Friday, May 09, 2008


Every now and then these mails keep coming in... "Pictures of the year", "Award-Winning Pictures", etc, etc. I have a look at them, say "wow", and forget all about them. But recently two of these pictures hit home real hard. One of them is a supposed-award-winning photograph of a malnourished African kid with a vulture in the background waiting for the child to die. The other one shows the hand of a missionary holding the heart-breakingly thin hand of a hungry child in Africa.

I have seen these pictures before, but it never hit me as hard as it hit me when I saw them this time, and I think it's because I am now a Dad. My li'l girl is 2, full of life, very active, naughty and exuberant. I think about the fact that even as we try our best to provide all that we, as parents, can for our child's well-being and healthy growth, I cannot imagine the agony of the parents of that child as they watch helplessly, the life slowly draining out of their precious baby. Who knows... the parents may already be dead, and this child is now facing his last days alone, hungry and helpless!

It makes me wonder what wrong they did to deserve the poverty and misery that they go through... and what exactly I did right to deserve the luxuries that I enjoy. The answer to both... Nothing! I could have been that child, or worse, I could have been that parent! Though I already believe this, it hits me with a fresh wave of realization that God did not give me all that I have just to splurge it away on all the fancy stuff that I buy, half of which I don't even need. This does not mean I should not live in comfort or that I should not provide the best for my family. It reminds me to spare a little more than just a thought for the less fortunate... for those to whom a tenth of what I spend every month would put food on their plates and keep them alive.

I know, as parents, our primary responsibility is our own family. But can any parent look at these scenes of distress, shrug your shoulder, walk away not for a second feeling a growing lump in your throat? I sure cannot!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I have lost count of the times I've heard women complain about two very serious 'offenses' that men indulge in (My wife must be an angel, 'cause she's never complained about them... and there must be scores of women out there who don't). No, I'm not talking about getting drunk and neglecting the family... this is way more serious! The first has to do with toothpaste... "It is so irritating that he squeezes the tube at the top!" [Sigh] I guess it is my privilege to make this announcement to you ladies... that tootpaste is not trapped in a time-space continuum. All you have to do is squeeze the rear end of the tube, and voila!!!... you have toothpaste! See? that wasn't so tough, was it?

The other has to do with the toilet seat... "Why does he always leave it up?" Well, here's news for you, ma'am... because it has a hinge! Isn't technology great? There's this little mechanism on every toilet seat (look real hard... I'm sure you'll see it) called a 'hinge' that allows you to lower the seat... raise it... and lower it again... any number of times! Try it and you'll see it isn't that hard. Men figured that out centuries ago (or whenever it was that toilet seats were invented).. You haven't heard a man say, "Why do you always leave the toilet seat down?", have you? Now you know why!

Well, I'm glad I could be of help... If this was news to you, then do try it out. and stop bugging men about toothpaste and toilet seats!... there's a lot more happening that we should worry about... take global warming, for instance...!

Monday, November 20, 2006


My 5-month-old daughter has a powerful kick for her age. She has a small, soft football, which she likes, and she laughs with delight as I throw it up in the air and catch it again. Who knows… 4 or 5 years from now, she may be out kicking a football with the neighbourhood kids. I’ll be on the sidelines yelling, “Go for it, sweetheart! Brilliant shot! Give that little fellow there a punch on the way, and while you’re at it, bring that lean kid down too!... ‘cause all that matters is that you can kick the ball well. The rest will be forgotten!”Sounds crazy? If you think THAT was crazy, go tell that to FIFA, because FIFA just said all that and more, though not in so many words… and on a much larger scale… the World Cup.The whole world saw Zinedine Zidane head-butting an opponent to the ground. And a few minutes later, he finds himself the winner of the Golden Ball award. How crazy is THAT? Agreed, the man’s a genius with a football; agreed, he’s had a brilliant career, including leading France to two World Cup finals, one ending in victory. What Zidane did was unforgivable, but what is more unforgivable was the decision of FIFA’s Technical Study Group to go ahead and give him the award in spite of what happened. What exactly is FIFA trying to tell young players around the world? – “Guys, as long as you can kick a ball well and entertain us, it doesn’t matter what else you do”?FIFA had a golden opportunity to make a statement, but sadly, they did not sieze it. Awarding the Golden Ball to runner-up Cannavaro would have conveyed the message not just to Zidane, but to the whole world, that no matter how big you are, you are not above the game and the spirit in which it should be played.Think about it, we already have brilliant brats like Wayne Rooney, who think their skill with the ball gives them the right to trample on people, and blatantly display their arrogance. This award only strengthens that notion further.As entertaining as the World Cup was, and as avid a follower of it as I am, I must say that my respect and appreciation for the powers that be in world football have slightly, but surely diminished…. and don’t be surprised, if a few years from now, you find the football field becoming more of a convenient venue for a fist-fight than an arena for the ‘beautiful game’ to be showcased. After all, that’s the message we’re conveying to every young player on the horizon. After all, you get what you ask for.