What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chronicles of the Perv-O

So there is an online pervert on India Forums who sends private messages to people and harasses them. The person has been banned umpteen times but resurfaces again and again. Usually these freaks never harass me. My vampire av and sarcastic sense of humor tends to ward the imbeciles off. Finally the jerk decided that even I had to be to receive his nonsense. Big Mistake! Huge!

At first I was a good kid and reported it to the development team. I believe they plan to ban the person. However, after a while I could not resist. I just had to respond back to the jack ass. After all I worked in IP-Relay for two whole years. I spent 10 hour shifts with teenagers using relay for their perverted and juvenile kicks. I've been desensitized to this kind of shit. Maybe other people are modest and just walk away from such situations. For me, you don't mess with the Hades. So I decided to send back a smarty pants response and see what happens. Chronicling them for kicks.

Caution: The following contains crude and graphic language

Chadu_jiii: tera kohi boyfriend nahi hai na...Chedu koo apna samaj...(You don't have a boyfriend right, Consider Chedu yours)

return_to_hades: Jey aap ko cock ass mei pasand hai jey aap cock ko suck karte ho. (Do you prefer to take a cock in your ass or do you like to suck on it. Jey is an ode to Sunny Leone's bad Hindi)

Chadu_jii: kaisi hai meri bulbul (How are you my sweetheart)

return_to_hades: Well first you got to tell me what you like. Do you like to take a cock right up your ass or do you like to suck on a cock. You think your ass can take whole twelve inches? I ain't interested in pussy twinks.

Chadu_jii: kaisi gandi ladke hai tu (You are such a dirty girl)

return_to_hades: C'mon dude, you're the one soliciting people. I'm keeping it reals here. Do you want to be double penetrated?

Chadu_jii: dene hai ja nahi...(Do you want to give or not)

return_to_hades: What do you want?

All right you show yours I'll show mine. Send me some nice pics of your titties and your bung hole. Then I'll send you my dick.

Btw what is your ASL? I'm 42 male, in Anchorage. I run a biker bar. You like Harley bears?

Chadu_jii: why u have't told u are male...sorry wrong number...bye...

return_to_hades: No don't go. I am male, but I like boys. How old are you? I like young boys. Have you ever been with a man. I can be your sugar daddy.

This could be the end of our conversation. If not I'll keep up the chronicle.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reflections

My previous post was a bit over the top. The language was profane, the conduct was inappropriate and unbecoming. It definitely is not my proudest moments. In hindsight, I should have probably not posted it. Of course I have the option of deleting it, but that would be deceitful. You cannot just pretend something did not happen. It did, I did say those words, I did mean each and every one of them. It is a part of me, a much darker, angst ridden, angry and frustrated part of me. My bottled frustrations just came out.

I can't apologize either, because that would be lying as well. While I do regret being impulsively expressive, I'm not honestly sorry for it. I know what kind of a person I am and what my limits are. I'm a pacifist and extremely easy going, simple, down to earth person. Many who know me say I'm one of the nicest person they know. I've been called a warm fuzzy teddy bear. So I know I was pushed to my farthest limit. Only something of extreme magnitude could cause me to speak that way. I firmly believe that the group of people who caused this are a bunch of immature, self righteous, my way or the highway online bullies. I really cannot bring myself to apologize for that.

That being said as a consequence I have to accept the fact that people will judge me and gauge my character by those words, and I have to prove myself as a good person. I hope people don't judge me by that and read my  entire blog before drawing conclusions. However, I don't blame people for not giving a chance. Even I would hesitate to look past it if my first experience with a person was that profanity. All I can say is trust me, they really did ask for it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Taliban Terrorists of the Internets!

Warning: This is perhaps the most profane post of mine that ever will be. It is violent, it is abusive, it is crass, it is wrong on many levels, but I really need to vent. First and foremost, it is difficult for me to digest the trampling of the very basic freedom of speech and expression, especially on the internet. Secondly, I cannot stand being treated in a holier than thous condescending manner. Next, I don't like being shut down, called out and rebuked even when I express myself in a polite respectable manner. Finally, it is that time of the month and it is just the cherry on to top the shit pile.

To my Muslim friends: You know who you are. Once after speaking to an Evangelical preacher, I came home flustered over people trying to 'save' me. The first thing my mom said was 'I hope you were not rude'. My mom didn't raise me to disrespect anyone or their beliefs. I maybe a questioning, walk to the beat of my own drum kind of person, but the one thing I am not is a person who will disrespect someone else's beliefs. But you my friends already know that. You have been my pals, my buddies growing up. You have been my teachers, my guides, my mentors. You have been by me through good times and bad. You know that I have deep respect for your beliefs. If you have read my past posts, you know that I have always raised my voice against Islamophobia, discriminatory or abusive behavior. You know how outspoken I am about misperceptions and misunderstandings in the United States. You know I am always with you a friend. This one is not at you, but rather for you. This one is directed to the asinine jack asses, dick heads and jerks who call themselves Muslims and make life harder for the good Muslims out there.

This one goes out to the Taliban Terrorists of the Internets. A very select bunch of low life scum of India-Forums that claim to be Muslims. Snooki's booger has more class than them. Amoeba has a higher IQ than them. Its already begun...so here goes nothing.

Are you fucking kidding me? You got to be totally shitting me? You imbeciles had that thread closed again. I thought I might be patient and give you a chance, but what a big bunch of loser douche bags you are. I mean seriously. How far up your ass do you have your heads? It will take an era to get your head out your asses and a few more eras to get you up to speed with man kind. That is if there is even human DNA in you. I doubt if there is any hominid DNA in you. You probably got thrown up as rejected regurgitated vomit waste of an alien species that got hurled at earth. You don't care, you don't think, you don't have compassion whats sort of heartless, soulless, lifeless beings are you?

You wanted to know why IF bans you from discussing the personal lives of celebrities. Because you are a bunch of fucking retarded dicks. You are just a bunch of dicks with a massive hard on for whatever loser celebrity you are obsessed with and jack off to every night. And when someone even says a small critique against the celebrity that they did not like the acting in an episode, you engage in this massive ugly bout of dick sparring. You jizz all over the internet with your celebrity obsessed dick sparring. Damn! Take it outside will you! Like the rest of the world gives a shit that you can't sleep without jacking of to KSG or the only joy in your life is the fantasies you dream up about Maan and Geet or whoever. The fucking forum can't hire an army of million nannies to keep you bunch of dicks in line. They fucking can't hire a million janitors to clean up all the jizz you spew over the forum. Thats why they fucking just tell you don't discuss celebrities. You imbecile morons. If you were just normal well adjusted intelligent human beings, we wouldn't have to treat you like moronic dicks.

Do you know why they allow religious debates and controversial topics on Debate Mansion. It is because for the most part it is a forum of grown up, mature people. Our life does not revolve around celebrities and TV shows. We actually do care for other things that are going on in the world. We are not super intellectuals or better people, but we are people who like to give thought to who we are, what we stand for, who others are and what others stand for. Debate is the channel through which we raise questions, demand answers and hopefully foster a better understanding of ourselves and others. Things do get tricky when it comes to religion. Religion is something so personal and intimately ingrained in a person's self identity that it demands a delicate balance. It is not easy to raise questions about religion, questioning faith and belief while maintaining that delicate balance. People do try though. Of course there are the moments where lines are crossed and tempers flare. Of course there is that one person who just does not get it. For the most part people do try though.

I'm really bummed out for the thread closing again because I somehow feel that I had put an effort in making Debate Mansion a progressive and open forum where any issue could be debated openly. In the past we have had religious debates, political debates and hot button issue debates with people from all faiths and backgrounds participating in a fruitful discussion. We had our glitches, but for the most part we could discuss everything.

It is definitely not easy to be a Muslim today. I empathize with good Muslims all over the world who have to succumb to questioning, ridicule and discrimination on account of the likes of Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Some questions about Mohammad or the interpretation of the Quran are not easy. Some do sting. That does not mean that every human who raises a question or makes a criticism is a basher. In these times people have a choice, to either stand strong, come together and voice yourself as a Muslim and express how you want to shape Islam to be, or stand in silence and watch terrorists hijack your religion.

Unfortunately, you did neither. You took the third choice. You made the choice you claim you are not. You made the choice that you claim your religion is not about. You chose to be the terrorist. You chose to be the vile vengeful terrorist who is on a blood vendetta. You chose to be the terrorist who knows not to articulate or argue, but gun down anyone who has a voice. You are the Taliban Terrorists of the internets. You have a fixed notion of Islam hardlined in your brains. You are incapable of compassion, reason or understanding. Every time someone speaks a word against Islam you will gun them down. You will not let anyone have a voice. No counter point shall ever be spoken. Just like the Taliban only know to blindly hate the west, you blindly hate every person who may critique you.

If you have any ounce of humanity in you, if you have any bit of shame, if you have any understanding at how you negatively represent your religion and make it ever so more harder for people to love you - you will have the thread reopened and free speech restored. If you consider yourself a good Muslim, if you consider yourself a voice for your religion, if you consider it necessary to answer questions about your religion - you will have the thread reopened and free speech restored. If you are an intelligent citizen of the modern world and want to engage in debate and discussion about issues in our world - you will have the thread reopened and free speech restored.

But if you are indeed the Taliban Terrorist of the Internets, you fucking scum of the earth, piece of worthless horse shit, god damn you, I hope and pray that miracles do exist and you fucking grows some balls and brains or that God just wipe you of the face of the earth so you continue destroying Islam like a cancer of dimwits, making it harder and harder for the actual good Muslims out there. With douche bag followers like you, what religion needs bashers. You spit on your own religion based on the gutless, spineless way you represent it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

r_t_h - Mother fucking Sick Bitch

Turns out the crusade against me is not over a silly joke. It was about something clearly different and did not even realize was offensive.Anyone who knows me well knows that I sure do crack a lot of politically incorrect jokes and can be meanly sarcastic However, the one thing that I will never do is actually genuinely disparage or disrespect a religion or belief system. Since I am a questioning skeptic some of my thought processes and questions maybe offensive to some conservative and traditional thinkers, but most mature and rational people give me a chance to explain myself. They may not agree with what I say, but usually people end up seeing where I come from and what my point of view is.


The title of this post is thanks to some brilliant mature minds who thought that it would be a lovely gesture to spatter these words in my honor all over a public forum. I'm honored to be famous.

Here is the offending post:
A different age and time is no excuse or justification for pedophilia, but it is an explanation for other things.

Due to high mortality rates, especially during childbirth and the need to keep having men to protect and sustain the community ' ancient society condoned a lot of things we find horrifying today. Girls were married as children and would consummate marriage as soon as they reached sexual maturity. The notion of consent did not exist.

Based on that it is likely that Mohammed married Ayesha when she was a little girl and consummated the marriage as soon as she had her first menses (it can be anything from 9-17). In his time it was a responsible thing to do as a husband and not rape. HOWEVER, if we have any sense of ethics and social responsibility, we have to accept the fact that this practice was inhumane and in all sense was socially approved rape. There is no possible way she could have given 'sound mind' consent or psychologically/emotionally understood the relationship.

I try to put myself in the shoes of a Muslim and try to think what would I do if the founder of my religion committed statutory rape (it is very difficult)
-          One option is to assume she was at least 15 or so when the consummation occurred. Even if there is no factual proof, it at least reflects a rejection and disgust with the notion of statutory rape.
-          Another option is to assume the founder is a flawed human and not a perfect human. He may have been a good man who brought about a lot of positive changes, but clearly he was seriously flawed and did not understand statutory rape. Maybe he was not a divine messenger, but a human for no divine messenger would lack such compassion
-          My personal favorite which I follow anyways is that religion is a social and cultural construct of time. As society evolves we are responsible to distill out the negatives and try to evolve our faith into something more socially responsible. Every religion has these difficult questions and murky pasts, you can choose to ignore or justify it, but the responsible thing is acknowledge it and make a commitment that the future will be better.

Of course I'm not a Muslim so I don't understand the religion as well, but that is how I would perceive it. You don't have to reject faith entirely, just the negative aspects of it.

Edit: I see Empti mentions that the Quran permits sex with a wife even before maturity. I'm not familiar with that, but from an anthropological standpoint for reproductive purposes the line was usually maturity. They usually had concubines for pleasure purposes. I'm making that assumption. 
Some responses to the offensive post
you people dont know anything but to bash Islam!
inshallah ull be facing Allah's wrath, Inshallah!
people like YOU bring in those terrorists and show as though theyre muslims, when theyre actually YOUR people, think about a million times before bullshitting about Muslims from now, Please!
 & b/w when you don't knw anything then plz shut urz mouth 
A person who worships  STONE and several GODS at a time...A person who worships someone who is the  man made fake character , who is filled with  all  kinds of flaws whose life is filled with mistakes and sins ...ARE here to teach us about our Prophet and Islam

Clearly, highly educated, sophisticated individuals who knew that verbal missiles are much better than asking me to clarify or give me a chance to apologize or re-explain myself. Anyway, I drafted a response for some people whom I have unintentionally offended in order to apologize and restate my views. The thread is locked for now, but posting it here just in case. I plan to post this if and when I get a chance.
For almost two days, I did not know what I had done wrong. I could not figure if it was my silly joke or something else more serious. I had a slew of people threatening me that I had been reported, but I was clueless as to what. No one quoted the offending post and stated why they thought it crossed the line. I even asked what had been done wrong so I could rectify it, but no one cared to answer. How can someone be expected to understand what is wrong, rectify any mistakes, if they are not told what went wrong in the first place. If only one single person had cared enough to take the time and tell me what I did wrong, I would have edited, apologized and explained myself. Perhaps the whole argument and mess of locking the thread could have been averted.

I eventually had to PM a DT member to find out what exactly I was being accused off.  My offending post is the first post on page 26 of this thread. I never was even aware of it at the time, but I am the first person to introduce the terms 'rape' and 'pedophilia' in the thread. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought it would have offended someone so much because it was meant to be an explanatory post, not an accusatory post. The entire intent of the post has totally been misunderstood. Now that I am aware of it, I want a chance to correct the mistake.

First and foremost I apologize for not being more sensitive in my verbiage and my assumption that both sides would get what I was trying to say. It was never my intent to mock Islam, Prophet Mohammad or actually accuse Prophet Mohammad of rape and pedophilia. That was the very last thing I had on my mind. So I hope people will try to put aside the bad blood and let me explain why I posted it and what I meant.

My entire intent was to try and put myself into the shoes of a Muslim and how might one reconcile our modern sensibilities with some serious allegations and concerns others raise with the past of Islam.

Statutory rape is intercourse with someone below age of consent. Unlike other rape cases, the relations in this situation is often consensual with both parties expressing happiness about it. It is rape not because someone was forced or abused. It simply means that one or both persons was below the age of consent. Although age of consent varies by nation to nation, it is a line we draw to protect adolescents who are not mature enough to give consent, adolescents are at risk of psychological and other damage, by engaging in physical relations before the right age. These laws mean a lot to family and communities in modern times because it gives us comfort that children are legally protected and there are systems in place to protect children who maybe damaged and hurt. It also brings sanctity to modern relationships by emphasizing the need for consent.

Of course these laws did not exist years ago. Humans did not even know what age of consent was. Most people probably did not even know why this was wrong. In fact marriage and marital relations was something honored and approved by society, irrespective of age or consent. Most people actually thought they were doing something right and good, not shockingly wrong. It is not just Arab culture, but across the globe you have instances of society approving child marriages and marital relations. Perhaps if I was born in that era, even I would not think like I am now and truly believe that my twelve year old daughter must be ever so content and happy to have relations with her 50+ husband and be thanking gods for her true happiness.

I'm also a firm believer that the society of the past cannot be judged by the mechanisms of modern society. The question however is not about judging the past but asking ourselves – Was that right and can we accept it? Are such mentions OK in religious texts? Since religion is supposed to be the guiding pillar of morality and right conduct – I personally find it very tricky and difficult to reconcile such notions of the past seamlessly into modern day doctrine. Somewhere, somehow there has to be a disclaimer that this is morally wrong and now that we know better we call it statutory rape.

So my intent was not to call Prophet Mohammad a rapist or pedophile. I'm not familiar with Islamic texts, nor am I going to bring up various Islamic texts to prove whether it was statutory rape or not. It was different back then. My question is more on the grounds that it is very plausible that based on our moral beliefs of today, Prophet Mohammad may have been deemed guilty of statutory rape. Since he is such a prominent, respected and revered figure in Islam how do we reconcile his history being prominent in the religion while still holding true to the morals of marriage and consent we have today. It is a difficult and painful question, I understand and empathize. I am sorry if the thought of such a question offends people. But the question exists, and deserves thought. We should not ignore the difficult questions and sweep it under the rug. Only when we tackle such questions and try to find answers does religion grow. Trust me, such a conundrum is not unique to Islam alone. Every single belief system that exists today has such difficult question and there barely is a single human out there who has not grappled to reconcile modern values with ancient religious texts and beliefs.

In the offending I tried to put myself in the shoes of a Muslim and figure how I might respond to such questions. Since, I was not raised Muslim and these beliefs are not near and dear to me, the response may have seemed cold and offensive. But it was not meant to be that way, and I hope that Muslims can be open to answering these questions in a mature manner. After all this is Debate Mansion – a place to find these answers. The real world is far harsher in the questions it poses not just to Muslims but every minority. In the real world, they actually will intentionally offend you and tear you down. What will we do then?

I wanted to close with some questions regarding the topic question – Is Islam a religion of peace or war. I believe all religions are intrinsically good. The real question is are we as humans people of peace or of war?

Most of you who came here and reported me, don't even know me. You don't even post in this section You have barely interacted with me. You don't know my history on DM. You don't know what I have posted in the past. You have no idea what my values, what my beliefs are and what stances I take. You saw one post and immediately drew conclusions and made assumptions about what my intent was. Not a single person drew pause to think that maybe it was a misunderstanding. Not a single person drew pause to think maybe we should respond first and see what the person has to say. Not a single person drew pause to think that maybe there is an amicable solution we can come to.

Everyone just saw that it was about religion, about Prophet Mohammad and unanimously decided – nothing doing – we will get this person. Not just that, but to the extent that you actually planned and conspired to come en masse bringing everyone in your circle, and literally bully me and the Dev team until some action was taken. You had decided that I deserved consequences for my words, and there was no going back. The entire fiasco was almost an act of virtual warfare.  Is this really the public face you want to give your religion, no questions, no answers, no discussions, no explanations, no second chances, no attempts for mutual understanding – just thick hard lines draw out where you deem fit.

Again this isn't against any particular group, but something in general everyone who wants to engage in debate should consider. Are we engaging in debate or are we engaging in war? Are we people of civility or mob mentality? Are we going to act as people of peace or people of war? And that is something only each individual can answer to themselves.





Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Most Likely to Die

Of a lynch mob!

My prediction of my future has come true. Well not yet in the real world, but definitely so in the virtual world.

So I told this old joke about the western monotheisms being a trilogy remake of the same films over and over again. I assigned the fan-fiction to Islam. I knew there was a reason we pick on on the Mormons. I should have picked on the Mormons, they are aliens from Mars after all. So now some pea brained toddlers in the virtual world have conferred upon me the title of "Islamophobe"

Ironic considering that a few of my blogs this year have been dedicated to curing Islamophobia (Or my past works on Heathen fasting and Profiling)

Just another addition to my  Devilish Blasphemy

Well I'm going to be partying in hell anyways, so I'm glad for the upgrade to business class. At least all sheep have more in common than saying "Baa" - they don't have a sense of humor.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fall hues, Winter blues & Other Gibberish News

I've not posted a blog post for a long time now. I noticed that my last blog post was on October 21st. That is well over a month ago. I'm disappointed in the long gap because I have had several things I needed to vent or observations to share.

For example, I wanted to vent about Chaz Bono on Dancing With the Stars because watching Chaz Bono dance is indeed watching Humpty Dumpty dance. I get the whole be nice, be courteous, don't tease or bully thing, and me calling Chaz Humpty Dumpty is mean; but the judges were actually nice about it. They criticized his dancing, his awkwardness, his heavy footwork and utter lack of grace in movement - they did not bully him, tease him or make fun of his weight or transition. The whole thing was blown out of proportion. What is wrong in being called a cute Ewok or Penguin? If animal references are wrong, all the people called minx, lioness, stallion, panther, bird of prey should be offended. I also was annoyed by the whole LGBT community throwing their weight behind him. This is a dancing show, can we at least try to vote for the dancer please?



Then I have my own observations about Katy Perry's single E.T. For one thing the song is definitely not at all about the "alien sex" it claims to be. I'm saving my interpretation though for someday soon, it will come out along with Britney Spears "shame" and a whole lot of things under the category "What the fuck is a disco stick?"

Anyway, the point is that I have not been writing as much. I would blame the excessive school load this semester has me working on a whole lot more papers, essays, presentations and reports. Indeed a huge chunk of my weekends has been taken over by finishing school work. At the same time I am guilty of lacking discipline and succumbing to the addiction of India-Forums. Quite sadly, I have to report that I have been utterly sucked into the brouhaha hoopla around the entry of the pornographic star Sunny Leone on the Indian reality show Big Boss (India's version of celebrity Big Brother)



Usually, I don't give a damn about saucy news like this. Isn't it always the same old stuff - a kinky sex tape leaked online, teen star caught smoking contraband stuff, something about the Kardashian or the guidos of Jersey Shore, some footballer sexting pictures of their dicks, and a huge situation about boy loving pedophiles. You kind of get desensitized to news like this. In fact I wonder if the world is normal if there isn't something seedy in the news.

But this is India we are talking about here! India is the land of no sex. Every child in India is dropped of by  magic storks from the heavens. That means there is a whole arsenal of storks working over time out there. We have been writing to Santa to stop for decades now to no avail. Storks aside, can you imagine the volatile reaction of introducing pornography in the land of no sex? The explosive energy it produces can fuel our planet for the next decade, if only we knew how to harness it. So I've been sucked into enjoying the mass hysteria unfolding as everyone runs like chicken little screeching "The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling".

Sky reminds me that the show also has this jackass character who insists on being called Sky even though his name is Akashdeep. Thankfully, he is already a fallen character and nobody has to worry about a filthy swine like him falling on them. Anyway, now with Sunny Leone on the show there is all sorts of coco-loco going on in India and the India-Forums. The latest being that Sunny Leone has been credited with the deadly viral outbreak of porn addiction in India. Apparently teenage boys have been discussing porn, and husbands expecting kinkier sex - all thanks to Sunny Leone. I think India needs a reality check through Google trends and internet activity data.

Prior to that I've been caught up with conspiracy theories of demoniacally possessed contestants and all that jazz. I don't get the whole show at all. Most of it is just trailer trash behavior of people throwing sleaze at each other with bad demeanor and gutter language. With that kind of trashy display of human behavior, impact of porn is the least of my worries. What is the point of values, if you don't treat humans with value eh? My bad! Lesson learned! I hope to sober up and devote more time to my own reading and writing once again instead.

Other than that fall flew by in a breeze here. I don't think I really got to enjoy the crisp fall evenings with the gold, auburns and scarlet leaves withering into the crimson sunset. Instead the bright sunny days of summer skipped for and went directly into the bleary dreary winter. The day flies by like a brief flash of nanoseconds and I am steeped into darkness all around me. My head is stuffy, my eyes are blurry, my chest burns and my throat is sore. I curse the darkness as I convulse in a coughing bout. My mind feels so heavy and depressed and dark that my enthusiasm and creativity and energy is squashed.

I hope for light, so I can feel light, and get back to my happy routines again.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Our page in history

I am a history geek. The subject has always fascinated me. Its pages are filled with incredible stories that captivate you. These are stories about our human race, the people we were and our journey to where we are today. And what a wonderful journey it has been. It is a pleasure to read about classical civilization and cultural antiquity. How our ancestors formed the first great cities and towns of their times. It is fascinating to see the story of government unfold from the ancient Greek City states to the Magna Carta on the British isle to democracy as we know it today. It is moving to discover the great struggles, the civil rights movements that set the foundation for freedom as we know it today. Our history is glorious and brilliant.

It is not all about rainbows and butterflies though. Amidst the shining brilliance, is also stretches of bleak cold darkness. For every age of prosperity and plenty, there is plague and famine. For every renaissance and revival, there is the medieval times and dark ages. For all great heroes and kings, there are the warlords and barbarians. For every liberty and freedom, there is sacrificial blood.

As a student of history, I have always wondered about why some of our world's greatest moments are washed in blood. Is this some sort of baptismal by fire? A necessary and holy sacrifice to the Gods of history? Or is it just the innately cruel nature of man, our lust for blood that is time and again the doom of mankind?

"Liberté, égalité, fraternité" the noble chant of the French revolution rings loud and true across the world. These words are the sounds of the proletariat, sounds of freedom, sounds of revolution and change. But to me there is another sound that rings in my brain as the sound of the people, of freedom, revolution and change. That is the endless cacophony of muskets firing at Bastilles, ending with the gruesome chunk of the guillotine slicing of a head.



Then there is the Russian revolution. Another noble undertaking for "Liberty, equality and freedom". It was another land in turmoil that sought to overthrow their cruel authoritarian Czar and replace him with a government of the people. Freedom here rings in the sound of the stoic Bolsheviks marching through Red Square reclaiming what was due to the sweat of their brow. But in their freedom I also hear the cry of five innocent children as their bodies were riddled with bullets.

The Czars, the emperors, the dictators of history had to be overthrown. People deserve freedom. However, blood as the price of freedom just breaks my heart and makes me wonder if freedom is truly worth that price. Don't get me wrong, I don't sympathize with the regimes. My support is for the people, and my love for history makes me cherish it. But I don't think saying  "Qu’ils mangent de la brioche" warrants having one's head sliced off. Perhaps a tight slap across the cheek and a lifetime of community service would have sufficed. Czar Nicholas may have been a terrible ruler, but surely a man beloved by his nieces and nephews as uncle Nicky probably was human too. Even if he deserved to die, did his wife and kids too? I can't help it but sometimes cry at the fate of the Romanovs, realizing that this page of revolution and change in history is washed with the blood of children.

That brings me to one of our pages in history. The Arab spring has brought a breath of fresh air and inspired change across the world. For many years the Arab nations have been the most oppressed nations in the world. Unlike the rest of us they have not enjoyed the freedom that democracy brings. They have been ruled by lines of Sultans, eccentric religious figures or narcissistic military dictators. The people suffered their abject poverty, their lack of opportunities and bleak overview of life silently, while the rest of the world looked down on the Arab world as the breeding pool of terrorists and extremists.

All that changed with the Arab spring. Like with all revolutions of the past, it just took a few good men and women with a few ounces of courage to put their foot down and say enough was enough. And a few ounces of courage is all it takes for the right thing to snowball into something big. So from Tunisia to Egypt to Jordan to Syria to Yemen to Oman to even Iran, the people took to the streets and demanded change. They asked for their fair share, their right to be free and live with dignity. Their protests took different shapes and forms. Some were minor protests, some were revolutions like wildfire and others were full fledged war.



So profound were these protests that they touched and inspired the rest of the world. The Arab world was no longer a breeding ground for terrorists. The Christians, Muslims, Jews fighting together for freedom in Egypt and elsewhere showed that there was another side to the Arab world. Just like us they were men, women, children, families, human beings who only wanted to be free. Their fight in dire straits taught us Americans that we too had a voice and could stand up for ourselves. In fact we ought to be ashamed of never speaking up and taking freedom for granted. The Arab spring created a butterfly effect around the world with budget protests, austerity protests, anti corruption protests spreading around the world. Our Occupy Wall Street protest that has spread across the globe owes its inception to the Arab Spring.

But this page too like every other page in the book of man is not clean or pristine. This page too has been washed in blood. Despite peaceful protests and civil disobedience, the transition has not been peaceful. This week saw the death of Moammar Gadaffi. Had he died in battle or crossfire, it probably would have not weighed on me. But he did not die in battle or crossfire, he was killed. I saw the newscast of his capture. The images were gruesome, the dictator was blood battered and a broken man, but very much alive. In fact he looked healthy and conscious enough to survive. However, somewhere down the line between his capture and death, someone or something intervened and he died a gruesome death.



Do our pages really need to be washed in blood? Do we really have to continue paying this price? Why do we find it so hard to forgive and be humans? Then again who am I to ask these questions. How dare I. A few months a go did I not say it was alright for Americans to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden. Did I not express joy in that blood wash and justify it. It can't be right for my freedom and not for theirs. In our dynamic changing world, blood in the name of freedom is a given. It is not Bin Laden, Gadaffi or anyone else. Everyday as we create glorious moments for our future generations to take pride in and cherish, we also wash those pages in blood.

Perhaps that is why Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi are such great heroes and brave souls. They have accomplished an incredible feat. Their pages of history are pristine and clean. There is absolutely no trace of blood, not a spot, or a slight stain here or there. Just clean white sheets until they ended in red. I wonder if history will ever have the likes of them again. I wonder if there will be more clean white sheets in the book of man. I wonder if the students of history tomorrow look back and see our pages, just the way I see Marie Antionette or the Romanovs.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Modest Proposal

In 1729 Jonathon Swift published his Modest Proposal. In this essay he proposes that the poor people of Ireland sell their children to the rich as food. This way the children don't end up being a burden on their struggling parents. He even included several delicious recipes to prepare children. Apparently well nourished children of about a year old make delicious and nutritious meals. Although the proposal was never actually carried it, Swift's groundbreaking economic work has garnered critical attention and praise through history.

Today we live in a world that faces a similar, but much more widespread conundrum. The planes of debt have run berserk and economies are crashing faster and harder than the twin towers. The United States is already a pile of economic rubble and now UK and the EU are on the brink of going up in flames in a Greece fire. Income gap is widening and the working class is disappearing. Rich keep getting richer and poor people keep begging for more share of the riches richness and the rich just hug their riches and snarl "My precioussssssssssssssss". I mean when you buy a bigger pie, you are obviously hungry for a bigger pie why would you give your pie to anyone else beats me. Who shares pie anyway? I don't.  Large mobs of people are protesting everywhere putting the world at risk (all a zombie has to do is show up, and we shall have the zombie apocalypse to deal with as well).

 Everyone wants a preciousssss

Right here in America, we really are in a terrible place and time in the history of our country. Some might call it the next worse thing since the great depression, but taking a leaf out of homeland security I would call it the bubonic plague of our economy, fiscal black death, the bubenomic plague! Stock markets keep dipping steeper and faster than any roller coaster designed by man. Unemployment rates are rising at twice the steepness and velocity of the stock coaster. Then there is the debt we are piling up so high that it deserves a debt monument of its own now. Each and every social program in America like social security, medicare, medicaid, and even our public education is insolvent and going to melt away like the wicked witch, and our government is divided on whether we should try stopping Dorothy or just throw the bucket of water ourselves. It is pretty crappy in the rest of the world too I hear.

If that was not enough we still have the same age old shit going on in the world as well. First there is mother nature, and whether you believe in climate change or not the bitch is in heat and screwing the world over. Earthquake, Tsunami, Tornado, Hurricane, Drought, Famine, Floods, Fire just ravaging us like a barbarian horde. People in Africa are still hungry and hundreds across the world die of hunger.

So as a forward thinking intellectual, somewhat like Jonathan Swift I feel obligated to come up with my own modest proposal. A modest proposal for the bubenomic plague, a modest proposal for our times, a modest proposal for my nation and my people so that we may finally be rid of this bubenomic plague. It is a very simple and humble proposal.

I propose that we offer up our elderly anyone and everyone over the age of seventy as food. Now unlike young well nourished babies and children, they probably are not as wholesome and nutritious. One glaring problem is that a lot of them are too bony and lack meat, and even what meat is left is tough and stringy. A lot of it is probably diseased as well. So clearly this is not high quality food product. No one would want to buy bony, wrinkled and tough meat.

That is why I propose that we donate them instead. See them people in Africa and third world countries are really going hungry. Beggars cannot be choosers. They would eat anything. Just cook it low and slow for hours, season it with plenty of barbecue sauce, seal it in cans and drop it down there. Not only will we be solving our problems, but we will be doing a noble deed and caring for the world.

Now the first problem might be the pro life camp that might find it unholy to barbecue old people. I do have a sales pitch planned for them though. They already want to cut grandma and grandpa out of their health benefits, they already want to jack the cost of living and healthcare so high that grandma and grandpa cannot afford it. The clearly want to kill these people of in a slow, painful death. So I urge them to know that it is not holy to torture people, torture is bad, do the right thing, the holy thing, make it a quick and painless death. To ensure that we will use the same methods used to humanely execute death row inmates.

My bigger concern is the liberal hippies though, who want life to be all about candies and ponies, no pain, no sacrifices, just candies and ponies. They don't even want to kill bed bugs or serial rapists, how will they even have the heart to barbecue oldies. To that I say I did my research. Both the Koch brothers pass my seventy year threshold, David Koch barely by a year. Plenty of evil billionaires who won't share their pie are also over seventy. Once they are bye bye we can convert all their wealth to candies and ponies and share it all happily and equally.

You might wonder now though, if we don't sell the meat but merely donate it how will we benefit? Where is the money going to come to solve our woes? Look at the big picture friends, the big picture. If you have followed anything that is going on in our country for the past few years you probably have realized by now old people are the problem. By getting rid of them we rid of our woes.

Let us look at the benefits -

  • They would have eaten millions of dollars in social security income. We saved millions of government expenditure. 
  • This also means no more medicare.
  • Hospitals are no longer wasting money on taking care of unproductive citizens and can refocus the savings on productive citizens. 
  • All the houses lived in by old people can be given to the homeless or charities.
  • We will finally get rid of all the old people in the workforce, especially those who lost all their retirement money in the crash and now steal jobs from other people because they did not know to save. Those jobs will be open for the unemployed. 
  • Families spending tons on elder care will have more cash flow. 
  • The biggest jump for joy news is that a lot of our politicians are old people and we will finally be rid of them and hopefully replace them with people who mean business. 

There are plenty more benefits, but they would take a whole book. So I'll just let people chew on and digest my modest proposal and wait till the entire nation is rushing to enforce my proposal.

Disclaimer: Since the internet is full of dumb people, I need a disclaimer. Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal was a satire and so is mine. There is a lot of satire, sarcasm and absurdity up there. I have grandparents too, and I care for them, love them and don't want any harm to come to them. I won't want any harm or hurt come to my friends or family. In fact even though I am a heartless soulless beast at times, I would never seriously consider such an idea. This piece is a reflection of my opinion that we as people tend to be selfish. In our quest to solve our problems we often victimize others, just like barbecuing the old people and don't even realize it. Also to point out the fact that even though we need to be most pragmatic, most utilitarian and most logical in how we solve problems - we simply cannot take compassion out of the equation.



Saturday, September 17, 2011

One Night Stand

"Is this what you are doing these days?" my father's voice screeched over the phone. I held it away towards the wall, to protect my ears.

"Don't make a big deal out of this. It was nothing".  My mom was sobbing rhythmically in the background. I could not help but roll my eyes, she was always such a drama queen.

"Nothing, just nothing?" my father had amplified his voice by like a million decibels, and I was trying desperately to magically stretch my arms a few inches longer. "Decent girls don't think of this as nothing"

After a lot of yelling and arguing we finally hung up. They were typical Bollywood parents, full of heightened drama and over reaction. But I'm an adult now, a successful and responsible adult. They had to stop ruling my life over their whims. Now was a good time to put my foot down. They were totally blowing it out of proportion.

As I ate my breakfast of leftover pizza, I sighed thinking, news indeed did travel fast in the Indian community. I wondered how my parent's found out. I scowled at my roommate's door. Whore! I'm sure she ratted me out. I could picture the diabolical delight on her face as she broke the news that the perfect daughter had fallen from grace. Or perhaps it was that no good skunk Arun. The loser was convinced that we were betrothed to each other. Just because or parents were best buddies did not mean we were destined to be together. He had a knack of showing up every where I went, giving an evil glare to every male in existence. He had showed up that night too and followed me around.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not the kind of girl you think I am. I've never done anything like this before. I'm still a bit shocked at how bold I had been. In fact I've always been the perfect daughter, the pride of my parents. I'm the girl you all probably hate because my parents won't stop talking about me, causing your parents to keep nagging why you aren't more like me. Always at the top of the class through school and the perfect score in SAT. Same thing through college. I never went out, I never partied, and tried my best to avoid the attention of the boys. I've never even been on a date my entire life, unless of course you count Nick, my prom date and a flamboyant homosexual. His parents secretly hoped that I had the feminine charms that would cure him and my parents counted him as the only guy safe for a girl to talk to.

Now that I've worked hard and successful, I think I deserve a little break in life. Nothing extravagant, just some night outs with the girls here and there, the occasional flirting with the good guys hoping to find the perfect dulha that even my parents would fall head over heels in love with. After all I am a girl with dreams and aspirations. Every girl dreams to find her prince charming to sweep her off her feet. Arranged marriage is so old fashioned, and I think its good sense for us NRI girls to fend for ourselves. You can never trust these shaadi.com sites and such. Theres a lot of frauds and chauvinistic jerks out there. My parents did agree with me here, but always wondered why I couldn't fend myself with a nice guy like Arun. I think my mom already has names chosen for my grandkids. My dad is a lot more practical "Beta just find a good guy you like. Just make sure he is of our community"

Enough talk about myself though. Let me tell you what exactly happened that night. Things just happened, and one thing led to another, but I don't think I did anything that wrong. Or did I?

I had just finished unpacking the last box. Moving had been an ordeal and I was exhausted. My room was still bare with just a bed and no furniture. I had finally got all my good dresses and shoes arranged neatly in the closet. Everything else was arranged in neat piles on the floor. So what if I did not have furniture, I still could be clean. I had a small budge to buy some from the goodwill store. It was also college moving day downtown next week and I was planning on driving around hoping that I might snag some good free second hand stuff. I wasn't earning enough to splurge on the good stuff yet. My body was sore and begging me to stay in that night. In hindsight, perhaps I should have just stayed in and gone to bed after a long hot bubble bath. But perhaps it was destiny.

Besides I had to go. It was a farewell dinner for my former roommate Neeta. She was moving to Anaheim with her fiance. Even though she was the cause of my moving ordeals, I was going to dearly miss her. She was the best friend and roommate ever. Without her I would have been just another lost girl in the city. She really helped me settle in. A bunch of us girls had planned a girls night out in her honor, and there was no way I could miss that. I'll just have dinner with the girls and come straight home, I thought to myself. But fate had other plans for me.

After dinner the girls wanted to go dancing. There is no such thing as free will in girl world. Once the group decides that something must be done, then it must be done. Tonight the girls had their hearts set on going dancing, and there was no turning back. Some of us wanted to go to the desi club uptown where DJ Rekha was playing, but it got voted down. Too far and too crowded was the consensus. Basement Bhangra was just a block around the corner, but Neeta vetoed it. She complained that the place was getting frequented with too many FOB students wanting to feel her up. I'd never had that problem, but then I'm too plain and simple. Neeta on the other hand was smoking hot, and fashionably dressed in sexy sultry outfits. For some reason the FOB kids had the ludicrous notion that it meant, go ahead I'm easy. I really liked Basement Bhangra because of its quaint desi atmosphere. I felt at home there. The other more American dance clubs made me feel out of place. But Neeta hated Basement Bhangra and insisted on going somewhere else. Eventually Neeta decided that we should go to The Closet, a gay club a few blocks away from Basement Bhangra. We were less likely to get hit on there and their DJ Tristan always played some Bollywood numbers if there were plenty of desi girls around. Neeta was not the only girl who tried to avoid Basement Bhangra.

After a few rounds of shots the girls hit the dance floor. "I wanna go" Neeta lip synced as she gyrated to the latest hypnotic Britney beat. Radha and I stood in a relatively quite corner awkwardly tapping our feet as the rest of our friends got lost in the swarm of hot sweaty bodies. Girl, guy, friend, stranger made no difference to them on the dance floor. Within moments of hitting the floor, they would find a companion to grind their hips against. We were the good girls, or the shy ones as the others called us who waited patiently in the sidelines for the right person to dance with. I had no qualms being alone, better dance alone than some random stranger I thought. Besides, I had Radha to keep me company.

Then all of a sudden I noticed a shadowy figure beckoning me to dance. As the figure came closer, I could see the outline of a handsome Asian man. He wore a tight fitting pair of gray jeans and a red Express shirt with a dragon pattern on its back. His gel styled hair was performing gravity defying acrobatics and his moves were sensational. That man could dance. Definitely gay, I thought to myself as he took my hand to lead me onto the dance floor. Unlike my usual cautious self, I let myself go and followed him. When I turned around to see Radha's reaction, she too gave me an uncharacteristic nod of approval. I thought I was hallucinating and did a double take, only to see her smile and gesture me to go on. He is gay, I convinced myself, what was the worst that could happen.

How wrong I was! He maneuvered me around the dance floor with ease. Initially I kept my distance, but there was a certain soothing calmness about him that made me lose my inhibitions and inch slowly closer. The aura around him was intoxicating, and I found myself longing to be closer, wanting to be closer, pushing to be closer, but still resisting. Eventually, I stopped resisting and let myself go in his arms. His arms were on my hips pulling me closer and I held my head to his chest enjoying the rhythm of his throbbing heartbeat. I always had a thing for Asians, and he was the most beautiful Asian man I had ever seen. His eyes were soulful and alluring. Unlike the slight Asian kids from my school, he was tall and well built. His body was toned with rippling muscles and ran my hands on his back and shoulders appreciating the curves of his body. The little girl in my head was giggling that I was feeling up a man. The grown woman in me wanted him to do the same to me, I wanted his hands to take liberty and explore me further. But he turned out to be a perfect gentleman, all he wanted to do was dance.

Duh! He is gay, I tried to snap back to reality. He was not interested in feeling me up. He was probably thinking about ravishing some other boy on the dance floor. But how could he? No he wouldn't, he shouldn't. Why is it that we girls always get unwanted attention from the creepy guys, but the ones we want turn out to be gay or taken? He was to gorgeous to be gay. He was dreamy and just my type. Alright he was definitely not the Bollywood hero that I was looking for. He was definitely not the dulha mom had in mind and he would not fit my dad's definition of "our community". My mind was made up and I wanted him. I had to ask him and I looked up into his eyes. As if reading my mind he answered with a gentle kiss on the lips and asked if I wanted to go sit down somewhere quiet.

That was when my night took a turn for the worse. We found a booth away from the crowd and cozied up into each others arms there. Then we talked. No drinks, no shots, nothing just talking. It was incredible. All my friends soon left, but we were still talking, and we could probably talk forever. For most guys a quiet booth away from the crowd meant making out, if not more. I had half expected to be doing something rash I would regret, but he was different, he was content just talking. He was unlike any guy I had met before, he was interested in knowing me and wanted me to know him. His name was Chan, but his American name was Chris. He had migrated from China with his parents when he was twelve. His father was killed in an accident when he was fourteen. His mother worked two, sometimes three or four to raise him. He completely understood my overbearing, melodramatic, over the top protective parents. His mother was exactly the same, and she had her own network of high drama Chinese aunts and uncles who kept a protective eye on him. It was not old fashioned for my parents to want an Indian boy from our community. Everyone in his family also expected him to find a nice Chinese girl and settle down. We shared the mutual frustration, rebellion and unconditional love we felt towards our culture and families.

I think I was falling for him. He was unlike any other guy I had met. We connected and understood each others lives on so many levels. Most desi guys I had met had found me too old fashioned and prudish. Why did they never get the love/hate relationship I share with my parents? Why did this Chinese checkers, not my desi dulha completely understand my so called desi life.

Then Arun came. It was almost like he vaporized from thin air. One moment Chris and I were intently having a conversation, the next moment Arun's greasy face popped in between and broke our connection. A few seconds later he had invited himself to join us and slid next to me on the seat. Chris was graciously friendly and tried to start a conversation with Arun, but Arun being a jerk completely ignored Chris. Every time Chris said something Arun would interrupt "Did you try the chicken tikka at Paratha palace. Very good, but I think aunty makes them better" "Do you want to see the new Aamir Khan film this weekend" "I have some bookshelves I am trying to sell. You should come over tomorrow night. Since you just moved, I'll be happy to give them to you free".

That is when the drinking started. Sons of family friends like Arun stick to you like leeches. You can't shake them of even if you wanted to. They live in a dream world where you are already married. You just endure them, trying to ease the agony through other means, in my case here - alcohol. Arun ordered drinks first like a jerk, for me and him, not even bothering to ask what Chris wanted. Then to show him down I ordered a pitcher of beer. Arun only drinks girly drinks, he cannot stand beer. But he seemed determined to show down my new guy friend and downed them willingly. This went on for some time. Finally, Chris who was keeping sensibly sober, whispered to ask if we should ditch Arun. There was nothing more I wanted to do. So when Arun had to go to the restroom to empty his bladder from all the beer he had been drinking; we swiftly ran out the place giggling and laughing like kids.

Since I was drunk, Chris decided he should walk me home. He was a little buzzed himself, but somber and in control compared to me. I stumbled along clutching his arms tightly. I may have caused him to stagger occasionally, but he was in control. Then all of a sudden he stopped at a dark alley and walked in. His frame went outside the rays outside the streetlight to become a shadow in the distance. "Hey check this out!" he called.

Any person with common sense knows that it is a bad idea to enter a dark alley at night, especially at the call of a stranger you just met. Drunk people don't have common sense though, and I found Chris intoxicating. I walked in and found him standing proudly, showing it off to me. At first I didn't see it, but then I looked down and saw it. It was beautiful. I don't think I had seen anything like it before. I dropped to my knees not caring about ruining my dress with the filth on the streets and began gently stroking it. I made up my mind that I wanted it. Perhaps I was drunk and not thinking clearly, but I wanted it. Chris was going to bring it home to my bedroom. If he refused which I was sure he wouldn't I would beg and plead or even command him to.

You might find this rash and unwise of me. In hindsight I think I should have waited. Even Chris tried to tell me that we should wait till the next day when I was more sober. However, the heart wants, what the heart wants and you can't change the mind of a woman's heart. If you were in my shoes, you would do the same I'm sure.

Someone had thrown out a beautiful cherry night stand in that alley. Of course it was beat up and scratched all over, but it was still in great condition. The deep red hues of the finish matched perfectly with the burgundy frame of my Ikea bed. Once upon a time it would have cost big bucks at a specialty furniture store. I could picture arranging my bed lamp, books, and alarm clock on it. My laptop could go into this slide out drawer here. Mentally I arranged other belongings into the shelves below. My room appeared dramatically cleaner and organized in my vision. What I wouldn't do for a clean and organized room. I might not even have to go scavenging. I probably could use all of budget for a nice dresser and armoire.

I had to act quick though. In a college town tossed out furniture gets claimed quickly by poor college kids or broke young professionals like me. If I waited to come back later, some morning jogger or dog walker would surely see it and claim it. Ugh! How I hated the morning people, always getting to stuff ahead of everyone else. It was time night owls like me got their due. So I convinced Chris that it could not wait till later, we simply had to move our treasured discovery to my bedroom right away.

Thankfully, my apartment was not too far away. That damn night stand was heavy. Why do they make wood furniture so heavy? Why don't they make them light and easy? It was a cool fall night with a slight chill setting in, but we both were hot and sweating profusely. Chris looked incredibly sexy as his rippling muscles hauled the heavy piece of furniture on their own. Little beads of sweat trickling down from his forehead made me want to wipe his brows and kiss him. Poor fellow, he just had met me a few hours ago and now I was having him haul stuff around for me. Definitely dulha material, I thought to myself. The biggest battle was hauling it up a flight of stairs to get it to my apartment. Once again Chris did most of the lifting, while I just gently pushed it around a bit.

Things got even more exciting once we made it to my bedroom. My roommate the Queen of Sheba who cannot stand the slightest bit of chill had blasted the heat and my paycheck would bear half the brunt of her royal heat and electricity bill. My room felt like a stuffy furnace. In that sweltering heat I had to clear my room and make room for my new piece of furniture. I could not make up my mind which side of my bed the night stand should go to. First I had Chris put it on the right side of the bed. The changed my mind and asked him to move it to the left side, next to the window. He groaned as he had to drag the furniture across the room, pushing my stuff out of the way. "Jesus" I screamed as he dropped a corner on my foot. He grunted as he fell on the bed, almost missing the headboard as I pushed him in retaliation over my swollen foot. The bed springs creaked loudly as he quickly jumped off to complete his task. They creaked even more when I threw my stuff on it to make room for the night stand in the right place. Soon we were done and my room looked perfect.

"What the hell do you think you are doing?" we got a start as the Queen of Sheba barged out her room as I poured Chris a glass of water.

"We were just rearranging my room" I explained innocently and honestly. "He will be leaving now"

"Does Arun know you are sneaking behind him like this?" she chided me as I held the door open for Chris. There was Arun, popping up in my life even when he wasn't around. What was her problem, was she suffering delusions like him.

"I don't want you bringing boys into my apartment, especially if you can't keep it down" she commanded sternly as she went back to her room.

That my friend is the story of my one night stand. How one night stand made its way from a dark alley of the city into my bedroom. I never saw Chris again. With Arun interrupting us and the Queen of Sheba raging like a maniac, we never got to exchanging phone numbers. My perfect dulha was lost somewhere in the city. I went to The Closet again, but never saw him. Neeta had expected a sizzling story of romance and sex and was disappointed at what happened. Men only want one thing she tried to explain wisely, they won't come back if they won't get it. Radha was the only one who sympathized and understood. Together we came up with 101 reasons why I never saw Chris again. I don't blame Chris for disappearing though, it was not like we had a perfect date. Between me bossing him around, the Aruns and Queens of Sheba in my life, there was no way any man would want to stick around in this madness. I told myself that I had to be better with men the next time, friendly and open, yet sensible and cautious. I still believe that my perfect dulha is out there, if the melodramatic parents are there, the crazy friends and obsessed lovers are there, then my hero number one is also out there. I just have to find him.

But tell me did I do anything wrong? I mean what is wrong with my one night stand? It is a perfectly fine piece of furniture I think, and the best thing that ever came out of that night. I don't get what my parents are flipping out about and I don't know what garbage the Queen of Sheba and Arun have been feeding them. I've convinced them to talk this over the weekend and I'm going to show them exactly what happened. I think when she finally sees it mom will appreciate my furniture addition. I go on her in this matter. She too loves salvaging old throwaways and decorating on a budget. We've dragged my dad several times to flea markets and garage sales making him haul old grandfather clocks and antique desks back to our place. I'm sure she will learn to love my one night stand. I don't get why its such a big deal now though.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Denial

The first step of therapy is admitting there is a problem.
The second step of therapy is denial. Just deny everything and go right back into your happy place.

Being an Indian cricket fan is a tough, tumultuous and thankless job. There are far too many ups and downs for an ordinary heart to handle. It takes thick rhino hide, nay double thick tyrannosaurus hide to be an Indian cricket fan. We had been the number one test team since 2009. Then Just earlier this year we lifted the world cup and arrived as world champions in one day internationals as well. A few months later in a hot English August we lost our number one test spot to the English. When you have a number one team you expect them to clutch on to that top spot clawing and fighting. You hope to have a hard fought tough contest where a better side eventually prevails in a photo finish. As the NRA says "from cold dead hands". When you hold something precious, you fight unto death to keep it.

Unfortunately, no such thing happened. Here is what played out. The Englishmen came and asked for the number one spot. Our team peed in their pants and dropped down dead. They might as well have taken it from our cold dead hands then and there, but cricket is a funny game that allows no such thing. So for weeks now the Englishmen have been brutally whipping a dead horse till cricket thinks the horse is dead enough to pass its winning crowns.

As you can see it is very painful. Can you imagine watching your prize horse laying on the ground flaying in misery as a bunch of Englishmen pummel it to pulp, and then some more just for kicks? It takes me way back to the day when I was a little kid and our horse was not even a prize horse then. Our horse was some weird sickly breed. It was tiny with sprightly legs and skinny like pale hide stretched on a bag of bones. But we pleasantly denied it. It was not a nothing horse, it was not even a prize horse. Oh our horse was better than that. We had a glorious unicorn, it sparkled like Edward Cullen, it had a majestic horn and massive wings with which it soared in the sky like an eagle.

So that is the denial I shall regress myself into. Our cricket team is a magnificent unicorn, soaring in the sky. What pummeling at the hands of Englishmen are you talking about? Are you daft like a tea partier, you tea drinking, boot wearing country of Englishmen? Can't you see it flying high above the sky? Why it could take a pee on your barmy heads from up there. This is no ordinary cricket team of mortals, it is a unicorn, an immortal, descended from the heavens. An incarnation of great Gods.

One might ask why did this God like unicorn lose? A very good question. It has a simple answer though. People don't believe in unicorns and since I'm all grown up now, neither did I. But oh if you close your eyes and believe, the unicorn will fly high again. Cricket is a funny game where nothing can be told till the last ball is bowled. I've seen many unicorn miracles as a child. There were games where we were written off and all set to lose. People turned of televisions in disgust and went onto other things. I however believed in unicorns and watched the miracles. Remember the fateful last over that Sachin bowled against South Africa or the sandstorm innings in Sharjah? Or remember when Srinath and Kumble won us that match? Remember that battered team that emerged victorious in Perth after being broken in Sydney? All because of the unicorn.

Denial is beautiful like that. It makes victory tremendously magical, but it makes losses painful because your prize horse did not just get to old or too weak or blind sighted. People just did not have faith in the unicorn. It is like Tinker Bell in Peter Pan. Tinker Bell dies if people do not believe in magic and fairies. You have to clap and believe in Tinker Bell. So I won't shed a tear, I won't feel bad, I won't believe we have lost and I won't believe we are no longer number 1. I'm going into denial and will clap like Nancy Pelosi for my Tinkerbell cricket team and if we all believed and did so we will be number one again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Anger Management

Or Not!

Lately I've been feeling very angry. My patience hangs by a thread, and I feel irritated. People seem to have gotten thick and obstinate. All I know is I'm angry, but I don't know why.

Or do I.

For one I'm seriously pissed of at the Indian cricket team. I was on Cloud 9 when we won the world cup. The losses and ties in the West Indies irked me, but in the end we won the series. Winning consoled and pacified me, soothing the embers within. Now we are losing and I'm seething. I was happy as a clam, but the barmy English have made be crabby.

Secondly, I've learned that heathens cannot fast. I'm just too enamored by food, that fasting makes no bloody sense. Who the heck invented fasting anyway? Why can't we do something less painful like charge up a car's cigarette lighter and nicely sear our thumb till its medium rare. I did that recently. It kind of started out ugly, but then I had pretty rings on my thumb. As if many people had liked it and put rings on it. Now its back to being ugly chapped and scaly as the layers of skin peel of each day to let new flesh grow back in. I could not eat rice with my hands for while there and firmly holding silverware was painful, but there was yummy in my belly.

Last years week long fast was just a lucky fluke. I had gone soft and dreamy. Although, I am impressed with the fact that I had an awful cold and was hacking up a storm, choking on my own spittle, refusing water and then performing throat acrobatics to prevent the spittle from flowing down the food pipe and breaking the rules or Ramadan. Got to admit though, heathens got skills. Going back to the point, for that brief period I had convinced myself that fasts meant something. That even heathens have faith, and we could commit ourselves to our beliefs. I convinced myself that it represented my strength and conviction. I convinced myself it would enhance my jedi powers. Now I'm more like eh, I believe what I believe, fasting ain't going to do jack, fasting ain't going to get me jack.

Actually the truth is I'm just plain angry. Some emotional spiel of faith and inner strength is not going to do the trick. Now if someone were to come up to me, look me in the eye and yell "You heathen, you are weak. You have no faith or inner strength. You could not last a day in a fast. You don't know the meaning of jack". Then perhaps, I could do it just to spite them and then smite them with my enhanced jedi skills.

I'm also upset because movies lie. There is a dialog in a Hindi movie that goes loosely like "If you desire something truly and sincerely, then all of creation comes together to fulfill your desire". For some reason I believed it because it is that emotional spiel of faith that makes you warm and fuzzy and hopeful. Then I think logically about the possibilities and it poses conundrums. What if two true and sincere desires conflict. For example, what if an Indian fan truly and sincerely desires for an Indian victory and an English fan truly and sincerely desires for an English victory. Is it a draw? Does it go towards who is back by the most true and sincere desires? Either way only one side or no one gets what they want. The system is fucking flawed. Most importantly what about the Indian teams free will, what about the English teams free will?

What about Shanti Priya, she actually truly and sincerely desired Mukesh Mehra. She loved him, cared for him, was with his child and wanted to be with him. Shouldn't Mukesh have had a change of heart and actually grown a heart? Just because one Om Prakash is a hopeless romantic they both have to suffer and die, and then be reborn so that Om's wishes can be fulfulled. Not a very fair system at all. Kind of turns you off desiring lest someone have to burn for it.

There is plenty wrong in the world to be angry about as well. For starters there is the Tea Party that still exists. Sarah Palin won't go and hibernate in Alaska. Michelle Bachmann is yet to be consumed by a combine purchased with her farm subsidies. Our debt ceiling debacle is over but the economy is still running wild like while politicians throw childish hissy fits over absurdities. Unfortunately, most of nation is divided and throwing their own hissy fits too and pretending that politicians are the only ones. Not me though, I'm throwing my hissy fit right here and not pretending like I'm some saint.

People are cruel to animals and children in Somalia are dying of starvation. And I'm angry not because I feel helpless, but angry because I feel like a heartless soulless beast who can't get myself to do something. Its not that I don't care. I really do. Its like I feel that I have a huge burden on my back, that there is a massive karmic price I have to pay for being a human being, that there is some karmic punishment that I should be receiving for being a human being - and that the karmic system as just forgotten about it and not making me pay.

It is a messed up situation because I'm almost desiring for that burden of being whipped like a fight dog and starving to death like a Somalian child being transferred unto me, but desiring is wrong because we all might burn and die, and I cannot fast because that is one messed up faith and conviction to be doing anything on, and all these negative emotions spinning around me might break off into a massive tornado that hits UK which hopefully occurs at an opportune moment to cancel a match India is losing or does not take place if India is winning which brings me back to the free will of the Indians and English. Capeesh?

Or it could just all be PMS. Most likely its PMS. Only PMS could make sense of all this. Its the right time for PMS to hit.

Deep inside it all there is a very calm and still contentment. There maybe ripples on top, but the lake is deep and there is that water deep inside still pristine, untouched and unmoving. Like a storm swirling in malice, but deep inside there is the eye where it is quiet and peaceful. Ripples and stillness, storm and calm, all part of the same object. All you have to do is find the bottom of the lake, the eye of the storm and stay there. Our world is probably like that too, deep inside all the chaos, there probably is a happy place inside where you fast between happy meals.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Burgers, Fries, All things tasty and nice

That's what America should be of.

Here in Madison, we have a great local brew pub - The Great Dane. It is your quintessential Wisconsin brewery that produces a wide range of exquisite craft brews. Along with the seasonal ales, lagers, stouts and porters their menu boasts of some delicious good old fashioned pub food burgers, fries, chicken wings and all the jazz. This is Madison though, and in a true Madisonian twist their menu is quite eclectic and international serving unique and global foods. You can have an Asian influenced sesame seared tuna salad or have a classic Middle Eastern falafel. Perhaps your palette craves something out of the ordinary like an African styled peanut stew or perhaps something spicy to tingle your taste buds like a Jamaican jerk or Indian tandoori. At The Great Dane, you could take a culinary tour around the world and come back extremely satiated.


My favorite item on their menu is the Brat & Bacon Pretzel burger. This is one whopping burger. Big, juicy, messy, cardiac arrest on a bun, but oh so very tasty. First they take your traditional beef burger patty, then top it off with a quarter pound of bratwurst patty. If that is not enough they top your patties with strips of thick cut applewood smoked bacon. Of course you get your usual fixings of lettuce, pickles and tomato. Then they take fixings to a whole new level of goodness with caramelized onions and sharp cheddar adding that kick of zest. A masterpiece like this cannot be served on any ordinary wimpy burger bun. It requires something special to hold up to all that flavor. Soft fresh baked pretzel bun is the perfect bread to pull together this burger. The burger is then served with your choice of side and a Pilsner mustard. Screw cardiac arrests, this is heaven in a mouthful.

The reason I really love this burger is because it has taken the state of Wisconsin and compressed it all into one burger. This is no ordinary burger. Every bite is bursting with the culture of Wisconsin, the heritage of Wisconsin, and the history of Wisconsin. We are after all a blue collar state, a state of immigrants, meat packers, brewers and dairy farmers. Our shared culture gives us the love for beer, brats and cheese and of course the Green Bay Packers. What better way to represent all than than the Brat and Bacon Pretzel Burger.

That is the power of food. Food is not just about eating. It is a means to nourish the body as well as the soul. Spices and flavors don't just make food taste better, they tell stories about people, their culture, their history. Restaurants, diners, cafes, food trucks and the likes don't just serve meals, they serve a community. They bring people from diverse backgrounds and diverse beliefs together around the table to share a meal and the passion for food.

For the longest time food and foodies in America received a bad reputation. Only the lazy, unfit or obese would obsess with food and the world that revolves around food. With channels like Food Network and Cooking channel, food has finally received a makeover and is getting its fair due. There is a food revolution going on in America. Eating, our long neglected cultural ally is finally making it back mainstream and earning the reputation it deserves. Various food related shows now highlight the fresh produce and ingredients found in America and the wholesome as well as indulgent foods that are made from it. There are shows that pay ode to our small towns, urban scenes, immigrants, micro cultures and all the various things that meld together to form Americana.



A personal favorite of mine is Guy Fieri's Diner's Drive Ins & Dives. This show is not about the elite restaurants catering to the rich or sophisticated. This show is about the smaller guys, the home style cooks, the family owned little joints, the eclectic & eccentric highlights of quaint little towns across the American landscapes. This show is about food that wraps itself around your soul, comforts you, loves you and takes you to a happy place away from all the worries in the world. Of course part of it is with the layers of grease and fat hugging your organs while adding inches to your waist, belly, hips and butt - but there is good stuff too - and in this crazy crazy world we live in, we could all do with some grease and fat in our lives. Its cheap and tastier than recession, depression and unemployment.

Another favorite is Eat St. on The Cooking Channel. Street food and farmer's market are booming in the United States. People had limited incomes in developing countries of South America, Africa and Asia. So students and working professional relied on street foods, good delicious, cheap foods that reflected local products and cuisine. With food trucks bursting onto the scene Americans are quickly adapting to the street food scene. Why go for the same old junk fast food when inexpensive and tasty alternatives are available on your neighborhood food truck. I always find it amusing that back home in India people are quickly being enamored by supermarkets, fast foods, chain restaurants and abandoning years of mom and pop stores, street food and local produce while here in America we have received a wake up call and are abandoning our commercialism to retrace our roots our blue collar and immigrant heritage.


Cooking Channel recently had a pilot show called Eden Eats, where a gorgeous former culinary student Eden Grinsphan eats her way around the globe in one American city. In the pilot she tasted African, Mexican, Eastern European, Moroccan, Filipino, Lebanese and Cuban cuisine within twenty four hours at Austin,Texas. I dearly hope that they make more Eden Eats shows in different cities because this is another show that reflects the multiculturalism that gives each American city its flavor.

Call me crazy and weird, but the truth is sometimes when I watch shows like these -I often find myself holding back some tears welling up in my eyes. Its the nourishment for the soul, there is an emotional and cultural experience to food that most people don't get. It warms my heart to see a young teenager eagerly learning and preparing their grandmothers recipe that has been passed on through generations in their family. I can feel the passion when an immigrant family shares their journey and how they share their culture through food. I feel as part of a community when regulars visit a joint over and again and tell us how the place has been unchanged since their childhood days. I can feel the love and commitment when people buy joints or communities come together to save a local favorite from tanking or being shut down. I totally get it when doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, lawyers and all sorts of fancy job holding folks take a leap of faith quit their day jobs and follow their passion for food.

Food sometimes can often bring out the best in people and bridge gaps. For example I'm cynical of American Christians, especially evangelical Christians. I often feel that they are holier than thou and extremely judgmental. I get sick and tired of their endless ramblings about Jesus and being saved. Their prejudices against homosexuals, immigrants and other religions make me furious. So chances are that in most other settings I would have not warmed up to Christian chef Lance Nitahara. He is a chef at Camp of the Woods a Christian Conference center with ministries that subscribe to some very hard core fundamental Christian beliefs the kind that irks me.



However, because my introduction to Lance was in the land of food my perspective of him is completely different. I actually admire him, adore him and have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Cast aside the cocky ass hole chefs you see on shows like Hells Kitchen or Top Chef. They are not true chefs with a passion for food but commercial puppets. Lance Nitahara is a chef in the truest sense. It definitely is a combination of his Hawaiian heritage, love for food and Christian beliefs that make him a graceful man. He was graceful in defeat his first time around on the show Chopped and honorably acknowledged his competitor Madison Cowan who beat him in the final round. Then he was graceful in victory in the redemption episode where he considered his competitor Yoanne Magris whom he beat that she was equally the winner and chose to share his prize money with her so that she could visit her grandma. I'll admit, I definitely welled up when he did that.

Put a plate of delicious food on the table and the walls that divide just fade away. We enjoy the warmth and comfort of food, and sharing the joy of food, we have that in common and perhaps we can start there. I may have a lot against southerners, we may clash violently on our political and social beliefs, but we all will probably agree there is nothing like shrimp and grits or biscuits and gravy and perhaps we can start by sharing a hot southern breakfast. Up here in Wisconsin we may kick and scream over Scott Walker, government and politics, but we all will agree over our fine Wisconsin brews and cheeses and perhaps we can start at the pub with cold beer and a cheese plate. No matter what your views on immigrants or Jews or Muslims or Asians, we all could do with delicious tacos, matzo ball soups, spicy kebabs and melt in your mouth pot stickers, perhaps we all can start at our multicultural dinner tables.

All our lives we are taught to chase success. Our commercial culture is enamored with big corporations and bustling metropolis. We've forgotten our farmers, our small towns and our blue collar workers. Even our voted officials probably don't know we exist, but these diners, drive-ins, dives, food carts, farmers markets and kitchens all over America have not forgotten us. They have diligently been serving us for decades, feeding us, nourishing us. What would we be without the dear old lady whose happiness in life is rolling out pie dough and baking pies to feed us? What we be without the line cooks serving up pancakes, crispy bacon, skirt steaks, fries, greasy burgers 24/7, 365 days a year? What would we be without all those little  family owned places that brought a whole new world to our dinner plates? I don't adore celebrities, business tycoons, successful managers, politicians, managers or any of those people we ought to. I look up to that guy who peels potatoes all day, does that all his life and his content about it. I look up to the people who flip burgers all day and are happy because they feed people. I look up to those who sweat it out in kitchens whether its in a small home or a big restaurant and take delight in serving people. I look up to people to whom success and reward is full belly, thankful taste buds and a content smile.



If you think about it it is these food places that have held America together. Today these are the few places where the American dream is still alive. They represent our history of a hard days work and making it. They probably hold the secret, the glue to make us forget our differences and bring us all together. So the next time you are pissed of over the government, stressed out over the economy, upset over differences in social, economic, political or religious views - keep the guns, the swords and even the pens away and grab the kitchen tools. Bake dozens of cookies and share it with the neighborhood. Lets go back to the days where we have more pot lucks and share more dinners with neighbors. Ditch the superstores and super chains and go to your local farmer, local diners, and local joints. Throw away the differences and enjoy the feel of community at a local hang out. Get over your prejudices and immerse yourself in a new food culture and we might find surprising common ground.

There is a lot driving America apart, but if there is one thing our size XL roly poly nation with beer bellies, jiggling bits and chubby cheeks has in common is the love of food. We all have the love of burgers, fries, all things tasty and nice. Let that not be an embarrassment to us. Let us use our love common to bring us together. Corporate America, Government and everyone else has failed us. But we still love burgers, fries, all things tasty and nice. Let that be what America is made of.

Bon Apetit.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

An American Odyssey - Part Ten

Part One
Part Two
Part Three 
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine

This is the final and concluding chapter of our American Odyssey. Who knows when our next travels will be. The next most promising trip on my horizon is my business school trip to Brazil (Rio and Sao Paolo) in January 2012. Until then there maybe some odd one off weekend trips or day trips within the United States. Over a lifetime there are plenty of other trips to be planned. There is a goal to visit every continent, and several other cross country US road trip over scenic routes. Some of those would have to be without family whose of the beaten path record is abysmal and sense of adventure lacking. Not to mention the issue of multiple bladder control.

Last year, I managed a week of heathen fasting to commemorate Ramadan. This year I've been hoping to up the ante and do the entire month of fasting. At this time chances are looking bleak though. After all I'm a heathen. It is pretty hard to come up with the motivation to do it with full due diligence. Moreover, it has been a brutal summer. With temperatures reaching 100+ up here in the frigid North. I'm not sure if I'm cut out for fasting in the wet hot August summers. I'm too weak for that. There are days with family and work commitments too. We will see what pans out.

Until then I am going to enjoy being in Madison, WI. It truly is one of the best places to live in. The more I travel, the more I realize how lucky we are to be living in this wonderful city. Madison is not a huge metropolis like Chicago or New York. It is a modest sized Midwestern city. But in terms of arts, entertainment, food and culture it is no less than any world city. To boot it boasts of a liberal and welcoming culture where people from all walks of life can come and live together. Other places may boast of diversity, but it truly comes together naturally in Madison, WI.

Madison combines metropolitan lifestyle with country living as well. You don't have to drive a few miles out of Madison to be in the American heartland, the landscape of dairy farms and cultivation fields. Here in Wisconsin everyone takes their blue collar, working class, farm worker, son of the soul roots and culture seriously. We appreciate the land of Wisconsin, the people of Wisconsin and the product of Wisconsin and we live and work to give back to Wisconsin. I've not seen any other "city" boast such active involvement and support in local farming, dairy and products.

I'm a born and bred Indian from Bombay, but my American Odyssey, as well as the journey of my adult life begins and ends in Madison (or at least so far)