These are the things you don’t say to your wife

The other day I heard the famous number by Tim Hawkins ” These are the things you don’t say to your wife” after a long time. A married man with years of experience that I am today, I immediately identified with the contents of this song.

It’s first verse says:

Hey honey you gained some weight in your rear end?

That dress you wear reminds me of my old girl friend

And where’d you get those shoes? I think they are pretty lame

Would you stop talking ’cause I’m trying to watch the game.

Instead of the above, I would have said:

Hey honey you still look petite setting the trend

Your dress erases my memory of my girl friend

Your shoes adorning your feet put even Ms India to shame

I only want to admire them and to hell with the game!

The second verse reads:

I planned hunting trip next week on your birthday

I didn’t ask you because I knew it’d be okay

Go make some dinner while I watch this fishing show

I taped it over our wedding video

Instead of this I’d say:

I cancelled all my engagements for your birthday

For I knew doing anything else on that day won’t be okay

Come and sit with me to see this tv show

After which we’ll together watch our marriage video

The last verse says:

Your cooking is okay but not like mother makes

The diamond in the ring I bought you was fake

Your eyes look puffy, dear are you feeling ill

Happy anniversary, I bought you a treadmill

My eulogy to my wife would say:

Your cooking has made me forget what my mother makes

My feelings for you are real like diamond in the ring and not fake

You are glowing and must be feeling well

For our anniversary please dress up to make my head swell!

Of course title of my song would be “These are the things that you must say to your wife”. The problem is that my wife is annoyed instead of being happy as she feels that I am pulling her leg instead of saying this from my heart.

Restricted Entry

India has entered an elite club of nations having the capability to destroy a rogue satellite using Anti Satellite Missile or ASAT Missile as its being known. So far only US, Russia and China have this capability and India has become the 4th member of this elite group. Team of scientists of ISRO working tirelessly over the last 2 years deserve compliments as also gratitude from a grateful nation. Expectedly, China has cautioned against space warfare, while Pakistan has used a very funny word – Quixotic- for this big achievement by her neighbour.

This psychology of restricting entry to any exclusive or elite club to new entrants by the existing members is greatly perplexing to me! And mind you, while there are glaring examples of this at the global level – nuclear powers oppose nuclear tests and acquisition of the technology by other countries, India’s quest for well deserved seat in UN Security Council has been opposed for ages, possessors of chemical warfare fear its possession and use by non-possessors- this psychology is not restricted to nations alone. Rich don’t want more rich for greater affluence will affect their exclusivity. Airports, foreign visits and luxury hotels were once exclusive domain of ultra rich, but with general economic prosperity, today they have to share these exclusive pleasures with masses, which they resent. Once you are in the top echelon of an organisation you don’t want others to come up and enjoy the privileges that generally are considered prerogative of the top management only.

A senior colleague once very aptly summed up this attitude of nations, rich, powerful, famous and even common individuals. He said that this attitude or psychology is representative of passengers travelling by Mumbai local. For the uninitiated, let me clarify that Mumbai local operating during peak hours is the superlative symbol of what compressed travel is all about and how boarding and de boarding a crowded train is the ultimate test of perseverance! To continue with the analogy, he explained that like one who has boarded Mumbai local doesn’t want more people to board or he will get further compressed, making him more uncomfortable as also the task of getting down that much more tedious! This selfishness of an ordinary Mumbai local traveller for a very justifiable and genuine reason gets replicated in the behaviour of all occupants of elite and exclusive clubs – Super powerful nations, Ultra rich individuals and all those who are something in the upper crust!

Lesson from Life

I am a blogger, who loves sharing his thoughts. Also, generally the tone and tenor of my blogs is simple and happy, though sometimes issues in themselves are so serious, like Pulwama, the blogs also assume an overtone filled with pathos. My previous blog on technology not keeping pace with my life was also written in lighter vein, though some of my readers found the contents slightly serious, probably due to frequent reference to after life ( portrait on the wall, Yama’s vehicle etc). However, while humour may not always be entertaining ( when it assumes the character of satire), similarly serious stuff may not always be grim and glum. Actually, some of the lasting realities of life beckon you when you sit by yourself in peace, slowing down the pace of life a bit. In one such moment, I pondered over this aspect and came across certain thoughts, which to my mind would be more appealing if put in verse rather than prose! Before I share my composition, just one caveat- I am a very ordinary poet and out of around 160 odd blogs I have written to date, I remember only two poems, of which also, one was a translation. My new poem reads:

Lessons from Life

I remember I was always chasing future,

When it all began, I don’t remember;

Ignored the present thinking of future,

In the month of January I dreamt of December.

It has been a helluva journey,

Childhood to adulthood to present day;

Travelling miles to reach some destination,

Yet I am still looking for the right way.

I yearned uncontrollably to possess it,

From a distance, it looked so enticing and beautiful;

In the race I let go off small small happinesses,

Once possessed, it hardly seemed meaningful.

Possessing material is not important,

Now it dawns on me that I’m not getting it right;

Possessing a thing is temporary virtual happiness,

It’s better to enjoy it rather than holding it tight.

Lessons learnt from life are clear,

This is a mystery complex and deep;

Need is to share, care and enjoy what you have,

Instead running for more by losing your sleep!

Technology- Ahead or Behind

We always say and hear that technology is advancing very fast. Man has reached the moon and is now preparing to conquer newer frontiers in outer space. Great strides have been made in the field of communication that have brought the world closer. Newer breakthroughs are being made almost regularly in the field of medicine. Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are expected to make a very deep impact on the way we work, think and live. Technology seems to be unravelling deeper mysteries that have beholden mankind for very long time.

However, I give a different perspective of all this. Let’s examine the following facts:

(1) In next 2 to 3 years, using AI and Robotics, we are going to get newer and hitherto unthought of perspectives. In my field, this technology will enable me to handle several time larger volumes with several time lesser manpower, untiringly 24*7, in a fully compliant manner and by preempting all money laundering and illegal payments. However, I am retiring in next 3 years.

(2) Elon Musk’s Tesla is producing driverless e cars. I don’t think India is anywhere near to adopting either – e car or driverless option. I am still on the geared version of a petrol guzzler driven by an old faithful driver. Don’t hope to experience either – definitely not the driverless car- in my lifetime.

(3) Amazon and Tesla are preparing to take mankind for space travel. I am told several celebrities have already pre- fixed their dates with these companies. Considering the wait period and the likely cost, for me space travel will probably be posthumous, with Lord Yama taking me there in his legendary vehicle!

(4) There is progress relating to development of aircrafts that will be several times faster than the current jets, cutting travel time to a fraction of what it is today! Today for travelling to Johannesburg to visit my daughter’s family, I change over flight at midway destination and take almost 14 hours to reach there. Half of my leave time goes in travel and overcoming travel fatigue!

(5) Lastly, while conception of life has already been made possible through in vitro fertilisation, pluripotent, the body’s master cells that are self – replicating and can potentially give rise to any cell or tissue that the body needs to repair itself have already been isolated in a laboratory about 20 years ago. Shortly, one can see explosive growth of application of stem cell technology in real life scenario. I read in a science journal that by 2050, it should be possible to create life in a laboratory without any parent contributing any sperm or ovum and repair of ageing cells by replacing them with new healthy cells may eventually lead to the mankind conquering death. Alas, 2050 is so far off that my portrait may be adorning a wall rather than me in person burdening the Mother Earth!

For me technology is all about academic excitement that’s developing too slowly to be of any direct benefit to me.

Indian Premier League

The big Tamasha begins today. Twelfth chapter of Indian premier League (IPL) begins today with a Big Bang match between two high profile teams – Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Let me first state some benefits of IPL:

(1) IPL has helped India attain numero uno position in T-20 cricket.

(2) The tournament provides the audience, both- on the field watching live match and millions of TV viewers enjoying in their homes- a pure unbridled “paisa vasool” entertainment.

(3) There are International stars adorning each of the teams, enhancing the star quotient of the teams and the tournament on the whole.

(4) There are big hits and each big hit is accompanied by cheer girls making the hit more spicy and audiences more delirious.

(5) For next 45 days or so, the cricket maniac nation is going to have its evenings overshadowed by IPL matches. The public will be distracted and all the hot topical issues for a change take a back seat.

(6) There’s big money for cricketers (securing their futures), big opportunity for advertisers, big moment for the team owners and big entertainment for the nation.

If all the above is true, what could be darker side of this IPL? Let me enumerate a few:

(1) When you think of IPL, which name comes to your mind first- Dhoni, Kohli, Sachin, Sahwag, Zaheer ? Unfortunately, it’s Lalit Modi, ensconced somewhere in beautiful and cool environs of England after his financial misconduct and other glaring irregularities.

(2) The money is so big that stars prefer IPL to all other cricketing opportunities- local leagues, domestic cricket, county cricket and even international cricket, where they represent India! They will be giving their best in this year’s IPL, lest their commercial value takes a beating in the next year’s auction, though that may mean totally burning themselves and risking injury ahead of World Cup!

(3) Illegal racket of betting reaches a crescendo and excruciatingly large proportions change hands, not even sparing the cricketers from its toxicity!

(4) The game is killing traditional cricket- when everything happens in about 5 hours and it’s not only cricket but whole lot of glamour ( Shahrukh, Preity, Shilpa, Nita are the owners), who wants to sit through whole day of tactical hitting ( one day matches) or five days of pure classic cricket?

(5) High paid IPL stars and big hitters, are sometimes no where near to making it to National team or have extremely short stints . Also, public memory is short lived unless you are a Chris Gayle or Glen Maxwell hitting big year after year!

Sports are fine, but our obsession with Cricket is doing disservice to other sports. Kabaddi and soccer leagues are attracting some sponsors, advertisers and eyeballs, but it’s too insignificant compared to cricket, especially IPL. I may sound slightly sceptical here (and even I will be watching a few matches being a cricket aficionado myself), but a Tamasha that creates such strong impression on the psyche of the country, should have some values associated to it rather than being a pure Tamasha with no essence! Pakistani cricketers, who were disallowed to participate in bidding after their country continued to fan terrorism in India, had big heart burn, till they also started their Pakistan Super League! Learning virtues from each other is anathema for both the countries ( though Pakistan unfortunately does not retain many lately), but in the matters of razzmatazz and glitterati, the game of one-upmanship is always on! Let’s play peace, love and pure cricket rather than One- upmanship !

Festival of colours- Holi

All our festivals have a legend or folklore behind them. In ancient India, Hiranyakashyap, the demon king became so powerful that he started considering himself to be God. His son Prahlad, however, refused to treat his father like one and egoistic and snooty Hiranyakashyap decided to teach his son a lesson. He asked his sister Holika, who was blessed not to get singed by fire, to take Prahlad in her lap and walk into a burning pyre. Little did Hirnyakashyap or Holika realised that boon was hers if she were to walk into fire alone. As the story goes, Holika gets destroyed in fire, while pious Prahlad, who all along chanted Lord Vishnu’s name comes out unscathed. Like Dussehra or Diwali, Holi represents victory of good over evil or destruction of evil. Burning of Holika on the eve of Holi is practiced till date.

Of course, the colours of Holi owe their origin to Vrindavan and Mathura where Lord Krishna played Holi with flowers with his mates and gopis.

A festival that has its origin in such a pious and noble folklore and that finds mention in scriptures as being actively celebrated by Gods, unfortunately has become rowdiest of our religious festivals. Use of chemical paints, water balloons, wastage of water and Eve teasing and molestation under the garb of playing festival are commonly observed. People indulge in all sorts of unholy practices, making this extremely ancient and pious festival something that families and ladies like to eminently avoid. Gone are the days, when friendly banter amongst friends and families followed by consumption of Holi delicacies, especially Gujia ( patty filled with khoya and dry fruits) . An occasional glass of mild bhang would not harm anyone.

My friend’s travel company, Marvilla has adopted a unique way of greeting their patrons on festival days and I liberally borrow from their creativity. Their Holi message has been replicated below. Let me wish all my readers and friends a very happy, prosperous and clean Holi.

Christchurch carnage

No place in this world is safe today,

Criminals and terrorists are on the prowl;

Mosques were once upon places of shelter,

Alas, today even mosques have become unsafe.

The above couplet, translated from Urdu appropriately captures the angst at yesterday’s shoot out at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 49 Muslims present there for Friday Namaz.

New Zealand, till yesterday, was considered a highly safe and peaceful country of around 5 million people, including immigrants of various nationalities and religions. However, a fanatic chose to go berserk and motivated to act criminally by some faulty ideology, killed 49 innocent persons in cold blood. And these faulty ideologies are prevalent across the world propagating fanaticism and intolerance. Some youngsters get so much brainwashed by these teachings that they perpetrate acts of barbarism like one witnessed yesterday.

Let countries learn their lessons quickly and destroy all infrastructure on their respective lands that is fostering future fanatics and terrorists. Let no country support such ideologies and infrastructure, whatever be the cause justifying propagation of such ideologies and resultant acts. In today’s times, words like jihad, holy war, dharma yudh etc have no relevance and whether the cause is Kashmir, Khalistan, Palestine or even cow slaughter, no cause is big enough to justify encouragement to such elements. Let the nations of the world unify on this aspect and take vow to uproot terrorism in all forms and of all hues and ideologies to make this world a safer place. Let the entire world become peaceful, beautiful and tolerant like New Zealand instead of NZ becoming a terrorism infested place like several other places in the world.