Religion 1

I guess from my posts on religion you people know that I’m not the religious types. I don’t believe in rituals. I don’t believe that saying your prayers daily, or hourly, or monthly has any kind of impact on the orientation of the dice that life rolls out to you.

I believe in randomness. I believe that in every process there is a predictive component and a random component, and that you have no control over the latter. I believe that life can be approximated as a series of toin cosses, er. coin tosses, and some times the coins fall your way, and some times they don’t.

I was brought up in a strange household, in religious terms that is. My mother was crazily religious, spending an hour every day saying her prayers, and performing every conceivable ritual. My father was, for all practical purposes, atheist, and I never once saw him inside the prayer room in the house. I don’t ever remember having to make a conscious choice though, but I somehow ended up becoming like my father. Not believing in prayers or rituals (except for a brief period during my sophomore year at college), not believing that any actions of mine could bias the coin tosses of life.

A couple of years back I bought and read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. I found the book extremely boring and hard to get through. And it really shocked me to read that people actually believe that praying can change the bias of the coins of life. Or that there exist people (most of Americal, shockingly) who think there was a “God” who created the earth, and that evolution doesn’t make sense.

Anyway the point now is that the missus thinks that I’m atheist because it’s the convenient thing to be, and because I haven’t made that extra effort in “finding God”. She things I’m not religious because I’m too lazy to say my prayers, and light incense, and all such. The irony here is that she herself isn’t the ritual types, instead choosing to introspect in quiet temples.

Just want to mention that you might find me write a lot more about religion over the next few days, or weeks, or months, as I try find my bearings and convince myself, and the missus, of my beliefs.

For starters, I’d say that if there exists a god, he does play dice.

Wimpy SKimpy had a great fall

A couple of days I’d mentioned about a strange condition that I’ve been having nowadays, which makes it tough for the erstwhile compulsive multitasker me have trouble in doing more than one thing at a time. Occasionally, I do end up drifting doing two things at a time – such as day dreaming and walking, and occasionally like last evening the effects can be disastrous.

It happened in Gandhinagar. Right in front of the erstwhile Central Jail, now renovated as “Freedom Park”. I was walking towards the bus stop, looking to take a bus to Jayanagar. I had been coming from ‘Majestic’ where I’d gone to put beat. I was looking at the remodelled jail, and wondering at the irony of calling the ex-jail as a freedom park. A Carnatic kRti (by Patlam Subramania Aiyer i think) was playing in my head. I was looking at the various buses trying to figure out where the stop was. I was trying to cross the road. Normally that much of workload, I think, would be very fine.

So I had to get past some stone barriers in order to cross the road to reach the half where there were no vehicles. It was much easier to walk there, I’d thought. I remember looking at the stones and assessing that they were two feet tall. I remember instructing my right leg to go up by that distance and cross the stone. I remember that at the first attempt, my right leg failed to go high enough, and then I had to bark out further instructions. If I remember right, this time around, my leg did go up the requisite height.

The next split-second was a blur for me. I don’t really know what happened, but I conjecture that when I instructed my right leg to adjust, I forgot to ask the left leg to slow down its ascent from the ground. Hence, what happened was that both feet went off the ground at the same time, and since fresh instuctions hadn’t gone out to my left leg, it happened to hit the stone and I tripped, with both my feet off the ground.

When I “regained consciousness” I realized that I was falling, forwards, and that both my feet were off the ground, and that my left foot had hit the stone. I remember putting forward my hands, elbows bent and wrists loose, so that I fell relatively harmlessly on my palms. No one was around, but I managed to quickly gather myself up, and it was then that various parts of my body started talking.

I have a badly sprained left big toe. I’ve twisted my right knee so it’s hard for me to turn while walking. I’ve taken a knock on my left shin (it’s slightly swollen) but it doesn’t hurt much. And my belt buckle broke. I had minor scratches on my right palm but they don’t hurt anymore.

Nothing is bad enough that I’ve to go to the doctor. But both legs hurt occasionally. Fallout of this is that i’m now afraid of walking. It’s funny. I’ve been walking so slowly today. I’m afraid of twisting my already twisted right knee further. Injury to left big toe means I don’t want to put much pressure on it.

I’m sure that if I make an attempt, I should be able to walk normally. But legs aren’t listening. They are too sceptical of injuring themselves further. I haven’t even started driving (either car or bike) yet. Hopefully things will heal soon.

Last night my twitter status was “had an occident this evening, and is now feeling all disoriented”

Bangalore trip update

The recent inactivity on this blog was mainly due to my inability to log on to wordpress from my phone and write a post.  I had gone home to Bangalore for an extended weekend (taking Friday and Monday off) and the only source of net access there was my phone, and for some reason I wasn’t able to log on to NED from that. During the trip I had several brilliant insights and brilliant ideas and wanted to blog them and finally such NED happened that I didn’t even twitter them. Deathmax.

The main reason I went to Bangalore was to attend Pradeep (Paddy)’s reception. I think this is an appropriate time to share the funda of his nickname with the world. Before he joined our school in 9th standard, there was this guy two years senior called Pradeep, and for some reason not known to me he was nicknamed Paddy. I vaguely knew him since I used to play basketball with him, and after he graduated there were no more Paddys in school. So when this new guy came from the Gelf, it presented a good opportunity to get back a Paddy into school. It turned out to be such a sticky nickname that not even IIT could change it.

Friday was Ugadi – yet another reason to be home in Bangalore – and was mostly spent visiting relatives. When they heard about my impending market entry, all of them brought up stories of not-so-successful marriages of people they knew well, and put fundaes to me about avoiding certain pitfalls. These fundaes were liberally peppered with stories. Mostly sad ones. Mostly of people who have chosen to continue in their marriages despite them clearly failing. It is amazing about the kind of stuff people I know have gone through, and yet they choose to not run away.

Saturday morning was rexerved for my first ever “market visit”. I was taken to this bureau in Malleswaram and asked to inspect profiles. “There are profiles of hundreds of girls there”, my uncle had told me “so let us go there before ten o’clock so that you have enough time”. The profiles were mostly homogeneous. The number of engineering seats available in Karnataka amazes me. Every single profile I checked out over there had studied a BE, and was working in some IT company. Things were so homogeneous that (I hate to admit this) the only differentiator was looks. Unfortunately I ended up shortlisting none of them.

One of the guys I met during my Bangalore trip is a sales guy who lives in a small temple town without any access to good cinema. So he forced me to accompany him to watch Slumdog (in PVR Gold Class – such an irony) and Dev D. I agree that Slumdog shows India in poor light, but filter that out and it’s a really nice movie. We need to keep in mind that it was a story and not a documentary, and even if it were the latter, I think documentaries are allowed to have narratives and need not be objective. Dev D was simply mindblowing, apart from the end which is a little bit messed up. Somehow I thought that Kashyap wanted to do a little dedic to his unreleased Paanch.

There is this meet-up at Benjarong which is likely to contribute enough material to last six arranged scissors posts. I’ll probably elaborate about the discussions in forthcoming posts but I must mention here that several arranged marriage frameworks were discussed during the dinner. The discussions and frameworks were enough to make both Monkee and I, who are in the market process, and Kodhi who will enter the market shortly to completely give up in life.

One takeaway from Paddy’s reception is that if you can help it, try not to have a “split wedding” (and try not to have a split webbing also) – where different events are held at diferent venues, on disjoint dates. In that case you won’t have people lingering around, and you will lose out on the opportunity to interact with people. Note that there is zero scope for interation during the ceremonies, and the only time you get to talk to people is before, and after, and during. And it is important that there is enough before or after or during time to allow these interactions. In split weddings guests are likely to arrive and leave in the middle of an event and so you’ll hardly get to talk to them.

One policy decision I took was to not have breakfast at home during the length of my stay. I broke this on my last day there since I wouldn’t be having any other meal at home that day, but before that visited Adigas (ashoka pillar), SN (JP nagar) and UD (3rd block). The middle one was fantastic, the first reasonably good except for bad chutney and the last not good at all. Going back from Gurgaon it was amazing that I could have a full breakfast (2 idlis-vada-masala dosa-coffee) for less than 50 bucks. Delhi sorely lacks those kind of “middle class” places – you either eat on the roadside or in fine dining here.

Regular service on this blog should resume soon. My mom has stayed back in Bangalore for the summer so I’m alone here  and so have additoinal responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning. However, I think I should be having more time so might be writing more. I can’t promise anything since blog posts are generated by spur-of-the-moment thoughts and I never know when they occur. Speaking of which I should mention that I put elaborate fundaes on studs and fighters theory in my self-appraisal review form last week.

Short selling Indian Hotels

I’m writing this post in protest against people who have stupid ideas such as declaring “no blog day” in order to protest against “hatred and terror”. I’m sorry I don’t get the point. I dont’ see how this kind of thing is going to help. And I don’t know how anyone who cares will be bothered by this.And if you don’t like this post, you might want to take some tablets which can cure irony deficiency.

So yesterday morning, after the end of our usual morning meeting at work, I switched on Bloomberg as is my usual practice. After checking on the Nifty, I  opened another window and checked up on Indian Hotels (the Tata group company that owns the Taj chain, among others). The stock was down 15%. Ruthlessly hammered down. By short sellers.

While the Taj Mahal was burning, and our security forces out in full force in order to salvage it, you had ruthless short sellers and market operators who were trying to profit from it by shorting the stock. This smacks of disrespect and needs to be condemned using the strongest words. What the owners and managers of Indian Hotels now need is our support, and you have people who are doing exactly the opposite.

Strong steps need to be taken by the government to improve regulation of markets in order to stop capitalists and monopolists from taking advantage of other people’s troubles. One model we could adopt is what has been seen in the Karachi Stock Exchange, where stock prices are not allowed to go down. This is an excellent step, and can be used to prevent operators from making a fast buck out of someone else’s misery