Tuesday, January 31, 2006

have you stopped beating your wife yet?

no this post is not about domestic violence. its not a discussion on the institution of marriage either. and it is certainly not a poll on all the wife beaters out there (you know who you are). rather, this post is about a logical inadequacy in the english language in answering this question. i know, saying "i dont have a wife" is sufficient for the problem. but it is not elegant; for all those people pressed for time, and not interested in following up their answer with a detailed discussion on all the aforementioned topics. the problem can be summarized with a short draft, borrowed from answer.com:

"Assuming that you have no wife or you have never beaten your wife, the answer “yes” is wrong because it implies that you used to beat your wife and then stopped, but “no” is worse because it suggests that you have one and are still beating her."

i hope you can now begin to appreciate the earnestness and enormity of this problem. how does a single, never married, guy answer it without bringing on the wrath of the femme libertine. but fear not! our anime country cousins are here to the rescue; armed with samurai swords, free hentai, and short word aphorisms for large worldly problems you dont know of and dont care about. the answer is ... *fanfare* (and no its not 42) "mu". here is what answer.com has to say about mu:

"According to various Discordians and Douglas Hofstadter the correct answer is usually “mu”, a Japanese word alleged to mean “Your question cannot be answered because it depends on incorrect assumptions”. Hackers tend to be sensitive to logical inadequacies in language, and many have adopted this suggestion with enthusiasm. The word ‘mu’ is actually from Chinese, meaning ‘nothing’; it is used in mainstream Japanese in that sense. In Chinese it can also mean “have not” (as in “I have not done it”), or “lack of”, which may or may not be a definite, complete 'nothing'). Native speakers of Japanese do not recognize the Discordian question-denying use, which almost certainly derives from overgeneralization of the answer in the following well-known Rinzai Zen koan: A monk asked Joshu, “Does a dog have the Buddha nature?” Joshu retorted, “Mu!” "

for those with a curious bent of mind, here is an interesting article on Discordianism on Wikipedia, that source of all divine knowledge. going through it will jam your normal cognitive processes enough to be able to give your roomate a chance to call in the Men with Straightjackets. i especially liked the part where they say "atheists are people without any invisible means of support". hmmm...! to get you further interested in clicking on that link, here is one more quote by one of the founding fathers of Discordianism: "If organized religion is the opium of the masses, then disorganized religion is the marijuana of the lunatic fringe. — Kerry Thornley (aka Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst) in the introduction to the 5th edition of Principia Discordia"

you still here? or have i lost you completely? ok, for the all the practical people out there. this is the perfect answer to so many questions in life. imagine your father walking up to you and asking, "what have you planned for your future?" or your sweetheart of long asking, "where is this relationship headed?". now you know the answer dont you.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

animated relief

it reminds me of those old DD style animations. "ek chidiya... anek chidiya..." anyone? its very well made. do check it out. all credit goes to Neera Kathuria, NID.

Friday, January 27, 2006


its been a long time since i wrote. there have been many thoughts that have passed through my head, worthy of a post. too many perhaps. in fact it almost seems like i am at the head of a rollercoaster ride without brakes. a jumbled mass of confusion lies inside my head. exactly like uncooked maggi looks, lying on a plate. too tightly packed to get a fork in between the strands and get a grip on them. it isnt ready for consumption. but right now i am experiencing a moment of serenity. not clarity. just calmness.

i just got up from seeing Lamhe. of course i dont need to elaborate on what a good film it is. almost everyone knows that so i will skip over the formalities of introducing it. just before that i saw the first 8 episodes of Malgudi Days. yes! i have recently come in posession of a double DVD collection of the first 13 episodes of that amazing teleserial. it has been a childhood obsession which lasted right through teenage and into adulthood. i am not going to delve into a monologue on the serial either. i must say though, it was the combination of the two which has granted me this moment of quiet thought.

after i had done watching the serial, i called up my mom to tell her about it. it reminded me of my childhood; that far far away place which i can dimly recollect from time to time. watching the serial brought it all back with a rush of blood to the head. i must have been around 8-9 years old at that time. mom would stuff me full of ghiya and tori (torayi) rolled up in parathas while i sat in front of the TV avidly watching the antics of this queer village folk unroll on celluloid.

and then i watched Lamhe. the story of unusual love. the first scene starts off with a car racing down a lone road amidst all those dunes of sand. rait. kaise rait ke ek ek katre ko ikathha kar ke zindagi tarashi hai maine. simet ke, jod ke, ek adna sa pahaad khada kiya hai un lamhon ka. a difficult childhood, 14 saket, the early days of school and college, adolescent anxiety and insecurity, the first crush, school trips to nepal and shimla, my first basketball tournament, the first pangs of unrequited love, experiments with music and photography, coming here to the US, failure and success, and so much more. its undescribable really. right now when i close my eyes i can almost feel like all of this happened yesterday. some scenes are so vividly etched in my memory. i can even feel the surge of long forgotten emotions that were associated with each of these memories. but yet, detached and impersonal. i want to write about each and every one of those memories. har ek lamha jaise ek naadaan baccha hai. mera haath pakde mujhe fir se zindagi ke us hi mod, us hi chaurahe pe le jaana chahta hai. thahre huye paani jaisa ahsas hai. sthir aur saaf.

so far and so long into my life. time isnt being counted by the days and months and years. but by memories. rait ka har ek tinnka jaise khud mein ek alag zindagi lapete huye bikhar gaya ho registaan mein. each and every memory seems so long drawn. like watching a film in slow motion. frame by frame i can watch it all go past me, and be amazed, and wonder all over again about how queer my life and its protagonist has been.

to what purpose? dont ask me for i dont have an answer to that. it has been a completely pointless, and pointlessly satisfying, trip down memory lane. i would like to finish this post with the ending lines of the film Lamhe, mouthed by anupam kher (though they belong to another film altogether).

"(magar yun hi) kabhi kabhi mere dil mein, khayal aata hai..."