Archive for February, 2012

A bit of boost!

February 29, 2012

To all those thoughts, sown deep in me, through all these years growing up:

1.  You look too thin, just malnourished.
2.  Why don’t you just stay behind?
3.  Did you look at your shirt?  It’s too wrinkled!
4.  When did you last polish your shoes?
5.  Why can’t you shave regularly?
6.  Yaaack, the same shirt again!
7.  Your English is just so stuttering!
8.  Can’t you have a smile on your face? (more…)

is.gd? Yeah, it’s good!

February 26, 2012

When there is widespread stereotyping about something in the society, we inadvertently fall prey to it even without knowing ourselves.  Some are liberal enough to accept their mistakes and prompt to correct them; others remain clung to their own misconceptions.

is.gd - Mmmm, tasty URLs! Current issue is the “ethical” URL shortener is.gd and one such misconception in its ethical policy that I noticed a few days ago.  Is.gd is one of the leading service in URL shortening.  It is created by Richard West, a freelance developer and technologist.  I am a long-time fan of this service for their simplicity, and just for their look.  But a few days ago, I found something in their policy that upset me.  It read:

Many short domains used by URL shorteners are owned by nations under Islamic law which don’t enjoy the same freedoms we do in the West.

I found this sentence very much objectionable.  I felt somehow it implies that Islamic countries do not provide freedom of speech and also that freedom is predominantly a Western concept.  But what could I do?  I just stopped using is.gd and instead started using bit.ly, which is owned by Libyan domain, an Islamic country, just as a gesture of protest, self-sufficient to myself.  But firstly, I didn’t like the feel of bit.ly, and again I thought it won’t solve the problem.  I really loved is.gd and I felt I should try telling them about this glitch.  Their site noted that the mails are replied personally by Richard, so I thought to give it a try.  I mailed Richard this morning: (more…)

Shivaji: Saffronization of a secular king

February 20, 2012

Yesterday was the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (1627-1680).  It was celebrated with great joy all over the Maharashtra and by all Marathi-speaking people wherever they are in some form or other.  Shivaji was one national hero of who is still revered by millions above cast and creed.  Indeed Shivaji is a towering name above all, and if you ask anyone to give just one name that binds all Marathi people together, it would be that of Shivaji without a second thought.

Let him remain as he was.  Don't color him saffron.

The popularity and greatness of Shivaji’s character have given rise to a typical phenomenon in the modern India.  Each and every ideological group want him colored in their own color, and unfortunately the far-right saffron Hindutva folks succeeded in it.  They distorted his image so much that he is almost deified as an incarnation of God who took birth “to save the Hindu people from the tyranny of Muslim rulers”; and this is far from truth.

This needs to be checked against historical facts and people should be made aware about this.  This has become more important in the post-1992 and post-Godhra India where Shivaji is again and again projected as a destroyer and enemy of Muslims.

(more…)

It need to get it pulled out!

February 18, 2012

It’s about 5 o’clock in the morning and I have already been awake for about 2 hours now.  I have been having a toothache.  It is certainly not the worst pain I have ever had, but it is still annoying.  It awoke me from sleep and kept me awake thinking about the pain and its possible consequences.  Eventually, I got confused whether I was awake because of the pain or because of those thoughts, so I chose rather to get up and do something.

Toothache I am about 28 now and never had a complete set of 32 teeth in my mouth; only 26 erupted, others remained latent never coming above the surface, so I have always had a lot of vacancies in there.  To worsen the things, two of my existing teeth (a lower molar on each side) are decayed since childhood.  I took a good care of them and they never gave me any trouble until the recent past.  One of the decayed molar fell out last year, rather I pulled it myself and it came out leaving some roots behind; those roots are causing pain providing a site for recurrent infections.  I went to a dentist a couple of weeks ago for the same problem.  She prescribed me some medications and advised to get the tooth extracted completely.

Coming to the point, I’m afraid of injections, so I don’t go to doctors.  I had had my last IM injection back in 1999, which was a tetanus in a school health program.  I took it only after I found out I cannot run away from school.  IVs are less painful; I’ve had one in some 2006-07.  Now the problem is if I go back to the dentist, I would have to get the tooth pulled out and it’s going to be painful.  Dental procedures are mostly done under local anesthesia, so she will give me injections in my gums.  I haven’t had a tetanus shot in years, so I might have to get one.  And frankly, I am afraid of injections, much more than the tooth pain itself.

I have worked in the emergency rooms for a long while, and have done procedures under local anesthesia almost on a daily basis.  I know it is painful just for a while and then it only helps the patient, but I’m finding it tough to apply the same principle to myself.  It is not that I cannot tolerate the pain, just I am afraid of it.

But I think I will go to the dentist sooner or later and will have the tooth pulled.  I will have injections and I will bear the pain, I know I can do that (if the fear is out).  Why shall I stay awake for nights just because I am afraid of something?  Why shall I not enjoy chocolates and cold coffee?  I cannot live without chocolates, so I must go and get my tooth pulled, and possibly a root canal to the other one decayed.

I need to get that damn tooth pulled out, and before that, the fear!

Note:  Sketch by Kazumi Hatasa/Flickr.  Fair use for illustration.

Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya…

February 16, 2012

Because it will not be forever that the the peace will prevail.  There will be times, as it is now, that I will find myself lost.  You have a plan.  I have a dream, unfortunately, and even more cowardly, as you call it, not a plan.  Some day, suddenly out of a blue, you will put the plan forth, and I, with the extensive burden it would put on me, would succumb.  I should not.

Jesus on Cross at the Grotto of Mother Lourdes, Nagpur

Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.  Psalm 119:173

And aren’t your precepts mine too?

Note:  The post title is taken from a famous Sanskrit prayer from Brihadaranyaka 1:3:27; it means “lead me from darkness to light.”

The neglected people of shining India

February 12, 2012

While I’m still waiting for more opinions on my last post (What is God?), I am here with a new post that has been building up in me over the last couple of weeks.

A while ago, I started posting a daily photo on Flickr.  The concept was to get an eye looking for new ideas on a daily basis.  I had a hard time for the first few days to find something new to click.  I had already shared about 100 photos from literally every corner of the city, so it was very difficult to find new places everyday.  Also, one cannot go on a photo-shoot daily, we have our own jobs etc., so I had to find something new at the very same places day to day, and I turned towards people.  After all, we can always find new people on the same streets forever.

He lashes himself with a whipcord in the name of God to earn his living. These people build our roads, and they can't afford warm clothes for the winter.
Sadhu: Victim of a philosophy that handicaps. A boy at the main market in the city.  He should have been in a school.

But what I started as a leisure activity turned out to be a disheartening thing for me.  We are a booming economy.  People are getting salaries that they never believed they would.  Roads are getting poured with more cars and more bikes.  India is shining.  And as I turn my camera on roads, I find people living at the lowest brink of poverty, at the depth of human dignity.  And the socioeconomic system, the religion have deep-sown a philosophy in them to be satisfied in what they are.  They neither aspire something higher, nor are they conscious of what destitute life they are living.  I am standing between the two extremes of India, and I’m awed with those both.

And this family; shall I say anything else?

I wish someone of them grows up to sue me for publishing their pictures in such inhumane state without their consent.

Note:  Hover over the photos for the alt text.  Click on the photos for the respective Flickr page.  All photos are CC-BY-SA.

What is God? I need ideas!

February 10, 2012

Here I am back, this time not to tell something, but to ask all of you “what is God?”  I know this is one of the toughest questions one can have, but I don’t want to know what God really is, neither do I mean to ask “does He exist or not?” (now call me a sexist for calling Him “He”), I just want to know what God is for you.

Which way leads to Thou, oh God!

I want to know your personal opinions and not what your religion thinks about it, but if you are putting your thoughts as a representative of your religion, please put a note to let me know such.  You can put your thoughts in comments, or if they are lengthy enough, you can trackback on your own blog.

I hope this ordeal would help me to get a better understanding of one of the most complicated ideas of human conception, and hopefully I will get some insight into my philosophy of God too.