Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Bedtime Story

I am not aware of the exact origin of this story but I heard it from my mother and it has stayed with me all these years.


There was once a coastal town where the townspeople were dominantly fishermen who used to cast their nets in the waters to catch fish and sold it in the market to earn their living. They had been doing this for generations and gradually the fish population near the coast dwindled. This led them to decide that they need to go deeper into the seas to catch enough fish to subsist themselves. With time, they had also grown prosperous and had better boats and stronger nets to withhold the oceanic currents and hence they went off to their expeditions farther away from the coast. It improved matters and they started returning with bigger catches but they soon realized that the fish they caught did not taste the same as before. The customers who bought them complained that they tasted stale. The fishermen thought about it and figured out that earlier they used to catch fish near the coast and the time between the fishing and selling was relatively shorter. Now since they go farther from the coasts, by the time they return with the catch it didn’t remain fresh as before. So they all decided to carry large boxes of ice where they started storing the caught fish. Nonetheless, the customers still complained that the fish still would not taste as good as before. So it was decided that the fishermen would not kill the fish instantly but rather keep them alive till they reach the shore so that the dead fish would not go stale and tastes like the live fish off the coast. For this they carried large vats of water on their boats in which they dropped the fish caught in their nets. Now the fish remained alive till they reached the coast but, alas, the customers complained that something was missing and the fish would still not taste the same. This impelled a serious rethink among fishermen as this had started affecting their sales now. They observed that the fish in the large vats do not really swim around that much and hence they came up with a new idea. In the large vats, along with the small tasty fish they caught for food, they put a small shark. Due to the presence of the shark the small fish swam around furiously just as it did in the open ocean. Of course the shark would eat away some of the small fish but the fisherman still retained eighty percent of the catch. This is what they did and lo and behold, the customers said: wow, what fine fish you caught, it tastes just like before. And the fishermen were very happy.

Life is just like the small fish and the shark represents the various problems we face at different turns of our life. These problems keep us on our toes, in absence of which our life may lose its juice just like the small fish.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

War on terror turns a corner

It is quite risky to write anything about Mr. Laden in general. Not least because he was the biggest goon of the world and the organization he spearheaded still lurks in some murky hole. More importantly, in view of recent developments the number of new snippets on his death far outnumber his alleged sightings while he was still alive (which is really saying something) running the bigger risk of sounding stale or redundant (or both)!

But I am ready to take this huge personal risk on this momentous occasion in the history of modern world. This is because it is so important to believe and record this event. Even though Al-Qaeda still survives, maybe as a mere shadow of its former powerful self, and the terror it perpetrated has metamorphosed into a faceless form defying boundaries - impossible to be contained within the 18 feet high walls of the triangular compound in which its head was captured; the capture and assassination of its head had become far too important to assert the 'don't mess with us' attitude of any human being who despises the dangerous world it wanted to bequeath our generations to come. This war has come a long way from being a struggle between good and evil and attained the status of a battle for survival. It has become the fight for the right to live, the right to choose and the right to progress.

The circumstances and details of his capture also underscore a significant shift in the way we perceive international diplomacy. The fact that he was sniffed out on Pakistan soil by USA does not undermine the tenet of sovereignty, rather adds a corollary to the idea of a free nation. The right to existence and independence as a nation or an individual is not absolute but comes riddled with responsibility, in absence of which it becomes obsolete. If you harbor a terrorist in your house, it can be bombed without issuing you a memo on a on a paper carrying official stamp and duly signed by the local municipal authorities. The fact or fiction about Pakistan's establishment being oblivious from start (= osama being right under their nose) to finish ( = US choppers, how and when ??? ) does not really stand its ground as a counter-argument for more than one reasons. It, in fact, gives us a cause for even greater worry and calls for more stringent international vigilance for Pakistan. A nuclear-capable state full of incompetent oblivious authorities, with "helpful" agencies like ISI at close call can be an inviting haven for any terrorist seeking refuge.

Pakistan will do well to learn from the recent uprisings in the middle east which have ushered the Islamic world into an era of International liberalism after a long winter. The extremist organizations like Al-Qaeda were conspicuous in the recent Arab spring by their absence. Its opportune coincidence with the killing of global mascot of intolerance has thrown us a rare opportunity to uproot the diffuse, yet weakening, global network of terror from its very roots.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Once upon a time I used to be a libran

Once upon a time I used to be a libran - not any more (People who are familiar with the zodiac signs will know that this is not a misspelt version of liberal, which I am not as will be evident shortly). Yes the apocalypse has preponed its date with earth (at least for me) and displaced all the zodiac signs forward by one month. If you want to know how that happened, check this link. But more importantly I am sick worried now what?

I am a virgo now going by the new zodiac rulebook. From being a charming, kind and romantic soul appreciating finer things in life (my modesty prevents me from adding any further), I unwillingly transform into a practical, inflexible and reserved bloke loving health foods (what happens to all the junk food which used to sustain me thick and thin - the latter rarely though!). Gone are the blissful days of indecisive languor, I will be seen fussing over cleanliness and hygiene both inside and off my plate with a tenacity which classifies almost as blasphemy in the libran cult. Also my used-to-be fellow librans, lay off your secret ambitions of a career in fine arts, for now you need to be pouring over volumes preparing to be a doctor or scientist ...imagine! And this is just the beginning of the astrophysical tyranny of astronomical proportions (literally too!). I was really anxious to know about my new zodiac identity so I skirmished some webpages on their traits. All the virgos seem to suffer an OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) about orderliness. Librans live life king size on a king size bed (queen in my case) strewn with anything required for human existence not farther than a foot. And what's up with this lady of the actual virgo sign (what she keeps holding one wonders) - Google told me that it signifies a virgin and obviously belongs to the feminine class of zodiac signs. On the other hand, libra is a masculine macho sign of the zodiac - look at Mahatama Gandhi, Amitabh Bachchan (go getters all of us). So, to sum up, this is what I have got after this celestial rearrangement.. from being this super balanced cool girl, I turn into this cleanliness-obsessed tyrant. I am angry!

But every cloud has a silver lining (like virgos save more money!). Me and my fiance have always faced curious to sympathetic glances of how incompatible librans and capricorns are (he was born in January, the birth month of all those cerebral boring people who faint at the idea of having fun). I hear that virgos and capricorns get along well though. But hey, even he is not a capricorn any more... :(