25 March 2010

There was this popular you-tube video: this big tall guy walks around the city, around traffic signals, around apartments and commercial complexes with a humongous number of people on top of him and the background score goes on to say "I've got the whole world ... in my hands". For someone the likes of me who's hands go sore the moment I lift up my little nephew for more than a minute, bearing the weight of the whole world was a little next to being whimsical.

Anyway, that's not the point. I'm more intrigued by the "its a small world after all" anecdote. Its quite amazing when you realize it. Just like how your maid-servant effectively shrinks all your favorite dresses thanks to her fetish for strong detergents, the world apparently is shrinking in size, getting smaller as they rightfully say!

Information travels so fast these days ... its no more like how it was in the days of my grandfather ... someone dies and a telegram is sent out to everyone announcing 'someone's' death ... a telegram mostly brought bad news (we have a habit of writing the word 'safe' on the top-left corner of our postcard/inland letter meaning things are fine ... don't find the word and be ready for some death material). But quintessentially, the telegram would reach the recipient much much after the dead man has departed from earthly abode and traveled to the nether world to watch the item songs of Lord Indra's item girls (of course, if he's a sinner, he'll go to hell where apparently there are item songs but homosexuals dancing for them).

Today... with things like Google Wave, your recipients read as you type. Imagine how perilous this could be for us avid bloggers ... my readers would read things as I type and would immediately put up a spam filter against my email id.

And the funny side of it all is, it doesn't take a super cool gadget or a raging technology to shrink the world. In fact, all these gadgets and computers end up doing is shrink the world but expand the paunches of people (if I spent the same amount of time working out instead of blogging, Sylvester Stallone would bum out looking at me)

Listen to this:

A friend of mine finds a cat and gives it shelter - only to find out that it was her friend's cat and the cops are out there trying to locate the cat burglar!

8000 miles away from home, on an uninhabitable place, where graduate students fight out snow blizzards to go to lab meetings, in Pittsburgh, I find a school friend on an airport train!

My good ol' Mauritian friend happens to be a good ol' senior to my room mate in college too!

I meet this new engineering student in this god-forsaken country - he not only happens to be from Bangalore, but also from a college where my friends studied, and also is the third member in the trio where the remaining two are my own friends!

I meet the great Shivaram Karanth's nephew in a bus stop!

Most of all my friends here were in Bangalore traveling in and around my locality; I could never invite them home back then coz i didn't know them. I wouldn't be surprised if I have seen them before. Some faces seem SO familiar. The brain rings a bell but doesn't come out with anything to recall or remember!

A friend and me here belong to the same native place; there is an extremely strong possibility (i'd say 999 times out of 1000) that we are related to each other through someone!

My brother and sister-in-law were strangers until they met each other; their horoscopes were written by the same person - they were meant to match!

It was a shock to see people colonizing Pittsburgh in the first place; I then went on to discover that not only do my relatives stay here, one of them also works in our university as an assistant professor right above my previous lab and therefore is into cancer research - and also follows me to the biomedical science towers the moment I move into them!

And the grand finale...

I had a problem of dialing '988' instead of '998' when I key in a cell phone number on a land-line phone. Each time, it would reach an annoyed guy who had to SCREAM into my ears that I have dialed the wrong number again. Two years later, I was busy attending seminars after seminars on 'education in the US' and met a guy over food and generally discussed with him. 6 months later, from the US, I dial a number (supposed to be my uncle's) and I bungled again. This guy picks up, recognizes my voice and says "Ain't you the guy always trying to dial 998?" Later on, I learn that he was the same guy I had lunch with during the US seminars.

Its a small world after all...

24 March 2010

So the thing is this: I have always felt that my brain is this BIG bucket; you know - not the kinda bucket you have in a potty house, that's a small one. Mine is a BIG one - the one that you'll see in your mom's native place. And my bucket, as in the brain bucket, is filled! Up to the brim, i.e. when I was born - fresh piece - virgin male - untouched by corruption or lead oxide pollution or university education (i see a homology here).

It is filled with all kinda stuff -a homogeneous mixture of creativity, athleticism, intellect, big vacuoles filled with nothing, lots of shit and everything else that's a part of living. As years pass by, I begin emptying them. My athleticism wanes, my intelligence and awareness enervates, my creativity empties. This, I was always worried of. Creativity is my defense mechanism. Sarcasm is my weapon of mass destruction. If i use too much of it - I'm deigned to empty them off one day (they ain't like sperm count which multiply each time you flush 'em out). Then i'll be left with only vulnerability and mortality. Oh my God - I disgust myself when it comes to writing! Vulnerability and mortality??? What the heck is that??? What am I trying to be - the Family Guy? Mindless comedy huh?


So once upon a time, I met this guy whom we'll call 'Upadhyay' for obvious reasons because that was his real name. I met him on a train on a boring solitary 5-hr journey to Bangalore. He descended straight down from Aristotle's lineage - Upadhyay's great grand-father's cousin and Aristotle's daughter made love to each other when her father was busy with taxonomy. Whatever! Basically, I'm trying to say that Upadhyay was into deep-rooted philosophy.

We were talking about life. Rather, he was talking about life and I was smacking my lips because I love philosophy - I set really bad examples in that. I explained to him about my brain-bathroom-bucket concept and he took it rather personally. I'll use the letters "U, D. Phil" for Upadhyay and "S, D. Crap" for good ol' me!

U, D. Phil: That's so not true. In fact, I think every person is born with an empty bucket. It gets filled as time passes by. It reaches its peak when you are old and wise. That's when intellect reaches its pinnacle. In fact, I'd say everyone's born with a bottomless bucket. You can fill it all, but it never gets full. The brain's capacity is inestimable.

S, D. Crap: Imagine, if the bathroom bucket was bottomless. What would you do? I mean, you would literally need to sit under the tap. And technically, its impossible unless you prostrate on the ground - and that would be sick (giggles)

U, D. Phil: (unimpressed) Well, if you really want to know - you would use the water before it goes to waste. Everyday in life, man gets to learn so much, information is everywhere, love is everywhere - only when he learns to hold them in his hands and ingest them will he be able to get the benefit of it.

S, D. Crap: So, hey wait a min.! So you say use the water before it falls into the bucket. Because, it then goes to waste. Then, logically speaking, you suggest to use the information and knowledge and love before it reaches the brain - coz then it goes to waste.

U, D. Phil: Where did i say that?

S, D. Crap: Remember, the brain bucket comparison?

U, D. Phil: Oh! See - do you recall reading about the full cup?

S, D. Crap: Yeah I know, half empty is pessimism and half full is optimism. You know what I'd say if someone showed me half a cup of coffee and asked me what it is? I'd say, "Hey, who drank my coffee again?" This time, I laughed hard! Mr. Aristotle smiled at my pitiable earthly behavior.

U, D. Phil: No! So the teacher asks a student to fill a cup with anything he wants. The student fills it up with rocks. Its still not full. Another fills the remaining gaps with pebbles. Its still not full. Yet another fills it up with sand. It still ain't full. Yet another fills it with water. But its still not full. Imagine how much of air can fit in a tiny little gap. The brain is like that. But the order is important - fill a cup with sand first, and there's not much you can fill later on. Prioritize on what you fill your brain with - and its capacity is infinite.

S, D. Crap: I think I'd start with the pebbles first. If you tilt your head at the right angle and throw them into your nostrils with good force above the escape velocity, they'll hit the bottom of your brain bucket. Oh, did I fail to mention - our brain's bucket is reverse, the bottom is on top of our head, so its easier for the stuff in it to flow out. I think our mouths are like taps - open them and you can release your bucket's content. The eyes/ears/nose are inlet pipes which empty directly into the brain bucket.

U, D. Phil: I like your imagination. Now how do you explain this? Imagination doesn't come from the environment. Its inborn. They don't come through any inlet pipes. Its already inside your 'so-called bucket'. Who put 'em there? God? Why do everyone have varying amounts of imagination? Or do they? Is it an untapped potential in some?

S, D. Crap: Yes. So they are like these frozen vials of cells. They become viable only when you take them out of liquid nitrogen and thaw them. Or else, they stay untapped in the frozen state. They don't ever die out - they are just cryo-protected. Then probably the cerebrospinal fluid is like DMSO - a cryoprotectant. When you thaw them in the blood bath (or our standard water bath), they are utilizable.

U, D. Phil: Too technical for a banker like me; however, I think you agree with my statement that there are some untapped potentials within us which are not gained from the environment but which could be enhanced owing to external circumstances. Right?

S, D. Crap: Too philosophical for a college student like me; however I think you agree with my idea about the brain-bathroom-bucket? There are thousands of analogies I can give you, its fairly irrefutable a concept you know!

U, D. Phil: I said your imagination is good ... not that I agreed. There's been so much known about the brain - the least you could do is compare it to a bathroom bucket. Imaginative, but not intellectual.

S, D. Crap: Isn't philosophy imaginative? Why do you use so many analogies then? Haven't we learned from imagination? We imagined we could fly and we flew. We imagined we could reach the stars and we did. We imagined and we achieved.

U. D. Phil: The Wright brothers imagined alright. But they built a plane. From scratch. They didn't imagine how a plane would look like. They learnt about it from the environment - from the birds and the insects. If you think mere imagination would take you places, the world wouldn't be this bad - everyone would imagine it to be a paradise.

S, D. Crap: We could. Untapped potential my friend ... imagination isn't an art everyone have perfectioned.

U, D. Phil: I think you created a hole in my brain bucket. I feel all my intellect has just been hosed off and replaced with your gibberish concepts.

S, D. Crap: What did you say? Your brain bucket? So you believe me now... ?

U, D. Phil: Whatever! (pissed)

S, D. Crap: Someone draw the curtains please (bows)


Note: This is a hypothetical conversation!