Friday, June 23, 2006

INDIA’S FIRST NOMINATION FOR UNSG

There’s a buzz in the corridors of power-the South Block, amongst the Commies, International Community, analysts, academics and amongst pretty much anyone who cares to have an opinion-Shashi Tharoor’s nomination to the post of United Nation’s Secretary General. I for one am elated that he’s been nominated.

Though my opinion may be slightly biased by the fact that I’ve thoroughly enjoying his writing, for which I have great respect for (both his novels and the Shashi Tharoor column in the Hindu) I see it as a step forward for India.

Ever since the UPA government has come to power, it is evident that one of the emphasis of the Manmohan Singh led government has been to make India a more significant player in International affairs. The signing of the nuclear deal with the Bush government was a watershed-it was clearly a departure from Neruvian politics India has followed for decades, this move itself will garner significant support for an Indian candidate. For eg, the next logical step for the US would be backing India’s candidate to further cement ties. This being said, India’s chances will be determined by balance of power as well. China is a big question mark, especially if it perceives this as a threat- of India’s growing power and significance.

India’s lobbying for a permanent seat in the Security Council sent clear signals of its ambitions in the international arena. Is Shashi Tharoor’s nomination a spoiler, sending confusing signals? Hardly! In diplomatic circles as reported by various media, word is that has no chance of bagging the permanent seat in the SC for at least another ten years. And let’s give the boys in the MEA some credit shall we? They are hardly Lemmings! I’m sure they held informal consultations with their contemporaries at the P-5 before making the decision.

Just maybe we can have our cake and eat it too?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

COFFEE EVANGELISM

I was hanging out with my friends at my favourite Barista on St Marks road one evening, when one of them pointed out a sign’ It’s easier to change one’s religion than one’s cafe’. He was appalled at the embellishment and rolled his eyes. I noticed his drink-a peach iced tea that sat next to my double shot cappuccino. Tea! Smoothies! the pressure to maintain a cosmopolitan coffee house nowadays has the puritan coffeeholics irked as the ‘OTHERS’ disparage their faith amongst the heavenly coffee fumes…but it’s also a smart move by the ‘ONE’ in Brazil to lure the strayed flock that needs to be sheparded to coffee creed….

I’ll start with my own association with the coffee creed. I was a decaffeinated, faithless, lost teenager when I met my best friend ‘Chinoy’, the wisest coffee apostle as far as I’m concerned. He introduced me to coffee, insisted we’ll hangout only in coffee houses over the last seven-eight years and sponsored most of my coffees. His alias is ‘Caffeine Chinoy’, his dream vacation would be in a Brazilian coffee plantation, my B’day gift included goodies from Starbucks and caffeine is also on his official letterhead and CV! Coffee is salvation he would say.

But was after Chinoy’s sermon on the coffee bean mound, that I had my calling…The rich, strong, aromatic fumes parted…there was a vision …a tantalizing, hypnotic dark liquid…robed in a white ceramic mug …it was simply a divine intervention…One delicious sip…Poof! It made that nagging dull throb in my head..DISAPPEAR, or just when I had an assignment due and my brain seems to blank out, its my saviour. Its there after every low, every nasty argument, in obscure thought, dark moods, nothingness, when I needed inspiration, to socialize, during every exam, every project and meeting and even in time of celebration. His missionary zeal paid off as the veneration percolated to me.

I slowly realized how indispensable it became to my life and decided to join the faithful to spread the word of Caffinity. In the aftermath of the tsunami, when people were at their most vulnerable, our clan contributed coffee. A group of our volunteers set up camps in tsunami-hit areas and we began our mission. We healed their woes, made them stronger with a cuppa, desperately when they need it the most. The caffeine helped them cope with the disaster, it gave them the high they needed averting clinical depression and it also gave them the surge of energy required for physical labour for reconstructing their homes and livelihood. Above all it gave them something that was swept away with the tide…hope and faith that coffee, will always be with them. They came to the Caffinity meetings when they had lost homes, loved ones, and livelihood and got saved with coffee…they in turn converted to CAFFINITY. Like me many others have dedicated their lives to the cause of coffee… be it amongst their peers or after a flood in the North East.

Our messiah goes by many names, koohii in Japanese, they Malay prefer kopi, Thai gafae, in Poland by the name kawa, café in Spanish or good old filter kaapi in Tamil. Whatever the name…Halleluiah to Coffee!