Thursday, July 28, 2005


Oh readers of my blog, Wake Up! We've all been duped by Him. Our lives make no sense at all.

Life is like a time signal consisting of finitely many sinusoids. For us, it seems totally random and impossible to unravel. Only He views us in the frequency domain, where its all too simple.

In other words, dont attempt to make sense out of your life. God has pre-empted such quests by fixing us firmly to the time domain.

Baghdad Burning

I've been reading the archives of the Riverbend blog. A couple of insightful passages:

Zarqawi is so much better than WMD. He's small, compact and mobile. He can travel from Falloojeh to Baghdad to Najaf to Mosul… whichever province or city really needs to be oppressed. Also, conveniently, he looks like the typical Iraqi male- dark hair, dark eyes, olive skin, medium build. I wonder how long it will take the average American to figure out that he's about as substantial as our previously alleged WMD.

I hope Americans feel good about taking their war on terror to foreign soil. For bringing the terrorists to Iraq- Chalabi, Allawi, Zarqawi, the Hakeems… How is our current situation going to secure America? How is a complete generation that is growing up in fear and chaos going to view Americans ten years from now? Does anyone ask that? After September 11, because of what a few fanatics did, Americans decided to become infected with a collective case of xenophobia… Yet after all Iraqis have been through under the occupation, we're expected to be tolerant and grateful. Why? Because we get more wheat in our diets?

Gurgaon violence

I've been looking for details on why the ugly incidents at Gurgaon happened. Indian Express today has an article tracing the issues between the workers and Honda.

The article suggests that CPI's interference in the labour problems worsened the situation. Interestingly, while till now the media had reported that the worker unrest was due to "retrenchment", it turns out that 4 people had been dismissed and 13 suspended. All this was due to their indiscipline, and hence not totally unwarranted.

What irritates me the most is how arm-chair journalists have taken up this issue and tried to portray it as a post-liberalisation phenomenon - and shed crocodile tears for the harmful effects of "labour reforms".

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Something to think about...

Do you have a role model?

I have never quite been impressed by this question. Simply because the answer is expected to be superficial - and it usually is. The answer would be some vague celebrity like APJ or NRN though the person in question would probably not want to be either a rocket scientist, president or a CEO.

But all that changed today. This funda dawned on me today when I actually found my role model.

People usually think of the question to mean "Who is it that you would like to be?" instead of "Who is the person who is how you would like to be?".

There is a subtle difference between the two questions.

So let's do this one more time.
Do you have a role model?

Friday, July 22, 2005


The other day someone mentioned that India was more-or-less a parent of Bangladesh by virtue of the role India played in the creation of Bangladesh. That was when it struck me that India actually was the midwife!

P.S: For some reason, I have decided that this finding of mine is rather insightful and hence thought it unfair to deny my readers the pleasure of knowing one of those small nice things that make life live-able :p

Gender discrimination

Why is it that when an accident is reported, the media has something like this to say about the casualties: "21 people killed, including 10 women and 5 children" ?
As an adult male, is my life any less worthy than that of the women and children in this world?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Vajpayee's blunder

Yesterday, Vajpayee raised some queries regarding the recently announced Indo-US pact on nuclear co-op. His queries were reasonable and merited discussion in the public forum - especially the bit about India separating its civilian and strategic nuclear facilities.

But Vajpayee made a blunder in timing his statement. His statement was reported on NDTV around 8pm, and within an hour the PM got to rebut these charges in a press conference at US. As NDTV flashed the PM's response around 9pm, I thought to myself that Vajpayee's statement which was front-page headline stuff would now be relegated to the later paragraphs of an article. And that's precisely how it was reported in The Hindu and Indian Express today.

The most baffling aspect is that BJP is supposed to be the master of media-management!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Do hospitals in India accept payment by credit cards?
Do hospitals abroad accept payment by credit cards?

Mumbai riots

Dilip has come up with yet another insightful post. This time its about how the Shiv Sena & co have managed to twist facts to justify their past actions, and apparently they seem to have won the battle. Click here for the article.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Manmohan's speech

To give a rough idea of what the PM said at the joint session of the US Congress, here's the number of times each of the following words was mentioned:-

Terror 11
Democracy 28
Global 14
Partner 12
Poverty 03

A few passages I especially liked in his speech:

"Our elections are conducted under the supervision of a statutory independent Election Commission, which has earned respect for its fairness and transparency, both at home and abroad. " - One other thing that the US can outsource to India? :)

"The Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi called for universal adult franchise as early as 1931, long before India became independent. " ... and well before it was granted in the US of A.

"We know that those who resort to terror often clothe it in the garb of real or imaginary grievances. We must categorically affirm that no grievance can justify resort to terror... We must fight terrorism wherever it exists, because terrorism anywhere threatens democracy everywhere."

"The United States was an early partner in this area, helping to establish agricultural universities and research institutions in India in the 1960s. It was an American, Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug, supported by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, who developed high yielding varieties of wheat in Mexico which were then adapted to Indian conditions in the Agricultural Universities you helped establish."
In his recent trip to UK, the PM was criticized for suggesting that India at least partially benefited from The British Empire. But I would go with an interpretation I read somewhere in the press that the PM is being mature enough to accept the shades of gray - and not be held hostage by our history.

Monday, July 18, 2005


"Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them." - 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' by Mark Haddon.

Chilli, nanri hai for introducing this book to me. And now its time you read it yourself :)


Can you EVER be 100% certain that you understand someone completely?
Can you EVER be 100% certain that you understand yourself completely?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Dreams II

Note: Do read the previous post before this one.

Dreams are nothing like mirages.
Shortest path to a mirage is trivial.
Finding any one path to a dream is nearly impossible.
Moral: Try and enjoy your search for this path to the dream.


Dreams are like mirages.
The water-sighting may be a source of hope and excitement.
But mirages end in disappointment.
Moral: Try and enjoy your journey to the dream.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Abhi of Sepiamutiny has written a nice post analysing the origin of the 7/7 terrorists. His comparison with the movie My son, the fanatic is chilling. Gotto watch the movie!

This comment to Abhi's post was also quite insightful.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


The 7/7 terrorists screwed up big time. Imagine if the attack had taken place on 8th - and not 7th - of July. Would the media report it as the 7/8 attack or the 8/7 attack? :)

A globalized world

I've been reading the archives of Riverbendblog - written very well by a Baghdad-based woman about the war. The following passage caught my eye:
American long-term memory is exclusive to American traumas. The rest of the world should simply ‘put the past behind’, ‘move forward’, ‘be pragmatic’ and ‘get over it’.

While this is not the first time I'm reading of this funda, it stood out because it fit in very well with the USA's idea of the globalized world. By getting countries to globalize, USA manages to hedge its risks. While it can withstand the failure of a few economies around the world, failure of its own economy will hit most of the globalized nations. Thus by getting the world to globalize, USA is getting other countries to work for its prosperity.

It is this dependence on the US economy that makes the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks "world events". Also it is the limited dependence, if any, on other nations that makes the attack on Indian parliament and the Darfur massacre minor specks in the world radar.

Funny that it was after reading Friedman that I strongly believe this funda. In fact, his illustration of the world helped in this aspect - though I doubt if that was the idea he wanted to convey. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Blair n Bush

Nice cartoon strip available here.

As mentioned in the comments section, "the really scary thing is, I can see this conversation actually taking place".

And for those who do not know the identity of the image seen on the window, click here.

Link via Adi by email.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Generation gap

Click here to read Manuscrypts' brilliant post about the generation gap in India. Wonder what a couple of my batchmates (who belong to a "senior" generation) have to say about that! :)

Link via Desipundit.

Terror strategies

Irish terrorists had famously left a message after a failed assassination attempt on Margaret Thatcher - "we have to be lucky only once, you have to be lucky every time". Terrorists in India seem to have gone one step ahead. They're raising the value of a successful strike. If either of the attacks on the Indian parliament and on the site of the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi temple had succeeded, the havoc it would've caused is unimaginably huge.

The Ayodhya attack, in particular, seems like a very poorly planned operation. The terrorists gained entry into the campus through a hole in the fence created by blasting a jeep they had parked near the fence. Given the huge security presence at the site and the distance between their entry point and the temple structure, I do not see how they thought they would succeed. This leads me to believe that the terrorists were either incompetent or were willing to lay down their lives for that tiny chance that they could cause huge havoc.

Simply put, probability of success might be low but the success utility value is high enough to ensure that the
Expected value out of the operation = probability * success utility value
is significantly high.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Nice read

Annie relates her experience of travelling on an RAC ticket in an AC coach. She compares her ride to the state of migrants in a new city.

What’s the connection?

This – that you have no place you can sleep in peace, because everywhere you look, all space is already taken. Booked. Bought. Someone else’s space. Even the aisles aren’t yours to lie down in. They’re public ‘common’ space. Government space. Public space. Private space. Leased space. Not your space.

Super post. Click here to read the full piece.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Life is an NLP

Life is a non-linear program. Too many constraints that it almost seems like there is no feasible solution. But it is all about eliminating or modifying constraints so that you get to a feasible solution - or at least till there is some hope of getting to a feasible solution. Wah! Life rox!

Update: The challenge of eliminating or modifying constraints is all about deciding what is closest to your heart. Gotta take bold decisions and make difficult choices. Love it, dont you?

Update 2: For some (lucky?) people, constraints aren't too many in number. Their challenge is not to get to a feasible solution. That can be taken as a given. The challenge is actually to get to an optimal solution - the optimality function being defined by the individual's preferences (that are partly included in the weightage he assigns to various constraints).

P.S: Update 2 thanks to DD's comment.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The London Blasts

Amit Varma posted a response to the London Blasts here, and it was promptly congratulated as being "close to perfection" by DesiPundit.

To quote Amit:

This isn't just an attack on the UK, but, like the attacks of 9/11, they're an attack on a way of life and a value-system, one that is dear not just to Western countries, but to millions in the developing world, like me.

I've gotten used to hearing such statements from Western politicians (esp Bush) after 9/11. I never was comfortable with the argument. Reading an Indian blogger espouse the same views got me into thinking on why exactly I disagreed with these statements. My conclusions are as follows.

1. I dont condone the blasts, but I think the reasons for the blasts can be understood without being on "their side".

2. The attack was not quite on a way of life, but the attempt at imposing this way of life across the world - which is how globalisation aka Americanisation are perceived by quite a few people in the developing countries.

3. In a sense, the blasts are a part of the way of life Amit mentions. The globalized world bestows people with certain basic rights which are exploited by those who perpetrate such crimes. Earlier, all they could do was probably fight their local wars and kill each other. But in today's world, they have the wherewithal to export fear. In short, they globalize fear. (I think Friedman mentioned something related to this in The Lexus and The Olive Tree)

4. To extend my previous point, the western idea of a globalized world is one that is truly connected. Ok, but what then about the geo-political tensions across the world? That according to the western view shall be limited to a certain locus of comfort, right? How can a restless Middle East be localized in a global world?

5. Amit also went on to say "Concepts like personal freedom, equality of women and, in fact, human rights are alien to those behind the attack, and they must be defeated." Imo the current Indian society doesnt believe in any of these concepts either. Or do we?

6. If I might be a little provocative, perpetrators of such crimes are like violent kids. Solving the problem that causes and sustains this violent streak in the child is the only permanent solution. I'm not trying to imply the London criminals were victims themselves - more like if there wasnt a problem back home, they wouldnt have the power and finance to go ahead with these activities.

7. Here's what I would like Bush/Blair to do as a reaction to the London blasts (Its more of a dream, actually) - Identify key issues that trouble Muslim societies around the world - Palestine, poverty and illiteracy would probably be the top-most ones. Rally around the world to solve these problems in a concerted manner on top priority.

8. In short, stop whining about how you are being such a good boy and others are just jealous of you. Get working on the problems humanity is facing right now.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

What if...

1. there was a website which chronicled my future
2. the virtual world is in fact the real world

Ok, the second one was probably too matrixy, but what the heck! I couldnt get those two questions out of my mind - and have now let it out for posterity to ponder over :p

Monday, July 04, 2005

Remo anyone?

Here is a "Did you know?"-type funda. I was the inspiration behind a recent Tam movie that is making a lot of moolah. You can find Outlook's scoop here. And guyz, dont just stare at the Negar Khan pic on that page, scroll down further to the piece on Anniyan. Yeah, I am Anniyan!

And as would be obvious from Chilli's "review", he is Rules Ramanujam. Which begs the question - Who would be Remo then? Someone over whom bandhis are fida. Hmm, thats a toughie! :) Any (self?)nominations?

P.S: To be accurate, Remo would be the guy who wins over the bandhi who spurns Chilli. So let me begin with this question to Chilli: who is your Sadha? :)

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Some 20 days or so after I had begun, I've now finally finished reading The Lexus and The Olive Tree. In spite of certain reservations I have with Friedman's picture of the globalized world, I love the book for one simple reason - it made me think quite a lot! There were quite a few instances when questions that arose in my mind on reading a chapter were answered in the subsequent chapter. I guess its got to do with the mostly-logical flow in which he presents his idea of the world.

I'll probably start reading The World is Flat after a couple of months - let the learnings from TLOT first sink in. :)

Life is like a box of chocolates

... for a while it's great, then you realize how empty it is...

Read this in a random blog, and just had to post it.

Uniform Civil Code

Click here to read a rather insightful piece on UCC by Dilip D'Souza. Was reminded of something Frasier's agent Bebe tells him: "You have a way of cutting through the baloney that knocks me out cold." Precisely my opinion on reading the column.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I have a dream...

Its 4.53am now as I type this out. I just woke up and I had a dream. No, not a dream about any of the Shalini/Asin/Gopika types. That would have been a dream. This was a very "different" dream. In my dream I was reading about the process of writing a war book. Or someone was telling me about it. Though the sentences were well-constructed and were not corrupted by any Tam/Hindi words. So I guess it was either a book or a TV documentary of some kind. This is "different" because I can swear that I've never had an opportunity to learn how a war book is written. So this was definitely not a replay of any past event in my memory. Either I just dreamt of some random arbit thing or there's a more spooky explanation. Just had to jot this down before I forget my dream - which happens so often once I'm fully awake! And yeah, I do hope it isnt a random arbit thing, and that its something more spooky. :)

Tried googling and wiking to find the process followed in writing a war memoir, but didn't find any useful link. On a related note, has anyone ever found a useful link while searching on Wiki? I, for one, have never been able to.

So anyone with some knowledge of writing a war book, please do ping me!

*With due apologies to one Mr King for the title of this post :)

Friday, July 01, 2005

RSS Online?

I've read a whole lot of Indiblogs in the past few months. But while there are many that outrightly condemn the Sangh Parivar, I havent chanced upon any that openly support it. Why is this so? I would like to think that its because these people are'nt too proud of their RSS connection, and dont want to spoil their image. But in both my colleges, I've encountered colleagues who wear their pro-RSS leanings on their sleeve - which makes it all the more intriguing that I havent found any such site.

If you do find any such blogs, do bring them to my attention. Or else, some logical reason to explain this seemingly strange thing.