Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm drinking from my saucer

Found this poem on a link dad shared with me a couple of days back, written by an eternally satisfied John Paul Moore. I can't relate to all that he says, but I simply loved the teacup metaphor. Check it out.

I've never made a fortune and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much, I'm happy anyhow.
And as I go along life's way, I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I haven't got a lot of riches, and sometimes the going's tough.
But I've got loved ones around me, and that makes me rich enough.
I thank God for his blessings, and the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer, 'cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong, my faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke, and the sun peeped through again.
 So God, help me not to gripe about the tough rows that I've hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed.

 If God gives me strength and courage, when the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings, I'm already blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy, to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Story Remains the Same

Here’s my version of a story I’d heard five years back. Which itself was, at that time, a new version of a story I’d heard twenty years back. But for all the transformations the world has seen, little it seems has changed in this story – the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper.

The Ant works hard in the scorching heat all summer building its house and hording up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. You know what happens next. But here’s where we cut to the modern times.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well-fed, while others like him are cold and starving.

At this point, NDTV, Aaj Tak and Barkha Dutt show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The world is shocked by the disparity in living conditions. How can this poor Grasshopper be allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house. Anna Hazare threatens to go on a fast unless the government approves the Lokpal bill and probes into the Ant's assets. Arnab Goswami invites the Ant for an informal hearning, but gives him an earful.

The Ant becomes a trending topic on Twitter. Hundreds of tweets are written. Thousands of RTs follow. Many of whom decide to share it on FB too. And thousands of requests of “I’ll copy this one” follows, with many more FB walls updated. Why, even Chetan Bhagat has something funny to say about the Ant. And his post gets 3175 Likes and 584 Shares.

There is also a fair amount of support garnered by the Grasshopper. KCR invites the Grasshopper and his family to live in his new found state. Maya paints a picture of a bright future for the Grasshopper and his clan in all the four states she’s created. N Srinivasan agrees to send the Indian Cricket Team to Namibia for a one-off T20 in the middle of the IPL Season, for a charity match played for the Grasshopper and his community. A couple of weeks later, Sachin dedicates his 100th Half-century in ODIs to the Grasshopper.

More activity follows on all forms of Media. TOI initiates “Grasshopper ki Asha” and organizes a Page-3 event in a new city every weekend to spread awareness. Greenpeace spams 39,217 mailboxes to subscribers who couldn’t remember when they’d signed up for the damn thing. A email forward which encourages people to “mail this to 10 other friends and earn yourself a lifetime of good fortune and a 50% discount coupons for all forms of penis enlargement” starts doing the rounds, targeting those who still maintained their hotmail accounts.

This is when the government decide to take matters in their own hands. Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties observe a 'National Bandh' in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a judicial enquiry. The Right-wing extremists blame a foreign hand (Hint: The country in question is not to be named. And it appears in the left of India when you are facing India’s political map.) The Centre is…hung.

Disgusted by the developments, the Ant’s lawyers convince him to go west and seek asylum (i.e. apply for H-1B Visa). After a few hours of consultation with the Passport Baba at Lucknow, that is.

After a year of noise, the Judicial Committee drafts the State Operation to Protect Grasshoppers Against Poverty (STOPGAP). Arundhati Roy calls it 'a Triumph of Justice'. Ashok Chavan offers to build a building in the heart of Mumbai for the Grasshopper and his followers. Ramalinga Raju pledges to build an IT company that will promote the IT skills of Grasshoppers. And finally President Obama invites the Grasshopper for a UN conference, and nominates the Grasshopper for the Nobel Peace Prize for his fight for equality.

Many years later...

The Ant continues to slog all year long in sunny California and hordes up his millions for the next Ice age. The Grasshopper gets grilled for his millions by the CBI, Income Tax department and Arnab Goswami. And India remains the world’s largest developing country.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

What would you do with all the money in the world?

Yes. I'm broke. As you may have already guessed after reading my flawed plan of robbing a bank. Who was I fooling? I couldn't even afford to pay the Auto-rickshaw fare to the bank(by the meter that too), let alone buying the equipment needed for an Italian job of stealing public money(Sorry, couldn't avoid a very subtle reference to one political figure here. Nudge! Wink!)

So now it's back to dreaming about a lottery that would get me USD 34,643,788,127.75 after tax deductions. I'm just waiting for the rupee to stabilise before I convert these dollars into my favourite currency.

You'll agree that it's a legitimate dream to have. Even if you work for the Income Tax department. You dream of buying a Porsche as a kid. You don't dream of paying taxes, do you?

But the problem I see with such an exercise is I wouldn't know what to do with so much money. Or at least with what ever is left after buying that flat in Hyde Park, a 100m-long Yacht, putting a fair amount in fixed deposits, recurring deposits, demat accounts, mutual funds, life insurance, house insurance, car insurance, housing loan, car loan, PPF accounts, the taxes for all of the above and then answering every call from the HDFC call centre with a "Yes, I'd like to invest in that savings plan. How much should I write the cheque for? Is that the most I can pay? no? What is?"

Yes, it's true. This would be the case for anyone from any walk of life. After all, why walk when you have a chauffeur-driven private jet. No more worrying about the electricity bill, especially when you can buy out a power plant. No more telephone bills, when you own both, the company that manufactures the phone and also the service provider. No more water problems. Hell! You could simply order for a glacier to be delivered home every fortnight. And on a weekly basis when you are entertaining guests.

Well, money cant buy happiness. But then I'm guessing it's a lot better to feel miserable when I suffer a bout a diarrhea during my midweek escapade to my private continent that's east of Australia, because the Oysters were cooked in a wine that's 212 years old and the Kopi Luwak was a touch too strong. Oh and before I forget - look, my USD 74 Million Boeing Business Jet is bigger than yours.