Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tribute to Trayvon Martin

There have been numerous killings of black suspects over the years, I have had black friends tell me how they are stopped routinely by traffic cops by no apparent reason other than their skin color. But Trayvon Martin's killing hit a nerve. A promising young student who had a whole life ahead of him was killed by a vigilante cop Zimmerman, possibly motivated by racial profiling. For the first time, the president spoke out - a brilliant speech only Obama could deliver. In his speech, he laid out the dilemma of a nation who still have ways to go before becoming a more perfect union.

After passing the dark era of slavery and painful era of segregation, we have reached the era of racial profiling now. This too will pass but not without a conscious effort from people of all races. Regardless of the statistics about blacks being guilty of more crimes than any other race, it is for all of us to say, racial profiling is unjust. The dream Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned - a person should be judged by the content of their character not by the color of the skin - holds true now as well as it did back in 60s.

Every now and then one singular event changes the course of a nation. When Rosa Parks refused to get off the seat reserved for whites in Montgomery, she set off dramatic protests that took the nation by storm. When Gandhi was thrown out of a train because of his skin color from a train in south Africa in the middle of a rainy night, the world changed forever. I hope this too changes the great country of ours, no more innocents should die because of the presumed guilt and we shall, in time, recognize that as the perfect tribute to the memory of Trayvon Martin.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

In other rooms, other wonders

Daniyal Moinudeen's In other rooms, Other wonders does not tell the story of one or two individuals, it tells the story of an entire class of people, destined to serve and to be forgotten. They are the people that run elaborate kitchens in the mansions of rich folks, the drivers who drive rich men's wives around in glitzy cars, the watchmen, gardeners and plethora of people whose only job is to keep the apparatus of the rich working. For some it is lifetime of service, for others, it is a stepping stone toward getting something better.

His narratives require improvement, his stories at times lose the structural fundamentals of stories, such as in one story, the focus shifts from one character to another, laboriously. His climax, at times, leaves you with more questions than answers, yet, at other times, his narratives resemble the great story tellers of Russian literature, Chekhov and Pushkin. Yet another problem is the limited domain he deals with, which he may overcome in his future works, but all in all, this book is enjoyable. I would certainly check out his next book.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Our actions as feeble as
the flaps of a butterfly,
our dreams as ephemeral as
its wings that don't reach very far.

Yet we dare to act,
dare to dream,
a life with no such futile attempts
isn't a life worth living.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


Obama's statement about Israel should come as no surprise. It has always been this way with American presidents - the moment they had 'crossed' the lines of being slightly critical of Israel, they have to find a way to make up. When Obama says the U.S - Israel relationship is unbreakable, it virtually gives uncontrolled powers to Netanyahu's right wing government. In the past two years of Obama's presidency, Israel has rejected every request of the United States. The relentless building of settlements has continued and Israeli aggression even killed peace activists on the flotilla. No one is asking to withdraw support for Israel, but left to Israel alone, their actions are only inciting further hatred against them. The people who have been persecuted for centuries have become the persecutors themselves.

Why do I feel that Obama is not genuine in this aspect? I feel deep in his heart, he is critical of Israel's actions. I am not oblivious of the political realities of Israel influenced Obama advisers and supporters of democratic party. But, a true leader would have the courage and conviction to pursue the path of justice and fairness without alienating the support base. But, that is hard work and a gamble. Obama like every other politician chose the easy way out.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Letter from Peking

Letter from Peking tells the story of longing and the endless paths of love. Separated by political conflicts and geographies, this novel written in the format of a memoir reminds us of the perilous journeys undertaken by families and individuals in a world stricken by violence and instability.

This novel could have been a monotonous lamenting on lost love, but in the hands of Pearl S Buck, this becomes a curious insight into the conflicted identities carried by many of us who have been uprooted from their native soil - also a reminder that relationships are not defined by logic and rationality, but by the ways of the heart!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Good old Bangalore

It was two years ago that I visited Bangalore before this trip - as one would imagine, I expected a city that I would not recognize given the pace of things in India. However to my surprise, Bangalore has not changed much, the traffic has gotten worse, new malls and shopping places have cropped up, may be the number of beggars on the road is less - but nothing dramatic. When I told someone that I lived here 12 years ago, he commented that 12 years ago, this place was Mangalore. That is funny, but what is unique to the development in Bangalore has been that newer and 'better' places have come up, but the old haunts, restaurants and shops haven't totally disappeared. The market for Indian goods and services has a big range - that is what I love about this place and I find unchanged. I could spend 5o Rupees for a coffee at Coffee day while I could get the authentic south indian coffee at Shanti Sagar for 8 Rupees, I could get a sumptuous Mughalai buffet for 600 Rs and I can also get a quality meal for 70 Rupees at a local restaurant. Even comparing to the city of 12 years ago, as I walk around with a nostalgic vibe, it still is amazing to me that with all the glitter and glamor, a lot of the old places haven't changed at all. With all its problems of endless construction, traffic chaos and bloated real estate prices, it is good to see that a relatively few rich folks haven't changed the dynamics of the entire city.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year, 2010

Here we are opening up another decade in the endless passage of time. The world around has changed dramatically in the last ten years - the world has become a more troublesome place in the last 10 years. The new century has brought a new type of warfare in its extreme form - from 9/11 to Iraq war, from the dot com bust to the latest recession, the stability of lives have become more unpredictable than ever. But the desire of the vast majority of human beings to stay in peace will prevail, however perilous it looks now.

In the new year, let's pick hope over hopelessness. Peace to you All!