Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's all about the money, honey!!

Watching movies, chatting with friends, blogging, photography, cleaning, catching up with the newspaper and most of all sleeping (loads), I have done everything I love to do this weekend. I haven't even reached the best part. I got my first salary. Yes, The Illuminator is earning! The weekend was almost reaching its grand end with a cook-out session until my cold and cough also brought fever and a terrible headache along with them. You just can't escape the virus!

Anyhow, fever is not something which can over-ride the upbeat mood the pay-cheque has got me in. My friend asked what I was going to do with all that money. "Splurge on shopping? Party? Movie? Gifts? What's the plan? " Frankly I didn't quite know.

The only thing I was certain about was that I need to buy my grandfather a new pair of clothes. I didn't know what I will do with the large chunk that remained (now don't start giving me 'you can give it to me if you don't know what to do with it' looks). In fact the idea of spending it in shopping or entertainment didn't even cross my mind.

Why I wondered? Because I had earned it. I had gone to work, 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, always on time, compromising on many fronts ( family, friends and sleep in that order). There are loads of avenues open for spending/wasting my pay, but I didn't want to.

It is not that I am going to lead the life of a stingy hoarder, nor am I turning to an ascetic monk.I am going to have fun and indulge in materialistic pleasures. I will live it to the fullest, the only precondition being to put my salary to judicious use. I don't want to open the tap of expenditure until I finish thinking about how to let the money flow through it. That ends the 'resolve' part.

It will be highly unfair if, after this realisation, I conclude without acknowledging my parents - "I now completely understand how hard you work to give us the life we lead. Though money is secondary when it comes to the values and affection which I have inherited, the process of earning takes away a lot from you. Thank you, mom and dad, for having made those sacrifices."


PS:
Don't get the impression that I am working as a construction labourer, I work in an plush office and it's not so tiring as it may have appeared in the post. It's just the fever!! :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Inertia of Rusted System

Call me a cribber, but I am not the one who will take mediocrity in my stride. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people love mediocrity. Not that they can't strive for change, but they don't want to do it. Right from college where we are stuck with an ancient education system to sports where we are still proud of being 46th in the points tally of the Olympic games, the sense of complacency is programmed in our genes.

Do we not have the spark? We all do, but we let it die. We are not quick enough to light the fire while it lasts. Each one of us has ideas. Each one of us has plans. Who will fear embarassment in case of failure? Isn't it better to remaining at the same position in the ladder than two steps lower? The fear of failure overshadows the reason why one would suport a bright idea, forget coming up with it.

Most of the time when there is an opinion poll, say of 10 people, there will be two who agree, two who disagree and the remaining six won't have any opinion at all. We prefer staying neutral because we fear the consequences of our response. There is a chance that frankness might have repercussions, but isn't it a chance worth taking?

Diplomacy has its own place. Who says you can't be honest in your feedback without being diplomatic? Speak up. The 'chalta hai' attitude takes away the 'right to complain' from you.

The majority is not always right. The majority will mostly do what is best. It takes one man to do the right thing. I don't know if Manmohan Singh and the way he stood firm on the Nuclear Deal issue is a good enough example (thanks to all the controversy surrounding the trust vote), but it sure takes courage to bring about change and he showed it is possible. Even his party had put the deal on hold until he put his foot down and said that it must get through for the good of the nation. Him getting the majority later is a secondary issue but I admire his will.

We are a billion strong nation. Even a million enlightened souls among us can set a ablaze a movement for change. We love remaining static, but change is inevitable and we should take the movement for change in our hands to ensure it is for a greater good.

Satisfaction and complacency are very contrasting in nature. Nevertheless, we have a misplaced sense of satisfaction in our complacency. Let us getting our definitions right to begin with.

Friday, August 15, 2008

How I wish teachers were so nice!

Around a fortnight ago, each of us was asked in class “Which is that one object you think represents you the best?” People came up with innovative answers like mountain, ice, a moter bike, the Internet, a bridge, the Sun, even ‘Paani Puri’ supplementing them with reasons and corollaries.

My spontaneous answer was the digital camera. I went home thinking about what I had said. Was it my love for photography? Was it only my obsession with my digital camera? Later while discussing it with a friend, I realized that what seemed like impulse could have had a deeper explanation to it. Besides, there were many valuable lessons I could learn from the digicam. (Reminds me of Blink and 'rapid cognition'!)

Firstly, it captures the real picture, as it is, where it is. Being a realist is both a good and bad thing. My friends hate me for being over-logical, not taking pleasure in the imperfections of life. It can be a pain but the truth always hurts. Even more when it is told you before you find out on you own. However the good thing about digicams is you can actually enhance the picture to match your requirements with all the loaded software tools at your disposal. You can manipulate minor details and remove the blemishes without anyone even noticing.

Secondly, the camera can zoom in and out depending on the user’s input. Similarly we need to see the bigger picture when we are a little lost in life. I usually tend to do that. Stay still and observe. It always helps. Once you lock your target, you can always zoom in. See if your subject is in focus and shoot it!

Thirdly, these days digicam have amazing macro features. I am talking about attention to detail, the tiny features on the surface of a petal, or the beautiful colours on the wings of a butterfly, the kind of stuff you see on the covers of National Geography. It is vital to scan through life-like scenarios closely. How often do we look for something which is actually before our eyes?

Fourthly, cameras come with huge storage. Gone are the days where you would have to count the available film strips in your camera. I don’t know if it is mandatory to have a good memory in the times of modern technology as an individual, but it sure helps when you are in a live conversation with no time to go back to your diary or to-do-lists. Besides, like my mom always says (when she is bugged with the amount of time I spent with my camera), no camera can ever capture an image as beautiful as your eyes can. Needless to say, I never listen.

Next up is the customizability options provided in digicams. Talk about technology being made user friendly (heard of the auto mode anyone?). The interface is so easy to handle that any one can click good pictures, if not become a good photographer in the modern era. We should take a cue here and learn to adapt to various people and remain flexible in difficult circumstances.

Last but not the least is the long battery life on cameras (NiMH and Li-Ion rocks). You have enough to last 400-500 pictures in normal conditions. That’s how energetic you need to be in order to live through the hectic work routines we have these days. The power is in your mind, not in that can of Redbull!

There is loads more to my new teacher but since this is a blog post and not a camera manual, I will end it here.

It has been a long time I tagged someone. I will begin a chain right away. Which is that one object you think represents you the best? You have to choose an object of your choice and describe the teachings it offers. The tag goes to:

The Silent Screamer
Vishesh
Hasit
Yashshri
Astrodominie


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pro-noun-sia-sen

Everyone has a unique way of talking. I love observing how individuals from different parts of the country speak and the verbal etiquette they follow. Recently, in a lecture, while making notes, I was also meticulously paying attention to the facilitator's style of speaking and noting the anomalies down. By the end of it, I had quite an elaborate list of mispronounced words, which some of you might even laugh on if you are fastidious about the spoken word. I am writing a part of it down here, the objective being to see if any of you can correctly guess which part of the country this person was from.
  • hierarchical: high-rar-chick-al
  • quotation: ko-tay-sun
  • section: sex-sun
  • information: in-for-may-suns
  • fatal: phat-tal
  • inflation: in-flaa-sun
  • users: u-sh-ers
  • able: abb-le (like apple)
  • foxpro: fox-fro
  • concentration: cun-sunn-tra-sun
  • null: know-all
  • balance: baa-lansh-e
  • people: pee-pols
  • Hemant: hee-maan-t
  • view: byu-hh
  • segregate: sigrig-gate
  • study: sturr-dy
  • intuition: in-stu-sun
  • child: child-sh
  • special: s(f)a-sal
  • server: surfer
  • later: latter
  • sincere: sincere-s
  • architecture: ar-chie-tec-ture
  • screws up: screweds ups
The last one was my personal favourite. Before I sh-tarts screwings up of my laanguage, I batter shtop writing dish posht. Happy guessing!

PS:

I changed the blog background. I tried three completely different looks all together and finally used this one. Please tell me it doesn't look too monotonous.

Last time on, many people were complaining of poor visibility of the body text, so I decided to give it a single shade this time.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

You Complete Me


Any normal person would expect the title of the post to be a romantic line in the movie, but if you have seen The Dark Knight you know it isn't, especially when it comes from the Joker (played by Heath Ledger).

There are action movies and then there are more action movies. Rarely there is one that manages to grip you with its performances as much as it does with its visual spectacles. Batman’s latest movie is all that and more.

Usually, you come out loving the hero but this one makes you admire the villain. You admire him for his notoriety. You admire him for his wit. You admire him for his unpredictability. You admire him for his belief that there are no beliefs, the fact that the only rule is there are no rules.

You don’t endorse his point of you but you can’t disagree that he has logic behind it. The whole argument that systems are so tuned to running on set patterns that a slight change can completely break them down is not invalid. In fact he proves it more than once in the movie.

What he also manages to bring out is the fact that all people have the devil in them. Some people learn to live with him, some others let him take over them and others suppress him to an extent that he rebels. The movie depicts all three instances, made possible courtesy the conniving and nefarious character that formed Joker.

Heath Ledger’s performance is remarkable. Each of his dialogues can form quotes for future writing. He displays brilliance, malevolence, humour and sarcasm all with the same grace. He is dead but he has immortalized the character of the Joker. The Dark Knight would have been just another movie had it not been for him.

Before I close this post, here are some of my favourite lines from the movie (WARNING: This may contain spoilers):

“See, I'm a man of simple tastes. I like dynamite...and gunpowder...and gasoline! Do you know what all of these things have in common? They're cheap!”

“Wanna know how I got these scars? My father was....a drinker. And a fiend. And one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn't like that. Not. One. Bit. So, me watching, he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it. Turns to me and he says "Why so serious?" Comes at me with the knife,"Why so serious?" He sticks the blade in my mouth. "Let’s put a smile on that face!" And..... Why so serious?”

“Do I really look like a man with a plan, Harvey? I don't have a plan. The mob has plans, the cops have plans. You know what I am, Harvey? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do if I caught one. I just *do* things. I'm a wrench in the gears. I *hate* plans. Yours, theirs, everyone's. Maroni has plans. Gordon has plans. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I am not a schemer. I show schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So when I say that what happened to you and your girlfriend wasn't personal, you know I'm telling the truth.”

“If you're good at something, never do it for free.”

“You just couldn't let me go could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible aren't you? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I won't kill you, because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”

“Kill you? I don't want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, you... you complete me.”