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The Reading Group-Invites ONLY- 2 |p.75, 144| (Page 149)

-Aladin- IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2009
Posts: 3184

Posted: 23 March 2010 at 8:08am | IP Logged


Originally posted by nitz17

'If you could make a deal with God, kind of thing. He's sitting there, the Big Guy, across the table from you. And he's saying, OK, Maureen, we like you, but we really want you to stay put, on Earth. What can we do to persuade you? What can we offer you?'

'God's asking me personally?'


'If He was asking me personally, He wouldn't have to offer me anything.'


'If God in His infinite wisdom wanted me to stay on Earth, then how could I ask for anything?'

JJ laughed. 'OK, then. Not God.'

'Who, then?'

'A sort of... I don't know. A sort of cosmic, you know, President. Or Prime Minister. Tony Blair. Someone who can get things done. You don't have to do what Tony Blair says without asking for something in return.

In the book they made up a guy called cosmic Tony who has the ability to grant our wishes. Let's assume that this Cosmic Tony guy is for real and he willing to grant 3 wishes for all the members of this reading group but there is a hitch... He would grant these wishes if only there is personal gain, so wishing for something similar to world peace would be nullified Tongue

What would you wish for?

Originally posted by immunoblot

Wunderbar! Thumbs Up
Wish one: A personal paradisiacal island.
Wish two: An infinite supply of everything good.
Wish three: An infinite supply of such wishes!

Originally posted by -Aladin-

Ah, now that's a wonderful question, Nitz ji.  Big smileBig smile
1.  Unlimited travel pass for me and my family
2.  Beautiful house with a perfect garden
3.  A huge library full of books that "I" like  EmbarrassedEmbarrassedBig smileBig smile
Originally posted by Veritas

Wonderful question NitzyThumbs Up
1> I would like to see the world(universe)..every aspect of it oceans ,rivers ,jungles the himalayas,space(and have Mr Veritas along too).. and experience it from the perspective of  every living thing.
2>Know every good thing that  ever happened and  be able to read every good book ever written.
3>I will steal Blot ji's wish..have and endless supply of such wishes.
Originally posted by nitz17


In the last few months, I have been to prison, lost every last molecule of self-respect, become estranged from my children and thought very seriously about killing myself. I mean, that little lot has got to be the psychological equivalent of cancer, right? And it's certainly a bigger deal than acting in a bloody film. So how come I've learned absolutely bugger all? What was I supposed to learn? True, I have discovered that I was quite attached to my self-esteem, and regret its passing. Also, I've found out that prison and poverty aren't really me. But, you know, I could have had a wild stab in the dark about both of those things beforehand. Call me literal- minded, but I suspect people might learn more about themselves if they didn't get cancer. They'd have more time, and a lot more energy.

We all do mistakes, sometimes small and sometimes unforgettable. There are some instances where, if we think back, we feel that we could have avoided them, or made the right decision, and in turn we would have had a better life. Any such regrets?



'What about you?' I said to JJ. 'What would you say to Cosmic Tony?'

'Ha. I'm not sure, man.' He calls everyone 'man', even if you're not a man. You get used to it. 'Maybe, I don't know. Live the last fifteen years all over again or something. Finish high school. Forget about music. Become the kind of person who's happy to settle for what he is, rather than what he wants to be, you know?'

Cosmic Tony again! Big smile

If cosmic Tony gives you one chance to travel back in time and alter your life, what would you do? Go back and change it or happy the way you are now? If you choose to change what would it be? (Reminds me of 'The Butterfly Effect' Movie)

Originally posted by -Aladin-

Originally posted by nitz17

We all do mistakes, sometimes small and sometimes unforgettable. There are some instances where, if we think back, we feel that we could have avoided them, or made the right decision, and in turn we would have had a better life. Any such regrets?

If cosmic Tony gives you one chance to travel back in time and alter your life, what would you do? Go back and change it or happy the way you are now? If you choose to change what would it be? (Reminds me of 'The Butterfly Effect' Movie)
Nice quotes, Nitz ji and brilliant questions.  Big smileBig smile
There is no doubt that we all make mistakes in our lives.  Sometimes, these mistakes can have graver circumstances, at others, they are forgettable. I have no regrets though, because I beieve we need to learn from our mistakes.  Nobody can change the past.  Jo ho gaya, so ho gaya. Kya us ka gham jo kho gaya.  We should make the best of what life throws at us. 
What would I alter?  I wouldn't alter anything, actually.  If I change something, then that could lead to other circumstances, which may also be not acceptable to me, so I would live with whatever has happened in the past and leave it there.  Big smileBig smile

This leads me to another question.  Should we judge others on their past or give them another chance?  Do you believe in second chances. 
Originally posted by nitz17

"They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same." - Lost TV show.

Aladin ji I completely agree with ur first answer.

My grand dad died when I was three and I've some vague memories about him. I don't know whether I made him up in mind when my was telling about him or it is really my memories. Though i don't want to alter anything in my life I just want to relive those memories again.

Second chance..... Everyone deserve a second chance; thats what we say, but at the cost some people like chelsea king and amber dubious. So I feel it depends on circumstance and whom we are giving that second chance.

-Aladin- IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2009
Posts: 3184

Posted: 23 March 2010 at 8:14am | IP Logged


Originally posted by immunoblot

Jess is planning to commit suicide, and here is how she describes the build-up of that emotion:
I was at a party downstairs in the squat. It was a shit party, full of all these ancient crusties sitting on the floor drinking cider and smoking huge spliffs and listening to weirdo space-out reggae. At midnight, one of them clapped sarcastically, and a couple of others laughed, and that was it - Happy New Year to you too. You could have turned up to that party as the happiest person in London, and you'd still have wanted up to jump off the roof by five past twelve. And I wasn't the happiest person in London anyway. Obviously.
The reason she was at that party is because she is looking for her ex-boyfriend who was supposed to be there (but obviously isn't). So, as she proceeds to go on, she follows this passage with her view on "stalking"...
I tried his mobile for the one zillionth time, but it wasn't on. When we first split up, he called me a stalker, but that's like an emotive word, 'stalker', isn't it? I don't think you can call it stalking when it's just phone calls and letters and emails and knocking on the door. And I only turned up at his work twice. Three times, if you count his Christmas party, which I don't, because he said he was going to take me to that anyway.
Stalking is when you follow them to the shops and on holiday and all that, isn't it? Well, I never went near any shops. And anyway, I didn't think it was stalking when someone owed you an explanation. Being owed an explanation is like being owed money, and not just a fiver, either. Five or six hundred quid minimum, more like. If you were owed five or six hundred quid minimum and the person who owed it to you was avoiding you, then you're bound to knock on his door late at night, when you know he's going to be in. People get serious about that sort of money. They call in debt collectors, and break people's legs, but I never went that far. I showed some restraint.

Stalking is also a popular theme in other media... my favourite instance of stalking is in a British show called "coupling"---
(Warning! A WORD and SOME SOUNDS might TROUBLE the folks with delicate ears?!)

What is the deal about stalking?It is one of those words that is widely abused in common language... and perhaps it means less and less in society, that what it means in the court of law...
I presume that none of us ever stalked anyone (with dangerous intent), but it might be nice if we share instances of stalking or being stalked which are/were funny...

Originally posted by -Aladin-

Actually, I have stalked someone with dangerous intent, if you want to call it that.  I didn't realize at that time people would term it stalking.  I have tracked down people, i.e. looked for them in a number of places before finding them, only to give them a few choice lectures, which they probably did not appreciate.  EmbarrassedLOLLOLLOLLOL
One incident that I do find quite hilarious, is when back in high school, someone wanted to threaten me and couldn't find me, they actually send someone over who was in the same section to come and track me down.  Gosh.  I was such a child.  I met them and told them if they try to talk to me again, I won't be coming to meet them but will go straight to the principal's office.  EmbarrassedEmbarrassedLOLLOLLOL
Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by nitz17

A guy from my workplace 'borrowed' a few books and disappeared. I didn't know that he was quitting the job. I tracked him down in orkut and e-stalked him for a while. Later lost my patience and told him that I would show up in his new firm everyday until he returns my books back. He dropped it with my friend who stayed close by his place. In that one book was given to me by a friend as a gift and I didn't want to give up.

Books always have sentiments attached to them... Your actions were legit, I'd say... Approve
Originally posted by immunoblot

The question was actually genuine... Spying, Stalking... we use these words, but often in a rather exaggerated context.

My father had a very massive heart attack. Before it struck him, he used to smoke so much that real chimneys (of houses where firewood would be burned) would be put to shame...
Of course, after the attack... he was prohibited from smoking... and while we all hoped that he'd quit finally, we all knew that that wouldn't happen. My brother and I were therefore sharing the responsibility of following him secretly when he went out for his walks, and even though my father had a rather sophisticated method of sneak-purchasing the ciagarettes, we still caught him... and then proceeded to set a trap to catch him red-handed.
Of course, once cornered, he accused us of stalking and syping (which perhaps we were guilty of)... but even then, I felt the use of the words: stalking/spying was unjustified. (Here, amongst us... it is alright. Unless there is an argument, and people start saying that, "you stalk me", and such stuff...)

Originally posted by nitz17

Originally posted by -Aladin-

Originally posted by nitz17

I think Stalking is trying to know everything about a person and spying is done for something particular.I find the term spying is less offensive than stalking.
You know, spying reminds me of James Bond while stalking reminds me of Hindi movie villians.  LOL
Actually, I don't think either is bad though.  Depends on the situation, doesn't it. 

nice comparison LOLLOL

It's is not bad when we are doing it but is very bad when someone is spying or stalking us TongueLOL


Originally posted by nitz17

My own feeling about JJ, without knowing anything about him, was that he might have been a gay person, because he had long hair and spoke American. A lot of Americans are gay people, aren't they? I know they didn't invent gayness, because they say that was the Greeks. But they helped bring it back into fashion. Being gay was a bit like the Olympics: it disappeared in ancient times, and then they brought it back in the twentieth century. Anyway, I didn't know anything about gays, so I just presumed they were all unhappy and wanted to kill themselves.


Share some stereotypes that you had about other cultures, race and places.


I used to think all scientists in US are millionaires until I met a couple of them from Hogwarts who worked for minimum wages. They said that asking for a raise is selfish and offensive in their work culture.

Originally posted by pinkisluv91

Originally posted by immunoblot

Wunderbar, Nitzy! Thumbs Up

I'll share a stereotype of the desis: We're all good at maths, we shake our head a lot, and eat a lot of "curry". Stern Smile

In fact: I read "My Life Is Desi" and "That's My Desi Life"... to learn more about these... ABCDs have compiled quite a bit over there...

I read my life is desi and that's my desi life tooLOL, they're good for laughs. But only 15% or less is true according to me.

Originally posted by pinkisluv91

Originally posted by -Aladin-


Few stereotypes I have:
-  Most white folks are discriminatory towards black and brown folks.
-  Desi folks are quite jealous of each other's success.
-  Desi folks turn into a bunch of wanna be's, specially when they arrive in North America. 
-  Desi folks are quite the show offs.
-  African american are quite volatile in nature.
-  Chinese people are misers.
-  Professors are geeks.
-  Mathematicians have no life (not literally, LOL.  They are alive, but they are inadept in social environments). 
These are the ones that came to my mind.  EmbarrassedEmbarrassedEmbarrassed  Yes, yes, I am quite a prejudiced person.  LOL

I believe the white folks oneLOL, desi folks tend to be wannabes at times, but even if they aren't people think they are wannabes LOL, show offs-yea they areConfused I don't believe in many stereotypes but do believe in some. 

Originally posted by immunoblot

I would also tend to agree with the stereotypes that Aladin ji just described... It is funny that we began with a discussion of PC-ness and now we are listing stereotypes...
The mathematicians-one, I'll change to "scientists have no life"... Sometimes, I believe that that is even literally true.
Originally posted by Veritas

I used to think anyone with good education would be wise,I mean free of prejudice or atleast stupidity.
Sadly I have seen engineers,doctors ,people with doctorates.. whose education did nothing to elevate their mind.Ouch
I also used to think people in the States would be more politically aware, but they fall for rhetoric and misinformation just as easily.
Originally posted by Veritas

Originally posted by immunoblot

They usually paint a rather bleak picture of the States in Europe... no culture and a high crime rate... Do you agree with that, Smita ji and Pinki??

I disagree Blot ji,I think they have a lot of things right,and they are more open then say some old cultures /countries of the world.
There is no culture because their history doesn't go a long way back.
Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by pinkisluv91

Umm I don't like most of the statesLOL so I should say yep no culture and a high crime rate I agree totally.

Btw do Germans sound like typewriters for realLOL

Come to Europe, Pinki! There is a dstinct cultural identity of every city here! Though, they aren't as evolved as the Americans in celebrating diversity...

@Germans: I think, they sound sexy... I love their language so much... Star

Originally posted by Veritas

Originally posted by pinkisluv91

Originally posted by immunoblot

Alabama must be a really bad place then... Tell me the nice places in the US that one would have a good life in? The places should have nice scientific establishments...
I am considering a move to the US after I finish my PhD... (Smita ji, and Nitzy ji: I ask you as well!)

I kind of make it sound worse but it really is bad. No diversity, more racism and farms LOL I liked Chicago:)) It was nice. Scientific, idk but it has everythingBig smile Really that's neat.

Btw I sent you the link.

Nitzy I told Mo that if he finds it good he can post it, I don't mind you hearing it, I am just a bit embarrassed. 

That is because you are in Alabama.The cities are better..imagine if you were in some village in UP or Bihar.
The prejudice is worse there.
Originally posted by -Aladin-

Hmm, actually, don't know about the crime rates in Europe, but even in the US, it is only certain areas.  We also need to consider the population though. I expect they are quite similar. 
Originally posted by nitz17

If you like to be with Indian crowd then New Jersey is the place (I wouldn't recommend though).
If u want Mumbai ambiance, New York.... my friends had nicknamed it as 'Mumbai with snow'
If you like pleasant climate with nice landscape and no snow... apart from few light tremors and rain, California
I have never been to Texas but my friends who live there love the place coz of the hot climate, culture and food.
Chicago has one of the best transport system in US and has diverse culture.
I like Boston coz it is one of the old cities..
I feel Atlanta is boring and workaholic

These are the places I have visited in US Smile
Originally posted by -Aladin-

'I'm asking, aren't I? Because if we're a gang, then we'll all try and live by the rules. And there's only one, anyway. Rule 1: We don't kill ourselves for six weeks. And if we're not a gang, then, you know. Whatever. So are we a gang, or not a gang?'
'Not a gang,' said Martin.
'Why aren't we?'
'No offence, but' Martin clearly hoped these three words, and a wave of the hand in our general direction, would save him from having to explain himself. I wasn't going to let him off the hook, though.
I hadn't felt like I was in this gang either, until that moment. And now I belonged to the gang that Martin didn't like much, and I felt real committed to it.
'But what?' I said.
'Well. You're not, you know. My Kind Of People.' He said it like that, I swear. I heard the capitals as clearly as I heard the lower case.
How important is it to have 'friends', who are 'our kind of people'. Could you be friends with someone who perhaps does not share the same sentiments as you. Would that difference cause you to drift from each other?  Do instances in our life sometimes bring us closer to certain type of people.  What are your thoughts.  Big smileBig smile
Originally posted by Veritas

I think there must be something connecting people..for them to be friends,It may be an interest,belief system ..a tragedy , a problem...anything.
You have to agree on something strongly to be able to weather disagreements.

And the answer to the previous questions..I wouldn't change anything in my life.My mistakes made be what I am .
Well maybe I will change the cautious part of my natureEmbarrassed.

I thought we should talk something about the book to keep Blot happ
Veritas IF-Dazzler

Joined: 09 November 2005
Posts: 2664

Posted: 23 March 2010 at 8:15am | IP Logged
Awesome Aladin JiClapClap
After reading your collection...I realized we did discuss the bookBig smile

-Aladin- IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2009
Posts: 3184

Posted: 23 March 2010 at 8:16am | IP Logged
Originally posted by immunoblot

This is what Maureen says about doing up the room for her son, Matty. Matty is severely spastic.

This all began years ago, when I decided to decorate his bedroom.
He was eight, and he still slept in a nursery - clowns on the curtains, bunny rabbits on the frieze round the wall, all the things I'd chosen when I was waiting for him and I didn't know what he was. And it was all peeling away, and it looked terrible, and I hadn't done anything about it because it made me think too much about what wasn't happening to him, all the ways he wasn't growing up. What was I going to replace the bunny rabbits with?
He was eight, so perhaps trains and rocket ships and maybe even footballers were the right sort of thing for him - but of course he didn't know what any of those things were, what they meant, what they did. But there again, he didn't know what the rabbits were either, or the clowns. So what was I supposed to do? Everything was pretending, wasn't it? The only thing I could do that wasn't make-believe was paint the walls white, get a plain pair of curtains. That would be a way of telling him and me and anyone else who came in that I knew he was a vegetable, a cabbage, and I wasn't trying to hide it. But then, where does it stop? Does that mean you can never buy him a T-shirt with a word on it, or a picture, because he'll never read, and he can't make any sense of pictures? And who knows whether he even gets anything out of colours, or patterns? And it goes without saying that talking to him is ridiculous, and smiling at him, and kissing him on the head. Everything I do is pretending, so why not pretend properly?

I think, in this passage, Maureen shows more spark than me. I know, for instance that I will not live here long enough... and this has been my constant thought for all the 5 years that I have been here. I never got plants for my balcony, or tried to make my place any more comfortable than it already was...
In short, I've lived like a nomad, even though in hindsight, I think I could've established a comfortable home for myself all those years ago when I came here...

The crux is... we're only pretending all the time... to be leading stable, happy lives... and yet I know that we all never really do that properly. Is it just me, or is it all of you??
Come on then, tell us things that you could've done better...

Originally posted by pinkisluv91

Okay well I never lived a stable life, ever. I always wanted one but never had one. We moved from place to place and my parents never really decorated our house as we would if we were to live there permanently, I always wanted a room with pink walls but we never did that since we lived in apartments and couldn't do that. We always knew we would move so never really settled down. Our house now is a bit settled but still we are thinking abt moving in another two years. I have changed too many schools too so never had one friend my whole life. It's strange. Confused
Originally posted by pinkisluv91

Originally posted by immunoblot

I think the same way... You know, my parents have their own apartment in Delhi (which is rather large), and we did have an sense of home there... here, I have always borne it in my mind that i won't be around, so I could never really do with my place what I'd do otherwise...

And this extends to everything in fact... I never buy books because I'd hate to leave them behind. I never got a pet, because I can't abandon it (even if it would be well-cared for)... you know, this list just goes on...

Even if we have our own home now we don't get too many things since we are moving out in 2 years and my parents never take our old stuff with we just buy new things when we move. We made the mistake to buy pets many times and it was heartbreaking to leave them. Don't ever get a pet. It's sad when you have to depart Ouch I agree abt the books too.

Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by pinkisluv91

Originally posted by immunoblot

I'd NEVER buy a pet... there are so many strays in need of homes... and here in DE, if I get one, I can always return it to the Tierheim when I am leaving; but I can't do that. (In India, we've always had pets...) At least with me, it is things like these that make such a big difference...

GoodBig smile I always got a pet one way or another. Last year a dog came running to me, it seemed lost and I kept it and I lost it againOuch I couldn't find him. It was the worst thing that happened to me ever. We have two stray cats but I don't let em in our house just to not get attached to them.

Yeah... you always get attached to them...
But cats are nice... they are independent animals... when you leave, and leave them behind, they'll manage just fine... Big smile

Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by Veritas

I am never going to keep a pet again,I had a dog for 14 years....It was so painful when he diedCry

Smita ji, don't... but if you have strays in your vicinity, do feed them. You'll be happy...

There are only very few people who can give/care... and if you are one of those people, don't supress that quality... I said this to my mum also (because she was also very heart-broken when our dog died; and taking food for the stray dogs really eased her pain)...

Originally posted by immunoblot

Here is a very moving piece from a newpaper columnist...

While the young and single life is certainly exciting, eventually a man wants to settle down, to have someone there to greet him when he comes home, someone to love him and care for him always, which is why we have dogs.

When I was in my early 20s and decided to buy a dog, I carefully researched the most suitable breed by going to my neighbor's house and picking a puppy from the litter in his garage. As it turned out, they were all huskies, a breed of dog about as easy to train as velociraptors. I named my puppy Chinook, and after six months of training I had managed to teach it the following tricks:

1. Tear up the couch.

2. Eat my socks.

3. Run away when called.

Of these three, "run away" was the most annoying, because the couch was from my old room at the fraternity house and smelled like it needed an autopsy, and my socks smelled like the couch.

When Chinook ran off, though, it implied she thought she was the boss, which was especially vexing because I couldn't think of a way to prove her wrong. I lived in northern Michigan at the time, working for General Motors, and, let's face it, huskies are better at running through snow than guys wearing ties and loafers. Lacking a better idea, though, I'd pursue her until finally I'd tackle her and then be too exhausted to do anything but lie there with my arms around her.

This is what you wanted? her look said to me, a big hug?

Eventually we reached a compromise: She'd stop running away if I built a fence.

In my defense, I was just doing what many pet owners do, which is to be dumber than my dog. If I'd had any sense, I would have realized that huskies are bred to drag things across long distances and that instead of driving to work on the highway, I should have been taking the Iditarod.

"Chinook," I asked her, "why don't you like me?"

I'm hungry, her look said to me. Pass the socks.

After a few years, I had a family ' and Chinook decided that sticking around suited her just fine. The children were always willing to sit in the wagon or sled and have Chinook pull them. She was finally doing what she craved: She was working.

We moved to a country house in southern Michigan, which is much warmer than northern Michigan by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Chinook never ran away unless there was a thunderstorm, of which she was terrified. At the first rumble from the sky, I made sure she was safely locked in the basement.

One day when the family was out, a storm came, and by the time we returned home Chinook had climbed the fence and fled the thunder. I drove around yelling out my car window (making me very popular with my neighbors), posted signs and took out newspaper ads.

After a week of searching, I had to face it: I'd lost Chinook. Heartbroken, I saw this as just another in a series of failures in pet ownership, and vowed not to get another dog until I was smart enough to take care of one.

And then a farmer called me, responding to my advertisement. Though it had been 9 days and though his farm was more than 25 miles from my home, the stray he'd found sounded enough like my dog for me to drive up there to take a look.

When I pulled into his driveway, a big husky was lying out in the field, 50 yards away. As I stood up, that dog raised her head and then streaked across the field in a flash, tackling me to the ground. It was Chinook, yipping excitedly, licking me, jumping on me, crying. I grabbed her, and she gave me a look that said: This is what I wanted. A great big hug.

That was a long time ago, and I still think I wasn't cut out to be a husky owner ' but that day, seeing how happy Chinook was to see me, I realized this: I must have done something right.


Originally posted by Veritas

OK Guys here is my take on each of the character and whether or not they were justified in their actions.

Maureen:Can't blame her ..She spent 20 years of her life taking care of a kid who was basically brain dead.
She talked to him ,read to him took care of him basically lived for him and consequently ended up not having a life of her own.
According to me the biggest mistake Maureen made was believe in religion,words written on paper and people who couldn't care less about her or Matty.It is ok to be selfish .. Maureen shouldn't have put her stock in people who didn't have the sensitivity to understand her plight.
I wouldn't blame her for trying to take her life
Ouch   Unhappy
Martin:The guy had a choice,but I can understand where he was coming from.
People basically wrote him off even before he could start.His reputation preceded him everywhere.Being in the media business he could have milked the situation to his advantage and he had alot of things to look forward to in life.
He could have actually cleaned up his act.
Atleast he had kids and a loving girlfriend .
So I  am pretty neutral about his decision.Stern Smile

Jess:So she fell for a loser of a guy and he betrayed her..Join the club.
It happens to millions of women around the world and they don't jump of high rises.
One sentence of Chas can give you an idea about his character and if Jess fell for him she should have the strength to stand by her decisions  and own up the consequences.
And her sister killed herself..does that  give her sanction to be an official pain in the butt to everyone around.Her parents were suffering through the tragedy too...The only reason Jess got away with her behavior was because she was young...I have seen many 18 year olds who have lived through much more tragedy and have come out triumphant without losing their dignity.
Thumbs Down

JJ:His band broke up..He was sad...Ok.
He didn't have much of an education ,but he could get work.
So basically he could have easily worked during daytime and joined up college at night.Did somebody stop him...nope.
Of all the characters he had the lamest reasonsDeadThumbs Down

I liked the premise of the book and the idea was quiet intriguing,but the ending kind of fell flat for me....May be because it was too realistic.I wanted some hope least for MAureen
Originally posted by Veritas

Originally posted by immunoblot

Smita ji... Finally a post about the book. LOL

It was a good book. I liked it because people from real life all agree that this could be me writing the book, though EVERYBODY insists that I am w-a-y too much in love with myself to go to the extreme of killing myself. Big smile

I chose this book, because I really liked it. It had elements of reality... I've been as indiscreet and impulsive as Jess, as religious as Maureen, as remorse-filled as Martin (after being like Jess for sometime) and persistently whiny (much like JJ)... and so I related with all of them.

It ended with a non-grandiose ending (unlike our previous book); but within the realistic ending (there was some hope for all the four!)... The longest journeys begin with the smallest steps... and in they all took these small steps forward as the book came to a close...
Big smile

I know where you are coming from Blot ji..But I don't relate to any of the characters except maybe Maureen..That is because I have been brought up with this over blown sense of duty.
Martin ,Jess and JJ are responsible for their own I cannot relate to them.

But overall the book was was funny and the author handled such a serious subject
with competence.
-Aladin- IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2009
Posts: 3184

Posted: 23 March 2010 at 8:24am | IP Logged
Originally posted by Veritas

Awesome Aladin JiClapClap
After reading your collection...I realized we did discuss the bookBig smile

HugHugHug  Awww, thank you.  Big smileBig smile   We actually did discuss quite a few points.  I like the overall summary, because it was easier to categorize this one (perhaps, because I saw all the discussions unfold in front of me).  EmbarrassedEmbarrassedBig smileBig smileBig smileBig smile
Incognit0 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 15 February 2010
Posts: 2895

Posted: 23 March 2010 at 8:28am | IP Logged
Good job Aladin ji... Hug
Wow u actually read all the 140+ pages and compiled them.Clap
Never thought we had discussed so much about the book

axeion IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 19 September 2009
Posts: 23336

Posted: 23 March 2010 at 9:54pm | IP Logged
This is pretty good...I should stop in only after page 145 in every CC, and add my comments to the summary posts!
Read the stuff in Green.

Before I start poking my nose around the posts, just a quick question...Din't we all call the so-called politically correct ppl on various reality shows "Fake"?  (Lets just assume that all those ppl were not faking and just trying to be politically correct ALWAYS) so does that mean everyone who tries to be Politically Correct is fake?

Originally posted by -Aladin-


Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by pinkisluv91

Originally posted by immunoblot

My first question for discussion is about political correctness. The book begins with a monologue by Martin, who explains his reasons for committing suicide; and likens it to going away to Sydney. He says: "Suicide was my Sydney. And I say that with no offence to the good people of Sydney intended."

A. Do you think, people of Sydney will be offended by such a statement. I think not! (Had it been, "Suicide was my new Delhi", I would not have sufficiently enraged.)
B. Does this seem like a routine approach that you'd follow... Say something, and then suggest that no offence was intended? Is this a universal trait, or is this something typically British (which is what the book stereotypes!)
C. Would a desi protagonist do the same (care about political correctness)?

A. hmm maybe it could be offensive since suicide isn't a good thing and him comparing it to Sydney makes the city seem like a bad place. But the no offense part tells the people to take no offense. :))

B. I do that at times, but just so I don't make people mad and to let them know it's my personal opinion.

C. I think even a desi would do that:) Why not?

Well, suicide isn't a good thing; but in the place this sentence comes, he is saying that committing suicide is just like moving to another place. Sydney was just an example of the other place that he could move to; and honestly, if I were to write that passage, as a desi, I'd not bother about causing offense to anybody in Sydney.

Besides, I am certain that most desis are not politically correct... it is just our character to bristle at any percieved slights; but as a social system, we are totally non-PC...
For instance, there was an Indian postdoc in the neighbouring lab... they also had an African grad student in their lab; and while talking to me, this postdoc would often call this grad student "kaali"... and I know that many desis wouldn't think twice before doing something like this... that is the hallmark of our non-PC character...

Pretty good amount of controversial conversation was going on here.
@All...Does being politically correct or not, depends upon the nationality or similar stuff? Isn't it a trait of the individual person?
Originally posted by axeion

General desi population is racist and has so many hypocrites Angry
I have come across many racists on this forum too...They are very good ppl as such, but just a bit racist though they don't mean any harm.
Coming back being PC, I don't know. U see I am not that good at analysing ppl. All I know is I have come across many weirdos Ouch
Originally posted by nitz17

Desi's are the most offensive when it comes to racism and that doesn't just end in international level; but national, state and regional level too. Our only saving grace is that we speak languages/dialect that not understood by others. I had a Indian classmate in grad school, she thought Americans are culture less coz according to her culture was being draped in clothes, not calling professors by their names and not having live-in and she was very offensive about it. I failed to make her understand that it is part of their culture... Confused. And yes, all desis in my school used to call African-Americans 'babban log'.

Will get back later after reading a few pages

@Nitz, desi's aren't the most offensive ppl. It's just that we don't come across enough non-desis to realise how offensive they can be! I am sure every other nation's desis have some names for us non-desis of that nation.

I have seen many ppl in the US being nasty abt others here...So it's not just limited to the desi population.
Originally posted by Veritas

Ok ..I don't  get this.
Even after traveling all this way..people still stick to these constraints and stupid notions.
And I agree Indians are the most racist not to mention castewadi too .
Until the time I was in India..I was against reservation and thought the whole idea of caste was overblown.
But now I am for reservations 100 %.
I saw casteism the first time after I came to the US.Can you believe that.
For people who have grown up in Delhi ,Bombay or other metro cities or for that matter kids of displaced parents it is not such a big deal.
But there are people who come from one state /region/language and have not had the opportunity to live and understand ,adapt  or interact  with other cultures.They stick to these notions of superiority and how their beliefs are better than others.

@ I call that "Congenital Superiority Illusion" - It is a mental disorder that makes the patient believe s/he is above everybody else. The common diagnosis for this syndrome is [URL=][/URL]
Originally posted by -Aladin-

**Keep in mind that I have not yet read a single page of the book**  (tries to look ashamed and fails miserably)  LOL
A.  The idea is not offending, but it may to be to the sensitive people in Sydney.  If someone says going to heaven is like going to Sydney, it would please the people of Sydney, but if the idea is moving to hell is like going to Sydney, then it can be offending.  I expect it would differ from person to person, however, I would not be offended by such statements, because there are always good people and bad people in any country.  Another fact is that criticism usually just bounces off of me.  LOL

I still don't understand the context in which Sydney is used here. My super crazy brain just tells me that the author was trying to compare Sydney to heaven, bcoz thats where the characters of the book are  trying to reach after they "tyaag-ofy" their hell-ish lives. But why the PC statement of "No offense"???
B.  If I want to offend people, then I would generally phrase it 'if it offends someone, then so be it'.  LOLLOL  I think I am politically correct, but only to a certain degree.  Most desis are not politically correct though.  We say the meanest things, without realizing what we are actually saying and when people say the same things about us, we tend to take a lot of offense.  I'll use the example of black people.  While we use discriminatory terms for them, it's all good, but when someone generalizes us in the same way, we don't take it kindly.  However, it would be wrong on my part to only blame the desis.  I believe it is quite a universal trait.  I have come across some white folks (again a discrimatory term) who are the same way.  The most tolerant people I have found is the "black" community, believe it or not.  EmbarrassedBig smileBig smile

I agree here with you, I have come across wonderful Afro-American people too, and most of the time they have proved to be better than the Caucasian population too. 
C.  I don't think a desi protagonist (in general) would care.
(If I have offended someone, then it was not my intention.)  EmbarrassedEmbarrassedWink  **pun intended** 
Originally posted by immunoblot

Yeah... the prejudice does run deep in our collective mentalities... That is the problem... And so often, we don't even try to mask it.
And then we are also complain about political correctness (this is a universal trait; everybody complains about PC-ness, Martin does too: He says that in Sydney there will be
no left-wing councils banning 'Baa-Baa Black Sheep'), we desis have mostly benefitted from the PC-West... and have made no efforts to correct our behaviour either at home, or abroad... instead by frowning upon it, we have found some sort of moral justification...

Sad part: Coming back to the book, the first page outlines Martin to have a conflict-ridden personality... So, disdainful of PC-ness; and yet so PC...
Would we desis be better at trying to emulate this attitude? At least by saying things that sound correct, can we somehow lessen the guilt of thinking/doing what is wrong?

@Mo! Saying things that sound correct we just just increase the guilt of thinking/doing what is wrong. Afterall, our brain does know what is correct and what not, there is no tricking ur brain!!!
I don't say the heart, bcoz heart doesn't exist. It's just a blood-pumping organAngry
Originally posted by -Aladin-

I think deep down we all know where we are hurting someone's sentiments.  It's a simple matter of putting ourselves in other people's shoes (not literally).  If you won't like something that is said about you, then you shouldn't say the same about others.  Most people though, make such statements in their full senses and with the purpose of spiting the other party.  It's just how it is.  It's a bit sad.  Then people wonder why is their so little tolerance?  Rather ironic, isn't it.
This is exactly why, I don't believe in extreme views (especially the negative).  All humans are created by God.  Yet, to date we make fun of people who may not resemble us.  As a child, my mom would reprimand us for making fun of other people's facial features even.  She says, God created that person a certain way.  How could you even make fun of them.  Yet, people don't think twice before painting other people in a negative way.  Many of my friends are the same, but I mostly ignore them.  If I reprimand them, then apparently, I am taking away their rights to 'freedom of speech'.  It's a double edged sword, isn't it.

@Aladin, ClapClapClap
Originally posted by Veritas

I believe Being a public personality has forced Martin to be PC.
He does it inadvertently...because he got trained over years.
He knows everything he says or does is news for the tabloids and can be misconstrued /misquoted and milked by  news hounds
About  the Sydney  comment..It says something about the political climate prevalent in Britain..They do try very hard not to offend.

Originally posted by Veritas

Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by Veritas

About  the Sydney  comment..It says something about the political climate prevalent in Britain..They do try very hard not to offend.

I agree with what you say about Martin...

But this thing about the British trying hard to not offend, and openly confront... is this a good sign? Should desis also try to emulate that?? Will we become better people, or will it lessen our stature in society if we stop excluding/demeaning people??

I don't know Blot ji.,I guess its contextual.
But then who gets to decide what is right or wrong.
The society (we the people) get to decide whats right or wrong! But are we ourselves qualified enough to decide it???
For example take the Burqa debate.
I thought people should be free to decide what they want to wear.
But people go overboard too ...I cite the recent case in high court ..where a woman did not want to take off her burqa for voter registration card photo.
Which is such a ridiculous argument.How would the election officials identify a person if they are veiled....And the judge said as much and said ..she had the choice to not vote or take off her veil.

Ultimately the muslim law board had to intervene  and they said"going for haj is a religious requirement...for that you need a passport...which requires a photograph.
So the woman shouldn't have an issue with her photograph on the voter registration card.

I think there was something very frivolous about this whole argument.

Originally posted by Veritas

Originally posted by immunoblot

Everybody does this... I read a social commentary, according to which, this is what makes us stronger. When we exclude people on whatever bases, we assume a higher position; and strengthen the social order... Stern Smile

The law of "Selection by elimination" gives birth to the law of "Elevation by elimination"

I don't know about that,don't we elevate religion above everything else .
again it differs from person to person.
I think somehow prejudice is ingrained within us.We are trained from childhood..and we learn by noticing things around us...we just don't know better.It is like a reflex action.
So it has to be unlearned like everything else.
Black neighborhoods are supposedly "unsafe" in the US.
Does that mean I look with suspicion at  all African
But I wouldn't live in those neighborhoods either

In their attempt to satisfy their religious duties, we humans forget our original religion - "Humanity"
Originally posted by -Aladin-

Exactly Smita ji.  See the thing about prejudices is that sometimes they are not far from reality.  All five fingers are not equal though.  We have the good and bad people among all societies.  Some in greater numbers than the others.
I don't know about elevating one's social status.  If I think 'negative' about someone, then it certainly is not with the thought that I am better than them. 
@ bold:  I quite agree.  It's such an ingrained quality, that I doubt we can unlearn it.

We can unlearn anything and everything, we just need to make an attempt! 
Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by -Aladin-

Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by -Aladin-

 Some desis would often misguide you too over here.  Ouch  My dad often says, 'yahan pe aa ke dimaagh kharaab ho jaata hai'.  LOLLOLLOL

LOL... I do that too... Even if I don't know the raasta, I still give very elaborate and genuine-sounding directions... TongueLOLLOL (I do that even here in DE! Tongue)
No, I wasn't just talking about raasta.  Wo to chooti baat hai.
When my parents came here, they had to write their exams to update their degrees, but everyone gave them wrong advise on purpose.  Ouch  Everyone asks my dad, out of all his friends, because he's the only one who always give genuine advise.  Big smileBig smile  My dad tells us the same.  Deni hai to sahi advise do, aur nahin dena chahte, to mat do.  Why would you misguide others?  ConfusedConfused

Haan, wrong advice is a bad thing...Ouch
The thing with the raasta is that I can't say "no" to people... they ask me where something is, and I say "yes!"... and I proceed to tell them where it could be... *bad habit smiley.

Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by pinkisluv91

 I think I have never observed that Indian people aren't PCConfused, or maybe it's because I live in a non-indian neighborhood. But I would probably care about the people(maybe that's just me personally) esp if I was writing a book.
So he called her kaali but only you understood right? Isn't that still politically correct? I mean if he said black to her that would be incorrect, or is it incorrect regardless? I'm confusedConfused. Because if that's true then no one is politically correct. Everyone uses terms like that.Ermm Everyone I have come across calls African Americans black.
Omg 12 pages of prejudice and Politically correct people LOL, I missed out on a lot:((

Pinki! Hug We were missing you...

No it isn't PC, if you use a pejorative term for an individual in the presence of people who disapprove of that, then it is non-PC...

You have see the merits of every person... This grad student in question is one of the most patient people I have ever come across in my life (and that is saying quite a lot)... I honestly felt bad when this stupid woman called repeatedly called her "kaali"... It was almost as if that girl doesn't have a name, or doesn't have anything else to distinguish her, except for her skin colour. Ouch

And with us desis, the gora-kala is one thing, the Gujju-Bengali another, and let us not even talk about castes. Political correctness would be when you are egalitarian and consider every person to be worthy. And would have a view-point which doesn't offend anyone. (Like Martin in the book, he completes his tirade with stating that he intends no offense to the people of Sydney!) Most desi people will barely reach that level...

Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by pinkisluv91

I missed you guys too and a lot of pagesLOL

Well that's bad if she repeatedly said it. Confused Did you know that girls name, did she? LOL

Gora-kaala is bad only if it's meant in a bad way, we use those at home just to talk abt someone whose name we don't knowLOL to describe them. I didn't know abt the gujju-bengaliConfused. I hate the caste system, it's too much. Ouch Do you think it's possible to have a viewpoint that wouldn't offend anyone? I don't think anyone can reach that level. Once I called a local police station and they asked me if the person I was talking abt was white or black instead of being PC and saying Caucasian or African American, I was going to correct herConfusedLOL

Of course, we know her name Pinki... She works with us... LOLLOLLOL
And, it is different... in France for instance, the government establishment is colour-blind. It is prohibited to say white-black, etc... The police posters are also printed with terms like "dark complexion" instead... It depends from place to place, I'd say...

In India, it is terrible... last year, there was a news piece highlighting the troubles of African students... Apparently they all understood what "kaaliya" means... Ouch
I imagined, if people called me anything like that, I'd be very unhappy about it... I wouldn't mind if neutral words are used... that is definitely possible... You can use words like "African/Indian/European descent" for instance... that wouldn't be offensive. Or, if you are working with a person, it would be best to ask his/her name and use it instead...

Originally posted by Veritas

Blot ji Indians are worst of the lot...I have a friend who is from UP.She is a  little dark complexioned,but she was really insecure about it.....Her older sister is  quiet fair(and there was alot of comparision).I went to her home for a party and some of her relatives were there.
They were congratulating her mom saying :Acha hua apne apni choti beti ko engineer bana diya warna iske rang ki wajah se kaun shadi karta".
somehow in India its ok to disparage someone because of their color/caste/religion

Psst: this is what got me interested in"sapna babul ka..."
How did "Sapna babul ka" start with all this??? Is it on similar lines???
Originally posted by immunoblot

Originally posted by nitz17

Originally posted by immunoblot

Two/three weeks ago, I had my holiday and was so bored that I decided to clean the pebbles from the sidewalks to kill the time... and while everybody who passed by gave my such plesant looks, the desis were simply obnoxious...
There was one older guy, perhaps the father of another student, who commented to her daughter(?): yahaan aakar yeh log sadakon par jhaadu lagaane ko bhi taiyyar hain... I wanted to say something really rude to them, but by the time I could think up with a suitable come-back line, they were already gone quite some distance away...

This only reminded me that such people are even worse than the assorted xenophboes we might see in the countries that we live in... they hate even their own kind... Ouch

LOL... (highlighted sentence) it's like antonym of Live and let others live.

Yeah... exactly... and I'm not even making a livelihood by lagaoing jhaadu... Not that there is anything wrong with it...
And I can quite imagine how the desis were jeering... When I was new in DE, I got to know that there are two groups of the desi students at the Uni... one believed in Mata Anandamayi, the other did not. I was expected to take sides...

I shld have been at ur Univ...then there would have been a third grp of students singing "Axeion Mata ki Jai"

Anyhoo... I guess we are ready to conclude that desis lack a basic sense of PC-ness (mostly), even though Aladin ji had some lovely experiences with other desi people. In the context of the story, the British people (and the anglophone first world countries in general) have a social order which respects this PC-ness... 
(The whole discussion was kinda pointless actually, but I am ready with my second question... which I will write soon.)

Originally posted by RainbowWarrior

I've always wanted to go to Australia so I found this line really funny from Martin
"Suicide was my Sydney"
I'll take the plane, thank you very much Big smile

A. People of Sydney seem to be very fickle these days and might well be offended by anything (and simply blame it on the Indians Dead) It all depends on the colour of the party trying to offend, unfortunately.

B. Pretty universal I'd say, I've used it myself occasionally but it's not the best practice in extreme. Think of all the hyperventilating (psycho) super patriotic Americans who plant an American flag in one hand and go about wiping out huge masses of the world population with the other, all in the name of 'homeland security', 'fight on terror', 'dancing with wolves Wink' etc. You can't question them 'cos they mean you no harm, they are only protecting their own people, none of whom live in Iraq or Afghanistan Ermm 

Don't talk about the American Defense policies...they suck. I am fed up of fighting with Max everyday on these issues.

C. hmmm... desi eh? The second hero (side kick) does it all the time in hindi films.

Side hero (short chubby guy with day old stubble on his chin, wearing un-tucked non-designer checked shirts over very baggy jeans and 80's loafers and a blue baseball cap turned backwards): Dekh, tu bura mat maan na, mai bus keh raha ho, mai galat bhi ho sakta hoon, mujhe mat peetna ok... but mujhe woh teri type ki nahi lag rahi hai

Hero (tall well-built, almost good looking but the hair style is rubbish, wearing designer clothes to the t, shades, rolex, no socks in sneakers and carries a torn up wallet with no money inside... the director paid for the clothes you see, but the hero is actually a poor guy in the film): Aye! Kya bol raha hai? Tujhe maaronga ab... woh toh mujh se hi shaadi karegi.

Originally posted by RainbowWarrior

And this would be proof 1056 for me not being a 'desi'. I've known this a long long time now..

I've spent too long of my adolescent years calling people 'bubble head' and 'lizard feet' (which only made folks laugh). Even now, I use these names as opposed to proper(?) offensive words. I don't know if it makes me politically correct but it's more fun and keeps any ill spirit out of the conversation and out of my head Smile So, I'm non-PC but still am PC, 'cos I cause no offense and hence I'm non-desi.. the non-desi theory is hence proved LOL
Originally posted by nitz17

Earlier convicts were marooned on Australia and one place being New South Wales where Sydney is located. So he might be thinking that suicide was like marooning himself to another place like Sydney (his Sydney). These are just my thoughts Embarrassed

i am not from New Delhi but just stayed 3 days but from my experience I wouldn't get offended. Even if someone said 'Suicide was my Bangalore' I wouldn't get offended either Tongue

B. It's not just British but everywhere it is the same. I suppose, since the writer is British he thinks it happens only in Britain

C. Even today's movies have the main characters running away from dark people/hermaphrodites who approach them thinking they are beautiful from back side. So no.... they dont even make an attempt to be politically correct.. I even wonder whether many Indians know what PC means....

Phew...This was tiring. I guess I would be able to do one post at a time. That means u guys have to keep this thread open for some more time. Hope the mods are listening!!!
immunoblot IF-Rockerz

Joined: 25 September 2008
Posts: 5833

Posted: 24 March 2010 at 1:42am | IP Logged
Aladin ji! HugHugHug
This is better than I could've done... You're a Star.
As soon as we are at page 150, I will request the mods to close this thread. It is good to see that we end with a compilation that justifies our "mission statement". See, even when the book was not well-received, we DID discuss things from it! Big smile

It is Ram Navmi today, and I wish you all a very blessed day ahead. The following youtube link is the recital of the birth of Ram and His playful antics from the Ramcharitmanas.

Smita ji said that she'd like to have this, but if any of you'd also like it, then here is where I uploaded my favourite recital of the Vishnu sahasranaam. (Consider this my end-of-navratri gift. I hope sharing it washes-off some of my sins!)LOLLOLLOL

Edited by immunoblot - 24 March 2010 at 1:44am

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