Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cryptography in Mahabharata

I doubt if books like "Code Book" or any book on history of crptography ever mentions this one

Also, note that the language of the Mlechas mentioned there in, seems to hold a key for Indus script decipherment

Mahabharata > Adi Parva > Jatugriha Parva CXLVII

The ITRANS of the Devanagiri from http://sanskrit.gde.to/mirrors/mahabharata/txt/01.txt

vidurasya suhR^itkashchitkhanakaH kushalaH kva chit .
vivikte pANDavAnrAjannida.n vachanamabravIt .. 1..\prahito vidureNAsmi khanakaH kushalo bhR^isham .
pANDavAnAM priya.n kAryamiti kiM karavANi vaH .. 2..\prachchhanna.n vidureNoktaH shreyastvamiha pANDavAn .
pratipAdaya vishvAsAditi ki.n karavANi vaH .. 3..\kR^iShNapakShe chaturdashyA.n rAtrAvasya purochanaH .
bhavanasya tava dvAri pradAsyati hutAshanam .. 4..\mAtrA saha pradagdhavyAH pANDavAH puruSharShabhAH .
iti vyavasitaM pArtha dhArtarAShTrasya me shrutam .. 5..\ki.n chichcha vidureNokto mlechchha vAchAsi pANDava .
tvayA cha tattathetyuktametadvishvAsakAraNam .. 6..\uvAcha ta.n satyadhR^itiH kuntIputro yudhiShThiraH .
abhijAnAmi saumya tvA.n suhR^idaM vidurasya vai .. 7..\shuchimAptaM priya.n chaiva sadA cha dR^iDhabhaktikam .
na vidyate kaveH ki.n chidabhiGYAnaprayojanam .. 8..\yathA naH sa tathA nastvaM nirvisheShA vaya.n tvayi .
bhavataH sma yathA tasya pAlayAsmAnyathA kaviH .. 9..\ida.n sharaNamAgneyaM madarthamiti me matiH .
purochanena vihita.n dhArtarAShTrasya shAsanAt .. 10..\sa pApaH koshavAMshchaiva sasahAyashcha durmatiH .
asmAnapi cha duShTAtmA nityakAlaM prabAdhate .. 11..\sa bhavAnmokShayatvasmAnyatnenAsmAddhutAshanAt .
asmAsviha hi dagdheShu sakAmaH syAtsuyodhanaH .. 12..\samR^iddhamAyudhAgAramida.n tasya durAtmanaH .
vaprAnte niShpratIkAramAshliShyeda.n kR^itaM mahat .. 13..\ida.n tadashubhaM nUnaM tasya karma chikIrShitam .
prAgeva viduro veda tenAsmAnanvabodhayat .. 14..\seyamApadanuprAptA kShattA yA.n dR^iShTavAnpurA .
purochanasyAviditAnasmA.nstva.n vipramochaya .. 15..\sa tatheti pratishrutya khanako yatnamAsthitaH .
parikhAmutkirannAma chakAra sumahadbilam .. 16..\chakre cha veshmanastasya madhye nAtimahanmukham .
kapATayuktamaGYAta.n samaM bhUmyA cha bhArata .. 17..\purochana bhayAchchaiva vyadadhAtsa.nvR^itaM mukham .
sa tatra cha gR^ihadvAri vasatyashubha dhIH sadA .. 18..\tatra te sAyudhAH sarve vasanti sma kShapAM nR^ipa .
divA charanti mR^igayAM pANDaveyA vanAdvanam .. 19..\vishvastavadavishvastA va~nchayantaH purochanam .
atuShTAstuShTavadrAjannUShuH paramaduHkhitAH .. 20..\na chainAnanvabudhyanta narA nagaravAsinaH .
anyatra vidurAmAtyAttasmAtkhanaka sattamAt .. 21..\
For the entire translation, see http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01148.htm

Here's the relevant portion

"He that knoweth the schemes his foes contrive in accordance with the dictates of political science, should, knowing them, act in such a way as to avoid all danger. He that knoweth that there are sharp weapons capable of cutting the body though not made of steel, and understandeth also the means of warding them off, can never be injured by foes. He liveth who protecteth himself by the knowledge that neither the consumer of straw and wood nor the drier of the dew burneth the inmates of a hole in the deep woods. The blind man seeth not his way: the blind man hath no knowledge of direction. He that hath no firmness never acquireth prosperity. Remembering this, be upon your guard. The man who taketh a weapon not made of steel ( i.e., an inflammable abode) given him by his foes, can escape from fire by making his abode like unto that of a jackal (having many outlets). By wandering a man may acquire the knowledge of ways, and by the stars he can ascertain the direction, and he that keepeth his five (senses) under control can never be oppressed y his enemies."

blog settings

Now u can post anonymous comments as well.. but request u to put ur (nic)name down so that I know... and seasoned bloggers , wud appreciate it if u can log on

Newton 2006 !

“I am like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a thrown-by-somebody empty coke bottle, whilst the great ocean of truth as well as the to-be-soon-melted arctic ice lay all undiscovered before me.”

Monday, January 30, 2006

How Old ?!

is the Indian (Bharatiya) concept of Nation ?! Did the Brits give us that ?

Well, not a scholarly attempt, but these verses should give some clue...

Case 1 :-)

RigVeda III.53.12

vis'va_mitrasya raks.ati brahmedam bha_ratam janam

Case 2:

Atharva Veda 19.41.1 (Note, the transliteration of the shloka may have errors)


Translatin: The sages, aspiring for a higher and better standard,work with diligence and devotion; They inspire people to do their duty with dedication. This is the way how Nations and communities grow strong.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

More of my fav shlokas


kaaka-drushTi; baka-dhyAnam;
SvananidrA; alpa AhAram;
jeerNa vastram ; etat vidyArthi lakshaNam

Amantram Aksharam Nasti ! Nasti Mulam Anaushadham!!
Ayogya Purusho Nasti ! Yojaka: Tatra Durlabha!!

Any readers, please post the translations in the comments section :-))

Thursday, January 26, 2006

for those who wanted to know..

The form is perceived and the eye is its perceiver. The eye is perceived and the mind is its perceiver. The mind with its modifications is perceived and the witness (the Self) is verily the perceiver. But the witnessing Self is not perceived by any other.

(Drig-Drishya Viveka of Shankaracharya , opening verse)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On this eve ........

Missing the motherland is something never easy
For its always the land "Swargadapi Gareeyasi"
Humble Pranaams to the land of Shakti and Ram
As the mind goes into infinite "Vandemaataram"

Random Links:

Amar Jawan - so that we may live !

Videos :

Incredible India
India Revisited
Vande Maataram India
Jana gana mana


photo courtesy: Robert Arnett

Those four lines came to my mind while waiting for my tea at "college perk".. excuse the "no-time-for-polishing" part !

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"Miss" something ?!

Yesterday in his late nite show, Jay Leno asked the viewers if any of them knew the name of the 2006 Miss America. A stoic silence followed.... Leno went on to say that this year it was not even broadcast on National TV ..

Got me curious - askmama, googlemama .. and here goes some random facts

In 1954, 39 percent of the television audience (27 million viewers) watched Miss America

In 2004, "a record low of 9.8 million watched it, half a million less than the previous year"

And this year, it was only on cable and guess the numbers - 3.1 million !!
(the link has some more stats)


Naturally, whats up in my part of the world ? Miss India ....

The mid nineties found 300 million viewers

Its so difficult to get such stats about India (I actually wonder how u get the no: of TV viewers...) ,and the above one stat was after some 15 mins search.... so I give up...

I hope Bal Thackerey and Ashok Singhal read my blog.. atleast then they will know why they are mocked at in India for oppossing beauty contests... It ain' western culture anymore, fellas ... Apun ka khoon mein hai !!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The quicklist

May be, its those orkut profiles that I saw, detailing people's favorite books and movies.. I just gave a casual thot to it.. whats the best way to come up with a list of books that I liked/impressed me ? .. well, type up the list as fast as I can, without trying to remember, w/o looking up anywhwere, right ?.. So here goes (in random order)

The Bhagavad Gita
Some upanishads
From the River of Heaven - David Fralwey
Many of teh Voice of India books- esp RJM vs BM by Koenraad Elst
The call of Gita - a small booklet by Swami Ranganathananda
Complete works of Swami Vivekananda- esp Lect from Colombo to Almora
Many works of Sri Aurodindo - esp India's Rebirth
Vedantic Tales - sister Gargi

A search in secret India - Paul Brunton
Freedom in exile - Dalai Lama
Freedom at Midnite - Dominique Lapiere and Larry Colins
One minute nonsense Anthony S.J

The four series of Jonathan Seagul, Illusions, The Bridge across forever and One by Richard Bach
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
Kathasarith Saagaram (Mallu)
Some works of S. K Pottekkadu


well, I might have "forgotten" many others, that means they aren't as relevant for this excercise :-) , even if they had profoundly impressed me at that time !!

Monday, January 16, 2006

inexplicable links

Sometimes its like that.. you get a sudden thought , may be a series of them, and you would not know why now, why these ? So also, the kind of links that turned up in my subsequent google search... Just hope that you may not need to know why, or that you may know sometime else, just like some "inner voices" or "messages" were meant for a later stage ..

And today , just now, it was Ramana Maharshi,... and the book by Paul Brunton which introduced me to him in reading (heard, of course I had about him before that) ...

I would have dwelled a little longer in thoughts about him, but my proposal compulsions pull me away.. leaving for the day with some rather random links which appeared in 15 mins random search(es)

1) http://www.ramana-maharshi.org/

2) In search of Paul Brunton : (the title may have been inspired by Brunton's own book "A search in secret India" )


3) Ramana Maharshi and Somerset Maugham .... interesting


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Why am I not surprised ?!

First off, its a sad reality that the female:male ratio is already so low in many North Indian states and its falling further.. I think this is one of the alarming issues facing India that needs urgent attention.. and it is sad that in the land of Shakti worship, cases of selective girl-child abortions, or female infanticide is indeed a sad reality , even though (I am hoping) numbers may have reduced in the recent past

But just a couple of points.. IMA has disputed the study which claimed 10million such cases in the past 10 years (for comparison, that is 1% of India's population)

{ Article in question: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4601184.stm .

India 'lost birth' study disputed

A top Indian doctors' association has disputed a report which says more than 10m female births may have been lost over the past two decades. }

Well, here are the statitics from the net

Sex Ratio In India in 100 years

Years Sex Ratio
1901 972
1911 964
1921 955
1931 950
1941 945
1951 946
1961 941
1971 930
1981 934
1991 927
2001 933

Source: Census of India 2001

(Note: I wonder, if I extrapolate the graph to pre-Bitish, and also pre-islamic invasions periods, would it have hit a 1000:1000 ? So did India (read Hinduism) have a natural way of keeping the balance which got destroyed somewhere ? Was dowry deaths only a few centuries old phenomenon ? )

If the statistics is to be believed, then the sex ration has actually improved in the last decade, eventhough there is a looong way to go !! And even assuming that it was a previous decade's figures, 1% would have meant that it go down by 10 for every thousand (not exactly, but approx).. between 1981-1991, it did go down by 7 for a 1000, but at that time India's population was not 1000 million.. So mathematically it looks a bit impossible for the 10 million number in 10 years.. (unless I am screwing it up somewhere,,,especialy because of the 10 year period factor )

Anyways, life isn't mathematics, and this is not a percentage game.. As long as there is even a single child being killed before or after birth, just because she is a girl, we as a Nation lose.. period .. And I really really hope that the trend in 1991-2001 will continue


In the meantime CSM has come up with this interesting report


They say 5 lakh a year, meaning 5 million in a decade.. still quite a number, and sadly, may have been close to reality at one time, and may be even now.. (we just don't know)

But the most interesting aspect of it is this

The practice is common among all religious groups - Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, and Christians - but appears to be most common among educated women, a fact that befuddles public health officials and women's rights activists alike.

Why am I not surprised ? Is it because of my belief that secular education has almost nothing to do with how ethical you are ? And that spiritual education is the only way out ? Am I subconciously drawing a parallel to the fact that many of the islamic terrorists are in fact well educated in the modern sense of the world ? (remember the London School of Economics guy who kidnapped and murdered Daniel Pearl ? ) Is it the feeling that a poor but socially conscious priest telling an "uneducated woman" that killing a girl child would bring them God's wrath eternally, may be much more effective than a high-class society lady tellling "educated women" in a conference that for sake of social equality and gender non-discrimination, and feministic reasons, girl child's be not killed ?

I donno, I am just lost.. Do whatever you want, just get the damn practice stopped !

Friday, January 13, 2006

Certainly uncertain

As a li’l kid when time’s all what you have
Happy you are making houses of card
And little do you think while pulling each one
That uncertainty is life’s only fun

Hopes you keep, even as it makes others suffer
Life sure has for me better things to offer
Soon you realize that in the world that’s real
Uncertainty is the only truth, that's never partial

When the road you took seems so uphill
You pray and pray for a stronger will
Sure for stretches you will have some one
But forever uncertainty is your only companion

Oft you find yourself doing a thankless job
Many a time does it make you sob
And yet there is hardly a chance you want to miss
For uncertainty is life's only promise

And one fine moment you find yourself enjoy
For the seers of the yore knew you are nothing but joy
And thankful you are for those moments you find
For uncertainty is life's only background

Thursday, January 12, 2006

What are you ?

Some people are just strange
We call 'em weird

Every generation has some extraordinarily weird people
We call 'em leaders

Across many generations are born some uniquely weird leaders
We call 'em Mahatmas

Once or Twice in a Yuga are born those weirdest Mahatmas
We call 'em ........ Avatars !

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Its 2-0 even now

So, last Sunday I had some friends over at my place for lunch.. and we talked and talked and had dinner also !! Guess who cooked... this me.. yeah..

Puffs (yeah the Indian estyle), Ishtu, Chole, Payarupperi (for those who don't know Mallu, its essentially beans curry), pappadam, Mulaku (Fried Chilli), Idiappam, Porotta, .....

Neway, we talked and talked (eventhough not to beat my marathon 8 hrs on the phone with the same person the previous nite!!) .. and somewhere I mentioned about my strange experience during IIT temple Kumbhabhishekam and later on at our local temple Kumbhabhishekam .. I has sent an email regarding both these events - the first one on June 3, 2001 and second one on Jul 7, 2003 ... Here they are reproduced after minor editions ...

Mail about IIT experience

Namaste,This is not to elaborate on the proceedings of the Kumbhabhishekamat IIT Temple, but just to share a few incidents, especially about therain that came, which has struck me hard and has set me thinking. I hope uwill understand why I call it a wonder of the day(perahps of the yr), bythe time u finish reading this

First a bit of background, tho' in no way intented to be ascholarly description. This is about the so called "idol worship" . Thebelief is that after an idol is made(in stone or wood), there has to besome Yajna etc to instate the "Godhood" to the idol- givin it the power.There is this eg that Swami Dayananda Saraswathi of Arsha Vidya Gurukulamgives. A sculptor once made a beautiful idol for a temple and painted itbeautifully.Then it was installed.After yrs , the painting was wornout. Somebody asked him to paint it again and he replied" How can I paintthe Lord?" They asked him "Well, then how did u paint it at first?" Hisreply was "At that time it was not given the deityhood"

So now, over the yrs, it is believed that the deity loses power,(and also the idol will be worn out)and so once in while the power(and thestatue) are renovated. So then a small Yajna is conducted, a fewsmall, symbolic idols are kept outsude the temple, and by this Yajna, thepower of the deity is transfered from the idol inside to the oneoutside. Here after no more abhishaekam will b done on the idolinside, till its power is reinstalledThat also gives the freedom to do allrenowation work of the temple.So this much about the"traditional" belief. hope i've got it right

Now,to go the series of events at IIT this renewal started on May3 or so. Now once the work is done, the deity has to be reestablished. Forthat a bigger Yajna is done(4 infact), at the end of which the Theerthamis poured on the top of the temple Gopuram, directly above theMoolasthanam(ie where the idol is erected). Immediately after thisAbhishekam is done to the new idol and its deityhood is back with addedpowers. This is the belief.

Before I proceed, a bit about the rains in Chennai. Its been a hotsummer, hottest around May 12-13, and has been hot till May 26 or so, whenit rained a bit on 26 n 27(if my memory is right) to cool it down abit. Then it was again heating up, day aftr day, and Friday, the 1st Junesaw a very hot daytime

The first Yaga at IIT Temple was on Friday night, and by Saturdaymorning the sky was a bit cloudy, tho' it did not rain. Saturday morningthe second Yaga. Evening Kanchi Sankaracharyas came to the temple and gave"Anugraha Prabhashanam" . I was there, and this is were it allstarted. Before i go into that allow me to deviate . Just to mentionthe "genius of India" As Swami Vivekananda says, "In Western countries,people are proud tracing their ancestory back to a dacoit , a hunter or arich man, but here in India the richest King also will be proud to traceback his ancestory to an ascetic, a sannyasi in the forest" (not verbatim

The way people still respect great men like Sankaracharya is ademo of this great respect India has given for spirituality. Thre are IITProfs, people with degrees from the best of Univ in the world, and thereis this man, with no Univ education, and the former is only happy toprostrate before the latter. When I went to Kanchi in Jan 2000, I sawDr R Chidambaram- the Atomic Energy Commision Chairman, and one ofthe 3 BIG MEN behind Pokhran-2. He had come to offer Pranaams to theShankaracharyas.

Back to IIT Temple. Saturday evening when i went, I met a friendof mine there.One of the things that he ptd out in the course of our talkis "Its believd that after the Yaga when Kumbhabhishekam is performedit'll rain heavily. Its slightly cloudy now, don't know if it'll raintomorrow. In Kerala, twice they did Yaagas and both times it rainedafter it" I thought in my mind "Why are we still after these beliefs?What if it doesn't rain?Won't his belief get affected. We have thethe Jnana Kanda of the Vedas, the Upanishads,the Gita, systems of Yoga,all these unmatched in any other part of the world- very rationaland appealing. Shud we not project those things than talking about rainGods blessing during Kumbhabhishekam?"

Anyway, lets see, i thought. I saw the notice. The fourth and thefinal Yaga is supposed to b 4.30 am to 5.30 am on Sunday. Kumbhabhishekamfollowed by abhishekam to the deity from 6-6.30 am. I wanted to come, butthought, i don't b able to make it. For the last 2 weeks, due to heavywork in the lab, I have been sleeping late, and waking up not earlier than6.45 am. added to it my alarm is not working. But surprisingly, I woke upwell before 5.30, just in time to make it. Perhaps, the Lord woke me upto show a small "Thamaasha"

At 5.45 am when I got out of my hostel, i knew it had drizzled thelast night. It was quite cloudy also. By 6 I reached the temple, and bynow it has started raining tho' not so heavily. People were out in therain, nothing stops their enthu. The proceedings of the Abhishekam hasjust started. 6.03 (in my watch) they did the abhishekam. Not even half aminute has passed and the rain became heavy. In 2001, I have not seen thisheavy a fall in Chennai!People still waited for them to finih and comedown. while coming down they will sprinkle the theertha at the devotesbelow, and people waited for that,inspite of the heavy downpour. And nwall assembled infront of the shrine. When the abhishekam was beingperformed inside it was raining HEAVILY outside. At 6.20 it ended, and thewonder, within a minute rain too ended.! My friend was there, happy thatit went "ON DOT" how he expected. Not just him, the priest after thefunction said "We have the greatest blessings today. That it will rain isthe Sathyapramaana. If not anything else, the Yaaga has given rains toChennaites who wre struggling without water" True indeed!

Now before I go into some discussions, forguive me for deviatingagain. After this the rain stopped fully, and people started climbing upthe stairs to touch the top of the temple wre the abhishekam has beenperfortmed. Volunteers were aksed to prevent this, but none cud stop themad rush. Then the priest announced "It is not proper to climb up thetemple now. The deity has been reinstalled and one shud not climb abovethe Moolasthana." That was more than enough. For the Hindu that is the lawFull stop to the crowd. Those who were half way thro' did not put a stepfwd!

So now about the rain. Even while standing for Prasadam, I wastrying to explain it off. After all it was cloudy for two days, what isthe big deal in the rain. And then about the Athiraathra Homam(for rain)its a fact that it has been a success.But cud be because the smoke whenthe Yaagashaala is set to fire, goes up, forms condensation nuclei forwater vapour and it rains! So far I had tried to find a "scientific"explnation this way. But here ther was no burning of the Yaaga shaala.Also the timing of the rain has been too much accurate according to thetraditional beliefs.After that, 3 hrs have passed by now, not a singledrop has fallen. Is there anything really in it? I remembered SwamiJitatmanandaji's talk on Science and Vedanta where he says "Among thescientific circles, it is proved that 1 out of a large no:(some 10 exp 7orso)of instances, things happen without a cause, or are ratherinexplainable by science. May b this is one?

(Note: Full text of this talk that I transcribed is available at

http://www.geocities.com/vsc_iitm/SWjitat.html )

But then I remembered the talk of Prof NVC Swamy, Former Directorof IITM ." Till I came to Upanishads etc, I used to believe that religionneeds the validation of science , for it to b acceptable.But now I feel,Science,esp new theories shud be validated according to Vedanta before itis accepted" (For thsoe who feel it is an overstatement, I hopeJitatmanandaji's talk will soon come up). In a same way, why shud I lookfor a "scientific" explanation for this.after all as Prof Swamy says, whatwe see today is a "SUPERSITION OF SCIENCE" (Refer to his speech at theabove site, or the vsc site). Today it has happend n frnt of my very eys.Still, I may call it a "chance". No other hindu is going to come andcut my throat. That is the beauty of Hinduism. But then, I think why notfor a change atleast , believe it the other way. That the rain was indeedGoddess Nature's abhishekam

Before I leave u at it I must mention about a malayalam movie madewith this theme- "Paithrukam" by Director- Jayaraj, who has come up with aset of striking movies like "Karunam", "Shaantam", and my all timefavorite "Desaadanam"(which also has my alltime favorite songs- 2 of them)Ironically, he hardly gets the recognition fron the stete govt, because ofthe peculiar political sitn in Kerala, but gets a lot from people, and tosome extent from National and Intnl Circles.The story of the movie inbrief is this

There is a great priest, a scholar, and an adept at performing Yaagas etcHis very son revolts against his Fathers belief and is part of an atheist(Nireeshwaravaadhi) group(He is projectd as a modern/western educatedYouth. Due to lack of rain, the Father was called upon to do the"Athiraathra Yaaga". Son challenges Father that if he fails, he has togive up his beliefs. When the Yaaga is conducted, the son's grouyp takeout a procession outside, condemning it. But as the Yaagashaala goes toflames,the sky which was till then bright, suddenly becomes cloudy, and itrains heavily. But the Father, notwithstanding the son'e behaviour,commits suicide immediately after this. The son realising his Fathersgreatness, takes up his profession. (There are more intricacies, beautifulinstances etc in between, perhaps, if anyone is interested to know canmail me. Likewise, with the other great movie "Desaadanam").

At first , my reaction was the movie was biased. and pehaps,"taking us back" also. But then there are two ctr arguments. First, it issemi-based on a true story. IT DID HAPPEN IN KERALA, AND THE MAN WHO DIDIT DIED WITHOUT A FOLLOWER! Secondly, sth similar has happened today infront of my very eyes. So now, I am jsut left out with two options. Eitherbelieve it, or ignore it, but I surely cannot oppose it. And atleast forthe present, I choose the first one.send me ur commentsa


Experienceduring Kumbhabhishekam, at SSVT , Maryland

....... there was one thing I was curious about - rains afterKumbhabhishekam .. Given above is a looong mail I wrote after the oneI attended at IITM (for those interested only..) - ever since, I had decided to watch out for Kumbhabhishekams that I personally attend-and this is the first one after that..This time around the main function was about 9-11 am, and itdid not rain then.. But the last puja in connection with the eventwas to end at 5.30 or so , and then the yagashala was supposed to be dismantled . I looked up at 5.30 pm and there were no hints for anypossible rains, but I also heard that the puja was running almost an hr late.. Then as a surprise , without much cloud up there, all of asudden it started raining at 6.15 or so and went on almost heavilyfor quite sometime..Well, my series with the good Lord continues, I don't know if it will be a clean sweep for HER, but I know that at present its 2-0 in HER favour, eventhough SHE probably won the second game in extratime !

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

How often ....... ??

There he stood, Vishal, my American born housemate, with two letters-- checks in fact-- addressed to 8311, when our house address was 8309,adding salt to his wound caused by the fact that the postman has been coming only alternate days to our house, about which he had complained just 2 days before .... "I will go and give the letter to the correct house, but what if some of our important letters get delivered elsewhere and the people did not return it to us?"

Come to think of it, I have quite bad experiences with US Postal service (don't label me anti-anything, am just stating facts). Numerous times, our neighbour's letters got delivered in our house. Sometimes, even letters belonging to an altogether different street, and that included COURT ORDERS .. !! Believe it or not . Atleast thrice, letters which I posted came back to me, inspite of clearly writing FROM and TO. Some times, I never got letters which were supposed to have been delivered to me !! And at the post office, I have seen the employees behave quite rude towards select people... especially the poor Chinese with their bad English gets the worst of it all. And yeah, as many other service sector offices are in US, post offices are often heavily understaffed !

Compare with India. At IIT,for 4 years I used to send a letter home every week, and my parents used to do the same too. Not a single one of them went missing. And those old times when for 15 paise, you could send a post card from Kanyakumari to Kashmir... to Siachen may be. A letter with address written in Malayalam, posted in New Delhi will still reach its destination . Once some Tamil contract labourers put a letter addressed in Tamil in our house mailbox thinking its a postal mail collection box, my Father took it all the way to the post office and posted it... If the Mother is illiterate that she can't read the letter sent by her son from abroad, the postman/woman would sit and read it for the old lady.. Of course the goodwill is reciprocated by a nice cup of tea, sometimes.. He or she would patiently help some one fill a Money order form.. and I still remember, as a kid, I used to love going to the post office the employees used to be so friendly and helpful.. They would enquire about my studies, tell me if a new stamp had come so that I could add to my collection..... Am I feeling something in my throat ?

Things which we seldom appreciate about India.. Railways.. well I know many Indians will have a long list of complaints (many of which arise out of civic irresponsibility like not keeping them clean etc), but how I used to enjoy each and every journey. I always travelled in General compartment or the second class sleeper, never in first class or a/c.. I met some of my best friends for life, in such journeys ! .. My family made family friends many a time... You would share food, sometimes end up playing cards... and guess how many people the Indian Railways carry on an average, daily - 13 million, which is more than half the population of an entire continent- Australia !! Agreed the Metrotrain in most cities in US is quite good too, but the one exerience I had with Amtrak wasn't encouraging at all. Having purchased the one and only type of "reservation" ticket at a ridiculously high price of 80$ for a 3 hour journey, for the first 45 min, I could not even find a seat even after walking up and down all the way thro' the train ! And trains here are made with very little space to stand around , foget about getting to sit anywhere on the floor !!

Let me leave this entry with another of the big numbers - the Maha Kumbh Mela (2001) "drew an estimated 70 million people over 44 days, making it the largest single gathering of humanity in recorded history. "... Thats twice the population of Canada, or close to a fourth of that of USA - gathering in one city of India.. and I did not hear of any epidemic, I did not hear of any violence or anything like that (the mela had significant women participation too).. How much....... do we understand India ?! How often do we think about her... ??

Thursday, January 05, 2006

And then one fine day...

Should I be quoting

Wait, for now..
Distrust everything, if you have to..
But trust the hours.....
Haven't theycarried you everywhere, up to now?

or from the famous "don't quit" poem

Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.

Read my tech blog for what happened there.. and the same day, finally the samskrit shibhiram seemed to get finalised.. Ups and downs, uncertainties, confusions, and finally, I hope the announcement is going to go to the tens of thousands via the temple newsletter..

Look fwd to an exciting Feb 25-26..


That apart, whats around the world ? Sharon.... umm, would be interesting to watch Israel with him not in an active position.... And what else in India.. JRRao as observer for the Bong polls... I hope he and the people can together do a Bihar there too...

Calling it a day, before which, something in the lighter vein

This is something that happened to a Mallu friend of mine. He once asked a Bong for directions, and was told "Go straight, there will be a pond full of 'dogs', and after the pond, take a right" . Curious to see the pond full of 'dogs', my friend drove there only to see a pond full of what he calls ducks !!