March 30, 2010


For those of you wondering, yes I deleted my post from yesterday. I will post it again after some editing. It just became too personal and I was feeling very uneasy about it, hence the deletion.

However, for some unknown reason I also submitted the post on Indivine (I contacted them regarding removing my post and haven’t heard back from them) . For those who don’t know: Indivine is a platform provided by IndiBlogger to submit the links to your post with a small synopsis. Other members “vote” on your post and, well, I really don’t know what happens after that. But I always thought that at least some people read your post. That notion was removed today morning when 6 more people voted on my post even though the link I submitted no longer works. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the vote of confidence that these people have shown in me. I guess they took it on blind faith that whatever I wrote must be good. Though I would have appreciated more if they had actually read my post. Well not the post I deleted but otherwise.

I usually browse Indivine as well as blogadda in order to find interesting blogs/posts which means I click on the post links and read them. I might not necessarily remember to vote on them but at least I read the post.

P.S.: Personally I like bloggada’s format better but I have found more bloggers through indivine than bloggada. Guess both of them have their own advantages.

March 28, 2010

Thoughts tag

I came out of the fitting room of a posh garment shop and could still hear the kid fussing/crying over top of his voice. He must have been 4-5 years old. The mom held him up and continued browsing through the racks. She didn’t even try to ask what’s wrong. Another lady standing nearby me couldn’t (or wouldn’t) take it anymore and said in a loud voice, 'Oh for God’s sake. Take him home. He doesn’t want to be in the store”.  Mom still kept browsing through the ongoing sale. Let her kid scream his lungs out. Let other people get headaches due to that. She will get her discounts.


An acquaintance of a friend, decided to join gym to control her weight. Her husband decided to come along. Problem? What will they do with their 4 year old? Oh that’s right, dump him in the acquaintance (my friend) place every weekend for 2-3 hours while they work out in the gym. I asked my friend why don’t they hire a baby sitter if they are planning to go to gym every weekend? She pointed and laughed at me. Apparently Indian parents don’t hire baby-sitter. They use their acquaintances. It doesn’t matter if the acquaintances might have other plans (the reason the whole thing came up. I invited her over during a weekend). Hey, it’s your kid and your responsibility and not someone else’s.


Another acquaintance, another friend. This acquaintance is pregnant and is in her first trimester=> She has morning sickness. She can’t tolerate a lot of things, among them is the smell of Indian curry. Yet a colleague of theirs decided to get an Indian takeout/leftovers for his lunch and ate it right on his desk which is right next to this pregnant lady (and yes he knew). They have a big cafeteria provided by the company and he could have eaten there. But NO. As Apu pointed out in this post, he didn’t want to give the ‘special treatment’ to a woman just because she happens to be pregnant. Women, their bodies and their pregnancy aren’t the norm of this world.


Another acquaintance of another friend. This time acquaintance wife is pregnant. He (the acquaintance) is hoping that it’s not a girl. Why? If it’s a boy, he doesn’t have to worry about him returning home pregnant. Of course, it doesn’t matter if he impregnates a girl because like most Indians, he is not planning to teach his son about responsibilities and consequences of unsafe sex.  Since a male body don’t carry the baby, they don’t have any responsibility for a baby.

First time I heard these arguments were when a friend’s family decided to have a dog and her parents ruled against getting a she-dog (yes I know what they are called) even though a she-puppy was available at the moment. Guess in our world, a pet and a daughter are equivalent.


An acquaintance was complaining about a common friend. The common friend had the audacity of telling off her spoiled son (4 years old) when he was hitting her with his toy car while she (the acquaintance) watched. She never explained why the common friend is supposed to take the abuse (the metallic toy car hurts!) or why didn’t she herself told him off?


A friend of mine doesn’t want kids because she can’t and won’t raise an unruly kids as most parents these day do. She, like me, can’t tolerate spoiled kids. And yet, she says, that kid will grow up in a world filled with those spoiled kids. Nah, according to her, those spoiled kids will be the norm of next generation (and number of spoiled kids I see these days, I can’t argue with her). How will her kid with his/her values survive in a world like that? She think, she will, by her ways of bringing him/her up, make sure that her kid will be a failure in the future world.


I know all these thoughts are not connected with each other in any way and each of them deserves a post of its own but as I am not too big on writing posts these days due to my thesis, I thought I would put the thoughts/events that I thought can become potential posts out there for you to think about. I know quite a few of these events can provoke a reaction in almost all of us and I will be happy to hear your thoughts about it.

So I tag all the readers to either write a post or comment here on any of these events that particularly pinched them. It’s free for all tag. Since I am starting the tag, I am taking the liberty to tag a few of my favorite bloggers. Hopefully they will respond. And they are: Apu, IHM, PB, Rachna, Shilpa, Sudipta, Usha and Viji.

March 23, 2010

Google again

Did you know about Google’s contest where the winner city gets awarded with their experimental project which will provide around half a million people with fiber-optic internet cables. You know what that means? 1Gigabyte/Sec internet speed!

Okay if someone from the future is reading this post: don’t laugh. It’s a big deal!! I have 16mbps download speed and it’s supposed to be pretty good internet speed. 1 gbps is something unheard of yet.

For those who are still in this time, and don’t get what I am talking about. Well you can try to check your download and upload speeds. Those of you who have a fast internet connection you would have a speed of around 20mbps. Now imagine 1gbps!!

Anyway, I am not the only one super excited about such a project. Seems like a lot of people are going nuts over this project. You don’t believe me?

To start with Topeka, Kansas unofficially changed its name to Google, Kansas. In response to this gesture, a lot of communities across the US has risen up to attract Google’s attention. For example, this skit:

And that’s not it, the mayor of Duluth went and took a dip in Lake superior. Here is the video for that:

And then the mayor of Sarasota went for a swim in shark tank. Who knew swimming in a shark tank was part of the job description for mayor’s office?

They have jingles, they are organizing rallies and what not. Let’s see who finally wins the contest. Though I don’t have the luxury, but I would have loved to live in the town where they have 1 gbps internet speed.

P.S.: While I am talking about computers, have you heard Intel Itanium Processor 9100 series? They enable system configurations of as many as 512 processors and a full petabyte (1024 TB) of RAM. 1PB RAM! Okay, you got me. I am fascinated by technology. Mind you, I am not that big a fan of gadgets but technology gets me. These days I am dreaming of building a CPU from scratch. Configuration, you ask? How about Intel i7920(2.66Hz), 12GB RAM, 2TB hard drive? Sounds cool, right? oh well, someday.

March 21, 2010

I am sick to my stomach

…after reading this report on Texas conservatives changing the high school curriculum. Did I ever mention that I hate Texas and don’t want to live there? Unfortunately though, I am moving there in six months. I am thankful that I don’t have any kids or I would have homeschooled them. Seriously. Otherwise I would have sent them to India to study or something.

I don’t get it. How and why the politician gets the authority on high school curriculum? (We have similar problems in India though not this severe). According to the report:

There were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings..

Hmmm..interesting. So if you are in power, you can rewrite the facts to suite your convenience? To hell with people who spent their life studying these subjects. What do they know?

In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin’s theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles, and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.

Question Darwin’s theory of evolution? Someone has to fight to preserve the teaching of Darwinism? Was time travel invented and was I transported to the era of bigotry when they denounced Galileo and Copernican theory as heresy? On that topic, I am not sure why didn’t the board change the curriculum to include the bible’s view about astronomy that Earth is flat and it is the center of universe? Too far fetched? Scared that even 10 year olds will laugh at them if they say something like that? As far as I am concerned, questioning the Darwin’s theory is exactly the same.

But then they have privilege to believe in what they want, don’t they? They won’t believe in carbon dating as it proves Darwinism, however they will believe in X-rays. Convenient, eh? If you don’t believe in radiations and the fact that we can count how old a bone is based on ratio of product and source then you don’t get to believe in it’s other applications as well. But then they are in the power (for some unknown reason). That’s why they can do this too:

They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

Does anyone sense anything here (well you would need to know about these people and organization to understand. feel free to click on wiki link)? No? Let’s see:

In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.

Did you notice how they put sexuality right in middle of the other genuine  problems as teenage suicide, drug use, dating violence and eating disorders? And notice how they worded it as “life choices” and how it is a “personal responsibility”? Oh, you catch my drift. And yes, they will teach that in high schools in Texas because the experts in sociology says so. Oh no wait, they never studied sociology or human behavior or sexuality. But they studied bible and that makes them expert in science, sociology, human behavior and history. Right? My question is: why not get rid of all the other textbooks and just have one book in school curriculum: bible. It anyways make anyone and everyone an expert in all existing subject then what’s the point of studying anything else? Abolish schools and universities altogether. What’s the point in loading the mind of these youngsters with anything else?

And no, they didn’t forget racism? No. How can they?

Efforts by Hispanic board members to include more Latino figures as role models for the state’s large Hispanic population were consistently defeated, prompting one member, Mary Helen Berlanga, to storm out of a meeting late Thursday night, saying, “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”

“They are going overboard, they are not experts, they are not historians,” she said. “They are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world.”

Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.

Do you know why they are doing that? Well here is what they say:

“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left. ” (Emphasis Mine)

Did you know “believing” in Darwinism is a political choice and not a scientific conviction?

Yes. I am moving to Texas in six months after spending six years in wonderful San Francisco bay area. And no, I am not looking forward to it.

A strange thought…

…occurred to me today: What if someone made a movie based on my life?

I don’t know why it suddenly struck me- may be because my life is so melodramatic at times, or may be I just want the current period of my life (writing the thesis and making sense of last 5 years of my life) to be a musical montage like one of those training musical montages in the movies after which the lead is ready to take on the bad guys, or may be I am simply turning into a narcissist.

Whatever the reason, after the moment that thought occurred to me, I spent the rest of my day (well it’s still going on) with a background narration in my head complete with background musical scores. Did you ever have one of those days? It had been a very weird day. The simplest of daily task felt weird and funny. And worst of it: I can’t stop it. It’s like one of those bad tunes stuck in your head that you hum all day long incessantly. You hate the tune and yet it keeps going over and over and over in your head. Does someone has a cure for this? I am having a weird day, seriously.

March 20, 2010


Came across this nazam by Gulzar and I had to share it. A loose translation is provided below:

Img from:
साँस लेना भी कैसी आदत है
जीये जाना भी क्या रवायत है
कोई आहट नहीं बदन में कहीं
कोई साया नहीं है आँखों में
पाँव बेहिस हैं, चलते जाते हैं
इक सफ़र है जो बहता रहता है
कितने बरसों से, कितनी सदियों से
जिये जाते हैं, जिये जाते हैं
आदतें भी अजीब होती हैं…

What a habit it is to breathe
What a tradition it is to live
There is no response in the body
There is no shades in the eyes
Feet are in a stupor, they keep walking
It’s a journey that keeps flowing
For how many years, for how many centuries
We keep living, we keep living
Habits are very strange thing..

March 19, 2010

Scenic Dish

Oh well, what do you know, Spring is here. Temperature has been constantly rising and skies have taken a shade of blue instead of their usual gray. Sun is out and about and so are the walkers, hikers and runners.

So last weekend I decided to take a hike and while doing so, take some pictures. So I went to Stanford Dish and took some pictures.

Well, I am not really sure what Stanford dish is used for except that it’s there for some research. All I know that it has two big dish antennas…

Dish24-1 Dish12

..and beautiful scenery especially if you are there on a beautiful day like these:

Dish25-1 Dish20-1 Did I tell you that it’s part of Stanford Campus and probably the highest point near the Stanford Campus which means you can see the entire Stanford campus and surrounding area from certain points in the area as:

Dish30-1 So the tall building in the center is the Hoover Tower (after Herbert Hoover, the 31st US president and Stanford alumnus). The mountains in the background are in East Bay (Diablo Range?). The water body in middle is the San Francisco Bay. You can also see Dumbarton Bridge from certain points as here (look closely. You can also spot the Stanford Stadium towards the right (red benches)):

Dish_51-1 The main use of dish area, as far as I am concerned, is for recreational purposes. It has pretty steep slopes. A lot of people from Stanford visit Dish daily to walk or to run (I really admire the runners who can run around Dish while talking to their friends. I wish I had as much stamina).

Dish17-2 Oh well, that’s about it unless you want to see the pictures of random squirrels and birds. Thought so. Well, till next time..

March 16, 2010


Update: I had to edit the ending of the post after reading (actually finding it again, I read the news 5 days ago but couldn’t locate it for the link) the recent ruling of high court.)

The other day while walking towards my terminal in an airport, I noticed a family ahead of me. Mom-dad and their daughter. The airport was a bit crowded and a lot of military officer in their uniforms were there (with their luggage, so they were either boarding the planes or landing). Anyway, so this family comes to a moving halt and the girl a bit shyly, a bit tentatively approached an army office approaching from the other side. She said a quick ‘Thank You’ to him before dashing off behind her mother.

Sweet, right?

Now compare it to image of an Indian army soldier in our public. A very good example is this footage shown on NDTV a while ago where a young lady retaliated bravely against the molestation attempt by an army soldier.

I am not sure if my experience is shared by everyone but I think the army soldiers are the creepiest fellow passengers I ever had misfortune to travel with. They constantly stare at female passengers in a very sinister way. It doesn’t matter, if you stare back or you ignore them. They will continue to make you uncomfortable. That’s the worst I have experienced but then I wasn’t not in a disturbed area with heavy military presence.

Due to these encounter with them, I was never surprised by the stories of soldiers molesting/raping women in disturbed areas neither was I surprised when that footage came out. I understood that girl’s reaction perfectly.

Every time I spot an Indian soldier in any public place, my first reaction would be to get away from them as much as possible, minimize my interaction with them and while doing all that I feel a bit revolted, a bit nauseated as I consider them the worst of all the predators roaming on our streets. Whatever I feel, one thing is certain that I don’t feel any gratitude towards them.

Watching that little girl saying thanks made me wonder is there something wrong with me? or, is something wrong with our culture that we don’t feel gratitude for our soldiers? or, is there something wrong with our army and their culture? I wonder with all the discipline we impose in army, why can’t we impose a zero tolerance policy against all army soldier who attempt anything like that? But then may be like police, army don’t consider such issues important. How does it matter how they treat women, after all, women are, or rather, should be used to treatments like these. Right?

The bigoted attitude of army towards women is obvious by the fact they treat the women officer. Did you know that until 5 days ago, women officers were forced to retire after 14 years in service, irrespective of their record. Male officers were allowed a full tenure after just five years in service. Women officers were not eligible for any pension or financial benefits as men. Talk about discrimination. And you know the worst? The affidavit that Army filed in High court for this case actually said:

The background of our troops who hail from rural areas with fixed concepts of women had to be considered at the time of induction of women as officers into the Army. Grant of Permanent Commission would result in placing women officers as Commanding Officers of units, which was considered inappropriate.

Now let me get this straight. The rural population that  migrate to cities, and work as servants, gardeners etc, don’t have a problem taking orders from women but army soldiers do? Why is this different? And even if it is so, the solution army has to offer is not to put women in commanding position. How does keeping women away from commanding positions going to help in changing that?

If we have to follow that logic, no engineering college should have opened their gates for female students as engineering has been male dominant field, and before 1970s, men (even urban men) weren’t used to having women in their engineering classes. And again any construction site or foundry or manufacturing industry, is male dominant and surprise, surprise, most of the workers hail from rural areas. How could they have learnt to take orders from, oh my God, a woman? And yet they did.

So how come our dearest Army is still living in the 1950s? When will they change and get in the 21st century? And when and if, they decide to join us I hope they introduce a zero tolerance policy against any act of eve teasing/molestation/rape by soldiers and instead of covering for them, they make an example of anyone who dares to violate this policy. And then, we might be able to feel the well deserved gratitude towards them for putting their life in line for us.

P.S.: I wrote the original post  for International Women’s day and in response to PsychBabbler’s Tag. but as this post didn’t fall in any of the categories mentioned on Indusladies (the tag) and I wasn’t sure if it’s really a woman’s right issue, so I didn’t post it then. I still needed to get this one out of my system before I loose my steam so here it is.

March 1, 2010

Farmville Crazy?

So the newest trend on Facebook by non-Farmville-crazy friends of mine is to join the hate groups like:

I don’t care about your farmville status. SO STOP POSTIING THEM, or

Another Farmville invite and I will kill your animals and burn your crops, or

I hate Farmville, or

To Hell with Farmville, etc.

If you are Farmville crazy and have friends that are less understanding to your idiosyncrasies like you are of theirs (as their non-stop quizzes or their daily updates of their “friend's of day” or “Fortune Cookie” or their non-sensical statuses), then you might want to read this post. BTW, isn’t that the point of these stupid social network statuses? And, if you are so bothered by these statuses there is a simple way to stop all the updates from people hooked in to Farmville. At least that’s what I do with people who take too many quizzes. I think it’s more polite than joining these groups. But then each to his/her own. Politeness isn’t a universal phenomenon.

So the point of the post is to teach you a way to be able to publish the Farmville updates only to your Farmville-crazed friends (and yes it is very important for us to publish those updates as they help us in the game). The trick is simple. Make a new friend list and select that list every time you publish your Farmville notifications. Got it? NO? Okay, let me break it into smaller steps:

1. Create a new list, say Farmville. At the moment (Oh yes, I am sick of Facebook changing its appearance all the time) you can do this by clicking on the “Account” (it’s on top right corner) and select “Edit Friend”. It initially takes you to the “Find Friends” page. However, if you browse the left side menu, it shows the List. Click on the “Friends”. You will reach the page as seen below:


Now you can create a new list either by clicking the “Create New List” and then selecting the friends that play Farmville. Or you can select the list to assign to your friend to from the list menu given in front of your friend’s name.

2. Once you have created the list, it’s pretty simple. So anytime Farmville prompts you to publish something, you will get a window like:

Farm1 Click on the lock next to “Publish” button. Select “Customize” from the list and next window “Custom Privacy” will pop-up:

Farm2 On the menu of “Make this visible to”, select “Specific People”. Now you can type the name of your list in the text box provided below and click “Save Setting”.

Farm3 You will taken back to the main window and if you hover over the lock now, you will be able to see the name of your list:


Mind you, you have to undergo this procedure every time you need to publish anything for the Farmville. So if your friends are bothering you, use this small trick.


Coming back to real world! I am sorry I didn’t keep up my promise about Friday favs. For some reason, I have a writer’s block against them, so I am ditching it for now. I don’t want to stop writing completely due to that.

On yet another note, it was Holi today and I made this special farm montage especially for you guys! (well it looks way cooler in the farm. The white flowers in the side are Lilies, The red color is due to Tulips and yellow is Golden Tulips. Alas! I have to harvest my hard work) Hope those of you who are India, got to celebrate Holi in a nice and safe way, and it lacked the groping and other harassment usually associated with the festival.