Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Art of Living (Off Of Others)

Since I quit my job a few months ago, I’ve had time to think about life, my role in it, what makes me tick and all that deep stuff.
I want more out of life.Actually I want it all.Love, Respect, Money, Power. Everything.And I want it to last.
And then I had an epiphany. Voila! I know what I need to do. I’m going to become a Guru. I’ll follow the trail blazed by the likes of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (RS to keep it real)

Lets rewind a little bit. Year: 2003, Place: San Jose,CA. In a moment of weakness, I shelled out $100 for the Art of Living (AOL) basic course. I landed up at the class and was met by some slow AOLers. I don’t mean slow in the head but slow in the way they were gliding across the hallways, looking unnaturally calm and serene. But as soon as they realized that I was here to pay for the course, there was a flurry of activity and before I knew it I was already feeling lighter ;) The place was full; it seemed like the whole of Silicon Valley was there. A big picture frame of RS was strategically placed near the stage, and a few minutes later a lady in white appeared – the AOL teacher.She looked radiant and captivating in her white salwar kameez – that is until she spoke and revealed that she did indeed have feet of clay. What a disaster! Need parking space – pray to RS. Need to be saved while riding a water scooter in Goa – pray to RS. From parking space to saving a life RS can do it all. But of course you need his ‘blessings’ (read moolah).I looked around the room during this inane talk – I saw heads nodding all over. It seemed like the whole of the Valley was bowing its head to RS in complete acceptance. No questions asked! It was sad and comical at the same time. These were the crème de la crème of the tech world, the educated class, the scientifically inclined. These were my people! I saw them changing in front of my eyes. It was like watching a sci fi movie –smart, educated, yuppies getting converted into zombies! It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.

Fast forward to 2009
- I am excited. My checklist is ready.

  • The Art of Clients: Number of rich, educated, yuppies looking for a new guru/ ready to convert to a new one. Millions! - Check.
  • The Art of Investment: A few well meaning friends and family and the power of social networking. Check.
  • The Art of Qualification: Be like RS. No message, no spirituality, no intellectually stimulating discussions. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Nihilism? Hmmm. Check

This is a fool proof plan and it’s going to work like a charm :) I am ready to jump on the ‘guru’ bandwagon and look forward to my first million.
Watch out for my new foundation ALOO! Ah. The Art of Living Off of Others !

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Of Cricket and Color

DH wanted to watch the India-Pakistan game for the champion’s trophy. I belong to the ‘I hate cricket’ club whose members have been growing in recent times. I write this as I watch a very dismal performance from the Indian side. The advertisements were more exciting. The recent Docomo ‘pay per second’ ad got me thinking on the color issue. Why do ads in India love featuring blonds and white skinned females? (I was told that most of them are really Indians with bleached faces and hair but I digress) Is the common Indian man really that obsessed with color and prefers it over the new and improved ‘aaj ki bhartiya nari’
So I pop a question to DH – ‘If you have to choose one women with exactly the same body type but different skin and hair color which one would you choose - blond, brunette, brown etc – your pick.
DH looked like a little boy in a candy store. I had to clarify that this was just a hypothetical question and I had no intentions whatsoever of lining them up for him. DH replies, ‘If it is a hypothetical question the answer is brown skin and black hair’ Smart.
Are the days of the colonial mindset and bowing to the ‘gora’ a thing of the past? Or do the 4 billion and growing population of brown people prefer to be genetically modified? The fair cream products for women as well as men have been doing very well and most of these companies have predicted exponential growths. The numbers are self explanatory. We talk about the ‘dark' sinister happenings and ‘black’ deeds. We talk about 'white' peace and being ‘fair’. Isn’t it just an extension of this? Are we fundamentally wired to gravitate towards fair/white? Or is brown the new black ?
And Yes India lost the match. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Singapura Lah !

My first 10 impressions of Singapore:
  1. Singapore is an 'A mall gamation' of multiple cultures - Chinese, Malays, Indians, Australians, Europeans, Americans - all nationalities, religions and fashion styles refreshingly blended.
  2. The women are flawless (with the makeup at least). Perfect skin, hair, legs and weight ! Hard to compete with that - hopefully its balanced off with zero intelligence and a compulsive obsessive desire to shop :)
  3. Dis country Singlish language lah - Go where? So how ? what leh? You go ting ting a little bit, maybe den you will get answer. (In English: Go and think over it for a while and then you might understand it)
  4. Its an urban rainforest and there is constant demolition and renovation going on. There are as many giant cranes in the Singapore skyline as skyscrapers.
  5. Most construction workers are Indians or Bangladeshis or Srilankans.
  6. People speak sweetly; never heard a rude tone - not even in government offices!
  7. There is no significance given to race even in news reports. For example Strait Times reports 'A man was seen carrying his bicycle 40 stories down when a fire broke out in the building.' The news elsewhere would have read 'A man of Indian origin was foolishly carrying his bicycle 40 stories down without any consideration for others' safety'
  8. Chewing gum is not allowed into this nanny state even for personal consumption. Thumbs up to that !
  9. The vending machines have healthy drinks - green tea, soy drink; barley drink anyone ? Better than options available in the US or Japan - google that ;)
  10. Its green, spotlessly clean and the architecture is beautiful. A Singapore post card says it all - 'The old historical buildings were lovingly transformed into karaoke bars and malls'

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tom Dick n Harry

What would happen if the president had the vice-presidents first name? (Year: 2005, Place: USA) He would be called Dick Bush :-) It's kinda funny. But what can the Dicks of the world do? Some devious mind took a perfectly normal name and ruined it for good! Tom and Harry got spared but poor Dick ..

Interestingly enough, in India we love to name our kids - Dick.

One of my (Indian) friends was once asked by his American colleague what his name translated to. He mumbled something about it been another name for Lord Shiva. How would you expect him to translate - Jambulingam? He calls his daughter Kutti Jambulingam (Small BigDick) - spare the child please!

I see Mahalingams, Jambulingams, Chokkalingams ...all kinds... everywhere! Women with last names .. It might be a boost to the egos of the Mahalingams and Jambulingams but what about Chokkalingam - what does chokka mean anyways?

I was blissfully unaware of the meaning of lingam for a very long time ..I've even worshiped it. Research from the most trusted source on the net (wikipedia of course) gave me the following information:
The use of this symbol as an object of worship is a timeless tradition in India; mainstream scholars connect the origin of the lingam to the early Indus Valley civilization. Lingam is usually found with Yoni. It was natural for the tribes of Indus Valley to look at the togetherness of genital parts of the male and female (Lingam and Yoni) as the point of energy, point of creation, and point of enlightenment.

Ok it sounds convincing - but why would Shiva want his particular Lingam to be worshipped? Is it not an intrusion on his privacy? and what about the Yoni? The Shiv Lingam is usually placed in the Yoni but there are not many Yoni worshippers. The feminist in me cannot stand this differential treatment!

In the land of Lingam and Yoni worshippers - we are still a closed society when it comes to sex. We name our children after the lingam but we still shy away from educating them about the basics of reproduction. With a history of child marriages - we jail our young for sitting in parks with the opposite sex.. In the land of Kamasutra - we fear to admit that premarital sex is not so uncommon after all.

Mr and Mrs Lingams of the world - Rise (no pun intended) and defend the Indian tradition!