Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lithium-Ion motorcycles

Technology Review: Lithium-Ion Motorcycles

I've seen a few electric motorcycles and cars in India. But the ones described in this piece seem to be more powerful.

One motorcycle/scooter has a 60 mile range (96 kms) for a single charge which will be quite sufficient for a day's commute in a city like Bangalore. We have Eko and Reva in India. But I don't see the usually price conscious Indians take to these. Only the environmentally conscious people have gone for these.

If these 2-wheelers and 4-wheelers also come cheaper, we can get rid of emissions by a lot. The government should also give subsidies when people buy such vehicles. If a mainstream scooter maker like Honda can market one like this, you can expect more people to use this, cleaning up the air a bit.

However, I don't know what it means to throw-away these batteries once used. What will be the impact of that?

One new thing that I got from this piece is that even SUVs, the worst gas-guzzlers in the USA are 95% cleaner than motorbikes when it comes to emissions. I wonder what that number is with Indian vehicles. With Bharat Stage III and such initiatives, I suppose we can make the claim that 4-wheelers are cleaner than 2-wheelers in India.

The gasoline lobby would be worried at this development (electric vehicles). I don't know how much of a role they play in Indian automotive advancement, but they would be fools if they didn't already play a big role. The government may be too - because of the huge taxes from the petroleum sector.

Will our government be forward-looking enough to give out substantial subsidies for electric vehicles? Let's hope it will be.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two lines

This story is about a man. A man that could be anybody. A man who led a regular life. He had a loving wife and two wonderful children. With his amiable personality,he was liked by all. He also had a good job. Everybody at work and outside looked up to him.

One day he came home looking glum. Ever quick to notice, his wife asked him, “Is there anything wrong?”

He just nodded his head and sank into a sofa. Everything seemed lost.

“Our company will be restructured. My division will also be likely downsized” he replied in a way as if that had already happened.

His wife was more practical. She replied in an attempt to lighten his mood – “Is that all? I thought of things far graver” and resumed her work.

He didn’t like his wife’s non-concern. He raised his voice – “You don’t seem to understand! Do you know what can happen? Life as we lead it will not be possible! You can’t have your car and bungalow – you remember the high EMI payments, don’t you? We need a job to pay all that and more!”

At the end of his retort, his voice had come high pitched. His wife became alarmed but managed to calmly say “But you still haven’t lost your job, have you?”

Their children – a five year old girl and a seven year old boy – had worried looks on their faces, almost ready to cry. His wife glared at him. He checked his tone, while she herded them to their room giving them some books and toys.

“No. But the writing is on the wall. The announcement seems to be a mere formality now from what I’ve heard”, he talked in a calmer fashion now.

“You can find a new job if that happens. You are experienced enough” she replied from across the house.

“But it won’t be the same! I’m so used to working there for the past ten years. I’ll have to put in more work if I go to another company”, he pleaded as his wife returned to the living room.

“I know. But haven’t many others moved?”

“Let’s stop this for now” he muttered and went to his room.

The rest of the evening was a dull affair. He ate a silent dinner all by himself and lay down in his bed, feeling sorry for himself at not being sympathized with.

He couldn’t sleep for a long time. She came to the room and without a word, lay on the bed, away from him. From her breathing, he figured that she had fallen asleep.

His gaze fell on a picture of Lord Ganesha.

“God! Why are you making me go through this? Everybody else seems to be so content. She doesn’t even sympathize with my plight. Who do I go to?” he cried mentally.

He felt Ganesha wink at him. “What do you want?”, the elephant-headed being seemed to ask him.

He prayed in his mind – “Please make my problems smaller”.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” He asked him.

“Yes, Lord!”

“So be it!”

Our man felt relieved at this. Taking this to be a sign, he was able to fall asleep soon.

He was soon woken up in the night. His wife was shaking him.

“Wake up! We need to get her to a hospital”

“What happened?” he mumbled sleepily.

“She is vomiting uncontrollably.”

He started up pulling off his covers. He saw his daughter, a tender child of five and touched her. Her skin was scorching hot. He immediately wore whatever he could lay his hands on and ran towards his car. His wife held their daughter. His son was panicky – “What happened to Chikki?” he inquired anxiously.

He started the car quickly after everyone was seated. His daughter looked emaciated. The hospital was a good four kilometers away.

The car moved furiously. When he had driven past three intersections, a drunkard suddenly came walking in his path. Trying to avoid him, he swerved violently, only to lose control. The car somersaulted a few times and hit a wall. Everything suddenly was noisy and silent.

He couldn’t figure out what had happened, as dazed as he was. Through the smashed wind-shield he saw a few people running toward him.

The situation began to dawn upon him. He tried to turn his neck look at his family – but was physically immobile in spite of his best attempts. A few people tried to extricate the family from the wreck while he helplessly watched.

He saw the motionless body of his daughter taken out of the car. His wife and son were bleeding profusely. Using all his strength, he tried to get out of the car in one movement.

He opened his eyes to find everything dark around him. It took him a full twenty seconds to realize that he was lying in his bedroom, on the floor, looking at the ceiling; his body covered with sweat.

The breathing form of his wife on the bed came into view as he turned aside.

It didn’t take long after that to realize that had been dreaming. In a moment, his horror had changed to relief. He couldn’t believe it. He ran to the other room and found his children sleeping peacefully. Ecstatic, he ran all over the house. Rushing to his wife, he hugged and kissed her like one possessed. While she woke up bewildered, he ran to his children and coddled them with many hugs and kisses; they woke up with a start.

He turned on the lights and plopped into the sofa crying; tears of happiness flowing down his cheeks.

His son’s puzzle book lay on the floor. The page was turned up. He read the puzzle – “How do you make a line shorter without erasing it?”

He reflected with closed eyes and bowed gratefully.

Ganesha’s picture in his bedroom seemed to sport a mischievous smile.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

ಆಷಾಢಸ್ಯ ಪ್ರಥಮದಿವಸೇ

ಇಂದು ಆಷಾಢಮಾಸದ ಮೊದಲ ದಿನ.

"ಆಷಾಢವೆಂದರೆ ಯಾವ ಶುಭಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮವೂ ಇರದ ತಿಂಗಳು. ಯಾವ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಹಬ್ಬವೂ ಇಲ್ಲದ ಮಾಸ." ಎಂದು ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ತಿಳಿಯುವ ವಿಷಯ. ಆದರೆ ಕೆಲವರಿಗೆ ಇದು ಹಬ್ಬ. ಅದೂ ಈ ಮಾಸದ ಮೊದಲ ದಿವಸ.

"ಟಾಟಾ ಇಂಡಿಕಾಮ್" ನ ಜಾಹಿರಾತಿನಲ್ಲೊಬ್ಬಳು "ಐ ಲವ್ ಯೂ" ಎಂದು ಮೂರು ಬಾರಿ ಹೇಳಿದ ಬಳಿಕ ಆ ಕಡೆ ಕೇಳಿಸದಿದ್ದರಿಂದ ಆ ಫೋನಿಗೆ "ಐ ಹೇಟ್ ಯೂ" ಎಂದು ಜುಗುಪ್ಸೆಯಿಂದ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾಳೆ. "ನಾ ನಿನ್ನ ಪ್ರೀತಿಸುವೆ" ಅನ್ನುವ ಮಾತನ್ನು ಹೇಳಲು ಕೂಡ ತಾಳ್ಮೆಯಿಲ್ಲದ ಜನಾಂಗವಾಗಿದ್ದೇವೆ.

ಈ-ಮೈಲ್ ಯುಗದ ಈ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂದೇಶಗಳು ನಿತ್ಯನಿರಂತರ ಪ್ರವಹಿಸುತ್ತಿರುತ್ತವೆ. ನಮಗೆ ಸಂವಹನವೆಂದರೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ಸುಲಭ! ಮನಸ್ಸಿಗೆ ಬಂದವರನ್ನು ಮನಸ್ಸಿಗೆ ಬಂದಾಗ ಸಂಪರ್ಕಿಸಬಹುದು. ಈ ಕಡೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅವರ ಸೆಲ್, ಆ ಕಡೆ ಇನ್ನೊಬ್ಬರದ್ದು. ಮಾತಿಗೆ ಮೊದಲಿಡುವುದು ಬಹಳ ಸುಲಭ. ಆದರೆ ಇಪ್ಪತ್ತು ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಹಾಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲವಲ್ಲ! ಫೋನ್ ಎಂದರೆ ಕಷ್ಟ. ಎಲ್ಲ ಪತ್ರವ್ಯವಹಾರವೇ! ಇನ್ನೂರು ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ? ಹೋಗಲಿ, ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ?

ಸಂವಹನದ ಅಗತ್ಯ ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಇದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಇದರ ಅಗತ್ಯ ಆಗುವುದು ವಿಶೇಷವಾಗಿ ಪ್ರೇಮಿಗಳಿಗೆ. ಈಗಿನ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ಮೊದಲೇ ಹೇಳಿದ ಹಾಗೆ ಸಂವಹನದ ಭೌತಿಕ ಕಂದಕವನ್ನು ನಾವು ದಾಟಿದ್ದೇವೆ. ಏನನ್ನು ಹೇಳಲು ಬಯಸುತ್ತಾರೋ - ಅದೇ ಮಾನಸಿಕ ಮತ್ತು ಬೌದ್ದಿಕ ಕಂದಕಗಳು - ಅದನ್ನು ಮೀರಿಸುವ ಕಷ್ಟ ಇದ್ದೇ ಇದೆ. ನಾವಿರುವವರೆಗೂ ಇರುತ್ತದೆ.

ಈಗ ಊಹಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಿ. ಸುಮಾರು ಎರಡು ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಕಾಲ. ಅವನು ಬೇಸಿಗೆಯ ಬೇಗೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತಪ್ತನಾಗಿ ಈಗಿನ ಆಂಧ್ರಪ್ರದೇಶದ ಆಸುಪಾಸಿನಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಅವಳು ಹಿಮಾಲಯದ ತಣ್ಣನೆಯ ವಾತಾರವರಣದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದರೂ ವಿರಹದ ಬೇಗೆಯಿಂದ ಬೇಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾಳೆ. ಈ ಪ್ರೇಮಿಗಳ ಸಂಪರ್ಕ ಹೇಗೆ ತಾನೆ ಸಾಧ್ಯ? ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕಾವ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ವಸ್ತುವಾಗಬಲ್ಲುದು ಈ ಸಂಪರ್ಕ. ಆಗಿದೆ ಕೂಡ.

ಈ ವಸ್ತುವನ್ನೇ ನಮ್ಮ ಕವಿಕುಲಕ್ಕೆ ಗುರುವೆನಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಕಾಲಿದಾಸನು ತನ್ನ ಮೇಘದೂತದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಸ್ತರಿಸಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಮುಂಚೆ ವರ್ಣಿಸಿದ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಲುಕಿದ ಆ ಪ್ರೇಮಿಗೆ ಯಾವ ದಾರಿಯೂ ಕಾಣದೆ - ಹಾಗೆ ಕಂಡ ಮೋಡವೊಂದನ್ನು ತನ್ನ ದೂತನನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮಾಡಿ ತನ್ನ ಪ್ರಿಯತಮೆಗೆ ಸಂದೇಶ ನೀಡುವುದೇ ಈ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ವಸ್ತು.

ಆ ಮೋಡವನ್ನು ನಮ್ಮ ನಾಯಕ ಕಂಡದ್ದು ಆಷಾಢದ ಮೊದಲನೇ ದಿವಸ. ಆ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ರಸವನ್ನನುಭವಿಸಿದ, ಕಾಲಿದಾಸನ ಅಭಿಮಾನಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಈ ದಿನ ಹಬ್ಬವಲ್ಲದೇ ಮತ್ತೇನು? ಸುಮಾರು ನೂರಹತ್ತು ಮಂದಾಕ್ರಾಂತಾ ಛಂದಸ್ಸಿನ ಪದ್ಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಯಕ್ಷನ ಸಂದೇಶವನ್ನು ಮೇಘಕ್ಕೆ ತಿಳಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ.

ಇದರ ಮೊದಲ ಪದ್ಯ :
ಕಶ್ಚಿತ್ ಕಾಂತಾವಿರಹಗುರುಣಾ ಸ್ವಾಧಿಕಾರಾತ್ ಪ್ರಮತ್ತಃ
ಶಾಪೇನಾಸ್ತಂಗಮಿತಮಹಿಮಾ ವರ್ಷಭೋಗ್ಯೇನ ಭರ್ತುಃ
ಯಕ್ಷಶ್ಚಕ್ರೇ ಜನಕತನಯಾಸ್ನಾನಪುಣ್ಯೋದಕೇಷು
ಸ್ನಿಗ್ಧಚ್ಛಾಯಾತರುಷು ವಸತಿಂ ರಾಮಗಿರ್ಯಾಶ್ರಮೇಷು ||

ಇದರ ಸ್ಥೂಲಾರ್ಥ: ಒಬ್ಬ ಯಕ್ಷನು ತನ್ನ ಸ್ವಾಮಿಯಿಂದ ಕೊಟ್ಟ ಶಾಪದಿಂದ ತನ್ನ ಮಹಿಮೆಯನ್ನು ಕಳೆದುಕೊಂಡವನಾಗಿ ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷ ತನ್ನ ಪ್ರೇಯಸಿಯಿಂದ ದೂರನಾಗಿ ಜನಕನ ಮಗಳ (ಸೀತೆಯ) ಸ್ನಾನದಿಂದ ಪಾವನವಾದ ಝರಿಗಳ ಮರಗಳ ಸ್ನಿಗ್ಧವಾದ ನೆರಳಿನಿಂದ ಕೂಡಿದ ರಾಮಗಿರಿಯ ಪ್ರದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ವಸತಿಯನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿದನು.

ಇದರ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಕಥೆ ಹೀಗೆಂದು ಊಹಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಈ ಯಕ್ಷನು ಯಕ್ಷರ ರಾಜಧಾನಿಯಾದ ಅಲಕಾಪುರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಬೇರನ ತೋಟದ ಮಾಲಿ. ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಇಂದ್ರನು ಐರಾವತವನ್ನು ತೋಟಕ್ಕೆ ತಂದಾಗ ತನ್ನ ಒಡೆಯನ ಮಿತ್ರನ ವಾಹನವನ್ನು ತೋಟದೊಳಗೆ ಬಿಡಲಾರದೆ ಬಿಟ್ಟಾಗ ತೋಟಕ್ಕೆ ಹಾನಿಯಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಕುಬೇರನು ಇದನ್ನು ತಿಳಿದು ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷದ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ತನ್ನ ಮಾಲಿಯನ್ನು ಗಡೀಪಾರು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಈ ಗಡೀಪಾರು ಓದುಗರಾದ ನಮಗೆ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಕಾವ್ಯಾಸ್ವಾದವನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿಸುತ್ತದೆ.

ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷ ತನ್ನ ಹೆಂಡತಿಯಿಂದ ದೂರವಿದ್ದ ಯಕ್ಷನ ವಿರಹದ ಬೇಗೆ ರಾಮಗಿರಿಯ ಬಿಸಿಲನ್ನೂ ಮೀರಿತ್ತು. ತಾಳಲಾರದ ವಿರಹದಿಂದ ನಮ್ಮ ಯಕ್ಷನೇನು ಮಾಡಿದ?

ತಸ್ಮಿನ್ನದ್ರೌ ಕತಿಚಿದಬಲಾವಿಪ್ರಯುಕ್ತಃ ಸ ಕಾಮೀ
ನೀತ್ವಾ ಮಾಸಾನ್ ಕನಕವಲಯಭ್ರಂಶರಿಕ್ತಪ್ರಕೋಷ್ಠಃ |
ಆಷಾಢಸ್ಯ ಪ್ರಥಮದಿವಸೇ ಮೇಘಮಾಶ್ಲಿಷ್ಟಸಾನುಮ್
ವಪ್ರಕ್ರೀಡಾಪರಿಣತಗಜಪ್ರೇಕ್ಷಣೀಯಂ ದದರ್ಶ ||

ಸ್ಥೂಲಾರ್ಥ: ಆ ರಾಮಗಿರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ತನ್ನ ಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ವಿರಹದಲ್ಲಿ ತಿಂಗಳುಗಳನ್ನು ಕಳೆದ ಆ ಪ್ರೇಮಿಯ ಮಣಿಕಟ್ಟಿನ ಪ್ರದೇಶ ಚಿನ್ನದ ಕಂಕಣ ಅದನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಜಾರಿದ್ದರಿಂದ ಬರಿದಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಆಗ ಆಷಾಢ ಮಾಸದ ಮೊದಲ ದಿವಸ ಬೆಟ್ಟವನ್ನಾಲಿಂಗಿಸಿದ, ಆನೆಯು ತಿವಿದು ಆಡುತ್ತಿರುವಂತೆ ಮನೋಹರವಾಗಿ ಕಂಡ ಮೇಘವನ್ನು ಕಂಡನು.

ಆ ಮಣಿಕಟ್ಟಿನ ಪ್ರದೇಶ ಎಷ್ಟು ವಿರಹವನ್ನು ತನ್ನ ಬರಿದಾಗುವಿಕೆಯಿಂದ ಹೇಳುತ್ತದೆ!

ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಬೇಂದ್ರೆಯವರು ಮೇಘದೂತದ ಪದ್ಯಾನುವಾದ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ "ಕನಕವಲಯಭ್ರಂಶರಿಕ್ತಪ್ರಕೋಷ್ಠಃ" ದ ಅನುವಾದ ಹೇಗೆ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೋ ತಿಳಿಯದು. ಆದರೆ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದ ಹಲವು ಶಕ್ತಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂಥ ಪದವನ್ನು ನಾಮಪದವನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮಾಡುವುದೂ ಒಂದು. ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಅಕ್ಷರಗಳನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳದೆಯೇ ಅಷ್ಟನ್ನು ಹೇಳುವುದು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತದ ಜಾಡು.

ಮೇಘದೂತದ ಮೊದಲ ಐದು ಪದ್ಯಗಳು ಮಾತ್ರ ಕವಿ ಹೇಳುವವು. ಇದಾದ ಮೇಲೆ ಎಲ್ಲ ಯಕ್ಷ ಮೇಘವನ್ನುದ್ದೇಶಿಸಿ ಹೇಳುವುದೇ. ಅಚೇತನವಾದ ಮೇಘವನ್ನೇ ಏಕೆ ದೂತನ್ನನಾಗಿ ಮಾಡಿದನೆಂಬುದಕ್ಕೆ ಐದನೆ ಪದ್ಯ ಹೀಗೆ.

ಧೂಮಜ್ಯೋತಿಃಸಲಿಲಮರುತಾಂ ಸನ್ನಿಪಾತಃ ಕ್ವ ಮೇಘಃ
ಸಂದೇಶಾರ್ಥಾಃ ಕ್ವ ಪಟುಕರಣೈಃ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಭಿಃ ಪ್ರಾಪಣೀಯಾಃ |
ಇತ್ಯೌಸುಕ್ಯಾದಪರಿಗಣಯನ್ ಗುಹ್ಯಕಸ್ತಂ ಯಯಾಚೇ
ಕಾಮಾರ್ತಾ ಹಿ ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಕೃಪಣಾಶ್ಚೇತನಾಚೇತನೇಷು ||

ಧೂಮ, ಜ್ಯೋತಿ, ನೀರು ಮತ್ತು ಗಾಳಿಗಳ ಕೂಡಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲವೇ ಮೋಡ? ಸಂದೇಶಗಳು ಪಟುವಾದ ಕರಣಗಳುಳ್ಳ (ಅಂದರೆ ಜ್ಞಾನೇಂದ್ರಿಯಗಳು ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿರುವ) ಚೇತನವಾದ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳಿಂದ ತಾನೆ ಒಯ್ಯಲ್ಪಡಬೇಕು? ಆದರೂ ಉತ್ಸುಕತೆಯಿಂದ (ನಮ್ಮ ಯಕ್ಷನಿಗೆ ಬೇರೇನೂ ಕಂಡಿರಲಿಲ್ಲವೇನೋ? ಅಥವಾ ವಿರಹದ ಔತ್ಸುಕ್ಯ ಪರಾಕಾಷ್ಠೆಯನ್ನು ಆಗ ಮುಟ್ಟಿತೋ?) ಇದನ್ನು ಯೋಚಿಸದೆ ಯಕ್ಷನು ಮೋಡವನ್ನೇ ಬೇಡಿದನು. ವಿರಹತಪ್ತರಾದವರು ಚೇತಾನಾಚೇತನಗಳ ನಡುವೆ ಭೇದವನ್ನೆಂದು ಎಣಿಸುವರು?

ಹೀಗೆ ಮೊದಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ ಯಕ್ಷನ ಸಂದೇಶ. ಮೋಡವನ್ನು ಹೊಗಳಿ ಒಲಿಸಿಕೊಂಡು, ರಾಮಗಿರಿಯಿಂದ ಅಲಕಾಪುರಿಗೆ (ಯಕ್ಷರ ಒಡೆಯನಾದ ಕುಬೇರನ ನಗರ) ಹೇಗೆ ಹೋಗಬೇಕು ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ವಿವರವಾಗಿ ಹೇಳುವುದೇ ಪೂರ್ವ ಮೇಘ. ಅಲಕಾಪುರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯುವ ಸಂಗತಿಯು ಉತ್ತರಮೇಘದ್ದು.

ಒಂದೊಂದು ಪದ್ಯವೂ ಸುಮನೋಹರವಾಗಿದೆ. ಭಾವ ಉಕ್ಕಿ ಹರಿಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದನ್ನು ಓದಿಯೇ ಆಸ್ವಾದಿಸಬೇಕು!

ಶತಾವಧಾನಿ ಆರ್. ಗಣೇಶರು ಗೋಖಲೆ ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೇಘದೂತದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಉಪನ್ಯಾಸಮಾಲೆಯನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿದ್ದರು. ಎರಡು ಎಂ.ಪಿ.೩ ಸಿ.ಡಿ.ಯಷ್ಟಿರುವ ಈ ಉಪನ್ಯಾಸ ಬಹಳ ಸೊಗಸಾಗಿದೆ. ಇದನ್ನು ಕೇಳಿ, ಮೇಘದೂತವನ್ನು ಕೊಂಡು ತಂದೆ. ಮೇಘದೂತವನ್ನು ಓದಲಾರದೆ ಇರುವವರು ಈ ಸಿ.ಡಿ.ಯನ್ನಾದರೂ ಕೇಳಬೇಕು. ಎಷ್ಟು ಸೊಗಸು! ಕಾರ್ಯಾಲಯಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಹೋಗುವಾಗ ಈ ಮೇಘದೂತವೂ ನನ್ನೊಂದಿಗೆ ಹಲವು ದಿನಗಳ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಜೊತೆ ನೀಡಿತು.

ಮೋಡಗಳನ್ನು ಕಾಣುವುದೇ ಈಗ ಬೇರೆಯ ನೋಟದಿಂದ.

ಇಂದು ಆಷಾಢದ ಮೊದಲ ದಿವಸವೆಂದು ತಿಳಿದು ಅದರ ಸಂತಸವನ್ನು ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳೋಣವೆಂದು ಈ ಲೇಖನ ಬರೆದೆ.

|| ಇತಿ ಶಮ್ ||

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This can happen only in India - annual licence fee on TV?

Govt mulls Rs 500/year fee on every colour TV-India-The Times of India

I still remember the dark blue book that was the radio license book. My father used to go the post office once a while to pay the license fee for the radio. The TV one was on then too. Thankfully, that had gone off.

Now this! I am livid with rage. Doesn't the government get sales taxes from the sale of each TV? And don't TV channels pay the government? Why does it have to snatch the pocketbooks of its citizens? This is by far the cheapest measure I've seen from the government.

Recurring annual licence fee. I am so disgusted with the stupid government for even thinking of this that I can't type any more.

Mr. Gurcharan Das, India is not yet unbound. At least not when such nincompoops are at the helm of affairs.

PS: 7/12/2007 - I heard on the news that the government has stopped considering this idea after stiff opposition. Thank God for putting some sense into these people!

Monday, July 09, 2007

A picture is worth a thousand words. A word in a picture?

This is the image I saw in a local store. A store for steel vessels. This had a sticker that I could not ignore.

Applicable to all of us at all times. shAnti in the marketplace - isn't that a great thing? What do you say?

Friday, July 06, 2007

There goes Mr. Puppet Minister again

PM speaks to Brown; says he can't sleep at night-India-The Times of India

I don't know what is wrong with our Prime Minister. As the reluctant architect of the economic reforms that kick-started the new Indian age, he had a lot of respect in my eyes. Once he became a puppet PM, he doesn't seem to exhibit his own brand of leadership, if there ever was something like that. A few days ago he had made the silly statement that CEOs should take smaller salaries and had drawn the ire of the entire business community (and all sane people). And now this. It is difficult to believe that such a brilliant man has been reduced to this pathetic state.

Nobody is labeling India a terrorist haven. In this age, it is the unfortunate truth that terrorists mostly are of a single religious persuasion. Everybody knows that not all members of that faith are terrorists. But it is common knowledge that most terrorists are from that faith. If even well-educated and otherwise normal people from that faith are taking the path of extreme religious hatred, there is something seriously wrong.

And if our hon'ble PM can't see this or worse, refuses to see this, there is something wrong with him also. The problem exists; symptoms are for all to see. He, as PM of the most populous democracy, must try to solve the problem. He can't mouth statements like these any more.

If he can't sleep at night, he must do something about it. Like drink a glass of hot milk or take a sedative. That is the least he can do.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What's in a number and other rambling thoughts

The title of this post may be misleading. This is not about mathematical numbers. In fact, mathematical numbers have a lot in them. This is about those "non-mathematical" ones; though numbers have to be inherently mathematical.

Also, this is not about numbers that have their place in nature. I agree that 365 (give and take a couple of days) days make a year and around 9 months is the human gestation period. But my post is not about that.

My post is about man-made numbers and whether we really need to attach so much importance to them. For example, the papers in Bangalore today scream - that this is one day in a thousand years that has 7'O clock, 7 minutes, 7 seconds, 7th day of the 7th month of the year 2007 and it turned out to be a saptami (7th day) in the Indian lunar calendar as well. And so, this is a great day and so on. In fact, last year we did have 6:06:06 6th June 2006. And next year will have a bunch of 8s and so on till 2012.

Now for a different take on it. 2007 is the year according to the Christian calendar. According to the Muslim calendar, this year is numbered something else. And in our Hindu calendar, it is sarvajit samvatsara and the number of the year in vikrama samvat is something else. What would happen if you calculate your date according to any other calendar? Would this headline be still valuable? And what if you measured your time in something like "radians" instead of hours and minutes? Are we mistaking things for units in which they are measured?

Then, you have the other one. Celebrities all over India wanted to get the Taj Mahal in the seven wonders of the world. Now my question to the organizers is : Why seven wonders? Why not 6? What did the other poor numbers like 11 do? Why not say, 35 or 53? Why is 7 any special?

For a number to be special to me, it has to have some counterpart in nature, a counterpart in something that is not man-made. "pi" is one such number. "e" is one such constant. "c" is another one. "h" is yet another. The number 15 as the period in days of our moon's waxing/waning cycle is another number. Two such cycles make a month. A year is fine as it signifies one revolution of the earth around the sun.

But Top Seven and Top 10 and Top 50 or Top 100 seem to be just made up.  What are the organizers trying to convey? That if the Taj Mahal is in the top 7, it is good and that otherwise, it is not? What if the Taj gets the 8th position? Will it stop being as attractive? In the seven wonders case, it looks like people are just having a good time promoting the Taj Mahal and all - which is fine, but is the hype justified?

Next you have the make or break numbers - ranks in education. The ranks themselves are fine, because they just correspond to the indices of a set of sorted marks. But ranks have notions of superiority and inferiority associated with them. The first ranker is somehow perceived as "superior" to the second and so on. But the examinations try to measure ability in a particular field. Rank and ability may not correlate well enough. The first ranker will be better than the ten thousandth one. But the fifth ranker may actually have more ability than the first ranker. But how else would you measure ability? It is an imperfect measuring system, but unavoidable, I feel.

Hierarchy is in our world whether we like it or not. Equality, the politically correct notion, does not have a natural counterpart. Ranks and numbers and our fascination for those reinforce this notion. Isn't it just easier in a limited period of time to see the "7 wonders of the world" rather than make the ranking ourselves? It is just that in these things, we trust the judgment of our fellow beings. We do that implicitly in other things anyway.

When we see two things as different, we begin seeing hierarchy. We can't just see two things and not have an implicit hierarchy formed in our mind. Dvaita philosophy - expounded by shrI madhva, in fact, declares 5 types of differences to be Absolute. Difference between God and the soul, difference between souls, difference between God and inanimate matter, difference between souls and inanimate matter and finally the difference between inanimate matter itself. And with a multitude of souls, Dvaita has a hierarchy of deities with Hari (Lord VishNu) being at the peak.

But who is it that sees the difference? We claim to know the world - but we just know what our senses and intellect tell us. The perceiver is still not "known". What does it mean for the knower to know oneself? This is the domain of several of our philosophies and not all of them are in agreement. Buddhism says there is no abiding soul. Advaita says that the soul is the same as the world and God. Dualist schools (most of the others including mainstream Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam, our dvaita and vishiShTAdvaita) say that there is a Supreme Spirit called God and that It and the individual soul are different.

Isn't it strange that we don't know who we are, but, like in this post, ponder about the world and what we see?