Posted by: digirak | June 12, 2008

Scientist Sanyasi

Gosh I am sometimes amazed as to how irrational and non scientific people can get, this is the limit. Come on in this 21st century and with all the focus of the scientific community on issues such as global warming and alternative fuels we still have Indian scientists who follow age old practises

What continues to amaze me more is the fact that all these indian scientists seem to be vedantists also popularly known as hindus which strangely caters to a lot of scientific thought. In a lil nutshell the above link talks about how scientists pray to ganesha before they start their day. What rubbish don’t the scriptures clearly talk about a elephant headed kid vanquishing a demon, surely unscientific compared to a gentleman turning wine to water, no offence intended, my point is no single religion or cult is free of contradictions or misnomers, but what really incenses is the fact that all beliefs which are inherently from the indo-aryan civilization are distinctly taken as primitive and backward.

Moreover , id rather have a satisfied superstitious scientist, than an unsatisfied scientist whos forced to divorce his deep set childhood beliefs as superstitions. Isnt it also a breach of privacy to question every step that the scientist takes and to dog him with questions of morality and hypocrisy at each stage. As long his beliefs or feelings dont affect his work i believe he is at liberty to do as he wishes. None of us are immune to the disease of hypocrisy and scientists are as human as any of the rest of mankind.

What further incarcerates me is the fact that by default all such practises are considered primitive and non scientific when science cannot explain gravity with conviction. I am not saying science is wrong or should not be followed, i am merely trying to point out that science still has miles to go and practises such as the ones practised by the indians did have a fair amount of scientific backing. Its merely unfortunate that its been overlooked and given the tag of superstition.

Its sadder to recall that these are the very people who will then be frogmarching our technolgies as junk and behind the back selling patents to the western companies. Its a sad state that we as a populous dont recognise scientific works of the early indians and other countries are patenting whats possibly meant to be open source.

Posted by: digirak | June 12, 2008

Lost on Road with a GPS

Trying to think I am not quite certain why i attempted it, but then it possibly passes off as one of the crazy adventures of life which you do to savour the end and hate the act. I most certainly did not enjoy the night i lost myself on Gauribidanur main road with Deepak on a bike. It must be a folly to have ventured but it was fun nevertheless.

It all started on a bright sunny evening when the BAS gang decided to go star hopping to hosahalli, let me first tell ya what hosahalli is, in kannada it means new village, to BAS it transaltes alternately to heaven, comets, night outs and even sleep in the tent evenings :). So we normally leave typically in the afternoon reach before the sun sets like dracula was chasing us and set up our equipment to star gaze. Usually we all go by some rickety bus where amar fascinates about the village belles and we about how to dupe amar away from the scope. Unlike our usual antics this time we  decided to make a romp on our own vehicles, deepak offered to hitch me on his bike.

So we set out on an empty stomach and most importantly I did not have single warm cloth on me and it was a good 17 degrees and we were ripping at over 120 on a Pulsar. I dont know whether it was the wind or the chill or the ramblings we had i missed the usual detour to hosahalli and went zipping past right to the gauribidanur main road. Considering the fact that it was about 9 in the night we were utterly clueless, it was only after  we did a couple of ups and downs that we realised we had grossly missed the route.

Just the 2 of us alone at about 1030 we reached amirpur, which is almost close to the route to anantpur. We were still ripping then we decidedn enough was enough, phones were not reachable and the other guys had reached hosahalli and started dinner, we were still hungry and lost. We bravely took into amirpur and most defienitely the dogs did not take too kindly to us. I almost thought that the dog must be a forest spirit as it bared its fangs and flounced at our feet. We drifted through the village and reached a thin jungle, out came the GPS and coordinates were keyed in. LO and behold we were less than 3 km from Hosahalli!!!! We managed to execute the bumps and reach the village from where we took the help of the instri to reach the school. All thanks to the GPS.

Next time on im determined to carry a GPS wherever i go!!

It was fun

Posted by: digirak | June 11, 2008

Bangalored on the streets

Typically am not much of a city travelophile, I d rather settle down to an afternoon of reading or catch a movie in a theatre than roam an MG road or a Brigade road, of course its a different thing if I have to look for a book or catch up with friends, its at these times taht the woe of bangalore traffic hits one like a wave of grief

I am not going to crib about traffic, every growing city needs to contend with it, come on whats the big deal if it takes you 45 minutes to get about 10km after all the roads are just muddled with potholes and buses really think footpaths are alternate traffic lanes. What I am really going to crib about are the two opposite sides of the same coin, pedestrians and the car-toting-bike-hopping yuppies.

Ok to be honest I am mostly a pedestrian and should be technically on the side of the two legged sorry trudglers, its only when i go to the other end of the spectrum that the horror of facing them gets real. Mostly its the indecision that freaks me out, you would be like doing 40 on a normal highway and suddenly little miss muffin would pop up in the middle of the road and you’d think she’s planning to cross, slow down, down ur gear only to realise the miss is actually trying to read the board across the street. Lady!! thats a bike/car trying his best to face the rising fuel prices, have a little consideration. Else you’d see the guy bringing his family along, all members trailing with a speed inversely proportional to the height.I wonder if the population explosion was due to the apathy of the motorists, or is the man slyly hinting me to help his family planning !!!!

Ok you say, the pedestrians are fools lets see you justify the motorists, the horror story is even worse. I remember in Shivaji nagar, back from a tiring day in college full of torrid labs and scowling lecturers, i’m trying to cross the road,atta boy our friendly neighbourhood autoanna walks right into you, er sorry drives right into you. Ok! so you need sawari, no issues do you wanna force me to go to the hospital!! So auto anna gives u a dirty scowl, and u promptly return it, come on how can you not return what you receive.One crosses a two lane road with traffic at bumper to bumper, you look only one side when you cross? WRONG! Blore-traffic-frustration rule number one states you need to have 360 degree vision and the agility of a mountain cheetah. Chances are that that you will be run over by a speeding hamara Bajaj.

All said and done tripping bangalore is like a roller coaster ride with no seat belts and is definitely not an adventure for the faint hearted like myself, who would rather prefer a quite afternoon trekking the sahyadris or swishing in waterfalls, sorry sirre its too much of a work out on ones heart

Posted by: digirak | June 9, 2008

When the Greeks invented Avial

Carl Sagan is quite a genius, it quite intrigued me as i read the Cosmos on the way to office, it seemed to me that Carl knew a lot more of human history than God himself. To start with he believes that the world does not exist beyond Greece, oh for the uninitiated Carl Sagan is an astronomer with a magnum opus of Cosmos to his credit and the book has the first few chapters where he rambles on about history of astronomy. I cant claim i have too much of knowledge of the Greeks or their culture, however what Carl taught me in cosmos is almost unforgettable.

Revelation 1: Greeks discovered astronomy, strange when there is a document called the Surya Siddanta which talks about the motions of planets around the Sun, it obviously talks about the zodiac. Simple logic follows up that astronomy moved to greece from India

Revelation 2: Sweet Beet was invented in Greece in the 17th Century, South India had the sweet beet dish right from the Cholas, which is way before the 17th Century.

Revelation 3: All cultures braced the geocentric cult, To my knowledge the jyotisha vedanga talks about the sun being the center of the attraction and all planets are given secondary position, besides even everyday shlokas emphasise the central identity of the Sun God

I am amazed that a world renowned astronomer like Sagan could make glaring errors such as these, pretty obviously like most of the west he chooses to ignore many of the excellent works of astronomy in the far East. As if to redeem himself, he does include a line or two about the superstitious Chinese astrologers who sold astronomy to the kings, well he must quite have forgotten that the first  documented supernova setting up the crab nebula was discovered by a chinese astronomer !!

From what I see I cannot fathom how Sagan could have been so myopic and miss out pretty clear evidences, worse still the series is also an hit and the book is claimed to be one of the masterpieces is astronomy.

Posted by: digirak | December 17, 2007

The Shiva Hypothesis

This was a term I came across on a documentary in Discovery Channel about comets. It seems interesting, even a little romantic, to think that intelligent life on earth began with a bang. A bang caused by a comet crashing into the planet dominated by reptiles and generally not so intelligent creatures. Understandably the crater had been located (somewhere in Arizona I think) and reams of research and material about how the oxygen molecules were formed yak yak etc were written, stored, archived even documented as a story. Now suddenly a group of astronomers/ archeologists pop up to say that guys this has been known for years and what’s more we are on course to get struck again. So now all the science fraternity has really been hit, the theory even gets a name, The Shiva Hypothesis.

Technically speaking, Shiva is the God of destruction in Hindu mythology. Philosophy calls him by various names Kala,Mahadeva, Omakaranatha etc. So what’s the connection between this multifaceted God of Aryan origin to a comet crashing into earth 30 million years ago. As it happens Shiva Mahapurana one of the 18 Puranas or great epics of Indian literature quite surreptiously predicts the change over from life to Death in the pralaya or great Dissolution and a restart of life Scientists now predict that there will be a comet hit on Earth every 30 million years, and it will result in the large scale destruction of life reminiscent of the one that blew up Dino and gang. Paradoxically it would also result in the birth of a new generation of species whose genes will immutably modified by the explosion

Why this would happen, is not very clearly explained. One explanation is as the galaxy spirals and revolves around itself, the Solar system itself wobbles and darts in and out of the spiral arms thereby constantly changing its position in the milky way (don’t ask me how they arrived at this brilliant theory, I have no clue). So it constantly puts itself in the path of some stellar traveler, who happens to find earth a very likely crash site and happily collides with the planet.

Posted by: digirak | November 30, 2007

RaguVamasa Sudha

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Posted by: digirak | November 11, 2007

The Curze(Karz) of Om Shanti Om

Here’s the take, a movie about a larger than life spot boy, his larger than life love for the heroine femme fatale, the evil villain, burning sets a rebirth and the inevitable, obviously I would not tell you that the rest is inspired from Karzthe blockbuster starring Rishi Kapoor.omshantiom123456.jpg

So welcome to the world of Om Shanti and Om , well quite literally actually, though a character called Sandhya does flit in and out of the picture.Farah Khan is known for her candy floss entertainers to have a better word to describe the mindless mayhem that he movies are, but this one positively assumes that the audience is made of utter dudder head waiting to lap her up. Quite unsurprisingly it has a lot of everything, action, drama, some unfathomable pun and some good technical cliches.

The movie starts off in RC studios in the hinterland of Mumbai, the usual 70’s set up, quite impressive in its overall look, though a touch of realism could have been attempted, nevertheless quite livable. We have Om (shah rukh) and his effervescent friend Pappu (shreyas) the spot boys who dream big. There is also an overtly filmy ma in Kirron Kher and of course the gorgeous Shantipriya (deepika). So Om is desperately in love with Shanti and even speaks to her poster!! Then in a twist of fate (as predictable as the taste of maggi noodles made by a cooking newbie)he dramatically saves her from a fire on the sets. He wins himself a friend and a self confessed fan. There are some bizzare attempts at comedy when he tries to pose as a famous south Indian hero to impress the gal. So then the story movies(ok crawls) to the villan, Mukesh, a famous producer and the un proclaimed husband of Shanti and also the uintended father of her child. After a showdown between husband and wife in the make up room( quite predictably seen by Om) he agrees to bestow the rights she deserves, after the movie he is making is completed, Om Shanti Om!!!

Ok, so here is pur hero hear broken and weeping(yes buckets of tears!!) . When he again manages to fall into the sets of Om shanti Om, quite coincidentally of course. He watches his love being burnt to death by the evil producer(Did Farah have a nexus with the petroleum industry!!!). So our hero tries to save her, notwithstanding the pummeling he gets from a couple of goons deputed by the bad man , who for some weird reason leave him unconscious near the burning sets. Of course we have by now learnt not to question the bizarre logic.
She is burnt alive on the sets and Om is cast away half dead(blasted away by the raging fire) and knocked over by a car and eventually dies in hospital!! Then, well, quite unpredictably he is reborn (pun intended), in the house of the man who knocked him over and who also happens to be a bankable star of the day!!

what happens next is a typical pot broiler as interesting as the fly floating in soup. So Om is reborn as Om (?) with a mark of Om on his hand(recollect the other Om had a tattoo of Om on his hand) a la harry Potter goes through paroxysms of hindsight and even manages to remember his past as vividly as you can see his face!!

Now the movie does a backflip , an interesting turn as Mukesh returns from the US all grey and stinking rich. He wants to make a movie with Om who is a great star in todays world. So om now wants to remake Om shanti Om. At this point I stop the narrative, it gets too boring to recount, so go ahead and watch the movie if not for the excellent historonics of shah rukh then at least for the excellent camera work, a couple of foot tapping songs, the gorgeous deepika Padukone in the second half and a very endearing Kirron Kher

Posted by: digirak | September 22, 2007

Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayan a Doyen of Indian literature

One of the best playwrites once remarked thus about a descripit Iyer form the villages of South India who had even a more descripit village to his credit, Malgudi!!

“There are writers– Leo Tolstoy and Henry James to name two–whom we hold in awe, writers–Ivan Turgenev and Anton Chekhov–for whom we feel a personal affection, other writers whom we respect–Joseph Conrad for example–but who hold us at a long arm’s length with their ‘courtly foreign grace.’ Narayan (whom I don’t hesitate to name in such a context) more than any of them wakes in me a spring of gratitude, for he has offered me a second home. Without him I could never have known what it is like to be Indian.”–Graham Greene

One may not even be awre of the other authors, at least I dont know them, but RK N is etched in my memory purely for his lucid fervent stoy telling and even a tinge of the satire his brother was so famous for!! Quite a revelation nevertheless in a world of the imaginary, with the subtle satire he quite a bit enthralls the reader.

The tiger of Malgudi is one of the many novels, rather short stories that comes as part of the memories of Malgudi package of RK. Its the world through the eyes of a tiger and his attempts to understand the huamn race and we finally end up concluding that this tiger unlike the others of its species is blessed with an innate wisdom. Again RK displays his amazing penchant for genius purely by quoting instances, what we take as normal human life, as evidence of folly of the humans.

Excellent book taken through only to make the reader aware of the more elaborate world of animals and of course an excellent foray of RK’s into the world of satirical humor

Posted by: digirak | August 13, 2007

The Underrated celebrity

Infosys for most people signifies what they would want Indian industry to be and NRN possibly is the epitome of the honest IT czar. Quite true that the company itslef is powered by the inteeligentia and driven by the values that its mentor so passionately believes in. It is by far one of the most value driven companies in the IT field today. However to a person on the shores of Tamil Nadu, recovering from the wrath of the Tsunami, the name of Infosys possibly brings to mind the genial lady in cotton sari who doled out help in large dollops with a smile to match!! He possibly recognises Sudha Murthy wife of NRN and one of the most underrated celebrities in India!

Enchantingly this lady has been the perfect wife for NRN, complementing his superstar status with her sublime simplicity(not to say that NRN is not, still her simplicity is anything but corporate) and exuberant work! Her book wise and otherwise is par excelllence and worth more than a read, not more than 200 pages its a few hours work for the bibliophile, this is where the experienced one needs to read between the lines, wise and otherwise, is a roller coaster ride through emotions and truth. It is a collection of short stories depecting India and her lesser children, whom sudha strove to revive. Scarcely a more redention have I read, even JRR the master story teller would be proud of the way the stories have been handled and the human element is more than just eveident. To read these books is to be able to see through the eyes of an immensly senstive person and to be touched by the growing apathy around us.
Why then is it that we are yet to discover the celebrity who does the best work, who changes the world for those whom change means death or even worse infamy? Why do we worship a Teen-Icon, but forget the teenager in the brothels for whom this champion fights? Is it time for India to do a little introspection, learn from its most underrated celebrity, the ever effacing Sudha Murthy

Posted by: digirak | August 7, 2007

Dutt’s the way

The journey for Munnabhai has been one full of triumphs and tribulations and has its share of both public bashing and adoration, nothing though to beat the current hoopla raised over his inevitable jailing. There has been a lot of water that has flown under the bridge even as Dutt was tossed around between judicial hearings for the last 14 years for a case that should have been closed aeons ag, yet the call of justice can scarcely be denied and Dutt more than anyone will agree that it is one that he would not ever ignore.

For his part it is possibly fair to say that there is more of a responsible citizen in the gun toting Dutt than there is in the tumult of MP’s in the Lok Sabha or even in the cabinet perhaps.He hasnt,like the other bollywood personalities thwarted the process of law or turned hostile in court, he has for his part been exceptionally condescending and humble at his error. He has not used his fan following to raise some sympathy for himself, so easily done these days!! He has been perfectly law abiding, for that reason alone I bow to Dutt because herein we see the true citizen, not ashamed to admit he was wrong and actually goes down meekly. Fine show Sanju, really speaking I am impressed at his show of guts and mettle. Its all ok to talk in movies of how delightful it is to go to jail, scarcely so in real life where the stark reality of the damned jails strikes you like bile in the pit of the stomach.

It is always ok to commit mistakes, Dutt of course will know that the mistake he committed is by no means either small or insignificant, he has fueled the riots which have possibly torn apart more families than any instance of human violence. The spirit of a City loved by all its Citizens was broken and none but Dutt would be more aware of this.He therefore has been meekly right in accepting judgment. Coming to whether it is a little too harsh or not, I feel is too much of a question especially with the Indian brand of delayed justice and better late than never attitude, IMHO it should more than be justified. Dutt has had time to rake in his earnings and also stabilize his personal life. I do not think the sentence is anything to be deliberated on.

All said and done there has been an air of meek acceptance about the verdict, even if it had little preemption. That is quite the way celebrities need to react to justice and not the way SRK and company have been toying with the law(read Bharat shah). Way to go Sanju. Dutt’s definitely the way!!

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