Just found this on my e-diary while clearing/cleaning up some old files. Its a musing from some two years ago (written on 2 September 2010 at 11:07 to be precise), I don’t recall what prompted me to jot these lines down then, but when I saw these this morning, I thought I might have written these last week or the week before. If you follow the news and happenings from the sub-continent then you’d know why!

When I was growing up in a traditional, yet fairly liberal Bramhin household, I might have looked like a God-fearing child growing up to to be a God-fearing adult. By high-school, most of the religious beliefs instilled in me had washed away. By the time I went to study intermediate in science, and came out of it, I was probably not an atheist, but certainly an agnostic. By the time I finished my undergraduate, I was an atheist too, and have been since. When I think of growing up, hearing about Krishna’s Leela, his misdemeanours since childhood, be it stealing, harassing girls, or later being polygamous, causing war between brothers and what not, it was rather strange to see people worshipping him as a God, a role model. Thankfully I didn’t take that literally, imagine where I would be now if I had! The question that boggles my mind is this: why do we still revere mythical characters like Krishna? What does it say about our own cultural mindset? That it is OK to engage in misdemeanours as long as you also do some good? Although I fail to find what good that mythical character Krishna really did! The most popular caricature of the character still revolves around stealing butter and chasing young pretty girls. So what was the real message his story gave to our societies. That it’s OK to hang out in every gallis and chowks and tease young girls passing by? That minor theft is not to be taken seriously and that its part of growing up?


the week that was…

Work without end, struggle without work
It wasn’t my plan to set off with an unfinished paper in hand (on computer rather), but thats was happened. I could probably find many “genuine” excuses but the most genuine of all the excuses – and which isn’t really an excuse – is my excessive procrastination. In any case, the first weekend in Ghana without uninterrupted internet connection (with BBC worldservice to keep company instead) has certainly helped me spend more time reading and writing, not to mention thinking (and not just about work and research at that!). I’ve finished the unfinished paper (or so I think) and have just managed to make “electronic submission” of the manuscript (phew, after nearly two hours of uploading files – not that I had that many files, the “broadband” connection was just not broad enough!). So,the week that was, the week has been one of relative success.

But that’s only half the story! Beginning at the university in York, trying to sort administrative nightmares, ending at the university in Tamale, trying to sort administrative nightmares, the week that was, the week has been one of immense frustration. Beginning at the airport in London, ending at the airport in Tamale – getting away with heavy baggage in London, having to pay extra for “excess baggage” in Accra, the week that was, the week has been one of partial travel woes. Reading The Enchantress of Florence – beginning on the last night in York, continuing during a night in Accra, then during the laziness of the daytime Tamale, the week that was, the week has been one of a fascinating read.

Lets talk about the “struggle to work” now, or rather the culture of work/work ethic. Arriving in Ghana, one thing you pretty quickly realise is that West (or North more appropriately) makes you too impatient. Things here take time to get done, they always take time. If you have an appointment with your local colleague at nine in the morning and s/he doesn’t turn up until 11:30, you shouldn’t be surprised that much. As long as s/he turns up before noon, s/he will feel proud at the fact that s/he made it to the meeting in the “morning”, which was what was agreed after all – to meet in the morning. It doesn’t matter what time in the morning, as long as its in the morning, the person hasn’t missed the appointment! You would think being a Nepali, I shouldn’t be too impatient as Ghana-time is more like Nepali-time when it comes to appointments, but being that Nepali who is now more and more living in a limbo between various cultures, its often difficult to decide how to react. At the end you don’t really have much option than to go with the flow and have things done the Ghanaian way, or rather let things happen than trying too hard to make things happen knowing all well that all your efforts could be better spent in other ways!

If somebody tells you a certain thing will get done that week then it usually means things will be ready before the office starts on Monday the next week. Don’t discount the weekends though – if things need to be done at all cost that week, weekend could be used as well. But don’t expect the job to be done by Friday though, two days of weekend are very important, albeit being public holidays.

However, there is one trick that I have realised works fairly well in these situations, be it in Nepal or Ghana – take the lead yourself, get your hands dirty, show by example, and embarrass those delaying the work. They would then have no option but to follow your lead.
Continue reading the week that was…

flickr-ing woes

Achievement: posted my 200th photograph on flickr (well, not really an “achievement” given that I joined in 2005!) BUT

The Catch: Free account apparently only lets you show off the last 200 photographs uploaded AND it suggests I should upgrade!

So: I’m gonna weigh the costs vs benefits of spending a couple of dollars a month on the Pro-Account for a while (like an economist should) – meanwhile, I also show-off my pictures elsewhere anyway!

travel rants…

The Wait
People are already in a holiday mood. It’s 4:30 am and they are waiting for their flights with a couple of pints of lager already in them and a pint in front of them. Their destination – Ibiza or Amsterdam or Vienna, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they needed help getting on the plane or off it. I, on the other hand, am drinking strong coffee to stay awake and going through a project document that I need to give feedback on when I reach my destination some 9 hours (of flight) away. Nonetheless, I’m also thinking about enjoying a cold beer with some local meat (sorry veggies!) when I get there at night before crashing. The early-morning news on the ITV is reporting Labour’s defeat in the local elections and the likelihood of Ken Livingstone’s defeat in London Mayoral election (and as I write these lines, he has lost to Boris Johnson).
Continue reading travel rants…


…at the start of the week.

Why do people not learn how to send mass email with BCC-ed address?
An additional question would be why do people unnecessarily press “reply all” when they could just press “reply” (to sender only)??

I have been getting “Happy New Year 2065” messages from people I have never heard of before. Nepalis from all over the world, from Kanchanpur to Kalimpong to Kabul to Kansas are wishing me a “great new year”. Its a nice feeling when you receive greetings from people you know, and you can tolerate one or two extra emails even from the people you don’t know. However, when you start getting 5-10 new-year-email every day from people you have never heard of before, and its already more than a week after the new year, it starts to get irritating. Further, I don’t like my email address going around to so many people that I don’t know. It is one of the main reason you start getting spams as well. So please, use BCC to dump addresses of all those people that you want to greet en masse to, so that people reply to your greetings to YOU. Also please avoid hitting “reply all” unnecessarily – some people don’t like getting email from the unknowns!