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Round Peg

Location: Muscat, Oman/ Bangalore, India

Round Peg....in a square hole. That describes me! All my life I have never quite fit in ... now I have just given up trying to live up to the expectations of the square hole or trying to find a round one!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Actor and the Mahatma

My maid, who is from Kundapur, Karnataka,was the one that broke the news about Raj Kumar’s death. She had watched it on ETV Kannada.

I caught the news item on NDTV. Raj Kumar, they said, had died at home. He was brought to the Ramiaih Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. It seemed to me that the report was at great pains to point out that the legend had died at home and not in the hospital.

Ramiah Hospital correctly anticipated a rampage – which took place any way - had the icon had died in the hospital (which he probably did!) .

This reminded me of my father recounting the day Mahatma Gandhi died. The news on radio emphasized that Gandhi had been shot by a Hindu. This was done, because the Govt. feared Hindu-Muslim riots.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Penalize the mob

The rampage and destruction that followed the death of RajKumar, Kannada actor and icon, is as appalling as it is baffling.

Even more shameful is the way Javed’s friends and relatives stormed the hospital in Meerut.

Javed succumbed to severe burn injuries sustained when he saved about 7 lives in the Meerut fire tragedy last week. Angered at the refusal of the hospital authorities to let a crowd into the room where doctors were fighting to save Javed’s life and later the death of Javed, provoked the crowd to violence.

Who knows how many sick people the hospital turned away even as it struggled to come back to normal?

It is time the courts took steps to penalize the mobs. Pictures of people destroying public property should be published and these people should be punished. Severely. Punishing even a handful will ensure the mob is more careful the next time round.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Surprised in Muscat


This was amongst the first signboards I saw in Muscat. I was shocked.

I never expected to see a Hindu Indian name on a signboard. Not that Asha has any Hindu connotations. Asha means hope but the word has its roots in Sanskrit, the ancient language in which Hindu texts are written.

My reference point was Doha where there used to be an Indian restaurant called Ashoka.

The word Ashoka has no Hindu connotations either. Having its roots in Sanskrit, Ashoka means free from sorrow.

But history speaks of a great Indian king called Ashoka. Circa 3 BC, he ruled over a sizeable portion of South Asia. After a particularly bloodthirsty battle, history says he was so overcome by the death, loss and destruction war entails, Ashoka resolved never to go to war again. He turned to Buddhism and from that time onwards dedicated his reign towards promoting peace and non-violence. He was a great king by any standards.

But authorities in Doha took exception to the ‘Hindu’ name of the restaurant and the owners were forced to change it. It was renamed Alshoka and probably still stands on C-Ring Road.

It was against this background that I gaped at the signboard that proudly read Asha Enterprises. That was the first time I tipped my hat to Oman. That’s when I knew we would come to love Oman as if it were our home country.

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