Friday, November 29, 2019

Snowden, monkeys and the lone banana

Edward Snowden* once said,

"Social media, in a way, is like a Circus show and we are all monkeys in one of it's cage. Everyday a banana is thrown into the cage and we all take sides and fight for the lone banana. End of the day the banana might not satisfy any of the monkeys. But it doesn't matter, because by that time a new day comes and along with it a new banana

Slowly the monkeys started getting a kick out of these daily fights, even though it often turns out ugly. One can't expect the circus company to end this ridiculous routine, as their whole model is based on interactions. The more the monkeys fight,  the more interactions it creates and more dollars audience will shed. Once the monkeys  stop their fight, the model breaks and the business dies.

Interesting part is that the doors of this cage is never locked. The monkeys can get out anytime and have a better, independent life outside than being restricted to this vicious fighting cycle. But what if they are too addicted to the fight, that they don't even bother about a way out"

* You all know who Snowden is and that's not the point. Considering the shrinking attention span of social media  population, the only way to get this kind of relatively 'long'  post read by people is to link it to someone who could generate curiousity. In other words, replace "Edward Snowden" mentioned above with Me ... 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The big picture

One day I decided to look at the big picture..

I looked closely at the world today, the politics, ideologies and all those crazy folks at the helm .. I saw a pattern which feels more like a build up for an end game. Even though Mr. Pinker believes that we are in the most peaceful of times, what if it's like a calm before the storm .. And in a world where this nuclear stuff is like candy that every other kid in the neighborhood has, a perfect storm will mean our return to the stone age ..

Now suppose I survive the storm, think about the post-apocalyptic world .. all those virtual money in my bank account will be nothing more than mere numbers and all those so-called skills that helped me get those numbers in the first place will be 'outdated'. Like that school principal's advise to Mr. Cooper, the world will need more farmers .. or for that matter more carpenters or construction workers or at least someone who can get along with others without the help of emails or calls. Which means the IT professionals won't stand much chance and their managers even less. For me, the future looked dark and hope seemed like a mirage .. I needed to do something about it and something right away..... So I did!

.. I slowly turned my head and focused my stare at a much smaller picture .. Apart from the occasional gas trouble, life seems perfect now!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Clouds beyond silver lining !

"Every cloud has a silver lining" .. the words that assures us about the good times coming after the bad ones. But when it comes to one's own hair the sight of first silver lining might not always be the sign of good times. Some gets depressed, some runs for a dye and some others take the extreme route - mercilessly  shaving off the mustache, beard and even hair in a futile effort to convince themselves that 'all is well'

Somehow I feel different, I was rather thrilled at seeing the first clean grey hair, right at the middle of my mustache. Grey hair in most cases implies you lived at least half of your normal life span. If you look around, or may be look at the newspaper and you see a world filled with war, poverty and disease where too many people are finding it hard to meet this half way milestone. In that kind of a world, a grey hair should be considered a privilege instead of curse. Rather than a reason to worry, it should be reckoned as a trophy of survival and a reason to celebrate. 

Sometimes it's also about choices and perspectives. Many of us are afraid of getting older because we believe age takes away the energy and color of life. That it's a transition from an enthusiastic youth who likes to travel and party, to that inactive old guy who prefers not to move from his arm chair. But what if you already belong to that special group of humans whose idea of a perfect weekend is to sit lazily all day in the balcony with a few books on one side a cup of coffee on the other. That guy won't be as worried about the grey hair as many others, will he ? .. or may be for him it really is a silver lining beyond the clouds, who knows !!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Dazzling Headlights

Empathy (noun) ​ /ˈem.pə.θi/

"The ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person's situation"

One of the key capability that enabled human evolution is our ability to empathise. Some people go to an extent of calling it the basis of human civilisation. But it seems like this innate  quality  instilled in humans through centuries of evolution could be easily uprooted by the clutches of religion ..

I might not be in full agreement with the story or message conveyed in Ramayana, but still I admire it as a great work of literature. Hence the idea of dedicating a month towards learning it through early morning recitation doesn't seem such a bad ritual, especially considering numerous other meaningless and ridiculous practices that religion forces on you... But nothing can justify playing a recorded version of its poem publicly through loud speakers in full volume and that too at 4:30 AM in the morning

Just think about how small is the segment  of people it actually addresses .. it excludes,

  1. A good percentage among people from other faith and non-believers who naturally don't appreciate it enough
  2. People who are believers but don't quite appreciate or understands poetry that much
  3. People who are believers and even appreciates poetry but at 4:30 AM, any sound beyond a whisper  is nothing but an irritating alarm for them

What is left could be a bunch of people not exceeding 10% of population within that acoustic range. In this age of technology isn't there a better way of dealing with it. For instance donate a ear phone to each of those 10% and setup a conference bridge where those folks can call-in using a toll free #. Instead of a mere recorded poem you can actually give them a live customised recitation, a win-win for all parties involved and of course the ones who are not involved ..

Now looking at the bright side, in a place where a fall of leaf can cause religious conflict, these disturbance didn't really escalate to such an issue till now. But I don't think it is merely due to the big heart shown by the other party. I once read an essay by an English writer about dazzling headlights.  It talks about the author's experience during his evening highway rides where he gets irritated by the high beam from approaching cars and how he thought about combating the issue by planting a bigger headlight for his own car. The deafening loud speakers here are like those dazzling headlights and the other party might already be thinking the same way that author did. They also have a similar month at their disposal and I bet the volume level of early morning special prayers during their sacred month will be one notch higher next year.

End of the day the only section that gets screwed from both sides are the one who is not a part of any of these circuses and who don't give a damn about whose headlight is stronger. All they care about is to get some peace especially at 4:30 AM in the morning ... and yes, I represent them !

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Writing on the wall...

Did you ever tried to imagine how these amateur paintings are done in railway toilets .. in a shaky train compartment while exposed to the stinking odor of uncleaned toilet those 'artists' are expressing themselves using a mere ballpoint pen and that also with amazing clarity .. it requires some level of skill and  patience.. Its a wonder what makes these folks stick to their job with dedication against all odds ..

Human race lived in caves for a major portion of their quarter million years of life on earth. Cave paintings and cave writings were obviously their global past time and these toilet paintings might have a possible connection with this history. While the cave men tried to express what they see around, like trees and animals, our new age cave men focused on the thing they never really had a chance to know much about - the opposite sex,  and they did it in a language far more rotten than the nasty smell around them. This 'art' seems to have spun out from a combination of evolutionary urge of wall painting with the suppressed sexual frustration of a typical desi male. 

But on a closer look I noticed a strange pattern. Most of these paintings were pretty old and newly painted walls were hardly touched. It was strange, since these kind of social disorders never vanish all of a sudden. What happened in last few years which made the difference!

Then suddenly it unraveled before me .. it was quite  obvious if you look around - the smartphones and internet in every hands and the similar disgusting odor coming out from many comment boxes. Nothing really changed, the assholes simply chose another wall ...

Friday, November 20, 2015

A descend to darkness - When sitting together becomes a sin

All these protests by girls and boys across campuses, for their right to sit together in class room, is turning out to be a rather shameful episode... The shame, however is not caused by the students who fight against this absurd restriction, but by the pathetic state of our society where a 'protest' is needed for such an elementary right - for two individuals to sit together !! 

10 years back during my college days boys and girls siting together in class room, even during the lecture hours, was a common scene. It neither caused any harm to our percentages nor melted away the so called 'morality'. Why were those classrooms so different from the one we see in news today? 
One reason could be the relatively younger and probably more liberal teachers we had back then and also the warm and healthy relation ship we shared with then. An old-fashioned teacher who distance him(her)self with students will be apparently disturbed at the sight of a boy and a girl listening to his(her) lecture while sitting within a 'touching distance' from each other . For them sitting next to a girl it will be impossible for a boy to concentrate or even think about anything else apart from that girl ... and of course vise versa

20 years back during my school days, we boys followed a strange practice of untouchability towards the girls in our class room. If we accidentally happen to touch any girl or even her book or bag, we have to rub our hands in the desk or wall to remove the 'impurity'. One day our tuition teacher happened to know about this and gave us a lecture on how ridiculous our act is and advised us to consider girls as one among us and not to discriminate .. I think if the same scenario happens today the teacher might instead pat on our back and appreciate us for the high 'moral values' we are maintaining in the class room ... such is the kind of 'progressiveness' we gained as a society in last couple of decades !

As some one said "half a century ago, from the peak of renaissance and enlightenment, we started our descend towards the valley of darkness" .. Today, it looks like the pace is faster than ever before !

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The origin of 'Busmukhasana' or How to become a yoga guru in 45 minutes!!

At 8 pm in the night at Thrissur bus stand while boarding the last bus to Vadakkencherry little did I knew about the historical events that were going to unfold. Since we got into the bus 30 minutes before its departure I managed to get the last available 'seat' in the bus which was right on top of its dashboard literally kissing the front glass.

But the real fun began when the bus started to move. Five minutes into the journey I was forced to bent the upper part of my body to a 45 degree vertical angle since I was obstructing the driver's view of rear view mirror. But since that angle naturally makes me face to face with the driver in an awkward position I have to bent my neck at least a 30 degree horizontally. I was doing all this circus by keeping both my legs in the air since the floor is already filled with the feet of other people sitting in the side seat and on top of gear box. But the best part is yet to come .. Since there was no scope to get a solid grip and nearest wall is the front glass of the bus which is not an ideal place to lean up on, I had to keep this posture in between my dire effort to balance my body. Things got even more exciting as bus started jumping through all those pot holes for the long and grinding 45 minutes !!!..

I don't know if similar posture is already present in 'modern' yoga .. but if you know how Mr Iyengar and his beloved guru Mr Krishnamacharya 'manufactured' and even imported more than 200 asanas on top of the 32 original ones, I guess I have every right to name my asana as 'Busmukhasana' and include it as a new one in the list ...

Now back to the all important question... benefits??.. first one is surely the feeling I got just after completing this asana, didn't felt such a 'nirvana' (or in other words relief) for a long time.. I also felt my tummy touching half way mark towards six pack, at least it is quite evident in the left side to which I bent. On top of that there seems to be a sudden rush of creativity and memory power ... what else explains such a long and honest disclosure and that also at 1 am in the night