Sunday, March 25, 2007

TAGCA - Another day in the life of a celebrity

Yesterday was just another day of my life as a celebrity. I was invited as the Chief Guest for the first year anniversary of TAGCA. TAGCA stands for Telugu Association of Greater Charlotte Area. My reasons including that I don’t know Telugu was not accepted. Not to disappoint anyone, I accepted the invitation with only one condition. If you had been to the function, you must understand that this is the reason why someone else was announced as the chief guest. I told them that I would come only anonymously, sit along with the crowd and will not even appear for Photos. With greater difficulty they accepted my condition and I went there anonymously. But somehow the reason got leaked and many of my colleagues came to the show to watch me.

The function was good under my indirect presence and I enjoyed a lot watching the dances and songs by the kids. It was very surprising to find the huge number of Telugu people living in Greater Charlotte area. It was very much like India with almost everyone in traditional dresses. Though I saw many persons who would have been interested to talk to me, I avoided them to maintain my anonymity in the crowd. I wonder how many girls I had disappointed yesterday. I even couldn’t get chapathis for the dinner which I would have got easily if they know who I am.

As the event went on for a long time, I was enjoyed it very much along with Viswa singing for two songs which was appreciated by everyone. I was happy that it was all because I didn’t teach him to sing and I was proud of being non-instrumental in his achievement.But then there came the request from the organizers asking me to make a performance in the show. I expressed the fact that I can’t sing in Telugu and also they will not be able to manage the crowd if I dance. But they were unwilling to let go of me and said that I don’t even have to speak. With much thought, I agreed and I and Viswa decided to perform a small skit about the problems of Drunken Shaving.

As I told them, there was no voice for the whole skit and the crowd erupted to cheers looking at the performance. I told the organizers not to reveal my identity and I acted as a drunken guy trying to shave in front of a mirror which was replaced by my servant who broke it. The effect of the skit was such emotional that the audience started crying very early. I had to finish the skit soon to prevent the event becoming sorrowful one. And when the skit was over, there were cheers from the audience that it continued till the curtain was closed. I am not sure of the technical problem that caused the curtain to close before our show was over though.To keep my secret identity, I didn’t even get the Participation certificate.

I promised the organisers that I will be back for the next year, but they said that they don’t want to disturb me from my work anymore. So I left the show after scribbling autographs and talking to some dedicated fans who identified me from my little performance on that day. It was just the usual for a well known celebrity like me.

PS: Few parts of the above post might look like lies. But I assure you they are just fragments of my creativity and imagination.

PPS: On a whole, it was a wonderful event and I enjoyed it completely except that my Blackberry was ringing many times trying to pull me back to work.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Show and Tell - Blackberry

Fruit(Berry) that makes you work everywhere. I am not sure why they kept that name. But why not? When there is a computer named Apple why cant a internet communicator be called Blackberry. Atleast the color matches the name here. Blackberry had been one of my awed gadgets. And that was until I got one. After that its been a hook thats pulls me to work day and night. At the heart of it there is the email which keeps us connected to the outer world though restricted to the office world by our boss. Instead of thinking that a person with Blackberry CAN respond to emails anytime, they think that a person with Blackberry MUST respond all the time. The one that should help me in work is making me work. As its a business gadget, they havent given much thought of appeal. But they have done a good job in ergonomics. The keys though small are comfortable enough. Everyone will get used to it fast and the wheel on the side is easy to operate and is a very good idea.

I do like the Blackberry a lot and here are my reasons for that.

1. It is something that not everyone has. It makes people turn their head towards me.
2. I can browse the internet easily on the go. Damn! I cant play flash though :(
3. It has games too. Brick breaker is really addictive.
4. Gosh! I love to send short replies appearing as if I would lose million dollars if I delay any second.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Save me from this world!

Hundreds of movies. Thousands of slogans. Millions of reasons. But its very disheartening to see that caste system still prevails. There are still people who are stubborn to the caste systems. There are still organisations based on caste. And there are still political parties winning elections by using the caste system to their advantage. Pathetic I would say. Why is this age old system still torturing us in this boundary less connected internet world? Why does people still stick to these shameful caste systems and act biased? So many questions popup in my mind that I am afraid would take me very long time to find answers for them.

I agree that the importance given to caste system has been reduced in all these years. But it is still acting as a barrier for improvement and a basis for corruption and chaotic life. I have seen and am seeing lot of situations that proves this. Whats more disheartening is that some of the situations I have seen are more closer to me that I didnt expect. I was really disappointed when I found a major school in our hometown still has caste as a factor for recruiting the staff and even the Principal. How can you expect a school which recruits staff based on caste to provide quality and unbiased education. All the slogans like "Ondrae kulam. Oruvanae Dhevan" will stop in the boards itself. It cannot reach the students for it may not be in the teachers' mind. In my 18 years of schooling, caste had been the least topic that I had ever discussed with my class mates and friends. I was very proud of it. But when I realised that the same school that taught equality is biased to caste made me feel bad and makes me angry that I am not able to do anything for that.
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know why it is so. But to analyse that I need to understand what is this caste system and was it necessary any time in the past.
Recalling the lessons I had learnt in History subject, I know that people were divided into four classes according tot he job they did in the olden days. the Brahmins , the priestly and learned people, the Kshatriyas , the warriors and the rulers, the Vyabaris , the mercantile classes and the Shudras , landless laborers. Though I found the paritality given based upon caste systems a wrong one to follow, I understand that the division is based only upon the jobs that the people took. Then the caste system slowly changed and it grew more divisions and more importance was given to it. After many changes, it went on to multiply to more than 20 castes with more subcastes within them. Now there are hundreds of castes in south India alone. What I dont understand is the origin of these castes which I dont find it to be based upon the type of work. I have heard lots of stories about the battles that have happened between castes.
One such fight is between the nadar and thevar communities in virudhunagar. One have to go through the streets in Virudhunagar, a town in Madurai district. You will be fascinated by the puzzle like roads that connect the streets. The houses will be closed packed though without common walls. There will be very narrow gaps which we can neither classify as roads nor as ditches. Also the doors of the houses will be made of strong wood. The most craziest thing is that there will be log oven in the top of the houses. It would be funny to think of cooking food at the top of house and take it inside to eat it. If you think "These people are crazy", you are wrong. They houses were constructed with great plans. In the older days, virudhunagar was occupied mainly by two castes, nadar and thevar community and riots between them would happen very frequently and people would be running with sickles in their hand sacking each other. And here is the crazy fact. The reason for having the narrow roads between houses is to confuse the other community be running within the narrow roads which is like a maze. If you start from a side you would mostly end back at the same position after getting confused in the path. The need for strong door is to prevent unwanted persons from breaking the house. And guess whats the use of the stove on the house tops. It was used to heat oil and pour it over the persons when they passes through the narrow roads. And there is no valid reason for these riots. I can talk on forever about the caste disputes that happened like these in the recent past. There are so much examples that will make one wonder if we are still barbarians in nature.
Another area where I have seen caste system taking its toll is love. The cine world has used this as the greatest tool for making block buster love stories. So many movies are made both with happy and tragic endings that seems that they are made for money rather than changing the society. And everyone can see the effect in real life too. After all, one out of ten persons you know would tell how caste ruined their love life. The world has grown to a level to accept different caste people living together but not love each other yet. We are still a way behind in demolishing the evil caste system. I am sad to say that if I tell my parents that I am in love with some girl, the first thought will not be how much caring or beautiful she would be but what would be her caste. Its a shameful truth. Their life has grown in that way. They are living in a world interlinked with caste in every turn they make.
It was our parents who taught us to make friends based on character and not on caste. It was our parents who taught us to treat everyone equally. It was our parents who taught us to live together with the world making us forget what caste means. But now it is the same persons who wants us to choose our partner based on caste. All our life we were told not to believe in caste, but in the later stage, caste becomes the main factor in deciding our partner. I have a hard time accepting that.
But things are not the same everywhere. People are going forward without the caste system and I believe in one or two generations we can make the caste system seen only in history books. But what I am worried is, why cant I be part of that world right now. And how much I can do in changing the world is something I am not able to answer. I feel caught behind bars in this caste centric world. Some one save me.