Category: General

9 Jul 2004

Moment of Bliss

Posted by Oblivion in General | 9:27pm

It was the dead of night when I decided to stop by, after five hours of uninterrupted drive, at a dhaba to have a cup of garam chai. No vehicle in sight on either side of the straight, long road. The moon was full and the sky glowed with a heavenly radiance, with stars strewn all across it at random.

We were five of us. Friends. Three of them took out the box of cigarettes and lighted their way to glory. All of us were damn tired. It was the most pleasant of breezes that filled the air. The trio arranged themselves comfortably on the rope-made cots. Rakesh, not at all quiet otherwise, became quite quiet as he sat down on the wooden bench, seeming to appreciate the beauty of the sky. And I reclined on the other wooden bench and looked up. The wonderful sky, splattered with the golden stars and that gorgoeus light of the full moon!!

That was my moment of bliss last week. What's yours?

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

9 Jul 2004

Fundas of Good Driving

Posted by Oblivion in General | 3:49am

Recently, while an article about Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) made interesting reading, it makes me wonder if it would work beyond a threshold of traffic density, or in conditions of unorganised traffic. Traffic in most parts of the metros and the country at large, in India, does not yield to any mathematical analysis, courtesy the overtly mismatching ratio of vehicular population to the road length. Accidents are common, and traffic jams are accepted as inevitable part of the drive. With hardly any breathing space for vehicles - effectively meaning the least headway* possible -, it demands an unfailing and continuous alertness on the part of drivers.

It would be, to my mind, certainly interesting to see the recommendations of Dr Davis's computer model for such a scenario. Meanwhile, I find three factors that would, if rightly followed, help avoid jams and accidents in almost any kind of traffic -

1. Maintaining linear trajectories
2. Anticipating the speed of other objects on road accurately, and perhaps most importantly
3. A cool head
Anticipation seems to be the key. All animals are good at anticipating the time and distance of an approaching vehicle. The more accurate one's anticipation, the safer his drive will be. And this becomes easier if everyone maintains linear trajectories - the model followed in the speed-lane system. So, now should it start with the realisation on the part of drivers or with the authorities widening the roads and devising a more strict traffic code? The former is possible and easy. The latter involves a lot of urban re-planning and money.
*Headway is the gap, measured in seconds, that a driver puts between himself and the car ahead

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

2 Jul 2004

Facts and Observations

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:26am

A friend sent this. Funtastic!! Happy reading!

- They call our language the mother tongue because the father seldom gets to speak
- Regular naps prevent old age... especially, if you take them while driving.
- Having one child makes you a parent; having two, you are a referee.
- Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right and the other is husband!
- I believe we should all pay our tax with a smile. I tried - but they wanted cash
- A child's greatest period of growth is the month after you've purchased new school uniforms.
- Don't feel bad. A lot of people have no talent.
- Don't marry the person you want to live with, marry the one you cannot live without

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

18 Jun 2004


Posted by Oblivion in General | 4:47am

It started with Google (by this time, it is common knowledge that it is the first-mover in many things online). The earth-shattering (virtual earth, I mean) news that it will open its services in e-mailing and that it would offer users a space of 1GB. To make this service

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

15 Jun 2004

Chance or Choice?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 6:13am

Is sanity of mind dependent on one's education, upbringing and environment? Or, is it independent? If it is independent, why doesn't everyone have it in equal measure? Is it because although it is independent, yet it is susceptible to getting affected by the outcomes of circumstances? If it is dependent, then it implies that attaching reverence to great souls is useless, for they have become great only by a chance combination of circumstances. This, although sounds logical, doesn't sound convincing to me.

Is it right to assume that anybody else in the place of Prince Siddhartha would have taken the same decision to walk out and eventually become the Buddha? This is utterly immature a statement. Ergo, it takes 'something else' on the part of a human being to enlighten that spark of 'intelligence'. Is there a technique to do this? Can this be taught? It cannot be taught. Millions of people must have read the Buddha, but we never had another Buddha. So, it cannot be taught. So, it is independent of one's literary abilities. It has to be discovered by onesels. Hence, Buddha's statement - 'be a light unto yourself.' How did he come upon this? What is 'that' he had? Sanity, once found, never leaves. Because then there is nothing holding on to anything, so there is nothing to be lost. The consciousness moves into a wholly new plane - a plane of no return.

Passion is the secret, I guess. Who do you think is the most sane/rational soul who ever walked on this planet? If I were to name, I'd choose - Buddha, JK and Russell.

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

9 Jun 2004

The Fastest Generation!

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:17am

On occasion, it occurs to me if any other generation preceding ours (this needs clarification. By 'ours', I am referring to those born between the years 1970 and 1980) or any ones in future would witness as many changes at such a rapid pace as we happened to. I'm sure I'm missing out many things else, but the following is the list of things that, to my mind, justify my feeling:

1.We lived in times when radio was an indispensable part of our daily life
2.Having a telephone was a luxury
3.The balcony ticket in cinema was Rs.5/- (average)
4.Petrol came at Rs.20/- a litre
5.The shopkeeper would return the change of 5 paise
6.An entire colony of people would gather to watch chitrahaar on the television
7.Water was free and plenty
8.Writing letters was an eagerly awaited activity at weekends

Modes of communication have seen incredible advancement. We have seen it all - radio to TV, phone to mobile phone, letter writing to e-mail, cable, SMS, virtual love, online dating, history-as-it-happens on the World Wide Web, ...

Change in the value of rupee happens at a normal pace - and is, on the average, similar for every decade, so it is not a big thing to actually mention. Every generation, indisputably, comes with unique privileges that are denied to others. Nevertheless, our generation seems to stand out in the case of witnessing the most rapid of changes. It might not sound very objective to many, and it may also lead some to infer that my knowledge of history is quite limited and my observation, not quite deep. Well, every opinion, for whose support no mathematical data exists, can be contested in that spirit and it is not, logically, possible to refute either, in spite of the fact which side observation seems to favour.

If there is some kind of material on this topic, I'd surely like to take a look. Not at all to source reaffirmation, but solely because it makes for an interesting reading of the steps in human civilisation and the genius of man, in a wider sense.

[I have, as it seemed inevitable, focused on only that part of the population that could afford, economically, access to all the aforementioned accessories. In doing so, I had to, naturally,  eliminate two groups - the one that could afford them quite easily and the other that finds affording a minimum of them impossible]

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: Fur Elise

8 Jun 2004

How to Name It?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 5:53am

What do you call a society that doesn't feel the loss of a poet? Dead, callous and unaesthetic? Or, does it reflect the 'new-age' priorities? Why am I asking this? Because, on Sunday, I expected ToI and The Hindu to come up with features on Dom Moraes and it seemed like it was a deliberate move on their part not to. Well, of course, I'm exaggerating, courtesy the amount of disappointment. 

For many people, it might not look as big as I'm making it out to be. Most people would readily forgive, assuming emotions go that far in the first place. But then it troubles me - why a certain actor's wardrobe or a political misadventure makes it in color to the front page while the death of Dom Moraes, one of the great writers we had, passes off as silently as his life and death were!? 

So, I'm asking myself - what do you call a society that doesn't feel the loss of a poet? Is it same like asking - what do you call a man who doesn't have a heart for poetry? 

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: Mouna Ragam

4 Jun 2004

Farewell, Dom!

Posted by Oblivion in General | 11:38pm

Dom Moraes is no more.

'We start out as white slime and end up ashes' -- Derelictions

So, all the poets are gone?

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: Anveshana

3 Jun 2004

Mani or Money?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:18am

Here's what Mani Ratnam said when he was asked how he feels when people criticise his film (source: -

"You want to hit them first. (laughs).

After the anger has gone away, you try and find out whether there is a valid point in what they are saying. You know the ins and outs of your film. When I see a film, I have an opinion. Everybody has an opinion.

If you wanted to make a film the way you want, you go ahead and make it. I am here because I feel I can make a commercial film from my perspective."

The last sentence should silence all those critics who review a film and write just about anything, out of sheer impatience to meet the deadline, taking support of stupid metrics.

When it's a Mani Ratnam film, should it matter if it makes money or not? He makes great stuff. Period.

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

2 Jun 2004

Reel Blunders or Real Demands?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:17am

Let's accept - mediocrity rules in Indian cinema. Barring a Mani Ratnam flick in a year or two, or a Shekar Kapur film once in a blue moon, or a Varma's good attempt in equally good time, is there anything that we can take pride in? Where is that breed of sensible filmmakers, who rely more on storytelling than special effects or masala effects? Karan Johar is hailed as the greatest thing to happen in recent times!!! (Hello to all those who agree! does anyone remember Satyajit Ray please?) Ask any filmmaker the reason for the same, most of them would not even dare to acknowledge it. On the contrary, they would dismiss it as a foolish question. The remaining few would blame it on the audience. "We give what audience asks us", would be the most-oft repeated quote.

Ask the audience and they would say "we enjoy what we get to see". True, it is an evasive atitude to blame audience. So, who is the culprit? It was not very long ago that one could watch brilliant stuff from filmmakers like Kundan Shah, Ramesh Sharma, Aditya Bhattacharya, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Govind Nihalani, etc. Yes, some of them make films even now, but the product is appalling for their standards. Only Mani Ratnam seems to hold the ground firmly, although Yuva pales very much in comparison with his pre-Roja films. Vinod Chopra seems to have forgotten how he made Khamosh or Parinda. Hrishikesh Mukherjee doesn't come with the magic or intensity of an Anand or Abhimaan.

It is not to say that there are no good movies any more, but the ratio is very low. Is is because of a downfall of the collective creative psyche of the filmmakers? Is it the undue preference for box-office success that is affecting? It's good in a way, for every such dip in creativity results in the birth of a great filmmaker like Satyajit Ray. That is the only consolation I find to stand this otherwise pathetic scene of Indian cinema.

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

31 May 2004

Freud - Slipped?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 9:46pm

Does anyone read Freud seriously these days? I'm not referring to reading him as a part of academics, where one is usually forced to read and as a result we have hardly anyone left who would read something out of passion. That, unmistakably, is one of the evils of the existing education system.

We don't live by instincts. We operate through a mechanism forced upon us by society. This actually creates a lot of friction and keeps the rope of life very tense, instincs being very powerful. The upshot is we have a majority of the population absolutely neurotic. This is more easy to discover in cities. A lot of suppression goes on life ever since one is a kid, and over time, it builds up a massive, strong wall in the mind. This constantly demands the individual to conform to a code that one is not naturally inclined to. The effects could be either ways - it may make one a pervert or an invert (homosexuals). Today's world is in the third stage of sexual evolution, and Freud predicted this would effect in neurosis among majority. And he suggests marital unfaithfulness may not be as bad as we suppose it to be. In demanding the young to be celibate till marriage, and the average age at which one gets married being only on the rise, it actually ruins the very purpose for which it is preparing one.

Freud, simply, is a genius! If one understands him properly, it will cure many ills of the present world. But I wonder how many are reading him! Have we done the classic 'Freudian slip' by slipping him out of our reading habits?

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

29 May 2004

This Sentence is False

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:31pm

Epimenides the Cretan, a philosopher of the 6th century BC, is said to have uttered the sentence, “All Cretans are liars”. As he himself was a Cretan, this gave rise to a paradox—if he were telling the truth, then he would be a liar. Depending on how one defines a liar, the paradox is resolvable; he could have been a habitual liar who was telling the truth in this one instance. However, a stronger version of the paradox, known as the Liar paradox—“this sentence is false”—is not resolvable in conventional logic systems.

Indeed, the circular loop that the sentence induces—if it is false, it must be true, and if true, false—has been used more than once in science-fiction movies to cause marauding computers to lose their sanity and explode. Traditionally, logicians have made a stark distinction between truthhood and falsity. A statement was considered to be either true (given a truth value of one) or false (a value of zero). In the 1960s, Lotfi Zadeh of the University of California at Berkeley came up with the catchy innovation of “fuzzy logic”. In this system, things could be sort-of true, or only partially false. A “truth value” of 0.5 meant that a statement was half-true, and so forth.

On close observation, fuzzy logic is the mathematical equivalent of the 'middle path' advocated by the Buddha. Avoiding the extremes, thus avoiding any conclusions - this helps perception to be undistorted. This is the primary basis for a rational mind. The world absolutely needs this now more than

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: ---

25 May 2004

As If It Werent Enough!

Posted by Oblivion in General | 10:09pm

Just read this interesting/cranky/sensible/weird (choose) stuff that I chanced upon at rediff's:

Marriages under Essential Commodities Act!

The order stipulates that not more than 45 kg each of rice and meat must be consumed at a wedding. The bride's side must not invite more than 75 guests, including 25 baratees. The groom can invite 50 guests

As it is, marriage as an institution is utterly complicated. Getting out of it is even more complicated, and this is heavily dependent on one's cultural, geographical and religious backgrounds. So, complicated as it is, do we need this restriction on the amount of food to be consumed and the number of guests one can invite? And why is this only specific to Kashmiris? Are they more extravagant and careless in wasting food!? Why do we have different rules for different people, merely separated because of geography? Do we need to complicate and already complex problem more?

On second thoughts, wouldn't it be a nice idea to frame restrictions on the level of decibel output at functions? I don't know about other places, but Hyderabad needs this. Badly. They have these muhurats at the dead of night and the people, indulging in jubilation that puts the achievement of winning the Nobel to shame, shatter many a kids' sleep. All for what? For f***ing up two individuals' (and all the future issues as a result of this) lives! (No, I'm not against the relationship as such. I genuinely hold this relationship as a most beautiful one, provided the two persons love each other unconditionally. It is only the act of conforming to societal mores that I do not appreciate at all)

While signing off, I'm trying to find out the country where this institution is least complicated. Any ideas??

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: I told you! They are playing it at those function halls. Cant you listen!!??

25 May 2004

Now, Imagine!

Posted by Oblivion in General | 5:57am

You are Tom Hanks in Castaway. A touching obituary in The Times of India, and everybody thinks you are dead. Your kith and kin attend your 'funeral', shed tears for some days and life gets back to normal. All your precious belongings are put in the coffin and now they are gone.

You spend five years on a 'no-man-had-ever-been-there island' and in your trial to get back into the world, you are as lucky as Tom Hanks, in that you are found by some sharp-sighted, idle chap on the cruise that almost passed by. The world has moved five years ahead, and you? You remember which school of thought you had ardently followed? You remember your religion? Remember the multiplication table? O yes, multiplication table, yes, you do. You very much do.

Now, on returning home, what is the first 'precious' thing that you'd go and search for? To check if it's still there r not. What is it?

Ok, hypothetical, and the probability suggests it is very close to impossible. Yet, just imagine!

(P.S. I watched Yuva last evening. My rating - 4.5/5)

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: nOnE

21 May 2004


Posted by Oblivion in General | 6:23pm

"You should have shot yourself"

"You could have saved the honour of your family"

The woman, holding the baby, blissfully sleeping, closer to her chest: "I could not help it. The soldiers stopped and..."

The old man, the woman's father, pulls out the rifle from the holster and offers to her, "Take this. Nobody is stopping you now."

The woman looks at the face of the baby and looks at the man, and says, "I have the baby with me, papa."

The old man is furious. "Take this. Else, I will shoot you both." He points the rifle on her forehead.


Would you do this with your daughter upon knowing that she bears a child - either by consent or otherwise - and doesn't know its father is? I know most people would. After all, honour is at stake! Family honour! Honour, prestige, respectability are more precious than individuals, aren't they?? Huh!

Why do we make such things so important? Why do we hold them more important than an individual? Why do we live with such obsessive self-interest that makes us feel we have a right over other persons - no matter who they are? If the father doesn't approve of the daughter's decision, is it not possible for him to simply cut ties with her and let her go and live her life? And damn it, what has she done, after all!?

Freedom from outside is just an illusion. We live with so many psychological prisons! Ironically, our rhetoric for freedom notwithstanding, we imprison ourselves! Ideals, beliefs, opinions, conclusions... Let's stop this. 

Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: Beethoven
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