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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why do we hate each other so much?

When the captain of the Pakistani cricket team, Shahid Afridi, arrived at Karachi after losing to India in the World Cup semifinal, in a reply to mediapersons he said,


"Mujhe yahan ke logo ki soch samajh nahi ati. (...) Hum kyun India ke itne khilaf hain? Hum kyun India se itni nafrat leke baithte hain?"
(I cannot comprehend the mentality of people here. Why are we against India so much.  Why do have so much of hatred for India.)
Then he gave a couple of examples of some things that Pakistanis like about India, like TV serials and Movies. The mediapersons were obviously disappointed since they were hoping for a typical "Insha'Allah hum agli baar India ko dho denge.." type response. But Afridi raised a question that no Indian or Pakistani raised for the past half century. Why do we hate each other so much? Afridi's comment made me think about the core cause of the so called nafrat or traditional rivalry between the general public of the two nations when it comes to things like cricket matches border flag ceremonies. 

As it is very obvious, there are far more similarities between Indians and Pakistanis than there are differences.  Language, culture, faces, food, races are all the same, and maybe there is more similarity between Amritsar and Lahore than between Lahore and Karachi. We understand when they curse us, and so do they when we curse them.  And it is due to these similarities that people of both countries find perfect rivals in each other. We can hate them because they are not us, but just like us, which apparently makes hating them easy and meaningful.

People try to explain this rivalry by giving references to incidents like the Kargil War, War of 1971, or to terrorism, but we did not feel the rivalry in the T20 World Cup in 2010 when India played Afghanistan, which has been the hub of Al-Qaeda and terrorism. We do not feel the same kind of rivalry when our team plays against the English, who ruled over India(and present Pakistan) with brutality from 1613–1947. This is because they are too different to relate to.

I guess It is easier to find a reason to hate your brother than to hate the guy across the street. There is a saying about sibling rivalry,
"Me against my brother; my brother and me against my cousin; Me, my brother, and my cousin against the stranger"
I feel it is true in case of Indians and Pakistanis too, and we have the ability to stand together if situation demands.

Jai Hind.


Do not forget to share your views.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Why is Google's new +1 button Destined to Fail



Today Google launched a +1 button, which most are hailing as a rival to the Facebook like button and even Twitter’s retweet button, but for search results. Limited to your Google contacts and chat friends, Google hints at connecting +1 with Twitter, but noticeably doesn’t mention Facebook. 

Will it be successful in bringing Google into the Social Networking club?

Google says,
 The +1 button is shorthand for "this is pretty cool" or "you should check this out."


I say its destined to fail. 

I think the point is that we use facebook only for social networking. We can safely assume that interaction on facebook is generally informal. But since google's services are widely used for (semi?) professional purposes, it becomes a mess when Google tries to incorporate social networking into its existing services. This was what Google did with Buzz

Unless our friends at Google devise some way of completely separating the personal contacts from the professional ones, the social networking ventures will have a high probability of failing. One of the key factors in the success of facebook might have been the fact that it can be completely separated from other forms of communication, not tied up to an existing service.

Again, Google says,
The next time you’re trying to remember that bed and breakfast your buddy was raving about, or find a great charity to support, a +1 could help you out. Just make sure you're signed in to your Google Account.

How many of us want to see their boss's +1's while searching? Or worse, how many want our boss's to see what we have been +1'ing on google search?



Another thing that comes to mind is that people will generally "Like"/"+1" once they have visited and viewed the page. Liking a search result based on page title and 3 lines of extract is senseless, and the correct procedure for +1ing would be :


1. Search on Google.com
2. Click on a result
3. If u like it, come back to results page and click +1.


Which is obviously very unproductive and time consuming. I know that Google wants to spread this on web pages too, but i guess it is a matter of one simple fact:



"My friends are already on facebook." 


It might seem very childish, but it is a very important point. Since +1 will obviously be incompatible(?) with Like, people will not shift unless everyone else they know shifts, and everyone else will not shift until everyone else shifts, which is the classical chicken-egg problem!


Website owners would not shift to a clone of facebook's Like button, unless Google comes up with something drastically new.

To get the button for your web site, use this Page. To enable it in your searches use this

PS: I want to believe that this is another one of those Google's April Fool's Jokes.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Free Knowledge, यानी मुफ्त का ज्ञान

Why do we expect preachers to practice what they preach? It is in our benefit to absorb what we think is right and good, and follow it in our lives. How does it matter whether the person conveying it to us follows his word or not. It only becomes relevant if we do not want to use our own intellect to judge and decide whether the teachings are right or wrong. We need some model to be followed blindly, without applying our mind. It is in this situation that we need the preacher to practice what he preaches before we can follow him/her.

When someone tells you to quit smoking, it is nice if he doesn't smoke himself but it should not be a prerequisite. It is for your benefit he is advising you. Take it or leave it. You are seeking an advice to improve your life, not the preacher. He should (normally) not have any personal interest in improving your quality of life.

One does not have to be a Sadhu to be eligible to advise.

मुफ्त के ज्ञान में कोई if या but नहीं होता। लेना है तो लो, नहीं तो आगे बढ़ो।
Free knowledge is unconditional (like love). Take it, or leave it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

अहम् कबीरा !


ये करूँगा! वो करूँगा! ये चाहता हूँ ! वो चाहता हूँ ! यार मैं लाइफ में कुछ करना चाहता हूँ । पर टाइम कहाँ है। आज दोस्तों से गप्पें मारनी है। facebook पे chat करनी है। आज बड़ी अच्छी फिल्म आई है, वो देखनी है। तो लाइफ में जो करना है वो कब करें? टाइम कहाँ है?

बिजली नहीं गिरेगी आसमान से। न धरती फटेगी। कोई बाहर से आके याद नहीं दिलाएगा। जो करना है, कर डालो। आज। अभी। इसी वक्त। कबीर का वो दोहा केवल रटने के लिए नहीं था। उसका कुछ मतलब भी था, कुछ भाव भी था। जो 'कल' आने वाला है, वो कल ही आ जायेगा और 'आज' बन जायेगा। और आज तो हमें कुछ काम करने का मन होता नहीं। है न? कल कर लेंगे।

आज और कल में फर्क क्या है। यही है कि कल पर काम टाला जा सकता है क्यूंकि वो अभी सामने नहीं है। और जब सामने आ जाता है तो कल कल नहीं रहता, आज बन जाता है। तो इसलिए हम अनिश्चित काल तक कल पर काम डालते रहेंगे। पर एक दिन ऐसा भी आयेगा, जिसके आगे टालने के लिए कल नहीं होगा। उस दिन क्या करोगे? सोचा है ? सोचो मत। शुरू करो।

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mantras of Success?



Mantras for success? An infinite number of writers must already have given an infinite numbers of mantras for success, but I think "mantras for success" is less about the "mantras" and more about "success" itself. Before understanding the mantras, if any, it is imperative that one must try to learn about success. Unless one understands what success is, what it can be and what it should be, it seems pretty useless to blindly follow some tips or tricks to achieve it. It is like following whatever detour signs one comes across, not caring to know where he/she is headed.

Success is neither definite nor objective, and for that matter it may not be possible to even describe it. But what matters is that one must have a concrete idea in in mind about the success he/she wants to achieve. To get long term or short term success, it is very important to define it, or at least try to define it. It has to be something which makes life complete, on a psychological level. And it can be anything. For some, attaining peace of mind may mean success. For some, earning money can be very mentally satisfying. in such a case too, one must have a plan about how much money does he/she want. if one fails to set a clear objective with regard to material gains, he is likely to fall victim to a cycle of gain and greed.

Taking this idea further, it becomes obvious not to be over-influenced by others in our process of defining success. In a sense it may compromise our independence. We must have, if not complete, some reasonable amount of control over our judgement and opinions. It should be independent of other people's opinions and pressures. Others' thinking has to be kept in mind, but the final decision must be ours. In any matter whatsoever.

Sometimes more dominant people try, and are able to affect our actions indirectly by influencing the way we think, and what we think, and we tend to follow these pseudo-opinions, often attempting to associate ourselves with them, and in quest for recognition and identity. We stop using our intellect and block our minds. We don't use our intelligence to judge people and analyse situations. In this process we lose our credibility to other people, as they realize that you do not act as an individual, but as a puppet.

One solution can be that we must remain honest to ourselves. In whatever we do, say and think, we must be convinced that its correct. Not necessarily correct for everyone, but at least according to ourselves. Listen to everyone, but take your own decisions. Till we are honest to ourselves, no one can challenge us. Even if we do not have arguments to support our will, we have the confidence of our honesty and the peace of mind that comes with it.

In the end, everything boils down to the fact that whether a person is aware of what he/she wants in life. Everyone claims to know it, but it is not so simple as it might seem. Most people do not understand what will make them happy, and those who understand it generally have their minds polluted by the external influences. Success cannot be defined fully, and maybe it should not be, but there must be a constant effort to understand what we want for success, while trying everything we can do to achieve it. Success is something which must come from inside, not from some mantras formulated by "success gurus". As it is said, instead of knowing the tricks of the trade, know the trade. Know success, and the mantras lose significance.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nothing but the truth

“You are a fool, the way you are doing things is not correct, follow my plan! Hey, why are you irritated, I am saying nothing but the truth!”

 

These words seem very common, don’t they? Of course, if i know that something is wrong, i have every right to say so, but only in the right way. Truth has value only when conveyed in a manner that the listener is ready to accept. Even if I am saying it with good intentions, they will be understood only when my choice of words and phrases reflects so. Kahin bhi kabhi bhi pahunch jana aur kehna ki ye sahi nahi hai, badalna padega is neither correct nor fruitful. It only ruins one’s image. If you want someone to change his behavior or style of working to suit your own, it has to be done gradually and on his terms, not yours, unless the person is facing some difficulty due to his behavior and wants to change himself. If I tell a person straight away what all is wrong with him, he is sure to ignore you or even get irritated.

There is another important factor about acceptance of one’s statements. And that is credibility. My comments will be taken seriously only if the person  I am talking to finds me credible enough.

In physics, there is a law on inertia, “a body tends to remain in its state of rest or uniform motion, unless an external force is applied to it”. A similar law applies to humans. A person will change if and only if a sincere effort is applied, provided that this effort is made in a gradually and in an acceptable manner. 


Do comment on what you think about it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How not to be influenced by people

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Great book for all of us who want to win friends. But what about the people who are being influenced too much? So I decided to try a Dale Carnegie on my own. For people who feel they are being influenced too much, in a sense that it compromises their independence.

We must have, if not complete, some reasonable amount of control over our judgement and opinions. It should be independent of other people's opinions and pressures. Others' thinking has to be kept in mind, but the final decision must be ours. In any matter whatsoever.

Sometimes more dominant people try, and are able to affect our actions indirectly by influencing the way we think, and what we think, and we tend to follow these pseudo-opinions, often attempting to associate ourselves with them, and in quest for recognition and identity. We stop using our intellect and block our minds. We don't use our intelligence to judge people and analyse situations. In this process we lose our credibility to other people, as they realize that you do not act as an individual, but as a puppet.

One solution that I can think of is that we must remain honest to ourselves. In whatever we do, say and think, we must be convinced that its correct. Not necessarily correct for everyone, but at least according to ourselves. Listen to everyone, but take your own decisions. Till we are honest to ourselves, no one can challenge us. Even if we do not have arguments to support our will, we have the confidence of our honesty and the peace of mind that comes with it.

PS: I know this has been a bad piece of writing. but I somehow could not manage any better today. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Leave Begging for Professionals

Have you ever wondered what railway stations, bus stops, religious places, and footpaths or for that matter, public toilets in the sub-continent have in common? Perhaps, you guessed it right - they are infested with beggars, probably the most efficient and industrious set of professionals I have ever encountered. At all the said places, beggars are religiously active.

But wait! Did anyone notice the new breed of beggers emerging around us? They are all around us, begging for everything except money and food. You can find them on talent shows, news channels, newspapers and virtually everywhere, begging for your sympathy, requesting you to send some SMSs, watch a movie, or buy some memory enhancement pills.

Yes, you got it right। These are the Bachhans and the Reshamiyas begging you to watch their movies or the likes of Abhijeet Sawant and Rahul Vaidya begging you to send some SMSs in the name of their state and city, to win some "talent hunt".

It has become difficult to spot the regular beggars of our country these days, who have been pushed to the sideline in their own business by the much celebrated celebrities। These part time beggers have encroached upon the territory where the traditional beggars used to rule.

Beware! These beggars come in all flavors। He/she can be on a news channel constantly advising you “humare saath bane rahiye”, or on some tele-shopping programme, telling you that “ise prayog karne ke baad to meri to zindagi hi badal gayi”. He can even be your favorite superstar asking you to buy tickets to his movie.


I personally feel that all this begging is needed when the product/media/movie being offered is not really worth spending time and money upon.

So, why not spend some time and mind on quality work, and leave the begging part for the professionals?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Excuse me...

Bhai saheb, 54-55 aage hai? A person looking for directions to an address in Noida? Wrong! These are the words of a person looking for his seat in a train from Delhi to Lucknow. As if this was not strange enough, some people can be seen checking every berth, searching for their number. I thought about it all through the journey, and finally the truth dawned upon me. People are unaware of a facility Indian Railways has been providing, free of cost for years. They have been numbering the berths sequentially. So for those people who have difficullty in finding their berth, I have devised a step by step algorithm:

 

Step 1:        Have a look at the number of the first seat on the side where you boarded the compartment. Let it be 'x'.

Step 2:        Have a look at your seat number on your ticket. Let it be 'y'. If you completed this step successfully, proceed to the next step, if not, get off the train now.

Step 3:        Evaluate (x-y+1) or (y-x+1), whichever is positive. Let this be 'z'.

Step 4:        This step is very critcal. Depending on the class are u travelling in, divide 'z' by 8 for 3-tier and by 6 for 2-tier. If you are in chair car, divide 'z' by 5.let this be 'p'. Don't ask why.

Step 5:        If 'p' is a whole number, proceed to step 6, else ignore the fraction part and add 1 to 'p'.

Step 6:        Now 'p' is the section of the compartment in which the proability of finding your seat is the highest given that the velocity of train is very very less than that of light, and that you boarded the correct compartment of the correct train, on he correct date.

In short, your three dimentions of space and the fourth of time must be in agreement with those mentioned on the ticket.

 I hope it helps.

 (PS: I am not a fool. Satire intended.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ma Phaleshu Kadachana?


Karmanye va adhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana
ma karmaphalahetur bhur ma te sango stva akarmani
 Meaning:
Thy business is with action only, never with its fruits so let not fruit of action be thy motive nor be thou to inaction attached.

This is a very difficult, concise enunciation in the BhagavadGita - that we have duties but we cannot expect any fruits from the duties that we perform.
Is this really possible? Doing things without expecting some specific consequence? Accepting whatever consequence one gets is one thing, but not even desiring a particular result is altogether a different thing.
I, if not everybody, need some kind of motivation to do something, to put in effort. Who would even go for a movie, without expecting to have a good time? Even when I donate, I expect it’ll help someone in need. Without such type of basic motivation, it is very unlikely that I’ll raise my hand even to scratch my head.
It’s true that we cannot get the desired result 100% of the time, but should we stop desiring for something just because we’re not sure that we can get it? This concept is completely different from the one that causes innovations. 
Without expectations or motivations, only discoveries can take place, not inventions. Necessity is the mother of invention. Necessity comes from desire. No expectation for results, no desire, no necessity, no invention. Even profitless research work is a result of enthusiasm to learn. Without this motivation, man would have made only discoveries and that too accidentally. Wheel would have been discovered, but the cart would never have been invented.
Can a student study without the desire of grades? Even a sanyasi would not follow his path without dreaming of a better life after rebirth.
It also takes away the sense of responsibility from one’s actions. How will a person do a job sincerely and responsibly, without expecting the desired result?
After so much of ‘manthan’ what I understand is, that "it may not be our right to expect that the result of our actions should be as desired, but it is our need to desire some particular result of our actions, to bring out the best in us."

Edit: 
Nice *autopsy* of the shloka by Shri Gupta here.
Good that he has written some techniques about how and when to follow the "do not think about result" part.
He has presented a very interesting analogy with novel reading. I think one has to plan while keeping the result in mind and then in the execution phase just *trust* his planning and work accordingly. This would also save the need of reviewing the plan repeatedly and prematurely.


Friday, September 12, 2008

What is beauty?


Does it lie in the flabbiness or the skinniness of body? Or does it lie in the shape of lips, nose and eyes? Or is it something more than that? Why do we find some people beautiful even when they are not considered beautiful by the general majority? And why don’t we find beauty in every person who has that perfect face? Why do different people find beauty in different people? These were the questions sparking in my neurons during a regular Digital Electronics lecture in an Lecture Theatre-1 on an even more regular sleepy afternoon.

A person does not become beautiful by his facial features, shape of body, or the colour of hair. It is the shine in his eyes and the smile on his lips that gives us the perception of beauty. It is the expression on one’s face that makes him beautiful. Perception may differ from person to person, and this is my perception.

The expression on one’s face is defined by what he thinks, and what is running in his mind. So even when we see a so called beautiful person, who does not want to interact with us, surely his expressions will reflect that and we’ll perceive his intentions. As soon as we add this attribute to his features, the false perception of beauty will vanish.

Now suppose a person is not so called beautiful, as defined by his physical features. But his nature is nice and as I mentioned before, there is that shine n the eyes and smile on his face, it creates an overall perception of beauty, which lasts longer than the false impression of external beauty.

Another thing comes to my mind. Beauty of a person is not only associated with what he thinks about me, but also and more closely associated with what I think about him. If I like the nature of a person, I am bound to find him beautiful, mind it, maybe not facially beautiful, but Beautiful.
Thus beauty is not seen only by our eyes, but it is an overall perception of the person’s thought about me and my thoughts about him. Beauty lies not only in the person being looked at, but also depends upon the thought process of the beholder. An old saying goes, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. I am sure it can be modified as, “Beauty lies not only in the mind of the beholder but also in the mind of the beautiful person.”