Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Why is the heart so unhappy?
I have nothing to complain
Things I have lost, i have gained
Things I have gained, I have lost
So, Why is the heart so unhappy?

Events in my life
Both pleasant and unpleasant
have balanced out each other
Then, Why is the heart so unhappy?

Found love
Lost it
Found it again
In a lovely wife
Who loves me like crazy
The fact that I do the same
Makes it more beautiful
Why is the heart so unhappy?

Never had much money to start with
Made some, got foolish with it
Lost a lot, got some back
Never cared much about money
Why is the heart so unhappy?

The question I ask myself
Dont you have enough
to be happy
Then why are you not
I search for the answer
in the myriad thoughts
in my head
Could not come up with
Answer to
Why is my heart so unhappy?

I guess it is my mind
that is playing games
Shows me only the thorns
in the garden of flowers
Negativity and cynicism creeps in
I try to fight
I want to be happy
if not for me
but for her
to see the smile on her face
every morning and night
I have to be happy
I decide to be happy

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Imperfections of a Judiciary System

Let me start this with a story. 

I was once a  teenager.  To say that my teen life was fun would be an understatement.  It was really over the top at times. We had lot of fun.  Our idea of fun usually involved some gray "fun" which did not seem gray at that time.  Let us visit some of the gray fun.  One of the oldest tricks ( I would call it fun) was looking at someone's dingdong when they were peeing and then describing it to others much to the chagrin of the victim.  Also at times, the inherent curiosity prevalent amongst Homo sapiens about genitalia during those growing-up years would lead to instances of kids checking out each other's dingdongs. No! homosexuality was not involved; just plain curiosity. Those caught "checking out" would automatically become the object of "soft ridicule" and the "butt" of jokes that summer.  The brave took it on with a smile. The weak kept quiet. The sensitive complained to parents. The extra-sensitive did not come out to play for a day or two. But no one ever went beyond this. Everything would be back to normal in a short time.  Everyone would be friends again. It was just a prank, a mischief and nothing more, but then it was a time where there was no Facebook or Twitter.

Wondering why I recounted the whole shit about my growing up years ?  Well, I came across a recent incident which at best can be compared to those long forgotten years, but in this era this had taken monstrous proportions, and both the victim and the perpetrator were punished to an extent where it outweighs everything - the guilt and the crime. 

I am talking about Dharun Ravi. 

For the uninitiated, Clementi, who was gay, asked for privacy to use the room he shared with Dharun Ravi for an encounter with a 32-year-old non-student with whom he had connected on the Internet. Ravi met his roommate’s date briefly and sent text messages to friends describing the man as “creepy” and expressing worries about theft. Ravi said he deliberately left his webcam on to monitor the visitor because he was worried about the security of his property. With another student, he watched Clementi embracing the other man and then sent out derisive Twitter and text messages about his roommate “kissing a dude.”
Ravi invited other friends to join him in watching the next scheduled visit, two days later. But the webcam did not work on that occasion, perhaps because a guilt-stricken Ravi dismantled it, as he later claimed, or because it malfunctioned, or because Clementi discovered the intrusion and disconnected the equipment himself. The next day, Clementi complained to the dormitory’s resident assistant and to two other officials, and said he no longer wanted to share his room with Ravi. A day after this, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off George Washington Bridge.

Dharun Ravin was charged with invasion of privacy, witness tampering and the more serious charge of bias intimidation and on March 16, a jury sentenced him to 10 years in prison with possible deportation to India.

So was the verdict harsh ? Ohh yes, it surely was.  Not to diminish the crimes that were committed in any way, but how does throwing Dharun Ravi in jail solve anything?  It's tragic that a young man took his own life and Ravi should bear some responsibility, but are we becoming a society of victims?  The crime was harsh, but the sentence was harsher.  Everyone forgot that it was a foolish stupid prank gone wrong.  Everyone forgot that the perpetrator was a teen.  It doesn't make the crime small, but the criminal deserves the benefit of doubt.  He did not harass any gays or cyber bully anyone. People just want to feel like something is being done about these situations that are in the spotlight now, and Ravi happens to be the lightening rod for the blame.  It is not cool but it is not a major felony crime either.  Going by his final words to Clementi, "I've known you were gay and I have no problem with it. In fact one of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy about it which is why I never broached the topic. I don't want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it's adding to my guilt. You have a right to move if you wish but I don't want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation.", Dharun Ravi seems much less of a villain than he is made out to be.  I wonder if everyone is out to prove a point and this everyone includes the liberals, conservatives and the gay agenda too.  Without a doubt, Dharun Ravi behaved despicably to his Rutgers roommate. But had Tyler Clementi been straight, no one would have claimed Ravi’s webcam spying constituted a major offense. Had it been a female companion, everything would have boiled down to a teenage prank. 

Dharun did not take up the plea bargain because he sincerely believed that he did not commit any hate crimes. Though the jury agreed at some point with defense, he was sentenced.  Did they want to make an example of him?  This is outrageous.  I personally think that this case reveals a "lynch mob mentality" of the populace that has led to this overkill.  A justice system which has let O.J Simpson roam around freely convicts a boy of doing something which he thought was a practical joke and never realized it had such criminal consequences.  Was the jury impartial?

Anybody give a thought to what would happen to Dharun Ravi in jail? An Indian in an American maximum security jail populated by a very dangerous crowd. His chances of getting out from there without being battered and raped would be one in a million.  He is just 20 years old.  I just hope he does not become a hardened criminal in those years.

In retrospect, Dharun Ravi should have taken up the plea bargain, but then his attorneys are to be blamed for that.  In retrospect, he shouldn't have spied on his roommate, but then he did.  In retrospect, he should have opened up properly to his roommate when he first heard of the room-change requests. 

All said and done, it is up to the justice system to introspect whether it is making an example of Dharun Ravi and is it not a too-high price to pay?

Monday, March 12, 2012


No one knows failure like I do.  No one has despised failure like I do. No one has enjoyed failure like I did.

If I am the quintessential lost child in the park, then failure is the kind guy who took me by the hand, promised to lead me to my mother, took me to a bench in the quiet corner, pulled my pants down, forced himself on me, and sodomized me while taunting and whispering dirty-nothings in my ear.  I could feel the acrid smell of his breath on my neck. I could feel my helplessness.  I could feel the hot flushes and the pain.  I could feel my soul being gnawed at and torn to shreds. I cried out loud.  I tried to defend myself, but all in vain.  Failure did his job and left me in shame, a shame that devoured me.

That is how intimately I have known Failure.

I have failed  as a child.  My parents though from a very modest financial background had built high expectations from their son, but I took a wreaking ball to them, dashed them. I was good student, but never did touch the rarefied lofty circles that everyone expected of me. I dashed the hopes of my teachers too.  I failed the first time.

I passed out of college with a first class as did thousands of others.  Most of my friends went on to become Chartered accountants while some took up management studies.  I turned to my parents for money and they did not have any.  I never did pursue other options. I was never aware of student loans.  I was such a fool.  I settled for some no-brainer job.  I then failed a second time.

My sister got married.  I couldn't do a lot of things I had dreamed for her wedding.  I couldn't be a good big brother for her.  I couldn't make things right for her. I failed a third time.

I got married. Whatever they tell you about marriage, it is all true. It's love + compromise + adjustment + desire. It is about understanding your spouse, knowing them deeply, and taking the efforts to keep them happy. It is about learning to live with each other setting aside one's ego, and loving the other person for what they are.  I made lots of promises to my wife and I wanted to do them all for her, but somehow I have not been able to.  I failed a fourth time.

I failed to be a good son, a good student, a good brother, and a good husband.  My failures haunt me, they laugh at me, they taunt me, and they leave me in pain.  Fate has stricken me down and I have turned to God for help, but I guess he was busy somewhere else.  No grudges there.  I know I will stand up again, I know I will fight my destiny, I know I won't give in so easily - I just wish I was not alone.....