Monday, 17 December 2012

Who's the donkey?

"MBA hi karna tha to engineering kyun ki?"
I call this question the Arindam Chaudhuri question, and the value I give to it is the same as what I give to Arindam Chaudhuri and his opinions- ZERO.

You will definitely be knowing Arindam Chaudhuri. He's the perennial 'Dare to think beyond the IITs/IIMs' guy. What really makes him think that his IIPM is beyond either of them is a point to ponder. Anyway, so he, as far as I know, threw this two pence worth question. It was then picked up by people from other fields and even the movie 3 Idiots. People doing an MBA after engineering have been called everything from idiots to gadhas (donkeys).

Image source
Worse, even the IIMs seem to have bowed down to it. They have started lowering the requirements for people from commerce and arts. And people haven't responded to it publicly because, perhaps it can't be responded to in a punch line.

Firstly, many people claim that business has got nothing to do with engineering. And they ironically proclaim that on the internet! So many technology based companies got where they are with absolutely no knowledge of engineering?

Secondly, if this was indeed the case then business should be done only by people who have got a bachelor's degree in it, namely BBA. Why do I, then, never hear this question being asked about commerce or arts? If business isn't only about engineering, is it only about commerce? And arts?

The simple truth is that there are more tech-based companies out there. An MBA is about a degree of management, not about working in a bank. You can't expect an engineer to remain a technician for all his life. Now, I myself don't plan to do an MBA immediately, but I feel for my other engineer buddies at whom this question is thrown in ridicule. Frankly, it's just that people love to get back at engineers. We would do well to remember that. So the next time someone says that to you, dismiss it as you would dismiss a gadha's braying.

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Problem of the Gods' Successors

Too often, when something goes wrong, or when someone commits a heinous act, we are quick to blame the religion of that person for encouraging them or perhaps planting such thoughts in their minds in the first place. Most often this is seen happening with Islam, but in no small measure has been happening with other religions like Hinduism, Christianity and others. But look carefully at the true teachings of any religion and you will find that all of them are exceptionally good, kind and strive to maintain peace and order. And yet we find faults with their beliefs. What we don't realise is that, it was not the God who perpetuated irrationality. It was someone else.

image source unknown

It is often said that there are many interpretations of the various holy books of every religion. And so there are sects in every religion who conform to a specific set of interpretations. And yet the creators of these religions believed in and preached a single philosophy. The problem was never with the God. It was with the so-called scholars of those religions upon whom fell the responsibility to carry forward those teachings after the God's time. They either failed to understand the teachings themselves, or could not do justice to them.

It is my belief that many of the age old customs that we are now brave enough to call 'draconian' originated with noble intentions. However they were conceptually so flawed that they were cosmetic attempts to find a solution without addressing the root cause. Take, for example, the now-thankfully-junked Hindu custom of shaving a wife's head when her husband passes away. In olden days men were seen as being protectors and I think the custom originated for protecting the widows from other men once their husband is no longer there, simply by making them unattractive. Again, this was a small bandage to a much deeper problem- mentality. Such things, of course, are not unique to Hinduism at all. You'll find them everywhere.

On a wider scale, this problem is not unique even to religions. The case of the Indian Constitution strikes me. When read in isolation, the Indian Constitution is extremely well written and stunningly detailed, taking into account a plethora of scenarios. But it needed to be changed with time. This responsibility was given to the Members of Parliament, the 'successors', with the hope that they will do justice to its spirit. What has happened to it today is hugely disappointing.

The question is the same everywhere. How do you ensure that after your time your words will be taken in spirit, and not be twisted to such an extent that people start cursing the original itself ? Can we find an answer to that when even the Gods had trouble doing it ?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Modak !

Ha! The title seems tasty, doesn't it ? Those yummy little sweets you eat every year often with a generous quantity of ghee oozing out of them!

Made your mouth water, did I ? Foodies, I tell you, must be waiting every year for the modaks, not for Ganpati Bappa!
The role festivals play in the lives of people all the world, and more so in the festival-loving India is often understated. For all types of believers ( I remember how much I hate the word BelieBer every time I write believer :D), strong, lazy, reluctant and non-believers, festivals always bring good. I tried to list out the various benefits of having festivals...

They give you a break from all your tight daily schedules, stress and politics around. Everyone has enough stress already, plus you hear about Coalgate everyday before you use your Colgate, then there's Dr. MMS who is devoid of any Mamata ... the list is endless! And yet here we are, welcoming our beloved Lord, heedless to everything else for some time, engrossed in fervour. Even an atheist won't deny the overall positivity that the day brings.

Meeting friends and relatives:
Going to your friends and relatives is more about getting together after a long time. And people invariably crack the same old jokes... and laugh on them too! And you also get to eat your aunite/mausi/daadi ke haath ka laddu ! Burrrp ! Psst Psst... kaan idhar karo... *whispers* you can also taapofy any of your friend's friend if you get lucky ! kisi ko batana nahi :P.

Hope, strength and calm:
Festivities usher in a calmness in people's minds, give hope to the hopeless and mental strength to the troubled. The belief in a just power superior to the mortals renews the spirit. They world lives on hope, they say (although you can still have that laddu ! ).

All said and done, there's a proper way of celebrating. As I have said before, every ritual you perform has a meaning and a reason. Most people, including me, don't understand a word of the puja performed by the 'hired' pujari. They speak ten times faster than that fast-speaking-college-professor of yours! And sometimes I wonder if they themselves understand what they say. People who go blaring loudspeakers, political parties who cash in on the festivities are hurting the festival itself. You're kinda missing the point !

Have a happy and joyous Ganesh Chaturthi everyone!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Ye le beta, Dahi-Shakkar !

Exam Times! One of the most tense, yet comical times in the lives of young Indians. And if you are having some important exam, well you've had it ! Every Indian must have, at least once in their lives, been offered Dahi-Shakkar before some important task, and probably licked it up just because it was sweet!

That thought made me think, what was the point of all this? Do the customs just exist without reason? I think some do, but not all. People often tell how certain customs correspond to scientific facts, but I will go one step further. Some customs were only started because of the facts. They were given religious significance only because people were probably too ignorant to understand the reasons.

Now take Dahi-Shakkar. Do you know what Glucon-D does? Okay, now if you are too classy to have Glucon-D, you can have Gatorade! But the sweet point is-Sugar! And, that yoghurt (no, yoghurt is not curd. Go read my earlier post What it is not! ) calms your stomach is well known.

Ahhh! That reminds me! Food! Wow, you should see how Indians eat! That poor little starving Ethiopian would eat more decently !

If you've been in a traditional Indian marriage, you will probably know those many ladies (no, none are ever beautiful ! Hard luck!) who serve food to the pangat methodically in your plate. Why that way? Custom? I think it only places the food you eat most, like sabji closest to your right hand.

Other customs include:

Not eating eggs: However many Andas  you may get in your exam, most people don't eat andas! That probably originates from not killing animals. I don't think there were unfertilised eggs when the custom was started!

Not eating onions in the monsoons: Apart from the fact that you get teary-eyed... and there's enough water in the monsoons :P, I think that's because underground vegetables tend to decay or get damaged in the monsoons.

Eating food of all tastes: Karela!!  I know how much we hate that! But this one's obvious... to get you all essential nutrients.

Raksha Bandhan: This one's probably the most controversial statement that I'll make. It was probably started to avoid incest. Having an offspring with your kin have some serious biological consequences for the offspring. Fact.

I could go on, but you see, as I said, I have exams!!! And even if you are as lazy as I am, I think we should get back to work, eh?
P.S. Don't forget to have Dahi-Shakkar on your exam day !

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Freedom Cycle

I was reading a report on China's curbs on its people's freedom when I hit upon a rather surprising analysis. I am sure that very few, if any, of my readers must have thought upon it this way. I'll try to present my analysis as clearly as possible... let's get straight into it... The Freedom Cycle!

Concept :

Countries in the world fall into three categories according to the level of freedom they offer to their citizens-
highly free, self regulated and authoritarian.
The highly free countries hold freedom in high regard and that is displayed both in their laws as well as in the attitudes of the people. The people in the self regulated countries have a moral code of conduct, apart from their laws, which is quite more important to them than it is to people in the highly free countries. The authoritarian countries have probably turned every whim into a law, written or unwritten, and can many times be classified also as orthodox or overreaching.
But I won't stop at only this.

High freedom, self-regulation and authoritarianism follow a cycle, with self-regulation being the golden mean, from which you can tip either way! Like this-


I guess every type of rule has its own drawbacks. So people, in search for a better life keep adopting a different ideology. And when they discover the drawbacks of the new ideology, they can choose whether to revert to their old ideology or try something new yet again. And every ideology can also be fit into these three categories.

The transition between the rules has many evidences to its credit-
China transformed from Self regulated to authoritarian
USA transformed from self regulated to highly free
Jordan transformed from authoritarian to self regulated, and so on.

One more thing: These countries are distributed almost circularly throughout the world, with the self regulating countries forming a 'median' between the free and the authoritarian! Think I went too far? See this-

and now, this-

s=self regulated


Since self regulated countries seem to be a kind of balance between the F and A, they are probably more stable and thus can progress well.
India, I believe, is now transitioning from S to F.
China is now a fully A regime, so its growth is bound to slow in a few years and remain constant till it becomes an S regime, after which it will again grow.
The USA is now declining a bit, but it has a chance to grow again when it becomes as S regime in a few years or maybe more than a decade.
The will of the people is the source of transition. So the transition will be the strongest in the most populous regimes like India and China.

This was just something that came to my mind, and stuck like a parasite! Hope you found it worth a read!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Rise of the End

Normally I hate writing negative articles or poems. But I tried my hand (or my mind!) at one recently, when I was actually required to write a negative poem...
I don't think that the world will actually end in 2012, but wait... just what if it does??? Read on...

Flocked each adherent to his own shrine
The master, the slave, all in one wave
Unconcerned, I thought of the love divine
Until the first of them jumped to his muddy grave

As came the date
Both believed and ridiculed, as the end of ours
Sneered I, at my said  fate
The one elaborate lie, an elaborate farce

But started, it did, stealthily and slowly
Not a soul was certain, how exactly
But started, it did, even the blind could see it clear
Earthquakes, volcanoes & Tsunamis, all began to appear

People ran, like never ever in their lives
Many without concern for children, parents and wives
Some ran like crazy, others stayed still, in disbelief
Burnt were some, to be another man's beef

As it drew to a close,
The ones who lived had started to ease
Foolish were they, in a world of misery and disease
On the ones, who thought they had escaped luckily
Dawned, they were being slaughtered, but patiently!