Sunday 4 October 2009

Majoritarianism

I was at the immigration counter at Heathrow, London. The gentleman behind me was also an Indian. He had some questions regarding the immigration process; so, he requested my assistance. I answered his questions in English - he was from the national capital. Looked like he wasn't comfortable in English. So, i tried to explain him about the process in broken Hindi. He asked me 'Don't you know Hindi?' I said, 'No, i know very little Hindi'. He smirked and mocked at me - "You are an Indian and you don't speak Hindi?!?!?!"

All i could do was pity his ignorance. (Dear brother, i have learnt English and little Hindi in addition to my language; whereas you know no other language other than your mother tongue - and you question my patriotism? Shouldn't i accuse of bigot ism?)

How many of us know that India doesn't have ONE national language (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Theres-no-national-language-in-India-Gujarat-High-Court/articleshow/5496231.cms)? How many of us know about the amendment to the Indian Constitution in this regard in 1965? How many of us know that the Indian Constitution is written in English and not in any other language?

Based on my experiences, i see there is (still) a kind of sense that 'you should know Hindi if you are an Indian; You are not patriotic if you don't know Hindi'.

More amusing is this prejudice prevails among the so called 'educated mass' as well. And most of those who say this are those whose first language is Hindi or one of its siblings.

I think there has been enough altercation on the web over this 'Hindi Imperialism' and the reservations and concerns of the minority speakers; so, i am not going any further on it. But, this incident brings out a more generic question - 'How is the Majority imposing itself on the Minority?' This question can be related to any sphere of social life - language, culture, religion, economic system, etc.

'The mind is like a parachute. Works best when open!'

Easier said than done - we are all frogs in a small well. As long as we stay within the well, our thoughts and actions will be influenced by this confined environment. Once we step out and see the bigger picture, we will be able to better appreciate the views of the wider populace.

If only the majority is more benevolent and accommodating, and the minority in turn less effusing, humanity would be a better race.

Saturday 20 June 2009

Bachelor's Kavithai

கை செய்யும் தவறுக்கு நாக்கிற்கு தண்டனை
செல்்ப் குக்கிங்!

~ அருண்

kai seiyum thavarukku naakirku thandanai
Self Cooking!

- Arun

Friday 19 June 2009

Hips, Hugs and Hulas

There have been many firsts in this travel – it’s the first time I travel out of India, it’s the first time I flew in a Boeing, also the first time I brush shoulders with Brits. Over the days here, this has transcended into several overlaps (and sometimes incursions) into their life style. Last Friday, I had a chance to peep into yet another ‘hi-life’ style of western culture – the Disco.



TGIF!! Friday night is party time. When the week’s share of toil (?!) is over, and there are 2 full days to rejuvenate before the next week kicks in, ‘rest’ is the last thing in ! I was settling down with some movies for the week end, when my colleagues pulled me up for a taste of the night life; and we shot our way out to ‘Chicago Rocks’, a club in town.



I am a nervous wrack. Flocks of party-goers with bottles on one side and babes on the other – a sight that would be a fascination for a lad made me nervous. May be, I wasn’t used to all this before. But it was all to change in the next few minutes. After spending a dime of a time waiting to be let in, we stepped into a world of dance and drinks. We picked up our drinks – I picked up a ‘KICK’ hoping I have at least in name what others have in their ‘more exquisite’ drinks. As I sipped through my drink, I tried to absorb myself into the mood; by the time the drink was done, I was on the dance floor. Feet tapping progressed to hand clapping; and soon I was jiggling all over. The party has begun!



Song after song, beat after beat, I danced my time out, ‘Jai Ho’ and ‘Slumdog’ only pepping up the mood further. Mind it when I say I danced - it was more a jiggle here and jerk there than any coherent co-ordination of the limbs. However, fellow dancers (Brits) were gracious enough in encouraging my amateur act; with one even going to the extent of being ‘generous enough' to let me dance with his girl (but before she could come over to my side, her ‘actual BF’ jumped in and dragged her away).



As the moon climbed up further over the midnight sky; and cash dipped deep into the corners of our pockets, we called it quits. I returned to my room; and turned on my laptop to move on with my movies. Quite bizarre is the human mind – what else could explain that after all the burning of cash and calories, I watched a movie on hunger and poverty! No wonder, in a country where thousands are losing jobs every day, the party bells ring late into the night!!

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Rendezvous with IAF

The alarm beeped.. it was 6 in the morning. I rubbed my eyes and gazed at the ceiling. It will be a challenging day today... over 5 meetings slotted for the day... the thought of it really pissed me off. Putting those thoughts aside and enthusing (consoling!) myself to look at the brighter side, i got ready and arrived at the dining table at half past 7. The lounge was crowded; there was lot of activity going on... i didn't mind popping out to see what's happening... i had enough things to worry about. After grubbing through the cereals and fruits, i was gazing across the lawn awaiting my course when i heard a voice over my head, "Good Morning! Can i have this seat?" There was a gentleman standing beside me . There weren't enough tables around; so he requested if i can share my table with him. I obliged. By this time, my main course had arrived and we started talking as we had our breakfast.

I introduced myself, "Hi! I am Arun. Working with Honeywell as Business Analyst"

He replied, "Hello! I am Srinivas, Wing Commander, IAF".

I almost dropped my fork. It dawned on me; i looked around; to find most of the tables occupied by IAF personnel. I really couldn't believe i was dining with a wing commander of IAF that too in a foreign country. More surprised was i, when i got to know that he too is from Chennai and that he visits Madurai often to meet his sister (Jeez... the world is a small place after all). We were soon joined by his boss - the Group Captain. They apprised me that they have come to visit Agusta Westland (Honeywell and Westland share the same campus) who have submitted bids to sell helicopters to IAF. So, after a good chat for 5 minutes, i exchanged pleasantries and took leave of them with a solid military hand shake that almost broke my hand.

At 5 the evening, i was reading news on Times Of India website...
"Govt cancels tenders for 22 copters for IAF. The bidders include AgustaWestland...."

Sunday 22 March 2009

A Sweet Little Story

There is this little wave, bobbing up and down.. and having a grand time.. just enjoying the sunshine. Until he sees the other waves crashing into the shore.. This little wave gets scared..."Oh My God! Is it gonna happen to me!!"

Another wave asks, "Why do you look so sad?"... and the little wave says,, 'because we are gonna crash... all of us are gonna be nothing... don't you understand?"

The other wave says," You don't understand... you are not a wave... you are part of the ocean..."

WE ARE ALL PART OF THE OCEAN!!

-- Excerpt from 'Tuesdays with Morrie'

Monday 23 February 2009

Day Uno - Landing, Lodging & Loitering

It may not be appropriate to call it 'a dream come true'; however i secretly have been cherishing thoughts of an on-site assignment for the past few months. Being a software engineer and in business for 3 years is an apt 'excuse' ; and so after days of ifs and buts, boosts and brakes, here i am in UK. Through this and the following posts, i will be sharing my experience in the empire where the sun at last did set.

To make a short story shorter, the travel was incident-free. I had a good time during the journey; broke into conversations with co-passengers (and of-course the air hostesses). My co-passenger was an American working for Lockheed Martin flying to Washington DC. We talked for an hour over a lot of things - Honeywell, Aerospace business, India, America, Obama and finally London. Few minutes before landing, he revealed that he was born in Kottayam Kerala; and that he speaks Thamizh and Malayalam well.... surprises come in many packages. As the jet was hovering over London awaiting clearance, i had a good view of London Eye and Buckingham Palace - first glimses of the city! Emigration formalities at Heathrow were hassle-free. The lady officer joked at my duration of stay (84 days sharp), quizzed me on a couple of things; then i was through. Heathrow's terminal 5 lives to its reputation - the terminal is rightly big enough for an airport that is the busiest in the world in passenger traffic terms. I had pre-booked a taxi; the taxi driver picked me up at the airport and we were off.

It was 10 in the morning and we were driving out of London towards Yeovil. So, it was a pleasant drive, with no traffic and lots of sunshine. We whizzed past many a farmland, meadow and grassland. The taxi driver gave me good company with quick-bites about the places around. An hour into the drive, we drove past Stone Henge, one of the ancient mysteries we still are looking answers for. Driving through castles interspersed with cottages, meadows meshed up with industries, modern life style inter-twined with medieval architecture, i arrived at my hotel, The Manor, by afternoon.

The hotel is a 250 year old castle which had been refurbished into a hotel once the kings and queens morphed into CEOs and celebrities. The receptionist was a man in his 40s accompanied by a lady wearing a 1970s style dress . The hotel was warm and well-furnished. After a quick lunch, i settled down in my room with Wi-Fi and GTalk to keep company.

Later in the evening, i strolled out to the town center. Did i tell you about the town? Yeovil is a cool place... yeah.. so cool that i had to rush back to the hotel in 5 minutes to get my jacket and gloves ;) The temperatures usually hover around 10 C, sinking down close to zero in the evenings. My hotel is situated right at the middle of the town center. So, all the shops were just a 'rock-throw' away. I loitered around the streets for over an hour, gazing through closed shop windows (shops close by 5 coz of the weather), nodding heads with an occasional Brit walking down the road (not many walk in the roads for the same reason). Finally, i bought some processed food and drinks (strictly non-alcoholic) and rushed to my room to blog my experience away.

~ KK from UK

PS: The rush back to the room was more to escape the weather than the zeal to blog. The blog was written a day later.

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