Saturday, June 29, 2013

Guruji's column - Part 2

Hello Children!

Guruji needs no introduction, especially when there is not enough screen real-estate to introduce. Hence he will directly start addressing your questions this time.

[Q] Deepthi asks from Delhi- Guruji, when I call the customer care of my credit card company to get some wrongful debits corrected, they keep saying “your call is important to us” but never picks my call. Why do they do this? I’m sick and tired. If I’m important to them, why are they not picking my call?

[A] Guruji:- Deepthi dear, Guruji see frustration in your words, a very bad trait for one to have indeed. Frustration leads one to many a misdemeanour. In such situations, you can chant the following Guruji-mantra 101 times (visualize the customer support persons in front of you when doing so) - “Oh dear unprocreated, art thou dunderhead? Ye bombaclats, thou shalt be reborn unseeded mules”. Your frustrations will recede and you will feel a lot better.

[Q] Nikhil from Doom School asks - Sir, I’m a highschool student, my ambition is to study well, get a good degree and take up a job where I can serve the society . Can you suggest how should I proceed?

[A] Guruji:- Nikhil bete, firstly never address your spiritual guru ‘sir’, like you do to your school teachers as he is much above them, in terms of beard length he mean. Coming to your doubt, One can never have a good degree, yet do things useful to the society. If you attain a high degree, you will end up working for the tax evading private sector / tax sucking public sector or as a middle agent of both, that we call a “financial institution”. Best thing to do if you want to serve the society is to stop studying, take up a job with the municipal cleaning department, they serve the society better than anybody else.

[Q] Varkey asks from Varkala - Swamiji, why no marriage for you spiritual gurus?

[A] Guruji:- Makane Vakrey, with Guruji’s sixth sense he sees what you are hinting at. The answer is a simple law of the nature - that a river fish never likes to be an aquarium fish.

[Q] Pandit Pandurang asks from Pandavapura -  Mahatman, I'm an astrologer, I  make a living by selling yantras, birth stones etc. Though I’m in this eternal business for a while now, god hasn’t been very kind to me as I still am not getting enough business to buy even a meager Rolls-Royce that I want. What should I do ?

[A] Guruji:- Pandurang, don’t blame god for your unfulfilled desires, blame Rolls-Royce instead, for not making bicycles. And keep serving your customers, you have Guruji’s words that your business will prosper. There is no shortage of imbeciles in this world my son.

[Q] Amar from Ghatkopar asks - Guruji, I work for a bank, in the loans department to be precise. My question is, for a religious person like me, is it a sin to have interest put on my customers?

[A] Guruji:- Son, be specific, Guruji needs to know your orientation and marital status to decide whether the interest that you have on the customers is sinful or not.

Ok children, Guruji is in a different timezone and its time for him to retire to his sleeping chamber, may Guruji's blessings be with you, till you bathe it off.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Guruji’s column - Part 1

Ladies, Gentlemen and Guruji’s disciples ,

Guruji as you would have already known through news channels was on a life-saving relief mission to an epidemic hit national Cricket governing council headquarters of a third world country whose name cannot be disclosed here for privacy reasons. The name of the epidemic also cannot be disclosed, as the mere mention of it according to medical experts can spread it to other parts of the world. Now here he is, at your service my children, to listen to your grievances and render relief.

[Q] Jojimon writes from Electronic City - Your Holiness, I spend a considerable amount of time stuck at traffic signals everyday. Are there any yoga techniques that I can practice during this time that can help me eventually live longer?

[A] Guruji:- Dear mon, “eventually live longer” is an oxymoronic statement and Guruji won’t support such rapacious needs. However if the objective is to generally live longer than an average Bangalore motorist, you can practice Guruji’s patented “breathless-asana”, a technique by which you hold your breath as long as possible so that you breathe less of the polluted air and ultimately live longer. It doesn’t guarantee you will breath longer though. For a detailed training, please enroll at the Ashram’s Yoga school for a fee of ..well, lets keep the meager material matters aside .

[Q] Abu asks from Abu Dhabi - Guruji, My problem is a toilet cleaner TV  advertisement model. She keeps coming on the screen saying "It's for you...because you are so special". Should I trust her and buy it ?am I really special for her?

[A] Guruji:- Abu, toilet cleaners generally are not spiritually pertinent topics for Guruji to advise you on, but since you have a model involved, this is also a matter of allurement and thus of soul, Guruji will help you. Guruji had a look at the said advertisement, there are certain parts of what she says that is not audible to normal human ears, but Guruji being a Hathayogi, could. Her statement ends like this - "..because you are so special, you half-baked baboon brain". Now if you buy into that statement in it’s entirety, go for it.

[Q] Anamika asks from Andheri -  Is god really there?

[A] Guruji:- No, she's not here.

[Q] Srinivas writes from Hyderabad - Guruji, you have many ashrams across the world, and you travel there often as well. Isn't crossing the seas a sin ?

[A] Guruji:- Not at all my son, if you have a bunch of primates to pave your way.

[A] Kalyani writes from Kalyan - Guruji, my parents don’t want me to wear jeans, a dress that I like very much. They say it’s too ‘exposing’ and is against our traditional values. Is this correct? can’t I wear what I like?

[A] Guruji:- Dear Kalyani, your parents are absolutely right, we must protect our values wherever possible, especially those vaporizable through garments. However, this need not demotivate you, as we have a rich clothing tradition too. Find a few “cool” ones among them. Guruji got a few recommendations just for you HERE and HERE. Start wearing them, you have Gurujis’ assurance that your parents will be not only happy but be proud of you as well for upholding the values.

Ok children, it's time for Guruji to go, do send your queries, Guruji is always at your service, unless another ailing Cricket council / mafia gang  / both of the above seeks his benediction.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Guruji’s column - Part 0

Ladies, Gentlemen and Guruji’s Disciples,

Guruji is back from his long and eventful pilgrimage. Guruji as you know already is a living archetype of the perpetual truth that the knowledge that one acquires by his own expeditions, experiences and experiments is something that no library in this world can offer. Of course Guruji hasn’t gone to The Himalayas as you thought wrongly to acquire this wisdom, as he did not want to pollute the serene and scenic mountains and further melt the already disappearing glaciers. Instead he chose to drive from home to office and back every day, an occasion that gave him endless hours at signals where he could meditate, hold scholarly and informative spiritually rich debates with car-scratching motorcycle-bound fellow sadhus and thus ultimately attain his nirvana - of patience. Here he is at last, to impart you with true knowledge on life, spirituality and death-after-life my dear children(please take it only in a metaphysical sense, not physical and start asking Guruji for inherited property share).

Guruji’s answers to doubts and questions received from disciples this week herewith, do write to Guruji to find answers for all your spiritual problems.

[Q] Sampat Kumar writes from Chennai :- Guruji, I was born with a silver spoon in mouth, lived all my life that way, enjoyed everything that money can buy. Now what I want to know from Your Holiness is, what is the ultimate pleasure one can attain?

[A] Guruji :- Son, my first advice to you is to remove the spoon and tuck it away in the other end of your food pipe for a change.  To answer your question, the ultimate pleasure is what you attain when you get to do a good scratch on your itching bottom.

[Q] Duryodhan writes from Kurukshetra :- Your Holeness, why do you use third-person when you refer to yourself?

[A] Guruji:- Son, firstly it’s “Holiness” that you should use when addressing Guruji and keep the “Hole-ness” to yourself. To answer your question, Guruji has already achieved his nirvana in first-person and second-person in his “poorvashrama”, hence he is in third-person now.

[Q] Nathalia writes from Kyrgyzstan -  Guruji, I would like to come to your Assram and become your disciple and serve you, what should I do?

[A] Guruji:- Very noble thoughts my dear young girl(Aren't you?), you could be the third-person singular Guruji just spoke about. Wear a modest white cloak (and nothing else) and wait, your time will come. Guruji has commanded the government to allot a few hundred acres of land to construct the humble Ashram. And also, the correct Sanskrit word is Ash-ram and not Ass-ram as you mentioned, though they may sound the same in English.

[Q] Thirunavukkarasu Thirumavalavan from Thiruvananthapuram asks - Guruve, is there an ultimate truth? If so what is it?

[A] Guruji:- Yes, my son, but there is a long and a short answer for this. The long one is already there in your identity mentioned above, and the short one is Hitler’s mustache.

Do write in your questions and doubts on spiritual matters to Guruji through this page my dear (metaphysical) children, Guruji is always at your service; when he has nothing better to do he mean. His (currently virtual) Ashram will publish the answers in this blog. Till then, may Guruji’s blessings be with you all, and try not to come his way riding a motorbike.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Human supremacy theory - nonsenseablity guaranteed

Sociologists, anthropologists and behavioural scientists(trust me, there exists one such group of people) always debated on whether humans are any different from rest of the animal kingdom, or are we just a bunch of bespectacled baboons. In my view, we are different. Now if you are into too much of biology and stuff and argue “I would have agreed if you and a rat had two different set of holes to eat and expel. We are no different you blockhead!”, its a good start because we now have something to debate on. And let me begin while you sit back, relax and enjoy the futile weekend hours reading this(frankly, if you weren’t my valuable reader, my question would have been, “seriously, don’t you have anything better to do?”) . Ok, back to the topic, I was trying to tell that we are significantly different from any other living being, no matter how you argue that we all share exactly the same basic biological needs of consumption and production of other living things and ultimately act as bacterial breeding grounds. Below are few of my postulates towards this human superiority theory, backed with strong scientific evidences obtained through years of research done by just living in this world.

In my view, the biggest factor that differentiates humans from other species is our ability to behave as utter idiots in spite of having a fairly good adaptation - a decent sized brain - that could be used rationally. For example, I’m sure a troop of chimps will chase away the alpha if he was found not fit for leading and is making a living by stealing others’ food. We on the other hand choose alphas with the said ‘qualities’ to lead us; all the time. Only a human leader can face both bribery, murder charges yet get elected by his fellow beings so that he can “serve” them. The point is, every species is good in using its adaptation for its own benefit, but we often don’t.

Lets look at another example. A rodent will never gnaw away the log on which it is floating while being washed away in a flood, because it knows the log is it’s only hope of survival and one shouldn’t be cutting down the branch he/she is sitting on. Look at us, we invest heavily in doing environmental studies and things like that, live for months together in the most extreme conditions like the outer space, polar regions etc studying how human actions are destroying the climatic conditions of our planet. Yet we cut down trees, build highways, chemical factories, nuclear plants and ultimately lit up our own bottoms in that process.

My third reason is this -  have you noticed people in villages keeping a pair of crow wings on a pole to scare away other crows from eating the grains up ? The psychology is that crows with a brain(however tiny that is) understand what their fate would be if they do the same mistake again. What about us? we hang many gruesome murders, rapists and publicize that news all over. Yet the number of murderers and rapists is increasing, not decreasing.

As I mentioned earlier in this era of TV experts, 3 arguments is a good enough number to conclude that a theory is correct, no matter whether there are 3000 other arguments against it. On a second thought, there are 5 arguments here in fact, 4th that I didn’t have the brain levels to think that somebody will actually read this, and even if they read it, will agree with me. 5th one of course is that inspite of having a hundred other good things to do, you spent time reading such nonsense.  Believe me, none of this will not happen in the animal world.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Reminiscence - man’s best friend on a lazy sunday(after rum I mean)

Here we are, in the month of June that astronomically speaking is the month when planetary orientations and shifts of planet earth brings us monsoon, which is the second most important factor deciding the economic health of our nation. First one of course is black money as you thought rightly . Now that we in this country cannot academically or legally consider astronomy and astrology different, I must also mention a few words astrologically as well. This month Jupiter who is the luck and gift giver is leaving Gemini for the next couple of decades and can have a significant impact on all you Geminians economically and psychically. People born in other zodiacs are not to be worried that much, unless they have school going children. Now those of us with kids or had been kids themselves in the past know how significant a month June is for parents and school going children. Parents because time has come for them to put in practice what they had been mentally and physically preparing for, how to transport to the bus stop a consignment that includes but not limited to kids, bags, lunch boxes, umbrellas and bizarre thermocol constructs that the school authorities for some reason think makes children more creative. Children are thrilled because they now get the weird creatures they had been watching in tv on their school bags, lunch boxes and water bottles as well;for a premium though.

Thoughts on school reopening forces me to take a walk down my memory lane, 3 decades into the past - to my school days. Unlike today’s elite city schools that are mainly owned by well qualified and innovative thinking private managements that include pawnbrokers, paan-wallahs and real-estate barons, our school was run by the state  government; and when I say “run by” , its just a decorative statement, the correct wording will be “slacked by”. School reopening for us was like an astrologically significant date. Meaning, of no particular significance. Except that we now get to play with more friends compared to vacation time. This was mainly because our school never closed to be reopened, thanks to the open door policy or rather the no-door policy that was followed our management(the mighty state in this case), aimed at facilitating the free in and outflow of children during school hours.and cattle during the rest of the year.

Usually school reopening is the time when kids get new textbooks and notebooks, but for us, it didn't make any economic sense to ‘invest’ money in buying the new textbooks with our parents’ hard earned money, that too by standing in long queues in front of the school store during monsoon mornings wasting valuable time as well, that could be used for  more constructive activities like catapulting. Hence we diverted funds allocated under textbook schemes  towards buying more fundamentally strong commodities such as candies and ice creams. Not that this was a risk-free investment, many of us underwent severe audits and penal actions for this from our controllers and auditor generals at home, but ultimately we stood by our stands and won many accolades for this strategic fund management, primarily from our friends as the acquired commodities were distributed among them as well and secondarily from the vendors in the schools periphery who gave some of us privileged customer status and issued occasional gift vouchers that could be instantly redeemed unlike those given by super stores these days that can never be redeemed, meeting all the conditions that apply. We then borrowed textbooks of our seniors for day to day use. Those books were like gods for us, as most of them had no beginning and end.

Teaching now has become yet another profession that is purely judged by results, loyalty to management etc. But back in the village we had a very strong guru-shishya bond between us and our teachers. We both worked towards one single goal, that was the transfer of the teachers to their hometowns from our remote Western Ghat village that offered very harsh conditions in winter and monsoon which together formed about 364 days of the year. Teachers attempted through influencing the education department authorities and we by praying to gods in charge of education in our respective religions. Those with single gods submitted the cases via saints and prophets. We weren't rich enough to hire a God man or woman on our side unfortunately. Yet most of the time we succeeded and it took the government mostly months together to replace teachers, which meant more playtime for us.

If I recollect correctly, it was Victor Hugo who said "He who opens a school door, closes a prison". In our case this was somewhat true, with a slight change though - "He who opens the school door, closes in on a prison". As we were a government school, we were also obliged to follow the government’s founding principles, hence had school parliament and politically backed school elections that mostly concluded in having a bunch of high-school boys ending up in hospitals, being stabbed by compasses and dividers. Such incidents were so frequent that the Headmaster was forced to introduce an Instrument Box Control bill which was rejected by mathematics teachers, believed to be backed by instrument box manufacturers and suppliers. Though I was an insider of the “think-tank” of a particular political outfit’s school unit, I preferred to be inside a water-tank in the school premises after such outbreaks happened, this was mainly because our party believed in nonviolence and peace when comes to dealing with physically superior individuals.

I will stop there, as too much reminiscences can expose a lot more of one’s weaknesses and darker past. But one thing I can tell for sure about my school days is this -  No matter whatever made parents of some of us who formed the then educated middle class of the village send us to the government school instead of an English medium school, my school days provided me some of the biggest learning in life. Though lucky enough not to experience myself, I now know what is the meaning of hunger, what is the worth of a slate pencil piece and how does it feel to live with a single pair of clothes an entire year. Today when I drive past my school on my visits to the village and see the concrete buildings that have come up in place of our thatch sheds, a well walled school compound, playgrounds and the “Government Higher Secondary School” board, I wonder what is the one thing that kids today there would be missing that we enjoyed during our days. And I think its nothing but the pleasure that you can bring to a child’s face by letting him use an entire school backyard as lavatory is unmatched. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

public static void culturalHeritage(Foolish args[]){ }

Sometimes I think scholars acquiring too much knowledge is also not good, like too much money in the hands of IPL stakeholders; they get carried away(In IPLs case, the money gets carried away as well). I just concluded reading a book on modern India and how we reached here etc by a very knowledgeable and well respected author. At one place he makes a remark which somewhat meant that Indians are good software developers today because of the “rich cultural heritage” of ours that made us good problem solvers. Now some of you might call it a joke, but I won't because then I will be disrespecting the jokers. To me, if this is true, Sillicon Valley would have been an Indus Valley in the past, and The Greeks would have shredded their R and be The Geeks by now. And as far as I know the ancient dwellers of California(coincidentally called Indians) built no cities, did no agriculture but lived like nomads and I’m yet to come across Greek equivalents of TCS or Infosys. But now that I’m stupid enough to question eminent historians, I’m obliged to give some answer on what I think makes us good software professionals, however absurd that argument may be.

But before I begin my alternative theory, I must ask one question, (primarily to myself) that “Since when are Indians GOOD software engineers, btw?”. We weren't’ at least till I left office last night. I mean we haven't conceived anything that is capable of replacing Unix, MS Windows, SAP,  Google or FaceBook as of last evening. Now your question to me would be "Moron, who do you think wrote all those code behind the said software products?", to which my answer would be that we generally don't give the credit of creating Taj Mahal to the masons who put the stones together but to Ahmad Lahauri(or whoever the chief architect was) and Shah Jahan. Ok, back to the topic - yet its a reality that there are more Indian software professionals than anybody else in the world, hence it still needs some explanation, unless you start an argument that “There are more Indian laborers in the Middle-East than anybody else, is that also due to the said rich heritage?”, in which case I will be forced to remind you not to bring in the poor when we are talking big time on rich cultural heritage and stuff. 

My reason number one for more Indians in the software world than anybody else - There are more Indians than anybody else; at least in the English speaking world. Now I don’t know the cultural heritage played a role in producing us in large numbers, but common sense tells me that it shouldn’t have. Those who know basic economics will know that supply and demand are two sides of the same double edged sword. Next, reason number two - I would give the credit not to the ancient scholars and gurus but your parents and my parents; the yesterday’s middle-class that included teachers, bank employees, small town merchants, government officials etc who insisted their children go to school, get English educated(and not Sanskrit and astrology as ancient scholars and their modern day scholarly avatars would recommend) , become engineers and ultimately get out of their head and stand on our own shoes(preferably a Nike or Adidas one). 

Now to my third reason - those knowing basic human behaviour will know the meaning of “bandwagon effect”. If somebody take a survey among software developers from India on how many of them turned to software development because their college senior / neighbour / friend / cousin who is now a ‘green card holder’ influenced them, I’m sure they will find that its a much bigger number than those who pursued it because they come from a rich cultural background. Now if this is not a good enough reason and if we still stick to the rich heritage reasoning, I would say then the rich heritage is also the reason why there are a large number of Marwari tradesmen from Rajastan in south India, and also why there is a large number of nursing professionals from central Travencore Christian community.

Now that three arguments is a good enough number to start a debate on a topic, I’ll stop there and let you make your conclusions on whether it was worth reading some random aahoo bitching against eminent historians with pathetic anecdotal evidences or continue to agree with the scholars that there is something called rich cultural heritage that makes us the best human beings that ever walked on this planet - mostly barefoot, as the rich cultural heritage hasn't been very successful in making footwear affordable to most of us; yet.