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Showing posts from October, 2008

1. Deepavali sights. 2. What does शुभ लाभ mean?

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Sights are aplenty, sounds have been rather muted this year.Serial lights - readymade rows of flames!

Pretty and colourful decor for the puja areas
Mud lamps of all sizes and shapes, that will form the 'aavali' (row)
Pretty hands will be prettier - these hands will perform Lakshmi puja and will also prepare and distribute sweets.
Boxes that are used for distributing sweets and dry fruits - this is one of the simpler ones.
HAPPY DIWALI!
शुभ लाभ - These words are evident in small and big business establishments. What do they mean? In these days of unbridled private greed (as against public purpose), it will be certainly worth your while to look at what 'Shubh Laabh' means, sourced from a Feb 2004 TOI Speaking Tree article, by K S Ram.
"Good accrual or shubh laabh, is bound to impact your life positively. The important point, therefore, is not quantity but quality: Not 'how much' but 'how'. On the Scales of Life, less profit acquired in a fair manner is w…

Coming to terms with a dialect of English

Perhaps I should call it the national language of USA, and even term it a dialect of English if I felt charitable enough. Or I could coin 'Amenglish' - on the lines of other thriving, 'cross-fertilized' tongues like Hinglish, Pinglish, Binglish, Minglish, and umpteen more commonly heard in India. Here are a few objective, light-hearted notes on the pros and cons of language evolution. You'll agree that they are just(ified).

Long ago, my English teacher had marked "Expression!" in red on the margin, while checking a certain phrase in my shool-level essay. I realised that the phrase did not read quite well, and that's how I learnt about "expression" in written language. Now of course, I go by the maxim "Does this phrase or sentence sound right to the polished ear?", and then continue. And I find that I prefer the language in its form that stayed back home on the east side of the Atlantic!

- You need to be politically correct only in th…

Chandrayaan - launched

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That's another stride that India has taken.
Kudos to ISRO family and all of India.
Visit ISRO's website for information and images such as these.(The news channels overdo, with too much added masala, one feels)
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What else was evident during the countdown over the past few days? One could hear professional-sounding amateur news persons talk about 'colonising', 'moon real estate development' and more -
Now for some hilarity:
- A major news channel devoted several bytes to a gentleman who has bought land on the moon as a gift to his family, from a website. Lends credence to the word 'lunatic'.
- The domain name BUYLANDONTHEMOON.COM seems to be available. Any takers?
- Read about the hoax at Museum of hoaxes
- Hope you feel reassured after reading Legal Loopholes Help Man Sell the Moon

'Gate-pass' for Baby Manji Yamada

Glad to post a sequel to an earlier post (August 2008).
Baby Manji Yamada finally leaves for home in the care of Dad and Grandmom. Read details of the legal hassles that ended with the issue of a certificate of identity by the Jaipur passport office.
Here's a wish for Baby Manji - Bon Voyage! And have a happy childhood - the rest will follow...
PS: Want to bet if any of the 'ollywoods' find 'inspiration' in Baby Manji's story?

Providence issues visiting cards!

Today I'm convinced Providence hands out visiting cards, drives a car, and if required, even takes detours on way to work. Read on...

The errand - to drop middle-aged visiting relatives at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Station in time for a south-bound 11 am express.
The plan - Leave home (25 km from station) at 9 am, allowing for 50 minutes commute time, possible traffic delays and time to settle in reserved berths.

Leave we did at 9, and drove out the gate ... right into traffic Snarl No 1. It turned out that a tipper truck had overturned two km ahead, and the line was that long. A good 20 minutes later, we got past the culprit, and went breezing along, with occasional hiccups at Snarl Nos 2, 3 and 4.

At 10:30, we were short of the target by about 5 km, and held up in SNARL No 5, which was actually a stagnant sea of multi-wheelers. With the clock ticking away uncontrolled, I politely honked to catch the attention of the neighbouring driver.

That's when Providence wound down the w…

US National Debt - Entropy in the 21st century

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(image: news.bbc.co.uk)
Ridiculous? Incredible? Mind-boggling? Flabbergasting? Indecent? There is probably no single word to help convey all that the obese(!) US national debt figures will eventually mean to humans alive now and to several future generations.
So the counter ran out of digits, did it?
Where did it all go? We should surely be able to see where -
- in glass fronted sky-high edifices? - And among the debris in Afghanistan and Iraq
- in over-obese consumers' frames? - And in the hollow eyes and malnourished, bloated underbellies of the world's poor children
- in vulgar luxury infrastructure? - And in dried-up, empty farm lands
- in over-stuffed homes? - And in laid-bare forests
- in gleaming and overflowing supermarkets? - And in grotesque landfills and toxic oceanfills
Entropy - even as the word occurred in the mind, I felt that this term fills in where other words fail. In the field of thermodynamics, Entropy is "a measure of the partial loss of the ability of a sy…

The Charkha

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"Take to spinning to find peace of mind. The music of the wheel will be as balm to our soul. I believe that the yarn we spin is capable of mending the broken warp and woof of our life. The charkha (spinning wheel) is the symbol for nonviolence on which all life, if it is to be real life, must be based."
Mahatma Gandhi - Harijan, April 27, 1947, p. 122


If you are interested to learn spinning on a charkha, you can get yourself one from Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan. (This box charkha was sourced from the Chennai outlet)
Peter Ruhe of GandhiServe Foundation very kindly shares useful links for getting started with your charkha.
Assembling the charkha
Spinning tips
Instruction manual
To participate in vibrant discussions on personal experiences with spinning, you may like to join a Charkha online community.
Should we see some significance in this year's Oct 2? Gandhiji certainly may wish for that, as each Indian celebrates a festival that day.
About the Charkha: It's easy to assemble; th…