Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A year that was!!

He looked at the mirror and saw a different person. A year had passed.

People say “The more the things changed, the more they remain the same”. He looked and acted the same but he knew a lot had changed. It was a year that was very different compared to its predecessors. For one he now had experienced something which led him to feel great compunction, which was the first in all the years that he had known. But he knew this was by far a very special year, memories of which won’t easily fade away…It made him wiser and more confident…A year where there was never dearth of activities, a year that was filled with highs and lows, a year where he had no time to look back and contemplate, a year that made him more nocturnal than ever before…A year had passed, and it passed which such a pace!!! A year that was and what a year it was!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


In Japanese there is a small word, Kiki, which means Crisis. The first Ki actually stands for “risk, danger; fear; uneasy”, but the second Ki stands for “opportunity”.

Right from pre-historic days, people recognized what crisis had to offer. No wonder the Japanese came up with that word. This reminds us that a crisis has not only a component of danger but also of opportunity. This word reminds us that crisis situations present us with both obstacles and also with an opportunity to accomplish something new.

The current financial crisis is once in a life time opportunity. It offers a wide range of avenues to a generation that had missed the previous revolution. As you can see every change results not only risks but also opportunities. It’s up to us how we want to look at a situation. Whether we want to be at the sidelines and watch the movie running or to be part of the movie and take the bull by its horns…Ancient oriental wisdom is applicable even more in today’s dynamic and constantly changing world. And we should not miss the boat again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Emulate US???

After the recent terrorist attacks, people have finally woken up and are demanding action? But what is action?? What is the right path that one has to take during these trying times? Is there something called a right path?

It’s a topic where everyone has an opinion on. Most would want to emulate US of A in the way they handled the situation after 9/11. People say, “Look how well they have protected their citizens. Not one incident of terrorism in more than half a decade after 9/11…”!!!

Though what they say is true, do we really want to emulate the US? Do we really want to follow their footsteps as far a strategy against terrorism is concerned? Even though they did a credible job in protecting their shores against perpetrators of crime, in protecting their citizens against terrorists, not all that they did was right!!!

Around 3,000 people lost their lives in the dreadful attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on 9 /11. America’s typical response was to go to war. It launched two wars. The first one was against a country that was already on its path to devastation. The Americans bombarded Afganistan day after day, month after month and as we now know year after year!! The only people who gained from the whole exercise (of course, other than America) is the Taliban. It got easier for them to recruit more people and raise millions in funds. This not only in places like Afganistan, Pakistan but also in places like United Kingdom!!!  Nearly 1,000 American solders lost their lives in Afghanistan. Countless Afghans die each month, as one of the world’s poorest states sinks deeper into devastation.

We all know how America gained from the other war, but was it worth it? It stimulates their economy but does it really help in the long run?

America fought the second war with a country that had not a single link to the events of 9/11. Close to a million human beings have lost their lives in that response. That includes 4,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. That is apart from several hundred thousand Iraqis losing their lives. Millions have suffered dislocation and deprivation in the region. It was more than a $ 3 trillion-war. Just imagine that kind of money? I mean how well we could have used that money. Every month more than $ 10 billion is being spent in Iraq. Imagine what we could have done with that money. When the auto industry asks for a $ 30 billion package the senators take weeks to decide. (And when they do, they decide to provide $15 billion package. Anyway I Digress.. It’s a nice discussion to have whether the auto corporations deserved it in the first place. Will take up this bail-out story some other time!!). But the point is no one took enough time to see whether the war would be worth it…It’s pathetic!!!

In a little over three years after that “response” began, over 650,000 Iraqis were estimated to have lost their lives. Now the US has suddenly started focusing on Pakistan. Almost every week now, the U.S. bombs some part of Pakistan — its firm ally of decades. Being an Indian I can only admire their courage for doing something that we would never do unless Pakistan “officially” attacks us (But again Kargil happens only once a decade!!). So we will never respond the way US can…Does that mean I am ‘for’ a war against Pakistan? Definitely NOT!!! That’s one mistake that we should never commit unless the situation asks for it. War only feeds terror and there is no way we can completely wipe terror out with a war (that’s what the US is finding out the hard way!). There are other lessons in the U.S. debacle. Civilians are routinely killed by this, and if Mr. Obama’s campaign promises are to be kept, this will go up. So will the appeal of fundamentalism amongst the affected. It will become a vicious cycle which can only harm the mankind.

Also, the resultant undermining of Pakistan, can only be bad news for India. More fundamentalisms, more militancy, and worse, both sides of the border.

Having said all this, there are some things which are worth noting, which are worth learning from US…

US has done quite well in terms of preventing attacks within their shores…The intense security arrangements everywhere, the strengthening of their borders and investing heavily on internal security through federal agencies is something that we MUST DO…Nothing should be taken lightly even if it means regular harassment to people, it must be done! For example not one complained about the heightened security at the airports immediately after the Mumbai attacks…It requires the will of the people, the will of the politicians.

We should do whatever it takes to strengthen our security forces, our police, our intelligence network, set up federal agency meant to tackle only terror!! We should make people accountable for their responsibilities and appoint people who deliver.

Applying diplomatic pressures is one thing, taking actual actions on the ground is another thing altogether. Diplomacy doesn’t do much. Pakistan will “house arrest” some terrorists and the terrorists will continue their dirty work under different ‘e-toeba’s’. If it is Laksher this time, next time it will be something else. They will never run out of names. So all we will be doing is asking Pakistan to ban another organization…It’s such a farce!!!

We should take strong measures from within, only then we can try defeating terrorism. Its good to be on a high alert always. You are dealing with people who have nothing to lose. They don’t mind dying. If a person looses the fear of death, what will you threaten him with? Its time we guard our shores. Its time we invest on security!!!

Update: One of the co-blogger wrote - "Pakistan puts Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Masood Azar, under house arrest. Guess he'll be working from home now..." ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Midnight Marathon!!!



      "We are different, in essence, from other men.

      If you want to win something, run 100 meter.

      If you want to experience something, run a marathon."

      -Emil Zatopek, 1952 Olympic Marathon gold medalist


This famous quote aptly describes the spirit of a marathon run. Most runners aspire to complete a full marathon someday; many end up doing it several times over the years. Some do it to prove it to themselves and others run for a cause. While the marathon is a grueling and competitive race, it has over the years become a popular sport among urban communities to promote a cause, spread awareness and raise funds for a variety of charitable activities. A marathon today is not so much about winning or losing but more about a socially conscious city and its concerned citizens coming together for a common cause.

Read the entire thing.. here…


This is scheduled to be held on 10th of Jan…The half-marathon is going to start at 12.00 midnight and is 21.95Kms.

RUN and Experience something!!!



Sunday, December 07, 2008

I did it..!!!

I believe many of us maintain this ‘wish’ list or ‘To-Do’ list. A list that will have items from the entire spectra of our lives…Whether we do anything about it or not, we keep this list updated…Anyway atleast I do have one and one of the items in it was to run a marathon and here I am at the brink of ticking one major item from that list..:)

Yes, today I was able to achieve what I missed the last time…I ran/jogged/walked/crawled more than 21 kms.

I followed the same route as last time but instead of turning back at Yeshwanthpur I continued towards IISC and then to Mekhri Circle. That’s about 11 kms from my place (Couple of days back my friend had come down from US and I had taken this route to go to the airport. So this time I was sure about the distance!!) The return journey was the same. So I covered more than 21 kms in 2 Hours and 25 minutes flat. I was a tad disappointed for the extra minutes taken since I wanted to achieve this feat within 2 hours.

I could easily cut down the time by 10 minutes because today I had to wade through a lot of traffic and also there was this problem of a flyover under construction between Yeshwanthpur and IISC. Having said that cutting down on the entire 25 minutes to make it under 2 hours is a different matter altogether…Anyway I am still extremely happy with my timing, considering that I am not a regular marathon runner..:) Further having done this, I have realized that this was quite a ask as the ‘task’ involved enduring both physical and mental pain/pressures…Sustaining the ambition of completing this for the entire 21kms was definitely the most difficult part!!!

Especially the last 40 minutes was extremely hard. My legs started to disobey my mind and it was as if I was carrying a huge boulder on each of my leg. There was several occasions when I wanted to sit and take rest, but I knew better…There was no way I would have got up again if I had taken rest…So the last couple of kilometers took almost half an hour!!!

But the fact of the matter is I made it through and the feeling was equivalent to crossing the finish line…It gave immense pleasure that I could do this. Now I want to take part in the Times Of India Midnight Marathon and successfully end this crazy idea of running marathons..:) This event was scheduled to be held on 13th Dec at Bangalore, but due to security reasons it got postponed by a few days. I want to take part in the half-marathon which is 21.1 kms and it’s at midnight!!! Can you imagine the atmosphere there and that too at the middle of the night!!! I am sure I will thoroughly enjoy the experience…Though, equally important is the fact that I will have this item ticked off from my “list”..:)

Friday, December 05, 2008


What is it about soulmates that make writers go gaga over it..?? Why is that people always want to talk about soulmates, be it fiction or non-fiction, the story generally revolves around a “couple” that the author somehow wants to bring out - with a made-for-each-other tag or a soulmates tag…

SoulMate? What is it? Is it true love or just a buzz word being tossed around by New agers and publishers in order to increase sales? There is plethora of books on this subject – books written by Richard Bach, Edgar Cayce, Paul Coelho and the list goes on and on…

Anyway this subject cropped up after I read one of the books gifted by my friends on my b’day - “Brida” (Deals with the story of Brida, her pursuit of wisdom, and her quest for knowledge - written by Paul Coelho). I not trying to write a book review here nor the intention was to write my take on the subject…It’s just that it stirred a hornet’s nest… So here I am trying to do what I said I wouldn’t be doing..:)

Well, a belief in reincarnation is not necessary for a belief in soul mates although a great deal of literature on soulmates does presume this. Perhaps I'm just a reincarnation skeptic, but I just cannot believe something like that.

Anyway the real question is do you think you have/had met your soul mate? Have you given this a thought? I am sure all of us would have given this a thought sometime or the other…So how do you make a decision whether he/she is your soulmate? On what parameters does one take this call?

There have been times when we've been convinced that, "This is the one. This is my One True Love, my Soulmate." However, often in many cases, for one reason or another, the relationship hasn't worked out. Were we mistaken? Was that person not our soulmate? Or, was the person our soulmate, and, for one reason or another, we just weren't able to make things work?

By the way another interesting thought is how many times have you met your soulmates in your lifetime? I mean how many times have you thought about a person, that “He/She is the one!!”? A lot of literature on this subject actually makes you happy by saying that one can meet innumerable number of soulmates during one’s lifetime…Maybe if they hadn’t said that, the books wouldn’t sell…:)

Ok, so what is this concept of a soulmate? A soulmate is the ‘one’ whom you can be with by being yourself...A simple definition from yours truly…:) You don’t have to pretend, don’t have to lie and more importantly you don’t have to be someone you are not!!!

Anyway having given some free gyann from my side, if you want to explore more on such topics just read the books written by authors that I quoted above. Not everything will be about this, but mostly will revolve around it… But beware, there will be repetition about mysticism and other aspects of the ’unknown’ in all the books…Having read some, the concepts - though are not new - do make me stop and think. 

For those who haven’t read such books but are still interested, as Paulo Coelho says “Whenever you have to find about something, Plunge right in! The moment we stop doubting is the moment we stop moving forward..” When you eventually read them, read them with an open mind coz “Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong, even a stopped clock is right twice a day..”

Warning: If you are not keen on the subject or it brings pain rather than joy, just skip reading the post…;-) ;-) ;-)

Disclaimer: The post is just my flow of thoughts…Doesn’t imply anything. So don’t read in between lines. Here goes my disclaimer.....;-)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Here I am, Ready!!!

Today I committed two crimes, crimes never to be committed by a “techie”!!. The first, I got up at 5.30AM on a Sunday, and the other, I went for a marathon run early in the morning.

I had always dreamed of running full marathons, but was never sure I could do it…I used to jog for a few kilometers every morning, but that stopped more than a year back. Now I mostly jog on a treadmill at the gym. Everyday I constantly try to increase the distance covered, for the same time spent. Now I run more than 4 kilometers in less than 23 minutes (that’s almost 11Kmph!!).

But still running a marathon is completely different or should I say more difficult than running on a treadmill, or so I thought!!! Because when I actually ran this mini-marathon of mine I realized that it’s much simpler and more interesting, as compared to running on your treadmill (which I promise, is the most boring thing that one can do)…

The thoughts of running got germinated yesterday. It was Saturday night and I went out to have my dinner. The weather was beautiful and I suddenly felt this urge for jogging. I had just finished my dinner and it was close to 10.30PM, but I wanted to run. I went for a long walk and reached home late. But the drive to run hadn’t subsided. I slept pretty late at around 2.00AM but kept an alarm at 6.00, so that I could go for a long run the next morning…

I guess I was pretty excited at the thought of running, coz the next day I was up by 5.30. I changed to my track suit. Made sure to carry my mobile and wallet (coz, I was not too sure I could come back walking. In the worst case I thought I should carry enough money for the auto fare!!). I wore my shoe and there I was ready to go. My mobile displayed the time as 5.45…

I started from my home. There was no specific plan with respect to the route or the distance to be covered. The plan was to cover as much distance as possible in the least time…

My onward route was something like this..

My home à Basaweshwanagar Circle à Shankar Matt à Navarang à (Was running towards Malleshwaram. Suddenly thought of going towards Iskon, so took a U turn and came back to Chord road) à Iskon Temple à Yeshwanthpur Circle

A distance of approximately 9 Kilometers and I had covered this in 46 minutes!!!!

The return Journey was..

Yeshwanthpur Circle à Iskon Temple à Chord road till NPS à Basaweshwanagar Circle à Home sweet home..

A distance of approximately 8 Kilometers and I had covered this in 40 minutes!!!!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the time!!! When I stepped into my home the time read 7.11…I had covered a total distance of 17 kilometers in 1 Hr 26 minutes flat!!!!!

It was not a walk in the park. It was not simple and was not easy…More than a few occasions I had stopped and almost gone back. But this was something that I really wanted to do, wanted to prove myself. There were numerous voices in my head telling me to quit and return. Telling me I was not up to the mark...Telling me that I was not fit enough...But there were few which edged me on…Making me imagine my destination and making me imagine how happy I would feel at the end of it and so I listened to it…

Its more than 16 hours since I returned home and I do not feel any pain nor do I have any cramps. I feel I could have gone on and on...It feels really good and I am proud of it..

Here I am, Ready!!!

Ready for the next Bangalore Marathon and my target would be to complete the half marathon (generally 21 Kilometers) within 2 hours…And I know I can do it…