Arctic monkey


Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What do you mean a girl keeps poking you on Facebook.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: We’ve all been there.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Can I poke her?
Daryl: It’s a free country.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: It’s all in your head.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Does your girlfriend know?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What if it’s a test?
Daryl: Aww man, I hate tests.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: I don’t use Facebook.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Do I know her mother?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Hope she’s on the pill.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: You sure it’s a girl? Why would a girl be interested in you? Even your profile pic isn’t of you.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Does she want a relationship?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Maybe she has daddy issues.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What does a poke even mean?
Daryl: No one knows.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Tell me something I don’t know.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: TMI.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: When can I meet her?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Seek forgiveness.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: C’est la vie.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What does it matter? In the end, we’re all dead.

Ramesh: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Suresh: Je baat, party kab de raha hai?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Woo, poke her back.
Daryl: I’ve already did. We’ve been doing it for over a month now.
Damien: Did you at least take her out for dinner first?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Is she fit though?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Are you her dealer?

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: You’ve got the upper-hand, bro.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: That’s just what girls do.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Is she into God?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: I’m going out. Do you want anything?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: May the force be with you.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Is she on Instagram?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Better poked than not poked.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What if she’s a Russian spy?

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: Mazel Tov.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: I didn’t know you had a Facebook account.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Swipe to the right, man. Swipe to the right.

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: Should I save a date?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Do the Turing test.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: A poke in need is a poke indeed.

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: My man’s about to get laid. Give me 5!

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: What if it was by mistake? 10 bucks she’s going to delete her account within the next 5 minutes.

Ramesh: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Suresh: Ja beta, jee le apni zindagi.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What’s her major?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Can we have a menage a trois?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Will I be your best man?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Big deal. My little brother keeps getting poked all the time, and he’s gay.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Why are you telling me this?

Damien:  How many pokes have you two lovebirds notched up?
Daryl: 162 and counting.
Damien (lets out a whistle): Aren’t you worried about being harassed in the future? She can use this as evidence against you.
Daryl: Evidence for what?
Damien: Did you at least get a prenup?
Daryl: A prenup for pokes on Facebook? You crazy, bro?

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum:

Sharon: ……
Tate: Hey, what’s up?
Sharon: Nothing, just browsing.


The classical Greek philosopher Plato is renowned for his Dialogues, none of which revolve around getting poked on Facebook.

Brooklyn based hip hop artist Jay-Z uses the line “No one knows” in his seminal ‘Niggas in Paris.’

162* is the highest ODI score of the author’s favorite cricketer.

Sharon Tate was one of the victims of the Manson family.

The author himself doesn’t know what’s up with this post. (Nah, I’m kidding. I know very well what this is about.)




Of Emotions and Superstitions

Yesterday was Jessica Chastain’s birthday. I took that as a sign. I didn’t think bad things could happen. I believed they’d win. Every time it looked like it was slipping, I forced myself to remember that it was her birthday and that things would end alright.

I am a man of superstitions when it comes to rooting for my favorites. I believe I can influence the outcome by what I do or don’t. I have a routine for Djokovic and I have a routine for the Proteas. The routine for the Proteas is pretty simple. Unlike the one for Djokovic, it can be carried out anywhere. It simply involves being optimistic about their chances. I started off well yesterday but then bludered by first complaining during the rain-break and then by downplaying their chances over a phone call with 5 overs to go. Who knows what would have happened had I kept the faith and been stronger. AB and the boys could well have been having the times of their lives right now. I should apologize for their pain. (PS: Don’t be alarmed, this is an intro to “How Superstitions Work 101.”)

There won’t be an expert analysis or a postmortem report. I won’t scrutinize their decisions or remark upon their follies. I will not speak about the weather or construct a historical narrative. I shall not criticize. I shall try to be warm. This is a new thing for me. So you know, I am going to have to crawl before I am able to walk.

That post on the other blog stemmed out of a dark place, from the need/weakness to be right. I am ashamed of those posts. When you take your child to a track event, you don’t gather all the other parents around and start telling them about the weaknesses you’ve noticed in your child and explain why you think he/she won’t come first. You just support them. And be ridiculously proud of them irrespective of the result. You don’t criticize your child’s efforts. You pat them on the back and take them out for ice-cream.

I was the biggest ass this side of Kim Kardashian when I made a list of all their weaknesses and published it to show off my knowledge of them. Of course I know them, they’re my children. The parent-child analogy has gone too far? (Ego says mention that you mentioned Grant Eliot in that post.)

AB said something to the effect of “this wasn’t for us but for the fans back home. Wish they’re proud of us.” Well, duh. You mean more to us than the results. Who are we to criticize when you’re giving it all while we ourselves don’t even show the slightest bit of passion in our own pursuits? If anything, you’re our heroes, our inspiration. You make us want to be better versions of ourselves. We are just parents watching from the sidelines. You make us want to cry with pride.

About AB: the way he chose to bring himself on in a semifinal, the way he was willing to put himself out there on the biggest stage and put his hand up to do something he isn’t very adept at, while we spend our days shying away from much lesser challenges- Oh my god! He’s the best of us, and not just at batting.

Couldn’t think of a better way to end this Jessica Chastain themed post than with a Jessica Chastain themed quote: “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”


Modi is your icebreaker. Embrace him.

A real icebreaker

A real icebreaker

“Can an atheist support Modi?” would have been the title of my piece appearing in a national newspaper. It’s primary purpose would have been to set eyeballs rolling and at worst, it would have meant the paper receiving complaints accusing it of liberal bias.

A few days on, a response piece titled “Yes, I am an atheist, and I support Modi” (written by none other than me under a pseudonym) would have gone viral, and everything would have faded to obscurity once the IPL playoffs began.

With this being my blog and not a national newspaper, I am going to talk of Modi only in relation to things that really matter to us. Girls.

Believe in god or not, Modi is godsend. I can’t think of a more effortless and winning icebreaker than Modi. It doesn’t matter what you think of Modi, both sides of the argument are kosher as long as the girl is in favor of Modi. In case you agree with her, you already know the name of the game. In case you don’t and air your concerns about the man and what his rise might mean to our nation’s traditions of tolerance and freedom of expression, she’ll still lend a sympathetic ear and try to say something to metaphorically smoothen the crease of your brow. In other words, you’ll have her whispering sweet nothings.

If however, she’s anti-Modi, then you might do well to just set your feelings aside and side with her. You know, just the usual thing you do when you are being smart and want to get in the good books of someone. You won’t have her whispering sweet nothings in this case but both of you will be bonding over a bonfire of Modi. #thankyouModi

Scenario 1: At the dairy shop

Trying to get service at a dairy shop in a Punjabi locality can be as challenging as getting the attention of a bartender on a game-night. All single girls living by themselves visit a dairy shop at least once over the course of a day. (That’s some free pro-advice right there.) So, once you spot the one, go up and say “Hey” and follow it up with “What do you think of Modi” and follow her to her room all the while talking about Modi. Don’t assault her when you reach her place, they won’t like it*. Ask her for her phone number and call it a night.

Scenario 2: Outside a restaurant

You see a girl who’s smoking a cigarette. You have a fetish for girls who smoke. It might be worth the risk to assume she’s a liberal and take on the conversation from there. Do not ask her for a cigarette and make a hash of it, if you don’t smoke cigarettes. There’s no need to “impress” her. You’ve Modi by your side.

Scenario 3: At a movie theatre

It’s budget Thursday. You cut a lonely figure at the box office asking for “one ticket please” in a tone that sounds pitiable even to you. You head up the stairs and take your seat. A girl heads up the stairs too and takes a seat a couple of seats away in your row. You reach over and ask “are you alone?” “what do you think of Modi?”


*this joke might be too risque for India where men are still in the Neandrathal age and continue to actually assault women.


Me and the opposite sex

Adam: Did you know that Hyenas roam the streets of Addis Ababa the way dogs roam our impoverished neighborhoods? Can you imagine being in a situation where you are walking down a street of your city at night and a pack of rabid Hyenas goes screaming past you?

Eve: Hmm, I am never going to that place.

Adam: You should really make time to listen to BBC’s From Our Own Correspondents podcast. It’s amazing.

Eve: My boyfriend sucks. I asked him for a new handbag, and he said he couldn’t. Could you get me a new handbag? We could go shopping together! ;)


A: Hey, wassup?

E: Just looking at some of the photos from the Ukraine protests. They’re so beautiful.

A: I didn’t know you were into geopolitics. Am a big fan of geopolitics.

E: Oh, a friend sent me the link.

A: The Western media likes to make a big fuss to further the geo-strategic cause of their nations. Like in the Syrian crisis, the number of displaced is 2.5 mn. It sounds like a lot but when you compare to the 100mn Chinese who were displaced as a result of the Japanese invasion during the WWII, it doesn’t seem like a lot, does it?

E: :)

A: I am not saying I am more perceptive than the Western media but sometimes I get the feeling that I am more wedded to truth and neutrality than they are.

E: Hmm


E: What are you doing up so late? :O

A: Waiting for the game to start. These daylight savings are ruining my beauty sleep, I must say.

E: Daylight what? Can’t you find anything more worthwhile than staying up to watch soccer?

A: Like chatting with a boyfriend? :P

E: You don’t know how to talk to a lady. Take some tips from your little brother.

A: And it’s not soccer, it’s FOOTBALL!

E: Whatever.


A: Hey there, want to go see a movie this week? You might not like it but it’s going to be really good.

E: Who’s in it?

A: That’s immaterial. Fincher directed it.

E: Fincher?

A: Yeah, Fight Club.

E: Yuck! I’d rather go see Our Faults in the Stars.

A: Seriously? That movie’s got an 8% rating on the tomatometer.

E: I don’t care what this tomamameter is. I just loved the book.

A: Are you kidding me? That book’s downright terrible.

E: Snob.

A: Oh lord, When will these masses learn to respect their entertainment and come to appreciate true quality?

E: It’s just entertainment dude. Chill the fuck down.

A: I take it you are the type of person who texts during a movie?

E: Yeah, I have to let my friends know about how boring the Fincher movie is.

A: You are a piece of trash, you know that?

E: Bye darling. You are not worthy of my time.


E: Aww, I just got gifted this cute new puppy for my birthday.

A: Happy Birthday!

E: You didn’t wish me since morning?!

A: That’s right. I don’t get this celebrating birthdays fad.

E: How’s being miserable coming along?

A: It’s so darn wonderful. You should try it sometime.

E: I am really enjoying this conversation.

A: The person who gifted you that puppy, all they want is for you to feel miserable 12 years down the line. Think of it as a down payment.

E: I am going to go bang my head against a wall. Brb.


//The names Adam and Eve are a nod to the movie Only Lovers Left Alive starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton.

//The reason for this post is this.


Vous Parlez

On a Delta Airlines flight from Dallas to Des Moines, sitting next to each other are a late-twenties Indian looking guy and an early thirties Chinese looking guy. The Chinese looking guy is absorbed in his Wall Street Journal and is minding his own business, the Indian looking guy is having trouble keeping his head still. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was his job to memorise all the faces of his co-passengers. But he’s got that excitement about him, so it couldn’t be work. He may be visiting Des Moines for the first time inspired by what Jack Kerouac had to say about the girls of Des Moines. I would have been just as excited in that scenario, but no, he doesn’t have the face of a person who’s into books; everyone’s into looks. He has the face of a person who lives an unexamined life.

I: Say, may I have the sports page?

C: Excuse me?

I: Ah, nevermind.

I: I recently spent a month in China, away on work. I was analyzing the pollution levels, you see. I work for the Environmental agency here and they sent a few of us over there to see just how bad they’ve got it. Thomas Friedman wrote an op-ed about it, about the pollution in Chinese cities. I guess you don’t read the New York Times, seeing how you’re reading the Wall Street Journal. Anyway, I explored quite a lot of your country. I visited some 15 of the 22 provinces. Pretty extensive, right? Now tell me, which part of China you are from and be amazed by how much I know about your place. I don’t mean to embarrass you with my depth of knowledge but that’s a possible side-effect.

C: Pardon?

I: I was asking which part of China you’re from..

C: (sternly) I am from Virginia.

I: (thinks for a while) Damn, I am sorry. This is so typical, isn’t it?

C: (dismissively) It isn’t, actually.

I: Well, it is. You think you are an expert in a subject, you boast about it, and then bam! you are knocked out cold in the first round. There’s always this little thing you somehow look over, and when the moment of reckoning arrives, that little thing comes up and brings down the whole edifice.

C: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

I: Virginia! Which part of China that I overlooked is it in?

C: *blank stare*

I: I’m just kidding with you. I know where Virginia is. You from the CIA?

Cut to black.

//The challenge was to convert a little joke into a little blogpost. Does Delta airlines operate between Dallas and Des Moines? Je ne sais pas.



Stoicism 101

There’s barely anything heroic about not letting the bad things get to you. A majority of people do that with success to some extent. The poor being the pioneers of that art. We don’t want to be associating with them, do we? So our brand of Stoicism will focus on being stoic in the face of good fortune. 

I can’t help it. Whenever I am in an airport, I feel the need to take a big old dump. This one time was no different. However, when I opened the stall, there he was- Seth Rogen. He was smoking some pot without even locking the door. I was neither startled at the sight of a fully grown man behind an unlocked stall, nor was I trembling with excitement at the opportunity of letting the world know about how I ran into Seth Rogen that one time I was looking to take a dump in an airport. After such an incident, you might think I’d be forever doomed to opening stalls with an expectation of finding Seth Rogen behind them, but I don’t. It’s as if I was a witness to something completely normal.

I used to have a crush on this girl, but no courage to do anything about it. She was my Susan Glenn, I was no Stoic then. I later found out she used to have a crush on me too. We are now together and my life is no different from what it used to be.

Two movies come out tomorrow. One’s directed by David Fincher, and the other’s by Steven Soderbergh. One stars Rooney Mara, and the other stars Channing Tatum. Michael Shannon has a role in both of them. I am not looking forward to tomorrow any more than I looked forward to today.

I am sitting in a room waiting for the results of a job interview with 9 others. The job’s supposed to be good, pay-wise or something. I don’t think I have a chance. The interviewer felt a distinct lack of buzz around me. Whatever. The main reason why I don’t see myself getting this “highly desirable” job is because of that extremely attractive lady the 8 of us can’t stop staring at. The remaining one person who doesn’t seem to care is actually quite miffed at the attention being bestowed upon that one particular person. I guess all ladies are born that way, forever feeling threatened by the next. I am sure some lady has already pinned the blame for the discord among the female species on the male species. Hold on, the LED has flickered to life. The name that’s flashing is a name the rest of us will remember for the rest of our lives, forever telling the story of how we attended a job interview with a lady who went by that name. The 9 of us mutter an awkward congratulations and make our way out. A few steps on, I am however tapped on the shoulder and asked to wait with the one. It turns out they could do with the both of us, and moreover want us to work as a team. I roll my eyes and head to the nearest exit.

A few weeks on, I got fired from that job. The boss’s parting words were “stoic this, motherfucker.” He had somehow grasped my philosophical inclinations. I never figured him to be intuitive, I never figured him to be much of anything really. Maybe he just reads my blog.


Economics 101

The fall in the rupee will not make our exports any more competitive because most of our exports are dependent on materials which we first have to import.

The Indian software engineer will become cheaper and that will help the IT companies but that’s that.

Removing economic policy from the hands of elected representatives should make economic policy more efficient (technocratic government of Monti in Italy, for instance). Right now, the decisions right for the economy, such as passing on the burden of increasing fuel prices, aren’t taken when there are elections at hand. In India, there are elections almost every year. So, figure that out.

Ironically, the same person who complains about the food security bill adversely affecting our fiscal deficit doesn’t seem to care about the effect fuel subsidies have on our fiscal deficit. You lose the right to complain about welfare policies the moment you blame the government for increasing fuel prices. Wrap your head around that piece of logic ;)

The finance minster has assured us and the markets that the food security bill will not have any major impact on the fiscal deficit. While that is pleasing to note, what is worrying is the adjustment of other expenditures which that requires. The expenditure on say, health, education, and infrastructure, might have to be diverted to fund the the expenditure of food security bill. Additionally, what is left to spend on infrastructure might also get diverted from roads and highways and power generation to FSB facilitators like food storage facilities.

In summary, the food security bill didn’t bring the rupee down but it may slow down the development of our productive capabilities and hurt our growth in the long run. The opposition parties continue to mention the decline of the rupee and the food security bill in the same breath for the simple reason that they are worried about the capacity of the food security bill to buy votes, and that’s a genuine worry for them.

Speaking of investments in productive assets for the future  vs welfare for the masses in the present, have you read my tongue-in-cheek article?

I will conclude for now with the words of the Hindu editorial team:

“The truth is that big institutional investors have an inherent bias against welfare expenditure. Psychologically, market players seem to assume that any welfare scheme is bad for capital. This is a flawed assumption because the history of the market economy in the West clearly shows that a strong welfare framework has played an integral part in the expansion of capitalism. There is also a lot of hypocrisy in the way market players view government support to various sections of society. They reject loan waivers to farmers but welcome the massive loan restructuring and postponement of repayment obligations done for big business… As Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen have convincingly argued, nowhere has capitalist growth preceded improvement in human development indices. The market needs to internalise this reality.”


Cricket, in the eyes (and words) of an American

The following is an excerpt from Bill Bryson’s “In a Sunburned Country.” Bill Bryson is an American and the book is a handy guide to Australia- historically and otherwise. Keep in mind that I am favorably disposed towards both Mr. Bryson and the game of cricket.

“I had stumbled into the surreal and rewarding world of cricket on the radio.

After years of patient study (and with cricket there can be no other kind) I have decided that there is nothing wrong with the game that the introduction of golf carts wouldn’t fix in a hurry. It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. I don’t wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as players—more if they are moderately restless. It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.

 Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it out to center field; and that there, after a minute’s pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt toward the pitcher’s mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to handle radioactive isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg. Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to try to waddle forty feet with mattresses strapped to his legs, he is under no formal compunction to run; he may stand there all day, and, as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Then tea is called and everyone retires happily to a distant pavilion to fortify for the next siege. Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time the match concludes autumn has crept  in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket.

But it must be said there is something incomparably soothing about cricket on the radio. It has much the same virtues as baseball on the radio—an unhurried pace, a comforting devotion to abstruse statistics and thoughtful historical rumination, exhilarating micro-moments of real action—but stretched across many more hours and with a lushness of terminology and restful elegance of expression that even baseball cannot match. Listening to cricket on the radio is like listening to two men sitting in a rowboat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren’t biting; it’s like having a nap without losing consciousness. It actually helps not to know quite what’s going on. In such a rarefied world of contentment and inactivity, comprehension would become a distraction.

…I may not have all the terminology exactly right, but I believe I have caught the flavor of it. The upshot was that Australia was giving England a good thumping, but then Australia pretty generally does. In fact, Australia pretty generally beats most people at most things. Truly never has there been a more sporting nation. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, to take just one random but illustrative example, Australia, the fifty-second largest nation in the world, brought home more medals than all but four other countries, all of them much larger (the countries, not the medals). Measured by population, its performance was streaks ahead of anyone else. Australians won 3.78 medals per million of population, a rate more than two and a half times better than the next best performer, Germany, and almost five times the rate of the United States. Moreover, Australia’s medal-winning tally was distributed across a range of sports, fourteen, matched by only one other nation, the United States. Hardly a sport exists at which the Australians do not excel. Do you know, there are even forty Australians playing baseball at the professional level in the United States, including five in the Major Leagues—and Australians don’t even play baseball, at least not in any particularly devoted manner. They do all this on the world stage and play their own games as well, notably a very popular form of loosely contained mayhem called Australian Rules football. It is a wonder in such a vigorous and active society that there is anyone left to form an audience.

No, the mystery of cricket is not that Australians play it well, but that they play it at all. It has always seemed to me a game much too restrained for the rough-and-tumble Australian temperament. Australians much prefer games in which brawny men in scanty clothing bloody each other’s noses. I am quite certain that if the rest of the world vanished overnight and the development of cricket was left in Australian hands, within a generation the players would be wearing shorts and using the bats to hit each other.

And the thing is, it would be a much better game for it.”

One thing that can be said about cricket is that it allows one the luxury of reading a book while not missing out on any of the action. In contrast, sports like Tennis, football, F1 demand your complete attention and aren’t in the slightest bit accommodating.  How rude.

One thing that can be said about Americans is their tendency to look down upon the pastimes of other countries, like cricket and football. They aren’t biologically evolved to accept ‘tie/draw’ as a result of a sporting contest for one thing, and continue to wonder why footballers just don’t use their hands, for another.

As for the copyright violation, I plan to argue that I am furthering the reach of Mr. Bryson, for I haven’t heard a single acquaintance of mine mention the name of his. It’s a different matter that the blog gets barely 2 visitors, over a year.

Le Monde


What is it with Paris (the s is silent) and pickpockets? Over the course of 3 days, I came across 3 stories on 3 different mediums about the Parisian pickpockets.

The first was an article in a newspaper.

The second was a short film directed by the Coen brothers. (As beautiful as their films)

The third was a BBC podcast on the Syrian conflict in which fleeing Armenian traders chose to go back to their country instead of joining their counterparts in Paris for reasons solely concerned with crime.

Brazil’s fucked, South Africa’s fucked, London’s fucked, Russia’s fucked, Delhi’s fucked, New York’s fucked, Africa’s fucked. It seems everywhere’s fucked if you pay attention to such stories.


Since we are on the subject of travel, let’s speak a little bit about migration- the travel in search of a better life. Due to the economic downturn and the austerity measures, there are no jobs to be found in places like Portugal, Spain, and Greece. The result- wholesale emigration of youth from such places. Where do these young and jobless migrate to? In case of the Portuguese, they mostly migrate to their former colonies like Brazil and Angola.

Migrating from a first world country to a third world country seems to be an entirely different proposition from a third world to a first world migration. Because all I hear from the Portuguese and Spanish emigrations are “heart-wrenching goodbyes and sorrowful adieus and lingering homesickness-es.” From my third world country pov, the only tears I see accompanying emigration are tears of pride and joy. The 3rd world departing child is delighted to get away, and the 3rd world parents can’t call their relatives fast enough to gush about their emigrating child.

Aren’t familial ties stronger in 3rd world countries? Then why is it that 1st world families express more sorrow at the thought of separation? Is the sorrow simply the shame associated with migrating to a 3rd world country?


Let Egypt’s democratically supported coup of a democratically elected government be our final stop. The legitimate government of Muslim Brotherhood- the party representing the values of the traditional and the rural religious minded people- was cynically cast aside by the secular forces of the urban masses and women and military. While concerns of Islamization and possible suppression of women’s freedoms are genuine, this is no way to treat a government in a democracy which came to power through free and fair elections. For this and for the curiosity of how the secular brigade will react, I want to see the Muslim Brotherhood come to power again once the elections are re-held.

I am so curious about this situation that I am willing to support the group aided by Qatar, the bete noire of Assad and peace in Syria.

If you read what I have to say about Syria, I have a gift waiting for you

A rightfully wary Obama draws an arbitrary red line. He draws it at the usage of chemical weapons. They do get used, but at the hands of the rebels whom his government supports.

When the news of the usage first broke out, the Republicans were quick to call Obama out for not taking any decisive action. Decisive action for the grand old white men meant arming the rebels. Obama, for his part, was cautious enough to not place the blame squarely on the Syrian government without sufficient evidence- a prudent stand given how they were quick to draw to conclusions following the Houla massacre and ended up with eggs on their faces. However, some spin doctors are now putting the spin by blaming the government for failing to secure its chemical weapon caches. Color me aghast.

Jon Stewart, ever so admirable on domestic issues and ever so ignorant about international squabbles, jumped the gun and poked fun at the possibility of the Americans having to convince Putin’s Russia on the seriousness of the crimes purportedly perpetrated by the regime. How about staying out of this conflict, Jon?

So, there you have it. The rebels and their opportunist backers are more villainous and intractable and devoid of sympathy for the suffering of the common Syrian than the supposed main villain in the piece, a certain Bashr Al Assad.

As a reward for bearing through an insight into a regional conflict, I now present your gift. The gift is a passage from a book written by Walker Percy. Enjoy.

“Her bottom is so beautiful that once as she crossed the room to the cooler I felt my eyes smart with tears of gratitude. She is one of those village beauties of which the South is so prodigal. From the sleaziest house in the sleaziest town, from the loins of redneck pa and rockface ma spring these lovelies, these rosy-cheeked Anglo-Saxon lovelies, by the million. They are commoner than sparrows, and like sparrows they are at home in the streets, in the parks, on doorsteps.”


Postscript: The Russians have spoken some momentary sense into the Americans, for they have now dropped the pre-condition of Assad’s resignation. This won’t go down well with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the rebels; and as such, America, itself, may change its position once again. Be that as it may, best case scenario would be America and Russia joining hands and annihilating all those who oppose a settlement through political dialogue. Now, that’s a pipe dream.



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