Sunday, December 17, 2006

Destination Unknown

Today was one of those days when things just start falling into place, without you have really meant for them to.

All of a sudden, we found ourselves in Chickballapur. On the highway, we chanced upon a sign-board marked "Muddenahalli". After much debate, it was settled that Muddenahalli was definitely not the birth-place of Deve Gowda, who is most certainly a native of the same village as our ancestors - Holenarsipura. So why does Muddenahalli ring a bell? We decided to go and find out. Yet, we asked around in Chickballapur.

It turns out that Muddenahalli is the birthplace of Sir Mokshagundam Vishweshwaraiah, hailed as one of the greatest visionaries and architect of the erstwhile State of Mysore. The fact that it was just 5 kms off the highway lent itself beautifully to our scheme of events. So, not knowing what to expect, we found ourselves heading there within a matter of minutes.

The short trip is one worthy of comment. You take this country road alongside the banks of a large lake - one that is said to span the entire length of the Chickballapur town. You will see a small pumping station with a large board proclaiming the same in bold letters. You will notice the drop in air temperature and expect to see the lake filled with water. Surprise! The lake's dry. To the very last drop. Not even small puddles dotting its surface. Then you smile and just carry on, enjoying the country-ride. Its a tar-road with trees on either side and green fields all around. It reminds you of the one that takes you to Edamuri, near Srirangapatna. Only, here the flowing waters are missing.

Muddenahalli is a small village. You can't help the feeling that you're an unexpected visitor, going by the stares that the villagers fix you with. Those are not unwelcoming eyes, nor are they welcoming you. They are just interested and curious, probably wondering what brings you to their little sanctuary. Then they see you turn towards Sir M.V.'s ancestral home and their faces crinkle with that pleasant, all-knowing smile. Makes you feel that your intrusion has been condoned and your presence has won their approval.

And so you conveniently park just beside the gate of a not-so-ancient house, saying a silent thank-you that this place has not yet seen the rigors of the city. There are three buildings within the compound. One has been turned into a museum, displaying several objects and curios from Sir M.V.'s life. The second is the dwelling of his descendants - exactly who lives there, we were unable to find out. The third is a Gift Shop, which was closed, which I presume sells photographs, biographies and the kind relating to Sir M.V.

As is customary while entering any traditional Indian household, we had to take off our foot-wear before we entered the museum. The act was reminiscent of entering a temple - an abode of God. That this was once the abode of a great man justified the act and the thought in my mind.

As soon as you enter, you are presented with two boards displaying the major events in Sir M.V.'s life. But the text was in Kannada and, though it's my mother-tongue, I do not pride myself on my Kannada-reading skills. Given more time, I would have laboured through it in its entirety; but this time I was forced to move on.

Next, you enter a small room displaying several mementos that were presented to Sir M.V. during his lifetime, but predominantly those given to him on his 100th birthday. The address made in his honour on this celebration has been framed and is on display. Thankfully, this time the text was in English and I got through to half of the speech. Only on reading this did I realize that Sir M.V.'s fame was not limited to Karnataka alone, and that he is a scholar respected all over India for his vision and dedication to promoting industry within the country.

One will find several framed certificates from various universities which have conferred honorary degrees upon Sir M.V. There are several letters from eminent personalities commending Sir M.V. on his achievements and foresight, including one by Dr.S.Radhakrishnan. You will also find photographs of Sir M.V., commemorating several occasions, including his being Knighted, along with the various medals that have been awarded to him. Of these, the Bharat Ratna caught our attention. The biggest award that any Indian can ever aspire to achieve is all of an inch in size. It just goes to emphasize my ignorance that I was expecting to see a large medallion and/or a plaque instead.


That Sir M.V. was a man of great discipline is evident from the moment you step into the museum. Two pages of his personal diary have been prominently displayed - one taken from when he was 25, and the other when he was 95. Even the most critical observer, must give in to the temptation and admire the zeal of this great man - at the age of 95, he scheduled 5 hours of work/self-study and scheduled the rest of the day to interact with people and propagate his vision.

The museum is a small one, going by city standards. But it gave me all the information I wanted and I drew as much inspiration as I could from this glimpse into Sir M.V.'s private life. We then proceeded towards his Samadhi, located inside a park, adjoining the museum's compound. I wouldn't brand the park as beautiful, but it is definitely well-maintained. You take the paved walk-way that leads you to the actual samadhi which is made of granite. There is also a granite bust of Sir M.V. just beyond. The silence makes you feel contented and free of cares. There isn't much else to see, except for a children's playground which was devoid of children at that time. And so you return to your vehicles and make your way back. This time the villagers don't even bother to throw a glance your way.

It's amazing how I spent 4 years in a University dedicated to the memory of Sir M.V. knowing hardly anything about him. Yet, today, in just the span of an hour, I learnt so much and my esteem for this great gentleman has taken a marked up-turn.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Indebted

Today I bid good-bye to one of my close friends who is leaving for the U.S. I have been thinking about our association - how we first came together, my first impression of her, our continued interactions, the gradual changing of that first impression, her becoming my mentor of sorts.... and somewhere along the way we became 'friends'.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Kamunyak, the lioness that adopts baby oryxes

She is said to have adopted 5 baby oryxes, one after the other (one died), before she went absconding.

http://www.pbase.com/wkf/adoption
http://www.fruitnut.net/index2.htm?PAG=64Oryx,REF=
http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/animals/newsid_1906000/1906661.stm
http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/10-7-2002-27733.asp
http://www.lewa.org/oryx-lioness.php

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It is the mark of an educated mind
to be able to entertain a thought
without accepting it.
-- Aristotle
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Thursday, September 21, 2006

The MICRO world vs the MACRO world

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It is the mark of an educated mind
to be able to entertain a thought
without accepting it.
-- Aristotle
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purnamadah purnamidam purnaat purnamudachyate
purnasya purnaamadaya purnameva vashishyate
-Ishavasya Upanishad

Completeness is that, completeness is this,
from completeness, completeness comes forth.
Completeness from completeness taken away,
completeness to completeness added,
completeness alone remains.

One is only micrometers wide. The other is billions of light-years across. One shows neurons in a mouse brain. The other is a simulated image of the universe. Together they suggest the surprisingly similar patterns found in vastly different natural phenomenon. -- David Constantine

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Breaking Waves

In physics, a breaking wave is a wave whose amplitude reaches a critical level at which some process can suddenly start to occur that causes large amounts of wave energy to be dissipated. At this point, simple physical models describing the dynamics of the wave will often become invalid, particularly those which assume linear behavior.
---
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Breaking+wave


I've now broken away from the "chaste student life (brahmacharya ashrama)" phase of my life. It doesn't necessarily mean that this is the end... but it's certainly the first and only break so far. Suddenly my life's just whizzing by. All my old anchors are gone... and their traces fading. I am of course happy that I got to experience all the things that I have. It's the 'fading away' part that bothers me some - I don't always know if it's for the better or worse.

Coming back to my point... My life's become so fast paced now that I hardly ever sit and really THINK about things. It takes some effort to crack this hard shell. Here's are some quotes (from various sources) that managed to pierce through - one way or the other.

1) The future lies ahead of you like a sheet of snow; be careful how you step coz every mark will show.

2) If you can solve your problem, then what's the need of worrying?

If you can't solve it, then what's the use of worrying?

3) The person who hates you thinks about you twice as much as the person who loves you! So never mind if you are loved or hated.

4) When a man wants something really bad... he does get it. But when he does he doesn't like it.

5) Value the people who have touched your life because you'll never know just when they'll walk out of your life and never come back again.

6) GOD plays chess with each one of us. He makes moves in our life and then sits back to see how we react to the challenges.

7) Even a correct decision is wrong when it is taken too late.

8) The past reflects eternally between two mirrors -- the bright mirror of words and deeds; and the dark one, full of things we didn't do or say.

9) Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are.

10) If we both exchange a rupee, we have a rupee each. But if we exchange one good thought, we have two good thoughts.

11) There is nothing either good or bad, but its our perception which makes it so.

12) A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it is build for.

13) While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.

14) The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

15) Get busy living or get busy dying.

16) Faith moves mountains, but there are those who prefer dynamite.

17) Never make an apology or defense until accused.

18) In tough times you will always find two hands eagerly waiting to help you, and those hands will be at the end of your own arms.

19) Happiness is like a radio station, broadcasting all the time... You just have to learn how to tune it and receive you favourite channel.

20) The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

21) Never say something is peanuts 'coz there are people who make a living just selling peanuts... things are just valuable and less valuable.

22) Should you shield the canyon from the windstorm, you would never see the beauty of their carvings.

23) We have no more giants, only obedient ants.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...
But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.
You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.
You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!
Your Personality Profile

You are funky, outdoorsy, and down to earth.
While you may not be a total hippie...
You're definitely one of the most free spirited people around.

You are very impulsive - every day is a new adventure.
However, you do put some thought behind all your actions.
Still, you do tend to shock and offend people from time to time!

Majestic Beasts

http://www.olderhill.co.za/wolfdogs.htm

This site has some lovely pictures of GSDs and also rare pictures of a GSD pup playing with a Lion Cub. I do believe there are lots of similarities between these big cats (felines) and big dogs (canines). I wish I had witnessed the pup and the cub growing up. It would have been the highlight of my life. Still hope I get such a chance one day.

Always thought of my Jimmy when I saw a lion or tiger on TV (Discovery channel or Animal planet) One can observe so many things that one is familiar with. I despise hyenas even though they belong to the canine family. They are such ungraceful wretches! Leopards and cheetahs (felines) are fast and stun you with the fluidity of their bodies while in motion. But nothing is as beautiful and satisfying to watch as a lion, a tiger or a wolf.

My favourite breed of dogs is the German Shepherd, a.k.a. Alsation (I know for sure now that the 2 names refer to the same breed), because among the breeds I have seen, they bear the greatest resemblance to wolves. But, I'm told (and have seen in pictures) that Siberian Huskies come the closest. That in no way lessens my love for Alsations.... probably one more reason I loved Jimmy so much and took so much pride in him.

Yes... I'll say that again... I'm proud of my Jimmy. And I love him. He's no more... but I love him. I have a theory of dogs having a strong sense of character and their own personalities and idiosyncracies... just like people. I believe Jimmy and I were cut out for each other, given our temperaments. Some day I'll elaborate on that theory. For now... I have only Jimmy and me to lend support to it. Some day I'll have another (God willing... many more) dog(s). Then, I would have a chance to try the theory out some more and comment with authority and a greater degree of certainty.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I believe ...

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"A shrewd man ought to be able to make a fortune before breakfast,
so that he can do a proper job during the rest of the day."
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Today my Orkut profile reads thus ...


Today's fortune:
You will be fortunate in everything


Okay... I do stupid things and I take pleasure in trivial things! So what?!! It's my life. And I'm living it with zest. I don't do things until I reach the point of being compelled to do them - which is exactly why I'm writing this now (only, the compulsion originated in my own mind in this case).


I believe I'm one of the luckiest people around ... Thank God for that. Do I believe in God? You bet I do. Do I like to worship or visit places of worship? Nope. It takes me away from my God. Meaningless rituals disgust me. Tell me why you're doing what you are doing and I may appreciate it (and you!) some. More, if I concur - but that's not always necessary. So who or how is this God of mine? I don't know. I simply choose to believe. And it's stood me in good faith so far. So what's to prevent me from believing it will continue to do so?



My thoughts, which eventually translate into beliefs, are about the only things that are truly my own. All else have been given to me by somebody, mostly my parents. Only now, there are a few worldly possessions that I can call my own... things I bought from my own earnings. But then these earnings themselves have been made possible by things my parents have equipped me with - education, knowledge, values, and an overwhelming sense of independence.



I once had a friend who stood by me through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, to comfort me by his mere presence when i was down, to teach me to love selflessly, to care, to make room in my tumultous mind for concern towards another being. Our friendship is something that truly belongs to me, too. My friend is no more, but the friendship endures. Through his life and his death (it's now 38 weeks), he has taught me so much. He's largely responsible for the person I am today, and I believe I played a comparable role in molding him. We did complement one another so well, that none who came into contact with the both of us, could resist a favourable comment about it. No matter what wealth I amass throughout my life, I don't know if I'll ever be able to afford bringing another such friend into my life.



My friend is now in cahoots with the 'dearly departed'. I wonder what mischief he's up to, up there. There - where I can reach him no more. But he can reach me. He does! I feel his presence and when I do, I feel blessed.



I now know one more thing for sure ... I have friend up there, who's always arguing my case with God. Now tell me... how can I NOT be fortunate?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

An assessment of my personality -- Jung style

INTP - "Architect". Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 3.3% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

Courtesy : http://similarminds.com/jung/intp.html


creative, smart, idealist, loner, attracted to sad things, disorganized, avoidant, can be overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings, prone to quitting, prone to feelings of loneliness, ambivalent of the rules, solitary, daydreams about people to maintain a sense of closeness, focus on fantasies, acts without planning, low self confidence, emotionally moody, can feel defective, prone to lateness, likes esoteric things, wounded at the core, feels shame, frequently losing things, prone to sadness, prone to dreaming about a rescuer, disorderly, observer, easily distracted, does not like crowds, can act without thinking, private, can feel uncomfortable around others, familiar with the darkside, hermit, more likely to support marijuana legalization, can sabotage self, likes the rain, sometimes can't control fearful thoughts, prone to crying, prone to regret, attracted to the counter culture, can be submissive, prone to feeling discouraged, frequently second guesses self, not punctual, not always prepared, can feel victimized, prone to confusion, prone to irresponsibility, can be pessimistic

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (56.4%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (43.6%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?(word pair test)
personality tests by similarminds.com