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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Must be Living Someone Else's Life !

I was only 13. I brought a pup home after fighting with all my family. I called it Mickey. The dog died after a year. Everyone else in my family cried and I kept wondering why.

My father had a heart attack when I was 15. He loved me the most amongst all the siblings. No one told me about it, scared, that it would break me. Five days later they took me to the ICU. Tears rolled down my father's eyes on seeing me. I was cool. He got better and I kept wondering what the fuss was all about.

I did not do my homework and projects in school. My brother and my sister did it for me. I did not fill a single application form for admission to a college. My Father did it for me. I appeared for one interview, got selected and joined up. That happened to be the first and the last interview of my life. Till now, that is.

My work life was no different. I was just not concerned ( The Xomba user ‘notconcerned’ must be getting concerned). Nothing fazed me and somehow without much effort on my part, things kept falling into place, they still do.

I don’t get angry, unless someone wastes his or her entire life and soul trying to do that. Nothing affects me. At times I have to act to show people that I am angry.

I don’t get frustrated. I take it as God’s will and start planning about what to do next. No point wondering why and how? I know when to quit. Some people call it positive thinking, some, evasive action.

I don’t stop to wonder what is happening. I don’t analyze myself and nor do I try to critically look at my own actions. I don’t feel, anything. I am out of touch with my feelings or maybe I don’t want to be in touch.

I don’t show my emotions, presuming I have any. Some consider it macho, some cowardly.

I drink. I smoke. I overeat. I swear. I just couldn’t care less. I don’t exercise. I don’t have many friends. I don’t trust anyone, neither does anyone else, me. I don’t know where my life is heading and somehow it does not matter to me.

What is it with me? Am I mad, crazy or just too wise? Either that, or I must be living someone else’s life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Anger Management

Have you ever shouted at a cow or a dog who stepped in front of your car right out of nowhere and your prized possession barely escaped getting scratched or dented. What’s more, you narrowly escaped hurting or killing an animal, the guilt of which would have lingered in your subconscious for a long time to come. Chances are you cursed and you cussed but did not get out of your car to give a piece of your mind to the four-legged one. If anyone did, get out of the car, to explain the traffic rules to the animal, you really need help.

Has anyone shouted at God almighty when things don’t go your way? I did once but to no avail. He had too much patience and control over his anger and did not bother to respond to my threatening pleas.

How many times has it happened that you saw something wrong going on but did not react telling yourself that there is no reason to bother, since the incident did not affect you directly. A stranger driving too fast on the highway, a father, not known to you, hitting his son etc. Think seriously, how many times has your raving and ranting, helped get out something positive out of a situation, other than giving you the satisfaction that you did not take it lying down.

How many times did you get angry when you knew that somehow you were responsible, even though, partially, for whatever happened?

There are some important lessons about anger and it’s management in the above paragraphs. Three of them are:

(a) We don’t get angry when we know that the anger is not going to register with the one responsible for our misery or when we are certain any amount of anger is not going to result in anything.
(b) We don’t get angry when we are convinced that the anger generating act is not going to affect us in any way.
(c) We don’t get angry when we know that we are partly to be blamed for the situation.

Herein lies the secret to controlling your anger.

You must understand that when you are angry with anyone, more so when with the people known to you, they switch off and their senses take a flight. They do not understand the things you are saying. They become defensive and are already figuring out how to justify their act or how to get out of the situation or how to assuage your temper. They have stopped listening to your logic and whatever you say is falling on deaf ears. In short it is akin to shouting at an animal, whose tail caught you on the face when you passed by. If the other party is better at anger management than you and do not give it back to you at the very next instant, it just means that they care for you or are scared of you or just couldn’t care less. The last two situations are not very desirable and if it is the first one you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You will be much better to engage the other party in decent, civil discussion and put across your point of view to avoid a similar circumstance arising at a later day.

When I look back upon my life and that of my temperamentally ‘hot’ friends and relatives, nothing they ever got angry for, has affected their life for good. It was very temporary and in most cases the things resolved themselves leaving only a taste of bitterness in their relationships. They actually laugh about the things they did and I am sure feel a sense of shame. What I am saying is, Are the things that are making you angry really affecting you. 99% of the times no. This is evident from the fact that if the same thing happens to some other person you will probably think nothing of it. Then how does it matter so much when it happens to you. The trick, a difficult one to practice, is to detach yourself from the situation. Leave the body for some time and think that it is happening to someone else and how you would react when this thing happens to someone else. Chances are you will realize that it’s nothing. Most of what we consider to be PROBLEMS are actually minor inconveniences. Just think nothing of it. It is NOT a life changing or threatening situation and will pass.

Whatever the situation, give the other person the benefit of doubt and know that you were also in some responsible for the situation. You can’t clap with one hand, can you? If you think this way, you can not only avoid getting angry but also give yourself the time to think holistically about the situation and be more pragmatic while discussing it later. Stop being so certain of yourself and ‘knowing’ that grave injustice has been done to only you and letting fly at every occasion. You must pause, count up to ten or do whatever it takes you to let the moment pass and then consider what happened before you jump to conclusions.

To summarize, getting angry will only end up spoiling your relationships and your health. It also will create a feeling of bitterness in the other party, who I am sure will wait for the day when he/she can get back at you. So much more can be achieved if you can control your anger and sort out issues / give out lessons / preach when things are under control, emotions are not flying and the other party is willing to listen and engage.

One last thing, remember to give yourself and others a chance. Don’t get angry at the moment, you have your whole life to do so.

Friday, December 25, 2009

When Will We Ask The Women?

Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, Mahavira, Gobind Singh? Enough proof that mythology was written or created by man?

It goes against human as well as divine nature that God, irrespective of his sex would give the honor of reproduction to a different sex, unless of course he/she was aware of the pain associated with the process of reproduction. Pain could not have been a reason for handing over the procreation part to women because God in our own eyes is strong and would not have bothered about the same sex not being able to handle it. God is also just and fair and therefore would not have put the burden of childbirth as well as rearing the children on the women just because it was inconvenient.

God was also very certain of the idea of putting the life cycle in a continuum and hence would have thought about it nicely and properly before he/she put it in motion and would have certainly thought about the capability of the two sexes to handle pressure and the pain associated with the process of procreation. Therefore logic has it that God must be a woman since she knew what she was capable of and also trusted her kind to take her idea forward.

How can one call God just and fair if he/she, till now has not chosen a woman to create a religion, (No, Madonna and Kabala do not qualify). All the religions have their genesis in men. That, all of them are seriously messed up, is a different matter altogether. Essentially what the men have done is nothing, but preached from their perched up lives all the time. Lazy bums, I would call them. Forever in conflict with the women and trying to suppress and subjugate them. None of our spiritual leaders or Gods, shall I say, ever respected the women enough or treated them at par with the men. How could they have been so partial to another human being? I guess the answer lies in the fact that they always knew who was better and tried their best to establish superiority by slander and fifth column. I can only presume that men have created all the religions and the idea essentially was to lay down guidelines for the women to follow. It so happened that it would have looked so churlish that the men who were creating religions also said some cock and bull about other aspects of human life, which I must say are totally open to debate. In any case no one is talking about the other aspects of religion, mostly it is about how women should behave.

All of us who have been associated with women (except a few unfortunate ones) do realize that women are much more spiritual beings and understand life much more than men do.

Ask a man a question and you will get a politically correct, to the point, extremely relevant and practical answer. Ask a woman the same question and you will get the entire perspective behind not only the question but also the situation that prompted you to ask the question in the first place.

How many women has one heard of leaving for the Himalayas to seek Niravana and answers to the questions life has thrown at them? Men do it constantly. And in most cases it is only after they have saddled the wives with a multitude of kids to look after. Is it not an escapist attitude? Women on the other hand handle all aspects of their existence with grace and dignity and still manage to have the maturity to look after and care for their husband after return with another failure up at the Himalayas, equally confused and lost about the meaning of life.

Most women never try to achieve Nirvana. I have never heard of one. Is it because they are already there? They experience it constantly through birth, childhood, love, marriage, childbirth and then death. They do not need to seek it. That is why I think God was a woman and the men are unfortunate, despite the ones that tried to give manhood glory, that we will always be seeking the meaning of life and never finding it.

It is high time that we asked the women to come front and take part in this madness and deliver us. We have given enough chances to the men to set things right, to get the meaning of life. When will we ask the women?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Looking for Last Minute Gift Ideas or Somewhere Fun to Party on New Year's? - Xomba - pitchengine.com

Looking for Last Minute Gift Ideas or Somewhere Fun to Party on New Year's? - Xomba - pitchengine.com

Whether you are looking for a unique Christmas tree or a great New Year’s party that doesn’t break the bank, Xomba has you covered

12.17.2009 – Jacksonville, FL – It’s that time of year again, the lights are up, Christmas music is everywhere and Xomba.com, the online community where writers can earn money for their work, has a stash of new articles on a variety of holiday topics.

Want to help others this holiday season but alittle short on funds? No problem, this article has some creative ideas on how to help worthy causes:
http://www.xomba.com/cant_afford_donate_you_can_give_blogging_charity

A must read for every parent, the top ten gifts of 2009:
http://www.xomba.com/top_10_best_christmas_gift_ideas_2009

Three great, simply ideas on how to have a greener holiday season:
http://www.xomba.com/save_earth_and_save_money_christmas

Tired of the same old Christmas tree, visit treetopia and find a new one:
http://www.xomba.com/treetopiatraditional_weird_and_just_plain_wacky_christmas_trees

The holidays are for pets too:
http://www.xomba.com/pets_and_holidays

“There’s a lot to do this time of year” says Nick Veneris, founder and CEO of Xomba.com, “Xomba has a great collection of articles with how-to guides, gift ideas and other resources that can help you get everything done so you have time to relax and enjoy the holidays.”

With around 10 million page views per month Xomba is one of the fastest growing user-generated content publishers on the web and a great place to learn about all sorts of topics. It’s also a great way to make a little extra spending money during the holidays.

About Xomba
Xomba.com is a social networking site designed to provide a community for those who are interested in writing, reading and sharing a variety of work and opinions. Writers are able to earn money online and are encouraged to publish magazine-like articles or short summaries along with links to information which interests them in order to increase their earnings. With features such as the ability to share, vote for and bookmark favorites, users can keep up with each other and make friends with other writers, all while marketing their work. For more information, visit www.xomba.com.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Breasts Are The Best

Now, there are all kinds of men. Men have different tastes, legs, thighs, neck etc. But me I am a breasts man. I just can’t get over breasts or have enough of breasts. There is something about them that keeps me hankering for more. And it’s not any one type, which I am especially bowled over by. I love all kinds, small breasts, big breasts, the meaty fleshy kind and the hard muscular type. They all have the same effect on me.

Show me a breast and I start salivating like crazy. My eyes pop out and then I am no longer in control and I just don’t care what people think about me thereafter. Anyone and everyone who has been with me says that they are embarrassed by my behavior. They just don’t understand that just seeing a breast is enough to put that delicious taste in my mouth and the entire nervous system then conspires to send the messages to my body parts to devour the object of my desires.

All my friends, women included, have told me that there is more and constantly advise me to shift my attention to other parts, there is the legs, the neck, thighs etc. I have tried but to no avail. Somehow the other parts of the anatomy just don’t do it for me.

Just last week, I decided, enough is enough, no more breasts for me. Anything else would do just fine. Two days later I am in the market. I stand in front of the glass counter. Legs, neck, thighs,… legs, neck, thighs.., I keep reminding myself. Then I spot them. The most meaty, shapely and luscious breasts. And there goes all my determination. I fell for them and blurted, “I will have breasts.”

The man, he knew me, next to the counter repeated what everyone has been telling me, “So much is not good for you. Why not try legs, something else.... You never order anything other than Chicken Breasts.”

Are we Killing Tiger Woods?


There has been a frenzy of reports regarding the accident that involved Tiger Woods in the media and the internet for a few weeks. A few of the gory details involving his crash can be read in this report, "As the police continue to investigate the Tiger Woods car crash incident that happened early Friday morning (November 27), it is believed that the golf stud had been involved in domestic violence prior to getting into his Cadillac Escalade.

According to Radar Online, Woods had gotten into an argument with his wife Elin Nordegren that escalated into a physical altercation. A neighbor told press they overheard Tiger shouting “You’ve ruined our Thanksgiving! Are you happy now?” at Elin as he left the house."

Well, apparently Tiger Woods had a lot of secret affairs and they all slowly came to the surface after this accident, shocking not only his poor wife, but the entire world too and his dear fans. Now, Tiger Woods is a great Golf Champion and has won many a trophy for this sport. But, that does not seem enough for the people at large, they are after his blood, wondering how he could be so "Immoral"?

What do we gain out of his personal affairs or his private life? What difference does it make to you or me if he was cheating on his wife? The truth would have come out sooner or later. Will the media now take great pleasure in ending his career and his life?

His wife is now asking for a divorce settlement. She wants the custody of her children. So, He has lost his wife, shattered his marriage, lost his kids and now has also lost a number of his sponsors and endorsements that he had going strong for him just a while back!

He apparently has decided to quit the sport (Golfing) that he loved the most and was good at. Have we lost a great sportsperson? Are we killing him, mercilessly, just for his "immoral" values? What has all that got to do with golfing?

He has apparently taken to the seas to literally, ride the storm that is blowing his way, and hopefully he will return when the storm has passed. But, will it pass quietly or will it destroy everything in it's path? Only time will tell. Till then, my sympathies are with Tiger Woods, not for what he did to his wife, but for what has happened to him.

See Pictures of Tiger Woods: http://www.pgatour.com/players/00/87/93/

Do Students Make a School Good, Or Does a Good School Make Good Students?

Do Students Make a School Good, Or Does a Good School Make Good Students? I was forced to think about this as I went about searching for a "good" school for my son, as my husband is taking retirement from his current government job and moving into the private job sector. This move, on the part of my husband will require us all to move to another part of the town in order to settle down to a new way of life.

We went scouting around the new place for a "good" enough School where we could seek admission for our son. So far, his primary education has been in the Central School (Kendriya Vidyalaya) that follows a CBSE syllabus and my husband wasn't particularly very happy about the way the teachers would handle the students and the subjects, not to speak of the discipline, which didn't seem to exist at all. Not that my son is a "duffer". No, he is, on the contrary quite an intelligent boy, who can grasp things very fast. The only drawback he seemed to face was that he needs special attention and to be pushed to show his true potential in any activity.

Anyway, so our quest for a "good" school that will be worthy enough, began. Now, I have heard of plenty of, so called "good schools", the likes of Delhi Public school, DAV Public School, Bombay Scottish, etc. etc...The list is endless. There are also many international schools around that boast of being real good schools.

Now, my question is, what is a "good school"? Does a "good School" really make a student worthy and good or is it vice versa? Will it really matter, which school I get admission for my son? I try to remember some students (celebrities) that made their school proud, and I couldn't come up with a single name. Did Sachin Tendulkar become a great batsman because of his school, or was it because of his own genius? Would it have made any difference if he had studied in any other school? I wonder.

I truly believe that if a student has any potential at all then it doesn't really matter which school he goes to. A student can perform well anywhere and will make his school proud, whether the school was good or not is immaterial. Recently, I saw that a student from a relatively lesser known school had won the Spelling Bee Championship. Obviously, he has made the school proud and has proved it to be a "good" enough school. So I guess I really need not bother about which school he goes to, as long as it is decent enough and has the basic facilities for proper growth and development of a child, and provides equal opportunities to all students to excel in any field that they choose.

What do you feel?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tiger Woods - 18 Till I Die

The long list of Tiger Woods' exploits has reached 18. One for each hole, maybe it was some kind of a target he had set for himself. Being a Golfer would have automatically brought the number 18 to his mind for setting a target. What remains to be seen is if he goes beyond that magic figure.

1. Rachel Uchitel
2. Reality star Jamie Grubbs.
3. Single mum and ex model Cori Rist.
4. Brunette Kalika Moquin, Vegas hostess.
5. MGM party favourite Jamie Jungers.
6. Diner waitress Mindy Lawton.
7. Former VIP cocktail waitress Julie Postle
8. Sexy married British TV presenter who was single at the time.
9. Blonde former cocktail waitress from Orlando, now also represented by lawyer.
10. Porn starlet Holly Sampson, who bedded him at his birthday party.
11. Blonde "cougar" Theresa Rogers, 49, now represented by lawyer Gloria Allred.
12. Ex Playboy cybergirl and Hawaiian Tropic model Loredana Jolie.
13. XXX porn star Joselyn James, whose family confirm their fling.
14. Movie star Jessica Simpson named by US magazine as a close "sextexter" of Tiger.
15. Twenty-something Atlanta party planner.
16. Sexy Illinois student who loves partying in Vegas.
17. Blonde party planner from Orlando, who had links to the UK.
18. Single mum San Diego dancer called Star.

So is Tiger singing "18 Till I die" to his wife Erin convincing her that he would be faithful now and the number would not exceed 18. Fat chance of that. Once a cheater, always a cheater. Frankly his wife has no reason to either trust him or continuing to stay with him. Again why would Tiger Woods himself be interested in staying with her, now that the cat is out of the bag. When everyone knows about it and with his wife never going trust him again why would he not like to be free and independent. Maybe even renew his contacts with all the 18.

If any of them or both decide to stay together, it will mostly be because of media pressure. Erin deciding to put up a brave and mature face, la Hillary Clinton and Tiger to prove that he is not a bad man after all and is repentant. In either case it will be a facade since both know exactly what the other person thinks of him/her.

The loss to Golf will be immense if Tiger gives it all up for a woman. So will be the loss to so many more women, Tiger must be thinking.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Why and How To Buy LCD Monitor - Advantages over CRT Monitor and Specifications

Some of us refuse to keep in pace with technology. Reason, if we could do with or without something, we can continue to do so. There are many who still refuse to use computers to their advantage, leave alone using the Internet. An LCD monitor is one of these upgrades in technology which doesn't, in the eyes of these people, offer any advantages besides looking good on the table. They couldn't be far from wrong.

An LCD monitor offers many advantages over the good old CRT monitor. Let's see why one should buy or upgrade to LCD monitor.

First the obvious ones and then the larger issues.

(a) LCD monitors look good on the table.

(b) It occupies much lesser space and also increases the distance between the eyes and the screen.

(c) It is much lighter and easy to shift and transport.

(d) It consumes much less power than the CRT monitor of the same size. The power consuption of LCD monitors is as less as one-third of the same size CRT monitor.

(e) CRT monitors generate much more heat than LCD monitors.

(f) CRT monitors are susceptible to magnetic interference. LCD monitors are not.

(g) CRT monitors are known to emit VLF radiation, which may be damaging to health. The debate on this was prolonged and the jury is still out. Probably because there was no option earlier. Now that LCD monitors are replacing the CRT, maybe we will get to know the truth once the world is ready to phase out the CRT.

(h) LCD monitors don't have the flicker effect, a constant problem with CRT monitors due to lower refresh rates causing headaches and strain on the eyes.

(i) LCD monitors typically have a life of 30 - 50 thousand hours compared to 10 - 20 thousand hours for a CRT monitor.

(j) LCD monitors are brighter and reflect lesser ambient light than the CRT monitor.

(k) Sharper image quality, higher contrasts and higher resolutions are offered by LCD monitors

(l) LCD monitors are greener and produce less hazardous waste compared to CRT monitors which generate lead, cadmium, phosphor, barium and mercury.

I suppose the above advantages are sufficient for one to throw the CRT monitor out of the window. Don't actually throw it out, you can sell it back to the vendors and get some money back to part finance your LCD monitor.

Now that you have decide to buy an LCD monitor, let's see what are the things to look out for, be way of specifications, to get more bang for your buck?

Size: The bigger is not always better, you have to consider your own requirements for deciding this like if you are going to be watching movies on computer, a bigger size is better, but for normal working a standard 17-19 inches is better. However what you do need to notice and ask for is the viewable size, there are some 19 inch monitors which have a viewable size of 18.5 inches. That is surely not what you want to take home.

Aspect Ratio: This is the ratio of the horizontal and vertical measurement of the screen. Traditionally 4:3 was the AR of choice but now 16:9 AR monitors are in the market which are suitable for gaming and movies. These monitors are generally identified by the word "wide".

Resolution:
LCD monitors have, what is called a native resolution. This means that the LCD monitor will function at its best at the native resolution. Yes, you will be able to adjust the resolution just like in a CRT monitor but be ready to sacrifice the picture and performance, you also may not then use the full screen of the monitor. It is best to decide beforehand and go for the desired native resolution.

Viewing angle: Most LCD monitors are now coming with a viewing angle of 160 degrees, which is far more than what is required for working on the computer. Unless you are palnning to screen a movie for the entire neighbourhood in a small room, but do make sure that you are not getting something like a 110 degree angle.

Contrast: The ratio of the brightness of white to black pixel is the contrast. The higher the number the better it is if you want blacker blacks and whiter whites.

Dynamic Contrast ratio: This is certainly different from the contrast ration and is the lowering of the backlight brightness to achieve better contrasts. This number is usually much higher than the contrast ratio, so don't get taken in by the DCR, though it does improve the picture and the higher it is the better.

Response Time: The minimum ime required to change the color of a pixel is called the response time. Obviously the lower it is the better. Anything less than 12 ms is sufficient for even gaming. Most displays now come with 5ms response time. A high response time might mean ghosting and motion blur during gaming.

Brightness: Measured in nits, candelas per meter square, it signifies who much light is being produced by the panel. The higher it is the better.

Connectors: Earlier all the monitors used to come with the analog connectivity using the DSub, 15 pin connector. Now the digital interfaces are available, like the DVI and even HDMI. However make sure that your video card supports these interfaces before you pay more for this type of connectivity.

Color depth: The number means the number of colors the monitor can display. The higher it is the better the picture is.

Pixel pitch: The distance between two pixels is the pixel pitch. The lesser the distance the shraper is the picture.

Adjustable height stand: Though most stands have the swivel and tilt feature if the kids are going to use the computer along with the adults it is better to ask for a stand with an adjustable height feature.

If you take care of these aspects while taking a decision on which LCD monitor to buy, that would be sufficient and you ought to get the best deal.

It is not that LCD monitors do not have any disadvantages, they do but rest assured that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Happy shopping.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who is Helping David Coleman Headley?

An excerpt from my book Enemy in the Ranks:

Rajen asked the man, “Were you in the office during the time
this application came?”
“Yes, but I was not the OS at that time. Someone else handled
the file.”
“Can you tell me what his name is now, the new one,
I mean?”
“Of course, it should be in here,” Mr Mahtre opened the file
and flipped the pages. After some time, he became frantic and
said, “Goodness gracious. The papers are missing.”

Remarkably similar to what has happened with the Headley papers missing from the Indian consulate in Chicago.

But then this is what usually happens when the insiders are colluding with the miscreants. They render all the help, put all the paperwork in order and when something goes wrong the papers or the files go missing. It doesn't really take a Sherlock Holmes to figure this out. So instead of looking for the file in the Headley case, the Indian government ought to be looking at who was the insider who sold the country away.

And if they are expecting any help from the US or the FBI, the Indian side is behaving in a real amateur fashion. History tells us that more often than not, it is the US which is playing games with other countries for their own selfish interests. There is talk about Headley being a rogue agent. Whether he is rogue or an agent who was very close to being caught and hence declared rogue, we will probably never know now.

India should be wary of all the players in this field, not knowing who is the enemy and who the friend is. We don't know for sure whether what is being played out is a part of drama being orchestrated by the US. We don't know whether US is helping India or Headley or just Pakistan by diverting attention from the constant blame for 26/11 that India is striving to put on Pakistan. But with the Headley papers missing from the Chicago consulate, one thing is sure that there is an Enemy in the Ranks, our ranks, who is helping terrorists to inflict mayhem in the country.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Enemy in the Ranks is Now Available in the USA

Good news for my friends and readers in the USA. "Enemy in the Ranks", my action thriller novel is now available in the USA. It is not in the brick and mortar stores yet but it is available online at printsasia.com, a website which specializes in stocking south asian books. The online store is based in New York and hence the shipping costs are not high as against shipping from India which makes the shipping costs higher than the product cost. Check out the link below to buy "Enemy in the Ranks" by Varinder Taprial.

http://www.printsasia.com/BookDetails.aspx?Id=142324512

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Climate Change - Copenhagen Climate Summit

In following the Copenhagen climate summit so much is being talked about the climate change all over the Internet and the newspapers that it would seem that Climate change was the only problem afflicting this earth. In the process people seem to have to have forgotten the other problems like food shortage, poverty, water problems, illiteracy, AIDS etc. Do I hear someone say that the climate change is responsible for all this? Very convenient for someone who does not have other problems to think of.

Do we really think someone in Somalia is bothered about the emissions when he does not have any food to eat? Is some poor beggar on the Indian roads bothered about how much pollution a rich man's car is causing, as long as he gets some money from him? Is a poor child trying to study under a street light bothered about how much coal is being burnt to provide him that light? Not really.

I really do not understand what the motive of the Industrialized countries is to insist upon the less fortunate ones to follow their diktats or example. It almost seems like the developed nations are saying, "If you do not stop polluting, I will also not do so." That is a funny logic. If some country can achieve some kind of reduced emissions status and can do so conveniently, why do they just not go ahead and do it? It will surely help. Why then are they insisting on others also to follow suit?

It has something to do with control, I guess. I remember on earth day people want everyone to switch off their lights for one hour. Fat lot of difference it made to any one. Better would be to insist on people to switch off lights when they are not required. Similarly people should control emissions to the extent they can without insisting on everyone else to do the same.

The only comprehensible logic I can see to this "follow the leaders" kind of attitude is that the developed nations want to sell their advanced technology to the poorer nations and to that end snatch away the use of cheaper natural resources from them. If that was not the case the proponents of Climate change would silently be reducing their emissions and setting an example for the other countries to follow by the incontrovertible proof of a better life for their citizens. Didn't the various inventions over the history of mankind find their own followers? Why do the developed nations think that the other countries will not follow suit if they succeed in making a difference by preaching what they are trying to teach?

Under these circumstances what is the Copenhagen summit or any other summit going to achieve?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reading Cafe Blog Gets Featured in "Blog Awards"

Reading Cafe Blog Gets Featured in "Blog Awards"

For almost two years now, I have been maintaining my blog called "Reading cafe". I am so excited and thrilled to see my blog being featured in a "Blog Award". The website that has bestowed this great honor upon my blog, deals with Dog Health Problems.

Blog award.JPG

I am really happy to see my blog being featured in this manner. It is a big deal for me and my day is made today. :-)) I can't help grinning from ear to ear....

Xomba is truly an amazing site and one can do wonders here. Writers and non-writers can both flourish equally with just a little effort and dedication, and that is all that is required. One can get true inspiration, motivation and encouragement from the great community of writers onboard and not to forget the support from the Xomba staff that is always at your fingertips.

It still amazes me that I can sit back and relax and yet get a check at the end of the month. It may seem like a small amount (>$100), when converted into Indian Rupees, but let me tell you that this amount has helped me to be able to save money every month and I have been able to live a much better lifestyle than I had ever dreamed of before. I have even begun to rely on these monthly Google Checks towards my savings. Isn't that great!!

You must be wondering, why am I busy extolling the virtues of Xomba, while I am on the topic of my blog? Well, I started my blog as an extension to Xomba. In other words, it was a sort of back up for all the articles that I was posting on Xomba, plus a few extra tidbits of my own. There were times when I had more than 7000 visitors in a day for particular occassions. It's been a great journey so far and a most fruitful one at that, I must say.

My heartfelt thanks to Dog Health Problems website for honoring my blog. I have reciprocated by including the link to this webste in my blog. This website would be very helpful for all dog owners as it covers all the Dog Health related issues.

Visit The Shopping Arcade - The Pet Store for more pet related products.

Visit My Home Page

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

America Cosying Upto China - Where Does That Leave India?

The media may be talking about Obama bending backwards to accommodate China by bending forward, but what we are missing is that in China the US has probably her biggest ally. And even if the general population does not seem to understand the importance of China to the United States, the fact is that it is China which is funding, in a major part, the seemingly good health of the American Economy.

Consider this, the Chinese are carrying an American debt of $ 800 Billion. Do the American people know that America pays about $5o billion to China every year as interest? It is a different matter altogether that the interest also may be on paper. What happens when China decides to cash in on the bonds that it has collected over so many years? If any American knows the answer he will understand why Obama "stooped" to wish the Chinese premier.

Anyway the more important issue for India is, "What the hell is America doing?" On one side is Pakistan, whom America is kind of sheltering from India under the pretext of Pakistan's, most suspect, effort towards the War against Terror, knowing fully well that the terror in the sub-continent is originates in Pakistan. Time and again Pakistan has got away with it mostly due to the US support and they continue to harbor terrorists of all kinds.

America extended the olive branch to India by offering the civilian use nuclear agreement. That, it is not going to stick to it's end of bargain, is a foregone conclusion. However now by playing hooky with China, America is further isolating India in her own backyard. India has steadfastly refused a third party mediation in resolving her border row with Pakistan. Now Obama is asking the Chinese to play a role in stabilizing the region i.e. Indo-Pak relations. Didn't any one tell the President that China is also party to a border dispute with India or that Pakistan has let go of certain regions of PoK to China.

The President also acknowledged that China should play a bigger role in Pakistan and Afghanistan, signs that America is ready to move out of Afghanistan. Essentially what Obama has given to China is the unilateral right to be the Big Boss in the region, even while maintaining that India is an important ally.

Where does that leave India? The Chinese premier was vehement about the requirement of India signing the NPT, which is something America will have to try, to get in the favorable books of China. Not only that if America indeed wants the Iran and North Korean Nuclear dreams to be curtailed, it needs China. So if China asks for something, US will comply.

India thought so far that America was a friend. Whether America really is a friend or not, only time will tell. History reveals that America is nobody's friend and that is the reason they are where they are. That leaves India with very few friends, most of whom are pretty worthless when it comes to standing up to the might of the countries like America and China. How long before the arm-twisting begins. Oh! USSR, where are You?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Terror Recruitment - Rana And Headley - Media to Blame

The news doing the rounds now is that Tahawwur Rana and David Coleman Headley were actually on a terror recruitment drive across India and that the duo was using the advertising mechanism to liaise with their other operatives. Guess who is shouting from the rooftops about these new developments. The media itself which carried those ads without any verifications.

This issue is the most important and the least discussed in the media, for obvious reasons. No one in their sane minds bites the hands which feed them.

The media gets away by making a simple disclaimer statement about not having to do anything with the ads that they run. They do take the money but won't take the responsibility of the veracity and the genuineness of the advertisement they are carrying. They put that responsibility on the reader. Now what do you do if terrorists are using those very ads to communicate with their ilk or to recruit more people into their clan. The media will not take any responsibility still. After all they do have the disclaimer clause. Even now no one seems to be bothered. The money-hungry mafia.. ooops, media will continue to carry the ads.

In this case for a few hundred Rupees the media has provided a channel of communication to terrorists and I wonder why no one is holding them responsible for terror links or as accomplices.

There are so many people who are reading the newspapers and using the ads they display to make informed decisions considering, by default, that the ads are authentic. So many people must be wasting money on those stupid, "Make money from home" ads. If that was not enough to get eyeballs rolling, now comes this case where terrorists have used the media for their nefarious activities. What will it take for some one to wake up and put in some kind of regulatory mechanism by which such things can be stopped?

The media Print as well as electronic should verify the ads before they print or air them. The whole idea of advertisement is to allow people to make informed decisions. Unfortunately the unscrupulous as well as some of the esteemed lot makes use of the media to mislead people. Even the recent case of a doctor/quack/scientist, Munir Khan, who claimed to treat cancer, heart blockages etc has not prompted any action. The man was actually using celebrities to endorse his product and the media was happily carrying it. He has been arrested and will probably be convicted. But what of the media and the celebrities who promoted his products. Oh No! They only take money for providing subsidized news.

But again these and all those massage parlor ads are minor issues compared to being used as a medium for anti-national activities. High time the sector got organized where issues can be prevented rather than only being covered as breaking news.

Visit my website to read more of my articles and to buy my fiction novel on Infiltration.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Voter's I Card? Expected Something Better From Mumbai and Election Commissioner

I received my Voter's I card a few days back and finally understood why and how the election process is never upto the mark. If my Voter's I card is anything to go by, the esteemed offices of our Election Commission are full of incompetent or overworked people with no resources at their disposal or someone making a hell lot of money.

To start with my name is wrong. That is an understatement actually. My first name is spelled wrongly, I do not use a patronymic name which the commission has forcibly introduced into my name and my surname is also spelled wrongly. My father's surname has been spelled the same as mine and hence wrongly. So much for my name.

Next my date of birth is also wrong. Let me correct that, the year of my birth is mentioned wrongly. The date and month are reflected with two crosses each and God alone knows what hides behind the crosses in the computer which is holding this data.

My address on the reverse side is mentioned wrongly, unless it is normal to mention any address in the vicinity of my actual address. I really don't know where this place is but I do recognize the Homibhabha Road which is about two kilometers from my pace of residence, maybe 1.5 as the crow flies.

The paper used is normal xerox paper printed on the same side and then folded once to give an appearance of being printed on both sides. Unfortunately I guess the folding was being done by some tired hands which could not care whether the fold was proper or not. The printer also seems to be running out of ink as some words are lighter than others. The lamination is like it was done by a worn out machine not heating up to the desired temperature or by someone whose primary duty was to get tea and Samosas for the staff.

Fortunately the sex is right and the Waterloo man did not right often instead of male. Have a look:




I do not think the card will serve the basic purpose of identifying me for the election. Forget that, it will not even serve as an identification document for any other purpose. Should I even bother to get it corrected, I wonder. And this from one of the most advanced cities of Mumbai in the 21st century. I just hope the UID project is not also heading in the same direction.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cholinergic Urticaria (Heat Rash, Heat Hives)– Overview, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment


It all started about 8 months ago, with a burning sensation in my palms and soles of the feet one night. The next day it began to itch all over my body, which I thought was due to dry skin problems. So, I applied a skin moisturizer to help soothe the skin. However, after a few hours I started developing rashes (hives) all over with severe itching. It spread very fast and soon I had a full blown reaction involving even my face. Alarmed by this reaction, I hurried to the hospital for immediate treatment and was given an injection of Avil to control it. They also gave me some anti-allergic medication to take the next day in case it recurred again. Well, the reaction died down and things were fine until next day when I went for my regular evening walk. I realized that every time I exercised or did anything that generated heat in my body, I would break out into these rashes. I went to the hospital at least two more times for immediate relief from these rashes, which were very severe.

Image Source: http://images.medicinenet.com/images/illustrations/Hives.jpg

For at least a month I continued this way, thinking that the problem would solve itself soon. But, it didn't. It was then that I decided to go to a skin specialist to find out exactly what was going on and also for the proper treatment and management of this condition. In the meantime, I also discovered that I had a high TSH count indicative of a hypothyroid condition which required to be controlled by synthetic hormone replacement therapy. When I visited the skin specialist, I learned that I had a condition called Cholinergic Urticaria.

Overview:

Cholinergic Urticaria is a very common physical urticaria that is brought on by a stimulus like heat or sweating. Referred to as heat bumps, heat rashes or heat hives as the rash appears as very small (1-4mm) weals surrounded by bright red flares.



Image Source: http://dermnetnz.org/reactions/img/cholinergic1-s.jpg

Any condition that causes a rise in the core body temperature, resulting in sweating, triggers off these rashes in Cholinergic Urticaria. The most common triggers being: exercise, hot baths/showers, fever, occlusive dressings, eating spicy foods and even emotional stress. All urticaria result in high levels of histamine that is released by the mast cells of the body in response to a stimulus. The exact triggering mechanism for this response remains unknown in case of Cholinergic Urticaria.


Clinical Signs and Symptoms:


The condition is characterized by rashes that appear quite rapidly, usually within a few minutes of sweating, and can last between half an hour to an hour before fading away. The mean duration being about 80 minutes. There are some typical signs and symptoms like: (quoted below)

  • An itching, burning, tingling or warm sensation preceding the onset of numerous small weals with surrounding bright red flares.
  • Rash is often very itchy
  • Rash may appear anywhere on the body but is more prominent on the upper trunk and arms. It does not affect the palms or soles and rarely the armpits.
  • Sometimes the tiny weals join together to form a large swelling
  • Patients who are more severely affected may experience systemic symptoms such as headaches, salivation, palpitations, fainting, shortness of breath, wheezing, abdominal cramps and diarrhea
  • Rarely, patients with cholinergic urticaria can have more severe reactions such as anaphylaxis so should probably not exercise alone.
    Treatment of Cholinergic Urticaria

    It is very easy for your doctor to diagnose this condition based on the history and symptoms of the rashes, even if you don't have any rashes to show your doctor at the time of the visit. The doctor can also perform certain tests to confirm it, like for eg. ask the patient to exercise by jogging in place for a few minutes and see how much time it takes for the rashes to appear.

    To treat this condition one has to limit strenuous exercise and reduce the normal triggering factors that may bring on a reaction, like emotional or even physical stress. The doctor also prescribes anti- allergic medications like hydroxyzine to control the severe symptoms of itching and rashes along with some anti-anxiety medication, in case of emotional stress. Most of the cases respond well to anti-allergic medication alone.

    In my case, the dermatologist first prescribed fexofenadine commonly known as Allegra (180mg) to be taken twice a day along with tricyclic antidepressants Cap Spectra (25mg) to be taken at night, for about a month. After a month, the second dose of Allegra was removed and I was asked to continue with just one dose for another month. Thereafter, I was given another anti-allergic medication to be taken at night, namely hydroxyzine (Atarax 25mg). I then discontinued the antidepressant and took these medications as prescribed for one more month. In addition to this, I was also given a homeopathic medicine (Anbuta) in the form of drops that I had to take (10 drops) thrice a day in order to increase my immunity. This is quite an expensive medicine, costing me Rupees 400/- for a bottle of 50mg. I took this prescribed medication for about two months. By now, my condition had improved quite a bit. At least I was comfortable, free of rashes, itching and even doing mild exercise, as long as I was taking the medication on time. The dermatologist also gave me a topical lotion (Sarna) that I could apply on my rashes and areas where I experienced itching. This lotion contains camphor and menthol that helps to relieve the discomfort of dry, itchy skin. It is a cooling soothing emollient that provides temporary relief from pain and itching caused by prickly heat, minor sunburn, abrasions, insect bites and minor skin irritations.

    Along with all these medications, the dermatologist also advised me to use mild soaps, detergents, shampoos and other cosmetic agents so as to avoid any contact dermatitis with harsh chemicals. I moisturize my skin regularly with mild baby lotions and use other natural products as much as possible.

    When I reported to him again after about two months, he replaced Tab Allegra with Tab Lerafil and Tab Vermisol or Dicaris (Levamisole) 150 mg for about 6 weeks. The Tab Vermisol (medicine for deworming) is given to increase the immunity. I took these medications, as prescribed, for the stipulated period and saw some improvement in my condition. The only side effects that I seemed to suffer from all these medicines was drowsiness. After 6 weeks, I reported to the clinic again.

    By now, I was getting tired of taking medicines and the dermatologist must have sensed this, because he gave me the good news that I had been eagerly waiting for – he was going to phase off the medications. I was now to take the above medicines every alternate day for about two weeks before he would review me again.

    Initially, when I started taking the medicine every alternate day as suggested, I began to feel the itchy sensation all over again, but on applying the Sarna lotion to those areas brought instant relief. So, I continued on like that for about two weeks and after that I was able to stay for 2-3 days without much discomfort. I have been on this regimen for 6 more weeks since then and am much better now.

    The treatment is still not complete though, and I need that final nod from my dermatologist to stop all medications altogether. He had warned me, well in advance, that it would take time. But, I feel I am almost there.

    In the meantime, my thyroid condition has also stabilized due to the hormone therapy and its dosage is now adjusted to the right levels.

    A note of caution here: Those who are suffering from any thyroid condition should be careful while taking certain medications as they can have adverse reactions.

    ****Always consult a doctor before taking any medication. All medicines need to be prescribed in an appropriate manner and dosage, for the desired effects, and it may differ from individual to individual.

    Additional eMedicine articles on urticaria, including Urticaria, Acute; Urticaria, Chronic; Urticaria, Contact Syndrome; Urticaria, Dermographism; Urticaria, Papular; Urticaria, Pressure; and Urticaria, Solar, may be of interest to the readers.

    Additional Resources and Information on Cholinergic Urticaria:

    How To Take Care Of Winter Ailments


    November is here and with it comes a season change, the onset of winter. As the season changes, there is a high fluctuation in the day and night temperatures, causing it to be hot in the day and chilly during the night. These temperatures provide an ideal environment for the growth and spread of viruses and bacteria, which is the common cause for catching a cold, cough, flu or the sore throat, more so during the winter.

    As the winter approaches, the days get shorter and nights longer that results in lesser exposure to sunlight that gets blocked due to the smog (in cities like Mumbai) or fog (in the mountains or higher altitudes). This lack of sunlight weakens our body immune system thereby making it a suitable environment for the viruses to survive in the body much longer than they can during the summers when the temperatures are much higher.


    Winter ailments like the cold, cough, congestion, flu, and sore throat are very common and most people, including children of all ages, suffer from one or all of these as the season changes. It is particularly common to find small children sneezing or sniffling with a runny nose, having fever with sore throat and or chest congestion with a blocked nose that makes it difficult to sleep at night. The cold winter also brings with it different kinds of allergies and a problem of dry and itchy skin. People suffering from asthma may find their symptoms getting aggravated more during the winters.


    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

    There is a saying that is common in the medical fraternity, “prevention is better than a cure” and this couldn’t be far from the truth. There are many ways in which one can prevent the onset of these symptoms and deal with the cold in a safe and effective manner without many side effects. The first and the most obvious step to take would be to take good care of your health and immune system by eating healthy, resting properly and also doing some exercise that will help keep your body fit. Also try to get some exposure to sunlight during the day.

    As the temperatures fluctuate between the day and night, make sure that you wear appropriate clothes to suit them. Since it gets chilly at night, it would be sensible on your part to cover yourself adequately to keep warm. Make sure that your children are warm during the night; in particular, keep their chest, head, ears and hands warm and covered. You may need to regulate the fans or air conditioners at night, depending on the dip in temperatures. Make sure that your children do not sleep directly below the fans or next to the air conditioners.

    The cold winter causes the skin to get dry, flaky and itchy and the best solution to that is to remember to drink plenty of water. We tend to drink lesser water in the winter that causes dehydration and is the reason for dry nose, lips and mouth. Make it a point to drink plenty of warm water throughout the day, or indulge yourself in hot soups of all kinds; tomato soup, spinach soup, clear chicken soup, vegetable soup etc. For dry skin, moisturize it with appropriate creams or body lotions that suit you. The most effective way is to apply oil (natural oils like Jojoba, Avocado, Coconut Oils) all over your body. This will soothe the skin and allow it to absorb the essential oils that normally get washed away when we have hot or warm water baths. The best policy is to use “luke warm” water to have a bath and use mild soaps in order to retain your natural skin oil as much as possible. Remember to use a chap stick to keep your lips moistened and to prevent them from cracking and bleeding.

    Good nutrition plays a very important role in strengthening the immunity of our body. Therefore, we need to supplement our food with lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are vital to boost the body defense mechanism in order to fight the viruses and bacteria. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) in particular, is known to be very effective in fighting germs and also to help prevent a cold. Vitamin C can be found in green leafy vegetables, berries, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons), guavas, tomatoes, melons, papayas etc.

    Most people rely on “over-the-counter” (OTC) medicines to treat the symptoms of a cold or cough. However, these medicines could prove to be dangerous (particularly in children below 4 yrs), if not prescribed in the proper manner or dosage.

    Home Remedies To Treat Cold, Cough, Congestion and Sore Throat

    Before you resort to taking medications, try some simple home remedies to cure your cold, cough or sore throat. The most effective of all is drinking warm water throughout the day, drinking hot soups and or drinking green tea with a bit of ginger. Warm saline gargles help in soothing your throat and also killing the bacteria. If you have congestion in your lungs, then steam inhalations are the most effective in diluting the mucus and relieving your symptoms. Apart from this, it is also very important to take complete bed rest and relieve yourself from any stress. Keep yourself warm at all times. Normally, your cold gets better in just two or three days time if you follow the above steps diligently. Ginger, honey and garlic are very effective in treating common cold and cough. A little honey mixed in warm water along with a few drops of lemon can take care of your cold.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

    However, if one has fever and flu-like symptoms then the best way to deal with it is by taking adequate rest, plenty of fluids, hot water and avoid contact with other people in the house so as to avoid its spread. Visit your physician to get a proper diagnosis of the condition and for the correct prescription. Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor in the correct dose. Hygiene is very important to prevent the spread of viral and bacterial infections, so make sure that you wash your hands properly before eating food or touching anybody else. Cover your nose and mouth whenever you sneeze or cough to avoid spreading the germs through the air.

    For treating children and kids with cough or cold medications, be sure to consult a doctor as OTC medicines that include cough syrups could prove to be dangerous if not given in the correct manner or dosage. Also two or three medicines when combined together could have adverse effects with one another. For e.g. Antihistamines and Decongestants.

    Take care of your health, folks, and enjoy this winter. Don’t let it get to you and cramp your style. Get outdoors and play in the snow, if you must. Winter is also a festival season for the people all over the world. There is a lot to be cheerful about and lots to look forward to. So, chill out and don’t get the winter blues!

    Reference Books:

                Doctor's Book of Home Remedies: Simple, Doctor-Approved Self-Care Solutions for 146 Common Health Conditions



    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41JJNDFJYVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg




    Facebook Privacy Concerns - Ignorance Is A Bliss

    There has been a lot of talk about the Facebook Privacy concerns. Most of it is ignorance on part of the users. You can't blame Facebook for that.

    Two issues which I came across on the net amongst my peers and otherwise while browsing were:

    (a) Photos of the user are visible to non-mutual friends of user's friends.

    (b) Third Party applications extracting data of users when a friend was allowing access to a third party.

    (c) Use of your Profile and photo in Social ads by Faceboo as well as third party applications.

    Here is the fact. Facebook has got measures in place to avoid both scenarios. However people are just not aware of them or are too lazy to do anything about protecting their own privacy. If you are really concerned here is what you need to do

    Issue 1: Photos of the user are visible to non-mutual friends of user's friends Go to the settings menu and select Privacy settings. In the basic settings select Friends only in all the options. This flaw existed because there is an option of selecting friends of friends in the drop down box.

    Issue 2: Third Party applications extracting data of users when a friend was allowing access to a third party Under the privacy tab select Applications and then settings on the Application pages. This is the place where you can select what information should be visible to third party applications when one of your friends allows the application to extract his information. Make your selections and save the settings. Your Privacy is now as good as any thing else. There is also a choice, "Do not share any information about me through the Facebook API" but you can select it only when you remove all applications which are built on the platform. Rest assured you can't do that unless you want to give up the entire meaning of the Facebook experience.

    Issue 3: Use of your Profile and photo in Social ads by Faceboo as well as third party applications In the Privacy settings select News Feed and Wall. On the new page select "Facebook Ads". You will see that it is mentioned on the page that Facebook does not give third party applications or ad networks the right to use your name or picture in ads. If this is allowed in the future, this setting will govern the usage of your information. However to be sure that you are not caught unawares select No one against the setting "Allow ads on platform pages to show my information to" and save your settings. The next setting on the same page is the "Ads shown by Facebook" This is generally harmless because the Social Action Ads are just used for promoting some content like Pages etc for intimating your friends about your actions like becaoming a fan, joining a group etc.

    The question that arises now is that why is Facebook not clarifying this option openly. The reason is simple. If all users hid their information from third party applications, the third party application developers and promoters/advertisers will have no reason to continue to offer the free applications on Facebook. After all it is all about money, honey.

    Visit my website at http://www.taprial.in

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks Anniversary - Ready For Another One?

    26/11, the date when Mumbai terror attacks took place. The date which changed the perspective of the people of this country about terror. The date when Mumbai was shaken out of it's slumber and shown how vulnerable she was. The date when the collective responsibility of various organizations was put to test and most came out failures. Did I hear someone say they succeeded? I am sorry, but it is like saying that since the ultimate aim of life is death, everyone succeeds. Had we left the terrorists to themselves, they would have probably run out of ammo and starved themselves to death. Would that also be treated as success? I mean, who takes three days to take charge of and decimate 4 terrorists?

    I am by no means trying to belittle the efforts of individuals, but as organizations, none of our esteemed ones succeeded.

    One year later things seem to be the same. Congress - NCP combine the incumbent government during the terror attacks continues to be in power. Vilasrao Deshmukh the Chief Minister at the time of Mumbai attacks is now enjoying being a cabinet minister and is the Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

    Shivraj Patil, the home minister of India who had resigned taking "moral responsibilty" for the incident continues to be a member of the Rajya Sabha and a respected functionary of his party. In fact Ashok Chavan, the current Chief Minister of the state called upon Shivraj Patil which is an indication of the clout Shivraj Patil enjoys in the state and the party. If luck has it, Shivraj Patil might even become Governor of Punjab (According to some news reports.)

    The NSG which was ultimately responsible for ending the 26/11 impasse, has been given land at Marol and is restricted to only 23 Acres as compared to Force One (What's that? Vijay Mallaya's Formula one team!) who have been allotted 98 Acres in Aarey colony, Goregaon. The police force of Mumbai were largely spectators during the Mumbai attacks relative to what NSG was doing and now something tells the state government that the Mumbai Police will be able to counter any future threats and thereby relegating the NSG to a lower status. This in spite of the fact that Force One is a new force and yet to prove that it is a force to reckon with. Therefore, it is back to Mumbai Police.

    RR Patil, the home minister who had resigned from his post in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, has been reinstated as the home minister.

    The Maharashtra DGP at the time of Mumbai terror attacks was AN Roy. By a quirk of fate coupled with some politics, he was removed by the High Court and is again currently holding additional charge of the State DGP and is likely to be appointed DGP soon since he is the senior most IPS officer in the state, a rule that was not followed during his earlier appointment.

    So we have all the people back doing their jobs they were doing back in Nov 2008. I guess we are fully ready for another 26/11. The only difference is that the fisher-folks colony near Badhwar Park, where the terrorists landed last year, is manned by Police. Maybe that will be enough deterrent for the terrorists to land elsewhere along the more than 700 kilometers of Maharashtra coastline.

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Fort Hood Shooting - Major Nidal Malik Hasan - Enemy in the Ranks

    They say fiction is a precursor of things to happen. What happened in the Major Nidal Malik Hasan shooting case at Fort Hood, is what my novel, Enemy in the Ranks, talks about, Infiltration of anti-national elements in the important establishments of the country. It is yet to be seen whether Major Nidal Malik Hasan was connected with any of the extremist groups. However if indeed he was, imagine the damage he could have caused earlier while being a part of the Army, without actually being blamed for it. Sabotage, espionage anything is possible.

    Sooner or later, the terrorists are going to realize, they might even have already, that they can't be going loggerheads with an adversary who is much stronger than them. So the way out for them is to inflict damage while they are a part of the system. I am just thinking aloud, Why would Major Nidal Malik Hasan, if he was indeed an Enemy in the ranks resort to such an open shooting while he could have continued to achieve his aims silently? Maybe his cover was blown. What does a committed man, who knows his life was going to be miserable if he was ever caught alive, do in such circumstances? Well he takes down with him, as many as possible.

    Maybe it did not happen that way. Maybe Major Nidal Malik Hasan was just a regular psychiatrist and a patriot who just lost it after counseling so many over the edge people. But the angle whether he was associated with any of the terror groups needs to be investigated for the simple reason that there might be others who are already there. An Enemy in the Ranks is a distinct possibility and we need to guard against it. This is a lesson all countries need to learn and take precaution against. An Enemy in the Ranks is the worst that can happen.

    Chuck Norris also has the same opinion. Read this Enemies Within

    Saturday, November 7, 2009

    My Dream Job - Bestselling Author

    All of us have dreams. All of us have some of them realized, some shattered. But the capacity to dream is everlasting. The wishes and desires are a pot that never gets filled. Dream jobs are those which provide you monetary, emotional, professional and social satisfaction.

    Have you ever seen the look on the face of a man who is in a dream job. The brilliance of the face, the happiness, the positive energy, it all seems like another place. A dream job will remain a dream if we do not work towards it.

    My dream job has always been to be a bestselling author. One who can rely on his writing alone to have the good life. Never having to work for someone else ever after again in my life. I always picture myself, in my dream, sitting on a beach sipping beer, having a choice of snacks on the table and typing away to glory on the laptop. There are times I think about writing while being on a world tour onboard a luxury liner. You see, writing is something you can do anywhere, be it a beach, mountains, jungles, or even in your car. There is total freedom. No time constraints, you write when you want to , where you want to, and how you want to. The inputs along with your imagination come from real life and research if and when required is fun.

    Writing by itself is a very satisfying job. Essentially what you do is get an outlet for your thoughts. People write diaries because they find it to be soothing to themselves. Writing can take care of all your emotions. Whether it is anger, sadness, frustration, desperation, happiness, just sit on your table and write it down and you will feel better and if not better, at least grounded to the reality. Being a bestselling author is an icing on the cake.

    One more advantage of being a bestselling author is that besides providing full on entertainment/knowledge to people, you are someone that everyone relates to. Everyone who has ever read anything in his life has dreamt of or at least thought of being a writer himself. When you achieve your aim of writing, people look at you with respect and think, wow! He did it. That, it gives motivation to others is an added benefit.

    So, consider this, You sit at the best locales in the world, meeting beautiful people, sipping the best wines, munching on the best snacks, writing your thoughts, which you know will be read by millions, who would gain from it, thank you from the bottom of their hearts for making them forget life for a while, and you earn money for doing this. This is my dream job. I have already achieved the author part of it with my novel “Enemy in the Ranks”, the bestselling part can’t be too far from here.

    Don't despair if you are not yet there, for you are not the only one. Listen to this song Piano Man" by Billy Joel which talks about unfulfilled dreams, aspirations, ambitions all affected by the usual culprit, circumstances!


    Billy Joel - Piano Man (Official Music Video) - The most popular videos are a click away

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Making a Writer Out of You – Some Helpful Tips to Remember

    Introduction

    You have just decided to become a writer and are excited at the thought of getting published, which is very easy to do so now, thanks to the internet and some writers’ sites like Xomba.com. I can assure you that it will be an exciting adventure – one full of interest, enjoyment, and reward for you.

    Writing on the internet can be a very easy task as most people indulge in what is called “blogging” either on their own blogs or on other social networking sites. This kind of writing is usually very informal and straight from the heart or mind, without much regard to the correct usage of the language, grammar or even punctuation. However, to become a successful published writer and take it up seriously as a writing career requires certain skills, talents and techniques.

    If you want to take up writing as just a hobby, for fun and enjoyment, and possibly to earn some extra money then you can take a much more relaxed approach without lowering your standards of writing. But, to become a professional writer or even a “good” enough writer to be taken seriously there are some standards that you need to set up for yourself.

    Develop Your Own Style

    One of the first steps in writing is to develop and cultivate your own unique style of writing. This goes a long way in building your own identity, reputation and helping readers to connect with you in a unique way. To be a successful writer, you need self-discipline, perseverance and serious commitment towards your writing in order to reap the rewards – enjoyment, personal satisfaction of creative achievement, and as we have seen on Xomba; a good financial return for your efforts too.

    Know What You Write

    It is always a good practice to write what you know to start with. It will show between the lines if you don’t (remember the Ernest Hemingway “Iceberg principle”, seven-eighths under water, only one eighth above?). Your prime function as a writer is to entertain your readers. Even if you are writing as a journalist or non-fiction writer, whose duty is to inform, you should be able to do so in an entertaining, readable style – which is what creative writing is all about.

    Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

    If you want your writing to be taken seriously, then I would advise you to put some efforts in studying correct usage of the language, grammar and punctuation. Have you ever read any article or passage without punctuation and lots of spelling mistakes? Let me tell you that it is very frustrating for the reader to read such a piece. Not only that, it also leaves a bad taste and an impression that this writer doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. The result can be disastrous, you could lose potential readers who may never come back to read any of your work ever again. Now, you don’t want that to happen do you?

    There are many resources, and websites on the internet which could provide you with ample tips and tricks to writing well. You could also refer to online dictionaries and encyclopaedias for correct spellings and grammar. If you work on a word processor then always use the spellcheck facility. But, you need to keep in mind that certain words like “to” instead of “too” will not appear as a mistake and you will need to re-read your work in order to spot them on your own. Try to polish your work as much as possible.

    Information Research – How to Approach It

    Okay, so you have decided on a topic to write (congratulate yourself!). Now comes the difficult part of putting all you know together into a well written article. But wait, are you sure that you have all the facts and figures right? Whatever your chosen field, fiction or non-fiction – articles, plays, short stories or fantasy – sooner or later you will need to do some research.

    It always helps to first jot down the main points that you are going to cover in your article. Check out all the dates, quotations, proper spellings of a place or name, or you may even have to trace some historical facts for a novel. All this requires adequate research that will almost certainly add depth and credibility to your work if you do it well.

    So, where do you go for your research? Well, there are many resources at your disposal and it is up to you to choose the best method. You could go to a library for reference books, or use the internet.

    The internet is a World Wide Web of information with websites which provide information at your fingertips: these include sites for academic research, government facts and figures, and specialist interest sites. For writers, it is an endless source of information on anything you wish to research.

    Using “search engines” like google.com can speed up your searches by leading you directly to the relevant pages when you type in a keyword. However, you need to remember that NOT all information online is trustworthy. Therefore, be on your guard. I would advise you to check out anything that does not emanate from a known, authoritative source. The best sources of information are government sites or the official websites of products or companies – basically, try to get information straight from the “horse’s mouth”.

    Putting It All Together

    You have done the research and collected all the information that you would need for your writing. You have all your notes ready. Now, finally, comes the difficult part of putting all you know together into a well written article. How to put it across?

    1. The opening paragraph of an article is probably the most important part, especially the first sentence. It should achieve several things – immediately catch the reader’s attention, be relevant to the rest of the article, it should be a topical or novel statement and it should be interesting enough to lead the reader into the remainder of the paragraph and body of the article.

    2. Keep your sentences short. The headline and your opening paragraph will showcase your entire article.

    3. Paragraphs are very important. Always make it a point to break up your information into different paragraphs, so that it is easier to read and assimilate for the reader. Do try NOT to cram too many ideas into one paragraph.One point in a paragraph is enough. The lengths of the paragraphs can be varied.

    4. The body of the article. The middle or the body of the article should be written in the same style as the opening paragraph and contain plenty of facts. Here is where all your research material will go, in a well laid out manner. Do NOT confuse facts with opinions. It is always best to leave personal opinions out of your writing, unless you are writing about your personal experiences under the category of “Diary and Journal”.

    5. Add images, videos, graphs, charts etc. to your article, wherever appropriate, to make it more illustrative and colourful. An image helps not only to make an article more attractive to the readers, but also adds more value as it instantly provides an idea of what you are trying to say in words. Similarly, graphs, charts and bars when added can effectively illustrate statistics, facts and figures.

    6. Revising is Important. One can never emphasize enough on the importance of revision. It is always best to revise your article thoroughly before submitting it. Read it at least once and check it for incorrect spellings, grammatical faults and lack of clarity. Be critical of yourself. Polish sentences and paragraphs to make them short and crisp. Once you are satisfied with the article, then go ahead and submit it.

    Remember, you need to develop your craft as a writer in order to succeed in either the print media or the internet. Practice makes perfect, so the more you write, the better you will get at it. However, “presenting your work and selling it” is a different ball game and a much more extensive subject altogether which requires it to be covered in another article.

    Original article on Xomba

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