Monday, November 19, 2007

Random thoughts during (security) class hours

Who do Indians hate most?
"Americans have no culture" , "British are racist" , "Chinese are self centered" et cetera. This can go on for ever. But its all just pub talk. Why? Say the (most-cultured most-pious )Indian chances upon one of these oh-so-immoral people, their behavior could not be any more hospitable, welcoming and more. But if the Indian meets another Indian (which of course the former does believe is the true nationality of the latter) the animosity is evident from the start. As I'm writing this and you reading, the thought must cross your mind - "how many Indians behave this way!" Well the bitter truth .... It includes you and me!
Let me elaborate with 2 every day events. One : mocking accents. I enjoy it too but No it's not mere teasing. It emanates from superiority (at time inferiority) complex, but mostly from a rather racial complex. "The whites ill-treat the blacks" How true! But there is a stark difference in their physical appearance and way of life. This is not a justification of ill-treatment of any form but a statement of their visibly evident difference. But in India.... there are varous shades of brown and this is compared using .... are u ready for this ?..... a FAIRNESS MEASURING STICK! Fairer implies superior, better, prettier, nicer and a whole lot of other irrelevant aspects. And this crucial stick does not have a wide varying range of hues but the difference can be spotted by the human eye! May be I'm ignorant ... guess there are some with X-ray vision!! And with this super power they set themselves apart and kick start their racist movement.
Now that the visible characteristics are covered we move on to event number 2 involving speech. "Have you heard him speak!?"(Laughs)!
People find it so hard to understand that the regional language (mother tongue) can have a very strong influence on other languages. Of course this misunderstanding applies only to Indians. When the Frenchman says ' i don speekh ze 'nglis' or the Russian "vich vay is itt"... of course we understand... and the explanation - they are French/Russian/any non Indian nationality!
Now the Indian comes along and says 'hov to ga to to haspital?' He is mocked by someone who says 'Gad! Wat aal they arre talking like!' (even before giving the directions to the hospital!)
To conclude i quote the adage"He who sees the mote in the other man's eye must see the beam in his own!"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Coorg weddings rock!

"Ah! Another wedding! What a bore!"

How many times have you heard this? I've heard the same line repeated countless times and half of those times I'm saying it!!!
But if ever again someone says "Coorg Wedding" all you'll hear me say is "woohoo!" and probably "how fast can i get there??/When's the next bus to Kodagu??"
A few months ago i attended a friends wedding, a coorg (please note "coorg" not 'coorgi') friend (I wouldn't be writing about it otherwise). It was my-first-coorg-wedding (and if there is a God it won't be my last) and there was never a moment in the two whole days that i spent there, that i was inactive... getting bored was unimaginable!. The fact that this family has some of my most favourite people (in the world) is a value-add, but trust me on this -and never miss out on a coorg wedding.

i have a million reasons why and I'll list out a few.

Reason 1- Coorgs are extremely hospitable, at the weddings and even otherwise (even though the basis of this claim is by participating in one such wedding this time some how, I'm sure i can generalize.)

Reason 2- The coorgs dance all through the ceremonies. And the best part the steps are not choreographed and require no skill. only requisite - energy and LOTs of it(in my books- this has to be reason no. 1)

Reason 3- Alcohol! How much ever i try to fight and argue against this stuff, i have to agree it gets people so happy and care-free it really boosts up the celebration. Everyone is rid of their reticence and self-restraints (moral ones not inclusive) and with their hands up in the air (part of the extremely entertaining kodava dance), joins to celebrate the happy occasion
Reason 4- The food! All that dancing is tiring! Just alcohol wont keep the energy up meat and lots of it goes around to keep the people on their toes.
Everybody says marriage 'isn't easy', 'its a battle','its a compromise' et cetara et cetera ..... but the Coorgs really know how to drive this point home. The groom's family and friends keep the bride waiting for hours on end to get to her prince charming. And how ? But of course by dancing(ecstatically) in front of her and preventing her from taking a single step(its called Ganga pooja).
Another, noteworthy ritual is the plantain cutting,'Baale Birud'. The groom and all the men-folk really get to show off their masculinity (macho-ness as I like to call it) by sporting daggers and cutting off plantain stumps. It's not as easy as it sounds.....
So in short , it's a feel good event,as all weddings should be. We have a lot to learn from this hilly tribe!
Hats (may be turbans) off to you guys!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Child Marriage. 21st century and it's still argued about

For as long as can remember child marriage has been considered a social evil and did not even imagine that anyone from the modern world could think otherwise. But i was wrong or worse ignorant.

A friend of mine, very much a part of the educated-fight for out rights-youthful mass still believes and agrees with the concept (evil is what i still call but we'' keep it for after this post) of child marriage. Of course thanks (many thanks) to Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 he cant practice it when he has children of his own.

His (this educated-fighting for his rights-youth) argument is laying down conditions by parent on marriage at an early stage, before, emotions such as love and desire, and physical attraction sets in and thwart the process of selecting a life partner. Marriage should have nothing to do with physical characteristics of the boy and the girl. At a young and innocent age the couple will develop a genuine fondness for each other unhindered by adolescent objectives.

I have to say when i heard this i was dumbfounded and i cannot say if its because i could not believe that this educated-fighting for his rights-youth-etc-etc was saying it or because i actually found meaning in his statements.Out of the blue, someone terming a long condemned social-evil as, not just "not so bad" but the "right thing to do!" was a little hard to digest.

It took me a while, but i soon realised that his was a Utopian version of child marriage, where the parents who,as commonly said , know whats best , decide who their off springs should be betrothed to based on family background, culture and some other factors (which i can't recollect). But reality is far from it.
The reality - child marriage is prevalent, mostly in the poorest countries (such as India, Malaysia and Africa) and among the poorest households. Reasons being in these areas only the men-folk are engaged in paid-work and parents of the girls worry for their daughters future and economic support. Marrying off the girls at a young age rids them of the economic burden. This step does not solve the poverty stricken situation that the girls are in and in most cases it gets worse (with abuses, prostitution etc). And yes in the current situation girls face most of the ill-effects of this custom.

"The educated parents will be able to choose the right-partner and guide the children, such that adolescence will not confuse them and result in inter-caste marriages, inter marital affairs etc". Well like it or not the truth is love infatuation are all human tendencies and normal. Controlling these emotions is up to each individual and marrying a child off will not prevent those hormones from being secreted when the time comes! crudely put ... but that's the bitter truth.

In India the situation is pretty much the same, except for a few cultural/religious reasons if believed in justify child-marriage. I have below an excerpt from a website which well is trying to bring back 'culture' into our modernised-cultureless society-
"In childhood a girl does not ask questions. It is now that she will, out of her simple faith, look upon her husband as Paramesvara. This faith, formed in her innocence, will take firm root in her mind when she becomes older and begins to understand things. It is all the influence of our ages-old dharma of womanhood. A woman's devotion to her husband will now be enduring and she will always look upon him as Paramesvara. When a wife dedicates herself to her husband and does not nurse any feelings of honour or dishonour so far as she herself is concerned, her ego will become extinct. And that means cessation from wordly existence; in other words, liberation. Devotion, jnana, austerities, worship, sacrifices, yoga -- all these have for their goal the eradication of the ego. This a woman obtains naturally and with ease through devotion to her husband. "
How long will we follow a centuries old custom in which the wife worships her husband. We are fighting for equality here. But just as passing thought ... why didn't the rules ever be phrased as where "the man worships the wife" (I'm sure a lot of problems could be solved - IF men were capable of this feat!). But for sure the thought would have never passed 'cause all the scriptures, holy books, etc were written by... yes! you guessed it right- MEN!

Guess I have gone a little off track, but in the process driven the point home to my educated-fighting-for-rights-friend (and a few of the others who had the misfortune of reading this)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

who has culture?

OK once you read this don't start judging me. I'm an Indian and proud of it.
It's commonly said "american people (or sometimes the 'west') don't have culture!!!" or atleast i think I've heard it quite often.
Common definition of culture - morals, ethics, customs and so on.
The statement that they do not have culture is baseless.... let me explain .
First of all lets take a look at our modern ways of - eating at a table, using a fork and spoon, eating with the mouth closed etc; is all whose idea ?? yes u know it .... accept it. Theirs!!!

Argument - Thats not culture .... thats just table manners!

Ok .... lets take on another aspect. 'They' have no moral inhibitions. Boys and girls are allowed to dance and oh no TALK to each other(the fact that biologically we are attracted to the opposite sex (w.r.t majority of course ) is never even considered). Dating is wrong. How can they be allowed to woo each other before marriage. No commitments no rules .... like animals!!!
Yes. These are statements made by educated masses of the 21st century. Well lets look at our side of the story, without the facades.
We rave about our how most of the marriages conducted as per the Indian "culturally sound" ways are successful. The families understand each other... lets throw some light on what this understanding is based on ... DOWRY. Yeah whose culture does that belong to ? ours... Indians! No dowry and the girl ...yes is actually tortured or thrown out of the 'understanding' family home if she and her family didnt pay the dues!
I could go on and on about the evils embedded deep in out 'culture' but the point I'd like make is that .... "you see the straw in your brother's eye, but you do not see the beam in your own eye". I'm not Jesus but yeah I do hope somebody (atleast I) can follow this (someday).

Thursday, August 2, 2007

inflation? scratching you head? i did the first time heard about it .....

It seems that people often confuse the cause of inflation with the effect of inflation and unfortunately the dictionary isn't much help. As you can see in my article What is the Real Definition of Inflation? the modern definition of inflation is"A persistent increase in the level of consumer prices or a persistent decline in the purchasing power of money..."
In other words according to this definition inflation is things getting more expensive.
But that is really the effect of inflation not inflation itself. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language goes on to say:
...caused by an increase in available currency and credit beyond the proportion of available goods and services.
In other words, the common usage of the word inflation is the effect that people see. When they see prices in their local stores going up they call it inflation.
But what is being inflated? Obviously prices are being inflated. So this is actually "price inflation".
Price inflation is a result of "monetary inflation".
Or "monetary inflation" is the cause of "price inflation".
So what is "monetary inflation" and where does it come from?

"Monetary inflation" is basically the government figuratively cranking up the printing presses and increasing the money supply.

In the old days that was how we got inflation. The government would actually print more dollars. But today the government has much more advanced methods of increasing the money supply. Remember, "monetary inflation" is the "increase in the amount of currency in circulation".

But how do we define currency in circulation? Is it just the cash in our pockets? Or does it include the money in our checking accounts? How about our savings accounts? What about Money Market accounts, CD's, and time deposits?

"The Federal Reserve tracks and publishes the money supply measured three different ways-- M1, M2, and M3. These three money supply measures track slightly different views of the money supply with M1 being the most liquid and M3 including giant deposits held by foreign banks. And M2 being somewhere in between i.e. basically Cash, Checking and Savings accounts.
Interestingly, the FED has decided to stop tracking M3 effective March 23, 2006 for some mysterious reason. Wonder what they could be hiding. ;)

But back to the question of the cause of inflation. Basically when the government increases the money supply faster than the quantity of goods increases we have inflation. Interestingly as the supply of goods increase the money supply has to increase or else prices actually go down.
Many people mistakenly believe that prices rise because businesses are "greedy". This is not the case in a free enterprise system. Because of competition the businesses that succeed are those that provide the highest quality goods for the lowest price. So a business can't just arbitrarily raise its prices anytime it wants to. If it does, before long all of its customers will be buying from someone else.
But if each dollar is worth less because the supply of dollars has increased, all business are forced to raise prices just to get the same value for their products.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Insight No 1... as much for me as might be for u .

Did u know that there is no all India Service for judicial officers (like IAS and IPS) to appoint judges !!!? Why? to keep the good ones out?

First Attempt

Here we like to share things which impressed us and which will be useful to you also.