Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leaving Stuttgart

Today ..its now 630 pm. I will be leaving Stuttgart in almost 12 hrs . The party is done , gifts exchanged ..all formalities carried out ...and now I am in my office just whiling away time.
How do I feel leaving a place that was my workplace for 6 monthes?
How do I feel leaving the group of my freinds and collegues in Office? How do I feel walking out of this office and knowing that perhaps this is the last time I will see these guys in years if not decades?

I feel sad and somewat empty . And there is an awkward silence in the office . Adding to that mood is the overcast day , the usual busy hum drum at the office and the fact that I will not come to office tomorrow.

Will I miss Germany? Most likely not. Will I miss my collegues ..most likely. Will they miss me ? I dont know.

Most likely too is the fact that on reachin India ,I will be so caught up that the memories of germany will fade away soon.
Maybe for the first few days I will wake up in the morning surprised that I am not in hostel but at home. Maybe for the first few days I will get surprised at the food and noise. Maybe for the first few days I will not stop calculating in Euros...
But thats for first few days, later I will get used and maybe the memories of Germany will be a distant nostalgic moment.

Maybe someday I will meet Takafumi, Navid, Micha or Vishnja some where else and we will relive our days. But we will never be the one group we were here. It will never be the same. Maybe worse maybe better..but never ever the same.

This was a wonderful time ..despite the work pressure . I am used to such shiftings where you move out of familiar circles and jump right into unfamiliar teritories. Its nice in a way but sometimes it emotionally drains you.

Maybe its natures way of telling me to value the freinds I have , the time I have , the moments I have, the joys I have ..Instead of missing today for tomorrow!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The clash of the titans

There is a small forest near the University in Stuttgart and sometimes I go for a run around the lake at its centre. It is a beautiful track and well kept.

The last time I went for a run I saw a lot of leech like creatures crawling on the forest floor at regular intervals. They are called slugs and although generally veeeeeryyyy slloooooww in movement they do try to move around. Even attempting to cross the forest paths in one sloooowww loooonnnggg trek.

I generally try my best to avoid stepping over them even though it means jumping half of the way. Frankly speaking I find their struggle to cross the forest path heroic. With their slow gait..this must feel like a marathon for them . But still they attempt it for food/sex/adventure..and I respect guys who attepmt heroic things so..kind of salute them as I jump over them. ;)

Anyway , they have got some company in slow mo world in terms of snails.

Now poor snails are not that great to look at but I always imagine them as school kids with a bag on their back and on their way to school. You know the "obedient types" who just look at the road and march ahead. I am sure that underneath that shell they have a small green water bottle and a neatly packed red and white tiffin box and their moms told them to go "straight to the school".

This forest is also full of the snails..small ones.

Yesterday as I was cooling down after the run I was stopped on my tracks by an interesting encounter. One slug was marching straight on to line of sight of an incoming snail. and they were like atleast 5 cm away from each other. This smelt interseting so I sat down on a nearby log and took in the scene.

The course of both of these guys were set and no one was even making any least attempt to change his/her course. So after an agoinising wait of 5 minutes ..the "thing" happened.
They both clashed head on. It was a scene to remember. I felt I was watching a slow motion crash of two armies. The slug had a minor compression of its body while the snail almost toppled over.

Now this was of course most inappropriate and they had no idea how to react. So after Mr Snail regained its balance and the slugs vibration came to an end, they again squared off. And again a "bang"

I felt that it was again a mistake and not a fight. Because after the second clash. Both of them looked around as if they were embarrassed to not look where they were going.
The snail was picking up his tiffin box while the slug dusted its coat and looked around. In a while somehow it looked as if they wre saying sorry and decided that the snail will take the right while slug will be on left.And soon they continued on their own slowfull and painfully long march.

For both creatures without a central nervous system to decide on the path to take after the clash..That was something that impressed me the most.

There is so much beauty ..If only we looked.

Borrowed Arguments

I am a pretty argumentative guy. I relish a good brainshaking argument. I like my ideas shaken , stirred..turned on my head . I like being given a perspective I missed out. I am an "argument for arguments sake" guy. I like to taste a sentence...In the sense that I like rolling it and looking at it from different sides. While I am lucky I have met a few guys who do not take arguments too personally ..I have been pissed off by a few "types" . I will try defining them

1. "I am important" Guys. These guys have had a mediocore life and have hit a jackpot once which is the defining moment . So they play it around with such aplomb that suddenly their argument becomes too personal. If you attack the logic they get sentimental.

2. "The Righteous" . The second variety are the "ethical" paper tigers. Their base logic is that the world is governed by the ethical code of conduct. So if its not "right" its obviously not true. They re most of the times the most hypocritical. And arguing with them is like having a bag of deep fried and stale chips. The taste is bad and you are left with bad farts.

3. "The super data banks" . They are one of the funniest because they tie themselves up in their own arguments by generalising facts. So if the sun rises in the east today..they are sure it will rise tomorrow and for a billion tomorrows(believe me there is a slim possibility that you wont see the sun tomorrow..there is no 100% chance that it will rise). Now these guys draw upon facts,documentaries and science to prove their case. Most often they borrow quotes and base their argument on authority. For example "bertrand russel said so.." hence its infalliable. But neverthe less they are the least bad of the lot. You may not gain in logic but yes an open minded discussion is still possible...

Now I come to the most virulent of the specis..The "borrowed arguments dealers"

4. Borrowed argument dealers. These are by far the most irritating of the lot. A strain of the super data banks these state "borrowed logic" from others without stating the source.

They are the most confident because they "know". They pick up argumental logic from religious gurus , management books , tv shows and present it. Since its a valid argument..sometimes I am stunned by the logic. But when reality dawns on the copyright..I am dissapointed.

The best part of the whole story is that majority of arguments spoil sports are the "borrowed" variety. And the most vociferous. They cant diffrentiate between a quarrel and logic. And when their sources are revealed they become violent.

As a non-violent man..I have decided that I will do my best to avoid them.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The most beautiful women..Ac to me

A few days ago I asked some one I knew.."who do u think is the most beautiful woman ever to represent female sexuality on bollywood " ...The answer was a certain "Madhubala". I beg to disagree.

I was very specific in my question "female sexuality" . No I did not mean skin show(although frankly ..its someones skin ..and I do not see the problem in showing any skin,if its beautiful that is..). Anyway what I meant was a woman who filled the screen with "feminine presence " when she used to be there. A presence which was tangible and sensual even while fleeting and momentary.

A woman whose "womanness" was so beautiful that it made you fall in love with not only her but with the beauty of idea of a woman. An idea that is strong,and soft alternating in its feel to drive you to a level of conciousness where you feel the alternating void and fullness of pure and unadulterated happiness.

A woman who was ,as all great things are, was more than the sum of her parts. She was more than the sum of her eyes ,nose or skin..She was more than her dance, she was more than her acting skills. She was simply more. As if , even if she would just stand in front of the camera , the joy of seeing her would not be diminished.

I do not think Madhubala was all that. She was a fair sack of super fine flour. Her smile was asymetric and everytime she tried to "love" the camera the scene fell flat. She was the Aishwarya Rai equivalent of yesteryears.Always swooning..always sighing..Maannnnnn that is SO irritating if one does that 24/7. Meena kumari was a good actress but here I am talking about physical and sensual beauty and frankly I always felt she looked like a leper with makeup. We shall leave Zeenat Aman and Parvin Babi out of our discussion because frankly although I do not dislike bikinis...Sometimes overdoin it takes away the mystery of the whole idea ..and a woman dumb enough to not realise that deserves my sympathy ..not admiration.

The only one who came close to my idea of being wat I wrote in the first few paragraphs was Shabana Azmi. Especially the way "Arth" revolved around her(Arth revolved around her..say that aloud). But somewhere she died down as she plateaued.

I feel that a lot of women in bollywood are pretty, and I am not one of those "golden days fan" . Yes most of the heroines are pretty ,but there is n important difference in being pretty and beaing beautiful.

The difference is that of "mystery" . Which is in a way of saying that if you are intelligent enough to create illusions than that adds to the prettiness

Prettiness+ Mystery= Sensuality

So now who do I think is that woman? Hmmmm...Lets see She was the same women to whom RajKapoor sang "Duniya Banane wale ..kya tere mann mein samayi". Indeed "kya cheez banayi"(thats my line..sorry for the cheap hindi ending)

Monday, June 15, 2009

The automata of our lives

I was reading a book on Cellular automata and somehow I think we behave acording to one as we move in time. As most of u know cellular automata is a matrix that has a space dependent variance as it proceeds in time.

Which simply means its a matrix that changes based on last condition. Something like Markov Processes. Which is again like a drunk man...he only remembers the fact that last time he was in a bar. all memory ..wife kids etc are irrelevent in his hunt for the next bar. The only relevant thing is the last memory that the last bar had closed down.

Lets think of our controllable variables in life..(Partially controllable)

Lets think of Weakly controllable variables like our siblings, spouses etc


And lets say non controllable variables


Then there are varuables we do not know the property say..a kid on the road..can u control him? if yes in wat way does he affect ur actions..

So name them and Unknown,,


Now at the time u are born lets take it as t1..and as u grow the t increases to t2 , t3..etc


tend= the end of ur the state variables at ur death..

So ur life in a way has the shape of a matrix containing these variables which change every moment in a random fashion..or maybe there are simple rules.
Since Cellular automamta has a complex "look" based on the fact that it in fact has "simple" underlaying principles..Doesnt it sound probable that even our emotions and dependent parameters change in a very simple way but also lead to complex patterns.

Which leaves a possibility open that our life is infact complex but yet governed by a simple set of rules.
Rich behaviour ..simple rules.

Thats a rule for automata ..maybe there is one for our lives

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The wave

Yesterday I saw a movie ..a german one called "The wave". It was a movie suggested by a german guy working with me in the office .
The recommendation was prompted by a discussion we had in the cofee room about Hitler.
The german guy is a big fan of Gandhi and wanted to know how Indians look to him.
I told him that we revere him as a guy who led a billion guys to freedom. I also told him that while we had differences in the personal life of bapu..I as a person look up to him .I told him about Subhas chandra Bose and how he had used the POWs in the WW2 to fight aginst the British, and had some sort of pact with the japanese and Germans too ..but Gandhi was against Hitler and somehow ethically he convinced Indians that the British may be bad but this was worse.
Surprsisingly he seemed to agree and was full of admiration for the ethics led freedom struggle.
The conversation then turned to Hitler. He said something very interesting.

The crux of the matter was that he did not think that Hitler as a "evil" guy was blown out of proprtion. He said that at that point in time the germans cooperated with the idea and Hitler was only a focal point.
For example , he said, the first three years of war had a volunteer german army. No forced army conscriptions. I asked him how did this happen?
Why did German want to kill the jews..why did so much hatred against the French and Polish people.
He suggested that I watch this movie .
I did.
The movie was an eye opener. Its a high school based movie about an experiment on lines of Hitlers third reich.
If you get a chance please watch it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

When in Rome ...screw God !!!

There are two things that have happened since I came to Germany ...One I have watched youtube too much and I have been to Rome.

Two disconnected things that some how fell together when I was on the Plane back from Rome.

An introduction is due. The youtube videos I had been lapping up were the religious ones ..sometimes pleading..sometimes threatening and sometimes outright funny. Infact I have always benn amused by such religious videos. I can spend hours infront of Quran TV or Sanskar TV ....because nothing amuses me more than religion. I am highly entertained by serious people getting so damn serious about something so hillarious.

Anyway how does this relate to Rome? After all Rome is home of Vatican...the seat of the Church. I will come to that , but first a short history of Roman empire. Roman empire was the glory of Europe for 1000 years...shortly it rose for 5oo yrs..peaked for 200 and fell gradually for 300 years... ! All this from 500 BC to 500 AD. Big deal! Quite a big deal indeed !

What actually intrigued me was that all the grand monuments ..achievments in engineering...arts were made during the Rise and Peak time a time when there was supposed to be utter chaos. There were a thousand convinient pagan Gods , the emporor was a God and so were his homosexual lovers, even favorite servants became Gods if the emperor so pleased. There were Games , debaucherry, sex, drugs ..and rock n roll(ok..i got carried away).
In short it was an utterly "sinfull" and "materialistic" place...with no God , no purity and no salvation. Yes it was ....utterly debauched. Yet yet yet..this group of "barbaric" people somehow built aqueducts...around 6000 miles of paved highways, the colloseum and invented advanced engineering. Infact this god-less time coincided with the peak of the empire ...till about 200 AD.

Yes there were lost battles ..killed emperors etc but Roma was the America of its day.

And then Constantine the Roman Emperor ushered in Christianity in 300 AD and within 300 short years Rome lost not only its empire but was relegated to dustbins of history ..till another Godless time began in Renaissance with Da Vinci.

This strangely got me thinking about the corelation between religion and Progress ....I started comparing organised religions rise and rise of civilisational power.
What I found is actually simple and may be too simplistic ..but there is a NEGATIVE corelation.
Example..Egypt(islamic), Mesopotamia(islamic),Rome(christian) etc....!
And the regions which remined largely untouched by falling fortunes were godless ones like China,Russia or people who didnt care like India, IndoChina,Srilanka..(I say Indians are deeply spiritual but non religious..frankly I feel its a culture than a religion. I am thinking hard of an Indian who died solely for his religion..yes the Sikh gurus but few else, compare it with Christian/islamic deaths)

Wherever organised religion took roots ate away at everything . It was as if it fossilised an active culture into passive worship of few "selected" individuals ..who were the middlemen of God/s. No scienc, no culture..only faith.

Why is religion so corrosive?And why is it so attractive?

I feel that the reasons for both these answers are

1. Religion makes you happy as it tells you in some tiwsted way that you are not responsible for your actions. Yes , God has created you. You did not have a say. Whatever you do or say is Gods will so in a way since you are his product ..u do not owe anything to ur own decisions.

2. Religion gives and indeed promotes a non-questioning mind. Its a strange case where one feels comfortable with easy but wrong(empirical) answers. This is a very powerful incentive because thinking and doubting is hard work..very hard work.

That makes me feel happy in a way for India . Because as a country we are actually becoming more like consumerist and debauched Rome. We are losing our God and maybe concentrating on too many.
Maybe like a few others I see hope for the second rise of our civilisation. Without Gods grace!