Saturday, December 29, 2007
When it came for the batsmen to deliver, they succumbed. Dravid continued his hopeless lack of form. Ganguly and Laxman were defiant as usual. They stood tall amongst the team and the other batting line up fell apart around them. In both the innings, the batsmen showed no commitment. Of course, we will do injustice if we don't appreciate class bowling performances from Clarke and Lee. They ripped the Indian team apart.
Problems with our team. Numerous. Here are a few in my view point.
- There is literally no fast bowler in our team. Prasad has instilled his own 'qualities' into the fast bowlers and now no one can accelerate the pace beyond 130 kmph.
- Dravid needs to be 'rested'
- If not rested, he should be pulled down the order at his original place. Do not make him sacrificial lamb.
- Bring Sehwag back in the team. Fit him as an opener. Give him a chance. Anyway the team's performance is hopeless Why not take a risk? If he delivers, it will be a huge bonus for the team.
- For God's sake, please get rid of Harbhajan.
- Bring Pathan back.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I just hope we don't lose by an innings. Though it seems absolutely inevitable.
P.S. Before I publish this, Captain Kumble has struck just now. Jaques is gone, stumped.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Some people called him 'Maut Ka Saudagar' (Merchant of Death), some called him 'CEO of Gujarat Inc'. Some called him 'Hero of Hatred', yet others called him 'The King of Gujarati people's hearts'.
Narendra Modi had everything at stake in Gujarat election and he once again emerged as a winner. Modi is back in style. He is back with a bang. This election has brought out several very interesting electoral points.
- Once again BJP has won a thumping majority of almost two third seats.
- This is fourth consecutive term BJP will form a Government in Gujarat. So there is actually a factor of Incumbency instead of Anti-Incumbency.
- This time the election issue was 'Development of Gujarat'. And this is the victory of development and growth.
- Once again, the media is left red faced. Entire media was against Narendra Modi (without any significant reason except pseudo-secularism) Modi has lifted himself and his party above all this criticism. He went to people with only one agenda. Development and security of Gujarati people. And the Gujarati people welcomed him again and brought him to power. The moment it became clear during the counting that BJP is coming back to power, Rajdeep Sardesai went into hiding. What a shame Sardesai. You could not take the blow in your face. Our sympathies with you.
- Gujarat IT Movement - A group of netizen Gujaratis are celebrating this as the victory of IT potential in Gujarat. All of us had been rooting for Narendra Modi.
- Narendra Modi is now the strongest and most formidable leader of BJP. This election is going to have a lot of impact on the coming Loksabha elections.
- The most pitiable situation is of the BJP rebels including former chief ministers Keshubhai Patel and Suresh Mehta. They are looking for cover now. BJP high command under the influence of Modi is going to crack the whip on them for sure. They did not have any impact on the results and they lost badly.
- Surprisingly BJP suffered heavily in Central Gujarat but they have maintained the controversial Saurashtra region where there was surging rebellion.
- Congress still does not know how to accept the defeat gracefully. They are saying Modi poisoned the minds of Gujarati. Are we to believe that millions of Gujaratis are fools? These comments reveal the imbecile mentality of Congress.
- Once again it was the war between two parties. There is no place for the third front here. We always give clear verdict. And we always give the right verdict. We voted Modi in power and we know why.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
There are not many striking changes except a few. The first thing that bogged me down is the traffic here. It is almost a chaos on every road. The traffic sense of people has stooped to the lowest possible level. They follow no rules while overtaking, parking or driving. People have started parking their cars on both the sides of road, furtively eating up further space on already narrow roads. I suspect Amdavad is going to be like Banglore in a short time. This happens when the infrastructure and planning are not in sync with the growth of the city.
The roads are filled with brand new jazzy glittery cars like Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and even Mercedez. My Maruti 800 seems to have become extinct. Or at least it is an endangered species. The time is not far when they will stop the production of this car. The Corolas, Civics and Mercs are ruling the roads. The city has become rich.
The coffee bars and tea centers have cropped up all over the place. Not that the prices were reasonable at these places when I left but now they look insanely costly. A glass of Cafe Frappe cost me Rs. 60 today. And these economists want me to believe that the inflation rate is around 3-4%. About Rs. 20 price increase for original Rs. 40 is not 2-3% I believe. (For those learned readers who will point out that such things are not in the 'Basket' out of which such indices are calculated, I would say with changing times, these are the things that you should be including while calculating purchasing power and inflation.)
The food at the restaurants is as tasty as it has been forever. And surprisingly it has not become too costly.
Pollution is under control like before. The bus-stops have improved. They are now well lit. The railway station people say looks like Airport. The roads have very neat directional signs, indicating areas in different directions.
I am happy that this place has not changed drastically. I want it to remain my quiet, aged yet modern city. Let's see how long it remains that way.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
"Coma patient dies after Australian court rules to remove life support"Today's headline in CNN.
So the Judge acted God and decided that the poor victim of an accident is no longer needed in this world. Despite his family's denial, they lost legal battle with the Hospital and the hospital cold bloodedly removed the life support. The reports say the patient was still breathing for some time. But finally he gave up on life.
I have had several discussions with my friend Karthik on this issue of Mercy Killing. Is it ethical to allow someone to take someone's life? Though this was not a clear case of mercy killing as the patient himself did not consent. But the question is, if a terminally ill patient says he wants to end his life, shouldn't he be allowed to act as per his will? Or many other lives also depend on his life, emotionally or materially, and so he should not have a say in whether to end his own life or not.
Is it fair to kill oneself? If yes, in what circumstances? If no, why not?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
This video is just a small clip of Narendra Modi's election speech, campaigning for the second phase of voting in Gujarat's assembly elections. What we see here is an immensely powerful leader, delivering a fiery speech to a large crowd.
Look at the way he carries the crowd along. He puts words into people's mouths. He knows exactly what excites people. He knows what makes them enraged. He knows what will extract the loudest possible response from that crowd.
Friday, December 14, 2007
1. If you say everything has a creationist behind it, who created God?
2. You say time and space were also created by God, then where and when did God created them?
3. What was God doing before creating us?
4. If God is so genius, why did he create imperfections, woes, afflictions and sufferings in the world?
My questions to Evolutionists
1. Why is everything the way it is?
2. Can any machine (the universe, life, nature etc) be so perfect as to it can run on its own?
3. Okey, we believe in Darwin's theories, but does it explain why it happened the way it happened?
4. Why are the scientific laws the way they are? Perfect?
Finally the wait is over. The semester has ended. I am a free bird. For the time being at least. And I did not have enough time to anticipate the joy of returning home. I think I will have to take that feeling just as a surprise. A day more to go. I am flying out tomorrow.
I hate travel. I am always so worried about forgetting something important. It almost amounts to nervousness before a few hours of flight. And the last moment checks include 'The Worst Case Scenario'. This list has things like Passport, Cash, Credit Card, Mobile phone and ticket.
The baggage restriction is also becoming a pain in the neck while packing. I really do hate travel !
On another news of the day, two Indian students were murdered in Louisiana State University. They call it a normal case of house invasion. It feels terrible to know that both were married and one of them was about to be a father. This is the least you expect to see in headline when you wake up in the morning. Nobody is safe anywhere. Life is so ephemeral.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Still 2 more days till the semester end. And 4 more days till I take the flight home. After 1.5 years. The emotional activities in the psyche have become rampant. The sweet home is calling. Can't resist singing to the tune of Bryan Adams' song,
I hear the wind across the plain
A sound so strong that calls my name
It's wild like the river - it's warm like the sun
Yeah it's here - this is where I belong
Under the starry skies where eagles have flown
This place is paradise - it's the place I call home
The moon on the mountains
The whisper through the trees
The waves on the water
Let nothing come between this and me
Cuz everything I want is everything that's here
And when we're all together there's nothing to fear
And wherever I wander - the one thing I've learned
It's to here - I will always, always return
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I could not resist taking a walk in this beautiful weather and took some snaps in and around the university.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Nobody else has been in limelight in Indian Cricket as much as Ganguly, for all sorts of reasons. Right and wrong. He started his career with a fantastic tour of England, establishing his place as an aggressive opener. He went on to become the most successful captain of India. He instilled new breath in Indian team which was flagging in performance as well as confidence. He was authoritative to the extent of sometimes being called dictatorial. His bitter raw with coach Chappel was one of the ugliest chapters of Indian cricket. His deteriorating form and other unrevealed factors forced him out of the team for a long time.
But when he was given a place in the team again, he showed his class, determination and mental strength once again. He bounced back with a fabulous performance. He silenced his critics with his bat.
Yesterday was his day. His home ground. A test match against Pakistan. And a glorious 100. It could not have been a better setup for Ganguly to shine. And he did.
The Bengal Tiger is roaring again. And this time it is loud and strong.
[Image Source: http://www.channel4.com/sport/cricket/img/news_images/03-03-20_ganguly1_371.jpg]
Monday, November 26, 2007
Finally winter has arrived with a bang in Tucson. There is no sunshine today. I could see faint sun rays, peeking out of the cracks in the clouds. The atmosphere is refreshing.
It is cold out there. Walking on the streets this morning evoked memories of last winter that I spent at various places. A few days in wet and cold Kansas city. Snowy Alta-Sierra in California. Chilling and drizzling days in Sacramento. And of course, first snow of Tucson. Good old days.
I have always loved winter season more than any other time of the year. Most people would disagree with me on this but I really find such mildly sunny atmosphere soothing and pleasant.
Breathing in cool air, enjoying gusto of mild breeze on my face, no other time of the year makes me this happy and cheerful.
Welcome to Tucson, Winter.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The first video here is a lecture by him at a University in Virginia in which he reads some very interesting excerpts from his book 'The God Delusion'. He reads from several chapters and presents his points of view about God.
In this video, starting at about 25th minute, he presents a very interesting experiment conducted on school children which shows influence of Religion on their ability to judge morality of an issue.
Next three videos are of BBC's famous show Hard Talk when Prof. Dawkins was interviewed about the same book.
In Part 1, during last minutes, professor talks about how to disassociate cruel and unjust deeds of people like Stalin who was an atheist himself from the atheism as an idea.
In Part 2, in the beginning, professor puts forward a very interesting point about labeling a child by the religion his/her parents have followed.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Some movies are hyped up unnecessarily without any apparent reasons. An old classic 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' is one such example. I am sure the classic movie lovers would loathe that statement of mine. But I can not help but be honest in expressing my feelings about the movie.
Based on a critically acclaimed novel by Harper Lee with the same title, this movie features in the Top 50 movie list of all times from IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/chart/top) at number 46. It is a Black-&-White movie produced in 1962 with the talented star of his time Gregory Pack inn lead role.
The story revolves around a Lawyer who defends an African-American man for the crime that he did not commit. It depicts the severely racist and disgusting attitude of American people at that time. It depicts an African American's plight and humiliation that he had to face because of such racist community. Along with this main theme, it also shows innocent gambol of two little children of this Lawyer and few incidents surrounding them.
Now about the criticism of this movie. First, the director has taken a real long time to build up the plot. The weaving of the tale is far too lengthy and lackluster. I agree that it is difficult to appreciate a classic movie because of lack of technical magnificence of lighting and sound effects. But this movie lacks the grip in the plot too.
The movie is supposed to be a Court Room Drama. And even the book for that matter. But the courtroom scene in the movie is hardly 15 minutes long in the whole movie, which is of the length of about 130 minutes. The dialogues are banal. Acting of all the actors except the two kids and the legend Pack himself are superfluous to say the least.
Though the intelligentsia would demean my opinion by calling it pedestrian because I am unable to appreciate the so called 'Classics', I would stand up and boldly say that I would rather rate movies like 'Gladiator' or 'Cindrella Man' of today's time better than these old movies which have grabbed the place in history as classics just because they appeared earlier in time.
Thus the Thursday never ended for us, instead it merged with Friday without even a single nap. Late night movie - 'To kill a mocking bird' and then early morning on Friday, at 4.30 we left for Tucson Mall. And what we saw everywhere was not to our surprise. Best-Buy, Wall-mart, Office Depot all these big stores had long queues in front of them to get the Door-Buster discounts and gifts. It was impossible to stand in those queues and thus we decided to start the shopping spree from Sears. Everywhere we went, we saw floods of people. American Consumer has waited hard all year long for this day. And the slowing down economy seems to have little or no impact on their willingness to spend. They want to spend and spend hard.
Except for a few good deals, the other discounts were not too attractive. But it was fun to see so many people, enthusiastically shopping at all places as early as 5 in the morning.
As per CNN, the cash Registers all over the country are expected to have amassed $20Bn in this Thanks giving shopping. Indeed a huge amount of money flow. That's the magic of festive season. Just like Diwali in India.
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are eithercharming or tedious.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it isabsolutely fatal.
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination
At twilight, nature is not without loveliness, though perhaps its chief use is to illustrate quotations from the poets.
Biography lends to death a new terror.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter itevery six months
I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elsesopinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
I can resist everything except temptation
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
[News source: www.ibnlive.com]
A supercomputer developed by the Tata Group has been adjudged the fastest in Asia and fourth fastest in the world.
The supercomputer, called EKA, has been built at Tata's Pune facility. It uses nearly 1,800 computing nodes and has a peak performance of 170 trillion floating-point operations per second.
"High performance computing solutions have an ever-increasing role in the scientific and new technological space the world over," Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group, said in a statement.
The rankings have been given by the Top500 Supercomputer Sites list announced at the prestigious SC07 Conference held in the US last night.
India made it to the top 10 for the first time.
[Image source: www.ibnlive.com]
Monday, November 12, 2007
Does God exist because of our thoughts? Or the thoughts exist because of God?
Are we the only breathing animate machines on the third rock from the Sun? Or we are just cells in a giant living organism called Universe?
Is the world around us a suspended animation? Waiting to kick-start?
[P.S. Do not bother to understand the relation between these thoughts. Because there is none. They are the products of a restless organ called mind]
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
They were born on a midnight 60 years ago. Born among tremendous hatred, bloodshed and ruined lives. Both of them were born naked, hungry and orphans. They took the first steps together, grappling with each other. Facing the same problems, combating the same demons of poverty and illiteracy. Both of them saw a lot of twists and turns of fate in their lives. But 60 years passed. And today we see absolutely different pictures of both of them. One is on the brinks of complete ruin and the other one is prospering.
Yes, I am talking about India and Pakistan. It is an amazing and unparalleled story. It sounds like Manmohan Desai's movie where two brothers are separated at birth and then one of them grows up to become the hero of the movie and the other one ends up as a villain.
60 years past independence, India has achieved which no other nation could achieve in such a short time. It is world's fastest growing economy. There are Ambanis and Tatas. There are new generation 'Desi' Technocrats in the Silicon Valley. The entertainment world recognizes Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya and the likes. Vikram Chandra, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth have taken the front seats in the world of literature. Indian doctors feature on the front page of CNN. India is most preferred destination for software outsourcing. It is the largest English speaking nation. And above all, it is world's largest Democracy.
Pakistan has not been this fortunate. Majority of these years it has been ruled by dictators. Militants have found safe haven for years in this country under the auspicious shelter of its rulers.
Today Pakistan is on such a juncture that it is falling in the hands of militants and is in a state of utter chaos. President Musharraf is in a pitiful situation. He has lost control over his own nurtured militancy. He has lost the confidence of US in him. US is pressurizing him to curb militant activities and restore democracy. He had no other choice but to declare emergency in the nation. On the one hand civilians like lawyers and other educated citizens are protesting on the streets. On the other hand, in deserted small villages on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Taliban supported militants are capturing villages, while the police is fleeing these places. It won't be long before the government of Pakistan will be overtaken by these forces, if the government does not take some stringent steps.
It will be interesting to watch the move by US in coming days. Will they allow overthrowing of Musharraf regime? Will they employ another puppet dictator by provoking a coup internally? Will they ask Musharraf to attack the militants?
I am sure the Indian armed forces are keeping their eyes and ears open. I hope the disturbing sequence of events in the neighboring country does not threaten our security.
Long live peace. Long live democracy.
[Image Source: http://www.peacebuttons.info/0528_India-Pakistan-Flags.jpg]
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Photographs depicting emergency situation in Pakistan
Bhutto - An non-negligible force in the political equation
Guardians of 'Freedom' ?
Asif Zardari - Husband of Benazir Bhutto
The common men watching President's speech
The road ahead is full of thorns for the nation
The good old newspapers were in demand when TV channels were banned
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Recreated time and space of 1960s, dim colored visuals, steely background music, intense acting by Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe and as usual exceptional direction of Ridley Scott - these are the characteristics of one of the finest movies of recent times 'American Gangster'.
Based on a true story of drug trafficking scandal in US around the Vietnam war era, this is a story of two men, a hardworking man who reached at the top through wrong ways, and an honest cop who is bent on cleaning up the NY and NJ off the dope and corruption. Denzel Washington plays an African American gangster who rose from being a driver to the top of the drug mafia in NY area. Russell Crowe plays an honest cop who would do anything it takes to keep the police force honest and keep the alleys of NY clean of drugs.
The acting is the strongest point of the movie. Those who enjoy the performances of Washington and Crowe, this is a must watch for them. Those who enjoy good cinematography, they are in for a treat. The recreation of the old times reminds one of the chilling sequences in the movies like Godfather and L.A. Confidential.
Washington has once again given a memorable performance. His bursts of anger, display of steel nerves, cool execution of his rivals and his trademark dialogue in the movie 'Maah Man' are just unforgettable. He has proved again that he is the best.
Crowe on the other hand oozes raw energy in his performance. His action sequences with a huge iron hammer in hand, his irritation and anger at dishonesty in the force, nervousness in his public speech at the jury and full blooded dialogues mark a class piece of acting by him.
The movie is a bit long. Almost 3 hours. But every minute is gripping. The story moves slowly. But you will enjoy every moment. This is surely the 'Godfather' of the new age movies. And L.A. Confidential has no longer the right to be called 'THE cop drama of all time'. Both the movies have serious competition by this movie in the time to come.
[Image Source: http://www.murphsplace.com/crowe/gangster/pictures.html]
Monday, October 29, 2007
It is like continuing to smoke Cigarettes arguing, 'One day everyone has to die, I might die having a little fun on my way'. It is like playing with fire knowing that it can burn you. But the satisfaction it gives is priceless!
Why not delay something if you possibly can? You know that life is so uncertain. Due dates of assignments are extended, exams are canceled, lectures get canceled, research meetings get postponed and so on and on. Why not live the moment happily and keep the work till the latest moment possible?
If you procrastinate in your assignments, you are not the first one to encounter the difficulties. You can always get the clarifications and work on the problem with a lot of ease. If you procrastinate in your job, the requirements of the client might change and you might not have to do the work at all, rather than changing everything you have done.
Apart from these trivial and overt advantages of procrastination, the best part is the thrill. You keep the things pending till last moment and you risk so much. And this keeps the rush of adrenalin flowing in your brain. It makes you more efficient if you do the work at the last moment and makes you take a lot less time than usual.
So, Do not be shy in saying 'I am a procrastinator'.
Say it with pride.
Enjoy this moment, keep the pain for some other moment.
P.S. No pun intended to those hard working people who finish their work one week before the deadline and eagerly wait for the next one to come !
Thursday, October 25, 2007
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon
[Taken from Brain Damage, Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon]
What would he have felt when he saw his own creation slipping out of his hand? What would he have thought when the band started selling platinum albums without him? He created the genius and could not be part of it for long. But he would not have been in a state of mind to ask such questions. He had transcended into another domain. He became what we call 'Lunatic'.
Syd Barrett's story is full of such sad questions. Gilmour has always been very respectful towards Syd's legacy and in every concert or interview he acknowledges Syd's genius. You are immortal Syd. Millions of thanks for creating Pink Floyd.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
For you, father
I look back and think
About cricket, cards and learning math
Those were the days with you, father
I halt in the pace of life and ask
Can I go back in time and live those days again?
You are the teacher of all good things to me
Honesty, Values, Affection and Hard Work
You have been a guide and a friend, father
I take this moment, to thank you
For making me what I am today
Crossing the streets, holding your hand
Climbing on the back seat of our Bajaj
These are the moments, father
I miss them when I look back and wonder
How lucky I have been to be your son
The days are past and childhood gone
You moulded yourself in every stage of my life
To teach me the tricks of life, father
Whatever I am today, I am because of you
Mom and your love has taken me here
Thousands of miles away from you
I stand holding my head high
I thank God silently, father
I thank him for giving me parents like you
Across seven seas away from you
I stand bowing my head low
I pray to you, father
You are dearer to me than any God
Saturday, October 20, 2007
"Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California."
"If in physics there's something you don't understand, you can always hide behind the uncharted depths of nature. You can always blame God. You didn't make it so complex yourself. But if your program doesn't work, there is no one to hide behind. You cannot hide behind an obstinate nature. If it doesn't work, you've messed up"
"The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence."
"It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration."
"Programming is one of the most difficult branches of applied mathematics; the poorer mathematicians had better remain pure mathematicians." [ Hail Programmers !!!]
"Program testing can be a very effective way to show the presence of bugs, but is hopelessly inadequate for showing their absence." [Dijkstra was very particular about designing your code well rather than relying on testing for a bug free software]
"The question of whether Machines Can Think ... is about as relevant as the question of whether Submarines Can Swim."
"Elegance is not a dispensable luxury but a quality that decides between success and failure." [Very typical thinking of Dijkstra]
"I mean, if 10 years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty, you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to yourself "Dijkstra would not have liked this", well, that would be enough immortality for me." [What would he feel if he sees the software engineering practices which rely on Rapid Development and Prototyping!]
He is immortal for us indeed.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Dr. Singh, who is definitely not one of the strong prime ministers India has seen, had to call up President Bush and convey to him that the Nuclear Deal was put on hold because of internal political pressure on him. The deal empowers India to obtain nuclear technology from US with certain conditions which are not too outrageous. Neither these conditions jeopardize the sovereignty of India by any means.
But Left had to disagree. It had been long time since Left had demanded something from Govt. The 'little child' was feeling unimportant because nobody was noticing it. They had to grab people's attention towards them. So what do they do? They sabotage the Nuclear Deal. They do what they are best at. They threaten to pull down the Government. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the 'so called' new age avtar of Mrs. Indira Gandhi comes out in full support of Dr. Singh and blasts the Left parties in her speech. Any effects on Left? Nope. They still persisted and finally the Govt had to put a lid on the deal.
Result? The Govt is red-faced. Dr. Singh was humiliated on the political stage of the world. The Indian entrepreneurs and industrialists are unhappy. India lost a very good deal and an opportunity to strengthen the situation of better energy resources.
But look who is happy. Pakistan is happy. And lo! The Left is also happy ! The unruly child is smiling.
In these times of turmoil, we stop and ask ourselves, ‘Do we need a religion at all?’ I am reading a book named ‘Breaking the spell – Religion as natural phenomenon’ by Daniel Dennett. I do not place this book among the high quality thought stimulating material. But it did provide some useful insights into the rationale of an atheist. Dennett is more of a scientist – a proponent of evolution theory and Darwinism. He views everything from the point of view of Darwin’s theory and tries to fit the argument at hand into the Evolution theory. Therefore his arguments are almost always based on Darwin theory. The motivation behind this post is not to critic Dennett. I might write a critic on the book sometime later. The objective of the post is to present my thoughts about the need of religion in a society and why people follow religion.
1. To teach us to be good, just and loving to each other.
Although there will be a faction of people who would not agree to this, in general, I believe almost every religion has this foundation. To teach people to be good, just and loving to each other. The fundamental message that the religion is supposed to convey is the overall good of humanity and peace. Most certainly, we can say that there is no religion which is founded on the basis of hate or violence.
2. To teach us how to live our lives beautifully.
They act like cookbook solution to making our lives happy. They teach us good practices. They spread the message of happy living.
3. To give us shelter in the name of intangible and invisible ‘Almighty’
Sometimes, we do not have answers to complicated questions of life. We can not understand why the fate is so cruel to us. We do not have a way of knowing why our loved ones depart. We are upset with ourselves. We are upset with the whole world. The God or Almighty is the answer to all this. We say it’s the Almighty’s will. At least, it gives us temporary respite.
4. To help us achieve ‘Moksha’ (Salvation) after death
Most religion describe the goal of humans as to achieve ‘Moksha’ or salvation. Although we do not know what lies behind the closed opaque doors of death, we always long for a beautiful ‘after-life’. Salvation from the circle of life. Nirvana.
5. To give the follower a sense of belonging to a group
Herd mentality. It gives us a sense of belonging to a larger group. We Hindus. We Muslims. We Christians. It makes us feel stronger. It has ramifications of both nature. Good and Bad. People gather and pray in group. On the other hand, people also form cults and indulge in unacceptable activities. People form mob and spread riots or commit hate crimes.
6. To help keep people away from crimes and anti-social activities
‘Thou shalt not kill’ as the bible says. Killing is bad. If you hurt someone, God will never forgive you. As if the God is omniscient Supreme Court Judge who has absolute discretion and power. Even though nobody is watching, we do not steal. Because we are taught that ‘God is watching you’.
[Image Source: http://www.wisegorilla.com/images/worldreligions/S_S_world.GIF]
Monday, October 15, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Today I loaded my iPhone with some classic numbers by Dire Straits. And I was listening to them while walking back from school. It was 'Sultans of Swings' - the phenomenally successful song by Dire Straits which reminded me of his Mumbai tour a couple of years ago.
Mark Knopfler- known as voice and guitar of the band Dire Straits, toured India in March, 2005 and I was fortunate enough to go to his Mumbai concert on 5th March. I visited Mumbai just for one day for this purpose and was looked at with some strange stares when I told people about it. Understandable, as Knopfler is not too popular in India.
But the concert was worth every single rupee I spent for the ticket and travel. Knopfler is a legendary artist who has exceptional control and creativity over his guitar. And his impressive husky voice adds to the charm of his songs.
As a man of simplicity he is, he was in his typical outfit of white shirt and black trouser. His spectacles gave him a look more of a professor than a rock artist. Never running around on stage, not trying to woo the audience, no shouting. Absolutely no-nonsense approach towards his music. This is typical of Knopfler. And this is the attitude which commands tremendous respect towards him as an artist.
Lovers holding hands and dancing to the sweet tunes of 'Romeo and Juliet', young enthusiastic teens jumping and feet-thumping on the beats of 'Tunnel of love', sensitive music lovers sitting down on the ground and enjoying the sad and grave notes of 'Brothers in arms', Knopfler had something to offer to everyone in the crowd. And I remember the surge of enthusiasm when he started his good old 'Sultans of Swing' song. The whole crowd was up on its feet, cheering him. Crowd was thin though which was kind of expected as not many people know Dire Straits in India.
An evening to remember it was.
[Image Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/photo.cms?msid=1042374]
Monday, October 08, 2007
One jolly old fellow looked at it and said, 'Hey, you think life is a trip? With a one way ticket or return? Do you believe in re-incarnation?'
And I was thinking ... Hmm .. Interesting observation ! Is life a one way trip? Or it is actually a return trip. You go back to where you have come from. No strings attached. Visit an exotic place called 'Planet Earth', stay on an extended vacation, and go back. Go back where? Back home?
Friday, October 05, 2007
So that when they turn their backs on you
You'll get the chance to put the knife in....."
This is an excerpt from the song 'Dogs' by Pink Floyd. I love this song for the power of its lyrics. Look at the flair and killing instinct of the above lines. Sheer disregard for ethics and morales. Pure animal instincts.
My inquisitive mind again became active while listening to this song and started asking numerous questions.
Why is it that only humans have an obvious obligation to display ethics and morales? Why do values not apply to any of other species of life?
Darwin theory - 'Survival of fittest'. It does not say something like 'Survival of most kind' or 'Survival of most ethical'. Hasn't God made all the species of life equal from His perspective? Then why do we have to follow rules, social norms, ethics and morales?
Why can't we also be flagrantly bad in our behavior, corrupt and pervert, just like coyotes and wolves and other wild animals? Why can't we let our animal instincts take over us and live free and wild?
You know its going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you get older
And in the end you'll pack, fly down south
Hide your head in the sand
Just another sad old man
All alone and dying of cancer...."
[P.S. The above thoughts do not reflect my ways of living life. They are just what I call them. Thoughts. ]
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking...."
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I had the opportunity to attend his concert in Phoenix yesterday thanks to my dear friend Quadir and of course his car! This was my first concert experience in US. I have been to a few concerts in India. And I wanted to attend one in US since I came here. And my wish came true yesterday. And in a grand fashion! Live concert of Bryan Adams is indeed a enchanting experience.
We - Quadir, Parag, Karthik and me, were right on time contradictory to our habit of reaching a bit late! The size of audience surprised me. Merely a few hundreds people were seated. Apart from the fact that the size of the theater itself was small, not many people had turned up. There were a few empty seats. And I was a bit startled to see empty seats in a Bryan Adams concert!
The beginning of the concert turned out to be funny. The concert was named 'Bryan Adams/George Thorogood'. George Thorogood is an artist, lead member of a group called 'Destroyers' of which I had never heard before. He began the concert with his banal, un-original rock-n-roll style of songs and tried to woo the crowds in which he failed miserably.
And this went on for about an hour and half. And we were starting to get worried that we might have only a guest appearance of Bryan Adams on this show! But enduring his music for sometime, he finally ended and the crew started to clean up the stage, only adding to our fear of being swindled in the name of BA. But hope and excitement took over our fears and we could see the stage being set up for a new beginning!
And then came the moment. BA in his typical carefree and charming style appeared on stage doing what he does best. Playing guitar and singing! And the whole crowd went up cheering for him. He started with a song I had never heard of and I can't place which album it could be in. And then he went on to his usual charismatic songs like 'Summer of 69', 'back to you' and so on.
And music-crazy soul I am, I could not sit on my seat and I got up and went near the front railing to cheer and shout! Quadir and I both stood there for the rest of the concert.
1. The crowd severely lacked enthusiasm. People were sitting on their seats when he was singing songs like 'Summer of 69' or 'Back to you'. I can't imagine how you can be so calm when such songs are being played. This is a rock concert, not an opera. Come on.
2. I couldn't help compare the audience with that in Mumbai concert that I attended. People were berserk there in Mumbai. They were constantly shouting, jumping, singing along with him and were lost in his music totally. This crowd, except a few in the front rows and some in the back rows like us was more or less cold. Not responding to his crowd cheering techniques like offering the microphone to the crowd and asking for feedback etc.
3. Like he always does, he called a girl on the stage to sing 'Baby when you are gone' with him. He did this in Mumbai also. But I must say, the Mumbai babe was far more charming than the girl he called yesterday on stage. Mumbai babe was acting and singing so well on the stage that it looked like she was all prepared for it!
4. No songs from the album Spirit which happens to be my favorite album.
5. Acoustics of the hall were nothing more than average. The sound was not crystal clear and it lacked clarity many a time during the show.
6. Just like he always does, he closed the show once, bade good bye to the crowd and then returned on stage after a few seconds singing 'Run to you'. This guy knows how to make audience love him!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
First of all many congratulations on becoming the general secretary of AICC. I am sure you will do great as the GS of a direction less party like Congress. The party needs youth representation and you are capable of providing that. Though I must say apart from youth, you have nothing much to offer to the party. But I appreciate your efforts.
We came to know, through media reports that you are focusing your energy to revive the flagging Congress party in Gujarat. For that you have taken great effort and pain to learn our language! You are taking crash courses in Gujarati language. We would like to extend our vote of thanks to you for being so generous as to learn our language to speak with us. But Mr. Gandhi, we would like to remind you that speaking someone's language does not make you understand that society or culture.
Can you actually spot Gujarat on the map of India? Can you name 5 biggest cities of Gujarat? Also, do you remember what was the last time you had visited villages of Gujarat? Other than your election rallies which have been flop all over India anyway.
Dear Mr. Gandhi, we do not need your interference in Gujarat. Your party is doing virtually nothing in the state and does not deserve to be in power ever in future. We are all satisfied with the governance that the current government is doing.
Also, just a friendly hint for you. Before you start your campaign and start alleging and maligning Mr. Modi's government, update your facts and knowledge about the progress of Gujarat in last few years. Look at the connectivity of road networks. Read some figures about Gujarat's revenue, export and import. Look at the improvement in situation of water and electricity in villages and towns.
Wishing you Good luck for your campaign. You really need it.
A Proud Indian and a Gujarati
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I am ashamed of all those who treat non-cricket sports like peanuts. Very touchy article on ibnlive.com
Do read even if you are an ardent fan of cricket and cricket only. It will open your eyes.
Bangalore: Hockey always seems to be relegated to second best in the tussle for headline space with cricket. But on Indian cricket's big day it was hockey which scored.
Upset with the lack of recognition for his Asia Cup winning team, Indian coach Joaquim Carvalho hit out at what he called 'step-motherly treatment'.
A four-year wait came to an end for Indian hockey earlier this month in Chennai. Reigning Asian Games champions South Korea were thashed 7-2 as India won the Asia Cup; their first win since the Afro-Asian Games in 2003.
But there was no Chak de effect here. The players weren't felicitated as champions, like their counterparts in cricket were.
"Why was the same recognition not given to the hockey players when they won the Asia Cup? Where were the same state governments? The monetary benefit is not the issue, the issue is about the recognition," says India's head coach.
That's not all. The coach said that four of the Karnataka players in the team would go on a hunger strike outside the Karnataka CM's residence to protest the step motherly treatment.
"In future in the World Cup, if the Indian hockey team performs very well, then at that time I will consider their demands," says Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
Eight Olympic golds, a World Cup win in 1975; Indian hockey has a proud and rich heritage. But when it comes to endorsements or prize money then Indian hockey has always lagged behind cricket, and by a fair margin.
The BCCI announced a reward of $2 million for the Twenty20 win. The Indian Hockey Federation announced Rs 1,000 per goal at the Asia Cup. Also, Rs 2,000 would be deducted if they conceded a goal.
"We should look at the quality of goals given away and then decide on the matter. I think the goals that were given away were very hard goals, so there will be no deductions, and Rs 50,000 even today is a good amount of money," says Indian Hockey Federation President KPS Gill says.
Coach Joaquim Carvalho's intentions are not in doubt. He is not anti-cricket but has raised an issue that definitely needs to be addressed.
This isn't only about hockey. It's about Indian sports and cricket.
(With inputs from Digvijay Singh Deo in New Delhi) CNN IBN
Friday, September 21, 2007
"Even Valmiki has said that Ram was a drunkard. I urge Advani to get into a debate with me after reading Valmiki's Ramayana"
"Is there any proof of Ram having built the bridge, or that he had the engineering expertise… There was no person in the name of Ram. The story of Ram is authored by Valmiki in Ramayana. There are so many things that Valmiki has said about Ram"
"they showed the culture of Ram Bhaktas (worshippers). I treat these things like a speck of dust. I welcome such opposition"
After hearing all such filthy statements from a politician of national stature, only words that come to my mind after a few verbal abuses are 'Why?'
Why did 'Venerable' M Karunanidhi have to utter such words? Why could he not be a bit restrained and moderate instead of blatantly hurting the sentiments of millions of Hindus all over the world? Why on earth did he have to be so vocal about his 'atheistic' thoughts?
There is nothing wrong in being an atheist. But it does not mean that you do not show respect to people who believe in a religion. And especially this case has nothing to do with atheism also. These statements are purely motivated by political agenda.
Mr. Karunanidhi, you have shown us your real worth by publicly stating such trash things. Thank you for sharing with the whole nation your excellent knowledge about Hindu literature. But you know what? We actually do not need your expertise. We are not as powerful as you. And may be we are not as learned as you. But our parents have at least taught us to respect other people's feelings and sentiments. I wish you also had learned something like that.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Rest In Peace, Tupac.
Here's one of my favorite songs from him. Enjoy!
(feat. Elton John)
Hit them with a lil' ghetto gospel
[Chorus - Elton John:]
Those who wish to follow me (My ghetto gospel)
I welcome with my hands
And the red sun sinks at last into the hills of gold
And peace to this young warrior without the sound of guns
If I could recollect before my hood days
I'd sit and reminisce, nigga and bliss on the good days
I stop and stare at the younger, my heart goes to'em
They tested, it was stressed that they under
In our days, things changed
Everyone's ashamed to the youth cause the truth looks strange
And for me it's reversed, we left them a world that's cursed, and it hurts
cause any day they'll push the button
and yall condemned like Malcolm x and Bobby Hunton, died for nothing
Don't them let me get teary, the world looks dreary
but when you wipe your eyes, see it clearly
there's no need for you to fear me
if you take your time to hear me, maybe you can learn to cheer me
it ain't about black or white, cause we're human
I hope we see the light before its ruined
my ghetto gospel
[Chorus - Elton John]
Tell me do you see that old lady ain't it sad
Living out a bag, but she's glad for the little things she has
And over there there's a lady, crack got her crazy
Guess she's given birth to a baby
I don't trip and let it fade me, from outta the frying pan
We jump into another form of slavery
Even now I get discouraged
Wonder if they take it all back while I still keep the courage
I refuse to be a role model
I set goals, take control, drink out my own bottles
I make mistakes, I learn from everyone
And when its said and done
I bet this Brotha be a better one
If I'm upset, you don't stress
Never forget, that God hasn't finished with me yet
I feel his hand on my brain
When I write rhymes, I go blind, and let the lord do his thang
But am I less holy
Cause I choose to puff a blunt and drink a beer with my homies
Before we find world peace
We gotta find peace and end the war on the streets
My ghetto gospel
[Chorus - Elton John]
Lord can you hear me speak!!
To pay the price of being hell bound...
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
343. Official language of the Union.(1) The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.
(2)Notwithstanding anything in clause (1), for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, the English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used immediately before such commencement: Provided that the President may, during the said period, by order_306 authorise the use of the Hindi language in addition to the English language and of the Devanagari form of numerals in addition to the international form of Indian numerals for any of the official purposes of the Union.
(3) Notwithstanding anything in this article, Parliament may by law provide for the use, after the said period of fifteen years, of-
(a) the English language, or
(b) the Devanagari form of numerals, for such purposes as may be specified in the law.