Saturday, December 31, 2011

No is an answer

No is an answer!!!

We ask for most things in life in order to get it. We are so used to the answer yes that we take it for granted.

No is perhaps the most powerful answer. However it is not a good thing to use this answer very often. When someone says could you mail me that picture please on Facebook, try replying with a 'No' and you will know what i mean.

We learn to try different activities as and when we get an answer ‘Yes’. The path of the ‘No’ is not travelled by many. Though i seem to be taking a philosophical road, more things will be revealed as we go through this page.

In SwatKats we can see that Lieutenant Felina keeps telling that she “does not take No for an answer”. Einstein says that ,it was because people said no, that he tried it himself.

Why is it that we tend to accept most answers when they are in our favour. The reason behind this goes well into our childhood where our parents tell us no to things that they find inappropriate, and we also conclude it by proving them right, i here refer to those of us who have had a mischevious childhood (^_^).

No is thought of as something negative, and hence i have called it a path of the less travelled. However, in many cases man tells know because he finds it beyond his power to explain something and people after him tend to stop at the ‘No’.

One illustration is the 100 year unchallenged success of Newtonian theory that layed the foundation of physics of objects and the shaking of the foundation by the emergence of Einstein’s theories of relativity. It was believed that Newton’s theories were flawless and people after him did not dare question his genius (After all Newton has innumerable contributions to Physics & Mathematics which include Newton's Colour disc, Newton’s Prism Experiment, Newton’s Laws of motion, Newton-Raphson Iteration, Calculus, Principia Mathematica, etc. ). Newton (“he was one man too much”) added so much to the beauty of physics at once that people failed to see that there were flaws; apart from this there wasn’t sufficient technology to look beyond his theories.

It is even funnier that we can actually lead an entire life believing what we know as true and those things that we are ignorant of as fiction. This happens in more cases than not.

However lets get serious, consider a situation where you have worked really really hard on an assignment spending your precious time on an assignment, and then your friends start asking you for the assignment. While telling No looks like a legitimate thing to do. We are often taken aback because we are not used to saying No. There is fear of unknown, in this sense, it is as if you have defied friendship if you give No as the answer. And lieing is definitely a bad alternative, instead leave some part to finish later so that your assignment remains incomplete till the last moment (^_^).

No is a very good thing answer when it comes to handling addictions. For example there are several people who say ‘No’ to smoking, ‘No’ to alcohol, ‘No’ to ajinomoto. In such scenarios, ethics looks like a very good back up for the answer so we just go ahead and give ‘No’ as an answer. The world would be a much better place if people co-operatively said no to carcinogens, pollution, plastic, adulterated food and other consumer products (Inspired from ‘Captain Planet’). However, ‘No’ is not a natural answer, it is not something everyone willingly says till there is some kind of a catch, or some kind of crisis. 
In movies we see that a hero simply can’t say no to the wishes of a heroine. In real life, we fear to say ‘No’ to our elders, teachers, boss, colleagues, friends, relatives, cultural beliefs, superstitions and pay the price for not accepting ‘No’ as an answer. Though we are helpless in certain scenarios, we can bring about a drastic change in many cases.

‘No’ has been the cause of revolutions in many cases in history and entertainment:
1) It was Mahatma Gandhiji’s ‘No’ to the British that freed India.
2) It was Adolf Hitler’s ‘No’ to the Jews that made him the dictator.
3) It was Steve Jobs’ ‘No’ that brought Apple to the height it has attained today.
4) It was Dark Vader’s ‘No’ to the good side of the force that made him achieve a much higher level from the dark side of the force (^_~).
5) It is Samurai Jack’s ‘No’ to Aakhoo that keeps him going until he accomplishes his goal.

In elementary English grammar, No is simply the opposite the Yes, however in real life no is so much more.

People in India organize strikes to say ‘No’ to an organizations actions. (I hate the idea of strikes, because it affects the productivity of the nation and causes several setbacks). Though strikes are a way of demanding our interests, there are several other ways which need to be tried out in the form of negotiation in this particular issue.

A pen-down strike is a way of conveying our disinterest to education from a particular teacher.

When your day starts bad, say ‘No’ and do your best to live in the present and make it go good. If its exam time say ‘No’ to World Cup and Facebook. Even the word Know has a ‘No’ in it.
The Lok-Pal bill is an attempt to say 'No' to corruption, please support the movement.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Talking to yourself

Talking to yourself
In many situations we find that some people around us seem to be talking to themselves. You might have even found that you were talking to yourself sometimes.

Sometimes when there is too much to think and you work really hard on finding a solution you tend to mutter random words. These things happen because while our mind tries to adjust to these new situations, we try different approaches and wires kind of get crossed?

Some people may call you crazy when they find you talking to you, but this is more common than people think. If you observe a person sitting in a bus-stand carefully you can observe some of them doing this without their own knowledge.

Talking to yourself can happen when you suddenly remember an incident that according to you could have happened in a different way. You might not actually say anything and just be acting out a bit, but if you think you could have done something different that made a difference then the people around you can notice it in you.

Most people don’t like to be told that they had been talking to themselves because, in olden movies of India, people were shown talking to themselves and this caused people into believing that talking to oneself was a sign of madness. However it has been proven to be false and there haven’t been any movies on that yet!!! (Not one that says its not crazy but here are several that show that this kind of self talking is common).

We talk to ourselves because we know that by taking thinking just a step further, we might actually stumble upon an enlightening idea. Some people cant do hard math without acting out the problem a little bit. It might seem like they are writing something on an invisible board, but trust me it helps them get closer to the solution in reality.

More often than not, we are scared of telling something out in public and this causes us to express what we think of by first telling it to our-selves. The phrase, ‘Look before you leap’ can be thought of a better way of saying this. We first check if the answer we are going to give is legitimate by trying it out in our heads, this happens to spill out in the form of talking to ourselves.

Another scenario where a person talks to oneself could be repentance or self pity. You have those moments in your life where you miss out an opportunity purposefully and the start regretting it as if doing something now can reverse the effect.

Remember you are the only one who thinks that way because you are unique. There might be times in your life where you felt a joke was really funny but when you told it loud, no one really responded well to it and you admitted defeat in trying to convince them about the humour.

The problem with telling something loud is that we as social beings are very conscious of our social image and in most cases don’t like to left as outcasts and try to blend into the society rather than trying to set a new genuine social standard.

If you start searching, you will get lots of opinions online. However I leave it you you decide what to do about talking to yourself.

There is often a trade-off between expressing yourself and sacrificing what you image you have presented to the world till that point.

We can see many instances of talking to oneself in cartoons, for instance tom has those miniaturized satan and angel whenever he plans something evil in ‘The Tom and Jerry Show’. From which we can see an illustration of having a clear conscience on the issues which we deal. The number of movies where people talking to themselves being depicted is massive, some of the famous movies include, ‘Cast Away’, ‘Fight Club’, ‘A beautiful Mind’, ‘Harry Potter’, etc.

Having imaginary friends, dolls that you talk to (including Johny’s Plank in ‘Ed Edd n Eddy'), speaking to God, day dreaming all are considered to talking to your-self.

We are beings of very superior intellect compared to those around us and our mind acts as feedback mechanism to guide our actions before we perform them.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

How and Why of blog

Why Blog?
There can be several answers to the question why blog. I first started blogging to check if my views of the world around me the way I see it was consistent with what everyone else out there on the internet also did. Surprisingly though many people have acknowledged that they too share similar opinion there was a lot more I learnt.

You can blog on any topic of your choice. You can create a fresh topic and blog. You can maintain a blog that can give specific detail that will help them get a certain result. Or write a blog based on what has helped you when you were overcome be a problem.

Either ways blog writing requires that a person express whatever he wishes to convey. I have seen a few friends earn from their blog through Google Adsense, but I mis-used this option and got banned when I click-bombed my own blog (lol (^_~)) in the initial days of blogging just to findout what would happen.

Essentially when you blog you are looking to create an awareness on a certain idea or an issue. A blog can be a means to share ideas and discuss issues you might thing to bring light on. A blog on the online game DOTA for example can help you get opinions from several gamers across the globe it can also help you to spread your opinion on a certain game character or strategy that you might find interesting.

Blogging is extremely fun also. When you invest time on something you like doing it tends to take your mind off many daily routines that you follow.

You can blog on things that your you would keep wondering about in your head otherwise.

Though most blogs are written as ideas flow into your head, there are certain set of steps that you can follow to make your blog a success. (note: blog = content + intent)
1)     Spend time putting the content together, formatting the content.
2)     Find appropriate pictures flow chart to go with your blog.
3)     Try to get your content reviewed by a friend who is online when you post it.
4)     Reply to every single query on your blog no matter how small or big it happens to be.
5)     Don’t mind for critics. But don’t underestimate them as well.
6)     Though it is insisted that you follow a logically neutral idea, I don’t really follow this rule of blogging.
7)     Select a good background for your blog. And design it as your heart points out.

As of now i haven’t blogged beyond Blogger. But you may find other blogs out there which suits you.

How Blog?
Now that you know the whys of blogging here is a procedure i recommend while first starting a blog:
1)     Open chrome
3)     Click on ‘more’ tab and then ‘even more’ option.
4)     Under ‘communication show and share’ you will see an orange icon with a label ‘Blogger’.
5)     Click on it. Fill in your details and start blogging.

To know any-more details you can visit:

Shadow Walking

Shadow Walking:
It’s a warm sunny day and you are walking by the side of the road, you choose a side of the road that is shadier than the other this happens unconsciously and here I term it as shadow walking (Not to be confused by the shadow blending technique used by a ninja (^_~)).
We learn to walk in a very early age, but even before we walk we are acquainted with a sense of direction to take in-order to reach a target.

It can be observed that when you are walking from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’, you will almost always tend to take the shortest path if not for a shadiest path on a very sunny day. Shadows have been a mystery for several generations of scientists. Though there are several descriptions on the science behind the principle of formation of shadows, there still remain several explanations on what effects shadows have on our lives. We tend to over look several of such aspects.  

The choice of a path we take while walking depends on intention for walking as well as environmental and surrounding factors such as level of traffic, presence/absence of ditch by the side of the road, time of the day, number of houses with dogs inside the compound that regularly bark when a stranger goes by, etc.

Why particularly dedicate a post to shadow walking?
I have observed that depending on the intensity of sun’s heat, the number of times a person crosses a road varies. If there are large gaps between shadier sides of the road, then the person maintains a path that will keep him in the shade at the most. This behaviour tends to override our natural behaviour to continue in the shortest path. If the weather is not that warm then the number or road cross for the same terrain significantly comes down.

The speed of walking in the shadowed region depends on the distance covered so far as well as the Line of sight distance of the road still left to cover on the same path.

Age severely affects this factor. Older people tend to stick to the shortest path no matter what. The behaviour of other animals to this phenomenon is not yet conclusively studied, however similar results are expected.

From history we learn that Great emperors such as Ashoka used to plant trees by the side of the read so that travellers could take sufficient rest while taking long journeys.

The shadow of an object at any time of the day is influenced by the position of the sun, this is what makes people take different paths to the same destination.

I remember watching one special episode of ‘The Mask’ where people loose their shadows and start aging rapidly. There is even an episode in ‘Duck Tales’ where Magica gives life to her shadow, and the shadow tries to overthrow her. Shadow arts fascinate me even today.

To make sure that they remain in shade, taking an umbrella with you is a good practice. This also comes in handy in case there are chances of rain (^_^).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Man in the mirror

How many times have you wondered if the mirror was real or not as a child?

The person in the mirror looks exactly like you and you see yourself through him. He knows all your external flaws and you see him every day.  The man in the mirror always listens to whatever you tell, he never complains, never interrupts, never argues, never gets angry at whatever you tell him. He just listens, he is angry if you are angry, sad if you are sad, happy if you are happy and smiles if you smile.

The man in the mirror grows old with you. He has always been there for you when you expected him to be. You can't really be sure if he isn’t there when you aren’t looking but then that isn’t really your problem.

You can sing, read an essay, tell him your worries and wishes. You can share your life’s deepest secrets with him and you dreams and ambitions, he just listens.

Man in the mirror even knows what happens behind your back.

Man in the mirror knows what you are and what you are going to be.

He helps to see if your hair style is right, he makes you aware that you haven’t shaved from a long time. He even reminds you to get a haircut when the hair has grown quite long. He helps you find out if your wounds have healed yet. He helps you to look closer into things which would not be possible otherwise. When you look at his eyes you see yourself.

Despite all this we don’t thank the man in the mirror because we tend to ignore his presence. We don’t generally wave him good bye when we are out for work or greet him when we get back home. We don’t thank him for his services and nor do we acknowledge him when we go to bed. He is there waiting for you every second to get back at you and you don’t even notice that.

Man in the mirror looks the same every time you see him. He is going to be there even if the mirror gets damaged or broken. He is God sent and will be with you no matter what. He is bound to you for life so treat him with respect and honour.

Like the great Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in this world", you can see what ever change you want in yourself through a mirror.

To conclude, here is a poem from Rajdeep's speech:

You may win in your struggle for self, and the world may make you kind or queen for a day
but just look at the mirror and see what that person has to say

for its not your teachers, friends or colleagues, whose judgement on you must pass
the verdict that counts most in your life, is the person looking back from the glass.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to swat a Mosquito

How to swat a Mosquito
It is a common experience that a mosquito makes its presence felt due to it’s characteristic ‘Kuin’ sound, coupled by the annoying irritation it leaves behind after biting human-beings.

It is very interesting that we tend to observe a mosquito only after we hear the sound most of the times. There is generally a 5 second delay associated with us being able to track down a mosquito after it’s presence is felt for the first time.

Though the hatred towards mosquito comes due to its blood sucking habit, it is most hated because of it’s annoying sound mechanism.

After having detected and located a mosquito, a human-being tries to attempt to murder the mosquito by a clap kind of action. However, in most cases, this action goes in vein and the mosquito escapes; the first attempt to murder generally fails because we tend to over-estimate our abilities and do not take into consideration our size to speed ratio as compared to that of the mosquito. Also we in most situations act impulsively instead of a careful planning and this leads to a lot of disappointment.
Just as a culprit always returns to the sceene of the crime like in Sherlock holmes novels, a mosquito also tends to return to its initial point of sound detection, most smart and experienced people take this into consideration while killing a mosquito.

Some advanced experienced people can swat a fly in one hand. Though this skill is very handy, it is not appreciated by people in the surrounding, such people are considered show-offs and incase they fail to get the fly, the disappointment is usually doubled. Swatting in one hand also tends to leave a lot of mess.

In some scenarios, there can be a compromise between killing a mosquito and getting the wall dirty and the mosquito tends to get away in such cases.

Apart from manually killing a mosquito there are approaches such as:
  • Poisoning a mosquito by sprays, mosquito mats, mosquito coils…
  • Use of variety of tricks to repel a mosquito
  • Spreading excessive smoke in an attempt to suffocate a mosquito(lol)
  • Some use fly-swatters and advanced fly glues.

Sometimes swatting of a fly like a mosquito can attract a lot of attention, especially in public places and hence many people tend to restrain themselves.

It is also a practice to hunt down a mosquito for a sport especially during exam times by students or while writing an assignment near the due date where there is a tendance to make that extra time just to feel that pleasure of achieving something, for a time-pass event.

Some people let cobwebs accumulate in their rooms in hopes of mosquitoes getting trapped in them, but this is a false notion as most mosquitoes can effectively dodge a cob web.

Algorithm to swat a Mosquito:
Step 0:Make sure you are free and have time to swat a mosquito, make sure you are not in a public or a very fancy place, make sure you are in a situation to move freely.
Step 1: START
Step 2: Detect the mosquite. Be alert and do not consider any indication of a mosquito's presence as a stray noise. Remember, 'Kuin' is the signature sound of the mosquito.
Step 3: Once the mosquito is detected, try to look at its trajectory.
Step 4: If the mosquito sits on you to bite you. Take the opportunity to kill the mosquito with one tieght blow. go to END.
Step 5: Else if you find the mosquito strategically sitting on a wall, then try to clap about 1 cm from the wall, this is approximately where the mosquito will likely be by the time you get to it. Do not dirty the wall over a mosquito, the paint job will not be worth it. go to END.
Step 6: Else if you find the mosquito to be moving around in circle, take about 6 seconds to trace its path, then jump and kill the mosquito in one smooth movement. go to END.
Step 7: Else if you dont find the mosquito, go to step 2.
Step 8: END

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The queen of chess-a bird's eye view

The queen of chess - a bird's eye view
Have you ever wondered why the queen of chess is that powerful? 

I have never come across a satisfactory answer to my questions regarding the powers behind the queen of chess, hence I have made an attempt myself to solve this quandary.

The whole idea of the queen being that powerful is centered around 2 ideas:
1) The queen being the most powerful pawn makes the queen the most vulnerable thing on the board thus taking our concentration off the king.
2) The second reason however is that it is the most precious thing that you can lose. I mean think about it, would you lose the queen for a reason you can name right now... you cannot lose anything more precious than the queen. (you might say okay queen for queen, queen for winning the game... but giving up a queen does make you think for at least some time (~_^)).

We can think of this as a feminine dominance, but if you really think about it is definitely so much more than that. Carom has a red piece often referred to as the queen. You won’t be able to complete the royal flush in Poker if not for a queen in fact a lot of games of poker have been lost because of the queen. You will find a lot more occurrences of such pattern; however in chess the queen has won the hearts of generations of people and continues to do so even today. Mysteriously however, there seems to be only one female piece in each of these games...

I can bet you that if the queen of chess and the queen of hearts were real figures today, there would be a lot of envy in the atmosphere.

I am not a very good chess player myself, for the record; I have lost over 60 games of chess to Mr. Prashanth Saraf in my PUC (One of which included playing a game without the queens). However the mystery behind the powers of the queen was what I was most interested in chess.

A queen has the combined powers of the bishop and the rook. Losing a queen marks the beginning of the end for most chess games. It is evident that when a pawn moves to the other side, it more often than not, chooses to reincarnate as a queen.

Religion also has extended the notion of feminine power by giving equal prominence to Goddesses just as given to Gods; don’t be offended if you come across conflicting statistics.

It has got to do with a whole new way of looking at the world. A female definitely looks at the world in a way different than men look at it. Though for some reason females rarely take opportunity to rise above others, we have seen occasions where female have made much more difference than what was expected from men. This kind of forms the foundations that have led to the powers behind the queen of chess.

Historically the pawn was called as the minister and had different powers, but it was not until it got renamed as the queen that the game became a house hold name and eventually reached the fame we see today.

Even when it comes to fashion, the queen gets her colour in chess. A white queen begins on the white square and a black queen on black.

It’s not like you can’t win the game without your queen, but once you lose a queen there is a hell lot of de-motivation. For example, I once met a guy who would take a queen for a queen just to de-morale you enough for him to eventually win the game.

Yes a guy will probably do anything to get a female to smile or to stop her from crying but we are looking only at the shadow of something really huge here. However on the contrary, as my friend Arpita Nandi says 'a broken nails hurts wayyyy more than a broken heart!'. That's exactly how much it means.

The real answer to the power of the queen might even lie in the fact that the queen being the only female on the board if not for the opponent queen. And there is lot of effort a female puts to get rid of any competition (^.^). The queen is the tallest pawn on the board because you simply cant afford to loose track of it! however, the crown makes the king reach the same height as the queen (*-*) 
Furthermore, when the game of chess begins, we can see that the two queens are looking at each other, just waiting for the right opportunity to kill the other.

In fact the queen of chess is a real icon of power. This topic definitely spans beyond culture, politics, fashion, history, sociology, romance and ideology.

If you look at the chess board itself, you will find that it is symmetric if not for the king and the queen. It is as if power has been sacrificed for importance. 
While the king stands to be prominent - last thing that you can lose on the game, the queen holds the most power - the last thing you wish to lose in a game. 

The game will become really complicated if you give equal power to the king as well as the queen, because now you will just have to keep your eyes on two pawns which are equally important to you. Chess is a game based on strategy. What more strategy can there be than to let a female come up with a strategy for you... (just kidding). 

On the contrary, we have seen how modern politics is revolving around females such as Sonia Gandhi, Hilary Clinton, Aung suu kyi, Julia Gillard, Angela Markel. Also the changes that took place when Mrs. Indira Nooyi took over as CEO of Pepsi Co. stand as a landmark in the corporate world and many of the multi-million-dollar companies started looking forward to having a female CEO. I would also like to include the case of recently fired Yahoo CEO, Carol Bartz but that is clearly out of discussion (^_~).

I remember playing a game in engineering where I helped my friend Prerana (a.k.a piranah) win a game against Gokul, who had initially taken away the two rooks on Prerana’s side and we mysteriously won the game by controlling 2 bishops (lol). Gokul was a real pro, so were Abhishek and Abhilash. 

Some days we used to play chess on the bus on a magnetic chess set one of the seniors used to bring. However over time we got addicted to dumb-charades and forgot all about chess.

Relevance of a queen in modern Television and literature:
1) If you have seen the movie 300 you will find King Leonidas paying a lot of respect to the women of Sparta and deliver's the movie's signature dialogue- "THIS IS SPARTA" at the Persian ambassador before he kicks him into the bottomless pit (^_^).

2) If you watch White Collar you will see that the protagonist Neil sacrifices a lot and takes a lot of risk to get to the girl he loves the most – Kate.

3) And no piece of modern literature shouts of the power of femininity louder than Dan Brown's best selling (and controversial) novel- The Da Vinci Code.

4) Oh and when we talk about the queen, we might also note that there is a queen of hearts in the famous novel/movie Alice in the wonderland book by Louise Carol who was originally a mathematician specializing in Linear Algebra.

5) We even find that for a product to click in the market a famine touch usually does the trick. If you have seen the movie Kill Bill completely, then you will keep wondering what happens in the end of the second part. However the action might be justified in a woman’s world. I don’t know... (I don’t want to spoil the movie for you).

6) You will see the way a guy will give up even the most lucrative of offers for the sake of a woman in several cases, take Goodwill Hunting for example, he gives up an opportunity to work in the NSA for a woman he meets in the bar. (Do watch the movie, it is so much more.)

7) On a serious note the film Munich gives you a look into the things a woman strategist (Prime minister Golda Meir) is capable of. William Congreve probably had one such woman in mind when he said- "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell hath fury like a woman scorned"

8) If you watch The Big Bang theory you might be familiar with Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Chess... ha ha ha enough said I guess. Further he (Sheldon) extends the powers of the queen and creates a character called the Grand Empress a piece combining the power of the knight queen and the serpent!!! in the 3 persons chess. (serpent is a pawn that will cause the affected pawn to die within 2 moves from the encounter). How ever the circular chess board is more appealing to me because it kind of looks more legit.

9) Though the image of The Mahabharath comes to mind when we speak about mythology, women and war; the Greek epic Iliad also testifies the whole war-for-women idea.
There are several connections that can be seen in the novel that have been discussed under the queen of chess discussion as of now, for instance: 
1) Hector's wife Andromeda is known to have blamed Helen alone for the entire duration (18 years) for which the war had been fought (female trying to eliminate competition). 
2) The competition of the Goddesses of Mt.Olympus regarding which one of them was the most beautiful was the reason behind the whole Trojan war.

It all boils down to this picture (A picture is worth a 1000 words)
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