Serial Bus

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Archive for June 2009

Alas, MJ

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The famous guy who I shared (just) my initials with died last Thursday at 50. Michael Jackson enthralled the world for about 40 years before giving up the ghost. The death of any other singer of English songs would not have moved me so much – but MJ was a huge cultural cross-over. Outside of the US too, he was a childhood icon of many a non-English speaking people and a cool embodiment of all the razzle-dazzle that West represented for us.

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June 29, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Debate as the Test of Faith

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Recently, I happened to read the wikipedia entry about Adi Shankara. Although his story is well-known to those who grew up in India, I kind of re-discovered his larger-than-life personality. His iconoclastic thought, the legends of his childhood, his deep yet humble intellect, his travels across India, his enterprise in establishing lasting centers of learning came across as heroic. While reading about him, one learns of how he single-handedly reversed the declining course of Hinduism against the formidable school of thought that was Buddhism in the 8th-9th century AD. He did that largely by inviting people to engage in Shastrartha (Scholastic Debate) with him. Whoever lost the debate would accept the supremacy of the winner’s philosophy / religion and convert to it. Typical of Shankara’s times, whenever a big Buddhist scholar lost a debate, several of his followers would automatically convert to Advaita (non-dualism), Shankara’s brand of Hinduism. I imagine this method of winning over people is perhaps passe in today’s times – today, politeness (and political correctness) demands that you can not even broach religion with anyone.

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June 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Sooner than Later in Oklahoma

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This Thursday, our plane landed in the Sooner State, Oklahoma. The Dallas-bound plane had to divert from the flight plan when a storm reached DFW sooner than the plane did. The plane remained in a holding pattern for some time but with little fuel remaining, it slid back to land at the Oklahoma City. With that unexpected landing, Oklahoma became the 24th American state I had set foot in.

Until this Thursday, I never thought I would go there – kind of like Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri and Alabama. I wonder if anyone except for their residents travel to these places. Some of these states are huge but I reckon very little scope for tourism or business-related travel.

But then, it is perhaps foolhardy to create lists for travel like ‘touch all continents’, ‘all states of India’, ‘all states of the USA’. Yet, list-making is what many of us do to make sense of disorganized information. Lists are easy to consume and easy to action.

So, here is a list of the US states that I have touched so far:

New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Atlanta, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, California, Texas, Utah, Colorado…and now, Oklahoma.

Of course, District of Columbia too.

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June 14, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Posted in Miscellaneous, Travel, USA

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Let’s Get Offended: Jana Gana Mana Rann

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India’s Censor Board has been known to waver between connivance and censure when it comes to the increasingly liberal show of affection and skin on the silver screen. However, I think they didn’t have to think twice before taking Ram Gopal Varma to task over the recent song ‘Jana Gana Mana Rann’ from his to-be-released film called ‘Rann’. When it comes to protecting national honor, they can be unflinchingly ruthless and remorseless. Even the people are offended, as if on cue. I write this post in the defense of the song and in doing so, I am not just questioning whether the song was unfairly branded as insulting to the national anthem; I go a step further and wonder whether the national anthem needs protection.

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Written by serialbus

June 8, 2009 at 9:42 am