Saturday, October 27, 2007

Another Roadside Attraction

Once in a while you get to read books that are unputdownable (yeah! wanna read them straight for 6 hours). I always thought that Still Life with Woodpecker was amazingly brilliant but I just realised that "Another Roadside Attraction" has the same bearing on it that Atlas Shrugged has on The Fountainhead. I have never before seen so many ideas compacted in one book. Phew! It was such a trip reading this one that I might consider doing it again in a month or so.

If you dont have clue of what I am talking about, here; savor some thoughts from the book (approximately represent only a 10-15% of the lines of thought in the entire book, so you know what the original contains). If these dont whet your appetite, no need to worry about reading the book ( its written with a certain style to attract only certain minds)

A zen buddhist walks up to a hot dog vendor in the park and says: “Make me one with everything"

The most important thing in life is style. That is, the style of one's existence - the characteristic mode of one's actions - is basically, ultimately what matters. For if man defines himself by doing, then style is doubly definitive because style describes the doing..

And it rained a fever.And it rained a silence. And it rained a sacrifice.And it rained a miracle.And it rained sorceriesand saturnine eyes of the totem

Happiness is a learned condition. And since it is learned and self-generating, it does not depend upon external circumstances for its perpetuation…

I'm only interested in three states of consciousness. I'm interested in amnesia, euphoria and ecstasy. Amnesia is when you don't know who you are and desperately want to know. Euphoria is when you don't know who you are and don't care. Ecstasy is when you know exactly who you are and still don't care.

It is content, or rather the consciousness of content, that fills the void. But the mere presence of content is not enough. It is style that gives content the capacity to absorb us, to move us; it is style that makes us care.

Hardly a pure science, history is closer to animal husbandry than it is to mathematics, in that it involves selective breeding. The principal difference between the husbandryman and the historian is that the former breeds sheep or cows or such, and the latter breeds (assumed) facts. The husbandryman uses his skills to enrich the future; the historian uses his to enrich the past. Both are usually up to their ankles in bullshit

Laws are the most obvious example. Laws are abstractions. Laws symbolized ethical arts, proper behaviour towards other human animals. Laws have no moral content, they merely symbolize conduct that does. These symbol junkies are always yelling about how we've got to respect the law, but you never hear one of them say anything about respecting fellow beings. If we respected each other, if we respected animals and if we respected the land, than we could dispense with laws and cut the middleman out of morality. Here in Washington State the government has a slogan, you may have noticed it, 'Drive Legally'. If this were a concrete, realistic (as opposed to a civilized) society, the bumper stickers would not say 'Drive Legally' but 'Drive

The whole universe is a complex of rhythms. We each of us feel a need to identify our bodily rhythms with those of the cosmos. The sea is the grand agency of rhythm. The grain tops in the wind, the atoms in orbit are rhythmic. The uterus, which is a strong muscular organ, contacts with the birth of the baby-the rhythmic contractions, in fact, are the important motivations for the baby to emerge into the world. Rhythm is how it all begins

And it rained a sickness.And it rained a fear. And it rained an odor.And it rained a murder. And it rained dangers and pale eggs of the beast....And it rained an omen.And it rained a poison.And it rained a pigment.And it rained a seizure.

Science is an active response to the world.Mysticism accepts the world.Mystics scurry abouttrying to get in harmony with nature.Scientists turn nature into issues which "we" define.Science is resistance than acceptance..

From a scientific point of view, we can make no distinction between the man who eats little and sees heaven and the man who drinks much and sees snakes. Each is in an abnormal physical condition, and therefore has abnormal perceptions. "—Bertrand Russell (1935)

The difference is that one of them sees Heaven and one sees snakes -Amanda Ziller

Monday, October 22, 2007


A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away

When Antoine de Saint Exupéry said that I am not sure what he had in Mind but I have this terrible feeling of connection to that exact thingummy he was talking about. I just finished building something and I know this is baked "just right". Looking on at designs is one thing and creating your own is a completely different experience. Unless you do it, you wouldnt unlock the joy of creation. Muahhahahahahahaah! After all this frenchie has also quipped

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wearing my <3 on a sleeve

Someone made that statement. Couldnt think of a response then but then I laugh in my solitude when I think this would have been a most appropriate response:

Two penguins are standing afloat on an iceberg. The first penguin says, you look like you're wearing a tuxedo. The second penguin says, what makes you think I'm not?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Happy Dussehra!

Apprently India would be very festive now, looking forward to Diwali and celebrating Dussehra. I feel envious sometimes not being able to celebrate festivals at the rate we do back home. Anyhow, today is Durgashtami and here're the fundoo lyrics for an awesome song which always woke me up during the 8th day of the 9-day celebration Just the sheer beauty of alliteration woven with some complex sanskrit compunds..

1. ayi girinandini nanditamedini visvavinodini nandinute |
girivaravindhya shirodhinivasini vishnuvilasini jisnunute |
bhagavati he shitikanthakutumbini bhoorikutumbini bhoorikrute |
jaya jaya he mahishasuramardhini ramyakapardini shailasute ||

2. suravaravarshini durdharadharshini durmukhamarshini harsharate |
tribhuvanaposhini sha.nkaratoshini kilbishamoshini ghosharate |
danujaniroshini ditisutaroshini durmadashoshini sindhusute |
jaya jaya he ... ||

3. ayi jagadamba madamba kadambavanapriyavasini hasarate |
shikharishiromani tungahimalaya shringanijalaya madhyagate |
madhumadhure madhukaitabhaganjini kaitabhabhanjini rasarate |
jaya jaya he ...||

4. ayi shatakhanda vikhanditarunda vitunditashunda gajadhipate |
ripugajaganda vidaranachanda parakramashunda mrigadhipate |
nijabhujadanda nipatitakhanda vipatitamunda bhatadhipate |
jaya jaya he ... ||

5. ayi ranadurmadashatruvadhodita durdharanirjara shaktibhrute |
chaturavicharadhurinamahasiva dutakrita pramathadhipate |
duritadurihadurashayadurmati danavaduta krutantamate |
jaya jaya he ... ||

6. ayi sharanagata vairivadhuvara viravarabhayadayakare |
tribhuvanamastaka shulavirodhishirodhikritamala shulakare |
dumidumitamara dundubhinada mahomukharikrita tigmakare |
jaya jaya he ... ||

7. ayi nijahunkriti matranirakrita dhumravilochana dhumrashate |
samravishoshita shonitabeeja samudbhavashonita bijalate |
shivashivashumbhani shumbhamahahavatarpita bhutapishacharate |
jaya jaya he ... ||

8. dhanuranusangaranakshanasanga parishphuradanga natatkatake |
kanakapishanga prishatkanishanga rasadbhatasringa hatabatuke |
krutachaturanga balakshitiranga ghatadbahuranga ratadbatuke |
jaya jaya he ... ||

9. jaya jaya japyajaye jayashabda parastutitatatpara vishvanute |
jhana jhana jhinjhimijhinkritanoopura sinjitamohita bhootapate |
natita natardhanatinatanayaka natitanatyasuganarate |
jaya jaya he ... ||

10. ayi sumanah sumanah sumanah sumanoharakantiyute |
shrita rajani rajani rajani rajani rajanikaravakravrute |
sunayanavibhra marabhra marabhra marabhra marabhra maradhipate|
jaya jaya he ... ||

11. sahitamahahava mallamatallika mallitarallaka mallarate |
virachitavallika pallikamallika shrillikabhillika vargavrute |
sita kruta phullisamullasitakruntallaja pallavasallalite |
jaya jaya he ... ||

12. aviralaganda galanmadamedura mattamatangajarajapate |
tribhuvana bhooshana bhootakalanidhi roopapayonidhirajasute |
ayi sudatijanalalasamanasa mohanamanmatharajasute |
jaya jaya he ... ||

13. kamaladalamalakomala kantikalakalitamala bhalatale |
sakalavilasakalanilayakrama kelichalatkala hamsakule |
alikulasankula kuvalayamandala maulimiladbakulalikule |
jaya jaya he ... ||

14. karamuralirava vijita koojita lajjita kokila manjumate |
militapulinda manoharagunjita ranjitashailanikunjagate |
nijagunabhoota mahashabarigana sadgunasambhruta kelitale |
jaya jaya he ... ||

15. katitatapitadukoolavichitra mayookhatiraskrita chandraruche|
pranatasurasura maulimanisphuradamshulasannakha chandraruche|
jitakanakachala maulipadorjita nirbharakunjara kumbhakuche |
jaya jaya he ... ||

16. vijitasahasra karaikasahasra karaikasahasra karaikanute |
krutasurataraka sangarataraka sangarataraka soonusute |
surathasamadhi samanasamadhi samadhi samadhi sujatarate |
jaya jaya he ... ||

17. padakamalam karunanilaye varivasyati yonudinam sashive |
ayi kamale kamalanilaye kamalanilayah sakatham na bhavet |
tava padameva param padamityanushilayato mama kim na shive |
jaya jaya he ... ||

18. kanakalasatkala sindhujalairanusinchinute gunarangabhuvam |
bhajati sa kim na sachikuchakumbha tatiparirambha sukhanubhavam |
tava charanam sharanam karavani natamaravani nivasisivam |
jaya jaya he ... ||

19. tava vimalendukulam vadanendum alam sakalam nanu koolayate |
kimu puruhoota purindumukhisumukhibhirasau vimukhikriyate |
mama tu matam sivanamadhane bhavati kripaya kimuta kriyate |
jaya jaya he ... ||

20. ayi mayi dinadayalutaya krupayaiva tvaya bhavitavyamume |
ayi jagato janani krupayasi yathasi tathanumitasitare |
yaduchitamatra bhavatyurarikrutadurutapa mapakrurute |
jaya jaya he ... ||

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Conversation

I: Howdy? Do you remember me?
S: How can I not? I told you, I shall always remember you no matter what.
Well, one cant be presumtous these days, you see..
You can be with me and thats the way I like it
How are you?
Sometimes good, sometimes not so good and sometimes worse
Well, that captures everything,doesnt it?
I was meaning to give you the essence you are looking for..
So, Are you hitched yet?
Shouldnt surprise me ;-) You must know I have a 18 month old boy.
Wow! Great! Howz it being a mommy?
Nothing different from what I know
Its Good to catch up with you. Sorry, I was out of the social circuit for a while. I am not that young anymore, you see.
So, tell me, how many hearts have you broken since I last met you?
I: I aint Tom Petty to begin with and I was more wishing that you ask how many times I have been broken rather than the other way around
Well, thats never a problem. You always find a way. You'll prevail like you just always did
:) (with a poignant look that so much water has flown under the bridge but her hope is still flying high up the mast instead of 0.33-mast)
Dont avoid meeting me or anything like that. I was furious to note the last time you came and didnt make an effort to meet our family
As I said, I have my phases of being anti-social and that does last some years..

You always have some words albeit you dont mean them..Just like old days. Your brain and your mouth live in two different worlds
These days the count has increased to three and I hope they dont proliferate like amoeba
Shut Up!

Sunny came home to her favorite room
Sunny sat down in the kitchen
She opened a book and a box of tools
Sunny came home with a mission

She says days go by I'm hypnotized
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire

Sunny came home with a list of names
She didn't believe in transcendence
It's time for a few small repairs she said
Sunny came home with a vengeance

She says days go by I don't know why
I'm walking on a wire I close my eyes

Get the kids
and bring a sweater
Dry is good and wind is better
Count the years, you always knew it
Strike a match, go on and do it

Days go by I'm hypnotized
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire
Light the sky and hold on tight
The world is burning down
She's out there on her own and she's alright
Sunny came home
Sunny came home...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Y

We all know human cells have 23 pairs of chromosomes.Now, when a new cell is created by fertilisation of the egg cell and sperm cell each of them donate the full complement of the chromosomal footprint. generally speaking, you get a pair of genes that have similar functionality. Say, for example one certain gene dictates the color of your eyes. Also further assume one of the genes is defective, then the body uses the backup gene and gives it the color of the eye dictated by it. Either way, the idea is that one can fail, the other contributes (if both are defective, then it is a manufacturing problem that we cannot attend to albeit the complexity of the cell biology does try to make up for it as best as it can but this happens rarely where both genes fail)

The critical part is in the 23rd chromosome as the above logic cleanly applies to 22 pairs as the 23rd one is a li'l bit different. As you know men have XY chromosome pair and women have XX pair as the 23rd one.The Y chromosome is special in that it does not contain any genes, it is simply a stub (most programmers do understand stubs versus full bodied functions). A stub is like an empty container that can be filled in as the structure of the container permits. This means that male sperm cells are gonna be a wee bit lighter than female egg cells (two Xs for 1 X and small stub..this also means there's slightly greater than 50% chance that the offspring would be male than female because Y gets to the other female X faster than the normal male X).

Since Y doesnt have a gene, there's no chance of any defect happening, so the only case that can go wrong here is the X chromosme's gene. Assuming the defective X is fertilized by a Y which results in a boy (for XY means it has to be a boy) who would be defective in some characterstic.Note this point.

On the other hand, you might have the defective X fertilized by normal X which means you have a girl who has a 50-50 chance that she will have a defect. This means that if you have 4 dauthers all 4 of them will have a defect or none of them will (thats why 50-50 in the manifestation sense and not neccesarily 2 girls having the defective gene and 2 girls not). What happens to such a girl? Since one X is defective the other X would take care and nothing happens really for the defect to be expressed in her lifetime and everything would be normal for her. However, she is a "carrier".

Well, from all this if you conclude that a mother who has no defects can produce daughters where all of them have this defect or none of them and only sons seem to be affected, you are not to blame (I thought the same).

However, the lesson is subtle which can be summarized thus: In such 23rd pair interactions, a male may show a defect but will not have defective children whereas a female who doesnt show a defect can have defective children. Females are carriers and Males terminators.Chew on that.

In future, based on much more complicated analyses than this example,I expect a system of genetic matches (much like our current day horoscope matches) before anybody gets into wedlock. After all, your childrens' future can be greatly influenced by deciding whom you marry

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Seventh Mandarin

'The person who patiently awaits a sign from the clouds for many years, and yet fails to notice the earthquake at his feet, is devoid of intellect.'
Quentin Tantino should make a movie of this story

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

When the Tigers Broke Free...

If I were way younger than I was I would have been writing "Once in an year there comes a day thats yours and yours alone.." and all that jazz which is a sign of a fertile young imagination not tempered by shall-we-say "dose of reality". Not anymore. Recently we had Yom Kippur passing on us. Even people who arent orthodox do celebrate this one festival where they are supposed to brood over the actions of the last year and make atonements as appropriately deemed by your thoughts. I totally loved the concept. Today is the day I declare my Yom Kippur, you can as well do the same on any day you choose. Nope, it's got nothing to do with Gandhi albeit the relation seems well defined that way as well.

Who what am I? My answer: I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me.I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I've gone which would not have happened if I had not come.Nor am I particularly exceptional in this matter; each "I",every one of us,contains a similar multitude.

-Salman Rusdhie, Midnights Children

Now for the part of my atonement. Before atonement, a reflection is needed and for that a little introspection is needed which basically needs examination of your reality from a third party perspective. I told you this was heady stuff.I apologize to all those who have been offended by me in the last one year for a start.(the last I knew this count was zero but anyhow why take chances?)

I used to like things, now I just get used to them. I used to crave for a rush; have been there done it way too many times. Used to feel good about an ego boost: but when you are the company and the company is you (much in the vein of "Indira is India, India is Indira") you suddenly realize it isnt worth that much (of course this is only known once you are over the hill not when you are climbing it, at which point it looks tantalisingly attractive like an aphrodisiac). At one point I used to think Socialism was an organized way of partying, but now I grow weary of both ideas. Have been a ardent believer of beer and now I skip to wine. Used to smoke Marlboros and now I just choose a Montecristos if I really wanna have a good time (please add a glass of cognac to savor the taste). Felt that Investment Banking was cool, now I realise they are a bunch of paper pushing airheads.Technology stuff used to be the cutting edge and now I think they are merely a support function that serves a larger objective. Also believed in Free Will and currently I completely forsake that idea's existence. Can go on like this, but you get the idea or should I say the flaver (with a coromandel accent)?

Before you mistake my earlier statements as resignation, let me tell you that this is good thing. Having a zen-like attitude to things makes day-to-day issues far more chilled out than otherwise.I believe this is what they call something like "wise" or "mature" or one of those things where you have a sense of discretion (which I lacked before).

On a different note, Thank Goodness for a lot of things. People with humble origins like mine have a lot to be thankful for (mostly for the opportunities not neccesarily the outcomes). Things can be far worse than they are right now but I am grateful for all the people who have been there (C'mon, you know who you are:). Its been a great year and given the current scenario I must say the future looks rosy for another year till another day of atonement. I have apologized to those I should and people who wanted to rejoice with me already called. What more can one ask from life.Amen!

Speaking of which, its my tradition every year to read one story where a person triumphs death (last year was Savitri,before last year was Dhruva) and this year it is the legendary Nachiketas