Saturday, November 29, 2008

A refreshing thought!

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I've been reading up on the Mumbai attacks from the news, blogs, articles, etc and have seen so many specialists bash it out. Everywhere I saw, I read about the pain, the helplessness, the terror and what not(Strange that it may seem, the poem that I wrote a few weeks back makes all the more sense now). Combine this with bad economic news coming in daily in US and you have a really depressing view of the world. But there was this blogbharti link that told us what we could do to appreciate the Indians who laid their lives on the lines of fire to protect the innocent people and save India in the eyes of the world. When you read these lines, it might not sound as great as the deeds of a soldier in a full fledged war but a life is a life, all said and done. Losing it to protect your country, either on battlefield or in a terrorist situation, is the same and these jawans and police are worth all our appreciation. Here's what we can do to show it to them:

For the protectors of Mumbai / Bombay
With respect and gratitude.

Our brave police, armed forces and firefighters have been putting their lives at risk to bring our city back to normal. Many have died.

We often criticise them vociferously; we probably will do so again. And we should. Later.

But now is a good time to show our gratitude and respect for what they’ve done since the night of the 26th.

Go over to your neighbourhood police station, fire brigade or army post.

Light a candle or a diya and leave it there.

Or leave a card, or a note of appreciation.

Or a flower.

Shake the hand of any police, army or fire brigade personnel on the spot, say thank you, and explain why you’re doing this.

Do this whenever you can, wherever you can. You don’t have to be in Bombay. This could have happened anywhere in the world.

(People in other countries and Indians abroad: you may want to do this at your nearest Indian embassy or consulate.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Three things this week!

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1) Wow! A cyclone named after me! Believe it or not, this was something I wished for in summer. I was interning at M and saw a hurricane news clipping on my manager's door with his name as the hurricane. I thought it was cool and wondered how nice it would be to get a hurricane/tornado/cyclone named after you. I know, I know, they are destructive, they are cause huge losses, yada yada.... but they are also forces of nature that people won't and can't mess with. And they are beautiful in their own right! Anyways, it was fun seeing one pet wish come true this week without me doing anything about it. [And I had to endure the teasing of family and friends for it :D]
2) I shopped till I dropped! Yup, I went shopping this week and had a great time with MB, SA and SD. We shopped, shopped and shopped. And got so saturated. I'm not looking at the hole I blew in my pockets. But I'm going home, so that justifies all purchases! :)
3) I got served by the geek squad! When the shopping galore was going on, I got served by the geek squad of Best Buy. It's a funny name :D
Happy Thanksgiving!

Note: I'm shocked by the attacks on Mumbai but guess I'm still in denial about the facts. Lots of my blogger friends have already commented on it and I agree with them, their anger and their worry about the general helplessness that surrounds common man in such situations. To the world out there, India will come back, stronger, better. Despite the pathetic Government and politicians that we have, the people who form the crux will push India forward. To the terrorists, killing never solves the problem. You are just morphing it into something else and the world would be hit by the morphed version sooner or later. By the news coming in, it looks like its sooner than later.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nuns Fret Not at their Convent’s Narrow Room

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Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison, into which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me,
In sundry moods, ’twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet’s scanty plot of ground;
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

-Wordsworth

One thought: Wordsworth still rocks, even after leaving the English classes at school. I miss my English teachers who brought out the beauty in his sonnets.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Days and dayz

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Tags are always fun to fill in, especially when they come from one of your childhood friends :) So, here goes the tag about my days (wow! sounds so pompous right? ;) Just like R.K Narayan's My Days?? Nah! Not so good!)

The tag:
Two questions in each category answer them and then tag your friends from the blog-o-sphere. Leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been tagged and you are all set.

Yesterday:
Your oldest memory:
One about playing hide and seek with friends when I was three and a half and hiding behind a window sill. The window doors were my height and there was some space between the doors and the wall. It was a great place to hide and you had an unfair advantage when you play hide and seek in your house with neighborhood friends. They just can't find you. Lets say I used it too well ;) I hid there and that's all I remember about it. [From my mom's memory, she says that I slept there(I have an uncanny ability to sleep in most places! You can ask my co-travelers or co-lecture-attenders for more proof! Guess this incident was an early indication) peacefully when the whole household and neighborhood searched for me. My mother was distraught and later, when they were about to go to the police, I seemed to have come out because I was hungry! This is one of the my mom's favorite tales to embarrass me :D]

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Hmmmm... Ten years ago, ninth grade, Bio class??? I can't draw, period. No, not even a straight line with the help of a scale. And that problem was compounded by the fact that I have a sister whose artistic talents are the talk of my family. It was a wonder that I even scraped through Bio in school. I would rather write two more pages of answers than draw a single diagram. Ok! Digressing.... Back to the tag!

Today
Your first thought today morning
Wow! Sunday! Oh no! Sunday already! Last day of the weekend! Should I really get up and go to the lab/work? Or can I still snooze my cell phone alarm one more time?
[Btw, I'm typing this sitting at univ... so, yeah I finally got up and came to the univ. And I did hit the cell phone alarm so many times that the next time I hit it, my cellphone would sprout two hands and hit me back!!]

If you built a time capsule today what would it contain?
How about the entire world? Because its too interesting to leave out anything!

Tomorrow
This year
Live the last year of student life and enjoy it to the hilt, for I may not get a chance to be a carefree student once I step out of the walls of my university. Even if I return, I'd be scarred by the good and bad of the world and wouldn't have the childlike curiosity that I have now.

What do you see yourself doing 14 years from now?
I know I'd be having fun.But how, where and with whom, Ah! that is the question!

I tag:
People who haven't written even one post in the past one month. Come on, bloggers! Its loads of fun to do it.

Theft in Times?

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I missed out a call from Sudipta to blog about plagiarism committed by leading dailies against bloggers due to my hibernation. However, its better late than never and so here goes. I have personally not had such an experience but that doesn't stop the fact that such a trend should be admonished.

Blogging is one of the few activities that came up with the growth of internet, and true to the spirit of internet, it has been one of the mediums where people can express their thoughts without restraints. This led to the development of some really good writers and bloggers amongst us. However, using the talents of these writers to earn money and not giving them credit for their hard work would take away the freedom to write and express thoughts because we are not sure as to how our work would be used. Further, the shocking thing is that such acts are done by leading dailies and reputed firms. This leads to a question of ethics. Don't these dailies and firms have people on their payroll to write well? Or if they find something interesting enough to be published, don't they have the courtesy to ask for permission first?

The internet has opened up a plethora of businesses and social mediums where people communicate. With it, there arises new problems. But since internet was in its infancy, there were no ways to deal with it. As with any evolving society, the problems are followed by solutions and we have certain solutions like Creative Commons copyrights(you would find it on my site too! So, before you publish something from my post, ask for permission!!). However, these are not taken seriously enough and that has led to all the woe. The top management of these dailies and firms should make sure that such plagiarism doesn't happen for that would affect the long time growth of the company. If I knew that the content of Times can be obtained by reading some blogs(available for free), would I as a consumer want to go and pay for it??? This question, when given to masses, would seriously affect the bottom line of the company. So, before you flick off material from the net, think..... for you may be erasing the bottom line of your company with the simple Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V that you might do.

From grandma to granddaughter

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[Read it somewhere - very good! I'm sure my grandma would have said the same if she was here]
Dear Granddaughter,

This is a very special gift
That you can never see
The reason its so special is
It's just for you from me.

Whenever you are lonely,
or even feeling blue
You only have to hold this gift
and know I think of you.

You never can unwrap it
Please leave the ribbon tied.
Just hold it close to your heart
It's filled with Love inside.

[One such gift I consider so special is my Granny's pic... despite some days when I've had too much to do and wanted nothing better than being in C, the picture has comforted me in more ways than one. I miss all the good times with her and can still feel her soft fingers on my face comforting me for everything from a scraped knee to horror dreams to serious talk. And, she is THE best cook in the world(even better than my mom, sometimes!) Love you, Paati!]

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Etharkaaga iyyutham?

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[Inspired by a bunch of war torn country pictures sent by my friend, X, who is a photographer and had recently been to the MidEast and the Africas. Her photography displayed the ravages of war so beautifully. Even though I have seen a number of pictures, these pictures touched me in a way that none others did. Perhaps it was because of the stories that came with each of the pictures and the feeling that the portrayed people were my contemporaries in this world. And the irony of all the wars(of poverty, of power, etc) is that people do them because they feel that their knowledge is greater than that of others. And the people who suffer have nothing to do with this knowledge war. So, here goes my poem]:

Nunnarivenru nenaithaalum
Sollarivenru sithaithaalum
Ennarivu enakkaaga
Unnarivu unakkaaga, ithil

Yaararivu yaararindhu
Etharkaaga yuthamittu
Nighalgaala sugathaiyellam
Nitham Nitham veenadithu

Laabamenna adaidhuvittom
Sollada maanudaa!
Seyvathellam seythuvittu
setrinil seerazhindhu

Sennira aruvi seythu
Ulagathai koythu vittom!
Ithuthaan maanudamaa?
Nalla vidivu vandhidumaa?
-Alpine Path

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

'The Andromeda Strain' has become 'The Lost World' now

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My deepest condolences for the death of one of my favorite authors in English, Michael Crichton, who passed away on November 4th, 2008.

I'm a fan of all his works, period. I feel the pulse racing when I read his books, yet filled with a cool and collected thought that can only be the result of proper scientific facts combined with an open mind. He helped me traverse the world of science without fear and with curiosity and made me appreciate contemporary scientific fiction as a thing in itself. I still remember the afternoon when P introduced me to his novels and me forgetting to do anything else by drowning myself into his "Andromeda Strain". And there were days when my friends and I used to discuss his novels. The Andromeda Strain, Timeline, Sphere, Airframe, State of Fear, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, etc. would forever remain my favorite books of teenage, the time and author never coming back now. Another one of my favorite authors/actors gone, damn!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Is abortion personal or public?

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This post is inspired from an article arguing against abortion in my college newspaper followed by a discussion I had with one of my labmates and friends, KC. I’m not pro-abortion or anti-abortion, but merely feel that the decision should be left to the concerned parties and not be interfered by the State and National Governments, other organizations and people.

Abortion is a very strong act, an act to the future, an act by the present. A life, that is as yet unborn, is killed for the sake of the present life that is born. Which life is more important and why?

There are a number of takes on abortion in every part of the world and in every culture. Over the years, it has been one of the most controversial topics to be discussed again and again by politicians, religious leaders, social activists and who not. I feel that abortion should be a private decision, taken only by the parents of the child to be born (with the mother having more say in the matter because it is she who has to go through the process after all is said and done). A number of people, with well known leaders among them, say that abortion should be abolished (no pun intended!) for a variety of reasons. Here are my reasons for why it should be left for the parents to decide the future of their own child.

The parents know what’s best for the kid to be born. No one in the world can love a child more than his/her own parents and so the parents, in most cases, have the right to decide how the child should be and what is best for the child in the long run. Sometimes the parents may decide that the child is better off not being born in this world rather than being born and having to suffer. One great example is the case of Nikita and Harsh Mehta who wanted to abort their child because they knew that the kid would be born with serious heart defects and has very less chances of surviving. Then, is it any wonder that the parents did not want the kid to face all misery that was awaiting it once it entered the world? Don’t they have a right to decide if their kid should face sorrow or not? I’m sure my mother would do anything to protect me from a life of known abject misery and sorrow if she can help it. And it is true for all the parents who really love their kid. Knowingly letting your kid suffer something for the good of no one is akin to not loving your kid at all. There were a number of organizations that offered to provide monetary support to the Mehta family. However, the emotional trauma has to be undergone only by the parents and the child, isn't it? Would anyone be able to share and reduce that? These are difficult questions and the answers are not light, either!

Second, imagine the pain that the parents would have undergone to come to this decision. No one would want to kill off their own offspring without strong reasons. So, if the parents are rational, they should be allowed to decide what to do in such cases.

Third, talking from the child’s perspective, imagine if you were born and knew that your parents, of all people, didn’t want you in the world? It is much better to have not been born at all. This would lead to a lot more complications related to trust and security within the child.

Finally, we talking of a woman’s life here. She has the right to decide what she wants to do, with her life and body. If she decides not to have a baby, then her decision should be respected. For she knows what is best for her body to survive. If there was a case where having the baby would endanger the mother’s life, would you jeopardize a living life to a yet unborn one? That brings us back to the fundamental question of who is more important, the living present or the yet unborn future?

In all, I feel that decision should be taken by the people concerned and not by anyone else for the far reaching consequences of the decision (for or against) are felt only by those people and not others who venture to give their opinions in this matter. Again, I’m not pro or anti abortion and feel that it is a very difficult choice that people make in circumstances. It is one of the worst circumstances that a parent faces: to kill the child you love to protect it from known misery in the name of love or because you love it and want to see it in flesh and blood and give it a chance to fight life, you let the kid be born into known and certain misery and pain. My heart goes out to all parents who make this difficult decision. But at the same time, let no other person or organization or authority decide it for them for they are alone in their misery and none of the above bodies can share it. Do share your views on it(pro or anti or middle ground or indifferent) and do tell us your reasons behind it as well.