Lesson to be learnt from Superbowl XLIX

During the 2 weeks build-up and from where I was looking at things, Seattle Seahawks entered the game as the underdog. They surely did not claim that on national TV, but behind closed doors, their assessment may have been similar to mine. The domination and control of the football demonstrated by New England Patriots offense was phenomenal and the Hawks were smelling defeat a quarter and a half into the game.

Towards closure of the second quarter, Pete Carroll made an unconventional call… instead of settling for 14-10 with a Field Goal to enter Q3, he asked his offensive unit to go all in and even the game out. He made a call… an unconventional call… a risk… he cause a shift of momentum… he gave a huge morale uplift to his team… he made Seahawks look like they mean business and would not go down easy… We could see the subtle risk in many Seahawks offensive plays in Q3 resulting 10 points.

When he made the call that cost them the Superbowl, he was in the same tempo. He calculated that the Pats had successfully stopped Lynch multiple times and the entire Pats defensive muscle would stop Lynch. So he made an unconventional call… he took a risk… he wanted to surprise the Pats. His bad luck caught him over there and the risk was realized. Just going by the pattern of plays being made by the Hawks, I was not surprised by the play call.

In all honesty, if he would not have been taking risks in the game, their second TD would have been an FG and the Q4 interception a TD pushing the game to a 2 point conversion followed by OT. <with a lot of assumptions… yada.. yada… yada… >…………..But, by taking the risks, he set the stage for a definite victory.

So, the lesson I learnt was that to attain success risks should be taken, but only in moderation and with calculation, not with momentum and emotion.

When my jeans went out of fashion, I Quit !!!

Summer of ’99

My second year Engineering summer was in the college workshop working the tools -welding, casting, etc. One evening, a buddy of mine (let’s call him… Slash) and I were sitting outside the cafeteria under our University’s symbolic “Polo Hut” and he lit a cigarette. After 3-4 puffs, he casually dragged his hand towards me and I took it from him with the same amount of casual attitude… It was a Marlborough Light (it’s a “Light”! What the Heck!!!)… kept it between my lips and the rest is history… well, not exactly..

Continue reading

The Quiet Call

Originally posted on Amanda Mininger:

As elections draw near for all of us, I’m going out on a limb and saying what I’m not supposed to say:

Which is that the best of humankind has never been determined by a formal process. It’s never been legislated, upheld in a court of law, or spun from a series of campaign ads. The best of humankind starts before all that, before any governing body intervenes or eager politician shakes a constituent’s hand. It starts with that magical moment when humans somehow come to understand that change is nigh, indeed it is ordained, and moving forward is the only option.

It’s not even a conscious decision. Collective humanity doesn’t wake up one morning and while in the shower, declare loudly: “I am deciding right here and now that this issue shall have a new outcome!”

Rather, as with The Hero’s Journey (thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for reminding us)…

View original 760 more words

Finding Vegetarianism in Indian culture

The “Vegetarian” v/s “Non-vegetarian” debate has been on for centuries in India. The debate comes  with mockery, disgust, guilt, doubt and confusion. I happen to be a classic specimen of a confused vegetarian (or not) Indian .

Let me give a little background, I was born and raised in a North Indian Orthodox Hindu (Sanatan Dharma) environment, which in general, prescribes a Vegetarian life as the right way-of-life (Dharma). I accepted this as truth, and remained a strong promoter of vegetarianism for very many years without question. Very few people around me ate meat, which was obviously aDharma (sin).

The first seeds of doubt came during my under-Grad days, where out of my gang of 12 friends, only 2 of us were vegetarian and we were the butt of many jokes due to this. Using quick Math, only 17% of my group of friends was vegetarian, then 83% were serious sinners. Extrapolating the numbers to the world (assuming everyone outside India ate meat), only about 3-5% people on earth seemed to be vegetarian from that angle (there was no Google back then to confirm this). I used to wonder – with so many people eating non-vegetarian food, Hell (Narka) would be very a very busy place.

Well, I had the doubts but I stuck to my strict vegetarian regime. A few years later, I was reading about how all religions tie together and came across a clear reference in the Book of Genesis that eating meat was allowed by God !!! My image of “Dharma” started to shake… Religious differences apart, God is undoubtedly One… How could different people have different Dharma for something as fundamental as food, based on the religion they were born in??? There had to be a prescription that works for all because God created everyone alike. Politicians carved out religions. (We all get to use Azithromicin during strep-throat infections).

When staged with such fear and doubt about one’s belief system,a person has 2 choices:

Continue reading

Open letter to Mr. Vadhera from a well-wisher

Dear Mr. Vadhera,

Since the very day you tied knot into the royal family of India, I have admired the courage, yet have been concerned for about your shortsightedness in the decision of falling in love with Biancaji. I understand Mr. Vadhera, that love is blind and one does not get one’s beloved’s color of blood checked, but your enthusiasm in bringing Indian industry’s standard on top of the world was so much that you may have not noticed that Biancaji belonged to “the” royal family and had very blue blood. At times I wonder, you may have known this all along and your heart just over-powered on your logical part of of the brain.

Mr. Vadhera, you have been anything but an honest businessman contributing to the growth of the country. Your manufacturing and Real Estate businesses are growing above he clouds and the world has its eyes on you to be the next Ambani. But, I’ll tell you a secret today… These opposite party people are jealous of your progress and they are unfairly trying to taint your name with some dirty titles like “corrupt” and “extortionist” and many others I can’t recall at this time. In addition, I must tell you that the people of this country and this evil social media thing is not helping you. I may be alone in this battle, standing by your side, argue with my friends that you are the best possible human being in the world, but what can one voice do Mr. Vadhera? For what it’s worth, people of India didn’t listen to Kejribal ji, how can you expect them to listen to me. Continue reading

कभी धूप में, कभी छांव में

कभी धूप में, कभी छांव में
चर्चा तेरे हुस्न का हर गांव में
तू दरिया किनारे ढूँढे राही प्यार का
एक सौ सात तेरे आशिक़ बैठे इस नाव में

कभी मेले में, बाज़ार में, कभी राहों में
बिछी फूलों कि चादर तेरी चाहों में
नजर तेरे इश्क कि उस नचीज़ पे होगी
डालेगा जो झांझर तेरे पाँवों में

कभी बारिश में, जाड़ों में, कभी हवाओं में
फैली बात हमारी हर तरफ़ फिज़ाओ में
पाजेब की आवाज़ ये राज़ रख ना सकी
सुकून “आदि” को आता है बस तेरी बाहों में

                                            – आदित्य “आदी” सिंग्ला (04 Mar’14)

English Translation

In sunshine and in shade (Translation of Kabhi Dhoop Kabhi Chaav)

Sometimes in sunshine and sometimes in shade

Your beauty is being discussed in every town and village

You’ve been looking for your soul-mate on the river bank

107 men are on a boat waiting for you to make your pick

 

Sometimes in the fair or the market or sometimes on the way,

A bed of flowers is laid in your feet everywhere.

But, you will give your look of love to that humble one

who puts a pair of anklets in your feet

 

Sometimes in rains or winter or with blows of wind

Rumors of our relationship are spreading all around in the air

Sound of these anklets was unable to keep the secret

that “Adi” takes relief only in your arms

 

Original Poem in Hindi Script

दिल की दास्तान (Hindi Poem)

This is the first time I am attempting lines in Hindi, with a Pen Name “आदि”. Must admit, I had forgotten how to write some of the Hindi letters… as haven’t written anything in Hindi since about 2 decades now. I hope you’ll enjoy this.

खामोश दीवारें मकानों में

भीगे नैन अनकहे अफ्सनो में

काँच कि खिड़की बस हिली थी थोड़ी

दिल चूर से टूटा तूफानों में

 

दिल काट के भेजा पैगामो में

कहूँ मन की बात अंजानो में

भूल गए सब रास्ता यहाँ का

तेरी आह ना आयी ज़मनो में

 

क्यूँ “आदि” दरवाजे के पास खड़ा है

उठा ले जो ये बचा हुआ दिल पड़ा है

और छोड़ आ जहाँ जल रही उसकी चीता है

डूबा रहूंगा तेरे अह्सानो में

                                            – आदित्य “आदि” सिंग्ला (17-Mar ’14)

Types using phonics typing section of this.

English Script and Translation below

Continue reading

Let’s define the word “Communal” for Indians

Let’s begin with defining Communal from the Oxford Dictionary

communal – ADJECTIVE Shared by all members of a community; for common use:a communal bathroom and kitchen

Err…. This is not what the news in India makes me believe. I always thought being Communal meant you were a religious  extremist. So, drawing stings out of a hair, by definition if we were to identify communities – there could be different type of communities. Let’s try and explore these different type of communities along with trying to understand their root.

Territorial Communities

  • Tribal people are communal. They do everything for the community
  • Inhabitants of Indus Valley Civilization were communal
  • Connan – the Destroyer might have been doing something for his community
  • Elephants, Jackals, Monkeys, Wolfs and like many other animal, we – Homo Sapiens (a.k.a. Human Beings) live in communities.

Being communal is natural for social animals. That’s where members of the community watch out for each other. They provide food, shelter, security and a common ground for thinking and development. It provides a common ground for building society. A society in which all members are a part of the same community.

In older times, when there was no religion, community was defined by territory. So, wars between tribes to occupy more land could be called communal riots. These tribes, due to communal conflicts started guarding their territories and deployed armies and over the years they became what we now call are countries. Wars between countries, to protect borders, can technically be called communal?

We just established that countries are nothing but Honey-in-blew-up-our-community. I am not undermining the complexities and hierarchy of today’s communities. Country is a community, State/Province is a community under country, District/County is under it, City/Town under it, a division/neighborhood, houses. So, my identity can be drawn down to any level of community I belong to. So, an argument between neighbors on who should get the fence repaired can be communal disagreements?

Faith Based Communities

Back in the day, all members of the tribe had a common object as their God. So, these types of communities did not exist or should I say, they had a 100% overlap. As larger territorial communities started mixing, their set of beliefs and traditions started mixing up. And as a part of building identity within the territorial community, a religious tag got on people making people a part of a matrix of communities. Here, I’ll bring sub-faiths into the mix. So, now you were an Indian Muslim, or a Punjabi Hindu, or a Malyali Christian, or a Mumbai Sikh, or an Atheist, or an Agnostic. Hindus and Muslims fighting over temple/mosque land is definitely communal riots.

Occupational/Caste Communities

I’ll keep going back to territorial communities, because that’s the root of Communal-ism. When the tribes built their territories, the first few occupations probably were Hunters, Guards and home keepers. Leaders in hunting packs may have emerged and then as some equals became more equal, the less equals became servants. Slowly, but surely society emerged, more professions grew and people’s identity was known by their profession or the profession of their father. Some occupations were considered superior than others and people identity got another title in the form of Surname. Commonly called – Caste… So, now people were Traders, Cobblers, Blacksmiths, Kings, et al by birth giving another interesting aspect to one’s identity and sub-dividing community. In the modern world, people don’t usually follow the occupation of their fore-fathers, but it gives them an interesting mix. So, an IT consultant with a last name Blacksmith will fall under 2 groups – Ancestral occupation identifier and current occupation identifier. So, an Architect and Builder arguing over the stability of the front wall of the house is a communal conflict?

Economic Class Communities

Free markets, capitalistic economics, global village, free movement of resources creates another divide in the society – The income inequality gives rise a the Class based communities… this one needs no explanation… Upper Class, U-M, Middle, L-M, Lower, Poor – above poverty line, poor below poverty line. They all have arguments and there is always conflict in interest of different strata of the society.

Racial/National Communities

People move for variety of reasons – in search of food, truth, answers, peace, better life or run away from law or were moved around by colonials. Whatever said and done, they move and they take their physical and behavioral characteristics with them. So, a person’s origin becomes a part of his/her identity and there are communities called out as say Ukrainians in Canada or Nepali’s in India. People from different origins, but similar physical characteristics merge into the indigenous communities usually within 2-3 generations, but people who look different remain a part o a different community forever. So, an Italian in India will be in the Southern European community in India.

Where did India go wrong?

The point of capturing demographics for census world-over for profiling the the ethnic mix (used for variety of reasons – social, product marketing and of course political). Indian politicians have made every possible effort to divide and alienate people falling in every community type in every possible way. For… no guesses here… the vote and the power which comes from it. For this vote, every politician wears a hat when addressing people in the community he’s addressing. A hat that people from that community can identify with. And then the politician talks about the gains to that particular community. So, is it not a communal speech?

  • Rahul Gandhi making a speech to uplift Amethi sounds pretty communal to me. But who cares about him… He’s a moron anyway…
  • Police giving special beating to a goon because he hit a cop, the police might be communal in looking out for the cop community
  • The so-called “secular forces” coming together and waging a media war against NDA, could be communal as these “Secular forces” built a community against Communal BJP and became communal themselves.
  • The army definitely is communal in all shapes and forms. It”s single mission is to protect the borders of the community of India.

I can keep expanding this list for 5 more pages, but I’m sure you got the point that India defined a word incorrectly. India took a perfectly useful word like “Communal” and plagiarized it to mean only religion-based communities. Media and politicians re-defined Communal as the opposite of Secular. The poor word’s feeling trapped in a jail. Let’s try and free this word from the clutched of evil politicians and media. So that I can proudly claim that I am communal and will service any community I can be associated with.

What India needs to do…

Its time to for India to go back on all other types of communal identification except territorial and economic

The political agenda of every party has to be agnostic to religion, race, caste, state or any other ethnic profile. The agenda needs to be trade, infrastructure, jobs, economy, talent retention. The moment a politician goes to a temple and addresses a group of Hindus and says I’ll do this particular thing for your community, the question needs to be how will it help India in the short and long term. When the same politician goes to a mosque and says the same thing, the question needs to be – will your special grant to Muslims reduce unemployment rate in the country. On the point of reservations in educational institutions, the question from Dalits should be why is reservation being given to a Dalit whose household income is more than Rs. 5 lakh a year.

No politician has ever identified with “India” with all population and might and diversity as one single Community. A larger community that encompasses Hindus and Muslims and Dalits and Assamese. Every one who holds an Indian Nationality belongs to the Indian Community and they all walk towards a brighter, developed and and advanced India. Every Indian needs to be Communal and work towards the betterment of his community – the Indian Community. As long as the common goal is to work for our larger community “India”, no one has to be ashamed of his ethnic identity. Politicians, who lure people by making them think that their community is a small division, and not India as a whole should be crucified in the elections.

What Indians need to understand is it is OK to be communal and look out for one’s community. What politicians need to understand is that dividing the country in the name of exploiting communities in ever shape and manner is pulling India down. National policy should needs to be built around national interests, and not religious interests, not caste interests. National policy need to understand the territorial strengths and weaknesses; it needs to understand the economic class gap and work on expanding the middle class and boosting economy.

If we are able to reach there, India will be truly a great nation… where the community is India and communal riots occur only if some other country lays its evil eyes on any part of India.

Alas!!! no one will read this because to bring this change, “Political Will” is required.

 

A Stormy Night (Poem)

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blitze_IMGP6376_wp.jpg

A Stormy night

The chariots of clouds are dark and dull

The city has pulled itself in a lull

 

The winds are taking a ferocious walk

There’s not a single soul to talk

 

First few raindrops struck like arrows

In hiding went the rabbits and sparrows

 

The scary thunder of an army of clouds

Children were anxious with fear and shouts

 

The swords of light made the night so bright

The power went out without giving a fight

 

In an hour there were streams of blood

No cars could move around in the flood

 

This attack from the sky was a huge surprise

Safety prayers for those with close ties

This battle should end by the crack of dawn

I’ve gotta feeling, I’ll need to redo my lawn…

– Adi Singla (19 Apr ’14)