Wednesday, April 26, 2006

When will the tyranny end ??

A 17 year girl commited suicide by jumping off the third floor of her school. The family claims that the school authorities were putting her through stress, that resulted in her taking the fatal decision while the school authorities are blaming the girls personal life was the driving force for her death.

Most of the kids spend their childhood, wraught with tensions, fear and stress. They get lost in the rat race that is created by schools and actively supported by parents. Both the schools and families should be blamed for this tragic situation of the children that has become a norm in our society. I can hardly remember the days when I enjoyed my time at school and there was hardly any time, I looked forward for a working day at school. Even the games class in the school, which is supposed to be a fun class, was not enjoyable to me as most of the PT teachers treated us like weaklings, on whom they can take out some of the frustrations off their personal lives. As a kid, I was tremondously afraid to speak up to a teacher and there is not a single teacher I can think of, who encouraged this with his or her students. Sadly the same apathy towards free thinking and free speech continues through our adoloscence and adulthood. The teachers seem to enjoy the fear that the students harbour in them and I suspect this gave them a false sense of being important that they missed so badly in their personal lives.

We have had enough of this tyranny and it is high time we bring out a revolution in the way the kids are treated in our society. Its time we treat our kids as kids, literally or else stories like this will become a common occurance.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Some Humour

Carpe Diem

A poem by Robert Herrick in 1600's that talks about the importance of present and exhorts the women (people in general), to make most of the present instead of waiting for the future.

Robin Williams playing the role of John Keating in the movie "Dead poets society", reads this poem to inspire his students to become extraordinary and to make most of their youth (present). He teaches them the latin term Carpe diem which means Seize the day, for the sentiment "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may". Captivating words of wisdom these....

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

Robert Herrick

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Prologue to Bertrand Russell's Autobiography

What I Have Lived For

" Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what--at last--I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me. "

For starters, Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) won the Nobel prize for literature for his History of Western Philosophy and was the co-author of Principia Mathematica.

Sir Betrand Russell has had a great influence on me. The same three passions he mentioned in his prologue seem to hold sway on my life at this moment. To be able to articulate his emotions and understanding of life so beautifully is an amazing skill. I have read his book "The conquest of happiness" and this book has influenced a lot, my perception of happyness and life. I am looking forward to read his autobiography

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How abnormal am I ?

You Are 36% Abnormal

You are at low risk for being a psychopath. It is unlikely that you have no soul.

You are at high risk for having a borderline personality. It is very likely that you are a chaotic mess.

You are at low risk for having a narcissistic personality. It is unlikely that you are in love with your own reflection.

You are at medium risk for having a social phobia. It is somewhat likely that you feel most comfortable in your mom's basement.

You are at low risk for obsessive compulsive disorder. It is unlikely that you are addicted to hand sanitizer.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

My nephew Chintu

Does nature's creation get any cuter than him?

The king of melody - Ilayaraja

In my opinion Ilayaraja is the best music director India has ever produced. Some of the songs he had composed are so melodious that you dont get tired even after listening to them a million times. Some people might argue that Rahman is the best of the lot. I am a big admirer of Rahman's work as well. But I dont find the same longevity and melody in Rahmans compositions as I find in Ilayaraja's work. I listened to most of Raja's songs composed for Telugu film industry and a few composed for Bollywood. But this might be only a minor share of his work, since a majority of his work was in tamil, a language that I do not understand. Thanks to my friends of tamil origin, especially Venkat, I have had the oppurtunity to listen to some of Raja's great hits and I have been all admiration and awe for his music. I wish I could understand Tamil, as I am told, the lyrics of some of the songs make them much more beautiful. A few songs of Raja, I greatly adore

1) Aei Zindagi gale laga le from SADMA : The highlight of this song is that many number of instruments are used to compose it and never do you feel the transition of their effect on your ears. The instrument usage is very coherent and the lyrics of this song is simply out of this world.

2) Kanne kalaimane from MoonramPirai: This movie is the Tamil version of Sadma. Melody oozes from every node of the music and add to it the voice of Jesudas...this song is a cracker. And this song is picturised on possibly the best Indian actor and actress in last two decades, Kamal Hassan and Sridevi.
..... to be continued

A song full of emotions by INXS

I surmise that every one of us experiences heartbreak at some point of their life. This song "Afterglow" by INXS (pronounced as In excess) beautifully summerizes the raging emotions experienced during one of those life threatening moments.

You may watch the video here

" Here I am, lost in the light of the moon that comes through my window. Bathed in blue, the walls of my memory divide the thorns from the roses. It's you and the roses

Touch me and I will follow in your afterglow. Heal me from all this sorrow As I let you go I will find my way when I see your eyes. Now I'm living in your afterglow

Here I am, lost in the ashes of time, but who owns tomorrow?
In between the longing to hold you again I'm caught in your shadow, I'm losing control. My mind drifts away, we only have today

Touch me and I will follow in your afterglow Heal me from all this sorrow. As I let you go I will find my wayI will sacrifice 'til the blinding day when I see your eyes. Now I'm living in your afterglow

When the vails are gone, as I let you go, as I let you go

Touch me and I will follow in your afterglowHeal me from all this sorrowAs I let you go I will find my way, I will sacrifice. Now I'm living in your afterglow Bathed in blue, the walls of my memory divide the thorns from the roses. It's you who is closest"

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Happy Course at Harvard University

I watched a video at CNN that talked about a class on positive psychology taught by Prof Tal Ben Scharar at Harvard University. This class teaches on how to be happier (Note that I did not say How to be happy). I wish that this kind of class is made mandatory in Indian students academic curriculum aswell.

Right from the day we join schools, we get so lost in the competitive madness of outscoring our class mates, neighbours or any peer you are aware of, that we never give a thought to what exactly makes us happy. In this video, a graduate student says that 3 questions that were raised in this class made her to rethink her career choice.

1. What do you find pleasure in?
2. What is that you are good at ?
3. What is that you find meaningful to do?

3 questions any one must ask oneself before making his or her career decisions. I hope these are taught in Indian schools one day...