby

Preshanth

Skrotr

371

Deepak

Violence

Akhil

ABO

Aju

Nympho

372

Vigneshkumar

Vicks

Manish

Film

Vikas

Ooty

 



--
Lokasamastha Sukhino Bhavanthu!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Blogging Schedule

Dear Readers,

Till date, I have been very irregular in blogging. Now on, I am going to follow a schedule. My blog will be updated every Saturday and Wednesday.

Thank you all!

--
Lokasamastha Sukhino Bhavanthu!

I cannot fly (written a year ago)

“Next we’re going to study HVZ reaction. Does anybody know what HVZ expands to?”

“Hell” shouted out a boy, probably cursing chemistry, I thought. But he wasn’t.

“You’re right, continue”, said the teacher.

“Hell-Volhard-Zelinsky”, completed the whiz amid curious glances from the opposite gender.

“Hell”, I thought.

Life was miserable. I went home just to sleep – the rest of the time I am either at school or some worthless private tuition centre trying to gulp down as much data as possible. But this class was different – the chemistry tutor just cared about the brainy spectacled species in the front row and never wandered his sight beyond them. I stayed safe in one of the shabby back benches, hurling out my creativity onto a piece of paper.

“This reaction is very important from the exam-point-of-view. Study all the conversions properly. We’ll see next class”, finished the tutor.

I walked out of the dimly lit lecture hall to the brightness of the outside world. My thoughts were halted momentarily as I heard some giggles from behind. “Sounds girlish”, I thought. Turning around, I saw a battalion of girls (in various up-to-the-minute outfits) giggling at ‘me’? No, they were not. Why should they even bother to look at me? To them, I was not even a joker, but a loser.

Next destination: My school

I entered the sparsely populated classroom of mine and occupied my seat. The English teacher was ready with the Macbeth text.

MACBETH. They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,

But bear-like I must fight the course.

The line struck me. Yes, Shakespeare was right. I have been tied to a stake and cannot escape from the clutches of this devilish society. Why on earth should I go for IIT coaching just because my friends go there? Why should I be forced to study, study and study when my real worth lies in something else? Why should I be thrashed like a stray dog for not knowing what is the industrial manufacturing method of ozone?

I am forced to do what I don’t like. “I should fight this system”, I thought.

The English teacher became aware of my trepidation. “Arun, if you are not interested in the class, please leave the room”, shouted the teacher.

With that, I was forced to make my way to the Principal’s parlour.


(This article was published in The Loyolite 2009, Annual Magazine of Loyola School, Thiruvananthapuram.)

Lost

LOST
I lost my Sony Cybershot Digital Camera (Silver white, 12 MP) in the OAT during the Shaastra Vol Bash. If found, please contact me in the below given number.

Arun Sudarsan : +919790876930

BIG TREAT ASSURED!

Tell me people - when you find a camera lying around somewhere on the roads, what will you do? Make it yours inconspicuously, or try to find out its owner? Barring a few exceptions, I believe most of us would want to return it to its owner. But is it because of the 'treat' that is assured to you? If an IP doesn't promise a treat, would you not give it back?

LOST

I lost my Sony Cybershot Digital Camera (Silver white, 12 MP) in the OAT during the Shaastra Vol Bash. If found, please contact me in the below given number.

Arun Sudarsan : +919790876930

I WILL BE INDEBTED TO YOU FOR LIFE!

Since coming to this institution back in August 2009, I must have seen at least one different 'Lost' IP everyday. Everyone unfailingly ending with the line - TREAT ASSURED or its derivatives like BIG TREAT ASSURED, HAZAAR TREAT ASSURED, BASERA TREAT etc. Only once did I see an IP that didn't offer a treat, but the line - I WILL BE INDEBTED TO YOU FOR LIFE!

Are we BRIBING THE CIVIC SENSE of the students? To return a lost item to its owner is to be seen as a duty on our part. Then why the assurances of 'putting' treat? (Insti Lingo). This tendency to 'put' treat doesn't confine itself to the 'Lost' IPs. From Lit-Soc to Tech-Soc, Shaastra to Saarang and everything and anything that happens in the institute comes under this cancerous disease. The most disgusting of all being that this disease has even affected the NSS or the National Service Scheme. Putting treat for doing social service! Remember, the treats given to the people concerned is funded from the budget meant for NSS work and shown under a different head.

This culture of the students, who expect rewards and accolades for everything that they do is ruining their moral fibre. They learn to manipulate accounts to fund the treats, be it the Hostel funds, Shaastra, Saarang or NSS. Corruption therefore starts at this level. And to think that many of these people who misappropriate funds would later become CEOs of big companies (always keep Satyam in mind) and IAS officers and Politicians and 'Public servants'!

LET US NOT ALLOW OUR CIVIC SENSE TO BE BRIBED. LET US NOT TREAD THAT DANGEROUS PATH.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Right to die - a fundamental right?

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution reads thus.

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law

Suicide means deliberate termination of one’s own physical existence or self-murder. It is an act of voluntarily or intentionally taking one’s own life. Suicide needs to be distinguished from euthanasia or mercy-killing. Suicide by its very nature is an act of self- killing or self-destruction, an act of terminating one’s own life without the aid or assistance of any other human agency. Euthanasia, on the other hand, involves the intervention of other human agency to end the life.

Self-deprivation of life is not established by any procedure.

I would like to bring to your attention few facts with regards to suicides in India. According to the data I have with me, sourced from the report titled ‘Humanization and Decriminalizing of attempt to suicide’ submitted to the then Law Minister Mr. H. R. Bharadwaj, the number of recorded suicides in India in the year 2006 was 1,18,112. The deceased were mostly from the age group of 15-29 and 30-44 accounting for 36% and 35% respectively of the total suicides in the country.

Our life is inextricably linked with so many other people’s lives. Therefore it would be preposterous to even suggest that a person has the personal liberty to die considering how many lives would be affected by that. In certain cases, suicides can even affect the society as a whole. I would like to draw your attention to a suicide that took place in my home state Kerala a few years back, when a college student named Rajani committed suicide by jumping off the 3nd floor of the Kerala Entrance Commissioner’s office, because her application for an education loan was rejected by a bank. The state was paralyzed for the next 10 days, public property destroyed and schools shut down.

The decision to commit suicide is impulsive, irrational and emotional; due to various factors at a personal level and at a socio-economic level. I strongly believe that through effective intervention at the appropriate time, such deaths can be avoided, altering the conditions which lead to the decision to exterminate one’s own life.

It is argued that as the right to freedom of speech gives us the right to remain silent, as the right to practice a religion gives us the right not to practice a religion, the right to life does include the right to die. The Hon. Supreme Court in its various judgments have made it clear that the fundamental rights come with reasonable restrictions, and the specific case of right to die, it held that Article 21 is a provision guaranteeing protection of life and personal liberty and by no stretch of the imagination can extinction of life be read into it.

I would like to conclude my arguments against this topic reiterating that right to die is not one’s ultimate personal freedom, since we not only live for ourselves, but also for others. The right to personal freedom cannot be stretched to the extent of mankind returning to state of nature, state of lawlessness.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Facebook and me

Having luckily qualified an entrance exam that took me to the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai last year, I found out that the most effective way to stay in touch with people back home is the internet; to be specific, the social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut. But the pseudo-morality in me prevented me from using these fantastic sites during the first three months of my stay here in Chennai.

Soon I realized that there is no use hugging on to my pretentious principles. In school, I would have got the best outgoing student award for pretending to be good. Sadly, I passed out of Loyola a year earlier. Finally, on a fine Wednesday evening (or was it a Thursday afternoon?), I went to the DCF, opened Mozilla Firefox (notice my commitment towards the advancement of an open source software), typed in http://www.facebook.com. That day, I got my Netizenship back.

An interesting thing about Facebook is that it allows you to take ‘quizzes’ which serves no purpose but to make you (in)famous. Here are some examples handpicked by me from the website.

· Bitch test (Girls only): Are you a bitch?

· Are you a true pothead?

· What is your kissing type?

· How evil are you?

· Which 2010 song are you?

· When will you fall in love?

I don’t want to mention a few other tests, because it’s only a fine line between masterful writing and obscenity. In fact, I did take the last quiz mentioned on the list to know when I would get a girl. But I was not too pleased with the answer. It said that I would fall in love with a girl I would meet in a bar, at the age of 47. I was quite happy about the bar and the girl part of the answer, but not the age part of it; which brings me to another quiz which I took, to wonderfully illustrate how ridiculous can Facebook quizzes get.


The result, you can see for yourselves.

Name : Arun Sudarsan

Age : 18

Yes, I do have grey hair. But I am not a 100 year old guy! I want to emphasize on the point that I am just an 18 year old teenager! Unfortunately, many see me as a mature boy. Well, the truth is I am not. Now, I just want to enjoy my life as a teenager to the fullest and mature as the age clock keeps ticking.

To conclude, I would like appeal to all to be careful in future while using Facebook quizzes. They might tell you that you are likely to fall in love next day with your sister, if she happens to be one of your Facebook friends or that you are going to be stabbed to death in the near future.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An Award & A Controversy



No. This post is not about the N-Obama controversy. You might have already been overloaded with cartoons and articles condemning the Peace Prize conferred on the United States President. Yet, this theme of undeserving candidates getting prestigious awards continues.

Let's not go deep into history. Last three names of that illustrious list read as follows.
2007 - Rakesh Rollands
2008 - Mishel Johns
2009 - Archith Mohan

Three names that did justice to the prestige the title conferred on them; Best Loyolite. Go back in history and you will get the names of people like Rakesh P, Varun Murali, Arun Andrews etc. It lies upon the school management, the responsibility of finding the best person to be given this title every passing year. And all these years, selection of a person for this award never yielded a sense of awkwardness; a sense that a more deserving candidate was out there among his batch mates. Year 2010 gave us just that - sense of awkwardness.

There were at least two other more deserving candidates in the passing out batches, both in the CBSE and ISC classes. What resulted in the selection of the ultimate winner is what worries me more than the selection itself.
Quoting from Ashok's blog on Loyola School,
An amusing feature of elections in Loyola in the 1980s was the undercurrent of caste politics. I refer to the ICSE vs SSLC “war” of those days as caste politics because it was a battle over group identities based on which division you belonged to. As the ICSE was a tougher course in high school, the SSLC students were perceived as lower castes; on this blog and elsewhere, I have been told by recent ISC students that the discrimination turned more open in the 2000s. No wonder that the ISC vs HSC war continues in Loyola at the time of elections.
The newest battle in school; is ISC vs CBSE. With the teachers in CBSE and ISC sections not teaching the students from the other sections (apart from one or two exceptions), they don't get to know all the students in the passing out batches. This unfortunately results in the teachers voting en masse for the candidate from their section. This problem, I believe, is here to continue unless there is transparency in the selection process of the Best Loyolite award.

I therefore appeal to all those involved in the process of conferring this prestigious award to be more careful in future to preserve its stature.

The Nostalgia Battle (from my friend Basil's blog. basiljames.blogspot.com)

The Nostalgia Battle
Well, well...I don't know if its only me, but I notice war cries, broken chariots and the lot around the place today, all indicative of some sort of skirmish around these parts. So, I decided to look deeper in and found an intricate and intriguing battle being fought out.

The turf was the crown prince of social networking-Facebook. The gladiators, two of my friends, "Sami" and "Gandhi". The topic of nostalgia is quite naturally our old school, Loyola. While it certainly is one of the best things an ex-Loyolite can be nostalgic about, the out of the blue nature of the posts coming up on my home page is what makes me curious. As another of my friends insists on, events in chronological order goes like this.

One score and seven days of the first month of the new decade, "Sami" makes a random post about how he would love to sit in our former math teacher's class, back in school. Ok...random post..understandable. Boy, I never thought it would set off this chain reaction!!!

Some info on "Gandhi", just so that you have a sort of heads up. He was a prominent figure in school and has been told quite a few number of times that his topics of conversation to random people is often excessively limited to the school. Having been a well known personality might excuse some of his over blown-at-times feelings, but sometimes he crosses that fine line.


Back to "Sami". His post receives a few likes, one of whom is "Gandhi". "Sami" made his post at some unholy hour which is kind of typical of him, but Gandhi probably sees it amidst his daily chore of reading about certain deceased Chief Ministers. Anyway, after a morning class, "Gandhi" posts about a funny incident that happened in the same teacher's class in a senior batch. Maybe it was the trend catching on, but he got seventeen comments and a couple of likes. The comments represented a variety of Loyolites from seniors who passed out long ago to his batch mates. The comments ranges from the appreciative to the disdainful, but "Gandhi" certainly got noticed.

Sami had evidently recognised that the best way to continue keeping his account active and visited was to dish out similar stuff, so he comes up with another post. This is like a general rumination on how great and wonderful life in school was etc etc. with lots of sentimental stuff and good memories thrown in for spice. His post is commented on by six of our batch mates, all adding to the already long post.


I know "Gandhi" to be a persevering and determined chap and his skill at writing has been recognised at various levels. He knows, like all authors, how to tug at the heart strings. He comes up with a rather lame joke cracked by a teacher which was funny for its lameness. The junta chose to give "Gandhi" the brusheroo this time and restricted themselves to just a couple of likes. "Gandhi" did not reach the heights he has reached by giving up at the first instance. He rallied around with another incident involving the same teacher, a lengthy one to tell the junta that he has no intention of being fazed by a few people's attitudes. His endeavors are rewarded and his post garners thirteen likes and four comments. "Sami" had by this time realised the futility of competing with "Gandhi" or the lame nature of the proceedings, or both. He gave up, leaving "Gandhi" the clear victor of the battle.

Thus ends the glorious history of The Nostalgia Battle.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One year ago... how my writing was...

Below is an essay that I wrote on January 28, 2009 just over a year ago. Let's see how different my language was.

“Experience is the name that everyone gives to their mistakes”
-
Oscar Wilde (1892)
When your mind and body are at war with each other, when the societies are at crossroads with each other, when nations are living in perpetual hatred for each other, a mind which is honest can bail us out of trouble. When things are done against the wishes of God (or any philosophy that guides the mankind), we know that dishonesty has taken prominence. Actions done cannot be undone and scars rising out of dishonest actions cannot be effaced. The ubiquitous Godliness asks us to be honest
and it is our conscience which chooses either heaven or the forbidden fruit. Honesty leads us to contentment, peace of mind and heaven in the longer run. But man’s ambition may at many times choose dishonest ways to attain glory. That’s why John Milton wrote, “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven”, in his “Paradise lost”
The world as seen now is restless and destined to scale the heights of doom if dishonesty prevails. Our history teaches us the success of honest men and the destruction of the dishonest ones. Mahatma Gandhi is honesty personified and his life is a testimony to that fact. When death invited him to the annals of history, he was raised to the position of the spiritual father of all Indians, born and unborn. But when Hitler chose to leave this world on his own, people celebrated his travel to the unseen horrors of hell.

Honesty is remunerative. It pays you for your un-tilted conscience and actions. Though I don’t see myself as an honest person, I can recollect incidents from my memory when I was praised for being honest. At the same time, I can also remember those incidents which revealed a darker side of my character and I was pulled up by my elders for being dishonest. This proves that the various circumstances chose my actions. What shall we do to be constant like the North Star? A total disregard for the consequences of being honest and a mind that tells you to follow the truth is
necessary for being honest. Spiritual enlightenment and dissolution from the physical pleasures of life lead you to such a state. Swami Vivekanandan is a glowing example to the above argument. His life was dedicated to the service of God, and through God, the goals of honesty and truthfulness.

I believe that sometimes experiences (or rather your mistakes) will lead you to honesty. A feeling that the misfortunes in life were a reflection of the dishonest ways followed can turn a dishonest and mean rogue to an honest a caring saint. Saint Valkmiki was a transformed man who later spread the truths of life through his epic Ramayana. “All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others”, wrote George Orwell in his “Animal Farm”. When one sees all and measures all with the same eyes and scales, then he is an honest man. Honesty is a journey is the
roaring sea of dishonesty. It is rough and difficult. But once you follow it like a sinking star, you will reach a world beyond the horizon, unseen by dishonest men, but you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Why Rahul Gandhi resists marriage?

My dear friend Jerin has come up with an interesting explanation as to why our next PM in waiting Rahul Gandhi has not married till now, and possibly will remain unmarried in future too! Mr. Gandhi, born on June 19, 1970 turns 40 this year.

His explanation: Rahul Gandhi wants the Gandhi Family reign in Congress and the country to end! He wants democracy to return to the GOP of India!

This is thought I shouldn't fail to blog instantly!