Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Freedom at 45

I came across a blog called "Canadian Dream: Free at 45" in a news article today. The title was intriguing. We keep hearing about the American Dream so often. But what do the Canadians dream of? And what kind of freedom does the blogger dream of, at 45?

I soon learnt that at least one Canadian, if not all, dreams of early retirement and is looking for freedom from work as soon as possible. Tim Stobbs, 32, recently wrote a week-long series on his retirement plans in the next 13 years, with a salary of less than $80,000 a year. It earned him a lot of flak from readers as they questioned his expectations of interest rates, inflation and other math that went into his future planning, to be able to retire so soon.

One of the readers related his friend's example saying that he too had made similar plans to retire early. But the wife divorced him for living so frugally and there went half the money in alimony :P Another said that he couldn't imagine his life without work for he had finally found the work he loved.

That last comment echoes my thoughts too. I can't imagine myself doing work that I do not enjoy or I'd soon be writing my own Freedom 21Interestingly, Tim too says that after retirement, he plans to work at what interests him rather than what pays the most. Now I can't say I have figured out the kind of work I can't live without, yet, but the search is on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Prospective groom or prospective employee?

Yesterday, my friend P told me about a conversation he had with Mr. K. It went something like this -
K: Hello P :) 
P: Hi Sir :) 
K: So P, do you have a girlfriend? 
P: No Sir, I do not.
K: Why not? There were a lot of beautiful girls roaming around the campus in the morning. 
I wondered what Mr. K had to do with my friend's relationship status. Was Mr. K trying to get P hitched? P went on answering and K went on asking.  
K:  So what does your father do? How old is he? Do you have a sibling? What does he do? Are you a Hindu? 
K: Alright, so what are your views on marriage? 
By now I was convinced Mr. K considered P a prospective groom. But the next question threw me off. 
K: So P, what if we send you to some place overseas for the job? 
Aah! So it was a job interview. These were the questions my friend was asked for a civil design job interview.

 Job interviews, it seems, give you full freedom to ask anyone, anythingPersonal questions? What's that?  Of course my faith and my relationship status have everything to do with my job. Sometimes, unusual questions are asked to put the applicants on the spot and gauge their presence of mind. But going by this interview, there has to be some kind of censorship of the questions you can ask in there.

Though, interviews are never one-sided. So, applicants too, fully exercise their right to say anything in the interview that'll work in their favor. Free to lie and cook up if it suits them so. May be job interviewers should carry the holy book next time and ask applicants to swear by the oft repeated court lie  "I will speak the truth and nothing but the truth" ;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Appalling reactions

I am appalled at the reactions coming from both the sides (India and Australia) after incidents of Australian vandalism at the Games village, were brought to light by the Indian media. 

Australia's Commonwealth Games boss Perry Crosswhite said "I would be surprised if it was an Australian" and blamed athletes from other countries who were in the Australian building at the time of the incident. Interesting. No apology. Not even an acknowledgement.

The Australian high commission said, "It is factually wrong, insulting to Australia's athletes and can only be described as a fantasy." The facts have been verified by the Delhi police. And what about all the insult to Indians during the Games - the obscene finger gesture by two Aussie athletes, the four letter word use and now this? 

Lt Gen Ashok Kapur, the CWG Village in-charge, said "It was no major incident of anybody going berserk, and suggested the athletes were only having a "fun time". Is this how Aussies have fun? Breaking things around them?

CWG OC secretary general, Lalit Bhanot said, "The issue was taken up with the Australian Commonwealth Games Associattion, who regretted the incident and agreed to pay for the damage as per guidelines."  Is it about the money? Destruction of public property in India is a punishable offence. How can they be let off so easy?

Indian External Affairs minister said "It is a minor issue. It should be sorted out. With Australia, we have a very good relationship. We will solve it to the satisfaction of both the parties." Why do we want to appease the Aussies? Such uncouth behavior should be condemned and reported, not covered up for the "satisfaction of both parties". 

Simply Appalling! I don't think such behavior would have been made peace with, in any other country (even Australia), especially if Indians were involved. It has been now proven that Australians are very bad losers and we Indians are born appeasers.  

About monkeys in Australia

(Foreigners in India enjoy more freedom than Indians do) 

The Times of India reports the Australian Commonwealth Games team had gone crazy after their cricket team's loss to India in the Mohali test cricket series 2010. They destroyed electrical fittings, fixtures and furniture in their tower at the Games Village. The hooliganism continued despite police efforts, and a washing machine was thrown down from the eigth floor!

Now I wonder what was all that controversy about, two years ago, when an Australian sports person was called a monkey by an Indian player.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"How's the dog?"

This is a story close to my heart, which is why another follow-up :) Thanks to all the readers who prayed for the 33 trapped miners in Chile to come out alive. 

The rescue operation that was to take at least four months to reach the 33 trapped miners in Chile has defied expectations. It is underway to a happy ending in just two. As I write, the 14th miner in the longest miner rescue shift in history is being extracted by rescuers.  

Florencio Avalos was the first miner to reach high ground around midnight Chile local time. Chileans were waiting with bated breath as they watched giant TV screens show images of the first rescuer being sent down the escape tunnel. Only a government photographer and Chile's state television channel have been allowed to film. Then walked out Avalos and a round of applause followed. 

Even as the rescue operation is on, questions are being raised about the condition of labor and their safety standards in Chile. But for the families of the rescued, it's a 69-day long waiting period finally coming to an end. Smiles and relief is what you can see on everyone's faces

Sixth miner, Osman Araya, embracing his wife as rescuers look on

It's celebration time and they're celebrating! Guess what the second miner, Mario Sepulveda, said after coming out of the hell hole? He kissed his wife, gazed into her eyes and asked, "How's the dog?" ;)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kalmadi strikes again!

We know Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. We also know Dr. Abdul Kalam. But who’s Abdul Kalam Azad?

The Delhi CWG Organizing Committee chairman made another faux pas in the outstanding opening ceremony of the games, when referring to the former President of India. Suresh Kalmadi just can't seem to get it right.

But to be fair, let’s throw in some perspective. Kalmadi is tired of the criticism he's been surrounded with and the nervousness showed. A little slip of tongue here and there doesn't hurt anyone :P. And then, the Maulana had adopted the pen name "azad" (free) to mark his mental freedom from a narrow view of life and religion. Not a bad salutation for our beloved former president, what say? Perhaps, this might be the ONE good thing Kalmadi did during the games (albeit unknowingly). 

P.S - I am rather surprised Kalmadi even gave him a special mention. That guy could have easily missed the great man.