Party all, dancing in September !

08 Oct

(This blog is not a thinly veiled attempt to build a shrine for my ego and any such incidence is purely coincidental!)

It’s Oktoberfest already, but I have bitter-sweet memories of September (mostly sweet though! ). I hope you’ll indulge me this one time, as I reflect on a very eventful September. I had a chance to revisit some old memories and create some more fond ones. So I am dividing this September blog into 3 acts !

The CWG council shamed Indian government at the quality of facilities and preparations were finalized on war footing, by no other but the Indian army! Before I get into the details, I ask why the hell are we celebrating this nonsense called “colonial heritage”? $7B spent on comprehensive sports/ infrastructure upgrade in Delhi. In a country where many people makes only a couple of dollars a day, what a colossal waste of money? It is yet another excuse to defraud and rob tax payers! If anything, the games are a fitting homage to political nepotism!
India need not be another nouveau rich nation clamoring for recognition in all the wrong areas. Aping our northern neighbor’s 2008 Olympic games performance doesn’t make us a dragon. But unlike Beijing Olympics, people who have been forced out have not been adequately rehabilitated during Delhi CWG. I am resigning to hope that at least the new sports infrastructure would serve well for India’s promising sportsmen. It makes me think that a better way for India is to look inwards. Why stop at cricket IPL? Let us have leagues for hockey, soccer and basketball too! (A note of caution that there be no incestuous relationship between organizers and team owners!) Death to Commonwealth Games!

Having said that, you have to give the devil his due! The “ability” to speak English has served Indians as a blessing! I see tremendous potential from today’s youngsters. Let this decade pave under privileged Indians a path from working class to middle class. English is helping India transform from an agricultural economy to knowledge economy. While Indian babus are busying themselves with stuffing swiss bank accounts, I look for inspiration elsewhere!

Vijay Govindarajan isa celebrated professor at Dartmouth and we need more people like him! Go reverse innovation! A good inspiration for Indians would be Jews! They make up only two tenths of a per cent of the world’s population, and yet, they have claimed twenty per cent of Nobel prizes. Let’s do the calculation for Indians or may be not! Given Obama got a Nobel, you can discount the Nobel, but can not ignore it! Jews may be at the extreme end of human performance, but we still need to up our game! India needs some role models and heroes (and I am not talking of bollywood type! )! As a dissenting patriot, I renounced, a longtime ago, the motto”my country right or wrong!”, and embraced “right my country’s wrongs, so I can always be proud of it”. If my comments have hurt anyone, it’s only to spur them into action

It’s now time to talk about my adopted homeland- the land of the brave and the home of the free- US. Americans go on a limp to pronounce correctly, the words borrowed from European languages. But when it comes to Indian languages, they take all kind of liberty. I am glad Avatar, an Indian word was used for the most successful Hollywood movie of all time. Couldn’t Cameroon have done a little work to find out the actual pronunciation? The same is true for almost any Indian word, be it Guru/ Pandit/Himalayas/Basmati are only a few examples! At least we speak the same way we spell! At times western languages seem unworthy of their global dominance. Selectively skipping pronunciations and then sneering over anyone, who dares to question such idiocy! I want Sanskrit to be a strong contender for being a major international language! If Hebrew can be revived from death, in post worldwar II Israel, as the national language, then so can be Sanskrit, but this time for the rebirth of Indian pride!

Recently there has been a lot of hullabaloo about the discovery of earth-like planet, 20 light-years away. Scientists have been searching for intelligent life in the universe for decades, yet their efforts have been futile until now (apparently)! In all likeliness, they have been avoiding us! Who would want to come here to watch so many reality shows or listen to rap music? I am keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed that they have far superior entertainment, and are willing to share with us! Actually, intelligence is a vastly overrated character. I personally like copying (I mean inspired) better!

Discovery of earthlike planets might be only half the task, as the real work is to conclusively verify the presence of water! It is only a few years ago that Mars rover was able to find water conclusively, now don’t we all think that planet X rover is a little too far away?? I personally feel that we should let other planets be alone. Mankind’s track record with Earth is not so good (read plastic filled islands, BP disaster, climate change). One doesn’t need to look far to find proof. As if smog is not enough bother in LA, I just found out that our pacific ocean is eminently polluted. One would think ocean to be seemingly infinite in its capacity to feed and nurture, and can withstand anything! But man with the aid of technology has achieved the impossible! And to add insult to injury, the most common particles found in LA’s tap water are toilet paper and tampons!

I recently had the opportunity to participate in World Medical tourism conference, held right here at La La Land. I met a lot of providers and made some cool friends too! The three day event has been stressful, with having to attend all one-on-one meetings and also had to take care of my current business. I am lucky to have the conference held at LA, but next year it is going to be in Chicago  Sleeping in one’s own bed is a perk, given most of the attendees flew from half way across the world to attend this conference. Given the conference fees and actual costs on the ground, I can’t help but ask some difficult questions. Who the heck elected the MTA president? and who is auditing the expenses? It’s supposedly nonprofit, but let’s not put all nonprofits on pedestals. Some of them are just a cunning way to run a business with little government oversight, while rewarding the officers 6 figure salaries and obscene perks!

Having just turned 30, it made me think if it is a meaningless milestone or not? Good or bad, Franzen, in his own admission, has turned adult only at age 50, so what’s the hurry? At least physically not very much, but intellectually and emotionally it’s a positive milestone. I believe if you are over 30 and a guy, you need not have your shit figured out AND be married AND have kids. For a girl, either you are a career minded shrew OR a husband hunter. This is a false dichotomy! It doesn’t matter if are a guy or a girl, just have your shit figured out! Life is not about finding your PERFECT partner, but rather knowing that there is none, and be realistic about it! So, if marriages are mostly hit-or-miss, weddings are always fun. After a really long time, I attended a charming, elegant wedding at a very cute garden café! Congratulations to Alfredo and Lucy for making that leap of faith, and may be I can learn something from them. I certainly noticed that the couple is very much passionate about each other! I am certainly thankful for being part of a joyous occasion.

Talking about auspicious things, September 17 was very auspicious, as Oprah finally mended fences with Franzen. She allowed Freedom into her book club! Franzen mania has taken the fiction world by storm. It took me some courage to actually PAY for a book, but such is Franzen mania. I’ve ended up buying the e-book. What’s better than having the celebrated author narrate the story in his own voice! I promised myself that this is not going to happen again. What are Barnes&Noble and public library created for?? This book made me reevaluate my life’s goals. It made me aware of broken families in America and created somewhat premature regrets about my own future. The next logical step would be to read “The Corrections”, the book that got Franzen National Book award in 2001.

Incidentally I snagged an invitation to Final Draft Screenwriting awards, and this year’s award is being awarded to Aaron Sorkin. So I dragged my friend Sunil (again) to the opening of the movie TSN. As we all might/should/must know, Sorkin wrote the screenplay for TSN. I heard all the talk about TSN being the top Oscar contender but now I know why! Watching TSN movie is the one of the few spur-of-the-moment decisions that I do not regret! The movie had the discipline to stick mostly to the facts, though some dramatization seems understandable, to appeal to the romcom addicted audience. The movie’s premise is fantastic, given FB is at its peak of popularity.

Most people on FB have no clue about the origins of the portal that they visit zillions of times. The majority of people on social networks are clueless when it comes to privacy, both theirs and others. The recent suicide of a Rutgers undergrad student, Tyler clement, is just one of the many ugly faces of social networks. For FB/twitter generation, where does privacy begin? Not only everyone is a celebrity but also a paparazzi/voyeur. FB has become a never ending high school popularity contest, and something gotta give! It is just not peer pressure to have a FB profile but also be judged by the number of friends , and the number of postings on the wall. In good ole days, you can forget any undesirable “friends”, but here you are in virgin territory. Who to add? Whose posts to comment on? And who to invite to events? On the other hand, FB takes burden off us, by giving great tools to manage acquaintances and organize social life. So we have more time to manage actual friends in the real world!

No story of FB is complete without the talk of FB’s valuation of $33B. The valuation seems very high, as similar .coms had difficulty monetizing. It’s not like Google 2003, as analysts would like us to believe, which provided very valuable service. Google is in no small extent responsible for the success of entrepreneurs like me! It made a lot of information disposable. Why memorize it when you can search (I mean Google) it! These days you can Google anything under the sun/stars/moon! One conclusion from Zuckerburg’s tale is that one is one’s own painter of life. It’s no ordinary feat to go from nobody to 500m friends in just a few years. All one has to decide is, how do you want your portrait done? I just wanted to be a millionaire when I turned 30 and this guy is already a billionaire, and he is not even 30!!!
Tune in this for this page, as I update on AR Rehman concert, Vegas trip and development in developing nations !

(This blog is not a thinly veiled attempt to build a shrine for my ego and any such incidence is purely coincidental!)


Posted by on October 8, 2010 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Party all, dancing in September !

  1. Murali

    October 9, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    nice one. Agree with the English piece perfectly 🙂

  2. ssvamsi

    October 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    thanks Murali for the comment. I am trying to lead the discussion and help audience think rather than me suggesting them. It’s easier said than done. I will update with part 2 of the blog very soon!


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