Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Why can't we can't decipher the Indus script?

The answer to this intriguing questions, is right here.

Geek, Nerd or Dork - What are you?

This will help you find the answer!

Screaming for Attention

Smart phones that scream if lost or stolen!

Growing Old (Relatively)

All of us are growing older every moment. I am doing that. You are doing that. Every one is on this one-way trip to being older every moment.

Different people have different ways of going older. Some become senile. Some turn contemplative. Some turn philosophical. Some give up. Some become mature. Some become uninterested.

Me? I am turning younger! I did not believe it initially but now I am convinced that my tastes are becoming younger everyday.

Take a simple example. Music. When I turned 4-5, I discovered these two great things called Radio and TV. They were controlled by the government and I developed a taste for Oldies. From that age the junoon went in all directions old. I became an oldies junkie! However, In the last 1 year or so, I have noticed that I enjoy new songs more than earlier. While I still enjoy oldies, I enjoy new ones too. And the preference for oldies is going down too, although only a bit. Quite the reverse of what one expects!

The same goes for movies, clothes choice and past times and life in general. I enjoy things that are enjoyed by people younger to me.....and less of what is normally expected of my age. Now, is that a case of delayed adoloscence kicking in again, or simply an effect of so many young people around me in my daily work remains to be analysed! Any thoughts?

Why you shouldn't marry a career woman

An interesting article that tries to work out the causation and co-relation of labour specialisation, marriage, careers, divorce and a host of other similarly related and complex issues.

Have a dekko!

Laloo to teach management at IIM-A

Lalooa Express Chali Hai Vastrapur Ki Taraf. Aap bhi baith jaao.


I am a consumer of ICICI Bank. I am fairly satisfied with the banking division with no real complaints. However this page seems to suggest otherwise!

Or as we say "Are you wise or otherwise?"

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Hrishida is dead. An era passes by! Who can ever recreate the magic of Anand, Mili, Chupke-Chupke and Golmaal? The middle-class sensibility he evoked in all of us, the magic he wove on screen, the simple stories that touched our hearts, made us laugh and made us cry are going to live on screen forever.

I am sure, a moment's silence and a silent prayer is not enough in his case. Let us remember him in the style he wanted death to come!

Zindagi Aur Maut Uparwaale Ke Haath Mein Hai Jahapananh! Hum Sab Rangmanch Ki Kathputliyan Hain Jinki Dor Uparwale Ki Ungliyon Se Bandhi Hui Hai. Kab Kaun Uthega Koi Nahin Bata Sakta. Ha ha ha!!!.
(We are all puppets in the hands of the supreme being who holds the strings of our lives. We will never know which string he will pull next).

Monday, August 28, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Advice to All You Graduates: Let's Start With That Daily Latte . . .

I read this on The NY Times. Good piece of advice for youngsters joining the corporate sector!

This is the season for giving advice to graduates as they enter the workplace. Instead of listening to yet another recitation of the usual admonishments to "change the world," "carpe diem," or "wear sunscreen," those graduates — unless they are already trapped on the nonpaying internship hamster wheel — need to hear how to manage their paychecks.

Parents may have tried this. And many will undoubtedly send this article to their children.

But, dear graduate, before you wad this up and toss it next to the keg still sitting there from last week's party, consider this: If you think it is tough living on very little now, imagine what it will be like when you are old and sick.

Surveys say most of you already suspect Social Security will not be around after mom and dad deplete it sometime during your peak earning years. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 61 percent of Americans 18 to 29 years old favored a system of privatized retirement savings accounts.

Let's start with the easy stuff first.

Make your own coffee. You probably know you spend a lot at Starbucks, a company that collected $6.4 billion from coffee drinkers last year. You probably don't have any idea how much of that total came from you. A calculator at let's you figure that out and also forecast how much you will spend over a decade of coffee breaks. (This Web site contains a treasure trove of financial planning calculators.) Say you spend just $3.50 every workday for your latte. If you drank the free office brew instead, you'd have more than $11,500 to play with after 10 years.

Does coffee shop coffee taste better than the free stuff? Probably, but ask yourself, do you want to live in a roach-infested studio apartment with two roommates your entire life?

By the same logic, if you smoke, now is a good time to quit. Doing so will save you on average $25,600 over 10 years.

Learn to cook. Unless you have learned the art of sneaking into conferences at hotels to snag a breakfast croissant or cocktail-hour shrimp, you need to reduce your dining budget. A twice-a-week kung pao chicken takeout habit can easily drain you of about $10,000 over 10 years.

At the very least, learn how to pack a lunch. Taking your lunch to work may seem like the equivalent of sitting with the nerds in the school cafeteria, and going out to lunch with colleagues can sometimes be a smart career move. But bringing your lunch lets you be more choosy about who you are eating with and saves money. How much? Back to the online calculators ( and you'll discover that the savings could be as much as $23,000 in 10 years.

The tally so far: $34,500 (for the nonsmokers), or enough to make a down payment on a $172,500 house. That won't get you much in most big cities, so you really need to exert yourself.

Pay yourself first. If you do everything suggested so far, you haven't had to sacrifice much except perhaps a regular lunch with the office jokers. Now, prepare to sacrifice.

Set aside 10 percent of your paycheck in a savings or brokerage account separate from where the rest of your money goes. You'll be less tempted to spend it if it is hidden away there, unattached to a checkbook or an A.T.M. card. If your employer has direct deposit of paychecks, your paycheck can probably be directed to different places.

Here comes the tough part. You are going to squirrel away this money in addition to the pretax money that you take out of your paycheck to save in the company 401(k). Only 31 percent of workers 18 to 25 participate in a tax-deferred 401(k) retirement plan, according to a recent survey by Hewitt Associates, an employee benefits consulting firm. The others undoubtedly assume that they'll get to it later. About two-thirds of workers 42 to 59 have money set aside in a 401(k).

There is an important reason you want to start early, even though it hurts. Say you withhold $375 a month for your 401(k). In 40 years, you'll have $750,000. But those who waited a decade to get started would have only $377,000.

And guess who delayed? Mom and dad. The average amount in a 401(k) is less than $60,000, according to the Investment Company Institute, a trade association of retirement fund companies. Generation X isn't in any better shape. A study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that 49 percent of those born from 1965 to 1972 won't have enough money at retirement to maintain their standard of living.

Another bit of advice: Stick the money in the broadest stock index fund offered by your plan, not bonds and not a money market fund. Sure, the markets may stumble at some point during the next 45 years, but history has shown that they will rise over a period that long. You take risks when you are young.

Ignore your raises. Every time you get a raise, and you'll get them because you are working hard instead of spending money you don't have, pretend you didn't get one. Bank the entire amount.

Over time, you'll start spending the money. It's human nature. But you'll start spending it more slowly. You'll keep the car another few years. You won't immediately move to a new apartment. All that helps money to accumulate.

By this point, you may be screaming: "I can't afford to do this. There will be nothing left for me to live on. Have you seen my student loans?"

A few words about those loans. The government will make its annual adjustment of interest rates on existing student loans on July 1 to reflect recent increases in all interest rates. Consolidating your loans at a fixed rate to lock in a lower interest rate is one possibility, but you need to calculate if the longer time frame of such loans — and the greater overall interest payments — offset the savings from the lower interest rate. (You can't consolidate consumer loans or credit card debt with the student loans.) You can always pay a loan off early once your salary increases.

Now, back to the hectoring. Having less to spend can help you spend less on frivolous things and save for worthwhile causes. Having less will also make you work harder to get more. If you are comfortable, you get complacent.

Don't borrow to buy depreciating assets Almost every consumer product from an iPod to a sofa is worth less the moment you buy it. You are just paying extra for it with a loan. Borrowing, by the way, means taking out a loan, buying it on installment or using your credit card when you don't have the money to pay off the balance. If you can't afford it, don't buy it.

An exception is a car, which may be a necessity that would be out of reach otherwise. One option to consider is a used car coming off a dealer's lease. They tend to be driven carefully and there are a lot of them thanks to recent incentives from manufacturers. Keep the term of the loan short to minimize cost. The latest edition of the Consumer Reports "Buying Guide" lists the most reliable used models, including the best ones for less than $6,000 like the 2002 Saturn SL sedan and the 2000 Toyota Echo. The guide also includes the less reliable models like the 2002 and 2003 Mini Cooper and the Volkswagen Beetle from 1998 through 2004.

Protect your credit. Eventually you will have to borrow money for a car or a home. If you want to pay as little as possible in interest, you want pristine credit. So make yourself a credit card company's worst customer: pay your bills on time and never carry a balance. No exceptions. To help avoid temptation, use no more than two credit cards. Try to find one that gives you rewards — airline ticket rewards or cash — for using it, but still won't charge a fee for that privilege.

Another technique to cut down on incidental expenses is to train yourself to use the A.T.M. only once a month. Take out enough cash to get you through the month, and when you run out of cash near the end of the month, stop spending. Don't grab for the credit card.

Now go out and seize the day. And wear sunscreen.

Complete Article available at The NY Times Website

An "ode" to RM Singh

RM Singh, ex-principal of my alma mater, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, was a strange man. He ruled with an iron fist and was terror-personified in the college. Arbitrariness was his biggest forte!

He has resigned and there is a palpable sigh of relief and a wave of jubiliation amongst the students/alumni. The man, who single-handedly damaged the college is out now! The college was known for its students, its activities and was considered the best college in Asia for an undergraduate course in management. While the reputation is still intact, it has not the desired progress. Hopefully with his resignation/ouster, things will limp back to normal.

I recently chanced upon a poem, an "ode" to him! Have a look. Thanks to Orkut for this!

Un pake hue sangemarmari baalon mein,
Chamchamati si sunehri maang…
Bas wahi kahin se shuru hota tha,
Hamaare us azeez ka rubaab…

6 foot 4 inch ki us shaksiyat mein bada hi dum tha
Na jaane kyun unhe, bachchon se pyaar thoda kam tha
Kalaf dhula safari suit hafte dar hafte chamakta tha…
Aur usi ki jeb mein kahin, kisi bachche ka shani bhatakta tha

Seena wo taankar, jab college mein chalta tha
Kasam Khuda ki, ek ek ka susu nikalta tha.
Apni char deewari ke dhooein mein, jab tak nahi wo kho jaata tha…
Koi mai ka laal tab tak, canteen jaane ki na soch paata tha.

Vidambana badi ajeeb thi yeh, pal pal main gaur karta tha…
Us shaks nahi….. uski shaksiyat se main darta tha.
PRINCIPAL…aisi takhti unke office ke bahar latakti thi…
Jaane par kareeb, bachche to kya, teacher ki bhi phat ti thi.

Yaad hai mujhe kaise unhone 'Golu' ko first year mein rulaya tha
'Nikaal dunga tujhe'…aisa bol, Dilli Police ki tarah dhamkaya tha
Apne saathiyon ke dukhdon se hamesha main anjaan tha
Ek din aisa bhi aya jab mere paas bhi fine bharne ka farmaan tha.

Kabhi Teacher's Day, kabhi farewell…na jaane kahaan kahaan se log aate the,
Unke bhashan se oob, table fan ki hawa mein hum so jaate the.
Har farewell pe sochte the naachenge gaayenge,
Pata nahi hota tha ki 'sahab' ke hukum se guards humein hi bhagaayenge.

Khair…mausam guzre, zamaane guzre,
Kisse naye kuchh puraane guzre.
Koste hain aaj bhi, kabhi waqt ko, kabhi kismat ko wo…
Unke gusse ki aag se jo chand bewakoof ashiq - deewaane guzre.

Na jaane kahaan se aaj hawa ne, paigaam ye laakar diya…
Ki CBS ne unko aakhir 'ALVIDA' hai kar diya.
Ro rahe hain fachche aaj…aansoo khushi ke hi honge…
Main soch raha hoon yeh hua bhi tab…Jab Ghalib CBS se nikal liya.

Koi chaahe kuchh bhi keh le…Hans le jee bhar ke ya ro le
Main daave se keh sakta hoon…
Humko bhale kabhi na samajh paaye hon wo par…
Main aaj bhi unki izzat karta hoon.

To Sir With Love…

Friday, August 25, 2006

How to sell insurance

You got to see this ad. A bumbling cell-mate makes an unfortunate discovery in a prison cell. The hardest I laughed in years! And to top it all, it is from an Insurance company.

Have a look here.

Surprising science

WHAT makes a scientific paper "surprising" or "unexpected"? Michal Jasienski believes the rapid increase in the frequency of these words in papers' titles is simply a bid by the authors to stand out amid the deluge of publications.

Every minute, on average, two papers are added to the Science Citation Index. When Jasienski, a statistician at National-Louis University in Nowy Sacz, Poland, searched the index he found just 48 occurrences of "surprising" and "unexpected" in titles between 1900 and 1955, but 1660 between 2001 and 2005. The average annual increase in the figure is 10 per cent. At this rate, everything will be surprising before too long.

If grabbing attention is the goal, it is not working. Jasienski took a sample of 100 "surprising" papers and found that on average they were cited by other researchers no more often than 100 matched papers from the same journals. As he notes, this finding may merit a paper with "surprising" in its title.

Chemists appear to be startled more often than other researchers. Jasienski suggests this is a consequence of employing automated techniques that pick out new potential drugs or superconductors, for example, from large collections of randomly synthesised substances. "When theory sleeps and unsupervised playing with chemistry sets is allowed," he concludes, "serendipity rules and research abounds in 'unexpected' outcomes. Chemistry closes a circle and meets her older sister, alchemy."

Source: New Scientist

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Of straight lines and squares

Try solving this geometry proof. Achha Hai!

An Awakening In Bihar

An interesting one from Businessworld

An Awakening In Bihar
How one rural school helps prepare poor youths for the Indian Institutes of Technology

Every April, some 230,000 Indian youths sharpen their pencils and sit for the intensely competitive entrance exam to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) -- the seven prestigious schools that train India's top-notch engineers and entrepreneurs. After the grueling six-hour test, only 5,000 students are offered a place in the IITs. Most come from middle-class backgrounds and prepare for the exams through private coaching. But in the past few years, a small group of desperately poor, talented students have made it into the IITs, thanks to the Ramanujan School of Mathematics.

The school, named after a famous Indian mathematician, is even more intense than the IITs themselves. Located in Patna, the capital of Bihar, one of India's least developed states, the Ramanujan School trains just 30 students a year to take the IIT exam. Anand Kumar, 33, a local mathematician, and Abhayanand, 52, Patna's deputy director general of police and a lover of physics, founded the school in 2003 to help promising locals get ahead in the caste-based society.

They scoured Bihar's least privileged communities for 30 bright students to coach for the exam, providing free lessons and housing. They call their group the Super 30. "Intelligence is not birth-specific," says Abhayanand. In the first year, 16 of the group made it into the IITs. The next year, 22 made it. "This year," Kumar says confidently, "all 30 will get into the IITs."

Santosh Kumar, 19 (no relation to Anand Kumar), is one of this year's Super 30, and his story is typical of his classmates. He's from Dumari, a village in the Bihata district, about 22 miles from Patna. Nearly all the village's 3,000 residents scratch out meager livings as farmers. Santosh's sister and three brothers studied up to 10th grade but then returned to the fields. "Studying further required money, so that was that," he says.

Santosh wanted more. His school had no roof, no doors, and no teachers half the time, but he borrowed books and tutored two young students for 70 cents a month. He also sold vegetables the family cultivated in a nearby market town. "I didn't even know which subjects I was good at, and I'd certainly never heard of IIT. No one had," he says. Then an eighth-grade teacher noticed his mathematical talent and encouraged him to study further.

Santosh saw that "education was the only way out of poverty," he says. At first, he planned to study so he could become an officer in the Indian civil service. After high school, he enrolled in the Patna College of Commerce, and then he heard about the IITs and the Super 30. "I went straightaway to Anand Kumar and told him: 'I dream of IIT, but I have no money.' He gave me his test, and I came second in the class. [He] let me into his Super 30 -- free," Santosh recalls.

For seven months, Santosh studied every morning for four hours, then sat down for a three-hour test in math, physics, and chemistry, and after a break studied three more hours. From six to nine in the evening, he attended a class in the same subjects and prepared for the next day's test until 2 a.m. His work paid off last spring, when he won a coveted seat at the IIT in Kharagpur, near Calcutta. (He ranked 3,537 out of the 5,000 students chosen.) Santosh now aims to earn a doctorate in chemistry and become an inventor. His hero is Abdul Kalam, India's current President and father of the nation's missile program. Just as important, Santosh is on track to be the first person from Dumari to graduate from university, making him a hero in the eyes of his village.

By Manjeet Kripalani

Exception Probat Regulam

People going crazy over what proves what right or wrong. Does the exception prove the rule? Does the rule prove the exception? Do both prove each other? Head here for a no-holds-barred, all flat-out punches look at "Exception Probat Regulam"!

Why Thank You Dear!

Bob was sitting at the table one morning, reading the paper after breakfast.
He came across an article about a beautiful actress who was about to marry a football player known for his lack of IQ.
He turned to his wife and said, "I'll never understand why the biggest jerks get the most attractive wives."
She replied, "Why, thank you, Dear!"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Matter and Anti-Matter

Here are two lists that will interest anyone. With a list of techies who don't matter and a list of business people who do matter it sure makes for interesting reading!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Before You Know It

Before You Know It, is a website that promises to teach you a langugae, before -you guessed it- you know it!

I am planning to learn Latin so that I can murder quotations on my own more freely, instead of depending on others!

e.g. "Vox Populi Vox Dei" becomes "Vox Matri Vox Dei" or for the no-longer-bachelor creed, "Vox Uxori Vox Dei"!

"Cogito Ergo Sum" becomes "Cogito Ergo Confuso" or better still, "Cogita Cogito Ergo Cogito Sum"!

Ah! The Joys of learning Latin - let me explore them

Romantic Ist Lines but Deadly IInd Ones

A local newspaper ran a competition asking for a rhyme with the most romantic first line, but the least romantic second line. Here are some of the entries they received.

I thought that I could love no other,
Until, that is, I met your brother.

Roses are red, violets are blue,
sugar is sweet, and so are you.
But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead,
the sugar bowl's empty and so is your head.

Oh loving beauty you float with grace,
If only you could hide your face.

Kind, intelligent, loving and hot,
This describes everything you are not.

I want to feel your sweet embrace,
But don't take that paper bag off of your face.

I love your smile, your face, and your eyes,
Damn, I'm good at telling lies!

My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife,
Marrying you screwed up my life.

I see your face when I am dreaming,
That's why I always wake up screaming.

My love, you take my breath away,
What have you stepped in to smell this way.

My feelings for you no words can tell,
Except for maybe "go to hell".

Monday, August 21, 2006

Theory of Relativity Challenged

Do you think dat ol'geezer Einsteen-Pops-Knows-It-All got it wrong? Some guys seem to think so and even got a mathematical proof for it. Check out Relativity Challenge for a first-hand shot at it!

Theory and Practice

Sometimes there is a difference between theory and practice. The difference between theory and practice in theory is not as large as the difference between theory and practice in practice.
- Jeff Case

Wow, really blew me!


This is from Mountainwings, a website/newsletter I often refer to.

A Look at Relapse

Although this is about a relapse into alcoholism, it applies to many other areas of life, from overeating to relationship and money problems. Read it carefully.

1. EXHAUSTION - Allowing yourself to become overly tired or in poor health. Some Alcoholics are also prone to work addictions - perhaps in a hurry to make up for lost time. Good health and enough rest are important. If you feel well you are more apt to think well. Feel poorly and your thinking is apt to deteriorate. Feel bad enough and you might begin thinking a drink couldn't make it any worse.

2. DISHONESTY - This begins with a pattern of unnecessary little lies and deceits with fellow workers, friends, and family. Then come important lies to yourself. This is called "rationalizing" - making excuses for not doing what you don't want to do, or for doing what you know you should not do.

3. IMPATIENCE - Things are not happening fast enough. Others are not doing what they should or what you want them to do.

4. ARGUMENTATIVENESS - Arguing small and ridiculous points of view indicates a need to always be right. "Why don't you be reasonable and agree with me?" Looking for an excuse to drink?

5. DEPRESSION - Unreasonable and unaccountable despair may occur in cycles and should be dealt with - talked about.

6. FRUSTRATION - At people and also because things may not be going your way. Remember -- everything is not going to be just the way you want it to be.

7. SELF-PITY - "Why do these things happen to me?" "Why must I be an alcoholic?" "Nobody appreciates all I am doing - for them?"

8. COCKINESS - Got it made - no longer fear alcoholism - going into drinking situations to prove to others you have no problem. Do this often enough and it will wear down your defenses.

9. COMPLACENCY - "Drinking was the furthest thing from my mind." Not drinking was no longer a conscious thought, either. It is dangerous to let up on disciplines just because everything is going well. Always to have a little fear is a good thing. More relapses occur when things are going well than otherwise.

10. EXPECTING TOO MUCH FROM OTHERS - "I've changed, why hasn't everyone else?" It's a plus if they do, but it is still your problem if they do not. They may not trust you yet, may still be looking for further proof. You cannot expect others to change their style of life just because you have.

11. LETTING UP ON DISCIPLINES - Prayer, meditation, daily inventory, AA attendance. This can stem either from complacency or boredom. You cannot afford to be bored with your program. The cost of relapse is always too great.

12. USE OF MOOD-ALTERING CHEMICALS - You may feel the need to ease things with a pill and your doctor may go along with you. You may never have had a problem with chemicals other than alcohol, but you can easily lose sobriety starting this way - about the most subtle way of having a relapse. Remember you will be cheating! The reverse of this is true for drug-dependent persons who start to drink.

13. WANTING TOO MUCH - Do not set goals you cannot reach with normal effort. Do not expect too much. It's always great when good things you were not expecting happen. You will get what you are entitled to as long as you do your best, but maybe not as soon as you think you should. "Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have."

14. FORGETTING GRATITUDE - You may be looking negatively on your life, concentrating on problems that still are not totally corrected. Nobody wants to be a Pollyanna - but it is good to remember where you started from, and how much better life is now.

15. "IT CAN'T HAPPEN TO ME" - This is dangerous thinking. Almost anything can happen to you if you get careless. Remember you have a progressive disease, and you will be in worse shape if you relapse.

16. OMNIPOTENCE - This is a feeling that results from a combination of many of the above. You now have all the answers for yourself and others. No one can tell you anything. You ignore suggestions or advice from others. Relapse is probably imminent unless drastic change takes place.

The above is a checklist of symptoms leading to relapse.
(Taken from a Hazelden Foundation pamphlet called, "A Look at Relapse")
See more at Hazelden Website

Wasn't that nice!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Younger siblings more amusing

Children with older brothers and sisters find it easier to make people laugh, a survey has suggested. Being the younger of two sons, I tend to agree. People tell me I am funnier than my brother is!

Have a look at this article

The Devil's Advocate

A transcript of Arjun Singh's interview from "The Devil's Advocate" on CNN-IBN.

Karan Thapar: Hello and welcome to the Devil's Advocate. As the debate over the reservations for the OBCs divides the country, we ask - What are the government's real intentions? That is the critical questions that I shall put today in an exclusive interview to the Minister for Human Resource Development Arjun Singh. Most of the people would accept that steps are necessary to help the OBCs gain greater access to higher education. The real question is - Why do you believe that reservations is the best way of doing this?

Arjun Singh: I wouldn't like to say much more on this because these are decisions that are taken not by individuals alone. And in this case, the entire Parliament of this country - almost with rare anonymity - has decided to take this decision.

Karan Thapar: Except that Parliament is not infallible. In the Emergency, when it amended the Constitution, it was clearly wrong, it had to reverse its own amendments. So, the question arises - Why does Parliament believe that the reservation is the right way of helping the OBCs?

Arjun Singh: Nobody is infallible. But Parliament is Supreme and atleast I, as a Member of Parliament, cannot but accept the supremacy of Parliament.

Karan Thapar: No doubt Parliament is supreme, but the constitutional amendment that gives you your authorities actually unenabling amendment, it is not a compulsory requirement. Secondly, the language of the amendment does not talk about reservations, the language talks about any provision by law for advancement of socially and educationally backward classes. So, you could have chosen anything other than reservations, why reservations?

Arjun Singh: Because as I said, that was the 'will and desire of the Parliament'.

Karan Thapar: Do you personally also, as Minister of Human Resource Development , believe that reservations is the right and proper way to help the OBCs?

Arjun Singh: Certainly, that is one of the most important ways to do it.

Karan Thapar: The right way?

Arjun Singh: Also the right way.

Karan Thapar: In which case, lets ask a few basic questions; we are talking about the reservations for the OBCs in particular. Do you know what percentage of the Indian population is OBC? Mandal puts it at 52 per cent, the National Sample Survey Organisation at 32 per cent, the National Family and Health Survey at 29.8 per cent, which is the correct figure?

Arjun Singh: I think that should be decided by people who are more knowledgeable. But the point is that the OBCs form a fairly sizeable percentage of our population.

Karan Thapar: No doubt, but the reason why it is important to know 'what percentage' they form is that if you are going to have reservations for them, then you must know what percentage of the population they are, otherwise you don't know whether they are already adequately catered in higher educational institutions or not.

Arjun Singh: That is obvious - they are not.

Karan Thapar: Why is it obvious?

Arjun Singh: Obvious because it is something which we all see.

Karan Thapar: Except for the fact that the NSSO, which is a government appointed body, has actually in its research in 1999 - which is the most latest research shown - that 23.5 per cent of all university seats are already with the OBCs. And that is just 8.5 per cent less than what the NSSO believes is the OBC share of the population. So, for a difference of 8 per cent, would reservations be the right way of making up the difference?

Arjun Singh: I wouldn't like to go behind all this because, as I said, Parliament has taken a view and it has taken a decision, I am a servant of Parliament and I will only implement.

Karan Thapar: Absolutely, Parliament has taken a view, I grant it. But what people question is the simple fact - Is there a need for reservations? If you don't know what percentage of the country is OBC, and if furthermore, the NSSO is correct in pointing out that already 23.5 per cent of the college seats are with the OBC, then you don't have a case in terms of need.

Arjun Singh: College seats, I don't know.

Karan Thapar: According to the NSSO - which is a government appointed body - 23.5 per cent of the college seats are already with the OBCs.

Arjun Singh: What do you mean by college seats?

Karan Thapar: University seats, seats of higher education.

Arjun Singh: Well, I don't know I have not come across that far.

Karan Thapar: So, when critics say to you that you don't have a case for reservation in terms of need, what do you say to them?

Arjun Singh: I have said what I had to say and the point is that that is not an issue for us to now debate.

Karan Thapar: You mean the chapter is now closed?

Arjun Singh: The decision has been taken.

Karan Thapar: Regardless of whether there is a need or not, the decision is taken and it is a closed chapter.

Arjun Singh: So far as I can see, it is a closed chapter and that is why I have to implement what all Parliament has said.

Karan Thapar: Minister, it is not just in terms of 'need' that your critics question the decision to have reservation for OBCs in higher education. More importantly, they question whether reservations themselves are efficacious and can work. For example, a study done by the IITs themselves shows that 50 per cent of the IIT seats for the SCs and STs remain vacant and for the remaining 50 per cent, 25 per cent are the candidates, who even after six years fail to get their degrees. So, clearly, in their case, reservations are not working.

Arjun Singh: I would only say that on this issue, it would not be correct to go by all these figures that have been paraded.

Karan Thapar: You mean the IIT figures themselves could be dubious?

Arjun Singh: Not dubious, but I think that is not the last word.

Karan Thapar: All right, maybe the IIT may not be the last word, let me then quote to you the report of the Parliamentary Committee on the welfare for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes - that is a Parliamentary body. It says that looking at the Delhi University, between 1995 and 2000, just half the seats for under-graduates at the Scheduled Castes level and just one-third of the seats for under-graduates at the Scheduled Tribes level were filled. All the others went empty, unfilled. So, again, even in Delhi University, reservations are not working.

Arjun Singh: If they are not working, it does not mean that for that reason we don't need them. There must be some other reason why they are not working and that can be certainly probed and examined. But to say that for this reason, 'no reservations need to be done' is not correct.

Karan Thapar: Fifty years after the reservations were made, statistics show, according to The Hindustan Times, that overall in India, only 16 per cent of the places in higher education are occupied by SCs and STs. The quota is 22.5 per cent, which means that only two-thirds of the quota is occupied. One third is going waste, it is being denied to other people.

Arjun Singh: As I said, the kind of figures that have been brought out, in my perception, do not reflect the realities. Realities are something much more and of course, there is an element of prejudice also.

Karan Thapar: But these are figures that come from a Parliamentary Committee. It can't be prejudiced; they are your own colleagues.

Arjun Singh: Parliamentary Committee has given the figures, but as to why this has not happened, that is a different matter.

Karan Thapar: I put it to you that you don't have a case for reservations in terms of need, you don't have a case for reservations in terms of their efficacy, why then, are you insisting on extending them to the OBCs?

Arjun Singh: I don't want to use that word, but I think that your argument is basically fallicious.

Karan Thapar: But it is based on all the facts available in the public domain.

Arjun Singh: Those are facts that need to be gone into with more care. What lies behind those facts, why this has not happened, that is also a fact.

Karan Thapar: Let's approach the issue of reservations differently in that case. Reservations mean that a lesser-qualified candidate gets preference over a more qualified candidate, solely because in this case, he or she happens to be an OBC. In other words, the upper castes are being penalised for being upper caste.

Arjun Singh: Nobody is being penalised and that is a factor that we are trying to address. I think that the prime Minister will be talking to all the political parties and will be putting forward a formula, which will see that nobody is being penalised.

Karan Thapar: I want very much to talk about that formula, but before we come to talk about how you are going to address concerns, let me point one other corollary - Reservations also gives preference and favour to caste over merit. Is that acceptable in a modern society?

Arjun Singh: I don't think the perceptions of modern society fit India entirely.

Karan Thapar: You mean India is not a modern society and therefore can't claim to be treated as one?

Arjun Singh: It is emerging as a modern society, but the parameters of a modern society do not apply to large sections of the people in this country.

Karan Thapar: Let me quote to you Jawaharlal Nehru, a man whom you personally admire enormously. On the 27th of June 1961 wrote to the Chief Ministers of the day as follows: I dislike any kind of reservations. If we go in for any kind of reservations on communal and caste basis, we will swamp the bright and able people and remain second rate or third rate. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost. And then he adds pointedly: This way lies not only folly, but also disaster. What do you say to Jawaharlal Nehru today?

Arjun Singh: Jawaharlal Nehru was a great man in his own right and not only me, but everyone in India accept his view.

Karan Thapar: But you are just about to ignore his advice.

Arjun Singh: No. Are you aware that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who introduced the first ammendment regarding OBCs?

Karan Thapar: Yes, and I am talking about Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961, when clearly he had changed his position, he said - I dislike any kind of reservations.

Arjun Singh: I don't think one could take Panditji's position at any point of time and then overlook what he had himself initiated.

Karan Thapar: Am I then to understand that regardless of the case that is made against reservations in terms of need, regardless of the case that has been made against reservations in terms of efficacy, regardless of the case that has been made against reservations in terms of Jawaharlal Nehru, you remain committed to extending reservations to the OBCs.

Arjun Singh: I said because that is the will of Parliament. And I think that common decisions that are taken by Parliament have to be honoured.

Karan Thapar: Let me ask you a few basic questions - If reservations are going to happen for the OBCs in higher education, what percentage of reservations are we talking about?

Arjun Singh: No, that I can't say because that has yet to be decided.

Karan Thapar: Could it be less than 27 per cent?

Arjun Singh: I can't say anything on that, I have told you in the very beginning that at this point of time it is not possible for me to.

Karan Thapar: Quite right. If you can't say, then that also means that the figure has not been decided.

Arjun Singh: The figure will be decided, it has not been decided yet.

Karan Thapar: The figure has not been decided. So, therefore the figure could be 27, but it could be less than 27 too?

Arjun Singh: I don't want to speculate on that because as I said, that is decision, which will be taken by Parliament.

Karan Thapar: Whatever the figure, one thing is certain that when the reservations for OBCs happen, the total quantum of reservations will go up in percentage terms. Will you compensate by increasing the total number of seats in colleges, universities, IITs and IIMs, so that the other students don't feel deprived.

Arjun Singh: That is one of the suggestions that has been made and is being seriously considered.

Karan Thapar: Does it find favour with you as a Minister for Human Resource Development?

Arjun Singh: Whatever suggestion comes, we are committed to examine it.

Karan Thapar: You may be committed to examine it, but do you as minister believe that that is the right way forward?

Arjun Singh: That could be one of the ways, but not the only way.

Karan Thapar: What are the other ways?

Arjun Singh: I don't know. That is for the Prime Minister and the other ministers to decide.

Karan Thapar: One way forward would be to increase the total number of seats.

Arjun Singh: Yes, definitely.

Karan Thapar: But the problem is that as the Times of India points out, we are talking of an increase of perhaps as much as 53 per cent. Given the constraints you have in terms of faculty and infrastructure, won't that order of increase dilute the quality of education?

Arjun Singh: I would only make one humble request, don't go by The Times of India and The Hindustan Times about faculty and infrastructure, because they are trying to focus on an argument which they have made.

Karan Thapar: All right, I will not go by The Times of India, let me instead go by Sukhdev Thorat, the Chairman of the UGC. He points out that today, at higher education levels - that is all universities, IITs and IIMs - there is already a 1.2 lakh vacancy number. 40 per cent of these are in teaching staff, which the IIT faculty themselves point out that they have shortages of up to 30 per cent. Given those two constraint, can you increase the number of seats?

Arjun Singh: That can be addressed and that shortage can be taken care of.

Karan Thapar: But it can't be taken care of in one swoop, it will take several years to do it.

Arjun Singh: I don't know whether it can be taken care of straightway or in stages, that is a subject to be decided.

Karan Thapar: Let me ask you bluntly, if you were to agree to compensate for reservations for OBCs by increasing the number of seats, would that increase happen at one go, or would it be staggered over a period of two-three or four year old process.

Arjun Singh: As I told you, it is an issue that I cannot comment upon at this moment because that is under examination.

Karan Thapar: So, it may happen in one go and it may happen in a series of several years.

Arjun Singh: I can't speculate on that because that is not something on which I am free to speak on today.

Karan Thapar: Will the reservation for OBCs, whatever figure your Committee decides on, will it happen in one go, or will it slowly be introduced in stages?

Arjun Singh: That also I cannot say because as I told you, all these issues are under consideration.

Karan Thapar: Which means that everything that is of germane interest to the people concerned is at the moment 'under consideration' and the government is not able to give any satisfaction to the students who are deeply concerned.

Arjun Singh: That is not the point. The government knows what to do and it will do what is needed.

Karan Thapar: But if the government knows what to do, why won't you tell me what the government wants to do?

Arjun Singh: Because unless the decision is taken, I cannot tell you.

Karan Thapar: But you can share with me as the Minister what you are thinking.

Arjun Singh: No.

Karan Thapar: So, in other words, we are manitaining a veil of secrecy and the very people who are concerned...

Arjun Singh: I am not maintaining a veil of secrecy. I am only telling you what propriety allows me to tell you.

Karan Thapar: Propriety does not allow you to share with the people who are protesting on the streets what you are thinking?

Arjun Singh: I don't think that that can happen all the time.

Karan Thapar: But there are people who feel that their lives and their futures are at stake and they are undertaking fasts until death.

Arjun Singh: It is being hyped up, I don't want to go into that.

Karan Thapar: Do you have no sympathy for them?

Arjun Singh: I have every sympathy.

Karan Thapar: But you say it is being hyped up.

Arjun Singh: Yes, it is hyped up.

Karan Thapar: So, then, what sympathy are you showing?

Arjun Singh: I am showing sympathy to them and not to those who are hyping it up.

Karan Thapar: The CPM says that if the reservations for the OBCs are to happen, then what is called the creamy layer should be excluded. How do you react to that?

Arjun Singh: The creamy layer issue has already been taken care of by the Supreme Court.

Karan Thapar: That was vis -a-vis jobs in employment, what about at the university level, should they be excluded there as well because you are suggesting that the answer is yes?

Arjun Singh: That could be possible.

Karan Thapar: It could be possible that the creamy layer is excluded from reservations for OBCs in higher education?

Arjun Singh: It could be, but I don't know whether it would happen actually.

Karan Thapar: Many people say that if reservations for OBCs in higher education happen, then the children of beneficiaries should not be entitled to claim the same benefit.

Arjun Singh: Why?

Karan Thapar: So that there is always a shrinking base and the rate doesn't proliferate.

Arjun Singh: I don't think that that is a very logical way of looking at it.

Karan Thapar: Is that not acceptable to you?

Arjun Singh: No, it is not the logical way of looking at it.

Karan Thapar: So, with the possible exception of the creamy layer exclusion, reservation for OBCs in higher education will be almost identical to the existing reservations for SC/STs?

Arjun Singh: Except for the percentage.

Karan Thapar: Except for the percentage.

Arjun Singh: Yes.

Karan Thapar: So, in every other way, they will be identical.

Arjun Singh: Yes, in every other way.

Karan Thapar: Mr Arjun Singh, on the 5th of April when you first indicated that the Government was considering reservation for OBCs in higher education, was the Prime Minister in agreement that this was the right thing to do?

Arjun Singh: I think, there is a very motivated propaganda is on this issue. Providing reservation to OBCs was in the public domain right from December 2005, when Parliament passed the enabling resolution.

Karan Thapar: Quite true. But had the Prime Minister specifically agreed on or before 5th of April to the idea?

Arjun Singh: Well, I am telling you it was already there. A whole Act was made, the Constitution was amended and the Prime Minister was fully aware of what this is going to mean. Actually, he had a meeting in which OBC leaders were called to convince them that this would give them the desired advantage. And they should, therefore, support this resolution. And at that meeting, he himself talked to them. Now, how do you say that he was unaware?

Karan Thapar: But were you at all aware that the Prime Minister might be in agreement with what was about to happen but might not wish it disclosed publicly at that point of time? Were you aware of that?

Arjun Singh: It was already there in public domain, that's what I am trying to tell you.

Karan Thapar: Then answer this to me. Why are members of the PMO telling journalists that Prime Minister was not consulted and that you jumped the gun?

Arjun Singh: Well, I don't know which member of the PMO you are talking about unless you name him.

Karan Thapar: Is there a conspiracy to make you the fall guy?

Arjun Singh: Well, I don't know whether there is one or there is not. But fall guys are not made in this way. And I am only doing what was manifestly clear to every one, was cleared by the party and the Prime Minister. There is no question of any personal agenda.

Karan Thapar: They say that, in fact, you brought up this issue to embarrass the Prime Minister.

Arjun Singh: Why should I embarrass the Prime Minister? I am with him. I am part of his team.

Karan Thapar: They say that you have a lingering, forgive the word, jealousy because Sonia Gandhi chose Manmohan Singh and not you as Prime Minister.

Arjun Singh: Well, that is canard which is below contempt. Only that person can say this who doesn't know what kind of respect and regard I hold for Sonia Gandhi. She is the leader. Whatever she decides is acceptable to me.

Karan Thapar: They also say that you brought this issue up because you felt that the Prime Minister had been eating into your portfolio. Part of it had gone to Renuka Chaudhury and, in fact, your new deputy minister Purandar Sridevi had taken over certain parts. This was your way of getting back.

Arjun Singh: No one was taking over any part. This is a decision which the Prime Minister makes as to who has to have what portfolio. And he asked Mrs Renuka Devi to take it and he cleared it with me first.

Karan Thapar: So there is no animus on your part?

Arjun Singh: Absolutely not.

Karan Thapar: They say that you did this because you resented the Prime Minister's popular image in the country, that this was your way of embroiling him in a dispute that will make him look not like a modern reformer but like an old-fashioned, family-hold politician instead.

Arjun Singh: Well, the Tammany Hall political stage is over> He is our Prime Minister and every decision he has taken is in the full consent with his Cabinet and I don't think there can be any blame on him.

Karan Thapar: One, then, last quick question. Do you think this is an issue, which is a sensitive issue, where everyone knew there would have been passions and emotions that would have aroused has been handled as effectively as it should have been?

Arjun Singh: Well, I have not done anything on it. I have not sort of what you call jumped the gun. If this is an issue, which is sensitive, everyone has to treat it that way.

Karan Thapar: But your conscience as HRD Minister is clear?

Arjun Singh: Absolutely clear.

Karan Thapar: There is nothing that you could have done to make it easier for the young students?

Arjun Singh: Well, I am prepared to do anything that can be done. And it is being attempted.

Karan Thapar: For seven weeks, they have been protesting in the hot sun. No minister has gone there to appease them, to alley their concerns, to express sympathy for them. Have politicians let the young people of India down?

Arjun Singh: Well, I myself called them. They all came in this very room.

Karan Thapar: But you are the only one.

Arjun Singh: You are accusing me only. No one else is being accused.

Karan Thapar: What about the Government of India? Has the Government of India failed to respond adequately?

Arjun Singh: From the Government of India also, the Defence Minister met them.

Karan Thapar: Only recently.

Arjun Singh: That is something because everyone was busy with the elections.

Karan Thapar: For seven weeks no one met them.

Arjun Singh: No, but we are very concerned. Certainly, all of us resent the kind of force that was used. I condemned it the very first day it happened.

Karan Thapar: All right, Mr Arjun Singh. We have reached the end of this interview. Thank you very much for speaking on the subject.

Good review of Omkara

A nice review of the movie can be found here.

Lyrics - Omkara - Beedi

Here are the complete lyrics of Beedi from Omkara. A very rustic song, as I noticed earlier too. There is one place I could not catch the word. That is marked as "????????". Such an occurrence is likely to become a mondegreen.

Na Gilaf Na Lihaf,
Na Gilaf Na Lihaf,
Thandi Hawa Bhi Khilaf Sassurrree,

Na Gilaf Na Lihaf,
Thandi Hawa Bhi Khilaf Sassurrree,

Ho Itti Sardi Hai Kisi Ka Lihaf Le Layeele
Ja Padosi Ke Chulhe Se Aag Layeele,

Bidi Jalaeele Jigar Se, Jigar Maan Mein Badee Aag Hai,
Bidi Jalaeele Jigar Se, Jigar Maan Mein Badee Aag Hai

Dhun Na Nikalio Lab Se Piya, Je Duniya Badi Ghag Hai
Bidi Jalaeele Jigar Se, Jigar Maan Mein Badee Aag Hai

Na Gilaf Na Lihaf,
Thandi Hawa Bhi Khilaf Sassurrree,
Ho Itti Sardi Hai Kisi Ka Lihaf Le Layeele
Ja Padosi Ke Chulhe Se Aag Layeele,

Na Kasoor Na Fatoor,
Na Kasoor Na Fatoor,
Bina Jurram Ke Hazoor Mar Gayee Ho Mar Gayee

Ho Aise Ik Din Dupahari Bulaye Liyo Re
Baandh Ghungroo Kachahari Lagaye Liyo Re
Bulaye Liyo Re, Bulaye Liyo Re, Dupahari
Lagaye Liyo Re, Lagaye Liyo Re, Kachahari

Angeethi Jalayee Le Re, Jigar Se Piya, Jigar Maan Mein Badee Aag Hai
Angeethi Jalayee Le Re Jigar Se Piya, Jigar Maan Mein Badee Aag Hai

Ho Na Toh Chakkuon Ki Dhaar, Na Daranti Na Katar,
Na Toh Chaakuon Ki Dhaar, Na Daranti Na Katar,
Aisa Kaate Ke Daant Ka Nisan Ka Chhod De,
Ke Katai Toh Koi Bhi Kisan Chhod De,

Ho Aise Jaalim Ka Chhod De Makaan Chhod De Re Billo,
Jaalim Ka Chhod De Makaan Chhod De,
Re Aise Jaalim Ka Ho Aise Jaalim Ka
Aise Jaalim Ka Chhod De Makan Chhod De,

Na Bulaya Na Bataya
Na Bulaya Na Bataya
Mhane Neend Se Jagaya Hai Re,
Aisa ???????? Lihaf Mein Naseeb Aa Gaya
Woh Elaichi Khilai Ke Kareeb Aa Gaya

Koyla Jalai Le
Jigar Se Piya
Jigar Maa Badi Aag Hai

Ho Itti Sardi Hai Kisi Ka Lihaf Le Layeele
O Jaa Padosi O Jaa Padosi
Jaa Jaa Padosi O Jaa Padosi Ke
Chulhe Se Aag Layeele

Saturday, August 19, 2006

New Funny One-Liners

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
- H.L. Mencken

In a poll, one in four said they'd donate a kidney to a complete stranger. Right, while 90 percent won't let a stranger merge in traffic.
- Jay Leno

The government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.
- George Bernard Shaw

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, unless you're a masochist.

The Vatican is against surrogate mothers. Good thing they didn't have that rule when Jesus was born.
- Elayne Boosler

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Recently watched Omkara. Hard hitting! Shakespeare's story with an Indian twist was good. The western UP setting was good. The abusive language is in keeping with the movie's mood and dark undercurrent.

I think this is Saif Ali Khan's best work. I, for one, could not imagine him in that Avatar, but he does it better than anyone could have. I think the reason he carries it off is because he is not expected to, so the burden of expectation is not present. He performs, knowing that he is expected to fail. To me, this is not Ajay Devgan or Kareena's movie. This is Saif's movie.

Vivek Oberoi was pathetic. He has the worst role or the worst rendering of the role, or may be both. Wonder what is he doing with himself after some really intense work in earlier movies.

The music is smashing! All songs are fantastic. The lyrics of the three fast songs are, what one calls, rustic and earthy. The others are soulful.

Hats off to Vishal Bhardwaj. I wonder can anyone do a better job of adapting Shakespeare for India. May be Mani Ratnam or Ramu Gopal Verma.

Coming up next from me - What if Govinda and David Dhawan were to attempt an Othello!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Last Name?

This one killed me

As a switchboard operator in one of Philadelphia's busiest hotels, I often relay messages to guests. One evening a gentleman called me because the message light on his phone was flashing. "This is Mr. Branson in Room 1162. Do you have a message for me?"

"Yes," I replied, "the message is from Sue. She says she loves you and misses you."

There was silence on the other end before he asked, "Did she leave a last name?"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ave Maria

If one wants a truly spiritual experience then listen to "Ave Maria". It is a famous devotional song/prayer but recently I heard the best rendition! A moving experience beyond compare!

One can download the following two files.

They are 2 parts of the same file. You will need both. Then open them using winrar. Hey Presto! You get the files!

Lawless Bihar Turning a New Tide?

As this report points out, the Law may be making a comeback to Bihar. Kehte Hain Naa, Der Aayad Durust Aayad!

Monday, August 14, 2006

What would you do?

A young clergyman, fresh out of seminary, thought it would help him better understand the fears and temptations his future congregations faced if he first took a job as a policeman for several months. He passed the physical examination; then came the oral exam to test his ability to act quickly and wisely in an emergency.

Among other questions he was asked, "What would you do to disperse a frenzied crowd?"

He thought for a moment and then said, "I would take up a collection."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Did IIT teach you something?

This is a very interesting blog entry that I found on this blog. It is a fairly frustrated look at the IITs!

However, I agree with one point. In my interaction with IITians, I am impressed by less than 5% of the people. The rest 95% are average or below average. This ratio is the same for other colleges, so I am forced to conclude that all colleges are created equal. Read the article to get a better idea!

Have you ever wondered whether the university you went to actually taught you something that other universities do not? I've often wondered this. Not so much because I thought the university I went to taught me something special, but because I've run across a group of people who have gone to particular institutions, and who seem to behave as if they did learn something different. What's really piqued my curiosity is the fact that this group of universities is acclaimed as among the best in the world. This particular group, known collectively as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), seems to nurture a common behavior amongst its students. Perhaps it can be termed as IIT culture. Or perhaps calling it culture is being too kind. Regardless, let's explore some of these traits.

One thing you will know about IIT grads is that they are particularly proud of the fact that they managed to spend 4 of the best years of their lives cooped up with other students with an equal lack of understanding about what is really important in life. I mean, do you really want to spend your most youthful, virile years trapped with a group of nerds who get really excited about calculus? Wouldn't you rather be in the company of stylishly dressed, beautiful people, like there are in the nearby fashion institutes, or business colleges? I mean, calculus stays the same whether you are introduced to it at age 18 or age 24. But all the beautiful women get hooked up way before they reach 24. And those that don't are beyond the IIT grads' reach anyway, for they have greater ambitions in life than to be seen roaming around with IIT grads.

So why this particular pride that you are an IIT grad? I would think it should be a source of shame -- an admission that you are totally clueless about what your priorities should be at this particularly important stage in your life. What baffles me is that these IIT grads are very fond of relating this horrendous blunder to everybody. For example, they will make it a point to bring that fact up in any conversation, even if it has nothing to do with education or college. For example, I have actually had this conversation with an IIT grad:

Me: “Hi. How are you doing today?”

IIT Grad: “Back when I was in IIT - Bombay, all the dumb people who didn't get accepted to IIT used to greet us that way. We, of course, had no time for such idle banter, as we had more important pursuits in life, like calculus. So, what university did you go to?”

At this point, if you answer anything other than IIT, chances are the person will look right beyond you, as if you do not exist and it is not worth their time to talk to you, specially about their current state of being. If you, however, happen to be a particularly attractive woman, you may get some response from them, as long as the next words out of your mouth are, “Oooooh, you must be smart.” If you, however, do not seem suitably impressed by this revelation, then you are likely to be branded a bimbo, and not worth their time.

Another thing I've noticed about these IIT grads is that they seem to think they have a particular understanding of the sciences that other grads are not privy to. So they will choose to ignore you in scientific conversations, as if you are incapable of completely grasping the problem. They seem to think that some different laws of physics apply to IIT grads. I wouldn't be surprised if they fully expect to field problems as follows:

Question 1.a. “If a person throws a rock into the air with an angle of trajectory alpha, with an initial velocity of v, then how far will it travel from their location?”

Question 1.b. (extra credit) “How much further will the rock travel if it was thrown by an IIT grad?”

Of course, us mere mortals know that the real answer to 1.b. is 0, because the IIT grad probably couldn't pick up the rock off the ground to begin with. And probably would have made some comment about how it was too menial a task and below his dignity. However, this is a great question to ask a group of IIT grads at a party, in case they are boring you with stories about their experiences living in the dorms. Just ask them this question, and all the IIT grads will take great pleasure in explaining to each other how they figured out the answer, and how that method is far superior to anybody else's method. You, however, will be spared the agony of having to participate in this animated discussion, thankfully, for how could a not-IIT grad possibly have anything to contribute to this conversation?

I think a lot of these people are under the misguided impression that anybody here in the US cares which university they graduated from. I have seen some people try to use this as a pickup line at bars, thinking that this would make a more profound impression on women -- more so than someone who has actually gone to the gym to exercise and stay in shape. Of course, the IIT grads' impression about weight lifting is carrying both volumes of Halliday and Resnick to class everyday (yes, I know most normal people who went to normal universities are not aware that there actually is a second volume of Halliday and Resnick, and the first volume was not all that there is to physics). But rest assured, that does not particularly impress the women at bars either.

Now, at this point, you may well ask, “But what about the women who also go to IIT?” What about them? The first thing to note here is that the ratio of men to women at IIT is not exactly 1:1. There are far fewer women at the IITs. And there is a very good reason for that. It's because women are far smarter than men. They have long figured out that the really successful people in life do not work as engineers. The really successful people in life either sing, or dance, or act, or design clothes, or run motels or sandwich shops. And going to IIT does not help you do any of these better. In fact, what the IIT grads learn are things like computer design and programming, so they can be the slaves in the side businesses funded by the people who either sing, or dance, or act, or design clothes, or run motels or sandwich shops.

And the few women that actually decide to join IIT are even smarter, for they have figured out that they will get much better treatment when there are 199 men vying for every woman's attention. And anybody who has been to Vegas knows those are pretty darn good odds. Of course, the drawback is that your grand prize is another IIT grad.

But surely there must be something that these IIT grads learned in their 4 years of being cooped up with other nerds. To explore this possibility, I decided to observe the IIT grads at work for one whole week. I carefully noted all their actions without them noticing me. That was not hard -- I had already told them I was not an IIT grad, so as far as they were concerned, I did not exist anyway. I noted their irritating habit of wearing slippers to work. I noted their desire to talk about esoteric and inconsequential subjects in the most animated manner, in the vain hope that it would impress all the women in the marketing and sales department. After the end of that week, I spent the following week observing all the other people at work. Then I complied and tabulated and collated all my data. After poring over the results, I did see a trend emerge.

To a person, I noticed that all the IIT grads consistently made really good coffee! No other group of people were nearly as meticulous, in measuring just the right amount of coffee grinds, positioning the coffee pot exactly under the dispenser so as not to spill a single drop, and adding the exact amount of water each time, as the collective group of 5 IIT grads in our company. Why, one of the men actually even mixed equal amounts of cold water and hot water from the bottled water dispenser, so that the coffee maker was consistently being fed water at the same temperature every time. I must say, I really marveled at the thoughtfulness of this person to use the bottled water rather than the tap water. And he felt the sides of the coffee pot to ascertain that the water was indeed at the desired temperature. What this resulted in was coffee that always tasted exactly the same, with no spillage whatsoever, and was consistently good.

So there you have it. Those 4 years of hard work at IIT have indeed enabled these people to claim something that no other place of learning has been able to so consistently impart to all its students. All you other mere mortals keep this fact in mind the next time you need to refill your coffee, and the pot is empty. Go find the nearest IIT grad, and engage him in some conversation as you steer him towards the coffee station. And watch the expert at work. You will need to be creative in order to get the IIT grad to talk to you though. I suggest you ask him some technical question, along the lines of, “If I picked up a rock and threw it into the air with an angle of trajectory alpha, with an initial velocity of v…” This will surely get the IIT grad going, as he gallantly demonstrates to you how elegantly and effortlessly he can solve this problem, and make coffee at the same time!

And this will also give you a good way of responding to one of these creatures in case you happen to run into them at a party. If you happen to ask them how they are, and they respond in the expected fashion by telling you they are from IIT, interrupt them immediately by exclaiming, “Oooooh, you must make really good coffee!”

Award Winning Ads

These are really cool!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Queen of England gets Rat Infested House under Medieval Law

MANCHESTER, England - As royal households go, Queen Elizabeth II's newest acquisition is unlikely to be confused with Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.

No faithful butlers are on call. Tourists certainly won't spot the monarch's insignia fluttering in the wind. The main features of 9 Parkdale Ave. in Manchester, northwest England, are the rats and the collapsing roof. Its value: a not-so princely 35,000 pounds ($66,000).

The queen has been crowned the owner of the abandoned two-bedroom, red-brick house in the city's scruffy Gorton district, thanks to a medieval legal loophole.

Aggravated neighbors had spent the past decade pressing Manchester City Council to fix the derelict, vandalized property. It took years of investigation to identify the building's last owner, a dissolved company. The son of its former director refused to take responsibility for 9 Parkdale Ave., and the rot set in.

Officials at the council spent months scratching their heads until they discovered that, under a 607-year-old law, ownership for abandoned dwellings in the area automatically reverts to the British monarch. The council has asked the queen's law firm, Farrer & Co. of London, for permission to sell the property -- which might fetch a better price because of its royal connections. The queen has not yet replied.

Ralph McCabe, 52, who lives next door, is hoping the queen will spruce up the joint. He says he's caught 109 rats in the past six months. "If she doesn't like it [the house], she could always give it to Prince Charles and Camilla," McCabe suggested. Another neighbor, Peter Hyde, 57, joked that he was thinking of placing a crest on the door and lining the street with Union Jack flags. "Hopefully it could become a big tourist attraction. Then the council would have to do something about this mess," he said.


Real Knowledge

I am always moved by this line and this thought!

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.

And a toungue-in-cheek look :)

A specialist is one who knows more and more about less and less, till he knows everything about nothing!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Punjabi Translations of Nursery Rhymes

I - Original:
'Pussy cat Pussy cat, where have you been?'
'I have been to London to see the Queen'
'Pussy cat Pussy cat what did you there?'
'I frightened a little mouse under the chair!'
Punjabi Translation:
'Mano Billi, Mano Billi, kithe gai si?'
'Rani Ji nu milan main vilayat gai si'
'Ki chan chareya tu othe ja ke?'
'Ghar wapis aa gai main chuhe kha ke!'

II - Original
'Baa Baa Black sheep have you any wool?'
'Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full
One for the master, one for the dame,
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.'
Punjabi Translation:
'Kali Bhed, Kali Bhed, hai kucch unn?'
'Haan bhai, Haan bhai, Tin pandan gin,
Ek tere waste, ek teri woti lai
Ek us munde lai jehra khara raste'.

III - Original
Humphty Dumphty sat on a wall,
Humphty Dumphty had a great fall,
All the kings' horses, all the kings' men
Couldn't put Humphty Dumphty together again
Punjabi Translation:
Baba Karnail Singh baitha si Dukaan te
Baba Karnail Singh diggya dhadam se,
Pind de log phir aa ke kehan lagge,
Baba Karnail Singh te gaya hun kaam se.

Juvenile Humour

This is fairly immature and juvenile humour, however I cannot resist the temptation of posting it! Read it at your peril!

kyon chalti hai pawan ?
because of evaporation

kyon jhoome hai gagan ?
because of earth's revolution

kyon machalta hai mann ?
because of excessive respiration

na tum janno na hum ?
but i just gave all the answers

kyon aati hai bahar ?
because of change in season

kyon lutata hai kaarar ?
becuase of mental tension

kyon hota hai pyaar ?
because of fatal attraction

na tum janno na hum ?
like i said these are all science phenomena

kyon gum hai har disha ?
because u have lost the sense of direction

kyon hota hai nasha ?
because of drug addiction

kyon aata hai maza?
because of food’s temptation

na tum janno na hum?
I think u r jealous from my intelligence!

5 lessons from Kotler

5 lessons from the undisputed Guru of marketing.

Kotler's 5 lessons.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


A halarious look at friendship, thanks to Satyendra Kuntal.

Udhas Mat Ho Yaar,
Dono Mil ke Dobara Zanzir Banayenge.
Tum BIG B Ban Jana, Hum Pran Ban Jayenge.
Tum Big B Ki Tarah Farz Nibhana,
Hum Pran Ki Tarah Dosti Nibhayenge.
Agar Film Flop Ho Gayi Toh Bilkul Naa Gharbrana,
Dono Station Par Chai Ki Dukan Chalayenge.
Tum Chai Banana Aur Hum Chai-Chai Chillayenge.
Magar Dosti Toh Nibhayenge!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Baiters Teach Scammers a Lesson

They pilfer nearly $200 million from Americans annually and drive some of their victims to suicide, but Nigeria's notorious e-mail scam artists may finally have met their match -- and the results can be hilarious.

Look here for more details!

Are you an Orkut Junkie?

Are you one? The surefire sign of that, the best symptom, the one way to know that, that I have found is:

When you log on to the net and check your orkut account, before you check your email, tab samajho tumhe Orkut se pyar ho gaya pyare!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Outsourcing Blues

I was trying to find stuff to talk about today, it was a slow news day, so I found this. On this day in 1492, Columbus set sail from Europe, looking for a sea route to India - and ended up in America. And ironically, if you make a call from Europe to a company in America today - it's re-routed to India.
-Jay Leno

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Have Lunch with God

A really beautiful one that touched me!

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her some chips. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!

They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug.

She gave him her biggest smile ever..

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"

He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?" She replied! "I ate potato chips in the park with God." However, before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime! Embrace all equally.Have lunch with God ....... all it takes is....chips!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Alien Message

Scientists have decoded the first low-frequency radio waves from an alien civilization ever to reach Earth.

Simply send 6 x 1050 atoms of Hydrogen to the Star System at the top of the list, cross off that star system, then put your Star System at the bottom of the list and send it to 100 other Star Systems. Within one-tenth of a Galactic Rotation you will receive enough hydrogen to power your civilization until entropy reaches maximum! IT REALLY WORKS!

Some quotes

People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.
- Soren Aabye Kierkegaard

Flattery is telling other people exactly what they think of themselves.
- Anonymous

A genius is a person regularly inspired.
- Anonymous

A wise person is one who simplifies knowledge.
- Anonymous

The last two are courtsey Ambika Kumar!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Proper Words

In promulgating your esoteric cogitation or articulating your superficial sentimentalities, and amicable philosophical or psychological observations, beware of platitudinous ponderosity. Let your conversational communications possess a compacted conciseness, a clarified comprehensibility, a coalescent cogency, and a concatenated consistency. Eschew obfuscation and all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity, jejune babblement, and asinine affectations. Let your extemporaneous descanting and unpremeditated expatiation have intelligibility and voracious vivacity without rodomontade or thrasonical bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous prolificacy, and vain vapid verbosity.

In other words: "Be brief and don't use big words."

The loneliness of Noam Chomsky

One of the greatest joys in life is reading something good. Something that makes one ponder, ruminate and occasionally, regurgitate.

Teaching RC, in addition to other ones, has the major benefit of being able to explain the finer meanings of the written word. I recently took the same class for some 5 batches in a single week. One of the passages, is fairly tough and really takes some time for most students for its meaning to be clarified. However, once it is clear, the astonishment is there to see.

I searched for it on the net, and it turns out to be a part of an introduction written by Arundhati Roy for Noam Chomsky's book.

Have a look.