Thursday, December 30, 2004

A nail biting finish

I have majorly landed in a mood of flashback now that the year is coming to an end (I am not going to write a single word on how the year went! that's reserved for 31st!) Am going home to spend new year's eve with my parents and my brother. Never looked forward to going home than what I do now - there were good old days while in school and bits when I used to stay awake till midnight writing in a notebook the account of the year that's passed me by and the promises for the year ahead. My mom would stay awake till 11, feel too sleepy and will ask me to wake her up at 12 and go to sleep. And just when it's twelve - I used to surf from the variety of channels I had (from DD1 to DD2 then back to DD1) and wake my mom who would half open her eyes, kiss me happy new year and go back to sleep. And there would be my brother, the birthday boy on 1st of Jan, sleeping totally unaware of such customs. I would never feel like waking him up and would end up switching the lights off, would go back to the sofa in the drawing room reading what I had written so far.

This time I hope they show some good movie or I am going to ask Jithu to hire a DVD/Cassette player and watch a movie at any cost! Probably even buy a DVD player this time I go home.

Hmmmmm ... home!

concise communication

Was reading the book "Eats shoots and leaves" last night (more on the book later) and was reminded of a conversation I had with priya once in walldorf. Time and again, I get this feeling that I am getting too wordy with my blogs and tell myself that the next time I blog, it's going to be concise. In the same context, I was once planning to write a blog that narrates an event, shows my excitement, stays faithful to factual details like time, and also shows a facet of my personality,namely, my deep spiritual faith; most importantly, it should be concise. so, the intended blog read

"God! snowed last night"

I leave the explanation to you. I was reminded of this while I was reading an anectode about Victor hugo who wanted to know how his book was doing and telegraphed his publisher about it. The publisher replied back saying it's doing really well. what's special about this exchange are the actual messages sent to and fro.

Victor Hugo's message: "?"
The publisher's reply: "!"

It can't get concise(r) than this!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

On will and ways ...

Amidst all the chaos in the cafeteria, a strained silence settled over the table in the corner where the team in question was seated. Their plates were filled yet untouched as they continued to stare at one of the two empty chairs in the table - one that was supposed to seat the gregarious ~G. Of course, the cynical ~C was not present but nobody seemed to miss him. Fixed to the wall, close to where they were seated was a huge flat screen screening the match between India and Zimbabwe.
Just when the silence reached a crescendo and had to disseminate itself into a sound of some form, our equanimous ~E looked at every face - "Any news from G? are his parents OK". Officious ~O immediately placed on the table the entire history including the demographic details of the disaster, the precarious location of ~G's home in chennai, the lack of any news either from his parents or from any of his relatives and the restlessness that's plagued the otherwise composed G. Just as he was about to read the epilogue of his detailed report, cynical ~C landed on the table, wished everyone a good lunch and started nibbling his food. Everyone in the table incredulously looked at him as if he lacked even the most basic of empathy.Discreet Ms.~D whispered her anguish into the evil eyed ~E's ears and by the look in their faces, you could see that they weren't too happy.
Our balanced ~B took the chance to ease the tension by explaining how one of his friends had been to Andaman for his honeymoon and had a really close shave with the tsunami, spotting the rising waves from his resort chipping in a second-person account on the ferocity of the calamity. The Academic ~A, who incidentally had done his masters in geology, interjected on how islands are inherently dangerous anyday and thanked everyone's stars that it happened in an ocean "Had it been inland, for something as intense as 8.9, the whole of india must now be in ruins". Of course, no one believed him but didn't dare challenge his learned opinions. Just when an uncomfortable silence was about land on the table, our usually-reserved, religious ~R chipped in, in an almost unintelligible gibberish, that the whole thing is probably because the head of the state, some fat lady who's name he couldn't recollect, had defied the sacrosanct sanctity of a mutt, the house of god, and jailed a saint. "Of course, nature is just a way of expression of the omnipotent!". "Now, don't start this nonsense" snapped C, who had been enjoying his lunch till then staring at everyone else's untouched plates. "What did guys in maldives and indonesia know about this saint of yours. they don't even know to spell his name". This was just too much to take for evil eyed ~E who had been keeping her anger at C's inhuman behaviour in wraps for a long time. "He believes in it ok. And you have no right to judge someone's belief. Look at you, acting as if you are sitting in someone's marriage".
"~E, it's not that I am taking it any lightly. Just that I understand that me abstaining from food is not going to affect the fate of ~G's parents. I am sure they are going to be fine and are quite far from the effects of your morsels of rice" he winked. She didn't find it the least bit funny. "You will realize when such things happen to you". Just as ~C was about to retort, they could spot ~G entering the cafeteria as if out of a cinema hall. He waved at them, didn't bother to take a plate, just filled a cup of coke and started walking towards them, eyes fixed on the TV, whistling a tune that was lost in the chaos in the room. Just as he reached the table, his expression changed to one of grave shock as he looked at the screen and then at his colleagues seated in the table.
"Did you see that! 130 in the 30th over. If bangaladesh could do this to India, where's our team heading to!"
~E was the first to enquire about ~G's parents. "Oh they are fine. Seems they suddenly decided to go to Tirupathi without informing anyone. They reached only today morning. Everything is fine including my brand new playstation. They were giving me all this shit about how Venkatachalapathy saved their lives. look .. look at that cover drive!".
A couple of eyes immediately shifted to the screen while ~E and ~A started discussing what relief measures were initiated in the company to help the needy. Evil eyed, ~E and discreet, ~D went onto blame the guys for their addiction to cricket and moved onto what happened to their leading ladies in last night soaps. ~C finished his lunch comfortably and asked ~G for details of damage in Chennai. ~G apparently didn't bother and was relieved that his parents were fine.
They finally finished lunch and were on their way out when they spotted a box where donations could be dropped as slips of papers with one's signature and the cash amount. ~R and ~O didn't even turn, ~A and ~B found the queue too long, ~D knew someone in the redcross whom she had promised to help, ~E didn't want to trust the company wondering how many of them were forging others signatures in the queue, ~G was still on the phone making plans for new year's eve ... right at the end of the queue was ~C smiling cynically at his colleagues walking off the doors and disappearing out of sight ... just like their concern and resolve.

Updates and links

Quick updates
- Added two more bitsians' - Bharti and Prerna goel - blog address to the list of bloggers. In the same context, thanks to Vivitsa - we have a new blog Xclusively for BITSians at
- Another interesting link that I once spotted in Sagnik's blog - Specify any link (including that of your blogs) and it will tell you who all have linked you to their blog (you probably have a secret admirer ;)). unlike google - this has a lot of blog specific features. So, check it out!
- For all calvin & hobbes fans there, here's a link that you might find XXtremely resourceful. I have been revelling in the bliss of abundance for the last two days.
Shall blog more in the course of the day - but shall have to sign off now.
PS: Sent such a link to one of my friends, and he sent me back this link which helps you keep in touch with near and dear effectively. try it! it might be helpful to you too :)

Monday, December 27, 2004

while pondering on certain intellectual premises ...

I have been basking in bliss of no work today. have been writing, reading and calling up people since morning. After a long time, I feel the need to take sometime off and do something else apart from work. By tomorrow, I will feel guilty enough to make up for a day's loss.
I am not sure how many of them find the list of bitsians useful. I, for one, do! I actually visited each of these links today checking for updates. Unfortunately, most of the spots don't seem to be updated. Probably because half of this junta is still in bits and this is the time they have in between their PS and psenti-sem. So, hoping for more updates once they start their PS (psenti-sem/practice school) - the vettiest times of a bitsian life!
Am supposed to be the hotliner for this week - handling customer calls and everything. I am not sure why I am reminded of this incident. There was this one time when one of my friends suggested that all project partners have a Yahoo conference meeting. One of the project partners, in the last minute, confessed that she didn't have a yahoo ID and guess what happens - our entreprenaurial friend gave her one of his obscure yahoo ids. She logs in and 5 minutes into the conference, she gets an IM that reads, "hey pretty face, what are you wearing today! probably nothing!" . Our lady is all-red and brings this to the notice to our dear friend. he goes all red as he realizes the id was one of his sleazy chat identities. god help his luck, one of his "acquaintances" actually was online! I would have laughed for close to a week at his state. Coming back to my hotlining, thankfully my customers are taking a christmas break and the whole tray is empty. So, here I am blogging to glory.
Well, there's a myth in some of the african cultures that once you talk about a luxury you have, you lose it. A standing proof of the myth - got some urgent work on my lap now!
PS: Is it just in my case, or does blogger have a bug in showing us the number of posts. Does anyone know a tweak to update it once in a while.

a 100 watts bulb called my face

There are special people in everyone's lives. And there're exceptionally special people. One such exceptionally special person is right now reading my blogs and is sending me complimentary notes. It's not the excitement of a freshman's date or the I-have-seen-it-all toothless grin of a 80 year old veteran. It's a vague smile, an enduring feeling of happiness, a slight rush of blood and a curiosity that wonders what must be running in the person's mind this very second as words glance and fall beside leaving way for others to catch a glimpse of those wonderful eyes.


Never knew what a tsunami meant - always thought it to be a word that some african dialect left in english. felt curious about it, thought I would use it in one my novel titles - feeling silly and pained now - so many lives are lost to my "object of curiosity". Don't know why - I feel terrible about those lives lost. A sincere prayer for the souls to rest in peace.

A shot at a void

It still hasn't sunk in that I had lost last 48 hours in just shopping for my flat and indulging in hot drinks of all kinds (nothing alchoholic about it!). Finally found a flat that I find cool and fit to stay in. Was so glad about it that I was hopping from shop to shop on saturday buying anything I find from cots to stands to pillows to mugs - all to a point that I was short of cash just to call up Sundar from a PCO. Anyways, that didn't stop my thirst for wisdom to buy two books on my card.
Bought a book on Cryptography by Simon Singh. Damn good book - starts from victorian days of old britain and runs through world war 2 to NSA (a division of USA) of today. Mind blowing algorithms - works of world's most brilliant minds. Sunday as usual was a day for lazing around. Ug -my buddy from PTM days was in Bang. on Sunday. Had man-to-man talks with him and Sundar till about six.
As curtains fall on this blog, a list of snapshots from my visit to a bookshop - last thing I did on a Sunday.
  • Caught dancing and moonwalking for chords of guitar on a book shop ‘s floor.
  • Was lost in thought and was staring at a rocking chair for long, until an old man shot a suspicious look shaking my soul with his stinking sandals.
  • Finishing a book in a sitting with just a mug for company without noticing dusk painting its grim look all around.

I dont want to stop today but it's tough to find words without an 'e', if you want to blog without losing factual information and without compromising on grammar (apart from absurd formations and missing 'the's). If you don't trust my claim on an sans-'e' blog, all you gotta do is to start again :-)

This sans-e writing is an addiction as you start finding words without 'e' subconsciously whilst talking too. I should stop now! Off I go to work.


PS: Inspiration: “A void” - a book without a ‘e’. If writing a blog without ‘e’ is so tough, how about writing a book without it!


Friday, December 24, 2004

To Learn to let go

He stood there fiddling with the marker with a visible strain on his face. An expectant audience stared at him waiting for an explanation. Deep down he knew he had to quit, admit he's wrong and accept what they say. But between his voice and will was a pall of ego that hurt both ways and painted defiance on his brows that, when the golden hue of the setting sun lit his face, made him look like an obstinate fool.
He stuttered, stammered and prayed he could think of something that could drive the nail on the table. His excuses started getting ridiculous with every passing minute until the exasperated head of the table ended the discussion deciding on what is right and asking him to take his seat. A self deprecating joke, a sorry face, a glass of water - none of it made the situation any better as he looked down and strained his ears to know whether anyone nearby was laughing at his sorry figure.
Scriptures teach us to be focussed against all odds and opposition. It's youth and vigour that propels men beyond opposition and setbacks to walk on the path of will to realize the vision that elevates their purpose of existence. But it's wisdom that comes with age which teaches man to know when to let go.
Where to draw the line, I do not know - neither did the guy who by now finished his second glass of water.

slither slither went the book worm

I am doing a lot of reading these days - the last time I made a mention of a book I read was the biography of Indira gandhi. Terrific read although like every other biography, there were a dozen more pages on facts than you had expected and it leaves you with a feeling of incompleteness - one always starts reading a biography in a hope to look beyond the aura of enigma around someone and to understand the premise based on which they made decisions, momentous in any dimension, and what forced or inspired them to do it. In the end, when presented as facts, the picture doesn't look as interesting it was when things were unclear. yeah, I can hear you say .... Ignorance is bliss :)
Then, I moved on to "A brief history of nearly everything" by Bill Bryson. I loved the book. There are those,like my best friend Arjun, who are totally into physics and chemistry and who thrive on intricacies of the subject. But as for me, I was good at it and my interest level can be termed at most as curiosity. And for a novice, this book is a perfect recipe. It starts off with refreshing our physics, chemistry and geography textbooks right from seventh standard and takes us right to the frontiers of each of these areas. Also, interspersed are wonderful character potraits of the scientists, interesting incidents - making science for the first time a personal account. Most importantly, unlike our science text books, this one shows how so many questions remain unsolved in science. I don't know about you but much of my interest in science was lost because they served it to us as a solved puzzle and made it look as if, there was nothing much to unravel. But this book makes you feel, you do stand a chance. Read it if you find it anytime.
for sometime, I was tinkering with James Joyce's ulysses. I have to admit that I still haven't grown enough to appreciate his style of writing and I am not hyprocritical (is there a word like this?) enough to pretend I understood what he was trying to say.
After that, came Shashi Tharoor's Riot - bollywood masala movie. But what makes this book stand apart is an interesting style of narrative and utterly believable characters. Every word, every tumultuous phrase makes you believe he's been through something quite similar. Takes you about 7 hours if you are doing things in between.
And now, it's dark nature by Lyall Watson. I still haven't finished it but I am sure this one is going to be the best book I have read this year. simply amazing! This book deserves a blog for itself. So, shall pen it some other time. My sources are still getting synced - I love our infrastructure!!
Of course, in between I got this cheap three euro fiction that doesn't even merit a mention. Just remembered what I told Sundar yesterday - my reading habits define my preferences for life. I can never imagine spending money for any form of literary sexual gratification - be it a movie or a book or even a magazine coz I know for a fact that I will have enough of it in the first ten minutes. I can never read more than 10 pages of a book of erotic fiction. But at the sametime, I love it when I have a book with a fantastic storyline, some nail gripping action and some spicy, tasteful material in between. makes it a complete package. he was practically ready to pounce on me when he heard the analogy :)
PS: Incidentally, the title is inspired by the lines that won the "bad sex award" for the most insipid, clinical piece of erotic fiction this year. for more details, click here

an effort to 'Light'-en up?

Our entire building is decked up with lights and balloons for christmas - looks really good, especially in the night. I am wondering why they would do it - no really! By classic definitions, a company does everything to maximise profits. how does this increase profits - do employees feel good that the place they are working for looks so good (especially, by the time they leave office). Do smart intelligent people in the roads look at the building, find it impressive and join the company? Prospective clients probably?
Brings me to the question as to why we do it at home - because we celebrate these festivals at home, because decorating the house is one of the things that I do with my parents and my brother and somehow makes me feel closer to my kin and there's also this thing of "my neighbour's house is much more prettier than mine. So, let's do it". But here, I don't decorate the building with my colleagues and get to know them better, I don't celebrate or attach my firm with any form of christmas celebration and also, we have no neighbours in this godforsaken place who can look prettier than us!
I wonder why! I wonder why!

To the 'T'ea

My IDE is taking time to load and that gives me a good excuse to continue. Everyday, one of the important tasks that I do after coming to my office is preparing my tea :) It's funny - but I meticulously decide how much milk should go into my tea (I don't agree with the decisions of the vending machines), how much sugar would be "just-perfect" and how long should I wait for the sugar to mix with the milk - and finally when I take the sip, there's a vague nervousness as if my day is going to be as good as my tea - A smile of satisfaction breaks on my face and I put on my headphones and start my day with one of the ten songs that I have chosen as my "suprabathams".


A new beginning

for a long time now, I have been thinking of blogging on a lot of serious issues and conversations that have been taking a considerable chunk of my mindspace. Unfortunately, work's been moving at the speed of light and my team is not in the best of spirits or situation. So, realised ... rather than waiting for the "right" time, I might as well pen a few lines through the working day in a notepad and publish it at the end of the day into a blog. One of these days, it will culminate to a sizeable blog on a substantial topic.
Of course, that would a sea change from those long winding articles that have preceded these posts. but, someone with the first name of charlie wrote during one of his vacations to amazon that species, including software engineers (who are usually considered exceptions for all laws of nature) have the ability to adapt to changes in their habitat. So, there you go.
Reminds me of something that I said to someone really special a couple of years back ... there was a time when I was caught with a compulsive desire to please and surprise that I left a gift on the recipient's inbox every single day for an entire week. asked why, "it's futile to wait for occasions for us to tell someone how much we love them. what do you know, when the chosen moment arrives we spend so much time in getting those words right that the moment just passes without a whimper. and guess what - that's what happened.
now off to work.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Quick update: BITSian bloggers

A new set of bitsian blogs have been added to the list, some of whose names I am not sure I have got right (1.168 can't be one's actual name, can it? :).

Ensoy thangamani!
- Rathish

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A clear blue sky

I don't remember how many lines we have actually drawn on our plates with our wet hands, sitting there silently on the table, smiling to ourselves at our own private jokes. Once in a while, we look up, catch eachother's glance, smile and ask ourselves questions whose answers we already know.
"Want some more rice?"
"No. I am fine"
and our lips get sealed again. We look around for trains of thought that would hit us on its own without requiring even a trivial effort from our side as if determined that we shall not break this precious silence with a word uttered for the sake of it. The candles on the table and on the fridge are dying a slow death, tears of wax streaming from their eyes. As I stare at the distant yellow neon light flickering as if swaying with the wind, I am wondering how long it would take for these candles to die, for the last speck of light to leave this room and for one of us to finally leave the table to switch on the light.
I catch her smiling at the wall.
"What?" It came off as a whisper as if making a conscious effort not to wake up the angel of sleep who was sleeping next door. And she started off with another story about her boyfriend talking of every detail like a 5 year old girl after the first movie she understood. I nodded my head half amused, half happy at seeing someone so blissfully in love. In that dim lit room, it looked as if she had a halo of happiness around her radiating into every direction.
Soon, the words blur and all that is left is an image - of us. It suddenly strikes me that there would so very few of them who would be lucky to have a relationship as this one. All around me were men and women working on taking relationships further, slipping in uncertainity, leaving a cloud so that tomorrow brings a surprise that they wish happens, skipping a beat when a word is left unsaid and tossing themselves at nights wondering where they stand in the wheel of life. And there are those who wouldn't cross the bridge of social definitions - men and women who wear the glasses of social perception, without which they could never know if they are in the right track. They would work within walls they built, making choices and saying stories of world beyond that's morally challenged, ethically crippled and definitely unsafe. And late at nights, they would lie sleepless in their safe little beds, alone, wondering how it would be to let someone in here and say what they feel.
And between the lost and shut - were we basking in the comfortable silence letting the candles bear witness to a heavenly moment of contentment. This relationship was still water - there was no place to go but here, no future to dream but now. It's about this very moment - about an implicit trust, a platonic understanding, good food, a bad joke that only the two of us find funny, seers murders and social issues, social gossip and sweet little things that the two of us love to do. it's about making short trips to those little stars that can't be visited in this odyssey of life, a small canvas in the corner where little dreams come to life.
We neither bury differences nor resolve them. we live with them - crichton's new book and a story of a riot share the same table, cooking classes and poetry lessons go on in the same room, a distant star can either be an angel's bed or the home to another civilization. And as silence fills the room again, a hazy image of harry and sally play themselves on the wall as harry vehemently claims, "a man and a woman never be friends". The images dim as the candles burn their last breath to light and as I switch on the light and smile at her, they are all but gone.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Stop gap!

Give me a minute ... let me take a deep breath! Been a long time since I have been here - that can be attributed to a lot of things including an unresponsive site and irresponsible me. Well, the bottom line is probably that I still haven't settled into a schedule after coming to bangalore. But things are definitely improving . what still remains elusive is the feeling of being at "home" - literally! I am still living out of a suitcase that's parked in a lonely corner in sundar's room. And I have this long list of to-dos that shall "complete" me as a haggard, dozing, conscientious software employee - like buying a mobile phone, taking an LIC plan to avoid the vice called tax, sorting my travel bills, praying god in the morning and lazing in a coffee shop --- and all of these are vying for a spot on the weekend that's coming.
In the last 5 minutes that I have taken to write these para above - I have been interrupted 7 seven times :( Let me not make this anymore painful. Hopefully, by the end of this weekend, I should be done with most of the tasks that have kept me preoccupied and then probably, I will be in a clear state of mind to pen something here.
I have exactly seven minutes to catch my shuttle - which translates at the level of machine level languages as "RUN".
So, off I go.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Trusting the human judgement

Let me digress a bit and tell you about another conversation I was having with the Belarusian on languages. We realized together that languages that failed to adapt to local dialects became extinct after a couple of generations - latin and sanskrit being cases in point. Both of these were divine languages, used by the most elite and protected by the "clergy" for centuries. What happened was that the common man lost interest and "those grapes" soon became sour and no one's talking them anymore. No new literature - nothing! But in contrast, take tamil. Somewhere down the lane, either the elite recognized the presence and ability of other dialects in literary works or local though-gramatically-not-perfect dialects formed their own interest groups and started co-existing with those who never forgot to dot their 'i'-s. The language was well within the reach of common man and he chose to excel in it and men like bharathi or even present day poets have written poems that keeps the language a thriving, flourishing entity. Of course, there are purists even now, petrified by change, who always complain that it's going to the dogs - but compared to a pristine language that's dead, fumed and stored in decaying leaves in a glass pane, a flourishing language adapting itself to changing generations suits me just fine. what i am driving at is at some point in time, some of the learned made a momentous decision to leave the future of the language in the hands of "human excellence and judgement". Rather than defining exactly how a language has to be spoken, they have broad guidelines where many versions can coexist. To believe that men are good enough to redefine it according to times but will still work towards excellence and keep the spirit alive is a huge and risky decision to make. But I have a feeling - in 9 out of 10 times - it works.

A religion evolves in the same way. They are a set of rules that define how life has to be lived. These are based on a foreseeable future. But religions, as ours, go beyond that to a point where several external influences come into play and religion should be interpreted as guidelines, internalized and used as a premise to make a decision rather than a "practical guide to cook pasta. step 1, step2 etc"- Centuries ago wise men of every caste made a decision to marry within their castes for several reasons - their occupation, their lifestyles, their place of stay, their entire way of life was dependant on caste and they, for example priests, were completely unaware about what happened, say, in a merchant's house and hence it didn't make any sense to marry in another caste. Soon, english arrived and so did their education - men moved, adapted their religion to their causes, sat together in class benches and solved trigonometry together, moved papers from one desk to another not wondering whether a part of their caste is travelling with those papers. But when it came down to rituals - reason were lost in the river. My parents wanted me to get married to a brahmin and so shall I - wonder why? ask my dad - and the buck shall pass on the rangachari XVIII who has no idea as to what's happening in XXI century.

So, is arranged marriage completely wrong? nope! Are they right? Nope again! A decision is as right as the premise on which it is made. Having been lucky in going to different places and talking to different people, I really believe that our culture is something truly amazing. Our beliefs, habits, family structure - loads of things that people abroad listen to with a wistful look on their faces. And I wouldn't any day want to see these disappear from our systems. As I see the roads henceforth, I don't see two - the rebel and the priest - but three sects. A sect beyond the tyranny of OR.
It's amazing how religion is transferred from one generation to another. they don't have a course on it in school, we don't spend our weekends at temples to be religious. Every generation takes the responsibility to teach its children the beliefs and faith they believe in. It's a huge responsibility, thoroughly abstract where seemingly inconsequential events have the deepest impact. One of these generations, probably each one of them, has to take it upon them to finally interpret religion in terms of the realities that exist now and make choices based on our faith and not on the fragile book of rules that generations before us have gifted us. Someone should just let go - let go and trust people in making their decisions. You are not going to sit with your daughter and talk of freewill, let her study miles apart, leave her to herself and finally come and tell her who she has to marry. You probably do better to spend an hour everyday telling her what you have dreamt for her life and tell her what you believe in. she probably would remember that better than spotting a thin thread running behind someone's back.
I am religious, my decisions are based on that and there ends the story. I don't decide for anyone - not even for my daughter. But I will take pleasure in telling her what a wonderful culture we have and how I would love her to spend her life. And then, I trust my daughter to make the right decision. Of course, she can go wrong - At the sametime, so can I!
I have a feeling I missed out on a lot of points that I had thought of when I started off. Shall probably come to this and update it with other little details I had missed. But for now shall end with this - there can never be any book, or 4 books for that matter, that can exactly tell a human being how he has to live his life. If they could do it, they are probably broad guidelines that stand the test of time and are bound to our interpretation (and not to any one guy's inspiration who finally goes to jail for murder). and our religions are just that - probably the ones who defined trusted us to make sense of it. It's probably high time we started.

On arranged marriages

During this trip to germany, I had two wonderful discussions with new people both of whom were from SAP. Both of them were from former USSR (one from romania and the other from Belarus), both of them extremely down to earth and both of these conversations at some point or the other touched the concept of arranged marriages - a concept they find VERY alien.
Coffee with belarusian
I must admit that I felt strange while explaining the selection criteria of a groom to him - "Firstly, you parents make a list of prospective grooms from near and dear, then evaluate the families, then match the horoscopes, then ask around to know if they are good people, and then show the photo of the guy to the girl (and vice versa) - finally the parents meet for a chat while the two people in question spend sometime together" - "sometime?" - "yup, 2 hours, 4 hours sometimes... and then they express the opinion to their parents who decide if things can go further".
He dropped the spoon into his cup of tea, raised his eyebrows, and with a flabbergasted expression finally managed to say "Really???????????". The whole conversation was amusing because, I wasn't bitching about arranged marriages to him. I was justifying it - I personally have nothing against arranged marriages and I am one guy who believes it will work. No. I don't mean the paper version I just mentioned above but the one where my parents decide who I have to get married to - i am sure their decisions are based on better premises than above and my parents really know what fits me fine. This is partly because, I really don't have even a single condition that is a must have in my future wife though there's quite a long list of nice-to-haves (my dad always says this is because I haven't thought enough and don't realize what i am getting into!) and secondly because the idea of living with a stranger is really not intimidating to me (to many guys I presume). I feel that my wife should fit very well with our family and with me and my parents can decide it as well as I can (incidentally, my parents feel I can decide it as well as they can and would really be glad if I could take the decision of their backs!)
The belarusian as always didn't force his opinions. But what I felt when he narrated his story was that once you get to a comfort level with someone and know what it can be, you have a reason to make a choice. When you don't know how good or bad it can be, you don't give a fight. fair enough.
On a badly cooked beef with a romanian
She wouldn't even want to discuss it. "If the parents choose the guy, let them get married to him". Simple! But she brought in a beautiful line of thought that I have never thought about before - when we keep marrying within ourselves and our caste, our genetic variety does indeed diminish because, the best of each breed would never, well, breed together :) Does that explain our relatively small physical stature, our lonely medals in the olympics and a lot of such things? We probably are getting weaker and weaker with every subsequent generation while compared to an universal caste of "whites" and "blacks" in the rest of the world whose children form an eclectic mix of a lot o genes (let me see if I can get this right about a lady called anna who I once knew, she was born to a jamaican father and a a mother who was born to a chinese and an american. She then went on to marry a german and now has a son who is german/jamaican/chinese/american and god knows what before!).
All this brings us to a question of putting the responsibility of "trusting human judgement" - But that shall be the blog for tomorrow! The truth, I am almost done writing it but I have a bus now that I have to catch. So, shall put it on tomorrow evening.