20 Aug 2005

58 and Going...

Posted by Oblivion in General | 3:22pm


Independent India is 58 years old. Time for retirement. More than anyone else, India needs it. It resembles an old man who had spent his youth in slumber and has now lost his way in a thick wood. With priorities having gone utterly wrong, he is now destitute of sanity. His only reason for pride is his glorious past.

The fuss about Independence Day, year after year after year, makes any sensible person puke. It's very predictable, so absolutely predictable like that march of soldiers. You know what movies they will show on the movie channels, you know what kind of imagery they will flash on the music channels, you know what the prime minsiter will say in his address to the nation, you know what cover stories the newsmagazines will come up with, you know what questions the half-cranky anchors will ask the three-fourth cranky teenagers on the streets, you know what symbol will be most flashed at your eyes, and you know what they will blabber in all those useless talk shows.

For kids, it's another holiday. For adults, it's entertainment day at home. For jingoists, it's a festival. For politicians, it's another day to kick on the old man's ass. For media, it's a day for big money. At the end of the day, after having watched in silence his birthday celebration, the old man is tired, beaten, abandoned and sick. But, heck, nobody cares! I have three meals a day, a nice job, good bank balance, so the old man can go to the dogs.

The old man has been rendered spineless. The whole system of politics, juidiciary, legislature, and media sucks. The specimen called politician was dead and gone with Gandhi and gang. They may not have had practicable ideals and were not sharp at anticipating the consequences of their decisions, but they at least had appreciable missions and commanded good amount of respect by virtue of their education and personality. After them, we have been ruled by goons and people don't mind it! Worse, they still go and vote, fueled by incorrect understanding of franchise and the so-called sincere citizen!

Amid all this hopeless chaos, we have these high-adrenaline, impatient, and vain youth (am also among them) - the future of the nation. Flash some skin, pierce at some places, speak in a bastard accent, use four-letter words at your will, talk of brands and places, begin or end every sentence with 'cool', 'man', 'dude' and other such non-expletives-but-expletives-actually, blame everything on Gandhi and Nehru, gyrate the hips at a pub with booze beside and loud music in the background, and flaunt everything. To complement, learn the tunes of  om jai jagdish... and aye malik tere bande... If you are a girl, also learn how to - and where to - put a bindi and how to wear a saree. That's enough, and the media finds in you the rightful mix of tradition and modernity. East meets West. Crossover. My foot!

Civil servant is extinct. We are ruled by the gun. Try to speak truth and you will be a statistic. Everybody knows what happened to a certain 'Tehelka'. The real goons are out there in the Assembly halls, while thousands of innocent people are behind bars. Media doesn't have guts to find out real stories. Government is a bunch of cranks playing football with you and me. Surprisingly, neither of us minds! As Coetzee says, "Man gets used to anything. Anything." Soldiers kill civilians to meet their 'weekly targets' and frame them as militants, and the rest of the country hails them as saviours! Human rights? Show me something 'human' and we can talk of rights. A small rumour effects a riot. And I am still sold the concept of India being a 'democratic and secular nation'!

To go one up, one always meets these chaps who come along and say, "hey buddy, don't be so cynical". Oh yeah! why should it bother anybody anyways? Why not enjoy another round of gossip at the coffee table and let the old man, as we said, go to the dogs? Come on, he is just 58 now, and he can go on for centuries. Chill!

I don't know what the old man thinks, but I feel it's time for retirement. Enough of experimenting with goonocracy. Renounce. Let go. Begin anew!

On second thoughts, it's just asking for the moon. Tagore prayed to let his country awake into the 'heaven of freedom', and nothing happened. So, what the hell would happen if some 'cynics' and idlers write useless reflections in diaries or blogs or magazines? For modern man, taking out time for reading itself is a monumental task. Anything beyond is unthinkable. So, shit happens, papers polish it and print, we read, and get on with our lives. Reminds me of the sentence in The Fall: "A single sentence would suffice for modern man - he fornicated and read the papers."

Old man, happy birthday anyways! 58th.



Current Mood: Happy
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11 Aug 2005

Booker 2005

Posted by Oblivion in General | 11:29am


Coetzee makes it yet again to the longlist for the 2005 Man Booker Prize. There's still good time for the shortlist. With some more good writers in contention, this is certainly going to be exciting.

My pick for the shortlist:

1.Coetzee, J M
2.Rushdie, Salman
3.Ishiguro, Kazuo
4.Smith, Ali
5.Smith, Zadie

And I wish Coetzee wins!



Current Mood: Happy
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4 Aug 2005

The Survival Chamber

Posted by Oblivion in General | 12:46pm


AD 2876. The nuclear war has exterminated almost the entire of human race. Only 400 people survive. The break-up - 100 cyborgs, 25 scientists, 65 programmers, 10 dictators, and 200 youngsters - 100 men and their sisters.

The scientists and dictators decide they must take up the cause of preventing the human race from becoming extinct. All the documentation and technology for SFC (SuperFast Cloning) has been destroyed. So, the only way left for them to have descendants is by making the young men and women mate among them and procreate. So, they put the 100 young men and their sisters - 100 in number - in the survival chamber. Everything inside the chamber is fully monitored by supercomputers so that it is always conducive to survival of all forms of life. Dictators love Chess, and scientists love Mathematics. Ergo, they decide to make this all into a game rather than a drab orgy.

The 200 subjects are not told about the purpose of the exercise until they are moved inside the chamber. Once inside, they are blindfolded and made to stand - men and women opposite each other, separated by good distance - in a random order. There are hundred rooms, designed to form a circle. The blindfolds are removed only when a person is inside either the room or the toilet. Now, the game is this - men are asked to choose their mating partners. Everybody is numbered - man 1 to man 100, woman 1 to woman 100. Each man is directed toward the place where women are standing, and the first woman whom he touches becomes his partner. Nobody is allowed to utter a word till all the pairs are formed. The dictators don't approve of incest. So, if the man happens to choose his sister for partner, both of them will be shot dead.

The entire process is monitored by cyborgs, so there's no place for tricks.

The probability of a man ending up choosing his sister for partner is 0.01. Out of all the combinations possible, there is exactly one that proves fatal for the human race - when each man chooses his sister. In such a case, all the pairs will be shot dead. So, inside the chamber, the survival of a person depends not on how fit he is, but solely on chance.

What is the best move for a man to ensure he survives?

The rooms are numbered in anticlockwise direction, and they are occupied according as men's numbers in the same order (man 1 and his partner occupy room 1, man 2 and his partner occupy room 2, and so on).

After the first round of choosing, the scientists decide that it's a better idea to enhance the gene pool. Now, the pairs need to change partners in a sequential order (clockwise in direction) and it should go on for another 49 times (after the first round, man 1 will have man 2's partner and man 100 will have man 1's, and so on). But the same rules hold - when a man ends up with his sister for partner, both of them will be shot dead. So, if a man is lucky enough that his sister is not among the next 49 men's partners, he will survive at the end and will have had 50 partners in total.

How many such combinations exist that will keep all of them survive at the end?



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