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We want a mature, patient, civilised world …. not to be ‘trigger-happy’

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We live in a so-called civilised world driven by the power of law, which has been formed by thoughtful groups and lots of common sense. One definition of ‘civilised’ means to have a high state of culture and development bound by basic virtues. We have found lots of ‘unions’ which gives us a platform to resolve issues at the highest levels, in case disputes are hard to solve at lower levels. We have vowed for following the rules, the ‘unions’, the ‘bodies’ we have formed across the world.
We call ourselves ‘mature’ – which has an inherent meaning of looking at a broader picture, taking lessons learnt into account  and then take decision based on facts, based on debates and consult these ‘unions’ & ‘bodies’ to come up to a decision that will be respected by all. When decisions are taken, it is normal that all parties who participated in the decision-making debates may not come to a unanimous consensus – but when a majority decision is taken, even the parties who had been advocating for the reverse, respects that. These all come under ‘maturity’.

We call ourselves ‘patient’ and that is linked to ‘maturity’. By patience, we imply that a decision will be taken by weighing different options, by hearing all sides of the story and then coming to a meaningful conclusion which we believe has been taken after much deliberation and to the best of our efforts. For that, respecting other’s opinions, understanding the context and the implications of the decision is key.

However, still why do we have the most ‘powerful’ and most ‘matured’ persons takes huge decisions in a trigger-happy manner without even deliberating with a broader forum ? Maybe that is the correct decision – but why do we have to behave like a ‘know-it-all’ person without any ‘patience’ and declare that the rest of the ‘unions’ and ‘bodies’ are of practical no-use, simply because we fear that those ‘unions’ & ‘bodies’ may come up with more logical & mature thinking that may result in a different decision ?

I hope we all can really behave as a civilised, mature and patient way resulting in uniting the world to collectively take a decision (and not just by myself) that will benefit in the long run ….

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Unbiased Reporting

Unbiased reporting to me is a utopian concept – something which you can dream of in an ideal world, but if you believe in that in the real world, you may land up in some major dis-belief after some days. I am not a reporter, nor a writer and hence do not have the inner conscience to recollect on some personal vows someone might have taken before they embarked upon on their careers. So, here I am writing controversy right now …

When I am a reporter writing on a piece of news or an interesting subject, in all probability, within my mind, I have already formed an opinion on that topic when I am doing some pre-research before I dive on the topic. Opinions will tend to be whether this person was a tyrant or not, whether this topic is a ‘right’ thing or a ‘wrong’ thing in my opinion, and so on. And that will dictate my questions in a future interview, dictate my nature of follow-ups …

Very often, we get influenced by the definition of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ by simple values of life learnt during the formative years. And who defines the definition of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – well, famous people, history who have come up with that definition based on THEIR interpretation of good or bad that point of time.

Let me try to provide an example – we all will agree that murder of people is an unforgivable crime, no doubt on that. So, when news comes that X has killed Y, the culprit is already identified and crucified in our judgement. But what if murder arose because of self-defence ? We normally don’t think of this at all when we read the news for the first time – isn’t it ?

Now, let’s see if some actions of great leaders of various countries lead to similar situations. We all know the cold-blooded murders caused during World War II and do know from the history books who is responsible for those incidents. Now, what happens that because of certain political / economic decisions in a different nation, common people have been affected indirectly and have died in hundreds. Is that not a murder as well ? And for that, have we crucified those famous leaders and marked them as ‘murderers’ ? No … simply because the history was written by the victors, history was written by people who had been influenced by their definition of right or wrong. We can put on trial dictators who have put his own people to tortures and killings, but we do not even jail leaders who can start a bloody war based on their ‘perception’ of threat without any facts (people call that ‘war started based on false allegations) … why ? because when we report or take decisions, we only consider one point of view and in that process become biased in our thoughts.

So, I do believe unbiased reporting, unbiased ‘history’ is something we all can strive for, but never see that in reality.

“El Classico” in modern times

In modern days, nothing excites more than a sporting rivalry that hinges on the edge with more than sporting skills and expertise. A ‘classico’ involves lot of passion and honour at stake on the trapeze of too much war-like rivalry that engulfs not just the players in question, but the entire nation. This years India vs Australia cricket series Down Under promises more than cricket – it symbolises the retention of supremacy of India vs the never-say-die building of a new Australian team.

The first things that strikes us is the ugly banter, strong sledging and the arrogance of a Ricky Ponting team, planning for a win at any cost, even at the cost of insulting the spirit of the game. If that’s modern era, well let that be – let the players duel it out at the cost of sledging and mental dis-integration to the extent of almost physical slug fest. But to be fair, if somebody throws a fire-ball, let there be no “rules” stopping the other team of throwing it bat with a lot of spicy Indian curry. The ICC has been racial in many instances in the past – a similar “crime” on a field has led to more severe punishments to players of Asian origin. While a McGrath, Langer or a Lee gets away with some match fees, a Ganguly or Murali gets match bans. Racism exists in a different form and cricket is no exception. A “monkey” sledge becomes racial while questioning parentage is just a test of mental strength. Let ICC respect all cultures or make it a free for all – I don’t think Asian teams are afraid of slogging it out. Only thing that should not happen is dual standards, specially by bringing in some special umpires. By the way, it is good for the cricket that some ‘greats’ like Daryl Harper have gone – we can live without them happily.

Now let’s come to some reasons strictly on cricketing terms why this series can be a classico in real terms:

– This will be the last series for the Indian Fab Three in Australia – Sachin, Dravid, Laxman. And Aussies will be going all out to stop them – whether be Sachin’s 100th 100 or Laxman’s feats, does not matter.

– This might be the last of Ponting’s greatness. Who will account for him is a question but I have a hunch that this time he might be Ashwin’s bunny

– Michael Clarke can be a chocolate boy of international cricket, but whether he will be a good tactical captain remains to be seen

– The unknown factor of a raw Aussie pace attack might cause some surprise. Even though Indians are always susceptible to the rising delivery, whether the new Aussie attack can keep up the pressure relentlessly, ball after ball still remains to be seen

– This series might be the defining or oblivion series for Rohit Sharma – a batsman who was compared to Sachin with so much potential, but whose records do not suggest greatness

– This series can make the Virat Kohli’s, Suresh Raina’s make a solid statement in test cricket. Need to see whether the pressure or banter gets better of them or not.

Finally, this will be a series between a nation who are ‘tigers on home, but a duck overseas’ vs ‘I was a champion few years ago, but now playing to prove the same point’. Hence the stakes are too high – you can expect hot Indian curry against the know-it-all attitude of the Aussies and I am sure it will be a mouth-watering series.

My prediction is that by 28th Dec, the tone of the series will be set. The tone might bring in putting the nails in the coffin and the desperate fight-back when the back is against the wall. My only hope is that this time at least, let there be a spirit of the game on the field – if it’s again lost, let’s remove the biasness of the rules – we are ready to give everything back with interest – if that means some bloodshed, let’s call this a war !

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Life after 9/11

The horrific terrorist act of 9/11 has redefined the way we live in the future world. This incident has impacted everybody’s life, directly and indirectly. It’s a fact that with due course of time, we will be used to some of that impacts and will take them as life as usual.

There will be a continuous increasing trend of more background checks, more verifications, more biometric recordings for all people travelling to various countries. Unfortunately, this is currently being applied more on Asians – but I have a feeling that this will spread across other citizens, keeping in view the gradual spread of extreme thinking across countries.

Whenever we do an international travel, we will continue to face additional security measures, liquids in checked in baggages, extra immigration measures and so on. Even we can face sniffer dogs, radioactive searches – nothing will look odd in the modern life.

All names like Khan’s, Ahmed’s’ etc will be subject to more scrutiny and checks. I have even seen one innocent 25 year old TCS employee having surname Aslam denied a US visa just because his name appears to be in a “hot list”. I heard in the consulate that there will be a 4 weeks investigation and background check before his L1 visa can be processed. Because of this delay, he mentioned that his chance in getting into the project will just disappear – but no negotiations on this topic was entertained.

Whether we like it or not, whether we deny or not, we will be eyeing our co-passengers, people across us with suspicion, specially if they carry a brown skin and has resemblance to a particular community. The trust will be lost, we will think ‘is he one of them’ and will try our best to disappear from the near vicinity of those persons.

Any unattended briefcase, luggage will call for a mini panic. We will see sniffer dogs, bomb-disposal squads very soon in those places. And we will again try our best to go as far as possible from the spot where these objects are lying unattended.

All “hoax” terror mails will be treated with utmost importance and will trigger lot of action from the local authorities. This is simply because the qualification of the mail to be a “hoax” cannot be determined at the time when the mail is received.

War on terror will be one of the main focus areas for all countries. There will be more international cooperation in the area of intelligence sharing than ever before. Budget for equipping certain special forces will go up and we will see an increasing growth of arms and weapons market.

Our lives are changing after 9/11 and that will continue to change in the future …. of course, there is a saying that the only thing that is constant in life is change.

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