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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sound of Life

Ever wondered whether something as energy-laden as life has a sound too? Can you hear life?

A doctor hears 'life'. Through the lub-dub of the heart that flows through the pipe of the stethescope into the ears of the doctor.

I hear life. As gushes of laughter like a magnificient fountain that splashes its water all around.

We hear life. In the screams of an animal that has come close to death.

We all hear life.
Just that we don't listen. Listen to what life has to tell us. Through incidents, through people, through relationships.

Stories of the lifeline - Series #00

If trains are the lifeline of Mumbai, one hears the impulse of life, energy and zeal flowing through it as several times.

The city, the trains are all out there telling stories and teaching lessons to us. All we need to do is hear.

I cup my hand and place it close to my ear. To recollect, re-interprete the stories of trains in Mumbai. I start...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Return of the Bhagwad Gita and Dnyaneshwari

There was a time when Bhagwad Gita was in Sanskrit - the domain of the Brahmins. The religion, its preaching and its knowledge, hence, was limited to this class of the society.

One Saint Dnyaneshwar of Maharashtra recognized the need of a religious scripture for the common man - irrespective of the caste. He translated Bhagwad Gita into Dnyaneshwari, a language which everyone around him could understand. In fact, he 'expanded' it, from 700 shlokas to about a thousand; from religious laws to everyday similes.


There was a time when the computers were a scientist's forte. You had to be proficient in using one to own one - the operating systems, the programmed disks were bulky and difficult to use.

Then came the 'easy-to-use' operating systems which, like the Dnyaneshwari, stretched the essence, the meaning and the effectivity of a computer to reach to a 'more' common man. This era of computers was when their use spread faster than never before. It was here that the computer became a 'personal' computer...

Both serve the same purpose but they perhaps cater to different sections.

All four of them (Gita, Dnyaneshwari, a computer and a personal computer) are at the same level. This is because all four of them aim at bringing peace of knowledge to their users/readers. That's all that is required.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jana gana mana voted the best national anthem

So many blogs today have the news of the Indian national anthem being declared as the world's best by UNESCO. While I spent twenty minutes searching the official UNESCO website, I did not find any announcement there. So the whole issue was made up, eh?

Assuming it WASN'T, these are the thoughts that came to me:

One, what is the 'best' national anthem? Isn't it like saying my mom is the best mom in the world?! There can certainly be no specific criterion to determine that - unless we have a reality show were people send messages to vote for the 'best' national anthem. (As a side-note, it's often the 'favourite' that wins and not the 'best' at reality shows like these)

Two, what would the old news of 'national-anthem-was-written-for-the-british-viceroy-or-someone' say now? The news said that the Indian national anthem was a hymn in the praise of the British Raj and not the country. The anthems of countries throughout the word have been addressed to 'Ladies' and 'Queens'. I do not know what the truth is - whether Jana Gana mana was actually written with the intention that these rumours mention. The fact is, however, I don't care.

A national anthem is a self-identifying anthem of a country, a composition that makes me feel like a part of my country. Jana gana mana does.

Best anthem or no best anthem, written for British viceroy or not- being an Indian, Jana gana mana invokes in me the feeling of pride.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Glassy white crab

The mother crab had her fangs (Cheliped, the more scientific term) jetting out of the hole for almost three days. She was in labour.

One fine day, a tiny little thing emerged from the hole walking perfectly like a full-grown crab. It was totally white, unlike his mother who had a brown crustaceous appearance. The baby crab had a glassy white shell - almost like a tiny glob of inflated chewing gum, or like a tiny bulb.

The baby crab walked in from one hole where his mother was to another, an empty one perhaps.

The glassy appearance has vanished, yellowish-brown shell and brown fangs are what it carries now. The baby crab is now growing up...


This is what growth does to humans too.

They may not be born with a white shell, but they are certainly born with a glassily transparent mind. Growing up hardens the shell of the crab, makes it brown and tough. It looses the natural form it had during birth. Humans also loose the innocence they had as a child as they grow up...

Does Nature reaffirm its strength through laws like these?

The picture has been taken by me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Understanding AI - Imagination and Reasoning

Credit: The basic idea of imagination and reasoning rises from a guest lecture by Ms. Gagan Deep Kaur, Research scholar, IIT Bombay.

Imagination is a human's capacity to visualize objects, situations, people. Imagination is not just one's dreams. Imagination is creativity, the source and the goal of creativity.

Reasoning is a human's ability to base one's opinion on one's past knowledge.

What is better? What is more intelligent? What gives rise to creativity? Imagination or reasoning?

Imagination is the molten brass that flows into the cast of reasoning to make a masterpiece.

Imagination is the content of the statue, reasoning is its shape.

Colours thrown on paper is imagination, the fact that they take the form of a horse is reasoning.

Imagination and reasoning are both sources of creativity. And its goal too. Imagination and reasoning are both based on intelligence. And its reason too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

At the coffee shop

Disclaimer: Not totally fictitious.

He sat on the huge couch with his hands on his lap - he was very conscious. This was because SHE was around - sitting across the table, dressed in a starched white shirt and trousers, looking as cute as ever.

It was some time ago that Jagdish reached the airport when he realized that the flight was delayed. He had to get back home by that evening - he could not miss Ganpati at home. Calls kept coming from home, he was answering them one after the other. As he ended the sixth call, he saw her- Manasvi.

He was friends with her for nearly three months now. Manasvi was a friendly girl - the kinds who get along with everyone, who are always surrounded by a group of friends. Every time she laughed, his heart would miss a beat. She had pulled his cheek playfully once, he could not stop blushing all day. She worked in the same office as him - and she was among the few reasons why he was still working for the company, staying far away from his family. He loved those late nights of playing cards - eight of them would go on almost all night. She was the life of these games, she would make the maximum noise and hence, generate complete entertainment for everyone who was playing.

To him, Manasvi was the girl of his dreams, the girl he wanted to be with. He, for that matter, knew that he would never be able to tell her all this.

That's exactly where the awkwardness at the coffee shop came from. She was going to board the same flight - now she had to wait for some time too. She suggested that they go to the coffee shop in the premises. Here he was. This was the first time he was sitting with her - only her. She was animatedly describing how she once surprised a friend on her birthday - he kept staring at her.

"Isn't that funny?!", Manasvi asked.
"Yes it is..", he said. He had no clue what she had said till now.

He did not know what was funny. He was still laughing and smiling for the rest of the evening...

Down the slopes

He pulled his glares down from his forehead. His fists clenched the ski-poles as he bent forward. He pulled out the ski-poles from the snow layer. His eyes were set on the downward slope of the snow-clad mountain.

He stood at the peak of one of them and looked down upon this white world dotted with dark green trees.

He thrust the ski-poles back into snow and pulled himself ahead. He descended smoothly and rapidly down the slope like a river that originates somewhere in mountains like these.

Fragments of snow flew in the air as he swooshed down the mountains. As he was going down the slopes, his excitement was taking a new high altogether...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

God is with us!

Acknowledgment: Aham, my blog friend. The idea originates completely from some pictures he has put up in his blog. The expression, like all the blogposts, is, however, original. You can read Aham's blog at : www.wordlyworld.blogspot.com

It's the last day of Anant Chaturdashi today. Many of us have screamed our lungs out all of this evening. We have all shouted "Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Yaa!" (Come soon next year)

Do not worry - God will not let us down. In fact, he has not gone at all. He is still with us. Lying on the beaches and at the shores of the lakes where we have immersed him this evening.

The parts of his idol have come back to the shores with the waves - they were just too huge. Many other parts will disintegrate at the floor of the water body causing severe harm to the flora and fauna.

Don't you see his broken hand holding the Parashu (the battle-axe) that will empower you in the battles of your life? Yes, the hand is lying there in sand with layers of half-broken, wet garlands over it.

I see God's head - the Elephant head with one ear cracked resting horizontally in a corner - as if he is sleeping silently. 

Do not be sad, bhakt-jan that your favourite deity and your favourite festival has gone by. Thanks to the harmful materials you used during manufacture and the negligence you showed during the immersion, God is still with us! Broken, tired, forgotten.

Hoping it would rain

Disclaimer: Fictitious, fictitious, fictitious.

He adjusted his hair with his fingers. He had worn his best shirt today. His aunt had got it for him from Canada. He wore it only on special occasions - college presentations, wedding functions and today. He was carrying a black three-fold umbrella in his hand that he kept swaying out of sheer nervousness.

She was standing with her hands folded. A white leather purse hung from her shoulder. She wore danglers that extended right upto her shoulders. She saw him coming, the joy in her heart condensed into a smile on her face.

He paced up as they came face to face. "Hi, I am sorry", he said.
"For not keeping in touch while I was away."
"Oh come on, I didn't stay in touch too."
".....can we walk?!"

He could not almost get his eyes off hers. She had round, reddish brown eyes - the colour that almost blended with her rosy pink face. When she smiled, her lips hardly stretched to the sides - but her face glowed when she did. This glow would enchant him.

"Watch out! This is the third time!", she said pointing to the puddle he had just stepped into. He soon realized that his trousers were now drenched in mud below the knees.

"Aah", he felt miserable. He so hated the rains. The muddy roads, the soggy clothes, the umbrellas - he hated them. "I hate rains...", he said.

"Oh ya, I hate them too. To add to it, I forgot my umbrella at home...", she replied. 

He held his umbrella tighter. He wished clouds would fill the sky at that very moment. He was hoping it would rain. He was hoping he would get to walk under the umbrella with her. 

It did. The clouds arrived and they exploded into droplets that drenched both of them. They continued to walk under the umbrella.. drenched. Totally consumed.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cityscape II

I sit on this bamboo bench with my legs crossed and my eyes hovering around. I feel like a child yet again as I see the dark maroon clouds protecting the world before my eyes.

To my left, the city is sparkling before me yet again. I see headlights of cars, the floodlights in the party lawn of a five-star hotel and tiny yellow lanterns that hang outside the huts at the base of the Powai hill. All of them are so much a part of the city I have lived in.

To my right, the green trees of the IIT campus have huddled up together and have turned black with the darkness of the night.

The lake lies at the feet of the city and the dark forests. Like the soul that is common to both...

Monday, September 08, 2008


Note: Bhengi is a very derogatory term used for a squint-eyed female.

Disclaimer: No offence meant to anyone. Not aimed at any single person in particular.

"Aee bhengi bol na, homework kiya?!"

"Bhengi bhi movie ko aa rahi hai kya?"

"Bhengi ko kuch samajh nahi aata re Maths mein.. sab do do dikhaayi deta hai usko!"

Every time she heard that word, she went weak in her knees. Her confidence went down in parts each time someone used that word on her.

Everyday at night while brushing her teeth, she would stand opposite the mirror and stare at her eyes. This part of her body - she did not want it. She did not accept her eyes as herself - no!, they aren't me!! Several times, she had practised to keep them straight and just when she thought she was successful, without her knowledge, she would end up going back to the original state.

In trial rooms at apparel stores, she would close her eyes while trying on the new clothes. She could not see her eyes staring at her from four directions through the mirrors on the walls. She would just come out and show the new dress to her mom seeking her opinion.

She would have her worst time when someone would ask for a photograph. She would look around for sunglasses. If not she would try to do her mirror act in the bathroom so that the eyes looked fine. She would end up staring at the camera.

The world, she thought, was staring at her. This world included her own eyes.


We all have differences in the way we are. The differences since birth, during and after puberty. We often try to hide these differences that we have in us - try to act 'normal'. We often forget that being 'natural' is better than being 'normal'.

I'd end this post with a line I had read somewhere, a line that helped me get over my growing-up years when, I have to admit, I felt like this person in the story -

"Be yourself. Because no one else will."

Friday, September 05, 2008

'Mumbai Meri Jaan' - Movie Review

Director Nishikant Kamat's first Hindi film 'Mumbai Meri jaan' takes us through the Mumbai of today. It brings before us a story of dejection, fear, opulence, socio-economic diversity - all very much a part of the metropolis. The tragic numbness that one experiences in the characters gets pronounced in the silent remembrance in the climax.

Nishikant's first movie was the Marathi film 'Dombivli fast' - in my opinion, too much of an in-your-face reality-check movie. The climax was extremely tragic, rather depressing. Frankly. The movie ended with the image of a dead rat and flies hovering over - it was very disturbing.

'Mumbai meri jaan', on the other hand, entertains as well as makes its point. The characters are so beautifully etched out - and so Mumbai, that you can very well relate to them. The performances by all the actors are absolutely amazing. 

Nishikant Kamat and the entire team has done a marvellous job.

 A must-watch!! Loved, loved, loved the film!

Living the man's life

Bow-wow! Hi, I'm Tommy! You must've seen me eating a biscuit or two from the packet that you throw out of the window. Yes, I am the same dog, you may not be knowing me but I do - three of my generations have been living in your neighbourhood.

My grandfather doggie had once told me that when you were a child, you would always feed him a biscuit or two. You would even bring him home and put him in a tubful of warm water. You would do that despite knowing that you would be scolded by your mother.

I am told you were eight when my grandfather died of poisoning. A municipal officer had poisoned him as a part of the stray-dog elimination drive. You had cried your eyes red that day.

You would pull my father doggie's tail or pelt stones at him. You were a nuisance then to the entire neighbourhood. You had once even hurt my father. He was bleeding profusely in the neck when you ran behind him hitting him with a stick to drive him away.

My father doggie died last fortnight - you walked past him with disgust on your face and managed the janitors to clean up the entire area.

Now, I am locked in this van and being taken to the dog pound. You called the local authorities regarding the nuisance of stray animals.

You often use the phrase ' a dog's life' to express a pitiful situation.Then you say you never want to live a dog's life.

Tell you something... If the 'man's life' means changing from innocence to dry ruthlessness, I never want to live a man's life either...

The Image used is in the free domain from www.wikimedia.org

Dear Teacher, with Love

Dear Teacher,

When I cried my eyes out in the school bus on the first day to school, you hugged me and calmed me down. You taught me the first alphabet in different languages. You introduced to me the etiquette of "Hello", "thanks" and "Sorry". You introduced me to the battle of Plassey and the Newtonian laws.

You instilled in me the drive that I could achieve a task. You, at times, instigated me to make my point. Often, you showed trust in me and were my strength.

You were the idol I looked up to. You came to me in different forms - you came to me as my mother, my friend, my confidante and my critic. You all were my teachers.

A teacher is beyond age, beyond gender, beyond physical form. A teacher is an incident, a teacher is an adverse situation, my mother is my teacher.

Dear teachers, thank you for teaching me the laws of the world. The ones in and out of books.

With love,

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

AI - Fuzzy Logic and Upanishads

I noticed this resemblance between the two. Here goes my account:

Fuzzy logic is basically the existence of something between truth and lie. Fuzzy logic associates a 'degree of truth' with every statement. (For example, "Aditya is tall" cannot be tagged as 'true' or 'false' directly. It would be associated with a number, say, 0.5 depending on 'how true' it is.)

Fuzzy logic has this concept of the fuzzy universe - something that includes everything. It is a general representation of the line 'It is.' Fuzzy logic proposes that every fact is a fact of this universe.

I heard my AI prof Pushpak Bhattacharyya say - " The null set is a subset of the Universe. The Universe, in fact, is a subset of the null set too." I had a tinkle in my eyes.

Centuries before fuzzy logic was thought of, the Upanishads quoted: "Om Poornamadah poornamidam, poornaat poornamudachyate. Poornasya poornamaadaaya, poornamevaavashishyate".

It translates to :


The concept that the universal truth was from a null and will converge in a null is an idea thought of centuries ago.

One is amazed at the extent of knowledge that the Hindu shloks and mythological stories hide in them...

Translation of the shlok : http://www.s-a-i.info/assoc_change/stotrams_c/stotra13.html
Prof Pushpak Bhattacharyya's home page: http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/~pb

The wild flower

Resting my hands against my waist, I looked around. I had a bird's eye-view of IIT Mumbai. There were buildings and there was greenery. There were trees huddled up together like a cluster of green clouds.

Very close to my feet was a tiny wild flower. It was as tall my thumb. It had a thin green stem that broke into round yellow petals and three strands from the centre that bore the pollen. It was small yet firmly rooted. It would not move a bit in the strong breeze.

As I gently placed my finger over the flower, I felt it was wet. I experienced a feeling of having met someone.

I do not know what the flower was called - I do not even know if it was called anything for it was just a flower on the top of a hill. But I knew for sure that something connected us. Me and the flower, irrespective of the physical size were together experiencing a common miracle. The miracle called life. We both were alive.

Tips and tricks to watching an Ekta Kapoor serial

New to watching an Ekta Kapoor serial ? (Lucky you!) Here are some tips and tricks: (in no specific order.)

1) The central character has to be a girl. It's always 'aam ladki ki khaas kahaani'. Ladka logs don't have any khaas kahaani ever.

2) The one with the most inflated balloonish body and least facial expressions is the 'current' boyfriend of the serial's central character.

3) The signature background score of each character will give you an idea whether it's a positive or a negative character.

4) When love blooms, a Tushar Kapoor song starts playing in the background. (And that's the only place in the world where it is played.)

5) (Imaginary) Statistics show that there is one death, two divorces, one 'rising-from-death' and one naajaayaz bachha every twenty-five episodes.

6) No one dies in the world. Yes. No one dies. The person will come back. After a plastic surgery or a memory-loss. And more often than not, he would have a new girlfriend by his side. (Creative liberty, eh?!)

7) When the camera revolves around a character with increasing and varying speed, one must know that it's an important scene. There's practically no other hint how you would know this.

8) Don't let the title of the serial confuse you. Remember - It has nothing to do with what the serial would contain. It's either borrowed from a Hindi movie or just a random alliteration of 'K's.

9) I suggest a new disclaimer at the beginning of each of the episodes : "All characters and incidents in the serial are a work of pure haphazard sadistic imagination. A resemblance to anyone living or dead is just not possible. But hey, any resemblance of what you feel to the I-need-to-go-to-the-toilet feeling is purely purely coincidental."

As a footnote, the best method to enjoy an Ekta Kapoor serial -

1) Sit on the couch.
2) Turn on the TV.
3) As soon as the title song starts, press the round button on the top right of the remote. It is often called the power button.

For best results, sit with a loved one - a family member, a friend or just anyone you are fond of. When you have a good time chatting up with that person, there would be no Tushar Kapoor track playing in the background - so you can be happy!