Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Heroism; Really?

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Every entrant into the movies is touted as a hero, and with a small entry with a large background and family background is constantly hyped as heroism albeit in the movie.  The synonyms of heroism; boldness, courage, daring, fearless, gallant, noble and many great words that are attributed to heroism are seldom found in the person being depicted as a hero.

They are typically small, timid, meek and cowardly without the hype of the family background, and would probably not qualify for even the smallest role in a movie.  Today we hear huge titles to everyone getting into the movies as some star or the other, and absolutely there is no relevance to the titles being given.  Every person entering into the movie business is given some star, irrespective of their performance or success.

Coming from the generation where ANR, NTR, Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Raj Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajnikant, Dharmendra and many other heroes played the hero in every aspect imaginable on celluloid, it is hard to imagine the new generation of youngsters being touted as superstars.  I by no means want to exclude the greats of the yesteryears, and the senior actors that played multitude of roles in hundreds of movies over generations of movie making, but seldom hyped their performances or their success as today’s actors do.

Every movie that is being released only focuses on the first few days in the theaters and how much money they collected, rather than the movie running to happy audiences for a long time in the theaters.  I still remember the days where movies ran for 100, 150, 175, 365 days in the same theater with repeat audience seeing the movie again and again, and enjoying the movie as if they are seeing it for the first time.  The pure enjoyment of the movie and the great following that the actors and actresses enjoyed was beyond comprehension.

There was also days when these actors and actresses would reach out to the public when needed, such as raising money for the army or during floods, and would reach out to the people on truck tops or tractors and touch fans as they asked for help.  They never had the airs about who they were and were almost pleasant to the public who paid to see their movies, and supported the movie industry without reservations and pure fanfare.

People still have the same fanfare and following of the movies, but every movie that comes out has the same sinking feeling to the public who is watching the movies.  Even comedians today act as superstars and simply imitate the yesteryear’s actor’s mannerisms to the teeth, and make absolute fool of the audience.  Heroes and heroines were graceful and beautiful with the start quality that clearly enthralled the audiences, rather than pretend to act beyond their natural and physical abilities.

Granted that the audience today is much larger than just the people visiting the theaters, with added audience on television, overseas and internet, the quality of everlasting movies is no longer in the making.  The only movies that are being made are to hype the heck out of every guy that is a hero with some massive title and name, and try to promote the movie as a blockbuster before even people see it for the first time.  There are no longer functions organized for a movie running for 100 days or more and reaching out to the public for appreciating the quality of the product.

Perhaps my time in India depicted the heroes who really were fantastic performers and great human beings, who took their profession of entertaining people seriously and strived to make as many movies as possible, with each one memorable.  I no longer think we really have heroes making movies; rather we have hype of so and so making as much noise as possible to get first week’s eye balls.  We need to redefine the meaning of heroism in the dictionary or really find heroes who represent the real meaning or heroism.  The public is very smart and will catch-up with the reality quickly.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pope Francis

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

You don’t have to belong to a religion to appreciate the individual who is chosen to lead an entire set of people who is more than a billion on earth, and represent just about every region of the world.  Prior to following the current election of the pope, and Pope Francis beginning his tenure as the leader of the Catholic Church, I was a great admirer of John Paul II and our own mother Teresa.  Both of them were great leaders by example of their doings and teachings, and you don’t have to belong to the Catholic Church to admire their life time of contributions to humanity.   It is difficult to emulate their humanity and contributions to their fellow human beings.

Perhaps their time did not have the 24/7/365 coverage on the news and internet as it is today, and they escaped the continued scrutiny of the networks and every available channel to find something or the other to point to the human frailties (if any) of a person being placed in a position of great responsibility.  By no means needs a man of god is to be scrutinized as an elected politician, but the media somehow manages to find some excuse or the other to come-up with instances of political positions that a long life would have taken as the circumstances might have demanded as such.

First and foremost the new pope is a man of the people and the first few days after his election as the pope has demonstrated his simplicity and affability to his new position as the leader of a global set of people.  I really like the two things he did immediately following his new role; him paying his bills for the hotel he stayed, and going out into the people and greeting them personally.

In a life time of serving the people and specially the poor in a country that has had its volatility politically and otherwise, Pope Francis has lived an exemplary life of human service and caring.  Every word you hear about the man is that or doing god’s work and the simplicity that he has represented all his life.  Politics and power play really doesn’t have any influence on human service, and by every measure he has practiced the philosophy of caring, and well deserves to be the leader of the major religion he practices.  By following just the last few days of his actions, one is reminded of India’s mother Teresa, and her lifelong commitment to helping the needy.

A human being only needs so much to survive and live, but how well the life is spent in responding to the needs of others around the person make a great life even greater with its simplicity and giving.  For Indians Mahatma Gandhi continues to represent a great soul who exemplified the simplicity of life and the greatness of cause, all combined into a tiny frame.  There are many examples of great men and woman representing the humanity by simply leading life by example of human service, and if so in their exemplary life they had to take specific positions to continue their service to mankind, it was done only to serve their purpose of service rather than self benefit.  Even the greatest of human beings are required to meet the demands of circumstances as it is simply human to survive the environment and do the good they can, rather than perish to the circumstances.

There are great stories that have been told again and again for humaneness and brotherhood, and how many of great souls did the service to humanity without any motives.  As great souls will continue to be in every generation and they will continue to do god’s work as if they are the messengers of god.  You don’t have to belong to any religion to appreciate the value of their contributions to promote kindness.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fake Money

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

With so many scams in the near past and in the pipe line the money that is funneled into the bank accounts of a few is beyond a mathematicians’ comprehension.  While the Indian economy continues to grow, although at a single digit rate in past few years and projected to grow in the single digits, it is really incomprehensible to imagine if there were no scams or kickbacks and the entire money was funneled back into the Indian economy and not in someone’s hidden places around their many homes and cars or in secret numbered accounts in overseas havens.

Last week a Hindi movie “Special Chabbis” shoed how a politician’s money was stanched in his house and car, and the ease at with which the raiding police was able to find the stash.  The irony of the movie is that the movie itself was made of real life incidents, and depicted the brazen nature of how the Indians simply take and keep the money.  It probably has to be kept close to the chest as it has no accounts to show, and it cannot always be sent to an overseas bank account as simply as we say it.  It simply gets lodged into the closets and closed spaces of the opportunists that take every opportunity to take the money from every source that they can get the loot from.

The world, especially India has a lot of issues with fake currency and people are always getting sucked into to fake currency.  There is always track of who might be dumping fake currency into the market, and typically a common man may or may not encounter the fake currency in day to day living.  There are a lot of instances of groups trying to print money or circulate get caught, and perhaps they are not as well reported as the scams.  However the currency manipulation and fake currency is a fairly entrenched problem with all nations.  In the USA we see fake bills quite often and they don’t have to be large denominations of bills, they could be very small denomination bills that get into circulation and being passed on to the unsuspecting population.  With the USA or western economies adopting a greater use of credit and debit cards, we may eventually phase out the use of bills and perhaps limit the counterfeiting of currency.  But in India and other developing (loosely using the term developing as I don’t have any other way to distinguish the economies) nations the use of credit or debit cards is still not at the every person level and might be a long time before you can educate 100% of the population to use the banking systems for currency protection.

By and large the fake currency is not been identified as a major problem as the governments around the world track down the counterfeiters and dispose them off, and the banks and financial institutions regularly catch the fake bills and dispose them off from circulation.

It is however a problem as even if a small portion of the currency in circulation is fake, it represents the losses for the overall economy and someone who is carrying the fake not has lost that much f real value by simply conducting normal transactions, and believed that the money was real until someone identifies that as a bad not, and refuses to accept it as legal tender.  The losses typically are small and they can never trace the bill back to origination point immediately to catch the perpetrator and regain the value.  But, the effect of fake bills is really not depicted in the economic sense as it is an industry that gets dismantled quickly by the authorities.

The scammed money is where the real money and real assets get stored in the lockers and cars and under or over the roofs, and overseas accounts of a very few individuals.  This money really is more damaging to the global economy than any other type of cheating.  It takes real value from the economy and takes it into hiding, while the value is of no use to the economy.  It’s hidden and not in circulation, and of no use to the person who is hiding it from the very people who could benefit from the large asset base, and could be best used for economic development and employment creating.  If the trend of hoarding money illegally continues, the global economy simply will continue to lose the ability to properly fund the continued economic development, especially with reference to the developing nations where the hoarding of illegal wealth is more rampant than the developed nations.  Perhaps there should be a threshold of hoarding so that there a mechanism to funnel the money back into the economy to keep the real value of the money to be deployed for the benefit of the society, rather than make it as worthless as the counterfeit currency that gets illegally into the public domain.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Whose Country Is It?

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

Every opportunity to damage property, destroy infrastructure and kill innocent people is utilized by groups claiming to be fighting for something or the other, but in reality they simply want to kill and destroy others without any direct or indirect relationship to the killers.  Each time they strike, innocent people loose lives, and many other suffer the loss of near and dear ones, their support structure and perhaps their livelihood.

There is no valid reason that one can justify to kill innocents, and the killers don’t have any valid agenda to inflict suffering on unsuspecting civilians.  There is some reason or cause raised by some obscure group to show unjustified support to create havoc with others life, but no reason to strike unsuspecting innocents who have no part in solving non-existing causes.

In reality there is no cause that demands loss of life of a community that is not even aware of the supposed cause for getting killed.  Who are these people anyway to hurt unsuspecting civilians, regardless of caste, religion or any group they might belong to?  The people who suffer are of all religions and are firstly humans.  They have no influence on the intolerance of any one community or any one country.  They are simply living their life without the burden of these so called elements.

What has become a common staple in the world is a small group of people targeting innocents who have no input into solving any issues that lead to the intolerance of a select few.  Someone at random targeting New York, Beirut or Hyderabad and or any other place in the world to destroy the human and their communities in the name of what?

The planning and execution of terrorist acts has become a common practice in today’s world.  They typically claim that they are messengers to good work, but they remain invisible and never voice their opinion in public on what they stand for.  Always all the time they try and strike a country that they don’t have anything to do with.  The support structure and funding sources come from a few countries and the reason for destruction is always filled with hatred to other communities and countries, as the countries that provide the terror funding themselves are often places of chaos.  These are no places of democracy and or of religious or cultural tolerance.  They are often places filled with hatred for their own people and full of oppression.  They find crude ways to keep the religious intolerance and communal divide alive by terror.

Isolating these nations that support terror is impossible as they will not act directly, but in discrete and under handed fashion to promote terror.  The global intelligence agencies perhaps work full time to undercut these elements and at most times successful in preventing these unwanted actions, but few of them escape the watchful eye of the intelligence and inflict massive destruction and human suffering.

Why do these people strike at my place?  What do they gain by destroying everything around people they don’t even know?  Who gains from killing in discriminately?  Can anyone in the civilized world towards the cause of killing?  Has anyone gained by killing and destroying?  Whose country is it anyway?
There are so many questions that people ask which have no answers except more questions and whenever an incident happens more suffering and more hatred.  Every single time terror strikes more innocence is lost and we continue to ask the same questions.

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 ...