Archive for October, 2009

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The thrill in being normal

October 29, 2009

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“Stop controlling my life”
“We are not controlling your life, we are helping you out…”
“Who are this ‘we’?”
“I am sorry but that is classified information, I cannot give it to you”
“God… How did I pass my University Examination?”
“You wanted to pass, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, but I attempted less than even twenty percent of the questions… how can I still pass?”
“It’s enough if you want to pass, the rest will be taken care by us”
“So, now if I want a job, you’ll get it for me?”
“Yeah sure, why not?”
“And what if I don’t perform well in that job, I would lose the job won’t I?”
“We have people everywhere and at all levels… you don’t have to worry about losing your job at all”
“Why should this happen to me? Can’t you see all the others are normal, they get the marks they deserve, they get the jobs they deserve, they get to live their lives they deserve…”
“You don’t have to. You are special… you can get what you want… you just need to let us know your wants”
“You have any idea how it feels to be controlled by you people for 20 long years? Right from the day I remember, I have been getting almost everything I wanted – toys, food, education and almost everything. You people interfere with almost every aspect of my life in the pretext of making me happy but you don’t understand what situation you have landed me at this point of time… You just don’t have an idea how helpless I feel”
“We have ensured that you get what you want till now, and will continue to do so, you don’t have to worry”
“Great then, I want to be normal”
“What?”
“I want to be normal, like all the other people in this world. I want to fail and see how much failure hurts so that I would enjoy success, when it comes. I want to earn my living and taste the food that I earned for myself. I want to struggle for a living so that I can sleep at nights. I don’t want a bunch of people controlling every aspect of my life – I want to be free. I want to be normal.  I want to live my own life – that’s what I want. Can you give it to me?”
“We can, but all the privileges that you have been getting from us all this time would be stopped immediately. Is that ok?”
“That is perfectly ok. Just let me live my own life, I would be much happier on my own”

Flashback: 20 Years earlier

This is a special classified project that the Psychology department of the University has undertaken where we would adopt a kid and give almost everything that he needs through our network and resources. The objective of this project is to find out if a person can live happily if all his wants and needs are met at every stage of his/her life.

Destination Infinity

PS: This is one story that I wrote (In Tamil) during my college days, I became famous in my class for having ended a story in a flashback. They thought it was unique 🙂 Those days I used to write something in pieces of paper and pass it to other benches for their comments and feedback, and the paper would return to me with all the comments! I guess I had a mini blog and a mini audience back then itself 🙂

PPS: Don’t spoil kids by giving them everything. That was the message.

You could visit the ‘Short Stories(Fiction)’ section of this blog to read similar stories.

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Classical Fusion Music – The way forward?

October 23, 2009

The above song ‘Taaye yeshoda’ from the movie ‘Morning Raaga’ is one of the best Classical/Carnatic fusion songs that I have heard till now. The first fusion song I heard was ‘Krishna Nee Begane’ by Colonial Cousins. That was a brilliant fusion of western and classical. I have always wondered why there have not been many fusion songs after that. Carnatic/classical music has never appealed to me earlier, and I thought it was boring, when I was young. But of late, I seem to love music with a classical touch in them – which makes me wonder if age/circumstances influence our musical tastes…

Carnatic music, which is the classical Indian music popular in South India has been kept quite exclusive and as my friend says, even a rasika needs to know the nuances of raagam/thalam etc to appreciate its real beauty. May be that is one reason, they don’t carry mass popularity. But there are some real gems that even a common man (like me, for example) can enjoy and I was lucky to listen to a couple of them during a recent December music festival in Chennai. Western music and film based pop music seems to have a much wider appeal.

So, if more fusion songs like the above are made, probably a lot of people could enjoy and carry forward the versatile musical tradition that we have developed and nurtured over centuries. And if you know any fusion songs like this which are good (in any language), please do suggest them in the comments.

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Music/Photo posts’ section of this blog to read similar articles.

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Plus and Minus

October 16, 2009

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Blessed are those who have one daughter and one son. When She gave birth to her daughter, she was elated. She was a mother now! After some time they decided to have another child and this time, it was a boy. She was, no need to say, elated again.

 

But being a mother of two kids was never easy. When they were kids, they were fighting for small things like “She’s got two chocolates and I have got only one”. She would try to convince the son that his sister was elder and bigger than him, and hence she could have more. When that doesn’t work, she goes to her daughter and tries to convince her that her brother is a small kid still, and she being elder needs to be more responsible and give things to her brother. Strangely, that mostly worked. She thought it was the mentality of elder brothers/sisters – they naturally feel responsible towards their siblings and are more ready to give up things to them. They are at least not as adamant as the younger ones!

Such small things never bothered her, in fact they were passed on as sibling rivalry and in any case this was much better than families that had two sons or two daughters – she thought the kiddy fightings in those families would give a headache to any mother!

Generally parents love their children – be it a boy or girl. For her, both the kids were same – there was rarely any gender discrimination – at least, when they were young. The first signs of such discrimination came when her daughter was about to get admitted in a college. Her daughter was always good at studies – she was always in the top ten ranks in her class. She thought that her daughter should take up computer science engineering, as that course was in demand. But their finances was not very good and they were able to save only enough money to educate one kid in an engineering college. This was the first time when she was asked to think ‘practically’ by friends and family members. Her daughter was anyway going to go away to ‘sasural’ – why would she want to spend so much on her education? And in contrast, her son was going to stay with her and if they were not able to spend for both, they ought to definitely spend for the son! She thought that was gender discrimination. But she had to decide upon something! So she spoke to her daughter –

“So, what do you want to do next?”
“Well, all my friends are taking up computer engineering….”
“Yeah, but the fees and the donations… they are so high for engineering, and me and your father were really thinking if we could afford it….”
“Wow. That’s great mom. I was about to say that I was not interested in such engineering courses. If it is ok with you, I would like to do B.A and M.A in French. I love the language and I really want to learn French”
“But, do you think that course has any prospects?”
“Well, its tough but I can always get a job as a translator. Actually I am not sure about the job prospects of it, but if there is some course that I would love to persue, it is definitely French. And don’t worry about the fees – the university charges very less for such courses”

She was both sad and happy – she always knew that her daughter’s decisions were right and responsible. But back in her mind, she was feeling guilty about the discrimination part. Maybe if they had enough money, her daughter could have taken engineering.

The second instance of such discrimination came during the marriage of her daughter. All her relatives and friends advised her that if she wants to find a ‘good’ bridegroom for her daughter, she better be ready to give a big dowry. This time, her son had finished engineering and got an admit to one of the colleges in the United States for his post graduation. They had to spend a fortune for sending him abroad, and had to even sell their house and move to a rented apartment. It was at that time that her daughter got a good match. This time again she went and spoke to her daughter.

“See, there is a good prospect in hands for your marriage – we just have some family jewels and we are not sure how much they will ask”
Her daughter was clear in her response – “Well, if the guy’s family is going to ask anything more than that, I am not going to marry”

She thought it was her luck that the bridegroom’s family did not insist for any dowry. They did not have much to give anyway. She was once again not happy with the discrimination that happened with her daughter. But some times, life doesn’t give any options and she had to choose whatever was the best for her family – at least that’s what her relatives told her.

It was after some years when her husband retired that she was able to feel the financial burden of all their sacrifices. He sure got some pension, and they had some savings, but the cost of living in a big city with having to pay a big monthly rent for the house was taking a toll on them, financially. Her son called very rarely, and told her that he till he gets a ‘green card’ he cannot help much. And she was unsure if he would take his parents to the United States after his marriage. After all, the youth of today want ‘freedom’ and their own ‘space’. It was at that time that she got a call from her daughter, who was employed as a translator in a big company.

“See, me and your father are planning to move to a smaller town. The rentals are getting higher every year. We are able to manage the other expenses but not the rent”
“Actually, I called to ask if you and father can move in to the new house that we have bought recently. Since we are already living in our own house, we may not need the other house. We bought the house only for getting the tax exemption and since both of us are earning enough we don’t want to give it on rental either. In fact, he asked me to check if you two would want to live there”

That was like a blessing from nowhere.

She was recently thinking about the age old societal practices, blind assumptions and equally blind myths when she was asked by a distant relative –

“So, how many children do you have?”
“We have one daughter and one son.”
“One minus and One plus?”
“No. One plus and One minus.”

The reply was instantaneous. She was wondering how life teaches the most important lessons the hard way. And how people pay with something more important than money for learning such lessons – Time.

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Short Stories(Fiction)’ section of this blog to read similar stories.

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HAL Aerospace Museum and Tiruvannamalai Temple Photos

October 11, 2009

It’s been a long time since I put up a photo post, since I rarely take any photos. I am either too lazy to take photos or my cell phone is too complicated for such operations. Anyways, crossing all the self inflicted hurdles, I managed to take some photos.

The below are some pictures taken in HAL Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum, Bangalore.

HAL Aerospace Museum 1

HAL Aerospace Museum 1

HAL Aerospace Museum 2

HAL Aerospace Museum 2

HAL Aerospace Museum 3

HAL Aerospace Museum 3

IMAGE_088

HAL Aerospace Museum 5

HAL Aerospace Museum 5

HAL Aerospace Museum 6

HAL Aerospace Museum 6

HAL Aerospace Museum 7

HAL Aerospace Museum 7

HAL Aerospace Museum 8

HAL Aerospace Museum 8

The below photo was taken in front of the Tiruvannamalai Temple (Annamalai is another name of God Shiva) in TN. Quite a big temple this.

Tiruvannamalai Temple

Tiruvannamalai Temple

Actually I went to attend the marriage of a relative, there. And they gave one small booklet to everyone. There was one section in it, which was quite interesting. It was in Tamil, but I will translate it for you people.

Why should you eat food by sitting down on the floor (with your legs folded)?

Since the eating culture is changing very fast in our country, we are eating food by standing, sitting on the sofa, walking etc. Instead of eating food sitting on the chairs of the dining table (sometimes with one leg over another, sometimes without removing shoes, sometimes watching TV simultaneously), it is better to follow the habit of our ancestors – sitting on the floor with legs in folded position as it is good for the health. When we eat food, there is some movement in some joints in our body – this movement will cause some pressure on the joints. Sitting down with legs folded would help reduce this pressure, which is good for the joints. Also, when we are standing or comfortably sitting on the sofa, there is more chance that we would eat more (lot of) food, which is also not good for health. Even today’s medicine advises you not to eat so much food that your stomach is full.

So, you fast-food-culture-brought-up people, know this :D. Of course, fast food in itself is bad for health.

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Music/Photo posts’ section of this blog for similar articles.

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Presence in Absence – The Chinese concept of Yin and Yang

October 4, 2009
You know about my interest in philosophical concepts, among other things. So, I searched the internet for some interesting information on the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang and I will share here, the best of what I found (with my expert commentary in italics 🙂 ).

 

“Yin is (refers to)receptive, yielding, negative and nurturing (concepts). Yang is active, dominating, positive and initiating/creating”

Ok….

“The concept of Yin and Yang is used to describe how seemingly disjunct (or) opposing forces are inter-connected and inter-dependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other in-turn. Yin and Yang are complimentary opposites within a greater whole. Everything has both Yin and Yang aspects, which constantly interact, never existing in absolute stasis”

Example: A seed will sprout from the earth and grow towards the sky – an intrinsically Yang movement. Then, when it reaches its full height, it will began to weaken, eventually falling back to the earth in decay – an intrinsically Yin movement.

Quite similar with human beings too…

“All opposites that one experiences – health and sickness, wealth and poverty, power and submission etc, can be explained in reference to the temporary dominance of one principle over the other. Since no one principle dominates eternally, it means that all conditions are subject to change to their opposites. It is the way of nature to process through periods of flourishing and decline”

Ok….

“By its principles, extreme good will turn into evil, extreme wealth to poverty, extreme honour to dishonour”

Highly debatable. There are a lot of people who were born very rich and very poor too, they remain as such throughout their lives. But I am not sure on what time scale the above statement is to be considered, if it is spread out to many generations, then there is a chance that even extreme conditions might change.

“Yin and Yang are dependent opposites that must always be in balance. The opposites flow in a natural cycle always replacing the other. The Chinese view opposites as evolving and cycling – there is neither right nor wrong, but there is a balance, transformation, interaction and dependent opposition. We need both to maintain a balance”

We need both to maintain a balance is fine, but ‘that mush always be in balance’ is a theoretical concept, I guess.

“Yang elements are clear and obvious while Yin elements are hidden and subtle”

True. People share/show happiness and joy immediately. They can go to any extant to hide the negative parts of their lives, etc.

“The cyclic nature of Yin and Yang, the opposing forces of change in the universe mean several things.
1. All the phenomena change to their opposites in an eternal cycle of reversal.
2. Since one principle produces the other, all phenomena have within them the seeds of their opposite state (Sickness has the seeds of health, wealth has the seeds of poverty etc).
3. Even though an opposite may not be seen to be present, since one principle produces the other, no phenomena is completely devoid of its opposite state (One is never really healthy as health contains the principles of its opposite – sickness). This is called ‘Presence in Absence’.

Let us discuss this part in the comments section.

“In the Yin-Yang theory, time itself is a series of cycles based upon the movement of the planets. For these thinkers, time extends indefinitely into the past and the future. As long as the planets are in motion, there can be no end”

Interesting speculation 🙂

Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘Concepts and Ideas’ section of this blog to read similar articles.

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Book review – Laghukatha

October 1, 2009
I was reading two books – “My country My life” by L K Advani and “Glimpses of world history” by Jawaharlal Nehru (See how neutral I am – I read books written by leaders of both rival political parties 🙂 ) and both of them are 1000 pages plus non fiction content – so I wanted to take a break and at that time this book – Laghukatha by Sakhi, which I had ordered through the net, came. It was a welcome change.

 

This is the first time that I have read a story which is just about 180 characters in length – the book starts with this shortest story. Most of the other stories are short too, as the stories first came out in the blog and hence have been written for the fast internet browsing audience of today. With non fiction, you tend to see how many pages you have completed, how long you have been reading etc, but it is always the reverse with fiction – I finished the first 74 pages in a couple of hours! The stories which follow, I am already familiar as I have read it earlier.

This book primarily consists of situations that someone might either want to be in, fantasize to be in, might be embarrassed to be in, or is afraid of being in and mostly ends on a positive note (Some are realistically sad endings, but they are a few in-between). The author deals with life’s complex situations without preaching what is wrong and what is right, and the tone is ‘observationist’ and neutral. The situations that are created is more from a “wishful thinking” point of view and it plays on the emotions to create a suspense as people do wish they were in certain situations which might be different from their routine life. Since a lot of stories involve doctors and hospitals, we assume that there might be some influence from ‘situational reality’ as observed by the author – and some of them do have fairytale endings making us happy and think ‘At least these things happen in fiction’!

On the flip side, the names of the characters are quite strange – Jui, Ketki et all. Maybe this is a deliberate ploy to make the reader notice and get involved. It would have been better if the book had something more than the blog – but a book is any day more comfortable to read!

Destination Infinity

PS: There is a selfish reason for doing this book review – Actually I am planning to write my autobiography (Since I need to live life before writing that, you people may have to wait another 33 years :P). But when I do write that and publish it (in whatever form that is popular then), I expect you people to buy it, write a similar review and encourage me – so, I am setting an example here. And yeah, that will be much more than 170 rupees… 🙂 But still you all will buy it – won’t you?

You could visit the ‘Non Fiction’ section of this blog to read more such articles.