Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Another beauty of a forward sent by a wiseman that I'm sharing with you:

Two Choices

What would you do? make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway.. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection..

Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do..

Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball..

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first!

Run to first!'

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

B y the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball . the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third!

Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!


We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the 'appropriate' ones to receive this type of message Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference.

We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the 'natural order of things.'

So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:

Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.

You now have two choices:

1. Delete

2. Forward

May your day, be a Shay Day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stress:The Silent Assassin

Ever heard of the term "Supari"?Well it means "Areca Nut" in the Hindi language,used in betel leaves for chewing,but it also means giving a contract to a hired Killer for bumping someone off.The term is used a lot in Hindi movies.I hate to refer to it as Bollywood,sounds like a cheap version of Hollywood.Anyway,what I'm coming to is that,when we ignore tell tale signs that our body gives us about the stress we may be going through,it's like giving a supari(contract) for our own death.Didn't understand?I will explain in lucid words.

When I was a kid,which was a while ago,the word stress never existed. The word "Tension" was the in thing in those days,and everyone had tension.But Kids were not supposed to have any tension,as they were kids.Simply do homework,play,eat,do well in school and be "Bindaas"(cool).So, even if I had any stress,oops..tension,then I couldn't say so.Only adults had tensions as they were grown up and had more tensions than kids,along with the tension of putting up with kids.I had a very forward and maverick Principal in school who's name was Joseph Purayidam.He was different from most Principals.He was a darker version of Rajiv Gandhi(baldness heightened resemblance),was about 6' tall with a booming voice that would send Amitabh Bachchan gargling.The only thing uncool about him was that even in the 80's he still wore bell-bottoms.Anyway,maybe his tailor died and couldn't find a better one,I don't know.But he was a Principal who could play basket ball and base ball with the students.He also spoke about stress and the need to destress.There were no computers connected to Internets to run to those days,to check out what stress meant.I didn't have the guts to approach him with a query as me and him were always locking horns,as I always challenged every rule he made.Whether it was about not speaking in any other language other than English or smaller kids being given preference to sit in school buses.I even had the audacity to lecture him on safety of older students being equally important.Anyway,the point is that he was the first one who I remember having used the word stress and I'm sure I gave him his share of STRESS.

Now Stress aka Tension can wreak havoc in our lives and it can lead to many a life threatening conditions like cardiac arrests and even cancer.Hard to believe eh,but believe me it has been proven that stress can be a killer.It doesn't have to be this way as Stress can well be controlled.It's all in our hands.After all we are God's supreme creation and we are highest in terms of intelligence.He won't be happy the way humans have turned out but we can definitely try and live a healthy one.

What is Stress? Stress is a feeling that's created when you react to certain events,or the way you react to a situation. It's our body's way of preparing to face an event and preparing to meet a tough situation,the best it can.Stress becomes a problem when we become over-stressed and it affects how we cope with day to day stuff.The human body responds to events that provoke stress (stressors) by activating the nervous system and specific hormones.The hormones speed up heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. The physical changes prepare you to react quickly and effectively to handle the pressure of the moment.
This natural reaction is known as the stress response. If done properly,the body's stress response improves our ability to perform well under pressure.

Stress can be caused for different reasons.Stress can be caused due to under performing at school,peer pressure,friction with boss/colleagues at work,unsatisfactory marital/sex life,or any other issue.We all have our stress points and our own breaking points.No other person should judge what is and what isn't stressful for you.The stupidest thing I've heard when I was growing up was that 'young kids don't have stress'.Most misleading bull shit.Pardon my language but I couldn't find a better word.A lot of kids end up into mental cases because no one took them seriously.Recently there was a movie guest Starring yester-years movie actor Mithun Chakraborthy,in which he pleads the cases of students who are driven to point of committing suicide due to parental pressure for peak performances.In that he gives an example of individual strength by asking a court clerk to try bending a foot ruler made of plastic and of steel.The steel ruler bends but the plastic one breaks.So,the point is that we all have different levels of bearing stress.

These are some of the symptoms of being stressed:feeling irritable,feeling anxious,avoiding other people,crying,moodiness,feeling frustrated,low self-esteem,depression.On physical level one can feel headaches,tummy upsets followed by constipation as a cycle,fever,eating too much and beginning to smoke and drink.
To help manage the stress, it may be helpful to talk to someone about what is upsetting you. Talking to someone you trust may help you to work out why you are stressed out and what you can do about it.Maybe you can't get rid of the stress from your life, however managing your stress could help you get things going.

Some ways of dealing with stress:

Talking with someone might help get it off your chest,doing some exercise,Yoga/meditation,counselling,hanging out with friends,archery/sport.Different things work for different people,so we need to figure out what works best for us to de-stress.Worrying about it definitely doesn't help.

I get stressed out a lot and have tried out many things.Deep breathing definitely helps de-stress and so does doing some hatha yoga.The stretching and the postures definitely help.If we can control our breathing,we can control our mind and our body.

Of course auto suggestion,which my dad mentioned a long time back does help.

The key is to identify the enemy,and stress is something we can befriend and turn into our own advantage.Like someone aptly put it,a little bit of stress is a positive thing as it keeps us alert and keep us from being complacent.

So,try and keep stress positive and life will become better.Jai Ho

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pearls Of Wisdom From a Rose

A friend sent a priceless forward.WIsh every forward's were so priceless.Thanks my friend.Now for the Pearls:

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "! We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets"

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL.. < I> We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's All The Fuss About Scientology

I must admit I was never an admirer of Tom Cruise.Never understood what the big fuss was about him and his acting.Never liked either of them.My wife is a big fan of his....each to his own.But,it was with his name that I first heard of Scientology.I never bothered to read more about it as anything associated with Tom Cruise by default,earned my total disinterest.The only thing associated with him that I ever read about was Nicole Kidman.But that was when she looked like a woman.Now she looks very androgenous.Don't know if that's a desired effect or something else.Now coming back to Scientology,I thought it must be some science club.What else could you decipher of a name like Scientology? Then I was more perturbed by the reference "Church Of Scientology".A science church?I never gave it another thought.That was a couple of years back,but now I decided to enlighten myself on this news making entity,when I heard John Travolta was planning to exit Scientology,and how they were going to make it tough on him.Now,John Travolta I like.He's a natural actor,flies his own plane and is married to one of the most gorgeous women in Hollywood----Kelly Preston.It was very unfortunate what happened with his son.What a tragedy it is to loose your teenage son like that!

Now from what i understand,this whole Scientology thing was started by a science fiction writer Ron Hubbard.He wrote some beliefs and in his own words describes it as the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others, and all of life. One purpose of Scientology, as stated by the Church of Scientology, is to become certain of one's spiritual existence and one's relationship to God. One belief of Scientology is that a human is an immortal alien spiritual being, termed a thetan, that is trapped on planet Earth in a physical body.
It's believed that an individual should discover for himself that Scientology works by personally applying its principles and observing or experiencing desirable results. Also that a series of events, or incidents, occurred before life on earth, and also believe that humans have hidden abilities which can be unlocked.
In Scientology, the cosmic source or life force is represented by the Greek letter theta (Θ). Theta is meant to represent life or the life source, it is not part of the physical universe but it can control the universe. The individual expression of theta is called the thetan.
According to Scientologist mythology, thetans brought the material world into being largely for their own pleasure.Thetans are believed to have occupied innumerable bodies over time. This aspect of Scientology theology bears similarities to the Masonry, Hindu and Buddhist concept of reincarnation. Reincarnation in Scientology happens through a process called 'assumption'. The Scientology emphasis on the importance of present, consequence of past actions also resembles the concept of karma.
The Bridge to Total Freedom is the means by which Scientologists undertake personal spiritual development. The bridge has two sides: 'training' + 'processing'. Training is education in the religious principles of 'auditing'. Processing is the actual practice of 'auditing'.

It goes on and on about dynamics and practices and so on and so forth.I won't get into the details of all that.

Scientology has a rigid doctrine which discourages secondary interpretation of its writings.Emphasis is placed on keeping the writings in context.They believe in gradual learning of their doctrines.One central practice of Scientology is an activity known as auditing/listening which seeks to elevate a follower to a State of Clear, one of freedom from the influences of the reactive mind.

In his Chart of Human Evaluation Hubbard said that a man high in the chart has a strong interest in sex and the rearing of children. Hubbard described the sex emotion as a strong attention unit similar to a strong applause.I didn't quite understand that but then I'm not surprised.

The Church of Scientology has a requirement in order that every member sign a legal waiver document which covers their relationship with the Church of before engaging in Scientology services.Individual breakaway groups have been prosecuted and harassed,that have practiced Scientology outside the official Church without authorization.It's very autocratic and authoritarian.Then why crib about communism in China or Korea,when you have these organisations in a free country?

Now,I'm not sure as to why John Travolta may want to quit this cult like religion or sect or whatever you may please to call it.We,all know to some extent the kind of pressure and stress these Hollywood actors have to go through and how they all resort to some sort of addiction at some point or the other.From,what's been written in the tabloids,there are a lot of murky details in John's life which he'd rather not be made public.To the uninitiated,John's son was autistic and it's rumoured that the church of Scientology didn't believe he was and John just ignored them and did his own thing.There were rumours of him being gay and that his partner was the kid's nanny and blah blah blah.Now I would take all this with a pinch of salt,but it brings to the forefront,how powerful the cult religion has become.John Travolta is one of the biggest benefactor and one of the oldest.I believe he's been a member from as back as 1975.All I can say is that as a believer of God and him being the creator of the universe,it's really hard to believe that people can follow something that's man made.My prayers are with John,he's had a really hard time,and hope that he can make the right decision and be happy about it.In the absence of faith,people are easily misled into joining all kinds of groups offering them the path to salvation.Sometimes it's difficult to get out.Will John be able to get out?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Should India Be Concerned About a Paranoid Neighbour

Unfortunately for India,it has many paranoid neighbours and the Indian leadership never taking them as a threat seriously,has led to the few wars and skirmishes on our borders.No,I'm not talking about Pakistan or China,or Nepal.Yes even they are in the running for India's enemy no.1 title.This time I'm writing about a country which most Indians have forgotten or don't think of it as a threat.Well,think again.After reading what I write,you will think again.

I'm talking about Myanmar.No,no its not the 'Myan' in Urdu meaning the sheath in which swords are kept,but Myanmar or erstwhile Burma.We will refer to it as Burma for the sake of convenience.On and off I've been hearing of Burma growing as a military and a nuclear power.Out of sheer ignorance I scoffed at it and said "Burma what"?When I read a few articles about Burma in the local newspapers,I was shocked.
Burma is the largest country in terms of geographical area in mainland South-east Asia and also the 40th largest country in the world.Shocked?This is just the beginning.It's predominantly Buddhist and is a military governed country since 1962.
That was a blast into the past.In today's age,Burma is a growing nuclear power with upto 5 nuclear reactors and equal number of plants.It seems that for years Burmese men have been sent to Russia to study nuclear weaponry and how a nuclear bomb is made etc.They have been arming themselves to the teeth and its all done very secretively.Russia has been selling nuclear plants,reactors and all equipments related to Burma.It is possible that all the logistics are facilitated from N.Korea through some secrets tunnels.That is a big concern for India as N.Korea is a protege of sorts for China and we all know China's expansionist dreams and its resentment towards India's growth since the mid 90's.I wont be surprised if they and some other anti-India nations were behind all the mishaps happening with the commonwealth preparations.Truth is heart of heart many nations don't want to see it take off.A successful commonwealth games will mean more growth for India in terms of investments and projects.Australia and China both had a boost in growth after the Olympics were hosted by them.I won't be surprised if all these mishaps were planned.It won't be far fetched.So,the thought that China is indirectly trying to arm one of our neighbours with nuclear capacity to counter India is a possibility that India cannot disregard.We have to learn from our previous mistakes which were very grave.Do we ever learn? It looks like we could,at least that's what another article on India's military might said.A few facts on the Indian Army:

Army:1.3 million
Reserve:1.16 million
Tanks: 4500
Naval vessels:145
Nuclear weapons:60-70

All figures are an approximate but formidable.India is the largest importer of military hardware in 3rd world nations and is purchasing more and more weapons.A home made nuclear sub was launched recently without much fanfare.India's military spending has doubled in ten years.We need to get aggressive with aggressors on the borders and bargain and lobby for more support on the Kashmir issue from Big daddy without giving in too much.Not being on the security council has always gone against India,which makes China very happy.Every one wants to please China as they all have to gain from India.Offense is the best defense can be a ploy that may work to ward off aggression.We have to get rid off this pacifist label stamped on our foreheads by the British.Non-violence won't work in such situations.

India is poised to become the 3rd mightiest military in the world and without supremacy over the Indian ocean,that can't be achieved.It seems that the annual spending on Navy is only 15% and 60% for the Army.That ratio has to tilt towards the Navy's favour as the seas are important.China has a very formidable Navy too and the recent Mumbai attacks that came via the sea,shows how lacking we are in that Area.

India is surrounded by enemies from all sides;only superior technology and superior planning can keep us afloat.Jai Ho

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Who Is Peter Varghese

It sounds just like another mallu name doesn't it,but it's not.The Peter Noozhumuri Varghese I'm referring to is a key person;both for India and Australia.
A few facts about Peter:

He was born in Africa(Kenya) in 1956
B.A(Hons)from Queensland University
Joined service in Dept.of foreign Affairs in 1979
Since then has held key positions including International Adviser to the PM in 2003
Married to Margaret O'Sullivan and has one Son

What makes him special are two facts,namely: he being the first Indian to be deputed from Australia as High Commissioner to India,and India currently on an economic boom.
The thing that immediately comes to mind is the attacks on the Indian students a few months ago and more recently the Indian students being left high and dry after many colleges close down courses.And not to forget the issues with Uranium being refused,on what grounds everyone knows.

Economic Pundits have been proclaiming India as the inevitable economic giant for years now,but the way it is positioned in another 10years,India may finally arrive.
Now that half of the world seems disillusioned with China's games at helping only themselves,their doubt able stance on Tibet,supporting Pakistan to spread terror in India and their own military enhancements;powers like the US are looking at redefining their relationship with India.Lets be honest,its all about vested interest.There is no free lunch and Hillary's visit to India was a multi-purpose one;some of it we can only guess,but some were obvious.China may well be the Frankenstein the US wants to ignore,and India the pacifist democracy with a booming economy.We have a lot to gain and so does the US,from the alliance.You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.But a line needs to be drawn.Now,Australia also wants a share of this giant pizza( I prefer that to pie).No harm in it,its business after all and we all have something to gain.

Now,what can Peter do for India and Australia is the big question.He has a tight rope walk ahead of him.He will be doubted as an Australian ally in India and maybe the same in Australia.Only time will tell as he will be hit as soon as he assumes office,by the attacks' issue as that is fresh in memory and will take predominance.He will need to be very tactful,as this has become a very sensitive issue for Indians.It will be safe to assume that his deputation is a wise move by Kevin Rudd to try and appease India.Whether it pays off or not remains to be seen.

Its going to be one of the toughest deputations for Peter and more so because of the high hopes pinned on him from both sides.Lets wait and watch if his shoulders are strong enough to carry this responsibly and smoothly,or he will crumble under pressure.I read that he has a very sharp mind,hope that comes in handy.I will sign off by wishing Peter all the very best and that God gift him the strength,wisdom,courage and vision to see him through.Jai Ho

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You Could Drop Dead

I'm not trying to scare you,but that was the essence of what an article in last weekend's Good weekend magazine was trying to convey.Now Good Weekend magazine is an insert into the weekend edition of Sydney Morning Herald and me and the wife have this tradition of reading the Saturday paper over breakfast.....either at home or in a Cafe'.Due to space restrictions in a Cafe', we end up reading the paper mostly at home.
Now this article caught my attention.It said about perfectly normal and healthy young adults who dropped dead.It said about a young athletic bloke who came out of the shower,towel wrapped around himself and was found on the dead bed.Also there was a young guy was jogging and dropped dead and many others who seemingly had no health conditions,but just died....suddenly.All of them had a common cause of death and post-mortem revealed it as Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy(HCM).It is a silent and quick killer.From what I understood,all these people had a hereditary condition due to which their heart muscles thickened and at some stage caused a cardiac arrest.

One school teacher also had a similar attack but she survived as her co-teacher and two other students had all been trained in CPR(resuscitation),I think it stands for cardio pulmonary resuscitation.Anyway,she was lucky that they revived her till the paramedics got there.She still goes about her life normally,with a defibrillator installed inside here.In future if she ever had a cardiac arrest,this device would give her multiple electric shocks.The experience has been described as feeling 'like being kicked in the face by a horse'.Fortunately this lady didn't have an attack after that.Defibrillation must begin immediately. Your chances for survival decline by 10% for every minute that passes without your heart receiving an electrical shock. After 10 minutes your chances for survival are less than 1%. The national average response time from the time you call a paramedic to the time the paramedics arrive is 10 minutes.So,a person who's just suffered an attack cannot wait for ambulance to arrive and defibrillation must have begun.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes excessively thick. Hypertrophic means "excessive growth" and cardiomyopathy means, "heart muscle disease." The thickening affects the walls of the two main pumping chambers of the heart, called the ventricles. The right ventricle pumps blood from the body to the lungs, and the left ventricle pumps blood from the lungs to the body. The heart muscle thickening may occur in the ventricular septum, the muscular wall that separates the left and right ventricles. It can also occur in areas other than the septum, such as the apex (tip) of the ventricles, the right ventricle, or the entire left ventricular wall. In general, the effects of HCM are much more prominent in the left ventricle than the right.

For various reasons, HCM causes the heart's blood-pumping function to become less effective. Left untreated, this can lead to congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet the body's needs, resulting in shortness of breath, fluid buildup in the legs, fatigue, and other symptoms.

Now,what was scary was that anyone could have this condition and not know about it.So to be on the safe side,it's suggested to have a cardiac check up where it can be determined if you have the condition or not.God forbid if you do,then the next best step can be suggested by the specialist. It was said that genes do have an important role,so you might consider looking into that as well.Cheers

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First Australians were Indians!

Whoa,hold your horses! I'm not a scientist to make such loud claims,this is what some Indian scientist is claiming.I'm just sharing with you what appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald today.So have a read and chew on it,and do comment on what you think.I seriously don't know if this report makes me happy or sad.Now I do remember seeing a programme called "Story of India",I think it was a BBC production and it had some really astonishingly revealing facts about South Indian evolution and they traced back the genes of South Indians to Africa.I used to always wonder why some of the mallus and Tamil's had African colour,curly hair and even features.Now it makes sense.Anyway read the gist of the article below:

First Australians were Indian: research

July 23, 2009

CLUES about how the first Aborigines arrived in Australia have been unveiled by Indian scientists. Based on a series of genetic tests, they believe Aborigines travelled from Africa to Australia via India.

Dr Raghavendra Rao and researchers from the Indian-government backed Anthropological Survey of India project found unique genetic mutations were shared between modern-day Indians and Aborigines, suggesting Australia's indigenous people had spent time on the subcontinent.

The scientists did genetic tests on 966 individuals from 26 of India's "relic populations" and identified seven people from central Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic tribes who shared genetic traits only found in Aborigines. "We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Indian tribes … that are specific to Aborigines," Dr Rao said.

"This … suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called southern route."

Scientists believe the first modern humans began spreading around the world from Africa about 50,000 years ago. But little is known about which routes they took.

Some studies have suggested they used a single southern route stretching from the Horn of Africa, across the Red Sea into Arabia and southern Asia.

They were then believed to have moved along the coastlines of southern Asia, South-East Asia and Indonesia before arriving in Australia about 45,000 years ago.

Dr Rao said the new research, published by the online scientific journal BMC Evolutionary Biology yesterday, indicated there was direct DNA evidence about how modern humans spread from Africa 50,000 years ago. "In this respect, populations in the Indian subcontinent harbour DNA footprints of the earliest expansion out of Africa," he said.

It makes sense if you look at the path travelled........from Africa,it had to go through India and other parts of Asia and then down under.Interesting reading but how it will benefit us,I'm not sure.

Jai Ho

Sunday, July 19, 2009

India has well wishers in Sydney!!

Do pardon my ineptitude with technology.Its a battle that I'm fighting alone and don't seem to be winning or loosing.For the past few days I've been hit with some kind of influenza that's making the rounds of Sydney and did emerge more or less unscathed but my usually healthy wife,fell prey this time around.when you are sick,you are miserable,but when a loved one is rendered sick,it kills you even more.Anyway,shes a fighter and is back at work.So the issue that was killing me was the report in the Times of India about a prediction that China would attack India and that really bothered me.I read a lot about the issue and posted my comments also on various sites and discussion forums,but nothing reassured me like the two articles that I'm reproducing below.One of it is by a common man like me in Sydney,yet who one who has foresight.His short letter to the editor is worth reading and uplifting for all Indians,second is an article by Dr John Lee who is the foreign policy fellow at the Centre for Independent studies,Sydney.Both the letter and the article were very enlightening and threw light on why China is just the other bully on this side of the globe.If all goes well,then India should gain favour with countries like Australia and be prepared for a fruitful partnership,that could result in a trade partnership.Not that fast,as China won't go down without a fight and its vengeful nature is well known.Like I said before I tried to insert these articles but they were too large in size as attachments,so do pardon my ignorance.But the article and the letter are worth reading.Hillary Clinton's visit also is something to look forward to,but lets be warned that the US is primarily a big enterprise,which looks primarily at it's interest,and rightly so.They never said they were a charity organization,but we have to tread very carefully as we don't want to end up as a strategic point like Pakistan or China,only trading partner.Read on and do excuse the few errors that crept in whilst pasting the documents.So,first is the letter that was published in "Opinions" in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald and the second one is an article which came in the same edition.Very interesting!!

Court India and spurn China's advances(Letter)

Wade highlighted a serious foreign policy failure by successive Australia governments ("We must not squander Indian links", July 14):why China and not India?Australians have a right to ask why,over the past two decades, Our politicians have fostered such,close trade dependence on China, a country with a totalitarian government devoid of democratic principles, no respect for the rule of law-as has been Bone out by the detention of Stern Hu for more than a week without charge and no regard for human rights or respect for minorities such as the Tibetans orthe Uighurs. India,on the other hand,a democracy governed bytherule oflaw,hashardly been onthe radar screen with our governments when it comes to trade and political ties.
Why have they not Pursued,stronger and closer relationship with India?

India's economy is growing almost as fast as China's,and with a similar population its market would demand similar amounts of our raw materials,not to mention endless
possibilities for other Australian goods and services.As Wade points out,we share so many more interests with India than China, such as cricket, the English language and the, Commonwealth.'

For too long the Chinese Government has believed it can dictate to other countries'
politicians who they can or Cannot meet,including the Dalai Lama and Taiwanese Government officials, while it happily carries on arming the Robert Mugabe regime
The Hu case should be a to Our politicians to stop behaving as though China was the only market for Australian products: We should be Pursuing our wealth ethically by tying Our future
to democratic India and moving away from trade dependence on totalitarian


China not ready to lead the world(Article)
Ina speech given just before the
17Th Chinese Communist Party
Congress in 2007, Premier Wen
Iiabao rebuked those agitating for
political reform and told a domestic
gathering of policymakers and
intellectuals that China would not be
ready for democracy for 100 years.
Maybe Wenwas merely stating a fact but
events over the past week suggest that
China might not be ready to assume
leadership in the region, let alone the
world, for perhaps almost as long.
Several months ago, a group of state sponsored
Chinese scholars released a
best-selling new book entitled Unhappy
China - The Great Time, Grand
Vision and Our Challenges. It argued
that given the growth of Chinese national
strength, China should put prudence
aside, break away from Western
influence and come to recognise that it
has the power to lead the world.
But one high -profile critic of the book
is Hu Xingdou, a highly respected
economics professor at the Beijing Institute
of Technology. Hu called its publication
a sign of the "ideological
chaos" in China. According to Hu, extreme
nationalism is not the answer.
More than this, he argued that China is
not ready to lead. In Hu's opinion,
China cannot yet exercise international
leadership because its "value systems"
- cultural, political and ideological- are
not yet part of the regional or international
mainstream. Beijing's example
is not an attractive one for other
countries. Subsequently, reserves of
"soft power" required for leadership are
far from adequate.
Two events in the past week bring out
Hu's arguments.
First, tensions in Xinjiang, as in Tibet,
are complex. There were acts of violence
against both Han Chinese and indigenous
Uighurs. But the root cause is
China has a long way to go until it convinces
Asia it has the credentials to be a benevolent
leader and constructive dominant power.
a combination of historical animosity,
as well as the systematic cultural and
economic suppression of ethnic
minorities. In China, Beijing has a
genuinely held stated goal of social
"harmony" but this is defined as harmony
under the dominant Han culture.
Beijing's respect for the different minority
cultures within its country is still
superficial and for show.
There is no better example than the
children in traditional dress, representing
the 56 different ethnic groups
within modern China, who were
paraded to the world at the Olympic
Games opening ceremony last year. It
was subsequently discovered that the
children were all from the majority Han
Chinese race.
Second, the detention and arrest of the
Australian mining giant Rio Tinto's
Shanghai-based executive, Stem Hu, an
Australian citizen of Han Chinese heritage
on charges of espionage for illegally
attaining commercial information, is
deeply worrying. The fact that the arrest
comes shortly after a failed bid by the
Chinese state-owned company Chinalco
to increase its stake in Rio Tinto is unlikely
to be purely coincidental .:
Moreover, although details of what Hu
is alleged to have done have still not been
revealed, the fact that he has been arrested
for spying and charged with causing
grave economic loss to the Chinese
state, thereby causing harm to China's
national interests, is indefensible. It
merely confirms again that Beijing has
grave difficulty separating the public and
the private - differentiating national and
security interests from normal commercial
and business ones.
The fact that Chinese courts at all
levels explicitly remain under the ultimate
jurisdiction of the Chinese Communist
Party also means that judicial due
process in China which Hu will be subject
to has a very different meaning to
what we call "rule of law".
For China to displace America as the
regional hegemony, other Asian states
need to accept the legitimacy and desirability
of Chinese pre-eminence and
leadership. Although Asian states generally
use a "realist" framework in their
foreign policy outlook, they still recognise
that what Hu Xingdou calls domestic
value systems - cultural, political
and ideological ~ have strategic and
practical significance. Asian populations
can sometimes find American
rhetoric about values shrill and annoying,
but they also accept that America
has largely delivered on its rhetoric and
has provided a stable, fair, open and
liberal order for the region to thrive
since World War II.
Unless compelled by the threat of
overwhelming existential force or left
no option by American withdrawal,
Asian states will not accept Chinese
leadership, let alone dominance, in the
region while Beijing's value systems remain
closed, intolerant to differences,
vengeful and overbearing.
Much has been said about Beijing's
advances in building its soft power. This
is overstated. In soft power terms, China
has plucked what diplomats might call
"low-hanging fruit". It has convinced
the region it is a legitimate rising power
- that its re-emergence should be
accommodated. But it has a long way to
go until it convinces Asia it has the
credentials to be a benevolent leader
and constructive dominant power.
If Premier Wen gets his way this
could take 100 years.
Dr John Lee is the foreign policy fellow at the
Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney and a
visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute in
Washington. The second edition of his book Will
China Fai/?was released last month.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A few laugh's we shared in Sydney

From my previous posts it may have seemed to some of you that we never had a light moment in Sydney.That's not true! On the contrary we had a few,and after almost three years,when we sit and reminisce; we laugh about those moments.Friends,a wise person once remarked "Life is about making memories" and I would like to add "Make sure you make good ones also".So here goes down memory lane:

Sunday in Newtown:
Newtown is a suburb in Sydney's inner-west and is known for its fashion stores,eateries and live music in the weekends.My partner had been pestering me to go there and I didn't like the idea of going there during night time.We took the train instead on an afternoon and thought of catching lunch.We did our recce and had a quick Thai lunch and did some more gallivanting around the market.Now my partner and her fetish,bordering greed for ice creams is legendary in our circle of friends.We saw this cute gelato shop,I think it was called Dolce&Gelato on King street.A smart Italian gentleman was there behind the counter and he let my partner choose the flavours for both of us.Now as a rule when I'm with her I let her do all the ordering,paying etc as I'm too lazy.I have no silly notions of manhood which will diminish if a woman pays,or orders etc etc.What manhood is it that gets affected by such trivial things.I sympathise with all fools thinking in such a manner.All fools thinking like that should see a Shrink at the earliest to fix their misplaced manhood.Why do any work if its been done for you without complains and doesn't cost a dime?Anyway,I very boldly goaded her to have 2 scoops and the Italiano put big dollops of it.I don't remember the flavours but it was so yummm........and we kept eating and eating and eating but the bloody thing wouldn't finish.The Italiano had given it to us with such passion that we dare not throw it and he wouldn't budge.So we sat and waited till he moved to the store room and we quickly dumped the leftovers,I shouted a grazi mucho and stormed out.Once outside we laughed our heads off.God,we sat there constipated,for about 15minutes to throw it off without him noticing.

Girl on the bus:
In our initial days in Sydney,even taking a bus was a pain since we didn't know anything about anything.So one day we decided to check out the city and got on board a bus.My over smart partner shoved a $50 bill in the drivers face and the bewildered look he had on his face showed he didn't get many $50 bills.He politely told us that he didn't have change for that and we should either get change or leave the bus.In my whole life I don't remember asking anyone for help.My partner is a little more thick skinned read as street smart,and she looked around for a kind face.Everyone turned away and seemed to have their glance fixed outside the windows.A kind girl who was our knight in shining armour paid for us with her pass.So she swiped it twice in the ticket scanner.I was shocked.My partner was happily chatting.Like I said,I have a lot of pride,good or bad is another issue.I told my partner to ask her where she was getting off to return he money.Unfortunately she got off earlier and told us to give the money to charity.I plagued my partner to pay it off everyday and she never found salvation army or a charity.After a few weeks she gave the ticket money to salvation army.I then looked for that girl till we found her to tell that we gave the money to salvation army.She seemed amused,I wasn't.I was relieved.I don't take favours and if I do I repay it.My partner found that amusing.But that's me,a Delhi boy.But I could never forget that girl who saved me the embarrassment of being chucked off the bus.Good on you girl!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

India will emerge eventually

I seriously don't care if India becomes a superpower or not,but every Indian should have at least 3 meals a day,be clothed and have a roof over of his head.The measure of a country's success is not by its nuclear arsenal or by its army's strength.Whats the use of all this if your people are starving.India was the biggest economy in the world in the 17th century when the so called Western powers had poverty and some were still barbarians.Now,that was till the Brits invaded us and robbed the country.They looted,raped and plundered.India has been a silent witness to such things in the past with muslim invaders also but they would loot and leave.The Brits had heard of India being the golden sparrow and of its abundant wealth.No wonder it was called as the "Jewel in the crown" amongst all colonies.Now when Gandhi threw them out in 1947,they left grudgingly and left behind a divided India and a tottering nation deprived of all its wealth,and with a drained economy.The riots that ensued during partition left deep scars on both sides which havent yet healed.Divide and rule policy is what they applied cruelly over two centuries and won many battles.Real shrewd buggers.Indians were naive chaps,very gullible and always wanting to please the white master.
Now after 62 years a lot of Indians and outsiders ask why India hasn't developed the way many nations who got Independence simultaneously did! The answer is that India was pulled back 200 years by the British,who didn't let the country or its people advance.So, in 62 years we haven't done badly for ourselves considering how we were forcibly kept back and our growth was stunted.We haven't done badly at all and should be proud.The U.S got its independence in 1776 and they started becoming a superpower post 1945 after the war.So,do your maths and see how long it took them after independence and also give due consideration that they were not drained by years of British rule like India.The Brits never wanted to leave,such were the revenues earned from India.
So my dear friends,India's favourite song which we all grew up with "We shall overcome" is India's unsaid motto.We shall and we will overcome.India's destiny awaits it and its children.One of my brothers correctly and aptly said that,"India wins over hearts and is not a follower of muscle games", but at the same time India doesn't welcome aggression in any form.History proves it.
India is a great nation.A nation where elders are still respected,families stay together,divorce is a taboo and the neighbour is cared for too.We have culture and tradition going back since ancient times.No power or country can just blow away India like a candle.Amongst the Hindus there's a sayin "Jako raakhe saiyan,maar sake na koi" which loosely translated means that "The one who God protects cannot be touched".India has religion as a power if not anything.People are very religious unlike in many Western countries there is no religion,which is a binding and bonding factor in India.
India will triumph and I dont care if it becomes a superpower or not but it will emerge a great nation,which it always has been.People of the world don't know it yet,but they will....gradually.Jai ho!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

calm in sydney

Hi guys,sorry for the delay in posts but I was waiting to comment on something concrete regarding the attacks on students in Sydney and Melbourne.Unfortunately,it seems that China has hijacked that issue and the media and government seem more content in being answerable to them.Very enraging and demeaning but true.Now why is that? By that, I meant,why is China being given more importance.
Now,as a student in New York I did fairly well in F.I.T,which for the uninitiated stands for Fashion Institute of Technology and is considered the Harvard of Fashion when I studied there during 1994-1996.My only competition were Israeli and Chinese students who took more credit per semester than any of us.Credits were the points allocated for a certain subject and an average student would take up to 16 credits which could equate to 4-5 subject depending on how much credit each subject held.It was tough competition from Israeli kids as they were smart,hardworking and intelligent.The Chinese kids were smart,hardworking and intelligent.I was over smart,hardly working and assumed an air of superiority.How did I manage to stay above? Well, a little bit of work was required and in subjects where the exams were essay types,I scored hands down as my English was good.The Chinese kids had a major problem there.This is one of the biggest legacies the Brits left us.....the English language.I read somewhere that 40million Indians(In India and worldwide),speak English as a first language and have better written and comprehension skills in the language.So much so that Indian teachers are being imported in hordes to England to teach English to the English.Now,isn't that ironical?Even when India was a colony,the Brits sent Indian teachers to some of many other colonies like West Indies,Fiji etc. to teach the locals English.

Coming back to the Chinese,right from my New York days I had understood that China enjoyed an MFN status with the US and despite arming themselves,they got away with it.I think many forget or don't even know that China along with the U.S,Russia,UK and France is the fifth member of the UN permanent security council members.Isn't that amazing? One Asian country among all these anglophiles,considering Russia also as a White nation.Maybe White Caucasians would be more appropriate.Even during the pre-colonisation days,unlike us Indians who welcomed Europeans with wide arms to help sove our infighting's,the Chinese always fought off invasions.I remember seeing this programme on SBS channel on how the Chinese captured the first French arrivals and put them in a cart,paraded them and beat them with poles.China also was an ally in the second world war.So as is usual from ancient days,after the battle's won,the spoils are split.So did the allies,and today the power equation that we see are the results from the spoils that were split.China also got away with being a communist regime and has emerged so powerful.In one of the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies, they refer to Chinese Air force as the biggest Air force in the world.Their Army is also a force to reckon with I believe.China has flooded the markets over the last decade or more with Chinese cheap goods and people are dependent on it as recession has been on and off world over.

India figures nowhere in the top agenda's of countries like USA and even Australia.Its very natural why.There's been no love lost between China and India over many issues like border and water disputes and the most touchy one being Tibet and harbouring Dalai Lama over which a deadly war was also fought in the 60's in which the Indian army took a good beating.India was a country coming out of 200years of colonialism and its army was new and weak.China had superiority in man power and weapons.The terrain where the battle was fought was again alien to the Indian soldiers who didn't stand a chance.When a country which is a permanent security council is the aggressor,the media coverage is not much but if a country like India helps Bangladesh to break away from Pakistan there's a lot of media outcry.Since China has an old axe to grind with India,Australia which needs China to buy their minerals and keep that boom going won't supply India with Uranium.I was shocked to read that China has been supplying arms to Pakistan which in turn gave it to militants who use it to spread terror in India.Isn't it obvious as to who put a spoke in the wheel of India's many attempts to get US approval on various issues like Nuclear and defence developments.

I was watching this Nicholas cage movie in which he was an arm dealer and at the end of the movie there was a caption saying that the five security council members of the UN are the five biggest arms suppliers in the world.Isn't that ironical?

As a student in New York,one of my social sciences Professor's remarked that India has everything going for it,but unless it has strong lobbying in the US at the senate levels,India's status would remain weak.Fifteen years have passed and the status still remains the same.

We need a leader who not only can provide stability and peace but also be an International leader.Rajiv Gandhi was the only one who could hold his own amongst leaders of other nations,but he was not allowed to live.

India's image abroad is poor and Indian's in India and abroad have to change attitudes so that people sit up and take notice.We are a great nation that has survived for 2500 years and more and we need to be respected and remembered.And others will only do so if we are proud of our heritage and our culture.If we ourselves deride our own culture and people,why will others respect us.All of us at some point are guilty of that to fit in with the "Saheb".That should stop and we must fight for our rights peacefully.We are from the land of Gandhi,violence was never our way.Gandhi threw out the Brits without throwing a single punch.Lets remember that great man and learn from him.Jai Ho!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back in Sydney

I apologise for the gap in my entry as I was away in Cairns,and the place where we were staying didn't have Internet access for the period of our stay.
Now,Cairns is a lovely place! To me it was a bit like Kerala and Goa.So you can Imagine how beautiful it is.It was truly out of the world! Now we took the Virgin blue flight from Sydney and it was delayed due to fog in Brisbane and our flight carrier was originating from Brisbane.I must say that I loved their service and attitude.Very polite and efficient.The Cairns airport is undergoing some repair work which required me and my partner to walk from one end to the other for baggage collection.Good exercise.We picked up a car from East coast car rentals who messed up the bookings a bit but Mini car rentals which is next doors, was nice.The customer service rep,a girl called Lia helped us out.We stayed at a place called Trinity beach resort which was lovely and the beach was just 200m away.The staff and owners were very welcoming and the apartments were also self styled and suited our purpose.There was an IGA at a 2 minutes drive from our resort which was super rocking.

We covered most of the attractions like the barrier reef,corals,kuranda skyrail and the train etc.Port Douglas which is a 1.5 hour drive was also fabulous and the Hartley Croc farm on the way was also worth a visit.

Now what I liked most about Cairns was that the people were so courteous,traffic was so organised and there was no rudeness or aggression anywhere.A little of that behaviour we saw came from tourists.

Whoa,when we came outside Sydney airport it was a rude awakening.A big shock.

People are so busy here that they have become insensitive and selfish, hence the aggression and the honking and the swearing.

Me and my partner don't know where we will settle down but we know that Sydney is no longer a safe prospect to consider settling down here.

The Indian students were right to protest but resorting to violence is not a way out.Two wrongs don't make a right.They came to study here and not become vigilante's or goonie's.There are other people who are doing a good job at that and soon their deeds will catch up with them.
But the whole episode has exposed the lackadaisical attitude of the Australian Police and how they look the other way and turn a blind eye to many of these incidents.Won't be too far fetched to say that some characters here are playing these gullible boys to their advantage.God save them from these Parasites.Australian government is only concerned with the lucrative business they're in danger of loosing,and not about the plight of the ones who contribute to that business.Insensitive is all I can call them.In fact the Universities who lure them here vouching for the safety and protection of Australia are the ones to be held responsible.Now,that would be asking for too much.God bless these hapless souls.Only he can help them now as the law can't or won't.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Its quiet in Sydney and Melbourne

I was waiting to see if anything concrete will happen with regards to the students being bashed that rocked the Indian community.Nothing concrete has happened,only promises or claims of what will be done.Not good enough.There was a big turnout by the student community in Melbourne and they were camping near Flinders street I believe,which is near the Train Station.The cops did look perturbed on TV as the crowd was big.The students did stage a night out there and finally in the morning the cops resorted to force to evict them from their protest.One student was injured and the commissioner of police apologised.

Reminded me of the movie Gandhi where the Brits forcibly remove peaceful protesters.In this case the students were agitated and did break some window panes, and some White bystanders resorted to racial slurs and asked them to go home.They will say that they meant home in Melbourne but the real intent is any ones guess.

In today's Sydney Morning Herald there was a report that the PM has deputed a chap to look into the Indian incidents.They will need to as the Indian student community brings $2billion into the economy and they are lucrative.Many parents have asked their wards to return as with India's booming economy,they don't see s need to take these risk's.Some reportedly have gone back already.

The truth is that I have never faced racism In Australia,but after 8pm on trains I have faced a threat from drunk people,mostly bums on centre link.In Australia people like me slog and pay heavy taxes and this money goes towards paying bums and do no gooder's who are incidentally citizens.They use the money to drink,smoke,gamble and abuse poor people on roads and trains.I've had bums who were drunk at 10am,approaching me for "Change" and abusing me when I refused.
So.these boys who face these threats are just unfortunate to be out at that time, as all the low lives and do no gooder's are up and shining.They're uneducated and frustrated youths who envy these guys and probably need some quick cash to get drugs.These poor Indian guys are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hope something comes out of all these meetings deputations of security in charges,as the government can't afford a drop in Indian students to Australia.Good luck guys!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

First day of winter in Sydney and two fears

Yeah,yeah,yeah! It's officially the first day of winter in Sydney and that means pulling out more warm clothing and also getting the heater's started.How I completely hate winter.As a boy in Delhi I used to wait all year for winter to come, as it meant wearing colorful clothing and parties,Christmas and New Year holidays and above all, food and lots of food.Somehow food always tasted better and tastier during winter, I don't know why but it just did.That was 25 years back.Now I just loathe the season.

It's a Monday morning and I can't help feeling angry and scared.I'm angry at all the people who are responsible for desecrating this beautiful world God had created,the ones who spread hatred,the ones who wage wars and the ones who knowingly or unknowingly contribute to outbreaks and epidemics.Has it ever occurred to you that the decisions and policies of a few power wielding people often affect the lives of six or more billion people inhabiting this planet?A handful few hold the future of billions in their hands and those billions seem helpless, absolutely helpless to do anything about it! That's on a broader spectrum,but coming back to the real reason of my fear and anger is more to do with issues at home.Yes that is Sydney, as home is where the heart is, goes the saying.But why feel angry and scared at home?Good question, but the anger is not so simple.
One reason is the swine flu that's spreading hanging over our heads like the Damocles sword and it looks like the government and health department are their wits end.Second is the cowardly attacks on helpless Indian students in Sydney and Melbourne.

Now from what I've been reading the swine flu seems to be more of a hype created by the electronic media and is not as bad as they've made it out to be.It seems that they need more circulations and some pharmacy companies need vaccine sales.Apparently in the U.S.A, during the 70's when the tamiflu scare was on, people who took the vaccine had serious after effects.I periodically get a newsletter from a smart doctor called Dr.Mercola and he had said that swine flu is a weak virus and there's not much credence in all the scare associated.There are a basic few things to watch out for like avoiding hospitals, increasing intake of Vit. D,eating garlic,washing hands with warm soap and water periodically and keeping away from people who look sick.
I was shocked to read that these flu vaccines have Mercury in it to preserve it or something.Toxic levels of mercury I believe.I know for a fact that flu vaccines don't guarantee you not getting a flu.So I'm not going near a flu vaccine again.The authorities in Sydney deboarded a cruise liner full of people,some of them suspected to have swine flu,and put them on cabs and sent them to a hotel.How intelligent! They have absolutely no clue what to do and the cases are increasing in Victoria and Queensland where schools have been shut down.NSW also had increased numbers by today.Australia seems to have got it from neighbouring NZ.God help us to help ourselves from this epidemic.

The second thing that's bothering me is the violent attacks on Indian students.I would say racism is a part of these attacks.Racism stems from ignorance and resentment.Predominantly, education is not a way of life here unlike in our country.It has taken a back seat.We were fortunate because we had father's earning and mothers looking after our needs,so we could have a stable family and stay in school.It's unfortunate that in Australia,just like America and Europe,family life has slowly disintegrated.Broken families are rife and children coming from such distressed backgrounds are prone to violence and resort to it as a release mechanism.I have seen a lot of this in the 90's when I was a student there, where in a class of 25 students,I would be the only one who's' parent's had lived under one roof for more than 20 years.The rest all came from broken homes and single parents.They were all kids with issue's and needed constant counselling.I felt bad for them.The Indian students who have been targeted are victims of attacks by these gangs who resent them.They resent them for a lot of reasons.The Indian student has a loving family who loves him enough to send him to an alien country for education and support him.They resent him because he has part time job somewhere and will soon after completing an education find a permanent job somewhere.They resent him as he has an Indian community in Australia and friends with whom he shares joys and sorrows.They resent him as he's happy and will do well in this country and is welcome here.They resent him as he has his own faith and religion.They resent him as nothing they do will deter him from his path of determination.

It is a shame,but on the brighter side,all these attacks have caused a stir and brought attention to the complete and utter lack of initiative by the Australian Government.The Indian students contribute almost $2billion dollars annually to the Australian economy.That's hell lot of money they bring in and they deserve basic human rights like being safe.These students are the future of this country and not their perpetrator's.Justice should prevail and the guilty be punished.Our trains are not even safe during the day,so I can imagine how it is during unearthly hours when these poor souls work.It's high time the government got their act together and stop treating the Indian student community as second class citizens.If they bring $2 billion dollars,they definitely deserve better treatment.

The Indian student comes from the land of Gandhi who freed India from 200 years of colonial rule without firing a shot.The Indian student too will persevere and not be shaken by a few cowardly acts of violence.God bless these kids.The whole of India is backing you guys,hang in there!! Jai ho!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Getting a Job in Sydney

Now I will be backtracking a bit and talking about our struggle for getting jobs in Sydney.Like I mentioned in my earlier posts, for me and my partner it was tougher than most normal Indian couples trying for a job.Reason being our niche backgrounds.In short we both didn't come from job backgrounds as we were self employed back home in Delhi.Now that's where it gets tricky.Right from the beginning we pushed harder for my partner to get a job as her qualifications and the area she worked in were more in demand.She had a degree in commerce,an MBA and also a CFA.Little did we realize the problems that would create.Even though the hiring had slowed down,she did get a few interviews and all the interviewers were amazed at her qualifications and the subjects she had done.One of the gentlemen who interviewed her had requested a copy of one her term subjects list to show his colleagues at the amountof subjects she had to study.He was astounded there were so many.The Australian educational system is very different and to be very frank our system in India is tough compared to theirs.Probably because of the competition created due to the teeming millions we have.Australia's population is only a little more than Delhi's population.Anyway after a few interviews it was very obvious that the interviewers thought she was "over qualified" and also didn't have any "Local experience".We found both of these terms ridiculous and hard to comprehend. But we had to get around it somehow as an income was required and quick.The last interview where the gentleman had asked to keep copies of her marksheets, was at Deloittes and one of my partner's family friends,Mr Frederic D'Moraes had very kindly asked his daughter who worked there to find an opening.She was kind enough to refer my partner for an interview to one of her bosses.Mind you this interview was just after Christmas and that was the last one for the year.By then my partner and I decided that we would have to down-play our education and work experience which was difficult as you have to minimise certain parts and add to some.Now we were just applying for her with "Admin" background and just a commerce degree.It finally paid off when GE Money recruited her where she did a boring Admin job but it paid the bills.I kept trying in the Fashion line and didn't get any calls.After a few months I got dejected and tried in all other jobs like sales,including car sales and marketing and others which didn't require previous experience. I went for many interviews for jobs like door to door selling of photographs for a studio.I was not sure any white person would open their doors to a brown man like myself so I didn't bother doing it to prove myself correct.An interview with a company called FoneZone took me to a far off place called liverpool which was a 40 minute train ride from where I lived in Croydon.They didn't give it to me saying they found a "more suitable candidate".

That was the last straw and convinced no one was going to give me any jobs based on my resume, I also followed my partner's path and took up a job related to admin by tailoring my resume to what the employer wanted.This is crucial, to use the key words that the advertisement used in your covering letter and resume.It was a smart move as that helped us get an apartment,go on a few trips,buy a car and live a normal life.Freedom to do things we wanted to do and buy things we wanted to buy was a big step.

So my advice to all those haven't worked in some known companies or MNC'S, in other words from a niche background, please pick up whatever job comes first and earn some money and get stabilised.Later you can look for a more suitable job.There are opportunities, you just need to know how the system works.Good luck mate!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Renting a Unit in Sydney

Is the hardest thing in the world! At least it will be on the top of the ten hardest things in the world.Getting a Unit in Sydney that is.For the uninitiated,in Australia, an apartment or flat is referred to as a Unit. Two months after landing in Sydney we moved out of my cousin's Unit as they needed privacy and we needed ours.We moved to a room in a boarding lodge which thankfully had an attached bathroom which was a big blessing.It had a common kitchen where we could cook and a common TV room and a pool table etc.I being the hardcore Indian I was, helped the manager in moving some stuff the day we moved in.I didn't have to help him,what with my bad back,but I did and I asked for a small TV in our room as compensation for my back.That was another blessing.We stayed there for almost a year and as the noise in the night by fellow boarders got unbearable we started shopping around.Hope everyone remembers what shopping around is? We went for many inspections and to many real estate agents.We didn't leave a single agent.We had heard some of them were racists and its probably true to a certain extent,but then ignorance is rampant and Australia being cut off from the rest of the world its understandable.The prices for rental were very high and the units were not that great and some of them were dumps.Let me tell you that at this point we both had jobs, and that topic I will discuss in another blog,but yes if two people are staying then two jobs are required.When I hadn't found a job many shop owners wanted to help out and said they would testify saying that I worked at their establishment.But the agency wanted to see pay slips or bank statements.It was nice of these guys,but we had to wait till I found a real job,the one with pay slips or money deposited into bank a/c. Once we had jobs the hitch was that we hadn't held jobs for a year or that we didn't have rental history.There were places where the agents or owners didn't care about all these prerequisites but then those areas were shady.I didn't want to stay with my partner in such areas,as security was important.

Agents kept calling and telling me that our application was unsuccessful and we were getting really disappointed with the rejections and with our stay at the lodge.Sleeping at night was becoming a big hurdle as some people loved messing up our sleep.

Then one day my wife saw a nondescript advertisement on the Internet for a unit inspection in a suburb called Dulwich hill.We had heard relatively good reviews about this suburb.But me being a person who can do one thing at a time only was hassled that the inspection was at 10am,we had to take the bus since the trains were not running,it was raining and we had a lunch appointment at 1230 at the house of a lovely Australian couple from church.All these were doing a ping pong match in my head and I had a big pow-wow with my partner and then she said that we would skip the inspection as anyway the unit would be given to some cash rich Chinese or some person with more rental history.I then thought of what my dad always accused me of.In his words "You will always give up when success was lurking in the corner".So, I decided to rough it out.Took the bus in the rain,got lost and wet,and finally landed up at the unit with some guidance from the owner on the phone.We had a nice chat.The owner was very jovial and he said the reason why he kept the timing as 1030 am on Sunday was to keep the Riff Raff's away.He knew most people would've got piss drunk on Saturday and would never make it to a 1030am inspection.He wanted dedicated and disciplined people who would brave the rain and come for an early inspection.We were all drenched.We went back to the lodge,changed and went for our lunch which was just down the road.The lunch was lovely and it was nice just to sit and have meal with people.In our lodge we didn't have any tables to sit and eat.The owner did the checks on us the next day and on Wednesday we had paid him an advance and had the keys to our unit.Can you believe what going an extra mile can get you?That was a lesson for both of us,to never give up.

Now we have been renting for a year and a half and boy it feels good to have an address.We have an excellent landlord and we are thankful to God for that.So my advice to all seeking to rent a place is to keep looking and attending inspections and applying.You might get lucky.I personally would go for a direct arrangement with the landlord as there's a more personal touch involved in it.Happy hunting mate!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Buying a car in Sydney

Congratulations if you have procured a drivers licence by the time you're reading this.Now the next obvious thing would be to get a car and use the authority that has been bestowed upon you by the RTA(Road transport authority). That could be a topic of much deliberation and discussion.Now I'm not one of those men who get a cheap chauvinist thrill in not involving their partners in the decision making even though their hard earned salaries are crucial and decisive to the purchase.That will be the topic of discussion some other day, today we will stick to "CAR PURCHASE".

The day we landed in Sydney, I read all I could about cars and how to buy a good one.Now, like I said in my earlier post, we had no jobs and were still looking for jobs.Australian English and their colloquial expressions were very different from American and British English that we grew up with. So I used to try and absorb it as much as I could.What struck me as quite queer was the usage "Shopping around" which meant to look for the best deal. So were advised to "shop around" and I did my bit of shopping around on the net. The site that i found very useful was and I still look up reviews on cars on it.It was a very helpful and a very user friendly site.I would recommend it heavily for all looking for some reviews,articles and good deals.They're pretty organized. Even was helpful. The period I'm referring to is Oct 2006.We finally bought a car only in Jan 2008.Unlike a lot of people who come here with money for a house and a car, we had none.That's another story. So it took us time to get jobs and save money for a car.
Now,we were advised by the usual desi lobby to buy cars as cheap as $4000.You will get advised too,but please don't oblige such people.It's best to save a bit of money and buy a good car,even if its second hand or what they call as "USED CARS".It's worth it! We initially wanted to buy a Toyota Corolla but I was told that Corollas were a bit overrated and I had the best advice.
My dad had a buyer called Kuwabara,and he's from Kobe,Osaka.He and me had an excellent rapport, and among the things we had in common,there was also a love for cars.When I visited Kobe in 1992,hee took me to all the showrooms of big names in Cars .Toyota,Mitsubishi,Nissan and Honda and of course motorbike showrooms too.He was a racing enthusiast in his younger days and he vouched for Kawasaki.Along with the trips to showrooms I learnt that a brand which is popular may not necessarily be our choice.So i remembered his words of Corolla being overrated and also a German buyer of my dad's called Ertinger,saying that Mercedes was overrated and he would any day prefer an Audi.Anyway coming back to us,we bought a Yaris.Why? Because it fitted in our budget,had only 16k on the odometer,felt comfortable, was good to drive and looked well maintained. My partner wanted to bargain but I couldn't care less because a sale is where the seller and buyer both benefit.A lot of people said $19k was too much and I would've got it cheaper.Maybe,but not with such low kilometres and not so well maintained like this.I had done my homework.Plus because the salesman was happy he kept obliging us later with a months worth tanking up, sending a technician to our residence to tend to something and much more.I'm still friends with the guy even though he left Trusscots in Parramatta(not sure of spelling).We were very happy with the service.

So my advice is to never go over budget,look at a couple of cars and test drive them,take a mechanic preferably before buying,always bargain, let the poor salesman make his bit of profit and see what all they can throw in for free.Try and target the used car dealerships before they hit target which could be at the end of a day or week.They're more desperate then.Once the salesman hits target,he won't be so accomodating.It will come to you with practice.Finally if you believe in God,then ask him to help you to decide on a good car so that you don't end up with a "LEMON".Going to a reputed dealer is a smart move as they can't afford a bad name.Avoid the dodgy ones,which are the lesser known ones.I'm not a big fan of private sales.Getting an automatic would be a good idea,a lot of Indians I know went for manual to save $2k I guess but later all of them switched to automatic.I too wanted a manual to save money but my partner convinced me otherwise and am I happy I did so.It is convenient and easy on the foot.Definitely helps on long drives.So happy shopping mate and drive safely.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Phew! Drivers Licence in Sydney!

While me and my partner were waiting to get a job in Sydney,getting the basic things organized seemed like a prudent thing to do.When we had time,lets get what we can done out of the way was what we thought best.Making resumes and posting it,getting our medicare card,bank a/c, and a taxation number; all that was taken care off. Like I said in an earlier blog, even though we kept trying for jobs,we were getting more and more convinced that hiring slows down from Oct-Jan.

So we thought of getting our drivers licence's done which was the norm.We had heard stories of how some companies were located where there were no trains,so they required you to have a car and a drivers licence.It seemed quite insane to any intelligent person,that without a job and money,how one could have a car.We thought so because we came with only a few thousand dollars and that wasn't enough to buy a car,at least not a decent one according to our standards.

We anyway decided to book a driving test for me as it was too expensive for us to do for both.Now all those who are new migrants or are planning to migrate(even better) please read carefully.Having a car is important in Sydney,knowing to drive is also important.Having a drivers licence from India is very very important.Preferably one in English.Now please read very carefully,every word that I write as its from our own experience and free for you, so that you can benefit from it.

We were told from various sources since we landed on the ways to go about getting the licence.Now, as Indians we get a lot of advice from our brethren which is both good and bad.That is because,it feels good to get advice,but if the advice is wrong, that's bad.Now when we were trying for a licence the rule was that if you had a drivers licence from India and you have held it for 3 years or more then you could go in for a conversion.So for this, you need to take a DKT(driver knowledge test) and once you pass it, you are awarded with a learners licence.Now please be advised that back then you could drive in Sydney with an Indian licence up to 3 months after arrival.To check on current status of that condition please visit Make sure you type in small characters and not bold. Now be warned that the DKT was not at all a cake walk like most of our adviser's told us. Its basically a test to check your knowledge on road,traffic and driving sense from a booklet provided and then there are some rule books which you could download.Prepare well and by that I mean practice on computer as its a computer based test.Me and my partner passed,Thank God as we practised well.But the tougher part was only ahead.Everyone from the clerk at the RTA(Road transport authority) to the testing instructor and the driving school instructors,viewed me with suspicion.Why? Because I was Indian and had an Indian driving licence.I don't blame them.It seems a lot of our Indian folk have landed here with licences belonging to their sibling's who resembled them,got into accidents and even the Indian consulate got a bad name. A chap at the Indian Consulate told me this.So they are very strict.I had to get a letter from the consulate saying me and the person in my licence were the same thanks to our RTO in Delhi which can't ever get names correctly.So make sure before you leave India that your name on you licence matches your name on your passport.Oh God the trouble I had to go through.Whats in name asked Shakespeare.Ask me.Its a lot of trouble if you don't get it right on a plastic.I did pass the test and the person issuing the licence saw that my licence was issued only in 2006,but he didn't see that I'd held a licence since 1999.There was a big drama over that and finally his manager gave the go ahead.Phew Pho.That was the name of the guy, Pho! I'll never forget him.My partner gave her the test only in 2008 at five dock RTA,as she got so busy with work that she didn't get time.She said the instructor and the clerks there were much nicer and professional than the ones in Lidcombe where I went for my test.

So all those wanting to get a licence here in Sydney, forewarned is forearmed! So better get your licences in advance,there's no p0int getting a licence which you've held only for a year or so.Most folks do have licences for more than 3years.Otherwise get here and do the whole nine yards.Good luck and safe driving mate.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Beyond Tandooris and Butter chickens in Australia

As a person who lived in the U.S and Africa and travelled and stayed in various parts of Europe, I always wondered why the average Westerner was so fascinated by a few items from the Indian cuisine and thought that was it.It always intrigued me as to why the Tandoori chicken and Butter chicken was all they knew and wanted to know about Indian cuisine.If I told them that Indian cuisine was much more than these two items,they would be flabbergasted and view me with suspicion and horror as if I had uttered some blasphemy. In Australia it was the same story with my colleagues at work and I was tired of hearing that they had Butter chicken or Tandoori chicken for lunch.Before I embarked on enlightening them,I thought it would be prudent to enlighten myself.After all the teacher has to know the subject himself before he can profess.From my research I learnt that the Tandoori Chicken goes way back to India's pre-partition days and a gentleman called Gujral.He was a restaurateur and he experimented with his Tandoor.A Tandoor is a bell shaped oven which is fixed into the ground and is heated by coal or wood,and the temperature inside can go up to 900 degrees.Now the tandoor was usually used to make Roti(round shaped Indian bread) or Naan(a longish bread). Mr.Gujral put chook's(chicken) into the tandoor for a change,obviously the chook's were marinated with yoghurt and tandoori masala.In this style of cooking in the tandoor the chicken came crispy on the exterior and soft and juicy in the interior and a light charcoal smell.It became immensely popular and when the riots during partition happened,Gujral migrated to India took his restaurant to Delhi and opened it in Darya Ganj.The first Prime Minister of India,Nehru ,it seems popularised it with all his visiting dignitaries from the U.S and Russia and Middle east as well as Asian countries.Probably that's how it got famous in the West as well as other parts of the world.
Now coming to my dear Australia, I believe its the back packers and the tourists to India in the 70's who brought back tales and recipes from India.Now contrary to popular belief Indian cuisine is so much beyond Tandoori's and Butter chicken's.India like Europe has many regions but its heritage is similar.India has North Indian cuisines like Butter chicken,South Indian Like Dosai, East Indian cuisine which has a mix of hot veg and non-veg and Western cuisine which has bhelpuri and dhokla.Then last but not the least the Central region has an amalgam of all neighbouring regions.Isn't that fascinating?Indian cuisine is a lot,to me, like Italian cuisine which is heavily regional.
Sydney(where I reside) has some good restaurants which can give any food aficionado a taste of the other cuisines of India.Like Malabar in Crows nest can give you a taste of Malabar region in Kerala.For tasty Northy fare and light on the purse you can try Surry hills area and I would recommend Mayas strongly as they have tasty food which is not expensive.They have three restaurants to choose from.Saravana hotel in Croydon is quite popular for both South Indian and North Indian.There's Casa de Goa in Dulwich hill for Goan food(Western Indian Cuisine) which going by the reviews is quite good. The list goes on and on, in fact in South Indian cuisine itself there are four regional cuisines to choose from.So, don't be shy and go out and try the other cuisines from India, as there's more to Indian cuisine than just Tandoori or Butter chicken.These two are my favourites too,having grown up in Delhi,but there's more to India. !!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Permanent Residence in Australia

I had heard of a Green card and H1 visas and so on and so forth,but never heard of the PR.That was till me and my partner decided to emigrate to Australia.The process seemed long and excruciating.Endless papers to be studied and signed,documents to be submitted and many other things.It seemed endless.Thats when we heard of "PR" for the first time and that it stood for Permanent Resident.Once the papers were submitted I thought that was the end of it but I was wrong.The agent kept asking for updates and different documents.My father patiently did all that for us.Then we faced the daunting task of appearing for the IELTS(English proficiencey test) exam which we thought would be a cake walk for us who were private school educated.But it wasn't that easy as we had to secure a certain band.For the uninitiated a band means a level of proficiency that you had to achieve,If i remember we required a total of 120 points each in our application to qualify for emigration,so me and my partner had to get above 6.5 in this test.I must admit that the test wasn't that easy.People who had taken the test previously misguided us saying it was easy and just 1-2days preparations were enough.I'm sorry thats not true.Both me and my partner are of fairly good IQ'S and we both had to prepare well for the test.So all those planning to take it,please prepare well ahead of time as its not worth spending all those dollars and not getting a good grade.We were notified that we came 3rd and 4th in the tests,not that it mattered.We had bands of 8 which was good for us.Then we had to undrgo our medical check-ups and after that wait for approval which came within 2 months.When we landed in Sydney we were fortunate that my cousin came to pick us up and we had a place to go and crash.Many people don't even have that.So thank God for that blessing.My cousin did the basic things like getting an account opened,the medicare formalities and took us to the RTA(transport authority) and showed us the train stations and the markets.He even sent us for this motivation session organised for free by a group of Indian professionals to help new Indians like us,by giving a little talk about life in Australia and how to look for jobs.It was a good interaction.We landed in Sydney end of September 2006 and hiring was at a low as its end of year and no one wants to hire,train for a few months and face the risk of the person going away in January next year.It is true though no one will agree.My partner finally landed a base admin job in February and it took me another 3months.We both had niche backgrounds.We didnt work in any big MNC'S or any It companies ot hospitality,and neither were we doctors.So it was hard.Getting a place to stay was harder than beating Mike Tyson in boxing.Since we didnt have jobs for 6months and didnt have previous rental history the agents wouldnt give us a chance,even though we had money to pay the rent and advance or deposit.By Gods grace we did find a direct owner and rented his place,where we are staying to date and are very happy.The key to survival here is to come with a little back up money and to pick up any job that comes your way.To be honest, its again your luck if you can find a job of your liking.We didnt have any kids when we came and that was a big blessing.Now we are happy with what we have and hope to do well.Australia is a great place to live in and from what I see, also to raise a family.Unlike other parts of the world where there is a lot of racism and violence, this is so far a much nicer and safer place to live in.So come prepared for initial hiccups,the way will clear for all those who persevere.We surivived,so can you.Good luck mate and welcome to Aw strah lee aa!Be prepared for the twang!