Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hi, I am Salim

Suddenly a bus screeched past us.

Me: Driver seems to be in a hurry to go wish the wifey "Happy Valentine"
Rickwala: Yeah, nearing midnight aint it?
Me: Hmmm
Rickwala: So, you married?
Me: No man, I am merrily unmarried
Rickwala: Tell you what, when you get married, make it a love marriage. Nothing like marrying the one you love. I have been married 15 years and I have loved every minute of it.
Me: Hmmm
Rickwala: Know what, when I get home tonite, I will take a wonderful rose to my wife. Will go right now and get one for 5 bucks.
Me: Who sells roses for 5 bucks these days?
Rickwala: They do, to me. If you go there with a torn shirt and driving a rickshaw, I bet they will give you one for 5 bucks only.
Me: Hmmm (Cursing my damn luck for being educated, well dressed and having an IT job)
Rickwala: So, as I say, always marry the one you love. There is nothing like it in life. Trust me, you will live a very happy life.
Me: Hmmming
Rickwala: Here you are at your bus stand. Don't worry, buses for Gandhinagar start from here till 1 in the night. You will find one soon.
Me(Paying the money): Thanks, was nice talking to you Mr....
Rickwala: I am Salim and am happily married to a Miss Pandya.

The incident happened in Ahmedabad, the place where the worst Godhra rioting happened. Gujarati Hindus do not look favourably at Hindu women marrying Muslim guys. The vice versa rarely happens and under both circumstances the couple are usually shunned by the people. There are reasons for and against the practice. But meeting a Muslim guy, happily married for 15 years to a Hindu woman, living in the Old City of Ahmedabad in Juhapura, which is where most extremists reside, where the residences are ghettoised into Hindu and Muslim quarters is a unique experience for someone like me who has been a keen observer of Hindu - Muslim relations in my country.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chandrayaan - India's moon mission

India's much famed moon mission - Chandrayaan 1 is finally said to have been over. I have been searching on the internet and trying to find some concrete benefits that we as a nation have gained from this moon mission.

I have seen comments and posts that mention some specific benefits:

1. The information of indigenous minerals present in the moon. Going forward one might go for colonization of moon to extract the minerals.
2. To stay in competition and respected as a nation which has made advancement in the field of science and technology.
3. Relationship between different countries improves through R&D exchange among different countries.
4. We will be able to understand the start of life through moon. It is believed that all the planets and their satellites (natural ones of course) are created at the same time.
5. Its the cheapest mission to the moon.
6. We might be able to help other countries launch their satellites and hence earn revenue.

There might be more, but this is the gist of most of it. Inspite of it being a grand success, the Apollo mission was also much maligned in the American media.

Why did the politicians agree to the Chandrayaan moon mission then? For the simple reason that it costs just 400 crores which is pocket change for our corrupt politicians. looking at the sum I believe even Laluji can send his buffaloes to the moon. He will of course, but only when it is sponsored by the government.

I am proud of the achievement of ISRO and our Indian scientists - after having graduted through a similar education system I can actually empathise much better with them. But, just as I do not believe that we need to spend such a huge part of our GDP for defence, I do not see the need for the moon mission too.

Chandrayaan - the moon mission is finally over though and so is the pocket change that we lost for conducting it. I liked a comment on one of the blogs though which said that we should not be very proud about sending the cheapest mission on the moon as it just emphasizes how badly paid our scientists are. Food for thought.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Singh is King

So, the true Sardar is going to rule the country once again. We just hope that he is able to do so for the whole of the next five years. Given the sycophancy that exists in the Congress Party, it seems certain that sooner rather than later, Rahul Gandhi will be promoted to the Raj gaddi.

What sort of a democracy is this, where the default option is the winner, where DMK wins after it promises rice at 1 kg and free color TVs to all. Can we ever expect an Obama in India. I doubt it. Primarily because the Indian political system is a very closed circle. Being a part of this circle is tough and being able to make a difference after being a part of this circle is tougher.

The commentary on TV is saying that the people of India have voted for stability and that they are far more intelligent than what we presume. Its just another example of the intellectual paucity that we face as a nation. The gaurds of our culture, tradition and the so called mouthpiece of the nation - our media is going gung ho because what they wished to happen, did happen. I fail to understand how the Indian junta is responsible for this verdict and how they voted for "Stability".

Personally, I wished well for Gujarat and Modi's comprehensive victory has proved that nothing works as well as development does. All credit to the smart Gujjus who know where their money is. Moving a little further with that, it is really sad albiet a bit expected to see that MNS did have an impact on the votes in Maharashtra. With the kind of tactics that they have resorted to gain votes and attention, it would have had been nicer if the Maharashtrains would have thrown them out too.

Am in Gandhinagar these days and this time too, there have been a lot of changes in my city. It is surprising to note that every time I come here, I see a lot of new things happening and the proactive Gujarat government seems to be working really well nowadays. Mr. Modi rocks. And Gujarat seems like heaven compared to Mumbai and Pune now. Hope this continues.