Sunday, November 23, 2014

Professional Sports and Tribal Wars

When I see professional sports, sometimes I see traces and signs of ancient tribal wars in those. When two teams contest, it is like two tribal groups fighting; may be for food or for some treasure. Goal post is where food/treasure is. Two halves of the playground are their respective tribal villages - they try to storm into the opponent's which try to 'defend' what they got. Bats, sticks, and other sports accessories are like war weapons. In case of individual sports like boxing - it is like two tribal chiefs fighting to settle the matter between them while others watch them fight. The Trophy or the 'Cup' represents the treasure for which they fight. 

Some sports like archery, sword fighting, have remained near exactly what they were meant to be, as have boxing and wrestling - these are actual fights; we have just given away the slay-the-loser part! 

Professional sport brings out same kind of savage passion in the viewers - and as much physical and savage the sport is - so much more passion it generates; so we find two teams' supporters fighting each other even in the stands! 

Teams' uniforms are meant to distinguish one tribal race from the other. Cheerleaders represent the women of the fighting tribes - who can't fight as they have to protect babies, so they cheer up the male fighters who fight also to protect the women. 

To make it more apparent to the naive they also name the teams on those lines - Knights, Riders, Chargers, Tuskers, Warriors; in IPL; Gladiators, Predators, Force, Sharks, Storm, etc in AFL. 

It is no coincidence that military-men do great in sports as compared to civilians, because of overlap in skills needed... :) 

Professional competitive sports can be seen as just a civilized manner to keep the passions of the uncivilized tribal wars alive somewhere in our genes. Don't slay me for this now; even for sport :)

(C) Rahul

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Customer Centric?

Water purifier had something broken in the inlet pipe so I called up the company’s customer care number and a serviceman came to repair it. He opened up the purifier, removed and discarded the broken part and started putting the machine back as his work was done. I felt like a fool – if it were so simple, I could have done it myself! (I did not realize that the smart companies are making their appliances so simple to maintain, not for us, but for their service personnel to save time!) He said like a monk, “why should we replace this part when we can do well without it? Why spend unnecessary money?” Amusing!

I saw there was a hole left because of the discarded part, so I acted intelligent by asking, “what if a cockroach enters the purifier through that hole?” Smart guy asked me back, “has your house got too many cockroaches?” I said, “Well, what if one is too adventurous?” (Just like all ancient human civilizations settled near rivers, insects choose to multiply near water sources till date! All I am not sure is if they pay premium for ‘purified’ water sources!) On afterthoughts I realized that I was supposed to say “no”, because it was supposed to be embarrassing to say your house had cockroaches!

When he started to plug the hole, good sense prevailed in me and I asked him to leave it. I decided to utilize my 2 year old pink cello-tape for the purpose.

When job was done, the service person gave me his personal number and said, “Call me directly; why waste money and time by calling through customer care?” Was he dishonest? May be, but if Customer Care calls me to ask if I was satisfied, I would say “hell yes!” And if his company has customer feedback as the basis of his performance rating; he surely will get most stars! So he will get salary hikes from his company and also earn personal money through out-of-the-channel work! I think his apparent dishonesty can also be called his ‘customer centric’ approach :)

God save the companies which plan to fill up tanks with holes in the bottom-line!

(C) Rahul

Book Reading: Good or Bad?

I am certainly a book-lover; and since it is always fashionable to say books are our best friends I might have said that too sometimes. But at times I feel books have also been my enemy. In my growing years, when I read a few on Psychology for example, books gave me a feeling as if I “knew it all” after reading those. Now I feel books give pseudo feeling that we have become learned after reading.

I like to observe little things. I know everyone claims to be sensitive, since it is good to say so and it is true also to some extent, but does everyone really “care” about sensitivity? Books made me consider all people as reasonable individuals with sensible thinking; but real life has been urging me to “unlearn” these things.

I have so many friends who have not read many books but know this world better than any book-readers. And I respect them for not reading books; most books are anyway second-hand opinion. I guess this is why they made terms like “bookish” with a basic premise that this world is not as they write in books.

I think I love Shahid Bhagat Singh’s view on books best – reading a book is a conversation with the writer. Nothing more than that…

(C) Rahul

Friday, November 21, 2014

Debating - Then and Now...

Once Adi Shankaracharya went to debate with Kumaarila Bhatta (around 700 AD) in Prayag (modern Allahabad) on their respective philosophies. Kumaarila Bhatt, a Maithil Brahmin scholar and philosopher had defeated Buddhist philosophers and proven their doctrine wrong and is credited for decline of Buddhism in India along with Adi Shankar. Kumaarila Bhatt by the time was doing penance by slowly burning his body in a pyre and asked Adi Shankar to debate with his disciple Mandana Mishra of Mithila (Bihar)... 

So Adi Shankar went to debate with Mandana Mishra who was a great philosopher and believed that life of a householder was far superior to that of a monk. Mandana Mishra's wife Ubhaya Bhaarati was chosen as judge as she was a great scholar herself (tells about women's empowerment in those days) and it was decided that whoever lost debate would become disciple of the other... 

At last Adi Shankar won the debate - Ubhaya declared her husband defeated - although knowing that he would have to renounce the world and become a monk to be disciple of Adi Shankar. Then she challenged Adi Shankar for a debate with herself and asked him questions on relationships, which Adi Shankar a celibate Sanyasi won't know (ladies were tricky even in those days). Adi Shankar asked for 15 days break in debate; (his soul) left his body and entered into a king, learnt the answers, and came back into debate and defeated her also. Ubhaya Bharti also renounced world and took Sanyas like her husband. 

In our time if the debate happened, the two would simply 'unfriend' each other on facebook and go on in their respective lives. Also, the one with maximum friend-list count will get more 'likes' and hence will win the debate!

(C) Rahul

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It is Raining Outside...

I look out of the window - it is raining outside... Rains on a weekend means no going out... In childhood when it rained, that also meant not going out. But we kids stood on a window holding iron rods and looked at the rain drops falling on the water lodged ground... and we were told that the splutters were actually small frogs jumping in joy! So many frogs! And we could not see as many! 

In our small town, rains brought out frogs playing high and long jumps; snails starting on their slow pilgrimage to somewhere; wet birds playing around among themselves while trying to make it appear they were searching for shelter; sometimes yukky insects - Ramji ka Ghoda (grasshopper) appeared to be some alien species landed on earth by mistake! 

Once our cousins-brigade was jumping over our grandpa's bed and it actually came down! The joy of breaking down something was higher than any guilt which could filter down our childhood consciences!


(C) Rahul

Friday, November 14, 2014

Who Did Better - Those Who Sacrificed Or Those Who Didn't?

In our school textbooks, sometimes when I read about our freedom struggle and noncooperation movement; where students left colleges and studies; employees quit their govt jobs; so as to put pressure on the British and strengthen our movement; I wondered what a great sacrifice it was... To quit studies and jobs meant sacrificing not only their own individual future prospects but also of their kids; all for the greater good of our country...

But then I used to read about the likes of Gandhiji and Nehruji; who went to England to study Law; established themselves in professions of power and prestige, and then later on when the time was right, joined the freedom movement. They did not establish the Cong Party; they only overtook it. They were certainly late-risers, or slow-movers; but went on to grab the opportunity with great strength when time was right.

And they not only earned their name and fame but also positions of power because of their education (since they did not quit college), knowledge (since they established themselves in their professions; often law - which gave immense mass popularity), had seen the globe (always appreciated in national leaders); spoke flawless English (because of which many Indians thought these were better fitted to negotiate with the British). So those who sacrificed their personal lives and quit colleges earned meager Freedom Fighters Pensions while those who did not quit colleges but joined the race to the top when the time was ripe, established their family dynasties which are still in power... (Again, truly ethical Gandhiji did not promote his dynasty; so he witnessed dispute with his sons and in general his kins are not as well-off as those of the leaders who chose to acquire positions of power and privilege...)

So can we say that in general selfish people benefited while sacrificing people suffered?

I think it is not so easy to conclude so. One, those who quit their studies and jobs, if they understood the importance of these should have made sure to send their kids to schools and colleges after India got freedom. Though I think it was not always possible to do so; once you are down, it is easier for you to go down than come up. Secondly, for those who were slow-movers and earned qualifications; though their kids had competitive advantage, there was no guarantee of success unless they labored hard and earned their merit. Though again, I think many times it is easier to succeed if you have succeeded in the past; than to succeed if you don’t know how success is gained in general. In any case there are always exceptions. 

(C) Rahul

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bad Boss Likeness



In a television ad, a husband says, (about his own wife), "She does not work because she needs to; she works because she likes to". Statement looked like stolen from someone's tweet - though of course even FBI won't find its original source! Earlier I thought it was my dream but when the man kept repeating it during every commercial break, I had to believe him (what other choice I had?). I think if I don't have to work, I shall resign today and now, I won't even wait to finish Spell-check on my resignation letter... I mean, you get one Bad Boss scenario and all your philosophies of life vanish into thin air! I am already in the process to make a deal with God to make me a housewife in next birth - I am just waiting for his offer of good husband. After all, given my history of bad-boss sickness I can kick and run a bad-boss but a bad-husband will stick like a chewing gum for long enough...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Being a Fan



I have always been biased towards being fan of good looking actors/heroes. I was late in being fan of any kind, but when I observed friends keeping posters of a Salman Khan on their (room) wall, I would know that the idea of idol was one which you yourself dream of becoming like, or at least don't mind becoming like... Who won't want a Salman Khan body? Because of which he could look down on villains and make funny comments on others? Who won't like Hrithik Roshan's fitness? Because of which he could look as good as or even better than Hollywood stars? But then I thought why to like a stammering SRK who won't even speak his heroine's name properly - or so many actors who look like a paan-wallah, auto-rickshaw wallah, road side romeo, etc! Because of which at times they got such fitting roles to play when they went out of fashion! So while I liked Shahrukh's innocence and gentlemanly conduct, I won't like to be in his shoes even if I am paid all his money to be him!... Thank God the supply of Hero-like Heroes has not yet stopped in Hindi movies. And yes, I hate each Pakistani actor who intrudes into our movies and I also thank God that all of them look inferior when standing next to our Stars!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Movies in those days

During school days I hardly watched movies. Sometimes we were also made to miss DD's Sunday afternoon movies for studies. So every Monday in school the bad students (they were also the happiest in the class) used to tell me stories of the movies and I was so happy that I did not waste time in watching movies. Listening to stories was good enough for me... 

The time when I seriously spent time watching a few movies was Akshay Kumar era. As soon as hero would fell in love, he will get into a helicopter and shower flowers on the heroine and both always wore funky clothes even if they were poor... 

In some movies, hero-heroine were college students and that college life was always so interesting. All we needed were some colorful clothes, a good hairstyle (which could be achieved by growing hair longer), and being stronger than the villains so as to beat them every time in front of the whole college. And students always carried books in their hands - so that hero heroine would crash on the college corridor and all books felled down - so that hero could pick up heroine's books and show how much he cared... as if bags and backpacks were not yet invented in those days... 

These days Hindi movies are so uninteresting...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Disturbing Trends...

Some trends are weird - never expected things to change so fast... So many companies in the developed world are firing their employees who have done 10, 15, 20 years of loyal service, and outsourcing the roles to half-baked professionals in poorer countries (to save bucks)... And so many companies are hiring only women; sometimes it is written sometimes not, but jobs are going to males only if and when no female candidate remains in the list for long enough... In a way these trends are creating a level-playing field as a larger picture... But for the mass-firings in developed countries my heart goes for those men who suffer without any mistakes on their part... Many of them don't find another job easily... Don't know when this madness stops and there is some balance... One man should not need to become poor in order for another to become rich...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Recent Reads 02.Nov.2014


The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
By Deepak Chopra
ISBN-13: 978-8189988043



Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life
By Donald J. Trump, Bill Zanker
ISBN-13: 978-0061547836



How to Shine at Work
By Linda Dominguez
ISBN: 9780071408653



The Last Lecture
By Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow
ISBN-13: 978-1401391447



The Seven Secrets of Influence
By Elaina Zuker
ISBN 13: 9780070730854



Saturday, November 1, 2014

As you sow so shall you reap

We met a rude man in the train who fought bitterly with attendant just to meet his demand for an extra pillow; and threw many other tantrums. 

After a few hours his 5 year old son woke up from sleep and made his father's life miserable by being too naughty and demanding. Once the kid wanted to go to loo while his pa was eating lunch. The kid threatened to relieve himself in his pants until his father had to agree to his demand to go... 

In a few hours the man turned from being a bully to a meek victim... 

Perhaps that is why they taught us so many sayings and anecdotes in school. Its turn of "as you sow so shall you reap".



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Temple in Haidar's Bismil Song



You must have seen ruins of this ancient temple in Haidar's Bismil song and did you wonder? This is Martand Sun Temple of Anantnag. It is one of the only two Sun Temples in India, the other being in Konark, Odisha. The temple was built by King Lalitaditya Muktapida around 725-756 AD. The temple was completely destroyed by Sikandar Butshikan in early 15th century. It took one year for Sikander Butshikan to fully damage and destroy it.

You can search google on this topic; Historians account: During his rule Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam and were massacred in case they refused to be converted. And Sikandarpora (a city laid out by Sultan Sikandar) was laid out on the debris of the destroyed temples of the Hindus. In the neighbourhood of the royal palaces in Sikandarpora, the Sultan destroyed the temples of Maha-Shri built by Praversena and another by Tarapida. The material from these was used for constructing a 'Jami' mosque in the middle of the city. Towards the fag end of his life, he (Sultan Sikandar) was infused with a zeal for demolishing idol-houses, destroying the temples and idols of the infidels. He destroyed the massive temple at Beejbehara. He had designs to destroy all the temples and put an end to the entire community of infidels.


In his second Rajtarangini, the historian Jonraj has recorded, "There was no city, no town, no village, no wood, where the temples of the gods were unbroken. When Sureshavari, varaha and others were broken, the world trembled, but not so the mind of the wicked king. He forgot his kingly duties and took delight day and night in breaking images."

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Imagination...





"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein.




Friday, October 24, 2014

Interesting movies...



Jane: Damon? How many fingers?
Damon: Orange.

--

Damon: You see, Fred, it isn't the size of a guy's IQ that matters. It's how he uses it.

--


Fred Tate: After a while I was the most famous kid at Jane's school. But then a year later, a 6 year old boy named Willie Yamaguchi got into law school, and suddenly I wasn't such a big deal anymore. But I don't care, because I was happy.


Narrator: When you're really really poor, everything you see is something you can't have.

Narrator: When you have very little, whatever you lose pains much more. (not sure about exact words)


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Happy Diwali!

Eat healthy, play safe, buy made-in-India, and enjoy! 
May your life be filled with all the happiness of the world! 
Happy Diwali! 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

विभिन्न रूपों में श्रीमाँ

कालीघाट में भद्रकाली का दर्शन करने के बाद माँ पैदल नकुलेश्वर की ओर जा रही थीं। मार्ग में गेरुआ-धारिणी, त्रिशूल-हस्ता भैरवी उनका रास्ता रोककर खड़ी हो गयीं। कुछ देर माँ के मुँह की ओर निहारने के बाद भैरवी गाने लगी। माँ चित्रलेखा-सी खड़ी रहीं। भैरवी का भजन सुनने के लिए रास्ते में भिखारियों और यात्रियों आदि की भीड़ लग गयी। वे गा रही थीं- 

ओ पार्वती, बता, तू पराये घर में किस प्रकार रही 
कितने लोग कितना कुछ कहते हैं,
सुन-सुनकर मेरे प्राण निकलने लगते हैं॥ 
माँ के प्राणों को भला धैर्य कैसे मिले,
क्योंकि सुना है कि जमाई भिक्षा किया करता है! 
इस बार जब शिव तुझे लेने आयेंगे,
तो कह दूंगी कि पार्वती घर में नहीं है॥ 

भजन समाप्त होने पर माँ के संकेत पर भैरवी को पैसे देने को तैयार होने पर उसने मना करते हुए कहा, "जिससे जो प्राप्य हो, उससे वही लेना चाहिए, माँ। तुमसे जो लेना है, वह मैं स्वयं ही ले लूंगी। तू जहाँ जा रही है, जा।" माँ आगे बढ़ीं। मैंने देखा कि रास्ते में जहाँ माँ के चरणों की धूलि पड़ी थी, भैरवी ने उसे उठाकर अपने सिर पर धारण किया और चली गयी।

नकुलेश्वर पहुँचकर माँ दर्शन करने नहीं गयीं। नलिनी, राधू, छोटी मामी और गोलाप-माँ को दर्शनार्थ जाने को कहकर वे स्वयं एक चबूतरे पर बैठी रहीं। अपने आप में डूबी बैठी रहीं। गोलाप-माँ आदि ने लौटकर जब उन्हें कई बार पुकारा, तब वे उठीं और अनमने भाव में गाड़ी में बैठ गयीं। सारे रास्ते वे कुछ नहीं बोलीं। घर लौटकर उन्होंने पूछा, "वह भैरवी कौन थी?" मैं बोला, "लगता है गिरीशबाबू के थिएटर की कोई रही होगी, इस समय ऐसी हो गयी है।" माँ  विशेष कुछ नहीं बोलीं, 'ओह!' मात्र कहकर चुप हो गयीं। 

--

साभार: "विभिन्न रूपों में श्रीमाँ", विवेक ज्योति (पत्रिका), अक्तूबर अंक, पृष्ठ ४६५
मूल: बँगला ग्रन्थ 'श्रीश्री मायेर पदप्रान्ते', खंड २ से, अनुवादक श्रीमती मधूलिका श्रीवास्तव।

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I, Ram

In early childhood we did not have TV at home. But perhaps the Gita Press' pictorial Ramayana (Baal Chitr Ramayan) given by grandpa was enough to inspire real imaginations. So I used to see long dreams where I was Ram, my younger cousin was Lakshman; and we fought battles with the demons...

Very conveniently I dreamed about the phase when young Ram and Lakshman were with Guru Vishwamitra and killed demons; so that there won't be need for Sita at that stage :) 

We killed many demons; only problem was that hands did not move swiftly and we fought like in slow motion... 

When we came back home victorious, our mothers Kaushalya, Sumitra (with faces of our real-life mothers) and others will greet us... Our actual home was our palace in the dream... 

What fun! Thank God, Ram Lakshman were victorious princes so we always won!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mann

Till 12th I was at hometown with parents and then I started moving out for studies. Every vacation when I went home and grandma saw me, she called me and asked to sit beside her, and then she would ask something like, "mann lag raha hai wahan?" (hope you feel okay there). At that question I used to take deep breath and say "yes" - but I did not think that was really a question since I was away for studies and mann lagna or not lagna really didn't matter... I remember she used to feel deep sympathy for the reason that we had to travel and stay in distant cities... Now having grown up a bit, I wonder where do we find such kindness and genuine sympathies... Now a day no one asks if mann is okay or not... There are automated "how are you" greetings and robotic "I am good" answers. I discover how wise GB Shaw said "Youth is wasted on the young." If only we were able to touch, feel and respond to all the love and kindness showered unconditionally at us when we were young...


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book: The Only Fatherland

Most of us have read history only through school text books and hence our understanding of history remain juvenile even though we grow in age. With time each of us subscribe to any theory, no matter if backed up by facts or not, which suits our circumstances and convenience most. Often we try to prove theories by virtue of number of others who also subscribe to it, or by virtue of no opposition. 

Then I read two books by Arun Shourie and my mind was opened to new facts - of scientific inquiry which historians do - of facts which are reliable and others which are not. 

This one is essential to understand true face of Communists and their role around sabotaging Quit India Movement; supporting demand for Pakistan, slandering Gandhiji, Subhash Chandra Bose, JP and about several other events. 

Must read if you are interested in the subject.