Friday, December 19, 2008

Mood snapshot: random tag from mail

1. What is your occupation? Student-about-to-become-corporate-slave

2. What color are your shoes right now? I'm barefoot :)

3. What are you listening to right now ? The Cranberries

4. What was the last thing that you ate ? Haldiram Khatta Meetha

5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? A friend

7. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes

8. How old are you today? 23

9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Don't watch sports

10. What are your favorite drinks? Vodka with ginger ale

11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Nope

12. Favorite food? Pizzas, paranthas, sushi :)

13. What is the last movie you watched? Tropa de Elite

14. Favorite night of the year? Birthday eve, maybe

15. How do you vent anger? Crib

16. What was your favorite toy as a child? Stuffed rabbit called Robu or some such

17. What is your favorite season? Just before winter

18. Cherries or Blueberries? Cherries

19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? Sure!

20. Who is the most likely to respond? The friend I last spoke with

21. Who is least likely to respond? The friend's best friend

22. Living arrangements? IIM hostel, called 'dorm' for a reason I cannot fathom

23. When was the last time you cried? When I was 16 :(

24. What is on the floor of your closet? Shoes, plastic bags

25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending to? Can't say, depends on whether we consider frequency of interaction and extent of involvement or merely time since first contact

26. What did you do last night? Watched JFK (the movie)

27. What are you most afraid of? Huge lizards, snakes etc

28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburger? Extra cheese!

29. Favorite dog breed? Dalmation

30. Favorite day of the week? Friday (new movies plus weekend ahead!)

31. How many states have you lived in? 4

32. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds

33. What is your favorite flower? None, really

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Wake up!

There’s been yet another terror attack on our country, right where it hurts the most – in Mumbai. Materially as well as symbolically, these attacks have been one of the worst we can remember. There have been reams written about the attacks, who’s responsible, who’s been insensitive in public statements and who should resign. I’m not going to get into that.

Since the attacks, I’ve received many mails asking me to sign online petitions and mail them forward. Numerous Facebook groups have been started extolling the bravery of our security forces. As always, pundits and citizens have written about who should go and what should be done and how we’re a soft state and so on.

I hate what happened to Mumbai and to all of us. But I don't see much use in signing petitions and heatedly discussing news. I don’t believe we need a million online signatures to prove that we’re all sick to death with what’s been happening. I also don’t see much point in drawing assumptions that may be very off, and constructing action plans and pinning the blame based on those inaccurate assumptions.

For example, it is a common belief that the intelligence is out there and it only requires political will and coordination between forces to act on it. I’m not sure that’s true. We repealed POTA and since then, terrorist attacks have increased. While the Congress has been in power, the Indian Mujahideen have grown. However, was POTA the reason for relatively fewer attacks, and is the growth of the IM to be blamed on the appeasement of Muslims by the Congress, or have the times deteriorated? Is the hate and xenophobia that drives Islamist terror deeply entrenched in the Muslim community in India? How large is the lunatic fringe among Indian Muslims?

These are some of the questions that we naively answer for ourselves and then theorize till the cows come home. I do not advocate slow action in favour of excessive analysis, but I do believe the ordinary citizen knows little and often forgets it in her excitement and righteous passion. Much like cricket, everyone seems to know what to do with terrorism. Much like cricket, I think our best bet is to hope that the best people make the team and leave the rest to them.

Unlike cricket, however, we have more power over who makes the team. We can vote. Discuss, debate, write mails and circulate petitions by all means, but try your best to do the one thing that can certainly make a difference to the state of affairs – vote in the next general election sometime in March next year.

There is a beautifully designed and user friendly website – – that aims to make the exercise of one’s right and duty easier. Register on the website and ten minutes of interactive and painless form filling later, you’re done. You can register here if you’re a first time voter and even if you’re registered in another city and want to change your constituency. You may have seen advertisements of this campaign on TV. The website really works, and if they do what they say they will, this could change the landscape of politics in India by making youth participate.

Let’s talk about all that we ought to do, but meanwhile let’s do what we can.

Personal Blogs by Indian Bloggers