Protect the kids, protect the future, not the guns!

Strict Gun Laws – we owe this to our children

The guns kill, there is no doubt about it. The guns are made to kill – animals, people, anything you aim at. The guns are the means to kill and assault. Yet, it is a sad fact that guns are so easily available, so accessible to everyone and anyone with little effort.

Guns are an integral part of American life, and American culture. There is a history of gun ownership in USA; it is a part of growing up – a hobby, a habit.

But, how good is a past tradition if it is ruining the future? Be it an old habit or an age-old tradition, some bad habits need to go, so do the flawed traditions. It is about time, about time to change the gun ownership tradition in America. In fact, it is already too late, too late for many affected families.

In the recent years, we have witnessed more and mover mass killings, more and more gun violence on a large scale. Shooting little kids in the schools, killing innocent students in the university campuses, gunning down peaceful worshipers for no reason…..too many killings on daily basis, too much gun violence.

It is a shame that powerful NRA, the National Rifle Association, is single handedly controlling the gun laws in this country. Disguising itself as the defender of Second Amendment rights, NRA is spending lots of money advertising the pro-gun agenda and lobbying the congress to support pro-gun stance. What the NRA does is simply disgusting and down right dirty.

NRA is very vocal against any gun controls including the right to own semi-automatic weapons, the guns that can spit out 100s bullets per minute. Why anyone need these assault weapons is beyond any common logic, beyond any rationale. Continue reading “Protect the kids, protect the future, not the guns!”

Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown Connecticut – a new low!

A horrific tragedy beyond imagination: Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting!

This is bad, beyond words.
Just heard on the news: Some deranged lunatic went crazy inside an elementary school in Connecticut, shooting little kids. More than 25 people are reported to be dead, 20 of them are children between the age of 5 and 10 years.

This is just unimaginable – one of the worst tragedy you can dread..
This is pure evil, the worst kind you can think of.
Killing innocent people is bad enough, killing innocent little kids? How low can you go!

I feel sad and helpless; not sure what to say or what to do! Continue reading “Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown Connecticut – a new low!”

2012 US Elections – Romnesia and Obamaloney

The US Presidential Elections are less than 10 days away. And, I can hardly wait for the whole thing to be over!!

The attack ads, the twisted truths and repeated slogans bombarding the airwaves day and night – the election campaign is a bit put-off, and quite often down right distasteful. I don’t think anyone look forward to watching these political ads anymore. I cannot see anybody enjoying the propaganda unless you are a fanatic follower of the candidates or you have nothing better to do!

Throughout these campaigns and bitterly contested debates, both parties are promising a lot for the next 4 years if you elect their guy – the economic prosperity, the financial reforms and how well they understand the average American’s woes…

I wonder if politicians believe that the voters are too dumb to see through the thin veil that separates the reality from the promise-land. It is sad and disheartening that American politics is down right dirty and is driven by so much negativity. You have to think – there is something fundamentally wrong they way the system operates!

I am not a democrat nor republican. Like many of you, I am turned off by the while political system. Moreover, I don’t think the American president has as much power as they advertise during the election days. Remember, any new law has to go through the both houses of US congress; and we all know how inefficient and how divided the US congress is.
So, no matter how many promises either of the candidate makes, keeping those promises is a whole different thing. May I advise, a grain of salt, or a spoonful! Continue reading “2012 US Elections – Romnesia and Obamaloney”

Pride

No matter where we live, there are always things to complain about; plenty of people to blame. It is human nature. Different culture, different place, and different values – yes, things are different when you live abroad, different from back home.

No matter where we live, Indians are good at adjusting and adapting, and ultimately competing toe-to-toe in every aspect of life, in every corner of the world. The same applies to those settled in USA.

Success is a part of Indian culture. We strive to accomplish high goals; we fight to prove ourselves. It is in our blood.  Just look within US boundaries: two reigning governors in the highest state offices, countless Indians in NASA and other prestigious research facilities all over. The same is true for a large portion of highly skilled occupations – doctors, scientists, engineers…. the Indians are everywhere in America, in every walk of life.

There are plenty of things to complain about. But, there are plenty of reasons to be proud of, if we look around!

Indian American population in America is a growing and prosperous section of US society. If you get the chance to walk through the corridors of any leading US corporation – banks, medical offices, engineering firms….., you will notice that Indian Americans hold every level of positions including officer and executive jobs. Indians are contributing to the US socio-economic dynamics from every aspect. The numbers and ratios of Indians employed by the leading companies – the like of Google, Microsoft, Apple, Citibank…. continue to grow. Continue reading “Pride”

Summer of 2012

Time – infinite moments put together, one after another.
Moments adding up to the continuous flow of life.
The tree of life growing moment by moment, day-by day, season-by-season.
The moments – sweet and sour – some memorable, most of them forgettable.
Summer. The summer of 2012; another season.
Another phase, another period punctuated by the scattered memories.
Summer of 2012, summed up in one word – heat.
Relentless heat; unforgettable!!

Heat, the dry heat.
The endless summer heat-wave.
Long days of summer and the long periods of droughts.
No rains for weeks, a rare tease of light sprinkles in between.
Dry ground. Dry ponds.
Dead grass, thirsty gardens.
Thirsty gardens, cornless cobs, shriveling fruits, withering leaves….
The sun bombarding the earth every moment of day, day after day
The never ending summer of 2012… Continue reading “Summer of 2012”

A baby’s cry

“Mom, it is a baby girl…,” her voice barely audible, she called her mother in India.
“Are you okay? Is the baby okay?” Her mom inquired, her voice nervous, but excited.
Sonya was too tired to respond, but that did not stop her mother from asking more questions, “When was she born? Who she looks like? Have you named her?…”
“Mom”, Sonya interrupted, “the nurse is here, I am very sleepy; will call you later..”
“Are you okay, is the baby okay?”
“yes mom, we are okay,” she said before ending the call.

The hospital discharged her along with the baby two days later. The nurse gave her a handful of literature, each pamphlet with a different title – ‘How to care for a new born’, ‘what to expect after a natural birth’, ‘Newborn feeding techniques’….
She was tired, she was drained, she was not ready to take care of her first born. The Nurse helped buckle the baby in the new car-seat and Raj drove them home – to their apartment in Mississauga.

“How is the baby doing,” he mom phoned again next morning.
“Esha is okay, she is sleeping now.”
“Beautiful name”, she paused, “How are you doing?”
“I am okay mom, I am very tired. the baby was awake all night.”
“Oh, where is Raj?”
“He is at work, I am home alone with the baby and I am worried”
“Worried about what, Sonya?”
“If the baby wakes up..” Continue reading “A baby’s cry”

The cure for racism!

Racism – An ugly word, with uglier social implications,  with the ugliest outcomes in most cases. Racism is a behavior; the discrimination based on racial differences are daily common occurrence. There is no debating that racism is a social issue, a social disease.

It is human nature, we react differently to different situations; we respond in our own ways to those who appear different from us. The racism is a product of our culture; a part of our ignorance about other cultures, about other people from different race.

The way we are raised, the way we are educated and the way our surroundings are – all little things add up to affect our thinking, consciously or subconsciously.

They say that the racism is all in our brain, the way we think. Many times, we may not even know that we are subconsciously discriminating. For example, our education may teach us to be fair and equal to all, but our childhood upbringing may have taught us differently. Just the way things were around us, when we were growing up, leave a lasting impression on our thinking, on our behavior. Continue reading “The cure for racism!”

The Life Abroad – I

Life. Life is a sequence of seasons – winter waiting for spring, summer-heat longing for autumn. Life is a picnic in the playground, with bread crumbs scattered all around, attracting the pigeons and crows alike. Life is daydreaming and being satisfied with the resulting illusions.
Life. Days spent surfing the net, wandering in the shopping malls, driving to the country side, watching an old tv show re-run, to relive the past – life is what we never thought it would be.

He was 23 when he migrated to Canada – big dreams, bigger illusions. University of Toronto campus was his home for next 2 years – long sessions in the engineering labs, studying for exams until 4AM… working on the gas-station during week-end… His father, a small farmer in Punjab, sent over money regularly, but that could barely support his tuition.
He shared the apartment with 3 other Indian students – it was cheaper that way, more economical for student life. A few times a week, they went to the Dixie Gurdwara; not because they were religious, – half of them were not even Sikhs, – you just cannot beat the free food from the ‘langar’ – the ‘common kitchen’. Continue reading “The Life Abroad – I”

The fading hue

The bright yellow saree with flowery pattern clings to her tall slender body, almost exposing her to the imaginative eyes. She wears it, the saree, with grace – her walk measured, her stance determined. Her lips are wide; her smile big – like a Bollywood movie actress, only less assuming. She speaks with politeness, yet determination of a teacher. Her animated hand gestures and a fair complexion mislead you to think that she could be Italian. Her attire, the controlled manners, and the lowered eyes give away the secret however, that she is Indian. As she walks from guests to guests, she leaves behind a trace of French perfume; she leave behind many turned heads.. Saying that she is pretty does not do a complete justice.
On her right shoulder she has a flower tattoo – not a real tattoo, no! Her mother would not allow that. It is a kind of tattoo that some kids and teenagers make out of sticky and shiny glitters. She is no teenager, not by any measures except some traces of childish youth left in her heart. She has her own kids aged 3 and 6, a boy and a girl, left for the evening at her mother’s house.
It is a January, a wintry cold weekend. They are gathered for a social evening at her friend’s house, a mansion actually. The big house stands on the outskirts of Surrey, British Columbia. The sunlight from the west filters through the huge windows accenting the silky curtains that seem to never end, not even when they touch the marble tiles of matching floor. Continue reading “The fading hue”

The Madman

‘The Madman’ by Kahlil Gibran (Khalil Gibran):

You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were stolen,—the seven masks I have fashioned and worn in seven lives,—I ran maskless through the crowded streets shouting, “Thieves, thieves, the cursed thieves.”

Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear of me.

And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a house-top cried, “He is a madman.” I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed my own naked face for the first time. For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun, and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I cried, “Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks.” Continue reading “The Madman”

Happy Lohri

Kids of all ages gather in small groups, going from house-to-house collecting jaggery candies, peanuts, sweets and even cash…Small bonfires light every corner of the town, creating illusions of warmth in the shivering cold January dusk…. The sound of folk music resonate in every street as kids go door-to-door singing the folk songs of Lohri.

Every year, January 13 marks the Lohri festival – the winter solstice. It is a popular celebration in north India. As the days get longer and the nights shrink, the festival marks the psychological fade of winter, a welcome sign of approaching spring in the coming weeks.

And, yes, this is yet another excuse to celebrate and party, especially for the families blessed with newborns in the last year 12 months. Farmers pray for a prosperous year ahead; kids pray for tons of candy before the night ends. Continue reading “Happy Lohri”

2012 – Welcome!

Happy 2012 to you and your loved ones!

The Time is the ultimate story teller; the time is the father of truth. As time goes by, the reality of everything around us strips down to their true colors.

We talk about passing time or sitting around idle, or killing time; in reality it is the time that kills us in the end. This is nothing new, we all know the importance of time; how precious it is!

Yes, we are overly preoccupied with the time and its passage. We have organized our time into calendars, into a busy schedule to prove that we are not wasting time. We are even double-booked some times! Yes, we have understood the importance of time, we have figured out a way to make the best out of it, so we believe!!

The new years, the new wishes, or the old wishes tweaked a little…this is the beauty of time, the new time. The passing time makes us feel so important, as if we control it.

Of course, we don’t control the time, or the life passing by. In fact, there is no need; there is no need to drag the time, or hold on to the past. Continue reading “2012 – Welcome!”

Just a job

“You can easily find an Engineering job in your field in America… no problem for a smart guy like you…”
“There is no shortage of work for Indian Engineers…this is just the fact…”
“You will find something – something good, no problem….”
….. Back home in India, just like any typical Indian family, everybody was full of advice. Everyone had told him that it was very easy to get an engineering job in America.

“You can make lots of money in a few years”, His future father-in-law told him at the time of his engagement 3 years ago. A year after that, he was married to Anu.
He used to be very optimistic about his career in USA, so was the rest of his American family – his in-laws.

He had big dream. After all, nobody dreams small.

Once in US, he was greeted by his wife and her family and they welcome him into their home. His old classmates, now living within driving distance, came to visit him.
He was treated like a guest for many months. However, he soon realized, you cannot be a guest for too long. He had to figure out the next step – the job. With all the expenses and cost of living, he needed a job soon. His parents and siblings back home were already calling to check on him; to see when he might send them some money, like every other NRI does.

After a few months, the tone of the advice changed:
“You just need to try a bit harder, maybe try something in lower pay scale to gain some experience…”
“Find a way to get your foot in the door…”
“My cousin started as a technician; now he is the director of engineering…but they are not hiring…”
“You cannot give up…We never give up…”
“You will find something – may be not that good but something… something good….” Continue reading “Just a job”

911 – The Emergency Call

The firm knock on the door made her jump. Even though she was expecting this knock, the police arrived much faster than she had imagined.

She looked at her husband; he was pacing nervously in the far corner of the living room. They exchanged a brief glance – both of them nervous,… beyond nervous.

The officer knocked again, this time much harder. Unwillingly, she walked to the door and turned the knob without making a noise.

A tall RCMP officer in full uniform was standing at the door, with his hand cautiously placed on the gun holster.

“Mrs. Sharma?” The officer inquired.

“Yes… Yes!” She said twice; her voice barely audible..

The officer peeked inside the house before actually stepping in. He spotted her husband standing motionless in the far end of the living room.

“Ma’am, I am Officer Wilson; we are responding to the 911 call…the emergency call” He said; he turned his head and looked around the house, inspecting the premises while still standing at the door.

She did not say anything in response.

“Is that your husband? Mr. Sharma?” He looked at her husband with a piercing gaze.

She just nodded, without saying anything again.

“Anybody else in the house? Any kids?” Continue reading “911 – The Emergency Call”

Gurpurab and Guru Nanak Dev’s Message

Guru Nanak Dev: A poet, a philosopher, a saint…!!

“So kyon Manda Aakhiye Jit Jamme Rajan” (On female gender equality: “why call ‘her’ inferior? From her, the Kings are born”) ~ Guru Nanak dev

November 10, 2011 marks the birthday anniversary of the Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469 – 1539 CE) and is commonly known as GURPURAB. This is one of the most auspicious days for the Sikh religion.

Guru Nanak Dev lived an exemplary life. He was a poet, a philosopher and a saint – all combined into a human being that was above and beyond any religion. His writings came long before the Sikh religion was born. His contributions go beyond Sikhism and beyond Punjabi culture.

Guru Nanak Dev lived his life to the fullest. He traveled all over the places, meeting saints and sufis from all casts and creeds along the way. Some of his journeys lasted many years. On one of his journeys to the west, he went all the way to Mecca, Madina and Baghdad. His another journey to the south touched Sri Lanka. His extensive travels were not only to spread the message of God, but to learn from the wisdom of those he encountered along the way. Continue reading “Gurpurab and Guru Nanak Dev’s Message”