What is more important: the person or our religions?

I am not non-religious; I am anti-religious. I believe that the absence of religion will bring more peace and stability to the world. In any case, religion, as a means to ensure  compliance with “good” has lots its significance, with “legal” rules defining governance, in general.

I have seen several “inter-caste” couples, which is still pretty unacceptable for the majority of India. But, personally, I had not seen couples that have had inter-religious weddings.

But, recently, I got in touch with a  friend, who married someone in a different religion. That is even one step farther than “inter-caste.” It seems they did have their religious differences, which led to arguments. But, at the end, she said, “I thought, what is more important: the person or our religions?” And since then, she feels it has been fine.

But, the above approach is hard, very hard. My friend, herself said that it was very hard. I say it is hard, because, I have seen or heard of  parents breaking off relations with their child due to inter-caste, inter-religion marriages. I have also heard of parents breaking off relations just because their catholic daughter decided to marry a protestant guy! Essentially, religious differences and intolerance can sever even a parent-child relation!

So, in some way, I appreciate the approach this couple took! I foresee a future without religion, but if it is even full of people, who inherently believe that people are more important than religion, it will still be fine.

… I hope.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Favorite anonymous blog

I used to (and still do) read a lot of blog posts. But, I remained loyal to only those by authors that I personally know of.

There was only one anonymous blog that I followed regularly: Prem Panicker’s Smoke Signals, and he is not an anonymous blogger!

I tried hard (from my perspective) to follow other blogs, but I just could not. I resigned myself to believing that one of the many reasons is that I want to put a known face to the blogger (I refrain from using the word writer here); Smoke Signals is an exception, since I read it for the excellent views on cricket!

Until … One fine day, I hit upon Litterateuse Gauri’s adorable 42.  Once again: first name – Litterateuse, last name: Gauri. Blog name: (Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything)

I do not know if Litteratuse gave a lot a thought to authoring a blog and then decided to develop a style, or this is just the way she thinks (I believe writing captures the way a person thinks).

After some thought, I realized that 42 (Litterateuse) is differentiated from every other blog(ger) I tried, by way of two simple features:

  • Impressive writing style. This is clearly a master of words blogging! Every sentence is a joy to read; however, some posts are so cryptic that I have given up reading or understanding them.
  • Perfect length of a post. In general, I take about 20 seconds to decide if I should continue reading any web-post. I have seen some very well-written blogs, but most of the times, the length of their posts is excruciating long (takes more than 10-15 minutes to read and understand) or small like tweets (10-15 seconds)! 42 feels just the right length for me to get me interested and keep me engaged.

I can re-read most posts at 42; it is similar to watching  good movies like Sholay,  His Girl Friday, or Arsenic and Old Lace! No number of repeated watches has reduced my enthusiasm to watch these moves repeatedly!

I envy the way Litterateuse can write; I wish I could write that (or half as) well. Maybe that is why I keep reading 42.  And, in this case, I have always wished that the anonymity of the author remained, else, I have to go back to the drawing table and wonder why I cannot follow anonymous blogs :-)

My daughter’s favorite songs

My daughter absolutely loves two things: Taking a book in hand and speaking gibberish, and listening to/watching some songs. Here is a list of some from Bollywood that she listens to and/or watches

  • Gulmohar Gar Tumhara Naam Hota
    The audio used to be an absolute favorite;  I would sing this when she received her shots and she would be silent! Not any more
  • Koi Yahan Aaha Naache Naache
    She shakes her head (left-right) at the Naache Naache
  • Chaiyya Chaiyya
    Audio and Video; dances up and down, and gives out a beautiful smile as soon as she hears the start, “Jinko Sar ho …”
  • Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo
    Audio only; dances up and down
  • Ajeem-o-shaan Shahenshah
    She loves the drum beats
  • Maine Tere Liye Hi
    Audio only; loves the part – Chhoti Baatein.. used to be mesmerized in the olden days
  • Kitni Khoobsurat Yeh Kashmir Hai
    The audio used to be a favorite in the olden times
  • Jaanu Meri Jaan
    Audio alone is not enough
  • Deewana by Sonu Nigam
    Absolute favorite; she remains mesmerized by this one, audio or video!

Cardinal Gracias High School, Reunion of 1982 batch

On a request by Sunil Laxminarain, I am creating this new post for passing on his invitation to anyone from the 1982 batch of CGHS for the reunion, next month on 19th December 2009.

People who are interested should email Sunil at lnsunil@rediffmail.com or contact him in India at 9819839828.

Wow! some of these guys must be meeting after 27 years, which is a quarter of a century!! I am happy for them and a bit envious – I don’t even remember most of my schoolmates, and those that I remember don’t seem to remember me :(

New multiplication trick?

Just stumbled across this “new” multiplication trick that has been copyrighted. I haven’t seen the actual trick, but the article says

Clay’s method is best explained on paper. Suffice it to say you multiply the digits on the right, cross-multiply and add the digits in the center, then multiply the digits on the left. Using that formula, you can work out 33 x 44 in about three seconds.

Now, I don’t see anything new in this one, even though Mr. Clay has a copyright. This is the standard Vedic multiplication trick that we (at least I ) have learnt as kids back in India, and is essentially, the equivalent of the expansion of  (10A + B) * (10C +D).

Edit: Just found out that the Vedic multiplication is explained at VedicMaths.org and with the very same example!

Yoplus and 1942: A love story

In a recent Yoplus Yoplait advertisement (the girl seems to be doing yoga or something) that I have been seeing on TV, the background music is the same as the one from the song “Ek Ladki ko Dekha” from the Bollywood movie: 1942 – A love story.

If you play the song at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y88juKO48ZU, this is the part around 1:24; it is also repeated several times in the movie itself.

The URL for the ad is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm_D8yitOMM (the tune that I am talking of is prominent at 11 s)

I wonder if it is a case of RD Burman lifting that part from some other tune, or Yoplait taking it from 1942!

Students build scooters/segways!

We have a new faculty (not so new now that he is one year old into the department). Last semester, he revamped a course and converted it into a fascinating experience for the students. In a period of just less than 4 months, the students built this amazing scooter. You only need to ride it to understand what it is. I was extremely skeptical of falling down when it was not powered, but it is pretty good.

Youtube has a video… Enjoy!!!

Ganga…

A while ago, I stumbled upon Julian Crandall Hollick’s journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal along the river Ganga.

The 6 part audio series discusses various aspects from the nature, to human soiling to the Farakka dam’s drastic impact on the river’s course. Look for all the details at http://www.ibaradio.org/India/ganga/index.htm

I remember my visit to Haridwar 5 years ago and my own observation of how the river gets soiled day in and day out in the name of religion. I also remember my own observation of how the river Bagmati at Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. I did not have the guts to place my hand in that water!

Moderation

I got a question, “What does it mean that my comment is awaiting moderation?” Well, due to the HUGE number of requests (in some cases orders) to determine caste from a certain last name, I decided to moderate the comments.

It was not just the request, but persistent follow-up after I deleted those comments.. in one case, I got a question that said something like, “why do you delete my comment? Is this something against a certain caste?”

Clearly, moderation is the more difficult way around to resolve the problem. The easier is to just delete those comments; however, by “moderation” I clearly indicate that I decide what comments are accepted on the blog. So, I will stick to this, at least for some time.