Thursday, May 21, 2009


I played softball for the first time today. Softball is basically baseball with underarm pitching and all the previous experience I had had of this game was on my Terminator 8-bit video game system. Did you know about the guy who was so bad that he was cheered on by his opposition for inadvertently helping their team? Well, today I was that guy.

There were lots of softball debutants on my team but they distinguished themselves by taking some spectacular catches in the outfield. The fact that we lost 15-0 after 4 innings each, that too thanks to a euthanasiac rule of stopping the game if one team went 15 runs ahead of the other is proof enough that I wasn't the only cause for defeat. I went in steaming today and spilled easy catches and botched the easiest run-outs & double plays, therefore being the central character in my team's tragic story. My batting was my only relative consolation as I middled every pitch that came my way but in keeping with the rest of my day holed out to one fielder or other in the deep. The other batters on my team couldn't even bring bat to ball hence our grand score of 0.

At the end of it all though, I was still pleased. No, not because of the gleeful smile that every player on the opposing side gave me during post-game hi fives between the two rival teams - that was the painful part. What was fun though was being out on a field in the evening after quite a few years, on a team, chasing a ball albeit with little success. Life affords such opportunities so few and far between nowadays that my team mates (a mix of 50-60 year old Asian, American and Latino men & women) were quite lenient with my mess-ups. As far as I am concerned things can only improve from now on. Sports has always been such an endeavour for me. Most days I am just the jester in any sporting encounter but all that keeps me going is the rare day when I am the king, something which is all the more satisfying post all those trials and tribulations.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Long long drive

For all the trouble that my wish is causing I might as well have gone sky-diving again. It's just a simple wish, of a 713 mile long drive from the East coast to the American mid-west, Detroit MI, home to the Mustang, the Corvette and the Charger. People all around me and on the phone are as shocked as if I have volunteered to drive an Israeli military truck past the headquarters of Hamas with George W. Bush as my only co-passenger. This is no monumental achievement of mankind, a 12 hour drive is far too commonplace. People have survived the trip without dozing off at the wheel and so will I.

Folks want to me to fly to Detroit and save myself the 'stress'. What an insult to the ailing erstwhile car capital of the world! Fly in? Hmmph! This is America the first nation in the world to fall in love with that wonderful thing called the automobile and build a network of heavenly roads just to keep the passion in this love affair burning. And if a long mildly curvy highway, an engine murmuring with pleasure at being coaxed to its upper limits and unfamiliar places & names flashing by while Dire Straits mumble their magic out of the sound system qualifies as 'stress', the much misunderstood word needs to be restored to its original glory in the thesaurus- in the company of words like heaven, happiness and satisfaction which are pro-actively pursued by every man yet achieved by so few. It's a pity they never asked me of the path to salvation.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where are the aliens when you need them?

When things are getting too tough on a particular day or when there are so many chores to complete on a weekend that I actually wish it were a working day, I pray for an event that would render all these activities irrelevant. Of course it never happens. Stuff that Hollywood regularly churns up like a gigantic dinosaur looking at me through the window while I brush my teeth, or a spaceship hovering just above our office parking lot would be such a life-saver. I definitely wouldn't give a thought to mundane requirements like keeping a job or doing laundry when my very existence or even my planet's was at stake.

I can't imagine my boss giving me an earful for not submitting that report in time when he looks out at the hovering orbs and sees little green things take their first curious steps on earth. Or that someone would really notice that my clothes were stinky when the hot breath of a T-rex comes steaming in through the window. Besides with all that raw meat that those things eat, it's hard to expect any delectable smells coming from those rows of terrible teeth. Life is definitely in need of more excitement. As Calvin succinctly put it "Reality continues to ruin my life!". 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fleeting hope

This Monday on my way to work, I was seated in the passenger seat up front in the cab. It's been nearly a year in the US for me and the first place that is telling is on my face. My face has assumed a rotundity it had never seen since it was a baby. All the comforts of a first world lifestyle and the the lack of enthusiasm for the fitness craze around me had to tell somehow. For the past couple of weeks though, I have finally realized the need to take things under control and so have worked on a rag-tag fitness regime to bring agility back into my life.

So I look into the right hand rear-mirror on my side this fine Monday morning and am pleasantly surprised by the rapid results of my pro-activeness. I see in the mirror a small and decidedly leaner face looking back at me. "There you go", I think to myself "That wasn't too hard!". Then I read in almost invisible letters at the bottom of this pleasant reflection of mine 'Objects in mirror are closer than they appear'. Darn them, stupid convex mirrors!

Some Tigers worthy of extinction

In an interesting side-note while all the eyeballs are glued to the results of the Indian elections, another historic event of a much greater magnitude is not getting sufficient attention. After a long and bitter struggle for nearly 20-30 years, the blood thirsty terror machine of the LTTE has been brought to a grinding halt. The Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam have finally accepted defeat thereby bringing to a closure (hopefully) to their horrifying history of violence. As the first terrorist outfit to come up with the terribly "efficient" technique of suicide bombings (later borrowed by the Palestinian/Islamic terror groups), they are assured of a gold framed portrait in the Terrorist Hall of Fame. 

Any claims of theirs to be "freedom fighters" are firmly negated by their use of child soldiers, women and children suicide bombers, and their blatant assasination of all Lankan Tamil politicians/groups which were trying to make peace or even leaders of their fellow Tamil revolutionary groups whose cadre they then absorbed into their hordes. Tamil rights may be a real issue in Sri Lanka but the LTTE were definitely not helping to turn world opinion in the favour of Sri Lankan Tamils by rampant acts of terror, drug & gun-running, and terror training to insurgents around the world. It was high time that people saw past their false promises of fighting for the Tamils when all they did was engage in mindless and purposeless murder. The Tamils of the world are so much better with the tarnish of the LTTE off their community. Now the international community can have no reason to grudge them their rights with the bloody spectre of the Tigers put out of the way.

The LTTE even had a squad of suicide attack specialists known as the Black Tigers whose CVs (if you want to call them that) were vetted by their supremo Vellupillai Prabhakaran himself. Being a man who gladly sent hundreds of naive young men and women to their death & wrecked thousands of innocent lives more while living a life of luxury and providing the same to his own children, he has a lot to answer to. Sources say that he might have already fled from the little strip of land where the Sri Lankan army has the last vestiges of his cadre surrounded. His cadre through years of brainwashing will gladly bite the cyanide capsule that they are required to wear around their necks when the time comes. The question is will their chief, the man who coaxed them into such reprehensible activities and unprecedented carnage through his fiery propaganda and misguided zeal find the guts to do so, when he is face to face with his moment of truth?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nice guys do win

So the results of the Lok Sabha polls are out. The incumbent government has retained its power and that too without most of the rabble-rousing allies who had given it a rough time. It's hard to be jubilant knowing the true nature of every government that comes to power - the typical occurence of maybe two diamonds in two tons of sludge. However there is one thing that makes me happy.

It is still possible for the people to have faith in a well-educated, excessively soft spoken man at the helm of the country. I didn't vote in the election due to my absence from the country but I have my doubts whether I would have voted for anything that would cause Manmohan Singh to remain Prime Minister. Our Prime Minister is a brilliant man and economist but he just doesn't strike me as a dynamic leader that a nation like India deserves. It is quite obvious that the nation thinks otherwise even though we do not vote directly for our Prime Ministerial candidate. It is a resounding victory for Congress and its UPA allies as the BJP and the Left got creamed. I think the people to whom the policies and the effectiveness of the government at their local level really affect have spoken and silenced nay-sayers for a significant while.

My only beef with Dr. Manmohan Singh as our Prime Minister was that he seemed too reserved a person to represent the virility of a nation that is supposed to rule this century along with our totalitarian neighbour. I presumed (in retrospective, rather foolishly) that a man of such extreme civility was not the right man to navigate the murky waters of Indian politics. But his opponents were really taking him to task for all the wrong reasons. The man who called him the "weakest Prime Minister I've ever seen" has just seen his own hopes of becoming the Prime Minister of India drown. The Left parties that made such a big hue and cry over him allegedly cozying up to the USA now find themselves completely out of public favour even in their long time bastion of West Bengal. Those who persist in their belief that he is a frontman for Sonia Gandhi and a doorman for lineage dependent Rahul Gandhi's bid for eventual Prime Ministership must bear in mind that this is the guy who had the b**ls (An expression that is so much in contrast with his gentle way of speaking but strangely appropriate) to open up our economy at a crucial juncture before we collapsed into chaos like other socialistic tending economies. We as a nation took a giant leap under the guidance of this man back then. This man is anything but a push-over. Like a tight slap to my pessimistic, couch-potato face, this is solid proof that there is always a way to success and appreciation for the 'talk less, do more' variety of good men yet even in the cut-throat Indian political arena.
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