Monday, December 29, 2008

The boy who thought he knew what he wanted!

I make my way to my seat in the rather congested Embraer, hoping there is no one sitting next to me, and there is enough room in the hat rack, and that they have one more flight attendant on board, the one at the gate was anything but a welcome sight. However, there is no other attendant on board, the hat racks around my seat are all taken, and there is a young 10 or so year old boy sitting next to me. I move around a bit to stuff my back pack in one of the vacant hat racks, and make my way to my seat, as usual, I prefer reading Kafka to talking to the boy, who is rather intrigued by me. They make the usual announcements, the boring attendant holds the safety belt, shows the worn out laminated exit guide et al card around, and wears a safety jacket as well.
The boy looks outside every now and then, glimpses over to see parts of the metamorphosis, reads a bit, and then looks elsewhere knowing this may not be congruent to his taste. A slight jerk and the air craft starts to taxi, and does that for the next one hour, before it actually takes off.
Once in the air, the boy sort of comes alive. I knew that because I felt a tap on my arm, I look around and the boy is looking at me, as I remove the headphones, he shoots out a question for me, what’s your name? Sohail, that’s a nice name, thank you, what’s yours, Shakeem, he says. He was expecting me to complement his name, I preferred to stay numb.
So typical of African Americans, judging from the corn row on his head, I was not surprised at all. So what are you going to be when you grow up; I was expecting him to say P Diddy, or Shaggy, or some little known stand up comedian’s name, he however, had his future planned out in a rather different manner. Me, I am going to be the President of the United States of America, is that right, I replied. Ahan, and I’m also going to be the head of the treasury, the FBI, the CIA, and General Motors! Really, how are you going to handle all those jobs, no one else has been able to do that before, they have teams handling each one of those jobs, you sure you can do this on your own? I am, no one else has been able to do it, cause no black person has ever taken any of these roles, we can do things you see, I see, I said. So tell me Shaheen, Shakeem, he corrects me, my apologies, Shakeem, I can understand President, Treasury, FBI, CIA but why General Motors? Why not? he says. Well, all the others have one thing in common, they are legislatively related administrative posts, this is a commercial entity, I knew I was using terms that might be beyond his age just a little bit, one of the intentions was for him to get out of my hair, I was done with my share of intrigue and wanted to get back to my reading. Okay, here is the thing, I plan to change we do things in America, I am done with state administrative and commercial entities being completely separate; I close the book and put it in the pocket in front of me, he has my attention. You are, so what are you going to do about it, are you critiquing the capital market theory, I try to throw out lingo I am hoping is beyond his turf again, I’m not critiquing capital market theories, the best run countries in the world are the ones that have brought justified regulations by the state administration into the commercial entities, so much so as to control prices of commodities! Okay, this is no P Diddy, this kid is a Keynes in the making…what transpired was a foray of na├»ve at times intelligent conversation, the kid was obviously impressed with his new President, and listened to much conversation between his father and his friends and had adopted to the ideas of his father, whats most intriguing is the way one man can change the fate of an entire race, he actually believes that he can run all those offices and that he can change the face of the planet, but then, I recall, at his age, I was going to be a mad scientist, Batman, an engineer, an architect, a statesman, and Prince Charming too, funny how the parallels have regressed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

About a dog

I
We climb the stairs to the first floor, there is a reef on the door, sounds of a dog barking emerge while the door is being unlocked, as the door opens I see the dog for the first time, and I am thinking god no, not a dog, ive never been able to relate to one, whats even more difficult for me, is to pretend that I like the dog. Baxter!, she says, sit down, Baxter on the other hand has other ideas. He is trapped inside the kitchen, and is excited, as the trap door is set loose, he runs out and starts to climb on me, he needs to go for a walk, she says. I am pretending to like the dog, never liked touching them, she puts a leash around him and takes him for a walk, I follow behind.
II
I climb the stairs again, knock on the door, the dog barks, the door opens, baxter jumps towards me, I wish there was some better way to do it. I sit on the Ottoman watching the TV. Baxter is running all over the place, he looks at me every now and then, but mostly he is playing on his own. Suddenly I notice that he is sitting right beside me. Looking straight into my eyes, big black eyes, dark brown hair on his head, his long ears drooping, I focus back to the TV. Instantaneously, he puts his right paw on my knee, followed by the left paw, dredges forward, and starts to climb into my lap. Now you have to realize this is a big dog, and he is completed nested in my lap. I extend my neck to look over his head and continue to watch the TV. He raises his neck, uses a paw, to grab my hand, and lowers his neck to my hand held by his paw. Out of instinct, I start to rub his neck, he shows his appreciation as any one being loved would. I put my second arm around him, and start talking to him, you like me don’t you, don’t you, he has tongue out, and he heaving.
III
I drive over, and Baxter is out for a walk, I take his leash, and take him around for a walk, we walk through the trees, through the houses, parking areas, into a park. Baxter stops every now and then to look for something, responds to my voice, runs all over the place, makes me run behind him. Turns around, steps on me, climbs on me till his paws are touching my chest, I hold his paws, and we walk, dance, people around us look, smile, it’s a nice evening, the sun is setting nicely…

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crossing the Atlantic

It’s been almost six hundred years since people have been crossing the Atlantic. I crossed it the first time almost 25 years ago myself, and since then have been doing it almost half a dozen times every year for a while now, but no experience has been even remotely similar to the one I’m having right now, in fact I write and publish these words while I am on the Atlantic. A number of reasons why this is so unique:

1. I am riding an A380. While the world has been awaiting the launch of the next generation of commercial aircrafts for half a decade now, and we the members of the business fraternity who subscribe to the fortunes and the economists of this world, have been following the Boeing versus Airbus story with avid interest not in my wildest dreams had I thought that this experience would be so unique.

2. For once, they actually modified the Dubai airport where I got on to the A380 from (and the Chiang Mai at Singapore) to accommodate the next generation of the aircrafts.

3. There are two levels of ducts that you board the airplane from. When the lady at the check in counter handed me my boarding card, I glimpsed at it, and the first thing that really looked odd to me was the seat number, you see not in the last 30 years have I seen a seat number that reads 87k, I had just landed in Dubai a few days ago on Boeing 777 at a seat that was literally at the far end of the craft with a number in the late 40s or something. This possibly couldn’t have been twice as long a carrier could it have been.

4. The bathrooms are done with an aesthetic sense that is the hallmark of a European product. The overall finish of the walkways, the entertainment system, flight navigation animations with 3-D effects was…well…at the very least with an air of freshness about it.

5. The crew was wearing uniforms that were probably redone with the aptitude to welcome the A380 to Emirates.

6. The best thing about the A380 is the take-off and landing experience, it is exquisitely smooth and silent.


Having said all of that, remember when Boeing would keep on saying that the world was not really ready for an A380, well I couldn’t help but feel that they were right. Half the seats in the plane were empty. There was this talk of handling the passenger traffic at the airport, and how the airports were not ready for it, well unfortunately the plane was empty. The very large airliner (VLA) concept was launched to increase the per seat yield of end to end destination operators, as opposed to low cost hub and spoke carriers.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

When Life is a Burden


I just couldn't resist the temptation to capture this heavy load. It makes me always wonder how some one with such a heavy load on back, and heavier loads on the front go on living life without doing too much about it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Coming to life...

There is a daze in my eyes, can't see clearly, who am I, where am I, the daze disappears when I close my eyes, replaced by complete darkness. There is light on the roof, somethings about this are very familiar, though I have never been here before. I look around to see what else is going on...

There are several people over me, I focus on one of them. She is a girl, dressed in white, judging by her head gear, she seems to be a nurse, I hear voices around me, can't seem to make out what they are talking about. There is a pain in my head, my arms hurt, where are you? Its another voice, I tilt my head, and judging by the outfits and the gears, I can say its a doctor asking me, I think, and I say Chicago. She nods her head, what year is this, I have to think twice, 2008? She nods again, month, this is getting too close for comfort, Juuu-ly. She nods again, wonder if i qualify for the hundred thousand dollars yet? What date is it, I don't remember, she smiles, thats alright, you've virtually come back to life...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Bloody Mary



I have always preferred the virgin mary to the bloody mary. All they do is impregnate the drink with a bit of tomato juice and make it bloody, and while the black pepper and all taste all nice, what really makes it all crappy is the fact that the pinch in the juice becomes all cramped up.

The virgin mary on the other hand, sounds so original, from purity comes an effect that is expected to give you sensation more popularly known as a high

However, the bloody mary that you see up their has to be the most pathetically shaken yet most artistically set up drink i've had. I'm sticking to on the rocks, pure and does the job, instantaneously

bottoms up!

Transformation


The Smokey Chimney

The Buddhist monastery that you see below was something that i used to look at every day when I got back to my room. The chimney had smoke coming out of it the first time I looked at it.

One day I return and while talking on the phone I observe a van pulling up, people on foot following the van, and an aura of silence in the atmosphere. The van stops, they take a stretcher with a dead body out of the van and place it on the floor. I observed for a while and then went for a jog in the gym. When I got back, they were moving the body to be cremated in the chimney housing. Half and hour later I saw smoke coming out of the chimney. Flesh and spirit, amalgamated with atmosphere, free to roam, the body on the stretcher no longer needs to be carried around by a bunch of people...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A day by the river kwai...hotels with old people in them!

it had been a while since i had been planning a visit to the river Kwai. Having seen the movie, and since Billy Joel referred to it amongst a world of other things, in his 'we didn't start the fire', and having seen a documentary too, it really was a serious entry in my to-do list.
Getting through work all week, trying to learn Thai, and trying to teach English, so that some semblance of a notion known to mankind as communication could take place, i booked my self on a day trip to the river Kwai with the travel agency just out side my hotel. the lady at the travel agency though trying to be really polite, as most Thai women are, was amazingly repugnant, you see I cant stand armpits that have hair creeping out of them, and she had locks. Regardless, I booked my self for a visit to the cemetery, journey on the death train, bamboo rafting on the river and elephant trekking through the mountains, woo hoo!
The bus was supposed to pick me up at 0630 in the morning, I got up at 0600, knew I'd have to leave with an empty stomach since breakfast only opens at 0630. When i got to the lobby, there were several other people there, mostly old people, and this is some thing that i will touch in another post, why do i stay in hotels where there are only old people? The concierge asks me to take a seat, evidently my bus hasn't arrived, yet. There are buses leaving for Ayuthaya, and Pattaya, and where not. Finally at around 0640 my bus enters the hotel driveway, only its a Toyota Hiace kind of a breed. The driver stepped into the lobby, looks at my ticket that the travel agency armpit lady had given me, nods for me to step in the van.
As i got in the van, and the driver put the pedal to the metal. While we were speeding away, as the van passes by the grand palace, apparently heading towards Khao san, I suddenly realize; I had put my camera's batteries for charging last night in the charger, and never recalled to take them out, could that be a reason i stay in hotels where old people stay? So i ask, beg, plead the drive to turn back, but he just lingeringly mumbles, saying 'no time'; he insists that i will be able to buy some batteries at Kanchanburi, I know he is just saying that.
The van reaches Khao san, a lady takes my ticket, and hands me a purple sticker, asking me to put it on my t-shirt, I get out and get myself something to eat from the 7eleven, as they gather around more people. This takes a while, and more people start pouring into the bus, and then when im really glad to be sitting in a nice seat, the ticket lady comes back and tells me that I need to change my van, you need to sit in another van, with a different group; shoot!
When i enter the new van, its all full, and i have to sit right at the end, good thing is, at the last seat, its just me and this other guy, at the far corner. The van starts moving, and turns a few corners as i sip on my coffee, stops at a point, and these two surreal hippies board the van, and they come and sit right next to me, hair all over, including the armpits, but what was most disturbing was the body odor. I turned my head, asking myself what else could go wrong?
If i dont find batteries for myself, all I would have would be my cell phone, good thing they make cell phones with cameras, good thing they made cell phones, could this be another reason i'm staying in hotels where old people put up?
The ticket lady is seated at the front, and she says, now we are on our way to the cemetery, this is going to be a two hour journey, two hour, only she says it rather lingeringly, very soft, very Thai.
The smell fades away, either I'm getting immune to it, or it just really fades away, either way, the atmosphere got a bit better. I keep looking out side the window, one of the hippies reaches into his bag, and takes out a book, it says in spanish, the history of psychology, the other hippie also has a book in his hand, Freud - the man the concept. While both of them are reading, I doze off. We have reached the cemetery, the lady's lingering voice wakes me up, you have fifteen minutes to walk around, don't step over the tombstones please, blah blah blah. I step out, take a walk though the cemetery, would have taken more photos, but I'm holding a digital camera in my hand, and taking a photo with a cell phone, somebody needs to take photo of me doing this.
I saw some shops across the road, one of them said batteries, was a long shot, but i quickly hopped over to have a look see, the lady tried to sell me a disposable camera, and I almost bought it too, only I really didn't want to carry around a cell phone, a digital camera, and a disposable camera, so I just walked away.
The herded us into the bus again, we got to sit on the same seats again, these guys in the seat just in front were sort of bonding together, a lady from new zealand, who had legs that pleaded not to wear shorts, but she was wearing shorts, a guy from Newcastle who was her boy friend apparently, and this guy from Canada who they had met on the van.
We will stop in five minutes at a museum, the entry ticket is forty baht, you will have to buy it yourself, not included in your package, im too used to the lingering, its been 8 days in Thailand already.
The museum was pretty much like all museums are, there was a huge bazaar outside of it though, and they tried to help me get my batteries in the bazaar, but alas, to no avail, good thing they started making cell phones that had cameras in them!
The museum was located on the bank of the river Kwai, and there was bridge right next to it, only this was a reconstruction of the original bridge, they said that the original was actually bombed by the allied forces during the war. It's ironic that the bridge had been built at cost of the blood and lives of 45,000 allied soldiers, yet it was the allies that bombed it down. I crossed the bridge on foot, hurriedly, there was a train scheduled to pass in three minutes. One of the guys from the van was walking right next to me, he smiled at me, i nodded. Where are you from he asked, Pakistan, I said, his expression was one of confusion, I'd ask you from whereabouts in Pakistan, but I wouldn't know, he smiled. Where are you from, Bristol, he said. How long have you been in Thailand, three days, he says. We talk about the premier league, he supports Bristol City, which I have never heard of, and he doesn't think too much of Arsenal, so I look at him with disgust, but agree that Arsenal need to do somethings to put it right.
On our way back to the other side of the bridge, we meet up with another guy from the van, who is from London, and supports Tottenham. We talk about the end of season and transfers till we get to the van, what are we going to do now, Andrew, the Tottenham guy asks me, I think there is the train ride now, I say. Andrew was with the army, served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was relieved of his charge on Thursday, and arrived in Thailand on Friday. Was planning to go around for the next three months, with no plans of what he is going to do after he gets home. I wish I could take time out of life like that. Could this be another reason why I put up in hotels where they have old people.
We board the van again, our journey to the train station is going to last fifteen minutes, lingering continues; The two hippies are sitting between myself and Andrew. We keep talking about how ManU have had a great season, there are some people in the van eaves dropping on our conversation.
At the rather cramped train station where the train was late by twenty minutes, i met this couple from Holland. The guy, Mark was in the flowers business, ah, flowers I said, every thing in Holland is about flowers, of course, he said, so what kind of flowers do you deal in, I deal in roses, I import them from Kenya and Ethiopia, and sell them to the middle east and south east! Imagine that, roses are no longer seeded in Holland. His wife worked for coke, and she was hot and friendly. The train arrived, the left side seats were over looking the river, a vendor passes by selling beverages, Mark and Andrew and me had a singha each, the local beer, drinking Heinekken by the Thai is considered lame.
The train crosses the wooden bridges lethargically slowly, these are actually the bridges that were built by the POWs. A one hour journey later. we get off at our destiny. The same van was there to pick us up, and to take us for lunch.
The journey is going to be half an hour from here, her lingering continued. We crossed over to the other side of the river, and drove along the river, I could see several rafts alongside the river bank. Our van stopped in front of one such raft, and we were guided into the raft. This was actually a floating hotel, there were people staying at the hotel, overnight, as were some of our compatriots planning to do so. I saw a fat Australian in his shorts sitting in a corner, he had a tripod and a rather slick looking camera affixed on top of it. He was accompanied by a rather aged Thai girl, the kind that you can get in Sukhumvit to act from well your travel guide to your fatigue instiller. Taking her photos seemed to be his past time at the raft.
We were served Thai food, I was sitting next to the hippies. We got talking again at lunch, mark and andrew and myself. The hippies were apparently from Chile. Very interesting, both psychology students had taken a year from college and were just traveling around. Staying in the same room on the raft, well, whatever works for them.
While we were eating, I noticed the river surface being sprinkled with rain, Its raining, I said, yes it is, said John who was from Wigan, but supported Liverpool, yet didn't know that there was talk of Torres leaving for Chelsea, such a shame. However, raining was an understatement, suddenly it started pouring like I had never seen or heard of before. The lady said we have to wait till the rain slows down to go on the bamboo raft. So we got talking about the Bangkok nightlife and drank some more Singha, well a lot more Singha. the rain kept pouring and wouldn't stop. Finally, Mark suggested, we screw the rain, and get to the raft. I'm game, let's buy a bucket full of Singha, and take it along, I said. That sounds good, mixed voices replied. So we bought a crate of Singha from the Hotel, boarded the launch and headed for the raft. Aboard the raft, while it was still raining like crazy, Mark took his shirt and shoes off and jumped into the river. The temptation was too high, joanna, kitti (this girl who is an english teacher from Korea) and Andrew followed. I was wearing Jeans, and really didn't jump in. Andrew yelled, I have a spare pair of shorts in there! The six Singha added up, I stripped naked on the raft, took his shorts out, either the girls were whistling, or the wind was blowing, I couldn't make out...
As I jumped into the brown waters of the Kwai, it felt like heaven, floating on the Kwai, water pouring down on me, playing like a little kid, swimming drunk in a river that seemed rather deep, I should not be staying at the hotels that I am staying in right now!
I could barely see beyond my arm, we swam across ahead of the raft with the current of the river, and got to the shore. There was a wooden / rope bridge that we crossed to get back to the other side where our van was waiting for us.
The elephant trekking was rather boring, I was yearning to get back to Bangkok, it was Sunday night, and Kitti had suggested this Karaoke bar that we should all goto. And well, the story at the karaoke bar has little to do with the river Kwai, but all the swimming did, they boarded us back on the van, I took little or no pictures of the entire adventure, given the rain pouring down, I dont think anyone else was taking any pictures either, I had had a checklist item marked out, and a day well spent, a day past, a day less, a day closer, I'm more confused which hotels I should be staying at...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Taking your shoes off…

For those of you who have dealt with the Chinese, you would know what I am talking about. It is absolutely a different experience when you do business with the Chinese. But here is the interesting part, when I say Chinese, these are not the Chinese that live in China. That’s right, the Chinese that live in China, they’re not Chinese, they’re some bunch of people who look like Chinese, sure they drink those herbal teas in their offices, and the talk Chinese, but the real Chinese, you find in Singapore, Taiwan, Hongkong, Thailand, Malaysia, well we’re really talking about non communist Chinese here.

From the moment you are about to enter their offices, the first thing that you have to do, is to take your shoes off. Now, I really do not have an issue with sitting bare feet or in my socks on a negotiation table, but hell, I was sitting on one last week, and I kept saying to myself, what on Gods sweet earth am I doing, I have no shoes on! I’ve negotiated for a decade now, yet this was the first time I was negotiating without my shoes on, hell its difficult. You know for anyone who takes his dressing from the English, shoes are what give you confidence, well, a nice starched shirt, cufflinks, good tie, creased trousers, they all stand for a lot, but, Shoes is what really gives you confidence. So im at this negotiation table, and we are negotiating, there are six Chinese Buddhists sitting around the table, and they all have no shoes on, absolutely barefeet. I’m telling this guy, you know, I’ve travelled half way around the world just to come see you, this is how important your business is to me, and this is how much respect my company gives to you, you will never get this from my competition, and I’m looking deep into his eyes. A decade of negotiation, and I normally make the kill at this point, by the time I stop looking deep into their eyes, they are shaking hands. But just as I am looking into his eyes, I feel my feet, so that’s what they mean cold feet! You just cannot be confident without shoes, its plain and simple as that.

And it gets even better, sure you have Feung Shui water dropping all over the place, there are fat statuettes of nominally clad bald men under whom water is running, and red colored markings that talk about religious shit that probably means lord help my refinery produce more oil, its not the statutory things that matter to me, they are intriguing, it’s the live things that make me upset. They take a look at you, and then they start staring, what you never saw a barefoot man walking around with a laptop before? The equation is just not right. And here is what is really intriguing, every time I have taken my shoes off, I have asked them, is this a Buddhist thing, is this feung shui, no, this is so that we don’t get the floor dirty, ah c’mon

Revolutions - the reign of terror – creating a nation

Societies revolt, that’s what they are bound to do when those in number are deprived and those in power are free to abuse the powers vested in them. A quick glance at the revolutions that have taken place in the world in the last few centuries starting from the French revolution, up until as late as the Iranian revolution, if there is one common factor, it is the reign of terror.
So here is how this story goes, factions within society decide that the people are being abused by those who have been either vested with power, or were born with the right to those powers. These factions present or develop a plan on how they think the society should be governed, these plans could be democratic, socialist or fundamentalist in nature, examples would be the French, the Russian and the Iranian revolutions. Once these factions seize control from the forces in power (a bloody series of events in its own right), they go about transforming the way society had been governed thus fur, and transforming it into the beliefs that they bring with them. More often than not, elements that were subscribers to the previous arrangement, are eradicated. This act of extinguishing is more than just removing people who had the beliefs that were over thrown by putting them under a guillotine, it is about changing the way the society thinks, what it believes or had been believing to be right, and making the factions at large subscribe to the agenda laid out by the revolutionaries.
Simply put, when Cambodia revolted, and turned into an Agrarian Socialist state, the future of the nation was laid by the party, in the hands of the children, who were thought to be pure of the accumulation of resources phenomenon specifically, and knew nothing of commerce generally. What yielded was a nation where the adults who could work hard were put under the control of the children who were thought to have pure beliefs. Who placed family above society and nation, and lived for the cause of the party, paving the way for the birth of a nation.
So what follows is possibly decades of efforts to either change the mind set of the entire nation, or to instill a new generation with the freshly prepared mindset. The concept is, if you can sacrifice the current generation, what will come out at the end of the effort will be a pure nation that will work for the entire society.
The obvious assumption is the b beliefs of the select few are in conformation with the nation at large. The second assumption is that the beliefs are actually correct and the sacrifices will actually result in a nation stronger and closer than before.
History is witness that this has actually never happened. The French revolutions, or the socialist revolutions, or the Islamic revolution, have all failed to create a nation that is stronger than what they have replaced. This is not to say that the concept is wrong, just because it has never worked out. The fact is, there have been two reasons why this does not work out. The first is, during the reign of terror, economic viability is not created, wealth is not created, or that nations go into isolation and seize international economic activity. With out the lack of resources a downward spiral is created, one that has seen most revolutions fail thus far. The second reason is more potent. Almost all revolutions have seen power going from the hands of a select few, who abused the power, to the hands of a select few who abused the power. What resulted, at least in the case of the French was a revolution spiral and a reign of instability never before in the history of the nation.
To create a new nation by a select few in a matter of decades is easier said that done. I do not have a single example of where an individual or a group of individuals were able to create a nations in years, it takes generations upon generations to come together over a range of overlapping variables to create a nation.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pencils and Pens....

I walked into the hotel lobby, and I was greeted by a pleasant looking asian lady. Although she was wearing a name tag that said "Golf" which was intriguing at least, what was more intriguing was that she was holding her hair with a pencil. I looked at her colleague, and she too had a pencil stuck in her head to keep her hair together. So here is what I asked her:

Me: Your name is golf
She: (smiling skirmishly) its my nick name
Me: you have a pencil in your head
She: (On the defensive now, still smiling though) Uhhh, Its part of my uniform
Me: What would happen if I pulled it out
She: My hair would fall open
Me: so you can't use this pencil
She: Uhhh, no
Me: You mind if I try and pull it out
She: Uhhh, no
Me: If your hair falls open, will you let me do it up again
She: Uhhhh, ok

So I pulled the pencil out, and surely the hair does fall open, she went ooops, and then shrugged her head from left to right, and smiled at me, surely she was upset, but putting up a mighty good show at playing the hostess. So I looked into her eyes, the pencil in my hand, I have to do your hair now, she's freaking out by now, takes the pencil from my hand, and says, oh I can do it, please dont bother. I bring a stare of disdain to my face, but i want to do it, i say. She turns her head, and says, have you ever done this before, no, I said. What happened later is not important

After a long day at work, I come back to the hotel and decide to goto the bar to have a drink before dinner. The ladies in the bar were wearing these amazing thai silk dresses, yet the one making my Singapore sling, had two pens stuck smack in the middle of her lovely cleavage! You're killing me I said, she looked at me inquisitively, excuse me she said. Lose the pens please, I said, but I need them to take orders, you should have some place else to stick them, would you mind if i removed them. She is thinking this cant be happening, but before she says any thing, I reach forward and take the pens out one by one. Don't tell me they are part of your uniform, no she says. Funny, I said, the front desk ladies wear pencils in their heads, and thats part of their uniform, and they dont need the pencils, you need the pens, but they are not part of your uniform, can you answer that. She is done making my sling, she smiles, can I have the pens back, she says. Only if you promise never to put them there again, I replied. She nods, and I gave her the pens

Saturday, April 5, 2008

On Tolerance, yet again...

The bell rings, and a flood of children bursts out, ages 6ish-16ish, girls and boys, heading in one direction or the other, some on their own, others in groups. Some with their heads held up high, others try not to be seen. Some holding books, wearing spectacles, hair nicely combed or in pig tails, clothes washed and ironed, braces on teeth, holier than thou, richer than thou; Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Others just trying to look cool, backpacks full of everything other than books, jeans and tops, hair done like P Diddy or Estelle had theirs done yesterday, giving way to oncoming folks not part of the schedule, eyebrows tense, anger on forehead, thou shalt not mess with me; The miserable have no other medicine but only hope; Having nothing, nothing can he lose.

Latifah is part of the latter, and Andrew forms the former group. All other children





Latifah 16 - Eboue 12 - Adebayor - Noshad - Zainab - (Al Fady ) - Carlos - (Kim Park) - (Yamada Taro) - Andrew



This is a story that takes place in Junior School.
In junior school, you will find different types of kids. And these kids can be plotted on a band, that has black, white separated by gray area. Lets say black are the bullies, they have terrible grades, their probably have single parents, are abused at home, and take out their psychological trauma while at school; they have an inferiority complex building into them that is most likely to live with them for the rest of their lives. White are from rich, they have good grades, their parents are nurturing them to become just like them, they have a superiority complex building into them that is most likely to live with them for the rest of their lives. Everyone else lies in the various bands of the gray area. Consider the following band, and various characters plotted on the band.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Parallel Reason...

Reason suggests that there is a logical explanation for every event that takes place on g(G)od's earth, and most of those explanations have either money i.e. power behind them, or scientific forces behind them. So here is the split, all human actions have money aka power behind them, all heavenly actions have science behind them. So colonization, the first and second world wars, vietnam, korea, afghanistan all had power behind them. Earth quakes, volcanic activities, tsunamis over the centuries have perfect scientific reasons behind them.
Having said that, there is a parallel reason, and that is religion! Religion knows no logic, and is certainly not scientific in nature. Consider the crusades, the global terrorism activities in the name of God, the revolt against petty cartoons, surely there is no logic behind these actions. The actions of the church in the dark ages, the differential treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, the caste discrepancy in India, surely religion knows no logic, yet I look around and I see people so passionate about what they believe in, surely this is a parallel reason...

Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm so sorry...

You can be sure of the fact that the sun is going to rise, and that is going to set, close your eyes and you cant see, pinch yourself and feel the pain, grow old as the years go by, and one day...die. Humans are mortal, everybody is going to die and no one lives forever. Its a fact of life, yet we seem to cherish the fact that a new life has come into this world, and mourn the moment a life departs.

Mourning is sorrow, it customary to say I'm sorry, I feel your pain, I know how you feel, I wish I could do something for you, yet I know for a fact that it all means nothing. for those who have lost some one near and dear, its only them that know what the loss is like, and for those who claim to feel the loss, they are going through their motions. Of course they cannot feel the loss, because the loss is not theirs, nor can they bring the departed back.

However, the question I ask is not of bringing the departed back, its a fact of life, everyone has to die, so why even mourn then. Dying is a fact, why condole, why feel sad...

And you would say its human to be sad, it's emotions, parting with ones dears is sorrow. Its part of ones values, its what jels a society together. So i ask, do we have to put up a show to gel together, lie to put up an impression that we care as opposed to let those who have lost grieve together, and move on at their own pace, and the sooner the better.

We've all been to funerals, its a religious thing, a man of God would pray for the soul of the departned, the bystanders would feel sorry, the family spends a good deal of money of feeding those who have come in to share the sorrow, the bystanders use the commotion to socialize, some even turn up to share the spoils, others wonder if they have a share in the will, the teenagers wonder if they can get a hold of grandpa's car, all worldly belongings will be left behind, dying is part of life, and regardless of what spiritual beliefs you have, whether you are coming back in another life, or you are promised eternity in heaven with the fear of hell, the fact is those near and dear you will never see you again, and you will never see them. Fact is life for everyone else will move on, time will heal, the sun will rise, and grandpa's car will get roar again

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Patience

In a scenario where resouorces are superseeded by wants, consumers tend to feel they have to step ahead to claim what is rightfully theirs, albeit at the expense of other consumers. Patience is waiting in line waiting for your turn, a la first come first served basis. And if resources are exhausted before your turn comes, then so be it.
So what makes people move out of line, and push ahead to get something that is not rightfully theirs, lack of patience I could presume. Lack of patience should directly attribute to the level of maturity that is exhibited by an individual, a group of individuals, and a nation collectively.
Using this metric I am going to try and judge various nations on the level of maturity that they exhibit.

South East Asia
With the exception of Sri Lanka all nations in South East Asia rank the lowest in their maturity. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal all have minimum tolerance, low patience, and low maturity levels. From the moment you land at the Air port at any of these countries the first thing you feel is waiting in line at the immigration is different, the person behind you would be pushing you to move ahead. Its as if there is a race going on, and if you are not the first one to exit the terminal you could end up losing the Noble Peace Prize. And then there is VIP culture prevalent in these countries. VIPs are defined as well, people who are important, cannot stand in lines, do not pay taxes, earn more, and give less!
More on the rest of the nations later...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

About Smoking and Killing...

Most of the Internet generation has probably never really sit in a plane and either lit a ciggarrette themselves, or seen some one do it, in fact, i bet most of you wonder why they even have those no smoking signs on top of every seat right next to the fasten your seat belt sign. But the fact is, in the good old days, the first thing that the captain used to do after lift off, was to take the no smoking sign off, and as soon as that happened people just started lighting them up like no body's business. You had smoking cabins and no smoking cabins, which made even more sense to have those cabins. Smoking in the lavotries was never permitted even then. They had those ash trays by the arm rests, some of the older planes still have them, but they are a rare one to come by, wonder why they are still persisting with the no smoking signs when they have stopped making ash trays.

And i bet, the way i am telling you about how things have changed in the air, ten years from now, the next lot will be reading on how once it was ok to smoke in a pub with drinks and all. The lot after that, well they will hear about how people in the old days used to carry paper with some sort of a weed in it, it didnt give exsactly a high, didnt give pretty much nothing at all, but they would light it up, puff it in, let the smoke come out, till the thing finished, throw the butt away, and then after a while do whole darn thing again.

Smoking in public places is not where this is ending, its actually gone into your houses, hell it takes pretty much a lot of doing if you want to to smoke these days. So this is really about smoking and killing, people say smoking kills, and we are seeing smoking being killed right before our eyes. The generation before us, you know the one that found it really cool to smoke, were the reason a giant industry was breading right before them, that entire industry right now is looking at an inevitable death, and not for a moment should we consider what is going to become of all thosse associated with this industry, from the farmer in thailand, to the VP marketing in his penthouse. They will be doing something else once the industry dies. But Killed it will be, and the question i put forward is what becomes of all the consumers, they need something to carry in their pocket, and to do after every 30-90 minutes, which really is an answer to why we smoke, we just need something to do!