Saturday, January 19, 2008

Capitalism vs. Communism

Bobby Fischer’s death immediately reminded me of only one thing. Ayn Rand’s ‘An Open letter to Boris Spassky’!

I can’t claim myself to be a great fan of Ayn Rand. Don’t know why, but I have found the books extremely dry. But years ago, I never had the courage to claim so, because it was fashionable to say that I read Ayn Rand and sprinkle your conversations with a few quotes from here or there. That was the time, where you felt that you need to conform to peer groups’ thoughts as a mandate. No such pressure now. In fact, being a non-conformist is more fashion now.

Having said all that, there is still one piece by her which I regard as the finest and in a way opened up my eyes towards communism. I grew up with a steady dose of communism with my brother being a party member and New Century Book house sold high quality print books at a very low cost. It was Ya Perelman’s ‘Mathematics can be fun’ that created a huge interest for Maths in me. And the Soviets were anyway claiming that all inventions of the West were done by them earlier, albeit secretly. But for a 14 year old, it was plain heroism. So, I was an ardent communist myself. If communism involved printing good books and selling at cheap cost, even today I will vote for the Communists. Anyway, one thing that changed my outlook on Soviet Russia and Communism was this Ayn Rand’s article. A chess match between a prodigal, eccentric Free world citizen and a highly organized genius of the Communist world was billed as a battle between Capitalism and Communism. Fischer won of course!

But the best that happened because of the series is this letter. Here I reprint it!



An Open Letter to Boris Spassky

Dear Comrade Spassky:

I have been watching with great interest your world chess championship match with Bobby Fischer. I am not a chess enthusiast or even a player, and know only the rudiments of the game. I am a novelist-philosopher by profession.

But I watched some of your games, reproduced play by play on television, and found them to be a fascinating demonstration of the enormous complexity of thought and planning required of a chess player--a demonstration of how many considerations he has to bear in mind, how many factors to integrate, how many contingencies to be prepared for, how far ahead to see and plan. It was obvious that you and your opponent had to have an unusual intellectual capacity.

Then I was struck by the realization that the game itself and the players' exercise of mental virtuosity are made possible by the metaphysical absolutism of the reality with which they deal. The game is ruled by the Law of Identity and its corollary, the Law of Causality. Each piece is what it is: a queen is a queen, a bishop is a bishop--and the actions each can perform are determined by it's nature: a queen can move any distance in any open line, straight or diagonal, a bishop cannot; a rook can move from one side of the board to the other, a pawn cannot; etc. Their identities and the rules of their movements are immutable--and this enables the player's mind to devise a complex, long-range strategy, so that the game depends on nothing but the power of his (and his opponent's) ingenuity.

This led me to some questions that I should like to ask you.

1.. Would you be able to play if, at a crucial moment--when, after hours of brain-wrenching effort, you had succeeded in cornering your opponent--an unknown, arbitrary power suddenly changed the rules of the game in his favor, allowing, say, his bishops to move like queens? You would not be able to continue? Yet out in the living world, this is the law of your country--and this is the condition in which your countrymen are expected, not to play, but to live.

2.. Would you be able to play if the rules of chess were updated to conform to a dialectic reality, in which opposites merge--so that, at a crucial moment, your queen turned suddenly from White to Black, becoming the queen of your opponent; and then turned Gray, belonging to both of you? You would not be able to continue? Yet in the living world, this is the view of reality your countrymen are taught to accept, to absorb, and to live by.

3.. Would you be able to play if you had to play by teamwork--i.e., if you were forbidden to think or act alone and had to play not with a group of advisers, but with a team that determined your every move by vote? Since, as champion, you would be the best mind among them, how much time and effort would you have to spend persuading the team that your strategy is the best? Would you be likely to succeed? And what would you do if some pragmatist, range-of-the-moment mentalities voted to grab an opponent's knight at the price of a checkmate to you three moves later? You would not be able to continue? Yet in the living world, this is the theoretical ideal of your country, and this is the method by which it proposes to deal (someday) with scientific research, industrial production, and every other kind of activity
required for man's survival.

4.. Would you be able to play if the cumbersome mechanism of teamwork were streamlined, and your moves were dictated simply by a man standing behind you, with a gun pressed to your back--a man who would not explain or argue, his gun being his only argument and sole qualification? You would not be able to start, let alone continue, playing? Yet in the living world, this is the practical policy under which men live--and die--in your country.

5.. Would you be able to play--or to enjoy the professional understanding, interest, and acclaim of an international Chess Federation--if the rules of the game were splintered, and you played by "proletarian" rules while your opponent played by "bourgeois" rules? Would you say that such "polyrulism" is more preposterous than polylogism? Yet in the living world, your country professes to seek global harmony and understanding, while proclaiming that she follows "proletarian" logic and that others follow "bourgeois" logic, or "Aryan" logic, or "third-world" logic, etc.

6.. Would you be able to play if the rules of the game remained as they are at present, with one exception: that the pawns were declared to be the most valuable and non-expendable pieces (since they may symbolize the masses) which had to be protected at the price of sacrificing the more efficacious pieces (the individuals)? You might claim a draw on the answer to this one--since it is not only your country, but the whole living world that accept this sort of rule in morality.

7.. Would you care to play, if the rules of the game remained unchanged, but the distribution of rewards were altered in accordance with egalitarian principles: if the prizes, the honors, the fame were given not to the winner, but to the loser--if wining were regarded as a symptom of selfishness, and the winner were penalized for the crime of possessing a superior intelligence, the penalty consisting in suspension for a year, in order to give others a chance? Would you and your opponent try playing not to win, but to lose? What would this do to your mind?

You do not have to answer me, Comrade. You are not free to speak or even to think of such questions--and I know the answers. No, you would not be able to play under any of the conditions listed above. It is to escape this category of phenomena that you fled into the world of chess.

Oh yes, Comrade, chess is an escape--an escape from reality. It is an "out," a kind of "make-work" for a man of higher than average intelligence who was afraid to live, but could not leave his mind unemployed and devoted it to a placebo--thus surrendering to others the living world he had rejected as too hard to understand.

Please do not take this to mean that I object to games as such: games are an important part of man's life, they provide a necessary rest, and chess may do so for men who live under the constant pressure of purposeful work. Besides, some games--such as sports contests, for instance--offer us an opportunity to see certain human skills developed to a level of perfection.

But what would you think of a world champion runner who, in real life, moved about in a wheelchair? Or of a champion high jumper who crawled about on all fours? You, the chess professionals, are taken as exponents of the most precious of human skills: intellectual power--yet that power deserts you beyond the confines of the sixty-four squares of a chessboard, leaving you confused, anxious, and helplessly unfocused. Because, you see, the chessboard is not a training ground, but a substitute for reality.

A gifted, precocious youth often finds himself bewildered by the world: it is people that he cannot understand, it is their inexplicable, contradictory, messy behavior that frightens him. The enemy he rightly senses, but does not choose to fight, is human irrationality. He withdraws, gives up, and runs, looking for some sanctuary where his mind would be appreciated--and he falls into the booby trap of chess.

You, the chess professionals, live in a special world--a safe, protected, orderly world, in which all the great, fundamental principles of existence are so firmly established and obeyed that you do not even have to be aware of them. (They are the principles involved in my seven questions.) You do not know that these principles are the preconditions of your game--and you do not have to recognize them when you encounter them, or their breach, in reality. In your world, you do not have to be concerned with them: all you have to do is think.

The process of thinking is man's basic means of survival. The pleasure of performing this process successfully--of experiencing the efficacy of one's own mind--is the most profound pleasure possible to men, and it is their deepest need, on any level of intelligence, great or small. So one can understand what attracts you to chess: you believe that you have found a world in which all irrelevant obstacles have been eliminated, and nothing matters, but the pure, triumphant exercise of your mind's powers. But have you, Comrade?

Unlike algebra, chess does not represent the abstraction--the basic pattern--of mental effort; it represents the opposite: it focuses mental effort on a set of concretes, and demands such complex calculations that a mind has no room for anything else. By creating an illusion of action and struggle, chess reduces the professional player's mind to an uncritical, unvaluing passivity toward life. Chess removes the motor of intellectual effort--the question "What for?"--and leaves a somewhat frightening phenomenon: intellectual effort devoid of purpose.

If--for any number of reasons, psychological or existential--a man comes to believe that the living world is closed to him, that he has nothing to seek or to achieve, that no action is possible, then chess becomes his antidote, the means of drugging his own rebellious mind that refuses fully to believe it and to stand still. This, Comrade, is the reason why chess has always been so popular in your country, before and since it's present regime--and why there have not been many American masters. You see, in this country, men are still free to act.

Because the rulers of your country have proclaimed this championship match to be an ideological issue, a contest between Russia and America, I am rooting for Bobby to win--and so are all of my friends. The reason why this match has aroused an unprecedented interest in our country is the longstanding frustration and indignation of the American people at your country's policy of attacks, rovocations, and hooligan insolence--and at our own government's overtolerant, overcourteous patience. There is a widespread desire in our country to see Soviet Russia beaten in any way, shape or form, and--since we are all sick and tired of the global clashes among the faceless, anonymous masses of collective--the almost medieval drama of two individual knights fighting the battle of good against evil, appeals to us symbolically. (But this, of course, is only a symbol; you are not necessarily the voluntary defender of evil--for all we know, you might be as much its victim as the rest of the world.)

Bobby Fischer's behavior, however, mars the symbolism--but it is a clear example of the clash between a chess expert's mind, and reality. This confident, disciplined, and obviously brilliant player falls to pieces when he has to deal with the real world. He throws tantrums like a child, breaks agreements, makes arbitrary demands, and indulges in the kind of whim worship one touch of which in the playing of chess would disqualify him for a high-school tournament. Thus he brings to the real world the very evil that made him escape it: irrationality. A man who is afraid to sign a letter, who fears any firm commitment, who seeks the guidance of the arbitrary edicts of a mystic sect in order to learn how to live his life--is not a great, confident mind, but a tragically helpless victim, torn by acute anxiety and, perhaps, by a sense of treason to what might have been a great potential.

But, you may wish to say, the principles of reason are not applicable beyond the limit of a chessboard, they are merely a human invention, they are impotent against the chaos outside, they have no chance in the real world. If this were true, none of us would have survived nor even been born, because the human species would have perished long ago. If, under irrational rules, like the ones I listed above, men could not even play a game, how could they live? It is not reason, but irrationality that is a human invention--or, rather, a default.

Nature (reality) is just as absolutist as chess, and her rules (laws) are just as immutable (more so)--but her rules and their applications are much, much more complex, and have to be discovered by man. And just as a man may memorize the rules of chess, but has to use his own mind in order to apply them, i.e., in order to play well--so each man has to use his own mind in order to apply the rules of nature, i.e., in order to live successfully. A long time ago, the grandmaster of all grandmasters gave us the basic principles of the method by which one discovers the rules of nature and life. His name was Aristotle.

Would you have wanted to escape into chess, if you lived in a society based on Aristotelian principles? It would be a country where the rules were objective, firm and clear, where you could use the power of your mind to its fullest extent, on any scale you wished, where you would gain rewards for your achievements, and men who chose to be irrational would not have the power to stop you nor to harm anyone but themselves. Such a social system could not be devised, you say? But it was devised, and it came close to full existence--only, the mentalities whose level was playing jacks or craps, the men with the guns and their witch doctors, did not want mankind to know it. It was called Capitalism.

But on this issue, Comrade, you may claim a draw: your country does not know the meaning of that word--and, today, most people in our country do not know it either.


Sincerely,

Ayn Rand
Sep. 11, 1972

Friday, January 18, 2008

601 not out...

I rarely feel compelled to write about an individual and eulogize about him or her. I comment on things people do, the movies I see, the books I read and the various funny episodes that punctuate my life. But I can’t help but write about this great individual.

People get important in your eyes because of what they achieve or what they stand for. K.Balachander once told that there is no one who is a self made man, because you get made by watching and learning virtues from others, maybe just not in an acknowledged manner. So, unwittingly we pick heroes and role models on whom we shape ourselves. And as I said, they should have achieved something by skill or character. But this is one gentleman whom you will hero worship because of how he did it. As it would be in the rarest of rare case, achieve something by both skill and character.

Anil Kumble is a typical Indian hero of yesteryear vintage. You don’t get many like him who is so good in what he does but only what he does, does the talking and not him. The clich├ęd phrase of ‘unsung hero’ is just made for him. A tall & gangly bespectacled lad who had the mindset of a paceman, but practiced spin as an art is rare. In fact we used to joke that he picks his wicket on slower ones. He is such a quiet gentleman that his achievements are not noticed so very easily. And suddenly when you wake up that he has got 600 wickets and by the time he finishes he may well be 200 wickets above the nearest Indian is no mean achievement.

But even this one would have gone unnoticed but for the great dignity he displayed as captain in the times of worst crisis. He stood up to his team mate; he uttered the immortal words as if he had a tryst with glory that said everything in a simple sentence, proved that he is a great tactician off the field by withdrawing the complaint against the opponent, pushing the ball into the court of an aggressive bunch of mediocre human beings and on top of it, when no one gave a chance to his team in a fiery wicket, chose an offensive strategy to bat first.

Strangely in this country we need poster boys who can give good sound bytes ( barring Sachin ). And the others we go at length to belittle. No one talks about Anil in the same breath as the famous spin quartet while we are willing to compare Sachin with Sunny. And everyone talked about the doctored pitches in which he was successful. Absolutely crazy, no one talks about the English & Aussie pacemen taking wickets in pitches that are suitable to their craft. But when it came to Anil, it was always a helpful track.

But Anil battles gamely as always. Read somewhere that 601 should have been an Avogadro’s number that appears only in the text books, when he started his career. Now it is against his name. But then there is nothing strange about it.

For Anil, it has always been text books. Be it in his craft or words or how he conducts himself.

As your wicket keepers always shout, Shabhash Anil Bhai Shabhash…

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Buffalo Soldier

Very recently saw the movie ‘Malcolm X’. I would say it is one of the brilliant portrayals ever done by an actor. Denzel was way too good as Malcolm X. The movie has been adapted from the book ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ which was co-authored by Alex Haley.

Alex Haley later went on to become popular with his book ‘Roots’, which on hindsight I am wondering why I didn’t include in my recurrent reads. Maybe because I haven’t read it a lot of times! A couple of time maximum I guess. But it rates as one of the best I have ever read.

Starting in 1700’s with the forced abduction of a black man from Africa, it spanned 2 centuries and ended up with the author, whose roots he claimed to have traced back to. The 1700 slave ‘Kunta Kinte’ was his ancestor.

Malcolm X, Amistad and this book are fantastic productions that highlight the misery of black people. To think that the most democratic nation, most developed nation was built on slave labor is extremely unpalatable. Today America stands for freedom and wherever they see oppression, they are the first to poke their nose into. But in 19th century, a black was considered as only 3/5th of a person and women were given the right to vote only in 1920.

America has been a breeding ground for double standards all through its existence. While the Americans were busy fighting Hitler, the Ku Klux Klan was very much active with it’s anti Semitic propaganda. While it was advising South Africa, America’s own citizens were segregated economically, physically and socially. There are many African Americans who still believe that they get a raw deal. We are now taking about a possibility of a woman or a colored President there, while a much smaller country like Sri Lanka was headed by a woman much earlier. Their treatment of coloreds had been worse than many of the autocratic regimes which they oppose. A Rodney King can still happen only there. I read a book which statistically proved that there are more blacks who lost their lives fighting for America. Be it a war or a sport!

As Bob Marley sang,

Stolen from Africa, brought to America,
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.


It is such a pity that many of them would not know where they came from. In a way it is cultural rapes to let generations of people lose their identity. Like they say, behind every success there are a lot of corpses.

Sidey Sydney

If you put together all the words that had been used in the last 4 days about the Sydney test, I am certain that it will be more than what was used in Mahabharata. Aussie bashing, Expert opinion on cricket, Testosterone display and effigy burning was the national pastime. Sure there was enough and more grievance and rightly so, but in a typical Indian hyped way. All of us behaved as if our womenfolk were raped!

What happened exactly? We lost a test allegedly because of bad umpiring and one of our guys got banned for a racial slur. Didn’t reduce the GDP one bit, isn’t it? But for the fact that all of us were glued to TV sets and the Internet and thereby contributed lesser to the economy! But, we would have anyway found some way to do that, like the delaying tactics of Ishant Sharma bringing two right hand gloves. We are ingenious on that count.

It is a known fact that Ponting & co is no better than schoolboys and to expect grace and sportsmanship from then is like expecting a murderer to preach peace. These guys are not brought up that way. I am told that, every block in Australia has a huge ground but you don’t hazard a guess on their prose literacy skills. Less than half of the Aussies have the skills that are required to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work. And numerical literacy is even worse. This is ABS statistics. They are more interested in sports in their life and that shows why they are such a champion side, but worst ambassadors to their country. It had been even worse in the earlier tours.

Krish Srikkanth was at his marauding best in the same Sydney test in the 1985-86 series. Gavaskar & Jimmy scored centuries too and the Aussies followed on and escaped because of rain and bad umpiring while they were at 119 for 6 in the last days needing 86 more runs to save the test. Those were the days I was still in radio commentary and if my memory serves me right, Ray Bright who was holding the other end was given not out when he was caught in slips. I maybe wrong too, but there are plenty of such incidents. Greg Chappell was out lbw only 9 times at Australia playing 102 innings. He was never given out.

But those days we always sulked in the hotel rooms and came back with the tail between our legs. Now situation is different. We have found the financial power. The same jingoistic fans who burn effigies and the ones I complain about are the ones who flock to the matches and bring about the financial power. So now they demand their pound of flesh. And in India, there are no small measures, like no one can be little pregnant. We either keep quiet completely or make the whole world notice us. Now we have hyped it so much that any decision other than what we wanted will be a volte face for the board.

Sanity says that we should have handled this after getting rid of the emotions, but then it is easier said than done. While I distance myself and talk about our boorish behavior which is taken Australian proportions now, the fact remains that I have testosterone too.

I am happy that we can make people dance to our tunes :))

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Steps

In a man’s life, he does take a lot of steps. Some knowingly and some unknowingly! This is not about those steps. But again, it is about the unknowing steps. I mean the literal one. My phone is supposed to be having some features on fitness. It does some intelligent job like measuring the steps I take everyday and the calories I burn. Of course it has the same features for running, but then who runs in life. The running that you do for all kind of unnecessary things in a day to run your life is good enough.

Now this phone says I take around 2010 steps on an average in a day, but that is carrying the phone ( but at home they anyway complain that I never stay away from it ). I am wondering where I expend these steps. This is an average of 1.5 km per day. I don’t recall walking anywhere. My home to car, car to office and back! In between a few steps here & there when I get called! And there are very few people who can call me to their place. Actually it is just one person, my boss! Rest, I pick the phone and call them to my desk. This AC issue in my room sure adds a few steps for my visit to the loo, but beyond that I am unable to think. However hard I try, I am unable to account these many steps. So it is now pretty clear. The steps that I take are both useless and unnecessary.

Gives me a perspective that maybe this is true for the figurative steps also! Maybe all of us keep doing something or other, but very few of them matter anything at all. If I delve deep into finding out the actual steps, maybe I will understand that I would be using more steps because I started doing something that is not needed. In life too, maybe all the actions are in effect only reactions, for an initial action by either you or someone else. Guess the key is in finding the meaning of that first action or in this case, the first step.

To quote Bhagwan Saibaba, “Man is lost and is wandering in a jungle where real values have no meaning. Real values can have meaning to man only when he steps on to the spiritual path, a path where negative emotions have no use”

Yeah, the first step should be a positive step.

Monday, January 07, 2008

WoW

This is something that has taken the fancy of Aruna. Well WoW stands for Women on Wanderlust. These guys, rather gals arrange trips for women alone as a group and pander to the wanderlust wishes of women. She has been goading Krithi to join her and she has already vicariously traveled as far as Egypt now.

Actually it is SOS time for me in reality. On many fronts! I am tempted to find out whether there is a inner meaning for wanderlust. Is it just about visiting places far from the confines of family trappings? Is it wandering away from men in reality? Or wandering towards men in reality, albeit different men! Everyone is bit by wanderlust. Whether it is men or women, that dream is there.

I always wanted to go somewhere on my own. I was wondering what do I go away from or go towards. Maybe the first thing that hits me as a great bonus is that I don’t need to do anything that I normally do. I don’t have to plan, I don’t have to keep timings and I don’t have to look behind my shoulders to do the certain things that I normally do. My beers won’t be counted. And I can practice my belief of using beer as a thirst quencher. Then I need not be worried about what others want to do, whether the kids are hungry etc. Maybe the same stuff applies for women also. Just plainly freak out!

But let’s come back to why I call it as SOS time for me. On two fronts! SOS stands for Sisters on Shopping-lust. That’s what it will be. In fact I have a deep suspicion that it is an alien conspiracy that makes all new launches let be known to these guys exclusively. Even before a shop is conceived to be launched they will come to know of it. It is a different story that the conception itself happens only because the investor is aware of the existence of these two.

If there is 30 minutes that goes by without anything to worry, Aruna will get stressed up. And the next minute she will call Krithi. Asking her to come for a de-stressing trip! And she is always more than ready. My suspicion there is, she would be waiting in her parked car at my gate and the moment the call lands she would be there and before you say Jack Robinson, they both will be out. There is not a single shop whose inventory they don’t know. In fact they get too busy around 31st March, because for stock-taking the shop keepers need to know about the inventory situation and they can’t call anyone else but these two people.

I don’t know what they shop really. But they will keep shopping and sometimes the shopkeepers will beg them to leave because he has a home to go. This could be for themselves or for each other. Alternatively even this can happen. While they are walking in the streets, if they hear the word shopping, they will be stopping. They would probably accompany them. It could be a stranger also; they will just introduce themselves, give them all kinds of dope about where you get what and take them along. The fact that they would end up buying more while they were supposed to play guide is my own sorry story. Let us not dwell into that.

So much so that I have suggested that they can make this as a career. Like what Kamal Haasan says, if your passion is going to be your job too, then there can never be a better life. In the process they can earn some money. I would not mind if it is in kind also. Like getting the n’th pair of sandals as that day’s fee!

Alternatively, they can do one thing as a pair. Krithi can convert her own wardrobe as a shop. Because it has more inventory than the biggest textile showroom! Aruna can then take someone along there and shop. And then having made money out of the sale, they can then go out on a shopping binge themselves. Inventory gets replenished. Money is not wasted. The shopping lust is fulfilled. So many things in a single stroke!

These guys also have some mysterious planning. My daughter Teju is now almost as big as a woman. So when Krithi buys something, to kill her guilt, she shops in the pretext of buying it for Teju. But then she knows she can flick it from her whenever she wants because she can get into the clothes with ease.

Have you ever heard of any guy paying EMI favoring textile shops? Well, I am that guy. This is apart from what they can buy out of their own earnings. There is a strong rumor floating, that one of Krithi’s friends collapsed out of heart attack once because she saw her in a dress that was once seen worn by her 3 years back. It was so unlike her to repeat, so I can understand the shock of her friend. Apparently the grapevine is that Krithi is contemplating to do some construction work at her home, which is to extend the balcony into some kind of a cantilever, because she needs more storage space for her dress. As far as Aruna is concerned there is no such problem. Not because the quantity is less, it is just that she won’t be too worried on where she keeps them.

A third member of the clan is now being indoctrinated that is Teju. What it would be if not for SOS time, when you start wearing slips to office instead of vests!!!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

She smells good ? Stay Away !!

It is contrary to what you would do normally, isn’t it? If you come across someone smelling very good, nice perfume and all, you tend to get attracted or sometimes even turned on. Hold on for a minute. It may not be a great idea.

A recent research has concluded that women who are depressed tend to wear a lot of perfume because they lose their sense of smell. So if there is someone who is bathed in perfume, you better stay away, lest you become the shrink for their depression.

I am just wondering about all these kind of research and always keep thinking whether the converse of the theorem is also true. If this is true, then do women who stink are vibrant in their mind? Well this is just for argument’s sake. I don’t apply real logic to such thoughts. It is just that I was wondering whether all of us would be rewind times and behave like our ancestors, going around smelling women.

Fun apart, we surely are affected by smell. In fact the same research has concluded that the people who are depressed react well to aromatherapy. A friendly smell seems to help them. Whether we want to smell good or not is one side, but surely one should not smell like a pig.

One of the hazards of working in large organizations is getting bombarded by all kinds of smell on a daily basis. I used to wonder whether certain people collect body odor as a hobby. So much so the entire cubicle will stink. If they happen to be the boss, then it is a double whammy. You get assaulted by both his verbal diarrhoea and the smell that is created by that kind of infection. There are other people who have this problem of bad breath. There was this guy at my office, who is a pain if he opens his mouth. Both because of his potent weapon of mass destruction called bad breath and his muttering in Hindi without attempting to open his mouth.

With so much education that is attempted by the commercials, I wonder why people still come to work as they walk out of a pig sty. Maybe we should quarantine such people and unleash them on the sales team when they don’t do the target, with a stern warning that they would have to come for another such meeting if they don’t buck up. Would work like magic then.

OK, if my title sounds sexist and women want to be up in arms against me, here is my suggestion to them. If its men, just stay away ( irrespective of how they smell )

Brain Again

There is something strange about the organ brain. As it is about the other organs, everyone has one. Or atleast seem to have one! But we have never complained about anyone that their breathing is crazy, walking is stupid and so on. Somehow these organs, the essential ones at that like heart, lungs, kidney etc function equally for all people. Brain alone is a standout. I can understand that if people are born differently, like some one at birth has only half a kg of brain as against 1.5kg everyone else has. But it is not so, the brain weight has always been in correct proportions in everybody.

The problem arises when they start using it. I have a fancy theory that it depends on where the brain is situated in the body. Though physically it is always under the skull, the way it functions is dependent on where it’s heart lies ( brain’s heart I meant, some stupid kind of a metaphorical statement ).

For some brain is housed in their jockey shorts. They can think nothing else but getting into the pants of others. For some it is housed inside some safe vault in the body that we don’t know about, because they never use the brain and keep it super safe. For some the brain understands only numbers, all they think is money and anything is associated with money and money only. Even their own self respect! Some people seem to have developed it well in the formative years and exhaust it when they pass out of great institutions. They walk into huge corporations and offer value added bullshit.

Some have it removable. They promptly remove it when they start from home, act stupid all the while when they are out and return to re-fix it. For some it floats in a sea of tears, they cry first and think next. For some there is an inherent fear of exhausting it, thus they never use it once and save it for a rainy day. For some it suffers from a delusion of multiplier effect. Even little thing they do, they believe it is a great thing. Some senior management people have it pretty easy. They train the brain to just say yes. One day in a meeting if I mimic the Boss’s voice and say ‘I don’t think you have brains’, they will promptly say yes.

For me I guess I have it clouded by anger. First I get angry and then start thinking. And then get angry again after building some logic. Or it is more spent on tolerating other brainless creatures. And it is already running out of space with storage of junk information that an immediate disk cleanup is warranted.

I am going to have it surgically removed and just survive with Google only!!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Balance Sheet

I remember making a balance sheet last year on how the year went by. Mostly it was good stuff and a couple of things I would have let go by, if I had a choice. A quick check on 2007, presents a similar story. I don’t want to get into the nerves of people reading this by making them think that I get all the good things in the world and how am I so lucky. The fact is that I am a bit lucky. But claiming this too very often when I have always had my share my minor discomforts and irritations all the time is strange even to me. And people around me claim that my discomforts are because of my blowing up my own trumpet. Some voodoo stuff it could be. Not that I am believer, but why advertise all the goods seems to be a logical question!

Guess it is my penchant to show off! I tom tom every good thing that happens to me! As if I am the only lucky guy in the world. Think it is an attitude of enjoying a secret pride of my success and telling the world ‘look what I have got’. But then, isn’t everyone like that? Wanting to showcase their goodies to the world? I guess so! Few people are there who would keep bitching and moaning even if they get the best things in life. I am not like that. When as a youngster, successes are rare & few and you don’t belong to the cream, not a very studious person, never seen first rank in lifetime, whatever little opportunity you get it, you tend to show off. That’s precisely what I do.

One of my ex bosses cured me of this illness when I always kept comparing who got what. That was supposed to be at work. In life that has never bothered me. Maybe that’s the reason I think too much whatever little happens to me and blow it in such a proportion that the world thinks, everything is hunky dory with me. But the point is that many things are too ordinary and I am good advertiser. All this enlightment happens only when you realize that a family member who is 10 years younger than you has achieved more in many areas and you don’t even know about it.

OK, I have said it all, but the fact remains that 2007 happened to be one of the best years of my life.

  • I found an amazing person who turned out be my best friend
  • I quit a job of 8 years at the right time.
  • Got into a very interesting job that paid well.
  • I made some good investments.
  • Folks at home had a good year too I suppose.
  • Did all the stuff I always do like buying books, reading, writing, listening music, watching films, partying, shopping, holidaying but everything in exaggerated proportions.


On the flip side,

  • As usual warranted myself a hospital visit by tearing a couple of ligaments.
  • Right time or not, quit a job of 8 years.
  • Worried more about the folks at work than ever.


Doesn’t change my opinion one bit! It is always more good than bad. The time that goes by seems to be better every time, but it also gives a perspective that if that is true, what comes out will be even better, because you know that the next year’s balance sheet will look similar.