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part eccentric ... part fun .... stubborn .. but not stuck up ... very open to different views, ideas and possibilities ... varied interests ... engineer ... mba ... trying-to-be-a-good-entrepreneur ... ex-software ... ex-quality ... ex-tobacco ... ex-alcohol ... trying-to-be-ex-cancer
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Politics of Fear

These are very interesting googlevideo clips that were sent by my friend Jim.
They are part 1,2 and 3 of the same documentary. My guess is that copyright of these must be with BBC (or so it seems with whatever little i could see on my limited bandwidth) and also that hopefully no laws were broken when they were put at googlevideo

Part -1 Philo groundings of neo-cons and radical islamist

Part 2 - Ideologies develop,distort, but not flourish
Part 3 - The false fear

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bahadur, Khan Sahib and Santa-Banta

StarOne has cracked the TV humour-show market. The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (and its many offshoots, sideshows et all) are the second most funny shows after Tageshi's Castle (The POGO show with Javed Jaferry voice-over)

They even have comic acts from Pakistan. what is interesting is that the paki stand up act almost always has a few "Khan Sahib" jokes. Khan Sahib seems to be the Santa-Banta equivalent.

Apart from being made fun of, the "Khan Sahib" (Pathans) and the Santa-Banta (Sikhs) have another thing in common. Both these communities - the Pathans and the Sikhs sided with the "East India Company" in the "1857 rebellion" (Gadar ki ladayi). Maybe..and just maybe... 1857 losers tried to get even with them in a funny way.

If this hypothesis is even vaguely true, then others who sided with the "Company sarkaar" should also be at the receiving end of jokes. We can have a look at the "Gurkhas" - the other significant martial race that sided with the "Firangi". Indian joke scene is flooded with gurkha acts, they all start with ..Shaloom Shaab..hom Bahadoor ..... there might be other's who were with the English in times of Gadar and i don't have a complete list, but maybe when i am thru with The Last Mughal (by william Dalrymple) i would know better.

Someone should look at this angle of Khan Sahib, Santa-Banta and Bahadur Jokes and see if 1857 events secretly influence today's stereotypes regarding Sikhs, Pathans and Gurkhas

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Risky Cat

When I was in B school, there used to be a lot of talk ( i guess in eco and fin courses..) about risk profiles. How some people are risk takers (woh loge jo matka, juan-patti aur stock market kheltey hain), some are risk neutral (jo PPF aur mutual funds me paisa daaltey hain) and others are risk averse (jo unti mey paisa daba kar baithtey hain).

At that time it seemed more like intellectual bullshit- academic simplifications with little or no real world grounding. Today i got a better understanding of "risk taking" . here's what happened-

My little one (Shums) has grown fond of cats (I know some of the twisted minds are already joking about another "pussy lover"). My home usually has 6-7 cats hanging around, trying their luck for free food. Most of them are either current or previous litter from either "Chen-Chen" or "jangli-billi".

Now Chen chen happens to be a very friendly cat and Shums just loves playing with her- trying to pull her tail, ears,whiskers and occasionally trying to gorge out her eyes. Chen-Chen doesn't mind all this and patiently bears it all.

Not all cats are Chen-chen. Today, while he was on his pram, Shums started waving happily towards one of the not_so_friendly cats. This cat greeted him back by shaking hands (paw with nails extended). In the exchange Shums got a very minor scratch on the webbing between his thumb and index finger.

If the cat had scraped me, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. After all, i am the kind of guy who takes risks, does bungy jumping, quits cushy jobs to try alternate lifestyles. I don't take cat scratches seriously

But, I took the scratch much more seriously cause it happened to my kid. There is a .001 % chance that the barely visible mark had cut deep enough and was from a paw nail that had been recently licked by a rabid cat. The rarest of rare chances. But i was not willing to take even the rarest of rare chance with my son. I ran to the doctor and am getting Shums 5 anti-rabies shots.

This shows that risk-taking-ability is as very much situational. A Big risk taker of one situation can become a total play-it-safe guy in another.

I keep wondering ..can we turn around this logic and extend it on the opposite side... can every play-it-safe guy be turned into a super-risk-taker by getting him into the right situation(read: by brainwashing)??

...i don't know...only the best spin-doctors can tell