Friday, 4 November 2011

The task of a critic.


Every walk of life is filled with critics judging everything that they have seen or not. The task of a critic is easy in many ways. There is nothing to lose and they command a position over those who offer their dreams, their labour and sometimes their life to our judgement. It’s even more fun to tease and to hear someone tease. But the reality is that any average work or attempt is far beyond the value of our criticism.

When was the last time we presented ourselves to the judgement of others and risked it all? It’s hard for a new talent to come on the arena and present us with something different. We must have the patience to appreciate the attempt and understand the thought and work that has gone behind to present us and capture our attention. Not everyone is talented but we must appreciate when we see an attempt because talent can come from anyone.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Who am I ?

In the lonely dark night, I stare at the sky and see the spectacle unravel in front of me. I drift down to deep thoughts and ask the question that each and every man asks himself once in his lifetime, Who am I?
As I stare deep into the clear night sky with the absence of the moon making way to see the countless stars in the Milky Way, I try to comprehend the scale of things in space, their age, their beauty, the all-powerful gravity, the raw energy as I begin to inhale knowledge. Looking at our galaxy from the inside, trying to grasp what it is, how grand it is, how old it is, can we even begin to comprehend what it is, what are we compared to the awesome spectacle in front of us. But with the little science that we understand, we can say proudly, I am you.
The small light that I see from a star far far away, the photon that touches the nerves in my eyes, the burst of energy that turn into electrical signals that help me see the twinkle of the stars, came from stars that started their journey even before this earth came into existence. We may never live to touch it but something from that star has come to touch us, travelling through the void that lay between us. I feel that connection between the stars yet completely knowing that each and every element in my body was created in a star which has long lived, shined and died, leaving behind matter that has made me. I was born in a super nova explosion and so are you and everyone and everything around us. Even the latest new-born in my life is as old as the cosmos, which is 13.7 billion years old, only that he is in a new unique form. So what am I rather who am I?
I am nature.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Human Evolution and Hindu mythology.

Without making a boring science lecture, I will keep this short and crisp. The term theory in science means something that explains facts. Like a+b = b+a or the theory of relativity or gravitational theory. So theory of human evolution explains the evolution of the first unicellular organisms to modern human. That’s Science one on one.
Now in Hindu mythology, we find the 10 incarnations of Hindu god Vishnu and couldn’t resist comparing the striking similarities. Here is the comparison.
1. Malsya (Aquatic) Where life originated with first multicellular organisms.
2. Kurma (Amphibian) The transition from aquatic to land creatures.
3. Varaha: (small mammals) Origin of mammals.
4. Narasimha: (Half beast half man) First humanoids.
5. Vamana: (pigmy man) One of the closest species to modern human.
6. Parasuram: (humanoid with tools). The humanoid where the first tools began to appear from stone and bones while being still nomad.
7. Ram: (Forest dwelling settled humanoid). The humanoid which learned to use sophisticated weapons, build houses in the forest from raw materials and wore clothes fashioned from the hide of animals.
8. Krishna: (Cattle rearing and social humanoid). The humanoid where social skills are well advanced and social structure was formed.
9. Buddha: (Modern human) The man who thinks and uses his brain power.
As an Atheist, what I see is correlation but the stories associated with them are for kids before bed time.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Karale in Kerala


In almost all the languages that we know of, we refer our lover with one organ that we hold dear, the HEART.
In English: my sweet heart, my heartthrob.
In Hindi,
मेरा दिलरुबा (meri dilruda)
In tamil:
என் அன்பே (en anpe)
But in Malayalam:
എന്റെ കരളേ (ente karale) which means "my liver" !!!
May be that’s the reason why Kerala has a love affair with alcohol

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The sports champ.

Anyone who enters my house will be welcomed by a large trophy showcase. It is filled with trophies of various sports events over a long period of time. Since my father is abroad and my sister is a complete bookworm of medicine, it only natural that everyone assumes I am the proud owner of the trophies. But the truth is; all of them belong to my mother. My mother has been a sports champion all her life. She has even won the medals from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for the outstanding performance in National Cadet Corps (NCC). Even when I was in college, she would go to competitions and sweep all the trophies in the competitions she could participate. Her specialty was shot put, javelin throw and discus throws.
Once in a competition, she was against the sponsor’s sister in shot put. When the competition started, the judges were seen training the girl. When the competition started, the girl threw the shot put and it slipped from her hands in the first try. The judges immediately said that it was a trial and asked her to retry the first attempt. She threw it again which landed at a fair distance. She looked proud of her achievement and looked straight to our sports club members. The judges went to her to encourage and appreciated her.
Next turn was my mother’s representing our sports club, who just went and picked the shot put and said to the judges that this is not a trial. She then threw the shot put ‘miles’ ahead of the other girl. I could see the judges and the other opponents open their mouth. My mother then said; if anyone crosses that, please inform me, I will do my second attempt. As she was allowed to participate in only 3 items, she won all three with gold medals and a bonus best athlete trophy.
Everyone assembled there would look at me saying, if the mother is that good, what all could her son do? I was around half an inch short of six feet and fairly athletic in appearance at that time. But the similarities end there. My friends would tease me asking me to learn from my mother. I was fed up with these jokes and thought of trying my skills; after all I have the same genes of my mother. The event with the least number of opponents was javelin throw and I selected that for a better chance for gold.
I put on my club jersey and began to warm up before the throw. All the people began to gather around to watch the son of the sports champ in action. This is going to be great. When the event started some of the opponents were hesitant to throw at first looking at my warm-up exercises. When my number was called, I picked up a javelin and started my run-up. I pointed a fair 45 degrees and threw it over my head. Everyone looked towards the horizon to see the javelin disappear, but what they saw was beyond their expectations.
When I threw the javelin over my head, the rear end of the javelin stick hit the back of my head. It was so hard that I landed nose first on the ground. The javelin was lying beside me. The judges picked me up and threw all the water I brought in the bottle on my face. I opened my eyes and could see everyone around me staring in disbelief.
The judge said; Never in his life has he come across such a performance.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Immortality

Everything that is born has an end. We are born with our shadow. We live, breathe, eat, drink and sleep with this shadow. And one day we will unite with in forever. Yes, death is the one thing that we are sure of, the full stop to our life making us all mere mortals.
Since time immemorial, man has been obsessed with his death. We have all our life woven around this single instance making it the ultimate destination. But over time, the ignorance of man couldn’t comprehend the thought of death as an end and culminated the belief of afterlife. This made death another pause in the stream of life and giving hope to a greater journey.
But man still fears death due to the uncertainty of the afterlife and hence started the ultimate goal of immortality, the holy grail of mankind, the pursuit for the fountain of youth.
If there was only a single truth, then that would be death. Then how do we live forever? If anything is born then it must have a death. Then how do we overcome that? All these while we were looking at mortal objects for an extension of our life, but what if we look at the immortal objects? The solution is as simple as ditching the mortal in exchange for immortal objects. That removes our dependency of the life span on other things. Immortal objects, how do we find them? Well look around, they are all around you. Yes I am talking about things that make us human.
Then what makes us, us? I am typing with my hand, I am reading with my eyes. It’s no different than I am reading from my laptop or eating with my spoon. These are just an extension of me. Then where am I? Yes my body is here, But it’s my body, where am I?
I believe, we are the sum of my actions, thoughts, character, personality and feelings. This is where we live and this is immortal. It is pure energy. It can only be transformed from one form to another. Currently it resides in our brain, which is another mortal extension. What if we could transfer this into an immortal space? Just like this blog, what if we could live inside endless memory? After all, our brain is just a network of neurons, passing electric signals. All we have to do is replicate this network and the grid of electric signals will pass though.
I am sure at least some of you might have thought this as science fiction, but todays concept is tomorrows reality.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Silence is acceptance…

What a beautiful thought when talking to a lady. You ask her if she loves you. She doesn’t have the power to look up, she is overcome with love, the love that flow from within. She doesn’t have words to respond to show how much she has love inside towards you. She maintains her silence. Yes this is the silence of acceptance.
If you think that this applies to only love, you are wrong. If you see injustice and decided to walk away and do nothing about it, it’s the silence of acceptance. If you see any idiot preach wrong to our children, you respond, may be not directly to him, but spread awareness against him. There are people with secret rotting agenda in mind. Stop them from polluting the minds of the innocent. Spread love and not hate.


Learn from our past, it tells a lot about our future.


All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing--Edmund Burke


"When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out."
--Pastor Martin Niemöller

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Winner.


This happened during the Second World War in North West Russia. It was a competition which occurred every 5 years. The competitors would enter a large arena through a door and exit through the other door. The aim was to exit the arena the earliest. There was no roof so the spectators in the gallery could see the competition from a height. The path to the exit door was never easy; it had obstacles to test the competitor’s talents. The lucrative prize was huge and everyone dreamed of it.
The students who had the talent to run fast would enter the competition; they would compete in mock drills and train vigorously for 5 years till they enter the real competition and achieve glory.
Little Johnny was a dreamer. He would always look at the sky and the stars and dream of flying among them. He always loved to float like the cloud and wished that he had wings. His father also had high dreams but they were more realistic and broken down into measurable tasks and achievements. His father had planned the complete life for his son and made sure that he had the resources for it. So little Johnny was admitted to the best school with the competition training available in the area. Johnny was trained in the school and would always be in the top 10 students in terms of speed. During the leisure time Johnny would go to the roof of the tallest school building and would stretch his arms wide. He would then close his eyes and let the wind whisper in his ears. That was the closes he would come to flying.
When someone in the school found out about his adventure, they closed of the access doors to the roof. That wouldn’t stop little Johnny. He would climb the tall walls to reach the roof. There he found peace and happiness.
His father found a good friend in the college, the competition trainer. The trainer was almost a mirror image of his father. They both began to train Johnny in running fast and tackle objectives to reach the exit door in the game. When Johnny was old enough, he was put to a mock drill. There he would get a taste of what is coming in his way.
When Johnny was put into the drill arena, he was amazed to see the clear sky that day. He looked at the sky and found the swallows flying so high that they looked so tiny. His trainer who was in the gallery of the arena could clearly that Johnny was distracted.
The tall walls were obstructing little Johnny’s full view and he decided to climb them. He stood on the walls of the arena and looked into the sky stretching his arms.
Later that day, Johnny was summoned into the teacher’s room and spanked for his lack of concentration. His father was called and he did what he does best. More spanking. Poor little Johnny was too little to understand the world around him and hideous crime he has committed.
Johnny was again put to the test and again he would climb the walls while the other students would run across the hurdles and pits to the other side. There was fiancé competition meant that not all students played fair, there was pushing and pulling, but the results were all that mattered to the teachers and parents. Little Johnny’s parents were very upset and they went to meet a completion winner to get his advice. The winner took time of their fabulous life to meet and advice the parent as sign of social commitment.
Little Johnny was then put to rigorous training as per the advice. He was given concentration lessons and was asked to perform a step by step analysis. First locate the objective, then the hurdles and infer the best path. Years went by and Little Johnny showed signs of improvement. He began to compete with the top students and occasionally used to be the first to reach the objective. But the dream inside him would not die. He always wanted to fly, fly among the clouds. His father and trainer would make sure that his focus is always on the competition.
The selection day came to decide who represents his province in the competition. Little Johnny was focused and he showed his strength. He reached the goal ahead of the others by a clear margin.
The political scene of Russia was soon changing and the rules of the world changed. It was a more dynamic world and the challenges were extreme and diverse.
Finally the big day of the final competition arrived. There were rumours that the old traditional rules of the game would change. Nobody knew what the change was and what to anticipate. Johnny and the other competitions were chocked to know that the competition would be held at night and not during the day like what was followed for many years.
The moment came when they students were put into the arena under a starry night sky while all the judges, guests and dignitaries watched the show from the stands high in the gallery. Every student down in the arena would search for a sign of the exit while avoiding the hurdles and pits and fences. Johnny’s mind was filled with the advice and steps to take to find the exit. Then they came to know that the arena is not straight like what it used to be. It is a series of maze. A maze so tangled that it’s very easy to get lost and become disoriented.
In all the confusion, little Johnny looked up and to his surprise he found the most beautiful starry night. There were shooting stars and twinkling stars all around. The old dream began to fill his heart. He could not see the end of the Milky Way which ran across the dark sky. He decided to climb the walls while the other students laughed at him. His parents in the gallery were embarrassed by this and others laughed at him. Little Johnny then stretched his arms and closed his eyes. He hasn’t felt so relived. After that he open his eyes and looked down to see the other students scramble to find a clue in the maze. Then he looked at the maze and everything was clear to him. He could see an open door at the end of the arena across the maze. He then walked across the maze over the walls towards the exit. The crowd was stunned and everyone stood silent. There were no words from anyone. Why haven’t they thought of such a way?
Little Johnny then came out of the exit and stretched his arms, looked into the sky and closed his eyes. He was flying.

Ok this might have not happen literally; this drama plays out in our schools and colleges every year. Many of us are trained to answer a set of questions. Anything beyond the book is out of syllabus.
What the board exams currently does is test a student’s ability to remember the exact lines and words from a book and write it on to a white sheet. The world that greets the students after the test is dynamic. Let’s learn to walk over the wall like little Johnny. Step out of the box and the answers will come finding you.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Inspirations


Not many of us are privileged by the warmth of a pleasant childhood, but that cannot be an excuse for the actions in our future. We are defined by the actions that we do. I choose the path to immortality, because what we do alive, goes down in eternity.

What I am today is the result of the choices I made in different stages of my life. I may not be perfect but I am proud of what I am today.

INVICTUS
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
(William Ernest Henley)

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Flying Christmas Angel.

One of the best moments of our childhood is the time of any festive season. I too have one but this one is one of the funniest moments in my life. Back then at that time, funny is the least probable word to describe it.
It was during one of those Christmas holidays in a cold December. I was in my pre-college days and loved to get a break from the hectic studies and timetable. To make the most of the time, we boys in the neighborhood, almost 25 of them, gathered to have a Christmas carol. It’s a nice way to make some money and roam the streets in the night, but most importantly, money. All those tips we get visiting the houses will got into our boys club.
Everyone was very enthusiastic especially me. During last year carol dance, I was handling the music system and was feeling like a DJ. We got together to create a list of things we need to make it look like a descent carol. There was stiff competition from the other group. Yes other group, the group that always beat us in cricket, boys who got good collection last year. There was a rivalry between us and this time we need to win at all cost and remove our name of shame as loosers.
The expense was simple, we need a Santa, a good music system, lot of balloons and decorations. Well, the dancing part will be taken care by Manish and we are safe in that department. He is a good dancer and I used to feel that his limbs are disconnected to him while he dances. We used to take his lead and impress the audience. We took our pocket money and got the balloons and decorations.
We had to setup Santa, so we chose the chubbiest one among us, Ginesh and began dressing him up. The dress is something we arranged 2 days before from a rent house. Last year we did not get proper dress and our club captain Denson pointed that it is one of the reason for our failure. But this time we are organized. Bijoy our previous captain, now vice-captain was giving all his vast expertise although we have done this only for 2 years and this is our third year. As senior in our club age Denson 19 and Bijoy 18, were the club decision makers and they were having a secret idea to out-class the rival club. Our spy in the rival club, Reju has got information that their Santa is even better. We had to do something.
Denson and Bijoy looked at each other with a grin smile on their face. We knew something is in their mind. Denson opened the secret bag and out came 2 beautiful white gowns. But these gowns had wings. Yes white wings and a halo ring attached to the back of the gown. I didn’t know what they were up to.
Denson said, “Let’s call Sunita and Sarita. Their father had agreed to make them angels for our carol.” Then it struck me. We would be the only carol with angels and that would be awesome. We would be a big hit. I began to dream of counting the money we get after the carol. Some of us started putting up the list of things to buy with the money.
But that bad news came as a shocker to us. Sunita and Sarita has gone to their grandmother’s house for the vacation. My heart sank and all those dreams began to fade away. But Bijoy took out the dress and said,” Someone must become the Angel, someone who can fit into that dress.” I noticed that it could fit me and had to escape. Before I could do that, Umesh said,” Anoop is perfect”.
I tried to find some excuse to not do that. But surprisingly I could not find any convinsing reason, even though I am good at lying. With some effort I became the angel and shamefully a pretty one. Umesh brought some balloons and began fitting into the right places to make me more attractive. Denson, the captain then offered a good portion of the share and as greedy I was for money, agreed to it. At the end I became a pretty angel in white looking like Merlin Monroe. The second angel dress was tried by Ratheesh, but it was too tight for him. Bijoy and Denson began to pull the gown from below to fit Ratheesh into it. At the end, the dress tore and Ratheesh was relieved. So all the pressure was on me to perform as the only angel.
The carol started. Our idea worked and our carol became sensational. Our money collection was increasing from just a dozen house visits and we all began to dream of all the money at the end. It was then few more house visit and we entered a far away street. This street was the mother lode. The houses over here would give good money for good carols and we were confident of a good collection.
We saw this big white house within a walled compound. We played the music system out load and began to dance in front of its gate. The Santa would walk first followed by me, the highlight, the angel, the crowd puller. All the other little boys were dancing and entering the gate. Suddenly we heard loud barks. We all startled and looked in that direction. We saw 2 pair of red bulbs. It was a pair of black Doberman dogs.
A chill went down my spine. I am noticed that I am the most vulnerable with the gown and wings. Santa has a stick in his hand. The others could easily run. The dogs could sense the fear in me and both came after me. Santa jumped onto the first tree he could find. I tried to climb but my wings are getting stuck in the branches. Damn you captain, you tied the wings so tight on to me and it won’t come off. Bijoy, the wise guy shouted from otherside of the gate, “Lift your gown and run for your life.”
I thought nothing more. I just pulled my gown up and ran towards the gate. But the buys had already closed the gates to block the dogs from coming out. I remembered all the high jump lessons from high school sports classes and made a leap with my wings. But our captain opened the gates for me.  I hit the gate hard and the gate opened towards outside. The dogs were free.
I was out in the open with both my hands holding the gown up. The dogs looked into my eyes and I looked back. I did not think. I ran with all the strength I got, holding the gown up. The wings were all stretched out and my halo ring was broken. The dogs began to chase me. Boys who say me running from the tree tops later told me that they have never seen anything so fast.
I ran to my uncle’s house, which is one street away. The dogs were behind me and were like heat seeking missiles following a jet fighter. They would not go away and was focused on their lovely prey, me. I took a corner and saw our rival club boys with their carol.
They heard the noise and in the dim street light saw an angel with large wings and dress held high running towards them. There were some dark creatures behind the angel. I could see the whole carol disperse like birds fly out from a tree when they hear a shotgun. I could also hear some cry out loud while others calling God. I had no time to attend to them as I was running for my life.
I reached my uncle’s house and ran into it. My aunty saw me and ran into the kitchen screaming but uncle could not hold his laughter. But I was safe.
Later I came to know that the rival carol lost their money and their Santa and was too scared to carry forward. Our carol party somehow revived and was the only one left. We made a good collection, thanks to me.
The next day many of our rival club boys got fever and did not come out of house for some days. Others would not travel at night. Later they came to know about the true events and some of the rival team still call me the flying devil.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

My First Blog


                 First impression is the best impression and I am trying to find a topic or thought that could impress anyone coming to my blog and reading it for the first time. I do not think there is material here that could sweep anyone of their feet, but through this blog I wish to put some of my thoughts forward and share it with the world. What more appropriate place do we have, than the medium that unites the entire world, the internet! Internet, the first invention from man that he did not understand completely.
                I have many ideas on how to take this blog forward although the idea to write a blog never passed me until  one day back, when I was surfing through the net and came across a blog. It did not inspire me nor motivated me to write but did provoke a response in me to a comment in the blog. I needed to respond and in order to do that, I created an account. After responding to that blog, I felt not to waste the opportunity given to me and scrambled some words.
                But like everything I do, once the wheels are in motion, I keep the inertia going for a long time. So this is the beginning and like every long journey, the beginning is always a small step. This is my first step, my first blog. I invite everyone to come along for the ride and join my journey…