Random Shayri - II

तेरी ज़ुल्फो की सियाही मैं पूरी रात बसर कर जाउ
जागने का सबब हो तो ये के तेरा दीदार कर पाउ

आँधियों मैं पत्तो के मानिंद, तेरी गर्म सांसो मैं बिखर जाउ
गर कहीं मुकाम पाउ तो तेरी ठंडी आहों मैं बस जाउ

सरक़शी है इश्क़ मैं मेरी इतनी के खुद की हयाती भूल जाउ
चाहत ये भी है की तेरे गुलाबी होठों पे तिल का नुक़्स बन के रह जाउ


Self assessment of Bertrand Russell

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy—ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness—that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what—at last—I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me


The Man from the Earth !!!

  1. You can make people believe anything you want,..... no matter how absurd it is. Create a persona they can relate to, which they think or feel is trustworthy or authentic. This is how cults are formed and sustained. People relate to and follow individuals who embody ideas. For example, Gandhi was the physical embodiment of non-violent protest.
  1. The harder you try to ’sell’, the worse you’ll be...... Trying too hard makes you look like you’re hungry for validation. If your idea is excellent, spread talking points and information to let others validate it. The best marketing work is invisible and pitch-free. You don’t know that they’ve succeeded in influencing you until you retro-actively examine your beliefs or actions.
  1. Fallible characters are attractive...... It’s not about the hero or underdog. When you promote a product through a persona, the most important thing to do is to make that persona fallible. Capable of errors. Able to fail. Just like you and me. Make them too perfect and you’ll find it difficult to elicit empathy.
  1. You don’t need much to engage your audience....... A great design, product, price and location are not necessary factors for success. Overdressing an idea can sometimes kill it. The Man from Earth worked well as a movie because of its intentional minimalism, which forces one to pay attention and hence be absorbed in the ongoing dialog. Therein lies its success in captivating minds. Capture mindshare first by giving ideas full emphasis.
  1. Personalize Myths and Avoid General Truths..... It is easy to debunk a general theory about everything because it leaves itself open to attack from all disciplines and angles. Persona-based claims are a little harder to dissect because their statements are tied to individual experience. So what if scientists say that avocado consumption doesn’t correlate to better skin. People will still buy them when an individual they know, respect or trust swears that the humble avocado has made her skin beautiful.


WHAT?............ideas, creativity, knowledge, vision
WHY?...............thinking, morals, challenging assumptions
WHERE?, place, the lab
WHO?..............networking, contacts, affected
WHEN?............time, diplomacy
HOW?...............action, execution, efficiency


Wo to khatam ho gayi !!!

I’VE BEEN ASSOCIATED with Saksham, a small NGO that runs a primary school for underprivileged children in Nithari village for some years now and if you ask me to describe the whole range of my experiences in one word, I would say ‘humbling’.

Nithari is a village on the Delhi-UP border which gained instant notoriety after the discovery of the gruesome murders of little children. Saksham started work there years before that incident and this has, in a way, been reason for guilt being a permanent part of one’s psyche now. For one knows that it easily could have been avoided if the rest of us, ensconced in our individual comfort traps, had paid heed.

Poverty is graded in a basti like Nithari. There are those who have a regular monthly income, like a guard in a security agency, an attendant in a hospital or school or a peon in a factory or office. Then there are those families where the father works as a rickshaw puller and the mother is a housemaid. Here, the combined household income would be Rs 6,000-7,000. But much of what the man earns will be wasted on alcohol. Any illness that needs hospitalisation throws them into debt traps with interest rates from moneylenders being as high as 10 percent per month.

The women and the children in this strata are the worst hit. One had always heard about this, but reality hit home for me when, one day, a kid came to school with pinkish welts on the hands and face and explained it away by saying, “Papa ne daaru peeke mara tha”. I squirmed inside, not knowing how to respond and feeling helpless and guilty knowing that he would go back home and undergo the same trauma. Once, I spotted one of the children bending down near an open drain, arm deep in the dirty black water, trying to retrieve a five-rupee coin. Jokingly, I asked him to let it be. He replied by saying he would be beaten up at home if he did that. Unthinkingly, one would begin teaching them a poem or a song or the importance of nutrition and the word ‘breakfast’ would have to be explained. Some kid would look at you, unblinkingly, and tell you that they only had tea in the morning and that they would eat only after their mother got back from work and cooked something. Why didn’t the women cook something for the children? Well, for one thing, we want our maids in our houses as early as possible to cook for us, don’t we? Plus, they could afford only two meals.

Pre and post the incident that had brought it into the limelight, the summers at Nithari have been oppressive. The children’s faces would break out in huge red boils, covering their neck and arms; the women of migrant families, mostly working as maids, would grow weary from the tedious work and the long walks from the kothis in the nearby sectors. The kids, both of their parents out to earn a living, are still left to their own. The older one, eight or nine years of age, would have to look after the younger siblings. For someone with a perverted bent of mind, luring and victimising children in a crowded basti like Nithari is not very difficult. What was really alarming was the proximity of the residence where the murders took place to the main road, flanked by similar houses on either side and a line of small shops a little further away. Alarming, for it spoke of a community too preoccupied with their own selves to even notice anything out of the ordinary happening around us.

The mood now, as it was back then, is of total mistrust of the systems in place. None of them really cater to the welfare of the residents and are mostly inaccessible and insensitive to their needs. For this strata, trauma is not a one time affair, it is a leitmotif in their saga for survival, immunity to this being built in even as kids. So the tone of voice of the kid whose sister died after a week of fever is steady when he walks up to the teacher and says “Ma’am, aap meri behen ka naam register se kaat do. Woh toh khatm ho gayi”.


Am I Akhoya's keeper ?

Gosh am so hungry, didn't have lunch today...Shall I go outside? ...All alone. ...Yup cool. Need to think about couple of things as well. Let's go then. ......And thus I arrived at the hotel that I frequently visit when am tired of mess food or just want to be alone while eating... Hmm so now the story begins..I travel all the stairs upto second floor and take a seat meant for 4. Rest all tables are nearly packed... And a guy, no a kid is directed to sit with me as he too is all alone. Age - 14-15 years. Will call him "Akhoya". Thats a good name, a weird name.... Well what the heck, am here just to note my thoughts/events/incidents during those 45 odd minutes. ...Hope, reader will be able to make some sense outta it. So here it goes all in the sequence that it occured/ appeared -

1. Should I tell the waiter to shift Akhoya some table(place) else?
2. No wait. why? Is it because he is poor?
3. Is he? Ya I guess...the clothes are a bit shabby and certainly the crevices between the fingers stand testimony not of work but of labour. Child labour? God knows
4. Why the heck I don't want to dine with this guy?
5. I thought this hotel was supposed to be "good". Well you cant say NO to anybody who can pay for the service.
6. Geeks... why I dont want to dine with Akhoya.
### Orders taken. Akhoya orders biryani.###
7. Biryani..hmm good choice...low on pocket and wholesome in rice, so gives u stuffed feeling... wait...Is choice the correct word here?
8. Should I talk to him? Why? Let's know him...just plain curiosity....Would he find it condescending? Is that my intention?
9. Man he is staring at me trying to gauge what I am thinking about him. Clearly, he is uncomfortable.
10. But why should he be? He gonna pay for sure, the same way i would. Then why is he uncomfortable
11. Oh I have had lot many stares at him. ...Cool ...lets ignore him...he will feel comfortable then
###I play with my mobile.###
12. Hmm...good sms from dad. . . Is he thinking I am doing a show off? Naah he is too busy with his own discomfort or waiting for biryani to think about these. 
13. Ok cool...will not stare at him any longer...let him enjoy...should I talk?
### A menacing person arrives and stares at me for 5 long extra seconds than what is normal###
14. Why is he staring at me like this? Maybe he is tired....Oh no wait.... Davinci code decoded !!!
###He is followed by his wife who is disproportionately beautiful for this to be a "made for each other" couple###
15. Now i know...Poor chap...on the wrong side of prevalent that people have forgotten it to be an indecent act... Might become an involuntary trait in humans after couple of years...
16. I pity you man !!! But dont worry, am not going to indulge into already overloaded with thoughts...
17. And dude rather than staring at me, you better save that look for the waiter who is being extra helpful to your "definitely better half"
18. I can safely say that it was only me and my diner mate who were harmless audience for the poor chap.... Rest were not audiences, they were spectators !!!
19. No man Akhoya is too young to indulge into such profanities... I am the only good one out here.... Yes that thought feels good.
20. Oh shit, Akhoya caught me staring at him while he was relishing biryani... My eyes have become involuntarily attached to Akhoya.
21. Am sorry, mate...that was unintentional...Should I talk to him?
22. My food arrives...Is Akhoya staring at me/my food?...Alright I cant escape from my thoughts...let me think about it
23. Is poverty BAD? No way man, most of the prophets were poor and so were great man/ philosphers...etc.. Then what is my problem with this kid?
24. What if there would have been that lady in his place?...Should I talk to him?
25. Yes I think it is this feeling of discomfort, this lack of self respect, this inferiority complex that it brings alongwith it...That's what makes poverty bad...
26. hmm..... should I talk to him as now we both are same...hungry people relishing their difference...
27. That damn waiter is still ogling at the lady. Oh they have changed seats now...Uncle is as much uncomfortable in this setting as Akhoya, albeit for different reasons !!!
28. Alright he has finished his cleaned his plate... I will, too...Today will not leave any food on the plate and never after hence forth...wait, this 'henceforth waala' promise is the 14th time I have promised the same thing to myself...well not 14th but umpteenth time for sure.
29. Am done too with this dish and no leftovers... but am hungry for more...maybe I will try kebabs with 7 up...yes the mental imagery of it(kebabs and 7 up) looks sheer good
30. Wait...let this chap/kid leave and then I will order... Why? God knows
31. Alright waiter is pushing for it....i order and Akhoya looks at me...No idea what he is thinking...
32. I notice that the waiter's action(manners) while serving the finger bowl to me and Akhoya is different. The hands move a tad more violently on Akhoya's side...Violent enough to cross the borders of decency for the one who is observant...
33. Oh man....that was rude...the way he put his "bill to pay". I would definitely have objected had the same manner been dished out to me...atleast would have given him a hard glance for sure... Akhoya, does not notice, I guess. No rather, I hope.
34. Funnily, even if there are no institutional structures in place, power-plays still happen.. here because of the quality of clothes or manners or the rich look. 
34. My 7 up arrives. Akhoya has paid his bill...Looks at my 7 up. then immediately looks somewhere else. Should I offer him one? Should I talk with him? I love Akhoya...Well do I?...Whatever, I want to teach the waiter a lesson
35. I call him and ask what happened to my order... he doesn't catch it in one go. He asks kya saab? I repeat. He mumbles something that I cant catch... And I pounce upon the chance and say, "zor se bolo ya koi aur bhasha main bol rahe ho". My tone is that of disgust and mild disdain. The waiter just smiles and says "Sir, sirf 2 minute main ho jaayega". 
36. I feel good although I know that "2 min" has never equalled 120 seconds...But what the heck Akhoya must be feeling better now? My God !! When did he leave? Perhaps, he whisked away too fast for anybody to notice...Am sure thats the way he would have wanted....hmm
37. Yaar, I wanted to talked to him...that's true....I would have talked to him....that's BS !!! haha... lolz.... O Akhoya ! God bless you and me..!!!
38. The waiter brings me my kebabs...and says earnestly "Sir sorry late ho gya tha". I am struck once again. I lose once again. But wait, what did I lose?... Everything.
39. I immerse myself on kebas and 7 up... Pay the bill, use finger bowl and the tap just to be very clean with my fingers.
40. While am leaving, I notice I left one kebab on a plate...Shit...Should I take it? What would the waiter think about it? No forget it, I am full. Ya that sounds good. I am full. 

Afterthought -  I see my fingers once again. They are clean !!!


Standing outside the fire !!!

We call them cool 
Those hearts that have no scars to show 
The ones that never do let go 
And risk the tables being turned 

We call them fools 
Who have to dance within the flame 
Who chance the sorrow and the shame 
That always comes with getting burned 

But you've got to be tough when consumed by desire 
'Cause it's not enough just to stand outside the fire 

We call them strong 
Those who can face this world alone 
Who seem to get by on their own 
Those who will never take the fall 

We call them weak 
Who are unable to resist 
The slightest chance love might exist 
And for that forsake it all 

They're so hell-bent on giving ,walking a wire 
Convinced it's not living if you stand outside the fire 

There's this love that is burning 
Deep in my soul 
Constantly yearning to get out of control 
Wanting to fly higher and higher 
I can't abide 
Standing outside the fire 

Standing outside the fire 
Standing outside the fire 
Life is not tried, it is merely survived !!!
If you're standing outside the fire !!!


The Impossible Dream !!!

To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure & chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest 
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into hell
For that heavenly cause

I know If I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
My heart will lie peaceful & calm
When I'm laid to my rest

The world will be better for this
That one man, scorned & covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

I'll always dream...
Yes, I'll reach...


Perils of Institutionalisation...

INSTITUTIONALISATION - There are things that are taken for granted & these have pernicious influence on our life and what is far worse, on our thinking. Yes most of us are and remain blissfully unaware of the extent to which our environs manipulate/design/affect us. Well there is hardware stuff to that and a software part of it. Let me write on the later. Most of the institutionalized thinking is based on some unfounded assumption or lack of seeing alternatives in a real world. It creates a simulation & at other times it is based on the Kafkaesque curtain of fear that is pulled over our eyes.

Bas beta, ye paas kar lo…fir aish hai…life ban jaayegi !!! – this statement ought to ring a bell for all of us. The only difference perhaps would lie in, who struck this bell? For some it may be father or mother, an uncle or an aunt, a teacher or a role model or simply a guy who has been labeled a ‘success’ by society. The fear has been hardwired onto us to the extent that all through our life, we have ran for safety havens may be through JEE exams, GRE, GMAT or our very own CAT? How many of us wanted a career in I banking prior to coming to Bschools? A(n) (un)precious few, I guess. And lo and behold, things suddenly changed in a course of 2-3 months. What happened between June 07 and Oct 07 that changed our perceptions of our strengths, our weaknesses, our thinking, our life, our dreams? And what is happening now? Those cookie cutter answers to ‘Tell me about yourself’ and ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’, got so hardwired onto us that we started believing them. There’s where, I guess, we lost our originality or lost touch with our true self. And mind you, its darn easy to blame the system for all this but when we get exhausted from all our cribs, let it be known that it is we who did not have guts to listen to ourselves? It is we who when needed most shunned ourselves. Bottomline is we lacked the guts to chart our own course - own course is not just entrepreneurship per se, it entails YOU making YOUR decisions, pursuing that which YOU know would give happiness to YOU, that which would give a sense of purpose to YOU or to put very simply pursuing that which YOU ‘like’.

At a personal meeting at Eklavya, Sunil Handa in his characteristic tone of disdain cum disgust lamented “Why the hell do students think that it is only campus placements that they should crave for? Why no one tries beyond? Why make world so pathetically small than it is?” This entailed a paradigm shift in my thinking and I don’t know if it does the same for the reader but I wish it does. I know most of us would reply that it is not about lack of opportunities outside, it is about leveraging the same inside the campus. Well all I gotta say or rather ask is since when did the so called leveraging (the existing opportunities) become a function of your true happiness or even define your purpose, your will, your likings? I thought the same honor went to Dreams. Pardon me if the thought comes across as a romantic caricature lacking substantially in either objectivity or practicality. But, I guess it is the same romantic thought(misnomered at that time as ‘lunacy’) that made Googles, Infosys, Apples, Microsofts of the world. It is the same lunacy that drove Mohd. Yunus, Robert Rodriguez, Tom Peters, Ricardo Semler, Richard Branson, Howard Hughes, Dhirubhai and likes.

I don’t boast of any noble intentions of fostering either entrepreneurship or even proposing the logic that present bad times in job market are good opportunities to venture out our own stuff. All I wanted to share was some thoughts on how the system robotizes us and in the process leaves us isolated from ourselves and ditch us into a quagmire of eventual gloom and emptiness. As Yates rightly pointed out way back in 60s in the novel Revolutionary Road – “Hopeless Emptiness- most will eventually see the emptiness of the lives that they are leading, but it is the precious few who have guts to see the hopelessness of it all !!!

Sincere apologies if the tone has a semblance to that of a preacher. That was not and can never be the intention, not for the lack of audacity but for the fact that me too is travelling in the same boat.
Let the truer sense prevail………………………………………………………………Signing out on Faith & Hope !!!


Gearing it up all at once !!! Let's enjoy the fall !!!

Libs & Labs

Crew & book
Campus +
MV talks
Op-ed magzy..SanSom physics...mathematics...symmetricity...biologist...lack of integration & Something...Genome...Naturalist...politics...change & entertainment


A passing thought on analogies...

I have always failed to appreciate the importance of analogies while explaining any concepts be it an engineering one or a management jargon or any damn thing. The apparent lack of appreciation comes from the simple fact that when one proposes and analogy B for a real event/topic A, a thorough and just problem solving would warrant a perfect similarity of B with A i.e. in terms of degree of freedoms, constraints, influences etc. However of all the analogies that I have been subjected to I rarely find, in fact have never found a mirror event for the one that is being analysed. And this fact would definitely entail a bias on basic problem solving step thus rendering the correlation essentially a futile exercise...The case is more severe in non engineering usages of analogies...Its funny that we actually love an orator or a teacher who explains a theory and then further diverts into the phrase "for instance" or "like"...this maybe because perhaps it aids the understanding process. I can fairly understand the need of analogy if mere "understanding" is the goal and "creativity" or "reimagination" is shelved as too utopian a perspective. But then that is what the goal of education is, if there ever is any goal...i.e. you understand the structures and try and reimagine them to make them better or in the language of computers..upgrade them.

To my mind however the reliance on analogy does not seem to be a thorough futile pursuit, but I think an apreciation of its limitation i.e. sum of parts might not add upto the whole; should always be kept in mind and the consequence of which is failure to appreciate the analogical reasoning as an unbiased problem solving method.


In Defense of Politics

Tehelka says Don’t argue with him, he knows all the arguments. And don’t dabble with him on constitutional history, he knows It all. A constitutional expert, he can give you a run for your money for details which even the finest historian might miss. And he is absolutely impeccable, he won’t write for you, barring for The Statesman for which he wrote for decades, and lately for Hindustan Times. A rare gem, among the judiciary, an intellectual who fights nonstop. Here's a gem from A G Noorani...


Learning from AR Rahman...

Music and spiritual surrender are the two big themes of his life. As he returns with the Golden Globe, we explore how the public gift and private search intersect to create magic..


And then they came for me !!!

Lasantha Wickramatunga was the editor of The Sunday Leader inSri Lanka. On January 8, he was shot dead by two gunmen on a motorcycle. This editorial, which he apparently wrote knowing his days were numbered, was published on January 11, 2009. Read on....

Pursuit of Ama-gi

The Moves.....the street dances
The Spy...nothing is real, Pacino
The Family....everyone is good at heart, necessarily so
The Conversations....Vienna/Paris - Delpy/Hawke
The IT guy....The Space is too large in the Offy
The Boxer....Ya, depression era Cinderella could help
The Sane ya.... Anne or Dia, Mirza could have it good

1729...The magic at deathbed
The Pulsars...knocks and piercing brightness. Book said so.
The Man... Everything's illusion says John the fish
The Book...Jobs and their stories
The Magic... secrets revealed and Norton is ashamed


Hopeless Emptiness !!!

The first time I read RR, I was 23 years old--and while I wasn’t a father of two who was stuck in a completely wrong marriage, I nonetheless felt a profound connection to him. This quote sums it up best: “He could even be grateful in a sense that he had no particular area of interest: in avoiding specific goals he had avoided specific limitations” (page 22). Of course, I have a goal but my inability to take the plunge made my early 20s as useless as if I hadn’t felt even a tiny flicker of that urge. Temping at offices, coasting along like a blade of grass in a still pond, my memories of myself in my 20s is of a shamefully deluded child, drinking and talking, drinking and talking, drinking and talking. 

And when I wasn’t talking, I was stuck in my own mind, crafting fantasies and daydreams that excused my passive behavior and allowed me to convince myself that I was still somehow the person I wanted to be. It was the only way I could accept myself. Reading RR helped to see myself for who I really was, and  has inspired me to get off my ass and actually do something with my life...............MT