Venue : Central Backpackers, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Song : Wagon Wheel.
And, yes…the person standing and rocking, is yours truly. The left hand makes a solid, powerful appearance, as you can all see! :)
Life is beautiful, isn’t it?
WE DID IT! Third country in the world, fourth space organisation in the World! Against all criticism and ridicule! And ahead of China and Japan, being the first Asian country!
So much was said, about poverty and priority, as if the Europeans didn’t spend money on ships and colonising and instead made toilets in the seventeenth century…about money badly spent, about a “third world” country not having the same technological rights or capabilities…but now is not the time to reply to those arguments. Ignore the morons.
1. This mission is one tenth the cost of NASA, ESA, or Roscosmos. It will bring immense tech commerce from other countries using our cheap and affordable technology. There’s a reason NASA wants to partner with ISRO for this mission’s data.
2. It provides job to over 30000 people in different capacity within India.
3. It helps in ballistic missile technology, and future deterrence.
4. It gives us bragging rights.
But no point…you can’t make everyone happy. Some people will be imbeciles anyway.
So, here’re two memes…which will probably show what we Indians feel about this Mars Mission.
All we can say is, any technological milestone is a great day, a “giant leap” for humanity. And a proud day for Indians everywhere.
” Space…the final frontier… “
Here comes the Earthlings!!!
They’ve done it again. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Came out with a scathing report criticising US Drone attacks.
This has gone far now. This “Drones kill innocent civilians and violate human rights” myth, I mean.
It’s illogical, emotional, lacking empirical evidence, not corroborated and validated by facts or data…and to be honest, quite ridiculously stupid.
To counter, here I have collected a sample of good researched based articles, countering the myth.
4. Drone Wars
6. The Drone War: Pakistani Public Opposition To American Drone Strikes In Pakistan – A Research by C. Christine Fair, Karl Kaltenthaler, William J. Miller.
Hope that shuts those hippies up.
One latest addition.
Now, that’s what is called a brutal takedown.
Keeps getting better!
Indians (me included) abroad justifying stereotypes, near the South Pole. Yes, all the Harold and Kumar and Raj from Big Bang Theory, the character patterns exist for a reason! Detailed post later.
More photos here!
Right, so I met Rt Hon Winston Peters, former deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, and the leader of New Zealand First political party, for a dinner and short interview! Absolute quality!
The man still knows how to ruffle a few feathers! I don’t agree with everything he said regarding economic policies, but it is great to see someone not politically correct, and calling a spade a spade. Rarity these days!
Read the full thing here!
One can almost hear the collective sigh of disappointment across the world among the South Asian communities and indeed among others as well with Malala Yousafzai missing out on the coveted Nobel peace prize. The reaction in fandom ranged from disbelief to disappointment to anger. This idolization of Malala and the expectation of her winning the biggest peace prize in the World is a symbolization of the trends in the World.
Malala Yousafzai is a young teenage girl, from one of the most poor and most conservative areas in Pakistan. She was going to school and was shot by the Taliban. It is important to note here, that in that area, the bombing of girls schools and even boys schools, and poisoning and shooting of female students is a random regular act, and Malala is not and was not the only girl to have been shot. She survived, and with much credit, moved on with her life and strong determination to continue study. How much that was her personal determination, how much that was the influence of her father, who is actually the one behind her fight is to be determined with unbiased analysis in the future. However, her only act of courage, defiance, and fame…is to get shot by the Taliban. With all due respect to the young lady and her determination and courage, that’s not enough service to the cause of World peace to merit a Nobel Prize.
The Nobel peace prize is considered to be a joke among certain quarters, including many academics and journalists. First of all, it is not quantifiable, like Physics, Chemistry, Medicine or Economics, which makes it arbitrary. Also recently, US President Barack Obama winning the prize just months after coming to office, almost as if in anticipation of his coming benevolent deeds, or the European Union receiving the prize, just for having no wars in Western Europe and somehow managing to maintain cohesion of constantly bickering states, has eroded the credibility of the award.
However, this time, the Nobel committee did a good job. The organization which won the prize, has done praiseworthy job of destroying ninety percent chemical weapons of the World, including the whole arsenal of India and South Korea, the Libyan chemical weapons under Gaddafi, the arsenal of Iraq, and over two third of the humongous Cold war stockpiles of both United States and Soviet Union, enough to destroy humanity on this planet several hundred times over. It is important to acknowledge the organization’s work, given the time that they are embarking on another challenging task, this time in Syria.
Finally, the hype over Malala in Western media is symbolic of the times we live in. To acknowledge her battle is one thing, to venerate her in a talk show, give her a meaningless prize and then move on to something more newsworthy is ephemeral; is what is wrong with the World. Most of the people who are dancing and fangirl-ing about Peace and Nobel Prize and Malala, had absolutely no idea about the organization OPCW, which won this time, and what they did to the cause of World peace. The talk show host who wants to adopt Malala, glosses over the fact that poverty, ignorance, women’s education, terrorism are structural problems, linked to and influenced by forces of Geo-politics and economics, which won’t go away if you make a Miley Cyrus out of Malala. The left-feminist-liberal lobby which is all giddy over Malala, are the same people who oppose US war against Taliban, indirectly supporting those who shot Malala.
The world is not a simple place. It is complicated, the problems are multifaceted. The allure of finding a short term symbolic solution is often great, but not prudent. The solution lies in an unbiased understanding of the problem, and working on it for a long time. Not creating a hype, with token symbolisms and then forgetting and moving on with life.
(Previously published here)
This is going to be different.
I was checking Facebook the other day after coming back from my office. It was usual…a whole day editing atrociously written PR pieces and news stories…and an odd feature from a novice writer, with potential. Three cups of coffee, a monotonous bus journey back to my flat, in my semi-comfy couch, with a beer and fish fry…doing my fair share of social networking, which generally is checking cat photo updates, mostly…and some occasional interesting news and trivia…when I came across this post.
There’s an attraction in a nomadic lifestyle. Especially when you’re thirty, and have a job of an editor in a fortnightly broadsheet paper. Especially when you’re an Indian. For those who didn’t get the reference…here’s a pro-tip. When you were travelling, do you remember how many Indian backpackers you saw? That’s right…almost none. Indians don’t backpack that much. Travel means a month long family holiday, the bigger the group the better…and depending on the economy, inside India or some known locations like Thailand, Singapore or Srilanka. Indians love their comfort zone…they love to stay cocooned in their family life.
I was always a bit odd. In some ways I’m very Indian…nerdy, with two master degrees, sci-fi fan, average looking, prosaic and practical…completely justifying stereotypes. On the other hand…I am very different. My degrees are in Journalism, International Politics, International Relations and Economics…unlike the majority of my countrymen who study Science and Technology, Maths or Medicine. I don’t like Bollywood, for those who spoke to me they can vouch I have a neutral accent, with no thick T and D pronunciation…I prefer English premier league Football over Indian premier league Cricket. I don’t like eating curry much or smell like Chicken Tikka Masala.
And one small difference…I left my Dad’s house when I was eighteen. Studying, living, working in different cities than my hometown Calcutta. Even though I am the only child, with a stable decent relationship with my parents, who love me more than anything in this planet. Now, I am in Auckland, having a yuppie life.
It’s one life we get. Without going into the theoretical interpretations of the major religions in this world…one thing is certain…you have one life, and there’s a lot to see and learn.
Forget your own culture. There are other cultures, equally or even more fascinating. Don’t hold an opinion of your country’s civilisational exceptionalism. At the end of the day, you will just be a toad in your local pond.
There’s a different life…just waiting for you. Calling you to come out and explore. There’s a different fun in working as a car-park assistant for a week to earn some quick cash when you’re almost a broke, cleaning kitchens and toilets in a backpacker hostel, working for accommodation. Cooking in a multinational group, playing Fifa 13, eating cheap pizza, drinking and dozing off in the couch.
You’ll never know the meaning of life, unless you drink beer with a North English lad, see a French man cook, or debate politics or history with some sharp and fiery flame-haired German girl. That Polish girl who gave you her pack of cigarettes cause you didn’t have any left, the Japanese group which laughed at your terrible knowledge of Asian food or way of holding chopsticks, the Dutch dude who played Asturias in an acoustic guitar, the kind Danish girl who helped you when you were down and out of luck, even though you were a complete stranger to her, the East European dude who enlightened you about Vampires, or the Scottish girl who claims to have seen Nessie, truly believing that these mythical creatures exist. Brash but extremely helpful and friendliest Americans, the Canadian who can give you an inferiority complex by just being impeccably polite and Victorian, that stunning Swedish, Norwegian, or Finnish girl, who all sound similar when they talk to you, and who can out-drink you in any red-blooded manly down-payment competition in the small tavern next to your hostel, all the while hypnotising you, looking directly in your eyes. Maybe it is the alcohol in your bloodstream…but if there’s heaven, it is right there.
Don’t be afraid to lose. That’s one thing which holds us back, keeps us in a shell.
We fear…which is a completely understandable and valid human emotion. There are all sorts of fear. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of getting mugged or robbed. Fear of rejection. Fear of death.
But you know what? Regret is even more hurting. Much much more.
Don’t be afraid of pain. It is the best teacher you’ll ever have. It makes you selfless. It gives you humility and compassion. There will be inevitable setbacks, failed romances, terrible economic conditions and half starved days. There will be uncertainty. But surviving those days, those moments will give you the credibility, which probably the majority of humanity lacks. You will earn your stripes…your bragging rights. The moment you feel stiff after shifting firewood for a whole day working in a farm just at the outskirts of the city you’re in, knowing at the back of your mind that you have two Master degrees; or cut your hand, while opening a tin can with an old Swiss knife, in the middle of nowhere, you will know you are a more capable and worthy man than possibly ninety percent of the people surrounding you.
Don’t hold any grudge, the memories will be all that you have, will give you hope for the future. Try to keep in touch with everyone, it is quite easy these days to be honest…don’t blame anyone, don’t blame yourself either, we are bound by the forces of fate.
And finally, don’t be afraid to love unconditionally, without expecting anything back. That makes YOU better than others.
I’m thankful and ever grateful to everyone I met, they made me a better person. I look forward to the day, when I will have enough cash saved again, for the next adventure of my life. Move to Europe in a few years, meet all the awesome people who blessed my life in these fleeting moments, and made it an experience I am proud of. Apply for a Research/Journalism job. And be with a girl I liked.
A man can only hope. That’s what keeps us alive.
Shifted to Auckland, working in a newspaper…blogging for another…and still planning a PhD…also writing a massive journal article/book chapter. So yea, all’s well!
Here are two of the highlights!
1. Started Blogging for Times of Israel, and here’s the first one, on the “Shameful British vote on Syria“.
2. Op-Ed for Indian Weekender, where I work presently…taken up by the Ministry of External Affairs, India…which is basically a fancy name for the Indian foreign ministry, and published in their official website.
That’s all for now, so long! Have fun, cause I don’t have time for that anymore!
I’m moving to Auckland with a new job, (more on that later)…so a bit busy…but here’s something, which I thought of sharing.
The Marte Deborah Dalelv incident, where in a classic Middle Eastern Islamic justice system, a Norwegian woman was jailed for “extra-marital sex” after she was raped by some local colleagues. After she came out in public in the media, the UAE authorities “pardoned” her of her crime.
This is not the first time. Old timers will remember Alicia Gali.
I was just wondering, why the left/feminists…always talking about Women freedom, and right to wear face-veil in Europe, silent on this shocking medieval barbaric system?
Here people, some weekend reading for you!
Also, my co-authored analysis of Australian Defence White Paper 2013, got published in ODT.