Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vishnuvardhan is no more...

Everyone informed that he was one of the finest human beings on Earth and a wonderful, wonderful man. What a great honor to be said thus as just makes his whole life worthy.

But there was a peculiarity in this natural death: Just a few years ago, actress Soundarya died before the release of Apthamithra film in which Vishnu had acted. This was a film based on paranormal theme. Vishnu died before the release of Aptharakshaka film in which he was taking part when he died. This was supposed to be his 200th film, and a sequel to Apthamithra. This film also was based on a paranormal theme. It was also said that there were 'peculiar' incidents happening to the film crew during the shooting of Aptharakshaka. Like the actress of this film feeling someone was sleeping in her hotel room, seeing shadows, etc. Whats with this 'Aptha..' and 'Paranormal' theme thats haunting the Kannada film industry?

Whatever be the case, Vishnuvardhan is no more with us. There were many films of his that I liked. I especially remember Rayaru Bandaru Maavana Manege. May his soul rest in peace...


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The 'Treasure-Hunt' feeling!

I vividly remember one Friday in September when I left office at 4.30 pm to get AAA maps of New York City [AAA closes at 5 pm]. If you have noticed a AAA map, it is HUGE! It spans across almost a 3*3 table top and the street names are tiny. As I was driving home (and thence on to NY with wife), I had this strange sense of excitement and anxiety within me and I could not understand why.

It struck me a while later that it was because of those AAA maps! Apart from the mapquest printout from and to my sole destination point in NY city [I did not have a GPS], I had not taken any further mapquest printouts and I was totally relying on the AAA map. This feeling of finding out driving directions from a paper map was alien to me and feeling was almost akin to a treasure hunt! Hence the excitement! I was totally looking forward to it! Just goes to show how a device like GPS can kill or mute an innate human feeling of excitement.

Manhattan, with its streets and avenues and traffic jams, is a pain to drive as it is but with no clear sense of direction, it is even more difficult. But I was able to manage it with ease and learnt a lot more about Manhattan than I would have if I had used GPS [A related post]. Not just that, it was plain fun to find roads by myself through paper maps and navigate through the NYC traffic.

PS: I finally fell to the charm and versatility of the GPS and bought one last month.

Quote of the Day

Wealth is relative to the amount of time one has to enjoy it.

~Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity

People and Work

There are some people
Wanting to do the same work
At the same office
Day in and day out
For years together
And yet be very content.

And then there are some people
Wanting to do different work
In different offices
Because they get bored and discontent
With a particular stream of work and location
Within a short span of time.

Why that passivity?
Why this restlessness?

Lingua Franca

It will be reasonable to say that Man came on Earth a very long time ago. Based on Continental Drift hypothesis, it is also reasonable to say that a very long time ago, Earth was just one land mass. Might not exactly be correct to deduce (as cited in the website) but as per Transitive Property of Equality, it is possible that when Man came on Earth very long time ago, Earth was just one land mass.

Continuing thereon, Man would have led to Men (due respect to Woman!) and Men to Community and Communities. Supposing that we had Communities of Men on Earth when Earth was still one land mass, it is possible that the Native Man started some form of communication to communicate with one another. This would have led to the creation of alphabet and sentences and grammar and what not. Its all hypothesis because no one can really say how it all really evolved over period of time.

Now my thought is this: when Earth was just one land mass and Men lived in one community or neighbouring communities, then how did so many languages evolve on this planet? Should not there have been just one language in this whole Earth?!

Since there are more than one languages, it implies that when Man came on this Earth, the Earth was not just one land mass. But then this means that Men came on Earth simultaneously in different parts of the continent at the same time and Continental Communities created their own languages. Of course, this discredits Adam because we are now saying that Men came simultaneously at different parts of Earth. Of course, another explanation is that this implies that Men got separated by continental drift before a form of communication was developed and this resulted in different languages across continents and regions. Possible.

But its surprising and fascinating that there are so many languages on this planet. Its understandable if a huge land area talks one language (like countries having their own languages) but its unthinkable to have neighbouring people (like states within a country) talk different languages. Its almost as if there was a time when people hated one another so much that they thought they should have a language of their own so that they can converse secretly without being understood!

In this one planet, we have 6909 languages and in India alone, there are 452 listed languages! I mean, why take all the pain to create alphabet, create grammar, create sentences, meanings, synonyms, antonyms, etc to create a new language when someone has already created a language? Was the hatred so much that the pain of creation of a new language was absolutely worth it?!!

Or was creating a new language the order of the day for regions, just like how states and countries got created and are being created? Like, as if its an achievement to have a state of one’s own with national language and national flag and national animal and national bird! Did it not strike then that the wheel was being reinvented, so to speak?

One reasoning is that perhaps there was one main language, but it got broken down over the ages to something simpler and easier. For example, if you consider Sanskrit as a parent language, Hindi came out as a child language. The script is the same but content was simplified. Again, its all my hypothesis.

I guess it is too vast a topic to write about and I know too little about evolution of Man and languages. All I know is that when I travel 6 hours from my place, I cannot talk nor read nor understand what people are talking, and I will be left wondering – again – why was there a need to come up with so many languages in this world!!!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Thought for the day

Sometimes change is all what we crave for...
Sometimes constancy is all what we crave for...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sick Leaves

In my organization, employees at onsite are entitled for 10 sick leaves per year. If they are not taken, they get lapsed at the end of the calendar year. I had not taken a sick leave as long as I was in onsite just for the sake of utilizing the sick leaves. But one day I really fell ill and I took the sick leave.

At the back of mind, there was a sense of satisfaction that I was utilizing the sick leave. I was staying at home, taking rest, being leisurely on a working day. Completely away from work and tension. And yet, I got to keep my earned leave balance the same. Happy-happy!

Then I realized that, due to me not going to office, the client would not be billed for my 8 hours of work by my organization that day. So, my organization would not receive pay for the 8 hours that I was supposed to work that day. In effect, the overall profit would have got hit however infinitesimal this hit might be. But if the organization is over 100,000 people strong and if a considerable number of this population are in onsite and take sick leaves during that quarter, then it is no longer an infinitesimal hit. When the profit hit is significant, then it gets reflected in my own pay slip because my variable pay reduces. So, the sick leave I had taken was essentially back firing me monetarily. Not so happy-happy now!!

Another classic case for Improper Initial Perception.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Life in a suit case...

After 6 months in Heights,

12 days in Royal Crest,

10 days in Raleigh and

15 days in Homestead.

At least now, for some time,

We do not have to live out of the suit case...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Geography and Electronic Communication

When me and my wife were in Jayanagar-Bangalore-India, my wife’s mom was in Jalahalli-Bangalore-India and their daily communication was through cell phone.

When me and my wife moved to Marlborough-MA-USA, my wife’s mom continued to stay in Jalahalli-Bangalore-India but now their daily communication was through video –chat!

Geographically farther though we went, their communication became much more audio-visually closer and clearer!

Hail Technology! :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why does the queue not move?!!

When you are driving from New York to Boston, during one particular stretch, you will have to exit I 91N, merge onto CT 15N which becomes I 84E. Now, generally, the traffic from New York to Boston (or MA state) and vice versa during weekends is heavy. This particular exit from I 91N to CT 15N is a one-lane exit and hence, very often, there will be a huge queue – about a mile, mile and a half – on the right most lane even before this exit.

Now, those who are not aware of this traffic condition at the exit, usually - innocently - drive right to the exit and then realize that there is actually a queue. Upon realization, they humbly, meekly slide onto the queue and become a part of it. If there are a huge number of such innocent humble drivers, the guys who are in the queue get delayed and the queue at the very end doesn’t move at all.

Now, those who are aware of this traffic condition at the exit, are also aware that the queue at the very end doesn’t move at all and hence, usually – deliberately – drive right to the exit and then smartly, savagely get into the queue and become part of it. If there are a huge number of such deliberate smart drivers, the guys who are in the queue get even more delayed and the queue at the very end doesn’t move at all.

So, those who are aware of this traffic condition at the exit but are neither smart nor savage join the queue at the very end and stay there for a long time…

Quod Erat Demonstrandum

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sandhyavandanam and Science

The crux of Hindu practice of Sandhyavandanam lies in the repeated chanting - with utmost concentration - of the sacred ‘Gayatri Mantra’. The repetition range is anywhere from 11 to 101 to 1001. At a highly superficial level, this is what you are told to do when you are 7-year old and this is what you do in the initial stages after the sacred thread ceremony [also called Upanayanam]. But this manual chanting of the Gayatri Mantra - repeated chanting of anything, come to think of it - is more often than not associated with the wanderings of the mental state to the oh-so-wonderful materialistic tastes that go with the modern life, and this defeats the very purpose of Sandhyavandanam [SV]. And so, after some years of blindly following the ritual, you feel that it is not really enhancing the spiritual in you and so, the 1001 comes down to 101 to 11 and then even 1 and finally – if you come abroad, especially – you stop performing the Sandhyavandanam ritual completely. This is exactly what happened to me.

As I grew older, the science around me tried to tell me that SV is not just about repeating a sloka x number of times. It is about trying to “connect” to an almighty through your mental faculties. If you can do this, then the sloka is irrelevant and the x is irrelevant. But it is easier said than done, to get through this “connection”. It needs high amount of concentration and an absolute removal of yourself from everyone and everything around you. Like being “amidst the clouds” all by yourself. [It helps to picturise being “amidst the clouds” feeling if you travel abroad in an airplane. It is such a wonderful sight!]

Then I read this book called ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda. Concept encouraged in this book is that if you want something, act as if you already have it and feel it in you so much that you will eventually get it. Personally I didn’t like it so much and this is what I thought about it. Perhaps it was the way it was written. But the concept seemed interesting and almost believable. The missing thing in this book was of course exact science. And then, when I read Akbar’s blog, the science blended in beautifully.

Akbar wrote two blog posts: This concept of Manifestation and 15 minutes of meditation. He has written both extremely well. It all makes so much sense when you read them both.

To put it concisely, this is what the first blog post says: [refer to the pictorial graph in the first blog post link]: When you think of something and something alone hard in your mental state, you cause such a high amount of vibration within you that it breaks through your own negative barriers and belief system and eventually outputs the desired goal. The human mind has the power to create just by thinking! And how do you achieve this level of thinking? Normal thinking will not give desired goals because normal thinking wanders from one topic to another!

Akbar mentions that this level of thinking can be achieved by meditation. And, in the second blog post, he mentions how to meditate. And, if you think about it, the whole point of SV was about meditation. Concentrating on the Gayatri Mantra for a definite or indefinite period of time is actually nothing but meditation. Meditation, in its purest form, means not to “connect” to any God, but to improve the thinking process, to negate the belief system, to know that a human mind can create wonders just by thinking. Akbar himself talks about the advantages of meditation in his blog post. [Going one step further: yoga, meditation, vocal music and SV are all concentrated on the human breath. The more you can control your breath, the better control you have on your own life]

So, coming back to the multiple chanting of the Gayatri Mantra in the Sandhyavandanam:

Was the real intention of multiple chanting of Gayatri Mantra in Sandhyavandanam to get a better control of one’s own life by a strong mental state, to channelize the thought process to create what one wants in life and achieve one’s own goals?

It is a question to be pondered about...

1. Saw this video recently. Isnt this what we do (or we see people do) in temples?! Super Brain Yoga, indeed!!
2. The meaning of Namasthe. Courtesy: Nikhil's blog.