Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Matter of Time

Today, I read an article in BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6402859.stm) about job cuts in airbus. Suddenly, I started to wonder about India. It is just a matter of time, when something similar happens in India. How would the foreign companies such as Ford, Toyota, and Honda etc react when economical prosperity of India slows down? How would our country's Left and Congress react if companies start down sizing? I remember how Standard Motors was killed in Madras. That was a blood bath. Time will tell.....

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

“To be or not to be”

My life has gone full circle. I never wondered that, one day I would sit in an alien country and contemplate whether I should return to India or not. Suddenly India seems to be the destination. Last week, one of my friends sent me a link to a blogger, he was bashing about all the people who are associated with a NRI. He wrote about how the NRI always complain, and how life was like hell in an alien country, how drinking tea next to a soiled street is the best thing etc. For me he is either a guy who never got is Green Card and things in US didn’t work out the way he expected or even worse, he might be a misguided “congressman” who is lost in Gandhian principles.

Self sacrifice is a misunderstood empathy. For example, I have never been to Mumbai, but I have an aversion for the city. I understand that I shouldn’t judge something or someone, if I have never experience it or them. Likewise, people talk about self sacrifice, without even experiencing the other side. Our people for the most part, want to sacrifice things in life if it didn’t work out or if they never had the opportunity to experience it. For me the blogger is someone similar, he didn’t want anything to do with the west, either because things didn’t work out for him, or by following the Gandhian principle wants to sacrifice the benefits of west with out even experiencing it.

I am not in anyway meaning that “Going back to India is a sacrifice”. People go back to India for difference reason, I for one, think that there are greater benefits for my career and there is an enormous cost benefit too. It is not a sacrifice. I am actually in position to decide what is best for me and what is not, in other words I have seen both the worlds.

Now you might wonder so what is the issue. I have 2 beautiful kids, these days they have become my world. The issue is that I could not judge the effect of me migrating back to India will have on them. I am not similar to the blogger, in the sense I don’t let my love for India affect my action. “I put my need first” there I said it. I remember back in the days, we used to split a “5 Star” chocolate between our family and keep the remaining half for tomorrow. It does not mean that I was unhappy during that stage, I was one of the happiest people on earth, but now going back to what I said earlier, I never know that there was world where you can get bag full of Hershey’s candy and let it rot.

My friend and I used to argue about this topic all the time. His argument will always be, you do what you want and kids will get adjusted as you move on in life. In other words, by living a happy and content life, if I could only send my kids for a public school then by all means that’s what I will do. My question then becomes, is that the best you can do for your kid? Being content by all means is life you choose. I respect that decision. Now when you say that, by me being content, I am going dictate how my kid are going to live, that’s something, I cannot agree.
How you live, how you eat, how you dress, all have “YOU” in it. By the time when the “YOU” become “WE”, a person starts to lose control over his self. I am not Mahatma; I do not and cannot give a better life for million people. My world is my family, as of now, that circle stops there. I do try hard to give a better life for my kids. If it means that I cannot live a content life, then by all means I want to be a greedy man.

That’s my predicament. Can I give a better life style for my kids in India? What do I need to get that life style? Will India judge me as a selfish NRI?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Marriage Video

9 Years of marriage, never watched my marriage video. Yesterday, that ended. I was quite surprised by the video. Probably, I was the only one who did not belong in there. At 24, I had no clue. I was showing off, I was trying not to talk to my wife (I was told that you should stamp your authority right at the beginning, I wonder where that went?), advising my friends and brothers what to do, talking on par with my uncles, I was sincerely trying to belong to the married man’s club. I looked like an idiot, but what’s surprising was that, my wife was at ease. We both are of same age, but how come she was more matured in the video?

Is it me or does everyone thinks that you always want to be at the next stage of your life. I remember growing up; all I wanted to be was to be Doctor, went to CEG and became an engineer. Right from the first year, I was thinking about the first job and first pay. From the very first day at work, I was thinking about marriage and my retirement!!!!

Marriage followed a similar pattern, I was thinking about the next face in life, not enjoying the moment. I guess my wife was content, she knew what she was getting into on the other hand I was totally lost. I wanted to show to my dad and my family that I am in control of everything but I was not, I was scared!!

Right in the Middle

A Conversation between my wife and I
I:I think we should get a Digital Camera!
Wife:OK
I:I like the Nokon D80
Wife:How much is it?
I:Around 1000 dollars!
Wife:You know for sure that you are not going to spend that much money! Why are you even looking at it?
I:Well I think its a good buy!

Last week, I went and bought the Nikon D50 for 500 dollars. Neither the low end "point and shoot" camera nor the high end D80. Something in the middle.

This is what my father went through in India, and now I am following his foot steps in an alien country. "Right in the Middle"....

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What’s with Name?

Gandhi – the name has become a synonym for something good isn’t it? Sometime I wonder whether a person with a name as “Manickavinayagam Muthumanicam” stands a chance to attract such a multitude of people as Gandhi. I doubt it. There are conflicting reports on how Nehru’s family attached Gandhi to their surname. It is hard to image, Indira Khan would be as successful as Indira Gandhi. Whoever or however the name change was done, it was one by a political genius.
Recently, I read a book “Wounded Civilization” by Mr. Naipaul. It has everything in it to believe that it is written by an Indian. Back in the days, when I listen to my grandfather, each sentence will have many hidden meaning. How I break it was literally up to me. For some reason, when I read this book I was thinking about him.
Growing up in the 80’s, when the economical prosperity which people see now in India was not there, everyone in India was a communist. Rob the rich give it to the poor. (I have nothing against communism, but it’s my feeling that as long as there are human needs communism will never work.) It was a total chaos, when people started supporting the emergency declared by Indira Gandhi; it shows you the true state of India in those days. On one hand, everyone read stories on how to be a better Hindu; on the other, people saw the high rise buildings and cars through western cinema. An average Indian was stuck between these 2 back in the days.
For me, Mr. Naipaul looks someone similar to our average Indian in the 80's. The entire book was based on Mr. R.K. Narayanan stories. It makes me believe that growing up in Trinidad far away from an enigma named India; Mr. Naipaul grew up fantasying the world portrayed by Mr. Narayanan. But India in the 80’s is nothing like the picture painted by Mr. Narayanan. India was a confused world stuck between Gandhi’s ideology and Nehru’s social fantasy. It was a tough world; it seems Mr. Naipaul set foot on India during this critical junction. I could imagine the shock which Mr. Naipaul felt when he first meets the India of the 80’s. For me, it seems that Mr. Naipaul blames Gandhi’s ideology for this state. Do I want to argue the pros and cons of Gandhi’s effect on India? No. What does Mr. Naipaul book got to do with this topic about names?
Well Gandhi is the principle reason why caste became a taboo in India. Now in the book Mr. Naipaul doesn’t feel confident in judging caste in India. I have to agree, after spending my entire life in India, even I don’t understand, I definitely feel for him. It feels like it is one of the unwritten message which flows through the book. He feels that he wants to say that Gandhi’s effect did not eradicate the caste system in India; instead it ignited it to an unbearable proportion. Now our hero “Manikavinayagam Muthumanikam” would have become “Manikavinayagam reddy or Devar or Iyer what ever it may be”, now it sounds different. I am not a proponent of caste. If name change would work then Mohandas Karamchand should have stopped there; it should have never become Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Caste system would have been eradicated by a better economical condition (I hope Patel envisioned this when he wanted capitalism). I do agree that caste system should be constrained. But caste system was an evolving animal; recently I read an article about quota in IIT in rediff; I feel that he nailed it. He was saying that once he entered into IIT, he belong to a different place. He was no longer a Dalit, he was social elite. I feel that’s what should have been done. People like Nehru should have worked their life so that social and economical statuses of Dalits are uplifted. The system calling them “Children of God”, working on creating a sect of self sufficient villages will never work. Prosperity would have brought in lots of change.
That’s the reason that I feel that India is going in the right path. One day caste system will be abolished not by the politicians who give false promises, but by economical and social prosperity.

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