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Moving on

I have moved on and away from LJ - that companion of 4 years, and onto a new song of despair on word-press. Do visit.

URL: http://porcine.wordpress.com
RSS: http://porcine.wordpress.com/feed/


Another beautiful song from the stable of Kishore Kumar. Lyrics, in Hindi for your pleasure, I had thought about translating this into English, but i couldn't do justice and so i will not try and mutilate a work of art..

कभी पल्कॊ पे आन्सू हैं
कभि लब पे शिकायत हैं
मगर ऐ ज़िन्दगि फिर भि
मुझे तुझ से मौहब्बत हैं

जो आता है वॊह जाता हैं
ये दुनियां आनी जानी हैं
यहां हर शए मुसाफ़िर हैं
सफ़र में ज़िन्दगानीं हैं

उजालों कि ज़रूरत हैं
अन्धेरा मेरि किस्मत हैं


ज़रा ऐ ज़िन्दगिं दम ले
तेर दीदार तो कर लूं
कभि देखा नहिं जिस को
उसॆ मैं प्यार तो कर लूं

अभि से छोड कर मत जा
अभि तेरि ज़रूरत है


कोई अन्जान सा चेह्रा
उभर्ता है फ़िज़ाओ में
येह किस कि आहटें जागी
मेरि खामोश राहों में

अभि ऐ मौत मत आना
मेरा अभि आना जन्नत हैं


and so i go on to add songs to my travel playlist.


Car Troubles

So. I had bought a Honda Accord 1998 from an outgoing member of the the class of 2008. It was cool, it was manual transmission. Sweet. Now apart from correct driving side issues, i can drive any car anywhere in the world. That's what i wanted. But then things happened.

The car failed state inspection test - the catalytic converter wasn't working. Bugger that. Cost me something like 300 quids to fix that and a day spent running around shops to get the best deal. In the process i missed a meeting with a professor in regard to my internship. And so some peace of mind when i tried to figure out what exactly is due-diligence in raising x amount of funds for series B VC funding. Thankfully figured that out in the end.

And today, when i picked up my car from the garage after spending the afternoon taking picture of the streets of Portland, ME i realized that something was wrong. First the car was moving with sudden thrusts. The kind you get when say the engine is not getting enough gas and is hence backfiring. Scary. I called up a repair shop and decided to drop it in. In the meanwhile i thought maybe there isn't enough gas in the car. The needle was stuck at 1/6th full mark or something, but it wouldn't go down or up when i switched ignition. Suspicious and so i went and filled in to full tank. No "sudden thursts" after that. Relief. But while i was driving over to the Mall, i now noticed a swaying movement. Earlier there had been oil leak when parked and so it was a good idea to show in at the Mechanic anyway.

Turns out that a tire was punctured in the path and such that it had to be replaced. Never have my vehicles had a simple puncture. Be it with my Pulsar 180 or now this car, all my punctures had been shears through the rubber instead of pin-sized holes. So then had to have the tire changed. And apparantely the oil tray for the Engine oil is rusted and leaking. That's another thing to take care of once i get back from my vacation. Easily a 100 quid job.

Enough car troubles for me. I will keep this car for the rest of the year, obviously. But i am done with second hands, or in this case, probably a third hand. For all the steep depreciation in the value of a new car - it is far better to buy or better lease a new car and have peace of mind with some sound engineering, unaffected by wear and tear!



When you left, you took more
Than what you thought;
It was not just my love
But all my love and my peace too

Why did you have to go?
Were our steps never in rhyme
Were my eyes too high, my step too slow?

And now that you are not here
I look for you in the women i meet,
Verily they disappoint, and if they don't
Your pedestal is too high

The hole you gave my heart
Is un-mended, and yet
You never stopped to look back, even once?




missing old days and folks... :(


Insights for Search

This new service by Google is uber-good! You can check how a particular key-word is behaving in popularity over a period of time, across countries and different regions within countries. The data is scaled to 100 for some reference point - usually the top searched item/location depending on context. Hence, if I were to search for "Rush Limbaugh" in this service i see a scale of 100 for USA and 12 in Canada; this implies that the talk show host is 88% less popular in Canada when compared to US.

Now these insights are obviously derived from the searches made on Google and hence any analysis on this data should presume that the segment under consideration has access to the Internet and even within that we are speaking about users of Google's search engine. Hence, any analysis should be done in the backdrop of common demographics. Which is why if i do a comparison of keywords between US and Canada, i can safely compare the results and believe that the rules of statistics could be applied. Ergo, my result from searching for Rush Limbaugh could be used for marketing research analysis. Which is exactly what i am using them for in concluding the final phase of my internship; after all i didn't even knew who Rush Limbaugh was 2 months ago.

A very interesting analysis that one could also do from this service is to see trends within countries. Hence, i went ahead and searched on locations for India for all search terms from 2004 to present. The results are revealing:

Google, yahoo and Orkut occupy the top spots with Nokia and games also in the top 10. Interestingly "indian railways" and "indian railway" both occupy top ranks (9 and 15 respectively) with "irctc" at 43 and "indian rail" at 46. Since several airlines figure in this top 50 list as well, it is conceivable that the category travel as a whole could very well occupy the top spot (in comparison Shopping would probably be the top category in USA). What was intriguing was the presence of URLs in search terms - "www.yahoo.com" occupies 36th place! And while games is ranked 4th, Wikipedia, ranked 19 has grown by more than 2630% over the period.

The hilarious bit though was "pinkworld" at 39th position - in the country of Kamasutra and Khajuraho with repressed sexual emotions, this is perhaps not surprising!



Not so long ago, i had mentioned to a friend the unique nature of Indian culture to assimilate alien concepts, particularly where theology is concerned. Thus, while the Hindu believes in trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh which are perhaps a notch below the all pervasive Shakti or "a cosmic power", it accepts all sorts of individuals to exist in the pantheon of gods and either assigns them some natural phenomenon or portrays them as a re-incarnation of God, of the trinity - almost always Vishnu, but still. Hence, Indra is a god responsible for the rains and hence the most powerful of the "lesser" gods and therefore the king of heaven - or whatever the equivalent concept is in Hinduism. On the other hand Rama and Krishna are incarnations of Vishnu and bring a message of God to the people at large: Rama speaking about perhaps the necessity of the ruler to always ensure the well-being of his/her kingdom (or queen-dom) even at the cost of personal anguish and Krishna speaking of the role of duty and importance of love (in all its manifestations) for the happiness of the human being.

In my view, there are two components to this religious phenomenon. The Trinity and the "lesser" gods are there to make sense of natural phenomenon such as the weather and birth and death; while the re-incarnates are great personalities of ages past that made a difference to people's lives. Much as Gandhi did in modern times, is it not possible for there to be a Krishna and a Rama that brought more meaning to the population of their times?

Speaking about the latter category of gods, perhaps those personalities that worked within the rules of the Hindu tradition - accepting the vedas, the varna system and what not, were raised on a pedestal of god hood. On the other hand those that questioned this system and propagated a new system of belief - a new religion, if you will - were not always so highly praised. The Brahmins ensured that these were not a part of the Hindu system and their traditions were not destroyed - after all, it was to the benefit of the powerful, the Brahmin and the Kshatriya to ensure the continuance of the system that gave them their power. Hence, the "non-Hindu" great persons were not called gods unto themselves.

And here comes the great tradition of Indian and i say Hindu culture. The birth-dates of Rama and Krishna are widely celebrated in India in the form of Ramnavmi and Janmashtmi festivals. But the birth-dates of Budhha is also celebrated as Budh-purnima and increasingly that of Jesus - even by Hindu households. True, Budh Purnima is celebrated in more homes than Christmas is, but then Gautam Budhha was born in India and his teachings and his religion has existed among the people for far longer than Christianity has. How long will it take before the teachings of Christianity are also assimilated among those of the larger Hindu culture and the birth of Jesus celebrated among the common households in mufassil India?

The Catholic Bishop's council of India has released an Indianized version of The Bible which quotes "verses from ancient Indian texts like the Upanishads and Vedas to explain the life and teachings of Jesus Christ." I see this as a step in the direction that will assimilate the teachings of Christianity among that of the Hindu. along with those of Gandhi and indeed Mohammed. I strongly believe that Hindu society is secular in its ethos and when i say Hindu here, i mean the culture of the people living in the Indian sub-continent. It has assimilated and made its own the large influences that came its way over the centuries. Will not the more modern influences be similarly in-grained. After all, members of all religious faiths visit Mount Mary in Bombay as they do the Dargah at Ajmer Sharif and that at Haji Ali.

This will sound provocative to my non-Hindu friends and I apologize in advance - indeed, I believe that at some time in the distant future the gods and great persons of other religions will be praised in much the same way as the "native" gods of Hinduism are revered. Provided, that is, the culture of assimilation that is Indian remains in its essence and not replaced by the currents of fundamentalism that are increasingly buffeting the nation.




Is the age old of persecution of Jews now being replaced by the persecution of the Muslims? This story in Outlook points out interesting developments in the backdrop of increasing radicalizations of Indian Muslims - historically viewed as pieceful and backward minority community that was scared against the majority Hindu community, the article describes how the intelligentsia among Muslim youth is increasingly turning to violence as a response to this persecution.

Arguably, the youth picked up at random by the Police are inevitably the poor, the marginalized, un-educated while the prosperous and educated individuals indulge in conspiracies and arm-chair rhetoric. The solution, the un-ghettoization and end to persecution is possible through economic upliftment. That requires investment in education and a stake in prosperity for people across communal and religious boundaries. This violence will stop only when those whose backs are pressed against the wall have something to lose beyond their lives - which they feel are meaningless. "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose" and this absolute freedom to wantonly attack other's freedom has to be denied.



Imaging the sand of the... desert and imagine a trillion universes - not worlds but universes - encapsulated in each grain of that desert; and within each universe an infinity of others. We tower over these universes from our pitiful vantage points... with one swing of my boot i may knock a billion billion worlds flying off into darkness, in a chain never to be completed.
Adapted from The Dark Tower by Stephen King.

It is only in imagination that we can try and fail to encapsulate the infinite. Where are we, within our unknown, infinite universe. Where does our infinite universe reside? What is beyond the known? What is known? What are we made of? Atoms? Neutrons and positrons and Quacks? When did we come into existence? In the year xyz of some reference point of the birth of someone? When was that someone born? How much time lapsed after the birth of this, our universe, when this someone was born. What is birth and what lapsed before the universe came into existence. What is existence? Infinite questions that I have asked before in my measly existence and there is no answer, there has never been. For what answer can there be when every answer begets an infinitude of questions?

We delve into the metaphysics - the pastime of philosophers for eons - who are we, where do we exist, when did we come into being, for what purpose? Men have asked this question to no avail. This is the realm of metaphysics, with no absolute answers. There are no absolute answers.

And so we exist and make what we may of our being. Being and nothingness.



For all my cosmopolitan leanings i remain a staunch nationalist:

The nightlong battle came after one Indian soldier and four Pakistanis were killed Monday along the border between sections of Kashmir

reports the New York Times on recent violation of ceasefire by Pakistan. As General Patton (or some US general during the WWII) said - war is won not by dying for the country but by making them mother-f_____ die for their own sodden countries.

You go Jawans!


Latest Month

August 2008

ma poésie sur moi

i am nothing
a blog on the netscape
a dot in the universe
a seat in the building
a friend
a lover
a bike on the roads
a bed in the room
a mind full of activity
bulging with creativity
(not just mine, others' will do)
i am nothing
but my brain denies this
and makes a meaning of me
in the syntax of things.



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