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The Muse

October 25, 2005

A Little Perspective

Its been a while since my last post. In fact, its been such a long time[or short, depending on where you live!], that after hurricane Katrina, the entire hurricane alphabet has been used up and we are now in the "second round", as hurricane Alpha arrived a couple of days back.

I really don't want to talk about Bush, its almost too easy. There are now Bush greeting cards with "Bushisms" on them. Shows you the state of affairs right? My professor bought one to class the other day. Shows Bush holding up three fingers and saying "I have three words for you". Inside it says "thank you"

It just seems like its one straight tragedy after another. Absolutely devastating earthquake, and it is somehow made worse when I get a western spin on the event. Other than the death toll, the news [or what people refer to as news] has been semi lamenting the fact that India and Pakistan did not make use of the opportunity of this tragedy to kickstart a Kashmir "peace process". The remaining news has been focused on how India is handling the event. The NY Times had a report that questioned India's claims of not needing any assistance. They went to great pains to point out that India had refused aid during the Tsunami and was doing the same with the earthquake, and also pointed out that this was India's attempt to be seen as a "giver", rather than a "taker". Sort of like saying, "you are not ready to play with the big guys yet fella". Well, we will see. Although I agree that politics should take a backseat when it comes to saving lives, there comes a time when you do what you got to do.

I saw this big picture of an old lady standing amid her ruins, with tears in her eyes and that really, truly shook me. We see so many deaths and disasters that I think we have unconsciously blocked out their significance so that we can live a normal life. This barrier is overcome only when the loss is close to home, and perhaps because I am so far away from home that it hit me so hard.

Thinking about all this leads me to a discussion I had with one of my friends the other day. Among other things, we found that we shared a common belief that it is essential to have a little perspective when we encounter problems in life. I mean, getting a job or traveling abroad is really important, but what is that when compared to seeing the earth heave up and waiting for someone, anyone, to tell you what happened to your daughter? Before we realize it, we become entangled in this vicious but trivial circle of salaries and job profiles. We need to make a concentrated effort to stop, take a step back and look at who we are, and what we are doing here. Lately, I have heard a lot of my friends here complain about a serious backlog in green card issuances and so on, and my response is - perspective people, perspective!

Well, a lot of heavy thinking there guys. Let's cool down. My friend keeps ribbing me that I don't drink anything other than a "tall,regular" at Starbucks, so I decided to expand my horizons. So, I go in and read, and read......geez [all these "iatos"], I finally ask the hot chick at the counter for a tea with milk, and find out its called Chai Tea Latte. Now, let's translate that. Chai in Hindi is Tea with milk, Tea is tea and Latte is "with milk". So when someone orders a Chai Tea Latte, he is requesting a Tea with milk tea with milk - how dumb is that? I'm sticking to my tall, regular - maybe some room for cream.


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