Monday, 17 December 2012

Android: Setting up ViewPagerIndicator

Swami Gulagulaananda quoted:
"Everything is difficult before it's easy"

In Android applications, many times, you have a bunch of things that you want to show - that are shown one at a time, and you can slide your finger horizontally across for the existing pane to fly off and the new pane to fly in. To do this, you make use of Android's ViewPagers.

However, in order to let a user know that the sliding is possible and also to indicate how many such slides are available, there are some symbols that you might have noticed. Like hollow circles and a filled circle, for example.


To achieve this kind of effect, everyone over the Internet seems to suggest using a library called ViewPagerIndicator. And they are right. You can quickly set it up.

But if you are a novice, you will go through one hell of a time trying to set it up. You can get a host of issues that you might not know how to resolve. I found that there are a large number of people in various forums, including Stackoverflow, who sound terribly flustered trying to set this up. So I thought of posting a simple tutorial. It worked for me... Let me know if there's a better or different way of doing it.

Setting Up ViewPagerIndicator

  1. Download the project from the Github page of ViewPagerIndicator. Unzip if zipped.
  2. In your Eclipse, go to File -> Import -> Existing Android code into workspace
  3. In the next pane, browse and import the folder called 'library' which is in the ViewPagerIndicator project. Once you have imported it successfully, it should appear in your workspace
  4. Right click on 'library' in your workspace. Go to properties. Choose Android in the left pane. Uncheck the checkbox that says 'Is Library' - click on Apply
  5. In the left pane, click on Java Compiler. Change compiler compliance level to 1.6 and Apply
  6. Now, close the dialog, and run the Library project. This should generate a library.apk file.
  7. Again Right click on 'library' in your workspace. Go to properties. Choose Android in the left pane. Check the checkbox that says 'Is Library' - click on Apply
  8. Open your project in your file explorer (My Computer) and in the folder called libs, copy the file 'android-support-v4.jar' into the libs folder of 'library' project. Basically, both projects should have the same file
  9. Open the dependent project - that is, your project, where you want to use it. Go to properties. Choose Android in the left pane. In the library section, click on Add...
  10. In the popup, choose 'library'.
  11. Click on Apply.
  12. In the left pane of the project properties, choose Java Build Path. In the Projects tab, click on Add. Choose the 'library' folder. Click on OK!
  13. That's it! You have set it up. Now follow the instructions given on their Github page - it should work seamlessly.


I hope I saved you a lot of time. Do leave a comment :-)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Of Goodness, Pragmatism and Reciprocity

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"In Bangalore city, the general public is like the Joker. They work very hard to bring the White Knight down to their level"

Just the other day, I was reading an interesting article about reciprocity. Apparently, the maxim "One good turn deserves another" is imbibed into our culture very deeply, so deeply that we remember good turns done to us and return favours invariably, if not immediately then over time. A good demonstration of this can be seen in the experiment by a well known psychologist whose assistant got twice as much money for raffle tickets when he got the people some coca-cola to drink (as a good gesture), than those who didn't get coca-cola - and people who didn't like him but got coke also paid double of those who liked him but didn't get coke. Amazing, isn't it? The author goes on to say that reciprocity works everywhere.

But I don't think this theory works all the time at all. In fact, a couple of days back, I was driving past an intersection near my office. This junction doesn't have traffic lights but desperately needs one. During peak office hours in the morning, there is the presence of some constabulary that seems to prevent congestion. But evenings have a different tale to tell. The vehicles seemed to be randomly placed in that junction, each one pointing in arbitrary directions. By the time I reached the junction, I was flustered seeing this sight and decided to be the bigger person, you know, the one who waits patiently for the morons to settle it. There was a large Tempo Traveller next to me who also decided to be  the bigger person. So the two of us decided to wait. Pretty soon, the traffic decongestion began somehow (Bangalore traffic works somehow)



We decided to give it a few minutes and pretty soon the traffic in the road perpendicular to ours started moving freely (Both B and D) while we (A and C) waited patiently. We expected that the vehicles on that road will stop after some time to let the vehicles in our lane to move - That never happened. Instead, when our turn came, A started moving but D moved past their line and came till A's line, meaning we were stuck. And when the number of vehicles in A started waning, B started and we couldn't do much because D had blocked us and now B came in front of us...  We were being good, and we got nothing in return. This happened for quite some time - we were stuck.

Notice that I am not new to Bangalore. So I know how crappy traffic can get. I was just seeing how well this so called "Reciprocity Theory" works. Apparently it doesn't. Apparently, people in Bangalore don't really care or are not even able to see that I was doing a good deed, that it was their turn to return it. Rather, they must be guffawing thinking "What a bunch of morons waiting there" Eventually our patience started wearing thin and both the Tempo Traveller and I started ploughing through, creating a path for those behind us. To summarise, you cannot rely on people's goodness. you have to rely on yourself (Which is sad). Or maybe, the reciprocity theory works where people are handled individually. When there is a large mob, a different theory works.

However, there is an important lesson for all of us to learn - Expecting others to be good to us because we are good is like expecting a lion to not eat you because you are a vegetarian. This is an old saying, but it is a true one. In fact, there is a nice little story
A long time ago, a great sage was walking through a forest when he came across a cobra. The cobra raised its hood and said "Oh great sage, tell me how I should lead my life" The sage replied "No matter what you do, don't hurt others." The cobra nodded in agreement and led a good life. A few days later, the sage who was walking back through the same forest met the same cobra, who looked battered and bruised. "Oh great sage. You had asked me to not hurt others. However, when the village people see me, they hit me with sticks and pelted stones at me. And I, having promised not to hurt others, simply had to escape to save my life." The sage smiled and said "I asked you not to hurt others... I didn't ask you not to hiss"
As you can see, a gentle and kindly posture is often taken advantage of. There is another saying "People always dig where the earth is the softest" Similarly there is no dearth of people who take advantage of goodness and kindness. It's therefore vital to at least have a posture of one who doesn't seem like one who can be taken advantage of.

Emperor Ashoka, after having witnessed the aftermath of the carnage at Kalinga, not only took an oath to be a peaceful monarch but also switched to Buddhism (from Jainism) in a bid to project peace. However, the emperor was an emperor and not a small king. He had an empire that stretched from Afghanistan all the way across till Myanmar, and all the way south. Such a vast empire could not be ruled by an emperor who said peace and eliminated his army, for isn't it logical that army is used for killing? True, but the emperor continued to maintain a large army for self defence. Just because he was peaceful, he didn't expect the enemy kings to not wage war.

To summarise, we have to remember to be good and kind, but not be naive and believe in reciprocity. For we should learn to be pragmatic. It's good to believe in idealism, but vital to know the realities of the world.

You may also like to read:
Mob Psychology


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Monty Hall problem

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"You showed me a goat and made me a bakra"

There was an interesting discussion at office today. I'd heard about this problem before, but didn't know that the name of the problem is "Monty Hall" problem. The problem goes like this:
Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice? [Source: Wikipedia]

If you have not heard of this problem, take some time and think about it. See what the solution is, according to you. Then continue reading... You will encounter views and counter-views.

Spoiler Alert: If you continue reading beyond this part, you will encounter answers

Apparently the correct answer to the problem is that you should switch doors. Why? It's apparently because there is a 2/3 chance that you will win if you switch. Don't believe it? I didn't either, and frankly, I am having trouble even now, though I read the solutions and even simulated the problem by writing a program to simulate it. The answer is indeed 2/3 - You can read about all the solutions on this Wikipedia page.

My Confusion
But despite staring at the answers in the face, I am having a great deal of difficulty appreciating the solution. And this is a problem that plenty of others also seem to have faced. So it's really strange. You guessed it right, I am one of those who feels that the answer is - It doesn't matter if you switch because after eliminating the wrong door, the probability becomes 1/2 as against remaining 1/3.

My approach was simple. Any door I pick in the beginning is right with a probability of 1/3. Now, when you eliminate one wrong door, you are left with two doors. The probability of being right is 1/2, because there are only two doors left and only one of them has the car.

But according to the solutions, the door you picked has a probability of 1/3 in the beginning, while the two others collectively has 2/3. On eliminating the wrong door from the remaining two, that 2/3 is retained to the remaining door and is not shared - Now this is where I am having trouble.

My argument is that - Assume that you had a 100 doors. As you keep eliminating wrong doors, shouldn't the probability keep getting rearranged and distribute equally over the remaining unopened doors including yours? The more number of incorrect doors that you eliminate, the greater the chance of mine being correct as well as  the ones that remain.

To simplify this, assume person A is asked to choose among the three doors. After the wrong door has been eliminated, if I ask person B, who has no idea about 3 doors having been present, is asked to pick a door, then, as far as he is concerned, isn't the probability 1/2 ? How does introducing a wrong door and then discarding it increase the probability of getting it?

The counter-argument that was made is that - the information of the wrong door being removed is not being considered at all when the incorrect door was discarded. I don't know, I guess I've to read a lot more of probability to get some things cleared up. Well, since my program shows 1:2 chances of winning for without switching to switching, I guess I'll admit that the answer is indeed what's given in Wikipedia.

Confusion Cleared
While I was able to understand the mathematics behind it, I wasn't feeling it right intuitively. Anyhow, a really good example given by my friend Niyaz is as follows. Assume that there is a pile of 1000 rocks among which one is a diamond. Now you are given an opportunity to pick one rock randomly in the darkness. I keep the remaining 999. Now, 999/1000 times I am going to get the diamond. Now, if I throw out 998 rocks among the 999, it is still with the same probability that I have the diamond.

Interestingly, now it seems so obvious and clear.

Here's the program I wrote:
Sample Solution:
With Switch: 664
Without Switch: 336
[Finished in 0.1s]

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Autocracy


Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"Auto-rickshaws and auto-drivers are unstable, the former because of three wheels, the latter because, well, that's the way they are... What?"

"There is one, go and ask him". "Do I have to? Alright alright, stop poking my ribs" I said. I looked at the auto-driver again. The uncouth man with a shabby shirt and unshaved face was sitting idly, looking at nothing in particular. He scratched his face with all five fingers of his hand, for he didn't have any more to spare. Then he stuck his little finger into his ear and drilled it for a few seconds, pulled it out and without much thought took it to his nose and sniffed at it. I made a face and turned to look at my wife. "What? Stop staring and ask him!" she said again. I began walking towards him, being deliberately slow, hoping against all hopes that he would suddenly start his vehicle and ride away. But no such thing happened and I eventually covered those ten metres. "Basavanagudi?" I said softly. I think I startled him, or jolted him out of dreamland, for his mouth was wide open as he jerkily twisted his neck to look at me. "Eh?" he said. I repeated my destination again. "One and a half" was his reply.

"What? It's just four kilometres and it's afternoon. Why in heaven's name should I pay you extra?" I said. This was day-light robbery. "Too much traffic" he said with a straight face. A rehearsed answer. "Yeah, that's why I am going in an auto-rickshaw. Otherwise I'd have driven myself" I said. "Well, you should have" he said and returned to staring at nowhere again. I was piqued and decided to blow a raspberry at him. Then deciding against it, I walked back to my wife. "Well?" she asked. "Same old, same old. One and a half" I said, shaking my head. "So?" she said.

"So? Why should we pay extra? It's still afternoon and it's the centre of the city! It's not like he won't get a fare from there" I said. I added "Besides, it's just four kilometres. Let's start walking and maybe we can catch a bus" I said. "Are you crazy? Let's go in that auto. It's rare that we get an auto-driver to agree to our destination. Ordinarily you are expected to ask which way they are originally going, and if it happens to be in the general direction of your destination, you hire him and pay him for being kind enough to agree." she ranted. "Yeah, lucky us. Autocracy, what?" I snorted, and with a wounded pride decided to go hire that rickshaw. If I had been alone, I would have walked all the way. Four kilometres is hardly a walk. But with the good ol' ball and chain with me, I would never hear the end of it. "Alright, let's go" I said as I approached him again. He looked at her and then at me, and grinned an annoying grin. He had a missing tooth and I had a mind to add one more to that list.

Auto-drivers are a rummy lot. Imagine the plight of the poor little chappie who's running late one fine morning, and walks up to an auto-stand and tries to hire one, forced into the horrendous task of convincing him with a five point reason of why he should be allowed to hire the auto, and maybe, just maybe, if the driver is satisfied with at least four of the points or if he pities the poor chap, he may decide to take you there at a nominal charge... over and above the actual charge of course. Why, the other day, I was limping away from a hospital to my house, covered all over in bandages having met with an accident a couple of days before, and I frantically waved my hands to flank one. He slowed down and, in a brusque manner asked, "What?" I told him my destination. "No" he said. "Whoa! Have a look at me, my dear man" I reasoned. "Do you expect me to walk all the way in this condition with these bally bandages?" I asked. "What do you expect me to do about it?" he retorted angrily and sped away. "Oh for humanity!" I cried at the white cloud of kerosene smoke he had left behind. I often wonder how it is that they make money enough to fill their faces, for I have never seen a lean looking auto-driver. I mean, they always sit around in their huddles and gossip all day long. Really, how do they make up for it?

Rumours are, though, that most of these are, in reality, goons for hire. And that's where they make their money from. This is just a front, you know, in case their wives are asked by the neighbours, or if that distant uncle asks them, or when the crime branch ask them. They can't very well go ahead and say, "Yeah, I am a hacker, but not the computer sorts, if you know what I mean" as they wink and show their machetes. But they are a rummy lot, I repeat. The other day, I had the displeasure of being stuck at a certain otherwise crowded bus stop with a certain pal of mine, the displeasure being, of course, being stuck at that bus stop, at a very odd hour at night. There were at least some eight other people waiting at the bus stop and we were sure that no bus would arrive at that hour. We had called up our friends to pick us up from there. However, the others, it seemed, were waiting for private buses to take them to their destinations. And whenever a private bus would appear, these auto-drivers who were waiting like a pack of hyaenas behind us would come forth and threaten to break the glass windows of the buses if they dared to stop there, for they wanted to force these poor hapless coves into hiring their services, which of course, they will charge twice or maybe even more. I say. this is hooliganism, and right royally at that. They did so openly, and nobody dared to argue. I mean, they are the kind of people a right minded cove would never want to deal with.

"Stop dreaming, we are there" she said. "Quit poking my ribs" I said. "Then get out" she said. "Right ho!" I looked outside. We were at Basavanagudi. The metre reading was 32. "That's Rs. 54" he said. "Rs. 48" I corrected. "Saar, I had told madam in the beginning only that the metre has some flaw. Ask her" he complained. "Yeah yeah, alright" I said. I was getting impatient. I handed Rs. 60 to him. He put it in his pocket and sped away. "Hallo hallo hallo! What about the change?" I shouted at the white cloud of kerosene smoke that was now in the place formerly occupied by his jalopy. "What the deuce! Shopkeepers at least give us sugar-boiled candy as change!" I protested. "Look at this pretty handbag" responded my wife. Wife-beating, I wonder why it's illegal.

"No wonder they sit around making merry most of the time. This chap actually robbed me. Day light robbery, literally" I said ruefully. "You know how they make money? They lend money at high rates of interest. I know this because our maid told us." said my wife, adding "This auto-driving is just a charade, side business, you know, in case the neighbour asks his wife. Or that distant uncle asks at a wedding..." "Or when the crime branch decides to do some investigation about hacking..." I muttered "Did you say something?" she asked. I just shook my head, looked at the watch, looked at the sky and said "It looks like it is going to rain in a bit. Let's leg it, shall we?".

We were waiting to cross the street. There seemed to be a traffic signal and the cars were all waiting. And then arrived a maverick on three wheels. He honked a weak and shrill sounding horn, I was pretty sure I imagined it, for it was that inaudible. And on realising that nobody would respond, he decided to take charge. I was wondering how he would manage to drive past, there didn't seem to be enough space on the road. I really wanted to punch his face, that impatient little blighter. I couldn't see his face with the reflection from his windshield showing me the trees, the clouds, the birds and all that. Suddenly that auto came towards me, and one tyre came on the pavement! I was startled, and before I could react, he sped past, with that one tyre going on my foot. "Why you little blighter!" I started, and again, I was talking to a cloud of kerosene. "I could've sworn he just gave me the bird" I said angrily. "Wasn't it the same guy we hired?" said my wife.

---
How has your experience been? I personally loathe auto-rickshaws and avoid them as much as I can...


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Comments from Twitter

lokesh acharya ‏@acharya2
Nice one sir .. Very true"@Gulagulaananda: 'Auto-crats' on three wheels... - http://lifeasiknowit-nik.blogspot.com/2012/10/autocracy.html …" @niranjanl

Niranjan Lakshmanan ‏@niranjanl
@acharya2 @Gulagulaananda nice article. Can add so much more to that list.

lokesh acharya ‏@acharya2
@niranjanl @Gulagulaananda true... There are soo many bad experiences I had at Mysore :( dono about Bangalore :$

Niranjan Lakshmanan ‏@niranjanl
@acharya2 yeah I had at both the places. @Gulagulaananda probably you can write one more article if you feel it's necessary.
@acharya2 @Gulagulaananda about few drivers bad attitude and some tips to people on how to handle them.


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Comments elsewhere

Lokesh:
Again, nice one sir.
here in Mysore also same is the case. :(
U may not blv, aftr 9.30pm they demand 100 rs - fr jus 3.5km.
Also, usually they wil nt take us til home, ll drop at th nearby auto stand only.. :(
As u hv said,better t walk than t hire an auto :)
many times I have walked all the way till home.. Jus recalled al the bad experiences I had with these leeches ..

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Death to the queen

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"When people are pushed over the edge, expect the unexpected"

This is my first attempt to write a Rondeau. It's titled 'Death to the queen'
---

He stood in the darkness like the shadow of the night,
Not caring to be wrong, nor caring to be right,
And then she arrived with some forty men,
Sycophantic chicks around mother hen,
He picked his gun, resolved to fight.

For no peaceful way could befall his sight,
And this was the way to rid this blight
She walked unaware towards her den,
Death to the queen!

He remembered his son, playing with his kite,
Beloved wife, with a future very bright,
Burned them all, he remembered then,
By greedy leaders, who had spoken zen,
And had looted the country for the queen's delight

Death to the queen!

---
Epilogue:
Corrupt politicians loot the country, a country where the investigating agency (CBI) is as independent as the ring finger is from the middle. A country where the rich get richer and the poorer just die. And the helpless continue to feel helpless. And when peaceful agitations such as those by Anna Hazare fail to yield results, there will be a rise of radical thinking men, like Guy Fawkes or those who wear his masks (read V for Vendetta) who will arm themselves and destroy those in power - and then there will be death and bloodshed, and people won't care about repercussions, for their frustrations would have exceeded their limits of tolerance. And then, we shall all spiral into doom...


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Comments from Facebook

Swathi Sharma: 
Well written Nik!

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Comments From Twitter
lokesh acharya ‏@acharya2:
@Gulagulaananda its so nice sir.. And true..

Niranjan Lakshmanan ‏@niranjanl:
@Gulagulaananda Good one

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Face Reader

Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"I was told that I sucked at math... I still couldn't understand what his problem was"

"Well, hullo neighbour! What may I do for you?" asked my merry neighbour. He didn't look particularly smart, but he had a long list of degrees below his name-plate, the one etched in granite that was outside his home-office... - BA, BCom, BSc, LLB, and a couple of finance related degrees, I fail to remember those names. Who even does so many courses? "I was told you are good at palmistry. I also saw the board outside. I was just wondering if you could have a look at mine" I told him meekly. He was also good at numerology. This happened on the last day of my PU exams. "Why, sure. Come on in"

He handed me two pieces of crude cylindrical translucent glassy objects. "Hold these crystal pieces in your hand. They will drive away the evil spirits, the negative energy from you so that I can read it clearly". "What a load of bunkum", I thought to myself as I clutched them. Note that I don't believe in any of these people, though I do have faith in the science for some reason - Science? Did I hear you scoff? Well, I am more of a person who doesn't simply dismiss that it is all plain rubbish, nor do I believe in them. For, I do know that there are a lot of things that go unexplained, and therefore refrain from developing opinions about these.

"Alright, hand it over. Now, let's see... Hmmm" he said as he observed my palms. He saw my face and said "Are you doing science? Because you certainly shouldn't be doing science" he said. Indeed, I was doing science, and I loved Biology, Chemistry and Physics. I wondered why I shouldn't do science. "As a matter of fact, yes, I am a science student. Pray tell me, why should I not be doing science?" I asked out of curiosity. "Simply because you're not analytical. You won't do well in the technical field" he said. I was taken aback. "As a matter of fact, I will bet you're poor at mathematics too!" he continued. I was convinced that all of this was hogwash. "Incidentally I had my maths exam today, and I am expecting centum" I protested, putting up a brave face. He snorted. "Impossible. I wouldn't be surprised if you barely passed".

Note that this man was absolutely certain, his confidence was immense. So greatly confident he was that my mother actually began to worry. "I had asked you to study properly" she chided."He doesn't know what he's saying" I said after I reached home, "I'm expecting full marks" I reassured her. And lo! We had a re-exam scheduled owing to some leaked papers. Great snakes! Is the soothsayer going to be vindicated? The Oracle has predicted my doom! Maybe the first went well, but now I am screwed! Not quite... I did well in my second exam as well, and got a measly 97 in Maths, 98 in Chemistry and 99 in Physics.

I happened to meet another person, a man known as the Antaryami, because apparently he knows everything. He's a face reader, and can tell anyone's future just by looking at their faces. The man looked intelligent, for he wore glasses, and glasses make anyone look intelligent, the operative word being look. His silver beard and saffron robes added more reliability to his job profile. I sat in front of him for a full demonstration of his powers. He looked at me and told "He's an average boy. He'll be nothing spectacular in life. He's a common man, you know, the one you see in a crowd. He'll never stand out and do anything different. He's a nobody. He can't do anything worthwhile, it's difficult for him to get a job" I was surprised, and convinced that I had a stupid looking face. Two different people calling me average!! Unless there was a congregation of soothsayers where they put "Term this guy as average and common, you know, just to screw with him" in their agenda and guffawed heartily, this was not a mere coincidence. It had to mean that I am indeed average, or more likely that I had a stupid face.

As you see, what's also surprising is that they didn't hesitate to say these things. There was no concern for feelings. And I have no words about their confidence. They spoke as if they had it written on the back of their hand, for it certainly didn't seem to be written on the front of mine. One guy said that I will equal the legendary Nala in cooking (remember Nala-paaka?). It's a fact that I can cook Maggi noodles alright, and I can boil water without burning it... That's where my culinary skills end. Another guy said that I will be a tenth of a million rich. There have been numerous predictions about my education, about my life, about my wife, and what not?

Do I believe in these people? Of course not. Why do I go to listen to their rot? It tickles me, I often find myself in need of some good humourous situations and who better than face and palm readers? The only thing that worries me though, is that they decide which guy or girl is best suited for you by matching horoscopes. Oh, I don't say horoscope matching is silly, I say these people are. Imagine if you end up with a completely useless person based on some horoscope matching done by one of these people...

If you are truly clever, you can make 'predictions' by observing. For example, a man looked at my friend's horoscope and made some predictions. He said 'Whatever you wanted to do till now, you have done it well. Got 100 on 100, for you sought a 100. For the next 20 years, if you seek 100, you get around 95, unless you work really hard, in which case you can get a 100. After that, for the next 10 years, you will hit some roadblocks, and after that for the next 20 years, you've the Midas touch. All that you touch is gold' The first prediction has to be true, you know it by observation. The next is also true, because it's a generic statement. The last two can not be proved, because who the heck will remember this prediction 20 years later? The good thing though, is that it is still sensible advice, the work hard to reach your goals part. So it's fine. But there are some who would hoodwink by asking for sacrifices and donations to the Goddess...

To summarise, all these people apparently know squat. It's up to you to decide your destiny, your future, your path. The forces that are superior to you will do what they will do anyway, they are superior and you won't be able to circumvent them in either case. What you can do, you should and leave the rest to God or fate or destiny or chance, whatever suits you. Just because they predict doom, it doesn't mean anything. But if you have a stupid face, well, there's not much that you can do :-)

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Comments from Twitter
Lokesh Acharya
 thumba chennagide sir.! I assume tht "I" in th story is not you.. Lol :) whatever,its true tht v shud nt blv thngs blindly..

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You may also like to read:
The weaver and his fate (story)

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Posting on Facebook - An authoritative guide

Swami Nikhilaananda was told:
"Remember, actions have consequences"

Just the other day, I was talking to one of my best friends who's in the USA. He said people simply refuse to step out of their houses to meet others and socialise, they would rather talk to the same group of friends online. The internet and social networking websites certainly have their advantages. Unlike over a decade back, talking to someone who lives hundreds of kilometres away from you isn't difficult today. In fact, you can see them too. And with social networking such as Facebook, the entire group of friends can see what others are doing, share and comment on photographs and chat together irrespective of where you are physically.

While everything sounds hunky-dory, there are quite a few disadvantages associated with social networking. In this post, I am going to pick only one, deliberately skipping privacy, security and other equally important issues - "The Etiquette Of Posting"

I don't know if you watch Seinfeld... You should if you don't, for I make a reference to the "Worlds of George". In reality, we all wear masks, put up facades, depending on where we are and who we are with. We neatly compartmentalise our lives. Those moments that we share with friends, those comments that we pass with our cronies are definitely not the same as those we make with our bosses or parents of friends. On the contrary, our language as a whole gets polished when we are talking to them. There have been several instances when comments abruptly halt when your teacher passes by. Obviously, because that content was reserved for the ears of those select few with whom you wanted to share that chuckle.

In social networks, this is not true. In social networks, a lot of people whom you know through different means are all in the same room. They can hear what you say when you say it. Yes, you can create lists and selectively expose photographs and posts. However, in a post that your friend has put up, your comment will become visible to others who have subscribed to it and so will theirs to you. This apparently cannot be controlled, and would become extremely tedious even if you could.

The result? The result is that, anything you say and anything that's said to you can be heard and seen by everyone - your parents, your siblings, your friends, teachers, colleagues, acquaintances and that hot girl whom you added only because she was hot. Now this is where the trouble starts, and to quote George, "The worlds collide" Suddenly, whatever barrier that you had put up disappears and people from different worlds overlap. That raunchy or disparaging remark your friend made in jest will become visible to your boss, or your crush. And all the hard work you had put in bites dust when they see you being addressed to as 'bee-yach' or 'gay' (Again, quoting Seinfeld, "not that anything's wrong with it").

This often leads to people getting into the defensive mode - You quickly try to push a comeback to sound cool and regain some foothold. This may result in a ping-pong rally of name-calling and witticisms or just a plain old squabble. In either case, apart from ruining your relationship with your friend, you risk ruining your reputation. I would always recommend deleting posts that you feel as offensive (Facebook goes on to even allow informing that person that you found his post offensive via private message... which is very useful)

Some people make the mistake of continuing it in the thread. Not only does this prove to be fodder for argument and egoistic retorts, it also results in washing dirty linen in public. All of these are completely avoidable. When you don't like something, delete it and inform the other person that you didn't like it. Similarly, when someone tells you that, apologise and don't do it again.

It is not that the joke wasn't taken in the right sense - It is that the place is not right. Imagine if there was a huge social gathering at your friend's house where he had invited you. You wouldn't take a mic and abuse him, would you? Facebook is exactly that - Remember, your actions are visible to a whole lot of people. A statement I am often told 'Remember, actions have consequences'

Everyone makes mistakes, to err is human. So when your friend makes a mistake, delete the comment and inform him. You can always block people who don't fall in line. And when you make a mistake, quickly apologise. You could, if your statement wasn't too harsh, even remark that you were just kidding. Yes, it definitely appears that I am making it seem like too many formalities are required among friends. If you don't want formalities, take it offline or make the comments privately. For you never know how the grapevine grows... As they say, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Facebook hasn't provided the 'dislike' button because it promotes negativity (it seems). Similarly, as a community, if you are able to exchange words without negativity, the (online) world will be a much better place.

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You may also like to read:
Debates - Logic and emotion

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Fruitcake

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"I wonder if it is better to be fruitier than a nut-cake or nuttier than a fruitcake"

The boring drivel continued unabated. My chum on my left was busy doodling what I could only imagine to be a grotesque version of a rabbit. Or was it a witch? I rest my case. "This bally lecture seems to be unending" I said through clenched teeth "It's not like anyone's listening". He continued shading some areas carefully. "What do you think of it? I drew ginger" he said proudly. "Nice" I said to avoid the topic. Ginger? It looked like a dead rat. "You won't believe what happened to me yesterday" I told him. "I got an e-card from this girl I happened to meet recently. I don't know how to respond to it. What do you reckon I should do?"

He made a face. But it seemed like I had finally caught his attention. "What ho! A girl you say? To you? Surely you didn't concoct it out of your fantasy?" I was offended by his insinuation. I swallowed my pride "Of course not. It really happened". He was right for not believing me though. I wasn't particularly good with the ladies. "Very well, pray tell me more" he said as he flipped the page over to begin a new doodle. I began thus - "Well, when I reached home yesterday, there was a lady and her daughter at home, speaking to my mother. It seems the lady is a distant relative of ours. She is two years younger than us." "The lady?" he interrupted. "The daughter!! She's done with her exams and is looking to join a good college. They wanted to know how to proceed." His pencil stopped making marks on the paper for a moment. "And you suggested this college, didn't you? Smooth" he grinned.

I could feel my ears getting slightly hot. "No, not exactly like that. I explained to her about various colleges, branches and all that rot. I did tell her that our branch and college had the best scope. Which is true". He continued to grin. Of course he didn't buy it, I didn't believe it myself. I gave out a slight chuckle. "And the card? What about it?" he asked as he started drawing some weird strokes. He seemed to be drawing grass. I never knew drawing grass could be this simple. "Oh yeah, I saw it at night. There was a 'Thank You' card from her, for helping her out with the college conundrum." I saw that peevish smile forming on his face again "Thank you eh? Well then, send a 'You're welcome' card. What's so difficult about that? Showing off, are we?" "I wouldn't have asked you if it was as simple as that. You see, there were hearts in that card" He paused again.

"What nonsense is going on there!" bellowed the teacher. We looked up. Someone was getting the works. "Tut tut, the poor chap." he shook his head. "Hearts?" he added as the yelling continued. "Yeah, you know, the mushy pink and red hearts." I said. "I don't understand. I am sure it's just a coincidence. Just send her a You're Welcome card and leave it at that" "Right ho!" I reached home and decided to take his advice. It didn't make sense. Hearts. Surely it was a coincidence and nothing more. I guess we men tend to jump to conclusions rather quickly. It was true that I didn't have many female friends. I am more of the geeky types with not much success with the ladies. I quickly navigated through the website and picked a decent looking e-card. It had a section called 'Personal Message'. Personal message? Pshaw! I barely knew her. The mouse arrow hovered over the send button for a brief interval. Then my fingers began to move rapidly over the keyboard "You are most welcome" I typed under Personal Message. Something was missing. Then it struck me. I typed some more. The message now read "You are most welcome :-) " Perfect!

I was done with dinner. I remembered I had to send out an email and so I went back to my computer and lo! There was yet another e-card from her. I opened it. This was a new one, friendship and thanks formed the basic theme. But wait a minute. Did my eyes deceive me? For there were more hearts in this one. It cannot be a coincidence. I didn't know what to do. There also was an email from her. She had asked me for my mobile phone number. She had some more doubts and wanted to get them clarified. "You lucky dog" I smiled and replied with my phone number. The next morning, I awoke with a strange feeling of cheer. I put on my glasses and checked the time on my mobile phone. There was a message. It was from her. Some kind of a joke. Well, it certainly was funny. I smiled and replied 'Lol'. I continued feeling strangely exuberant, the reason I knew not, well at least consciously.

A couple of hours later I was sitting in class again next to Picasso who seemed to be occupied, busily drawing ice-tipped mountains this time. I narrated the occurrences of last night. He listened attentively but said nothing. I guess he didn't like being wrong, or maybe he didn't like me being smug. Over the next few days, the tone of the messages had changed from jokes to personal conversation. I began to realise that this girl was certainly a delight to talk to. We decided to speak over the phone as well. She had the sweetest voice. I loved listening to her all day. I was just stumped by her vocabulary. She knew how to use the most appropriate words in the context. My vocabulary isn't particularly good. I decided to keep my pocket dictionary close to me while talking to her just so that I could seem smarter than I actually was.

Eventually it happened. "I have something to tell you dear" she said. Dear? That word made feel like a deer... frozen in front of headlamps. "Yes? What's it?" I ventured. "I think you are the reason for the sudden release of endorphins in me" she said. "The sudden release of what?" She giggled - "Look it up". "Oh come on, don't make me thumb through the bally dictionary again" I protested. "Very well silly. I just said that I have fallen in love with you. Do you feel the same way about me?" I certainly adored her, but I was scared. If there was one thing that scared me more than seeming dumb, it was commitment. The only thing I have ever been committed to in life is being scared of commitment. "Umm..." I muttered. My mouth had gone dry. She seemed to sense my difficulty and decided to ease my troubles, the ones she was responsible for in the first place "It's alright, you don't have to answer right-away. Tell me tomorrow. Bye sweetheart" I couldn't sleep that night. My hands felt clammy and I had trouble breathing. The breathing problem was because I have asthma, well that's a different problem, sorry for bringing that up.

Anyway, Da Vincii seemed to have improved over the past few days. His drawings seemed neater and I could actually recognise most of what he drew. He patted me cheerfully and said "Well jolly good, you lucky dog! While the rest of us spread our feathers out and do the mating dance to woo the chicks, you seem to have been handed the prize on a silver platter." "A prize? I cannot go ahead with it, you know how scared I am". "Tut tut. Quite! But having a woman to profess her love for you is very rare. Highly irregular if I might add, for it is highly irregular indeed. This might, nay, will, never happen again. So why don't you seize it when you can?" he said. "You can't be bloody serious! Are you saying if not for this girl, I shall be damned to be single for the rest of my life?" He gave me a meaningful smile and said "I am not the one who's afraid of commitment my friend. Very well, it's your bally life and your damned decision to make. It's up to you to believe in whatever rot you want to"

That evening, I practised long and hard to sound as classy and suave as possible, for letting a woman know that her love was not reciprocated is the hardest thing in the world. Or so I had heard - I had no real experience of course. I decided to praise her as the greatest woman alive, then introduce my cowardice through euphemisms and then conclude the sugaring of the pill by saying that her beauty and intelligence would attract a long line of suitors at the moment of her will. I let it down gently, with the icing of 'We can continue to be friends' She took it rather well. At least that was how I felt. Over the next few days, she drastically reduced the amount of time we used to spend talking. It seemed like she was letting me go. And then she disappeared.

Raphael was quite disappointed with me. "You blew it old chap! You certainly blew it!" he shook his head as he continued drawing mushrooms. A few months later I was once again smug as I narrated the following to him. He was definitely tickled as he listened to the entire story. "By Jove! It's a pity you gave up on her!" he chortled after listening. The background? My cousin also knew this girl and told me that the girl was not of the best in character, for the same trick had been played on various boys before and after me. Her vocabulary was the biggest joke, for she used to pick some clever sounding words randomly from the dictionary just prior to our conversations and then deliberately introduce them in conversations. This little scheme, though hairbrained, was effectively used to deceive the lot. Many fell for the word games, none fell for her. Not even me (fortunately). It seems she had managed to trick one naive man and married him even, bore a child but had separated and divorced before the child was born. She was in a pitiable condition now, for her parents hadn't supported her for bringing infamy to the family and was left to fend for herself and her child. As for me, the doodler continues to poke fun at me insisting that I support her, for she was kind enough to put in a lot of effort and invest her time in me... He was right, nobody else has approached me till now. I am still single, though I am not looking to be in a relationship (at least, that's the official party line)

[ This is based on a true story and the real me is the Doodler :-) The protagonist, however, is still single]
[Language inspired by Wodehouse - First attempt, I aim to improve in subsequent posts]


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Comments from Facebook:

Aditya Kiran:
I guessed the doodler was you :D I have heard the story before, but you've put it nicely :D well done.

Nikhil Narayan:
There is only one guy I can think of based on seating configuration.... I second ak .... :) ...


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Comments from Twitter:
Lokesh Acharya
@Gulagulaananda nice1 sir..n it ws nice to kn tht u wr actualy a char in ths stry :) I cud notice more f lov stories in ur blogs recently :p

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Work Life Balance

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"No matter how good one can get, there is always someone who is better"

[This story is based on an episode of Rurouni Kenshin - A beautiful anime/manga]

During the days of the Samurai, there was a Dojo in the grand city of Kyoto where many students learnt the art of swordsmanship. Among them was the hero of this story. The students were mostly good, but only this young man stood out from the rest. He was able to beat all of them with ease. He hardly felt that they were a challenge. One dark night, as the wind blew with all its might, and the rain fell down in torrents, this young man, who was on his way home beheld a sight that would change his life. There was an eerie shriek, one that made him instantly alert. He quickly clasped his sword, ready to swing into action, slightly skeptical however, for he knew not who the foe was. The shriek was that of a young woman who had just been robbed.

The masked bandit who had relieved her of her jewellery was mounted on a powerful steed, their silhouette seemed even more formidable with the inky sky gently lit by the moon as the backdrop. And then a bolt of lightning struck. The blazing eyes of the robber which were briefly illuminated by the bolt froze the young man's blood. He felt paralysed... Those eyes! Those murderous eyes! Suddenly arrived at the scene, a mounted policeman with his unsheathed sword, ready for a duel with the robber. The policeman's horse circled the robber who seemed calm. And then the policeman's horse lurched ahead. But as he was about to swing the sword, in that very instant, another bolt of lightning struck. The young man couldn't even register when the robber's sword had struck, for the policeman was already on the ground. A loud neigh followed, the robber's horse stood on two legs for a moment. He expertly manoeuvred the horse, darted a look at the young man and galloped away.

The young man was awestruck. That is true skill. No matter how good one can get, there is always someone who is better. And he had always felt that he was not at his peak yet, though he was often praised by his classmates. He knew that among those mediocre people, he seemed excellent, but the world was great and wide, with people of amazing talents everywhere. He had to get better, he had to get faster. He made up his mind that till he reaches the level of that swordsman, that robber, he wouldn't stop. He had seen that attack, it had been much faster than lightning, it seemed. An attack of the gods!

The next day, he told his friends that he was leaving school to travel the country, to meet other skilled people and become better. His best friend came to meet him before he set out on his journey. He told him how deeply his younger sister loved him, and told him that she always wanted to be his wife. But the young man was reluctant. "All these bonds will only tie me down. In order to become the best, I should cut myself from these attachments. For, with attachments, I will be weighed down." He walked away leaving his dejected friend behind, promising him that he would be the first person he would talk to once he got back... But when? Nobody knew.

As he was about to reach the outskirts of the city, he heard a soft voice calling out his name. He turned around to see a beautiful young girl standing under the shadow of a large tree by the lake. "I know this means everything to you, and I am not going to stop you. But I want you to know one thing. It is told that the fireflies that come around this place are known to grant any wish to those who truly seek them. I shall pray for your safe arrival everyday... I shall wait for you, by this very tree" she said. The young man merely nodded at her, his resolve being firm, and walked away.

He visited various Dojos across Japan, and learned under various masters. His skills got sharper by every passing day, vanquishing every opponent without even breaking a sweat. But he was never satisfied. His skills were great, and he had felt himself grow, but still, he was not there yet. That speed, that stroke that seemed to be faster than the bolt of lightning. No, he was not at that level yet. He fought harder battles, put his life at risk by fighting opponents with real swords instead of wooden ones, for death is a powerful motivator. He was often bruised, battered and bleeding. But his resolve to become the best never dimmed. However, days had rolled into months, and months had rolled into years. It had been fifteen long years. His skill had surpassed even the gods, but his conviction was no longer the same. He was beginning to accept that he could never reach that speed, that greatness that he sought. He had been very dejected. He thought that the time was right for him to return home, say his goodbyes to his friends and then to commit suicide, for a life without success was not worth living.

As he walked home, nature decided to play a trick on him. For the night was again the same as the one fifteen years back. Strong winds and a heavy rain accompanied by lighting and thunder seemed to follow him through his journey. The trees were swaying, as if they were beckoning him home. As he braved his way through the jungle, he saw something that gave him mixed feelings, those of joy and of sorrow, of anger and of great frustration. For lo! The masked robber was on his horse, his dark cape seemed as black as his murderous character. The young man thought that this was a gift of nature. After throwing away his life due to this man for the sake of one goal, it would be but poetic to die in his hands. He drew his sword. As the sword parted ways with his sheath, the metallic sound prompted the robber to do the same. He dismounted his horse, and confidently approached the nervous young man. It would all be over in an instant, for the robber was the greatest he had ever seen. When they were within each others' range of attack, they both lunged towards each other, their blades approaching the opponents body. And in an instant it was all over. The young man had easily defeated the robber who lay on the ground, bleeding... cursing... Another bolt of lightning struck, and he could see the robber's blood on his sword. The whimpers of the robber were drowned by the crack of the thunder that followed. It had all been over in an instant.

The young man felt it in his gut at that time. It was not a feeling of joy. No, he was far from being jubilant. He realised that he had apparently surpassed the robber years ago. What he had seen the other night, that had apparently been just a mistake. Maybe the robber had already pulled out his sword and it had not been seen by him in the darkness. He had not been that fast after all. It was a trick that was played by lightning. He realised his blunder. He quickly mounted the robber's horse and galloped home, hoping to meet his beloved. As he approached the village, he saw a young man by the tree. He recognised him as his old friend. As he approached him, the young man asked him what a stranger like him was doing around there at that time of the night. The young man did not reveal himself, and instead asked why HE was out looking at the fireflies around the lake at that time. The young man told him about his old friend and his sister. He told him that his sister always believed that the fireflies would make all your wishes come true. The young man smiled. It had become true, hadn't it? He had arrived safe and sound to his village. He told him that the story was indeed interesting, and if it would be possible to meet his sister. The young man shook his head and said, "I am sorry. But she died five years ago. This is her grave, and I come to visit her everyday. She was indeed a remarkable woman."

Similarly, all of us have dreams and goals in life. But we should not follow anything blindly. True, it is a must that one must have passion in everything that they do. But there are some things that you won't get even if you want it. For some things have a life span... Make sure that you cherish your friendship and relationships. They are more important than anything else, or at least, that's my opinion.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Englees pleeze

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Horn, ok... pleeze!"

[In this post, I am making an attempt to mimic The Local Tea Party, which by the way, is not a site to be missed.]

This English no, it is a funny language. I know, I know you will say it is one old cliche. Look at that word, cliche. It is written like niche, but both are pronounced so differently.

Not to worry, I am not going to bore you with some good old lines that I ripped off a bunch of sites ok ma? I am going to talk about some experiences I myself had, and some experiences my friends had. Let me start with one that my friend had. It seems she and her fiance and some friends went to this restaurant somewhere in Bangalore. The waiter came and asked what you want? This fiance guy told it seems, 'Bring me one mohito...' Waiter gave one dirty look, then smugly told 'Saar, it's pronounced mojito'. See what happened there? Fiance was right in pronouncing mojito as mohito. But he seemed like an ass to that waiter fellow. Why means waiter must have thought 'What this fellow, looks smart and all, but he can't see that ja sounding letter j there in the middle or what?'

After listening to this story, I laughed a lot. But you know what? In my mind, this story was stuck. So next time I went to one pizza place with my friend. I wanted to eat this 'Tortillas', but I knew that the word is pronounced 'Tortiyas'. Now my problem started. I thought, if I say tortilla, waiter might think I am uneducated gorilla and say 'Saar, it's pronounced tortiya' with that sophisticated tone. And if I say 'Tortiya' with my sophisticated tone, he might use one bad word that ends with tiya on me. He might think I am blind. Can't see that 'll' in that word or what? Saw my predicament no? Whatever, I didn't want to risk it, so I called him and put my finger on that word and said 'Get me one of this'. I do the same when I go to a fancy Italian place too. I am not Super Mario no?

I like English, I found a lot of words exist to describe a thing very aptly, concisely, precisely. There are several loan words that serve the purpose well too. But loan words become groan words. Why means, I should remember that San Jose is to be pronounced San Hosay! And that jojoba also. I see all face cream and face wash advertising people no, they pronounce it as jojoba, but it is hohoba in reality. Sim-simply accent and all people put, but they will tell all words wrongly, then they will tell 'Oh, you got message no? Then what is your problem?' Some people also introduced some words like 'Grammar Gaandu' and all just to make it feel wrong to be right.

Ayyo, you think that is big aah? Ok ra, forget pronunciation. The other day, my college teacher asked some of us to evaluate some technical papers written by students. Govinda Govinda. What man, technical papers, they wrote words like coz (for because) and all. What they wrote on mobile or what? Bleddy, when you are writing some formal stuff you can't write properly ah? And that too words like awesome and cool were used left, right and centre. Just because you are some hip youngster punk, you write like that in papers about 'Transmission in dynamics analysis based on hypergraph-theory' or what? No no, don't worry, I just made that topic up, they did not write about that and all, but I am just making one point.

So my friends, I tell you all the following. This English no, it is a funny language. But just because it is funny, does not make it true that you also makes it funnier by writing badly. Why means, peoples who knows proper English will think you doesn't knows proper English. So try your level best to be proper. After all, being proper is a great property to has in peoples. Ok? Saw the beauty of this post aah? Irony I think they call it... Got it or what?

[This post is dedicated to my dear friend Gayathri Gopalaswamy with whom I shared a thousand laughs... about Bengaluru Banter]


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Comments From Facebook


Sameera Bharadwaja H: I'm saring da! :D

Karthik Rangarajan: But you see, this isn't the funniness in the English language, its more to do with other language words that have found their way into the regular english verbage. Spanish doesn't ...See More

Nikhil Baliga: So says Karthik Rangara*h*an :P By the way, I didn't write about the standard 'funny' problems about English because that's something a lot of people have written about... Like plural of mouse is mice, but for house it isn't, etc.


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Comments elsewhere:

Vidhathree: Englees is super da! N I din kno abt san hosay and hohoba. Jojoba lol


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You may also like to read
The Social Contract

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Social Contract

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"By the end of this post, don't wonder if YOU are Jack... You most likely aren't. I learnt this trick from that book I have mentioned at the end..."

I recently had the misfortune of speaking to a 'hyper-sensitive narcissist' - Let's call this person Jack (Although John Doe or John Smith are more standard). Now let's assume you have met this person Jack and you are having a conversation. As the conversation proceeds, you start noticing that Jack has all the qualities of a megalomaniac but not actual qualities... Just grandiose notions about himself.

But in the conversation, Jack also mentions that he is extremely sensitive, which you notice when you made a crack which was taken very seriously. Now we come to an interesting juncture - The narcissism reaches such annoying heights that it makes you barf, and yet you cannot say anything on this person's face because, well, because you aren't Dr. House and because 'Social Contract' dictates us to not be rude.

I can very well say that you are annoying. But ordinarily, we don't. We are asked to be kind to others and that it is hurtful to others when we are curt. We invented diplomacy for the same reason. We also went overboard to invent political correctness and euphemisms just so that we sugar the pill. (notice that I didn't say sugar-coat because that's American usage :P) And so you grin and bear, you tolerate till you can no more and decide to call it quits. You try to avoid talking to Jack so that you don't have to tell Jack that he's annoying you.

Jack on the other hand, being self obsessed has no idea that he is annoying you, and wants to talk a whole lot more. This reminds me of Seinfeld, an episode where Seinfeld meets an old classmate who is very annoying, and the classmate decides to meet him more often but Seinfeld doesn't know how to stay away... When he tries to say that they cannot be friends, the other guy starts crying, literally bawling in the restaurant till Seinfeld gets uncomfortable and takes his words back. If you felt that Seinfeld was being a jerk, then my point about 'Social Contract' has already been validated. Jack is just the same, so overly sensitive that you cannot possibly say anything which sounds a tad insensitive, and being so hyperactive, Jack doesn't give you the space and keeps bothering you. The ever increasing number of 'Suicides for silly reasons' is also a major deterrent that prevents you from saying things upfront.

It might occur to Jack that he might be annoying; assume it did, and he asks you a question - "Hey, Am I being annoying?". Again, I find questions such as these and "How do I look?", etc. rather rhetorical. Especially when you are not best friends and guys (both). I am obviously not going to say 'Oh, that dress makes you look fat, but it doesn't matter, no amount of make-up is going to fix that nose anyway' and neither will I say 'Yeah, you are being a pain in my arse'. I'm most likely going to say  "No, no, not at all... You're an absolute delight to hear whilst also being eye-candy" (okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration)

Now this is quite the conundrum, you don't know how to get out of this dilemma. I also know of this guy who's dating a nut job. Everyone else is a hundred percent confident, given historic data, that she'll create a scene if they ever break up and if they don't, well, people nod their heads with the words 'tsk tsk' on their lips when they think about the hell he has to endure for the rest of his life.

Now think about this post without emotions, try to not think of me as a jerk and try to be objective. If you indeed meet a highly irritating person like Jack who doesn't leave you alone, sends a lot of messages on your phone, emails and chats, pokes you on Facebook and doesn't give you enough space despite being told that you are busy and don't have much free time, or any other trick that you pulled out of the book that is titled 'How to be a jerk without seeming like one: 101 Euphemisms and Tricks - By Swami Gulagulaananda', how would you go about it? Do you think it's better to seem tactless and get out early at the risk of being thought of as a jerk or do you think you should endure a whole lot longer and hope that you can wean off eventually within the next ten years? Leave me your opinions or comments.

P.S.: If you felt that the person, Jack, in this post is you, it most likely is... :P Screw diplomacy



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Comments from Facebook:

Prashanth Harshangi: Sup Jack?? How are you? Read your blog after long time. Good article.

Aditya Kiran: I don't think the social contract is defined to be constant between all people.. People often vary it depending on Jack or Jill :P

Kavita Krishnamurthy: Omg tat was hilarious :D


Nikhil Narayan: Good one maga! :) ....

Niyaz Puzhikkunnath: Such big words at such a small age....

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Bleeding Heart

Swami Gulagulaananda quoted:
"When you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount"

(You might want to listen to 'Into Dust - Mazzy Star' in the background while reading this)

I was on my knees as I held her head in my arms. I didn't remember how I got there, but I certainly was aware that it all was very strange. The ground was white... sheer white. There was no grain of sand, just absolute  white. And at that one fraction of a second when I raised my head, it hit me, and etched into my mind the vast expanse of whiteness. It seemed to stretch in all directions, and there was nothing apart from the two of us in the middle of what seemed to be a great void. The two of us, wearing layers of white, were in the middle of nothingness.

But it was not this bizarre environment that startled me. It was her. I kept staring at her face. That lifeless countenance. For a fleeting moment, I could see her fair face with the slight blush in her cheek. The rosy hue and the sweet smile that used to play on her lips, that used to make me forget everything in an instant was nowhere to be seen. All I could see now was a face devoid of expressions, a face whose pale skin had been stretched tightly directly over her skull with nothing in between. She seemed very ill. The dark circles around her eyes seemed to indicate that she hadn't slept for days.

But that wasn't what got to me. Her eyes. They seemed like they were made of stone. The whites of her eyes seemed to have small discs of slate at the centre. A tear rolled down my cheek as she slowly turned her eyes to look at me. The teardrop fell on my hand. I looked at the little red globule. A tear of blood. I couldn't bear to see her like that. The eyes that would sparkle with joy as I teased her, the moist eyes that would melt my heart in a fraction of a second, those eyes, those warm brown eyes... I couldn't believe it was still her in my arms. She felt so alien, like a stranger, with those grey eyes.

Her lips quivered and the muscles of her neck tightened as she struggled to speak. I wanted to give her a drink of water, just to moisten her dried lips. But there was nothing around. I tried to utter some words, to console her that things would get better, to convince her even though I wasn't convinced, but even air betrayed me, refusing to leave my lungs. I held my breath, fearing that the slightest movement would hurt her. Her lips gradually formed a smile, her eyes barely reflecting the emotion. "Why that long face?" she asked. My eyes began to moisten as I looked at her. Her hair was strewn all over her face. I raised a finger to move it off her face but as I gradually moved it over her forehead, a chill ran down my spine. Her body was cold. Her eyes stared at me as my breath escaped involuntarily. There seemed to be no expression as she continued to look at me. "You knew this day was coming" she said slowly, pausing after every two words.

I held her cold hand in mine. I couldn't bring myself to move, for, I knew what the result would be. There was no way I could do anything to save her. She was right, I knew this day would come. Did I? I didn't even know how I got there, but deep within I knew this day would come. The day we would part. As I continued to stare into her eyes, I could see her grey eyes becoming lighter. Her head moved slowly as her eyelids came closer to each other. "I am tired and I want to sleep for some time" she said as her eyes closed.

I pulled her closer to myself and hugged her tightly. There was no need to pretend to be macho. There was nobody around to think of me as vulnerable. A stream of tears flowed freely as I clutched on to her cold form. All my memories of her flashed in front of my eyes, the first day I saw her, our first fight, our first make-up, the first time she put that piece of chocolate cake into my mouth on my birthday... When I slowly let her go, I noticed her body was completely lifeless. The eyes had no sparkle - just slate. I began to feel weaker by the minute. My vision was getting hazy as I gently laid her head on the ground. It was then that I saw stains of blood on her clean white dress. I was certain they were not there a minute ago. My vision was coming into and going out of focus rather rapidly as my eyes followed the stains, the trail of blood which found its way to my shirt as well... on my chest around my heart. I was bleeding profusely. She slowly turned again and said "You have to let go of me Adi. A bleeding heart is not going to bring someone dead back to life."

It was then that realisation dawned upon me. She had been dead a long time ago. "Let go, Adi"... she whispered. I held my hand against my chest, I could feel the blood gushing out forcefully. "It's alright, let go of me" she whispered again. I didn't know what to say... I kept staring at her as she began to go out of focus again. No, she wasn't going out of focus... she was fading away. "Goodbye Adi, you will remain forever in my heart. But you should let go. Promise me that you will". My breathing began to get heavier. "It's alright Adi, it's not the end of everything..." I heard. This voice, it wasn't her. It was more baritone. My vision was getting blurry. She had faded out completely by now. My hands were slowly coming back into focus, as the baritone voice reinforced the idea that it wasn't the end of everything, that the world doesn't end. There was no blood on my shirt. I turned to my right and I saw his furrowed brows, his piercing stare trying to reach into my soul. I looked into the eyes of my best friend without betraying my emotions. "I know" I said shortly. We both knew I said it to avoid talking about it further. The loud music of the orchaestra reminded me that it was a wedding hall where we were seated. The dashing young man she ended up marrying was introducing her to his friends. Her smile was radiant. The guy on my left, that ever cheerful gorilla put his large palm on my shoulder and said "Hey hey hey Adi, well that's one more down. One more classmate got married. I heard stories you both were going around, but I know you deserve way better" he grinned. "Let's go and complete our primary assignment, shall we? I heard the Pulav is brilliant!" he said as we got up. "Oh by the way, did you hurt yourself? There's a drop of blood on your hand."

-- This story is pure fiction and is not based on anything. If you have a great imagination, you should see it in front of you. The story is mostly symbolic so don't take things literally... :-)  also,  "When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don't expect to see a zebra"

You might also want to read:
Other stories that I have written

Comments from Facebook:

Aditya Kiran: ‎:D

Ashwin Raman: such heart-felt fiction!, nicely written btw :)... if it had a couple of songs, it could hv been a blockbuster ;)

Nikhil Narayan: ‎:) Rakhta kaNneeru... Or hrudaya na para para antha kerdidiya.... Either case hero ge bad luck... :D ... :P ....

Pavithra Chowdappa: WT...! :D

Dolly Singh: Awesome! I was listening to a song while I was reading this and I got lost in the story. Beautifully written.

Prajwal M Sudarshan: Nicely written.. :) Good Job Nik!

Comments from Twitter:
Niranjan Lakshmanan: it's really good. Heart touching Nikhil :-)

Comments elsewhere:
Shubha Murthy: This ws gud!!

Lokesh Acharya: Nicely written, heart touching... I hope Adi is not a real person :-)
[Don't have the exact comment, deleted the SMS... but something to this effect was there]

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Most people do think alike

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"I definitely know what you are thinking..."

When I used to hear the term "Out of the box" and many similar terms, I used to immediately dismiss them as management jargon. I still believe that most people who do use these terms are using it just because it has a nice ring to it - not because they truly understand it. The truth is, however, that very few people actually think very differently.

I'll give you a simple example. This is a trick I learnt ages ago, from whom, I remember not. But go ahead and try this on others, and you will find this to be true. Now I am going to perform this trick with you, so play along, ok? Here goes...

  • Think of a number between 1 and 9
  • Multiply that number by 9
  • Add the digits of the two digit number that you got.
  • Now that you have a single digit, subtract 5 from it
  • If the answer is 1, letter is 'A'. If the answer is 2, letter is 'B'. If the answer is 3, letter is 'C' and so on... So corresponding to your answer, you should get a letter.
  • With that letter, think of a country.
  • With the last letter of that country, think of an animal.
  • With the last letter of that animal, think of a fruit...
The fruit that you thought of, was 'orange', wasn't it? Stop grinning sheepishly... :P And animal was Kangaroo, and the country was Denmark. Sure, now you will try to decipher the secret. If you didn't think of orange, you are truly different (and weird, most likely :P)

Most people get conditioned by their surroundings, and therefore tend to think alike. This is absolutely true when you are thinking of various strategies - take games or any other thing. Whatever idea you have, it's very likely that the other guy thinks very much like you. It's very very rare that there is a radically different thought process. Well, those people, I admit, are visionaries...

If you can't see this, never mind... It's one of those troll-pics that makes a similar point

Monday, 13 August 2012

Yahoo! Open Hack 2012 - An Experience

Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"Yaaaahhhooooooo!"

I was excited when I heard that the Yahoo! Open Hack was around the corner when I received an email and read the tweet - It was time for the mayhem to begin. This was my second Yahoo! hackathon. The first one had been a brilliant experience. There are a lot of things to speak about Yahoo Hackathon. The sheer energy of people around you makes you go wow. Most people have that aura of intelligence on them.

This year, the event was held at Sheraton, Yeshwanthpur. I reached the venue on time, well, about 30 minutes past the actual beginning time. I found that quite a lot of people had gathered before me and had taken their seats inside the smaller room. I was done with my registration quite soon, and I wanted to have some coffee. I had skipped my breakfast at home (as has become my usual practice lately) and then my eyes fell on them - the most coveted item of the Hackathon... No, not the prize, the bean bags. I picked a nice spot next to pillar, the Sheldon spot. It was equidistant from the TV, the coffee counter and the lunch spread,  close enough to the rest room and the main room. So I got myself some coffee and a couple of those delicious cookies and settled down, waiting for Amod, my team mate and partner in crime to arrive. Quite soon, he was there as well, and we settled down with our laptops.

Then of course, there was an issue with internet. I had anticipated this, and had pre-downloaded some of the useful libraries like jQuery, so I was armed and ready to fire at will. We soon had a boisterous group of people around us, full of energy, passing comments periodically - really fun... especially their rants about the lack of internet. In fact, one of the participants actually got frustrated and went home (without a bean-bag!) Eventually they provided cables for us and things were back again.

A point I remembered from my previous Hackathon was that - There is never enough time during the end. If you keep things to finish towards the end, you won't finish it. The reason is not that you can't. The reason is that, your app, most often being unplanned and decided on-spot, won't be fully developed in your mind (and certainly not in real life) and being a timed event, towards the end, people will definitely get nervous. Even the smallest of bugs will seem daunting then. Another thing I learnt from my previous Hackathon at Yahoo! as well as the other at PESIT (Ayana) was that, rather than experimenting with a new technology, it is better to rely on a known one. While I did love the fact that I learnt very rapidly and implemented them on spot, I found that my recall of those technologies was minimal subsequently due to disuse, ergo a waste. Also, it will end up being an impediment when your event is timed. Since you have to learn and fix along the way, you won't be able to finish it on time.

Therefore, I decided to stick to jQuery rather than experimenting with YUI (which I heard is really awesome) because I am very comfortable with jQuery. We began coding as soon as the timer started, and our fingers drummed continuously and tirelessly on the keyboard. A point that I always make about Yahoo! Hackathons is the food spread, what a treat it is! Incredible indeed.

Eventually we were able to finish our hack - We called it Brock. Brock is a platform that is aimed at allowing a layman to develop apps for Android. Let me give you a couple of scenarios before I proceed. Let's assume you are busy in a meeting, and you keep your phone in the silent mode. You want to tell anyone who calls that you will call them later by sending an SMS back automatically. You can easily configure your phone to do that. Or let's assume you don't want your wife to be worried when your phone is not being answered because your phone ran out of battery - You can configure your phone to automatically send an SMS to your wife if the battery level goes below 15% saying that your phone might go out, and to not worry. You can configure your phone to send an SMS as well as turn on Wi-Fi automatically the moment you enter into your office building (location aware) - And remember, all of this without writing a single line of code.

How you ask? We provide a screen for you - that has two panes. Cause and Effect. You choose from among a list of causes (or combination) as to what should trigger the Effect. This could be things like Battery level dipping, getting an incoming call, a particular time period (schedule), your current location (GPS), movement, unlocking the phone, etc. You simply click on the button, and that gets added into the Causes section. Clicking on the Edit (pencil icon) will open up that cause for configuration where you provide information. In the Effect section, you specify what events should happen when triggered. This can be among sending an SMS, controlling Wi-Fi, setting a notification, launching an app, etc. The same process of configuration holds good. Once you are done, you click on Generate.

At this point of time, I want to mention a fantastic platform my Microsoft, called on{x}. Essentially, on{x} is a product written by Microsoft for Android (Don't rub your eyes, you read it correctly) and that allows people to control their phone extremely well doing all of the things mentioned above. However, this requires the person who does it to know how to write code. An average person, who doesn't know to code cannot avail these awesome and very useful features. Enter Brock. By providing a very easy to use interface, a bunch of mouse clicks will generate the code behind the scenes for him. He merely has to copy-paste it into the on{x} code area - and this is because MS hasn't provided a way for us to directly call their services.

So now, anyone can code, without knowing how to code. Have a look at our screenshot below. Click on it to see a bigger image.

The judges seemed to love the idea because it was reminiscent of Yahoo! Pipes to them - the idea of coding without coding, and also that it was an app for mobile phones. We won the grand prize for this year's Hackathon, which made us and all our friends very proud :-)

So why did I call it Brock? In Pokemon, there's a creature called Onix which is controlled by a character called Brock. Since our application controls on{x}, I called it Brock :-)

And by the way, by the time we came down from the stage, some people stole our bean bags :-(

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Pride and Belonging

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"If it is not intuitive, it doesn't mean it is not powerful - it means that we should put an effort to learn it. And no, I am not talking about software"

Let me begin this essay by talking very briefly (so as to not make it seem like my hobby-horse and bore non-technologists) about an editor called VIM. If you have any friends who are developers (and not hard-core geeks), ask them about it. Most of them would have barely heard of it, leave alone used it. Even those who have used it, will say that it is the least intuitive editor, that there are far more sophisticated and intuitive editors around. To be honest, it is a fact.

Let's take an average person and ask him to use the editors - vim and Sublime Text. You will find that he will find Sublime a pleasure to use. He will not like vim at all. Then you ask him to do a bunch of tasks to be done with the editor, and watch him struggle with vim as he breezes past while using sublime. Why? Is it because vim is not good at all? Wrong! Vim is an extremely powerful editor that can do all the things that sublime can, and more. But the fact that he doesn't know the powers make him feel that vim sucks.

This is the truth about anything - When you have two things, one which you know very well or intuitively understand, and the other which seems complicated or less intuitive, you will tend to go for the first one, in spite of the latter being better.

I find this very true with Hinduism as a religion. I have had the most remarkable experiences with many people who believe in God, who are faithful, but have no understanding of what it means. Then there are those who can think or rationalise and yet have no understanding. The first results in creating a breed of blind believers while the second result in a breed of agnostic and atheists. I was talking to one of my friends a long time back when I spoke about Brahma, and he said "I've heard that name somewhere" - Imagine, a boy in his 20s and doesn't know who Brahma is. Well, while this may seem extreme, most people don't know much more about Brahma beyond that he's a multi-headed old God with a white beard on a lotus who apparently created the world, and is one among the Hindu trinity.

When you don't know much about your heritage, your religion, your lineage, your country or anything that you belong to, you do not respect it. When you don't respect it, you don't have any attachment to it, you may even shun it as you have learned to live without it. You may even switch to an alternative because you find it easier - and easier it could be, but the problem lies in the fact that no attempt was made by you to understand that to which you belonged to.

Unfortunately, two factors aid conversion - One of my friends told me that he never attempted to read the Bhagavad Gita because of a notion that "you will be cursed if you read it partially and abandon it" and blind beliefs such as this will make fewer people understand their background. christian evangelists have been known to make use of similarities to aid smoother transition while proselytising. They use dates important to the victims and make it dates important in christianity.

The main purpose of this post is to point out a couple of things. Those among you, who feel that you are intelligent and smart, who can think rationally should pursue Hinduism as a subject, and try to understand the concepts behind it. It's not always about a supreme God sitting and creating the world and controlling people and circumstances, or about God who gets angry when you don't bow to Him or worship Him and will fire a lightning bolt at you for sinning. It's truly fascinating, some of the things that you learn. The rest should still make an attempt to know mythological stories - which are truly brilliant. I have always been a huge fan of Hindu mythology.

Remember, this is not merely applicable to Hinduism or religion. It's also about your nation or anything else that you belong to. Make a complete study of it, understand it properly before dissing it. It's easy to give up at any point, but pride and belonging - attachment etc. can develop only if you learn to accept it.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The 99 Club

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"I always remember what Buddha said - Desire is the root of all evil"

My friend Deepthi shared this nice story which I felt is worth sharing with the rest of you. I believe she got the story from the "ISKCON Bangalore" group.

The 99 Club
Once upon a time, there lived a King who, despite his luxurious lifestyle, was neither happy nor content. One day, the King came upon a servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; why was he, the Supreme Ruler of the Land, unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much joy.

Later in the day, he sought the advice of his most trusted advisor. After hearing the King’s woes and the servant’s story, the advisor said, “Your Majesty, I believe that the servant has not been made part of The 99 Club.”

“The 99 Club? And what exactly is that?” the King inquired. The advisor replied, “Your Majesty, to truly know what The 99 Club is, place 99 Gold coins in a bag and leave it at this servant’s doorstep.”

When the servant opened the bag, he let out a great shout of joy... So many gold coins! He began to count them. After several counts, he was at last convinced that there were 99 coins. He wondered, “What could’ve happened to that last gold coin? Surely, no one would leave 99 coins!

He looked everywhere he could, but that final coin was elusive. Finally, exhausted, he decided that he was going to have to work harder than ever to earn that gold coin and complete his collection.

From that day, the servant’s life was changed. He was overworked and chastised his family for not helping him make that 100th gold coin. He stopped singing while he worked.

Witnessing this drastic transformation, the King was puzzled. When he sought his advisor’s help, the advisor said, “Your Majesty, the servant has now officially joined The 99 Club.” He continued, “The 99 Club is a name given to those people who have enough to be happy but are never contented, because they’re always yearning and striving for that extra 1 telling to themselves: “Let me get that one final thing and then I will be happy for life .”

“We can be happy, even with little, but the minute we’re given something bigger and better, we want even more! We lose our sleep, our happiness, we hurt the people around us; all these as a price for our growing needs and desires. That’s what joining The 99 Club is all about.”

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Mob Psychology

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Honour, it seems to be a forgotten word"

"Honour, it seems to be a forgotten word" (or something to that effect) was the opening line of The Last Samurai. If you have watched the anime Kenshin or watched The Last Samurai, you get a good idea about life in Japan during the mid 1800s. People gave a lot of value to honour - Of course, some were extreme in that, Seppuku being an example.

Many of my friends have gone to the US for higher studies. I still remember them telling me that the US was not very different from India, except that there were lesser people, and the streets were a little cleaner (less dusty). They were vehement, and even said that the US was greatly hyped. But as time passed by, they seem to have changed their opinion, because with time, they have seen several differences.

If you are reading this post, you are most likely educated (I won't merely call you literate) and if you look around, you will notice that the following is true. I don't know if the same is the case with other countries as well, considering I haven't visited any. These are my observations...

People find comfort in numbers: 
In school or college, if I hadn't done my homework, I would be more nervous than when there were a couple of others who were sloppy along with me. Call it Schadenfreude if you must, but it is true. And if the entire class has not done it, you feel powerful, you feel right. You feel you have the strength to challenge anyone. What can they do to us? If we were two or three, maybe we would be mealy-mouthed when the teacher asked us about it; But fifty? We grin! We aren't ashamed, because we outnumber.

When the college security guard used to drive us away from the OAT, we would probably tuck our tails between our legs if we were, say about five in the group. But when we are about 20, we shrug our shoulders. Maybe a couple of them would even enter into a slanging match, while the rest guffawed. We cannot be touched, for we are the mob.

People who are brave in a group are seldom courageous when alone.  A mob is strong as long as the mob is a mob; You see, even in the wild, a pack of wolves can perhaps scare a lone lion or a tiger. But an individual wolf is no match.

We succumb to peer pressure:
Another observation of mine is that, we often succumb to peer pressure. If everyone else is doing it, and I am not, then I must be doing something wrong. We don't wholly analyse if what's being done by others is really relevant to us, or if it is correct. A simple example is - Parking next to a No Parking sign; You see many bikes already parked, so you go ahead and do it as well. But notice, some of them do this despite knowing that it's wrong, which is why they squeeze their vehicle in between, for they know that the ones at the corners are the ones that would get towed first.

We also tend to get easily swayed into "Standard reactions and behaviour" - I mean that we do some things in certain ways only because we have seen others doing it in that way (And not for any other reason) You can call this freedom of expression or call it anything else that you kids like to call it, and I am not saying it is frowned upon. I am merely stating facts. For instance, in ads, weddings are always christian and are portrayed to be romantic. What's the big deal? Someone I know said that she wants to have a christian wedding in a chapel (despite being Hindu and having a Hindu wedding) for the reason that she feels those weddings are romantic. It is because we see christian weddings all the time on American TV shows, we probably even know all the lines and all the preparations that go before, asking someone to be the best man, the maid of honour, etc. Observe it in ads the next time - weddings are mostly christian, unless, of course, it's an ad for jewellery. Candle light protests is something that people feel intuitively as the first thing to be done. Saying the words "Absolutely" and "That said" very emphatically during debates or while reporting news on English news channels. Remembering to be environment conscious during Earth Hour. A lot of these things are said and done, not because it adds value, not because it is symbolic, but because it seems to be an accepted standard. Only because the mob is doing it, and nothing else.

People are afraid of the mob:
While many chided the reporter/journalist who video-recorded the girl being molested by a mob of 30 instead of being a knight in shining armour, only a few realised the true nature of being in a situation like that. Really, ask yourself, if you were outside a pub where there were around 30 rowdy boys pulling a stunt like that while you were alone, would you venture? It's easier said than done. Two of them can hold you while one of them stabs you... You can maybe pick a fight with up to four, but a number like 30 would mean that either you are resorting to bravado or that you are Batman.

Since people are afraid of the mob, and the mob feels that they cannot be touched, the mob can achieve anything - We have seen dangerous repercussions where mobs raid stores, burn other people's vehicles, molest women, rough up policemen, etc. The mob feels it can afford to do it because they believe that the mob is an entity of its own, a faceless entity, that the individual existence of constituent people ceases and that individually they are not responsible for anything that happens.

We tend to go with the flow
I often wonder how it is that students end up drinking and smoking - I remember each and every lesson taught in school; things like "The liver gets damaged from drinking, because alcohol is not a natural food and the liver has to work overtime to break it down... resulting in problems (like cirrhosis)" and also all the harmful effects of smoking, starting from smoker's cough and tartar, all the way to cancer. It is understandable that you continue to do it once you start it, because you are habituated or addicted. But why did you start it in the first place? Ask yourself this question - When you started, did you know the harmful effects? If yes, why did you start? Did you tell yourself or were you told that it's just an experience, and you should always experience things to learn more... I understand you do it for pleasure, maybe some of you are just social drinkers and occasional smokers - But the very idea of doing things like this, per me, is an influenced decision. You most likely did it because most of your friends were doing it. Au contraire, if most of your friends looked at you like a loser for doing it, maybe you wouldn't... Just a hunch.

Who's the mob anyway?
The answer is You! Yes you... Don't say that you are not the mob. The mob is nothing but a group of people, and at some point or another, you form the mob. Don't necessarily picture the mob as a group of irate boors wrecking public property. If you are not the mob, you definitely have the ability to influence people who are part of the mob. The mob is the society. People's mindsets are the way they are because of the nature of society that moulded their behaviour, their parents and teachers, their friends (who are the way they are because of their respective upbringing), the kind of experiences they have had, etc. The experiences result in people becoming what they are. I am sure all of you know the story of Birbal showing Akbar the cat that hated milk. Experiences will alter people's behaviour. Bad experiences make some people stronger, some people cynical, some depressed. We often have the power to influence people around us, and we should strive to send the right message to those who get influenced by us.

Children are considered to be the most impressionable. If you flout rules or behave badly in front of the child, the child naturally will consider it as acceptable, and will emulate it. A good society is formed by raising good children, correcting the mistakes. I mentioned the US in the beginning, because people there apparently follow traffic rules inherently - and here, it's extremely bad. Why? I mentioned honour in the beginning, because if the concept of honour is instilled in a young mind, it will result in honourable people in the society. The fact will always remain, that the mob will always win, but the mob is reckless, haphazard. The mob will suffer if it elects a wrong leader. Then, the mob's victory will be its defeat.

You may even like:
Pride and Belonging