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Showing posts from July, 2004

A death that only counts !

The daily evening trains running on the meter gaze along the GT Road are a sight to see. I have often seen ppl traveling sitting on the roof of the trains but the guys going on these trains never cease to astonish me with their dare-devils. So what do u have to say about a group of ppl playing cards on the roof and around 5-6 ppl actually watching them, standing in a circle around them !!
Having read "Train to Pakistan" just days back, I was reminded of that fateful train when I saw a similarly crowded one today. And that set me thinking about death. In our society, under normal circumstances, there is a kind of respect attached with death. U may die of old age, health reasons, may get killed by somebody but a dead person invariably attracts sympathy, praise, sadness and some amount of respect if I may put it that way. In short, a death is acknowledged.
But all this is when our society functions normally. Consider the times of turbulence like riots or may be partition time. …

The rising dalit chetna

Looking at how we treat our great men, I sometimes wonder if we even deserve them? The self proclaimed dalit netas of today are specially very reckless in this regard. It seems like the only way to empower dalits is to throw insults and object to everything where they can find mention of anything caste related.
Now its the turn of great writer मुन्शी प्रेमचन्द who still remains the most read author in the Hindi belt of India. And nobody would deny that all his life, he wrote stories and novels that portrayed the plight of lowest sections of society, sections that were poorly represented in main stream literature before him. Now some dalit writers and netas are objecting to his novel "Rang Bhumi" and demanding that it should be removed from course since it uses words that are derogatory to dalits.
Dalit heat on Premchand
And today I read in the paper that certain "Bhartiya Dalit Sahitya Academy" has decided to burn copies of said novel at Jantar-Mantar on the occ…

Update !!

Owing to the increased activity levels in other parts of life, looks like the next few days just like the last few days are going to be rather blog-free for me. But I can atleast give a quick update on some of the interesting things that I have been upto.
It is my firm believe that the only activity worth pursuing ona rainy day is to sit in a chair with lots of food and nice books and just look at the rain as it falls. And since it has been raining for first 3 days of the week here, u can guess what I have been upto. Sadly, there is no arrangement of food in my little blackhole, hence I am forced to move my lazy butt after a while. Still I have managed to achieve the following:
Books: Finished "जिन्दगी मुस्करायी" and "Train to Pakistan". First one is a collection of essays by कन्हैयालाल मिश्र 'प्रभाकार'. It is not what I would like to call popular reading but I found it quite interesting. Abut the second one, I started it long ago and got kinda bored af…

Famous Words !!

Some old and new speechs. Most of them are real recordings. They are mostly political, fictional from movies and misc others.

Case of misaligned priorities !

This is what Israel does:
Israel Takes Vengeance for Severed Head

And this is what we do:
India accuses Bangladesh of war crimes
when this happened:
16 Indian soldiers killed and mutilated

And what did we do when this happened?
Captain Saurabh Kalia, Indian Army

Ramdhaari Singh Dinkar once said:
तलवार गला तकली सॅत जहॉ गढते हैॅ
शोणित के बदले अश्रु जहॉ बहते हैॅ
वो देश कभी स्वतॅत्र नही रहता है।

We really need to ask ourselves today: where did we go wrong?

Yet Another First Day - The Proud Parents

The orientation day and the convocation day are the only two days when IIT Kanpur officially welcomes the parents on campus (as correctly pointed out by Jaya) and what a sight these two days present ! I always find it very fulfilling/amusing depending on whether or not my parents are among them :). Incidently, my parents decided to skip the first one which is kinda cool since I can now forever brag about being self dependent and confident and blah blah..
Now, it is very entertaining to interact with these parents. The are usually more excited than their ward, more worried, more eager to interact with others around them and very nice to talk to. Sample these:
1. These hostel rooms do not have ACs? (Excuse me !!)
2. Ye bagal wala room mere bachche ke room se bada kyon hai? (I swear the difference could not have been more than few inches if it was at all there. Sharp eyes !!)
3. Rooms me attached bathroom nahi hai? (common dude, we are talking about ready to plug in internet con…

Yet Another First Day - The Broken Old Record !

Today is the day that I looked forward to in all 4 years of my college life. Tomorrow, the orientation for the batch of 2004 starts and the fresh blood has been arriving in the campus all day long. Proud parents, excited siblings, not very happy mothers and the wonder struck kids. Add to that the counseling service, looking-their-best SGs, fresh-from-internships-across-the-world 4th yearites, the wretched Kanpur heat and the absent academic load. No better time to be on the campus.
And then think about me. Somebody who enjoyed it all so much, today forced to walk around ignoring everything maintaining the expression of I'm-not-concerned on my face !! I wish I could tell u how much effort it takes on my part to restrain myself from jumping right ahead and immercing myself in the proceedings. But I know better than that now. I know that if u try to live ur old days again and again, u start sounding like a broken old record. So I have decided to stay indoors as much as possible for…

Royally Pissed

I have recently come across this phrase. mostly used by Pune/Banglore junta I guess. I liked the word the moment I first heard it and wondered what it would be like to get "Royally Pissed". I didn't know that opportunity would present itself so soon.
I am happy to announce that I am royally pissed at the telecom dept of the country today. For 3 days now, I am trying to call home without any success and I am totally frust at the moment.
Such a lame post ! doesn't even whine gracefully, forget royally. But I never wanted to write that masterpiece of mine today anyway.

The Extradition Game !

Recently the name Maninder Pal Singh Kohli has been in headlines for the heinous crime of murdering a British girl. PSD, however takes a look at a more political side of the case and I cannot agree more with him. In a related news, Abu Salem may finally end up in India.

Golden Words

CNR Rao was the chief guest in our convocation last year. He is quite an entertaining speaker and draws nicely upon his rich experiences. He was one of the earliest professors at IITK (chem dept) and played a major role in development of curriculum and lab facilities (although it is said that when he left for IISC later, he took away everything with him except curriculum :)).
He made the following remark during his speech, a nugget which I have kept as a graduation advice :). The words are mine, the wisdom is, of course, his.
"People come and say to me that it is so frustrating to stay in India. There are no facilities and there is so much bureaucracy, so much redtape. I tell them that it is not really difficult to stay in India but you need a little sense of humor. Otherwise it is also very easy to get frustrated here."
Something to gnaw on !!

Feeling Down? Think BlackHoles !

So my obsession with BlackHoles continues ! It is not only because I am currently living in one (it was raining again today) but also because something cool related to them is going to happen next week. The whole physics community is buzzing with excitement and the source of the excitement is a one line note. Yes ! The great Stephen Hawking has done it yet again. Next week in a conference in Ireland, he is going to present a possible solution to a paradox that his work created some 40 years ago.
I am in awe of Stephen Hawking and it is not due to the book that he has written or due to the work that he has been doing all these years. It has to do with the indomitable show of human will and spirit that he has put up for the last 40 years. He cannot do anything himself, he cannot eat, he cannot speak, he can hardly move any parts of his body and to top it all he even suffered physical abuse at the hands of his wife. The only part in his body that works is his brain (of course if we exc…

Get up, get going !!

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very mad world mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
Wh…

Counting to 511 inside a BlackHole

My room now a days is almost like a blackhole. "Blackhole" because time has stopped inside my room, just like inside a blackhole. "Almost" because I can still move in and out of it without any deformation in shape and size.
It all happened 3 days ago when my roommate, the owner of the only table clock in the room, left for his home along with his belongings. Seems like my wrist watch and that table clock had something going on. So even my wrist watch has refused to buzz from that moment onwards thus freezing that precious moment in time almost literally. And as a result, currently inside my room, time doesn't move. I enter it at 9:00 AM in the morning and it stays 9:00 AM till I leave it. To make it even more dramatic, since 2-3 days it is cloudy here in Kanpur (It was raining today) and so u cannot even look out and try to guess what time is it.
(To clarify the picture, here are some details. I live in a 2 room set and the occupants of the apartments around…

Clock Ticks Life Away !!

Out of time and out of space,
acting it out on the life's stage.
Don't know the story, do I even know the
cast?

Out of time and out of space,
searching for a familiar face.
Not a drop to drink in the ocean,
vast!

Out of time and out of space,
blinded by a maddening rage.
The paths unknown and I am running
fast.

Out of time and out of space,
trying to win the endless race,
of making future,
past.

Out of Time and out of space,
fate staring me hard in the face.
The pace of life has outdone me,
at last!

Would u like a to have a Blog?

Evan Williams, popularly known as eV in blogging circles (he started blogger which was later bought by google) has dug up the google usenet archives to find that the earliest usage of Blog refer to a kind of Finnish cocktail deviced by a SF fan.
Cheers !!

The Hundredth Monkey

Few days back, the issue of the farmers' suicides that have been reported from various parts of the country and mainly from Andhra Pradesh came up over the dinner table. Both me and Arun were of the opinion that the trend, although alarming, has little to do with government failure. Rather than economic, it is a psychological issue and should be treated as one. Some kind of "mass psychology" (for want of a better word) seems to be at work here which is pushing one farmer after another over the edge.
In this context, Arun told me about an interesting experiment done with monkeys on a northern Japanese island. The most popular version of the story on the internet is available as The hundredth Monkey. The above piece is an extract from a book written by Ken Keyes, jr. and is written more like a inspirational story rather than a scientific article.
The story amazed me to no end. Such kind of ideas have been around for quite sometime in SF. One very famous example is the Gai…

The Problem of Other Minds - II

U may have wondered why did I call my last post "The Problem of Other Minds - I". Since u are already reading "The Problems of Other Minds - II", I think the number mystery is solved. The text of the title comes from a well known philosophical problem called The Problem of Other Minds . It is a very interesting problem, one that questions our very basic assumptions and requires very elaborate arguements to actually defend them. The central question is how do "I" (I of Rene Descartes fame) know about the existence of any other minds in this world apart from my own? Since we have access to only our own experiences and thoughts and ideas, something called "privileged access", is there anyway to establish beyond doubt that other minds are also out there?

A negative stand on this issue provides the logical basis for Solipsism . To quote,
The solipsist can attach no meaning to the supposition that there could be thoughts, experiences, and emotions o…

The Problem of Other Minds - I

The most basic understanding in a civilized society is that the members are supposed to cooperate in order to achieve the common good even if it means compromising a little on personal freedom. Now the human society has grown pretty complex over the centuries and it is easy to produce counter examples to the above by showing how there exist biases in the society and how the rich, mighty and privileged ones tend to get the lion's share of the common good.
However the things that have prompted me to write this post are some common day today things which show the increasing apathy in the masses towards each other. We are acting more and more as if no one else exists around us. I don't know if this is selfishness or the increased sense of self-preservation in the highly insecure city environments but the fact remains that it is no good for anybody. Consider the following two examples:

1. Notice the headlights of vehicles driving in the city during nights. Everyone from the big tr…

Procrastination ...

... is the art of keeping up with tommorow. -- Don Marquis

The arch nemesis of most of the students and working ppl is procrastination. The problem is more prominent if u are somebody like me whose major interaction with the world happens through a PC. The web is an infinite source of distractions and some of them are infact very rewarding also in some sense. But still the problem remains and so remains that guilty feeling of having wasted yet another day on things we were not supposed to do. Well here is a site that deals with the problems in detail, let's u calculate some numbers indicating the level of problem and even suggests some remedies to keep it in check (nothing very novel there). So next time u want to kill some time, kill it in finding out how not to kill it :D. I love ironies :)

And here is my favourite quote from the ever wise Douglas Adams:

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

Food Flames

My apartmentmate is leaving for a PhD in IISC Banglore. So today we went to this place called Flames in Swaroop Nagar for a sort of farewell treat. The place was good, both in ambiance and in food. They have chosen this orange color for the interior decoration which might sound a bit strange but the decorator has done his job well. Lighting is low along with candles on tables which I think is a nice idea since it also saves on some electricity :).

I had a wonderful time with some really nice food and a lively company. Especially recommended are the continental dishes. I had baked macaroni with white sauce and after a long time found some place in Kanpur where baked things taste like they should. I am going to eat there at least once more before I leave Kanpur. Recommended for close circle treats and outings since it is a bit on the expensive side.

Bon appetite !!

The IITK top 5 series: activities

spent part of the day reading "Five Point Someone" and as a result have been feeling rather nostalgic. Moreover I have been having this itch to write something about IIT life since sometime which has intensified manifolds now. Since I cannot write a novel on my 4 years just yet, here is some pastime :). I hope this will also evoke some responses from the small readership that my blog enjoys.

So following is the list of top 5 activities that I enjoyed during IIT and which I will always miss (an important criteria is that it is not possible to indulge in these activities after IIT due to one reason or another):

5. Hindi Extempore: In fact this will include most of the HLS events. They were an absolute bliss to both participate and organize. The excellent guys with whom I got to do all those fun things made it really enjoyable. Shloke, pali, ambar, nitya, golu, bihari, vv, khare, anuj, pksb, jaya, duggi, sushobhan, pushpi, saurabh, tiwari, pathak, biyani,aashu and so many other…

The ending matters

The three movies which I happened to watch during my little trip home were Bhoot, Sansar and Joggers' Park. It is the endings of Sansar and Joggers' Park that have caught my attention.

Sansar was an old, I guess 80's, movie staring Raj Babber, Rekha and Anupam Kher. A simple story about a family, the internal strife, a father who has given his everything in bringing up his children, an ungrateful son, an exemplary bahu/bhabhi/bibi and the resulting bantwara in the family. Lots of drama, high flying dialogues and nothing out of ordinary till the last scene. In the last scene, as expected, Raj Babber was feeling the pangs of guilt for his deeds and Anupam Kher was feeling the pangs of love for his grand child and the family was ready for a reunion. But this time there was a twist in the tail. When everything was going fine, Rekha objects to the reunion and takes the stand that what has happened can't be undone and it is better for the family that they live separately me…

A gem

lagi jahan bhi chahakne bulbul, hua vahin per jamaal paida.
kami nahi hai kadardaanon ki, kare to koi kamaal paida.

-- Akbar (Syyid Akbar Husain Akbar Allahabadi (1846-1921))

Winners and losers

Watching Sharapova win was a personal delight. Infact to word it differently, watching Serena lose was a personal delight. But all the credit to Sharapova. She really held her nerve and didn't make mistakes (well if u can excuse that serve :P). Winning against much more experienced and imposing looking Serena must have been like a dream for her but she didn't let that overwhelm her although the tension was obvious on the face right from the beginning and till the last point. This sure smells like teen spirit :)

kyonki..

Well, I was away and I was home cause since last 5 years, home is away. And while I was home, I watched, rather tried to watch some TV, something I don't get time to do normally while I am on campus. Watched no serials. Why? Kyonki bardaasht ki bhi koi had hoti hai. Could not have watched any music channel. Why? Kyonki sharam naam ki bhee koi cheez hoti hai. Watched 3 movies. Kyonki akal naam ki cheez bhi kabhi kabhi ghaas charne jaati hai. Watched News. Kyonki aadat se sabhi mazboor hote hain. Watched some sports. Kyonki supporter naam ki bhi kuch cheez hoti hai.

And I thought hard why I used to like TV so much and how I ever managed to watch so many movies on TV and even managed to like some of them. I must say that a movie that one likes on "budhoo baksa" got to be very good. It is absolutely pathetic experience, good only for the movies where it is actually recommended that u take a break after every 5-10 minutes to actually keep ur mind in sane state. For the rest, …