My Life, The Universe and Everything

Truths I learn. Barriers I seek to break. Let me scream.

Archive for January, 2007

Can’t Be Patriotic

Posted by themischord on January 26, 2007

Miles away from my country, as many do, I feel more ‘Indian’ now than I ever did. I did not forget that today, 26th January, is a historic milestone for my country. But that doesn’t make me patriotic. I never felt patriotic. Not when I religiously sang the national anthem. Not when I saluted the flag. Not when I made speeches at length on how to build a better India. In my younger days, without reasoning, I accepted this to be a personal fallacy. A failure for passionate association. I can reason it better now.

If it weren’t for the British, would I be an ‘Indian‘ today? No, maybe simply a ‘Hyderabadi’. Maybe the only binding factor would be some kind of an ‘Indian Union’, like the European Union. Noting that such unions are formed for economic and not cultural or social reasons, I would not be singing

“Punjab Sindh Gujarat Maratha, Dravida Utkala Banga.
Vindhya Himachal Yamuna Ganga, Ucchala Jaladhi Taranga”

I would have grown up learning to be loyal to some ‘my country’. My teachers would have preached the principles of patriotism, but now in the context of some ‘my country’. And this is just my contention. Country boundaries are so much a matter of chance. I wish we didn’t have boundaries. I wish I didn’t need visas to travel.

I wish ‘association‘ did not mean ‘division‘.

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London

Posted by themischord on January 23, 2007

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:

(Wordsworth on Westminster Bridge)

I should have been born in the time of Wordsworth to agree with that. London today stands little close to that. Although the city didn’t exactly fit into my expectations of a ‘romantic’ (referred purely to architecture) one, it offers a visitor much to live and feel. With every stone talking history, it felt like I lived the ages.

My strongest annoyance is the London skyline – a motley of architecture from eras I won’t even try to guess. A view from the Tower of London, drove me mad. Really, how can the city council allow this?! Glass buildings to backdrop William’s fortress. Huh!

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But on my second visit to the place, here was a sudden moment of inflection when I felt I was parallely existing in different times. Imagine being in multiple times, like we are virtually in multiple places when watching tv. Awesome! No sci-fi novel can beat that experience. Thanks London!

London is full of interesting places. But the best I would rate, are the museums. Greenwich, place of the prime meridian has a maritime museum with the earliest clocks and devices used in navigation. It’s extremely inspiring to walkthrough the progress of a civilization. The British Museum is my other favorite. No words for their collection. I had to be dragged away from the Rosetta Stone by my friends, who couldn’t understand what was the big deal with a stone. Now here is where I am with the historians. I believe that history is not only a fascinating story, but a compass directing to the future. What a fantasy to be digging the earth, instead of lines of computer code!

Other things to mention –

Westminster Abbey – the dead live here
Cullinan – the largest diamond in the world
Guard change at Buckingham Palace – much ado about nothing?!
Koh-i-noor – the diamond taken away from my home country, originally excavated in my home town
Canary Wharf – an exteremly picturesque corporate location
British Museum Library – breath-taking, fascinating, awesome and awe-inspiring

A thought… I heard this, more than once, from more than one person – “Koh-i-noor is ours. Why doesn’t the Government of India do anything to bring it back?” I wonder, should these people (includes me), who have left their country for reasons not so platonic, even bother?

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