Sunday, November 30, 2008

Point & shoot

The standard Indian explanation of terrorism by the way of pointing fingers toward Pakistan seems rather shallow at this point. Even if it is true, we still cannot justify the failure of our intelligence, police & the general rise of civil unrest in the country based on religious grounds which includes Hindus, Muslims & Christians alike - the difference being one of degree. This is a moot point, however.

Nothing that I know of tells me that the Pakistani government has even an iota of control over a lot of these home-grown terrorists. Pakistan is as much a victim of the situation as we are. Their military & intelligence are way outside government control. So by lobbying against the Pakistani government, if government is the right term for the the structure in place in Pakistan right now, I do not see how we are taking any measures of consequence in solving the problem.

One of the aspects of this closed, parochial mentality is epitomised in the failure of SAARC as a political organization, as opposed to the EU - which, in spite of its many internal disagreements, has been able to structure an organization which gives it clarity & definition as a body of nations united for many geo-political purposes.

If India does not understand & act upon the notion that the idea of national peace & prosperity in a region of economic, societal & political distress is just banana oil, this kind of thing will continue to happen. And acting in the regional interest is something that each country has to evolve a consensus & a mentality for. And their respective citizens will need to have the voice & purpose to do this.I can't imagine that the solution to any of this, whatever the solution is, will come from & involve just one country in the region.

South Asia is in tatters. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka - all of us battling endlessly against internal strife based on a variety of factors. South Asia has not really had any kind of a movement resembling the Renaissance, but we're sure not going to stop ourselves from slipping into our own "Dark Age". So lets go ahead & pull that trigger - an eye for an eye, right?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Being Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid is struggling to score runs. And he has been struggling for a while. Whether he decides to quit the game or not is his own call & his place in the side regardless of his personal decision is a question for the BCCI. For me, though, looking at Dravid as just a number 3 batsman in India colours is violently reductionist - it is tantamount to saying that Edmund Hilary was mountaineer from New Zealand & Abraham Lincoln was the President of United States around 1860.

A while back a guy called Kapil Dev took 400 or so wickets - only to be surpassed plentiful times since his times. Kapil's 400 wickets, though, are more than a record - what was more important that it made a nation believe that it can bowl fast. The lot of Indian bowling stars/starlets owe it Kapil that conceiving a cricketing career as a pace bowler was no longer construed as utterly ridiculous.

In the same vain, Rahul Dravid is more than the sum of all his runs. He is the crouching wicket-keeper who keeps for 50 overs & comes out to bat at #3. He is the master technician who shakes his head in dissapointment if the ball he sent to the boundary hit his bat 3 cms to the right of the meat of his bat. He is the guy who gave up captaincy, in a power hungry country, so he could just bat.

If Dravid does not recover his form, no one, in their right minds, can say it was because he did not try, or because he was pre-occupied with things other than scoring runs. Being Rahul Dravid also means merciless introspection, as Menon writes here; & the continual scrutiny of his game, in good times as well as bad, toward continuous improvement. It means the restoration of method & practice as legitimate means to cricketing achievement, in sharp contrast to the wizardry weilding hand-eye coordination method of some of our popular & equally successful batsmen.

And that is precisely why Dravid is more than a crickter. A fat lot of help hand-eye coordination is if you do markerting, or keep accounts. But whether you have a rock-band, or write software programmes - you can apply method & practice. You can demand the best of yourself if you practise law, or design a set. In medicine as in the hotel business, there is always something that you need to learn & relearn.

Dravid's legacy, then, is an old-fashioned, incredibly middle-class, relook at the art of the possible - not by the blessed magical sparks of talent & twists of luck, but in spite of these. His legacy is the extra thought you put in, the additional hour you invest, & when you strive instead of trying.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Expanding your....ummm...horizons!

So I'm stuck again in a hotel room for the rest of this year. I'd have to say that the weather in Alpharetta, Georgia is not quite inclement this time of the year - in sharp contrast to the bally snowstorms in Minneapolis earlier this year.

Well, it felt like snowstorms anyway. What do you think I am - an eskimo? Or is it an igloo?

So you may be inclined to ruminate about my sharp social encounters in chatty pubs, or me catching up with the stage - of the acting variety, I hasten to emphasize -, or taking trips along the rather beautiful, I suspect, country sides of Southern USA. And you'd be wrong.

I sit here at my desk in the hotel & read the news. I'm tired of making egg noodles oddly flavored with orange capsicums & broccoli. CNN thinks that there is no event even worthy of an occasional mention, whether in the USA or the petty little world outside the States, if it has nothing to do with the Presidential elections.

So as you can tell, I'm expanding my horizons & my waistline. And all this without any aid of any alcoholic beverage. So please be kind & show some approval.

From being a top 20, 000 reviewer (yippie!) in Amazon for over a year, I've slipped. As much of this is due to the fact that I am reading the kind of stuff most people in civil society would not want to associate with, I still want to emphasize that by virtue of being a friend of mine, you do not really consistently qualify as a member of the civil society.

So please, click this link & vote. And make your opinion count.