Saturday, October 14, 2017

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Living on a prayer

I attended AUT Toastmasters today, the 20th of July, 2017. It was fine.
I've been in Auckland for over a week now. I landed here on the 9th of July. These 10-11 days have been tumultuous. Crazy man. Met Nik (from BSc) after almost 15 years and it was a great evening. Rest, we're pretty much living out of our suitcases.
I'm living on prayers and like many times before, I've experienced yet once again; when I'm weak, I'm strong. 

Friday, February 03, 2017

kleptomania

I lost my googles inside the lab...yes...inside the lab. I kept them on the desk, did some work and went to the other lab for a short while. When I returned, I thought that I'd place them inside the cover but I couldn't find them anywhere. It felt horrible. These were gradient brown Ray Ban aviators with a matt gold titanium frame. I loved em and they were also a gift from my wife, just like the previous aviators that I lost in a cab on our way to Rajasthan (what a time to lose your shades). At almost 9000 rupees, these weren't cheap. I'm never gonna buy or let her gift me such expensive shades. I really loved them. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

खैर...शायद

अब हुआ यूँ कि मैंने एक ऐसा  अवसर खो  दिया  है (शायद) जिसका मुझे ज़िंदगीभर अफ़सोस रहेगा। अब हुआ यूँ कि मैंने एक फोटोग्राफी कार्यशाला में अर्ज़ी डाली थी। मैंने ३ तसवीरें अपलोड की और उनके विवरण भी लिखे।  मुझे जान्ने वाले लगभग सभी लोग जानते है कि मुझे फोटोग्राफी का कितना शौक है, बल्कि यु कहिये कि शोक ही नहीं, तस्वीरे लेना तो मेरे व्यक्तित्व का अविभाज्य अंष है।

अजीब बात है और मैं फोटोग्रापफी के बारे में बहुत ही विस्तार से भाषण दे सकता हूं परंतु जब बात एक विख्यात फोटोग्राफर ने मुझे फ़ोन करके मुझ  से बात की तो यूँ कहिये कि मैं सकपका सा गया और बेवकूफी से बड़बड़ा कर सब गुड़ गोबर कर दिया।  और तो छोड़िये साहब, मै तो यह भी न बता पाया कि इस कार्यशाला में जाने का मुझ पर कितना बड़ा जूनून था।   शायद यह इसलिए हुआ क्योंकि फ़ोन जब आया तो मेँ अपनी लैब-मीटिंग की तैयारी कर रहा था और फ़ोन आते ही मैं अपने विचारों का संतुलन सा खो बैठा। इसके आलावा फ़ोन का सिगनल भी ठीक नहीं था और आवाज़ बार बार कट रही थी । और बात यह भी है कि मैंने उम्मीद भी नहीं की थी कि स्वः श्रीमान प्रसेणजीत यादव का ही फ़ोन आ जायेगा। 

खैर कारण जो भी रहा हो, श्री प्रसेणजीत यादव, जो एक विख्यात फोटोग्राफर हैं , को मुझसे बात कर  के शायद लगा होगा कि मैं फोटोग्राफी एवं विज्ञान संचार को ले के खास उत्साहित हूँ ।  काफी अफ़सोस हो रहा है पर जो हुआ सो हुआ, शायद मुझे मौका मिल ही जाए और मुझे वह चुन ही लें।  खैर, अगर न भी लें तो यह ख्याल मुझे सिर्फ रात को सोते हुए ही सताएगा क्योंकि बाक़ी के दिन में तो समय होता नहीं।  

Friday, January 20, 2017

गरमा गरम करारे करारे


हिंदी मे टाइप करने का अपना ही मज़ा है। हालाँकि मैंने पढ़ाई शुरू से अंग्रेज़ी माध्यम के स्कूल में की, मैं बचपन मे बातचीत केवल हिंदी मे ही करता था। इसके विपरीत, लिखना मुझे अंग्रेज़ी मे पसंद था और आसान भी लगता था। 

मेरी बोली में  उर्दू के ल्फ्ज़ो का इस्तेमाल भी काफ़ी रहता था। इस बात से अनजान तब तक था जब तक ६-टी कक्षा में मेरी हिंदी की अध्यापिका, जिन्का नाम श्रिमती बलजीत-काहलों था, ने मुझसे पूछा कि क्या मेरे धर में कोई उर्दू का प्रयोग करता है। 

बलजीत मैडम भयंकर डिग्री की कड़क महिला थी, और मैं उतनी ही भयंकर डिग्री का डरपोक। उनकी पूछताछ पर पहले तो मुझे साँप सूंघ गया। अब तक, मैं उनके हाँथों बहुत से विद्यार्थियों के गाल गरम होते देख चुका था। हालाँकि में अब तक उन्की नज़रों में नहीं आया था,  मैंने मान लिया कि अब, गालों की गरमाइश मिलने का मेरा नंमबर आ गया था। बलजीत मैडम को आत्म-विश्वासी, परीश्रमी और हँसमुख बच्चे पसंद और मैं इनमें से कुछ भी न था। शायद मैं बचा रहा क्यूँकि मैं हद से ज़्यादा शरीफ़ था। मैडम के सवाल पूछने पर मैं सकपका के गिड़गिड़ाने लगा कि नहीं मेरे घर में कोई उर्दू नहीं बोलता। दरअसल इस तथ्य से मैं ख़ुद वाक़िफ़ नहीं था। उन्होंने मुझे प्यार से समझाया कि अगर ऐसा है भी तो इसमें कोई हर्ज नहीं और मैं उन्हें यह बात बता सकता हूँ, पर मुझे तो ख़ुद यह बात पता नहीं थी और मुझे यह लगा कि यह बात बुलवा कर मैडम मुझ ही से यह बुलवाना चाह रही हैं कि मेरी हिंदी कमज़ोर है। मैं गिड़गिड़ाता गया कि नहीं ऐसा कुछ भी नहीं था और मैं उर्दू बिलकुल नहीं जानता था।

मुझे समझ नहीं आ रही थी कि वह परेशान सी क्यूँ लग रही थी, पर मैं ज़्यादा जानना भी नहीं चाहता था। मैं तो सिर्फ़ वहाँ से दिवाली के रॉकेट की तरह फररर से उढ़ जाना चाहता था। ख़ैर  मैडम नें मुझे जाने दिया, पर अपने इस विचित्र व्यवहार से मैं बड़ी कुशलता से मैडम की नज़रों का कंकड़ बन बैठा। यह मानो कि शेरनी के आगे मैंने यह जता दिया कि मैं हिरण हूँ। 

अब तक तो कक्षा में मैं बलजीत मैडम के रडार में अदृश्य था, पर अफ़सोस कि इस वाक़िये के बाद ऐसा नहीं रहा। इस से पहले उन्होंने मुझे ऐसी बहुत सी ग़लतियों के लिये माफ़ कर दिया था जिंनके लिये वह कई बच्चों के ३-४ जड़ देती थी। पर अब ऐसा नहीं रहा; मिसेज़ बलजीत काहलों ने दो पलों मे अपने दिल की गहराइयों मे कड़े शब्दों मे मेरा चरित्र-चित्रण गोद दिया था। फिर वह दिन भी आ गया जिसका मुझे ज़रा भी इंतज़ार ना था। ग़लती तो याद नहीं पर मैडम काहलों की हथेली का मेरे गालों से मिलन हो ही गया। 

हिंदी मे निबंध, या कुछ भी लिखना मुझे कभी पसंद न था, पर iPhone के हिंदी कीबोर्ड के मिल जाने पर सब बदल गया। 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Supermoon

 Sonny wasn't sleeping tonight because of the intense light coming in through the window. We'd not seen such intensity before and when I drew the curtains aside we were surprised to see that it was actually moonlight. I just saw this information on FB that tonight we'll see the supermoon. The last supermoon was in 1948, so my dad would've been three years old then. Our nation had entered the second year of its independence. I'm glad I saw this phenomenon tonight and took pictures, which I'll share with my son when he grows up. Meanwhile, I guess I'll just step outside to bask in the moonlight, the next supermoon will be seen on 25th November, 2034, I will be 54 years old, Jeremiah will be 19 and dad will be around 90

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Talent

I just learnt that the word "talent" in olden times meant weight of ~35 kgs.
I see that its modern usage makes sense. Then I read on some financial website that you may be talented but that doesn't necessarily make you rich, rather there're a lot of talented people that are poor.
I'm talking with the man in the mirror.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bobolo

Bobo turned 2 this May

My wife wanted a dog after we'd watched almost all the episodes of The Dog Whisperer. I was reluctant but agreed. Bobo was our child when we got him home at the age of 45 days. I spent much of my stay at home wiping his pee from the house floor but the lad was good with poop, he'd let us know at such a tender age and didn't poop inside the house.

Bobo's was our child; every morning, wife would walk him and then keep him on my chest when they returned. She was obnoxiously sentimental about him. But then came a time when she started to frequent her parent's home, so she took Bobo with her in the car as Bobo was too young to be kept alone in the house. Her folks despise dogs so Bobo was locked out in the cemented backyard through the day. I reckon that that's the time when the disconnect spawned between her and Bobo. Initially, she despaired that she had to leave him alone, outside but later she turned on him, thinking of him as the problem to begin with. Gradually she withdrew from him.

Bobo was our child till we had our own. After that he was an unwanted creature, shunned away and considered a pest with a potential to create noise and cause disease. We shifted 4 houses in 3 cities in just about 8 months. We were tired, suffering insomnia, belligerent towards each other and lost. Bobo receded into a shell. When I began to realize this, I took was up in arms. All it did was turn the house into us vs them! Bobo had grown big and strong. Too strong for me to handle as I was growing physically weaker and stressed. Bobo yearned for company and love and sought it from people coming to the house, jumping on them, going out of control and making me lose temper and hit him. Bobo become my punching bag. I just couldn't control him any other way. I sprained my back innumerable times trying to stop him, he's just too strong. Only when I get really aggressive does he stop.
Bobo's arsenal 
Bobo was our child. But I realize that he's also a dog and yearns for the company of his own. He's a handsome lad but his kind hate him. He whines when he sees stray dogs and yelps and whines and pulls to reach out to them; they snarl and growl in return. There've been times we've been attacked but I've stood my ground and drove them away. I almost got bitten once. Bobo isn't scared, he never runs away, nor does he tuck his tail. He just doesn't understand what's happening and why they bark and snarl at him. His response is to run towards them anyway. Little does he know that without my protection, he'll get killed. The worse was when we (wife, child, Bobo and I) went out a bit far from home for a walk late night. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by ~15-20 stray dog, all aggressively attempting to attack Bobo. Good I was carrying a baton. I asked wifey to take sonny and walk away from us. Then Bobo and I inched back home, we were escorted to the house all the way. Despite all the dangers outside the house, we celebrated when he recently lifted his leg to pee outside and marked his territory for the first time.

At times I lie down with him on the floor with him, like I did the day our child was born and I'd come home to rest for some time. But Bobo has nightmares! He cries in his sleep and I have to comfort him. However there are times I just have to push him out of the room when wifey snaps into a rage about his nightmare-whines waking our kid up. Bobo is still my child and I'm learning to change myself.  All because I love him way too much and the thought of something happening to him gives me nightmares as well. I still can't walk him, he's too energetic and every time I take him out, I pull my back. I'm trying to get back in shape to be able to take him out without injuring myself but with the present schedules, I'm still trying to figure out how. I've gained 8 kgs in less than 6 months and physically, I'm at my weakest ever.

Bobo is most gentle with our child and lets him play with him, even if he is harsh with him but he only gently licks back. But our baby is gradually learning to love him and wants to share everything with Bobo. But we still have to watch out for the times he's excited and sprints or jumps around, when he does that, he's injured me a couple of times, let alone the potential injury that can be caused to a toddler. But Bobo still is conscious around the baby most of the times. We love you Bobolo, just wait for sometime, I'm doing all I can to take care of all your needs as a dog but till then and forever, you'll be in my heart.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

First steps

Jelly-melly took his first steps yesterday. He stood up like he's been doing for a while now and then I saw him take two steps towards the TV and then he went plop! I raised the alarm and told Nunu about it. He did it again and this time Nunu saw it too. We asked Bisia if he'd walked like that earlier and she said the he'd done in the morning as well.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Flipped again

Perhaps I'll never know what drives me...nuts and also numb.
but this time I'm taking the bull by the horn.
Negativity rubs off easily on me doesn't it. Merely avoiding negative people isn't enough, it only pushes me into a shell. I must ward off the negativity with optimism.
I've only just begun to appreciate the power of optimism, unfortunately, I find it hard to practice it with so many black-holes in the vicinity...but I must overcome this.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Hope

What horrible days
they scare, they amaze
What cacophony
just fame n' money
My soul it seeks
don't know what, its bleak
nor understand
if it's jaded or grand

And then today
it was answered, my prayer
I was left alone
by some stroke of luck
I was in a quiet zone
I heard not much
what strange feeling
it confused me
I was breathing deep
but took time to be aware
of this silence that filled the air

The dog too lay on the floor
looked once at me
and went back to snore
but his tail wagged, now and then
he's not asleep
at half past ten
then I realized it wasn't so quiet
the birds outside sang at full
the leaves lent music
they danced along
All my worries,
they'd all but gone



Thursday, May 05, 2016

Deux

Bobo turned two today. He's such a loving creature.
I only pray that he has a long and a good life with us.
I'm worried for him. What happened to Cheeku is etched in my memory. I understand that people change once their puppy grows up.
 I can understand dogs, they're simple, I can't understand people though!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

(ईं)-धनि नज़रें

अपने घर में मैं अकेला हूँ जिसे अधेड़ उम्र में भी चश्मा नहीं लगा है। शायद इसका कारण यह है कि मैंने ज़िंदग़ी मैं पढ़ाई काफ़ी कम की है। पर जितना मैं टीवी का दिवाना रहा हंँू उस हिसाब से तो मुझे लगभग अंधा हो जाना चाहिये था। ख़ैर, यह मान लेते है कि मैं इस मामले में किस्मत वाला रहा हूँ। पर आज बुरा हुआ। केनी से गाड़ी में पैट्रोल डालते हुए केनी ज़रा फिसल गई और अनु के पैरों मे पैट्रोल जा गिरा। कोना का मुँह चौड़ा था तो तेल भी काफ़ी गिरा। हड़बड़ाहट मे मैंने केनी ज़ोर से अपनी तरफ़ खींची तो ढेरों सा पैट्रोल सीधा मेरे मुँह पर आ गिरा। उस ही पल मुझे ऐसा लगा मानों किसी ने सारे चेहेरे पर आग लगा दी हो। जलन ऐसी हुइ कि मैं दर्द से कहराता हुआ नल की ओर भागा। आँखें तो लग रहा था की अब कुछ देर की ही मेहमान है, वह बुरी तरह जल रही थी। नल पर पहुँचते ही मैं एक और ग़लती कर बैठा और वह यह कि मैंने चुल्लु में पानी भरा और मुँह पर छिड़क दिया। यह ग़लती इस लिये थी कि मेरे हाथों मैं भी ढेर सारा पैट्रोल गिरा हुआ था। जलन बेहद बुरी थी। सासु माँ भागती हुइ आइ और मेरे चेहरे् पर पानी का भारी भरकम छिड़काव करने लगी। क़रीब २० मिनट पानी के बहाव के नीचे अपना मुँह रखने के बाद मैं ज़रा सी आँखें खोल पाया पर फिर भी जलन ज़बरदस्त हो रही थी, आँखें तो अलग, सारा चेहेरा जल रहा था। इस बीच भूकंप भी अा धमका और सब जगह earthquake-earthquake का शोर मंच गया पर मुझे इसका ज़रा भी इल्म न हुआ। फिर घरवालों नें चेहेेरे पे बर्फ़ की पट्टियाँ की। फिर चेहेरे पे जलने कि क्रीम लगाइ तो ज़रा आराम आया। पर इस छोटे हादसे को हुए ६-७ घंटे बीत चुके है पर आँखें अब भी जल रही हैं।

Sunday, February 28, 2016

jaggu

Dr Jagpreet Singh Nanda, HEADSHOT waale, God bless you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I could've made that crap for less but tomorrow is another day

 Hey when I eat food outside, I should be pleasantly surprised. That's the least I expect when I'm out eating at a place where a sandwich costs around 300 rupees.

 While the sandwich at Garlic And Greens was nice, the strawberry-banana smoothie was a downer.  Especially that I got to see how the guy was making it. I took a verka curd box (costs 10 rupees), threw in a banana (5 rupees) added some sugar and a bit of strawberry flavor, blended the thing and served it. Damn! the curd was not even fresh and was a bit sour. How much does Garlic And Greens charge me for that crap? 145 rupees.

So I had to visit VFS again to submit the documents I missed in the morning. It's around 20 kms from home so I took the bike in the next trip. Got stopped by a cop who told me that I hadn't installed the the high-security number plate on my motorcycle, for which I'd be challaned. GREAT! 2,000/- rupees only! The policeman talked random stuff, all of which was meant to imply that I could bribe him and avoid the ticket. What he talked about, I'd skip (although it sure was fun) but I ended up handing him a 500 rupee note, which he asked me to place in his challan-booklet. He was nice (wasn't he), he told me that if someone  else were to stop me I was to tell them that I've got my bike inspected at Naka number 4 and it has been passed. Voila! it was a code language that meant that all the policemen I'd come across again would know that the money has been paid and they'd let me go. Cool! Anyway, I got the form for the high-security number plate and will apply for it tomorrow. I guess high-security implies that you'll be safe and secure from the traffic policemen. Well at least these guys are not the goons like the Delhi police.

Anyway then on the way back at night, I stopped at a dhaba, curious about their shahi paneer. I love dhaba paranthas and expected moderately good shahi paneer. The fellow took a half cut capsicum, an onion, quarter of a cabbage and sliced em all up, added them to his kadahi, added a few pieces of paneer and tossed everything around in the high power dhaba flames :)  He then took the pan around, opened a big bowl added some curry from it, took it to another part of the dhaba, added another curry to it, cooked the damn thing and although I wasn't so happy about the ingredients at first, by now my mouth was watering from the aroma. He then added some cheap chilli sauce to it (ultra cheap I must say), then added some ultra cheap ketchup (I shouted, "hey go easy on that"), then added some other weird things and scooped it all out and packed it. When we ate the dish, I was disappointed. Hey but I got a lot done today so no problem. Tomorrow, here I come.

Monday, February 08, 2016

नासमझ

  हम समझ न पाए इन दोस्तों को, रिश्तेदारों को, इन पढ़ोसियो को, किराएदारों को, सामाज के पेहेरेदारों को। बड़े ख़्वाब देखें जी हमारे लिये कुछ लोगों ने, हम ठहरे निक्कमें, ज़िंदग़ी की लहरों में बहते चले गए, न तैरने का चाह रही, न डूबने की हिम्मत। हुनरमंद तो जी हम भी थे, पर हमारे हुनर हमारे साथ हमारी जेबों में ठसे बह रहे हैं इन लहरों में। दरअसल हमें बचपन में ही जता दिया गया था कि बेटा निखट्टू, तुमसे कुछ ना हो पाई। पर जी ऐसा है कि हमने कभी ज़ाहिर यह नहीं होने दिया कि हम तो अपनी दुनियाँ में ख़ुश हैं।

  हमारी दुनिया है अजीब, क़ुदरत के बाशिंदों हैं हमारे दिल के बहुत क़रीब, पेड़ पौधे, जीव जंतू, इन सब से है हमें प्यार।  हसींन नज़ारों और सुर संगीत पर भी हैं हम न्योछार। डरते हैं तो सिर्फ़ इंसानों से और इंसानों की नक़ली दुनिया से। और इस ख़ौफ़ पे क़ाबू पामे में लगे हैं। नास्तिक से आस्तिक हो चले हैं, सोचते है कि शायद उस परवरदिगार की बदौलत ज़िन्दा हैं, नहीं तो हम में ऐसी दुनियाँ में जी जाने का हुनर तो है नही, रुतबा तो दूर की बात है। बस एक ज़िद्द है, अब एक ज़िन्दगी जो हमारी मर्ज़ी के बिना हमें स़ौंप ही दी गई है, इसे जियेंगे तो अपने हिसाब से, अरे साहिब, हमारा हिसाब सीधा साधा है हमारी तरह, बहते रहो, तैरने में इतने मश्रूफ न हो जाओ कि यह देख ही न पाओ कि ज़िदग़ी दरअसल ख़ूबसूरत है। मेरे भाई, यह ज़रा दूसरों को पछाड़ने की जद्दोजहद में और अपने आप को महान सिद्ध करने की ज़बरदस्त कोशिशों से यह हसींन वादियों में गंदगी फैल रही है, क़ुदरत का विनाश हो रहा है, इस सुंदरता को बक्श दो। हम जैसे निखट्टुओं के नज़ारे ख़राब न करो।

  बन जाओ तुम नः १ हर चीज़ में, इम्तिहान में हो जाओ तुम टौपर, ख़ूब पैसा कमाओ, फिर उस दौड़ में ज़िंदगी भर भागते चले जाओ, चूसो ग़रीबों का ख़ून और और भी अमीर होते जाओ। पर तुम्हारी दुआ में कभी शुक्रग़ुज़ारी नहीं सुनी, सुना तो सिर्फ़ स्वार्थ। यार ख़ुदा पर विश्वास भी करते हो और निडर हो कर उसकी क़ुदरत की बेअदबी भी करते हो? दरअसल अमीर होने के बावजूद, हो तुम भिख़ारी।

  ऐसे लोगों की बनाइ इस दुनियाँ का हिस्सेदार मैं तो न हो पाऊँगा। मास्टर जी  ऐसा नहीं
है कि हमसे हो न पाएगा, ऐसा है कि हम करेंगे नहीं, क्यूँकि, हमारे मुताबिक़ ज़िन्दगी में करने को ऐसी चीज़ें भी हैं जो सही मायनों में अच्छी है।

Friday, February 05, 2016

Improvement

You know I really must shun this habit of being negative and sarcastic, seems like I was friggin born like that. Anyway, now that I know, I can at least improve upon some bad habits.

Sunder Munderiye

  This perhaps has been one of the most captivating articles I've read (http://scroll.in/article/801803/lohri-legends-the-tale-of-abdullah-khan-dullah-bhatti-the-punjabi-who-led-a-revolt-against-akbar)

  The Lohri song Sunder Munderiye that people in Punjab sing with such zest and happiness is a song about Rai Abdullah Khan Bhatti (AKA Dullah Bhatti) who was a Muslim Rajput Bhatti, who lived his life fiercely revolting against the Mughals, and was ultimately even executed by them.  History is complicated but Punjabi pop numbers aren't, apparently they've recently made a song about Dullah Bhatti portraying him as a Sikh. Nothing wrong with portraying him as Sikh if he really was but he was Muslim! 

 In today's world we are trained to see things in black and white  and side with an opinion (even if it means deliberately hiding the blacks and hyping the whites of the opinions we side with). I know of many people who generally hate Muslims in general but celebrate Lohri with great fervour and possibly do not know who Dullah Bhatti was. Like I said history is complex, to tell someone today that the hero they're singing about was a Muslim, Rajput and a Bhatti will perplex anyone (for according to us today that appears to be an admixture of 3 different religions. So maybe those times were more complex, yet simpler (i.e. You could be a Rajput, a Muslim and a Bhatti at the same time...apparently Bhatti is derived from the name of a place, now in Pakistan).

  Anyway, I feel sad for Dullah Bhatti, he's no more than a popular folk song that people don't know about. The article also mentions that since Pakistanis feel a deep kinship towards the Mughals (for the same reasons that many Indians dislike them; which again is sad for the Mughals), they don't really talk much about Dullah Bhatti, who although a Muslim, was against the Mughals. So basically nobody really knows him much. Well apparently Lohri is celebrated in the memory of his generosity for the poor.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

बेचैनी

   मौत का ख़ौफ़ शायद इकलौता ऐसा ख़ौफ़ है जो न तो झुठलाया जा सकता है, न टाला जा सकता है। हर रात, अपने प्रिय परिजनों के ग़ुज़र जाने के ख़यालों से मैं बेचैन हो उठता हूँ। कभी यह भी ख़याल आता है कि अगर कल को मैं चल बसु तो जिन्हें पीछे छोड़ जाउंगा, उन्के जीवन किस तरह बदल जाएँगे। आज कार में जाते हुए, एक क्षण में एक हादसा देखा, एक स्कूटर चालक महिला का पैर चलते ट्रैक्टर के बड़े पहिये के नीचे आ गया। आधे सैकि्ड में जो मैंने यह देखा और उस औरत की चीख़ सुनी, मैं सकपका सा गया। ट्रैफ़िक बहुत था और मैं रुक न पाया और आगे निकल गया। रियर-व्यू शीशे मैं देखा कि कुछ खलबली मंच चुकी थी। मैं दुखद पुरानी यादों में खो गया। बाक़ी का रास्ते मैं सुनन सा पड़ गया। सोच रहा था कि वो औरत कितने दर्द में होगी....और फिर कुछ और भी याद आ गया।

   पापा का वह ऐक्सीडेंट मांनो फिर से मेरी आँखो के सामने मँडराने लगा। हर बार वो बेबसी के पल याद आते है जब मैं पापा औप्रेशन थियेटर के बाहर स्ट्रैचर पर लहु-लुहान पड़े अपनी बारी का इंतज़ार कर रहे थे और मैं उन्के सिरहाने पर सिर रख कर आँखें बंद कर यह दुआ कर रहा था कि या रब्ब, काश कि यह सब एक बुरा सप्ना हो। बहुत देर आपाँ संभाला और फिर आँसू रोक न पाया, उसी वख्त पापा का हाथ मेरे सिर को सहलाने लगा। मैं हैरान था कि वह होश में थे, क्यूँकि वह कुछ घँटों से ज़रा भी हिले नहीं थे, बस साँस चल रही थी। ख़ैर, वह मेरे सिर को ऐसे सहलाने लगे जैसे बचपन में सहलाते थे; उनके हाँथ ज़रा भारी हैं, मेरे हाँथों से काफ़ी भारी। पता नहीं क्यूँ, वह पल मेरे दिल के सबसे क़रीब है। इस वारदात को क़रीब आठ साल बीत गए। पापा आठ साल और बुज़ुर्गी में बढ़ गए है। वह मेरे छः महीने के बेटे, अपने पोते, से बहुत प्यार करते हैं, इतना प्यार कभी मेरे लिये ज़ाहिर नहीं किया, कभी कभी मुझे इस बात से हैरानी, या कहो कि जलन होती है।
   हम बाप बेटे किस दौड़ भाग में फँसे रहे और साथ रह कर भी अजनबी बने रहे। या रब्बा, इन ज़ख़्मों को भर और इस ख़ौफ़ से निजात दिल्वा....कहीं अपने सच में अपना मानने से पहले न ग़ुज़र जाएँ, या वो रह जाएँ और हम ग़ुज़र जाएँ।

"हमें आज़माइश मे न पढ़ने दे, बल्कि बुराइ से बचा
क्युंकि बादशाहत, क़ुदरत और जलाल, अबद तक तेरे हैं।"

Sunday, August 02, 2015

IF

Fortunately I have a job
Unfortunately it requires me to travel extensively in planes and stay away from family
Unfortunately I'm someone who's watched too many episodes of aircrash investigation
This is extremely silly but sitting alone in this house in Dwarka, I wonder where life is headed...but I just pray about it and trust God that he's directing it well.

For all the miseries that we're facing in this growth, I remember a line by Joyce Meyer that said something like:
Sometimes we want God to change somethings for us but we find that he's  put us in situations to change somethings within us."

And so I think that with these hardships it's time to change something within me. I know this too shall pass and in three weeks time, I'll get to be with my wife and child and our dog in our home in Delhi

But
IF something were to go wrong and I'm no longer there
Please be strong and take deep breaths
Please take care of our child
Please stay in touch with didi and my parents
I love you a lot
I want you to be happy and sane
Again, I love you...
And please move on in life

Nothing's gonna happen I know but just in case...IF
I dunno why these thoughts are coming to my mind
It's not the first time but then I thought what if it is the last...

Man! it's so disconcerting...guess I'll just get back to working on the presentation in Bangalore on Monday.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Science

Found in my inbox when I worked as a Research Associate. This was a letter from the PI to all the PhD students, research associates and research assistants working in the group. I've just pasted this verbatim.

Dear Collegues
Today I was just analysing progress of our group and future of students in my  group. I feel number of hours students are giving to research has decreased over the years. Number of students are not working in off-hours or in holidays. Some students feel if PhD guide  is liberal and not forcing us to work in Saturdays or Sundays why should we work in off-hours. This is surprising that world-wide competition is increasing over the years and still we feel we will only work if some one will force us to work. Please understand you are not working for any one, you are working for your own carrier. I do not know how you people will survive in this competitive world. I have no problem if you are happy with your performance, It is important for you pepole to think whether you are giving enough time for research. This is important for each individual to think about their carrier (sic) before it become too late. In my view research profession is more time demanding than any other profession, if you a
re not comfortable with this profession than think about alternate profession.

This is a general email not applicable for all students, some of them are already giving more than there 100% time.  I have no complain from any one including those who are not giving enough time for research. I am happy with overall progress of group as well as I am grateful to my students for their contribution. I am concerned about your future.  I wish all the best for all group members.       

With best wishes & regards

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Unveling more mysteries

 Perhaps not many students of science in India have heard of George R Price, the die-hard atheist scientist (population geneticist) who published in journals like Nature and Science...the only Nature paper that does not have a single reference...and yet his findings led him to believe in God. However, the scientist in him, died with him, when he ultimately committed suicide out of the frustration of being unable to prove his theory right or wrong.

Perhaps the more positive story is that of  C. S Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, who was another die-hard atheist that ended up believing in God.

I'm neither Price nor Lewis but I have my reasons. I'm possibly still agnostic. My agnosticism may however be closer to Jesusism. Despite all the Christianity-bashing around the world, Jesus always has fascinated me (unlike many—though not all—Christians I've come in contact with).
  After watching the series Ancient Aliens that talks about all the Gods/Goddesses of all religions, including Jesus, as having links to alien life, I shy away even further from topics of Divinity. Should I laugh at the series Ancient Aliens? Well sometimes I do giggle watching it but then my years in science also make me respect the fact that there still are many relics of the past that are completely unexplained to this day. So for just that reason, I mock not, for some day, we will know how all that happened. Therein comes the element of uncertainty and mystery that I did not respect earlier.

  As a soon-to-be father, I'm fascinated at the complex mechanics of development and birth across the whole living system. I love the fact that science strives to know about the enormous complexity of how these things happen. Yet the more we know, the more there is to know further. Despite the fact that science is in love with mystery with the possibly the sole purpose of solving it, there are mysteries in a person's life that aren't solvable by a scientific formulae. Although studies are and have been conducted in every possible area of psychology, I'm unsure if living ones life totally using that knowledge it keep a person sane. So I don't quite militate against uncertainty. I came across a quote recently and loved it:

“Embrace relational uncertainty. It's called romance. Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It's called mystery. Embrace occupational uncertainty. It's called destiny. Embrace emotional uncertainty. It's called joy. Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It's called revelation.”
― Mark Batterson 


  The sarcastic/sceptic side of me feels like blasting the quote and make it sound like a joke but the other side finds a reassuring calmness in it. I've begun to realize that we needn't necessarily live in the pretence of omniscience and laugh at everything to be happy. I found a comment by someone named Robin Percival, on a very interesting post  in The Guardian, and I kinda empathize with people like that. He (or she) wrote:

"...For us the Christian story is the one told in the New Testament. It tells of Jesus as an outcast who lived and worked with other outcasts and who ultimately paid with his life because he challenged the rich and powerful of his time, including the religious leaders. Allegory or not, it is still challenging stuff for those willing to listen."

That's the Jesus, the iconoclast, that fascinates me.

Monday, April 20, 2015

These 4 walls

I'm gonna leave these 4 walls soon. When I came here I was 11 years old and so short that I couldn't see myself in the bathroom mirror that was placed a bit high. I had to jump to see my face for that fraction of a second that I was high enough, then comb my hair after landing and then jump up again to see if I got it right (and the process went on till my hair were combed). At 35 I'm hardly left with any hair on my head. It's been a long time. 24 years ago I entered this place and made this room mine. I cleared the table, dusted the room, rolled out the folding bed and christened it my Den. I'm the only one left in the neighbourhood from those days.
 Within these 4 walls I grew and matured. It's time to leave and I've never felt so nostalgic about anything ever the way I feel for this room and even this home. Fare thee well my room in my father's home, I'll never return and stay like I stay here now. I leave with my partner with a wish to make my own home someday and have place for my parents too.
I came, I changed and I changed you; you'll be in my heart. You'll probably not belong to our family forever but thank you for sheltering us all these years, this broken family that still hangs to each other by unbreakable chords of love. Last but not least thank you God everything we have; give me strength to learn, love and forgive.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Provoked

   I have begun to realise that there is no free speech in the world. Or if you really want to speak up something thAt may be contrary to what's in fashion, you'll probably need a strong platform to say it else you'll simple get booed away.

Je suis Charlie became a fashionable post on many a friend's Facebook.

   Today while watching Al Jazeera news channel I was surprised to hear other voices and that too from non-Muslims about why the world wasn't acknowledging that the post-shoot out edition of Charlie Hebdo (CH) showing prophet Mohammed as a hooked nose Arab was actually racist. Those words from the lady journalist did challenge my thoughts. Why didn't I think of that? I'm sensitive  to these things. Well! Why didn't the CH fans think about it? Is CH also bigoted, like it's attackers were?
 
   It was quote evident that the massive gathering in Paris, aiming to show solidarity after the killing of Hebdo's cartoonists, ended more as a revelry than a somber time of introspection. What was also condemned was that some of the world leaders participating in the march would never allow freedom of expression to the likes of Charlie Hebdo and possibly even take punitive actions against such a magazine in their own country.

   Anshuman Mondal a reader at a British university has written the book, Islam and Controversy and from his interview I gathered that he possibly intends to expose that bashing Islam has become fashionable, and that if you don't do it, in the non-Muslim world, people consider you to be abnormal. So many people are being criticised for criticising CH's cartoon. Well, if you try to gag those mouths or criticise them, you stand convicted of gagging the freedom of expression yourself, don't you.

   And sorry Mr. Pope, CH has the right to make fun of Mohammed and Jesus. But then the rest of the world is also free to assess and critique CH's work. So if the world should be gag-free, it should not be gagged to reveal CH's shortcomings as well. And btw so many people were waiting for this pope to finally say something that they can criticise him about and he has obliged. But hey, wouldn't a heart, a moulvi, rabbi or pundit have done the same (don't they?)

   I love free speech, free thoughts, free world etc etc but is any of it really free? I think you have to pay for everything in some way or another. I think free speech should be practiced in a world that practices introspection and allows discussion and debate between differing ideologies, and yet has the good sense to coexist peacefully. But what the fuck, we have to entertain ourselves watching all this defecation of ideologies on TV and in our homes. Hey I'm switching over to Cartoon Network before it gets corrupted as well.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Something To Believe In

BON JOVI LYRICS

"Something To Believe In"

I lost all faith in my God, in his religion too
I told the angels they could sing their songs to someone new
I lost all trust in my friends
I watched my heart turn to stone
I thought that I was left to walk this wicked world alone

Tonight I'll dust myself off
Tonight I'll suck my gut in
I'll face the night and I'll pretend
I got something to believe in

And I had lost touch with reason
I watched life criticize the truth
Been waiting for a miracle
I know you have too

Though I know I won't win
I'll take this one on the chin
We'll raise a toast and I'll pretend
I got something to believe in

If I don't believe in Jesus, how can I believe the Pope
If I don't believe in heroin, how can I believe in dope
If there's nothing but survival, how can I believe in sin
In a world that gives you nothing
We need something to believe in

So ill-understood

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjRkDo21pZY

Aarzu humne, ki to hum paaye.. (when I wished for something, I found out...OR when my wishes began to come true, I found out that...)

Raushani saath, layi thi saaye...  (...light had brought with it, shadows...)

Saaye gehere the; raushani halki.. (...shadows were dark; the light feeble...)

Hum na samjhe the, baat itni si   (...I had never understood, such a simple thing..)

Khwaab sheeshe ke; dunia patthar ki (..dreams are made of glass; this world, of stone)

When Gardish (translates roughly to "testing times") was released in the early 1990s, I fell in love with the song "hum na samjhe the" (link given above), from which the above mentioned excerpt is taken. Of course I was a very pessimistic kid who loved being alone mostly, so I had a natural liking for sad songs. I mean c'mon man, I loved "lagi aaj saawan ki fir woh jhhadi hai" from the movie Chandani. Thinking back, I find it very strange that I actually played and rewound the song innumerable times on my small tape-recorder to write the lyrics of the song.  It was hard work but I did it for many a song, English and Hindi, since I was 8 or 9 years old.  I hated home-work and always got humiliated by my teachers but for other stuff like listening to music, writing lyrics, scraping the paint off my bicycle and messing it up by painting it myself and lots of other fun stuff, I had all the time in the world.

Anyway, I digressed as usual. I loved the song I've mentioned here. It had just the right mix of SP Balasubramanian's voice, sad lyrics/music, Jackie Shroff's and Amrish Puri's fantastic acting to get me hooked. The video of the song could've been a standalone music video, for it does seem to convey something to the listener. 

Watching it still brings a tear to my eye. Something about the unsaid relation of a father and son. A father's proud dream, a son's love and then, the big crash of it all. The son growing up, differing in his opinions, attempting to find his own path, the constant failures; a disappointed father and the lost son. Then there are a few moments when their eyes meet, saying millions of unsaid things in the silence and then...them walking away from each other wishing that the other guy would understand. The movie is also kinda on the same line, I haven't watched it but read it's story. But then again, this song is a story in itself. I still love it.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

North East west south


Biggest news is that Nunu n I saw it for the first time on a sonograph (is that a word?). What a moment it was. I could hardly believe my eyes. The first thing I felt was "stupid" because this was the reAl deal. This was no chapter in a refresher course-book for developmental biology. I felt like an alien myself. Time to pray.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Rift of the moment

Was watching this documentary on Discovery Channel about the Rift Valley. A  French scientist studying the area said this....

B
loody hell... I started writing this post while watching the program on Discovery Channel the other day but couldn't finish it. Now I don't remember what was running through my mind. That's what happens when you don't hook that ephemeral thought being experienced while you're in the moment of something. Oh it was a beautiful thought... It was like  Cartier-Bresson's "decisive moment", which is fleeting and if you can't catch it in that very second of time, you need to let it be and start looking at the next one. I tell you, photography can teach one a lot about writing and life. 
Sigh! 
NEXT!

NY mean New Year

NY (NEW YEAR)

Watching Cosmos by NDT on NGC. I just learnt that NASA's voyager moves at 54,000 km per hour but even at that speed it'll take it 80,000 years to reach Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun.

What's the big din about this New Year. After all what is a year? If I consider what it really is in terms of the scale of time, it is the time the Earth takes to complete one revolution around the sun while moving at a speed of 1,08,000 km per hour! Therefore it covers a distance of 15,00,00,000 km every year!
The Sun itself is moving in the Milky Way galaxy at a speed of 7,00,000 km/hr and Milky Way itself is moving in the universe at a speed of 25,00,000 km/hr. So you can well imagine how fast, we on Earth, are actually moving through the universe and yet nothing in our lives seem to match the scale of our movement through the universe...or does it? Think!

So why is the New Year so special to us humans? Each one of us alive has moved that bit closer to our death, while hitching this high-speed ride through the universe. What a weird way to look at life, even if that's the reality of it all. Yet there's more to it. There's happiness, sadness, success, failures, living, loving and looking forward to life, not death, which we anyway have to accept humbly. After all even the the great conqueror Alexander realized at his death bed that we were all born naked and helpless and so we die. 

Today we prayed and poured our hearts out. Prayed for us, our families, our friends. We prayed for people we love and for those that aren't so dear. While praying, their joys and pains were made clear to us effortlessly, which was surprising. We prayed for those we don't know, yet know that many live their lives in difficult deplorable conditions. For once we rested in the assurance that that, which/who drives us through this universe at such ultra-stormy speed, without us sensing it, may hear our tiny supplications about the miniscule fraction of reality, our world, that means so much to us, no matter how insignificant it may be on the cosmic scale.

And so we set out on the same cyclic path of physical travel around the Sun that we've took last year and have done since the time we were born and yet our lives are hardly cyclic, we change everyday on this path around the Sun, till the time we return to dust. And that is why it's a New Year, despite being the same road. Happy New Year


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

That's that



There are so many things I wanna write about…till the time I actually sit down to write and then there’s obscurity.
Hey, today I learnt that my PhD work has finally been submitted for publication to a reputed journal, the ACS Chemical Biology. 7 years after I joined PhD, my supervisor finally thought its time. Really! 7 years, what all could I have done in 7 years besides totally screwing up my professional life and hanging on to what remains by a thin thread that also irksome to hold on to? I have a clear answer to that and the answer is “it doesn’t matter”
Something about this current lab I’m working in, the PI is great but he’s also weird. He thinks of himself as God or God incarnate (like most other scientists here) but even by scientist standards, he’s quite weird.
Bobo’s grown big so fast. He’s 7 months old and already difficult to manage. Yet he brings a sense of love to everyone in the house. Thankfully dogs have no clue about the complexity of human minds, else they’d never be referred to as man’s best friend. Thinking of how different life could be with a kid. As time passes and you experience the myriad colors of life, you’re never the same as yesterday. That’s why it doesn’t matter “what could have been” for “what is, is” and that’s what’s important.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Indian father Indian son

We have an awesome system where many soaring fathers spend the younger years of their lives feeding their sons but clipping their wings to keep them under their control. Then they spend the later years ridiculing the fat gluttons for not being able to take-off and eating away the resources of their younger years.

Indian boys: your folks are scheming brain-fuckers
Indian girls: you folks are nastier brain-fuckers

If you think "oh! my parents are so cool and awesome" then wake up you you've been espionagically (if that's a word) mind-raped.

When will this mind-sex orgy in this country cease?

And strangely still, I love you very much dad.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

ASTROLOGY

Two different astrologers warned my wife and I not to get married based on the charts. We kinda took that opinion to share with family/friends in case it turned out favorable but when it didn't, we kinda decided to have our own two-star constellation anyway coz we really didn't give two hoots about it. In any case i've seen that these days, some families hush aside this kind of a "mismatch" (or carry out some kind of a ritual which "apparently" cures/mitigates the mismatch) if they really interested in taking things forward. BESIDES, a couple of couples I know that had the perfect astrological match, have separated. 
Astrology is great in that it spawned astronomy and it's OK to have them living side-by-side in the same world eh...after all, even monkeys share this planet with humans.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Homosexuality

My take on homosexuality has been neutral. While I do not necessarily support it as something normal, I don't even hold anything against those that are gay. I'm not a science preacher but I do respect Science immensely for it's basis of attempting to understand the world. I respect my religion too, at least the major part of it that teaches one to forgive, love and respect. I don't however adhere to relegating homosexuality as a "sin". I'm fact I don't think that the expression sodomy, originating from the biblical reference to Sodom, refers specifically to homosexuality. Sometime ago I researched into this aspect while preparing a Facebook comment in a FB debate on a friend's post.

The simple reason why I don't find homosexuality normal is that it does not lead to the normal functionality of procreation. Pundits from the field of Arts may take up arms against me on this, saying that sex, at least in the human context, does not merely imply procreation, maybe just like "food", in the human context, does not imply mere satiation of hunger. Although I do partly agree with this point, the fact also is that if food does not satiate your hunger and sustain your life, then what's the point of eating it?

Forgive my simpleton analogy on the subject but the point I'm trying to make is, that if a form of human sexuality, psychologically prevents someone from procreating, then it indeed does appear aberrant, just like you can indulge in the diverse culinary experiences but if it doesn't sustain your life, then it appears like an abnormal indulgence. On the other hand one can always claim that homosexual couples can have babies by artificial insemination or surrogate pregnancy. If I compare that with the aberrant food habit, it would possibly be an equivalent of someone taking nutrition via IV fluids to remain alive and healthy, alongside eating food that wouldn't sustain life.

The analogy isn't free of flaws, as one doesn't need to be heterosexual to be a normal, healthy, productive citizen, while someone who is on the analogous aforementioned diet, would find it rather hard to sustain his/her life.  The point is the "aspect" of life, i.e. hunger and sex, and the normal analogous effect, i.e. health and procreation. I understand we don't always eat food in a quantitative way to sustain health and life, like we don't just indulge in sexual activity to procreate but if that basic criteria cannot be naturally fulfilled, then the behavior does appear aberrant to me. Again the analogy may have more flaws but it does the job of explaining by providing a parallel.

The more important fact of the situation is "choice". The way the religious zealots of most major religions demonize it, it seems like they're implying that it is an individual choice but my common sense does not buy this. I'm heterosexual and I cannot, even by choice, turn myself homosexual. Not that growing up hasn't exposed me to mild forms of such experiences. Most of the guys I grew up with have had these experiences (I don't imply with me, I mean we've all talked about it when we were that age. Now we all really are Hetero men.

I think the reason can be found in the fact that in our country, most of us can't freely intermingle with girls at the beginning of puberty (or at least that was the case with many in the 80s and 90s here). A notable subset are too introverted and inhibited even well into their 20s to experience a normal sexual encounter. Those unfortunate ones, get trained to oppress it so much that their chances get bleaker with age. Of course it's not too much of a problem with some people as the Indian system of arranged marriage comes to their rescue by their mid-20s. Having said that I have a few bachelor buddies that've crossed 30 and have never been in bed with a girl! 

A hetero guy doesn't necessarily turn homosexual with age, if he has had homosexual encounters. I don't know if that may lead someone to become bisexual or homosexual. I sympathise  with gays. Homosexuality is normal for homosexuals; it is heterosexuality that is aberrant to them but living in a majority heterosexual world, the least they're fighting for is to let them be accepted for who they are. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. For me science helps understand the things that the world calls queer and religion teaches me to be nice to everyone, despite my shortcomings as a hetero male in this patriarchal world that unfairly empowers me in certain ways yet unjustly cripples me in others.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/253971.php 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rafter

It juggles and throws you around but you hold the paddle tight, beat the wave and move through the mob of bubbles and rocks, shouting at the top of your voice in an adrenalin rush.
Then you reach the calms and jump in to relax, locate the eddies and avoid them. Soon you spot the white waters at a distance and haul yourself back in. You pass other boats, some of them meet a scarier fate than you. But when you face the fury of the foam, its time to roar in battle. You watch it rise high above you but what are your choices; fight bravely or drown like a coward. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A week after the accident, the things still doesn't look good.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

FBinglish

I liked that book a lot but when I read it the second time, I unliked it.
(Duh! fACEBOOK return my language skills at once or I will unfriend you)

Zap Zap

I've been feeling so horribly fatigued for such a long time. Then today, after many months, the workload was phenomenally high. I ran, I sprang, booked the instruments, ran columns, centrifuged etc etc and did all the multitasking. From 9:30 am til 7:45 pm, and that too without food (ok ok I had 2 samosas at 5:00 pm but I was on water throughout the day before that). I returend home and gobbled tons of food as precaution, without sensing the mildest of hunger. It's midnight and I'm still not tired!

How'd my battery get charged? Here's the story:

Well you see, I will become ineligible for a research associate position soon. Working as a volunteer and not having received any salary for the past 10 months, has changed many things for me (for the worse) beyond the scope of this post.

When posts were advertised on the institutional website, I had little choice but to think about it. No positions are coming my way in the near future, if I lose eligibility for ones that I can get now, Soon I'll have nothing left to do. Someone is majorly responsible for this misery of mine but I'll refrain from taking names.

Much as I love and respect my present employer (where I work as a volunteer), work hasn't been built on solid ground. Not that I should expect it to and honestly I have tried taking ownership of the work but in vain; things are way too jinxed out here. Moreover, I'm suffering from the once-bitten-twice-shy syndrome lately and I try as I may, my mind doesn't let me trust people anymore. Time's running out for me! I've put in 5 months and have observed that deadlines are never met (similar to what happened in my PhD).

Having said that, things are hotting up here. So I'm not sure if this is the right time to leave. But I gave myself a deadline, I'm outta here in 2 months max and I gotta give it a quality shot while I'm here. The transformation was magical. No fatigue, total energy, total concentration! I finally managed to take ownership of the work and todays work was a sweet success.

I reckon, that's how you get rid of fatigue by having a time-bound goal! Common knowledge but easier said than done.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The peace of Karate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB_f-mkyqtc 
Not the kind of a documentary that seems appealing at first but as I watched on, it grew on me. I had a short stint with Karate and have a soft corner for this hard sport. I therefore sat through the initial phase of the documentary that I did not find that great. This documentary by Nicholas Pettas, a 20 year veteran of competitive karate takes us on a journey to Okinawa, the birthplace of karate and to discover it's simple tenets of peace. There they practice the most lethal forms and moves alongside gaining the utmost control to avoid conflict. Even to apologize and never to attack till the last minute, till you're in no doubt that your life is in danger.

"The strength to not use strength may be the greatest strength of all" --

It's about the endurance of self-control of the mind and spirit and they train to with the will that they will in all probability, never use their physical strength. This was exemplified by one Master, Choshin Chibana, who is said to have been attacked by gang of 4 men, because of his popularity as a karate expert, but refused to retaliate despite getting severely beaten as he was convinced that he was sure that his life was not in danger. The men ultimately relented and apologized.

The Okinawan style embodies a tenet that you should have the courage to apologize and give way to your opponent and never to hurt or kill. This is so contrary to the martial arts that we're shown or the image that we have of it in our minds. Sure Karate is about hardening your bones on stones, about being able to kill with a single punch or kick but the Okinawan aspect of it shed light on it's aspect of utter humility, going to the extent of bearing resemblance to the Apologists.

This is so diametrically opposed to the valour of ancient savagery from both the East and West. To different from the hubris of being adept at martial skills, the examples of which are replete in comic books as well as  several religious text.


Monday, July 21, 2014

So is God on a rampage?



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/19/opinion/timothy-egan-faith-based-fanatics.html?_r=0

http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/07/19/iraq-security-christians-idINKBN0FO0V920140719

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

'B'e'T'rayed

I wrote an article on bt brinjal some years ago http://www.heraldofindia.com/article.php?id=441 I guess there's so much I didn't know back then. On the one hand there are life saving drugs being developed, while on the other hand, here's how businesses corrupt science 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTGatLDwF_8#aid=P81WmWenEpg

This is downright scary. They're slowly making roads into India. 

The following link was shared by a pro-GM friend. http://www.marklynas.org/2013/01/lecture-to-oxford-farming-conference-3-january-2013/  Although I agree that GM can satiate the needs of the deprived, I only wish that was their only agenda. I present my argument against the abovementioned article (I could've elaborated even more but ran out to time and patience). The lines in read are directly quoted from the article followed by my argument in black (in some places I've just argued by calling some statements silly, owing to the common knowledge about the subject):

Author builds his credibility in the beginning of the article. If he's gonna talk about hardcore objective science, he needn't build his credibility. But ok, never mind, let's go on to read on. 

Says he was wrong about GM being harmful…(oh he already sets the mood for the article, now I know what to expect. But anyway, let’s move on)

Ehrlich Vs Borlaug à btw he conveniently omitted M S Swamynathan from the Indian Green Revolution). Borlaug’s ideology differed from Monsanto’s his aim was to feed the poor, not mint millions by obliterating the natural crops. It is Monsanto’s biggest agenda to wipe out naturally occurring seeds in the near future. This in itself is a challenge to biodiversity. Then farmers will be forced to buy seeds from such company's every season. You think this is intended to help the poor? 

Studies like these, effects of drugs, take years/decades to complete. The once commonly used medicines were found to be toxic after 10s of years. They all meant well. America is not suffering from famines, so why push GM there with such force?

CropLife suggest it costs $139 million  à What is Croplife's turnover? Let’s compare. How much do they aim to earn from this technology. How will it help the farmer to be independent and progressive? No info on that

Because we have enough to eat, we can afford to indulge our aesthetic illusions.à So? Why’re they hell bent to cure a problem that doesn’t exist in the first place? Because Europe is rich!! Population is not Europe’s problem so why obfuscate the argument?

The idea that it is healthier has been repeatedly disproved in the scientific literature….organic is much less productive, with up to 40-50% lower yieldsà  Why’s he comparing yield with “healthier”. Surely those in surfeit need worry only about health, not yield. Poor countries aren't touting “organic”, rich ones are because they can. So why does it itch GM companies. They can just go about their well-meaning work in poor countries.

Instead they talk about an ideal world where people in the west eat less meat and fewer calories overall so that people in developing countries can have more.à I don't think that’s the idea, these things are being promoted for health reasons, not to accommodate the poor.

horse and cart in 1850,à We don't eat horse and cart, they don't go into our bodies and don't affect our health directly. This seems like deliberate obfuscation.

benign herbicides like glyphosateà please watch the youtube documentary (link given in the beginning) about how benign it is. Monsanto’s already infamous for projecting dangerous things as harmless; history is witness to this. There are doctors and scientists vouching against this statement, based on real research and real patient records. This guys is not a scientist, if he so believes in peer-review then he should get this article peer reviewed by the scientific community. I assure you that if I can find such big caveats, more experienced scientists will rubbish this article in a jiffy.

Recent research by Jesse Ausubel and colleagues at Rockefeller UniversityàSure go ahead, sell GM in India, Africa and poor countries, why do you want to penetrate Europe and America so desperately? Money?

That is why I don’t know why so many of those opposing the use of technology in agriculture call themselves environmentalists.àSure forests and animals should be protected but at the same time, you can’t eat something that’s gonna gradually lead to genocide right?

This was a public health catastrophe, with the same number of deaths and injuries as were caused by Chernobyl, because E.-coli probably from animal manure infected organic beansprout seeds imported from Egypt.àSure that’s a good eg. so that doesn’t make GM any better…you can’t ignore patient records. We base our research on that, so it cannot be ignored.

In total 53 people died and 3,500 suffered serious kidney failureà Please watch the youtube documentary to get stats on the rise in number of cases of various disease due to GM over the past decades since it was introduced.

trivial risks from highly-regulated chemical pesticides and fertilisers” à He’s trying to trivialize this. Risks from Chemical pesticides and fertilizers have not been trivial.

analogous to burning books in a library before anyone has been able to read them” à Books won't directly kill/maim your children.

immoral and inhumane, depriving the needyà Again—go and give it to the needy. These people are using the needy as their poster boys, while their main aim is to pocket big money from the developed world.

help reduce overfishingà This is a proposal; in science we first propose, then show that it works and then it is accepted. What GM companies are doing is not semi-science projected as the hardcore scientific method, which implies that it is indeed pseudoscience.

So my conclusion here today is very clear: the GM debate is overà Sure, you’re the jury and the executioner. A scientist would never ever ever say such a horrible thing.

never been a single substantiated case of harmà So the doctors, patients and scientists crying foul with lucid records of the harm are lying?

more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM foodà Such comparisons are drawn by airline companies as well. Guess what…not many survive aircrashes. And here’s the thing, GM can be good, some of it must be good but to tout it as awesome, much-needed and the only way, is not scientific. Science accounts for everything, even results that have come to light just once, everything has to be explained (like why did it happen once in a particular case). 


more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM foodà That’s a blatant lie. Please watch the Youtube documentary I mentioned in the beginning of the article to see what exactly I mean.

blight-resistant potato would save farmers from doing 15 fungicide sprays per seasonàDeliberate obfuscation. The author deliberately omits the reason for such apparent reduced fungicide use. The reason is that the fungicide is being produced inside the potato itself! This is not rocket science! The life cycle of a potato production may just be one year BUT the effects on humans can/will/do linger for years. Please watch the documentary on how this happens. Please see animal test trial that unequivocally prove the dangers. If there’s an ideological issue, it’s with the author, who is hell-bent to skew facts and project them as reality.

potato famine in the mid 19th century…But thanks to the Irish Green Party, this is not to beàand “medieval superstition as a strategic imperative” again he’s rousing emotions to prove his point.

India has rejected Bt brinjal, even though it would reduce insecticide applications in the field, and residues on the fruità Bt brinjal has Bacillus thuringiensis (a bacteria) toxin genes, produced the toxin inside the brinjal, therefore external application is reduced. Bro with some normalization, it is equivalent to having a toxin in each and every cell of the brinjal from its core to its skin…you think that’s not dangerous? A good scientific test would be to calculate how much toxin does each brinjal produce and check the lethal dosing of this in mice or other animals. Why doesn't the billion dollar strong industry carry out such a test? They go the distance to suppress the results of such research (please watch the documentary to see how a senior scientist lost his job of 35 years, when he did so).

supposed “health risksà the health risks aren't “supposed”, there are patient records and scientific evidence that GM companies suppress.

suffocating avalanche of regulations à by saying this, GM companies are behaving worse than the greedy pharma industry. So they're saying this shouldn't be regulated? That’s a dead giveaway about their intentions.

integrate nitrogen fixing capabilities into major food crops, starting with maizeàSure this is a good thing but don't deliberately mislead us that this is should be considered the same as crops like BT brinjal, BT maize etc. that produce toxins in every cell of their bodies. Not all GM are the same. They need to be thoroughly studied by third party researchers, they need to be understood and definitely regulated, so that we can know which ones are good and risk free.

international myth-bustingà This is hypocrisy. They suppress independent research into GM with full force.

Norman Borlaug is dead now, but I think we honour his memory and his visionà There you go, another emotional support. I’m sure Borlaug though only about poor in a well-meaning way. Not to capture and enslave farmers around the world.

farmers should be free to choose what kind of technologies they want to adoptà Sure they should but they should be equally well-informed of both the choices; all the pros and cons. So should the public.

you don't have the right to do is to stand in the way of others....Farmers who understand the pressures of a growing population and a warming world...àThis is downright amusing and silly.

…celebrity chefs to the US foodies to the peasant groups of Indiaà thanks for your respect for the Indians sire. By now you've gone completely subjective, irrational and the bigotry is well reflected in your words.

But you must know by now that they are not supported by scienceà Neither are you sire.

get on with feeding the world sustainablyà I wish that was the primary aim of the present-day GM companies. I wish Norman Borlaug was alive and objectively listened to both sides of the story.