Thursday, August 30, 2007

The KISS policy

The KISS policy for life is to Keep It Simple, Stupid. (I got this from an interview with Ajith in a np). It sounds kweel, does'nt it. Well, we at times unnecessarily complicate things ,whereas keeping things simple can really save a lot of strain and pain.

These days i have been facing one 'difficult' question very frequently, that ' wat do u do these days' . Difficult, not because i dont know the answer but because i dont have an interesting answer, atleast that doesn't interest them, and because my answer would inadvertantly warrant a discourse on career, whoever the person may be. Thanx to many such questions , i have had the 'privilege' of hearing so many discourses on career, each with its own charecteristics. One thing common to all these ppl , however is that they seemed 'would-have-been' happy if i had said that i was working as a sw er. or atleast that i were working with the biggies like infy,... watever the capacity, did not seem matter to them.

I hate this charecter in these ppl, and for the same reason i also hate wat they like so much. And since they dont seem to understand i think i dont have any reprieve from listening to these discourses on 'career'.

For the past few days, np have been busy reporting the tension btwn cong and the left wrt the nuc deal. I jus wanted to point out one thing in this regard- The way newspapers very subtly and cunningly indulge in their own propagandism. For example, whereas The Hindu has been projecting the Left as a Champion of a national cause, the soveriegnity, The ET has been projecting the Left as a villain to National development. For the uninitiated and unsuspecting, these 'doctored' reporting could mean influencing ones reason and judgement to a very huge extent.

If u were a avid reader of The Hindu , u wld be made to believ that the nation was being run by the good hearted members of CPI(M) polit bureau, whereas if u were to believe ET u wld think the nation was being run by corporates. Ofcourse, they both r very careful not to make their inclinations too obvious, they pay lip service to the other point of view and lay claim to some crediblity. Both of them have, ofcourse, sustained on their strengths, Hindu's strength being a south indian paper with a pan-indian aspiration and ET's being economic fundamentals.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Reading, listening, watching.

I have been reading a lot these days, particualrly frm newspaper. I could not read anything else for i had the preoccupation of worrying abt wat do nxt. I liked reading np,.. each article wld give ne a dream to aspire for.
I-day supplements in paper carried a lot of 'perspective' articles. I liked PM's speech in particular. I liked him insisting on and recognising the need of providing the means to an individual to improve his skills , enabling him to contribute his fullest to the society.
It was interesting to read N.murthy's disillussionment with communism and deciding to go the capitalist way after the incident in communist-Bulgaria.
Rahman's, 'Jaye he' album and various artists( pt.hariprsd chaurasia to asha & lata to spb...) singing the national anthem on television made me feel heart-filled and eye filled with tears on this I-day. I also happened to chance upon bits of the old movie "the Legend of Bagath singh' on DD and my ears were blessed to hear the song 'ay watan' and 'rang de basanthi chola'... I love bagath singh for his simple straight fwdness that wld be evident in his speech in the court, his statement of his conviction and his principles in 'why i am an atheist'... and his simple statment to the effect ( idont remember the exact wrds) " i have been an atheist all my life. ppl say praying to god will reduce my pain in these last days, whatever,... i dont want to use God as a drug to relieve me of my pain" . Bagath Singh seems to have had very simple thinking and very strong convictions... check out some of his quotes in :, also try reading, 'Why i am an atheist' to appreciate wat a genuine being he was.

And then there were other articles and interviews that fired my imagination of the possiblity of a privately owned nuc power plants, regional airplanes, labs that wld sequence ur dna jus like the ones we have for blood testing now, ...

All papers painted a promising and booming pic of the indian economy, while not forgetting to add that 800 million have been left behind..

Raghuram rajan's career path attracted my attention and made me think if there was something in it for me.....
I was watching a movie , where a white lawyer argues for a blck man, during apartheid in SA,.. that made me fantasise if i cld become a lawyer...!

Watching 'Pallikoodam' ( the movie is commendable for Thankarbachan's performance, Sneha's looks , particularly hips,that remind u of a tendril thats yearning for the lovers grasp and Shriya reddy's spirited performance) , made me think if i shld give civil services a serious try.

Reading ET always leaves me with aspirations to start some bizness of my own, at various points i have fascinated, investing in shares, becoming a share broker, starting a cement factory, realty bizness, ET is a enterpreneur's fst love,.. it has lots of manure in it that u can use to fertilise ur soil and reap rich benefits,.. it always spots out , highlights leaders in the industry, ET is an amazing window to the world of business that wld lure u into jumping into that wonderland and makes u feel a part of it. It has educative artcles that enlighten u with a sense about the economy.

Does anything strike u

I am struggling to decide on a career. I wish u can think of something that suits me.....

Well, i cant work in a organisation,bcos i dont like to 'employed' and i cant do bizness either bcos i dont believe in 'employing' ppl. i wish to be of my own and make money thru some projects say like a writer, lawyer, architect....

I have done my gradn in Electrical Engineering, aspired to join the civil services for 3 yrs... and have been working in a call center for the past 18 mnths. I have a general aptitude for things around me. I have been a generalist.

Does anything strike u....?

Being Vjsagar

Well, i jus cant help it.... i mean falling in love.... u know i had fallen again. Well this time i had fallen for the writings of a woman. i was amazed by the way she writes. Particularly i was awe struck with the way she had managed to write a autobiography and publish it on the web , she had made no secrest abt her life,.. she had read and written a great volume of literature.. i fell for her openness,i fell for her well read-ness, i fell for her ability to reflect, i liked the way she cld form a opinion of her own and argue intelligently for it. i saw something of myself in that quality of hers. Further i was surprised to read a woman who had volunteered to discuss so many things in open , the woman i had come across all these days are known for hiding their thots.

I fst wrote to her telling her i wished to see her pic, i was already wishing she wld be b'ful... she gave me the link to it, she was. that was enuf for vjsagar to decide he had found his soul mate, i then wrote to her to vist my blog to know abt me . Ther wer a few more mails that wer exchanged, we talked abt things that were of cmn interest. then in the seventh mail i asked her if she wld 'marry' me....... That was Vjsagar for u. ( The following is that dynamic mail. i wanted to include it here, bcos it speaks volumes abt me....
hello xyz,
my head is wracking with lot of pain, pain from grinding over something for sometime now. i jus want to talk it over with u i cant think of a better person. pls listen to this and write back .

i feel like asking u to marry me...... its crazy,.. s i have not even heard ur voice... When i say 'marry' , i shld tell u i dunno wat exactly i m talking abt.For in the past i have argued that i dont subscribe to this society's idea of mrg. i hate the customs involved. i hate to see how a b'ful grl is transformed by mrg into a caged-bird, how a man is turned into a prisoner of circumstances. so wat is it that i mean,... i . i wish to have u around all my life. i want u to take me arnd those places that u have described in ur a/b. i want u to teach me all that u have learnt. i want to breathe ur culture thru u. i want to make love to u. i want ur love.

Y? i like the way u have talked ur whole life out in ur website. i probably see something of myself in that charecter of urs. but is that reason enuf to propose? i dunno.u have captured my imaginations, i feel u wld be the perfect sail for my lifeboat.

ppl arnd us wld make a big fuss abt the age diff. i dont give them a damn.

i havent financially settled yet. but i can make it in a few more months.

if u still have traces of ur collg day's' spirit left with u , i m sure u wld understand wat i m talking. hope u do. and hope u say u do.

i now feel relieved that i have talked it out to u. hope u have 'listened' to my feelings. Thank u.

love, sagar.

Now for something else thats again typical of me.... I read in Deccan Chronicle abt a few ppl getting together , calling themselves "i-Fix"ers,( meaning to Fix India) Filling potholes on a road with concrete on the eve of I day. That fired my imagination. I wanted to hug these guys give them all of me and say cheers to them for having done something that everyone wishes someone to take a initiative. They had called for a casual get together on the following Sunday. I went ther. I was happy to be ther with them. But they were talking something but i doubted if everyone had the samething in mind. I proposed we formulate an agenda for the grp. Somehow all of them opposed it. It looks they did not want to state something... They wer particular that they did not want to fail. They probly thot that ppl who had shouted of an agenda had failed and hence they did not want to do it. I could not stand tht. I literally walked out.

123 and subprime

i had quit e4e, with hopes of not returning to call center any more. These past few days i have been breaking my head thinking of wat next......

In the mean time i got to spend a lot of time on newspapers, specially Hindu and ET. I like Hindu for its educative approach and ET for its liberal and progressive thinking.

These past few days have seen the words 123 agreement and the sub-prime crisis prominently in the media.. I was jus wondering y this agrmnt was called 123 agrmnt, then i found out that the agreement was designed to waive certain conditions in Section 123(a)(4) of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, (aka Hyde Act) which declares that except in the case of agreements with nuclear-weapon states, all 123 agreements must allow America the right to require the return of "any nuclear materials and equipment transferred" if the recipient country "detonates a nuclear explosive device." ( Thanx to Hindu). It should aslo be noted that US has a 123 agrmnt with China and Euratom.

The other thing in news these days is the US sub-prime crisis... a bit about my studies on that..: Subprime borrowers are generally defined as individuals with limited income or having credit score below 620 on a scale that ranges from 300 to 850. now, how did Lenders dare to take this risk of lending to a sub-prime borrower? it is bcos they could charge heavy interests on these borrowers and further they( Subprime Lenders) had this practice of packaging such sub-prime mortgages into CDOs and , which are collateralised debt obligations, which are nothing but securities and trade them in the securities market. The trick is that the package( of subprime mortgages) is divided into different tranches according to the risk. ranging from AAA, which will be of the least risk but will receive minimal interst, to BBB-, which will carry max risk and receive max interest( from the lender, ofcourse). U m8 wonder wat sort of a investor will go for BBB- paper ( but dont forget they carry a big interest.) The answer is Hedge funds , these r funds which r least regulated and they invest in high risk entities.. They r like big time gamblers...

That much for behind the scene info. Wat has happened now is that due to high rate of foreclosures ( A situation in which a homeowner is unable to make principal and/or interest payments on his or her mortgage, so the lender, be it a bank or building society, can seize and sell the property as stipulated in the terms of the mortgage contract. ) and delinquencies , which inturn has been due to high interest rates, ( interest rates are raised to keep the dollar from falling, the reasoning can go on like tht, but lets do that in a different entry) many subprime lenders have closed and this inturn triggered a few hedge fun closures and now this will degarding the tranches, now for some beningn investor like say pension fund or a collg fund who had invested in a cdo AAA tranch , that could mean disaster,... thats the panic u see is happening....

Monday, August 6, 2007

William Kemmler

William Kemmler (May 9, 1860August 6, 1890) of Buffalo, New York was the first person to be executed via electric chair. He had murdered Tillie Ziegler, his common-law wife, with a hatchet on March 29, 1889, and was sentenced to be executed on August 6, 1890, at 7:00 a.m. at New York's Auburn Prison. His lawyers appealed, arguing that electrocution was cruel and unusual punishment. George Westinghouse, one of the backers of alternating current as the standard for the distribution of mains power, supported his appeal. The appeal failed, partly due to the support of Thomas Edison for the state's position (Edison was a backer of direct current power supplies, and it is speculated he wanted to use the publicity surrounding the electric chair to convince people that AC was dangerous). See War of Currents.
The practical details of the chair were finalised by the first State Electrician, Edwin Davis.
On the morning of his execution, August 6, 1890, Kemmler was awakened at 5:00 a.m. He dressed quickly and put on a suit, necktie and white shirt. After breakfast and some prayer, the top of his head was shaved. At 6:38 a.m., Kemmler entered the execution room and was presented 17 witnesses by the warden. Kemmler looked at the chair and said: "Gentlemen, I wish you luck. I'm sure I'll get a good place, and I'm ready."
Witnesses remarked Kemmler was composed at his execution; he did not scream, cry or resist in any way. He sat down on the chair, but was ordered up by the warden, Charles Durston, so a hole could be cut in his suit, through which a second electrical lead could be attached. This was done and Kemmler sat down again. He was strapped to the chair, his face was covered and the metal restraint put on his bare head, saying "Take it easy and do it properly, I'm in no hurry." Durston replied "Goodbye William" and ordered the switch thrown.

Sketch of the execution of William Kemmler, August 6, 1890
The generator was charged with the 1,000 volts, which was assumed to be adequate to induce quick unconsciousness and heart stoppage. The chair had already been thoroughly tested; a horse had been successfully electrocuted the day before.
Kemmler was electrocuted for 17 seconds. Witnesses reported the smell of burning flesh and several nauseated spectators fled the room. The power was turned off and Kemmler was declared dead.
However, witnesses noticed Kemmler was still breathing. The attending physicians, Dr. Edward Charles Spitzka and Dr. Charles F. Macdonald, came forward to examine Kemmler. After confirming Kemmler was still alive, Spitzka reportedly called out, "Have the current turned on again, quick — no delay."
In the second attempt, Kemmler was shocked with 2,000 volts. Blood vessels under the skin ruptured and bled and his body caught fire.
In all, the entire execution took approximately eight minutes. Westinghouse later commented: "They would have done better using an axe." A reporter who witnessed it also said it was "an awful spectacle, far worse than hanging."

Did you notice in the above article ( taken frm wikipedia)wat a Farce that the act of execution is... And did u notice motives attributed to Edison,... God! such things make u sulk at the kind of world we live in.....

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Subbaiyaa - another cheran movie...?!

Having written so much about Atticus in 'to kill a mockingbird', i think its now time i wrote about my dad.(After writing that entry , i retired to bed, i lie besides my father, it suddenly struck me why i did not write abt him in that article and then told myself that in that article i was only expressing my admiration of Atticus and ther was no point in bringing my dad in ther, that would be no justice to either.)

My earliest recollection of him is that of , when i was a few months old, he putting me to sleep on his bare, broad, hairy chest and me comfortably and obediently sleeping in the warmth in ther, taking due care not to hurt him with my weight, ( i wld have been jus heavier than a feather) yes, such a mindset was born with me.

And then i remember how he 'taught' me manners. Yes, he made me stand and lectured all these to me. i still can picture that scene. He taught me to say 'thank u', when i took something from ppl and to say 'no-mention' or 'welcome', he later decided welcome was the best, when others said thank u to me; And not to pick nose in others presence; Not to readily accept gifts from ppl and to take his consent before taking anything from anyone.

He never told me explicitly not to lie ,but thru various incidents he had demonstrated it to me that you were always much better off in every sense when you told the truth.

And then i remember how as a small boy he made me stand in front of him and tried to explain to me why he had decided to put me in hostel for my first standard. He was trying to reason it out with me jus like speaking to any elder. I could understand it fully and loved the fact he so very gracefully explained things to me respecting me and i wld treasure that reasoning out and that treatment of being equal to a grown up man and it would keep me away from making any fuss about staying in the hostel and infact gave me the strength that never made me feel homesick or complain about anything in my hostel life that would last aother 7 years.

I remeber how he taught me profit and loss by enacting a business situation. i would start loving maths after that.

And then i remeber how i drove him to extreme anger by walking in to the theater and watching the movie ,now and then turning to the entrance to see if they had come or not, while i was asked to go first in the cycle and buy tickets and wait for them outside the theater. They had in the meantime come to the theater and not finding me waiting for them at the gates were left with no clue where i was and left them worrying if i had been hit by any vehicle .My father had spent the next three hours searching for me all over the town while i was there inside the theater. Somehow he had finally manged to spot my cycle in the parking lot( if he had done it in the first inspection i could have been spared a brutal trtmnt that wld follow) and waited for me outside the theater in his jeep. I had no clue y he looked so different i was innocently asking him why they had decided not to come to the movie and that it was a good movie. He did not speak until we reached home . once we were home he started beating me , still giving me no clue why he was beating me. he made sure he left imprints of his palm (transcending my shirt , ofcourse) all over my back. Everyone in the street had assembled in front of the house , invited by my maddening cries for help, begging my father to spare me. he spared me only when his hands were tired.

I remeber how he gave me tips to improve my memory ( it used to be as bad as , i would take my cycle to the shop forget it ther and walk back home) like revising things whenever i had time- while travelling in the van or during brks. I, thereafter knew how to take charge of my memory.

I remember how he explained to me and my younger brother that he had fallen to a woman. i was not listening, i felt like smiling , wondering why he was looking so dreaded. but that did not affect in anyway my respect for him.

I remember how he lifted the gas cylinder (14.5 kg) to hit me when i had picked a fight with my younger brother. I laughed in my mind for the fool he looked like, then. That i think would be the first incident i would see him as someone low in my respect. But i would not loose respect entirely for him until i would understand him completely.
I would loose my respect for him not my love. I would stop to look at him as a figure to be revered and start looking at him as a friend to be loved. And he would find it difficult to suddenly adorn the friend role and would slowly find the rhythm......


While quoting Harperlee from his book To kill a mockingbird in my previous article i jus thot i had to write about my favourite oneliner - Neitzsche( a german philosopher) . I first came across Neitzsche ( pronounce it like neatshay) when i was talking to one, Udaykumar in JNU, delhi. He talked about him very passionately and insisted i read him. And then i came across him while reading aynrand's preface to fountainhead. That was reason enuf for me to begin a long journey trying to read or atleast attempt to read all his work and in the process read all such books that help in understanding his work..... Then i finally decided i should learn german and then read his work....... Here are some of the quotes that reflect his poignancy , the beauty of his lines and the depth of their meaning:

It is some basic certainty which the noble soul has about itself, something which does not allow itself to be sought out or found or perhaps even to be lost. The noble soul has reverence for itself. "the noble soul has reverence for itself"- thats my fav and Ayn rand's too, i believe.

If you have hitherto believed that life was one of the highest value and now see yourselves disappointed, do you at once have to reduce it to the lowest possible price? - his way of saying, "cheer up buddy"

The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole. - i know thats something that makes a mockery of this whole business of quoting ppl but look at how beautifully and effectively put together are those words.

Morality is herd instinct in the individual. - aw can it be sharper....!

We are always in our own company. - so obvious and so revealing..

What is the seal of liberation? — No longer being ashamed in front of oneself. - Congraulations! You jus found the key to liberation.

We want to be poets of our life — first of all in the smallest most everyday matters. I once wrote..... i wanted my life to be a painting every second of it , painted with my hands to my own wish.... ( and that was before i knew of him) how resonating..!

Whatever has value in our world now does not have value in itself, according to its nature — nature is always value-less, but has been given value at some time, as a present — and it was we who gave and bestowed it. - do i see someones heart melting for that....

One seeks a midwife for his thoughts, another someone to whom he can be a midwife: thus originates a good conversation. - slurp...ummmm

What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil. - That was like lightning striking, was'nt it.

Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups. - haha... truth unplugged

What is it: is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man? -h. mmmmm ... have u thot abt it ?

What does not destroy me, makes me stronger. - i remeber Vivekanada saying, " reject as poison anything that weakens u"

It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a whole book — what everyone else does not say in a whole book. - i believe i have achieved it...!

The doctrine of equality! … But there is no more venomous poison in existence: for it appears to be preached by justice itself, when it is actually the end of justice … ‘Equality to the equal; inequality to the unequal’ – that would be true justice speaking: and its corollary, ‘never make the unequal equal’. - Aynrand would have loved that.

We have already gone beyond whatever we have words for. In all talk there is a grain of contempt. - thats y silence is golden..huh?

"that for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts".. do u stilll like talking...?

What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? All that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome. - that was the Good , bad and Happiness for u.

Love is a state in which a man sees things most decidedly as they are not. Only if the young knew....

God created woman. And boredom did indeed cease from that moment — but many other things ceased as well! Woman was God's second mistake. - Hey man don't start laughing ur heart out... he has not told u wat was the fst....

'Faith' means not wanting to know what is true. okay that could fall harsh on many ears...

No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. And thats exactly the price the world demands, doesn't it....and add to it One is best punished for ones virtues.

To kill a mockingbird

There is just one kind of Folks. Folks.

This one line best describes the subject of the novel. Tho to add that there is much more to it is a understatement. Well, the novel is set in a period in America when colour discrimination was still prevalent. (the story is set in 1930s). And you can imagine wat the story would be like.

But what affetcted me the most was not the plot but the charecterisations and hence i am vying to write about it. The charecter of Atticus Finch is the one that touched me the most. Atticus comes across as a very noble human , a fine individual and a benign and a loving father. He made me feel like look upto him with love and reverence due to a father that both jem and scout feel as well.

Ther are a few beautiful lines in the novel that i would like to share with you, with due courtesy to Harper Lee.

The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience. :This best describes Atticus' attitude towards the society.
And these, his way of grooming his children:
Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I've tried to live so I can look squarely back at him.
When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sake.But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles them.

Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it.

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.
His preaching:
Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.
Jem:"Atticus says cheating a black man is ten times worse than cheating a white."
Atticus as loved by other charecters:
Didn't you know your daddy's the best shot in this county?

...there r some men in this world , who r born to do our unpleasant jobs for us,..... ur father is one of them...
He can do plenty of things... He can make somebody's will so airtight you can't break it. You count your blessings and stop complaining, both of you. Thank your stars he has the sense to act his age.
You jus want to take these lines with u as long as u live. So very beautifully written and scripted into dialogues and into the story they are... So very well behaved is Atticus that you want to treasure everything that is said by and of him...Thanx to Harper lee for having given us a chance to meet such a charecter in our lifetime.