Thursday, May 31, 2007

Potter-o-logy

I am self-confessed Potter-maniac. I am obsessed with the books and am eagerly awaiting the last instalment of the series. Since anyone and everyone is making their predictions about the end the story is going to meet, I really can't keep my big long nose out of it.


As far as Harry being a horcrux goes, it is improbable that Voldemort would want to kill Harry and destroy his horcrux. So far, we know about the following horcruxes:
1.Tom Riddle’s Diary (destroyed in Chamber of Secrets)
2.Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring (destroyed by Dumbledore in HBP)
3.The Locket (apparently destroyed by R.A.B – Regulus Black)
4.The Hufflepuff Cup (not a certainity though)
5.Nagini, the snake (again Dumbledore’s guess)
6. ????

Voldemort split his soul into seven parts of which the last part is still with him. At least for now we can be sure of the fact that Harry is not one of the 6 horcruxes Voldemort had created before he was banished. It is possible that he might be an unintentionally created Horcrux which even Voldemort doesn’t know about and in killing him, he would also destroy another part of his soul.

But somehow, this doesn’t fit in for me. Who will kill Voldemort then? Definitely not Neville, as the prophecy said “the lord will mark his equal” and we don’t need a bigger proof than Harry’s scar. Besides, the prophecy also stated “neither can live while the other survives.” Voldemort is bound to be defeated so the rumours of Harry dying will end as rumours only.

Another big thread which has been left open from the previous books is about Snape’s loyalty. Dumbledore is one of the most powerful and knowledgeable wizards ever. He having trusted and defended Snape during so many instances in the six books so far, clearly shows that Dumbledore had more than a reason too believe in him. Dumbledore can’t be as dumb, can he?

This brings me to the question “Is Dumbledore dead in the first place?” Yes, he is. Even Rowling stated that “Dumbledore is dead and he will not do a Gandalf.” Gandalf never died in LOTR. Let us no forget that there was no one who was more far-sighted than Dumbledore in the wizarding world. In order to get Voldemort to count on Snape as one of his men once again, there could have been no better way than Snape have killed the biggest threat that existed to the Dark Lord himself.

Besides, there is another catch to it. There is no mention of Dumbledore’s body in the book immediately after he is cursed by the Avada Kedavra. It is possible that Dumbledore had found a way to cheat death. If any one could, it was him. There was something mystical about falling from the North Tower. Even Dobby, the elf, had made a mention of it in the Chamber of Secrets.

We must also not forget that the unforgivable curses don’t have any effect if they are not backed by a strong desire to cause harm ( as seen when Harry tried the Crucio curse on Bellatrix in the Ministry in the Order of the Phoenix). It is possible that Snape used an unspoken charm to have killed Dumbledore which the latter had found a way to reverse.

In the case that Dumbledore is not going to return, the only reason could be his plan would have been incomplete without this sacrifice. Dumbledore would have surely been aware of how defenceless would Harry be in his absence from Hogwarts. The exact reason is something which I haven’t been able to find so far.

Two other factors which might have an important role to play are – Grawp, Hagrid’s half brother and the two-way mirror which Sirius handed over to Harry in the ministry. Rowling would not have given these things so much attention had they been of no consequence.

Before I conclude,there is one last interesting piece of info which I came across and will like to share. Ever wondered about the importance of the invisibility cloak? Why did James hand it over to Dumbledore before his death? Dumbledore had stated in the Soceror’s Stone that he doesn’t need the cloak to become invisible. Besides, there weren’t many cloaks of this kind available anywhere. Is it something which has been passing in the Gryffindor bloodline? Is Harry the heir of Gryffindor? Is the cloak possible a horcrux of someone from Gryffindor?

Guess we’ll all have to wait and watch. The excitement is killing me. The last week of July will give all the answers.

With regards to all the fake e-books making the rounds, I wonder how do people not realise they're a far cry from Rowling's style of writing. I am kind of tired of hearing "This is the real thing!" Nonetheless, they are highly amusing with their entertaining plots and melodrama and make good reads when you have absolutely nothing else to do. For instance, did you know that Dudley is a wizard? I just read it yesterday in yet another e-book of the Deathly Hallows. There’s more to it too. He goes on to become the next Dark Lord. All I’ll say is - LOL.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hogger's Paradise

Ever felt hungry? Stupid question that. Ever felt like eating out? It is a rarity that any one normal will say ‘no’ to that. Ever felt like eating out without having to burn a hole in your pocket? Now I know you are listening. But where do you find such a place? Is it the new neighbourhood restaurant? Naah. Or is it one of the ever increasing number of food franchises (Read McDonald’s, Dominos, Pizza Hut). Definitely not. It is what sets Mumbai apart as far as its reputation for a food lover’s paradise goes.

Traditionally it was the paav vada and chaiwala stalls. With time this has evolved. Now you have cuisines from all over India and in some places, from places abroad too. The streets of Mumbai have been the residence of some of the city’s finest inventors of fusion cuisines. Thought there are many places worth a mention, this entry is dedicated to my regular haunt, the ‘khau galli’ at Ghatkopar.

The moment the clock strikes 5 in the evening, a busy but boring street junction turns into one of the most happening hangout places in the suburb. An array of street vendors set up their make-shift kitchens to serve you a great variety of delectable food. Be it the paav bhaaji or the dosas, the franky or the dhabeli, the chaat or the ice-cream, the kulfi or the golas, the juice or the sweets, you name it you get it.

It might not be a great place to eat if you were one of those finicky about hygiene, but it is definitely better than many college canteens (read mine). In around 60-70 bucks, let’s stretch to a maximum of a Rs.100 note, you can come back with your appetites more than satisfied. For that much economy, you can’t make comparisons with a fine-dining restaurant.

The pride of the lane is the dosa stall. It started off with 2 people with one thick black tawa and a coal sigdi. From there on, around 2 years down the line it has multiplied into a assembly line processing structure. 8 people handling various aspects of the job – cutting the vegetables, handling the stove, putting the toppings, taking the order, serving the dosas, washing the plate and they even have a cashier!! It now has around 6 stoves on weekdays and 8 on weekends. It boasts of almost 40 combinations, with the dosa being the only thing connecting them. I guess it is definitely something for the Mumbai B-Schools, if not the IIMs, to take up as a case-study.

I can perhaps go on about each stall and its specialty, but the bigger picture here is that the lane just epitomizes the spirit of the city. Everyone has busy days, tiring work routines, but nothing cheers us up as a good meal!! I am feeling all bubbly and chirpy and now I guess you know the reason. Burrrpp.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Indecision of a Bored Mind

It has been a relatively long time since I last posted an entry on the blog. Surprisingly, I had enough to write on while my oral exams were on. Now, when I have nothing to do in the PL, I have nothing to write in my blog either. Actually it is not that I don't have anything to write, but then, the boredom is sapping away all the creativity, like a black hole.

Often I have visited this page in the last few days, clicked on the create button and ended up writing a para and shortly after, pressed ALT+F4. This entry is a collection of all those random ideas put together into one long crazy potpourri. Read ahead at your own risk.

The first one in the list, Unearthed, a brilliant reality show. For the first time I felt that it was something close to reality, throwing away all those glycerin bottles and sentimental prayers witnessed by the hidden cameras in the bed rooms. I am a documentary lover so this one had my special attention. It was about 6 budding wild-life film makers fighting it out, to make the best short film. The action keeps you on the edge of the seats. By the end of it (4 episodes flat!), I had a new found respect for these naturalists, because they make it look very easy on the show, but behind the cameras the challenges are formidable. For those interested, Unearthed II, coming soon!

Second, was an entry on hypersomnia. It is a new bug that has caught the wannabe insomniac in me. As soon as you open the book, your eyes start watering,(yes, it's without the glycerin), your head starts feeling a little dull and dizzy, and your body shows a strong desire to just fall into bed and go to sleep again. Most of the much-needed studying has been washed away in those splendid and completely mistimed hours in the dream world. I am sure I'm not the only one facing the problem, so keeping fighting till you succeed.

Sneezing was another favourite. It was my only past-time these days. Whenever I was not sleeping, I was sneezing. I wanted to write the autobiography of the common cold virus, but then decided against it, cause it might not be impressed by my prejudiced opinion and would hit back with greater vengeance.

Also featuring in one of the more memorable of the past few days was my birthday. I could have written a blog on what a perfect gift would be like, but then what's the fun when everyone ends up giving you the same present and you are not left guessing? Or perhaps, what an ideal birthday celebration should be like? Yeah, that sounded like fun, but it's highly subjective. Or the least, update my friends on what I did. Well, if they're friends, then they can always call up or chat, why put up something you'll put in a diary on public space?

The last and the one on which I had almost written a full entry was digital photography. Yes, it's something I love indulging in. Of the many times I have been terribly low and colourless, the camera has come to my rescue. Like the other day, I spent an hour clicking (or trying to click) the perfect ripple and a drop of water. Trust me, though digicams give you a free hand at the number of pictures you can click and the auto mode makes life very easy, proper photography requires quick response and highly stabilised cameras. In this department, digital cameras are far behind the high end film cameras. If not a high end film camera, perhaps I could do with a sub-SLR digicam for now since I'm still learning. But then, it does no harm to aspire higher(sly grin). (If you want to view the pictures, please visit my flickr album. )

I have reached the end of a very very random entry. I guess it is not the best one for the reader but it makes me feel a lot better. Finally I have managed to churn up something. Hurray!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Resistance and Tolerance

No, I am not talking about the resistance and tolerance that we, wannabe engineers talk about as a part of our curriculum. Nor is this one inspired by the just concluded viva session. It is truly not something to write home about. I am talking about resistance to religious intolerance.

I will take a walk down memory lane, back to my school days. I did my schooling at an Asian school in the Gulf. I am glad I was a part of the institution I was in. It wasn’t because of the teachers, nor was it the infrastructure and facilities, nor was it the amazing co-curricular and extra-curricular set-up.

It was plainly because of the cosmopolitan nature of the crowd. We had people from at least 6 different nationalities, the majority being Indians, followed in numbers by Pakistanis. There were also people from possibly all the religions which are known to me today. We had friends amongst all. When we were friends, never did the question of nationalities or religion come in. We celebrated Eid, Christmas and Diwali with the same vigour. There were no prejudices what so ever, except when it came to an India Vs. Pakistan cricket match. Even that rivalry was extremely healthy.

I don’t claim to be really good friends with every one, but then, there was a great deal of respect for one another’s beliefs and culture, and we were always open to the idea of taking back something new. This is something which I really find to be missing in India.

We boast of unity in diversity and our secular values, but do we practice what we preach? I don’t want to sound accusatory but it is a fact. I don’t think everyone is intolerant but it is something which has spread to a majority, more so, with the middle aged and elderly population.

I see my grandparents telling my 5 year old cousins, not to fight when one person hits the other and rather go and complaint to one of the elders at home. Two of their favourite lines are “You don’t have the right to punish your sibling” and “Revenge doesn’t get you anywhere”. All this is forgotten when they defend the perpetrators of the riots in Gujarat or the policeman responsible for fake encounters of Muslims. Is it hypocrisy? Or is it just the post independence mind-set? Or is it just the feeling that India means Hindutva n Hindutva alone?

I completely respect my grandparents but that really doesn’t justify mine condoning their step-brotherly treatment to fellow Indians. I’m not standing for any religion or caste. It is a sad state that we first think as Hindus or Muslims and then as Indians. The politicians just thrive by adding fuel to the fire of communism.

Gandhiji once said “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” I guess that’s where we are headed, to a world of darkness. I sincerely hope it’s otherwise. There is no good religion or bad religion; there are just good people and bad people.