Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Muslim? Step over here please"

The recent alleged terror plot in London has thrown a whole new debate into picture. One that has already been in place but now is being talked about in a more open manner. That of racial/religious profiling at the airports to increase the security and minimize the delays for frequent flyers and the aam junta.

It is quite well known that people of Asian descent are frequently detained by airport authorities in "random" checks and are forced to undergo further and more thorough searches. So far, it was under the cloak of "randomness". Now they want to be open about it and say, hey, if you are a muslim, then you are a suspect and must prove yourselves not guilty by submitting to detention and searches. Will that really be effective??

Yes, muslims are the major source of threat for the americans and britons right now. Arguning that there are non-muslim terrorist organisation is simply wrong given the fact that it is the muslim terrorists who present threats to them. Not LTTE or Naxalites, but muslims. Mainly because of all the mess they have created in the Middle East. So, it does make sense to view muslims with a jaundiced eye for them. But will that really be successful? Will that really help them?

I personally do not think so. I think it would be too easy to hide one's religion. What if you get a passport with Jesus Christ written on it. If you are getting a fake passport, how hard would it be to get it in a non-muslim name. Maybe, Deepak Chopra? How would the airport authority find that out, unless they detect the mendacity of the passport...

Secondly, there are way too many people coming in illegally and so far, neither Britain nor the US have been able to put an end to that. So, there is nothing to stop a terrorist to get into their countries and once in there, they could very well become anybody with any name. Create an identity that is difficult to trace and you are no longer identifiable as a muslim, unless they strip them and look at their wee-wees, which would require them to be suspects in the first place.

Thirdly, according to MIT, most suicide bombers are not muslims!

So, such a move would not just be racist but would not serve its purpose and would only perpetuate a hostility that is unnecessary and stupid.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Apparently, I am a liar...

Your EQ is 153

50 or less: Thanks for answering honestly. Now get yourself a shrink, quick!
51-70: When it comes to understanding human emotions, you'd have better luck understanding Chinese.
71-90: You've got more emotional intelligence than the average frat boy. Barely.
91-110: You're average. It's easy to predict how you'll react to things. But anyone could have guessed that.
111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt.
131-150: You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin.
150+: Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

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Obit: Bismillah Khan

Ustadji passed away today at the age of 91.

All though his life, he had been a very humble man whose energy and talent would always be remembered by all those who have heard him play, especially by those who have had the great fortune to have seen him play live.

SPIC MACAY national conventions would be empty without his shehnai and I am sure a lot of volunteers would miss him.

His spirit would always be with us. He is a Bharath Ratna, one that can never be replaced...

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Another stupid test

Your Personality Is Like Cocaine

You're dynamic, brilliant, and alluring to those who don't know you.
Hyper and full of energy, you're usually the last one to leave a party.
Sometimes your sharp mind gets the better of you... you're a bit paranoid!

Just to clarify - I am all that!

Ok, I am not... I am brilliant though.

Alright, thats not true either.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006


sivasamudram 6
Originally uploaded by amathad.

Finally, we stopped at Sivasamudram while coming back because it was on the way and the water here is in all its glory! You behold it and it is hard not to feel a little scared of the water...

Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary - tea stall
Originally uploaded by amathad.

The first morning, we stopped at this small shop inside Brahmagiri Wildlife Santuary and we got the best tea in the entire trip here.

Also, this was a lovely place with a stream flowing gustily by.

Beach near Thallasery

beach near Thallasery
Originally uploaded by amathad.

One of the most recurrent things we saw throughout the trip were communist symbols and monuments. This was a different experience because communists are strong only in Kerala and WB. In any other state, one might have seen flags of other parties but monuments such as these would have been rare..

chembri peak

chembri peak 1
Originally uploaded by amathad.

We tried to climb this peak and it was fun!!!

Fishermen - thallasery beach

fishermen - thallasery beach
Originally uploaded by amathad.

We got to this beach near Thallasery after a kilometer long winding, narrow path. Supposed to be a drive in beach and you could travel along the beach till kannur, some 20 kilometers away!

This was mainly a fishermen's beach, it seemed, with lots of fishing boats and activity...

Football on the beach

football on the beach 2
Originally uploaded by amathad.

After several attempts I get an action pic right. The problem was more complicated by my camera which would take the pic half a second after I clicked the button. So, I had to anticipate the player's motion and it made it tricky to capture.

Kannur beach

kannur beach 1
Originally uploaded by amathad.

The beach was pretty cool, though it was hot and humid out there and we had to walk a few kilometers to the beach.

Some of the guys took a quick dip but came out with salty water in their mouths...

Kannur port

we have eachother
Originally uploaded by amathad.

I will posting some of the pictures I took during the Kerala trip. You can see more pics here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Long time..

It has been a long time
Since I saw you last
And much water has flown between here and there

It has been a long time
Since I saw you smile
And great many things have occurred in that time

It has been a long time
Since I saw your eyes
And the world has blurred to a halt

It has been a long time
Since I thought I’d seen you last
And so many people have come and gone

Now that I see you today through another’s eyes
Those lost emotions come hurtling back
With a force and ferocity of days of yore
Taking me by surprise of a thousand shocks

I now realise that it is easier said than done
To forget those times I spent with you
And to move on from there without you
To bury the past and look ahead…

I will always remember you
With a fondness that never can be expressed
With a heart full of desire
And with a mind full of regret

Oh yes, it has been a really long time.

16th August 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Independence day!

Another year comes and with it comes another anniversery of the Independence that we fought so hard for...

Happy Independence Day to you all!!

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Just back...

Was in kerala for the past few days and I am literally dead tired. Walked a lot and clicked a LOT of pictures. Will be uploading them as soon as I am done organising them...

For a primer, check out this picture I took at St. Angelo's Fort, Kannur.

St. Angelo's Fort, Kannur

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Friday, August 11, 2006

A letter from Shirin Ebadi

From: Shirin Ebadi
Sent: Saturday, August 05, 2006 1:54 PM

There is a very important matter I would like to discuss with you. I
conduct my human rights activities through the Defender of Human Rights
Center (DHRC). I am the president of this center and we have three important responsibilities:

a. We report the violations of human rights that take place in Iran.

b. We defend political prisoners pro bono -- about 70% of the political prisoners in Iran are clients of our center and we do not charge them for our services.

c. We support the families of these prisoners both financially -- if
they require financial aid -- and spiritually.

This center is a member of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and has been registered there. It has also been awarded a human rights prize by the Human Rights National Commission in France. This center is very well known and credible in Iran. Two days ago the government of Iran announced that this center is illegal and provided we continue our activities, they shall arrest us. Of course me and the other members of the center do not intend to shut down the center and we shall continue our activities. However, there is a high possibility that that they will arrest us. The government's action in this regard is illegal.

Therefore, I kindly request that you broadcast this message by all mean and gather spiritual support for our center. This center has been established and working for more than four years now. I believe this decision of the government has been triggered by my memoir being published. In any case, I am happy that my memoir has been published, for the truth must be told.

Many thanks,
Shirin Ebadi

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Another web comic that makes me laugh out loud..

A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language

An instance of its fabulousness!

Ok, I am a geek..

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Lost: NASA does it again!

It seems like the original moon landing recordings are lost!!!

THE heart-stopping moments when Neil Armstrong took his first tentative steps onto another world are defining images of the 20th century: grainy, fuzzy, unforgettable.

But just 37 years after Apollo 11, it is feared the magnetic tapes that recorded the first moon walk - beamed to the world via three tracking stations, including Parkes's famous "Dish" - have gone missing at NASA's Goddard Space Centre in Maryland.

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Banning of domestic child labour

Annie has a great series of post on this topic. See the ugly under-belly of the Great Indian Middle Class.

Never again (one hopes)

Why the ban was necessary - 1

Why the ban was necessary - 2






The child and the minimum wage

Graphs and the ban

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"The terrorist"

Dean Jones calls Hashim Amla a terrorist and get fired!

And then he says this..

"It was a silly and completely insensitive thing to say and, obviously, it was never supposed to be heard over the air. I am truly sorry to have caused offence to anybody and the last thing I intended was to be disrespectful."

Ummm... what? So, it is ok if it was not aired but just heard by your colleagues?

I wonder how he is going to get out of this. Unlike Mel, he was not drunk* and was obviously in full control of his senses and speech. I also wonder whether he would say "the terrorist has got another wicket" whenever Murali gets one.

Dean Jones has just axed his career short. I do not think we will see this guy commenting on TV again.

* Though being drunk is no excuse for his alleged anti-semitic hate talk.

Update: Others commentators comment on Dean Jones' "gaffe"

Harsha Bhogle, a prominent broadcaster with ESPN Star Sports, pointed out that commentators have to always be on their guard. "We work in a news room or commentary box, so we have to be careful of what we say," he told The Times of India. "You have to assume that the microphone is always on. There will be some network somewhere who will be on live even when there is a break. We have directorial microphones too, so we have to be very careful. Sometimes producers do tell us that it is leaking, be careful. I have made up my mind not to swear even when not on air."

Wait a minute. The issue isn't he made the statement on air but that he made the statement. Whether he makes it in the locker room or in public does not matter because the statement was bloody bad! Harsha, what the fuck are you talking about? Arn't thou able to condemn Jones's remarks!

Then comes the explanation...

Syed Saba Karim, the former Indian wicketkeeper-turned-commentator, did not condone Jones but believed it could have been an honest mistake. "We do chat off camera and off air but I have never experienced anything like this. Nowadays with the ICC being strict with what comes on air, strong action has already taken place," he said. "Dean Jones is popular with so many cricketers, maybe it came out inadvertently. He must be given a chance to explain his stand."

oh! he made a honest mistake, did he? But what the hell is the honest mistake? Calling someone a terrorist because of their religiousness and their appearance? Bullshit!

Arun Lal, the former Indian batsman and prominent commentator, maintained that it was a bad mistake. "It's a very unfortunate incident. Just one of those things, when he has probably tried to sound witty. Knowing the gentleman I am sure he did not mean it. It was just a mistake, nothing else."

I am sure he is, now that he has lost his job for his faux paus.

I wonder how these guys can talk about how this is all a big mistake and that Dean Jones is not really a bad guy. He probably is not a nutcase but if this is his idea of a joke, I do not want to know him nor would I like to be around him...

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Monday, August 07, 2006

"A terrible thought occurs to me. There will be another 9/11."

Those are Robert Fisk's words.

Now I respect Fisk. I think he is one of the few American journalists/columnists who is worth reading but this statement makes me wonder whether he was sleeping all this while? Of course, there is going to be another 9/11. What do you expect after you bomb, kill, torture and destroy one country after another in the middle-east? Is it really that hard to see where this confrontation is headed?

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pepsi, Coke and CSE

The first time it was reported that pesticides residues were found in Coke and Pepsi samples, I figured that this was a malicious campaign against these American companies operating in India. I dismissed it offhand and it did not stop me from drinking pepsi/coke.

But it is three years later and it has happened again!! Now, I think this is more than a stunt to malign these cola companies and that there might actually be an element of truth to it.

Having said that, it is refreshing to see our courts showing some stern actions and asking pepsi/coke to reveal the contents of their drinks. Also, state governments have been authorised to take random samples for testing purposes.

Why is this a concern? MNCs have been known to be not concerned about the health risks of third world countries. Whether it is Bhopal or Choropampa, the story is the same. Some big company creates a mess and the local people face the consequences of their mistakes. Because they are MNCs, there is always no accountability and the guilty are never brought to justice.

So, is Pepsi and Coke feeding us pesticides? I would not put it past them to do so. But the important question is where do these pesticides come into picture? Is it because they fail to purify the water they pump out of the soil or because the chemicals of these pesticides are a part of the "formula"? That is for the court to find out. Whatever happens, Pepsi/Coke would have to do a major PR work to rectify this mess. The first time around this happened, their sales dropped drastically. Now, I am sure it would drop even more.

Hat tip - Shivam for the email alert to this story.

Update: A more detailed report from Down To Earth (mag of CSE). The story and the data provided clearly state that the levels of pesticides in Pepsi/Coke are still high and unacceptable.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Tutorial: How to suppress racism.

The strategies can be and are applied for a lot of other issues too. So, read carefully and learn...

How to talk nasty about Blacks.

Again, the strategies mentioned here are not restricted in use.

How to be a really nice guy.

The title's self-explanatory.

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Callback - A surreal experience...

Every once in a while, you get a phone call that tests the limits of Reality as you know it. I had one such experience sunday night.

As is usual with me, my phone was in silent mode and lying somewhere under the heaps of stuff on my bed. And again, as is usual, I go to check up onmy mobile as to whether there were any calls during the time I was away from it. And yes, there was. There had been a call from an unknown number. So, being the nice guy that I am, I called back and the conversation went something like this...


Woman at the other end: "Hello"

Me: "Hello, I received a missed call from this number. May I know who I am speaking to?"

Woman passes the phone to someone, murmuring: ".....koi missed call..."

Man at the other end: "Hello, who are you?"

Me: *repeating my last line*

"What are you talking about a missed call? What number do you want?"

Now I did not memorise the number that I got the call from simpy because I did not expect a pop quiz on memory and recall.

"I am not sure. I got a call from the number of the phone you are holding and I am just calling back."

"What calling back? you dont even know what number you are calling!!"

I reiterate my argument again hoping that the person would understand why I dont know the number I am calling.

"First you tell me who you are and why are you calling this number?"

WTF? Now I am beginning to wonder whether there is something wrong with this old man (by this time, I have formulated a theory that the person on other end is an old muslim chacha complete with a topi and paan stained teeth).

I try again to make him understand that I am just making a courtesy call wondering why I received a call from his number.

"Tell me what number you dialled!!"

I know this serves no purpose but I check my phone and I say, "98XXXX2344?"

"What are teling me my number for? Phone rak" *CLICK*

Me: staring at the mobile and wondering whether I had just been outwitted by an old man!

I wonder what that was all about. I am guessing that the old man is paranoid of strange men calling up his daughter. That seems to be the most likely explanation but what I do not understand is why I got a call from them. Perhaps, they dialled the wrong number? Maybe, maybe.

But it is still a mystery to me as to why the old man was playing mind games with me.

You won this round. I will be better prepared next time!

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