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Showing posts from 2008

Colonial Conceit...

I'd rate Pride and Prejudice (2005 version) to be one of the finest movies ever made, not just for depicting an epic love story with a steadfast screenplay that captured most of the compelling narratives and conversational nuances of the book, thereby limning the quintessence of the truly outstanding classic that it is, but also for portraying medieval England naked, and yet beautiful - from its head to heels - from the 18th century English dance to the countryside gossip, the horse chariot to paper-ink-pen, English breakfast to the study, the ladies gowns to the men's boots.... and of course the ostentatious English pride...

The English are supposedly proud folks...not just the Knights and the Dames, but every English butler and governess was known to be proud."The Sun never sets in the British empire" is a well-known anthem that aptly delineates their pride...And honestly, they had every reason to be...They'd ruled almost half of the globe, they've given …

Who would bell the Elephant??

This blog post is a digression...this is about my beloved bleeding country - India. Until a few days back, I'd been one of those unpatriotic, if not disloyal Indian taxpayer, too busy in quotidian qualms (like tax calculation) to be worried about the Indian state. To me or my "techie" associates, Indian politics or any banter bordering it, served as a contentious lunch-time discussion, and was comfortably forgotten on returning back to our qualms. This Nov 26, a few young men changed it. It's been more than a week now, the Mumbai episode and the sad state of India continues to plague me. Public memory is supposedly short-lived, mine is shorter-lived, and lest I forget, here's the post...

There were terror strikes...lives were taken away in a way that was not supposed to be... feelings of apprehension, gloom and anger ensued amongst the Indian diaspora... a few political positions were re-arranged ...and with the mundane necessities of the lives that exist, amid…

Good Time to Read This?

Before you proceed, stop right now and answer this question - How superstitious are you? 0% - bad, 100% - worse, 50-50 - well, no comments..If unable to answer that direct question, answer these auxilliary pointers - Do you believe that your prayer would be answered the way you want it to be, when a gecko chirps (what do you call that irreproducible sound that geckos make) ? Do you check the Raahu Kaalam of the day when you kick start a new course? Do you wear the same dress that you wore on a successful interview, for every damn interview you attend, even if it is unkempt? Do you believe that the ring of a bell (be it a bicyclist's bell or a telephone bell ) asserts an event that you are discussing then at the precise moment? More generally, do you associate events and happenings in the present with the signs of the past and more importantly, do you predict the future with the signs and superstitions of the present?

My Superstition Quotient (Its a new word I've coined skil…

The Mistress of Spices..

No, this post is not another rave review of the recent film, nor is a critical analysis of the book by the same name, nor is it about Aishwarya Rai, the lead actor in the film. This post is about every Indian woman who happens to command the kitchen, be it sugar or spices, carrots or coconuts, halwa or their husbands who linger around longingly.....this post is dedicated to that Indian Woman...The Mistress of Spices....

Everybody loves their mother's food. A mom-made sambar is way better than a McDonald's burger or even a Subway sandwich and healthier too...simply because of the spices or the lack of it...more because she knows how you'd like it..
I love my mom's food too...I grew up savoring the various delicacies, be it idlis or mysore paks. Yes, I did call idlis a delicacy. Its after all, mom-made..I can go down listing all my favorite recipes that my mom does, extolling her above all creatures, but I curtail myself, not just because of space constraints, but becau…

Probability is God!!!

If you agree with this rather audacious claim, then you are either too wise to be reading this blog post or, you have probably read God's Debris and with the wisdom of common sense, you are willing to ponder about this statement, and its equally contentious converse - God is Probability!!!

I am, as you may have guessed with my previous posts, not too wise. I happened to read God's Debris, and I happen to be common-sensical , and I coined these propositions. Here is the inductional hypothetical base upon which I try to prove these..

Probability is based on the law of averages. The probability of getting a head while tossing a coin is (1/2). Does it mean that when you toss a coin twice, you are guaranteed to get head once and a tail once? Not really!!! It means that when you toss a coin 100 times, you are likely to get heads 50 times and tails 50 times, and when you toss the same Godforbidden coin 1000 times, you are more likely to get heads 500 times and tails 500 times. Probab…

A Thing of Beauty...

"...Is a Joy For ever...". Am not the most ardent fan of this version of veritas by Keats, Am more fond of - "Beauty is just Skin Deep", but many a time, it is a little Deeper than you may expect, especially if you have frequented a beauty salon. The obscure truth that beauty lies in the twitching and twirling of the brows, waxing and waning of the limbs, thumping and thudding of the body (aka massaging), colouring and camouflaging the hair, becomes blatant, the moment you enter a salon.



Beauty salons are pervasive these days. You can't miss the Godforsaken parlour on your street or the branded salon round the corner. Its just a slight variation in the cost. Or a slighter mutation of species accosting you - the rather indistinguishable petite salon-hosts..The pain is painfully, the same. It is the same body afterall. The question is, is the pain justified? Wasn't Cleopatra far more beautiful (or atleast equally beautiful) than Aishwarya Rai with far fewer …

An Engineer's Apology..

Prelude - Hardy's 'A Mathematician's Apology'. A one-of-its-kind essay which gives a sneak peek into the mind of a mathematician.

Excerpts from the book:

"The function of a mathematician is to do something, to prove new theorems, to add to mathematics, and not to talk about what he or other mathematicians have done. .......there is no scorn more profound, or on the whole more justifiable, than that of the men who make for the men who explain. Exposition, criticism, appreciation, is work for second-rate minds.. "

"Good work is no done by ‘humble’ men. It is one of the first duties of a professor, for example, in any subject, to exaggerate a little both the importance of his subject and his own importance in it."

Mathematicians are a rare breed...an extremely gifted hashset of specimens endowed with an insatiable ego...They contribute more Mathematics, prove conjectures and add more theorems , not because they want them to be practically useful to the …

The Temple of Small Things.....

Everybody loves Pillaiyar...I love him too...for many reasons...He is not-so-good looking, he is huge, he does not admonish you even if you scathe him, he grants wishes, big and small, immediate and mediate, (He is the God of Wishes!!!)and he is ubiquitous..every other street in an Indian city (and every apartment) is bound to have atleast one small Ganesha temple or atleast a perch, where he is blissfully poised...


I frequent a neigboring "Pillayar kovil" everyday, its a small temple neatly architected, and beckons me with its mystic silence..After a hectic day's running around with bizarre intellections, I try to spend about ten minutes in this temple to oraganize the random thoughts... Maybe if this recollection is done in the presence of the Elephant God, He would erroneously assume that I am dreaming about Him and only Him, grant a few more wishes I put forth to Him....
Maybe not... He has a brain as big as His head to see through my chants....Well, am I the wishful…

What's in a name?

Are you one of those multitudes of people who go crazy about the "brand" when you pick a T- shirt or a travel bag? Do you go for branded Australian apples from XXXX's Fresh or do you settle in for the less privileged but equally nutritious ones on the platforms of Madiwala market? Do you judge a book by the book-keeper's looks and diction? Do you buy a "Marks and Spencer" plain T shirt for a couple of grands with no negotiation, just return the wistful smile of the well-dressed hosts of M&S and yet argue at the top of your lungs for a couple of tens for the same kind but less dear T shirt with an under privileged platform-wala at Commercial Street? If you answer in the affirmative for any of these, then tell me why..


One reason springing up at the top of my mind is "Quality Assurance" - the phrase synonymous with brand. I'd anyday pick a Titan watch, spend a little more bucks and get the warranty and assurance of quality than one of …