January 29, 2011

WIBWIB (Why I Blog What I Blog)

(Alright, so this is my 25th post so far on this blog. Half the distance covered :) Now irrespective of whether I complete my task of 50 (which I am committed to), I think I have proved to myself that I can also write.)  So, now probably is the time to introspect about why I blog or want to blog anyway:

1. I want to be coo!
Everyone wants; and who doesn't is not path3tic, but worse than that. I read about this thing called "blogging" a long time back, almost 4 years back at the start of 2007. I thought, "wow, how cool it will be to have a weblog of your own". Of course, every task worth doing required dedication and preservation. But we are not attracted to Photoshopping or dancing or programming, because it requires dedication but we find them coo! and dream ourselves looking coo! doing them.

2. I had something to say
OK, I am not very vocal. But that doesn't mean I have nothing to offer. Nothing goes in my mind. No thoughts cross the brain. In fact, it is quite the reverse, I think I respond to everything going on in my surrounding. But the inability to express myself was really damning. So, this blog is like my mouthpiece (think Shiv Sena's "Saamna" ;).

3. As a medium to communicate
Every time I meet a friend after long time they seem to be pretty eager to know about me. They want to know what's going on in my life. Using Internet messaging,Twitter, Orkut etc. are some of the ways to tell what's up! Blogging is a part of that long term strategy.

4. I think I can entertain
You know I find myself really boring sometimes. But that doesn't mean I want to die oblivion. I choose to be funny, if not so in real life, then in virtual second life. OK, I am not bragging that I am the funniest guy you will come around, but if the little amount of feedback I get for my posts are something to go by, you like reading it!

5. Desire to do something creative
I have another misconception about myself that I am not as much creatively blessed than my friends. I am just that guy who crams stuff and get some good marks and becomes "O holy studious RavS". And I want to challenge myself. I want myself to think I more than a book worm (which I am not anyways). Once my friend Katy (name changed due to privacy reasons) said that he wanted to change others' notion towards himself by doing new things, so he started writing poems along side painting and quizzing. These posts are somewhat inspired from that thinking.

6. To have a pet 'project'
Another friend (who doesn't want to be named) pushes me to have a project to look forward to. While the direction he prods in some other one, this blog is actually like a project to me which I am building, slowly and slowly, day by day. Some posts are so fantastic that I laugh on them myself while others look drab/stupid, which make me second guess about posting them. But, anyways, I am proud of whatever I have posted here and will continue to do so.

7. An Experimental platform
When I really do something 'on my own', I really like to experiment with it. My life itself is a big experiment for me. And this blog is an extension of that. I think you will agree that I have chosen different topics and sometimes different writing styles to post. In future I will continue to do that. I want to go beyond my limits as a limited writer.

8. To think clearly
A lot of thoughts keep roaming in my mind all the time. But they are vague. It seems like I am not sure about a few things, where I stand in my opinion about them (it happens with me a lot, during debates). So writing blog gives strength to my views and make them concrete, clear. Sometimes I get surprised reading my own posts (thoughts).

9. Typing practice :)
Alright, this is just a side bonus and not a primary motivation to blog.

PS: Well actually all above points are time pass/waste. The right reason is my competitive nature. Everybody seems to be creating a blog. I just want to say loud and clear, "Whatever you write, whatever you think; Doesn't Matter. MY BLOG IS BETTER THAN WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE OR ARE GOING TO HAVE. PERIOD" :$

January 26, 2011

My Idol. Take 2

My whole life I have been in search for "My Idol". I consider an idol as a guru; someone to look up to every time you find yourself in a dilemma. Thinking what he/she would have done in this situation and then doing the same. But well till now I haven't been successful in my search.

In my quest I have tried to focus on typical idols of other people in the hope to find my own idol there:

Actors: Majority of people love films; and they love their actors too. Their amazing display of charm and heroism just wins the heart and people go crazy just to get a glimpse of them. But everybody knows that in real life they are humans only. They take drugs, they fight, they bitch and do all kinds of unethical work just like an "Aam Aadami". So, why not choose a random Aam Aadami as an idol?

Sportspersons: People love sports and they worship their sports-persons. When I was a kid I wanted to become the next Sachin and I know many Indians especially budding cricketers still dream about it. But as with actors, does it make sense to make someone an idol just because he possess extraordinary talent? Well of course, Sachin is a great humbling personality and quite an idol material, but look at some of the cricketers and sportspersons in today's generation and you will find out a lot of arrogance in their behavior.

Teachers: Teachers shape our career. After may be family and friends, we spend most of our time with them (that is if you attend classes regularly :) So they are bound to influence our life. But unfortunately, I haven't been privileged to get too many teachers in my life who were devoted to their work and motivated to help students (For more, read: My Idea.. Of an Ideal Teacher). So, not much luck in this department too.

Parents: Heard many people saying they always look up to their parents for their hard-work and sacrifices. I respect their thoughts. My parents are no different. In fact, I have been luck enough to get an awesome joint family that have taken care of me since child hood, one after the another. But here the equation is a little bit reversed. They look up to me - to do well and become a role model for my younger siblings - rather than the other way around.

Politicians: Famously people claim to be influenced by the life of certain veteran politicians like Indira Gandhi, A.B.Vajpayee ji etc. I have heard about them, have seen a few of them. But my bad luck, that I am not much into politics to know a whole lot about them to consider them my idol.

Freedom Fighters: Like the above mentioned points, they also make very inspiring role models. There is Rani Laxmi Bai, Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi and numerous others. Here also, I should be pardoned to know only that much as my history books and TV taught me. Plus I would prefer to have a living idol, so as to learn by seeing them rather than reading (mostly obscured and incorrect) information from books and journals.

Business Icons: We all want to become successful in our careers. So it is but natural to be attracted towards business tycoons. People with rags to riches story. I won't lie, I have really been attracted by the life of Steven Jobs, Dhirubhai Ambani, and recently Mark Juckerberg et el. But when you look at the life of each of these personalities, you will find that they achieved success but in their own ways. They created their own destinies. So, of course I can learn a lot from their lives, the mistakes they made and the hard decisions they took, but having to choose one of them as an idol is really difficult if not impossible.

Others Famous Personalities: If you take a look around yourself, you will find there is hell lot of things to get inspired from. Writers, poets, coders, philosophers, God, kids, friends, elder siblings, ... But if the sole reason of having an idol is to get inspiration, do I really need an idol here?

Who says that we need have only one idol for inspiration? And if we have multiple idols, does the point of having an idol stand? In fact, I would ask, who says you have to make someone an idol in order to soak up the good things in their life?

It seems my search for an idol is futile. So, instead of searching for one, I should focus on becoming one, for someone.

My Idol. Take 1

During college, I have been asked this question 2 times "Who is your idol?". Both of the time I wrote/said about Michael Schumacher, the most successful F1 driver in history (at least statistically). But both times I asked myself, is MSC really your idol? And both times, the inner voice answered... NO. But then, who is my Idol?

But first; Who or what is an idol anyway? Googling define: idol gave me these top 3 definitions:
# a material effigy that is worshipped
# someone who is adored blindly and excessively
# paragon: an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept

Of course here, I am not talking about the first definition though the last 2 definitions are somehow related to the first one. Let's talk about the next 2 definitions one by one.

Someone who is adored blindly and excessively:
• Parents and grandparents who work for our welfare tirelessly and selflessly. But I have seen them making mistakes and they themselves want me not to repeat the same and to be someone much better than them.
• Some of my teachers. I haven't really been close to any of them, but they have influenced my life in a number of ways. So, ideally I would have liked only those teachers to teach me all the subjects. But teaching seems to be too much of a noble job for me to indulge in full time.
• Numerous actresses/women by whose looks/voice I have been smitten by :) But that I believe is more of facial and personality attraction and nothing else. Would you make someone an idol because she has a mole on her forehead?
• A number of musicians and singers (too many to name even a few) who are just incredible in their art. But making someone an idol because he/she is an Indian idol or they are the number one band is a thing I can't do.

An ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept: There are a number of people who seem ideal to me:
• Someone like Aamir Khan who gives preference to quality over quantity and an assurance that an AK movie will be worth spending money. Not really easy to give that kind of assurance.
• Rahul Dravid, whom I used to hate and used to switch off the TV when he came one down. But over the years he proved himself as 'The Wall' in Test Cricket, greatly improved his average and strike rate in one dayers and is now improvising in T20. A person with a copy-book batting technique, something I have tried to emulate unsuccessfully.
• Roger Federer who is just a magician when on song. One handed backhand sometimes looks like witchcraft. Winning points from impossible situations and remaining consistent for so many years, is a superhuman task.
• Andy Roddick, the ultimate underdog, who even being a bit less talented than some of the other players of modern era has given some really hard fought battles to watch. A person who is a treat to watch when he serves.
• Or may be Linus Torvalds, who came up with his own solution when the problem existed in the existing solution. He was just 21 years old when he released the 'first' version of Linux. And he has been the path bearer to the fight against EvilSoft and its 'Exhaust' (if you know what I mean).

Now, all these people look perfect; ideal to be called an idol. But I always had some reservations with the word 'ideal' itself. It makes it sound more like 'impossible'.

• The real problem is that you call someone an idol when you find your life parallel to their. I haven't found anyone like that yet.
• Also, making someone an idol seems like you just want to become exactly like them. While I really respect the above mentioned people, I really don't want to be another Rahul or Andy or Linus. I want to be RavS, which may sound like a cliche but this is the truth. These people have made their own destiny. While I can learn from their life, I don't really want to retrace their foot steps to reach where they are today (in my own chosen field).

• Till now I used to think there will be someone who will really be my guru. Someone whom I will look up to in case of difficulties. It seems to me that no one like that exists for me. So, may be it is time to stop my ever continuing quest for the idol.
• So, my Idol is NoOne. Because NoOne is perfect, NoOne is exactly like me or to put differently I am like NoOne.

But it doesn't mean I live my life without inspiration. I get inspired from all the above mentioned people and some more. In fact, as someone said sometime, even "events inspire me".

PS: Now while I may no longer believe in the concept of idol, I know people still have idols and that is not going to change after this blog. So, it will really be great if someone someday calls me her/his idol! Do pal ke liye koi hamein idol keh de, jhoota hi sahi :)

January 23, 2011

That Awkward Phone Conversation

"... if that was the case, you could have at least called and told me.."

"... where were you yesterday? I was calling..."

Don't get me wrong if I am not calling you. It's not you, it's me...

Remember I made a to-do list sometime ago? Well there was an important point mentioned there, "Call friends". Well I was able to complete almost everything in that list but this was left behind. Well, I can give the excuse that it was because of I had no balance in the phone during morning, but then there was credit at evening time. But I didn't call anybody that day. 

Well the reason is simple, I am not a very good phone buddy. Part of that can be attributed to my introvert nature. But more than that I am not comfortable with the mode of conversation itself. 

• If you are text chatting with someone you are actually replying to the text sent, with a text of your own (yeah, as if you didn't knew already :); there is no face or voice involved here. Plus this mode is slower than other modes (unless you are the chat ninja) so you get time to articulate your thoughts and continue/divert the conversation. 

• If you are talking face to face, the person is in front of you, so you see her/his reaction/expressions and can change the topic. Otherwise the next person can sense your awkwardness and bail you out of the situation. Also there are a lot of other things that can be done besides talking ;)

• Now turn to a phone conversation. I know voice is a very powerful medium but it seems a phone conversation has got all the limitations of other modes without giving any significant advantages. It neither has slowness of text/messaging nor the closeness of a face2face interview.

So, if I have an option between meeting a person and calling, I will easily choose to travel to meet the person.

The thing is that during phone calls after sometime I am at lose of ideas to continue (don't blame me if I don't rehearse before calling) and then it gets really awkward. You don't want to continue with the conversation any longer due to loss of words but you don't want to cut the line abruptly either. But the silence is creeping, so you try desperately to search for something to continue; you are talking after a long time, there has to be something to talk about, com'n think, think... And then.. you either talk about something you discussed just a short while ago or come up with something pretty nonsense.

And it gets very shameful when it happens with a close friend or even a family member. The same people with whom you have no inhibition to share the bed (and I mean it with right sense) can become a cause of embarrassment while talking over phone, after a long time. And if it's a formal call, then it is surely going to happen at the last minute.

So, in short my point is that I usually avoid phone conversations. And if someone calls home and the phone is not actually meant for me, I usually don't pick it up and let it ring for someone else to pick (It's not that the next person will kill me through the receiver; but then everything has a first). Thankfully GSM provides SMS bearer service by default to all the subscribers and nowadays Internet messaging seems God sent.

So, if you are getting a phone call from my side; remember 2 things:
1. This call is so important that I felt other modes won't suffice. Thank Me! And try to keep the conversation short so as to maximise your probability of getting a phone call in future.
2. You are one of the lucky fews with whom I can share a good phone conversation, without much problem. Congratulate yourself!

Alright, now that you have read it. "Yaar, kya baat hai. Tum to kabhi call hi nahin karte" .... DUBAARA MAT POOCHANA!

It's Not "My" Problem
There are a few people who are gifted with the ability to talk over long times, so one doesn't really have to try hard to keep up the conversation. But it seems, it's not just my problem (although I may be the terminal case). I have heard many people repeating "how is X, how is x (X's son), how is y, how is a, how is x" OR "so what's up; what's going on; anything new; so what's up". I know these act as conversation starters/fillers, but if the conversation mainly consist of these phrases only then I think it is time to shut up and hang up.

So, if you are also suffering from similar kind of inhibitions, (anonymously) comment and tell about your tragic story. Remember, don't consider yourself alone in this world. When God made man, he didn't realise that man will have to converse over phone.

PS: This applies to everyone, those who are reading it NOW, those who will read it in the future and also those who won't read. Well, Wish no one has to read this, they just get up one day and know... RavS is phonophobic.

January 21, 2011

Main, TV aur Vo... (sab bakwaas)

When I didn't have the computer system (around 7 years ago) TV was the main source of entertainment for me. So, I would spend hours watching TV especially on Holidays. After getting Cable Television the choices increased exponentially. So always had something to see. Getting another TV seemed God sent. But soon I started tor realise that it was actually a curse rather than boon.

Those bitchy vamp ladies started to laugh even more heinously and our sati-saavitri, holier-than-thou, I-m-the-bhartiya-naari, I-can-wail-more-than-you, heroine started to get more and more ugly with her cry cry. Here I am trying to sleep as I have to go to school tomorrow and here comes Paarvati-my-bhains and Tulsi-my-unmentionable, the next generation super heroins who could never be wrong and have taken the task of rooting every evil in the world. A few times I myself almost came to weeping because of head ache from their 'Shock.. Shock.. Shock..' scenes. 

A lot of years have passed since the first generation of rona-dhona Serials, but nothing much has changed. Every entertainment channel is advertising it's 'breakthrough' serial based on a 'new' concept. But you open any channel, it will still have a touch-me-not heroine who is always considered wrong and who will silently suffer because she is trying to save her family name. Who will never keep up with her work but will try and find a problem and then solve it. 

And the lady villains whom you never see eating, cooking, dusting or anything but always making plans to destroy their enemy. (I recommend them to our I.B.). The heroes who are actually side actors, always misunderstand and get misunderstood. Always, ready to get/give a slap when the heroine gets frustrated.

What's more hilarious is they always get to wear a new saari/dress in every episode even when they are almost at the verge of breaking down from depression. They will always wear makeup and tonnes of jewellery even when they go to bathroom. And I can bet with anybody that there can NOT be an episode where not even a single character cries truck-load of glycerin. 

The problem is that average viewers of such shows (housewives) really get emotionally attached to them and they really can not withstand anything wrong happening to the protagonist. Even they can't be blamed for the lack of 'real' entertaining stuff. So, it's like a chicken and egg situation.

When the scene of fictional series is such, the hope hinges on Reality TV shows. Now barring a few shows, the reality shows are even more depressing. Nothing looks real. Everything seems to be scripted in order to trick the stupid viewers to come and watch the drama. People are marrying on TV and then taking divorces once the show is over. A lot of people are fans of Big Boss. But I don't understand what people like in seeing 'celebrities' swearing at each other. And the latest "Maa Exchange" is such a ridiculous concept that I would like to personally exchange the Maa-Behen of creative head of the channel.

The only ray of light for me are the Sports channels and News Channels. But as I highlighted in one of my earlier posts, the sports channels are becoming more and more money hungry and fleecing the viewers. And ever since India TV came, it changed the concept of a "News Channel". None of the Hindi News Channel (now including NDTV India) will show you news without sensationalising/dramatizing it. And with English News Channels, you might have heard about a few things regarding CNN IBN too like how they are showing wrong reports and covering up things etc. So, don't know what else is left then.

There are a few other types of channels also like Music Channels which are perfect for limited time-passing, but nothing more than that. Or everyones' favorite (and safe to watch) Spiritual Channels. I have tried to watch them a few times, but they are so good (no pun) that I couldn't watch them over long periods, because of getting overwhelmed.

There are English movie and English Entertainment Channels but I am not really comfortable watching them with family (tell me if you are!). I have recently started watching (after downloading) foreign TV shows. They are like a breath of fresh air. So, it is so easy for me to get hooked to them and watch them episode after episode till the series gets over and then move onto another series. Everybody knows almost all Indian TV shows (except our own traditional Saas Bahu) concepts are 'inspired' from the foreign ones.

This is one of those blog post's where I give all the problems but don't offer any solution. I just can't think what can be done about this situation anyways. I guess till the time the viewers (the females in our family) do not start to say NO to such stupid stuff, I will have no option but to pour my frustration in a blog post. I really have high hopes from the new gen. alpha female. Please don't disappoint me ladies. Please.

January 16, 2011

Ravi... 2001

Note: The stuff inside parentheses are the comments of the present day RavS.

Hi, my name is Ravi ( RavS: This guy has no idea he is gonna become legendary RavS! ). I study in Shiv Vani School, an alright school ( No. The school bloody sux ). I am in 8th standard, I mean, I passed 7th at the start of the year and now I have been promoted to 8th! I came first for the first time in my life, and it feels good ( suck it, all it brings is more pressure to perform. All you want is more than average marks and that's it ). I mean it's been my long cherished dream to get to the first position and it came after a long journey from 28->23->13->8->6->3->2->1 ( for what I can remember ) and even getting to there wasn't short of miracle. But let's leave it. I have so much more to tell you about myself.

OK, let me tell you about my favorite subjects. Maths and Science! ( somethings in life never change ). Well, English, SStd and Sanskrit are also OK. I hate Hindi, but I think the Hindi hates me more. I always get Hindi teachers who ridicule me and this year's madam ( without writing her name ) just slapped me, all because I filled the index before doing the work. Even the paper comes too long. It tiring to write those 'nibandhs' and 'jeewani' stuff. To save time, I don't draw lines over the Hindi word. And well as expected, have been scolded for that too. Talking about Hindi, I have recently been hearing about this guy called Vikas ( who later evolves to become VK ) who is just awesome with his Hindi poems. I have heard a few and he is just amazing. How can he write such stuffs at this age? Does he copy?

I don't like this SUPW period either. I had to take French during 6th because my best friend wanted to and he said it will be helpful if I ever wanted to go abroad or something. He also said there is this guy named Katyayan who has got 99.99% in 5th and he is also taking French ( No seriously Katy! ). But in 7th it became a pain in the . So, this time I made sure I don't get French any way.

Hey, did I tell you our class has got this whole new bug of pen fight? I mean we people are literally doing nothing but fighting pens during period change. And we have started to take it to the limits with filling up nails and other heavy metal stuffs inside our pens. Many a times, teachers have caught us with our acts and took our pens but we people are always back in business. I personally am not that great but play it anyway. Well, there is this guy named Yogender ( future YogS ) who is pretty good at the game but he usually plays with his bench-mate and not talk to us that much. And well it's kind of weird since he lives quite close to my home but we don't know each other that well ( wait till he becomes your bench mate next year, and start sucking into your life :) ).

And, well this year we have got a new guy in the class. His name is Prakash and I think he is the most respectable person I have ever met ( oh SUI!! ). He comes as a gentleman and talks with everybody so nicely. .

OK, enough of school talk. Because school is routine. Reach school, forcibly pray, study, play, wait for period to get over, pray Hindi period goes fine, return home, eat lunch ( 2 chapattis in school don't count ) then back to tuition. Come back home by 6 and now I am the king. I really love to watch Alladin and Duck Tales. I am also a sucker for newspaper ( told ya! ) but only the sport section and also like comics ( told ya that too! ). But bhains ki aankh, I don't get to read it that much. I have to get it on rent or read when bua brings them.

And I am a big cricket fan. That's the only sport I watch. Earlier this year, I was enthralled when Harbhajan made the mockery of Aussies and took 33 wickets in the series and Laxman played that legendary innings of 281 along with my favorite Rahul who got 180 something. I watched the whole series and it was just fascinating. But this new guy Matthew Hayden was just too much. He made 1000+ runs in test and one day series. Well I also came to know about the death of sir Don Bradman. I don't know who he really was but his average of 99.94 was just fascinating and he also said that Tendulkar plays like him. Wish he could have completed his century at least, in age.

This year, a big tragedy happened. The World Trade Center, about which I had never heard before came crashing down because of this terrorist attack by some Osama something. I only came to know about it the next day, because I was celebrating my B'Day on T'Day. Anyways, friends were saying it was huge and two huge buildings came crashing down when a plane hit them. So after school I ran back home and watched it on TV, from all the angles possible. OK, did I tell you we bought a new color TV a few months ago. I asked my dad to buy this LG one because it had this cricket game in it but now the game seems boring. I can hit almost every ball for a six.

Now wish if I could have a computer also . Some of my friends have already got it. When will I get it?( You will get it buddy, just be patient ) I just want to play Mario and Pacman and Dave on it the whole day like my friends. Yeah, I have this cassette game player which you can connect to TV and play all day. But it will be so much fun to play it on computer. You can also work on MS Word and Powerpoint and Notepad ( Yeah, I will see how much you work on notepad ) and play music and stuff.

Sometimes, I wonder what I will become in future ( Say computer engineer )? I mean, if you would have asked me this when I was a kid, I would have given you different answers, like Doctor, Pilot, Police man ( Engineer? ). 2 years back, I was sure I was gonna become a scientist ( Damn it, say Engineer ). But don't know now. May be join Army ( ? ) or a Civil Services ( ?? ).. or an Engineer ( yeah ;) ). I have read about these IITs and IIMs and all. But I really can't tell right now.

10 years from now? I don't know. I would like to have a computer for sure! And would love if all my friends could go to the same college as me ( :( ). And to Ravi of that time.. Sabki Bhains ki Aankh Nikal diyo!! ( Thanks mate! )

January 14, 2011

Bhains Ki Post

Q. 9: What do you know about foot and mouth disease of African Buffalo? Explain with an elaborate diagram.                              (15 Marks)

(Note: Blogger has no idea whats so special about African Buffaloes and what on earth is foot and mouth disease)

  • Buffalo is one of the widely used or in other words, employed cattle in the World, especially in poor developing countries which are primarily based on Agriculture.
  • Almost all the buffaloes are black, In fact, black color is considered the distinguishing features of the buffalo; but color variation can occur with regional changes and other metaphysical factors.
  • Buffalo is popular with different names. In India (one of the largest buffalo producer) it is primarily called 'bhains' in the Hindi-speaking Northern plains, and 'Yerumai' in southern plateau region. In ancient Indian scriptures it has been addressed "Mahishi", while in Greek Mythology it has been mentioned as "Beta o u Beta Alpha Lambda" which may seem like a code name but it is phonetically correct.
Reasons for raising buffalo
  • Buffalo being a mammal has got breasts, which are used to squeeze out milk at dusk and dawn period.
  • Buffalo has been traditionally used as a grazer, so it can work as your natural dustbin (but the quality of milk can degrade proportionally)
  • Its dung ('gobar' in Hindi) is multipurpose and is used in villages for polishing the earthen floors, as fuel (in the form of cakes) or even as a quick fix to broken walls and so on.

Injustice to Buffalo
  • In Indian tradition, Buffalo has always been considered inferior to Holy cow. It has been used only as a substitute to cow in field and have never been given a chance to demonstrate her full potential.
  • This can be attributed to her black color. In comparison cow is usually spotless white or can have designer tattoos by birth. So, this can be considered as a racial behavior on the part of man.
  • Man (especially modern alpha male) have been guilty of abusing buffaloes in many ways. "Bhains ki Aankh Nikalana", "Mari Bhains Ki Poonch Paadna", "Bhains Ki Taang", "Bull's (Buffalo's Daddy) Eye" etc. have been used as slang without caring for the emotions of the mute buffalo. While the hypocritical man reasons it as a way of giving respect to buffalo, in reality he is disrespecting the buffalo and giving her emotional harassment.

Buffaloes in Africa
  • Buffaloes in Africa are no special, after all they are buffaloes only.
  • But one distinguishing features of African buffaloes is that they are heavily built as compared to the Indians. And they are quite fast too, which may be a result of the naturally green patches there.
  • But African buffaloes are usually considered second to Subcontinental ones especially Indian buffaloes which though may not be as strong as their African counterparts but are equally aggressive if challenged.

Foot and Mouth Disease
  • Foot and Mouth Disease is a very serious disease found in cattle especially buffaloes.
  • It is caused by a certain virus, and though the disease is curable, the recovery rate and period are discouraging.
  • Foot and Mouth Disease as the name suggests occurs in foot and as well as mouth. The disease is so infectious, that it is difficult to differentiate b/w foot and mouth.

These African buffaloes are called Hippo owing to their size and this particular buffalo is suffering from foot & mouth disease.

January 12, 2011

Paper Setter's Mindset

"Let her/him attempt this paper and pass it"
"Did they copy the paper from another university?"
"WTF was that, was the paper of some other subject?"
"Did they got this paper made from the peon or from the lab assistant?"

Sound familiar? Heard of them? Well these are a few things either I have said or heard people talking about whenever the conversation turns to exams. And these days, I can't really blame anyone for thinking or talking like that. When one works really hard (well cramming GBs of data is not easy!), you expect to get rewarded for it by an easy paper (Of course, when you know the answer, the question is easy) and then some good paper checking, making the hard work successful and giving the mind the right signals that hard work is rewarded.

But the way we (OK, at least 'I') get the exam papers, my mind gets the signal that it is OK, if I don't work hard. It is OK, if I don't prepare fully for the exam. It is OK, if I bank on my general knowledge of the topic rather than actually knowing the answers to questions. It is OK, to just study a topic 5 mins before the exam and go and write the paper (ask me, I did it in my exam on 31st December 2010). But everyone including me knows, in reality it is NOT OK.

(please take note of the word) the exam should be taken to check your 'general' understanding of the subject (not everybody is an expert in Analog Electronics alright). But the paper setter seems to think as if we would have become an expert in 3 months of studying the subject, like it was the only subject that we had to study.

Ground Reality
I find it most ridiculous when you get a 15 marks question when all 'you know' AND/OR 'it can be written about' is of 5-7 marks. So, what options do we have? • Growing the limbs and redundant body parts of the answers which should have only got the mid-gut (read core).• Choosing larger font size (16 rather than normal 11 or 12). Also making use of cryptic fonts (think Webdings or Monotype Corsiva). • Making the text 'centered' rather than 'justified' (leaving margins on both sides of sheet.) • Leaving a blank line after every 3 lines or so of text, on the pretext of making the answer seem legible and neat.

Size Does Matter
And teachers also seem to go for the length rather than the content of the answer. 
"You see, he has written 7" answer so he gets 8 marks while your answer is just 6.25" inch, I still gave you 6 marks, what else do you want?"
"You should have explained this also (even if it means going out of context). This is not enough for a 10 mark question (crap some more)"

Choices. Really?
I don't know which syllabus the paper setter follows, because you almost always get 10% or more of question paper 'out of syllabus'. What's hilarious is that those questions will be given as a choice. So, you exhaust all your choices in 'don't-know-from-where-the-MoFo-gave' questions. So, now all you are left with are the questions that are 'compulsory'. Hey, don't blame the paper setter, he/she gave you a 'choice'. It's you who didn't take it. The choices between questions is also horrible (See my this time's ACN paper to know what I mean).

And what's more ridiculous
...is the way the question paper is set. Instead of asking the question in a simple manner, they will twist it like Jigsaw Puzzle. There will be wrong or incomplete information provided in the question (shame for an end term question paper). The paper seems like has been made at the last moment, just like we prepare near the judgement day. So, whichever question is seen first is given without caring that it is actually going to be attempted by thousands of students in coming days and may be the deciding question for whether the student passes. Recently, a friend told me that his question paper contained significant number of questions from a single page of a book!

I know
...what I have written here is not 100% applicable for all the papers we get. I was quite impressed by the way last paper I gave was set. And University exam papers can't exactly be set like School Board exam papers, all scientifically prepared because they don't have that much resource or time. Also, some of what I have said might be the result of some bad exam experiences (lack of preparation, lack of intelligence, hard luck etc.). But what I have said is not entirely wrong. If you have ever faced University Semester style exams, you will agree with that.

PS: Now that I am all bossing around here like I know how to set the perfect paper, I wonder how I would have set the exam paper. Hmm.. Interesting! Well all I know is that I would have definitely experimented with different styles, like I do in blogging and life in general!

January 09, 2011


So, India-South-Africa Test Series concluded recently. And what a great series it was. Though India couldn't come out trumps but it was heartening to see them fighting RSA ball to ball (literally!).

But this post is not the 'post' series analysis by yet-another-wannabe-cricket-expert. This is actually about the agony of a long lost cricket lover who is just frustrated to see the deck of ads being slapped on him every second of his cricket watching moments.

I was a big cricket fan. I really was. Used to go to others' home to watch cricket since we didn't have cable TV at home in childhood. Liked to watch match from end to end and always remain scared when Sachin used to bat (thinking he will get out soon and the match will be over). Used to enjoy fall of each opposition wicket like only a true Indian fan can do. Have in memory a lot of memorable cricket moments. Well in last 5-7 years, I turned to other sports and so now cricket is not that much of a passion to me.

One can say I have moved on. But I would say I was pushed into NOT watching cricket. And I would partially blame Coke, Pepsi, Hero Honda, Airtel, Parley, LIC and other such companies for that. And more than them the very TV broadcasters, the courtesy of whom I get a live feed anyway. 

In good-old-days, there were ad intervals in between overs because the fielders used to take place and the batsmen took guard, changed ends etc. Sometimes, the match got so exciting that you desperately wanted a break, so it was good to see ads. Turn the clock to now-a-days. You see half of the first ball (bowler is already in action) and half of last ball (batsman defended, don't mind where the ball went), even half of the fall of wicket (Ball knicked the bat, it's going to a slip fielder, of course he is gonna catch, hey check out this latest ad of paan-masala).

And if that was not enough, slowly you started to get those side advertises in during overs. Replays and other 3D analysis were already sponsored, so don't worry about them. And now my new favorite TenCricket (Let's not be anonymous and POINT the culprits this time) has taken the Ad hysteria to an altogether new level by showing the ads on the grass close to wicket-keeper while the bowler is taking action. Now, all that is remaining is to see ads occupying the remaining center screen. Com'n why don't you change it to 24x7 shopping channel? Stupid me; I thought 'ads in between overs' meant "in between 2 overs". Now I know; it means "in the middle of an over".

OK, I agree cricket is a huge money game. Broadcasters have spent money lavishly to buy the cricket rights, and they have to get their money back. Every second of TV viewing is worth lacs. Every pixel of TV screen is like gold dust. But I have a question; is Cricket a more watched or higher value game than say soccer or F1? or even Tennis? OK, may be in India, what about worldwide? So, why is there not so many Ads during the transmission of those sports? OK, some of the tactics like Ads sidebar is employed there too (broadcasters are the same!) but still I can safely say, I watched more of Soccer or F1 than Advertisements.

Watching cricket now gives me a feeling that I as a viewer is being taken for granted. I don't have anything else to do, I don't have any other choice. So, come what may I will have to digest whatever crap is served on screen. Even the Ads Hungry Google doesn't do such an act!

I just hope this article/post reaches the eyes of some sports channel broadcaster (besides my friends). I am not saying don't earn money. By all means do it, but at least be ethical and care for your viewers.

January 04, 2011

If I could suck powers

Well I have been a big comic fan since my childhood. I used to read about these super heroes and super villains who were just full of awesomeness and incredibility. I used to fantasize about one day becoming a super hero myself and saving the world (I knew I would have to wear underwear out of pants but I really wanted to wear those knee length boots). I think those were the things that really got me into reading (more about my reading habits some other time).

Well, as I grew  up those  fantasies kind of  faded  away.  But  one  thing that stuck me was the ability of the character  to  take power (some times gifted, sometimes loaned, sometimes sucked)  from other  characters in the comic book. I still think how much cool it would be take powers and becoming super powerful.  I  know that's not gonna happen in the real world. But hypothetically, if I was allowed to do that, here is what  ONE power I would have sucked out of my friends.

But wait, why suck? Why not just multiply or share or something? Well the reason is that because I am kind of jealous that they posses such characteristics. And I want to be the only superhero in the story! So here goes..

Katy: I have always believed, he is the coolest guy I have every met. He has this kind of calm around him. And I find it fascinating because I become cold feet when it comes to entering the unknown. Never saw him getting angry or annoyed with anything (well except that one incident in school but that was fluke). And I on the other hand can sometimes loose my temper. OK, I am not of violent nature, but I really don't like when I get out of control. So, I would have sucked coolness (as in nature wise) out of him.

VK: The solution to any and every problem on this universe. And I say this with all the seriousness in the world. I mean whenever I have met/talked to this guy, he has told me something that has altered my way of thinking about one concept or other. Even when he doesn't know of something, or is not an expert in something, then he will use his common-sense and practicality and get out of situation winning. You just cannot win from him. Period. But what kind of power is common-sense you may ask. Well when you use it, you will know what I mean!

YogS: May be the closest friend I ever had (and by closest I don't imply best!). And being closest I can vouch for his genuineness and simplicity. Many a times he has made me look like a fake (in my own eyes). Well he can be a little bit too straight talker, which can annoy people (well it surely has pissed me off a few times!) but then I know he is truthful and sincere in his heart. So, I would never let him change that (OK, may be only when I suck his powers). He is a WYSIWYG. So, if I can be the same it will be great. 

PK: This guy brings a sense of surety to the scene. You know he will come up with a solution, whatever the problem in hand. So when he is on your side, there is no reason to panic. you get to sleep peacefully.     (Note: Don't confuse VK with PK. I mean VK comes out of the problem by murdering the problem itself while PK gets the problem arrested). I have always admired his all round ability and being able to do so many things. So he is like a palette of colors not just a combination of your favorite hues. And he always replies to my (even though stupid) messages. Always. (OK, replying is not a power, but he Always does it).

XP: Where does he get this friendliness power? I mean the number of friend he has got everywhere you go is ridiculous. (Though if you ask him, he will say he is a loner, a path3tic guy, may be because he is a vamp or something) I on the other hand have never been the friendliest guy on universe (But do I really want to be?). OK, I know there can be a lot of people who possess this ability to befriend people in a matter of minutes but I know about only one such creature. Of course, having this ability can have its disadvantages (I really pity when he gets screwed collectively) but I think with above mentioned powers, his 'friendliness' will make a killer combo.

Laloo: At first I am tempted to suck all the artistry out of him. But that will be wrong, because all above mentioned names are creatively special in their own ways. So, what I want to get out of him is his charmness. Well I am not talking physique and face value here (though he possess a fairly good one ;) but the nature. He can get you to do the things for him, even when you don't want. I have done it a few times myself and I don't have any rational explanation for favoritism. So, this mystical power will be kind of coo! to have.

The Jain: The one Jain in my life (because I have never met the other Jains). He may not come out as a very friendly guy and some of his habits may make one think, he is glum. But then everybody possess something 'extra'. I really like his seriousness towards life. Well, I have come to experience, that his luck is worse than mine (if anything like luck exists), but because of his focus, he has been able to perform where I can't even imagine to put myself into. And with a little bit more self esteem and positivity towards life (which I already have) if I can get this power I can really be own my way of becoming a Legendary superhero.

OK, I am not saying I am a total idiot who doesn't have anything special. That would have been more lame than humble. I already have a bit of all powers mentioned above. But the above mentioned people have this in abundance (like magnified 5 times) and having them all is gonna make me a real powerhouse.

PS: The ulterior motive of this post is to make you self conscious of your powers, so you start to loose it up. If I can't have it, so shouldn't you. I said I was jealous you have this power, remember?

January 01, 2011

ToDo Today

People say whatever you do on first day of the year, you tend to repeat the whole year. Last time, the first thing I did when clock rang 12 was to call XP and chatted with him for some good time. Had a tiff with him for sometime of the year!

Anyway, that won't stop me from making a todo for the first day of the first year of the second decade of present millennium. 

Will try and do them in the order presented but that's not a hard and fast rule.
  1. Write todo (what am I doing right now, dummy?)
  2. Post a blog (just as you read this you know it's done)
  3. Bath in the morning (Well, holiday and winter shouldn't be an excuse at least today)
  4. Pray (So finally God gets an appointment from my busy schedule :)
  5. Meditate (Sounds cheesy but I fully understand the importance of it)
  6. Take blessings from family elders (no scientific advantage of this practice but invaluable morally)
  7. Read Newspaper (Nowadays like supplements more than the main newspaper... No more scams please)
  8. Watch a movie/TV episode (well if you know you are going to do it on a holiday why be ashamed to announce it)
  9. Call/Chat with close friends (not those whom I met in person today!)
  10. Way2SMS rest (well even Tata Indicom takes premium charges for SMS on special occasions, so Way2SMS rules, but only if it's working)
  11. Scrap 'bache-kuche' (hey so don't blame me, I don't have their numbers. Plus its reminder to me and others that I am still alive on Orkut :)
  12. Program (Lets actually do it instead of pretending to do. How about printing 'To hell with world' in five different languages?)
  13. Study (Hey RavS you are still a student, remember? When was the last time I voluntarily studied? hmm..)
  14. Meet YogS in person (Kitna pyaara vaada hai!)
  15. Meet YogS on time (No comments)
  16. Goto Sector 6 Market (Best Hangout in the whole world!!.. Well actually its because of lack of better hangouts)
  17. Buy an electronic gadget (lets continue the tradition, transistor radio will do for today)
  18. Check Google Reader (Old habits die hard)
  19. Help bros/sis (when you have so many siblings to choose from and you are the eldest, you got some moral obligations to fulfil)
  20. Sleep early (Hehe.. Are you kidding?!)
And here are 11 fillers to be done at some point or another through the day.
  1. Tweet with PK (who else listens anyway?)
  2. 'Like'/Comment your own tweet on Buzz (Buzz is a flop ;( )
  3. Do something never done before (oh well that will be adventurous, but what??)
  4. Ridicule Sui (ohh.. I miss good old times)
  5. Read Katy's :(old) poem (it's been a long time since...)
  6. Make fun of an XP SMS (well his SMS are an invitation to get creative, I can't help myself)
  7. Argue with VK on a trivial issue (He loves a good debate, I love giving a good debate)
  8. Talk to a friend not in contact for 5 years (friends are like wine, the older the better (though have never tasted wine so can't vouch for it))
  9. Don't open 'Windows' (Nowadays I don't have too many Windows anyway. Just 7 in the whole home ;)
  10. Listen to music (Obvious)
  11. Admire a jhand art (artist jhand ho sakta hai, uska art nahin)

So, looks like I have got a packed 1st January. Hopefully I will have packed and happening year too. Here is wishing you the same!

Happy New Year MMXI

PS: The above document is not legally binding. I can't be sued by anybody including me for not abiding to above conditions. If you have any kind of problem with these terms and condition, please comment.