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tales from the woods

Saturday, August 30, 2003

goan feni

Am in Goa.
I guess if i'm posting this shit from Goa, i'm hooked to blogs, eh?
It was quite a depressing start as it started raining almost immediately after i arrived. However, a couple of drinks did the trick, and the rain clouds disappeared after 2 Goan fenis had gone down the gullet. Donnie, who matched my fenis with compensating quantities of beer wanted to check out some wildlife of the femme kind in Goa. So, we're now off to the so-called happening beach "calangute" to do some big game hunting. Cheers, hic.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Template change

I seem to be spending more effort in design than content :-)
Hopefully, i shouldn't get bored with this one soon.
Design/usability suggestions are most welcome. Let me know if this page doesn't render properly in your browser.

Monday, August 25, 2003

wake up!

You know, i'm sick and tired of reading about all this political bullshit. We'll rant and rave till we become blue in the face and it will make not the slightest difference. Jivha, for example has raised this issue several times in his blog. His current post about the government trying to ban cow slaughter is a well written deconstruction of the idiocy that prevails in Indian politics. Yes, politicians are epitomes of corruption. However, i put the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of people more than the politicians. These politicians will get away with anything, as long as nobody stops or questions them. The question that begs to be asked is why we're letting them get away in the first place?

The basic premise behind a democracy is that the junta is capable of choosing it's leaders with responsibility and intelligence. Unfortunately, we have become a nation of irresponsible dolts who don't even know what's good and bad for us. We, as a people, are so irresponsible that we shrug off a couple of thousand deaths or simply ignore scams that rival the GNP of several small countries. Instead of holding our politicians responsible for pesticide in water, we'll get concerned about a godforsaken temple or mosque. We'll worry about "vegetarian tuesdays" or our "5am prayers" more than our supply of electricity or water. Why go about blaming them, when we only have ourselves to blame. These politicians are just a side-effect of this bigger disease called stupidity.

Multiple bomb blasts in Mumbai

Between 1pm and 1:30pm today, two successive bombs went off in Mumbai. At least 40 people are feared to have been killed by the blasts, though this number is feared to rise. What's really disturbing about this incident is the use of taxi-cabs to deploy the bombs.

A well known fact about terrorism is that it attempts to disrupt a way of life by means of terror. Mumbai is also one of the few Indian cities where civic infrastructure actually works. The recent terrorist strikes seem to be well organized and intelligent enough to attempt a disruption of this well-oiled machine. One can only rely on the innate mental toughness of Mumbaikars to shrug off these events and continue their normal way of life.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

drowned in work.. glug glug

The project that i was working on for the last 6 months got released this week. Since then, life has been one never-ending bug-fight. I checked my mailbox yesterday after a 10 hr bug-slug-fest, and realized that i received 700 mails in one miserable day. gleeps! So much for the breather, back to the struggle for now.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

India's Independance day?

A billion people live here. Out of a total of 24,000 languages that exist or existed, India contributes to 16,000. A democratic and secular country which lays claim to being the biggest democratic country in the world. A population that is roughly 80% hindu, 15% muslim and the rest being Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Zoarastrians (Parsis) and Jews. The birthplace of Hinduism and what many consider to be sub-sects of Hinduism - Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

An interesting thing is the outcry caused when India is referred to as Hindustan. "Hindu-stan" is commonly understood to translate to "place for Hindus" in Hindi (the national language). For obvious reasons, this is often a sore point for Indians that practise other religions. The funny thing is that this translation is actually wrong. The word Hindustan was coined thousands of years ago by Persians traders who refered to India as the "land east of the river Indus". Hence, the word "Hindu" in "Hindustan" actually refers to the river "Indus" and not to "Hindu", the followers of Hinduism!

This is quite a strange country we have. We lay claims to greatness and acheivements, though they almost always have to do with our past. We talk about our potential to suceed but we never do. We take pride in our progress in IT and advanced technologies when half our population lies below the poverty line. If our success is so little and our progress so stunted, why do we still live peacefully? Why do we never see open revolts by the hungry, or instability in our governments as it so often happens in most African and Asian countries? What's the secret behind our stoicism that enables us to endure unimaginable hardships?

The secret is that deep down, most Indians, even if they're dirt poor, don't link happiness to material wealth. Over thousands of years, the concept of maya has permeated into the very fabric of our culture. Unlike the western culture that lays emphasis on morality and rules, the Indian culture encourages an understanding of this world as a whole. Maya defines the world as an illusion, an impermanent and fluid screen that blocks us from seeing the bigger picture. Although, human suffering cannot be ignored, there is infinite strength when we believe that this is of little consequence.

It never ceases to amaze me when i see the children in slums who look more cheerful than the yuppie kids. I'm overawed when i see 70 year olds trekking across India for their pilgrimage. It moves me when i see families living on the edge of poverty managing to give a part of their meal to a saadhu (mendicant). Yes, 46 years ago, the British left us alone. However, i maintain that Indians were always independant.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

the gods are hungry. bring forth the offerings!

This is my new blogchalk:
India, Karnataka, Bangalore, Indira Nagar, Hindi, English, arun, Male, 26-30, pulp fiction, art rock. :)

blog chalk

I decided to create a blog chalk that will encapsulate my life graphically in a 20x20 image and my personality in under 255 characters. If only god had 8 bit limitations in creating our personalities, there would be lesser wars and more blogs :-)

Blog chalk has asked me to create a post with my blog chalk summary. I, like a dutiful servant, ensnared by the wiles of information technology, shall dutifully comply. Hail to thee, o posessor of the wiliest of charms. Accept my humble blog chalk offering. Instruct your mighty bot to feed on it, digest it, and accept me as one of the microbial organisms living under your shelter.

Om shantih shantih shantih.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

god and his clueless minions

Came across this comment by Tom Coates about the existence of God.
Here's what he has to say:-

With regard to the point about absolute proofs for the non-existence of God, I think it's fair to say that I couldn't say with total logical conviction that there is no god. That's for the same reason that I couldn't say that there aren't invisible penguin militia walking down my street at the moment - that it's not logically possible to prove that anything doesn't exist. And more to the point, why on earth should we even believe that the burden of proof lies with the atheists anyway? It's the believers of the ludicrous who normally have to convince everyone else...
I choose to treat the concept of God with the same respect as I treat the other infinite possible invisble, intangible things that could exist in the universe (and which do so without leaving any evidence whatsoever, while going against all the evidence that we actually do have). And when I say I treat them with the same respect, I mean to say that I accept that they're all pretty much totally irrelevant. I simply refuse to accept that there's anything distinct and different about "God" that makes it different at a conceptual level from Mind-Control Cheese from Denver - ie. it's basically ridiculous. I do not consider myself 'agnostic' about Mind-Control Cheese. I do not think that the existence (or not) of naked invisible porno monkeys deserves to be considered an 'unsolvable question' worth serious debate. We give too much credit to these stories purely because a lot of people believe in them. That's not good enough.

You can also read the full article here

[On a lighter note]
The counter argument can be found in this page that contains 300 proofs that god does exist!

Reading these article got me thinking in a different (but slightly related) topic. Hence, I'll create another post out of it.

Monday, August 11, 2003


How i love it. One of the advantages of working the graveyard shift. Even the central A/C has been turned off. All i hear is the low hum of the hard drive, and the sporadic clack of my keyboard. I'm almost done here. Even the Americans are calling it a day now.

The drive back home should be fun. At 5 am, all i get to see are the 5 gazillion stray dogs and the 20 odd early morning types. 20 is quite a large number considering that Bangalore is quite chilly in the mornings. The drive will last 20 minutes to cover a measly 10 kms, even with zero traffic. Since Bangalore is supposed to be the IT hub of India, i guess everything here is virtual... even the roads.

signing off for now...

Friday, August 08, 2003

new kid on the blog?

It's been a really long time since i blogged. I've been actively following Jivha's blog, Anvita's blog, Jon's blog and Shyamal's photo blog among others. They've been posting some pretty neat stuff, and reading their blogs has become my daily morning activity.

I gave this blogging thing a try a few months ago but somehow, i ran out of steam after a few posts. I guess it was difficult for me because i'm not much of a diary person (especially an online one!) and felt a little naked when my thoughts were exposed to the world. Reading and commenting on the other blogs however has encouraged me a great deal to start blogging again :-)