Flat World

Olympian Vow

The opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics was a spectacle to watch. With all the acrobats and the sheer scale of what they managed to pull out of a hat, or rather a birds nest. It sure must be an event to see and experience. Experiencing the electricity of the atmosphere must be something that would be unparalleled.

As i wrote earlier, the Olympics can well become a milestone. Some kind of a deadline. By the time the next Olympics comes around i will have knocked out all the extra flab ( that i put on watching the other Olympics that went by..) could be a worthy objective !

Four years later, i am reasonably sure that i would quip that it was like yesterday that Beijing happened. So, in essence having an Olympics to Olympics kind of milestone is going to help big time. Like we had 5 year plans before !

The Olympics usher in a different spirit. By some strange concoction, to see that many cultures come together, compete, hold hands, stand on the podium, cry on the sidelines, wave a flag…somehow makes the world come so much more closer. Somehow offers hope that we still can be one race ! The race of people !

So these days, i am watching competitions and learning new rules. Like archery. Where Korea beat China. And watched not only the game, but many other elements. Like how the bow string sits on the archers lips & i could almost hear the archer whispering a message to the arrow !

It is an electric spirit ! The Olympic spirit.

For a fleeting moment, the heart wished, that it would be the Indian team hitting the bulls eye ! But the very next moment, it didn’t matter. At all !!

It was man’s quest for excellence that was on display. That quest for stretch & excellence is not bound by boundaries of nations. That is a sight & spirit to relish !

So, here is the vow:

I am going to be physically present in 2012, London. As a citizen of the world, to cheer for them all. For mankind. To physically see the quest for excellence and those Olympian stretches.

Anybody wants to join ?? And for each Olympics to follow. A four year reunion would be great. And no, this is not wishful thinking.

Mark these dates in your calendar : 27 July to 12 August 2012.

Pangea Day @ Mumbai !!

imagine no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one I hope someday

you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Those are perhaps the most inspiring lines for me. Every time i hear those lines, a sigh of despair goes up in the air.

Not on Pangea day. For me, Pangea Day is the day when the ground beneath shifted a little. The feeling that it is possible to hold hands permeates across. Overriding distances and differences. I haven’t attended an event like this ever before. More details on the event are here

24 films from around the world. In four hours ( from 6.00 PM GMT). Well, yes that meant 11.30 PM – 3.30 AM India time. But these perhaps have been the most wakeful four hours that I have spent sitting at one place.

Kipling had written in “ A friend of the family”

All good people agree,
All good people say,
All nice people, like us, are We
And every one else is They.

And I thought, what a thought. On Pangea Day I realized, that is how I thought !

Movie after movie moved. They were stories of human emotion. Each letting us know that ‘them’ is after all ‘us’ ! Each giving a perspective of how unique we are. And how by being more unique we actually are less so with the rest of the world. You can view them here

The themes that revolved around love, anger, fear, hope showed glimpses of life across the world!! Just knowing that a simple thing like growing a good tomato can lead to joy in some part of the world is so comforting a thought that it is not necessarily money or seeking of ‘cheap’ thrills by splurging money that drives all of the world.

The seeming ordinariness of the world had so much beauty that ‘exotic’ was ingrained in this ‘ordinary’! This is the exotic!

As I walked away at around 4.00 AM from the fantastic NCPA atmosphere in Colaba, there seemed a strange energy which stretched across through the Arabian Sea right nex door. And the world was suddenly not limited to my family or my home or my city, or my organization or my nation. Or for that matter the vast sea just next door. Even though a good beginning encompasses all of that.

Carl Sagan spoke of the earth as the ‘pale blue dot suspended on a sun beam’. A photograph of Saturn eclipsing the sun showed earth as a pale blue dot! That set the perspective. We are just a tiny figment in the scheme of the universe. A tiny figment.

How grandiose are the images of power that man has created for himself !

Some films are a must watch. I can think of few off hand. The Ball. Chinese Whispers. Laughter. A thousand words. But these are just top of the mind. Each film was enjoyable & thoroughly so !

With connectivity provided by Intelsat, we jived, laughed, tapped our feet at the same time in different cities. Rio, Los Angeles, Cairo, London..! That feeling of togetherness with the world was so immensely moving and powerful.

And as I looked up into the night sky, well Carl Sagan’s words resonated in my mind about our home…’a pale blue dot suspended on a sunbeam!’

A dot on a sunbeam. Whats all the other noise about ? Thats the question ! What a day !

PS: You can find some images here

Its a flat world !

Prices of apartments and land have sky rocketed in every Indian city i know ! Well, sky rocketed is a very modest term at that. With every inch of land being occupied, disputed, bought, rented or invested in. The latest in the series being, ‘taken over by the government’ !!
I remember doing an in depth analysis of Kenichi Ohmae’s book “A borderless world” as a management grad. One of those themes, back then, that used to occupy my mind was a truly borderless world. We seem to be getting there !

“In the last two years around 500 Indians, a number of whom are said to be agriculturalists from Chandigarh and the northern region, have registered themselves for the ‘Malaysia, My Second Home’ ( MM2H in short) venture that is being sponsored by the Malaysian Tourism Board.

Under the scheme, the Malaysian government allows tourists to invest into the country’s real estate market. It’s simple, just pick a home ( either in the heart of the city or an island), pick your price ( in upwards of Rs.18 lakh) and voila ! You have a home for yourself….” Times of India. Bangalore, May 1st, ’07.

The logic seems to be that people who settle will invariably visit the country. Thrown in are a 5 year visa and such other benefits. I am sure the Malaysian government has got its calculations right, given our battalion of relatives & friends !

The concept seems alluring isn’t it. Some of my friends who wanted to invest in a second home found it a struggle to find a decent apartment under Rs. 40 lacs, in Bangalore. But hey, now there is Malaysia !

I was all set to close this post, when my wife chipped in with this news. Dubai beckons too. Giving you a permanent residential visa on buying a flat over there. ( Coupled with interest free loans et al ) !

When it comes to flats, i guess the world is turning ! And getting truly flat !!

I chanced upon today’s music in You Tube. Japanese kids dancing to a Tamil film song. The synchrony kept me riveted & i had to share ! The borders just didn’t seem to exist !