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Friday, November 12, 2010

Fun with Uncertainty

One of biggest problem for mankind has always dealing with uncertainty. We live in a world full of uncertainties and in order to deal with it we have to take a certain set of information for granted and operate accordingly cause there is no such thing as absolute truth. This is what we call moral standard, religious guideline, principles etc.

But if used well, uncertainty can be a great source of entertainment. One of the most obvious examples would the horror or suspense movies like those of Hitchcock. These movies manipulate the audience into feeling shock, anxious etc by constantly giving limited information in an erratic unpredictable pattern. However I often use a more sinister way of manipulating people with uncertainty for only my own amusement (in a harmless way offcourse).

During the recent IPL 3, I was in Chennai to help my friend with his project. Since we didn’t have a television set there, most of us were following the matches online. Most of my roommates were supporting Mumbai while I was with Chennai who were my favourite ever since the first IPL. YouTube had provided this wonderful new feature where one could watch live and so everyone was having a great time. The only problem was that the broadcast was lagging by 10 or so mins meaning if a batsmen hits a six, the guys watching the match on YouTube would only see it 10 mins later. Another alternative was to follow the live scorecard and text commentary which didn’t have this problem but it didn’t provide the chance to watch the match. Following both was also out of the question since once u know what’s gonna happen its no longer fun to watch it, the uncertainty plays a role once again.

So unwillingly my roommates decided to opt for the YouTube broadcast. This however presented me with a wonderful opportunity to have a little fun of my own. I was following the live scorecard instead of YouTube so I was getting all the info 10 mins before them. I wasn’t much interested in watching the whole match but wanted to catch the main parts so once I saw a wicket had fell I quietly stood up went to their system to see what exactly happened. I didn’t tell them what I knew because I didn’t want to spoil their fun of watching it. Then as the wicket fell they all turned around staring at me as I was about to go back to my system.

“What u came to see the wicketaa ?”

“ya..i was following the live scorecard on my comp so…”

“oh ok ok , but don’t tell ..ok ? means wicket falling...boundary ..all that..don’t tell”

“oh ya offcourse.. no no , I wont ”

I said as I went back to my seat. At this point I should tell u that I was also playing an online flash game for time pass. I was nearing my all time high-score when suddenly game over.

“Aarghh” I groaned

Suddenly everyone turned to me

“what ? another wicket gone ? who? [Some players name] ?

“No no .. nothing happened …I was ju..”

I suddenly realised that I was in a very unusual position. At that moment, I had the information nobody else in that room had or wanted to have. And as they say, information is power. If I was to say that a wicket had fallen, they had no way to know I was wrong and would instantly believe me as long as I told it convincingly. They would wait and wait for 10 long mins hoping to see wicket which had never taken place. I imagined the moment when they realise there is no wicket coming and I am laughing my way to my seat. It was perfect.

I figured best way to do this was to act exactly the way I did before so it would seem perfectly natural and wouldn’t give rise to any suspicion. So I simply stood up and walked over there and stood behind just like before. As I had hoped, they all got excited seeing me stand there. One mallu guy elbowed another and said something in malayam pointing towards me.

“what ? what ? “

“no nothing, I am telling that u are here means something gonna happen…wicket , 6 , 4..i dunno but something gonna happen. But don’t tell ok ?”

I smiled at him as I realized how I had grossly underestimated the position I was in. It wasn’t just about the wickets, the possibilities of something exciting happening in cricket was overwhelmingly varied. I could be standing there for any damn reason and if I was to play my cards right I could convince them of anything. I could have them believe that a catch which was later called no ball and ended with run out and they would still be sitting there for 10 mins waiting for it happen. I was truly lovin’ it.

Alas I went too far this one time and soon they unwillingly started seeing the online scorecard along with the match. It was fun while it lasted though !

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Theory Of Concentric Circles
A Structure Of Friendship

It is to be noted by the reader that the structure explained in this theory may not be a universal structure. The theory is still under study and is being improved as new evidence and observations come to light.

  • The Theory of concentric circles states that each element in the group of friends is essentially a part of a circle and remains in it unless an external or internal force brings in a drastic change

  • All the elements in the structure are bound by the illusion/need of friendship to remain in the structure irrespective of their position.

  • It usually takes at least 5 yrs and a minimum of 15 to 20 elements for a clear and observable structure to be formed. The longer the time spend, the clearer the structure becomes.

  • The size of the circle is independent of the number of elements present in it.

  • If the distance between the 1st and 3rd circle is considered to be x and that between the 2nd and 3rd circle is considered to be y, then it has been observed that with respect to the 3rd circle

x – y = negligible ~ 0
Thereby, x ~ y

  • This makes it particularly difficult for the elements to recognize the structure in which they function and thus the number circles contained in them is always unconfirmed. It is also speculated that the inner circles has few elements which indulge in their own personal circles in the absence of other elements. There is, however, very little evidence in support of this assertion.

  • Ideally all the elements have a tendency to focus towards the center therefore the elements in the inner circles are the usually the most popular/observed.

  • As long as their circle or the circle(s) inside them are full, elements acknowledging the presence of an outer circle is highly unlikely but not impossible. The formation of this theory in itself is a testimony to that.

  • As a result of the above two statements, it can never be known for sure how many circles in total exist in this particular structure.

  • Many circles also have elements attached to their circles called “Conditional Elements”. These are basically elements that have a strong bonding with one particular element in the circle and therefore become a part of the circle as long as that particular element is present. Many times the presence of the conditional element is not appreciated by other elements but is tolerated nonetheless. The conditional elements usually have no fixed circle of their own and thereby their popularity and strength of bond varies drastically with each individual element irrespective of his/her circle.

  • The aforementioned “Conditional elements” are always found to be facing towards the outer circle rather than the internal one. This way they have a greater chance of acceptance by other elements thus increasing there life span in the structure. This isn’t always the case since many conditional elements already have a reserved circle for them to go in the absence of the element with which they share their strong bond.

  • There are certain elements in this structure which fit into more than one circle and hence should not be confused with conditional attachments. They are called “Adaptive elements” since the degree of adapting in them is much higher than other elements. In some extremely rare cases, an adaptive element makes a strong bond with the conditional element creating a rather awkward situation for the entire structure.

  • The nature of bonds between the elements also depends on the circle. However the strength of the bonds should not confused with the size of the circle. The elements in the inner circles take very little time in making bonds but the durability of the bonds remains in question. The elements in the outer circle, on the other hand, take a long time in making bonds but have longer durability. There are few exceptions off course.

  • The entry of new elements into this structure always takes place through the inner circles since outer circles are easily accepting despite taking a long time to form bonds.To many of us, the fact that the friendship structure is concentric in nature may seem disturbing or negative considering the amount of gap between the circles. But in actually, it is these very gaps that help sustain the structure for the elements are vast in number and have variable properties. These gaps ensure that no conflict of interest causes the entire structure to break away.

  • On few occasions efforts are made by the elements to reduce the gap of the circles and bring the elements closer. This attempt of reunion, although appearing noble on the surface, is usually caused by necessity of situation or the need to fulfill a desire which requires large participation. This effort usually does more harm than good for the sustainability of the structure by bringing up more conflict and change in perceptions in between elements of different circles.

Below is the structure of friendship that has been observed over the years. The elements in yellow are adaptive elements.

Please note that corrections, certain elements and their places, etc are still to be figured out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Good Bully

I found this picture in an online journal of an independent filmmaker whose caption read “I don’t know who gets credit for it, but it says so much”. How very true. The beauty of a good work of art, acc to me at least, is that it gives its audience their own space to connect the dots, to understand the work in their own way. Be it a painting, a song, a movie or whatever. A good work of art is always open for interpretation. This blog entry is my interpretation of the highly criticized movie “No Smoking”. This isn’t a review though, so please read on even if u hated the movie.

The movie is about a rich good-looking cigarette addict who goes by the name “K”. K has a wife who hates his smoking and threatens to leave him if he doesn’t mend his way. So unwillingly K visits the “Prayogshala”, a rehab institute run by Baba Bangali. Baba Bangali is a man who wont take no for an answer and threatens K that if he doesn’t stop smoking there will dire consequences.

Now what I found of great interest in the movie was that I ,as an audience ,can never make up mind as to who is the bad guy. When the movie begins u hate K for his arrogance, rudeness and utter lack of concern for others. But midway start sympathizing with him knowing Baba Bangali has threatened to kill off his brother and wife if he dares smoke again. Baba’s intention might be good but blackmailing isn’t the way to go. Its wrong to force someone to do something even if it is for his own good
.....or is it?
Think about this last line for a minute.

Even K’s wife, who loves him so much, has taken the same route since nothing else worked. She had no options left except emotional blackmail. So who is the bad guy here? Who’s wrong?

Imagine your friend is a chain smoker like K. But he knows about its ill-effects as well as you do and still wants to continue. You have tried to talk him out of it many times but nothing has worked. What do u do now? Let him live his life his way or stop him from harming himself by forcing him to stop? How much is too much?

This is the underlying theme for the movie, I think. At the time anurag made this movie, he too was feeling the way. Anurag here is K and the people around him are Baba Bangali telling him what’s wrong and what’s not. Telling him what kind of movies should be made instead of letting him do his own thing. K’s wife , in this case, are the well-wishers around him asking him “Why don’t u just do wat these people are saying? Why do u have to be so stubborn?” These people dont mean any harm but as causing it nonetheless cause they don’t understand why anurag wants to make the films his own way. They just want him to be successful and happy not realizing that their idea of success isn’t the same as his.

The picture above captures that very idea, the very essence, of “No Smoking”. The angel, a symbol of good, doesn’t mean to cause harm but is in fact the root of the problem.If only the angel would let the man live his life his own way. If only the angel would just let go.....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


- amusing craptacular dodecahedron of ridiculousness

- currently living in a "wonderful example."

- Before i had a job, i had all the time in the world to do what i wanted but no independence to do it. Now i have all the independence in the world and no time to do it... sigh !

- Sleeping is a disease. An addictive need to waste time lying down and doing nothing for hours on stretch. They should find a cure for sleep.

- PEWP : Please Explain Without Profanity

- I like to talk. Talking is beautiful thing cause its mutual and not obligatory. Someone can just get up and leave and yet he/she chooses to stay and talk.. to be willing to share thoughts and listen to yours.. secrets wishes fantasies fear.. like a book which u can put down anytime u want but you dont.
Wat more can u possibly ask of someone ?
Sex, i guess.
Yeah that would be it.

- You know how sometimes there is so much that you wanna do that you somehow end up doing nothing at all ? Yeah thats what I'm doing nowadays.

- moooo . i'm a cow

i wish i were a cow

a Scottish cow

then i'd make shortbread

but i'd be a lactose intolerant cow

i don't like milk so lactose intolerant it'd be

i'd be a spotted bird

white with black spots

and i'd have no friends

i'm a schizophrenic cow

- Disassociated vignettes, like snippets from a dream or a visual stream of consiousness

- Hard times are like good times...except that they are hard.

- On December 31, 2009 the song was declared "The Song of the Decade" by the listeners of the Israeli radio station "Galgalatz"" and the surfers of the Israeli news website in Ynet spite of the fact the song was released the previous decade.

- I dont understand why people say that the only thing constant in the universe is "Change". Wat about Pi(3.14) ? ..... and yeah there's also Imaginary unit(i) .... and few hundred more i think.

- I hate the words "hard work". It has almost become a compulsory virtue for the entire mankind ! U can never say i dont work hard, i just work normal and get away with it. Normal isnt good enough for anyone anymore. No being hard working has becoming unacceptable in this world ! See, I dont have anything against hard work but its not for everyone, we should all realise and learn to accept this. I dont work hard , i simply work. deal with it !

- Why are some people always in a hurry to do things , to get things, to tell things ? Whats the rush ?

- Some people have a problem when u talk about them while some have a prob when u dont. But the real prob is that these two statements are not mutually exclusive to a single person

- Every night I scream in silence

- If u don't believe in Murphy's law, make a film.

- Always in shit , only the depth varies . Read it somewhere

- In the medieval universities students were taught "Trivium" which consisted of three things - Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. However as time went by and the human race progressed we stopped teaching the last one for some reason.

- I was trying to type the word "stuff" and accidentally typed "stfu" instead only to later realize the latter was more appropriate

- Read this in a forum somewhere :
"I have figured out what the internet is. You know what they say about an infinite number of monkeys hitting keys at random on an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite amount of time? Well the internet is like that. There is some big cosmic alien running that experiment here in order to find the answer to some big question or to create the greatest piece of literature known to the universe. From what I have seen so far I am sorry to say they are going to be greatly disappointed."

- I dont understand people who wish birthdays saying "have a blast".Isnt there enough terrorism in the world as it is ? Another thing that bothers me are wishes which go like "njoy..and have fun". So redundant.

- There are people in this world who bargain with the auto guy for 5 bucks and then happily walk into a coffee shop and order the 50 buck drink

- Its amusing for me to see parents trust institutes they hardly know over their own children. I mean its so weird to see them giving lakhs of rupees without blinking an eye in the name of "Education". Ask ur dad for 5 lakhs and 4 yrs time to get a job , he'll probably kick u out of the house.

- Dont change. Unless u want to.

- I have more control over my life than most people of my age in my country. No matter how i end up in life, i will never regret this..NEVER

- People often mistake my carefreeness for my carelessness. But i dont care cause when i am careless i am carefree enough to let it go.

- Quality is inversely proportional to quantity, as long as time is constant.

- If there is a god, he/she is quite clearly incompetent and insecure

- Its funny how social networking sites are making me anti-social

- The prob with democracy is that most of the us are idiots

- Less sleep, less food,
less work, no good.

- Trust is a very important thing in life. If u don't trust people, u'll never know if u snore

- You know, if u type the same word repeatedly long enough u start getting a feeling that u have spelled it wrong. A wonderful sign of low self-esteem.

- In a music review i read recently, the reviewer described the lyrics of a song as "psychoanalysis written as poetry". Probably one of the best compliments a lyricist can get i think.

- Sometimes life seems a lot like the "La Momie" game on facebook. You have to take those numerous excruciating hits and bumps just to get that feeling of flight for a fraction of second. But when its all about to end and u see how far u have come in ur journey, u realize that more than anything else, it was those painful hits that got u there

- If ur hungry long enough, u get used to it.

- Sometimes I feel i should never bring another human into this world out of pure disgust for the human race.I am not bitter, I'm just sad.

- Why do so many people believe in god but not in aliens ? Maybe its the assumption that god is good while the aliens might pose a threat.

- It seems very unfair to me when people complain abt me not taking care of how i look but have no problems with other people's vanity

- A friend of mine called me "seriously insane" on a networking site for uploading too many pics which mocked/opposed religion. Wonder if i would have got the same reaction had it been pics celebrating religion instead.

- Saw a 14 yr old girl in a skimpy outfit dancing to "Beboo, main beboo" from the movie Khambakht Ishq. Ironically, and sadly, it was for an award show celebrating women empowerment.

- "Nothing to worry about. You are just on the verge where one comes to face death" Osho tells one his disciple in the book "A hammer on the rock". Not exactly a good counselor, this guy.

- i have 27 people online and i am not talking to anyone

- Saw a bird(it was a crane, i think) chasing another. It was beautiful

- Use horns ! thats such a dumb idea ! might as well tell them to be cautious while driving ! [some guy while arguing with me over the need of more magnetic lights or something on hilly areas to inc road safety]

- "Hey look, its the stripper from the kid's show", Bart Simpson

- "Abey woh couple haina Tanaz-Bakhtiyaar, usme woh husband ka naam kya hain ? tanaz ya bakhtiyaar ?" , Parth [while discussing big boss]

- "Landscape of a dream", a really good phrase i read in some book about screenplay writing

- A facebook status read "Leave me alone" today. funny thing to say on a networking site

- To hell with free smses , my thumb is paining

- "Ek toh bichare ka khoon ho gaya upper se uske baal chamak rahe hain", ACP Praduman [CID]

- No matter how busy i am, i always find time to tell people abt it on facebook

- I used to burst a lotta pimples under my lips and eventually the skin turned dark in that area. Now it looks like i have a goatee. Its funny how things work out sometimes.

- Read an article today about Bangladesh govt awarding a farmer for killing 83,000 rats to protect crops. He kept their tails as evidence. "This is an exciting moment. i will continue to kill them" he vowed.

- Saw a video of two girls slapping each other for 40 seconds. somehow everyone really liked it