The True Message of Christ
I am not a great fan of films. Either the films have a total crappy story line or if they are based on a famous novel, they fail to do full justice to the novel. But there are a select few movies that I must admit have moved me profoundly. One such movies was ' The Passion of Christ'. Most people believe many of the gory scenes were needless and I remember some Christian grandmas crying during the movie. But I feel that the violent scenes were those that truly brought out the message. Reading about it does not fully describe what Christ chose to undergo. When you see those gory scenes, you visualize the intensity of the suffering. . READ MORE

Understanding Gandhi's real contribution
For long time I have been cynical about the greatness of Mahatma Gandhi. I am sure many of my fellow educated Indians would have similar views. No one can summarize the reason for this feeling better than his nemesis Naduram Godse at whose hands he faced death on January 30, 1948, raising him to the status of martyr. However over the years I have begun to develop a better understanding of this man and his message. The experience has been like the peeling of an onion. The layer of Gandhi - the one who got us independence was removed to reveal a stubborn man, with strange ideas who hijacked India's freedom struggle to obtain personal glory. But this layer also gave way to reveal the true Satyagrahi, what he stood for and the greatness of his philosophy..READ MORE

Demystifying Indian Middle Class Politics
 have always felt the behavior of the educated working middle class in Indian democracy is a paradox of sorts. We are the ones who contribute most to the running of the government. We pay income tax with least default. We spend the most on consumer goods and hence contribute considerably to the sales tax revenue as well. We work for the companies that shell out corporate taxes. So directly or indirectly we seem to be the Atlas on whose shoulders the entire weight of the government rests. Yet we are the ones the government pays least heed to. Despite this blatant unfairness, we seem to be the staunchest defenders of the system. While we do demand lot of reforms, we are the most wary about rocking the boat in any way.  READ MORE

Why India can never be friends with Pakistan, China, US
One of the first things I learnt when I started my career in consulting was something called issue based problem solving – a method of finding answers to certain key business questions. It has two variants – a data driven approach and a hypothesis driven approach. The first consists of collecting all kinds of data and then trying to see some pattern from it. The second consists of arriving at a solution from first principles conceptually and then trying to see if one can find data to support the hypothesis. A classic example of hypothesis driven approach is Sherlock Holmes uncovering a cigarette stub from a specific spot on the ground and telling the surprised Watson that he found it because he was looking for it. READ MORE

The Battle of Symbols
Few years back, a cartoonist was arrested for insulting India’s national emblem. There was lot of outrage regarding curtailing of freedom of expression and people being over sensitive about trivial issues. It got me thinking whether things were as simple as that. Or were there deeper forces at work?

That got me thinking about the meaning of these symbols and why people are so sensitive about them. Symbols seemed to me a simplistic representation of what binds together a group of people be it a nation, a religion or an ideology. Also it occurred to me that anthems, songs, myths, legends and larger than life heroes were symbols of sorts. READ MORE

Education for the Twenty First Century
As I am prone to do often, one day I was sitting and musing how I could have made it much bigger in life if but I had put that bit of extra effort during my student days. As I sat day dreaming, a part of my mind  took the shape of the  Ghost of the Christmas past from Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol and appeared in front to me to take me on a journey to my past.

The first scene was me sitting in the Chemistry class at school. I magically enter my own mind. It is struggling to soar high into the clouds. It wants to leap and to bound and go on a flight of fantasy. But the body keeps it shackled which in turn is shackled by the demands of the educational system. The mind tries hard to pull away. But the body stays rooted to the desk holding the mind a prisoner along with it. READ MORE

The true meaning of Beauty
What real beauty means to me? Well. They are just words. And words can mean anything or nothing as one chooses. So, at the risk of sounding pedantic, I start with the standard definitions. Wikipedia defines beauty as below.

“Beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction. An ‘ideal beauty’ is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection.

The experience of ‘beauty’ often involves the interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being. READ MORE

Zen and the art of dealing with an Indian Auto Driver
Rage! Anger! Hatred! The fire of vengeance burned within my bowels! If I could the furies of heavens bring down upon that vile creature, and burn him to cinders! If were but the king of the land I would order him burned alive in boiling hot oil. I wanted to have him tied to a post and whipped till he begged for mercy. Such were the thoughts that besieged me as I walked around the library hardly looking at the books. I randomly picked up a couple of books and was soon on my way home.

What had happened that had made me so furious? Surely someone has cheated me of all my hard-earned wealth or caused me some grievous harm. Or at least caused me some physical injury. READ MORE

An Argument against pre-marital Sex
There are socialistic and capitalistic view points in matters of economy while in matters of society there are liberal and conservative viewpoints. Politically though the economic left is lumped with the socially liberals while capitalists and conservatives and up as bed fellows. The reason is of course obvious - to have a viable chance in politics, any political formation needs support of the masses as well as the ones who hold the purse strings. While a socialistic conservative disposition will have complete support of the masses, a capitalistic liberal disposition will be favored by those with money and privilege. Typically most educated folks working in corporate world tend to be capitalistic liberal also known as libertarian, while writers, artists etc. tend to incline more towards socialist liberalism, while the truly devout and religious minded would be socialist conservative. Capitalist conservatism I feel is just an opportunistic stand which no one truly believes in but adopted purely for political expediency. READ MORE