Pangong Lake, Little Tibet, 14,500 ft

Pangong Lake, Little Tibet, 14,500 ft
cold but happy after a 6 hour jeep ride that took us above 18,000 ft

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I bought 3 eggs from a man north of my house and he smiled, but I knew that behind that toothy grin a spirit harboring unimaginable terror was biding its time to unleash itself upon me. Everyone seems friendly enough, but the poor quality speakers blasting holy songs from temples or calls to prayer from mosques occasionally screech, revealing the accumulated hatred concentrating in the atmosphere, readying the storm to rain down red. All of South Asia is on edge today as reports indicate a Pakistani division is being redeployed from the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province to the border region near Lahore. The division was previously assigned to fighting against the Taliban in the Bajaur region, where a halting offensive has been underway since the summer. This is a classic move in India and Pakistan's great great game of moving troops here and there to consolidate power and send messages of strength to the other party. Small border fights have even broken out several times in the past: an Indian killing a Pakistani, a squad here kills a squad there; stray bullets and no definitive answers or action. This time, it is different. The unit that is being moved is assigned to blunt an Indian armored strike into Pakistan. The division was previously assigned to fighting against the Taliban in the Bajaur region, where a halting offensive has been underway since the summer. There is now an imminent possibility of enraged India charging into Pakistan with all its might to kill the very troops reassigned from trying to kill the very terrorist that killed so many sons and daughters of liberal democracy on that in Mumbai on that fateful November night.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Check out our quotes!

The new-age digital president

Leslie D'Monte & Priyanka Joshi / New Delhi November 6, 2008, 0:46 IST

"“Obama is the first ‘YouTube politician’ because he gets that you can’t control internet,” says Ethan, who came to India six weeks back to pursue an assignment with a local NGO."

Does this sound uncharacteristically dumb for Ethan to say? Well, he never said it.

"This Obama fan regularly watched videos on Youtube and even downloaded several of Obama’s speeches. He quips, “I have been witnessing Obama making history online.” Ethan adds, “Today you send a text message, get on Myspace, send out an e-invite for online applications and Obama’s campaign was all about this.”'

Ethan doesn't know what an e-invite is, and he's been on Myspace a total of 3 times. Also, Ethan never "quips" anything.

"Brooke Beasley, an American who has been working with an Indian NGO, believes the youth media practitioners at the Obama camp have been at the forefront of using communication tools and online social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, cellphones, internet, film, video, podcast to generate momentum.The Obama campaign reportedly also paid for in-game advertising in Burnout Paradise — a Xbox 360 racing game.""

Brooke Beasley doesn't believe this and was not aware that Obama advertised in a video game until Ethan told her. The construction Brooke Beasley...believes is an outright lie.

Leslie D'Monte & Priyanka Joshi are hacks who pre-wrote an article and misquoted people for their own ends. They are not journalists. Journalists base their articles on facts; D' Monte and Joshi write whatever they want and lie about what people say to fill in the gaps between their poorly thought out words. They are now officially enemies of the house.

America is Awesome

“The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals, Democracy, Liberty, Opportunity, and Unyielding Hope”
-Barack Obama

A profound change has come over my perspectives in the last six weeks. I realize now that my intellectual development occurred over the last four years and that these four years have created my bias. My ideas and political alliances were formed due to the misguided politics of an American President who lost the trust of the world. The failure of an education reform, the denial of an environmental crisis, the deceit of an administration, and the cruelty of an expansionist policy all led me to a loss of faith. Through the prism of my cynicism, I saw America as controlled by the intimidating fervor of the few. The presence of vocal evangelicals unabashedly displaying their bigotry against homosexuality, religious fanatics continuing movements against the well-established theory of evolution, and a populous blinded by Nationalism, unaware of its own atrocities, forced me to regrettably sympathize with anti-American sentiments In Europe, Asia and around the world. From the extermination of the Native Americans, to the fire bombings of Tokyo to the human rights violations at Abu Ghraib, Americans seem intentionally ignorant of their own historical evils. But I am not writing an Anti-American rant; my perspectives have changed.

Though all of these unfortunate realities persist, I have become proud of America, happy to be an American citizen, because the Ideals of America are worthy of adoration. I have now been in India for six weeks and have realized an aspect of the Indian outlook on society inherently different from my own. I could be in India for twenty years and I would still be considered a westerner. I could have been born here and raised here but I would still not be an Indian. There is no possibility for any white person to be considered Indian. The reason is quite simple, to them, Indian is an ethnicity and each individual is either a part of that ethnicity or not. This ideology is inherently exclusive. This outlook is certainly not unique to India but rather the opposite. In Europe, strong anti-immigration sentiments and long-standing racial prejudices reveal the same basic perspective. In Africa, the new generation of white people never knew the world of imperialism but they will never be looked upon as true citizens of that society. Their ethnicity separates them.

America is unique in not sharing this ethnocentric outlook. Other than the small minority of Native Americans, all Americans are immigrants, no one original or entitled. Whether by choice or force, people came from Europe, Africa and now the entire world. We are a nation of immigrants. If someone of the Indo ethnicity was born and raised in America, they are American. They are just as much of an American as I am. I feel that even the racists would agree that African-Americans are still Americans. America is multi-ethnic and therefore cannot define itself by an ethnicity.

Our political system and ideology has developed around this multi-ethnic identity. A system of democracy allows a multitude of voices to be heard, while an ideology of liberalism protects the fundamental rights of the minority from the potentially tyrannically rule of the majority. Liberal democracy has become a religion in the United States; its tenants are unquestioned. I, as an American, feel to my core a sense of pride in the system we have created. While many injustices are still occurring, the system, our system, is best suited to fix these problems.

Only two days ago, Barack Obama was elected the President of the United States of America. Obviously, his election has profound implications for all aspects of American politics and I hope that he will bring tremendous change within my country. But to me, he has become the embodiment of the American Ideal. With his father from Africa, his mother from Kansas and a childhood in Indonesia, Obama represents the multi-cultural/multi-ethnic nature of America. Obama is a symbol to the world of the ideals that all Americans know and love; America equals opportunity for any culture and any ethnicity. This promise of opportunity is one of the most powerful ideas of humanity. While Barack Obama will create change, he represents the return to what makes America great, the return to the Ideal. Today, I feel a long lost sense of patriotism. I am filled with an immense hope in the promise of America. I think it can change and that it will change, because the ideals that exist at the core of our society are good and just.

In the words of Ethan Case: “America is Awesome”


Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Life Decisions

-Dang, there's a lot of people here

-I wish I could drink tap water

-At least the dollar is doing well against the rupee

-I am glad I am not looking for a job in America right now

-I never would be here if it wasn't for you

-What are you doing in India? "........"

-Usually the neighborhood cow herd hangs out around the dumpster

-According to our real estate agent, cows are holy in India because they can eat plastic bags and still make milk

-Never look a stray dog in the eye

-We spent $18 dollars on three mattresses, craved pizza and spent $14 dollars at Dominos

-My lunch today cost 60 cents

-Our most expensive piece of furniture is a $30 rock lamp that reportedly emits B12 into the air

-If another firework explodes within fifty feet of me, I am going to celebrate the hell out of someone

-A 30 foot effigy full of fireworks was burned less than 100 yards from our apartment

-Bucket showers aren't that bad

-Hand washing clothes is as tedious as it sounds

-Sometimes it's better just to think you stepped in mud