My first crush

Doesn't seem true at this age, does it? Seriously, I've had stupid crushes before, but this one's for real. I want a Skoda Octavia! I've been tempted for long now. It started by liking the first looks. Then, it grew when I took Octavia taxis a couple of times while at Cambridge. Later, I'd seen Skoda ads in newspapers that talked of environment-friendliness. That just touched my heart (any Skoda personnel reading this? :) Thence, was the onset of falling in love. There have been many a loan ads that seemed decent except for my being able to afford it!

I'm not so decent at wheels, but whenever I ride or drive, I just let The Octavia go by and watch it. She's sheer beauty. I thought of selling all my assets and get her but it doesn't seem a good idea to live in the car. I'm not too much of a live-in freak. I wouldn't dream something unrealistic or even optimistic: its not Merc I want to be able to buy off; but Skoda, yes... not too much to ask for... should be doable some day.

Till then, a WagonR-er.

(PS: Although not good at it, I'm a C programmer. So when I said my *first* crush, I actually meant second. Zero would preceed one as per C norms (factually, any norms), putting zeroth crush above first. My zeroth crush was Opel Corsa and I would do all the same things I do to an Octavia now! )

Force Majeure

There is no such thing as gravity; the earth sucks. Unfortunately, I do not have a quote to relate life to; but I'm tempted to say: There is no such thing as karma; the life sucks.

No matter what I do, there's always a mess. If I'm on schedule at work, someone else would have created so much trouble that everything that follows my work, just to close it, will fall apart. It has to. If I'm happily enjoying a weekend, someone or something will bring back junk memories to put me back in depression and screw the rest of the weekend... that factually would have just begun. Ever heard of Murphy? He's present everywhere around me, always writing out new laws. He never dozes; not even when I'm asleep. He even has laws for my dreams! I live a life full of Murphy's laws. I'm a textbook example of Murphy's laws.

Someone somewhere is always cursing me. Or maybe others, who were affected even a bit by all the wrongs that I did, are against me... all at once. Its true. There isn't any other explanation. I've tried finding reasons, hitting only voids.

Enough cribbing for the day. Now, I feel better. Oh, wait... Murphy's around!

King of crashes

I've been writing code that junks the machine that I code for! Time and again my code has shown the box how to sleep, not work & irritate everyone. Surprisingly, this time it seems to have spared me. I fixed the bug and my fix was a bug for another co-worker.

It isn't so much of fun as it sounds, especially if the bug is due to someone else's code and you're breaking your head to find one in yours. You end up rewriting most of what you've coded and then, someone tells you that he's crashed your box. You've not only lost time, but your peace as well. But then again, on the brighter side, you've learnt some very good lessons... the most important one being: till next time, build more patience :)

Losing Money

They knocked off the tax-saving scheme out here. We'll be shelling out lotsa money as tax from our pockets. I always believed in paying tax, albeit it goes into politicians' pockets. Most of the collected tax is not put to right use but I used to pay tax, now its just multifold.

If the govt doesn't know how to utilize collected taxes, they should allow people to decide whats good for them. We see flyovers flying all over, even if not needed, each taking an era to build and sucking up huge money; potholes that are manholes, factually, and ones which have been there since eternity; no drinking water for many cities & villages; promises unkept, always, blah blah blah. God knows when the area-wise tax utilization will be effective.

Below are some of the snippets from some of the songs that I recall. (In my defense, beforehand, I do not like Prince, but this is one song that was somewhat close to find mention)

Pink Floyd
Money, it’s a crime.
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.
But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise that they’re
Giving none away.

Dire Straits
Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the mtv
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and chicks for free

Money don't matter tonight
It sure didn't matter yesterday
Just when you think you've got more than enough
That's when it all up and flies away
That's when you find out that you're better off
Makin' sure your soul's alright
'cause money didn't matter yesterday,
And it sure don't matter tonight

I guess that this phase is one where I can remember the taste of money: when money talks, morals walk! Time always meant money to me, and the vice-versa also being true... losing money, I've lost time too.

Junk day at work

Started late, drove around for 15 minutes for parking. Finally, got parking space but had to move because of some road repair work expected. Some day, they'll dig under my car!

Went to the photo studio for UK visa passports after tea. Did no work till then. Went over to watch a waiting crowd. The guy who took photos was speaking his own English and made me laugh. I'd skipped b'fast, so naturally, I was hungry and ate my luncheon around then. Just post-lunch when I was about to code, I recalled of the stupid photos. (The earlier laugh had caused the camera capture a strange expression; I'd be lucky to get a visa based on that!). Got them and as my colleague & I rode back between the school-time traffic, we were just in time for the project meeting. This ended in tea and a little later, while Rags & I tackled some compiler surprises, I forgot the other weekly update meeting! Thats typically an old man's memory. Well, old, I am.

More and more sleepy coding led to some more junk code that wouldn't build. Its 2230 hrs and I don't know what the heck's happening. I'd rather go home to my bed. Good night, cruel world!

The only good thing that happened in work hours is that I bought Memories of Malgudi.

I think, therefore I am?

I'd heard of this quote by the French philosopher René Descartes long back. For us mortals, true.

But I believe there are levels of consciousness beyond the thinking element. If the thoughts originate in the mind and if the mind sleeps in the dreamless sleep state (among awake, sleep, dreamless/deep-sleep states), then I wouldn't be thinking in deep sleep. In such a case, wouldn't I still exist to say I am? I would probably... or would not. If I wouldn't, then the world sleeps with me and with me waking, up it does too. When I'm dreaming, the world changes for me. Am I dreaming now? I wouldn't know. I'm thinking... so I am, now. But I may think of another thing apart from this world many a time, be it a dream or not. Then, I'll have created a different world for myself. The duration of this waking state as compared to that short dream state I go into every now & then tells me of this world that I currently blog in. If I dream longer of something, long enough to forget this world as a dream, mayhap I'd believe that to be a real world!

These are the wonders of the mind that dreams; these are the pitfalls of the mind that craves. Insanity?

Another hat trick

Yes, skipped dinner for consecutive three days for the umpteenth time, followed by next day's dinfast instead. Most of my hat tricks are such skipped meals, being good at almost nothing else in sports.

By the mercy of good health that I've been carrying since a couple months now, my doctors & well-wishers have advised me not to eat outside food and cook at home instead. Thanks to so many late night trips back home from work, cooking hasn't had its share of devotion from me. In essence, my health--more hours at work--skipped meals--and back to my health make a downward spiral that hasn't, surprisingly, hit rock-bottom yet! Weekends are usually lazy and by the time normalcy meets me, its almost start of another week. Did I leave Bombay for Bangalore, just to end up such? Well, just a thought!

(NB: This has been blogged in response to Rags' repeated accusations that I do not tell people about my so-called ordeals with food. Now he doesn't have a word to say, does he? :)

A blissful dream

Some are scary, while some are fair
But blissful dreams are verily rare

Where the only love is the love for God
And every other feeling seems a fraud

At Thy lotus feet, each moment I pray
All this while, I was led astray

Notes to myself

If I could fly
Before you said goodbye, I'd be up there in the sky

Watching you while you (couldn't) watch me
Thanking every moment that I'm free

Far from the noise that you earthlings make
Away from your senses and promises you fake

I would say "No" when you asked if you could join me
I know you'd be hurt but I never could do much to please thee

I'm your spirit and deserved much more respect
While you were forgetting me, you ruined yourself imperfect

My expectations from life seemed so high
I knew all that would make sense now that you've let yourself die!

Fighting desire

(originally posted elsewhere on Friday, June 18, 2004)

For one, why? For another, how? Why is a question that is as difficult to answer as is the how! I'll take a simpler route by assuming that the reason you are reading this topic is you know the answer to why. You're reading it to know how. Be whatever the desire, a person intends to derive pleasure off the results. The aim is pleasure, thats what one seeks. As one can very much see the law of averages, the world is pretty balanced with everything. And with that, as much as a person chases pleasure, the pain seeks back too. Giving up desire to be pleased is sufficient to keep the pain away. The balance is maintained while the quanta is neutral. It seems feasible, doesn't it?

Well, I feel desire could be good or bad depending on how intense is the desire, the purpose, and whether one feels the consequences of the desire are the results of one's own doings. Lets take this piecemeal. According to the Gita (Bhagavadgita), there is no result thats been achieved by anyone apart from God. Thats easily quoted by *karmanye vaadhikaarasthe maaphaleshu kadhaachana... * Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj, in his Advaitic style, says that the desire needs to be strong to achieve anything. All exists or happens because things are as they are... the Universe is as it is. That is, the desire is not an individual phenomenon, it arises because the Universe or the Universal energy desires so. If its strong enough to be executed, it is done. There are Westerners who have portrayed it in a different manner. Like Richard Bach's Illusion wherein the story of Messiah has things like swimming in land, walking on water or through the wall. These may well be someone's own desires that are met in the form of illusions. It could also be seen that, not only could the things witnessed by Bach be illusions, but also the very fact that he met a Messiah is one! The movie series Matrix has a similar myth about the rabbit hole. This brings us to something that we are aware of being quoted as *Brahma sathya jagat mithyaa* Its said that the world itself is an Illusion.

You may be wondering where does the topic on desire meet the one on illusion? It does. It does because the desire itself is an illusion. The fact that the world doesn't exist and that there isn't any multiplicity/dualism points to a fact that there is no causality. If there isn't a cause, the desire can't be too, and there isn't an action that needs doing. An action appears to be acting since the causality appears to be the cause. Both are illusions in the mind, that itself doesn't exist!

Its a journey from nothingness to nothingness. So moksha or liberation doesn't seem to be a goal that one travels towards. Its something that exists and is uncovered. Till then, as Steve Jobs says, *the journey is the reward*.

Great Expectations

Expectations are like mother's milk... *essential* (there was this movie that had a dialog that stuck with me). Sometimes, it seems so true, kids betray their parents & blow their expectations. Others do too.

But the other way is not true with parents. They do have expectations from children but all of them are so-selfless; they are not ego-based (except in Hindi movies: "Papa kehte hain bada naam karega...") Parents do not expect things in return when they do good unto us. People say that parents take care of their kids so that the kids can inturn take care of them when grown-up. Recently, with the floods in north-east India, I saw a newspaper photo that had a mother neck-deep in water carrying her child on the head. Now, in this fight for survival, the mother wouldn't even know if she'll live on... but she wants her child to survive. She's not thinking that this child will take care of her because she's crossed him across the flood! The child may easily forget, but the mother won't think of this. Its pretty saddening that most of the children look back on how their parents treated them and then decide of how well to treat them. Parents don't have such point of reference. They mostly like to give their children more than what their parents gave them, no matter how the kid.

Why can't children be so? Or friends? Some friends always end up pointing out your mistakes in an argument. They dig into your problems just to say that they're wiser. If you do a few good things unto a friend, you expect her to live her life according to you! Why have such expectations? Be a parent. Just do good and forget about it. As an old Hindi saying goes: neki kar kuen mein daal.

When two elephants fight... is the grass that gets trampled, says an African proverb. This reminds me of the lesson we had back in school English: Burning the candle at both ends. It talks of quotes as being only partly true. There are examples such as birds of a feather flock together. Then, the author mentions the bird (I forget) that doesn't even fly with its own parent.

Coming back to the subject, I kind of believe a little different from the proverb. Its the middle-class who suffer more compared to the other classes (when things change around). For the rich, there isn't a matter; as for the poor, they always suffer! So whenever there's a change in economy or if two political elephants screw each other up, its the middle-class who take a hit the most. Its due to what I call the middle-class attitude: whatever is earned is spent. If a middle-class person gets a raise, she usually plans how to spend it even before getting the cash at hand! That leads us to a very sensible quote that most of the middle-class ignore: penny saved is penny earned, which is why things are the way they are.

So its not the grass that suffers, its the branches of the trees uprooted that suffer when two elephants fight.