August 31, 2008

Pervez Musharraf

Few days back I wrote that I don't much like Musharraf. A good friend asked me for the reasons. Vir Sanghavi has written my answer to that question, that is, if you are interested to know.


Well when you have four days off and you decide to pass the plan of driving to Las Vegas with friends to take a break (finally), you don't have much to do. So I watched few movies, read some books, browsed some internet, talked to some friends (okay, probably I shouldn't put this here as there are still friends I haven't called in ages),listened to some music and slept a lot. And still, I have a day left!!

Anyway, that wasn't point of this post. It was this slideshow about how to make killer blog (Browsing internet). Okay, I don't have any intention of killing any of you and hence I wasn't searching for anything like that. I was just browsing through the Technocrati's top 100 blogs when I found this. So I went through the slide show.

Well I have problem with a lot of these points as the presentation starts with "Blog because you want to" and jumps right into the marketing aspects and all those things. You know, link to other bloggers, interact, network, engage the commenters and all that (Ok they have a lot of other points too). You see if I was good in networking, interacting and all those things, I wouldn't need to blog and get an identity in virtual world. I would be happy in my real world! Moreover, if I blog because I want to why should I care whether someone reads it or not?

I agree if you create something you do want people to appreciate it but networking to increase traffic on your blog doesn't necessarily mean that they appreciate your work. They are either being polite or employing the same strategy as you are, i.e., read and comment on other people's blog.

For me blogging is a place to express myself, good or bad, right or wrong. People, in general, frustrates me and since my upbringing stops me to tell that on their face (and still people think I am too blunt/rude :( ) so I write it down here. And that's why people whom I interact on daily basis don't know that this blog exists.

P.S.: Don't worry. This isn't an assumed identity. I can't do that. I tried. Honestly. I tried writing under an assumed name but simply couldn't pursue it (there's a lot in the name especially when it's mine. I don't know about the rose). I need to be myself even though I don't want to be known.

What life's all about..

I was packing this weekend and found an old diary (probably from my late teen years). In the diary I found some old newspaper clippings. Its been a long time since I saw them. Among those clippings I found this beautiful poem (it's a long one though). It's by Shanaz Hussain:
Have you ever seen the autumn leaves turn from green to gold,
A carefree flower burning with flaming colours and exotic perfume
Burn and die in golden sunlight
That's what life is all about
With a smile on your lips and a prayer in your heart
If you truly love me, you'll set me free.

Have you ever seen the romantic scarred, dreamy moon,
As you walk alone on a moonlit night,
and its soft silvery glow invisibly bathes your body
You looked into his eyes and your secret world explodes,
He looked back into your soul and saw the naked truth,
Your eyes were the mirrors of your heart,
It made no sense, your life's first love
Then the dawn of truth smashing all fragments of reality, truth and dreams,
The lovelorn moon disappears behind dark menacing angry clouds
That's what life is all about
With a smile on your lips and a prayer in your heart
If you truly love me, you'll set me free.

Have you ever seen a silent volcano
Boiling with life as if the bowels of the Earth are in anguished turmoil,
Then the flaming sea of burning writhing emotions
Pouring down hill like the fires of hell,
Destroying everything that comes in its fiery path
That's what life is all about
With a smile on your lips and a prayer in your heart
If you truly love me, you'll set me free.

Have you ever seen the shell-pink dawn of life,
Followed by the flaming rising golden sun,
Then the magic turn from gold to silver,
The high noon of life where all material things must be acquired,
Then by the law of nature left behind,
Meteoric success achieved at lightning speed,
One golden minute studded with 60 diamond seconds,
No second chance given-for they are gone for ever,
It is sunset. The heavens are aflame,
As the ball of fires settles in the inviting velvet arms of the night
One beautiful life has just burnt out, another just born.
As the world watches dumbfounded,
For others a good life meant a 100 years,
She lived a complete life time with the rising and setting of the sun
That's what life is all about
With a smile on your lips and a prayer in your heart
If you truly love me, you'll set me free.

Have you ever thought of people who burn their candle at both ends
They know it's time to go, they will not last the night,
But as they burn themselves, they give a lovely light,
Leaving their footprints in the sands of time,
That's what life is all about
With a smile on your lips and a prayer in your heart
If you truly love me, you'll set me free.

Have you ever heard a Nightingale sing
In a cage struggling to escape every moment
Looking for a chance, of the tiny door left open,
It steals out, then realises its wings are clipped,
The world rejoices, it gt its freedom at last, but cannot fly,
It stumbles, falls, rises. its wings grow again,
Only to fly far far away, for ever and ever, never to return,
Lost in the expanseless horizon,
Just think, if you love something, set it free,
If it is yours, it will come back to you,
If it does not, it was never meant to be,
That's what life is all about
With a smile on your lips and a prayer in your heart
If you truly love me, you'll set me free.

Have you ever built sand castles by the sea side,
Each particle of golden sand another childhood dream
The sunlight sparkling on your desires etched in mud,
Then the engulfing massive emerald waves,
Gushes over you and your dreams, in moments are washed away,
The roaring waves recede-the sand is still there
Just you and your dream castles are washed away,
Swallowed and drowned, part of expanseless sea,
That's what life is all about
With a smile on your lips and a prayer in your heart
If you truly love me, you'll set me free.

Have you ever looked into a mirror,
You will see a face you know-
It's the one you love the most, in happiness and pain,
The reflection will always be there-
But then you look into it again, it is still you,
Or you think it is you-
It is not clear, you freeze with fright, you sweat, you tremble,
You wonder, "Why can't I see myself, the way the world sees me, the way I always did,
Is my reflection not me, I wish I could clearly see!
Is this the Will of God, if so, then let it be."
That's what life is all about
With a smile on your lips and a prayer in your heart
If you truly love me, you'll set me free.

Have you ever seen a pink lotus plant grow from the silt and mud,
Into a tiny sapling, then a tiny bud,
Then a stunning flower exuding beauty and fragrance,
The bees humming a sensuous tune around it,
You see it bloom, the glaring sunlight basking in its exotic glory,
Then it is night the lotus wilts and dies,
That's what life is all about
With a smile on your lips and a prayer in your heart
If you truly love me, you'll set me free.
Melancholic still beautiful, isn't it?

August 29, 2008

For now...

...this template will do. Its elegant. It has three column. And it somehow makes the posts look royal. I like that.

August 28, 2008

Its over..

..well almost. I did my final presentation. well sort of. I have to do another presentation on the final day of internship and write a report. But I am done with the work, mostly. I feel very relaxed now even though I am still too busy.

I went to Disneyland for the third time last weekend but I enjoyed being in Disney for the very first time. As they say it, you enjoy doing things with your friends rather than with random people you know (ok not that random they were my colleagues but still not equivalent to friends). I am not trying that out anytime soon. From now on, I will live in FRIENDS ONLY zone. Random people stay away. Trespassers will be prosecuted.

August 20, 2008

Life on snooze

I realize I have been writing a lot about current affairs lately. And I sound very frustrated/angry. The reason I usually don't like to read newspaper or listen to news. I can't read the news objectively and not get emotional about them. It just makes me angry.

Anyway, to steer the mood towards lighter side, I went Ph.D. Comics browsing and discovered the latest t-shirts there. Loved this one:

I told you so..

Its day one after President Musharraf stepped down and already Taliban is active. Hope they would realize it soon enough. Before Pakistan is under Taliban control. That would be a disaster for all of us.

P.S: My previous comments are here.


For some reason, we in India don't have a psychology of thinking the money spent by the govrnement/ bureaucrats/ministers as our money. Its government's money and government has unlimited amount of money and its ok for them to waste it. And that's why we never bother to stop and get angry at what our tax money is used for. That's right, if you work in India and pay taxes every March, you are paying for the fancy cars, air travels, parties and any such expenditure fancied by the politicians/bureaucrats. Your hard earned money. The money for which you worked the entire year.

Why am I talking about this, all of sudden? I just finished reading this editorial by Vir Sanghavi (one of my favorite columnist). The issue in the article is Kashmir. I have known for years that Kashmir enjoys a speical state status (Article 370) but have never stopped to think what it means till now. Here is what that means, in terms of your money:

Under Article 370 of our Constitution, with the exception of defence, foreign policy, and communication, no law enacted by parliament has any legitimacy in Kashmir unless the state government gives its consent. The state is the only one in India to have its own Constitution and the President of India cannot issue directions to the state government in exercise of the executive power of the Union as he can in every other state. Kashmiri are Indian citizens but Indians are not necessarily Kashmiri citizens. We cannot vote for elections to their assembly or own any property in Kashmir.

Then, there is the money. Bihar gets per capita central assistance of Rs 876 per year. Kashmir gets over ten times more: Rs 9,754 per year. While in Bihar and other states, this assistance is mainly in the forms of loans to the state, in Kashmir 90 per cent is an outright grant. Kashmir’s entire Five Year Plan expenditure is met by the Indian taxpayer. In addition, New Delhi keeps throwing more and more money at the state: in 2004, the Prime Minister gave Kashmir another $5 billion for development. (Its DOLLAR 5 billion and not Rupees. Imagine how much they have to increase the taxes or cut down on something more essential (parties and such expenditures are never cut down and you know that) to match that kind of expenditure.)


The other cost of Kashmir is military. Many terrorist acts, from the hijacking of IC 814 to the attack on parliament have Kashmir links. Our response to the parliament attack was Operation Parakram, which cost, in ten months, Rs 6,500 crore and 800 army lives? (Kargil cost us 474 lives.) Each day, our troops and paramilitary forces are subjected to terrorists's attacks, stress, and ridicule.

And all this for what? To be criticized by the world, to be preached human rights by Pakistan, and worst of all: to be condemened by Kashmiris themselves? I would rather have my tax money (though I don't pay taxes to Government of India anymore but figuratively speaking) invested in Bihar even though I know that major part of that will go to the pockets of corrupt ministers and bureaucrats but at least we won't be condemened for that.

P.S.: I hate paying taxes. Not because I have to give away my money but the way government uses it. In US, major part of my tax money is going to US defense to bully rest of the world or to social security to pay the homeless get their drugs. The worst part is that I don't even have a right to vote here even though I have duty of paying taxes. How is that fair? At least I should have a say in the way they use my hard earned money. And trust me, I work really hard for that.

August 19, 2008


And I thought thats our speciality. Isn't US supposed to be a secular state and thus is trying to "eradicate" fundamentalist groups from the world?

Reminds me of doha from Kabir (my favorite sufi-poet):

Bura jo dekhan main chala, bura na milya koi
Jo dil dhunde aapna mujhse bura na koi.

(When I tried finding "evil" in others, I couldn't find any.
When I searched my own heart, I found I am the worst of all.)

P.S.: Told you, I can't rhyme to save my life but I can sure appreciate poetry.

August 18, 2008


Pop-up quiz

Question 1: What does a beauty queen wants?
Answer: World peace and eradication of poverty from the world.

Question 2: What does a US president wants?
Answer: Resolve middle-east issues and establish democracy in the world.

Real question is: Does either of them really care about these issues? Or do they just want the crown?

Even more importantly: Can either of them actually resolve these issues? Do they have any authority to even attempt to resolve these issues?

The last few questions are subjective and don't have any right answers associated with them.

P.S.: I am fed up of the election campaigns. The ambigous stands on controversial topics, world peace speeches with no concrete plans: can we just get over them?


Another olympics. Another embarassing time of life. For past week I have been frequently asked by my colleagues about whether India has a team in Olympics and everytime I simply want to disappear. And like every Olympic season, there will be talks about pathetic condition of Indian sport in the newspapers and as soon as Olympics are over we all will go back to our lives. We will again tell our kids that sports are waste of time and they should concetrate on studies. They should become doctor or engineer.

Even though being an Indian is embarassing during Olympics, there is a bright spot for me this time. Its called Stanford Olympics team. Well its part of US team, of course but we do keep our own Medal count. So far we have got 3 golds, 1 silver and 3 bronze and still counting. Its far more medals than India have. Wish we did at least as good as Stanford. But alas! Its a daydream and will remain so forver.

Anyway, for now I can atleast say: GO CARDINAL.

P.S.: Stanford sports team is called Cardinal. And maroon is Stanford color. Just FYI.

August 16, 2008


Two months back I lost my wallet while visiting Stanford. I have been in Bakersfield since. I am in Stanford for the weekend and was going through my mails and guess what? Someone posted my wallet back! It doesn't have any cash in it, obviously. I think they used it to courier the wallet back to me (I think I had $20-$30 cash in the wallet). It has all my membership and gift cards (I blocked the credit cards and have received new ones already).

The return address on the label says Postmaster, Main Post Office so I don't know who to thank to. Keeping an id card with your mailing address in the wallet helps.

I am so glad that there are still people who are honest and go into all the trouble of sending things back to the rightful owner. They could have easily tossed it in the garbage bin but they took pains to send it back to me. I am touched. My sincerest thanks to stranger who went through the trouble of sending my wallet back.

P.S.: Its my favorite wallet too. I have been trying to buy a new one for two months but none of the wallet I saw were as good as this one. I am glad to have it back.

August 14, 2008

I am still here..

..despite all the rumors you might have heard on the contrary. But I won't say I am back as yet. I am again traveling over the weekend and the weekend after this and weekend after that and next and next. So you get the picture how busy my already hectic life is at the moment.

And inspite of all this traveling and never ending schedules and desperate attempts to catch some sleep in between them, I have been missing blogging. I have so much to write. And I will, whenever I could catch a moment in between.

Let me start by whining about the latest trip. Do you know U.S. airways now charge you $15 for first check-in baggage, $25 for second bag and $100 for the third? They make you check-in your baggage if your hand bag is oversize and charge you for that. And as always, the airport security doesn't allow you to carry any shampoo bottles or such things so if you are planning to carry that stuff, you need to check in your baggage and hence pay them. Its such a ingeniious scheme to rip you off. Wanna hear another one of that? As you probably know, you are not allowed to carry water and in case you thought you will drink water in the plane instead of buying it at the waiting area, guess what? You would have to pay $2 for a bottle of water which is expensive than buying the water at the terminal ($1.45).

To top all this, as I was coming out of the terminal at Phoenix airport (I changed planes there for Houston), a salesman stopped me and tried to sell me a US airways master card! You know, the ones that earn you mileage when you use them. Who wants to earn US airways mileage? Honestly, it was an official trip so all my expenses were paid otherwise I would have been far more furious right about now. If you are planning a trip, please avoid US airways at all cost especially for long flights. They stink.

August 7, 2008

Pakistan moves to impeach Musharraf

Good news for democracy, bad news for the rest.

I am not a fan of Pervez Musharraf but he has managed pretty well given the mess Pakistan is in. As much as I understand regional politics, removing him would mean handing over Pakistan (and most probably Afghanistan and Kashmir too) to Talibans. It might be good for democracy in Pakistan and its definitely good for Zardari and Sharif but I am not so sure about rest of the world including India especially when Pakistan have nuclear power.

A quick note.

I am busy.

Oh ok, I know I should give more explanation than that. You guys are smart enough to guess that much.

For past two weeks I have been busy making presentations and poster. Its a very frustrating thing to do for me at the moment (in normal circumstances I love to present: To talk about my work and get feedback). I started my internship a month ago. I had to go to Disney land and THUMS island for two days in middle of week (it was an official trip!) two weeks back. Didn't get any work done that week. And then I wasted another week for a stupid presentation and now I am making poster for this internship event. Its like out of six weeks I have been here, I wasted three weeks in these stupid things.

The problem is that most interns are finishing up their internship in August so its ok for them (the company or rather the HR) to organize such event and give everyone a chance to present their internship results but its not fair to me. They never gave me chance to work on my things and now they expect me to present. I know I can present my intentions (which are, btw, good :) ) but I can't have a presentation full of word slides or a poster full of words. I need to have some pictures and for that I need to work. Honestly, at this moment I want to work. You know actual work I am supposed to do. I am very excited about it but they are not letting me work and its so frustrating.

Anyway, next week I am going to Houston present this stupid poster so won't have much access to internet. We have to again attend another Baseball game (I hate Baseball games and I don't see the point of attending one but alas! I have to. Stupid HR.). Bottom line of this whole rambling: I AM BUSY. I HATE HR. I WANT TO WORK. :(