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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dubare Elephant Camp

"While in the midst of nature keep your eyes, ears and most importantly your mind open. Nature is the best teacher we have and she has an uncanny knack of teaching things at the most unexpected of times"! That is what I believe in.

Two days in the wilderness, no access to telephones, no internet connectivity and with the wife in tow. Sounds like a nightmare? Well, this is how we were at Dubare elephant camp. But you know what, we all loved every moment of it. The 'greatest teacher in the world' taught me to respect her and her beings. Be it the jeep safari through the jungle, the coracle ride, bathing and feeding the gentle giants or just lying on the hammock listening to the flow of the mighty river; the message was obvious. You feel incredibly small and insignicant in her presence. She probably passed the message to the team as well. They opened up like they would never have in the concrete jungle. The kids were over board rushing at anything they see. We were scared, but she taught is that if we don't conserve her, this might be their last chance to interact with her. The families and the team bonded like never before in her presence.

By the end of the second day, we were one with her. We gelled better with each other. Most importantly we were rejuvenated to take on anything we do. We now knew that in the bigger scheme of things, though we were playing a small role, it was an important role.

That was Dubare as I saw it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dedicated to the SSMC 95-96 Batch

It's been more than 12 years since we guys met (October 12, 1995, first day at college). Never did we imagine where life would take us and what she had in store for us. Did any of us even imagine in our wildest dreams that we would go to the places we have been to and the achievements (whatever little) we have accomplished? Life is full of surprises and she has surprised a lot of us pleasantly. I wish and pray she continues to do so.

Me and Venky we sitting on Times Square and contemplated about all the good times the whole of 95-96 batch had in college and while studying. We have moved on and met other people, found our better halves, served the community and God has blessed many of us with HIS best gift (our Juniors).

Spare a moment to think about this everyone. SSMC 95-96 batch has truly gone global and don't be surprised if you find one of us anywhere from Tokyo to Timbuktu, Bangalore to Big Apple, Siberia to Sahara, Australia to Arctic. Keep it up guys and gals.

And for those of you who thought that this was one of my nonsense mails. Thank you just for reading. I am truly delighted and not a little bit surprised at what "MY FRIENDS" have achieved. I wish us all great success in whatever we put your hearts and souls to.

Kudos to the 95-96 batch. Three cheers guys - HIP HIP HURRAY . . .

I truly look forward to meeting you in some corner of this beautiful planet we call Mother Earth.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The aftermath - Enough is enough!!!

"Enough is Enough" - That's the caption for the coverage of the Mumbai 2008 terror attack a popular news channel is carrying. Isn't this a bit too late? Shouldn't we as a country have said this a long time ago? We are all responsible for last week. The politicians, bureacrats, intelligence, common man, everyone. But are we ready to take this responsibility? No. Instead we go about passing the buck and try to get the monkey off our backs. Just take a look at the politicians trying to hold on to their chairs and the insensitive statements made by CM and Dy CM level senior politicians about the attack and the loss suffered by families. Just look at all the reports from intelligence agencies saying we had warned you people in advance. All this is the sign of a spineless country trying to find fault within the ranks instead of doing something concrete to stop such things in the future.

My old boss VK once remarked, "We are living in a society where we don't have political, social, financial or religious security. Then how confident are we that we will leave behind a world that is safe and secure for our kids?" True indeed. Given the recent Malegaon blasts and the Mumbai terror attack, you are no longer safe in a "secular country" to display any signs of what religion you belong to unless you want to invite the wrath of others. Each time a terror attack takes place, fingers are pointed at scores of others who suffer irrespective of their religious beliefs. Enough is enough - not just for the apathy we show towards security but also at the way we as common people react and behave in such situations.

For me as a law abiding common man who pays his taxes, makes conscious efforts to follow all the rules of the land all in an effort to ensure that he sets a right example to his kids all to realise the dream that his kid will study at the biggest B-school and one day make me proud. Yes, I am a simpleton who cant think beyond myself and my family. But, do i have a choice? Can I afford to take on the world? Can I afford to leave everything I have worked for and fight against terror? Is it too much to ask from the people we have chosen to do so? Didn't you people promise us that you will take care of us and our country?

Everyday we receive mails saying that India is a great country. In more than 5000 years of existence, we have never attaked anyone, blah, blah and more blah. Someone who's seen these forwards will know what I am talking about. But doesn't this very laidback attitude project us as a country that would not do anything even if our security is questioned. No, I dont mean we should nuke a neighbouring country. That would only lead to more tensions in the region. It also doesn't mean that we keep quiet and wait for the next attack to happen. There has to be a middle path. There has to be a way where we can come across as a strong willed country that can go any ends to ensure that it's people are safe. I don't know what it is. But, I am ready to be frisked 4 times over at the airport or the railway station, I am ready to sacrifice the late night parties, I am ready to be stopped anywhere in this free and democratic country and questioned about my identity. All these and more if it will make me feel safe and also get back to dreaming all those things a common man would dream of. Is it too much to ask for? Can't all our leaders get their act right and strike the middle path?

Can someone give me a guarantee that I will never again in my life stay awake till 4 in the night looking at the TV teary eyed and not knowing when it will be my turn to fall prey to terror? The common man is awaiting a reply and unfortunately right now that is the only thing he can do.