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Wednesday

In.A.Deep.Trance: Am I getting agnostic?#links

In.A.Deep.Trance: Am I getting agnostic?#links

A follow up question?

Why do people tap their chin with their fingers in front of a diety? I've never understood that and have never done that.

America - The Book

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America by Jon Stewart

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Satire at its current day best. It is a different kind of book and is hilarious for the very same reason - it is designed as a school text book suggesting that American Politics is pretty dumbed down. If you find the show hilarious, the book is a collector's keep.

View all my reviews.

Muto - public wall art


MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Babloo #05 - Driving Ms.Desi

"Explain the route to me"

"Which right should I turn to?"

"You are mean!"

"Do not patronize me!"

"Do not keep talking while I am driving!"

"Should I stop? Should I stop? Should I... aaaaaaah"

Variations of these ego crushing shouts can be heard all across the bay area when the newly arrived Ms.Desi starts practicing the four wheel drive with automatic transmission. The Desi Student Driver (F) is the meanest cat since Ma Baker.

The consensus and hence the advice is that - do not involve yourself in this learning process. If you want your self-esteem in tact, hire a nice Asian(!) guy to do the task instead. $60 an hour. Money well spent.

Experiments that have failed include

1. Teaching her to drive through an out-of-body experience by detaching yourself from the fact that she is your loved one - (Problem: the soul stays out never to return)

2. Getting your best friend to do the driving instructor part - prepare for a life without friends.

3. Seeking the help of another experienced non-professional-instructor Ms.Desi to do the instructor part - all roads lead to the mall

4. Get a professional Desi lady instructor - I can guarantee you one class. I have no idea what goes on in that hour but there is never a second class. On the contrary, Southie Desi guys land up with Punjabi lady instructors as their driving guide all the time in the bay area. Maybe they realize Ranjeeth Singh or Manpreeth Singh is a lady only during the first class (or in some cases third or fourth class). Or some weird dominatrix craving, I presume.

Now, why an Asian guy, you might ask. I am Asian too but not Asian Asian as my boss tells me. Asian Asian refers to people from the far east not the south east of Asia. That's the stretch covering China, Japan and possibly all of the Polynesian cultures. So, why an Asian Asian guy, you ask? Those guys are all Shaolin masters - that's why. They are the rock to Ms.Desi's scissors, the paper to her rock and the scissors to her paper. Their mastery of super consciousness makes them impervious to the psychopathic tendencies of the Ms. Student Driver Desi. So, when Ms.Desi is going at 29 mph in the fast lane of the 65 mph minimum freeway they will persist with a nasal 'give gas' until the needle moves up to the fast lanes of 50 mph. They won't flinch when Ms.Desi hits the brakes like a sledge hammer when the green light turns yellow 500 feet ahead. They merely wave their hand to the people showing sign language one middle finger at a time. They are the Zen in patience. You are not Asian Asian. You are the idiot who doesn't have the skill to teach her driving. One wise crack says that the Asian masters are busy with the Ms.Desi's schooling that there is no one to teach their women how to drive. The silent ninjas will come get you for that comment.

All said and done, more female student drivers seem to get the license in the first attempt than the ones from the meeker sex. With that comes the right to criticize your driving.

And of course, the title is a misnomer. It should be more like Teaching driving to Ms.Desi but that has very little resemblance to the Morgan Freeman movie title.

Monday

Am I getting agnostic?

Disclaimer - This should give a clarity on my spiritual stance. I've collected information from peer-reviewed sources and peers themselves. I am God fearing and also believe in the duality of nature. My outlook on life is a cognizance of all this part-belief, part-reverence data.
My religion - I am a great fan of Sanathana Dharma. It is my hereditary religion. I fell in love with it once I was able to comprehend the fact that it is an intelligent religion to begin with.It gives ample scope of self-realization. Naturally, it worries me when friends take to the sensationalism and hype rather than the essence of the religion. It does not cater to idol worship. Yet, the hottest topics associated with the religion today center around authenticity of birth-places, recorded Godly activities; so on and so forth. I yearn for company that sees my religion the way I see it.
God(s) - My findings tell me that the oldest known scripture is what we collectively call 'The Vedas'. I've accepted the fact that not everyone can understand the Vedas let alone follow its preaching. (The precise reason why there has only been one Aaadhi Shankaracharya!). The next available texts seem to be the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. I believe that these were written after the Vedas and were aimed at mass education. The idea was to introduce characters as incarnations of the Supermen being and stories that helped convey the Vedic core. Where the Vedas were elemental, the epics were narrative and gave human form to various theories propounded in the Veda. People were able to identify God once a human form was provided. In "A tiger for Malgudi", R.K.Narayan beautifully symbolizes God to be a ferocious 50 foot tiger with multiple heads and many limbs. Of course, the narrator of the tale was a tiger. The Ramayana is character driven - wholly based on Rama and introduced the concept of idol worship - idols symbolizing moral goals. The Mahabharatha was more ambitious and could have easily been Krishna-centric. There was a lot more to convey and eventually the canvas was too big for one character. The longevity of these epics are amazing. Any story born out of human consciousness will find its origin in the Mahabharatha. The Gita is the moral arm of this multi-layered magnum opus. The Puranas were later derived from these scriptures to justify different needs. I've been able to draw a lot of parallels between tales in the Mahabharatha and tales in the Greek epics by Homer. A good story is always adapted.
Prayer - Choose a clean place devoid of distractions. Strive for inner peace. Resolve to help others. Start your day with a smile. - This is the translation I got for a sloka that I've known all my life.  I never chant this Sloka anymore until I feel that I can justify its message. It has also given me the arrogance to laugh at someone who says he chants this sloka a hundred times every second Friday using a certain flower, facing a certain direction and in general resolving to help himself or herself to the 'loukik' pleasures of life. Nobody does charity anymore. Yet, that is the singular characteristic of the religion.
Hope - Licensing the fore-mentioned arrogance, I hope everyone will stop glorifying the religion - as opposed to learning it and living it.

Friday

Movie Wish List

The Terrorist - I had the DVD for sometime. Not sure why I never saw it.

The Last King of Scotland - Idi Amin - State of blood - it was my first non-fiction book

Iron Man - when critics praise a popcorn flick...

Lust Caution - Ang Lee (I just saw Food Drink Man Woman - quietly engrossing)

Be Kind, Rewind - for the story premise alone

Anjaathey - a realistic Thamizh movie - need to see this one

Being a stranger in one's own home

Another plane. Another movie. This time 'The Bucket List' directed by Rob Reiner and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. By now, almost everyone seems to agree that Rob Reiner is a spent force. The man who gave us A Few Good Men, Misery, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally and above all Stand By Me has somehow lost that touch. We only get to see such mediocre products like Rumor has it, Alex and Emma and such. I actually had to look up the name for Alex and Emma. The Bucket List comes somewhere in the middle.

If I think about it, it is a pretty soppy story. Two men at their deathbed become asymptomatic for a while although death is near at hand. They use this time to prepare a list of things they want to do before the inevitable happens. Skydiving and mountain climbing on one side - the true journey seems to be in self-discovery. Even then the character of Jack Nicholson is predictable while that of Morgan Freeman is more realistic. As always, I somehow try and identify real life with reel life - a gift and a curse. In this case, I was fascinated by Freeman's character who gives up on his ambitions to raise a family. He drops out of college to earn money as a mechanic. Never gets back to his true ambition. He realizes and narrates that in due course he got sucked into the machinery that is daily life and even his wife becomes a stranger to him. She is still the same woman but he never feels the desire to hold her hand while walking down the street. He becomes a stranger in his own home. While on the world tour, he realizes what he is missing and goes back to his wife. My take is that when somebody starts earning a living and has dreams elsewhere, the family suffers even if they are provided for.

This insight apart, I think this is the first movie of Freeman's where he actually has a female partner. Pic courtesy: movies.sulekha.com

Wednesday

My son's paternal grandfather's only son says...

I have this brainwave. I have been ruminating on how to be cool as a dad. I read somewhere that grandpas and grandsons make the best of buddies. So, I've decided to enter into direct competition with my dad as to who will be my son's best bud in the family. This stellar idea is to take effect in due course. I will not discipline my son and will instead pamper him and shield him from his parents (in this case the single parent - mom). Grand ambitions.

Tuesday

Maintaining Home Sickness

This was the order I got from home - no matter how much I travel, I should always feel the same level of home sickness if not more. When I first heard "Don't miss us less, okay?" - I found it to be cute. This third trip in as many weeks, sitting at 5:00 AM in one of the contiguous states' busy airports, that phrase crept back into my consciousness. That phrase is suddenly taking profound dimensions for me. A progenitor to this blog. Yes - I have to find ways to forget work even when on these high pressure customer trips. Good one, Cee!

Here is my instruction list for hmmm... myself

  • Look forward to calls from home as if it is a privilege you get once a month.
  • Do your share of household chores - the ones that can be arranged online. I am just shying away from public email as if it is of no consequence.
  • No research during travel. Go back to your promise to do inconsequential browsing only on week nights. That got compromised at some stage. The reading on DIY powerline ethernet can wait.

Let's see...

Monday

Juno

Looks like the pregnancy comedy is an established genre now. This wisecrack shouldn't take away the sheer joy that was Knocked Up and Juno - two of the best movies out of an otherwise dull 2007. Also coming at a time when we were seeking the new entrant to our small tribe - the timing was perfect.

Juno got much publicity early due to its writer Diablo Cody's exotic past. The Jason Bateman character is seen reading her blog in one of the scenes. Jason Reitman had impressed me earlier with the fantastic and off-beat "Thank you for smoking". All this fades to the background when you are watching Juno. The witty dialogues are a sheer delight - so is the star turning role by Ellen Page.

Go see it.

Friday

Thursday

The Good Life

Regular office hours

A standard 9 to 5 (or 8 to 5) with a regular commute and no travel obligations.

Something creative to do while at the desk. Should involve a presentation of some sorts. Advertisement field or Animation based entertainment should be involved.

A healthy pay check.

A decent crowd to hang out with.

No peer pressure.

No politics.

That is my bucket list for the corporate world - what is yours?

Tuesday

The Last Templar

Picked this one up at the Seattle airport for exactly what it was advertised to be - a page turner in the lines of the Da Vinci Code. Served its purpose. Mixed some faith based dialogs in a truly 'masala' setting. There is a passage where one of the characters questions miracles and faith which seemed to have been the author's viewpoint and I found myself drawing parallels to my own questions on religion and faith. It did make me think... for that point alone I would say that this is a slight deviation from my usual 'intellectual' reading on planes.
A side note - I was staying at a hotel in Germany mid-way through this book. There was a bomb scare and we were asked to evacuate. I duly complied and left my room with this book in hand. We were given a choice to stay in the nearby church for a couple of hours while the bomb got diffused. So, I had a book that put faith in question while seeking shelter in a place of faith.
I went to a nearby cafe instead - too much of an ethical predicament for me. Besides... I was hungry.

Greed is in the air

Flawed geniuses are fascinating to watch. In this case, the exposure of one such flawed genius' greed has become an interesting sideshow for me. Although I still feel that he will somehow get out of it intact. So, let's trace the rise and what appears to be fall of this superego. Extremely hardworking and respected person. Well appreciated by peers and has made bold choices in life that are out of the ordinary. At some point greed (for money of course) takes over. Paranoia is a natural partner. Becomes extremely private. Never loses guard. Hard work continues on one hand making him an industry giant but personality limitations keep him from breaking the surface. All his friends appear to be work related or at least they have something to offer him. Those who don't have anything to offer but friendship remain distant acquaintances. Financial growth is inevitable. Stakes become high at the workplace. Unhealthy interest in other people's lives becomes some sort of a hobby. Every good point earned on the professional front seems to be undone by animosity created through a very haughty overbearing personality. People continue to respect him but very few now like him. Family life seems to be grounding him. Greed continues to grow though. Starts biting the hand that fed him. Gets in full awe of his own genius. Is a fall imminent?