Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Women

Some people need to be appreciated. Barkha Dutt.
Sadly, I have not heard her or seen her much but I'm going to let my judgement rule me today (as I allow quite often).
For some reason (refer to the Radia Tapes) Barkha has been 'pinned down' for her role by other media persons.
I saw a table conference / discussion on NDTV 24x7 where one dude was saying something against Barkha; Barkha was there and she retaliated with pain and emotion.
In those few minutes I chose to see Barkha's might, integrity and passion.
Call me sexist but it was a pleasure to see such a strong voice from a woman with an aggressive body language. I was thinking today about the clich├ęd statement : "Today, the woman walks shoulder to shoulder alongside man." I find that acceptable in a few cases, however, women, especially in India, even if educated, tend to stand back or are not allowed to progress because of societal structure.
I'm referring to family, marriage, motherhood and an odd suppression by the man. The last reference is to a man / husband / boyfriend who will frown on the woman being vain or her flirty/ playful nature or her ambitious loner nature or her need for independence or her need for a chance to prove herself.
This post is not an attempt at defending women, rather it's an attempt at hoping for a fairer tomorrow. An interesting, independent, strong woman is rare.

Caveat: A woman who chooses a house / family life ought to be respected. Please re-read the statement and put an emphasis on the word 'chooses'. Choice is rare.
Barkha, Thanks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wikipedia

Recently, I made a very small donation to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an under-appreciated wickedly awesome creation - created by people who are working for barely (or no) money. The need for encyclopedias has dissolved, not because of various internet sources but because of one destination for largely trustworthy data.
I urge the millions who read my blog to make a small donation to this foundation.

Hopefully this link works some years from now...
All of should support this fantastic, free service that (I believe) has no advertisement revenues... don't tarry, send it some money right now. Please.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bottles and Corks

There is a very strong post by a guy whose blog I read quite regularly.
The reason I am saying this is that for the past few days I have been thinking of working towards something concrete.
I have an immense passion for global financial markets but I cannot find a way to dedicate a large portion of my intellect and time to it; I also hope to make this society better, be it for selfish reasons... Buildings lack planning, safety and common sense, roads are narrow and flyovers or highways take too long to take physical shape, we live in a dirty dirty city where people seem agitated at every moment and relaxation is an endeavour.
I hope to find the courage to leave this race and do something meaningful.
I would really like to join an organisation that actively does some intelligent and decisive work at tackling issues that we face.
Meaningful? "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted." John Lennon said that and well, I just love travelling and meeting new people and old friends. What's stopping me from just taking in a bit of this one life that I have (Yes, I don't believe in rebirth and rebirth, if true, is quite inconsequential as a belief in this 'present' life).

Carpe Diem: Robin Williams made it popular... but what follows these 2 words in the original statement is important;
Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – "Seize the Day, trusting as little as possible in the future". I don't think this is a cynical statement, I take it to be a opportunistic and rude statement that hits you just once in a while.

Allow me to cite my Nick Drake here..."So I leave the ways that are making me be, what I really dont want to be."

The industrialized world coined the term 'giving back to society' - I say 'Let's give something to us, coz we barely have much.' And don't start citing poorer nations... I don't care about them as much as I do about me and us.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Slavery and the Pursuit of Happiness

I bought the new iPod Nano today and it's quite brilliant. I tried my best to stay away from an Apple product but this one was simply fantastic, which brings me to my point for this post.
Human progress.

I had stepped out of my office for a bit and I saw cars on the road, and it just struck me... Billions of years of (supposed) evolution and humans have created a society wherein people fret every moment, travel, 'work', earn money, spend money - all towards a largely insignificant death. Yes, this is all dreary but I'm looking at the bigger picture where I see other creatures quietly going about their stupid lives actually building things, creating things for sustenance.
What I see is a futile exercise which we have accepted as a way for society to function... what we are right now, in terms of our daily functioning would have been inconceivable a thousand years ago and for the record, a thousand years is a very short time period in the grand scheme of things...

And once in a while we come across people like Jimmy Wales - the founder of Wikipedia; an open source information centre on almost anything. Of course, he might have his own ulterior motives but I see that as a real development.
Gerald Ford revolutionized the way we commute but not much has changed since then except for congestion, blatant consumption, a supposed easier lifestyle and most importantly - becoming a slave to the machine that we have created.

What prevents us from vacating the daily grind after we have made an adequate amount of money?
Isn't this equivalent to slavery or succumbing to societal norms and pressures?

A friend described me well when she said that a girl would hate to be in a relationship with me because one day she would wake up without me by her side; she would call me and ask for my whereabouts... I would say, O! I am travelling.. Buzz off...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

37

T: Did you know that Aishwaria is 37 years old??!!
H: Ya. So?
T: 37!!! That's 13 years away!!! That's half our age away... That's a long long time away.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thots

Short-term pleasures may cause short, medium or long-term pain.

A humble pauper is a useless sight.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rumination

Europe has changed me for the better (or less worse). Today, I attended a lecture on 'superparticles' which could be a part of particle physics; may be for the first time I sat for a lecture without the compulsion to learn and remember and that made the lecture quite enjoyable...
I read about Sufjan Stevens, Casimir Pulaski, Nick Drake, Modigliani and I see the horror that this society has transformed into...
I still thank my friend for telling me about Into the Wild because it made me sincerely question materialism. Yes, yes ... I'm not a complete disaster yet (or would I be called a victor?).
We still have artists and brilliant scientists in our midst (not so much in our midst, but you get the vibe...) however, they don't seem to be as strong as earlier. They seem weak, succumbing to the lure of materialism which is understandable but deplorable for society as a whole.

Yes, a decade from now people might appreciate some artists whom we don't right now but I don't see a painter, a sculptor, a writer or a poet then... I see successful bands which will have made people happy not through their art but through their canvas.

I said that Europe has been beneficial because I saw a weird joy in people - as the french say "joie de vivre" which means "the joy of living". I see in India people who are old at 25 years of age where the only form of them being young is partying and boozing (extreme generalization).

Next week I'm going for a contemporary dance performance at the NCPA. Will I like it? I don't know but it's a brilliant mode of escapism.


I love the world of particle physics and quantum physics - particularly because it is so difficult to imagine some of the things postulated or proven.
2 galaxies colliding 4 billion light years away?
A very small amount of energy in daily life, such as 1TeV, which is difficult to 'create' or 'capture'...
Weakly Interacting Massive Particles which could hold the key to finding a 'theory of everything'. For the record, experiments are underway in a mine where supercooled Germanium crystals are used to capture the faintest of vibrations from particles such as WIMPs.

Take a step back my friend and you will see how inconsequential our lives are...
We live for 60-90 years.
We pursue money and affection.
We are heartbroken and we feel loved.
We sleep less, we sleep too much, we smile too little, we are serious and not as jovial as we ought to be...
You ask me why I loved Into the Wild?
Here's why:



"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."
— Chris McCandless

"The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences."
— Chris McCandless

Monday, November 1, 2010

Age

I was listening to Elton John today morning on the radio and the RJ said something about he's 63 years old and still belting out music :)
And I - idealistic and stupid (not) - thought of how we tend to while away our time without due consideration given to our smiles and to the pursuit of something that has no real end...
I thought of my friend's friend, the dude, supposedly, just jams with his amateur band every (other?) Saturday. He's just one example.
But what I see clearly missing in India and in Indians is passion... Need to find it.