Monday, June 29, 2009

Strategic Partnerships - The Way Ahead

14 years ago, on this day Russian space station Mir docked with space shuttle Atlantis for the very first time, paving way for a new level of US - Russian ties to emerge and flourish! Though some acrid memories of the cold war faintly remained, both nations took a significant step to partner with each other aimed to achieve significant results in the areas of life-sciences, filming with IMAX camera, vital logistical resupply of the Mir, recovery of US astronaut Norman E. Thagard and Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiments (SAREX-II), among other things!

Look at what cooperation can do!

Perhaps, a lot of people, corporate establishments and nations too need to learn a few lessons from such strategic partnerships, which during such turbulent economic times can prove vital to one another in the areas of research, people management, cost control and more importantly augmentation of humanitarian efforts!

The way ahead into the emerging world scenario will be built upon the fundamentals of collaboration aimed at establishing symbiotic relationships be it in furthering research, combating disease, feeding the hungry, cultivating wastelands, fighting terror or in exploring the existence of life forms beyond the Earth.

Partnership is not a bad word! On the contrary it makes way for superior intellect, fresh drive, accelerated purpose and strong pursuit of clearly defined goals.

And as Dante Alighieri so thoughtfully asked "Of my sowing such straw I reap. O human folk, why set the heart there where exclusion of partnership is necessary?", why forsake an option that might be the gateway itself?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering Michael Jackson

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for the world that I come from
'Cause I've been looking around
In the lost and found of my heart...

No one understands me
They view it as such strange eccentricities...
'Cause I keep kidding around
Like a child, but pardon me...

People say I'm not okay
'Cause I love such elementary things...
It's been my fate to compensate,
for the Childhood, I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like pirates and adventurous dreams,
Of conquest and kings on the throne...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me,
Look within your heart then ask,
Have you seen my Childhood?
People say I'm strange that way
'Cause I love such elementary things,
It's been my fate to compensate,
For the Childhood I've never known...

Have you seen my Childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like fantastical stories to share
The dreams I would dare, watch me fly...

Before you judge me, try hard to love me.
The painful youth I've had

Have you seen my Childhood....


Lyrics - Childhood, May 31, 1995

Michael Jackson - The Official Website

Image Description - Jackson at the White House South Portico with President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan, 1984

Image Courtesy - Archival Research Catalog of the National Archives and Records Administration under the ARC Identifier 198548

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A question of destiny?

Staying with Sundays, this time around, a question in a life column of a certain newspaper foxed me!

The inquisitive enquirer wondered why hard work and unending toil was necessary if every aspect of life was controlled by God and the measure of outcome was already decided to be dished out not a pint more than the allotted proportion that came at the discretion of the Creator! In other words, destiny!

Intriguing question I thought, following the after thought that such questions almost always never have a good answer! Have you noticed?

Now, this set me wondering! I recollected Lord Krishna's advice to a perplexed Arjuna while on battlefield, that humanity is a certain phase that will bring to an end every person living, but that does not mean that one engages in squander of time, considering the certain end that one will approach!

He further cited that a person needs to employ oneself in order to satiate many needs and most importantly keep off from the thought of mortality!

Anyhow, scriptures apart, aren't we, as human beings, supposed to be creators of our own destiny? Life comes with a minimal guarantee that focused effort will yield desired results, doesn't it? And that of the unexplained bit, I'd like it to be associated with Karma!

I do not in any measure will to batter the poor seeker! Who knows what he must have been through in life to ask something so solemn, which brings me to remember Brian Tracy's famous quote "Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The pace of my life

Pakistan's victory in the T20 world cup on Sunday was electrifying! It is worth learning a lesson or two on how they stood together in pulling off this win, despite a ravaging war torn situation at home! I was, in the rarest of moments, caught glued to the television screen unable to take my eyes off the spectacular Pakistani pull off at the Lords! But then, that was just the beginning!

A little after the match got over, I set out on a 10 kilometer long walk which took me a little more than an hour perhaps, during which time I was pondering over my current state of life which has suddenly been cast into an indeterminate state, devoid of much activity outside of the line of work!

I had not walked long distances for a long time now and the thought of doing a quick brisk one this time brought me to energetic speed, the like of which I hadn't witnessed anytime recently.

Walking gives one ample time and opportunity to introspect while the body itself is put to work on a very well defined course of action and all the mind needs to do is focus!

I found myself deep in thought, seeking a departure from the current state that I am part of, wanting to embark on a journey that helps me realize my passion, or for that matter, the many such longings that I cherish to do. Information seemed outpouring at mind boggling speeds and still making no sense at all! A lot to do, too little time, the call of the wild, no dreary routines and a fresh perspective and location!

End of the ride, I thought to myself, rather in question, if I had become impulsive or compulsive or both! Maybe plain critically analytical?

Sometimes, it is better to avoid deep thought, don't you agree?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm fortunate!

Sunday last, after a luxurious two-day sojourn with a brother who also stays in Pune, I was returning home, a well-rested and comforted man! My mind was filled with a list of official chores that would attack me the next day, it being an ominously manic monday. (Forgive me for not capitalizing the m of monday, which I reckon is reasonable enough not to have been done)

The late evening rush on the road was now a long, slow, snaking line, of many desperate ones trying to edge the other out, in the quest to reach their destiny faster!

On one such traffic stop, thanks to the never ending I-want-to-jump-that-damned-red-light, I waited in patience listening to Unforgiven of Metallica, oddly wondering if I was actually one of those unforgiven ones fighting a constant battle against the odds and frantically demanding Nirvana, as a recompense for a seemingly not-so-rewarding life!

No sooner did I let that thought utilize a fraction of a moment longer than what was necessary, or not perhaps, a small boy of eight years something presented himself to me with a smiling face and an outstretched hand!

Instantly, I wondered how fortunate I was, being myself and having had the luxury of spending a good weekend, quality time, Et al! It took a moment more to shake myself out of the thoughtful slumber, fish out my wallet from which I dug out a certain denomination of the Indian currency and handed it out to the waiting recipient!

You should have seen the look on his face! Off he dashed, smiling to himself and I was left with a few more numbers on the now rapidly decreasing ticker of the traffic signal. Moments later, he reappeared, with what seemed to me a small family, in tow, as if to collectively express gratitude towards my minuscule gesture! I smiled at them heartily and was off in a moment, about to lose myself in the suddenly massive out pour of travellers who were now tasting freedom, relieved from the clutches of what was a terrible impediment to their otherwise smooth travel!

As for me, I was lost in thought, wondering how privileged I was, a very stark opposite of that poor kid on the road! So much for the wantons of the mind and its singsongs, and as the old adage goes - after the incident, even the fool is wise, this time the crime being slipshod wanderings of the supposedly thinking mind!

Not suprisingly, I shifted the soundtrack, to Dido's reassuring voice singing Thank You, ensuring that it was not the Stan version by Eminem!

Bloody hypo-freaking-crite, my mind thought of itself!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Looking back

I've been doing some much needed introspection now and can safely conclude that I want to make my life as eventful as those wonderful days of childhood, where I lived a life, free of all worries and troubles, knowing not more than the blue sunlight sky, the evergreen meadows of seemingly carefully trimmed expansive lawns and the odd rocky rivulets flowing between them! I wanted to grow up and see the world then, not knowing the tremendous displeasure that it would bring about in my life!

Beetles, Beegees and Leo Sayer, did their magic back then, always adding to the luxury of childhood and the blissful nothingness that was associated with it! Childhood was greenery and expansive blue spread forever with hues of unconditionally soft white, if you know what that means, meant rather!

I step back to think about those Sunday afternoons and Monday mornings often not being very different from each other, barring the place of presence, them being home and school respectively. The excitement was feverishly fearful to those around me!

Tell me what I've done that I'm here now, as the one that I am, far from those wonderful days of pure joy? Why, I wonder, does the child always feel better to be a man? It's not for bloody nuts that Floyd sang "The Child has grown and the dream has gone."

Another sorry tale of the grass being green on the other side? Nay, for I've seen it all and lived it too, and am sure the parallel will someday come!


My quest for purpose is intense and you will see more of these 'looking back' instances!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shift happens

Take a look at the presentation below!

It emphasizes on, perhaps, one of the most important aspects of our lives, personal and professional, that aspect being 'Change'! What is relevant in the context of what we do today, may not always hold the same importance tomorrow.

Some of us may argue that such a cataclysmic and continual shift of focus can only bring chaos, but I'd like to view this as many an opportunity, presented to us to evolve into better beings who take cognizance of happenings around them while not losing sight of their purpose and inner selves!

The easiest way, to overcome the pressures of an overwhelmingly fast-paced and seemingly chaotic life, is to acknowledge that change is inevitable and that it happens for a reason, which some of us understand while some others choose not to accept! Do ponder through, and let me know what you feel about this.


You may view this presentation by clicking here, in the event of not being able to view the embedded object above.

Monday, June 08, 2009

My new blog on Geo-politics

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free

-- Gospel of John 8:32, The Holy Bible / Also found at the entrance of the CIA headquarters

I'm often told to be a lot less serious than what I project myself to be! Those part of the inner circle laugh at this! Talk about the many masks one wears! Anyhow, harping on this comment, I wanted to reflect myself even more seriously to the inner of my own self and a tad bit outside too! Justifying one's life, at all times, after all should be a constant endeavour of every human being, I believe!

So, the thought of writing some more serious stuff motivated me, more than ever before, and thus was born Rakesh Vanamali, the thoughts of a geo-political observer! As if I wasn't writing some serious stuff, already??? ;)

I want to introduce you to my new space, which will carry some very pointed and analytical thoughts on the geo-political scenario in India and across the world, and how I believe these situations will shape our foreign policies, approach to general issues and so on ....... more of politico-system, socio-specific type rantings!

I must tell you that this comes as a result of a compulsive need to analyze the socio-political apparatus and is not motivated by what some people think is an influence by the Company, the Firm, La Piscine or some other secret service! I assure that I'm too small a fry for such adventure and in the same breath also assure you that Intelligence, secondary of course, will form an extensive part of this space, which is as a result of a very high admiration for the trade itself, and some folks namely B. Raman, Peter Coates, Nikolas Gvosdev, Brahma Chellaney and Vikram Sood, to name a few!

As always, with utmost humility, I seek your goodwill that will enable me to be better than what I currently am, as in the aspect of learning and development, which I so truly and ardently seek. Do feel free to critique what you may see, for such an action will only thrust me forward, to attain my goal.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Remembering Tiananmen, 20 years later!

June 4, 1989 went down into the annals of history with a grim tale! The day witnessed perhaps the most violent condemnation of free speech and peaceful intent, ever! 7000 innocent unarmed students and demonstrators lost their lives in what came to be known as the Tiananmen Square massacre! This post pays homage to all those who lost their lives at the instance of cruel communist mercenaries who continue to wreck havoc in Tibet.

The following picture which became iconic of Tiananmen, reflects the power of one! Click here to see the video of this spectacular show of strength!

I have included some very interesting links in the Footnotes section that outline the facts concerning the massacre. A large part of substantiated facts come from declassified cables sent by the US Embassy in Beijing to the State Department in Washington.


Unclassified US State Department Telegram detailing the massacre

The Declassified History - A National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book

Images Courtesy - Today's pictures

Digital Archives -

Monday, June 01, 2009

International Children's Day

We are surrounded by the ability to grow. All we have to do is reach out and embrace it. The red & yellow, black and white figures represent diversity and tolerance. Our children are the key to peace and tolerance of race, religion, physical, mental, and social diversity. The star, which is made up of the figures' legs, represents light. We can be a light for the world, if we choose. The five points on the star represent the continents. We are all part of one true race, the human race.

The earth figure, which is directly in the center, represents our earthly home and all the blessings on it, which God has given us all to share and respect. The large blue circle engulfing the figures symbolizes peace and God's universal love. It also represents the unity that we can achieve if we reach out to one another in love. Blue symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. The blue figure at the top represents God, who is the author & finisher of all things. God loves all of us equally and we should be striving to imitate that love (which is represented by the figures reaching out to each other)

-- Gwendolyn Wells Loiacono, on 22 January 2003

Redefining Oblivion pays homage to the Children of the world on account of the International Children's Day, which is observed on this day! May the goodwill of our children deliver us to our desired destiny, while we ensure their security, welfare and prosperity, at all times, and unconditionally of course!


Image Courtesy - CRW Flags

Description - Flag created by Jorge Candeias, 3 August 2005, original artist unknown

Children's Day - Wikipedia Page