Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Past Perfect

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

It has already happened. Past is already on the books, recorded, and can’t be changed.  It is what it is and that’s it.

We call it history.  The relevance of what we have available to record increasingly makes us to do so, and just as we type is the past.  Once again it is perfect as it is already done, and can’t be replaced.

The history has good, bad and the ugly.  They may not be in equal parts, but they are all there, just like everyone of us.  We come in various shapes, sizes and colors, but we find our own way to live, if we do.  There is no set time frame, no set style, no set template for life, it just happens as we start and finish, with something in between.  To get our life recorded, it must have something extraordinary (doesn’t matter the extremes) but something that a normal person doesn’t do, to become a page to be remembered in history.

We don’t all have the opportunity for becoming the next Gates, Jobs or Buffett, or Indian Tata, Birla or Gandhi.  (Sorry if I only sound off with just a few names). The irony of the massive respect for a name is that with billions of us, and just a few names to refer to.  Gandhi, King or Mandela are a creation of extreme circumstances imposed by societies that became so intolerant of fellow people, so we must find figures that will make societies look up to an individual as a symbol of positive hope and change.  We certainly have a few of the 20th century leaders who are in our thoughts, prayers and focus as leaders who paved way for equality.

With billions of us on Earth, just a few wise folks we pay our reverence and use as historic examples.  At the same time, we also use name as Hitler to reference to the genocide and lately we have had several heads or state from the MEA those have been deposed as leaders who had territorial and dictatorial control on people.  They are also given equal or greater coverage as the father figures in history books.

Howsoever we look at stuff, good and bad (perhaps evil) all get documented for reference as history.  The most(ly) intelligent beings can hear, read, review, look and comprehend the good, bad and ugly (Client Eastwood movie references) from history.  As being good means not imposing harm and hatred, we have a good understanding on what not to do from birth to death.

The choices for us to follow the path we choose to can certainly be circumstantial and lately we (may be for a long time) have been using the religion for our actions.  The first and second WW were fought because of dictators, communists and free world order, and the last several decades based on religion and color.  The various regions of the world work on their own brand of hatred and killing, but with each passing year the hatred acquires an expanded footprint.  For some reason history already has recoded the impact of hate, but we deliberately ignore the past, and continue to perfect the next set of hate.  The good remains with same definition, while the bad keeps expanding the definition.

It is simple to say, “I beg your pardon” or a one word “Sorry” when we make a mistake rather than double down.  It is simple to appreciate what is good and bad, rather than reinvent a new interpretation of something that is already well defined.  It is simple to listen, read or learn from history, its already there.  We have it at our finger tips, on our phones, and all it takes is a click or two to appreciate the value of what we already experienced.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Child of India

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Howsoever I look at myself I am a child of India.  My mother and my mother country remain what they are.  Ten thousand miles, still make me a child of India.  Moving with a small suitcase and a black Samsonite in my hand to the USA to go to school, was not a frequent practice when I came (it is now such a common thing, and no longer in need of a bus full of well-wishers sending you off at the airport) and I did not feel any novelty of a foreign student.  When in stepped out of the airport and saw familiar faces to bring me in and send me off to school next day (in a bus) I did not feel anything new.  When I went to school, worked and did the same things as every other kind in school, I did not feel any different.  My English was salted to the British for the first semester and quickly disappeared, and I did not feel any different.  I finished school (two degrees) and worked, and grew up, travelled and did everything I believe I was supposed to, and good, bad, ugly and whatever life had in store for me, and I was always embracing the next day as it came.  I knew I had to live as life presented, and to date just do that.  Life to very one is unique in its own experiences and challenges, and mine was just that, and I accept it as is, and try to derive comfort from family and friends, and strangers as they whisk in and out.  Overall, there was nothing challenging or out of the ordinary to move from place to place, country to country and work, life, sickness and health and family.  All a part of life and it goes on.  Every instance another page, experience and part of on-going life.

My mother lives in India and the new generation of telephony allows for more frequent voice calls.  Every week we catch up on the same stuff, kids, health and weather and relatives.  I am happy to say there is nothing new, but an occasional mother and son health related updates, but by and large we have nothing that we think has changed, except the children growing up and each season’s weather.  We love our extended family and simply check to see how everyone is, and that’s all the best news I have every week.  We live far away, but we have our routines and one thing every week in common is that she can’t travel to the USA and stay with us.  All in all, life is just simple and weeks on we have something to talk about (except occasional happening with the big family) but I admit I am happy the way things are.  We don’t worry too much about what is happening in USA or India, as we have little control over what happens (only one vote in each country) and seldom talk about the local or national issues.

While the new smart phones allow of communications quickly and easily and inexpensive, along with language translators that are sometimes necessary, the social media also has become a forum for easy opinions and commentary.  As someone who blogs regularly, I do have my own opinions, and they are both political and personal.  My likes and dislikes are in each column I write, and they are just my thoughts and opinions, and often lean democratic.  Social justice, opportunity and remembrance are the soul of what I aspire to write, and not critique.  The hundreds of columns I wrote simply represent my current state of mind, and the week’s wordsmithing.  I love to write and read and I hope I will for the rest of my life.

While the social media allows for effortless way to comment, it also allows for serious debates on how individuals feel about where they live and what the just saw.  India and USA and everywhere in the world are separate places.  While social media like Facebook allows for acquainting with a lot of strangers, it is also a forum to thought and opining, and as there is a room for some 5,000 people to befriend on an account, it also has become an easy forum to critique.

Much of the comments are tilted to the nations inability to control traffic, rains, weather, behavior, nature and abuses, and with huge sections on politics and corruption.  It is granted that very nation has its own way of life and things to deal with, individuals placing a nation they migrated to verses a place of birth, is silly.  India is India and USA is USA, or Canada is Canada and wherever you are outside of India is that’s what it is.  You have a choice to live where you want to, and let India be India.  Politics, corruption and life is what it is and unless you want to contribute to what you are criticizing just let it be.  Just because of a social media forum, your opinion doesn’t mean anything but just typing, it is what it is, and unless every citizen tries to make a positive effort, then it is simply back seat driving.  If you don’t like Canada, India or USA or wherever just go somewhere else and see if you find Utopia.

I am a child of India and an adult of USA.  If you don’t like one place or the other go somewhere else.  No one is stopping.  If you don’t like the rain in Andhra or in Chicago, I am sure there are places on earth that have little or no rain, just go there.  If you don’t like politics of Delhi or Washington, find someplace on South or North pole where there is no one and no politics.  If you don’t like the people where you live, find a desolate place.  Whatever it is you don’t like, find a place you do, and that’s all.  I know for sure there is no Utopia on earth and for those of you searching for one, good luck.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

20/20 on Mass Murder

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

If not for terror in the news, we have mass murder.  These days it has become common place for killing strangers without cause.  There is never a reason to kill another person, but the killing of innocents has become standard practice around the world.  Mass murder for whatever reason is simply inhuman, but is being practiced.  The analysis after the fact is seldom useful, and only adds to the cruelty towards the innocents.

There is a lot of analysis, speculation and thought on psychology of mass murderers and trying to reason with why it happened.  There is no dissection of the reasoning for mass murder.  Seemingly normal human beings attacking strangers has become common place, and the carnage continues worldwide.  The media speculates (as with on everything else) and every outlet there is covers the murder/s until the next one.  No one thinks of children watching, listening or browsing the coverage.  Imagine little ones watching TV with their families being subjected to constant coverage of mass murder, what it could do to their thinking?  There is no doubt that news needs to tell people of what is happening, but bombarding the channels (all outlets) with mass murder will not allow anyone to escape, and no one cares about the two things; one – the murdered people, and the listening public, as it becomes a news story today and later a follow-up segment.

The acts of kindness and heroism of strangers typically plays out with the human beings in us.  We will by and large lend a helping hand, and run towards the needy.  There is a lot more human than anything else in all of us, and with each horror of mass murder we also see the kindness of strangers.  So, it is not all lost in humanity, it is simply some of us deciding to kill.  For whatever reasons behind the killing, the analysis simply doesn’t add up to catching or stopping the next one.

What is becoming common place is the intensity of mass murder.  Targeting innocents (unsuspecting and out in the open) is really the easiest target, as no one knows of the danger in an airport, office, concert, on the road, school, college, or just doing their daily and routine chores.  People must live and do stuff, and they are out in the open and in groups, and are easy targets.  They are unsuspecting and out in the open and the easiest targets.

Imagine the vast spaces of USA, in fact the world.  It is impossible to check, cover, monitor or manage the area, and try to pin point to where someone decides to commit mass murder.  The entire world is not a war zone, and people are not fighting with each other everywhere.  Much of the world is minding their own business and trying to live a normal life, until someone attacks; again.

The sad if that we let it happen again and again.  The news is (analysis) is constant.  The politics and process remains the same.  No one starts to care once the dead are laid to rest, except the families and friends of the affected.  There is no down grading the concern of news and others, but the next one comes again and again.  While the analysis of each instance is ongoing and afterthought, we really can’t plan for the next.  Guns, weapons, politics, religion, and human nature and whatever is influencing the killers is unpredictable and has become unavoidable.

It’s sad but avoidable.  All that can be done is finding more human in humans and perhaps a world that will start looking at life is a onetime blessing, and it can’t be given back.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Protesting Patriotism

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

The last year has been a show of some form of protest mainly with the NFL players.  First and foremost, everyone has a right to protest.  No matter the cause, gripe, issue, statement or whatever we don’t like, democracy (the oldest) allows us to express our displeasure to the act that we believe that is not defending the equal rights to everyone.  Democracy and freedom of speech go hand in hand, and it’s given to every citizen in the USA.
Going by the NFL players protesting the flag and national anthem, it can be a simple solution for these highly paid players, and overly expensive franchises.  The fans in the stadium and the viewing public pay huge amount of money to support their favorite teams, and in turn the teams pay huge money to players and over the top amount of public funding, tax dollars and support to each of the sports franchises.  Respecting the nation, its national flag and anthem and the fans who support the franchise/s should be a priority for the players and owners of each franchise.  There are many instances where the local teams support many causes and charities in their markets, and participate in good citizenship in their local societies.  Suddenly, these guys (who are overpaid) started to kneel or not show due respect to the national anthem and the national flag as a support to protest.  The problem is whatever they wish to protest can be done without disrespecting the nation, and the audience; who are the citizens that support their hugely inflated paychecks and much bigger egos, which are filled with the money made from the fans.

Hey! Why don’t you spend your inflated pay checks and huge profits in supporting the causes that you feel need support?  Why are you protesting (insulting) the national anthem and flag, and the public that feeds your pockets and egos?
With fans forking out billions in support of their favorite teams, they don’t need to witness disrespect to the nation at their cost.  Each of these players could simply stop playing and forego their (inflated) salaries as protest any issue they support.  Remember many union members march and support their causes while giving up their wages, the same can be done by the athletes.

I like my team.  The Chicago bears.  They have not won anything good in a generation, but I still wear my bears shirt and watch or listen to every game, and even pregame and post-game commentary.  I don’t understand any of the analysis, except my team constantly is in the loss column.  We pay hundreds of millions to players, and they are worthless in delivering wins to Chicago, but I still love them, they are my football team, as they are to all Chicagoans.  I love all our teams, Bears, Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks, Bulls and any team that represents our city.  Their losses don’t matter as in my life time, they have all been champions, and one or the other make the city proud and smile.  After all this is the city where Michael Jordan played, and what more can I ask for.  This city is where Harry Carry announced every day for the Cubs, and who really cared if they won? (I did, but was a fan even when they lost every day).  But I am also a citizen, and I love my country.  Every time national anthem plays I stand and wait until it is done.  Whenever I see a flag, I see it with pride.  I am an immigrant, nevertheless a proud and good citizen, who respect the nation and its citizenry.  As much as I love my teams, my loyalty to the nation comes before my love for the local teams, and while my heart is always with my local team/s, my love for the democracy is of greater value to me as a common man.
When I see the huge deal being made from the cause and disrespect, why not these overrated, over paid guys protest by not playing a game or a season (give up the inflated paychecks), or spend all their paychecks in supporting the cause they support.  It’s not good to alienate or disrespect the law, and it is equally stupid to disrespect the national flag, anthem and the citizens, and not taking a pay cut or using their wages to fund the cause or educating the nations about the root cause for their protest.

I am only one of the 300 million citizens and I am sure the nation looks at these payers with dismay when they disrespect the nation and the viewers, who all support the right to protest.  The forum is not where a few guys get paid huge amount of money and show no respect for the viewers, and have no intention of foregoing their inflated paycheck to protest, but insult the viewers.

All those players who protest or wanting to protest.  Please do it, but at your own cost and time.  Use can use the airtime (where we listen to your stories and the commentators dissecting the losses for hours and offering their theories and making us listen, and you can certainly protest, but you don't) The challenge is for you to show that you not only respect the public that supports you and your team, but you really mean to help your cause by stop playing or using your pay check (all of it) to help support your cause, then you are not just a good citizen but also a true protestor.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Nature’s Fury and Human Resistance

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

I love Florida. Although I only spent very few years in South Florida, I still am very fond of my old place, friends and associates and everything I could see, visit and explore in Florida.  Just mind your own business and enjoy the place, and you would be just fine.  For someone who likes the water, beach, great food (not expensive) and people, it’s a wonderful place.  Things were quiet, and everyone minded their own business.

It is a quiet and peaceful place.  While the tourists flock form all over the place, the locals like the weather, locality and peace.  While I also appreciate many places on earth with similar weather and conditions, Florida is a place for 6 million people, and it is wonderful.

The keys are my favorite part of Florida, along with Miami beach and Everglades, Disneyland, shopping and just about everything.  Just driving in Florida is relaxing, and often adventurous.  I don’t know how to swim, but my home pool was good enough for me to enjoy the water.  While the life itself is quaint and relaxing, it is also not that expensive, and all said stress free.  The very rich to people with limited resources still have the same beautiful ocean, sand and views.

As the water, sand, sun, smiles, style and people (food is included) all get used to each other rather quickly, Florida is also in the zone of sea levels that are precarious.  The eco system is precarious.  Even a little bit of sea surge will overtake much of the beautiful and enjoyable space of Florida coast, and this is something no scientist must provide any evidence to support.  It is simply that people love the sea and sand and the pleasant weather, and they will build as close to this is as possible to enjoy the nature’s goodness as possible.  No one stops us, and no one worries about the eventual fury of nature, and no one thinks in their life time any massive natural disruptions in their community.  Florida and its cities have had some massive natural disasters, and as they escaped catastrophe last week, they have done so many times.  It’s only natural for human beings to hope for the best, and riding out hurricanes is one of those things we seem to believe that we will escape, unscathed.  We have from the beginning of time, both respected and ignored nature’s ability to do what it pleases, and we have well recorded instances of populations getting wiped out.  We still try to ride out the natural disasters (despite the warning, including some who suggest ignoring the warnings) with bear bones of our homes.  One thing to ponder is what good is a single home, if the whole neighborhood is wiped out?

There is no science or politics involved, only perhaps the profit.  When you keep suggesting that human interference into nature will cause more natural disasters, and the bigger and bigger natural disasters will become a normalcy.  Whether we like it or not, any major change to any life style has consequences, and the whole human population makes every effort to add their part to the earth’s constitution.  With 13 billion making small adjustments (corporations make huge adjustments) there is bound to be a huge overall impact on how Earth handles the change.  So, we can think of a hurricane or two or three, every year and the damage done to our state, or start combining the effects of severe weather around the world to accept our contribution to the changes to the weather.

We only have one Earth, and its ability to sustain and reestablish the natural balance for all of us is limited, and time consuming.  We really are not allowing for sustainability nor replenishing the natural abilities.  We can think of what next with severe weather (while continuing to argue) or come up with the ingenuity to sustain our earth.  The choice is clearly ours.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Inimitable and imaginable thoughts

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Throughout childhood and adulthood, I have lived a life of my own.  Essentially meaning that always life in a hostel, shared accommodation, rented and shared apartment, life with aunts and uncles, and my own apartment, home or condo.  The ability to move from place to place, share with schoolmates and friends, and eventually with family and children.  The moves and folks I shared with my accommodation and food, have never impacted what I was and how I behaved.  I simply was myself, irrespective of where I was and who I was with.  I am very sure there were times I was not the best roommate or a welcome guest or the best family member, as I simply like to mind my own behavior, and seldom wanted to involve in matters that of not personal.  This might have been just the way I want others to be with me, and I try to behave the same with others.  I care and feel with my heart, and the impact of life’s events are hard on my system to handle events, so I also try hard to not be impacted as I suffer personally by taking things to heart.
In the USA if you lived if I have, there are many people you come in touch with, your own family and friends, community, fellow nationals and may immigrants just like you.  They are all like your own journey, working, students, families and relatives and sometimes just friends.  I have these and a lot of new associates, acquaintances and new members of the vast and common core of immigrants.
In all these years of being by myself, in India or outside it has not been on mind to worry about who I associate with or who I wanted to be friends with.  I don’t think I will do so in the future.  What I have noticed is that even the very well educated, well acquainted, well healed members still show the imaginable thoughts on their affinity to communities.  I notice this more with the freewheeling comments on social networks.  While we are all entitled to opinions (I have mine at least once week on something), the most well-established members of the community have prejudices of others with different names.  This has become more obvious with movies and their content and names.  People are becoming experts on the community by writing their reviews (on community rather than movie) and somehow associating to their displeasure on what others are.  Lately the social media accounts and many opinions on community and caste have become commonplace, but pertaining to communities that are not their own.  Arjun Reddy movie is one such example, where the opinions have been so much to just the name of the movie and how it was directed.  I finally saw the movie, and felt it was another movie with a simple story of love and physical and self-abuse, ending with the routine ending of the lovers being united.  Although critics and moviegoers find it different, I found the movie a simple story of love with perhaps current Indian setting.  It was not a ground breaking or trend setting movie, but was different than Telugu movies.  The social media and the promotions have been focused on the hype of the language and movie making, and how the actor/s are taking the movie to the stage.  I would believe that creating the hype is to sell more tickets, and all the actors and makers will probably have moved on by now to their next movie.  What has been uncommon is how people have taking extreme opinions on this single movie.  Especially for those in the USA, who have the luxury of so many various languages and options for moviegoers.  For a cheaper price, your theatres have multiple choices.  Anyone who likes movies have an enormous choice of movies that you can imply pick to watch.  Each movie is made with some conviction by the makers and language and genre are simply a choice of the audience.  Indian moviegoers should know this as we do make regional language movies and many of them are translated (dubbed) into all major Indian languages.  And moreover, they are of different concept and genre.  No one is asking the moviegoer to see a movie that they are unwilling to watch.  But the ability to write on social media is allowing for everyone to find something negative to comment on.  It is a phenomenon that has no logic.
First you are not forced to watch a movie.  Then you interject the community or negativity to the making of a simple movie.  (we no longer have pathbreaking concepts, just mashups).  Then you put it out and a lot of your followers then start to add their own take on it.  Many of them not even watching the movie, but just for opinion) and the trial of comments continue until they end up being a critic of something the movie has nothing to do with.  This typically starts with someone who is educated and has been a part of a large immigrant community.  Anyone who is reading this can associate with my imagination, and start to write something good, something sensible, something endearing, something encouraging, or simply don’t write.  No one in 21st century America should worry about last names, rather the future of their children and families and their future generations.  Not some dumb title of a move or content of a movie.  You have better and more important things to worry about.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Precious and Thrown Away

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Life itself is fleeting. For the earth is referenced to in billions of years and many references to the creator for his magical creation of forms of life, mainly the most intelligent of them of all; the human being.  While the evolution of humans is something we continue to discover, we already know that life is fleeting and precious.  We know that it is one life to live and whatever before or after is irrelevant.  Very few human beings live up to being a 100 years old, remining all of us that the life span of any human being is just a fleeting moment on earth.
In the human mind invincibility with life and what each person makes life to be is the thinking.  We are certainly creatures made of circumstances and opportunity.  (We continue to prophesize on opportunities are what we make of).  We throw in the conditions of life and continue to evolve into a mundane environment of what we want to look up to.  Just imagine what is on the mind of a just born baby? Probably only hunger followed by nature’s call and a warm embrace of the mother.  We quickly start to build our mind around (ideas) our circumstances and start to behave (adapt) to whatever they might be.  In each case our daily routine and behavior revolves around circumstances.  The tenacity of human beings is their ability to try and adapt to their given circumstances.  In most cases a generation ahead of us will keep instilling the desire to do better, and push us to an environment less challenging than theirs.  Study, work, live and have a smarter and cleaner life than theirs; and often with their sacrifices through their time, effort, resources and efforts.  All are geared to make things better for their next generation.
It is natural for us to want our off springs to have better opportunities and better conditions for life.  All our emotional wellbeing is typically attached to our children and what happens with their life.
From an open-air living and working only for food, only with a few people as a clan, we have grown to 7.5 billion people.  The basic instincts (I believe) are still intact on human reflections.  We have formed countries (keep forming and redrawing or encroaching), religion(s), boundaries, governments (various forms of them) and more over leaders.  One would have to guess if all 7.5 billion humans were one single clan (searching for a term here) how life would be monotonous.
One major psychological factor that we have developed is following one more human.  This not simply to follow their path of success or righteousness, but simply follow the ideology for another person.  In this time and age where we have every bit of information to appreciate and understand the minute by minute happenings in the world, we still are ideologically tied to what we call as leaders.
While our history is full of people who have set notable examples of life, teachings and practices we also have a great deal of leaders who have tried to influence on our nuances of fear and future.  Why we behold to any fear is really out of the observable human reaction.  We are all fully capable of making our own decisions, and whatever environment we are a part of we have a choice to our own wellbeing.  In 2017, we continue to behold our thoughts to others.  We also look at great wealth creators give away all their fortunes to betterment of fellow humans, we also look at leaders driving their followers into things what we really don’t need to inflict on each other. So much disparity on the same earth and same world, and same human beings.

Past Perfect

Vasu Reddy from Chicago vasureddy@aol.com It has already happened. Past is already on the books, recorded, and can’t be changed.   It ...