Dec 9, 2010

Great pieces of BGM

Listen to the following treasures I plucked with some difficulty. Hope you can guess what these are. If so, write to me which bit comes when and where. Next, based on bloggers'request, I will post more lovely music files which would give more clues about the source, for those who cant figure out what these musical bits are, &/or if you want to hear all the treasures. Enjoy listening!









Nov 16, 2010

Book Reading 101

Recently, I got the chance to read a couple of International bestsellers - Tipping Point and Freakonomics. Reading them made me think: what makes a great book in the non-fiction category? First, it has gotta have a universal appeal - by talking about things that are quite interesting to the global readers. Second, it has to blend several social science studies and try to make some sense out of various such studies.

US is a land where research of all sorts is done. If a social science prof or a grad student wonders why someone takes a longer time to urinate in a crowded (but not housefull) loo, they would go about studying it by attaching a sensor which monitors the average time taken by a person to finish the job when a) there is no one using the neighboring loos, b) when one of the neighboring loos is being used, and c) when both loos are used. Then, they would also interview people coming out of the bathroom, to rate their anxiety levels, anger, shyness, indifference, the efficiency of their hand-wash post-loo, their mood change before and after loo and so on. Then they would conclude that it is better for people to wait until the loos are freed, rather than go to crowded loos, so that they can be more happier, more hygienic and more cheerful. And publish the paper.

Now, some guy wanting to write a book would look at the paper and think, 'hmm.. it is such a common problem, which men experience every day. How can I include it in my book to shed some new light on the psychological, sociological or anthropological perspectives of a totally unrelated aspect? With all due respect to social scientists, if he does so, such a book would suck. But, u get my point, right?. Thats how some minds work.

Sometimes, I have had difficulty in appreciating some topics in the Bestsellers, which would be totally irrelevant in my point of view. So, for example, when Dan Brown went ga-ga over the Papal elections (Angels&Demons), and how it is the most important election in several decades in any part of the world, I thought "come on, man. When the last pope died, I just heard the news and went on doing my job. Hardly paid interest to who became the next Pope. I am sure most Catholics in the West too would have viewed the proceedings in a tertiary way (with job, family, entertainment etc. being more important to the head of the religious sub-sect). The same can be said about the Holy Grail 'Da Vinci Code'. Both are great books, I agree, not to me because of the hype on the religious aspects but on the beautiful use of science, maths, symbols and history to his story (no pun intended).

So, I will read bestsellers in the future keeping in mind the narrow sampling that various social scientific studies looked into, and remember that Western social scientists are hardly interested in cross-cultural implications. I enjoy reading them, because I love social sciences such as psych and socio. I am someone who finds several of mundane things qutie exciting. So, I will move on, reading American bestsellers, and widening my knowledge and understanding of people. Now, please dont correlate my last two sentences.

Aug 17, 2010

Dream o' dream

After watching 'Inception', I was reminded of my little experiment with dream. The Psych department in my building had a research study done on dreams, for which they asked volunteers to contribute an interpretation of their dream. For fun, I wrote the following. Does anything sound familiar to you? ;)

Dreams are believed to have encoded messages. One’s desire, past experience or future event encompasses some of the coded message.

I recorded my dream at 2.30 am. In my dream I am in a strange village in the morning. I take a boat to a nearby place and reach there by sunset. I see a family dancing near the village lake. The lake has some happy dolphins, which jump and play merrily. I am very confused, I do not know why I am there. As time passes, the family goes its own way. I am all alone in the village. I try shouting for help, but my voice is not coming out.

I used phenomenological method to interpret the dream; I wrote all the feelings, thoughts and associations about the content of the dream as the dream was being recounted. The dream made me confused, scared, and anxious. The dream reminded me of my current situation. I am undecided of my future after the expiry of my work permit at end of this year. The new village is probably symbolized by the future pathway, with the villagers resembling some unknown people whom I am yet to meet in the future. They are settled in their life, therefore their dancing and singing symbolizes that they are happy. Towards the end of my dream, I was all alone, which shows that I’m helpless and didn’t seek out for help from the villagers when they we there. This is a direct analogy with my current situation that I have not sought out for suggestions from my friends on future career prospects.

I can relate to the feelings of being confused, scared and anxious in my present situation; confused of what I should do, scared of not getting what I wanted, and anxious to ask for help. The fear, anxious, and confusion component in my dream remind me of my emotions and feelings from my waking life.

Jul 31, 2010

Aaromale translation

After listening to the songs of Ravanan and Enthiran, my earlier belief that 'Vinnai thaandi varuvaayaa' is a truly special musical by AR Rahman only got stronger. Listening to VTV's songs brought back nostalgic memories of 90's when Rahman's albums had all the songs competing with one another to be the top song of the album.

Thamarai had done a wonderful job with the lyrics of VTV's songs, but the most unique song is 'Aaromale' which was like something never heard before. Wonderfully sung by Alfons, I didnt have a clue on what the song meant. Thanks to a blogger 'wersp', I got the lyrics, which I found were wonderful. I think they warrant a subtitle in the movie. Such lovely lyrics going largely unnoticed is nearly a crime.. Also I observed that, when I read the lyrics, much of it is understandable.

Mamalayeri varum thennal
(A breeze which blows in through the mountains)

Pudhu manavaalan thennal
(The breeze, which is [decked up] like a bridegroom)

Palli medayae thottu thalodi kurushil thozhudhu varumbol
(When it arrives after worshipping the Holy cross at the altar)
Varavelpinu malayalakara manasammadham choriyum
(This land of Kerala will grant permission for a warm welcome)

(O, beloved!)

Swasthi Swasthi sumuhurtham
(This is a very auspicious occasion)

Sumangali bhava, manavatti
(O bride, may you be blessed with a long wedded life!)

Shyama rathri than aranmanaiyil
(In the inner sanctum of the dark night)
Maari nilkayo tharakame
(Oh star, why are u keeping away?)

Pulari manjilay kathiroliyai
(Like a ray of light in the morning mist)

Akayae nilkayo penmaname
(Are you standing afar, my lady?)

Chanju nikkuma chillayil nee, chila chilambiyo poonkuyile..
(On the bough that is bent, O cuckoo bird, did u sing sweetly?)

Manchiragile marayoliyae thediyathiyo poorangal
(Did the festivities come in search of the everlasting flame in the eastern lamp?)

Kadalinae karayodiniyum paadan snehamundo?
(Does the sea still possess the love to serenade the shore?)

Mezhuguthirigalai urugavidinyum pralayam manasil undo?
(Is there still love in the heart, to be melted like wax?)

(Oh, beloved!!)

Jul 18, 2010

Of Beliefs and Explanations

Recently when I visited my relative's house, they had lost a bathroom due to a vaastu reason. Without going into the details, an attached bathroom in one of the rooms was apparently a bad sign, hampering a good event from happening in the family, so went away the comfort of an extra bathroom. When discussing about this to my mom, I said that I can never fathom such a correlation between a house's architecture and a future event. I also told her that, because of things like this, I am made to be very skeptical to believe whatever they say, and added that I wish even she had explained me things in a logical way, instead of attaching a story to correct some mistakes that we kids used to make. Let me give a few examples. You can also add what your parents and grandparents told you.

* No cutting nails after sunset. It means 'dharithiram' (extreme bad luck) for the family.

My explanation: In earlier days, without electricity and the modern nailcutters, it is a highly risky thing to cut nails in dark conditions. So, comes the 'dharithiram' explanation.

* No combing hair (for ladies) after sunset. 'Moodhevi' will enter the house.

My explanation: The same as above. Difficult to search for stray hair fallen during the combing process, so chance of it lying in the house and entering into food plates is high.

* Shouldn't eat just after sunset. That being the time of Narasimhavatham, it is an inauspicious time.

My explanation: It is too early time for dinner, bcos in India usually sun sets at about 6-6:30 pm. An untimely dinner then would mess up the metabolism.

* Lock the backdoor of the house before switching the light on. If not, 'Lakshmi' who enters the house from the front gate would exit via the backdoor.

My explanation: Insects and other small animals living at the back of the house might get attracted to the light in the house and enter. So, better to close the door.

* Don't leave any rice specs on the floor after eating. When the woman of the house cleans the eating place with her bare hands, the left-out rice specs would become thorns and injure her hand.

My explanation: Cooked rice is sticky and it has the tendency to break and get smeared onto the floor while cleaning with hands, dirtying the place. So better not to leave it.

* No eating with hands outstretched and supported by the floor. All the energy of the food would go to the ground via the hand-earth connection.

My explanation: Stretching any muscle of the body makes blood to flow to it. Doing so while eating, when the body requires max. blood to be supplied to the digestive organs would not be advisable. Also, keeping it stretched for long time and unstretching later would make the blood flow back into the arteries, causing an unwantedly painful sensation.

The effect of such stories is that, the rebellion inside some of us makes us to question every religious thing passed on from the elders. That was surely a reason why I am an agnostic now. Having said all that, when I was taking my plate after my lunch and cleaning the place, I saw a speck of rice. While my rational (and lazy) mind said to leave it, as mom would anyway clean-wipe the place, my hand reached for the speck, not to 'hurt' my mom's fingers.

Jan 31, 2010

Pakistan cricket = Fun

As I was watching the auction for IPL-3, I couldnt help a smile when none of the Paki players were sold, esp. Afridi. Ever since then, the events that have unfolded on both sides of the border have added more fun to what happened at the auction. Come on Pakis, u want to be recognized by 'Indian' Premier League for your World T20 championship? That, after you have hardly won anything worth since then? Look at you, you lost one-day series to SL, NZ and now Aus, that too a horrific-for-you-fun-for-us 0-5!

To cap it all, the most recent Paki cap, Afridi wanted to imprint his teeth cap on a cricket ball, that too during a telecast which uses highly advanced technology as hot-spot !!! This, during a one-day match in which he was made the captain for the first time in his 13+ years in limited overs cricket! Sure it was fun for me, coz, that was the first time I was witnessing ball-tampering LIVE on TV.. What the hell were u thinking boom boom? Wanted to get busted? What a way to bite it.. it looked disgusting!

Also, it is time for Shah Rukh Khan to realize that he has bitten more than he can chew. While aiming for the Paki audience for his forthcoming 'My Name is Khan', he has clearly run into the danger of losing a substantial amount of local Maharashtra audience. What made you act so stupidly (again), Mr. Khan? Did the Kolkata Ridership got to you? You were trying for the Nobel Peace prize 2010? Where were you before and during the auction?

The tour of Aus turned nightmarish for Pak on the 4th morning of Sydney test. I had great fun and satisfaction seeing Mohamed Yousuf Youhanna and Kamrat Teether Akmal getting roasted for their goof-ups. It was a nice payback, I thought. Two instances made me hate MoYo. One is, his winning the first match of 1999-00 triangular series in Aus against us by one wicket.. in the last ball of the match. That day, you broke the hearts of mine and the captain, Sachin, you idiot! And the next is the six he hit off Thiru Kumaran in an Asia cup match in Sharjah, 2000 to get his hundred in the last ball of the innings. Similarly, Kamran Akmal.. he prevented us from winning the test in Mohali, 2005 (I match of the tour) and in the next year, he broke our hearts again after Irfan's hat-trick in the first over of the test at Karachi. Revenge time for u both, may you rot in a hole now on!! Hopefully your career is doomed and may I never see you again!