The Talent of Time

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‘Once upon a time’ did start the tale,

Of the rich man that gave each his servants talents.

Some used it well over time and was rewarded in talents,

One saved it well over time and lost all he ever had.

In no time did the tale get over.


Time and tide never waited it did ever,

Stories were told and songs were sung.

The sun rose and the day rung,

The sun set and the night was flung,

On people who simply rose and fell.

Seasons went by though cyclically,

Yet time kept on marching forward ceaselessly.

Earnestly and diligently did he work each day,

To do those things he wanted to do someday,

Dreams and hopes he had many,

He was eager and he had the way,

It was easy for him to start them quickly,

He did not know if he could complete them quite easily,

For time was his friend and his enemy.

He did not know whether to trust it come what may.

When he needed time, he do not have any,

When he did not need time, he did have many.

With time everything will be alright,

Said the seer to the impatient man in his youth,

He wasnt ready to accept the commandment,

Hot blooded and never without remorse,

He did not heed the advice and went on his way,

He did the unthinkable and realised his folly,

Wasted was he as he spent the rest of his time.


As a man can change his image in front of others,

He can never change his time that shows his image over the years.


Listen my dear friend, your time is your talent,

Use it wisely and you will be given more,

Dont be foolish not to use it judiciously ever,

You use your time well and you will be blessed many times over.


Image courtesy: http://www.thejoecatholic.org/2014/11/navarre-bible-commentary-33rd-sunday-in.html

THE LOVE SERIES: STORGE

As I grew, she danced to me a song,
A song of love, bright in possibilities,
A song of life, one of promise and happiness.

As I waited outside her room, waiting to be called in,
Brimming with excitement, my heart skipped faster,
I was feeling numb and wonder within myself.
To a fan, his idol is a hero,
Nothing in this world can change that feeling,
Of affection and love- everlasting.
I am so happy today;
I had waited a long time for this day,
For after years of yearning, and waiting,
To meet my idol, who I idolized on-screen.
Her smile washed away the sadness of my life,
Her eyes radiated on me never ending gladness,
Her voice was special as it unlocked possibilities I never knew,
I am so excited to see her after all these years,
I will tell her of my life and how she made it special,
I owe my life to her and my affection to her is so full.
She was a goddess, ever beautiful and gracious,
Movies of her enthralled me to a life like no other,
As I grew, she danced to me a song,
A song of love, bright in possibilities,
A song of life, one of promise and happiness.
Movies are my life-they told me stories while I never had any,
They provided me with advice- since my parents I never knew any.
They were my good friends, they spoke to me when I never met any.
Movies introduced me to my idol-someone who taught me many.
I kept waiting and waiting,
For the moment that was in the making,
In my heart for time immemorial.
To see her and tell her my tales of tall.
‘Madam will see you now, are you ready?”
Announced a voice suddenly.
My eyes lit up at that moment,
With reaction was that forever in the making.
Ushered in was I into a room to meet my idol,
Flowing in my heart was rivers of joy so full.
Of love and affection so pure without lull,
I met my idol and began my tale to tell…..
Storge is the form of love that denotes ‘natural affection’.
Image courtesy: http://static.tumblr.com/cb56a2cbeb77817440995a4e1bea3b5d/w8rkhoq/Fcdmgtxnn/tumblr_static_holding-love.jpg

What does Modi’s coronation mean for India?

Modi power

Last Friday, September 13th 2013, the chief minister of Gujarat, Shri. Narendra Modi was crowned as the BJP’s presidential candidate for 2014 General Election. This decision by the principal opposition party of India to anoint a highly polarizing figure of Indian politics, has been welcomed across the country with jubilation and acclaim. Ten years ago, this same person was accused of playing the fiddle while his state burnt in the aftermath of riots.

A week is a long time in politics, and hence a decade-an eternity. During this time period, while his accusers happily looted the country and destroyed every single establishment of this democratic country, Modi worked hard to ensure that his state remained prosperous and development oriented. It was tough since he was an untouchable in politics due to the riots; being the son of a tea vendor, he was an outsider in the Lutyen’s bred caste of politicians in India. In order to understand how important his coronation is, one needs to understand the Lutyen’s bred caste of politicians.

As mentioned in this blog post earlier, there has been a concerted effort since colonial times to ensure that the affairs of India lay in the hand of a privileged few. It is so astounding that one family has literally ruled India for more than three quarters of its time as an independent nation. This very family has promoted a culture of nepotism, corruption, communal appeasement and sycophancy the likes of which have never seen anywhere else in the modern world.

India today is floundering. As the wheels of time move to a new dawn, when the Asian dragon and tiger come relevant as world powers once again, the tiger is being slowly decimated due to well orchestrated struggles from within.

Narendra Modi has been thrust into these times when the hardworking Indian middle class, rendered toothless and spineless for ages, is frustrated with a country in decline due to its own doing. Stories of rapes, corruption scams and scandals fill the news headlines each day. The growth story of the country has already been stunted. Should Indians all around the world and in the country sit and watch what is happening, or change history this time around ?

Barack Obama was an outsider in the Washington nitty gritty political scene. He was elected in an amazing campaign to be America’s first black president by an electorate desperate for change. He inherited a country in shambles, burnt by two expensive wars and an economic recession caused by greed. In his second term as a president, the unemployment numbers are falling and US is on track to be an energy superpower by 2030.

The same applies to India, the world’s most populous democracy. Democracy should be of the people, not of a family; by the people and not buy the people; and for the people and not against the people.

The present Congress party that rules India from an umbrella of coalition is filled with people whose only objective is to cling on to power at any cost. For them the country is immaterial, the societal progress is unwarranted and the upliftment of the people immaterial. It is India’s time to change from the demons of its past, learn from its mistakes of history and forge a new future of hope.

Image courtesy: http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/story-gallery-featured/20130906/09modi06e.jpg

Why do modern societies need any armies ?

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“An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.” Thomas Paine

Armed forces are the pride of any nation. Millions of armed men keep a constant vigil on our borders so that you and me can get along with our business of making a living and creating value added lives. From time immemorial, man has always been prone to constant bouts of war and peace. If the 19th century was dominated by the world wars and the cold wars, the 20th century just a decade into its existence has already seen armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Syria and now finally Egypt. In addition to huge losses of life and property, these wars have also altered our modern society due to a never before seen penetration of information, thanks to advances in technology.

Being a silent spectator to many of these wars from the safe confines of my home, I’ve always felt for those tales of incalculable  losses and sufferings. I have keenly observed many of these wars and found that people talk till they fail, then fight till they tire and then talk till they compromise. This has been the scenario in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In many other cases, talks or diplomacy have prevented many an outbreak of war. This leads to an important existential question. If wars don’t result in a resolution of conflict and talks do, then shouldn’t we be trying for the latter, rather than the former?

In other cases, just as what is playing currently in Egypt and many other countries like Pakistan et. al, is the fact that the army becomes an existential threat to the whole idea of a nation, when it goes beyond its mandate to protect its citizens and grab the power. Most of the time this happens because of an over ambitious army chief with an insatiable lust for power. When this happens, the country finds itself in a descending spiral of gloom and disrepair.

A good percent of a country’s GDP goes in maintaining these huge armies. Look at the case of the developing countries and potential superpowers of tomorrow, India and China and the huge amounts of money that is being spend to maintain their huge armies. Their contribution here is about 2.5% (249 billion) and 2% (119 billion) respectively of their GDP. All these amounts can be used to bolster the social spending in these nations, rather than the upkeep of a few.

It is easy to sit in the confines of one’s home and write about millions who toil day and night to ensure that we live well, work hard and have a good night’s rest. The intention of this blog is not either. When a good amount of the financial and human resources of a country is invested in maintaining a huge governmental enterprise such as an army, it needs to be structured in a way that it benefits the citizens and not the other way round.

Having a reserve force is a great idea. Compulsory military training along between the ages of 18 and 25 is even better. This would instill in the youth of a country a sense of love and belonging in addition to the advent of a disciplined and responsible society. These trained individuals would form an integral part of a reserve force that would be assembled in case of an emergency. Diplomacy should be the first step in the face of an external aggression. If it fails, the reserve force should be used to enforce peace.

In today’s world, wars are destructive, brutal and leaves a trail of devastation, hopelessness and depression. The objectives of a modern society cannot be met by killing each other in name of an idea or ideology. It doesn’t need a large standing army that gobbles up much needed capital which would have benefitted the least fortunate.

Image courtesy:  http://pixhome.blogspot.ca/2013/02/us-army-military-hd-wallpapers-armed.html

Decoding the Temptation of Christ

Temptation of Christ

This summer as part of my spiritual journey in this world, I decided to be on a different type of mission. Experience the Bible differently-i.e., by listening to it. There is an app on the iPhone called Bible Gateway where it is now possible to listen to the Bible, especially the best version of them all, the New International Version. I decided that in the course of summer, I need to cover all the 4 gospels by hearing the verses, exactly in the same way I would have rather read them normally.

Very quickly into my mission, I got absorbed with the gospels and the sayings of Jesus Christ. Many of the verses, which would have been a normal reading staple became alive quickly and started challenging me both mentally and spiritually. Suddenly a thought came into my mind as I finished each gospel is what did Jesus actually achieve here? Here was the all powerful Yahweh who single handedly formed one of the largest races of humans just because a pastoral trader Abram had the audacity to believe in his promise; appearing in the form of a carpenter’s son, just when his beloved children were crushed mentally, physically and spiritually by the brutal Roman occupation. Their religious texts had promised them a saviour, a Messiah who would redeem them from their oppression and occupation, and lead them to a new Messianic kingdom that would fill all the corners of earth.

What happened was just the opposite. Jesus appears on this earth, gathers a motley bunch of people and spoke salvation through faith in him, and conducted miracles on afflicted people across the spectrum of society and then provoked the teachers of the day i.e., the Pharisees who were pushed to their limits by this, and conspired along with the corrupt high priests in successfully crucifying him. Defying all human logic he rises again on the third day, appears to his disciples and sends them on a mission to spread the word across all the world to both Jews and non Jews. They were very successful in whatever they did and in no time Christianity swarmed the world. The Jews were mercilessly massacred a few decades later in their own country and carried away from their lands, not to return until about two thousand years later.

Is this the story of the promised Messiah to the Jews? Yes and this was exactly what was taught to me while I grew up as a Christian. But today as I listened to these gospels once again, my logical thinking was challenged by these happenings as it doesn’t make any sense. Why dint Jesus take the Romans head on, challenge them, defeat them and reestablish the once revered Solomonic Jewish kingdom of Israel? He could have established a Jewish empire that would stretch from one corner of the world to the other and by force (just like Islam) convert people into believers and obedient citizens in this new kingdom of God?
But the Bible being eerily different ensured that the story of Jesus was also the same. This contradiction made me think for a long time.

Few days ago, I found my answer. It was in the temptation of Christ by the angel turned arch foe Devil. The eternal battle between God and Devil, good and bad, right and wrong has been played out to perfection in countless forms of media and arts. This whole sequence of Jesus going into the wilderness, fresh from his baptism by his friend John the Baptist, to fast and meditate for 40 days and nights and being tempted by Devil is an ultimate Biblical play of dramatic proportions. Seeing the hungry and physically Jesus, Satan tries to provoke his divinely power to feed and care for himself by asking him to convert the stones in the wilderness to bread. Jesus replies in the negative by saying that man should not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. The significance of the breaking of bread and blessing of it and the wine in the Last supper and Christian communion ceremonies shouldn’t be missed here. Jesus clearly explains his priorities that he didn’t come here to provide the people with just about food that would meet their short term goals of sustenance, just as a normal earthly king would have done to them.

In the other temptations where Devil takes him to top of temple and jump from there because the angels would rescue him, Jesus again dashes the hopes of Devil by saying how important it is not to put God into test. This explains why even during his short lived and tragic earthly ministry he never for once called anyone to help him out and suffered all his tribulations in silence.

Thirdly when the Devil promises him the entire empires of the world only if Jesus would fall on his feet and worship him, Jesus aggressively pushes the Devil away by saying that it is important to worship the one and only God.
These three acts in the temptation of Jesus by the Devil is very important in understanding what was exactly Christ’s mission on this earth. The Jews hoped for a king and a saviour who would provide for them (bread), protect them using divine resources (angels) and lead them to a lasting and powerful empire that would stretch all the four corners of the earth. That would have him made like a mere dictator the likes of which we see and oppose even today in our modern democratic societies.

Jesus’ mission on this earth was to setup a lasting kingdom where everyone was the one and the same, where everyone cared for each other, and lived in happiness and prosperity in seeking out the truth. This is the ultimate state of nirvana, and he taught us the way to it through his life and mission on this earth.

Image courtesy: http://westerncivimages.com/items/show/2764

A dialogue on Iraq

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It was 2003 when President George W.Bush declared a war on the Saddam Hussein led Iraq. The war from the beginning to almost a decade was a major mess due to the intransigence of the American regarding the Arab culture. However one of the main objectives of the President Obama in his first term was to get the American soldiers out of the Iraqi soil, safe and sound. The world media which bombarded the entire population of the earth during those days with news from the beleaguered country moved on to safer pastures and the whole war was very quickly forgotten.
AlJazeera the effervescent Arab channel did an excellent followup on what is happening in Iraq now by conducting a road trip across the country through all the Kurd, Shia and Sunni areas. The documentary was an eye opener and can be viewed here.

Iraq has always been a difficult country due to its diverse, ethnic and contradictory mixture of three major sects, the Shias, Sunnis and Kurds and their infinite subdivisions. Americans when they attacked the country in 2003 wasn’t prepared for the aftermath of the post Saddam era, were in for a greater surprise as the sectarian rifts exploded into the public. The presence of the US led foreign forces and the clash of agendas and ideologies ensued that Iraq became a collateral colossal mess. The cradle of civilization now became the carcass of the 21st century.

People say Iraq under Saddam Hussein was much better as the basic amenities of life was taken care of then. He ruled Iraq with a cruel fist and he was by no means a benevolent Sunni ruler. He ensured his caste was treated well and subjugated the Shia and Kurd faction with atrocious brutality. He also turned back on his Sunni allies by attacking and ransacking one of them-Kuwait. Getting rid of him was quick, but the scars of his decades old misrule triggered a chain reaction of worst sectarian strife that nearly consumed Iraq.

FUTURE

Iraq today is in a point of no return. I can see it is very difficult for the country to stay together as one. The reasons stem from unresolved issues from the time Ottoman empire was shredded into pieces by the colonial powers and mapped for administrative convenience showing total disdain for the ethnic and cultural differences among people.

What is the way forward? I believe it is autonomy. Iraq needs to be split into a federal structure of autonomous provinces like Canada by giving due concern to the various ethnic divisions among the Iraqi people. The enormous oil wealth needs to be developed and the benefits used for the benefit of the entire Iraqi population. People needs to be put to work, roads need to be built, the militia needs to be disarmed and the country needs to find its lost awakening.

Iraq is a country blessed with a highly talented work pool. During the beginning years of Saddam Hussein’s rule, he was so good that in the late 70s, UN awarded him the award for the best administrator. Railways were built, roads and all the infrastructure that is seen today was built in the 70s. It is a pity that the wars in 80s, 90s and 2000s reduced it into a heap of rubble.

The story of Iraq is one of unimaginable tragedy. A country that looked so promising in the 70s fell like a pack of cards, totally destroyed and decimated. Will it return is going to be the question for the 21st century ?

Image courtesy: http://cdn.cyberpunx.com/g3/c7c2d5d0aa17686d2ed0e4223ed05a75/rs/War-Chaos-Propoganda/iraq-misc/future.jpg?m=1322778931

The Act of Dining

Dining-Table

I have always felt that good and inspired dining is always a great way to relax and invigorate. Dining is different from eating, the latter is just another way to fill an empty stomach. Dining to me is an extraordinary experience very similar to an onstage performance, where the actor serves the content in a platter to an eager and enthused audience. As one knows that it is important that he serves the best part of the act to the last, slowly building up the expectations to that grand finale.

The Starter:

Starters prepares the diner to what is to come. Think about a time when you were really hungry and wished you had a three course meal in front of you. And then suddenly, voila! you find yourself in front of a well prepared table and a server right in front of you, eagerly awaiting your orders. The three course meal lets say is all paid for and you are given a menu having the choicest of any dishes in it for free. You browse through the pages and decides to start with a drink and an exquisite and tangy salad. The waiter listens to your command and promptly goes inside and brings your order. You see the drink and thirsty as you are, takes royal sips from the drink, indulging in its exquisiteness. The salad that is presented in front of you is so welcomingly green ready to embrace you with its uniqueness. Alternating between sips from the drink and chewing of the salad and listening to some beautiful symphony, you begin to tease your stomach to what is to come.

The Entrée:

It is the main part of the dining experience. All this time, you pampered and teased your empty stomach for this very moment. It is a moment of sublimeness and a moment of reckoning when the act on the stage by the performer begins to reveal the depth and grandeur of the tale that he is performing in front of his audience. The entrée reveals the plot without giving away the ultimate suspense or the twist that is to follow. It is voluptuous, interesting, exciting and different. It is what you are here for and the your stomach savours it slowly and slowly, praying that the feeling of nirvana doesn’t end.

The Dessert:

This is it. The culmination of the act. The suspense, the twist in the tale, the culmination of the battle between the good and evil, the battle between the protagonist (the food) and the antagonist (the hunger) finally ends. There can be only one outcome, a win (feeling great) or a loss (disappointment). The dessert is the fitting finale to an impossible act, the act of dining.

Image Source: http://beenhere2.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Dining-Table.jpg