Heavy, weighed down
Walking through air that seems like jell-o
The din of thoughts engulfs me…like a flock of cackling crows
Circling constantly overhead…
Except that I would have welcomed the sound.
Actions seem suspended
Words seem distant, dark, there but not really.
Attempted conversations from faceless people
Break against lead with the futility of waves…
Am I the shore reeling under the tide of feeling?
Or am I just driftwood trying to find a shore…
The future would be so bright if not for these colored glasses…
Today would be the sun, if only the night of yesterday would end.
Right now I should be walking barefoot in the Garden of Eden…
then why do I remember each stalk of grass broken, bug squashed or dew drop destroyed?
Right now I should be absolved…angels should lift me to ether,
as I look down in victory at the destruction below me.
Then, why O Lord – have you forged my wings with lead?
Why O Lord have you forged my wings with lead?
Fustercluck: A group activity that results in pure stupidity. A whole bunch of people hoping on the good foot and doing the bad thing…
A nice term to describe a lot of what we do at work… (Murugan – for you)
For eg. Windows Vista is a Fustercluck…that Microsoft (or Micro$oft as their haters say) wants to set right (read, erase) with the next new release in 2009 – Windows 7 (which of course is not the real name…but might as well be…after all 7 is a lucky number!). Now MS is not talking much about Windows 7 – and apparently launched a limited release to selected external parties. Nothing surprising about that…except the fact that There is already a release of the next version of Windows!
Now imagine, at Microsoft there are engineers working on Windows XP SP3 (a hugely relevant release that will result in some Vista business cannibalisation), Windows Vista SP1 (hopefully will not be a fustercluck again…) and now Windows 7! Can Microsoft ignore any of the three? Nope. Consider this:
1) There are still many hundreds of millions of users still on XP – because they didn’t upgrade their computer, they couldn’t afford the retail price of Vista or their organization decided to stay away from Vista because migration is such a pain. (like the organization I work in)
2) There are more than a 100 million users of Vista who have invested hundreds of dollars on the promise of a better computer experience. Only to receive not much more than a pretty looking interface. And I think, no one realizes this more than Microsoft. (This reminds me of when I paid Rs.100 to rent “Sex, Lies and Videotape” – and realized I only got the Videotape. )
3) Windows 7 will be what Vista could not…like XP was what Windows 2000 (anyone remember that aberration?) could not become. Each significant release from Microsoft has been preceded by a dud. (Namely Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows Vista) So Windows 7 should be an important redesign (in fact there is talk about doing away with the registry in 7!!).
It just makes me wonder how MS handles this kind of R&D intensity…and still be effective. The other way of looking at it is that maybe this is why MS is not that effective…and constantly suffers from bad publicity about weak products being pushed into our monopolized lives. I think being a monopoly is overrated. It’s not easy…especially if you have a conscience. There is a very nice blog I found, allegedly writen by someone working on the Windows 7 team. Geeky…but nicely written and downright funny at times. Check it out: http://shippingseven.blogspot.com/ (Of course MS denies anything to have with it!! ;))
Meanwhile, let me figure out why the hell my network settings dialog in XP is showing up in Arabic…wtf!!
Fresh from a trip to the US – my mind is filled with glitzy images of the events surrounding the caucuses – which will decide the Democratic and Repulican candidates for next year’s elections leading to a much required change in the most powerful office on earth. The typical hype and frenzy that surrounds anything to do with the Oval office, was being unabashedly propogated through every media channel you can imagine…and dominated every conversation I overheard in the hotel lobby or at the airports.
One name eclipsed all the others, in conversations, on TV specials, during the early morning shows or the 9 PM news, in magazines and journals and even the New York Post… Barack Obama. Born Barack Hussein Obama Jr., to a Kenyan father and an American mother – he is the antithesis of the quintessential American presidential candidate that the world has come to expect, love and hate. Just imagine what mental images are conjured up when you think about “Black”, “Muslim” (even though he has chosen Christianity as his religion – he has muslim roots and spent formative years in the largest Islamic country in the world – Indonesia) and “US President” in the same context! Just not palpable.
This is what makes his phenomenal rise to fame so hard to understand and digest. No other African-American has ever managed to capture the imagination and adulation of hundreds of millions of Americans – black, brown or white – who does not go by the name of Martin Luther King or Oprah Winfrey. (Rev. Jesse James doesn’t count…;) ) Obama is an aberration – and very important one at that. He has something that no other candidate has – or can hope to have without an extended session in a tanning parlour and skeletal reconstruction.
Post the Iraq debacle – America is reeling under uncertainty, indecision and global derision. Never has been the perception of the country and that of its chief representative, been so uniformly horrible – if there was a perceptual nadir…the US is there now. There is widespread hate in the Islamic regions of the world and small boys are growing up, looking at George Bush’s insolent face, spewing unnecessary and (mostly) unwarranted arrogance squarely directed at what he is taught to believe. They are growing up, thinking “He is not on my side. I need to be wary of him and others like him.” Al-Qaeda and their brethren will not find it easier to recruit killers from this lot – and what the future will hold is anyone’s doomsday. Now imagine the same young malleable mind looking at the new face of America – a colored man with Islamic roots. A mature, responsible voice that is speaking about compromise, peace – about leaving Iraq to the Iraqis. Just the change in perception that this new face of American presidency will have on US perception globally – will tilt the balance towards a new era of understanding and peace. Don’t underestimate the power of the Oval office… this can actually happen.
What about the Americans themselves? Why are they so enamored by him? That one is tougher to grasp – I think this is because of a subconscious need for change that can be felt across the country. Americans today have to be tired of living under the ghost shadows of the twin towers and the global war that ensued. He and everything about him represents that change…a freshman senator, he is young, dynamic, educated, intelligent, sensible and in a sense “uncorrupted”. His multi-racial background, education and propogated values – far from making him threatening – render his persona warm and exciting. On the core issues of the economy, healthcare and Iraq – he has not been sounding necessarily revolutionary, with his inexperience showing in light of his veritable seasoned opponent, Hillary Clinton. But then, none of them really are. All of them are still treating Iraq as a autistic child which no one wants to give away, but no one wants to take ownership of. In this level playing field of vanilla flavored candidates – chocolate suddenly looks appealling.
So will America have an African-American president talking charge in 2009? Most probably not. One factor is – believe it or not – the Black vote. Though blacks around the country are proud that one of them has reached this position of influence – there is a very real perception that he is just “not black enough”. His camaraderie and acceptance with the Caucasian population, makes the black community treat him with certain wariness. During his campaign Obama himself has been careful not to appear racially inclined either way – and this makes him look white to the blacks. The other factor is that when push comes to shove and the Americans actually hit the voting booths – comfort will overtake change.
All said and done – America is just not ready for a Black president. A decade later – perhaps. But today, though revolution is what is really required, the path to revolution is something so difficult and “unnatural” – that most will never have the commitment to take it.
I personally wish that Obama wins – I have heard him speak (albeit on TV) and I find him approachable and his thoughts and idealogy necessary. But if wishes were horses, then the presidential race would be like the derby…where the black horse has an equal chance to win, as the white one… 🙂
…especially in Mumbai.
The other day I was driving with a dear friend down Marine Drive – engaged in deep conversation about a topic which I am sure – due to a sudden lapse of memory – was as seminal as world peace or the way to end poverty forever… when I realized I was stuck in the wrong lane. I was going straight in a lane reserved for cars turning left before the landmark Air India building. Now I am the kind of guy who buckles up in a stationary car or pigheadedly stays put at a red light in the middle of the night – much to the chagrin of irate, less-than-scrupulous drivers behind me. (If I had a sun-roof then I would have stuck my head out and mouthed “So, sue me…!”) So the sincere honest chap that I am – I didn’t expect to be punished for a sincere honest mistake like getting caught in the wrong lane…but the “pandu” flagging me down showed me life isn’t that fair. My friend rolled her eyes and went “here we go again.”
I rolled down my window and before the poor guy had a chance to speak – we started apologizing profusely. Pandu gives a rueful smile, shakes his head and proceeds to explain what I did wrong. I am usually not Don Juan in this circumstances and blurted something about being from the ‘burbs and hence was not aware of these roads. To his credit he did not offer a sniggering laugh as a response (as the argument deserved) and patiently explained that there were arrows on the road which explained which lane was which…asked for my lysun (license) and proceeded to open his chalan book. Now left to me I would have offered him 50 bucks and gotten the hell out of there…but this is why I say women should rule the world. (Go Hillary!) We (she) took a conscious decision to take this one honestly…and asked him “now what?”… He told us that he will have to confiscate my lysun and give me a chit instead…and that later I would have to come to the thana near Fashion Street and pay a fine of Rs.100 and collect it. I groaned…honestly, honesty was becoming highly inconvenient… but a resolve is a resolve.
We told him that I came from far (those nebulous clouds of dust and people called the suburbs) – and that was it possible to pay the fine here…he just shook his head and continued to write the chalan. My friend and I then started discussing how she would collect it on my behalf (as she lived closer by) and then we (she) gave him the kindest smile that could be mustered…
I don’t know what transpired beneath that blue topi of his…but he looked at us and said, “Well you could pay your fine here and sign saying that ‘lysun received…’ – just because you have to come from far and all…” OK…my mind quickly calculated if this was honest…well I was signing an official document wasn’t I? So I concurred…paid the fine…signed saying that I had indeed received my lysun. Now that the case was closed…we drove on to the movie we were getting late for, feeling light, and happy that honesty was still alive and that it pays…
That night – I was thinking about the same episode, and I realized I did not get a copy of the chalan I signed on! As far as I know I could have signed on a piece of toilet paper! Wow…now what do you call that? He most probably pocketed Rs.100 – and made us feel as if we weren’t doing anything wrong…
It was win-win all the way…and my friend actually went on to say “See? Today we have made a better place for the children of the world…!” I felt nice… like I did my bit of Gandhigiri for that day…
Is this dishonesty? The case is still open… 😉 Readers welcome to comment…
In case you were wondering where I had disappeared… 😉 Some photographs clicked from my brother’s new Canon D-SLR…makes even a total amateur look decent. Heh heh… (click on the photos to enlarge…)
Highlight #1 – We visited the Googleplex!! One more wonder of the world ticked off my list…
Highlight #2 – I stayed at the Bellagio (remember Oceans 11?) in Vegas!! One more wonder of the world ticked off my list… the bathroom was bigger than my living room in Mumbai… heh heh