Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ten Commandments of riding/driving in Chennai

1. You shall have no other goal other than travelling from point a to point b. Well, riding for pleasure is ok. But your goal shall not be, I repeat, shall not be racing to win some unsuspecting person who doesn't even know that a race is on!
2. You shall start early so as to avoid cussing, rash-driving, killing others to make it on time.
3. You shall love a fellow traveller as yourself. Well, just imagine this. You cut across or be nasty to this person and you realise that this person is none other than your good friend or relative or boss…
4. You shall not envy another person's bike or car or lorry or bus… Whichever is applicable.
5. You shall not act like you are the king of the road just because you blew up a lot of money in buying your fancy-pansy bike/car.
6. Show mercy and you will be shown mercy. Well, actually you may not be shown any mercy even if you show mercy. But be merciful to the ones with lesser vehicles and pedestrians.
7. Patience is a virtue. Trust me, it won't kill you.
8. You shall not honk unnecessarily. Remember, honkers are not movers. It shows that you cannot drive. It is like you are announcing "EVERYBODY! OUTTA MY WAY! DON"T KNOW HOW TO STOP THIS THING!"
9. If you are a bike guy, don't fix a car horn. And the other kind of horn that needs to be avoided are those annoying many pitch ones… And those with those nerve-racking tunes… Or that irritating… Oh never mind…
10. If you can't go but you can let a smaller guy go, let him go. Don't be a dog in the manger.

And because I don't like to stop with 10…
11. Be nice. Smile when people let you pass or let you cross. Try and say or signal thank you when you can.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


"Evil encroaches in tiny footsteps on every great idea. And evil can outrun most great ideas, but finally, in the end, there is light in the world."

"The jungle is never far from the surface of our skin. No, I'm never surprised by evil, but I'm much more excited about what people are capable of."

"Well, as you get older, your idea of good guys and bad guys changes. As we moved from the eighties to the nineties, I stopped throwing rocks at the obvious symbols of power and the abuse of it. I started throwing rocks at my own hypocrisy."

Taken from 'Bono on Bono'

The picture that we often have of the poor is 'victims'. They are victims, no doubt. They are victims of the injustice in the society, the systems that have been worked out to keep them in their place, and of the rich and powerful using these systems to oppress them.

The nagging question in my head was what if the tables were turned? If the poor were made rich and powerful? My guess is that the same struggle will continue - between the powerful and the oppressed. Only the players will be different. What I am trying to say here is that the rich aren't all evil and the poor aren't all good. This is not a comic book where the evil persons are at war with the good persons.

When this one person with the good and the evil residing in him/her has the power, they have the choice to wield the power however they choose. And it seems like there is more evil than good. The choices are more selfish. In his post on morality, JollyRoger has explored 'collateral damage'. Oftentimes, those doing the damage don't look back to see the trail of disaster they leave behind - simply because of their selfish ways.

We work to put systems in place for either of the two purposes - to keep the evil from invading and imprisoning the 'victims' or to retain the power. Again, there are two sides to this. When the systems are established with great ideals of goodness and justice, they can still be infiltrated by evil. The converse is also true. When systems are put in place to retain power and to continue the oppression, the goodness of human nature does shine through.

In the end, the hero and the villain is the same person and the real battlefield is the heart.

Note: Some of what I read in Bono on Bono prodded me along this line of thought. It gave more form and structure to proceed with this thought-wrestling process. A chat with Jude and today's message at church helped me give structure and form to it. Thanks to Roger too. I was surprised to see that he had wrestled with similar thoughts and his thoughts on this subject further provided fodder for my post.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

That heaven of freedom

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action -
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
- Rabindranath Tagore
This has been one of favorite poems ever since I was a kid.
And this is my prayer as we celebrate 60 years of independence...

Friday, August 10, 2007

The burden of the ideal: The dreamer

The dreamer dreams of the perfect world. She wonders at why it cannot be. She works towards the ideal. She strives. She struggle.
Alas, she is but one. What can she do?

The dreamer laments the imperfection without. Would running away from the imperfect world help? No. The imperfection is truly from within.
Alas, even she is one. What has she done?

The burden of the ideal: The quest

Dreams come easy to dreamers. To wonder at what could be, to see the potential in things and people, to hope for the best, to look for the silver lining, and to see the light at the end of the tunnel… All this only till the dream has a head-on collision with reality. Nothing can confuse the dreamer like reality. Questions and doubts invade the terrain which was once inhabited by dreams of possibilities.

Even in the midst of growing cynicism and increasing doubts and questions, the dreamer carries on the quest for the ideal. This incongruity between the ideal and the real remains a thorn in the flesh of the dreamer refusing to go away. The strife between what could be and why it cannot be disillusions. The bubble bursts.

The bursting bubble doesn't keep the dreamer from dreaming.
The bursting bubble doesn't keep the dreamer from being disillusioned.
Dreams and disillusionments. They co-exist. They feed on one another.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bits and pieces

After losing the one decent thought i had over the weekend, all i can share with you are the bits and pieces of the last two days... There is no particular logical order to these. They are as random as random could get.


Walls high up




Laughter and tears


Small mercies

Big mercies

Grace is sufficient



Weakness and strength

Work and passion







Questions without answers


p.s. - Apologies to Ryan, Nancy and Anna. 'Hello', 'Coffee', 'Lunch' and 'Chocolate' were supposed to make it into the list... But i was so overwhelmed by the 'goodbyes' I forgot to add those.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Darn! I lost an idea... Grrr... @$%@#$%@#$%

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rain Rain

Things I like about rain season

Getting wet on the way back home

Feeling cozy when I wake up in the morning

Water supply for the next one year!

Awesome weather

Riding my bike on beach road when it pours

The memories this kinda weather brings back

Staring out of the window when it is pouring cats and dogs outside and losing myself in my thoughts

Things I don't like about rain season

Getting wet on the way to work

Getting splashed by some stoopid truck/auto/whatever else

Clothes don't dry quick

The damp feeling in the air

The lethargy that sets in

Reduced road space and bad roads and bad traffic and dangerous wet roads and hidden potholes…

The way many of our clients are affected as they live in low-lying flood-prone areas… Their businesses get affected too.