Monthly Archives: August 2008

Scribbles from Last Week [Week 34, 2008]

(Excerpt of a talk with my younger brother, who is studying medicine)

He: We did our first autopsy today.

Me: Good! How did it go?

He: It was a burns patient. Body was totally charred. Skin was peeling off pretty easily. Then we were shown how to open the skull with instruments like hammer, saw….

Me: I think we should change the topic. How is cricket coming along?

After that talk, I have been getting nightmares about somebody drilling a hole in my brain, or banging it with a hammer!

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I kept on telling people that I am very busy these days. Thank God, nobody asked, “What is keeping you busy?”.

I have no idea as to what kept me busy, but it seemed like I was running from one place to another the whole week.

 

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Why can’t they have more of Carpenter Jeans with 28″ waist size?

 

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Talking about music, I have started liking African music a lot these days. Every time I visit Walmart, I make it a point to visit the Music section that houses audio CDs like Yoga Music, Celtic Serenity, African Spirit, Spanish Something, …, and hear a minute of some Insingzi song. Here is one for you…(somebody disabled embedding on this video, so please double click on the youtube window to check this on youtube directly..)

 

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[Reading]

Here is a translation to a lullaby sung years ago by Afunakwa from Solomon Islands.

 

Little brother, little brother, stop crying, stop crying

Though you are crying and crying, who else will carry you

Who else will groom you, both of us are now orphans

From the island of the dead, their spirit will continue to look after us

Just like royalty, taken care of with all the wisdom of such a place


Little brother, little brother even in the gardens

This lullaby continues to the different divisions of the garden,

From the island of the dead, their spirit will continue to look after us


Little brother, little brother, stop crying, stop crying

Though you are crying and crying, who else will carry you

Who else will groom you, both of us are now orphans

From the island of the dead, their spirit will continue to look after us.

 

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Counting!

In school, they used to keep us counting at every possible opportunity. The day always started with a roaster call by class teacher and then during morning assembly, (I think) school principal used to count total number of student in school as he stood at stage, a vantage point built only for such an activity. Then in each class period, every teacher would use first five minutes of class counting number of students and then move to their respective subjects. In the evening, on way back home, bus conductor would count all the kids. On picnic trips we always spent more time counting ourselves than actually enjoying the picnic spot.

 

The most uninteresting part about such counting’s was that no unexpected absenteeism ever occurred except once or twice when teacher made a mistake in counting and then said out loud, “Oh! I think one kid is missing”. Everybody would turn their head half expecting to see a dinosaur eating their classmate. But nothing so exciting ever happened in this non-Jurassic era, where possibility of an alien abducting a kid is more than a dinosaur eating one up. But in those of course of thinking’s, I ignored another predator lying somewhere between dinosaur and an alien.

 

My mother once told me about increasing abduction rate in the country and surprisingly all my classmate’s mother had the same view of the world to share with their kids that day. Next day in class, we were discussing the benefits of getting abducted. Some kids actually believed that it would be fun to get abducted and travel around the world in a jute bag. One of my classmates, actually believed that his parents were not his actual parents and had abducted him as soon as he was born, and supposedly he remembered the whole abduction part.

 

My mother always warned me about the Sadhus and at the same time she asked me to respect them, as they were all sanctimonious and pious. So I had developed this rule where till they were 20 yards away, all Sadhus were messengers of God and if they were closer than 20 meters, they were all potential kidnappers.

 

But no alien ever landed in school, no dinosaur ever came, no kidnapper showed up, and worst of it all, the skeleton in Biology lab never ate anybody. Alas, nothing exciting ever happened.

Scribbles from last week [Week 33, 2008]

 

He walks in and says, ” Shoot me!”

“Hand me a bazooka and I will be happy to do it”

“No seriously, shoot me and I will show you my new Matrix stunt”.

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Mirrors can tell you amazing things. In my case, I realized that I look a lot like Che Guevara. I mean a lot alike! I am going to take a picture soon in the same pose and post it sometime. But now that I know this, I am trying to get a role in Motorcycle Diaries II. [Anybody listening?!]

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Have you ever seen a Pinochio dancing? I happened to get that pleasure at last night’s party. 

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Among the throngs of cheerful new graduates and their parents, friends etc, was this African family; women and men dressed in colorful bright dresses that I have only seen on National Geographic. And there, in front of his mother and surrounded by many uncles and aunts, was this young man in graduation robe being hugged by his father. Tears starting rolling out of father and son’s eyes and there, right that moment I realized the importance of realizing a dream. I am not overtly sentimental types but for that second I wanted to go and hug those guys, talk to their lot and know their story. But maybe words would not have done justice to the dream that they saw years ago as a family in some remote corner of Africa. Maybe.

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This video made my day, filling me with some unexplainable sort of joy. I have watched it so many times and every time it seems as new. People from all over the world, losing all their worries, and jumping into a carefree un-choreographed dance. Its simply amazing!

Twisting the Morality!

 

“…the moral of the chapter was that we should not hurt anybody. Understand?”, he said while twisting my ear so hard that I thought that it might get unscrewed and detach from my head.

 

For next ten minutes, I had thought that my ear was coiled like a spring and confirmation of normalcy from this guy sitting next to me, did not really help.

The person who brought so horrifying tortures was my ‘Moral Science’ teacher. Yes indeed, we had a subject by that name and they could not find a better person than this guy who used to hit us with a wooden stick while teaching us morality of we-should-not-harm-anybody.

He used to say that we should help each other and then next second he would rebuke us for showing our homework to other guy.

Moral of some chapter was that we should interact with each other more often and then I had to stand out of class for talking to my bench mate.

One of the ‘good manners’ taught was not to talk while eating and it came in direct conflict with another ‘good manner’ that said you should always answer your parent’s question (Note: This was not in book but our teacher used to teach his experiences too). So every night at dinner table, I had to choose between one good manner or the other one.

‘Take initiatives’ was the title of a chapter, and now imagine the plight of a student taking initiative and telling this sadistic teacher that “his actions did not do justice to subject he was teaching”. That student was ‘yours truly’ and aftermath of such an initiative was that till this day, I think my ears look a bit weird.

Every morning its the same tale.

“Don’t you think my ears are bent at a weird angle?”

“No, they seem fine!”

“No you don’t know. Its all that teacher at school who once twisted…”

Dad loves Mathematics! I hate it!!

No matter what, but every kid can hear and distinguish his father’s vehicle from light years away; a feat that seems impossible by rules of physics. As a kid, I could hear my Dad’s old Bajaj scooter from a distance of about two blocks, and that marked the end of street cricket time, and start of Mathematics.

Always, the idea was to run inside the house before he saw me playing, Sometimes, in a hurry, I would run inside house leaving my cricket bat in street and then my Dad would come in and he would ask, “Why are those kids in street, playing with your bat?”

“Oh! Those are poor kids. Mom told me to help the poor. So I gave it to them.”

“Are you stupid? Father of that pigeon nosed guy is a doctor. He earns more than me and most of his earnings come from your recurrent injuries. Anyways, open chapter8, exercise 2….”

My father still thinks that my friend P. ‘s  nose looks like that of a pigeon. I have never been able to see a pigeon up so close, so I still don’t doubt his ornithological analogy.

 

Also, like many of us, I have always believed that my dad is a genius. You know, he can give you the most difficult question of any Mathematics book, even without flipping its pages.

Question 2 would be a quadratic equation with easier roots. But he would always ask me to do question 5 part b (which required answer to part a, obviously), that would be quadratic equation with complex roots (where you have that iota involved). He always knew which question I would not be able to do and then he would take all sadistic pleasure in watching me put all signs in equation as negative first and then make the alternate ones positive. Needless to say, the technique never helped.  

Years later when I was learning trigonometry, he would never ask me calculate height of pole, but that of a mountain and to make it more realistic he would make picture of a mountain range, fill in some values for distances and angles and ask me to make a coarse contour map for that area.  And I always wondered what sin did I do to deserve such questions. R., C. and K. never had to do such stuff at home; they just calculated height of pole or length of shadow cast by pole.

Later, I avoided going with him to bookstore as he would pick any Mathematics book, combine two questions into one and pull out a sheet of paper from his pocket and hand it to me to solve. His questions were always unique, like while traveling on a boat traveling at x km/h, you fell off, and start swimming towards the shore at y km/h . But don’t forget that river is glacial and still on the down slope with an angle of 30 degrees to the sea level……and an alien is landing on the shore with with z kmph…..will you be able to shake hands with him as soon as he lands?

I never knew what the answer was but if an alien is landing, I would not like to go towards that shore. Secondly I had no clue where to start, but only answer was I was going to die as I did not know how to swim. Thirdly, I never really realized how he managed to get a sheet of paper in his pocket every time he saw a difficult question.

Even today, I fear discussing my work about neurons with him as I am pretty sure that I would be stranded with a sheet of paper and a question like, “You have x number of neurons in your brain and suddenly somebody starts injecting liquid nitrogen at rate of y ml/ min in your brain and you plan to stop that injector switch, each muscle twitch requires z number of neurons…… Will you be able to switch it off before your entire brain cells freeze?

Brain, Barter and Bargain!

I am a man of very few beliefs and today I am going to share one jewel of my belief box.  I sincerely believe that in all its veracity, one day we will have brain cell banks where you can exchange brain cells for money. We might have a variation there that it might be a Market like scenario where people who need more brain cells to support high computation going on in their brains will line up to buy from people who don’t mind selling a mass of cells. If such a day comes, I will be behind the counter, pulling out stuff from my own head and putting it in a paper bags with words “Brian’s Brain Shop’ written boldly on the bag.

 

I have already started saving my brain cells. I never use them on serious thought. To hell with people, who say that using brain makes it sharper. I am not going to sell machetes. So here I am, always talking stupid, saving brain cells and all this while sitting on an oilfield just inside my cranium.

 

My dad while teaching me fractions always used to say this, “ Why don’t you use your brain?”

 

I mean first thing how can using brain justify use of fractions in first place. First you make numbers and then decide to put something between two numbers and so put a fraction, which take up two line of ruled notebook, every time you write one.   Then they always give this trite example of cutting a cake into 8 parts and me getting one to explain 1/8. As if I was listening to words being said after ‘cake’!

Then secondly, I always try to explain my Dad that someday, I would be the guy with most unused cells and that would make us richer. I would trade only in whole numbers that day.

 

That’s it! I have burned enough while telling you this too! Oh! By the way, did you read that laziness is genetic?  So if you are pissed, that I did not blog anything in last 5-6 days, you can yell at my parents. 

Scribbles from Last Week (Week 31, 2008)

 

I asked, “Hey what are you upto these days?”

“Nothing!” said he.

“Nothing?! Any job and all?”

“I think, I was born a bit too late. The only thing I ever wanted to do was fight British and drive them out of India.”

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The girl in CATA bus kept on chewing her nails and fingers, on all the way back home. I am scared that she might have eaten herself alive by now.  

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Birthdays are fun!

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Had a weird dream about next Harry Potter movie. I dreamt the whole movie with Shah Rukh Khan playing Harry!