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The Muse

August 29, 2004

First thoughts

Well, its just been one of those couple of weeks. School started so its been meetings, orientations,classes and what nots. Just could not get myself to sit down and write...

Its been a very humbling experience so far. Most of the students in my class are all accomplished individuals, and I'm not just saying that. The profile includes doctors, professors, math teachers, junior high teachers,psychologists and economics majors. Just goes to show how people are starting to pay attention to Educational Technology and its need. Its kinda shaping up as something that you learn to put on top of your skill set, you mould the areas into something that you find useful and apply it.Definitely exciting.

Also makes me realize how much we/I have left to learn. Let's face it, back home you get a degree, get a job at one of the hot software companies and go abroad once a while - that's it. You're THE man...and here in my class, there is a doctor who spent the summer operating in Africa, there's a professor who teaches Mathematics at the university level - all of them are always updating themselves, learning, constantly evolving...Sure, the environment here is geared to be conducive to such developments, but do we have the will? Something to think about...

I also got into my own teaching stint - I'm handling around 50 students. Great fun.

Our whole gang has been talking about my best bud Sanj's upcoming marriage. At least that guy now has some stories to tell his kids! He goes to India for his brothers marriage, and within one week of that, HE gets married!! Nice!

Of course, been watching the Olympics. I personally think that instead of criticizing the members of the US "nightmare" team that came in third, the media and the fans should kick the asses of the players who did not go- its not like they don't have the money, is it?

I was speaking with my Dad the other day, seems one of my bro's asked him what an "A" joke was. Dad , after a pause, tried to put it in the politically correct terms. And then my brother goes " Oh, like that...hmm...I know one like that, can I tell you?" Life in apna Mumbai...

August 10, 2004

What if?

I was having lunch with one of my professors yesterday - he retired last year and used to teach German History. As is the case with a lot of talented historians, he is very informed about world issues so we tend to have a lot of interesting talks.

This time, he asked me what I thought about the concept of a unified India-Pakistan. This is called conceptual history or, what-if history. Its a lot of fun, and its very instructive to trace back and see how our actions then might have affected our lives now. My take on this theory of a unified India-Pakistan was surprising, most of all to me - I simply could not imagine it!! Think of all the country borders we would be sharing today. As if we don't have enough problems with Bangladesh and China! And what about population? And what about our Cricket teams?

I still remember one of my school teachers who talked, very passionately, about how India-Pakistan had the capacity to become a world player . He also hinted that as the West did not want any other major powers, they played this cat and mouse game with curbing Pakistan's role. All this left a deep impression on me, as I used to believe all that and see the logic behind such views.

But talking yesterday, I realized that for me, and for a lot minded people like me, the concept of India and Pakistan as an entity itself does not work. Sometimes, right decisions are made for the wrong reasons. Its all very fashionable nowadays to question the purpose of our leaders when they agreed to let Pakistan be formed, but even though we are neighbors and brothers and all that - in such a short span of 50 years, we have grown poles apart. Of course, most of it is based on religion [and I somehow feel that India will always remain a "Hindu Secularist" state!]

I watched Govind Nihlani's Dev the other day, it was a bollywood film - so a lot of it was fiction, but as usual he raised so many questions. If you look into yourself and ask - how much to do you really know about other religions? Sure, we are not extremists [only non-believers use their religion to force themselves on others!] and everyone respects other religions, but how much do you KNOW about it? That is what being a secular country is essentially about - its definitely not just tolerating hundreds of different views, but learning to respect and understand all the differences. If this was a bad Bollywood movie, everyone would exchange gifts on festivals and that's it - we are all bhai bhai!!

So all this brings me to think that the reason we are all so uncomfortable talking about Pakistan is that somewhere we still think of it as a part of India that got away. I think that's the wrong way to go about it. Its like a painful exorcism, it hurts everyone and changes you when its removed, but its gone and its better to deal with it. Maybe accepting that, and looking at them as people from another country would be the way to start the beginning of the end of this needless bloodshed...