Wednesday, December 31, 2008

'Hope and other dangerous pursuits'

I like Leila Lelami's blogs. Her book reviews, political commentary and information on the North African literary scene are entrancing. So it is with high expectations that I picked up 'Hope and other dangerous pursuits' by Leila Lelami.

This novel details a group of Moroccans who follow a perilous journey to cross the 14km that separate Europe and Africa to reach Spain. Ability to get intimate with the characters and thus to channel the way for the reader to understand the complex and intricate morass of their personalities, which is what, essentially, the opportunity a writer has. Leila Lelami's novel, I think, while heart wrenching at times failed to evolve the characters to reveal their complexities. For example, what was Faten's character - An Islamic devout and a fundamentalist who turned to prostitution in Spain? While this is completely plausible, I would have liked to understand better how she reached from one abyss to the other. What would have been more powerful might have been if Leila had chosen to describe the moments of transition, the contradictions and confusions that might have besieged her in that moment. The character that struck me most was Aziz - may be since I have known people who have been in that state before. Being from Kerala, the exodus of newly married men to the gulf countries is a constant phenomena. In many cases, there is no expectation that their wives are taken along, unless the men are educated and they have high paying jobs. The wives retreat to their homes to take care of their children, do the necessary family duties, often only stepping out to go to the bank to cash the checks that arrive on time. Some 'demanding' wives are given the promises of being joined with their husbands, often knowing very well that it would only end as a pipe dream.

The story of migration is as old as the humans itself. In the ancient times, it was a handful of people who risked their lives to leave their familiar surroundings of the Rift Valley and set out north - the first of the migrations of the human kind. In a world without motor vehicles and planes, their descendants over several generations spread around the world. We stand where we are today because somewhere along the lane, someone traveled a different road, someone risked their lives so that their next generation would survive. It is with this perspective I see the migrations across the world - Bangladesh to India, Morocco to Spain, Mexico to United States, people do extra ordinary things to leave the only place they have known for all their lives to seek a better future. I am no fool to think that we need open borders, but I do think that the best bet to prevent illegal migration is to help alleviate the terrible living conditions prevailing in those countries.

All in all, this book is an interesting read, especially if you are unfamiliar about the issue of illegal migration.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Not so silent majority

In the wake of any terrorist attack by the Muslim named criminals, the usual question always is - what are Muslims doing about it? If it is only a tiny fraction of Muslims who condone the extreme violence committed by organizations like Al-Qaeda, what is the rest of the people doing? When Islam's symbols are offended, we have seen the mayhem that had engulfed the Islamic world. Why isn't there a same outrage against terrorism? These are the questions raised by media pundits all the time - in particular, Gene Burns from KGO was discussing this in great detail last week. Any number of callers with Muslim names who called in didn't help him understand the diverse world of Islam. People in the west tend to see Islam as a monolithic block whose members believe and act in the exact same way all across the world. The belief also extends to the idea that most Muslims are sympathetic to the cause carried by the terrorists, if not the acts themselves. There is also a concept that Muslims as individuals are responsible for the acts of people who have Muslim names and they somehow should be able to stay alert and repudiate every act committed by the elements in Muslim societies.

That is a lot of stuff. At one level, I wouldn't burden any responsibility on the individual Muslims who believe in Islam or have Muslim names to repudiate anything that is going on the world. They have no more responsibility than a member of another community in condemning a particular act of violence. That said, we know the workings of the world, the society (thanks to the innate nature of brain), whether you like it or not, work based on experience. The patterns are formed from experience and patterns and stereotypes are powerful things. While we have to continue to work against false stereotyping, it is also important to change the experience itself to change the pattern. Repudiation of violence by the Muslim population is part of changing the experience.

One could also take the view - what if I don't care about the perception that Muslims are terrorist sympathizers? It isn't me who committed those acts and there is nothing I need to be sorry about. While this is logically accurate, your inaction could lead to violence against you or other people of your faith. This backlash, while there is no justification for it, is still something that can be avoided by voicing the contempt you are holding in your mind. But as a matter of fact, we have seen an incredible amount of repudiation from the Islamic world on the violence in Mumbai. Muslims across the world From Cairo to Malaysia, Pakistan and India, expressed the utter condemnation on the violence in Mumbai.

Looks like, Gene Burns does not read anything beyond what the American media regurgitates. It is in that light, I am heartened by the report on Washington Post. Here it is Gene, it gives you an idea of how Muslims reacted in India and here is it from NYTimes too. It is nothing new, but the very fact that it is reported in a major U.S newspapers would be an eye-opener for people like Gene Burns.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Way forward

As the heroic and not so heroic stories die down after the Mumbai attack, what exactly is India's plan? Are the resignations of the home minister and the chief minister the only thing we are going to see in the aftermath? The murkiness seems to be the defining character of India's investigation into each of these terrorists tragedies. This attack needs to bring about the changes that are needed in overhauling the security infrastructure. 9 hours for the commandos to reach the location is just outrageous. A city like Mumbai should have its own command center and highly trained officers in handling terrorist situations. Having been a witness to a police operation in the U.S, it is just saddening to see the elite commandos are not even as prepared logistically or training wise as the local county police officers in the U.S. I read an article saying that the 100000+ police officers in Mumbai has just 500+ guns, I don't know whether it is true, but it can't be very far from the truth. At the end of the day, a swift action where the militants cannot continue a rampage like they did in Mumbai is what should be the first line of defense - because there is very little a democratic and crowded country like India do to prevent attacks like this, but an attack should be dealt with by an efficient and well-trained police force.

Does any other option truly exist for India? All indications point to the elements within Pakistan, but how complicit is the Pakistani government in this attack? Are we dealing with the same elements that eliminated Benazir days after she returned to Pakistan? Or did Pakistani government do this in an effort to curb the civil war and unite the country against a common enemey? We will probably never know - but a few people are suggesting a joint operation with U.S in the territories of Pakistan? That has disaster written all over it. Whether you like it or not, we are left with no options. We can't afford the luxury of American forces where they are not territorially close to the lands they are fighting. I wouldn't support anything other than precise (this is the key word, if it can't be precise, don't do it) operations within Pakistan by Pakistani forces with the logistical support from India. America is wrong example for dealing with terrorism, India can do better. Work the magics of diplomacy to convince Pakistan to handover the murderers - violence is nothing new to India; the infancy of Indian independence was mired in violence, the violence had reached epic proportions during the separatist movements of Assam, Panjab and Kashmir. At the end of the day, a new chapter has to be created in dealing with terror, that is not the American way, it must be something that takes our shared history with Pakistan and our territorial constraints into consideration.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terror strikes again!!!

A long time ago, I stayed in Mumbai for a couple of months; almost every day, I'd take the train and go to a different part of the city. From the riches of Colaba and Malabar Hills to the slums of Dharawi, the city I witnessed was a microcosm of humanity itself. In the labyrinthine streets of Mumbai, what came amazingly clear to me is the resilience of this city of 25 million people, their struggle and the unending spirit of survival.

Tonight my heart goes out to Mumbai, the callousness of these killers have brought this great city to its knees. What grievance would justify this horror? What ideology would condone taking innocent lives like this? Would this also add to the endless saga of terror in India, or would we ever see who is responsible, will they ever be brought to justice? Glued to the bits and pieces of information that is streaming out of the media, what can one do other than to hope that this crisis doesn't last for long and no more lives are lost.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Horror in the office building

Today, around 4PM, the swat team officers with guns drawn surrounded our office building, police helicopters hovered over, later we heard on the radio that a laid off employee in the next office came back and killed three fellow employees. We don't know what drove this deranged mind to committing this over a job, but what we know for sure is that three people didn't make it home after work, and their loved ones will remember this day with horror. Among the dead is the CEO of the company and the V.P of business operations. This news hit the nerves especially since the downturn in the economy has just started to make an impact in the valley. This, coupled with the announcement from Sun Microsystems that they are going to lay off 6000 people, is ominous of the bad times awaiting the valley.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What a moment...

400 years after the first black slave was brought to the shores of America, 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 50 years after black people could vote, here we are, at the doorsteps of a new era in the history of America, where an African American man has become the president of the United States of America. Seeing the hundreds of thousands that have poured into the streets of Chicago, white and black, people of all colors, this is an American moment and the spirit of this nation that continues to transform itself unfolds right here. This moment, we are living the dreams of a generation of Americans who paid dearly for a cause that took America from an apartheid society into a bastion of human rights. There are still wars to be fought, discriminations to be abolished, prejudices to be wiped out, but tonight, we enter a new era in America, a step in the right direction and a tribute to numerous Americans who gave their lives so that we could live this moment.

Obama rocks!!!

Obama Rocks!!!

Get out and vote!

Vote For Change! Vote for Obama!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Get Out and Vote!!!

Yes to Compassion, Yes on Prop 2

No to Hate, No on Prop 8

And Yes to Barack Obama!!!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Election Anxiety

We are on the home stretch of the long presidential campaign and in just 3 days, it will all be over. I am feeling nervous about this election, all indications point to a clear victory for Obama, but remember the times when you were in school. You have prepared well for the exam and just the night before you have nightmares about something going horribly wrong; whether it is Bradley effect or voter fraud in this case. The outcome of another stolen election is just unimaginable. We just have to wait and see. Glad to know that I am not alone.

"The McCain-Palin Campaign's vicious smearing of Obama is literally making people sick. My blood pressure has been higher than normal. It rises precipitously every time I read the blogs or watch the news. I saw my physician last week and she said that many of her black women patients were experiencing higher than normal blood pressures. She recommended that we double the dose of our hypertension meds until Obama wins."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Act of redemption

From Collin Powell's days as the secretary of state, there are two images that are stuck in my head. One that of the obedient soldier who made the case for war, stood at the united nations and argued tirelessly for a war that 'needed' to be fought. The other image of his, behind the scenes, fuming with anger at the made up 'facts' for an invasion of Iraq, was portrayed in several books. Still, the loyal general went along, knowing probably that he could very well have prevented a war. All along when I read about him, I didn't feel pity for him - what good is it to have principles for which you wouldn't stand up?

Today he made a very convincing case for Obama and I particularly liked the term he used to describe Obama's character - intellectual vigor. That is exactly what I felt after reading Obama's 'Audacity of hope'. Collin Powell explained the nasty nature of McCain's campaign. He, for the first time, as a prominent politician explained how hurtful it is to use the word 'muslim' as a smear. He asked the dreadful question: Obama isn't a muslim, but what if he was. It was an act of redemption.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Violence and secularism

The secular values and culture of India are threatened by the saffron gang. The violence that has been unleashed by these goons specifically against Christians are largely gone unnoticed.
They were ordered to get on their knees and bow before the portrait of a Hindu preacher. They were told to turn over their Bibles, hymnals and the two brightly colored calendar images of Christ that hung on their wall. Then, Mr. Digal, 45, a Christian since childhood, was forced to watch his Hindu neighbors set the items on fire.
A couple of weeks ago when I was in kerala, there was a church that was vandalized by the same forces. As the elections approach, the same communal forces reappear feeding to the insecurity of the millions. Brutal killings (remember the australian missionaries killed with two young children a couple of years ago), raping of nuns and vandalizing of churches continue with no real consequences to those who commit those crimes. Meanwhile, Narendra Modi celebrates his own commission's findings that he was not guilty in the pogrom against muslims in Gujrat. All in all, the news from our sub-continent is pretty abysmal.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Changing Times...

At a town-hall event Friday in Minnesota, McCain took the microphone from a woman who had called Obama an Arab. McCain said, "No, ma'am," and he called Obama "a decent, family man."
Obama is not an arab, he is a family man! that's nice!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Obama-Biden ticket

From what little i know, i am thrilled about Obama-Biden ticket. A good track record of liberal voting, great insight into foreign relations and policies especially with respect to south asia and a generally likeable speaker. Sure, he may have mis-managed his own campaign; but his long career and records strengthen Obama's message. Oh boy, i can't wait to November!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Of all the years of my life, the two years without you have been the toughest. I don't need a Father's day to remember you, the days and nights on end, i am reminded of the sacrifices, love and care - you weren't just another father, you were so special, so perfect.

When I look into the eyes of my 3 year old son, I hope I can, some day, be at least of a fraction of what you have been to us - Miss you so much!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I like fictions that provide interesting tidbits about the intricacies of human existence. That is the reason I started reading 'Metamorphosis' by Kafka. Kafka stands tall in the 20th century scene of western literature. But, the profoundness and the genius I expected from this book fell terribly short, but what he has been able to accomplish in this book is to capture the anxiety of modern life, and the terrible contradictions that follow us in every path of our lives. I would be reading more of his works as I am not yet ready to write him off. After all, Kafka-esque is a term that I had begun to like even before reading any of his works :)

Friday, June 13, 2008


I picked up Leo Tolstoi's Sebastopol for two reasons - firstly it is a small book by a literary giant, whose books are generally 1000+ pages in size. Secondly, it seemed like a portrayal of war and I was curious what Tolstoi saw in war 150 years ago. And I wasn't wrong. It is a moving portrayal of soldiers, their fears, bravery and the uncanny sense of patriotism.

Much before internet, radio and 24 hour television channels, the story of Sabastopol tells the stories that we haven't heard from Iraq yet. True, it is an art of fiction. Still, the complex analysis of what constitutes a soldier, who stand in the rain of fire and what awaits him in his nightmarish sleep, is masterfully done in this book. The love, hatred and above all the sadness and cruelty of war is evident in this short book. As the book ends when the russian soldiers leave Sebastopol looking back at the city that took their fellow soldiers, I can't help thinking about Iraq - what emotions would besiege those soldiers when they finally leave Iraq?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Obama for 2008

Today, I am delighted. Senator Obama has claimed victory in this historic race. Hillary continues to be defiant - no surprise there. Now, the real work for Obama starts. It is easy to discredit the legacy of Bush, but no republican presidential candidate has ever associated himself with Bush's failed policies. They may all belong to the same party, but with Bush's current rating, the word is that the republican party members are not answering Bush's phone calls. The point is, there is much at stake here, another 8 years of republican party would be the beginning of the end of prosperity in this country. The smear machine of the republican party has started to get the ball rolling to discredit Obama and highlight his lack of experience. So, if it means that bringing Clintons would provide the guaranteed return of democratic power to the white house, I would support Clinton's vice presidency, by all means. 

One hundred years of solitude

'100 years of solitude' is a masterpiece. No other book that I have read has captured my imagination like Marquez's genius work did. As the story of the Buendia family unfolds, the generations after generations are destined to bear the burden of incredible loneliness, the inevitable reality of human existence. While I was reading, I was thinking to myself - how does one write a novel like this? What complex emotions has he battled himself while he wrote it? Marquez's genius is abundantly clear in this work of art. The eloquent, brick face way of story telling combined with magical realism, the book is a delight to read.

This book is not without its flaws, like the repeated names of the Buendia family that puts unnecessary strain on the readers. He also loses the bearing of the story a bit toward the middle, but he gains it a short while later. But they are all minor compared to its larger impact overall. This is one of those books I might read again and again, because one reading alone doesn't do justice to its characters, their depth and complexity. This, in a remarkably artistic way, depicts the inevitable miseries of humanity, the complex yet meaningless quest of our desires and the tormented spirits that carry the burden of solitude.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A controversy over nothing

Let me be frank, I don't like Hillary Clinton. Still, I would vote for her, firstly, if I could vote, secondly, if she is the democratic nominee. I am all for Obama. But the recent controversy about her refering the RFK assassination is nothing other than a drama of the silly season in politics. Referring to those tragic days can evoke pain and discomfort, but I don't think she is mean enough to suggest about the safety of Senator Obama. I truly believe she only meant that other presidential candidates have been campaigning even in June for nomination. Lately, Hillary Clinton hasn't had good luck either with votes or with loose words; so, this too will be analyzed to death and add to the saga of her disgraceful exit from this race.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A trip worth nothing

Much has been talked about Mr. Bush and his inadequate leadership, writing anything about it would be stating the obvious. However he recent middle east trip would be marked by history as one of the least effective foreign trips an American president has ever made. His efforts to persuade the Saudi King to increase the oil production did not yield any results, his talks about Israel-Palestine peace and working with Iraq's neighbors to bring resolution to the ill-advised Iraq war haven't gone anywhere meaningful. The lip service about bringing freedom to the middle east will not fly anymore after the Iraq debacle, where Iraq, which was relatively secular and free, is ruined, while U.S does protect the super-conservative Saudi Arabia.

This is a testimony to the failed policies of this administration, the loss of credibility and the incredible work that is awaiting Obama when he takes office in next January.

Friday, May 16, 2008


In the next few weeks, I will be attending two important events in my line of work - Apple developer conference and Google developer event. Both are exciting in its own ways.

I have had hands of variety of smartphones during my stint at mobile software companies and needless to say, for a 1.0 product, Apple has done better than anyone else. Having had one for a while, jail broken and hacked to do some cool tricks, what surprised me most was the remarkable stability of the platform, thanks to the unix underpinnings of the iPhone OS. Google, on the other hand could turn out to be the first heavily subsidised smartphone, a phone built solely around Internet content. I will have more to write after the events, but for now, I am simply excited.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner is an incredibly powerful movie and a moving portrayal of war, friendship and sacrifice.
The movie based on Khalid Hosseini's best seller book is not short of its own problems, but at the core of it, it accomplishes one thing; taking the viewers through a magnificent tour of an unknown land, the lives turned upside down by meaningless wars, and the spirit of humanity that shines through it all. Yet this complex exploration bewilders you, the man who was ready to give up his life to defend an unknown woman lives the biggest lie in his life; such is the nature of the characters in this movie, the betrayal and guilt go hand in hand, the pride and selflessness intersect, and the heartless war and militancy provide a disturbing but powerful backdrop to this saga.

When you see the daily report of war, one can't help wonder, how many more lives are being changed forever, the unknown faces and unknown families, some live to tell the story, but most perish and are forgotten forever.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A much needed victory

I am ecstatic. With all the mud-slinging, contraversies after contraversies, Obama emerges as the winner tonight - as i write this, Indiana is too close to call, but N. Carolina has given a strong boost to Obama's delegate lead. The time has come for Clinton to tone down the attacks and start thinking about the interests of the country and the Democratic party. This also speaks volumes about the way Obama has run his campaign - the record turn out of voters and the excitement around this election is nothing other than the creation of Obama. In the last few weeks and months, when the pictures of him wearing a turben circulated, when Jeremia Wright's provocatory sermons surfaced, and other zillion times, my heart felt that the voters would fall for these gimmicks of political charade. We are yet to see what is going to happen in November, But, to my pleasant surprise, today's victory is promising...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Plain Audacity

Now, after the Pennsylvania primaries, Hillary says she is ready to be the 'commander in chief' - it is all good except that there is one problem - somebody forgot to tell her that she is not the leading candidate. She said indirectly a while ago that she would consider Obama as the vice presidential candidate. How about some humility when you know that your opponent has a handsome lead over you? Truly, this election has brought about the worst in the Clinton family.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The sum of five years

Iraqi civilians killed - 100000 to 1000000
American soldiers killed - 3992
American soldiers wounded - 29390
Iraqis displaced - 5 million
Cost - $500 Billion
WMDs found - 0

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Woot? We are not done yet?

Just when we were getting ready to roll the sleeves up and direct the campaign against McCain, Senator Clinton is back in the game. We are not done with the primaries yet and knowing Clinton she is going to use her newfound opportunity wickedly well.

And who knew a skit from SNL would have such profound impact on a national election?

Thursday, February 28, 2008


The controversy around the very 'presidential' picture of Obama wearing a turban brings out the rampant Islamophobia in this country. Even right after 9/11, the sensible people did disassociate the faith of islam from Al-Qaeda. Bush himself spoke at one point that Al-Qaeda is the distortion of a peaceful religion. In the 6 years followed 9/11 quite a few things have changed. The violence unleashed by the insurgents in response to the American occupation in Iraq has become highly vicious and the line that once was considered solid - the demarcation where the faith ends and extremism begins - is slowing fading in the minds of people. Even the people who are apparently liberal and firm believers of secularism are suffering from the same problem. While all the presidential candidates are trying to prove how christian they are, they are also finding ways to distance themselves from any aspects of Islam. Couple of days ago, NYTimes reported that Obama had spoken about the suffering of Palestinians somewhere and he was trying to backtrack on that. 1.7% of the jewish voters, albeit small in number, represents a large democratic base, while ~1% of muslims have no voice. I am not particularly critical of Obama for distancing himself from Islam, as doing otherwise would definitely put an end to his candidacy. But the state of the affairs is simply appalling.

By the way, the Naomi Klein has an excellent article on this subject and it reflects my thoughts exactly.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The last of the debates

The American politics has always been very civil - no shooting down of opponents and throwing chairs like you see in the other countries. Even the close elections like 2000, candidates concede to preserve the unity - some times civility is too boring. This election has brought out solid entertainment for the apathetic as well as politically savvy folks - this is as good as it gets. Is it a surprise that Oscars had far fewer viewership this year? I think there is only a finite TV time for the hardworking American and if you got to choose, I can see why Oscars would be the last in the priority list.

At times, failure brings about the worst in people - the recent tactics employed by Hillary are clearly desperate measures to salvage a troubled candidacy. But do you want to really go down as a sour loser? Tonight's debate clearly positioned Obama as the presidential candidate - he deflected every attack directed against him with grace. Yes, he is already presidential. I can't wait to see him crushing McCain.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

One small step...

The people of Pakistan has overwhelmingly voted against the rule of Musharraf. I know this is a sympathy wave in the wake of Bhutto's killing and we are yet to see what the feeble coalition of the warring factions is all about. Nawas Sherrif and Zardari are known to be corrupt, a trait commonly associated with the politicians of south asia. Yet, I find this refreshing, now atleast, there is a chance that the democratic institutions that Musharraf continuously undermined could be rebuilt, may be another generation of politicians would rise up - ok, never mind. I may have been brain washed by the message of hope, you know :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

An intelligent analysis of Obama vs Hillary

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

The aimless lovers held hands together and walked under the starry night. The lonely folks moaned their past love; And some drank lamenting how wrong Rumi was to write " lovers don't meet somewhere, they are in each other all along". When the day ended, the torn gift wraps lay around, they all sang in unison to the legends of pop - "Love isn't easy ...".

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

For the stolen generations

In a historic event, Australian government apologized publicly for the treatment of Aborigines of "the stolen generations".
We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians," Rudd said in Parliament, reading from the motion.
It is only symbolic, but nevertheless an important step toward reconciling the race relations. American presidents have never been able to apologize for slavery in the united states - 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, this still hangs over our collective conscience.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fear of the unknown

I have been watching the controversy around the head scarves in Turkey with curiosity. I have thought long and hard about it - Erdogan's party would like to introduce more religion into politics, so my support for lifting the hijab ban has nothing to do with his party's goals. However, I do believe in liberal democracies and freedom of expression. I also believe that in a free society, people are free to wear whatever they want within reasonable limits. In that sense, I support lifting the ban on head scarves.

I, somewhat, understand the position of the liberals and the secular elite in Turkey; they do not want to turn the clock back on a century of secularism, a tradition that was firmly put in place by Kemal Ataturk. But I think their fears are misplaced, on the contrary, I feel the resentments that could be fed by a perceived religious oppression might generate further extremism than a few educated people wearing hijabs in the campuses.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Obama Phenomenon

Obama wins Maine too. Woohoo...

The waves of change are sweeping across America - the shakeup in the Clinton camp confirms that Hillary's worst fears are coming true.

Obama forges ahead!

The primaries in the three states are the clear indication that Obama's campaign is only gaining strength. Oh. California, if only you had faith in the message of hope, if only you had shown a little bit more courage, Obama would have been on the way to winning the nomination.

On a side note, I was disturbed by the news article in the first page of NY Times, that talked about Obama's drug use during his teen years. There was absolutely no new information, but a caption that will turn heads, right on the day of the crucial primaries. We know that you have endorsed Hillary, but, please, let's reserve this blatant mud-slinging for another time.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The case for Obama

Often times friends and colleagues ask me - why do I want Obama to win so badly. I think to myself, how can I not want Obama to win? For me, the choice is clear.

1. Clinton is far more guarded than Obama - She comes across as a tactical politican who have learned how to survive in politics. On the contrary, Obama is more comfortable taking seemingly unpopular positions.

2. Clinton's experience comes from the republican dominated era of past 20 years or so. The times, when democrats were not comfortable challenging the republican majority - every word was run under the popularity lense before ever spoken out - the legacy of popular positions over-riding the inner convictions. Obama belongs to the more liberal wing of democratic politics - it is not an accident that he was endorsed by Ted Kennedy.

3. Obama stands on his own feet while Hillary's power and experience come from being in the shadow of Bill Clinton.

At the end, I am only hoping that the bitter struggle for presidency does not split the party and the opportunity of a landslide win in 2008.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Obama or Hillary

As I write this, Hillary is leading the super tuesday primary. I am still hoping the race isn't settled and Obama will emerge as the winner. I, truly, for once, believed that the victory belonged to Obama. Looking at these two candidates, it was clear for me, what kind of a leader America deserved - but I have been completely wrong in assuming that the other people would think the same way. For me, the two candidates presented a stark contrast and I thought Obama's life and presidency would serve as an inspiration for the generations to come. The message of hope, the possibility of a new era, an african american president in the white house - all that resonated with me a great deal, it felt like we were turning a new page in history. But, with the final results yet to come, I am truly disappointed. My fingers are still crossed...

This is what CNN reports as of now -

Pledged: 496
Superdelegates: 193
Total: 689
Pledged: 476
Superdelegates: 106
Total: 582

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The news from Kenya is heart-breaking. The tribal instincts concealed forcibly behind the thick curtain of democracy - that has been the state of many third world countries. They vote, they exercise their electoral rights, but deep in their heart, several centuries of tribal lineage define their true loyalty. May be, the survival instinct is to blame for the intense hatred toward the rival tribes. Once in a while, a politician opens these old wounds, and the brutality becomes unstoppable. We have seen this over and over again in third world countries.

During my travel in Kenya in 2001, I hated Nairobi. A city with no character, poverty given rise to high rate of crimes, a facade of modernity displayed by skyscrapers, shopping malls. Yet, in the rural Kenya, I witnessed a more humble country, poor but proud people moving on with their lives, Naiwasha, Nakuru, Samburu, in between the runs between the national parks, I must have passed through the same streets where people are rioting now.
Kennedy family's endorsement for Obama is huge, despite the tenacity with which Hillary had tried to persuade the Kennedy family to endorse her or atleast stay neutral. But, the
hope and inspiration that Obama alludes greately in his speaches is finally beginning to make a difference - It is not the naivette of a junior senator, but the view of a visionary that is turning heads at this point. It is exactly that hope, or what he calls the 'audacity of hope' that attracts me to his candidacy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The South Carolina primary takes the game back to Obama. His whopping lead over Hillary signals the momentum he has been accumulating over the last few weeks. This is exciting times --

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The collective punishment toward the Palestinians has always been the game of Israelis - bulldozing the houses of civilians, bombing of the refugee camps, and lockdown of cities. Now, Gaza has gone dark after Israel cut off the fuel supply to this prison-city. Well, there is much to say about the tactics of Hamas as well, but at the end of the day, Israel has no right to punish an entire population by these brutal methods.

The candlelight vigils against this injustice will never get the same attention as the suicide bombs, so these peace minded folks will forever be marginalized and ignored.

Friday, January 04, 2008

O b a m a R O C K S !!!

This is exciting....