Wednesday, August 31, 2005

poll

The results of a poll I conducted. The question asked was "Which national retarded youth passtime, or in other words phenomenon has the most irritating fan following?"



This goes to show that LOTR rocks!

Dream team

Adam Hollioke
Chris Cairns
Nathan Astle
Ajay Jadeja
Mark Waugh
Hasnie Cronje
Wasim Akram
Jacques Henry Kallis
Rahul Dravid
Glenn McGarth
Shahid Afridi

Extras
Arvinda deSilva
Brian Lara
Jonty Rhodes

As you will notice, Akram gets to Bat before Kallis or Dravid, so you’ll be thinking what a team this is. This is the May 99 cosmopolitan dream team. Although most here are very able cricketers, I am guessing that the team is based on more than just ability. I will say that the team is made based on looks, but it is actually on various things including butts and nipples. The descriptions are a bit funny. It is not Rahul “The wall” Dravid but Rahul “mum will luv him” Dravid. And Kallis is described as a mixture of Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise and even Tom Sawyer. I don’t get this part… do women find boys like Tom Sawyer sexy??
But love or sex related stuff shows up very little in cosmo. Even things like clothing or accessories are given equal printspace as books, fitness and how to deal with corporate issues. The problem is most definitely with the cover. Sixteen out of seventeen covers show a very deep cleavage, and if the seventeenth one did, J’lo would be wearing nothing. The mag is divided into three parts, features, articles and departments. Each section regularly carries fourteen to fifteen pieces. The cover page shows only seven to eight of the features, and is more likely to contain “Not tonight honey (How celibacy can hot up your sex life!)” (bad grammar and all) rather than “At last… (experts answer your six most vexing love worries). But the mag inside is a different story. It is more or less like reader’s digest, but focused on women. Will be bored reading it too much, but figured out stuff about guys I never knew. For example, we are supposed to like… weird sexual activities I haven’t dreamt of, and which I would rather not write about. Point being is that the magazine really aims to give a modern outlook to women and is very… I donno sort of like giving women urban sophistication or something. I just realized that that’s more or less the definition of cosmopolitan. Nice name, fits the mag.

Saw baton baton mein two days ago, and didn’t blog about it. Really liked the movie, because it was directed really well. For example, small things like Tina Ambani fingering the stray strands from her uncle’s couch when marriage was being discussed, was exactly how a girl would behave in such a situation. Also, Amol Palekar, before going out on a movie with Tina Ambani, looks into a mirror to check himself. He bends down to do this, which shows a LOT of history. That such things would be pad attention to just amazes me. This is quality film making, even though the story itself was slightly stupid, it was a sincere effort to provide entertainment, unlike most movies now (no entry, virudh etc) which are made just to eat up some part of the box office earnings.
The best part about the movie was Tina Ambani’s brother who plays the Violin at opportunate moments, and acts aloof of the proceedings. I wish I could make movies like that.

Cosmo

The first time I saw cosmo, it was this totally taboo mag that my friend's mom used to subscribe for. I was never really interested in peeking between the pages, but my friend used to act like he knew girls better... Anyway, around a year and a half ago, there was this other cosmo that another friend and I saw in an old book store, with Cameron Diaz on the cover. He wanted to buy it, but for some reason didn't.

Today, because of a project called "ender cunstruction in the media" and my individual assignment being gender cunstuction in cosmo, I go buy the second hand bookshop off most of the cosmo issues that he has.
A woman with a child in her hands, buying a book for kids gav me a weird look. while I was sifting through the mags, weeding out the repititions, a couple of college girls suddenly apparated behind me, and the entire atmosphere was like I had ordered a condom, and everyone wanted to laugh or somethin.
I muttered something about a project loudly, which I now realise was sure to give anyone hearing damning evidence that I was upto something dubious with Cameron Diaz (I got that issue.)
So I was carrying a stack of 17 cosmos, going back to my building and realised all the potential emberassment waiting for me there. Small kids would be playing cricket, not so small kids would be playing basketball, a bunch of gossipping ladies would be... WAITING for something like this to come along, and a bunch of young girls would be waiting to be gossipping old ladies. I could imagine the scene if I dropped my stack in front of any one of these groups.
Reached home safely, although a basketball came dangerously close.
THEN the real problem came. My mother. I hadn't told her earlier that I would be geting a stack of cosmo home. She blamed the collge for giving atrocious projects...

really, it is for a bloody project.
Today: A review of COSMO!

Stupid me

And here i was thinking I've hitten upon an idea to combat AIDS effectively. Enzyme inhibiters exist, and are one of the few methods of treating AIDS patients.
The only reason they do not work, is as I pointed out, the fact that enzymes are exteremely substrate specefic.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

blogger for word review

Blogger for word is a 2 mb download available from http://buzz.blogger.com/bloggerforword.html. You need Windows 2000 or XP for this word add-in to work, and at least word 2000. Once you download and install it, a toolbar appears in MsWord, with four basic buttons, blogger settings, open post, save as draft and publish. The settings basically stores your username and password so that you don’t have to repeatedly log in to use the other functions. Open post allows you to open any previous post for editing directly in the word window. You get a drop down menu with different blogs (if you have more than one blog) and a scrolling window which shows the previous fifteen posts from which you can select any one to edit. There seems to be no place from which you can choose to display more than fifteen posts, so I think you are allowed to edit only so much in word. You can also save your work as a draft on any of your blogs, which is a simple process of two clicks, one to select your blog and another to send your text. You can publish the post after selecting the blog using the publish button. Also, the software automatically generates a title (with the first three words) for your blog which can be edited before the post is published.
On the downside, even simple text formatting like font and color do not show up. You can only blog basic text using blogger for word. Also, tables don’t show up in the blog, and images show up with a “[image placeholder]” in the blog. When you try blogging images or tables, a window pops up saying that “this is not yet possible” and asks if you want to continue posting anyway. This might mean that future versions of blogger for word might allow for formatting to show up in the blog. As of now, however, there is no real benefit of using blogger for word over the blogger website beyond the fact that you can easily blogged saved documents instead of going through the copy+paste routine.
This is an innovative idea but needs more capabilities before it can be of any real utility.

Testing blogger for Word

Testing blogger for word.
Nice new program, just seeing if it works.

Testing text formatting

Testing font color

Testing highlights

Testing pictures

Testing bold and italisized text

Testing hyperlinks

Testing aligned text

What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify? What happens if you justify?

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Possible cure for AIDS?

So we have this presentation in college, where we are given a movie and a related social issue which we have to present in front of the whole class. Initially, the idea was to screen the movie also, but this was not possible due to time constraints. The movie given to my group was ‘phir milenge’ and the social issue was AIDS.
Now my sub topic of research was Aids as a disease, its origin and its spread. The thing that makes the HIV virus so dangerous is an enzyme known as reverse transcriptase. What this does is that it changes the genetic matter of the virus from RNA to DNA and back again. This genetic switch keeps happening, so the organism basically changes at a fundamental genetic level. This is somewhat analogous to building a mouse trap, and suddenly the mouse transforms into a snake. Therefore reverse transcriptase is one of the most dangerous things known to mankind. It changes the virus, and that is why AIDS does not have a cure as of now.
The approach of research now is to find innovative ways to recognize the virus. Now this in itself is pretty useless, as it cannot cure all the existing AIDS cases. The HIV virus degrades the immune system, and the degraded immune system cannot be reinstated. But what such research can do is either vaccinate the body before the virus sets in, or combat the virus before AIDS sets in. Nanobot technology is not too far away, and the talk is that nanobots will help cure AIDS, as well as create an artificial immune system.
I don’t know if there is any research in this direction, but I think I have an unexplored possibility for finding a cure. It basically involves combating the enzyme instead of the virus. Detecting and deactivating the enzyme could possible be the cure. As I understand, enzymes are volatile substances and are easy to disintegrate or modify in a reaction. Sending a normal cleanup medicine behind the deactivator to eradicate the deactivated HIV cells could help. There is a good eight years to do this, before AIDS sets in. A major hurdle would be that the enzymes are very substrate specific, so it would be difficult, but not impossible, and therefore worthwhile to find something that will act on them.

Revisiting childhood

Kalam’s speech
Sahitya academy awards are probably the most sought after art awards in the country. I really liked the way the president reacted to the awards. He made it clear that the awards should encourage younger talent. He regularly loses his breath over this and his argument is that what is the use if all the old guys get the awards, what use is it to them?

And meanwhile, the youth of India are rediscovering their childhood which I am not too sure has completely left them in the first place. My college is crazy, and I am one of the craziest. Yesterday, the whole class was playing with soap bubbles.
This kid also came around to help in the playing. Street kids are no longer camera shy. That is why I was able to get this. Either that, or he was just admiring the underside of my mobile without knowing he was looking into a camera.



And today, one of those guys who makes them paper windmills went passed, and I was one of the people who ran out of class to get my hands on some. Most of the class ended up with one in their hands, and I fir l fiis ewlxruib dein l fuek!!!! Yeahahahahahah!!!! So imagine the most serious guy in class, the topper in the entrance test, and someone who can hold a long discussion on the occult philosophy of medieval Christian caballah, holding a paper windmill and getting scolded by the prof for it.



And the opposite end of the spectrum, would be me, and I was werid, I fused to winmills together to get a four fanned one, but the person who clicked the pic din;t do a good job, despite my handsome face.
So instead, the second most crazy person in class gets a mention here. He was probably contemplating the deeper ramifications of the study of the paper blades that go into making five rupee windmills on the interpretation of the occult philosophy of the medieval Christian cabbalah in the Indian social context.



Maybe not.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Reverse transcriptase

Doing a presentation on AIDS, and I thought I would take a break by becoming a ten year old again and playing stop party with old building friends. But since such technology hasn;t been invented as yet, and my old school friends are probably sleeping in different places around the country, I thought I would blog instead. This is all really irresponsible, but here it goes anyway:

I’ve discovered the purpose of mankind… again.

Have you ever walked along the street and suddenly found that you are ankle deep in shit. Ever noticed the fact that the shit begins to smell like hell only AFTER your foot has splattered it around? In India, you might step in (or splatter around) dog shit, human shit, little balls of goat shit, and more often than not, bullshit. The point is not matter how distant a cousing of yours finds it fit to excreet on the street, the fact remains that you cannot smell it. Stepping on the shit itself proves your inability to smell it.
Therefore, one does not have the ability to smell shit on the road. Now gaining the ability to smell shit on the road before stepping on it would be tremendously useful for mankind. This is because, someone who smells of recently washed road shit is less likely to procreate than someone who hasn't. Therefore, according to the fundamental principles of natural selection, the genes of the people who couldn't smell shit on the road would have been long removed from the gene pool precisely because they did not smell the shit on the road.
Now somehow, the genes that express themselves by disabling the faculty to smell shit on the road has survived the long course of evolution. Since shit on your pants is something that is pretty harmful to your love life, it does not make sense that such a gene has survived for so long. This means that Darwin has got it wrong all along. The fact that people step in shit on the road disproves evolution.
This means that God created man after all. The question is, why?

So that he can laugh at people who step on road shit? Or laugh at road shit that has been stepped on by people (probably in the plural). Either way, God is one weird charachter... and the fact that he created us is testament to this.

I guess I will go back to the project now.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

janmashtami

The tense is fucked up in this post, but anyway:

So early morning I get up and go back to sleep thinking there is loads of time left for college. A friend calls me up to find out exactly how much time is left for college, and I mumble something similar to “loads” and go back to sleep. Then I switch into the state of half sleep which is supposed to be the optimum working condition, and remember that I went to sleep without bogging, so I blog.
Now it normally takes an hour and a half to go to college. An hour and I could just about make it last year, being five minutes late, if the railways are working properly and I choose to go by rick instead of the usual bus. Forty minutes before the lecture starts, I realize that I am late, and I head over to the college. I also pick up a book that I am supposed to study, which will help me for a surprise test which wasn’t going to be much of a surprise. I was, at that point of time, intending to read in the train.
I sleep in the train. Some kind of law in the universe makes you get up five minutes before the train comes to a halt at the station you want to get down at.
I reach half an hour late, and the teacher has only reached twenty minutes late, and she was busy scribbling something on the board. That was the test.
I open up my text book underneath the table, intending to copy, and realize that I have gotten the wrong text book.

It was just a filthy five marks test, where you just have to enter random numbers. I hope that my test was reasonably accurate, because I managed to copy from a friend who at least pretended to know what he was doing.

Five minutes after the test, we were given an assignment to be submitted the next day (tomorrow) about… about a VERY complicated economics concept that I have no idea about. And now I am blogging instead of studying.

So after college, I head over to play cricket at a friend’s place. Scored a run, got someone out.
During the course of the game, this guy gave a galli that goes like “chipkali ke jhat ke bal
(pubic hair of a garden lizard), and I pointed out to him that garden lizards being reptiles, hadn’t evolved any pubic hair. This is what he did when I said this:


Two hours later, I was looking at the eagles concert in another friends house who lived 26 kilometers away. Huge day.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

Then I headed over to the self proclaimed “largest dahi handi in the world’ at panchpakhadi. The main handi was worth 1,11,111 but the total prize money was 11,11,111. The handi was about forty feet in the air, and this event was like a rock concert for the masses. I mean there was as much festivity and aggression in the air as is there in a rock concert. Only, people weren’t doping and drinking here, but were still having the time of their lives by singing and dancing to the tunes of the really sad DJ.
First these mandals came and just built the pyramids without actually trying for the handi. A load of obscure little filmstars turned up, not big, but bigger than the crowd. There was one Sharad Kapoor, no one has heard of him, but he came like a huge star and was pretty much treated like one. Then there was also that loser son who tried to marry Madhuri in Hungama. After that, the real thing started, but I came off much before. Here are some pics:


This is one of the three Aaj Tak Manchans used to cover the event. Huge structures had two storeys of cameramen in them. The cameramen were frequently signalling the crowd into go into a frenzy for the camera.



This is one of the tallest towers made while I was there.



Small kids like this one were the most jostled about, thrown around and generally pushed to the very top of the pyramid. Kids as young as three were dancing on the shoulders of their whatevers.



This is an image grabbed from the television that was covering the same event (I am one of the faces on AAJ Tak, Sahyradri and InMumbai!)

Amazing sight.
I am sure lord Krishna will not be too pleased with the fact that his birthday is celebrated by people swaying to the lyrics “mere saath, koi raat guzare; tujhe subah tak mein… karun pyaar…” but what the hell, it was fun.

Stuff



So was coming home by train. Usually, as soon as you enter, you get this feeling that some terrorist has come and left. The business and service men sleep so well and so hard, that they look dead. But today, probably due to a slight change in timings, a whole bunch of school kids rushed in. Some started to dangle liked crazed monkeys from those metal triangles you normally hold on to. Some started challenging each other to touch these triangles while having both their feet on the ground. Some kids, however, decided that it would be a cool idea to hang out of the train. Not only did a particularly large school bag of boy jab me in the crotch almost making me lose my balance, but the kids also made me exteremely nervous. One kid in particular was seeing how far he could extend his body out of the train. I didn't say anything, just shut up and took a video of it. i wanted to tell them to stop, but minded my own business. As the station approached, kids, being kids, started pushing each other near the doorway. fortunately, nothing happened...



This is how I finally turned in a marked paper. The teacher had asked us to write on life is... and since there was a lack of paper clips, staplers and other such things, I used a toothpick. The toothpick in question was one of a large number stolen from vrindavan hotel in sion by a friend to pretend to be Amitabh Bachan.
The teacher laughed, but what the hell, staplers and paper clips deserted me.



This is my latest pet. Actually, I found it on a wall near my building and got it home. Observing asnail is a very interesting thing to do. I finally foundout the exact way in which the shell stays on. there is this really thin and really translucent membrane, which connects the slug to the shell. You can pull this out, but you cannot break it (I SWEAR I didn't try too hard) very easily. And snails eat FAST. If you have actually seen a snail eat, you will realise the insane speed at which it does this. It just gobbles up the bases of leaves, makes them fall off the plants, and moves on, without eating the rest of the leaf.

Ah well...

Friday, August 26, 2005

26/7 – who is to blame?

On the twenty sixth of July, 2005, there was a cloudburst over Mumbai that brought life to a standstill. 944 millimeters of rain later, people were stranded all over the city. The highways were blocked because of one massive traffic jam, the cell phone networks crashed (or were purposely taken down to prevent mass hysteria), the railways slowed down and then completely stopped and all the airplanes had to be grounded in the airports themselves. Schoolchildren were stuck in their school buses, or if they were lucky, in the schools. Office goers had to spend the night in their offices itself. The worst affected were people stuck in Railway stations, and who had to spend their nights there. To top it all, the electricity failed in most of the city, hampering rescue operations, and the comfort of the stranded people. Everyone has their own story to tell about 26/7. There were well over a 1000 deaths due to drowning, landslides and electrocution. Everyone agrees that it was a tragedy. The question arises as to who should be held responsible for it.
One can just blame nature and end it there. Afterall, what can man do against the forces of nature? If it rains heavily, then there is nothing we can do except learning to live with it. There is our problem: we haven’t learnt to live with it. We just didn’t have the foresight that was necessary to alleviate the tragedy. It is the fault of the entire community of the whole and not of the government at all. In fact, the government did everything in its power to set things right as soon as possible. The rescue and relief operations were handled in a commendable manner. Even if any one of us were to be in the government, would we really be interested in a better way to handle the drainage system? Prevent the intrusion into mangroves by slums and industrial facilities? The answer is no. In our initial planning, we had not taken into account any disaster management plan. Such a thing was not an integral part of the design of the city. Moreover, the city is expanding at a ferocious rate. This means that there is an increasing influx of people into Mumbai, and there is insufficient infrastructure to support these people. Therefore, one of the factors that contributed to making 26/7 a disaster was a lack of proper planning for the city.
Another was the ineffective drainage system, which was further hampered by its clogging due to excessive garbage. Mumbai throws away five tones of plastic garbage everyday. I am absolutely sure that every time someone throws a plastic bag in the gutter, that someone wouldn’t have thought that their actions would end up clogging the drainage system. At least some of the 233 people who drowned could have been saved if only the public hadn’t thrown such garbage I the drainage system. While not doubting the fact that these plastic bags have clogged up the drainage system, one must consider what the BMC could have done to better handle this. Remember around six years ago when the polythene bags were banned the first time around? The initiative was taken because of water logging. The storm water drainage system in Mumbai hasn’t been changed for 65 years, and a massive project to this effect was almost started in 1990. The cost of renovating the drainage system was 600 crores, and the BMC deemed this too high an amount to spend on the drains. The project would have been completed by 2002, and this would have doubled the capacity of drains, and they could have borne the burden of the rains better.
The blame finally comes onto the lack of planning, but we are to blame for this, not the government. In a democratic society, if such a thing as disaster management planning does not exist in the conscience of the people, then it is very unlikely to exist in the conscience of the government.

Pics

Weird writing

Yeah so my grandfather's books have some really weird chars in them, and usually it's just one short line like or . I think it is the date in some zodiac language, but then changed my mind when page long stuff like:



Started to appear. This could be the alphabet of the zodiac language, which for some reason my grandfather choseto scribble on the back of "sculpture influenced by Kalidasa."

Here is an original. Notice the red figure in the background:



Any guesses?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Understanding the concept of socks

Ok, so I haven't blogged for almost forty eight hours. Actually, it's four minutes, but it was forty eight hours before that. Listening to Dhaani right now... anyway, so I will more than compensate for the 48 hour lag by blogging like hell today. I didn't blog yesterday because I had changed my tcp/ip settings so that I could use DC++. Amazing file sharing capacity. the LAN was down, so it was a bad day. I downloading five videos in four minutes. the speed was close to two megs per sec. And my friends tell me I've come at a wrong time, just when the cyber crime branch has opened in thane... so the speed is very low! I am new to LAN though, my better than using limewire or bearshare p2p progs.

Since I was new to LAN, I ended up asking a lot of people about stuff that goes with LAN. That's how I ended up asking someone to explain the concept of socks to me. Someone was chatting about activating socks5 settings, and I had no clue what the hell they were talking about...

That's how I ended up asking someone to explain the concept of socks to me...

Someone wanted me to log onto trivia and there's another local hub and I forgot the name. Damn. Anyway, will remember that, and meanwhile, here is something for the new cyber crime cell to work on. I have hacked into both google and yahoo, and changed them:

Google hacked

and

Yahoo! hacked

Why sex sells

Friends thought I used the word voyeuristic too often here, but anyway:


The reason for the constantly escalating depiction in the media of sexually related material goes beyond artistic intentions, or a desire to thrill the audience. The audience itself finds pleasure in just looking at the human form in a sexual context. This trend is called scopophilia, or the pleasure of looking at sexually explicit material. For example, children have voyeuristic tendencies, which makes them want to look at the private regions of other individuals, mostly because of inherent curiosity about the genitalia. This voyeuristic tendency, in adults, escalates into a pleasure to perceive an individual as a sex object. When this escalation goes on unchecked, it produces extreme cases of perversion, where obsessive peeping toms who get sexual satisfaction by watching an objectified form of other individuals. However, this pleasure, exists to some extent in all individuals, and there exists a primal need to watch people performing sex-related activities. The media portrays such voyeuristic fantasies, under the broad umbrella of entertainment. Almost always, the viewer is separated from the actual activity. Whether sex is portrayed in cinema, movie clips, or even in print, the viewer is considerably separated from the subjects, and the media gives the same pleasure that voyeurs aim to obtain.
There also exists a contradictory theory explaining the phenomenon of widespread sex in media. The media can develop the inherent scopophilia into a narcissist bearing for the human psyche, whereby one not only looks at the portrayal as a voyeur, but gets drawn into the context, and plays out a fantasy, and satisfies one’s self-image. It seems that the first model is true amongst the younger generation, who are not as emotionally developed, and their curiosity is therefore restricted to voyeuristic portrayals. But the same material, when viewed by an older individual with developed emotions, the pleasure is acquired from fantasizing, relating to the portrayal, and satisfying one’s ego. Either way, the conclusion is that sex sells, and that sex is depicted so widely in the media is that people want to watch it, however little they might be inclined to accept this because of social reasons.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Objectification of women in Media

I’ll come around to that, but first:
We had a presentation about the media and dash project today in college. We had to speak on a sub topic for three minutes each, and then enact something related to the subject. So the other group who had got sex and media (my group also had the same topic), and a part of their skit involved one fellow (playing the part of a child) asking another fellow (the father) about a condom. So this was the conversation that followed after two other people had enacted a condom ad on stage.

Child: Papa, papa, yeh caundum kya hota hai? (papa, what is a condom?)
Father: beta… caundum… caundum balloon hota hai (a condom is like a balloon, son)
Child: Who holi mein phekte hain, waisa kya? (like the ones we throw around in holi?)

I remembered a conversation I had with my father after encountering a condom in this drawer. It was long ago, but I still remember it clearly, because he hadn’t told me what he is. Somehow, with the stories of unprotected sex, rape and prostitution going around when I was around ten, I had believed for a short span of time that my father was a rapist. I thought only rapist used condoms, and that condoms were not used at home. I thought my father was this guy leading a double life. I didn’t tell my mother only because I was scared she would thrash me if I admitted I knew what a condom was. So people with kids please not, tell kids the truth, and don’t do something like this:

(The convo took place in kannada, after I found some multi colored condoms in a drawer)

Me: id yenu? (what’s this?)
Daddy: ad rubber (that’s rubber)

This is the part I remembered, because I related to the fact that fathers don’t tell their kids what a condom is, but instead tell their kids a slang term for the same thing, hoping it will satisfy their curiosity. I told this to a friend sitting next to me, and remembered more of the conversation, and suddenly realized exactly how perverted my father is. Maybe it was unintentional. Maybe.

Me: yen rub madake? (to rub what?) (In this context, better translated as, “for what purpose?”)
Daddy: nanna costly penge (for my costly pen)

At that point of time, I was only allowed to write with a pencil, so even a pen was a big thing for me.

Anyway, there is something I have to come back to:

Objectification of women in the society:

So almost everyone spoke about how the media portrays women. There were two groups talking about ‘media and sex’ and ‘media and women’ each. So that meant a total of twenty four speakers, and almost everyone touched upon the objectification of women in the media. I was the only guy with a different view.
They spoke about the same old crap, that the media represents women only with their breasts and vaginas, and that women are portrayed as if there is nothing more to them. The media is to be blamed for this portrayal of women, and that this was having undesirable consequences on the watching populating. This allegedly, made rapists out of people. This also lead to an increase in rate of crimes against women, and there were statistics to prove this. Also, most films portray the heroine as merely an object of the hero’s attention, just something that he would achieve at the end of the movie. The media was again, to be blamed for this.
Someone also spoke about pornography, about scenes of bondage, about how this again, was portraying women as sex objects (a very commonly used term). Someone else touched upon advertising, and proclaimed loudly to the whole class something totally unnecessary, “Media basically only objectifies women” and spoke about shaving and underwear commercials that had female models in them that were totally unnecessary. The kingfisher airlines ad had bikini clad females, and there was some explanation on how the common people associate their arousal to the brand itself, and therefore prefer it over other brands. I will not elaborate further on this, but basically, it was a general feeling that the media was to blame for the objectification of women.
The key word here is “objectifies”
The media does not “objectify” women. The media is merely reflecting something inherent in the society… the society already had objectified them. That is why the entire gender was suppressed for so long. Women were essentially reduced to their breasts, butts and vaginas long before the media came along and merely reflected this. Although the media does, to a certain extent reinforce the idea of females as sex objects, it does not construct females in sex objects. The media is NOT responsible for a build up of sexist ideas.
The media is actually very responsible when it comes to the objectification of women. There does a simple question to be asked. What does the media have to gain if they portray objectified women? This is where the “sex sell” part comes in. Scopophlia, or the desire to see people as sex objects is the reason why sex sells. This is an intrinsic characteristic in human beings, starting with young kiddos who want to peek at the private parts of others. This develops into voyeuristic tendencies is adolescence. Women are depicted as sex objects because people want to see them portrayed as such.
However, the media is getting very responsible about this. The feminist movement is in fact, fuelled by the media itself. For example, take the movie Lakshya. This soldier has got a baby child, and he approaches his senior with this information. The senior enquires about the gender of the child. The soldier proudly replies that it is a female.
Now anyone in India would have expected a male child to be
Oh shit I just realized there was a major flaw in my presentation. What I just said has nothing to do with objectification. Blogging does help! Screw anyone who says it doesn’t. Damn, I realized this while typing. Ok anyway, to go on with the rambling….
Anyone would expect a male child to be born for the purpose of the soldier showing his pride. The media is actually helping desexifying the entire gender. Te media is the cure and not the cause.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Have you done it?

So my friend gets a call early in the morning from another friend.
“have you done it?”
“what?”
“I did it yesterday night, ----- is doing it in Thane right now. I wonder how many people have already done it in class right now”
“You are talking about the printing out of the project right?”
“Yeah, what else?”

This conversation was related in class… and led to some interesting observations.

“I am paying someone to get it done for me”
“I did it a week ago”
“I am going to bunk eco and do it”
“We had to do it today?”

People in the class were randomly bursting into laughter remembering all of this. However, when later questioned as to exactly what they thought “it” was, opinions widely differed, but mainly involved various bodily fluids, gasses, solids and any combination thereof coming out of every possible orifice imaginable.

Another project submitted today. Presentations for yet another one tommorrow. Yesterday's blog has many faal flaws - have to remember to fix it. But later. and yeah, I will probably put a shoutbox in my sidebar.

Spoilsport

Nothing much to blog about today. An interesting fact about king’s circle is that if you wait for the signal to change, and walk around it, all the signals change in time, allowing you to walk around and round the circle without ever stopping. Cool eh? Anyway, here is my first attempt at what can be called a short story that has anything remotely to do with romance. All my other short stories were hideously different. And yeah, this is a total fabrication.

And yeah, you people can be particularly critical, because as I said, this is my first attempt to write a story like this:

Spoilsport

The first time I saw her was in a bus. She climbed on, and my first impulse was to look away. Not because she was ugly, I didn’t even see her face. I just noticed that she was a girl, and I looked away, conscious of my gender. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was one of those guys with a male gaze. I was resolutely considering my own shoelaces, and suddenly, I noticed that they were tied in the shape of a heart. A pair of thin, slender legs in tight fitting black jeans edged up the aisle, and the figure that it belonged to rested against the handle of my seat. If an old man wasn’t dozing off beside me, she would have sat down next to me. The thought made my heart race, so I looked out of the window. I told myself to come to my senses. There was no scope to maneuver. I peeked at her face just as bus gave a sudden lurch. She was pretty, but my eyes were on the city going by the next second.
Ten days later, I had forgotten all about her, and was going to sign myself up for a personality development course. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my personality, but the vacations were going on, and I was supposed to do something better with my time. My plan was to go there, and pretend that all the seats were taken and go back home, and spend my vacation in a more fruitful way than personality courses. I was surprised that she was there, more surprised that I recognized her, and even more surprised to see that she recognized me. Thank God for personality courses, we introduced ourselves, and for a good five minutes we discussed what was awaiting us in that course. There was a week to go before the course started, and I don’t want to recall what I went through. There was the anticipation, and the wild flights of fancy, and the wilder flights of… well, it will suffice to understand that there was a hell lot of anticipation. The days went slowly by, with me sitting in front of the television, but thinking only about her.
Finally, the d-day came. It was a Friday evening, and it was raining. I was dreaming about a set of warm shoulders next to me under my umbrella. She was there when I entered the classroom. She waved, I waved back, and walked towards her. Did I dare to sit down beside her? No, I thought to myself. I wouldn’t inflict myself on her. Take it slow I thought to myself. That’s the way to win them over. The bench behind her seemed to be a good idea. Yes, I thought to myself, it would be rude if I didn’t sit somewhere in her vicinity… and stupid. She moved inwards to accommodate me just as I crossed the bench she was sitting on. I felt like a dumb slug as I pretended not to notice, and slid into the bench behind her. My bag caught in the corner, and I clumsily tried to disentangle myself. I felt the blood rushing to my face, and her amused expression didn’t exactly stem the flow. At that point of time, I thought, would I ever dare to ask her out?
Ten days later, I still hadn’t got her number, hell, I still hadn’t even sat next to her. She had grown friendlier to other guys in my class, and I was feeling frequent bursts of jealousy. I had this feeling that she was going out with one of them in particular. This guy who had a pierced eyebrow, and walked around with a dog tag around his neck, and a chain around his wrists. I saw her appreciatively pat the shoulders of this boy after he had cracked what was undoubtedly the stupidest joke on the planet. She suddenly caught my eye, and as if she were goading me, twiddled two fingers at me, her elbow still resting on his shoulder. On that day, I confided in a friend I had made about the crush. He made some discreet enquiries, and found out that the girl wasn’t going out with anyone. My heart skipped a beat, and realized that something desperate had to be done. Somehow, I had to find a way to get her to say yes.
So my friend and I contrived this excellent plan so that I could ask her out – hopefully in a successful manner. My friend thought that it would be a good idea to take advantage of the fact that my birthday was around the corner. I would treat the class at a nice place. We even decided on the nearby McDonalds, because the evenings were crowded, they usually accommodated the larger parties in the terrace. This would be an excellent place. As soon as the venue was decided, I had to start saving up. A treat at McDonalds wasn’t something I could normally afford, but this was a special occasion I thought. The fact that I could finally pluck up the courage to ask her out was more special to me than my birthday. Other details of the plan emerged. Everything was thought out to the finest detail. The guy in the dog tag would be distracted by my friend, telling him some jokes. My friend and I would ensure that all the sauce on the table would be finished. I would then drag her along to get some more sauce, which involved going downstairs to the main restaurant for the sauce dispenser. This would also mean descending a lonely flight of stairs, which would be an ideal location for what we had to do. I would then present her with a red rose, after shaving off the thorns, and ask her out. It was my birthday, she would find it hard to refuse, my friend reasoned.
My birthday arrived. First there were the personality lessons. We had to catch each other’s hands and play a game that involved squeezing the next person’s hands to pass on the message. Her hands were suddenly in mine. They felt warm. If they felt warm, it meant that my own hands were terribly cold. I condemned myself to eternal damnation and burst into sweat. Suddenly, her hands were squeezing mine. I became ecstatic, forgot about everything else, for the benefit of the professor, who used this to teach the virtues of co-operation for the sake of effective communication. After the lecture, dog-collar guy startled me by walking up to me and saying “I hear you are going to propose to her…” I lost the rest of his sentence, and realized that the enquiries of my friend weren’t as discreet as I trusted them to be. I made a mental note to kick myself, and more importantly him. The massive hands of dog-collar guy tapped my shoulder twice, his eye with the ring hideously close to it winked, and he murmured “she likes chocolates.”
My rose was thrown into the gutter as I walked towards McDonalds with the rest of my class. Somehow, I managed to go to a shop, and they didn’t have a box of chocolates suitable for a presentation to a lady. I had to settle for a Cadbury’s temptation. Then I walked into McDonalds and requested the waiter for the terrace. He obliged, and part one of the plan went well. Seems that many people were in it, as the sauce disappeared with amazing rapidity. I hardly had any myself. Before I was able to mentally prepare myself, the sauce had run dry. It was on me to get the refill. She even got up on her own accord before I could gather up the courage to ask her to accompany me, as I would never be able to handle all the sauce.
Suddenly, I was following her slender legs through the door. The staircase was upon me! There were too many thoughts in my head at this point of time. Should I do it? How should I do it? What is the use? Why should I humiliate myself? Wouldn’t it be better if I would just get the sauce? This will be so embarrassing for me if she says no? Wouldn’t it be unfair to use my birthday to my advantage? Why the fuck was today my birthday? Why should I give her the trouble of refusing someone on his birthday? I rather just not do it? – No – too much effort had gone into this. If I didn’t do this now, I would never be able to do it. Such a good opportunity would never present itself again. I would kick myself later for not doing it. Birthday or no birthday, she was all that mattered. I had to ask her out.
I blocked out my head from all the voices that opposed this decision. I watched her skip down the stairs, her long hair flowing like thin threads of satin behind her. I made up my mind. I took out the chocolate from my pocket, completely ignored the fact that it had half melted. I drew closer to her in the staircase, became conscious of her smell. My heart began to race. I was about to do it.
She spoilt the magic by casually turning around and proposing to me.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Stuff

Learnt the difference between socialism, Marxism, communism, fascism and Nazism today. The constitution of India seems to be pretty confused. It calls itself a Secular (I might just as well agree to this, but who else will? Especially in rural India?) socialist (not really halping the poor, but is also slowing down economic progress for the country) democratic (25 million extra voters, who thinks we should believe this?) republic (come on, what can the Pres REALLY do?). India is messed up because it tries to be a secular socialist democratic republic. I believe is should be a secular republic. Accounts for anything we need.

So I wanted to blog this on I-day, but it would be a pretty unpatriotic thing to do. I just have to admit it... I don't like our national flag. I never did like it. It has too many colours that mean too many things that makes me feel like I am living in a country of hypocrites, not that we don't live up to the ideals of the flag, but that the ideals themselves are unnecessary to be lived up to. Sacrifice, peace, prosperity and Dharma? I'd rather have peace and prosperity. Would make an elegant, simple flag. End of story. As a personal opinion, I would have simply LOVED this as our national flag. Tose guys who sing naras every I-day morning, please don't hate me for this:



Ok, unpacked more books today, and all the four mega huge packs are done. Am currently reading the invisible man by HG Wells. Here are some pretty unlikely volumes, or books of famous people I didn;t know were ever written:

Man - Rabindranath Tagore
Teach yourself mechanical draughtmanship - SM Hood
The coins of India - CJ Brown
The Kon Tiki Expedition
Personal recollections of Joan of Arc - The Sieur Louis De Conte (her page and secretary)
[There are two volumes or more, I have only volume one]
Indian Child Art - Gay Hellier (It has ACTUAL drawings by Indian kids. WTF?)
Practical time travel (192 pages on "how to reach back to past lives by occult means") - Colin Bennet. Again, WTF?
The future of the congress - Acharya JB Kriplani
The assorted history of the world - HG Wells
Life and Myself - Harindranath Chattopadhyaya
Anothology of American NEgro Literature - Watkins

I am actually going crazy. I might miss a few days of college. If only there weren't submissions. Will talk about two of the books I have gone through. There are too many to actually read. I will have to teach myself speed reading pretty fast.

My India My America by Krishnanlal Shridharani
This is a book published in the mid nineteen thirties, and is very much like "The inscrutable americans" only less juvenile, and has more... you know... classy humour, but it is funny, nonetheless.
here is a tiny excerpt
[First, the girl and I murdered each other's names, and while I asked her if there wasn't a month called "June", she asked me if we hadn't a God called "Krishna."]
Both the books note the fact of the fate of a Shudh Brhmin in the meat hungry America. Both the chars lose their disgust of meat as soon as they eat beef by mistake. This is like the baap of the inscrutable Americans. Plus, it's like eighty years old, AND it is divided into four parts, Personal, Social, National and Political. Really amazing book.

Next is a pretty recent book, Contact by Carl Sagan. I just loved the movie. It had science, philosophy (both go hand in hand too often for comfort) and human values and evolution. Amazing movie, never knew it was based on a book. I am sure the book will be even more amazing...

Going back to the invisible man now. Now a very good book, but one of those things that has to be read. Next on my list is the call of the wild. Although I have read it, I wanna do it again.

The seventh Horcrux

If this gets blogged, then i have successfully blogged via e-mail. This also means that i can blog from my orange phone when I choose orange mail in a few days. Basically, today, I organised the six square feet of old books, coming across titles like " Sculptures inspired by the works of Kalidasa" and more mysterious squiggles on the first page. Will scanb it and blog it ASAP. Really interesting squiggles...
Raksha Bandhan today. Not a single raakhi. Donno if it should be a :) or a :(
Here is a conversation (g for girl and m for me):
g: Will you pay me if I tie you a Raakhi
m: Are you mad or something? I would rather buy a rakhi and tie it myself if I really wanted it.
g: But this will be an authentic Rakhi from me
m: Which guy would want an authentic Rakhi?
g: Doesn't it mean you are really close to a girl or something?
m: Who would want a girl as a sister? Haven't you seen the stupid song in style?
Then it hits her and she goes oooh! and sings "banja mera bhaiya re"
 
But as always, I deviate and come to the point:
 
This was written on the third day after reading the book, with the intention of sending it to a fan site. One person (same sister girl) talked abou such a theory circulating on the web, and I went like WTF, and blogged it anyway. This is a comprehensive article, everything I found was just posts on forums.
 
The seventh Horcrux.

 

Voldemort's Horcruxes:

 

Voldemort, in an attempt to attain immortality, created, or at the least, intended to create six Horcruxes to divide his soul and ensure that at least one of his souls survive. We definitely know the following Horcruxes from HBP:

 

> Tom Riddle's diary, which Harry Potter destroys using a Basilisk's fang in COS.

> The stone embedded in Marvolo Gaunt's ring. The soul is destroyed by Dumbledore, which cracks up the stone, but the ring survives the encounter.

> The locket belonging to Salazar Slytherin, which was hidden in the secret cave, but was taken by someone with the initials RAB.

> A cup belonging to Helga Hufflepuff, that is currently unaccounted for.

> Voldemort's snake Nagini.

> A personal belonging either Godric Griffindor's or Rowena Rawenclaw.

 

No possibility is mentioned for a seventh Horcrux. However, it is clearly indicated that Voldemort intended to make seven pieces of his soul, believing seven to be the most magically powerful number. Now all he needs are six Horcruxes, because the seventh part of the soul, will obviously remain in his own body. Therefore, there is no need to account for the seventh Horcrux. But Dumbledore himself indicated that nothing of Godric's survived except the sword, which definitely wasn't a Horcrux. In all probability, it would be very difficult for even Voldemort to come across an item belonging to Rowena Rawenclaw, and I would like to discount this possibility for the purpose of suggesting a very startling possibility for the seventh Horcrux.

We know that Voldemort used very significant deaths to create his Horcruxes. There is very vague information about this, but still, one can make fairly decent guesses as to which deaths led to the creation of which horcrux. In chronological order, the first horcrux that Voldemort created was when he was still a student of Hogwarts. Tom Riddle found out his ancestry, opened up the chamber of secrets, and probably converted his diary into a horcrux after killing Moaning Myrtle. The part of Voldemort's soul was destroyed in COS when Harry put a poisonous basilisk fang through the diary. The three Horcruxes of Slytherin's Locket, Slytherin's ring, and Helga's Cup were all possibly created after killing off his father (Tom Riddle)'s second family. Slytherin's locket was stolen from it's hiding place by someone called RAB. It is very likely that these are the initials of Sirius Black's brother, Regalus, and is possibly in the black mansion (The locket discovered during the cleaning in OoTP?). Dumbledore found the ring and destroyed it. The cup of Helga Hufflepuff is definitely hidden somewhere.  So four Horcruxes are accounted for, he needs two more. Remember, that Voldemort hardly killed people himself, and usually had someone else do it for him. After killing of his father's family, he then killed someone, creating the Mystery Horcrux, and had just one more to go before attaining his magic number of seven. At this point of time, Harry Potter becomes the boy who lived, and Voldemort flees until he is rescued by a lost servant four years later. Then, sacrificing significance for the sake of practicality, he kills Frank Bryce at the Riddle Mansion, and converts his snake Nagini into a Horcrux. The last surviving part of Voldemort's soul is the one occupying his resurrected body.

 

The mystery Horcrux:

Coming to the point, a suggestion that Harry Potter could be the mystery Horcrux. The evidences supporting this is the clear link between Harry Potter and Voldemort all throughout the books. Especially in OoTP, not only does Harry Potter feel exactly what Voldemort is feeling (and vice versa), but all attempts at occulumency fail miserably. I think this is clinching evidence. Harry Potter is a pretty strong Wizard, and learns even complex spells (eg: the patronus charm) with relative ease. Therefore, not being able to learn occulumency despite repeated practice simply does not make sense for the hero of the story. Also, when Harry's soul is particularly sensitive, he is very easy to anger. Throughout OoTP, Harry was constantly losing his cool which hasn't happened to that scale before OoTP or later, in HBP. Voldemort probably knew that there was a connection between him and Harry, unlike what Dumbledore thought (remember, he himself suggests that he might have been wrong). Voldemort used this information to get the prophecy out of the hall of prophecies, or maybe even to spy on the activities of those close to Dumbledore. Either way, after OoTP, When the activities of Voldemort becomes more clandestine, he prefers to hide his feelings from Harry, and therefore Harry essentially becomes an inactive Horcrux, not sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of Voldemort. The sorting hat, which is never wrong, had serious doubts about choosing the house more suitable for Harry Potter. Rowling hasn't explained, so far, the reason for the sorting hat to feel that Harry Potter would have done well in Slytherin. Was this because the sorting hat saw the bit of Voldemort's soul in Harry Potter? Harry himself admits this in COS "So I <i>should</i> be in Slytherin… the sorting hat could see Slitherin's power in me…" Also, Harry Potter can speak Parseltoungue. This, as we know is very rare quality, and there is no rational way in which Harry Potter came to be a Parseltongue unless he had a part of Voldemort's soul within him. In COS, when Harry asks Dumbledore about the doubts of the sorting hat, as well as his ability to speak to snakes, Dumbledore replies:

 

<i>"You can speak Parseltoungue, Harry, because Lord Voldemort – who is the last remaining descendent of Salazar Slytherin – can speak Parseltongue. Unless I'm much mistaken, he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Something he did not intend to do, I am sure…" </i>  

 

This almost clinches the argument. However, Dumbledore also mentions that this was something Voldemort did not intend to do. Then again, this could be another case where Dumbledore was mistaken. The question arises as to when and how Voldemort made Harry a Horcrux.

 

Creating Horcruxes

We finally come to know why Voldemort tried to kill the Potters in OoTP. A prophecy, which stated that the boy born to the parents who thrice defied Voldemort would be marked as his equal, and later on, only one of them could survive. Rowling leads us to believe that Voldemort headed over to the Potter's house to finish them off for this reason. The prophecy, would make the death of Harry Potter highly significant. This would mean that Voldemort had a good opportunity to make a very powerful Horcrux, and that this would be an opportunity he wouldn't pass by. Since Harry's parents lived in a village called Godric's Hollow, and since only a "true griffindor" could obtain the sword from the sorting hat, it could be very possible that Harry Potter is a descendant of Godric Griffindor. If this is the case, then killing of the Potters becomes very important to Voldemort, as part of the traditional Gryffindor Vs Slytherin rivalry. This is probably why Lily didn't need to die, she didn't have the proper lineage.

There is very little information on how Horcruxes are created. The best source is from  HBP, the chapter titled Horcruxes, from Slughorn's memory of his conversation with Tom Riddle.

 

'well,' said Slughorn, not looking at Riddle, but fiddling with the ribbon on top of his box of crystallized pineapple, 'well, it can't hurt to give you an overview, of course. Just so that you understand the term. A Horcrux is the word used for an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul.'

'I don't quite understand how that works, though, sir,' said Riddle.

His voice was carefully controlled, but Harry could sense his excitement.

'Well, you split your soul, you see,' said Slughorn, 'and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one's body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for the part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged. But of course, existence in such a form…'

'… few would want it, Tom, very few. Death would be preferable.'

But Riddle's hunger was now apparent; his expressionwas greedy, he could no longer hide his longing.

'how do you split your soul?'

'Well,' said slughorn uncomfortably, 'you must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is an act of violation, it is against nature.'

'but how do you do it?'

'By an act of evil – the supreme act of evil. By committing murder. Killing rips the soul apart. The wizard intent upon creating a Horcrux would use the damage to his advantage: he would encase the torn portion –'

'Encase? But how? - ?'

'There is a spell, do not ask me, I don't know!'

 

So basically every time Voldemort created a Horcrux, he killed someone, and that ripped his soul apart. He inflicted the ripped apart soul on some object. Whom did he kill to rip apart the part of his soul that was encased in Harry Potter?

Information on what happened that night when Voldemort set out to kill the Potters is very hazy, especially because there was a mistake in GOF that was later corrected. When Voldemort entered Godric's Hollow, he first killed James Potter just after he asked Lily to flee with Harry. One can imagine Voldemort finishing of James Potter, and going after Harry and Lily. He asks Lily to step aside, as his goal is to kill Harry Potter. Now we know that Lily Potter died trying to save Harry Potter. Therefore, she definitely came in the way of Voldemort as Voldemort tried to put the killing curse on Harry Potter. But where did the killing curse rebound from? Lily or Harry? He tried to kill Harry, and Lily didn't come in the way of the actual curse, but performed some magic that Voldemort didn't know of. This involved a sacrifice of her life, which protected Harry from the killing curse. Lily was the shield for Harry that protected him from the curse. Now, when Voldemort's soul was ripped apart by the killing of Lily Potter, the part of the soul that was ripped apart accidentally inflicted itself on Harry Potter before he fled.  

<a href = " http://www.mugglenet.com/jkrinterview.shtml"> In an interview by Mugglenet </a>, Rowling does not deny the possibility of someone else being in Godric's Hollow the night Harry's parents were killed. Could the death of this mysterious person be the significant one that ripped apart Voldemort's soul? Did Lily Potter only defend Harry Potter from being made into a Horcrux? Was the spell that rebounded on Voldemort the spell used to create the Horcrux, and not, in fact, the killing curse? All these questions can only be answered in book seven.

 

The outcome of book 7

So what will happen in the Harry-Voldemort face off in book 7? Obviously, Harry destroys all the other Horcruxes, and finishes off Voldemort to. Rowling stated in an interview, that Potter might not potter along for long. Does this mean that Harry Potter will sacrifice himself to finally finish of Voldemort? Looking at the high and unnecessary mortality rates in the books, this might definitely be the case. Another possibility could be that Voldemort's soul resides only in Harry's scar (since it throbs whenever he is in mental contact with Voldemort) and Harry Potter will figure out a way of destroying only his scar. If the soul is actually within Harry Potter, at a deeper level, then he could possibly split Voldemort's part of his own soul while killing the embodied version of Voldemort, as killing tears the soul apart. He could then finish off this part of the soul.  

There will be, for the final time, the long wait before the answers show up. Till then, we fans can only speculate.

 
 

There is this very interesting article, which says that Harry is a Horcrux, but not Voldemorts! An interesting possibility, that definitely explains the happenings in Godric's Hollow that night better. In fact, it is even more ridiculous than this one, and therefore, much more likely to be true. </a>

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Biological reasons for Indian social problems

I impressed the Socio sir by telling him a possible biological explanation for social problems in India. Researched a bit, and found that although this is true, there is a counter mechanism, so things are supposed to equalize. The entire thing is not a failure, but it would be futile to follow it any further. This is the thing in its rawest form, the way in which I presented it to the prof.


[paragraph outlining the main aspects of evolution, and describing how evolution functions]

After Darwin proposed this theory of natural selection in his book “origin of species”, he discounted his profound contribution to the spheres of science and philosophy by claiming that once the theory was proposed, “All the labor lies in the application of the theory.” This application is going on till date. Although he wanted to, Darwin was careful about applying his theory of evolution to man, but intellectuals who could read between the lines understood that most of Darwin’s work was aimed at investigating the origin of man in particular, not of species. This created a storm amongst the orthodox believers, and Darwin was not branded a heretic and burnt only because the world was in the age of reason, and Darwin had few, but sufficient followers to keep his theory alive till it was finally accepted in mainstream science.
Nevertheless, this acceptance has been stretched only up to the extent of granting a common origin for all species, and when it comes to man, at the most agreeing to the fact that man descended from ape-like ancestors. However, maybe it is against the dignity of our kind, but we hardly ever look upon ourselves as just another species, forced to the same genetic urges as others. There has been a clear division between man and ALL other organisms for no particular reason.

[paragraph explaining how animals have all the characteristics that have previously been thought of as unique to man]

[The following paragraph will be explained in more detail]
The attitude that man is unique from other animals has created a genetic barrier, and therefore we fail to study ourselves as genetically programmed animals. A genetic approach has been discounted in mainstream sociology. We, as a species, seem to think that something inherent in our genes is an integral part of us, and therefore cannot be corrected. We chose to ignore whatever evidences crop up, showing man to be genetically programmed to be aggressive, commit murder, rape and other such antisocial tendencies. This has had the unfortunate effect of making us look for solutions in the wrong directions. This is roughly analogous to taking an injection for Rabies and pretending that you have gotten rid of Cancer. This article hopes to suggest a new approach to tackle social problems, so that they are tackled better. This article aspires to show that there is a biological reason for glaring social issues, that are incorrectly attributed to the culture of the local society.

[paragraph outlining the extent of the influence of genes on the behavior of man]
Here, the extent of the influence of genes on human behavior will be discussed, with reference to reared-apart twin studies that prove conclusively that people of the same genetic make up raised in contrasting cultures (even across continents) grow up to be similar individuals. The similarity between identical twins is not paranormal, but genetic. One example from the Minnesota twins study would be that of a set of obsessively clean twins, one who claims he got it from his obsessively clean adoptive mother, and the other claiming to have got it because he wanted to counter the ill-effects of his untidy adoptive mother.

[All following paragraphs will be explained in more detail]
First, we must understand and accept the purpose of man in the biological context. In his book, the selfish gene, Richard Dawkins convincingly argues that all animals (indirectly implying the inclusion of man) are merely “vehicles” or “clothes” for their genes. The real players are not we, as individuals, but the genes that shape us. Our only real purpose is to ensure that the genes propagate. That is what life is all about. Life has evolved, and exists, only because the genes continue to propagate through new individuals. We, as individuals are insignificant compared to the long journey through time that our genes have been making, and will continue to make for the foreseeable future. Natural selection ensures that the gene drives us, the individuals, to propagate them. Maximum individual contribution to the gene pool – in other words, begetting the most progeny, and to ensure that they in turn beget the most progeny is the primary purpose of all mankind. From this point of view, certain glaring social problems like the suppression of women, and female infanticide make sense. While not implying such acts to be justified, the fact that this approach will help solve the problem better is the point that is trying to be made.

Gender suppression:
The worth of each female is lesser than the worth of each male in the biological context simply because males can beget more children than females. Females are capable of getting impregnated only twice a month, and once they are impregnated, they cannot contribute to the gene pool for at least ten more months. The Male on the other hand has a glaringly contrasting capability for procreation, with millions of sperm cells existing in each ejaculation.
(Because of this, polygamy, infidelity and such problems emerge, leading to gender suppression)
Amongst animals like lions or gorillas, there is one alpha male and this male is solely responsible for inseminating all the females in the tribe. Lions kill cubs that have no possibility of being their own. Such behavior must have existed in the early evolution of man, and must have survived as a remnant trend of polygamy.

Favoritism for first born.
This also explains why there is favoritism for the first born male All the resources of the parent are concentrated on one child, so that the male child is brought up in such a way so as to have the maximum contribution in the gene pool later on. People, however, continue to propagate well beyond the first child so that it increases their chances of continued propagation of their genes.

Female infanticide
Both parents prefer male children because of the greater reproductive capacity of the male child. This brings about the burning issue of female infanticide. Female infanticide makes sense to both, the mother and the father, as the female child is not likely to procreate s much as a male child. Why should the parents waste their resources on bringing up a female child when the male child can make a much greater contribution to the gene pool, or at least, has the potential to do so? The male child has much better chances of spreading the genes of the parents, and therefore are evolutionarily preferred to female children.

Social stratification
[Marxian, Weberian, and other lesser known models for social stratification briefly discussed]
Evolved from the biological “pecking order” in which all creatures organize themselves into a natural hierarchy.

Also will be covered after further research, but along a similar line of thought
-Seasonal marriages, seasonal customs like festivals and fasts in the Indian culture
-Possibility that culture itself is transferred via genes
-Crime and genes
-Incest and intercousin marriages
-Evolutionary angle to dowry, how girl child is ensured of resources, and it is, in fact, a security
-Casteism (different from stratification)
-Anamolies (Like lower strata has more population)

Best smell in the world


Was stuck in a train for twenty minutes today, because of some rail roko that happened in Dombivili. The trains were not going beyond Thane, and trains were stopped on the tracks one behind the other. Four trains were lined up in this fashion, when people started getting down and walking towards the nearest station, which was Mulund.
I have figured out the smell that I like the most. The smell of loads of old books – that was the highlight of the day; I received this shitload of books (the costliest courier job ever) from my Grandfather’s property that recently got sold off. They came in four huge packs, and a rough estimate would be six bloody cubic feet of old books that no one has read for at least fifteen years, maybe more. Grandfather died around fourteen years ago, and my grandmother was staying at my aunt’s house since then. She too died, seven years ago, and the property was sitting there, partially on rent for all these years. Thank God tomorrow is a holiday. There are bound to be some really rare books in here. There are some occult/ wiccan books, and loads of theosophy ones. There is “Theosophy and life’s deeper problems” by none other than Annie Besant. This book is hideously old, going all the way back to 1915. It has only four chapters, God, Man, right and Wrong, and Brotherhood. And another one called “Tantras, their philosophy and Occult Secrets” by D.N. Bose. My grandfather was into things that I am into, but my father isn’t. If only my grandfather was alive, or I was born earlier…
There is one book titled “stop this slander” which is a propaganda book against anti-Indian films, dated 1957. Will have to open all the books very carefully, and somehow find space to keep all of them.
A weird part of the entire thing is that there are these inscriptions in some language. I copied out a few. Usually, there is just one short line, but the longest one I found was in “Art in my time by Frank Rutter”. I might scan and blog the stuff to be decypted...
I think this has something to do with astrological signs.
There is this other relatively recent book (1977), which is the “the book of strange” and it has this section on feral babies. Something really interesting and needs a lookup in google. The book lists a Lithuanian bear-boy, Wild Peter of Hanover, Itard (who was featured in a 1970 french film titled Wild Peter of Hanover), Kamala and Amala, two children brought up by wolves in India in 1920, and Rmu the wolfboy from Lucknow (there was a photograph). I am still skeptical of this phenomenon, where abandoned children are brought up by animals, but it was intriguing to find so much evidence supporting the case. As of now, I am reading this amazing book on modern Bengali poetry (published in 1945). Amazing book.
Thank God tomorrow is a holiday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Blog anniversary

A little more than a year ago, I saw my first and only shooting star. It was an amazing moment. The event itself lastef for maybe a second, possibly less. I still remember it as if it was yesterday. A small streak of yellow winked across the sky, and it was done. I stared at te sky for a long time that night, and slowly, the universe fell into place around me. A very interesting thing happened, I know it is impossible to actually see the stars in perspective, but I began to imagine it. I guess it works as well. Instead of a covering for the world, I began to see the universe as this messy place with all sorts of things scattered around. The stars had real distance...space made real sense... it was mind blowing. I just had to write it down, and ACTUALLY writing in a diary was too much trouble. I had wasted too many diaries after writing only one or two entries... so I started a blog. Not this one, it was in another site, and I forgot where it was. I forgot the very name of the blog. But this one came along say half a month later... it was a much better site. I thought I would stick to it this time, and now blogging has grown into me.
First there was innocent cypress, the name chosen on a poem that I think is very silly now. For almost eleven months, I used to address the blog itself as "you". until recently, commenting was not a very important part of blogging for me. I merely used it as a diary... for a larger, and mostly anonymous audience. The intention was simple: an online journal of my activities. That's how, for a few days, I was blogging about what I had for breakfast. Thankfully, that has ceased now. I now blog somewhat more meaningful blogs.
I think blogging is the ultimate form of introspection. You get to write a review of your day, every day, and I for one believe, that this helps in making one a better person. When you interact with others blogs, you actually learn from the expirience of others. Some people think that blogging is for people with no lives who are living it through the net. They cannot be more wrong, by blogging you are actually milking out more life than what nature allots. There was initially no medium where mundane little things that happen to normal people found expression for a large audience. Blogging came along and satisfied this need perfectly. It also creates a shield between the blogger and the reader, it is not as personal as having a face to face talk. There is no care for any consequences that could occur for being truthful. You are laid bare, but you do not feel vulnerable.
Which, is a very special feeling.

II class

After a lot of time, I traveled in second class. Found out that Mumbai local trains are not always as crowded as they are made out to be. Infact, today there was such a lack of crowd, that one guy even managed to do this:

This is photo number 022, so I have clicked over a thousand snaps in my mobile phone, barely two months after I got it. Went to Udipi Rama Nayak after college for the project work. How the hell does the ECS teacher expect me to write 20 pages on Udipi Hotels. Spoke to the very kind Mr. Satish Nayak, who gave me a load of info I had absolutely no clue about. He also ordered a glass of tea for me. I had never had tea before, and I couldn’t refuse there, so I had to drink tea for the first time in my life…

Found out pretty much the hard way that “drugs” is a very big word. People can be so stupid sometimes. I guess that includes me. Turns out that I might not have actually smoked weed. The honey flavor I described is that of the paper itself, not of the substance. Maybe I didn’t inhale deeply enough or something. So I am not a wasted human being after all, as some people are inclined to think.

I guess I should write ten things I learnt everyday like the other blog I will link to someday. It was featured on blogspot.com and I forgot the link because I had to set up a new profile in XP, and you cannot carry forward your favorites unless you save them separately first. Anyway, here are ten things I learnt today:

1) The seats in f1 cars are designed after the butts of the drivers. So Driver A cannot sit in Driver B’s car. Also, if, for any reason, a driver loses or gains weight, the car seat has to be replaced.
2) Fitting an Ambassador with tritronic gear change is a very stupid thing to do
3) I can fly if I run very fast and make sure that the pressure above my head is lower than below my feet. But because of a lack of engines, I will immediately crash. It would be a better option to jump.
4) Tea tastes bad.
5) No matter what you search on Google, you end up with nude girls, mostly with whips and dogs.
6) Udipi was a trademark till 1960, until which time people were using things like “udipi like” and “udipi style”
7) After lunch wait a while, after dinner, walk a mile (a slogan in the restaurant)
8) The Mumbai culture project has been postponed to Monday
9) I-rock tickets do not cost 350 bucks after all…
10) I am god’s gift to Mankind (this guy I helped out with a project was kind enough to point this out to me)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

more on weed

My father smokes a lot, and I know the bad effects very well. So I have never smoked in my life. The first time I even held a (lit) cigerette was at Mosh Mania when this girl asked me to hold it while she attended a call. Five minutes later, weed came along. No one had told me not to. It was right there in front of my eyes, and I thought, what the hell, and wen't for it.
The big mistake was admitting this in college. Some guys couldn't believe their ears. They said I didn't look the kind. Donno whether to take it as an insult or compliment. Some guys went all judgmental and thought I was this gaya guzra kind...
and there was this third kind which scared the shit out of me. One guy went into the details on how to actually get the kick, something to do with inhaling it and keeping it in. One girl was happy that there was someone else in the class, and said that she'd call me the next time when she... you know. Damn, I have done it and I don't even know the term for it. Turns out that drugs aren't hideously costly afterall. Fifty bucks is all you need to get settled properly. They told me that it is almost always free, because someone always buys more than enough for everyone. and here was me thinking you get addicted then you have to shell out something like seven hundred bucks for a small tiny pill or something.
The descussion ventured into the realms of acid, when I maaged to wriggle out by saying that I was not the kind, and just did it once for the heck of it. Damn, that was a mistake, although I am not too sorry for the expirience. As soon as I said this, everyone talking about it immideately switched gears and started saying things like "good for you" and "we shouldn't be encouraging anything" and "yeah, you don't get involved..."

Changed the topic by suggesting we play truth and dare.

One guy's most embarassing moment turned out to be getting a crap behind a rock in camp and gour girls seeing him at it by mistake.
The same guy tore his pants horse riding in the same day in front of the same four girls.

Always wanted to blog this. Gives a mega boost to your confidence... whenever you feel low or something. I think it is a very good idea to keep a list of compliments you recieve somewhere around for the sake of periodic boosts of confidence:

Five best compliments I have ever recieved:

5) You don’t look the kind (who would fall to peer pressure)

4) You are an enigma

3) All one needs to do when one is depressed is to take your name

2) You cannot be bitched about

1) You can write about anything yaar, so the topic cannot be of importance to you.

The last said by a teacher, that's why it's No. 1, or No. 2 would be my number one.

Monday, August 15, 2005

666+1

The previous post about independence day was my 666th post. That's the ode to unlock my mobile if anyone ever gets their hands on it. I am pissed with Mumbai Mirror right now, because it reports absolute lies. I always used to trust the fact that that news is exaggerated, but not modified. In one article I saw Mumbai Mirror telling blatant lies. I am sure not to trust the rest of the paper, and come to think of it, all other papers as well...

I am just going to compare what was reported by Mumbai mirror to what really happened.

1) Vishal Dadlani taunts the audience with cuss words
They got part of this right. Vishal only did that because of the unresponsive audience. He began to taunt heavily towards the end, but he pleaded a bit, by telling things like "we came here to play for you." The audience was unresponsive, and didn;t like his attitude one bit. He used the words "bunch of pussies" and "I'll fuck your mommas" a lot.

2) Rock fans in a state of frenzy respond to the Pentagram lead vocalist with an attempt to ransack the stage. They tried to jump the barricade while the organisers failed at crowd management.
Absolute bullshit. Rock fans were in a state of frenzy, but not one of them abused the barrier. I was right there in the front. All of them demanded that the organisers come out and speak to them. They were angry not because of the cuss words used by Vishal, but because he threw a bloody ten kilo mike stand into the public, which was reporte in the next frame.

3) The police gets into thea ct. The people were essentially enraged by Vishal throwing a microphone stand at the gallery. no one was injured however
This is the part that hurts the most. I actually saw, and thought it was too cruel to photograph this kid who was bleeding profusely from his forehead, nose and one cheek, Two of his friends carried him and shouted for help. A section of the crowd responded and carried him out of the stadium. Most people at the back wouldn;t know what the hell was going on, and would believe the Mumbai Mirror's version of the events.

4) Within minutes the stage is turned into a graveyard with all the equipments destroyed. The dais wears a deserted look as the rock band is escorted out and people indulging in the mayhem are kicked out of the stands.
Another load of crap. the band was booed off stage. The Public went out cheering anc clapping that the rotten show was over. They actually applauded like hell while going out, and shouting slogans like "pentagram ki maa ki chut." No one was kicked out, everyone left happily. More importantly, no one went on stage to ransack the equipment. The band members were afraid that someone would do this, and therefore took out their own equipment. The picture in the paper was probably taken after this happened. The audience did not do one bit of damage. I know, because I was right in the thick of things.

5) It's all over and no once can tell there were about a thousand people rockig to music just a few moments before the venue is compeletely cleared out
I guess they got this part of it right.

Frankly, the music was not as good as Xaero or Them clones, but better than the rest. I was one of the few approciating his music, not knowing that he was hated in the rock scene. I donno... I am a newbie here. Randolph actually had to hold him back from coming off the stage and hitting people. I guess he just shouldn't have acted like such a kid. The crowd began to enjoy making Vishal progressively angry.
The crowd hated PDV too, and they started playing covers that the crowd liked. In fact, they chanted "MC BC" with the crowd, and blended it into their song. I guess it was a pretty good trick they pulled off.

Independence day


These are the special I-cakes at a pastry shop nearby...

For a good thirteen years of my life, every Independence day I have been standing with a National Flag in my school ground, feeling lurches of patriotism whenever the crowd of parents applauded at something clever that the person speaking had just said. I never used to understand the logic of such things like "we have to work hard to retain the freedom that our forefathers have won for us". I have bean to understand what real freedom means, although in India you can do whatever the hell your heart tells you to. I don't feel like anything is holding me back, although I might grand a necessity to wind freedom from these things. This is a bombay times list that enlists 58 things we still have to win freedom from. this I-day, I caught the PM's address for the first time in my life. There were some parts that I really liked, like "Faster economic growth to be combined with focus on better distribution of benefits." Yeah, a better distribution of benefits is EXACTLY what we need, and "A code of conduct for all political parties, a code of ethics for all individuals in public life, and a code of best practices for the government at all levels". This is something that is very necessary right now...
Nice thing to do, instead of blaming stuff at the "foreign hand" like the BJP used to do. He said that this was a historic time, a time to make history... and this sort of made me feel bad. It was a very complex feeling... like knowing that there is no way in the world that you'll know how things will end up in the end. Like how India will progress, like to what extent mankind will explore the deeps of space, like the the extent of evolution of the human mind... things like that. I have no chance of knowing what the future history of mankind will be like. This is a very sad thought.

Anyway, it was nice of Google to include us in their logo

but sad that this was only for the google.co.in portal, not for google.com

Spend I-day after the PMs address completing a sex and media project. Watched and capped parts of southpark the rest of the day...

A damning highlight was that my mother washed my friendship day t-shirt, so I lost most of the messages written in it. I was so freaked out, but I controlled myself… so I earn some punya and hopefully I go to heaven. Apparently, this was not the case for the likes of Mahatma Gandhi. The uys who make southpark feel that Gandhi should be one of the burning gargoyles of hell, like in this cap I made with considerable difficulty:


This is from south park the movie, where they show many pretty controversial scenes, like this one of Saddam Hussein… er… flirting with the devil (actually trying to fuck him in the ass). BTW, the devil is his own grandfather. But that’s nothing in a movie with a song that goes “uncle fucker”

And this is the only scene in the SP universe that they show the face of a guy called Kenny.

I also made two caps of the entire devil singing “up there” sequence, and the sequence of Kenny bouncing about in limbo. Will circulate the videos on LAN and P2P, do not know where else to upload it. Anyone who wants them can drop in a mail at anorion-at-gmail-dot-com.
Sad times of bot spamming that does not allow us to freely post e-mail ids. Now, bots have started bloody posting comments in the blogs… someone is bound to come up with some bot protection.

Experia

This is an outline, fleshing out the story later.  Havelock vs Puck. It was the biggest event in sports entertainment, ever. Millions...