Monday, December 17, 2012

What is the point of teaching history in schools?


I am not really sure what is the point of teaching history in school to young kids - is it because we want them to learn from their (and others) mistakes or are we teaching them effective ways of messing things up? Take the British policy of Divide and Conquer - we now recognize that as a tactic by the British to create disharmony in India and benefit from it at the expense of so many lives the after effects of which still leeches at Pakistan and India's soul. What do we want the kids to learn? that divide and conquer is a bad thing and must be resisted at all costs to prevent disunity or that it is really effective policy that hampers the growth of countries for multiple lifetimes? 

What is the face we are presenting to the younger generation: Life is too short for regrets or is Life too long for having no regrets.

- thoughts swimming in my head this morning after reading Justice Katju's case for reunification: http://justicekatju.blogspot.in/2012/12/a-case-for-reunification-of-india-and.html

Monday, December 10, 2012

The purpose

You know I suspect that we will know the purpose of our existence when we are on brink of achieving the purpose. Maybe our purpose is to destroy the universe - to take entropy to its max value. Imagine a scenario of those final moments as we try helplessly to restrain the ultimate terrorist scientist from pressing the big read button. He himself realises (of course after pressing the button and watching the explosion wavefront approach him) "dammmmnn! Instead of screwing the case for everyone, i actually achieved it for all of us... Faaaaaakkkk....."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Vanaspati

The seed of true happiness takes root only in a soil tempered by pain and difficulty. And once it does take root, it can only be nourished by one's ultimate duty towards oneself - being true to oneself.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Doubt pe doubt, Parag doubt

How do you woo someone?
Offer them lift to office everyday?
That would be so unhealthy. Won't you rather instead walk with her to office everyday.
Do part of her office work for her?
And then cry about it all your life if you do end up with her!

So being "caring" doesn't cut it. Friends are caring, family is caring.
Caring is just a temporary band aid. A single instance of difficulty soothed by a superficial act.

Of course being funny helps. The girl finding you funny usually mean that you share some past intellectual interests. But soon you will run out of stories to tell her and she will get fucking bored of you. Unless, you have an endless supply of stories.

So what is this this business of "finding your soul mate"?
Must be something to do with completing each others sentences and deriving pleasure from doing the same things in similar ways - "Oh! once a month on a weekend we go on this log drive, bust into some elderly couple's home and suffocate them to death with a pillow and steal their dentures for our private collection. We have been married for 5 years now and tomorrow we are getting a new cupboard coz the old one has run out of space for our ever expanding collection!"

Wouldn't we all want to find our soul mates no matter what the cost?

So how do you find your soul mate?
This solution is probably impractical.
But one seemingly good way of finding your soul mate might just be "creating them".
It seems to me that there is a high probability of two people being soul mates if they grow up together. Of course it isn't a sure fire way, but being in the same physical space and environment (locality, school, college, first job) tends to nurture people similarly. Add to that a few crisis situation faced together (school project failing at the last moment, being on the college fest organizing committee, delivery deadlines at work) and the habits and thinking patterns grow even more alike. Of course you might hate to be with someone who has now grown up to think like you all the time and might feel suffocated. A few years of being away from each other and living out in the world might fix that - make you realize the need of a companion who understand and sees the world in the same way as you do.

As humans we try to take the least difficult way out.

But lets drift away from the topic now. How do you define difficult? What makes something difficult? And the why the fuck do we care?

What if I keep doing things out of my comfort zone all the time and become desensitized to what's difficult and what's not?
What if I start to wanting to be many things at once?
What if I want to be attached to someone and yet be completely alone at other times?
What if I start doubting my love for someone and yet be completely sure of what I feel at other times?
What if doubting my love leads me to doubting everything else?
What if I start doubting my doubts?
What if I doubting my doubts actually keeps me grounded in reality and fuels my thirst for knowledge and newer skills?
What if I discover my love for self, my own growth and improvement?
What if I start doing things for their own sake, striving for perfection while doing so?
What if I discover a source of unconditional love (of the nurturing type) within me?

But what if doubting my doubts is what actually makes me get up every morning and embrace the day with every fiber of my being? What if, ironically, that is what keeps from succumbing to existential crisis? What if I want to question the authority of the Creator from the Creator himself?

And what if I meet someone who wants to be many things at once, be attached to someone, be alone, doubts her love, doubts everything, doubts her doubts, grows, strives and learns to love unconditionally?

Would I recognize her as my soul mate?
Would she recognize me as her soul mate?

Would we really care?

Maybe all I need is not someone who completes my sentences, but someone who completes my questions.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Getting Vibram FiveFingers in India

Here is how to get Vibram FiveFingers in India:

Requirements:

  • A friend in USA or elsewhere abroad.
  • 6000 INR in your account and an international credit card.
  • 2 to 6 Months of patience.
So one of the obvious most inexpensive ways (i.e. saving shipping charges and custom duty) of getting stuff from abroad is to get one of your friends/relative to buy it there (or you can order it online and get it sent to their residence) and then get it for you in their luggage when they come visit India. But if their India visit is not scheduled in the near future, there is an alternative method you can use. Here is what I did to get my Vibram FiveFingers:

  • Wait one of the American festival days around which discounts are offered on a few selected items only. I ordered Men's Bikila around Labor's day at 40% discount (at 54 USD instead of the usual 90 USD).
  • Get the item shipped to your friend's place in USA/Canada using your international credit card. I got it shipped to my friend Sneha's place in Canada. Shipping was free for USA/Canada.
  • Write up a letter addressed to "The Office of the Commissioner of Customs (Import)" of your nearest big city in India. I addressed it to the office at the Airport Parcel Sorting Office, Mumbai. 
  • The letter should say that the value of the goods is less than 10,000 INR and is meant as a gift from your friend to you. Also specify what is actually inside the package (i.e. shoes) and attach a copy of invoice (should be addressed to your friend) along with the letter. 
  • Ask your friend to forward the shoes to you using SpeedPost (a.k.a. Express Mail Service) ensuring that the letter+invoice is attached to the outside of the package in a plastic sleeve. Use the cheapest post option to ship the shoes onwards to India. Sneha used the land express post which cost 50 Canadian Dollars (Air express post was 80 Canadian Dollars). Ensure that whatever option you use, has a online tracking feature.
Indian laws prohibit you from importing goods of value greater than 2000 INR. If you do, you will be fined and an additional flat 40%  duty will be assessed on your goods. This is totally mental, but there is a way around it. As per law, you can receive gifts from your friends abroad of value upto 10,000 INR without paying any fine or duty. One of my past experiences is recorded here.
So as an experiment, I got Sneha to ship these shoes (with the letter attached) to see if it passed smoothly through the Indian Customs . And it did. Here is my timeline.

  1. Labor Day was on Monday, September 3, 2012. I ordered the shoes on 4th September 2012 - it was still Labor Day in USA. The shoes cost me 54 USD. Two days later the charge appeared on my credit card as 3,124.32 INR. The website tells you how to measure your size while ordering.
  2. +8 days on September 12, 2012: Shoes arrived at Sneha's. She wasn't at home when they tried to deliver, so she had to got to the post office to pick them up.
  3. +10 days on September 14, 2012: Sneha Shipped them via Land Express Post for 50 Canadian Dollars (~2700 INR). They issued a standard EMS tracking number.
  4. +49 days on October 23, 2012: Post man delivered the package home at my Mumbai Residence.
While the shoes were in transit, I could track them on the CanadaPost's website as well as IndiaPost's IPS Web Tracking site. IPS Web Tracking is not the same as tracking tool on the homepage if IndiaPost. IPS Web Tracking presents a combined information from all the worlds postal services as the package makes its way to you. IPS stands for International Postal System, more information here.
Here are screenshots of tracking reports from both websites:

CanadaPost

IndiaPost - IPS
You even get presented with a delivery certificate at CanadaPost's website
And finally the shoes, ordering them cost me a total of ~ 5800 INR, 49 days worth of patience and time (mine as well as my friend's), but in the end totally worth it:






Here is the text of the declaration letter attached to the package while forwarding to India:




Saturday, 10 September 2012

To
Office of the Commissioner of Customs (Import)
Airport Parcel Sorting Office, Speed Post Centre,
Opposite Hotel Sahara, Vile Parle (East), Mumbai 400099
Tel: +91 22 26156063


Dear Sir/Maam,

Sub: Declaration regarding the good in the package

The package accompanying this letter contains a pair of shoes for Mr. Anurag Chugh residing at [insert address]



The goods valued at 54 US Dollars (approximately equivalent to 3000 Indian Rupees) are meant a a GIFT for Mr Anurag Chugh. A copy of the original invoice is attached as proof of value of the goods.

I understand that as per Indian Import Laws, the receiver is allowed to receive gifts from friends abroad of value upto 10,000 Indian Rupees without imposition of any fine or custom duty. Upon arrival of the package at the Indian Customs, I hope that you will forward the package to Mr. Anurag Chugh without imposition of the same.

Thanking you

Yours faithfully


Sneha Lele

[insert address]

Monday, September 24, 2012

The ultimate question of life, the uni...

Somewhere around 10th grade we all enter this big examination hall. And get handed this blank sheet of paper with a single line printed on the top:
Do as directed: Discover yourself. Write an essay on it.
..and we spent the rest of our life trying to hit the moving target that makes "us" us - ever closing in but never quite there. Supplements get acquired, pages get filled up...

Some finish up fast, pack up and leave. Some fill-up the pages with multi-colored inks, highlighting the rungs that mattered most. Some staple onto the pages, souvenirs from their lives - coasters, used bandages, train tickets, the razor blade with which they cut themselves. Yet others keep filling up pages after pages and yet feel as if they haven't written anything of substance. Some end their essay with a one line summary like "To my friends: my work is done. Why wait?"

As the exam progresses, all kinds of patterns emerge. The ugliness of the rat race (who will come up with the  "best" story) - and the realization of the few not wanting to be in it. The quorum sensing of the like minded wreaking havoc on everyone who are trying to discover a "different himself/herself" that what these bullies approve of. Others peek into the sheets of their neighbors and start copying.

There are no rules to the examination. You are allowed to peek, relocate your desk, use whatever media to record your essay, heck you can even hand in a blank paper.

The intensity of this task of discovering yourself waxes and wanes through the examination. Its easy to lose sight of the task at hand when you are flanked by so many people around you. You get distracted, influenced, fall in love, fall out of love with them as you progress. Sometimes you feel like turning back a few pages and erasing some part of what you have already written so nobody can see it. Actually not nobody. But a particular somebody. You realize that even if you try to erase those parts, the written impressions will always remain. And there be a big void left between the pages there. Leaving you with regret as to why you even "tried" doing that. You flip back to the current page and document your vain effort in doing so, thus discovering a bit more of yourself in those moments.

On other days you feel like flipping back the pages and re-reading the stuff you have already written. As you do that, a few patterns emerge. Soon you develop a synesthesia - a filter for recognizing a particular set of events which have appeared again and again through out your writing. The pages appear like those previously classified and now released government documents with black patches of censoring - the uncensored part being the one you want to focus on. You string these paras together and realize that they all describe moments of heightened "self discovery". Involuntarily, you turn around to and simultaneously get poked by a pencil (haye current marti hai!) belonging to a particular s/he. A look of simultaneous similar realization is exchanged and a smile later, you both get back to work.

No matter how the remaining pages turn out, there was and will always be someone who will "read you like you".


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Petri dish for new songs to grow on

Some songs need growing on you before you can like them and snuggle up to them.
Imagine a new bud growing out of your brain, expanding it, in a new direction.
The new music is like a new Sun with a new power spectrum shifted in frequency away from all the other Suns you have been exposed to already.
You have to grow a new bud, and let the DNA of the cells in this new bud mutate, so that it can invent and synthesize a new chlorophyll like molecule to absorb the nourishment that this new Sun has to offer. 

Here is a song that required some getting used to, before I got addicted to it.


And here is another song that simultaneously simulated the power spectrums of many different Suns I had already known and then some; I got drawn to it immediately:



Sunday, September 16, 2012

A freak like me, just needs infinity!

A comment I wrote up for Pragya's http://tara-think.blogspot.in/2012/09/infinity.html which ended up being a blog post on its own!:

Before I say anything - and I have a damn! lot to say on the topic at hand - a quick jump to your poem "Perfection" and back, it had been quite sometime since I last read it :) First up are our dearies Einstein and Newton. Newton (standing on earth) said that the apple falls in a straight line towards the earth. Einstein imagined himself to rise up above "outside" the earth and saw that the apply was not actually moving in a straight line, it was moving along a curved line but sinde space-time itself was curved by the earth's gravity, so it appears straight. Newton stepped back and saw "the apple" fall to the ground. Einstein stepped back even further and saw the apple and the earth together in the frame. Similarly Maxwell unified electricity with magnetism - he up with those 4 equations with "ulta dela" in them! Since Maxwell and Einstein, we are all still waiting for another human with imagination powerful enough to step out even further back and see something even more general

This reminds one of the classic novella "Flatland" by Edwin Abbott Abbott (yup two Abbotts in his name). He speaks of a being from a 2 Dimensional space being brought into the 3D world whose existance he could not have comprehended when he was in his 2D world. The 3D being who brings the 2D being into his world considers it blasphemous when the 2D being questions the existence of a 4 Dimensional world! Definitely, put it this book on your reading list. Sheldon refers to it multiple times in Big Bang Theory. Thats how I came to know about it!. If you have a tablet, get the book from here, its in public domain now: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/97 Its amazing how the author presents the basics of geometry thru a nice story which also points out the scummy part of the victorian society during the time he lived.

There is this opposing view that as scientists we should observe objectively without any bias (for eg. Confirmation bias) and stop expecting to find a simplified generalized explanation of everything under the sun. For all we know, our universe instead of being an elaborate symphony all completely generated from a simple singular law might actually be like an onion with layers and layers of physical laws which our species will forever try to penetrate one by one. That's what Richard Feynman said in his 1981 interview WHICH YOU DEFINITELY GOTTA SEE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXiOg5-l3fk. He compares science as a game of chess being played by the Gods and us humans observing the game trying to figure out the rules. a lot of moves later, just when we though that we have got the hang of it, one of the Gods makes a "Castling" move and lo and behold! we have to revise the rules list! He also talks of artists accusing scientists of killing the aesthetic beauty of nature by trying to probe it when in fact scientists can observe the beauty at multiple levels - superficial beauty, beauty at cellular level and molecular level, beauty at social level etc.. ! I sort of envy you - coz you can appreciate this (being a scientist and artist both?) even more than others. As you apply a stroke of paint to a piece of paper can you not see in a single unified revelating vision the water having paint particle dissolved in it, the surface tension that makes the water stick to the brush strands, the hydrogen bonding between dye molecules and water, the fibers of the dead plant that make up your paper that lends to it its unique texture as a medium amongst many different possible media that you could have used to render the imagine in your mind that day - an image which was conjured up in another moment which saw you walking under a bridge with building towering around it. In viewing a phenomenon thru the looking glasses of Chemistry, Philosophy, Art..etc. - you can jump back and forth a zillion times and always be awed at the beauty at every level! So now I am hoping that you will watch that Feynman interview and let it broaden your horizons even further - I am eagerly looking forward to what you think of it!

Woow, saying all that just put my own life of the past few months into prespective (going to brag now!): At work, I learnt to write code for operating system drivers - going a level deeper. On weekends, I ran my first half marathon - oh the squishy sqashy pumping sound of your heart as you outrun a couple of people. Scuba dived - its a whole different world underwater! Went on a road trip. Got almost killed by a mob of 50 villagers in an altercation over nothing - near death experience, learnt to appreciate that epinephrine is one awesome molecule there, aptly named the fight-or-flight hormone. Decorated cute cup-cakes for mom and dadima. Met some awesome new people and did even more awesome things with them. ...So I have concluded that there are so many layers to peel off and so many progressively bigger pictures to be seen - frames to move out into. All this is fuelled by our desire to grow: to be able to do tomorrow something you hadn't done or didn't know how to do today. Whoever catalyzes your growth is known as the nurturer. Your quest for a higher meaning also moves parallel to your quest for a more and more learned nurturer in your life - you begin your life with your parents nurturing you, at some point you outgrow their nurturing and then your teachers/professors take up that role, specially those professors who belong to the field you have choosen to make your career in. At work you sub consciously look for people elder to you, more expert to you as you try to chalk out your path through the wilderness of life - these are the people who have tread a part of the path you are walking on or intend to walk on. Your own path becomes a sort of mosaic of segments from paths taken by these nurturers and segments that are going to be unique to you. And as you move through this path, you become able to see deeper and clearer at various aspects of life. The truth - your own truth will eventually emerge.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Biology Questions

In this blog post, I am going to collect links which shed light on various biology questions that have crossed my mind.


  1. Does a blood transfusion change your DNA?
    Answer: No, because "red" blood cells don't have DNA
    http://ask.yahoo.com/20050506.html
  2. I think cells in our body are Eukaryotes (cells which contain complex structures enclosed within membranes) but since red blood cell don't contain DNA, could they be Prokaryotes (cells which lack a cell nucleus (karyon), or any other membrane-bound organelles.) ?
    Answer: Every single cell inside our body is eukaryotic. Red blood cells lose their nucleus during maturation.
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081115101935AASywZK

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Injection wala pen!!

Whenever I visit Anupam stationery (a store near andheri station), I end up being "taken aback" (in a good way) by all the new novelty products that they keep adding to their collection. The latest ones that I picked up were ball pens which looked like syringes!!



My friends - Deeksha and her sister Vidya - are doctors and it seemed befitting that they write their prescriptions with such pens!! So I gifted them these :P
Deeksha draws comics which she has titled "Perpetually Taken Aback Person" which she hosts online here: http://www.p-taps.com/

Bell curve

The bell curve is an inevitability in all aspects of life. Expect to be near the center in most aspects & at fag-ends/top-cream in few.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stupid Packaging

A question for Garnier: What were you thinking when you made the packaging for the following two products so very very identical? Its been so irritating the past few couple of times when I bought one thinking it was the other. Mental really!!

I have thick skin. I need an "abrasive" scrubbing face wash. And I totally hate it when I end up buying the feebly liquid only face wash... ughhh!!


Whose idea was this packaging anyway? I seriously want to slap that person - not for coming up with this idea; everyone makes mistakes, but for letting the packaging continue for SO MANY FUCKING MONTHS!!!




Garnier PureActive
Blackheads uprooting scrub

(This is what I WANT)


Garnier PureActive
Pore unclogging wash

(This is what I end up Buying!)

Friday, August 3, 2012

My original jokes from the past week


  1. So either you are on the board of directors.. or you are bored of directors.
  2. Windows mutex implementation has a function: WaitForSingleObject(). I guess, subconsciously, the code you are working on ends up mimicking your current state in real life...

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Evolution" Manual update required.


Mutation and Natural Selection facilitate Evolution. Sex accelerates it. Death implements it stepwise.

Consider any species in their wild habitat. A male mates with another female, has sex, produces an offspring. Mutation causes offspring to be physically strong and better suited to the environment. Natural Selection allows it to outlive other individuals of the same species. As the offspring spawns, mating with multiple individuals of the opposite sex, it passes on the favored genes to its children. The good gene spreads through the whole population only when other individuals WITHOUT that gene have died out - i.e. died naturally, killed by predator/competitor, accident, calamity etc.

Consider the modern day human population.

We have outgrown evolution.
We have become too populous for evolution to take its natural course.

So many people are born with so many beneficial mutations. (Richard Dawkins on how the eye evolved)
But for these genes to spread, these individuals reproduce a lot and must outlive the rest of us.
This is of course not feasible because of the following reasons:

  1. People don't just die these days, so the genetically superior individuals aren't able to outlive the rest:
    • Life expectancy is more, technology assists people who have lower than average body to liver longer and healthier
    • Murder is illegal. (animals kill for food or mating)
    • Wars, politics, road accidents and other man made dangers do cause a lot of death but they aren't selective. Many people with good genes die an illogical death.  
  2. Reproduction
    • Government laws and financial condition limit the maximum number of kids you can have.
    • Social constructs very strongly discourage producing multiple kids with multiple mates.
The above reasons, coupled with the fact that there is just too much human suffering in the world today, implores us to consider the possibility of taking evolution into our own hands - evolution at least for our own species. We can use this to our advantage: to enhance our bodies and enjoy life better, to move towards peace and reduced suffering and to flourish as one of the various species belonging to this planet.

Genetic Engineering may one day become so awesome that scientists will go around identifying people with good genes and injecting them into fetus of the next generation of children thereby manually implementing evolution. Considering the possibilities of all that can go wrong in achieving that (biological hazards) and the political gambits played by those who might have selfish (financial) interest in seeing that happen (or not happen) would send jitters through your spine. Thankfully it will be some time before that happens.

Till then there is a lot of simple non-technical things that we can do ourselves to help evolution along and help ourselves grow as a society. For starters, we can choose to abort our fetus (when pregnant) if they have been detected to be malformed - this would save the parents and the child from living a life of agony. If we become aware that we ourselves are carrying disorder causing genes, we can consciously chose not to produce babies of our own and ensure that our bad genes die with us - adoption or artificial insemination/surrogate womb are always options. Staying close to nature and avoiding harmful radiation and chemicals will help protect us and our children from bad DNA mutations.

Studying the principles of evolution can also serve as guidelines to ensure the continued prosperity in a different way. It turns out, that evolution works at many levels - it not only enhances our hardware but also our software.

---

Over the past few days, I have realized that looking at various social constructs from an evolutionary point of view would allow us to analyse the root causes of various social stigmas.

At barcamp9 mumbai @mizarcle (her blog) talked about rape and made us aware that the only solution that would work is to educate little girls and boys and bring them up in an environment conducive to strengthening their moral fibre. Of course that would mean that in the ideal situation where all parents start to educate their young ones now, the resultant effect will take 20 years to completely manifest. Till then all ladies and children are on their on, because no kind of punishment has proven to be a deterrent to curb this plague.

So we have all this talk about "educating kids", but what do you actually tell them when you bring up the topic? What words do you use? Before I get to that, here's a little background first.

Rape stems from the software or personality traits built into our genes. Millions of years of evolution had selected these traits and brought them forward. These traits like Jealousy, Hunger for Power, Deception, Aggression etc. were essential in the wild. They caused the physically fit males to challenge other males and gain exclusive mating rights to multiple females to spawn multiple kids. These traits enabled the genetically superior ones to pass on their genes to the next generation unhindered by predators, competing genetically inferior individuals and environmental factors.

As the gene for smartness faded in, these other genes which cause Jealousy, Hunger for Power, Deception, Aggression etc. (lets call them "Socially Discordant Genes") did not fade out. And when men started forming societies, these genes caused problems and became the source of many social evils. Rape is one of them.
(Related:
But something funny has happened for humans in the last 10,000 years—their civilization has dramatically changed. Sudden, quick change is something civilization has the ability to do, and the reason that can be awkward is that our evolutionary biology can’t move nearly as fast. 
From: Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think)

Society is a good thing - the concept is that different people living together get to specialize at different kinds of work. (Watch Linux Torvalds opinion on this)

So coming back to what to tell kids. Religion, was used to scare people right from their childhood that living an immoral life would lead to pain after death. That no longer works. Kids now days ask lots of question and search for inherent logic behind everything they ought to do or is done to them. Science has triumphed over religion. Until we come up with a solid way to appeal to their demanding rationality, we cannot hope to make any lasting impact.

Taking my own childhood self as a reference, this is what I would tell my kids:

Beta, today let me explain to you about certain things that you should or shouldn't do and why. You remember the stuff about evolution we read in the encyclopedia the other day? This awesome body that we have has benefited from evolution. Look at all our organs - two eyes that enable us to see such minute details, ears and voice to share thoughts with each other, agile body with articulated limbs allow us to perform precise actions. Mutation is the basis of evolution. Each of us are different from each other. Some are good at painting, others good at surgery, and yet others have a knack for engineering. So in the end we can see that for the most part we all are very alike, but its just the little parts that we have that are different from each other that allow us to live in a society. As we grow up, we figure out what we are good at and make that our career. This is how a society functions - mutual understand and trust are the basis of it.
But this basic foundation of society is threatened by certain personality traits that are common to all of us - traits that evolution didn't have time to eradicate. So we must take care of those ourselves now. Evolution needs a little help from us because we have become too many. As a person grows, s/he starts treating people like they treat him/her. Its a basic reactive nature. Bad people are bad because bad things have happened to them. Some find the strength to turn around and become nice again. Its because they soon realize that the reactive nature also works the other way - "If you want people to be nice to you, you yourself should be nice to them in the first place"
So now you may ask, why aren't people nice to each other in the first place?
Well, its probably because of the socially discordant genes that we said are still within us - feelings of jealousy, superiority, hunger for power, deception, aggression etc. All these feelings were very essential out in the wild when we were still living as monkeys :) Nature was harsh and there were so many things that could kill you before you had your own kids. So these feeling enabled the strong individuals to live longer and pass on their "other" good genes along with these discordant genes to their kids.
Then we started living in societies to diminish the brunt of nature on daily living. We flourished. But those discordant feelings still fuel a lot of social evils - like rape, murder, child abuse etc. To get to the logic this far, many of us would require access to education. You are lucky that you had this chance and are able to comprehend the situation.
I have given you this food for thought. Spend some time thinking about how you are going to choose to behave with others. You are young now, as you grow, life will become tougher. It is your attitude that will decide if you reach contentment in your life - what shape your career will take, what kind of people you want to surround yourself with - how much they love and respect you, whether you will find a soul mate in your life partner, have kids of your own and your relationship with nature. You decide what out of these is the most important to you and focus on maximizing it.
That said, you will need to fend off any aggressive people who won't think twice about messing with you. You need to be physically and mentally fit and get stay grounded regardless of how sour the situation becomes. Developing that attitude will require quite some time and a way to get their is through sports. Take part in adventure sports and endurance sports. They will also help you manage the emotions caused by the discordant genes - giving you a vent. Sports help develop mental discipline and physical strength, both of which might be required in an emergency.
I think I will stop now. Lots of information to digest. For now lets just go down for a dip in the swimming pool. We will have a multi-lap race, loser does the dishes today. Let's go!!!

So that is the kind of dialogue I would have with my little one.
I think I would need to make it a bit more easier to understand - but who knows, the kids of the future might be way smarter than us. In any case I still have 10-15 years before I actually get to do this :)

Further Reading:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flora Fountain


The human body, consisting of about 10 trillion cells, carries about ten times as many microorganisms in the intestines
wow! so there are 100 trillion entities within the entity that I know as "me". 10 times more than the parts that are only "me". In fact they are ME!
A healthy adult has about 2kg of these bacteria in the gut. All these bacteria live in a highly organised micro-world with certain species predominating and controlling others.
Knowing this puts so many things into a new perspective:




The way to a man's heart is through his stomach
Damn right!, that's where most of "me" live!


Talk to the hand
I would rather that you talk to my gut, that's where all my veto power is concentrated!


A man is known by the company he keeps
Should be "community" instead of "company"


We are what we eat
Happy Realization! No, seriously!


Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.
Only place for me, and all the little ones that make up me!






Finally, if in the future someone walks up to me and asks me "who are you?", I will be confused as to what would constitute a scientifically correct answer!
Maybe I could answer philosophically (and scientifically!):
I am the sum of my experiences (and Gut Flora).




Explore further (quoted lines above, taken from these):

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Liquid & music


You feel the blood pulsing through your veins;
your heart pounding against your breast.


You break out in a cold sweat;
your arms shivering.


You feel tears rolling down your cheeks;
your voice quivering.


You feel the warm dilute mucus running out your nose;
you sniffle, feel out of breath.


Liquid and Music


I feel you. I am happy.
You aren't breaking.
You are breaking free.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Solid State

Flash memory chips are like vast penitentiaries of double insulated prison cells. But instead of morons, the cells hold electrons.

Monday, May 7, 2012

life-ish


Sachdeva, UpasnaThu, May 3, 2012 at 1:54 PM
To: Anurag Chugh 
Who knows why we live and what we are really meant to do. I mean how many people do you think really know what they want to do and do exactly that.

But may be not as a whole, but in parts we usually know what we want in at each moment. And when we know what we want we feel alive. That is the only time we feel alive. Cuz when you know what you want you either get it or you don’t. and in both cases you feel the elation and pain which makes one feel human.

The entire purpose of life is to feel human and breakable. Isn’t it?

Anurag ChughThu, May 3, 2012 at 2:17 PM
To: "Sachdeva, Upasna"
The entire purpose of life is to survive long enough to reproduce before becoming food for something else.
Rest all is just stories we tell ourselves to satisfy our urge to seek a higher meaning.

During the past few days I have formed an opinion about the age old question "What is the meaning of life?".
I am beginning to think that question is stupid - Like the itch you just can't scratch enough.
The more you scratch, the more it itches. So we must stop scratching.
Because there seem to be better things to do - Like travel and explore and see weird wildlife and have adventures. Atleast these itches can be satiated.

But still if you want to ask, then the more appropriate question to ask could be "Why does life exist?",
the answer to which is another question: "Why not!"

If this chain of logic satisfies you then you have risen above the khujli to look for meaning in life.
And your focus will shift to observing how beautiful life is (and in your case how beautiful all emotions are too!)
And then you go on, travelling, meeting people, seeking out new experiences, making stuff, telling stories, adventures, wildlife and maybe falling in love & falling out of love. 

Shayad thru all this you find some one who will walk a longer distance with you as compared to others.
Use life partner ka naam de dena. Agar dono decide karo ki you will promise to walk together long enough, then have kids otherwise don't.

Raste mein phuls hai, fools hai, gobar hai, kaante hain, khadde hain, speed breaker hai.. kutte hain kamine hai..
sab sehte sehte chalo.. aur kya..

thoda deviate ho gaya tere topic se but..

Sachdeva, UpasnaThu, May 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM
To: Anurag Chugh
Responses in red below

From: Anurag Chugh
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2012 2:17 PM
To: Sachdeva, Upasna
Subject: Re: life-ish

The entire purpose of life is to survive long enough to reproduce before becoming food for something else. Bakwas…. Reproduce or sex? I think it’s the latter… i.e. satisfying primal urges… who the fuck cares whether you reproduce or not….
Rest all is just stories we tell ourselves to satisfy our urge to seek a higher meaning.

During the past few days I have formed an opinion about the age old question "What is the meaning of life?".meaning of life is a different question from purpose of life… daring to ask what the purpose of life is means to ask what is the reason for living the next second that you have an opportunity to live … and as we just discussed, the purpose is only to find something that you want in this moment … no over-arching wants and desire but just a primal instinctive need… and go ahead and work to get it ….. that is it…
I am beginning to think that question is stupid - Like the itch you just can't scratch enough.
The more you scratch, the more it itches. So we must stop scratching.
Because there seem to be better things to do - Like travel and explore and see weird wildlife and have adventures. Atleast these itches can be satiated.

But still if you want to ask, then the more appropriate question to ask could be "Why does life exist?",
the answer to which is another question: "Why not!" no you ass… life exists because by its existence it increases the entropy of the universe much more than it would if it weren’t existing!!

If this chain of logic satisfies you then you have risen above the khujli to look for meaning in life. Well yes… temporarily… the point is not to rise above the khujli … the point it to khujlao so bad for some times so as to wound one self …. And then wail over the wounds and when the scars heal and the skin is new … khujlaoo bad once again ….
And your focus will shift to observing how beautiful life is (and in your case how beautiful all emotions are too!) … ohhh don’t even get me started on the beauty of emotions … and tears and crying as an emotion is sooo much more prettier than laughter…
And then you go on, travelling, meeting people, seeking out new experiences, making stuff, telling stories, adventures, wildlife and maybe falling in love & falling out of love…and making babies.. and some times behaving like babies …and sometimes dressing like “babies”!

Shayad thru all this you find some one who will walk a longer distance with you as compared to others.
Use life partner ka naam de dena. Agar dono decide karo ki you will promise to walk together long enough, then have kids otherwise don't.

Raste mein phuls hai, fools hai, gobar hai, kaante hain, khadde hain, speed breaker hai.. kutte hain kamine hai..
sab sehte sehte chalo.. aur kya..

thoda deviate ho gaya tere topic se but..


Anurag ChughThu, May 3, 2012 at 6:56 PM
To: "Sachdeva, Upasna"
Blue..

On Thu, May 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM, Sachdeva, Upasna wrote:
Responses in red below

From: Anurag Chugh
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2012 2:17 PM
To: Sachdeva, Upasna
Subject: Re: life-ish

The entire purpose of life is to survive long enough to reproduce before becoming food for something else. Bakwas…. Reproduce or sex? I think it’s the latter… i.e. satisfying primal urges… who the fuck cares whether you reproduce or not…. ok agreed, initial intention was reproduction, and natural selection favoured horny people because they tend to reproduce more... now we are just horny, regardless ki pregnant hua i nahin
Rest all is just stories we tell ourselves to satisfy our urge to seek a higher meaning.

During the past few days I have formed an opinion about the age old question "What is the meaning of life?".meaning of life is a different question from purpose of life… daring to ask what the purpose of life is means to ask what is the reason for living the next second that you have an opportunity to live … and as we just discussed, the purpose is only to find something that you want in this moment … no over-arching wants and desire but just a primal instinctive need… and go ahead and work to get it ….. that is it…
I am beginning to think that question is stupid - Like the itch you just can't scratch enough.
The more you scratch, the more it itches. So we must stop scratching.
Because there seem to be better things to do - Like travel and explore and see weird wildlife and have adventures. Atleast these itches can be satiated.

But still if you want to ask, then the more appropriate question to ask could be "Why does life exist?",
the answer to which is another question: "Why not!" no you ass… life exists because by its existence it increases the entropy of the universe much more than it would if it weren’t existing!! .. waah mera dialog mujhe hi... ok you might have come to the same conclusion independently so lets give credit to both of us... but point is, if you are going to give me this reason ki randomness increase hone chahiye hai, thats why life exists, then i will ask "why increase?" .... jiska answer would be "why not!"

If this chain of logic satisfies you then you have risen above the khujli to look for meaning in life. Well yes… temporarily… the point is not to rise above the khujli … the point it to khujlao so bad for some times so as to wound one self …. And then wail over the wounds and when the scars heal and the skin is new … khujlaoo bad once again …. abe this red lines of urs make sense by itself, but it is not appropriate here... the khujli i am talking about is the "Desire to look for meaning in life" and the khujli u are talking about is the "set of all generic desires which keep flitting across our minds". I am saying fuck "desire to look for meaning in life" because that khujli will never be satisfied and seems pointless. And i agree that we should succumb to "desire to do all the stuff u want to do". The various things that people like u and me wanna do are articulated below:
 
And your focus will shift to observing how beautiful life is (and in your case how beautiful all emotions are too!) … ohhh don’t even get me started on the beauty of emotions … and tears and crying as an emotion is sooo much more prettier than laughter…Personally i like observing the emotions of people who are in turn observing other people experiencing emotions! 
 
And then you go on, travelling, meeting people, seeking out new experiences, making stuff, telling stories, adventures, wildlife and maybe falling in love & falling out of love…and making babies.. and some times behaving like babies …and sometimes dressing like “babies”!

Shayad thru all this you find some one who will walk a longer distance with you as compared to others.
Use life partner ka naam de dena. Agar dono decide karo ki you will promise to walk together long enough, then have kids otherwise don't.

Raste mein phuls hai, fools hai, gobar hai, kaante hain, khadde hain, speed breaker hai.. kutte hain kamine hai..
sab sehte sehte chalo.. aur kya..

thoda deviate ho gaya tere topic se but.. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Zip Zap Zoom & Poke

Screaming through the air,
tearing through the ether,
they blast through everything in their path - 
almost everything.

If they fail to achieve what they were born for,
more are sent from whence they came.

Sometimes flying free,
Sometimes scrambling through guided channels,
reincarnating repeatedly,
changing form,
jumping worlds.

They arrive at their destination.

A few pixels re modulate in the top right corner of your screen.
"You were poked by Anurag Chugh
poke back | remove poke"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Removing Coal Tar/Asphalt from shoes

Asphalt and Coal Tar are two distinct substance which are used construction of tarmac roads. Asphalt is used as a binder and coal tar is used as a sealant. And so if you are wearing new shoes (whose soles haven't had yet got coated with fine dust particles and hence become desensitized to sticky substances) and step on an area which has just been resurfaced, you are sure to get this dangerously sticky mixture of asphalt and tar and crushed rock aggregates embedded in crevices of your shoes' tread pattern.



Of course newly laid roads are required to be dusted with certain powder to make them not stick to tires and shoes.. but being India... sigh!
Anyway, so I got them shits stuck to my shoes .. what was I supposed to do?

A cobbler outside my office (and google search: team-bhp), told me that it was possible to remove the guck from my shoes using kerosene... but again, being India, its difficult to get your hands on any kerosene if you aren't classified as being Below Poverty Line and/or don't possess a Ration Card. And fuel stations refuse to sell diesel loose.

So I turned to WD-40 as suggested by remove asphalt from shoes & remove bubble gum (youtube).

So I got a small can of WD-40 (60 Rupees), a brush meant for scrubbing and washing clothes (30 Rupees), a few cotton wipes and a paper cutter and set to work.

I sprayed WD-40 onto the guck. The WD-40 sort of dissolves the tar/asphalt mixture and this loosened up the crushed rock. I had to meticulously and slowly remove all the rock from the treading using the paper cutter blade - all the while being careful not to inflict cuts and nicks onto the soles. Then I scrubbed the remaining guck and small rock off using the clothes brush. I had to spray WD-40 a couple of times while incising the rocks off of the soles as well as while scrubbing. I used the cotton wipes to clean the dripping WD-40 off during and after scrubbing.

40 minutes later, my shoes were as good as new.. of course a little sticky tar/asphalt still remain embedded in the treading - but that I can (and have to) live with.




I wiped the work area (the floor tiles) clean using WD-40 and cotton wipes. Also got some browny liquid (tar dissolved in WD-40) on my hands and feet, WD-40 was good to remove that too.

WD-40 is available from local hardware/electrical stores. There is another brand available in India called Zorrik-88 - the hardware store guy said that this has the same formula as WD-40, but I decided to go with the original.


I had also brought a steel wire brush (Rs.20), which I didn't use coz I was worried about damaging my new shoes.

The whole experience reminded of a similarly harrowing-but-in-the-end-satisfying experience shared by Robert Lucky in IEEE Spectrum : Remote Control
In the end he says:
I take pride in my little achievement that no one but another engineer can appreciate. But I'm an engineer, and I'm supposed to be able to do things like that. 

PS. This Asphalt/Tar mixture is called "Dambar" in Hindi. Also WD-40 is extremely inflammable.. so in case you smoke, don't worry, you are dead either way :P 

Friday, March 23, 2012

What should I do today?


Today,


Kill,
A few demons that haunt you.
Overcome,
Some fears that lie within you.
Forgive,
The comrades who left you.
Let go,
Of the inhibitions that restrain you.


And,
Acquire new demons and fears and dhokebaaz comrades and inhibitions...


Experience,
A new emotion that stirs you up.
Start,
An adventure that you dreamt up.
Write,
A new story that you thought up.
Make,
New friends of people you meet up.


And,
Stash away old emotions and past adventures and purani kahaniyan and childhood friends...


Because,
Life - Dynamic Equilibrium is where its at.