Monday, January 26, 2009


Just for a few moments, put aside your thoughts and just imagine...there is an alien invasion (and these invaders are god-like aliens not the terrible ones shown in american movies) and these friendly aliens sign a friendship pact with humans. The aliens have hyperadvanced technology and they have their own different style of (near ideal) civilization and they are ready to share all this information with us. Now, a revolution happens on earth. Suddenly there is an end to terrorism, global warming is made nil, no recession, no countries instead a single identity called earth(hence no wars), all politicians are scrapped(instead we have just administrators)and, all cities are rearranged so no traffic jams, no housing problems, no water and food shortages. So...there is an end to all the problems!
Now; what will happen to you?
Yes, you will be happy, of course a dream has come true after all. (As time passes, maybe you will realize that you have nothing much to do, life might get boring but anyway, thats not the point). What i am driving at is, you might face with something like a loss of identity. We always keep some part of our identity as a reaction to something that is outside and exactly this is what you will lose. For example, if you are a religious person, you will no longer need some aspects of religion. Most people say, they believe in god, but very few people believe in god out of pure love and most of them do because they ‘need’ faith. They need faith to fight uncertainties of life. Their faith exists as a reaction to fear. Now, its no longer needed. Also, you dont need moral code that religion gives, as it is built into your style of (alien)civilization, hence now you can no longer call yourself a ‘good person’. We call ourselves as 'good people' because 'bad people' exist. If everyone gets included into 'good people', we can no longer have sense of being a 'good person', rather you will 'just be' and i dont know how many of us like 'just being'. Most of us will lose lot of 'content' in their life and their life will become sort of 'empty'. Now, why will you have this 'empty' feeling? because till now, the locus of your life were not 'yourself' but it was something else, it was the world outside.
When we are children, we are mentally free but as we grow up, our focus shifts to education, career, needs and survival. For most people, their thinking becomes centered around these things and slowly, over a period of time, these things become the main locus of their life and people start defining everything based on this locus. We even define what we want in our relationships based on this. For example, (this is what I hear from most people about friendship)"we 'need' friends to share our 'burdens'", is defining friendship in a negative way instead of saying that "I want to make someone a friend because I like him and because I want to". Maybe that’s why there is a difference between friendships made during childhood and friendships we make when we grow up, because we have defined the relatiohship half-heartedly. If we are thinking about everything in this fashion, then maybe we are putting forward an excuse 'the world is not a good place' for not being better ourselves.
I am not saying that there is anything wrong with working for survival but just that maybe we are overdoing something. Someone has said that there is nothing wrong in losing but its definitely wrong to become a ‘loser’, so on the same lines i will say, there is nothing wrong with struggling but its definitely wrong to become a 'struggler'.
Yeps; the pic is some leaf, but i dont remember which tree, lol, :D

Sunday, January 18, 2009


When i was in school, they(here "they" means teachers, children's bookwriters, elders etc aka 'the authority') used to tell us stories. The story used to begin with something like- "Once upon a time, living in some village, there were two neighbours. First one was a kind, noble, hardworking man. Second one was exactly opposite. He was a lazy, cruel, and unhelpful man...." and such stories used to end with- "So what is the morale of the story? Good always wins over the evil". I believe even now the children are being told such stories, maybe with some modifications like the two neighbours living in a city instead of a village, but i guess the core remains the same. The point is, why we teach children what is just not true? why not tell them that the fittest is the one who survives and its the law of (dear and beautiful) nature? Will it not prepare them to face hard facts of reality instead of ultimately learning them by first experience? There are two institutions which i feel are very similar, and i doubt were invented by the same person, one is school and another one? ofcourse jail :D. Yes, what can be more inhuman way of taming a (enthusiastic, bubbling with energy) child than to make it sit for 8 hours a day at one place feeding all information into its tiny brain? By the way, how many of you remember clauses of Treaty of Versoy? if you dont remember,and it didnt make any difference in your life then why did we all learn it? I learnt many things long after i graduated, things that really matter to lead a normal life but we dont even get a scent of it in the whole two decades of education.(On the lines of Treaty of Versalles, did you know that during the second world war, when Hitler successfully occupied France, he made French people sign the decree of surrender(aka Second armistice) in the same train bogie in which germany was made to sign decree of surrender during the first world war? but no, we want children to become obidient citizens and not pride individuals who fight for their rights, aint it? And in education when a person is named evil, for him, pride translate to ego and it becomes something evil.(By the way, didnt our own gandhiji say that a person is not evil but its the tendancy that is evil and we should be against the tendancy and not the person?)
Now a days i heard that there is some innovation happening in schools, especially in field of blooming creativity in children, (shall we call this PZT effect? (a deliberate mistake in the name PZT hehe i dont want to get sued :D) u know the movie, a child who is highly creative but keeps failing in exams? and then there comes AK the superteacher? anyways..:p) and now all parents want to unravel hidden(?) talents in their children. Folks watch the movie and what parents remember after coming out of theater is the shining face of a 'bright smart child' and what they promptly forget is that the movie was related to autism and doesnt apply as it is, to all children. But I guess its not fault of the parents, as every child has 'learning disability' to some extent isnt it? Okay i am being a bit sceptical here, and children really do have potential, but still, if everyone gets creative, shall we be able to call it creativity? And on the other hand, imagine, how this creativity thing gets implemented in school. There are lectures(lectures!) dedicated(fixed dedicated one hour for doing art exercises after learning "Structure of indian parliament" for one hour!) where the teacher(not superteacher AK this time but some middle class lady who does teaching just because she has a BEd (and she has BEd because she couldnt get admission to any other better course) and who has come to school today after having quarrel with her husband on grocery bills) keeps telling 'be creative.. be creative..Rohan if you arent creative enough in this term, you will lose the grade!'. And also, on the top, the "creativity homework"(aka, another headache for parents who are already doomed uncreative owing to their grown up age!). Anyways, my own schooling was highly uncreative by todays standards but(i dont like blowing my own horn but still :d) when i learnt photography, it didnt get me into any trouble. I agree that some things are best taught at a certain age but declaring all children having creative instincts is a bit overdoing it. (instincts-means something vague and fuzzy, which cannot be described in words, which cannot be accepted and cannot be denied on solid grounds, you remember the monster who cant be killed during the day, during the night....?). I believe i was fortunate that my parents let me be myself and have a natural childhood and didnt try to unravel any (hidden?) talent in myself. Now, when children have so much burden of studies, why to add another subject to increase the already excessive academic competition?
Hmmm....yea, the pic shows fruits on some nearby tree, they give a very beautiful sweetish fragrance when they are fresh!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Now there is a wave of reality shows(not again!), and singing competitions happen to be on the top. Now, most of the judges here are renowned(meaning whoever is popular but idle) folks giving suggestions(now that can vary depending on the judge and the episode) to "tomorrow's singers" as they are called. But even though there is so much hype, i have seen that so many of these singers came and went and now we just dont see them anywhere ("Tomorrow never dies" for "Tomorrow's singers"?). Anyway, the point is, no one, i mean no one, says anything against classical music. If there is a singer who has not learnt classical, then he is promptly adviced to learn it, creating an atmosphere like 'your career is doomed if you dont learn it!'. Now i am not against classical or something but i do happen to feel sometimes that, are we overrating importance of classical music? Yes, i agree its age old good indian school of music(and it works beautifully given that we have an amazing variety of songs in india). But again, if you see example of Kishore Kumar and since there can be a marvellous singer like him without learning classical, then maybe classical is not the only option to learn singing. Ofcourse its a matter of opinion and opinions vary from person to person but yes, i do tend to hold the opinion that, the amount of patience required in learning classical might be tiring out many people who want to learn singing and who think that singing is exceedingly difficult to learn as classical happens to be difficult and that it seems to be the only starting point if you want to learn music. I believe there can be many ways of learning and we need to put aside the religion of classical music to which we have so much stuck to, if we want to atleast explore (or lay foundation for)different schools of learning music. That might ("might" :D) help in creating new music and also in making learning more accessible to the common folk(that includes me :D)
Now, the pic is Ganesha :D (this was on the door of our guesthouse in bangalore), lord of all auspicious and sacred things. Since i have started learning music myself, let me say, lord Ganesha, Please guide me!!! :D!!

Monday, January 05, 2009

'Soap' Opera

I switched on the information feeding machine(aka TV) on sunday and everywhere i could find only reality shows. I kept flipping channels and finally got tired and settled down on one of the numbers. Now there is this particular show(name of the show not mentioned because i dont want folks pelting stones on my house!)in which a host(lets call him AB) goes round to folks' houses and chats with the family(with neighbours peeking in from doors and windows(aka-'the great indian bystanders')). Now here is a slight variation from normal 'Saas-bahu' serials, in that this is a 'reality' show, even though we have saas & bahu here as well. Now, AB is quite sober-looking-intelligent(read-cunning)fellow who could do really well in journalism. He asks something like-(this is for the mother-in-law),'Do you feel bad if your daughter-in-law doesnt listen to you?'. Now tell me is there a single mother-in-law in india who can keep quiet after being asked this question?. So the show goes on with these question-answers and whirling on tiresome household topics with AB going round to number of houses(after maybe he himself cant take it any more!).
If you watch this regularly(if you are a housewife or a monk yourself) you will find that AB always goes to only indian middle class houses('flats' they are called in general and 'blocks' in mumbai, and i am really curious to know how these two words got invented). I never saw him in slum areas(counting UN statistics about indian poverty, there is a good chance of going there) or even the super rich ones(this may agree with UN statistics as india is a 'poor-turned-developing country'). There may be reasons for not going there(mainly TRP, because indian-middle-class population is more than combined population of US and Europe), but if we are not showing reality, why call it a reality show?
Now, a few days back there was a contest in this show. Contest of finding a 'super-home-maker'. Here,the plan is, many indian (middle class) home-makers come togather and they take part in games and quizzes ultimately to find the super-home-maker. In the episode that i watched, there were two ladies, with napkins over their eyes so that they cant see anything and their aim was to walk 10 meters straight and then put one vessel on top of another! now, someone will ask, what on earth has this got to do with being super-home-maker? maybe they want to prove that if the super-home-maker goes blind someday, still she can do household chores? (remember Neo, the Matrix superhero, who fights even after going blind?). But fortunately, those who watch these shows dont ask such questions and those who ask questions dont watch these shows.
One alarming observation i had here was that on an average, housewives in india are thin. I dont really know why this is the case(unless AB deliberately chose thinner ones for the contest :D) and another is that when asked,'are you happy?' all of them say,'yes', but strangely, none of them really looks happy. Now if this is the reason we are quite high in the 'happiness index', then maybe we are not happy really but rather we have tailored down our expections.
Anyway, i hope no one from WHO watches this show otherwise there will be another report on malnutrition in india(because when it comes to WHO, the word "thin" translates differently depending upon the region. If its USA, "thin" translates to "fit" and in india "thin" might mean "undernourished").
One good thing about indian media is that most of the channels are not being used for political propaganda. If it were communist russia, then i am sure they could have used it so effectively!( Imagine a saas-bahu serial, there is a noble-minded-bahu and evil-bahu, the noble-minded-bahu makes her husband join communist party, the evil one makes her husband join democrats...and...well...we all know what happens ultimately). There are few channels i know that are being used for political reasons but most of the channels are currently focusing on advertising(and they are damn good at it, if you see that, beauty and health products are selling like soaps now a days!(yes that quote used to be,"selling like soaps" earlier and later on some american authors made it,"selling like pancakes". Anyway, i guess soap is more suitable, being another beauty product :D))
Anyway...the pic is a butterfly on some weed-flower :D, n yep, Happy New Year!!