Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Tribute to Bangladesh Mukti Yuddha : 21st February –Bhasa Andolan

Bangladesh is a country so much synonymous with Bangla or Bengali, writing something in English takes away the sheen out of it. Starting with the name of the country, a pure Bengali word, the emotion that oozes out surrounding the words “Bhasa (Language)  Andolan (Struggle) ” and “Mukti Yuddha (Liberation for Freedom)” is no way near to when they are translated in any other language.

To me, the struggle for establishing Bangla as the national language against an oppressive and tortuous regime was deeply connected with their overall freedom movement. While one after another governor from the then West Pakistan’s ruling institution tried to force Urdu upon the nation as their national language bringing them to their knees , this andolan was not just another upheaval around the language but it united a whole country to go for something they believed in.

Amar Bhai er Rakte Rangano Ekushe February,

       Ami ki Bhulite Pari “ -  When one hums these lines and other similar lines like

Amar Sonar Bangla,

                   Ami tomai bhalobasi”…one can feel the blood flowing through the veins much akin to the freedom fighters from India.

The numerous distressed and displaced people got an impetus to fight for their liberty in the face of all odds. The struggle that started around 1950s got fructification in the year 1971 with the massive help and support from India – a neighborly act only to be done by a sensible government.

Not specifically naming any leader amongst the hundreds of nameless and faceless common men and women, I take this opportunity to salute all those involved in this movement from the core of my heart.



Sunday, February 1, 2015

El Camino Real – Entwined with a piece of life of Indian Diaspora

Dosa Palace, Appakadai, Bangalore Café, Taj Imports, Peacock, Mayuri, Paradise, Madras Café, 4 different chat houses, India Cash and carry, Bharat Bazar, Komala Vilas, Bombay Garden, Madras Groceries and the list goes on and on the both sides of a road in a serpentine length of few miles – all posing a grand look with their accessorized illuminations trying to grab your attention in the organized business establishments side by side to Rite Aids, Dollar Trees and SafeWays.

This is not one of those M G Roads in one of the Indian metros rather I rediscovered a different El-Camino Real – CA 82, during my evening stroll yesterday.

We used to live in this place from 2001 to end of 2004 before we had to leave this the then-adopted- country of ours in just two days’ time due to a family emergency.  During those days Indians were mainly associated with ever changing information technology industry and the shopping destinations or eating joints were few and far between for the techie population. Sunnyvale Hindu Temple off Mathilda Avenue was the only congregation place with anything to do with religious activities.

Returning after 10 long years to this part of USA, over the period of last two weeks, I was able to observe how things have changed – some businesses have gone out of business, some new have come up while some could wither the storm of economic ups and downs and continue to do the business. New apartment complex – Tuscany is coming up on Pomeroy and El-Camino in Santa Clara near the Valero gas station which still sells gas at a less price in comparison to its peers. What struck me most is the number of Indian businesses have sprang up and to top it all, the foray is into other main stream businesses like Auto garage, a big departmental store giving competition to erstwhile American large scale store format and a new Shiv-Durga Temple of Flora-Vista and  off El Camino. 

After stamping their unquestionable dominance in the geek world, yes, Indian and India has gained prominence in mainstream America, – starting from politics at the highest levels of Obama administration added with state and city levels to education, legal, medical and everyday life of American sitcoms with Indian characters- male and female. The startling fact to notice is how everyday common people from other countries – Americans, Chinese and Europeans in this part of the country are thronging these Indian business establishments – either relishing Indian cuisine in week days and weekends just like Sushi bars, Chinese or Thai restaurants or shopping in the grocery stores for fresh vegetables and good quality rice grains.

This is an ethnicity which can’t be ignored anymore in American lifestyle and my cousin sister’s Ph. D thesis on first generation South Asian women in American Education system only vindicates this fact.

Landing in this country in the middle of first economic bubble burst of 2000-2001 and securing a somewhat well paid job, we have had many sweet memories surrounding this place. While visiting our residences in Henderson in Sunnyvale and Mary Ave bordering Mountain View, a surge of emotions those days flew through my veins. Those places have remained the same except few changes in converting them as gated communities.

My grandmother came to stay with us in first few weeks of our landing into this country. We did not have a car those days. On the advice of friends and families, one day, we set out to find a dollar store on VTA route number 22 with a confidence in mind on our walking capability and ability to figure it out by asking people. We did not have any experience on everything large in America and that applies to distances as well. This time also we had a hearty laugh on that experience – the number of blocks we walked in search of that and not able to figure it out at the end.

Madras Café has grown in size with roaring business and so does Shraavana Bhavan. Along with the burgeoning sizes and sprawling interiors with an India touch, one can easily experience the typical south Indian smell wafting out from the kitchens in the chilly cool breeze along the footpath of El Camino.

In those days, you hardly would see anyone walking on the roads barring a few health conscious folks either running in Sun or cycling in the evening.  I see, now, the numbers of people at least walking a few blocks have increased slightly which is a good sign of healthy America if you would ask me.

Sunnyvale Library just beside the police station ,with the metallic sculpture of the boy with a book in hand, is visited by many more people these days- needless to say a good chunk is from Asian and Indian communities. On not a busy day, we used to walk up and down from Henderson to Mathilda – around 8 blocks to the library just for the heck of walking though we had a car that time. The mall in Sunnyvale downtown with an Indian theater has given way to a new establishment housing J C Penny and others.  The Hindu temple has a new get-up now with a proper look of temple from its earlier version of a warehouse.

Though it might sound a little weird, being in the tech industry, the garage from where Hewlett-Packard Company started or Xerox PARC laboratory off Page Mill road had special significance to us just like Stanford would have for anyone. We made it a point to visit these birth places of Silicon Valley to feel and get soaked in the aura of them.

I took a bus ride to Los Angeles last weekend and it looked to me water situation has deteriorated on the sides of freeway 101 and 5 – Golden state highway.  Vast patches of green pastures have turned to un-moistened and unfertile land giving it a look that someone might have laid a walnut colored mattress for miles after miles.  

Amongst all other states and cities of Unites States, the bay area and El-Camino has a special place in my life and mind. I feel somewhat comforted when I am here rather elsewhere. As I spent some considerable time in some other cities as well, it is not about the fact that we stayed here. It is some other connection somewhere which I still need to figure out.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Where Do We Really Go ?

The recent revelations about Supreme Court judges and their collegium selection system have left me stunned and speechless.

 Indian constitution holds this court as the final authority as far as judiciary is concerned and expects to be the go all and end all for everything under disputes.

Being the ultimate wise men with highest level of expertise on constitutional matters, common people consider the verdicts delivered by Supreme Court judges as the final ones considering they cannot go wrong. 

When one reads about some of these otherwise respected lot are either compromised or corrupted, the soil under the feet is simply taken away. These supposedly infallible set of people, once being held in high esteem, are showing up just like any other common person- prone to be influenced by bribes or other external factors. The recent startling facts also reveal  the out of the way measures taken to either appoint incompetent judges in highest level or give undue favors to inept representatives under political duress. The once iron willed institution today is under the scanner like many other corporate or social organizations.

On one side, Supreme court has ben appreciated for taking up the cudgels to drive the country towards prosperity providing direction to parliament – the executive arm of the country (though some say it is overstepping the limits drawn between executive and judiciary), on the other side, it has been exposed that they are not above the very basic human nature of greed and power exposing its cruel teeth and nails.

The common man is perplexed and asking a question.

Where do we really go?

 Who do we really look up to?

Yesterday Lok Sabha passed the landmark bill, ratified by Rajya Sabha today, to scrap Collegium system – judges appointing judges and to be substituted by a 6 member committee.

While I do not know if the new committee will be any better, it is high time, this institution look inside to cleanse the system and get back its erstwhile respectful image in the eyes of the public.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Where is the End ?

I consider myself fortunate than my brothers and sisters living in hell in some other countries.

My daughter is fortunate that she is not being forced to live through the unimaginable mental and physical torture the children in those countries are living by and my family is privileged that they are spared of the harrowing experiences the mothers are going through day in and day out. The turmoil of war is thrust upon them unwittingly and unwillingly. 

Touch wood and I pray for everyone for a similar peaceful life.

I can’t imagine that someone would carry out a meticulous plan to shoot down a passenger jet but then there are few other things also that are happening in today’s world, equally beyond my imagination.
These are truly, and I mean it, beyond my comprehension and rightfully might be yours.

To me, downing of MH 17 is nothing less than the attack on world trade center or the one in our own Mumbai and the others ones carried out in other parts of world.

Planning to shoot down that plane and executing it with scrupulous precision -killing all 297 people on board, is barbarism and atrociousness to the extreme. This is terrorism of the most heinous nature and handy work of them who have turned themselves to demons and ceased to live -forget about their right to demand or ask for anything.  Looks like we are going back to the ages when humans used to only fight with each other and were not a social animal. Other animals are scoring better than us in this aspect.

While I very well understand that a terrorist in one country is a martyr in another and are more perspective driven than anything else, I can, by no means envisage missiling down a full-fledged airplane, to attract attention, killing innocent lives including children.  This is plain and simple capitulation of humanity and dreadful brutality – nothing else.
                                                            Google Images
Coupled with this, whatever is happening in Gaza between Hamas and Israel is another terrible episode of common man decimated to dust for socio-political reasons going out of control gradually.  The fearful faces of children, young and adults with the spumes of spoke bellowing from the buildings at the deafening sound of gun shells are observed all over. The morning scene of the streets gets changed substantially by the evening. While the issue there is of complex political nature and am not trying to justify one over other, I do not understand how deep rooted this anger and hatred can be to instigate such massive and colossal damage of hundreds of lives (hundreds and counting).

The recent Sunni rebellion in Iraq has left the country in tatters. While the country on the banks of Tigris and Euphrates (Persia), once regarded as the birthplace of early civilization and crown jewel of many a fable, was just starting to recover from the savagery of the previous wars, this one had to happen.

I wonder why, instead of development, people are so bogged down with religion and dogmatism that keep them involved in gory battles year after year.

The ego gets more importance than education, health ,growth and all the other developmental parameters of human lives; still there is hardly any intention to put in any effort in that direction.

I am really at my wits end trying to fathom how people could get into such mad rush of belligerent carnage and mayhem of human lives for reasons that make no sense to me.

When will this dance of merciless killing come to an end?  Am deeply pained by what is happening around and expressed it one of my earlier posts here . Borrowing few lines from there I would like to repeat

Mistakes committed in history,
Should not pronounce the future,
Sensible mind and healing touch
Can only aspire a bright pasture.

No poisoning the mind of our children,
In the name of religion and the Lord,
There must be a way to persuade
And exchange a hug for the sword.

 Humbly and earnestly, I, with folded hands, appeal to their good conscience, “Human life is precious. Don’t play with them”.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

With My Telepathic Power - short fiction below 400 words

Ekta, my niece, is like my alter ego. She is vivacious, makes friends easily, and is extremely popular among her friends. We make an unlikely couple - I reveling in her sunshine cheer and she in my brooding silences. So, it struck me as a very unusual incident, when she cocooned herself in her den since morning. The first instance that I missed her was when I did not hear the sing song ‘Good morning’, as I sleepily coaxed my toothbrush across my misshapen teeth, standing on the verandah.
The day passed by, and we got busy in our mundane jobs - for me, that meant taking the 45 minute sessions of Physics with unmindful boys, who are rather interested in the aerodynamics of paper planes than my interpretation of surface tension in fluids. My mind kept going back to Ekta’s voice and her chatter and by midafternoon I had made up my mind to woo my little princess with her favorite chocolates along with pink roses.
Try as I might, I could not figure out what could have caused her changed behavior. Maybe a bout of telepathy and/or mind reading will not be a bad idea either.
Though I am convinced that ability to read human mind will only complicate further the already complicated social fabric and have established the same in all my discussions with friends and colleagues, I felt the need of that power now. Walking along the college corridor, I started feeling light-headed and queasy; the next I knew I was laying on the ground with anxious students and staff peering at my face and the security guy all poised with a water jug, ready to slosh me with more water. Suddenly, a wave of nausea swept me and a premonitory haze shimmered before my eyes.
I got scared with the ‘telepathic vision’ as I call it as I saw Ekta there.
I need to return to her at once to save my little princess.
It was clear to me that she is in a serious bout of depression and plans to take the extreme step of finishing her life. She wishes she was never born.
While I stand by my conviction of not trying to see more that what is shown to us, thank, God, that I could save one good soul with my timely acquired power.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Engineering Creativity

The other day, on my way back home after a busy day at work, I observed the interesting catchword “Engineering Creativity” on the well decorated face of a company private bus.  The creatively written blue on white wordings are articulation of company’s thoughts of how it wants to project itself and be perceived.

That got me thinking. Isn’t the case with you?

Ok, here it is.

Do they want to engineer creativity or are they engineering in a creative way?

Can creativity be engineered?  Being an engineering company, is that something they intend to do and bring a new perspective that creativity can be engineered?  Who knows?

Nowadays there are so many institutions who boast of specifically designed creative writing and other sessions claiming to unfurl the creative side within one’s self. Probably they have also found out a niche way of doing things to bring out the creative aspects in their clients.

If I am to believe that that connotation is for engineering in a creative way, should “Engineering Creatively” be more appropriate?

With Apple redefining the way engineering should be done, that makes more sense to unearth the best value out of better engineering.  It should no longer be restricted only to better engineering rather creative engineering from aspects of consumer likeliness to reduction of cost of engineering and fitting things in a given form factor. There is a Nat Geo segment titled ‘Engineering Marvels’ which elaborates on how the indigenously developed Nano was designed in India. Though the car has not been a smash hit in the market, there were numerous instances of creative engineering that had gone in the making of it and the narration brings just that. Personally, I was amazed at how each of the aspects was creatively thought out and engineered to fit the size and budget target of the car.

I will be interested to know what you think that the company wants to say through those words on their bus. Look forward to your comments

Thanking you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


A pond in a village surroundings



And a Lake