Tilak Rishi's weblog

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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Monday, July 25, 2005

What's in a name?

* U.S.President Bill Clinton's call to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during Pakistan's misadventure in Kargil (Kashmir):

President Clinton: "I'm sorry to say Mr. Sharif that what you are doing in Kargil is not very 'sharif'(meaning gentlemanly)."

Nawaz Sharif: "Mr. President, names have no meaning in political moves. Do you think what Madam Madelein Albright has been doing in Kosovo makes her all that bright?"

* Russian President Putin's call to President Bush after Secretary of State Condolitza Rice's visit to Moscow:

"Mr. President, Ms Rice has just concluded her trip and you know what? Your Candy turned out to be too bitter a pill to swallow."

* British Prime Minister Tony Blair to President Bush when the latter wanted his support for Mr. Wolfovitz, nominated to become President of World Bank:

"Ofcourse, you can take my support for granted, George, even if I have to pay a heavy price for it. They are already calling me your Poodle for supporting you on Iraq war and now they will create some 'Poodle and the Wolf(ovitz)' tales."

* Tony Blair to his wife Cherie Blair, a human rights lawyer of international repute, after she made a scathing attack on her husband's government in a speech in Malasia for changing laws to detain terror suspects for indefinite period without charging them--"It would be all too easy for the U.K. to fight back against terror in a way which cheapens our right to call ourselves a civilized nation":

" Hi Cherie, sorry to say your speech certainly brought no cheers for me or my supporters in Britain, even if you were enthusiastically cheered by your audiance in Malasya."

* According to polls, President Bush's rating is very much reduced in his second term of presidency. Political analysts have mentioned many factors for this but somehow they missed the most important one:

"The woman behind the successful man, the First Lady Laura Bush. The fateful day 'the desperate housewife' came out from behind the Bushes at White House Correspondents' Dinner held April 30, President Bush's ratings started to slip dramatically, as the First Lady's popularity progressed instantly."

* President Bush announces John Bolton's installation as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations:

A Bolt(on) from (de)Blue for Kofi Annan!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Clinton and Nehru--making ordinary men feel extraordinary

The image “http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/0375414576.03.LZZZZZZZ.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “http://www.curtispublishing.com/images/Rockwell/9630119.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.They are two great men with one common trait--they both made ordinary men feel extraordinary in their presence. I have the proud privilege to be that unique ordinary man who personally experienced this great quality of the two leaders in his life.

As Chairman of the International Cultural Forum, India, I had the pleasure of taking a group of children to Prime Minister Nehru's residence for his blessings before the children were to leave for a Summer Camp in the then Soviet Union. Mrs. Indra Gandhi, the PM's daughter, received and rushed us to Mr. Nehru's study for a hurried audience with him as per appointment. However, Mr. Nehru was in no hurry and asked Mrs. Gandhi to arrange for some snacks and soft drinks for us. In the meanwhile he made us feel at home by shifting from the sofa to the carpet to show us on the atlas the summer camp site along the beautiful Black Sea where the children would be spending the summer months. When the 15-minutes allotted time for our appointment was over, Mr. Nehru was still absorbed in giving the children orientation lessons for their participation in the international camp. Mrs. Gandhi had a hard time engaging Ministers and other important persons who were waiting for their turn to meet the Prime Minister as per their respective appointments. Indeed, it is beyond imagination how extraordinary we all felt when we came out after spending the most wonderful time of our life with the great world leader, for full one hour.

Nearly three decades later, I along with my wife Jeet were on a long vacation to spend time with our son in the States. We had stayed there in thick of the presidential campaign through inauguration of Mr. Bill Clinton as President of the United States. We sent him a letter congratulating him on his great victory even though I was certain that it would be lost in multitude of such letters. But to our great surprise, we got prompt reply from the President.Later on, when we had moved to the U.S. to join our son, during the eight years of his presidency I wrote several letters on varied subjects to President Clinton and I am proud to possess his personal replies to each one of them. The unique privilege of corresponding with President Bill Clinton would remain my most rewarding experience in life that could only be compared to experiencing the greatness of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Doggie, the stray dog with super sixth sense

The image “http://www.plannedpethood.org/Take_home/Pets/arloclink.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.As the construction of our vacation home in Alwar (India), near Sariska Tiger Sanctuary was in progress, Jeet, my wife heard a loud cry of a small stray dog out on the road. What she saw horrified her. A man, holding the dog from his ears, after giving a couple of rounds in the air, threw him on the ground. He had presumably punished the dog for chasing his pigs. The dog got up and ran towards our house straight into the arms of Jeet. She immediately took the dog on her lap, patted him and gave milk to drink. Since that fateful day the dog continued to come every day to get the love he got from us, and the food we so fondly served him. By and by Doggie, as we named him, had become a part of our family, staying in the house the whole day and leaving late in the evening to sleep with his family of stray dogs. Indeed, he enjoyed the best of the two worlds, his own free world of stray dogs as well as ours, as our very loving pet dog. In his fraternity he was a filthy rich fellow who was never worried for his next meal, and wore woolens in the cold winter days, hand knitted especially for him by Jeet. All other stray dogs gave him due regard for his riches, as we found on our walks when he could cross through the territory of other stray dogs without any fear or a fight.

Animals are known for their sixth sense to smell a coming calamity. Doggie had it super, as we experienced one day during our walk. Doggie was with us when we decided to go for a walk, longer than usual, up to the scenic lake some miles away. We had hardly covered half the distance when Doggie stopped and would not move a step further in spite of our repeated calls to come. We continued to walk thinking that after stopping for a while he would run to catch up with us. But what we saw next compelled us to discontinue our walk. Doggie was sitting right in the middle of the road, ready to let a car or a truck run over him if we did not return immediately. Panicked for his life, we let Doggie prevail and returned home.

Next morning when he came, we gave Doggie an extra warm hug and gourmet meal, made specially for him by Jeet. The morning newspaper had reported that a tiger had walked out of the Sariska Tiger Sanctuary in search of new territory and was last seen in the vicinity of the same scenic lake that Doggie did not let us make it to during our walk. The forest guards were still frantically looking for the tiger, while we thanked Doggie for using his sixth sense to save us from the likely encounter with the ferocious king of the forest at large.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hillsborough, the city of rich and lonely

The residents of Hillsborough (CA) may be amongst the richest in Bay Area, but they are also the lonliest people living in any city. The city is devoid of any life, thanks to a draconian 'zoning' law that forbids any kind of commercial activity within the city limits-- no stores, no restaurants, no banks and presumably no doctors, dentists or attorneys, as even home-based businesses are debarred. It is surprising how a city can survive without a Safeway or a Starbucks, a Macys or a McDonalds, a Banana Republic or a Baskin-Robins, and a lot many more that are a life of any city. What pride can the citizens have in their city if it lacks any landmarks they can pride in. Look at the neighboring San Mateo--what delight it has in boasting about Draeger's. Or nearby Burlingame that is full of life with its ever bustling Burlingame Avenue. Every city has some or the other rendezvous for its residents, but not Hillsborough, the city of single-family super homes, each one isolated from the other. Hillsborough residents must get the 'zoning' law scrapped from the city's statute books to know what a city really means.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

United States of Attorneys!

I am in USA, or is it United States of Attorneys? Statistics show that 70 percent of the world's attorneys are in USA, with only 10 per cent of the world's population. People here are sue-happy, with 'Sue-me' stickers common on their cars. The second most common sticker seen on cars is 'Hit me, I need money'. The flimsiest excuse is enough for them to file a suit, if it promises plenty of money. And it does not cost them anything to go to courts when the attorneys are ready to fight for you for 'No money now--pay if paid'. Many a millionair's rags to riches story has started in courts, ending with rich awards in compensation. Spilling hot coffee at McDonald's could make you a millionaire overnight, and so could inhaling second-hand smoke while waiting on tables at a restaurant. If you are lucky to find a fly or any living or dead creature in the drink or the dish you ordered, you are sure to make a fortune out of the ordeal. If you are clever enough, you can even bring your own frog to fill the burger, or someone's finger to float in the chilli, though you may not always get away with it. Since personal injuries at work call for the heaviest relief in compensation, employers' premises remain the worst accident prone areas. No wonder, people are scared to hire service for home repairs or mintenance, lest the hired man makes it convenient to get hurt while at work.

The phenominal increase in number of cases coming to courts every day leads one to suspect that law makers and law enforcing agencies are in league with attorneys and seem to serve only one purpose, to make attorneys the most wanted professionals in the US. With laws such as these, how long can one avoid hiring an attorney in his life; a Boston law makes it a crime to bathe more frequently than once a week, while in Kentucky it is a crime to bathe less than once a year, in Florida you violate law if you fall asleep under a hairdryer and in Palo Alto if you stop walking while smoking on pavements.