December 31, 2009

Bye bye 2009. Hello 2010.

When I read these numbers, 2009-2010, it almost seems like we are living in an era different from what we actually are. I remember celebrating the Millennium new year, 2000, back at home in Adyar with a huge party for friends. And we were ushering in the new era, the new millennium, being among the gifted bunch to be old enough to appreciate the turn of the decade and what not. A decade has gone by since then and life has changed almost beyond recognition. We’ve grown up. And I can sparsely believe that 2009 has flown by at the pace that it has. Sure it differs for everyone with perspective and just like everything else, time is a relative quantity. But the popular vote this time seems that everyone agrees that 2009 was in quite a hurry to get done. And like everything else, it’s easier to reflect upon now that it’s over.

But instead of listing out the goods and the not-so-goods, I am going to swing right ahead and welcome 2010 with outspread arms. Here’s hoping that this new year brings better luck, better fortune, only the best news and the best results, a lot of fun, loads of cheer, good health to all near and dear, great spirits and great contentment to all!

Happy New Year 2010!


December 29, 2009

The generation gap

Ok so the time has finally come when we can actually speak about the generation gap, not in terms of the elder generation that preceded us alone but rather with reference to the “kids” that are following us now. And as you witness each generation, you can see the distinction between them quite clearly. For instance, it’s cute to see our parents get all tech-savvy and fire away emails, sometimes with the “Safe” on top. All that perfect vocabulary and official grammar n stuff. On the other hand, the texting from the next generation drives you nuts wid dis kinda typin. WTH is that? But that’s the way it is. And sure the generation after them will probably be used to memory mapping or something. Just the way, personal written journals are now almost obsolete, so will online blogging someday. Other than that, I guess the kids these days are way more mature than we ever were. Where we played out on the street with street cricket, went cycling with buddies through the neighbourhood, shot hoops in the school basketball court and such for entertainment, the kids these days have their Wiis, PS3s and X-Boxes. And with the Wii-Fit, there is now no feeling guilty about sitting on their asses all day and playing games either. Everything finally owes it’s roots to the technological advancement. With the internet becoming the major source of all information, I would imagine that most kids these days “googled” their texts and wrote stuff in their exams off Wikipedia. I think I wrote a post about this on a not-so-educational viewpoint a while back. You can read it here. And that means that the older generation is having to adapt too. Actually I think I will visit my school the next time I am in Chennai and see how they’re trying to keep abreast with the technological advancement. Coming back to the next generation though, sometimes I wonder if all this technological exposure is robbing away some of the old-world pleasure off of their lives. For instance, I read that Amazon sold more Kindles than they did actual books. But can the e-book hold the same feel that an actual book can? When you fold out the fresh spine of the brand-new book, the smell of the pages, the big black ink on crisp new pages, the feeling is classic and something that every book-lover has enjoyed. Sure the Kindle emulates the text and the overall package, but the “feel” isn’t going to be replicated any time soon. i guess I am just old-worldly in this. But I’d love to hear from the new generation, Do they think they are missing out on anything at all? Or do they just think we are sentimental fools who are dragging them back on the whole techy run? Something similar to our parents trying to convince us about gramophones as opposed to our uber-cool ipods. And then suddenly I understand. It’s all about the perspective. What you grew up with will always remain dear to you, no matter how everything else evolves technologically around you.

December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas n Happy Holidays!

Ok, so I am a week early in wishing you all a Merry Christmas. But then it is the holiday season after all. And Paris has had bout after bout of snow. A white Christmas is after all traditional and many many people hope it. And just in case the snow melted away, I went into our backyard garden which is pristine from the non-intrusiveness… took away the urge to make a snowman by dressing up one of my teddy bears (er.. squirrel?) in my garb. See -


That apart, I tried to try and set it at good places to get a nice shot of the snow and the surrounding, trying to battle the cold and keep my hands steady (I was still in PJs, I couldn’t bother to throw on anything warm to wade out into the backyard garden).

But here’s one and I hope it captures enough spirit to depict Christmas or at least the winter holidays -


Happy Holidays everybody!

December 17, 2009

That first snow of the season



Ah how we hate it… the biting cold, the numb fingers n toes, the reddened nose, the dry mouth and stretchy skin. We all hate the side effects of winter. Yet there’s something magical when the ground is covered with that first snow of the season. Suddenly all that cold doesn’t bother us for those few instants that we marvel at the beauty of nature, that pristine white cover that makes everything seem better almost immediately. Snow has a way of lifting spirits, maybe because it makes everything look brighter from reflecting the light off of it. Up above is a picture of the first snow outside my window (I apologize for the quality of the image – I took a hasty picture on my cell camera just to make it count). Time for some hot chai now to make up for the icy cold outside. Happy Winter!!

December 16, 2009

Behind the veil of anonymity..

What would you do if you could do something and you could get away with it? Something like an invisibility cloak where you could glide along doing good/bad undetected? Unfortunately such powers mostly always invoke that tiny part in us that wants to do something "bad" and get away with it. They don't say for nothing that with "great power comes great responsibility". However with the invisibility cloak being a not-too-distant reality, what I am really talking about is the whole wide world of web anonymity. Where it's all too easy to create fake email IDs, fake logins to most things, where there is no real verification, where it's so easy to word your thoughts in someone else's lingo and pass it off for the real thing... where hate mail is sort of second nature and what not. I will be honest and say that I did create a fake email ID but to my credit, I haven't sent any emails to anyone from that. I sort of use it on movie websites or other random newsletter subscriptions which require email verification and where I don't want spam on my primary ID. But I would assume that almost everyone has multiple IDs which they use for work/fun or whatever else. I am unaware of anyone who has used a fake ID to actually get some message across to someone they knew but who wouldn't have a clue of who they were from the ID. That would be fun though and potentially gossip-generating in this dried out era of time, but dishonest, nonetheless. This is sort of one of those things I am on the fence on. While expressing your thoughts as your own is probably best, anonymity sure helps when you want to avoid any long-drawn repercussions. Of course the whole "hurt" factor is killed as well... which explains why even on MindBlogging when people want to leave comments that are not concurrent with my thoughts, they are usually anonymous while they take the effort to sign in when it's all praise. What do you guys think? This time, anonymous comments are welcome. There is some comfort behind the veil after all...

December 15, 2009

Guilty pleasures

One of the biggest negative forces of motivation is guilt. Of course almost all negative forces are very powerful in their motivation. But mostly they don't lead to good actions. Like anger, jealousy or revenge never really resulted in something that you could look back upon fondly. They result in impulsive actions, more often regretted than not. However, guilt has the special distinction of being a negative emotion but resulting in something usually positive. Like eating too much can invoke guilt leading to an effective workout session or diet plan, however short, as penance. Guilt also has the side-effect of extremely heightened senses. For instance, if you lied to someone about being occupied with some other engagement but ended up going shopping, roughly 40% of the random people you encounter begin to resemble the one you are avoiding. And the darting eyes and jumpy demeanor are enough for you to hope you didn't have to lie. Of course if you're lucky, you managed to get past it without any fall from grace. Work situations are some places where guilt reigns supreme. Having indulged in plenty days with little work done, the guilt finally catches up to you and makes you work hard at least for that last week before the vacation (no such luck in my case considering I am writing this at work). But on the other hand, it is the guilt of having written very little over the last 3 months that is making me come up with excuses to write. And another rule of multiple guilts? One outweighs the other. Apparently the blog trumped the cleanroom. Not for long though.. I am headed out there right now. Everyone wins.

December 8, 2009


For many people learning French for the first time, it may seem absurd that French words have a specific gender. Of course this is nothing new to people familiar with our very own Hindi. Like mera bag(my bag where bag's male) or meri kursi(my chair where chair is female). Interestingly, taking the very same examples to French yields the same gender. It's mon sac and ma chaise respectively male and female for the corresponding examples of bags and chairs. Most words match for the two languages as far as I checked, except some, like "telephone", which is male in French and female in Hindi. Which makes it "bi-lingual" in more than one sense, if you get my drift. The funny part's when the ignorant English speaker attempts French or vice versa. Often times the gender is messed up.. Perhaps it's not so weird when the English speaker says mon chaise for his chair even though the chair is female. But it's funnier when the French are trying to explain something to you in English. Like when the computer hangs, for example. English, being gender-neutral, we tend to say, It's not responding. When the French people translate it for you, they often say, He is not responding. Ok, I don't know why, but I thought this was funny when I started writing this post. Now it seems a little rhetoric. Ah well, it's something interesting, if not funny at least for a few lingual enthusiasts. For everyone else, Happy middle-of-the-week and hope I think up something more fun next time around! A+

December 7, 2009

The shortest route algorithm

I suppose a lot of people are like me... living their lives by the "shortest route algorithm" where possible. For instance, I know precisely where I need to stand to get into the right train compartment that'll stop directly in front of the exit I need to take. I am sure a lot others know this too which explains why that particular compartment of the train alone would be significantly more crowded than the ones away from it. This of course is a very simple example of the algorithm. But there are other places I put this theory into practice as well. Entirely sure that the shortest connection between 2 dots is indeed a straight line, I tend to tell people what's on my mind directly to them rather than to a third person which then creates a complex loop and a mesh of other things that I would rather remain untangled from. Undoubtedly, even so rather more so perhaps, I have landed in trouble because of this habit. This yields into the foot-in-your-mouth situation sometimes and that's never pleasant. But I would like to think that I have toned it down a notch and sort of taken the diplomatic in-between path over the years. Now I no longer think it is entirely necessary for me to express every opinion (except here :D) to everyone concerned, unless they are positive of course. And being fabulously in favour with everyone didn't hurt anyone. So in this case, I'd rather excuse the shortest route algorithm. And I'd recommend you do too. After all, somethings are best left to the imagination, aren't they?

December 4, 2009

New-age arranged marriages

Here's yet another post about marriages. It seems to me that I have given my unsolicited opinion about anything and everything regarding the topic over many posts in the past. That hasn't really stopped me now either. Wondering what I am talking about? You have some catching up to do!! Read these set of posts, and if you weren't bored enough, this one and this one and last but not the least, this one. And yes, they are all different posts (surprise, surprise).

Anyhow, this post is about how arranged marriages have come a long way since the days of our parents' generation. How the concept of the bride n groom sort of meeting at the wedding venue is no longer remotely true (I do know of a case where they did meet only like a day before the wedding.. but the amount of time they spent on the phone together, they might as well have been living together!) But it's how the concept has evolved. Now the arranged marriage has strictly become only a portal to meet someone. And while everything has graduated to going online, why not the marriage meeting-ground? It only makes sense. But once the people get introduced, it's as much a courtship as anything else outside of it.

No, the involved girl/guy do not take for granted that they will end up with any other person that they meet. No, it's not easy to convince someone to marry you even though they are meeting you with that end result in mind. And yes, the romance has to ring true. Yes for flowers, candy, jewelry, chivalry and whatever else that can woo the woman (ok, there are few not-so-diehard-romantics who claim that they don't need all of this, but trust me, almost everyone enjoys it). I mean, who doesn't want to be the center of someone else's universe (even if it is only for the courtship period)? As for the guys, of course they have their own criteria that the women have to fall over themselves to fulfill. And just because the parents convinced him to meet a girl, doesn't mean he wants to marry her. He'll meet her to shut his parents up, but the spark has to be a true one. Everyone wants the fairytale romance. The whisked-off-one's-feet feeling. No wonder "proposals" have become common in arranged-marriage scenarios. I first found it to be a little bizarre, but I have come to understand it now. The dates, the drinks, the visits to maybe multiple men/women were all sincere efforts (well, in most cases at least) to finally zero-in on the one "life-partner". And hence the proposal. The actual statement of the undercurrent running through the entire courtship period. The Will-you-marry-me? There's a bonus in all this. The woman definitely feels more special and that wins the guy brownie points. Go romance!!

To Priya and her beau who took the plunge. Congratulations!

December 1, 2009

The inner paradox

Sometimes I am amazed by what I want to do and what I really want to do and how much they differ. And this paradox is usually a result of fulfilling other's expectations of me, projecting a more flattering image of myself or something similarly irrelevant. Atleast that's understandable when it's something stupid. Like not eating the last bit of the shared chocolate-something-delicious at a restaurant for the want of not appearing gluttonous even though you'd really just like to have it. I am actually talking more about things that you'd normally think are more serious and hence the course of action, pretty straight-forward. Like reactions in my case. I consider myself a true Scorpion in every sense of the word (though not believing all that much these days in all that Linda Goodman astrological mess - ok, there's another paradox for you). You would then think that negative reactions like spite should come easily to me. But yet again, I am caught in the middle of being truly vengeful and just plain nice and mostly the good trumps the evil. And the part of me that believes that I am capable of true spite is truly saddened. See the paradox? Even being good can sometimes make you feel bad. As always I am going to extrapolate a simple thought to something a bit more complex. Some people for instance just deserve to be at the receiving end of spite sometimes and the “bad” that you’re feeling is being unable to mete out what you think is the right treatment to them. The really funny part is where only the bad things stand out in our heads immediately whilst obliterating everything good that might’ve been in the past. One bad experience can wipe out a multitude of good ones in a second while it takes more than just one good experience to overcome just the one bad experience. Isn’t that weird? Go on, give it a thought. Think of that restaurant you stopped going to because their service sucked one time even though they’ve given umpteen good ones before that... or that brand of milk you stopped buying because once it was bad. Ever noticed it’s similar with people too? One act of distrust for example is going to take a long time to wipe away from memory while all those good things before were not given enough credit as they were. Scientifically it means just one thing - Good and bad are neither white and black respectively nor weigh the same on any scale. Why all these inequalties? It’s just in human nature, I guess.

On that philosophical note, this post marks the 600th for MindBlogging overall and the 200th this year. Pretty momentous, I'd say... Thank you readers for keeping me motivated. Keep MindReading!