Monday, January 25, 2016

Finding A Way

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Vasureddy@aol.com

Doomsday scenarios have always been a topic for discussion for mankind.  For mythological followers the world has always been in danger of apocalypse and coming to an end.  But the human kind has always found a way to survive, rebuild and even flourish.  Most times a combination of habits, abuse and indifference, all of these manmade that continue to plunder the precious ecosystem that we all share and live in.  Perhaps we should never expect human beings to be respectful to anything.  The biggest issue human beings have is the “me” syndrome.  We are creatures who put “me” ahead of anything and anyone.  For human beings the good earths, its nature, our surroundings, everything in life only come after “me”.  Living life revolves around “I”, “me”, “myself” and everything else doesn’t really matter.  Almost all the time there is nothing that matters except self-interest.  For earthling with this highest intelligence (as we know) we human beings are also inherently selfish.

Destruction of earth’s natural, limited and precious resources in the name of development has been so quick and furious.  In only a hundred years, the destruction has been so furious for the nature to have a chance to regenerate and replenish itself.  Adding to the destruction and constant abuse of nature, humans have also been multiplying exponentially, putting additional burden on earth.  Earth doesn’t have infinite resources and has taken billions of years to create what we call natural resources.  There is no way regeneration of what we are destroying can happen in relative time lines to the accelerated consumption, and most times wasted and destructive attitude to our surroundings.
Countries being wiped out, cities and their people completely destroyed and displaced, ethnic cleaning (if this was even a human process) and atrocities towards our fellow human beings, abusing women, children and older citizens, war in the name of politics and religion, plundering someone else’s wealth (simply greed and strength), color and race; and every other negative connotation that has ever existed have been constantly used to destroy not just fellow humans but their life and habitat.  We have become experts at killing and looting and plundering fellow humans, and we have not spared other living beings and habitat we live in.  As quickly as we think and create, we are also masters in using our own intelligence and inventions against one another.

While much of our energy is spent on the “me” only  syndrome and a lot of focus going into religion and color, while attacking each other, the same can be in parallel to our imagination for a better world.  While we are destroying the environment we are also looking at sustainability for future.  We can do it by turning the human energy into creating solutions for sustainability.  Wind, solar, nuclear energies can be transformed into sustainable energies that will protect the environment and don’t leave us in a depleted planet.  Reusing and recycling and avoiding plastics and dumping everywhere (one of the surveys says we will have more plastic in the ocean than fist by 2050) and consumption with reason and limits can begin to sustain us.  We must remember that the last 100 years have seen science and innovation that is unparalleled (really the Indian mythology of communications and transportation form thousands of years past has come true) and every single day we keep discovering ways to better communicate, better transport and better build, and just about better everything we do.  The worst part of the better we do things also is bringing the better we fight, better we hate and better we differ as people.
We can find ways to coexist and we can invent and reinvent our own space and enterprise to reinvigorate the earth.  We have the intelligence and we have the reason to find a way to sustain and support earth.  Moreover we have a reason to find a way to protect earth and protect each other.  There is no other place for humans like earth and there is no other place that we now know which will sustain our life as we know it.  There is absolutely no way that we can believe that there is no future to look forward to.  We can find a way to keep earth habitable, perhaps even reverse the exaggerated destruction of our habitat, and simply start nourishing our environment one day a time, and for sure we will find a way to keep it sustainable for the human race as long as we inhabit the good earth.  For sure we are smart enough to find a way for our own sake.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Motor Mouths

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Vasureddy@aol.com

Politicians are no longer gentlemen.  With constant media, internet and instagram accounts available to make them wild and agitated at every opportunity they get to opinion on just about everything.  Long gone are the days of idealism and nationalism.  Today it is simply wilderness of imagination on attacking everything.  Granted that democracies allow anyone to have opinions, but the same democracies and available media attention (media also gives particular attention to wild allegations not facts. They simply sound better).  But the wildest allegations, repeating false statements and staring to sound as if they are the verifiable truth, abusive language, disrespect; all of which are a norm these days from politicians and people looking to become politicians.  The world’s largest democracies both India and the USA, have both (along with every other country) have become quite burdensome to the general public.  There is no escape from the angry and impolite voices constantly bombarding the airwaves and the internet.

To start with the leaders of the nations; Modi is only the 14th Prime minister of independent India and Obama is only the 44th President of the USA.  Both men are in the most elite of the politicians to hold their respective office.  No matter what they are and who they are getting elected to these positions is simply one in a billion kind of happening and for a long time to come, they both will be in the most coveted democratic circles.

Obama is a second time president (more elite than just a onetime USA president) and this is his last year in office.  Modi on the other hand is only in his second year of his first term as the Prime Minister of India. Both men are followed by millions of people on instagram and also command a great audience when they make public appearances.  While the USA has presidential press conferences, India has its own public appearances by the PM.  Both men come from humble beginnings, although belonging to worlds apart and both have community work in the beginning of their careers.  Both are great orators, and both are men of obvious and esteemed accomplishments which have put them in the political stage they represent.

Their habits of reaching out to public are a bit different.  Obama uses his POTUS accounts sparingly and to simply keep his followers and the world updated on his office and whereabouts.  For Obama this is the highest office he can hold and he has no further need for new titles.  He will be addressed as Mr. President the rest of his life.  As the history shows, once the president of the USA retires his aura only increases and his contributions to the public good can continue the rest of his life.  As Obama has no more political theater to act in he doesn’t have to react to anything thrown at him, he simply needs to follow his agenda for the last year in his office.  In fact he can be more aggressive and assertive in pushing his political agenda in his last year in the office.  Criticism has little bearing on him as most of it is coming from politicians vying for his office.

Modi on the other hand is in the exact opposite position as Obama.  Anyone can simply accuse him (his party along with him) and he has to defend himself and his actions.  It is not that Modi doesn’t attack his opponents, but at this time he is the target of everyone in the nation, sometimes from his own party men.  There is no escape from anything thrown at him as he occupies the PM chair, and the motor mouths are constantly having a field day everyday with Modi, his office and his every action.

The classic examples of individuals with absolute indifference to what they say or type, often offensive and self-serving statements one from each nation; Kejriwal in India and Trump in the USA, both of them are personification of motor mouths.  Kejriwal, elected in Delhi and Trump aspiring to get the republican party nomination to run for the US presidential elections at the end of 2016.  Both men are well educated, and well accomplished in their professional fields.  When it comes to politics and their style of communications, they simply forget themselves and always have a way with words, often filled with wild allegations and personal attacks.  Even when confronted with the truth they simply counter attack or come up with wilder allegations on the same, to add to their original theories.  Public has to suffer and listen, and continue to suffer and constantly be subjected to the same innuendo and they have mastered the art of repeating the same again and again.  It is simply what they accuse others is in their mind the truth – by far from being real.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Letters, I Wrote

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

In the age of texting, chatting and email, we are quite used to sending quick messages, or responses, often with common abbreviations.  Much of our responses are in symbols and emoticons.  It really doesn't matter if we are busy or simply idling, we try to shorten the responses as much as possible and just hit send.  Gone are the days when a sentence started with "My dear" and ended with "Yours lovingly".  The letters we wrote were long and detailed, often written with impeccable styling and language, and often detailed much of what happened since the last letter.  Each letter had no mistakes, no corrections, no bad words, no abbreviations; there was nothing written but great communications.  It really did not matter who you were writing to, as every letter was a matter of heart and soul as communicating was in long hand and covered the distance and longing.

Often the letters were written in detail and in wonderful prose and hand writing, unlike the shortest responses we text today.  From romantics, to friends and family, looking forward to receiving the next letter was simply the time worth waiting.  The letters were nothing sort of documenting life in pieces, with emotions and commentary, and often speaking the mind and soul in long hand.  Letters were well written short stories, and never abbreviated words of today.

A whole lot of industries were built around letter writing; paper, ink, pens, envelopes, stamps, books and magazines along with many a famous personalities publishing their letters.  Many of yesteryear's personalities have collections of their letters published, for the rest of us to get into their minds and their thinking, and provoking our own thoughts on what they have captured so eloquently.  One can always wonder about the frame of mind and context of each written letter, and no matter how much time has passed, it never takes the context away from the writings.  From great love stories, travelogues, history and culture, requests, proposals, threats, life in general and any other subject matter that mankind can think of, was captured in letters written by folks, one to the other.  There is a great deal of history and learning from each era of letter writing, and we continue to be fascinated by the discovery of letters and their content from yesteryears.

My personal recollection of writing letters was to my home, typically to my grandparents, parents and sometimes to my siblings and cousins.  Living away from folks in a residential school, often allowed you the habit of letter writing as there was no phone (not in your room and was expensive to make calls), internet or mobile at that time.  I had many friends (still am with the same) who I wrote to often and in great detail; travel, school, reading, sports, others around me, and often the letters continued from the last one.  I also had a great number of pen pals (a term foreign today, can be equated to facebook/Instagram friends, which my not be the best comparison).  These pen pals were from various parts of the world (souls similar in interests specially letter writing) who were more of each countries cultural ambassadors. Pen pals kept you updated on their respective countries, cities, location and also their travels, family and friends, habits and sometimes their life and activities.  One of the side effect of having great pen pals was post cards, which were also fascinating to their locations, and added stamp collection from each of your friends.  You rarely had an opportunity to meet any of your pen pals in person, but you for sure got to know them very well.  As you got older and moved from place to place and moved on with your life, your pen pals, were doing the same.  It was hard to keep tracking of the changes in address and place, but the memories of the letters remain.  In the age without a mobile phone, internet or instant communications, the letters and post cards made all the wonderful memories.  The friendships were not instant and fleeting, they were full of effort and longing.

Today everyone has a long list of contacts/friends on email, phone and a slew of internet exchanges, all of which have taken over the old handwritten address book. We have evolved and connected our self with every aspect of daily life.  We are in an impossible situation with no escape from anyone or anything.  We are connected with so many things and so many people, we really don't have the time to make a personal effort to write even a few small sentences, thus the short and abbreviated responses to anything we need to.

It is great to reminisce and think of messages in long hand, well written and well intended, and mailed from a long distance, and also waiting for the mailman to arrive each day carrying stories from far away.  Past so perfect.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Imagine

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Vasureddy@aol.com

When the II world war ended in 1945 the European nations and the USSR were not cohesive, the Germans just about invaded or fought with all their neighbors, and the Russians formed a block of Eastern European nations as communist controlled USSR block.  When you turn to 2016 there is no USSR, or Eastern communist block of countries, and now exists a massive European Union which includes Germany (East and West together now as they were until the Berlin wall was torn down).  Just imagine what people were staring at when the second world war ended and the destruction that was bestowed upon them; communism, nuclear bombs, rebuilding, concentration camps, and whatever was the leftover impact of the war.  It is really unfathomable to think people would think of EU as a block with common economic structures and common people goals.

USA and Japan were at the opposite ends fighting a war, and war only ended when USA nuked Japan.  Today USA and Japan are best friends and partners.  Be it EU or USA and Japan; or any other adversaries who fought against each other, many of these countries have fostered economics and people, rather than old war wounds.  No one has forgotten the WW or other wars, but countries went on to look at the benefits of working together, trade, innovation and knowledge sharing as a better path to move forward.  For a while after the war, the old USSR and the communist nations, really were not willing to become a part of the advancements of the rest of the developed world, but with the formation of EU and dissolution of USSR, many of these countries have quickly converged as democracies and have become partners in the EU. Language, religion, color or creed or any other philosophical or political differences are overshadowed by democracy and common sense.  Whatever each of these nations represent, the overall people issues have been taking precedence with governance.

While much of the world got tired of war after end of WW II in 1945, and formation of EU, many trade and economic blocks, many instances of reason and need taking precedence to anger, there is still a lot of animosity and anger in the world.  It really doesn’t matter what fosters the hatred, but it exists and constantly crates unstable environment all around the world.  It really makes no difference to the hatred, as it can attack anywhere in the world.  It is no longer just war, but terror has become a way to disrupt and discourage populations.  Just imagine genocide in 2016?  It is happening in more than one place and nothing can stop it from happening.  We kill and hurt our fellow beings, and whatever reason it is simply not human.

The Indian subcontinent got divided just after the WW II, in 1947 and got further divided in 1971.  There has never been peace in the region since the division when the British were forced out of India.  The terror and infiltrations and anger and disenchantment with each other is like having a snack in the subcontinent.  Happening all the time and constantly being plotted.  There are elected governments, but no one is controlling the terrorists.  The focus on being bitter is by far outweighing the reasoning of national development.  National development, human growth and peace are far from being a reality, and nothing is being learnt from the lesson of the war and the aftermath.

If we use EU as an example, much of the infrastructure was destroyed by the end of WW II.  Europe did not miss a beat in rebuilding and continuously remaining a leader in world.  Once the soviet bloc was dismantled many of the lesser developed nations did not miss out on development and joining the EU to foster their economic engine and trade.  None of these nations or people have given up their identity, religion or way of life.  They simply embraced the way to foster development and trade, wand what was best for the nation.  It proves and demonstrates that it really doesn’t require a lot of time for nations to rebuild and get back on track of development; if the people, policies and government wants to put people first.

With history of Europe and nations coming together, rebuilding and never lagging behind in growth and development, there is no reason for Indian subcontinent not to do the same.  In reality the Indian subcontinent has a lot more in common than the EU, and also a lot more to gain in coming together, rather than countries spending time on military and terror and negativity.  They really have a lot more in common with people, language, food, habits and boundaries than most places on earth.  More than anything else they have more common need with infrastructure, education, human training, medicine, agriculture and poverty.  The money spent on military (at least most of it) and terror and egging each other, can be spent on human development and civilian needs.  Just imagine the EU like situation with the Indian subcontinent, where people, religions, languages, food, traditions, economics and more over peace, all of it working together for all people of the region.  It would be a blockbuster every day.

As the Beatles sang, “Imagine”.