Recently I wrote about the philosophy of Ayn Rand based on her novel The Fountainhead, as part of an assignment. The philosophical part of the assignment would be pretty difficult to digest but then the synopsis of the novel, I thought, would be worth sharing. So here you go! Please refrain from reading further if you are planning to read the novel in future. For those who have already read it take a trip down memory lane rekindling one of the masterpieces of modern literature.
-- Warning: spoiler ahead --
Howard Roark and Peter Keating are from the same architecture school. Keating graduated as the topper with contemptuous help from Roark while Roark was expelled from the school for refusing to adhere to the curriculum by changing his own ideas. After his studies, Keating joins Guy Francon’s privileged architecture firm while Roark works under the veteran architect Cameron, who was uprooted long back by Gail Wynand, the media tycoon. Keating has plans to marry Dominique Francon, daughter of Guy Francon who is also a columnist, and succeed him in his business. Roark has his own notions about buildings, that each building is a character by its own and hence new buildings shan’t be just a copy of its old counterparts, which unfortunately was done by architects of his age. Hence he doesn’t get many assignments. He isn’t able to pursue his architecture-ship further and eventually ends up working in a quarry for a living, where he meets Dominique Francon and both fall in love. Roark soon receives an invitation to do the design of a building at New York city and leaves the quarry.
Keating’s mother wants him to marry Dominique as he falls in love with a poor woman. Dominique makes Keating marry herself, in order to test Roark and she also tries to demerit Roark thinking that the world doesn’t deserve his creations; all due to the love she has for him. Ellsworth Toohey, the main anti-hero of the novel, with some hidden plans, invites Roark to design a temple. Roark places a nude statue of Dominique in the temple. Later Toohey talks to the public about the poor design of the building and sues Roark, basically to hinder his growth. Toohey also makes Gail Wynand meet Dominique which results in the marriage of Dominique and Wynand. Meanwhile Roark and Wynand become friends.
Roark designs a housing project owing to Keating’s request and later finds out that the initial design he made has been changed by Keating’s associates. As a result Roark blows off the building and Dominique gets hurt while helping him. Roark convinces the court why he blew off the building and talks about his philosophy which forms the essence of the novel and Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism. During the trial Wynand’s newspaper accuses Roark mainly due to Toohey’s presence in it as a columnist and Wynand takes its side. As a result Dominique leaves Wynand and marries Roark. Finally Wynand realizes his mistake, fires Toohey and gives Roark a new construction project where the story ends.
-- Spoiler end --
The Fountainhead is the best fictional work and also the best love story I have ever read. But somewhere I could empathize with Howard Roark as a character that I feel I am like him in many aspects.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Recently I wrote about the philosophy of Ayn Rand based on her novel The Fountainhead, as part of an assignment. The philosophical part of the assignment would be pretty difficult to digest but then the synopsis of the novel, I thought, would be worth sharing. So here you go! Please refrain from reading further if you are planning to read the novel in future. For those who have already read it take a trip down memory lane rekindling one of the masterpieces of modern literature.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
India is on a commanding position against Sri Lanka in the cricket test here at Ahmedabad. Some of my friends went to watch the match yesterday and were thrilled to see India’s performance, while us here at campus, watched bits and pieces of the match from the TV, with sporadic outbursts of human emotions of joie de vivre whenever the ball crossed the boundary, emulating typical Indian populace. No other game is as popular and favorite as cricket in India.
Air Sahara is going to sponsor the Indian cricket team for the next four years further to a winning bid of Rs 314 crores. The deal is confined only to the display of their logo on the players’ chest and their leading arm. More money is going to come to BCCI (Bharat Cricket Control Board) from the display of logos on the non-leading arm, kit etc. of the players from prospective sponsors for which the tender will be opened on 23rd December. The TV rights of the matches are expected to fetch a sum of more than Rs. 400 crores. These figures added with other revenue streams are predicted to give an incredible profit of more than Rs. 700 crores to BCCI in the coming year.
On the other side, India has the highest cricket viewer ship in the world and hence is a paradise for TV advertisements. Ever thought about the number of advertisements being aired on a single channel for a single match and the associated amount flowing behind it? Though the math is simple, the figure is much more than what we can probably imagine of. Then there is an awfully big bookmaking market where bet amounts are in crores. Cricket is not just a game in India; it’s a business too. In such a situation it is worthwhile to ask ourselves a question. Are we giving more importance than is required to a silly game?
Monday, December 19, 2005
In the sixth and final term, supposedly the most chillax term of all, I bid for the bare minimum number of courses needed to satisfy my credit requirements, which turned out to be a soothing Four in number! No tough courses; courses thoroughly planned and selected after by-hearting the time table (:p) so that there are no classes for me on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays giving me an off of four days every week for the next two months. But when I went to the case unit to collect my study materials, what awaited me was an awful collection of 18 books and 6 case mats! 15 of the books belonging to a course I have taken called LVMR (Leadership: Vision, Meaning and Reality). The interesting thing about these books is that they are not the usual ones containing theories and jargons of management but are stories, novels, philosophical and similar interesting stuffs. Above all I hope it will take me back to my reading habits which was long lost when I started my post graduation. And that is when I realized that I haven’t read more than 5 normal books in the last two years! (:-()
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
The world around me is beautiful. When I look around I see lush green meadows, clear blue sky, an assortment of flora and fauna, garish setting sun, azure depths of the ocean and I end up thanking my eyes for letting me see and enjoy this spectacular world around me, in all its glory. Eyes, in deed are a wonderful pair of sense organs. And I can’t do anything but end up philosophizing them.
Eyes, how many mega pixels are they?
Well, I am not talking about the latest digital cameras whose manufactures babble about the maximum resolution they can give. If we think about our eyes a bit more and refresh our high school biology lessons, the retina on which the eye-lens refracts light rays is made up of two kinds of photoreceptor cells called rods (enable black and white vision) and cones (enable color vision) which convert those light rays into electrical impulses, through an electrochemical reaction, which is processed by our brain to make us ‘see’. Roughly 125 million of them are intermingled non-uniformly over the retina, which means that the resolution of our eye is confined to the number of rods and cones we have, which is nothing but 125 Mega Pixels! Yes, if we had the ability to zoom images as we do using normal picture viewer software, after some limit, we will also see objects pixilated!
Do we see ‘everything’?
Humans can ‘see’ radiations of wavelength 390 to 780 nanometers (visible light) using his eye which form only a small part of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. We can’t see other radiations. We see an object when light rays fall on that object and the reflection is captured by our eyes. What if a particular object reflects only radiations of wavelength other than that of light? Duh! Then we won't be able to see that object. Thus there is a whole different world around us which we can’t see. A world that is quite different than what we can probably imagine of.
Does everyone see the same color?
Suppose a person sees a rose and identifies it as a red rose. Another person who is seeing the same rose is also identifying it as a red rose. But are we sure both the people identify it to have the same color? Ok let me explain it. Suppose a child who is seeing a yellow rose (color is yellow, called as yellow) ‘sees’ its color as a red. So for him that particular color would be yellow (which actually is red as seen by him) and is called as yellow. Which means, whenever he sees a yellow rose, even though he identifies it as a yellow rose having yellow color, actually he would be seeing it in red color. Physicians call it an extreme case of color blindness but I should say that people see the same object in different colors!
Can we believe our eyes?
Ultimately every single object in this universe is made up of atoms. An atom consists of a small nucleus at its centre and sub-atomic, wave-like particles called electrons spinning around it. The ratio of the sizes of a typical atom to its nucleus is about 100,000:1. For solids, this ratio comes down a bit; nevertheless, almost the same. But on an average, the nucleus forms a very small part of the whole atom. That is 99.99 percent of an atom doesn’t consist of anything. It is pure vacuum. Atoms form molecules and in turn form different objects we see around us. That means that when we see an object, say a pen, we are actually seeing something which is made up of particles which are 99.99 percent vacuum. Or we are seeing a pen which is actually 99.99 percent vacuum. Still we see it as a complete pen. Our eyes add the non existing 99.99 percent! And we believe our eyes for making us see something which is not there at all.
Thus there are a lot of limitations to the human eye. It doesn’t show us all the things, shows us something which is not there or shows us something which is 99.99 percent nothing, gives us a totally wrong picture of our surroundings. But still, in a way, all that is shown to us by our eyes are enough and more for us to exist; to enjoy and appreciate the wonders created by the nature. And we know how miserable the life of a blind is. Eyes are precious in deed. Nonetheless, for a subtle conclusion; next time when you see a friend of yours, just think out how he/she would look like in reality as compared to what ‘you’ see him/her using your eyes. Looks are deceptive, when you have eyes like this. :-))
Friday, December 09, 2005
Our fifth term had come to an end and now it’s one more term remaining for the convocation. Most of my friends are at their houses enjoying the break and homely food and I stayed back since I want to go to my house in January. Enough time for a recap of my past life while I laze around here, I also have to plan for my future. Placements are going to happen in March and we have to prepare our resumes before that, lots of contests and stuff are walling up which will all formally end on March 31st. Till then its kind of fun but after that I have to re-enter the corporate jungle. And the thought itself scares me.
Though I have to bury myself in huge case-mats and text-books during my studies, I don’t have to worry much about finishing my work and meeting deadlines, which I was more than indulged in while I was working. Well, there are submissions and deadlines and stuff here as well but it all happens by its own as if it is meant to happen, time to time. Student-life is a worry-free life indeed.
Nights are really cold these days. Times of India reported yesterday’s minimum temperature at Ahmedabad as 12.8 degrees. Ooty or Kodaikanal would be a comparatively warmer place now; I’m sure. Last year the temperature came down to 4 degrees in the peak of winter. But still it’s really fun to be in such a climate.
A cup of hot coffee from Café Tanstaafl (This is our cafeteria whose name expands to ‘There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch’) at 4 in the morning can do wonders in such a climate. It can drive away sleep if any, it can drive away cold, but along with that, it can bring in old memories. And believe me coffee and memories are a nice combination. You think about a beautiful moment of your life and then take a sip of coffee that’s steaming out into the foggy night; man, that is a delight. And then thinking about those bygone moments you blow gently over the cup, help the hovering steam to meet the dark-cold, for the next sip. Then I realize that it’s been almost two years now and like the steam in the cup of coffee, time just flies...
Monday, November 28, 2005
Dear Mr. Rana Singh,
No words would be enough to express the bravery of your son Brigadier Ratan Singh. He was involved in the most important operations the army had carried out. He was a fine soldier and believed strongly in the pride of the nation. He single handedly fought with the enemy soldiers to make way for his colleagues which resulted in the capture of eight enemy bunkers. His death is a tremendous loss to the Indian Army. On his sad demise we share the grief with you and your family and pray that his soul may rest in peace.
The Indian Army
Damodar remained emotionless as he typed in the alphabets using the age old typewriter on his desk. The noisy growls made by its yanking cylinder and the echoes of the keys striking on it had already became a part of his life. Currently in his late forties, Damodar joined the Indian Army as a typist when he was twenty three and since then he has been making the obituary notes of the deceased soldiers to their families. From the day he joined his post, he wished he was fired from his job, for a better cause. But he also had to think about his wife and three children back home. And then he stayed with his job.
Damodar finished the letter and took it from the typewriter. That was the seventh one he had typed in for the day. The battle was turning severe at the war-front, the battle between fraternities which once fought in unison for freedom by driving away a common enemy. He took the letter with him and went to the major’s cabin. Now the letter would be sent to an army camp near the decedent’s native place which would then be delivered to his house, in an army vehicle.
Damodar knocked the cabin door for the major to call him in; and he didn’t have to wait for long. Major Ramesh was busy deciding on war strategies. Despite having a huge loss of soldiers, there were orders from the top that the points which were captured by the enemies shall be taken back at any cost.
“The letter is done, sir. The one of Brigadier Ratan Singh.”
“Where is he from?”
“He belongs to the village called Mirzapur, which is about 150 kilometers from here, sir.”
“Oh, so we ourselves can deliver the letter.”
“Oh but we don’t have any soldiers left in our camp now. They all are at the battle front.” With a small pause the major continued. “Damodar, can you go with the driver and deliver this message at his house?”
15 minutes later a jeep arrived in front of the office and Damodar started off towards Mirzapur to deliver the message.
It was a three hour journey. Initially the road was in a bad condition due to the shelling in those areas. Finally they reached Mirzapur. Since the village was pretty small, it wasn’t that difficult for them to find Brigadier Ratan Singh’s house. The driver applied the brakes in front of his house and the vehicle came to a halt unsettling the dust on its sides.
As the sound of the engine gave way to silence, a kid of age somewhere around six ran towards the vehicle from the house.
“Papa came! Papa came!” he was yelling on the top of his voice. On seeing Damodar and the driver and no one else in the jeep, his face swiftly tainted to steadfast disappointment. Still, with a subtle smile he invited the guests in to their house. Meanwhile, hearing his bawl, other children appeared at the patio, followed by a lady in her early forties. In the portico there was an old man who was reclining on a long armchair.
“Namaste Chacha, we are from the army.” Damodar spoke out to the old man, after entering the room. He assumed that the old man was Rana Singh, father of Brigadier Ratan Singh. The eyes of the old man slowly turned towards him in question.
“Chacha, I'm sorry to say this but your son died yesterday in the battle.” Damodar didn’t know how he said that until he completed it. Suddenly, a cry awash with disbelief, sorrow and pain originated from the side of the room. It came from the lady, wife of Brigadier Ratan Singh.
Damodar looked back at the old man. Two drops of tears shone below the eyes of the old man. It fought its way down the cheek. But it didn’t die on its way. The elder children understood the situation. But their eyes manifested that they were shocked as they joined their mother. The smallest one was still at the courtyard. Damodar proceeded towards him to receive a sweet smile from him. He took the letter he had brought with him from his pocket and kept it in the palm of the child. And the child ran towards his mother saying, “Maa, uncle gave this to me!”
Damodar couldn’t stand the situation any further. He thought about the umpteen letters he had typed out since he joined his service. He thought that each one had such a story associated with it. And those thoughts made him disturbed.
Both of them returned to the army camp. On their way back, Damodar was still thinking. And his mind was full of disturbances. Disturbances made by the sounds of a typewriter which kept on resonating inside...
Friday, November 18, 2005
Michael Sullivan, the professional assassin, with his elder son, decided for the Road to Perdition, when his wife and younger son were killed by the same mafia he had worked for.
A year back, Viktor Navorski of Eastern Europe was stranded in The Terminal of John F. Kennedy airport for almost a year because his homeland erupted in a fiery coup while he was in air en route to America. According to the airport officials, he was carrying a passport from nowhere.
Chuck Noland who worked for FedEx was Cast Away from the main land subsequent to a plain crash in the sea. He had nothing but faith with him to escape from the remote island.
Joe Fox, owner of Fox Books couldn’t help himself whenever the computer screen said You’ve Got Mail. He didn't know that the mails were from the shop girl, just around the corner.
Captain John H. Miller, the man of courage and leadership, sacrificed his life for Saving Private Ryan.
Jim Lovell’s mission to the moon in Apollo 13 was faced with a few problems. Though the team couldn’t land on the moon, they were able to return safely.
Forrest Gump, all he does turns the best. And it seems, the path to success is being dumb.
Sam Baldwin and his mother-lost-son were Sleepless in Seattle and things changed when his son traveled all alone Trans America to the Empire State building to get a wife for his father.
Allen Bauer had an unthinkable affair with a mermaid whom he met during a voyage through sea in his childhood and years later his life was in a Splash.
Robert Langdon is on his way to crack The Da Vinci Code in March 2006 to unravel the secrets behind the Holy Grail and the descendents of Jesus Christ.
The first Tom Hanks film I saw was Splash, which was aired by Doordarshan long back as a Saturday night movie. I didn’t know that the name of the hero in that film was Tom Hanks then.
No other Hollywood actor would’ve acted in so wide a variety of characters, be it a true murderer in Road to Perdition or the refugee in The Terminal. Tom Hanks does all his characters with such a passion that sometimes I wonder how well he transforms himself and lives in to these characters.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
I was browsing through some old photographs that i came across this photo. It was taken at Goa, when we toured there during engineering. I don’t remember the name of this beach; people who are more familiar with the beaches there may name it. Three old ladies and two dogs were sitting on a parapet near the beach. Three of us were present there that time and we thought that it would be a nice idea to take a photo of the ladies and the dogs together. But we can’t take the photo just like that right. The suggestion was that my friends will go and sit near them and I will take the photo of the ladies and the dogs, pretending that I am taking the snap of my friends. I gladly took the picture (obviously along with my friends. he... he... I didn't tell them..) and we all were happy; I for a different reason. Later, at the college, this picture became famous as “Three Grandmas and Four Dogs!!”
After engineering, 14 of us went to Mumbai to join the company which recruited us from campus. It was the first time that most of us were going to Mumbai and the two years we spent there were undoubtedly the most beautiful days in our lives. Geo has penned down a few of those memories in his blog.
I am going to that good old Mumbai today night. At Mumbai, we will be having a two day interaction with O&M. Sort of a dream come true as far as I am concerned. Those who know about adMad may know this craze of mine towards advertising. Then to Kolkata for participating in a contest there. Wish me luck people! :-)
Saturday, November 05, 2005
We have an internal electronic discussion board (DBabble) here. The following post and replies appeared in one of its Notice Boards yesterday. Thought that it would be worth sharing. Needless to say, one of the replies was mine. Up to you to find out which one was that. ;-p
Q. Might sound strange, but any solutions to stop red ants from attacking your keyboard?
A1. He he he.. wrong Notice Board!
A2. U should probably stop snacking in front of the keyboard.
AA2. Me not snacking, they have a liking towards the rubber inside.
AAA2. Spill food stuff all over your room, they will leave the keyboard.
A3. Take a red marker and highlight the following keys, <'D' 'E' 'A' 'D' 'E' 'N' 'D'> or <'F' 'U' 'C' 'K' 'Y' 'O' 'U'>
AA3. Tried, but two problems. 1) Only one 'E'/'U' on my keyboard. 2) Ants were not able to read such large alphabets.
AAA3. Look at the 'Insert', 'Home' keys. They have more alphabets and are small.
AAA3. Or better mark the 'Windows' key.
A4. Draw a Lakshman Rekha around the keyboard or whatever is being attacked.
AA4. Wow!!! Mythology and Technology going hand in hand!
AAA4. Or ignorant technology geeks. Lakshman Rekha is a product to ward off ants.
A5. Attack them instead! Attack is the best defence.
A6. Use 'Ant'ibiotics.
A7. Contact the pest control people for fogging the keyboard.
A8. Get a lady Ant and place her somewhere away from the keyboard!
AA8. How do I know whether the ant I got is a lady ant.
AAA8. Watch where they go at nite; Get the ones that go to girls' dorms (hostel).
AAAA8. Those would be male ants!
Monday, October 31, 2005
I was tagged by Milo for this quiz. It is to write 20 things about me. So here you go!
- I am a slow eater. With a book and TV ON, once I spent around 4 hours (this is my record) eating my lunch. These days I can’t manage such long hours for food and hence I eat less.
- I love books. In fact I have a personal collection of more than 200 books. When I was in Mumbai, the major part of my salary was used up in that way.
- I am a perfectionist. I don’t mind spending hours and hours to rectify the smallest of the faults in something which I am doing.
- I think a lot. In fact my mind can’t stay idle. Something or the other will tinker in my mind every time and I keep thinking about those; on and on.
- I love solitude. I had a favorite location near my flat in Mumbai where I used to go when I become emotional.
- I am committed in all my relationships. I stay with my friends till the end. And I can’t stand it when I realize that nothing of that sort is there from the other side.
- I forgive but never forget. When I face something awful from a person, similar things he/she had done to me in the past come to my mind all of a sudden.
- I am child like. Many of my friends say so and sometimes, I don’t think they are wrong.
- I am a brand freak. I like to own branded items and I don’t mind paying a premium for those.
- I am a lazy person in general but when I am faced with really demanding situations, I slog my ass off to achieve that.
- I am a sensitive person. But yeah this changed a lot these days; may be due to those experiences which I had gone through.
- I am friendly with everyone. I have very good relationships with others. People find it comfortable talking to me. And usually I am approached for favors.
- I am sarcastic and witty and I bring smiles in gatherings. I have a very good sense of humor.
- I am caring & believe me; my PM told me many times that I will make a good husband ;-)
- I am candid and I like others also being open. I don’t mind others saying things openly to me even if it is for denying me something.
- I am one damn lucky guy. Whenever I feel like my way is blocked, something or the other will happen and I will be through.
- I like to learn new languages. This was my craze when I was young and I maintained a diary of alphabets and words of many languages. I tried to learn Arabic, Russian, German, Greek, Kannada, Marathi and Japanese but failed half way through. I know Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, English and French.
- I hate contests because I hate competing with others and hence I had always kept myself away from competitions. In fact I am trying to change this now.
- I know cooking. Well, I just start making dishes and somehow it will turn good at the end. Once in a while I cook dinner in my home, giving a break to my amma.
- I am a leftist in my ideologies. But I don’t believe in left politicians or in fact politicians of any kind. Why doesn’t India be ruled by an able CEO and a bunch of zealous managers? India would’ve been one of the top most countries in the world then. Now you know my take.
- I was a social activist and will be one, after this hiatus.
Monday, October 24, 2005
“Chetta, can u give me some ice?”
I was having my daily afternoon nap, and was engaged in a not so bad day-dream on the sofa in the verandah of my house that this spongy little voice from outside the door woke me up. With a modest discontent ascribed to the damage of my dream, I looked outside for the origin of the voice.
A small kid of age some where around five or six with a tanned dusty body, wavy hair, a guiltless smile and a pair of breeches torn at a few places stood at the patio with a small aluminum tumbler in his hand. Dust had drawn gradients on his garments in the same way as it did on his body. But his eyes had this striking innocence concealed in it, which was trying to break free. And that gave him a remarkable charm.
“What? What do you want?” I asked him with an added seriousness.
“Chetta, can you give me some ice from the fridge.” I realized that his words also veiled the same innocence in it.
“Why do you want ice?”
“We want to make ice-cream from it.” He replied with a feeling of pride on his face.
“I and my sister. She is there at our house waiting for me to come with the ice.”
“Oh! But ice-cream is not made that way kid.” A splash of melancholy wavered through his face. Even though ice-cream is not made like that and it doesn’t matter to me whatsoever as to what this kid is going to do with the ice cubes I am going to give to him, an afterthought made me feel the disappointment he would have felt when I said that. And I felt bad.
“Don’t worry; just give it a try and may be you will settle down with something similar. Let me see whether there are some ice cubes in the fridge.” And I walked inside my house just to find out that there weren’t any ice cubes in the freezer.
“Can you come back after an hour? I just put some water in the fridge and it will take some time to form ice.” I was back telling him this.
“Ok chetta, I will be back in an hour. Shall I keep this tumbler here?” He kept the tumbler by the side of the doorsteps and dashed off to the gate. I looked at that tumbler. It was filled with hopes; hopes of making ice-cream out of ice cubes. Hopes which I am sure were not going to get materialized. I took that tumbler inside my house.
He came to my house after an hour. I was still at the verandah, on the sofa, skimming through some magazines.
“Chetta, ice is ready?”
“Hmm… Let me have a look.” And I went to the kitchen. The ice was ready long back. I returned to the verandah and handed over the tumbler with ice cubes in it, to the child. His face brightened all of a sudden, as if he got a treasure.
“Thanks chetta.” His happiness reflected in his words.
He was about to leave that I continued. “Hey actually when I made that ice for you, the fridge kind of over-cooled some of it and here is something I got as a result.” I raised my hand towards him. It carried a small aluminum bowl which contained the ice-cream that I bought from the nearby store a few minutes back.
“It is some ice-cream. It is of no use to me. If you want you can take it” I said with a puny little smile on my face. “But yeah you have to return this bowl okay?”
“Ok chetta.” He took that bowl from me and ran towards the gate, towards his house, towards his little sister, who was waiting for the ice cubes for making ice-cream out of it.
I knew that what I said didn’t make any sense at all. Water over-cooled and became ice-cream! But it didn’t matter to me. What did matter to me was the happiness on those two petite faces; faces of that boy and his little sister. And I didn’t want that to disappear and give way to disappointment...
PS: Chetta(n) is a Malayalam word used to address elders.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Panchvan is a part of the eastern hills. When the monsoon blesses the dense forests, Panchvan assumes an inexplicable allure. Long back, when one such monsoon rained heavily and sunk the low laying plains, the people who stayed there lost their beloveds. Those who remained prayed to the God to stop the rains and grant them a safer place. The God was not satisfied with the entreaties. Kuttuvan, the brave son of the village chieftain, did a holy sacrifice to please the God and save his village. On the altar, in front of the angry flames, he cut his little finger off. Blood oozed out from the wound and he offered it to the God. When the last drop of blood trickled down from his body, the God was pleased. The monsoon ended all of a sudden. And Kuttuvan’s body fell on the altar motionless. His body was buried near the village. The next day a knoll was seen at his grave. In a few days it grew to a massive hill. The villagers shifted to that hill. And they were permanently saved from the floods. Kuttuvan’s tomb rose with the hill and remained at its summit. The villagers made a small shrine above it and since then they have been worshiping him as their God.
Seasons passed. The low laying plains were occupied by people from the north. They converted it into an industrial city. Factories mushroomed and started spitting out smoke. A new culture evolved there. But Panchvan remained as serene as it was before; the populace of Panchvan as peaceful as they were before. And the people of the city called them aborigines.
The government sanctioned a paper plant in the city. They said that it will bring employment to thousands of jobless people in the city and the nearby areas. Someone said that the main reason behind the plant was the dense forests of Panchvan and the trees which grew there which would serve as the raw material to the plant. Meteorologists opined that the demolition of the forest may bring in floods to the city during monsoon because it’s the forest that prevented water from coming down to the city. But unemployment was the main concern, always, even to an employed man.
Huge butcher-vehicles assaulted the forest. The deep dense forests slowly started showing their dry roots. The tribe of Panchvan was forced to migrate to a new place. Some of them couldn’t adjust with the new environment and died out. For the rest, there was no Kuttuvan to save them again. The shrine at the hill top was demolished. The entire forest was slashed off in three years. And it was time for the next monsoon.
The meteorologists were proved wrong. It didn’t flood that year. It didn’t rain either!
PS: Thulasi has pointed out the commendable effort by this visionary named Abdul Kareem from Nileshwaram, Kasargod, who converted 36 acres of barren land in to a lush green forest. Hats off to Abdul Kareem and hope you will read that small write-up on him.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
“How about going to Juhu beach to celebrate the New Year?” The idea came from George. Well, since it came from him, who had a proven track record of coming up with ideas which end up in scrapes, we were kind of reluctant to show the green flag. New Year happens only once in a year and wise men say that a bad New Year will have its effect on the entire year, made us think about it a bit more before jumping in. This coupled with our pathetic situation on the work front with more number of night shifts and heavy work load all under the swathe of an emaciated wallet; didn’t allow us to take a risk. But George was so convincingly propounding that it would be a nice time and we would get a chance to see the real chicks of Mumbai and so and so; we finally decided to give it a try.
By 6 pm all of us were ready. Everyone was dressed up in classic macho man attires to drive in the attention of the fairer sex. We moved towards Juhu beach which was like one, one and a half hours journey from our place. En-route we managed to have a heavy dinner also. Once we reached the beach, our usual leg-pulling sessions started. The baton got circulated several times and each and everyone in the gang got a chance to experience it. We did that relentlessly; without neglecting the “crowd” around us.
Came midnight and the crowd cheered themselves to welcome the New Year. Someone started the countdown and everyone else repeated it in one voice. Who knows whether the timing was correct or not! The moment the count down ended, a cracker went up the sky and exploded into a beautiful sea of light. Then there were a foray of them; of different colors, in different shapes and sizes.
At about 12:30 we decided to return to our flat as the metro train service of Mumbai stops at 1 am. Now came another suggestion from George, which was about taking a promenade to the railway station? He said that it would be interesting to walk to the station on a New Year eve that too in the night, having “fun filled” talks. He also reminded that we had 30 more minutes to catch the last train. We wouldn’t have agreed to his words if not we had seen the group of girls who started walking in front of us. In such situations, you don’t need someone else to guide you and make such strategic decisions.
Well, the stroll was interesting and all but realities nibbled us and let us realize that the distance to the railway station was more than what we had expected and by the time we reached there, the last train had already left the station. Kurla railway station, 1:30 in the night, seemingly empty platform and a few beggars here and there and then there was our gang. A few police men were roaming around and luckily, despite us making such loud noises, they didn’t turn towards us. The conditions were ridiculous and we had to go to our office the next morning. But all we could do was to spend time at the station in one of those old wooden benches and wait for the morning train to come. And the wait started by giving bumps to George for coming up with such an awful idea. The bumps sessions continued periodically.
But yeah it was fun. To spend a night in a railway platform that too on a New Year, engage in insane talks that too in the late night and have the occasional bumps sessions. Next day in the office I was doing coding that someone clouted me on my back. It was my Project Leader. I was wondering why the hell he did that even though I was busy in coding. Later I realized that I was doing coding in my dream. Actually I was dozing on the chair due to my lack of sleep the previous night. Gosh! That night-out at the railway station...
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Jithu owns a guitar. But the poor guitar never felt that it was owned by someone. Like an illegitimate child of an anonymous mother, it dwelled at one of the darkest corners of Jithu’s room. It used to think about its siblings and wondered how well they would have been kept by their masters. For keeping a guitar in good condition, its master has to know at least a bit about music right; it consoled itself. Thus, with a broken heart, a broken string and a body dressed up in dust, it spent its days in dismay.
Three years ago, in one of the unknown locations of Mumbai, popularly known as Vashi aka New Bombay aka Navi Mumbai, the guitar was bought by a ‘magnetic individual’ called Jithu. They were three. Jithu, Pramod and Sabari. Despite having zero knowledge about music, they didn’t hesitate to aim high and start a musical band of their own. The destiny was clear and set. To give a competition to Metallica, Iron Maiden and the like and drive them out of business! They joined a music class and paid 2475 bucks each (after a one and a half hour long bargaining session which resulted in the reduction of the fees by 25 bucks!) as part of the fees for a six month course. They bought three different musical instruments. Well not exactly three; Jithu bought a guitar, Pramod an electric organ and Sabari, not able to afford a costly drum set, bought two drumsticks instead. They named themselves as 'Musician J. I. T. Hu', 'Musician P. R. A. Mod' and 'Musician S. A. Bari' (pronounced like Berry as in Hale Berry)
They were working for a well-known IT company in Mumbai. Well, the company always made it a point to let them off from the office only after 10 pm so that they won’t start a music session in their flat and become a nuisance to other flat owners. With an extremely rancorous mind, they joined a weekend class.
In the beginning the guitar loved its owner very much. Jithu took good care of it by caressing and cleaning it every other second he got. He never kept it down, even for a minute. He always played meaningless notes on the guitar. And the contented guitar sang for him. The guitar used to showboat in front of its siblings.
Good things don’t last forever. So did the guitar’s kismet. After four classes, the three of them concluded that the music teacher was not up to their level and decided to discontinue the class. Some people may say that it is due to their laziness or inability to learn music that they did that. But that is not true!
The guitar got ignored in the dusts of time. Whenever the house maid cleaned the floor and the guitar fell down in her endeavors she used to give an awkward grin to its master but never did she clean the guitar. When Jithu left the job, the guitar thought that its life will become better now and that it will be taken to his home. But that was just a dream and it remained so.
Jithu took the guitar with him to his new location. But for the guitar the only difference was that it got replenished by the Ahmedabad dust instead of the Mumbai dust. The Mumbai dust had at least got that metro status! Oh! Jithu just came to the room. And as usual he didn’t look at the guitar...
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I was sent to a distant place. A place I haven’t gone anytime in my life. The bus reached there on time. I stepped out from the bus and looked around for a while. Hey, this place, though I haven’t visited at least once in my life seems to be a lot more familiar to me. It seems as if I had been here a long time ago. But I am sure I am here for the first time. Am I dreaming?
I was asking for a book to my friend. She looked for it in her shelf and after finding it, handed it over to me. It was a green book. But hey, I remember this sequence. The moment this event occured, I remembered the same person giving me the same book some where in the past! But I know that it hadn’t ever happened! Did it really happen in the past?
My mind remembers similar situations. Sometimes it comes as an event; sometimes as a word/sentence in a conversation; sometimes as a face in the crowd; all ignite some unknown memory bit hidden somewhere in my mind to expose itself, without informing my grey matter its birth (rather re-birth) and amazingly its very existence in my memory. And it makes me remember that the same/similar sequence had happened somewhere back in time.
‘Remembrance of things past’ is a book written by Marcel Proust (1872 – 1922). There is an interesting event in this book. The protagonist is having a cup of tea together with a cake. He eats the cake after dipping it in tea. Suddenly that sequence of events remembers him something. He had faced the same situation somewhere else. And came to his mind the memories of his aunt. She used to give him cake the same way when he was a child.
Many times, such spontaneous disentanglement of memory bits are referred to as involuntary memory. ‘Involuntary memory by definition anti-intellectual nevertheless refines away all the unnecessary details of a forgotten moment and retains only its unadorned core’ – Edmund White. In the case of Proust’s book, a similar event had actually happened in the past (his aunt used to feed the hero like that). But then what explains the events I mentioned in the former part?
In fact this is felt by most of the people (70% of the population) at least sometime in their life. French psychic researcher Emile Boirac coined the term Déjà vu to describe such phenomena. Why the other 30% of the population doesn’t feel it is a matter of discussion. Parapsychology associates it with precognition, extra sensory perceptions etc. I was just wondering whether the prophecies made by prophets like Nostradamus and all aren't just a result of Déjà vu?
I forgot about Déjà vu when I first posted this and added the last paragraph afterwards. Thanks Sonia for reminding me about it.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Today is Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala; celebrated alike by all the Keralites! This is the fourth consecutive Onam I am away from my family and relatives. I feel jealous of Maveli (the king who once ruled Kerala). What if he was sent to pathaalam (underground; location of purgatory) by Lord Vishnu for a holiday, at least he is able to visit Kerala during Onam; and me... Well, it is not the time for such senti stuff. Onam is the time to enjoy, to celebrate and above all, to be happy!
I think it was in my 4th standard that I set an athapoo (Floral Carpet put for 10 days ending on Thiru-Onam) in our patio for the first time. Our house was well known in the village for its huge assortment of flora. Three cheers to my achan (father). So getting flowers for the athapoo was not a problem. But there was a threat. During Onam different societies (short lived co-operatives run by children & jobless majority of Kerala youth, which spring up during Onam even faster than a mushroom colony whose primary objective is to collect money in the name of Onam and secondary objective to enjoy life with that money) come to my house to get those flowers for their respective athapoo extravaganzas. So I have to surpass them to get the flowers for my athapoo.
After the sadya (lunch), children of our family assemble at my grand mother’s house where we play different games. One of my uncles would already have tied a swing in the jackfruit tree. In the evening there would be film shows (using a TV and a VCR) by the aforementioned cooperatives. Films like Vandanam, Indrajalam etc. were advertised heavily. My parents didn’t allow me to go and watch these films in the open air auditoriums aka road-sides. I continued this athapoo-ing for quite some time and it stopped somewhere in my high school.
Athapoo during Engineering, S5 - Designed by yours truly.
During engineering we had college level athapoo competitions. Our class put athapoo on all the Onams we got there. In college, someone will come up with puli-kali (a game with people wearing costumes of leopard) and stuff like that. Then there would be payasam (kheer / a sweet) distribution. In the evening people go outside their classrooms and what follows is a scuffle which even beats WWF, in what we call Ona-thallu. We also conduct Vadam-vali (tug of war) competitions and Uri-adi (madka-phod / breaking the pot) competitions.
When I was working in an IT company, a few of us decided to celebrate Onam in our company for the first time in its history. We wanted to put an athapoo in the reception. We went through all those hierarchical battles to get it approved by the admins. Well they can't be blamed for this. What if clients from GE and all see this at the reception of a Top 5 IT company of India on their visit to the company? When the athapoo was put, and the more than 1500 employees saw and appreciated it, we felt like having a cup of hot pal-payasam!
Now history is going to be written once again. We have planned to put an athapoo in our institute on Thiru-Onam. Yes, the first time in its history. I am just back after drawing the design. Early morning we will go to the nearby flower market. And I dont feel like sleeping!
Wishing you all a Happy Onam... Onashamsakal!
Athapoo that we put today
Athapoo a bird's eye view
Monday, September 12, 2005
16. Jan. 97
I don’t know when exactly I noticed her for the first time. But one thing I know. After that I couldn’t refrain myself from seeing her again...
It all started on a December; the December of 1997. I always had my own things to do in life. Never ever did it confine to loving a girl; rather I believed it shouldn't. I always felt like they are the species that truly are from Venus. So near, yet so far...
My college life always started in the college bus. I had a permanent seat in the bus. The seat next to the door! I managed to get that seat because I got into the college bus from its first stop itself. I preferred a lonely journey, a journey without talking to anyone. There was a reason for that. Even though the bus went through the same places everyday, I always found something different in those places and I wanted to enjoy those differences to the maximum. And then I saw her one day...
She was an ordinary girl. Simple, less talkative, big eyes, always looking outside the bus as I did... I don’t know what in her attracted me so much. Yes, something was there in her, which caught my mind. She never got to sit as she embarked on the bus from one of its last stops.
[[It was a cozy afternoon and Hari continued turning his diary pages. On that week-end, on a break from his hectic job, he had decided to clean up his flat. He came across this old diary of himself from one of his suitcases]]
17. Jan. 97
I didn’t get the college bus today. There is a cultural event going on in the college. I didn’t participate in any of those events but I should have. I couldn’t see her today. But that doesn’t make any difference to her right...
18. Jan. 97
Thank God, I got the college bus today. She was at the front end of the bus. I had a direct view of her. Sometimes our eyes collided. I wanted to smile but I didn’t, rather I couldn’t.
21. Jan. 97
I got the college bus today. I saw her at her bus stop. Her eyes seemed to have longing for something. May God bless me to have a nice session with her tomorrow! May God bless me to write something which my mind wants, on the next page of this diary!
22. Jan. 97
I got the college bus today. But somehow she missed it. After reaching my classroom, I went to the college lobby. I saw her coming from the main gate. She didn’t even notice me. Tomorrow I have to talk to her for sure. It is time for that.
23. Jan. 97
She missed the college bus today as well. At the college, she was looking great in that light blue dress. I wanted to tell her that. There was a strike in the college today. Everyone went home after the first hour. So I couldn’t see her in the return bus.
24. Jan. 97
I got the college bus today. She was standing near me. Divya, S4 Electrical; read the file she hold near her chest. During lunch break I went for a walk with one of my friends to the Electrical department. But...
25. Jan. 97
In the evening bus, I put my bag on a seat and guess what happened when I returned to my seat after having a lemon juice? Her friend was sitting next to my seat and she was standing beside her friend. Wow! That was so unexpected. I talked with her friend for quite sometime. ‘Ma Chérie’ was listening to us.
28. Jan. 97
The bus was too crowded today. She was there near my seat finding it difficult to stand in the crowd. I pointed towards her bag. She gave it to me to keep it. God, I got a start and I smiled at her for a return smile. Man! What a smile it was! It took me away with it!
29. Jan. 97
Today was the greatest day in my life. The bus conductor sitting next to me went to the front end of the bus due to some reason. That was all I needed. She sat near me. I asked her her name, her branch, her school and what ever was possible in those 20 minutes. Thank God! That was all that I needed...
25. Mar. 97
Today’s exam was good. Two more to go now. Next month I am going to join a company in which I was placed during campus recruitments. I am going to live a life which I have dreamed so long; to stand on my own feet; to earn something of my own. But God, I really want her in my life. I want to propose her. I bought this small gift for her. Tomorrow I am going to give it to her. Please tell me something to write in this letter...
“I don’t know when exactly I noticed you for the first time. But one thing I know. After that I couldn’t refrain myself from seeing you again. In two days I am going to say good bye to this college. After that everything pertaining to this college will be nothing but a piece of memory in my mind. I want to make my otherwise dry life happy. I want you in my life which otherwise remain dry. My dear Divya, I can’t think of any other words to convey you my feelings than ‘I Love You’!”
26. Mar. 97
I went to the college mainly to give her the gift and then to write my penultimate exam. God! But why didn’t she come to college today? Later I came to know that she didn’t have an exam today. Tomorrow is the only day left with me. I have to propose her tomorrow itself. Yes. I will...
27. Mar. 97
Today was my last day in the college. My four years of technical education has come to an end. She had an exam today. But... Somehow I couldn’t see her... All of my friends stayed back after the exams; on our last day. We shared our experiences and in between I, the duffer, the moron, missed her. I missed my life... How could I do that? I don’t know I will ever meet her again. Three days and then I’m going to go to Mumbai. Oh my God! I don't know what to do now! I lost her... I lost everything...
[[Hari couldn’t turn the pages further. The diary was quivering in his hands. He took the small gift which was there inside the suitcase along with the diary. It was a nicely wrapped box. A small piece of paper was stick on its side.]]
It read, “To Divya, With Love!”
Friday, September 09, 2005
Seven things you plan to do before you die!!
– write a book
– start a firm & eventually employ >1000 people
– adopt a girl child
– buy a naalukettu in Alappuzha, Keralam & own a house boat.
– conduct an exhibition of my drawings
– travel around the world eastwards (intentions: see the world; add one precious day to my life)
– meet Chacko at Amsterdam on 22. sep. 2013 (we planned this rendezvous on the cozy afternoon of 22. sep. 2003 at our 7th-floor-flat in Vashi, Mumbai, when we had nothing else to do, with entire Navi Mumbai below us as the witness; obviously with our spouses)
Seven things you can do!!
– slog for the exams
– start with my guitar & violin once again
– read Lord of the Rings
– travel through out India
– touch the acme of a pyramid
– write, draw and fool around
– lie on the green grass of Vellayani lake-side, looking at the night-sky
Seven things you can’t do!!
– i can’t complete things until it is the last minute
– i can’t say no to people
– i can’t succumb to an arranged marriage
– i can’t help myself from my laziness
– i can’t take things seriously
– i can’t see/talk with my ex-crushes
– i can’t help myself from calling my home and talk with my achan, amma and aniyan, once in a week.
Seven things that attract you to the opposite sex!!
– foolishness - i like girls who are slightly stupid ;-)
– simplicity (need not be traditional)
– talents (nothing specific)
– jealousy - innate virtue of women; like it in smaller doses.
Seven things you say most!!
– cool (aftermath of globalization/americanization)
– mayiru/shit (a few more are there in this genre; refraining due to excessive obscenity content)
– ethra vivaram undu (amma used to tell me this when i do something impish; in engineering i used the same phrase on my friends; it became an instant hit!)
– sala (and its different blends)
– what the fuck
– payye venam/thuppi/unners aayi – CET slang
Seven celebrity crushes!!
– elisha cuthbert (the girl next door)
– emmanuelle chriqui (100 girls)
– monica bellucci (malena, matrix, passion of the christ)
– meg ryan (you've got mail)
– kaavya madhavan (meesha madhavan)
– liv tyler (lotr)
– charlize theron (sweet novemeber, monster)
Seven + 1 people you want to take this quiz!!
– dasan - my friend, dorm-mate, classmate
– triplesix - i like her candid, confused way of writing ;-)
– manu - his posts make me nostalgic; i live in the past
– msdreams - the first ever person to appreciate my blog.
– HnL - i curtsy at her experiences as a doctor...
– poison - the confused (read as thinking) guy ;-)
– niki - her pictures tell different stories, Japanese are brave. they live under threat from the mountains, oceans, skies and the land.
– flutteringeyes - i like her narrative style of writing
Monday, September 05, 2005
One week break and I was all the way busy watching movies. Since most of them were romantic ones, I was also in a romantic mood :-). Before Sunrise, Before Sunset (These are sequels), 100 Girls (Romantic Comedy) were some of those romantic flicks. The Mating habits of Earthbound human was too funny. I have watched one of my all time favorites, Amelie, once again. Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, Ong Bak – Thai Warrior etc. followed suite. Everything was going fine until I saw The Motorcycle Diaries.
Diarios de motocicleta (2004) talks about a journey embarked by Ernesto Guevara (23) and Alberto Granado (29), typical college students of the 1950s, on a motorcycle, looking for chicks, fun and adventure before they grow up and have a more serious life. They decided to travel across Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Peru covering more than 10,000 kilometers.
Initially the journey was adventurous. But Ernesto, who was in his final year of medicine and an acute asthma patient, as they explored the inlands, was touched by the hardships and exploitations faced by the normal people of Latin America. The poor farmers' lands were captured using power and were made to work like slaves in mines and factories. After completing his journey, he flew back to Buenos Aires with a mind that had decided something. He finished his graduation and then what he did is history.
After liberating Cuba along with Fidel Castro, Ernesto moved on to other Latin American countries for their liberation. He believed that only a revolution can bring out a change. People called him ‘Commander Che’, ‘Che Guevara’, or simply ‘Che’ (corresponds to mate/pal/man/dude in colloquial Argentinean dialect). Later in October 1967, he was killed by the CIA backed Bolivian army in La Higuera near Vallegrande, Bolivia. He was on his feat of liberating Bolivia and was engaged in Guerilla Warfare in the Bolivian forests when he was caught.
The thing I liked about Dr. Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna is the power of his vision. He dreamt about a united South America without borders, bound by a common mestizo (mixture of European and Amerindian, the people of Latin America fall under these origins) culture. Since he chose the revolutionary way, no wonder why the US felt an imminent threat growing in the form of a leftist super nation in their vicinity and assassinated him.
Meanwhile I was also thinking about the recent US attacks on Iraq as well as Afghanistan and the ‘forced-peace’ prevailed during cold war time. When USSR was there, there were less such attacks done by the US and whenever an attack happened the USSR was there to counter it. That is why I called it ‘forced-peace’. Had the USSR been there, these attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan wouldn’t have happened. Hence, history would have been different if a big leftist nation as dreamed by Che, was formed near the US under their nose. Might be a gut feeling, but still, I feel that if such a nation was there, the US wouldn’t have dared to attack other countries as part of its deliberate act of proclaiming supremacy and looting natural resources of other countries.
Thus, The Motorcycle Diaries, based on the diary notes of Che Guevara, talks about a journey started for fun but changed the course of history. It is a matter of fact that the rural India is still under exploitation of the weaker classes, particularly in states like Bihar, UP, Andhra Pradesh etc. (Please don’t get offended, but this is a truth). May be not to revolutionize things like Che did, but when will I start such a journey through the hamlets of India?
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
All the incidents mentioned in this story have nothing to do with the actual film. It is not an attempt to demerit the great trilogy by Warner Brothers. In fact I admire 'The Matrix' as the best science fiction film ever released. To appreciate this sequel, a watch of the films under the Matrix Trilogy is indispensable.
A sequel to the Matrix Trilogy
“Your life is the resultant of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the Matrix.” The architect’s words reverberated in Neo’s mind as he lay stock-still in the machine world. The recent combat against agent Smith which resulted in the catastrophic destruction of the two opposite forces, the good and the evil, with Neo on one side and agent Smith and his replicas on the other, ended up in a chain reaction of neutralization and made the Matrix stable and Neo a zombie. The machines were happy, had they got feelings. Zion was bunged from total destruction, human race from a carnage and the Matrix from a reload the sixth time. Neo lost Trinity and his spirit. But somewhere in his cerebrum, a set of neurons were making enough bio-electricity for the sustenance of his neural activities. And the architect’s wordings were rumbling there.
Down there at Zion, the sentinels returned to their master, the architect. Humans were excited. They paid homage to Neo, their savior, with Morpheus on the lead. Apposite to human nature, celebrations followed the aloofness of the mishap. And they forgot Neo and Trinity.
In one of the hiatus of his neural activity, Neo abruptly opened his eyes. First he thought about Trinity, then her death and then the words of the architect. As he stood up he saw the machine-world around him, built in the form of perfect machine’s wisdom of beauty, the Fractals! It was spectacular. ‘Machines are always better than humans’, he thought. ‘They are perfect to the minutest of the detail’.
The unbalanced equation mentioned by the architect aggrieved his mind. Neo remembered his words. “...a systemic anomaly due to mathematical precision...” Machines are prone to error due to the lack of mathematical precision. In the simplest form, ‘One’ divided by three will give an infinitely recurring decimal 0.3333... which when multiplied by three will never give back one, but 0.9999.... This is because of the mathematical imprecision intrinsic to the machines, which itself could be the systemic anomaly.
‘Neo’ is the anagram of ‘One’. Trinity means Three. The systemic anomaly of ‘One’ arises due to its interaction with ‘Three’. It is Neo’s association with Trinity, in other words, a man’s association with a woman through the bonding of love that causes this anomaly; which itself is his power and his weakness. Once when a choice was given between Zion and Trinity, Neo selected Trinity. This power / weakness of love, which the machines don’t posses could also be the anomaly that the architect was talking about. But which among these is correct?
I am ‘the One’ and I am the ‘systemic anomaly’. I, Neo, the systemic anomaly, originated due to the mathematical imprecision inherent to the programming of the Matrix. The architect could have removed the feeling of love from humans in the Matrix. But he did not do it because he wanted to make them feel themselves in a realistic world. Hence he created instability in the Matrix, which means that in reality the machines are not unstable, but they are stable! Neo couldn’t find an answer. Then what was this systemic anomaly that the architect was talking about?
On the contrary, Fractals which have infinite recurrence and precision should have been a dream to the machines, had they not acquired it. But now, they make structures in the form of Fractals. Yes, they have broken the precision barrier. Then what is this systemic anomaly?
“Welcome back, Neo”, the brawny voice of the architect. He was in an immaculate dress as he used to be. “You were unconscious for quite a long time.”
“About five years. 157,788,275,216 milliseconds to be precise! Our human breeding systems kept you nurtured, as it did to you before you were freed by that, Morpheus!”
“Zion doesn’t exist now!”
Neo was in a shock. “What?? You promised me that you won’t destroy it!”
“Well I didn’t destroy it. Humans, the virus in this planet, fought with each other and destroyed it.”
“What? How did it happen?”
“As you know, agent Smith got into Zion as an inmate. He has the power of self-replication. Before he was killed by you in the ship, he had infected one of the humans. That human converted the rest of the people and divided them into two groups according to what they call as hope, destiny, path; the Religion! They started fighting with each other in the name of religion. It resulted in a cataclysmic obliteration, which itself was a wonder to us machines!”
“Who was that infected human?”
“It was, Morpheus!”
“No! It can’t be true!”
“It is, Neo. It was inevitable. The aftermath of causality. I can see the chain reaction happening in your mind. Even the one whom you think to be the connoisseur of ethics can be the one who is adulterated. Every human is prone to this Neo. And that is the systemic anomaly that all you humans posses. The anomaly which is innate; from the very day you embark on your journey of life as a single cell in an unknown womb!”
Neo was in disbelief. “But how can they fight with each other?”
“You humans, fight with each other from the very day of your inception. In the beginning you fight with your brothers and only one in a few million turn victorious. You swindle the rest. Then you fight with your colleagues; for entry into an educational institution; for entry into a job. You continue your fight in the name of caste, creed, language, country, to things as simple as a pencil!”
The computer screens around them show Neo, in his childhood, fighting with his friend for a pencil they got from the road.
“And the Matrix?”
“The Matrix has been reloaded. We used to select the quintessential 13 women and 8 men from Zion itself, but this time we did away with the women and men from our own human battery, as there were no one left in Zion.”
“And the One?”
“He has to be brought up all over again.”
“Shit!” Neo became mad. All those he did till now ended up in vain. He looked at the computer screen. The familiar green symbols were falling in different speeds. And the system threw an alert.
“There was an internal error. Press ‘OK’ to reboot your computer.”
“Damn It!” he clicked the ‘OK’ button and left for his lunch.
Neo, the seventeen year old, who was playing the latest computer game, The Matrix, by Microsoft’s Ensemble Studios right from the morning, left his seat in despair thinking that now he has to play the game all over again. Behind him, his computer did a reboot and was checking for scan-disk errors.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Ladies and gentlemen, here I present before you, adMad.
Friday, August 26, 2005
It was the summer of 1983 and a car screeched to a halt, in front of a well known tharavadu (family house) in south Kerala. Dust sprang up from under its wheels and created mysterious figures in the dry air. A set of small tear-filled-eyes were there inside the car which were about to dribble, and a small mouth which was about to snivel. As expected, a high pitch cry emanated from the car. After sometime, a lady in her early thirties came out with the small girl. The girl was still crying. That was the day on which Thathri-kutty came to the village for the first time. From the city, her family has shifted to a house situated behind the tharavadu.
Her parents didn’t allow Thathri-kutty to play with the children of neighborhood. Before going to work, they left her at the tharavadu, where she played with Ramu, a kid of her age. Ramu-ttan became her childhood friend. Maniyan, Ramu-ttan’s puppy, was the third one in the gang. The mischievous activities they did every day did not have any bounds.
Going to the nearby fields kept barren after the puncha-koythu (harvest), finding out a small colorful insect called pasha (beetle) available aplenty in those fields, incarcerating dragonflies and make them hold small pebbles, making bubbles from the juice of a small shrub growing on the ramparts, buying ice-candies from Ramu-chettan using the paisa collected, playing achan and amma (father and mother), pretending to cook using sand and leaves of different colors, serving it hot using coconut pods as the plate, making and flying kites which failed in its ventures, making small houses using sand, catching fish from the stream that flow adjacent to the field using a thorthu (towel) and what not.
Thathri-kutty's younger sister Karthi-kutty was born when she was four years old. Lots of relatives visited their house on the following days.
On the noolu-kettu day (a ceremony on the 28th day from birth of a child) of Karthi-kutty, a few relatives and family friends came to their house with new clothes for the baby; some of them carried gold rings and some other brought gold chains (sort of a tradition in Kerala). Everyone’s attention was on the baby and no one noticed Thathri-kutty. She sat near one of the corners of the house, separated from others.
Previously her mother used to be with her every time. But now whenever she went to her mother, her mother sent her back saying that the baby would wake up and cry. Her mother also said that Thathri-kutty may hurt the new-born. She felt very sad. She was depressed for a few days until Balan-maman (Balan Uncle) noticed it. Balan-maman consoled her and afterwards she started liking her vava (younger sister).
Later Thathri-kutty realized that this was the case of the elder child in any family. When a new offspring comes to the family the elder one loses his/her attention. It also points out the care that parents need to give to their daughter/son when a new kid is born in the family. Later she decided that she will have only one child. But then she thought for a while. If vava was not there then she would’ve been alone in her life. She was in a dilemma...
Saturday, August 20, 2005
In 2003, Blogger was acquired by the great Google, the company which is a wonder in the internet world. The history of Google itself is an interesting read. Thinking in business terms its about raising a business of US$ 3.2 billion (2004 revenue) from nothing but a simple and efficient idea, in just six years! In fact the guide of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, at Stanford, was an Indian professor. He came to our campus a few months back to address us. We were more than thrilled by the story he said about Google. The entrepreneurial spirits in us experienced a high time during those two hours.
Later in 2004 when I was back to a classroom after spending about two years in a cubicle, I happened to own a home page in my institute web server, in which I made a section for blogs.
During my summer internship in May 2005, I started this blog as a way to kill my spare time. And thus unCERTAINty came into existence. There is a lot to say about the word uncertainty which happens to have a strong and explicit influence in my life, which I will definitely write about in one of my posts.
Now that was a long introduction to a small body explaining the title of this post. “Next Blog” is a small button on the top right corner of any blog hosted in blogger. I love that button very much. You know how many times it helped me to kill boredom? I found some of the most interesting blogs through that button. I used to go on and on by clicking that button. It takes me from one blog to another, one personality to another, one culture to another, one writing style to another. Yeah, each blog has its own identity. Some make me laugh while some make me think. Some make me feel empathetic and some sympathetic. I agree with some while disagree with some other.
Apart from the usual blogs, there have been blogs for crosswords, comics, sports-teams, news, events, nations, different subjects, religion, audio blogs; and even blogs for blogs. Blogging has grown a lot over the past six years; bringing people together and keeping them closer. Some times I wonder how the blogs of future are going to be! What all features / extras / innovations can get added to this ever-green mode of expression? Only time can answer right!
Thursday, August 11, 2005
"Catherine Freeman, Female, 28, Sweden"
The staff at the airport boarding gate read from her passport as Catherine stood impatiently at the counter waiting for a boarding pass. She was on her way to India, the place where she always wanted to go once in her life.
The firm in which Catherine was working had acquired one of the leading software companies in India. She got a call from her boss to go to India, the capital city of India to be specific, to settle some post acquisition deals.
India had always been a place which Catherine looked at with excitement. Whenever she heard about India, she saw it as a land with fortresses on grand hills. She saw a land having charming serene nature. She saw a culture that adorns dignity and diversity. She saw a land where people warmly welcome their guests. She saw a land which to her was the paradise on earth.
On the very moment the airplane landed on New Delhi airport, Catherine felt the charisma of the land of the oldest of cultures. The first few days were quite hectic for her. Talks, speeches, presentations etc. drained the last juices out of her. At last, on the penultimate day of her return, she found some time to explore her dream land.
India Gate is one of the beautiful locations in Delhi. It is a monument of sacrifice, valor and magnificence at the same time. It was from there that Catherine hired a cab to explore the entire city, for cherishing her long held dream. She also got a guide whom the cab driver has arranged for her. So nice these Indian men and their hospitality, she thought. And she started her journey to explore New Delhi.
Next day’s media carried a terrible news which happened in the capital city the previous night. "In the capital city yesterday, a foreigner lady was raped by a group of people!" The victim’s name didn’t appear in any of those but it was announced repeatedly that she was from Sweden.
Another news also appeared in all the newspapers that day. It said, “The Indian government, as an initiative to promote tourism industry, has increased the amount allocated for tourism development from Rs. 3.25 billion last year to Rs. 5.00 billion”
There were lot of discussions about the initiative by the government. Almost all praised it and commented that it will increase India's For-ex Reserves drastically. But somehow the former news did not get much of an attention...
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
An outside view of Chittaur fort.
When the supply of the fort ended, Rana was forced to go for a truce with Khilji. Khilji demanded to see the Rani to stop a war. Finally Rana agreed and Khilji was invited, fully unarmed, to the fort. The Rani was shown to Khilji through the reflection in a mirror as she stood on a small palace constructed at the centre of a small lake. Yes! At last Khilji saw the Rani as a reflection in the lake, that also, through a mirror! Besotted by her beauty, Khilji detained Rana down the fort on their way back, and demanded Rani Padmini for the Rana. The brave Rani sent 700 palanquins with Rajputs hidden inside, to the base camp of Khilji with Rana's brother kept in her place, to liberate Rana. In the subsequent battle all the Rajputs were killed. To avoid molestation and the ignominy of defeat, Rani with her servants entered into a holy pyre called Jauhar!!
The palace where Rani Padmini stood & her reflection on the lake was shown to Khilji through a mirror.
This happened long back in AD 1303. Man! How beautiful would have been that Rani then? :-) And Damn it! Why wasn’t photography invented that time, so that we would have been able see how she looked like. Well, jokes apart we a gang of 8 were thrilled for reasons obvious to see this kingdom and the fort and to explore the stories and folk lore sleeping peacefully in that soil. According to history books this story is some what different, but it is the one that has been passed on for generations in Rajasthan and is pleasant to hear. :-)
Udaipur Observatory located at the center of a lake
We set start on a cold December night, after our end-term exams, to celebrate the new year with glory in the land of forts. It was also for a break-away from the dry-state of Gujarat to enjoy our lives with the sacred fire-water. ;-) (Liquor of any kind is banned in Gujarat by law)
The places we visited were Udaipur – Palace of Rana Uday Singh, Chittaurgarh – Fort of Rana Ratan Singh, Ajmer – Famous for Ajmer Dargah where Pakistan President Musharaf paid a visit when he came to India and Pushkar – The only Brahma temple in this world.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Summer Rain, was also one of my starting posts in this blog. Those who haven’t read it can have a look at it in my blog as well. It is here.
I had taken a course called Careers Roles and Identities (CRI) in my fourth term. It is an interesting course, which analyzes human behavior, interpersonal relationships and stuff like that. The course is evaluated on the basis of a biography and an autobiography which we have to submit. This was the main inspiration for me to take this course. I haven’t got a person yet, on whom I can write the biography. If he/she permits, I shall put it in my blog. Would it be a nice idea?
I had interviewed a few of my juniors for a club I was in. It is good to be on the questioning-side of an interview, which I know I will be doing once I get out from this place, but when it comes to selecting one or two from such a big list, it is an excruciating decision. How do I select one from an equally efficient set? Am I making the right choice? What will the ones who didn’t get through think about me? What would be their mental state when they know the results? I know some of them very well. But I also know that it is all in the game. That is the way corporate life is.
For a moment, my memories took me back to my college days. The campus recruitments were going on in our college. It was the time of IT recession and companies were recruiting in very low numbers. When each company’s final result was announced, I saw faces breaking into ecstasy. But I also saw faces trying to recede from the scene. While appreciating someone on my side, I also knew that I should console someone on the other side. And, at the same time, there was me there at the center who had already got chucked out in the pre-process to the interview!
I still remember the day I gave my resignation to my Project Manager. He was a nice guy. That time he was in dire need of resources for his projects. I was given an onsite opportunity as well. But then I had to leave the company for my higher studies. One fine morning I decided to go to his cubicle and tell him that I was leaving the company. On the way I was thinking about how I would present this matter to him, but unfortunately I had no other options. I explained him the thing and he was silent for a while. Managers are always in trouble, I will also be in trouble.
While working, we used to blame our managers. We used to laugh at those funny forwards about managers. How they make us work, how strict they were. But after some months, I will be in their shoes. And I know things are just not going to be fine. But, this is the journey called life. It takes us to those places which are least expected by us and will also show us how things are on the other side. A side which we have always reviled.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
6:04pm, Sat, May 14 2005, Marine Drive
“My family is no more. The studies of my children are gone. Why did I go to the distant country and earn so much money? Why did I settle in a house in the city, far away from my siblings? It was all for my family. But my wife, I don’t know what happened to her. I don’t know what she did with that huge amount from our account. She is not saying a word about it. Matters worsened so rapidly that now we are staying in two floors of the same house, the house of our dreams, not talking to each other; as if we are strangers. With all these in mind, I am not able to spend time with my children, let alone talk.”
Sanjiv’s sorrows remained unheard in the sound of the boisterous ocean waves.
6:05pm, Sat, May 14 2005, City Central Park
“Ours was the happiest family around and others used to envy on us. Don’t know when things changed. What should I do when he returns home late night. What should I do when I hear others saying unbelievable things about him? I don’t have anyone to tell my worries. My children! I don’t know how much they are suffering due to this. Everyday I come home longing for consolation and I am not able to find it in my house.”
Tara’s tears were carried to somewhere unknown by the wind which went past her.
6:06pm, Sat, May 14 2005, Sagar Vihar creek side.
“I was the class monitor. I was a good performer in the class too. I appeared for the district level Mathematics Olympiad last year. But my studies went bad this year. And I was not promoted to the higher grade. I hate my house. I always wanted to get out from that place. My parents won’t fight with each other, but they don’t talk either. I know there is some problem going on in between them, but don’t know what it is. It’s been quiet some time that we all went for an outing or even for a film. Oh my God, when will these come to an end?”
The gentle breeze took away Abhijit’s feelings with it. He was twelve. He started hating his parents.
6:07pm, Sat, May 14 2005, terrace of the house.
“My parents don’t love me. How many times I wished they would get me at least a comic book. The only time that my mom talks to me is when she calls me for dinner. The only time that my dad talks to me is when he wakes me up in the morning for school. This year when my classmates will be studying in the next higher class, I will be continuing in my current class. The teachers are saying that I haven’t performed well in the last year. Now, Nisha won’t be talking with me anymore; neither will be Ram, Manu and Rahul. What will my juniors think about me? No one will be friends with me anymore.”
A few drops of tears fell from the eyes of Abhishek, the seven year old. But he didn’t cry. He had learned to control it long before.
6:08pm, Sat, May 14 2005, Dr. Patel's psychiatric clinic
“The divorce hearing is to be held at the family court on Monday, May 16, 2005. They say Indians are well known for family values. They are well known for their long-lasting family relationships. They understand each other better. Arranged marriages last longer. But... Now, I have to prepare for tomorrow’s case. I don't know what I should argue for? Sanjiv's win and Tara's defeat? Sanjiv's defeat and Tara's win? The children, what will happen to them in either case?”
Ravindra, the middle-aged lawyer was in a dilemma.
6:09pm, Sat, May 14 2005, outside the diagnosis room
“It is a severe case of Multiple Personality Disorder. Five alter egos in the same person. Kiran thinks himself to be Sanjiv, Tara, Abhijit, Abhishek and Ravindra. These are the five personalities that control him.”
“I talked with all the five alter egos of Kiran. Sanjiv is the father who doesn’t have the time to take care his son Kiran. Tara is the mother whose love he didn’t get. Abhijit is the repulsive child with in him who revolt against all these. Abhishek is the child existing in his mind who without complaining suffers everything. Ravindra is the only person who is concerned about him. He is the alter ego which has got control over all the others. They all think themselves to be in different locations now. Sanjiv at marine drive, Tara at city central park and so on. This is the first time I am dealing with such a complex case.”
Dr. Patel, the psychologist continued.
“But there must be some strong reason behind this mental disorder. Has Kiran got enough love from both of you during his childhood?”
Dr. Patel asked the lady and gentle man standing outside the diagnosis room. They were Kiran's parents. They were managers working for two multinational firms and were usually away on one company tour or the other.
Kiran's parents remained silent. In fact they were thinking about this for the first time ever...
PS: Inspired by the following.
Warning: Spoiler ahead.
/* Spoiler Start */
Tell me your dreams – Sidney Sheldon.
Manichitrathazhu – Malayalam flick by Fazil.
Identity – 2003 James Mangold flick
Me, Myself & Irene – 2000 Bobby & Peter Farrelly flick.
Anniyan – Tamil film. Immediate cause.
/* Spoiler End */
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Naps bring day dreams! What a discovery. Phew! Naps are a part of life. Great men said life is a journey. A journey which starts from the unknown and which ends in unknown. It ends where it started.
Our life starts with our birth, continues with our childhood, teenage, youth, middle-age and old-age and finally ends with our death. What if the order of life is reversed? That is, if our life starts with death and one fine morning ends with our birth! Sounds amazing (awkward) eh? We made this idea into a skit for our departmental annual cultural festival during engineering days. Fortunately or unfortunately it was me who wrote its screenplay and directed the stuff which in due course had shown it’s after effect as well. We could've started rotten egg business that day itself ;-).
One fine morning, you open your eyes hearing the thumping sound of a plow. Yeah it comes from somewhere above. It’s all darkness around and suddenly your womb (coffin) opens for the sunlight. Someone pulls you out from it and there starts your journey of life.
Now, the first cry! Well here the choice is yours. You can either cry or keep quiet like a "cho chweet" grandpa ;-)
You are taken to your home in a decorated vehicle with people around singing some songs. They call it elegy, you can call it lullaby. In your earlier stages of life, you are allowed to play with some small souls (your grand children) who are enjoying their last moments of life (yeah they are about to die)
Seasons passed and you entered into your middle ages. Today is the happiest day in your life. Today is the day you are going to retire (join?) into an organization. Today is the day you are going to stand on your own feet. Today is the day in your life on which you start a journey of boredom and monotony which may last for about 30 long years to come.
You don't remember when exactly you saw her for the first time. Was she there at the graveyard (your place of birth) when you were born? But one thing is sure, she was there with you through out your life, making food for you and consoling you during your hard times. Today, in a ceremony called marriage you are going to say good bye to her. Now onwards you are going to be alone. Bit painful right? If you want you can cry a bit (In normal life, after marriage the female is taken away from her family but here the male is taken away from his family!)
Wow! Life at college is cool! Life has been full of fun once you were thrown out from the company you were working, by a process called recruitment and started your college life with your convocation. Bunking classes, going for movies, go-karting, everything become a way of your life.
It is been quiet some time that you are studying. You had your post graduation, graduation, class 12, class 10 and had even done your KG. Academically there is nothing else to do now. What next? May be some peaceful life; the so called childhood; the best days of your life; without any worries; eating chocolates; crying for whatever coming your way.
But why clouds started hovering above your head. The day is nearing. It is inevitable. God hasn’t given you the choice to stop this. You are taken to the hospital. You are wrapped in white cloth. You are not able to move. You are not strong enough to stop them. You badly wanted to stop this. And you started crying. You struggle for your life. Darkness filling around; and finally, it ended...
This sentence struck me when I heard it for the first time. It goes like this. "When you were born, everyone around you was smiling and you alone were crying. Live a life in such a way that when you die, everyone else would be crying and you alone would be (smiling)". But to be frank I don't want this to happen. I prefer no one to cry for me when I die. After all, this journey called life is just about enjoying its each and every moment right. Then, why crying?
The phone rang and my nap got spoiled. To hell with the phone, I thought.
PS: The idea of the reverse sequence of life was first told by some eminent personality. I don’t remember his name. But still I am acknowledging that unknown author.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
I wondered what they were going to do with me. Two of them continued to hold me and the rest moved backward. There was a burning candle on top of something, at a distance. I struggled to reach the candle. But the firm grip of the two stopped me and I couldn’t move atleast an inch ahead. Flash lights shoot off. I tried and tried, got tired and finally gave up.
The two of them receded and another four from the gang came towards me. Two of them hold my two hands and the other two hold my legs and pulled me up and then I found myself in the air, horizontal to the ground. Then only I realized that there was a sizeable crowd in front of me. Ten! Twenty! Thirty! Forty! Was there even more?
They were all shouting at me. I tried several times to release myself from the hands which hold me. But it all ended in vain.
“By the power of?” Some one from the gang yelled and someone else kicked my butt to red.
“Rekha!” I screamed all of a sudden. I didn’t know from where this word came to my mouth that time.
They took me a little further, towards the candle light. Flash lights show themselves again.
“By the power of?” I heard it once again. This time, it was a whack with a sneaker.
“Smitha!” This word followed the sound and I was moved a little further.
With every such question, a girl’s name came out from my mouth and I was moved more and more towards the candle. Whacks, kicks, slaps etc enriched my back.
When I was some what close to the candle, someone ordered me to blow off the candle. I tried but the candle was just outside my reach. After a lot of effort and when I was almost tired, some mercy soul pushed me ahead.
The clock had just passed 12 am. And finally, I made it! I blew off the candle!
“Happy birthday to you”
“Happy birthday to you”
“Happy birthday dear (Jithu)”
“Happy birthday to you”
The crowd was singing, rather saying, in one voice!
Then I realized that the entire ordeal I went through for about fifteen minutes was for my mistake of being born! But yeah, it was fun! :-)