Sunday, November 21, 2010

Noam Chomsky - Why did you bother living?

"So if you decide not to make use of the opportunities that you have, not to try to live your life in a way which is constructive and helpful, you end up looking back and say why did I bother living?"

Change

I've quite long hair now. I plan to let it grow.

All my life, except the last few months, and except a few other months when I was around eleven, I've kept the same style for my hair. That is, keeping it oiled, and well combed, with a straight line in the left side... Extremely boring and I knew it. However, I was always afraid to experiment. If the line moved a bit to the centre, when I get out of my room I would be thinking - am I looking weird? Is everyone looking at me because my hair looks weird?

All that's gone now. I have a line in the centre of the head now, the hair is pretty much messy, and I dont really care most of the time. I am happy about it. Another inhibition out of the window.

There are parallel stories about several other things, but let them remain personal.

But another thing I feel like writing is: I have probably more friends here now than in India. This might sound stupid, I've been living here for only one year, yet it is true. In terms of female friends, the ratio compared to the ones in India is several times higher. In India, I've a handful of friends who have seen me grow for the last 7 years or more, but them is them, and no one more. Rest are mere acquaintances.

Here I cook together with some friend, sometimes eat with a few more, sometimes we eat out, we go to cafes and talk, we go to French bars (which is a coffee table bar with alcohol, not like the Indian bars) and drink and talk, we go to pubs and dance bars. I have friends of different types: those who can take the roles ranging from the extremely intelligent and intellectual to the ones who are incredibly funny. Who can bring a smile and calmness to my face by their mere looks.

I am also realizing that I love people and I love talking, about the intellectual to the insanely stupid, from cheesy flirting to the ridiculously obscene - depending on the mood and company (at least when I am not hungry :D). A stark contrast with my life in Bangalore and before, where I was afraid of meeting new people.

I've had several interesting experiences. Just take last week: I went out with my labmates - 4 girls - French, Romanian, Chinese and Argentinian - to the "Beaujolais" - some kind of wine binge drinking festival. We met their friends there: a Spanish girl - a medical student - who looks like Penelope Cruz (and I told this to her), her friends from Chile and Cuba - the former a surgery student and the other a musician. I consider it fascinating to hear the Chilean correcting me on Allende - saying it is pronounced "Ayyende" - and how he went on talking about medical cultures in Chile, Cuba, France and United States, and how he went with his friend to Cuba when he was 15. After a bit of drinking, we went out to a dance club... and later went back home with Argentinians, Italians and Czech.

The next day, I went out for dinner to a Lebanese restaurant: with 4 Syrians, an Indian (Bengali) and a Romanian and an absolutely charming Palestinian girl. It was a pleasant conversation and after eating chiche tauk, hummus, khubz, harissa (Tunisian) etc, we gorged on a bag of Syrian sweets.

Sitting in my room, I can hear the attractive guitar and beats of some song being played in some other room. Its a calm and sunny day, I can look out of the window, the sky is as blue as it can get, only to be made more beautiful by the intermittent soft clouds.

Life has been offering me a lot these days... I've shed plenty of my inhibitions. I enjoy the gym once in a while, I realized that I can run faster and longer than several others, I can cook better than a lot of them...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pakistan refuses to tone down Wagah border ceremony

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11727448

But why doesnt India stop doing this silly act unilaterally? It'll make the Pakistani one context-less and meaningless and eventually would lose all the steam.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CasteNoBar in Indian Matrimonial sites

Result of an argument with a friend. I searched the matrimonial sites belonging to BharatMatrimoney.com (i.e BengalMatrimony.com, KeralaMatrimoney.com, etc), for Bride: 18-40 years, Hindu, based in India. Result of CasteNoBar as percentage of total results is given below.

bengal: 9766/26297 = 37%
gujarat: 3841/12009 = 32%
punjab: 3569/11728 = 30%
marathi: 6869/28970 = 24%
hindi: 14967/67033 = 22%
kannada: 2499/13811= 18%
oriya: 1593/9655 = 16.5%
marwari: 295/1998 =15%
tamil: 6737/48617 = 13.8%
telugu: 4797/36213= 13.24%
kerala: 4596/41284 = 11%

According to the results, Bengal clearly comes on top, and Kerala at the bottom. Majority of southern states are at the bottom.

But Kerala is also having among the highest number of results for the query, second only to Tamilnadu and North India (Hindi). And if you normalize it with respect to Hindu population in each state, it is clearly at the top.

Saying something interesting about the cultures of these states? I think so.

Obama in India

All the events and speeches were carefully choreographed. Journalists were distributed his schedules to the precision of minutes at times (i.e at 9.00 meeting with x, at 9.05: meeting with z, 9.10: speech about agricultural innovation in india). It seems that even the sequence of declarations - about Gandhi, Pakistan being important partner in "War on Terror" to "India has already risen", and finally UNSC and Pakistan again; so that the reactions were carefully manipulated.

(Above points, thanks to watching a pretty journalist Ms. Sara Jacob talking in NDTV).

Obviously Obama was advised to the extent of favorite Indian cliches - "India cannot be visited, it can only be experienced".

About the media love for whatever he and his wife was doing, can we call ourselves a democracy with a free media? For example, the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Iraq for no reason, and all the horrible problems that it has done to the Muslim world, its own lack of principles in everything from a-z, that India really is not a world leader in cutting edge agricultural technology, that the American spending on Iraq war was around a trillion and is more than enough to offset any recession, that Obama once wanted to change the world and is now clearly the establishment... Everything was left alone, instead the Pronnoy Roys and the Shekhar Guptas went counting the camels that were there in the PM's dinner orchestra, and what Ms. Obama was wearing,... There's clearly no sense of justice or reality in Indian media.

And about Obama, the guy uses teleprompters (they installed in the parliament for his speech). So he's merely reading a written speech by looking at the teleprompter on both sides. And if you remove his speeches from what he has done in public sphere, its almost zero. So since he's not a great orator but merely a good speech reader from a teleprompter (like a news guy), what can we conclude...

Random thought 1235

The purpose of uploading pictures into Facebook is to impress others. That one's living a life that's not too bad. In fact it's much better than yours.

We need to prove to others constantly that our lives are going good. That the choices we made in life - the courses and jobs we selected, the time we wasted, the partners we ended up having - were not wrong. That we are having fun, we are being loved, we are traveling to beautiful places, my girlfriend can be good looking at times, or in fact I succeeded in my life because see, I got the prettiest wife among all my old classmates...Now be jealous!

Facebook helps one to prove to himself that he's doing well in life.

Why do we need Facebook? Why dont we stop faking, etc, etc? Of course such is life.

I feel that if you dont talk in Facebook about the best moments that you feel you are having in your life, or upload the pictures of them, then you have risen above the average mass of humanity, and is living more close to your soul. Or it is because you have nothing worth talking about in your life. In fact you are not living.