Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One Small Step....

I am a writer. So says Agni, the literary magazine:

"Dear Akasuna no Sasori (I used my real name but..),

Thank you for sending "Security Check." Your work received careful consideration here.

We've decided this manuscript isn't right for us, but we wish you luck placing it elsewhere.

Kind regards,

The Editors"

Now, if I could only become a published writer.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Back in class V, one of the fun ways to spend Civics class was to play "United Nations". One dude would be India, one China, one Pakistan and so on. I got the chance to play some sort of mediator, the Sec. Gen. or whatever. Growing up, as one read of the role the UN played in recent history (mediating US-Soviet Conflict, Indo-Pak '49, Indo-China '62, Afghanistan, Rwanda and so on), it became clear that the actual UN wasn't much different from the game. Indeed, one wonders how they would fare on "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?".

But recently the UN did something that flies so magnificently in the face of logic and reason as to leave you awestruck. On the 27th of March, a resolution was passed that criticized, sorry condemned criticism of religion. Why? According to the august body, "defamation of religion" was a human rights violation. And what august body was this? The UN Council for Human Rights, in response to a proposition put forward by that eternal champion of human rights, Pakistan. Seeing this bold and noble step, various other nations, that were also members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Africa and the Middle East, each havens for human rights and dignity, backed this resolution giving it the full support it needed. Their point was that a "delicate balance" had to be struck between respect for religion and freedom of expression (full story here).

For the human rights watchdog of a body formed to promote human rights and development to propose curbs on freedom of expression is the sort of thing George Orwell would have loved to satirize, something so patently ridiculous you do not know whether to laugh or cry at it. The good news though is that this resolution is "non-binding" as is. The UN moreover in recent years has (mercifully) had just enough power to blow its nose and sneeze if the President of the United States okays.

A quick note on India's role in this. Along with Canada, India criticized the resolution as vague and easily malleable to fundie interpretation. On these noble grounds however, it did not vote on the issue. Nehru must be smiling somewhere.

Dante Alighieri wrote - The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of moral crisis, remain neutral" The UN's very role was to promote such neutrality to begin with. It seems finally close to generating some heat on Earth itself.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More Awesome Bits and Pieces

In the vein of the one-liners, here we have more ideas that unfortunately lack a body of work to be attached to. Take for instance:

"Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Anna Nagar and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the sons of Seri-yaas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across like blue mantles beneath the stars--Nengambakkam, Ompet, Besantia, Peramburea, Zaidapet with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingamani with its chivalry, Thatth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shetput, Stygiapet with its shadow-guarded tombs, Triplikania whose rickshaw-kaarans wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom in the world was Thiruvanmiyonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming West(?). Hither came, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, to tread the thrones of the Earth under his chappaled feet.........Kannan the Barbarian"

[See this for reference, though you should've got the joke by now]

Similarly, take the title for my memoirs, wherein I discuss everything from martial arts to the Hindi I learnt at IIT Guwahati:

"From Arae Maki To Teri Maa Ki"

Now if I could only get around to writing these things