Friday, October 26, 2007


Pakkuvam is a tamil word. It means earthly wisdom. When you understand things like
  • not everything has a happy ending
  • fair is an unreal concept
  • of 5 puppies only 2 or 3 will live. that's the whole point of multiplying your chances. and even then you aren't guaranteed anything.
  • santa does not exist.
  • happiness is a state of mind.
  • weird things like deep breathing do work, despite your pooh poohing it.
Some things can affect you deeply and badly. When these things happen and you're wise enough to take it in your stride and carry on, then you've got pakkuvam.
That recently happened with me. I was fuming at an injustice. I wanted karma to do it's bidding and punish the wrong doer. Now I don't think it matters. Take it in your stride. Beware that there are ppl like that. But also honestly appreciate the fact that many are not. Be thankful then. Carry on.
What does not kill you will only make you stronger. Especially when you are so young.

"He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just and are not true. But teach him if you can, the wonder of books.. but also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hillside.

In school, teach him it is far more honorable to fall than to cheat.....

Teach to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him he is wrong.

Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone getting on the bandwagon...

Teach him to listen to all men; but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through.

Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he is sad... Teach him there is no shame in tears.

Teach him to scoff at cynics and to be beware of too much sweetness.. Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to highest bidders, but never to put a price on his heart and soul. Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob.. and stand and fight if thinks he is right.

Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel. Let him have the courage to be impatient.. Let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will have faith in humankind.

This is a big order, but see what you can do. . He is such a fine little fellow my son!

- Abe Lincoln

*whatever happened to that son of his. Did he ever learn all that ?*

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


it is *f*itting that the word *f*rustration starts with a *f*rigging EFF!!!

just trying out this new "let out your anger" approach.
this woman draped in the choicest of silk and silver (when did clinical psychiatrists start getting *f*ashionable)
taught me this on NDTV good times.

don't think it worked.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

being an advisee

Hint no 1 - Value
Every piece of advice is worth exactly what you paid for it. This is not a probabilistic rule. This is deterministic and irrefutable tangible fact.
If you get free advice, it means you paid nothing for it. That in turn means it is worth nothing.
Every piece of advice will only get you as much as you paid for it.

Hint no 2 - Signal to noise ratios.
Your signal is what you want. The noise is the extra unwanted stuff that they'll give you anyway ( most of it is free advice, but there are other sources of noise too). If you ask someone the way to the taj mahal, there are some people who'll also tell you the way to the qutb minar. This is inherent in the advice mechanism. People are made this way. They can't help it. Evolution might some day fix the bug. But until then it's noise. Noise is always free. But everything that is free is not noise.

By asking very few people, you get very little signal and a lot of noise. If you ask too many people, your signal will of course increase. So will your noise. Eventually, your brain will not be able to handle that much input. Because brain first takes the signal as well as the noise, then decides which is signal, which is noise, and then tries to dump the information. Most of the time it doesn;t dump it. It just marks the way to taj mahal as signal, the way to qutb minar as noise and stays put. Look what happens when there's plenty of signal and noise. Poor brain is spending all that time deciding which is signal, which is noise, it hardly gets time to use that signal. And when you aren't using your signal, it's the same thing as not having any signal to use in the first place. Artificially, your signal to noise ratio drops.
This is very important. Don't go overboard on getting advice. More is not always great. Quantity is not quality.

Hint no 3: Wisdom and experience.
There's a difference. Wisdom is what you get after experience. Experience is experience. Most of us aren't really asking for wisdom. We're asking for facts about experiene. We're asking for "what did you do in order to get the wisdom. Please tell me. I shall also do that so that I may get the same wisdom". Wisdom cannot be bought. Neither can experience. The experience must be had personally. The wisdom must be got personally. However, someone can tell you how to get the experience. They cannot tell you how to get the wisdom. They cannot. But they try. (Gah!!!). It is important to separate the two.

PS :
Funny thing. I am trying to give out wisdom here. But as my rule suggests, I cannot give it. Somewhere in the above pile of rubbish, there is signal. You have to separate it from the noise ( take the facts about how to get the experience; if there are any). But hey, this advice is free. You paid nothing for it. And rule 1 says ?????????????????????????????????????


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I'm famous!!!

Every year since I was 4, we've celebrated the 10 day dusshera / the 9 day navratri very traditionally. It's one of my favourite festivals (also Diwali, but not so much since the advent of cable TV when the whole family from 4 corners of the world gather and watch some buckwaas programme together). Anyway, we celebrate navratri by making/doing the golu.

See wikipedia's entry on golu

Anyway, I've always loved doing it. For 9 days every year I get to be queen to my own little liliput. My mom complains that I never take pains to invite people to visit or to pack gifts or to make the sundal, but I'm kinda more interested in the decoration. This time though, a guest of ours ( a very dear friend too), took pics and posted it along with a detailed explanation on the net.

Ergo, I am famous.

See pics of my golu


Bi-the-bi ( been so long since I heard someone saying that)
The post doesn't make any reference to me, but apparently given my laziness it's easy to assume that I had nothing to do with the golu. I swear on every single one of my deepest desires that I did all the arranging. It may not be the prettiest golu (I've seen several better one), but it certainly is fun for me every year. And it is certainly one of the traditions that I hope my daughters and grand-daughters will carry on.

Shamelessly canvassing,

Sunday, October 14, 2007

castaway??? gimme a break

There used to be a time when I had romantic notions about being castaway. I thought I'd be able to do a much better job of it than most people I know.

See *this is how silly I really was*

Now I am proud to say that I know different.
Being castaway indeed. It'd drive me mad. I'd throw myself at any shark that came along.

There was this extremely wise lady that I spoke to a long time ago. I was telling her that often I thought that I should have spent the day doing something much more productive than talking to people. Why isn't talking to people productive, she asked. I told her I wasn't learning anything new. In fact, I'd only spoken to them about myself; by extension, about things that I already knew about myself. You've got it all wrong, she said. You've no idea what productivity is, she said. I pooh poohed her and immediately concluded that all she did was talk to her right side neighbour about how the left side neighbour was embezzling funds and talk to the left side neighbour about how the right side neighbour didn't get along with her mother-in-law. Maybe she was. But what's really wrong about that? I just really don't know. I've just been brainwashed into believing that it's alright to know how many legs a millipede has- that's learning and useful knowledge, but knowing that the neighbour embezzles money is outta line. Which is going to help me lead a safer, more secure life? Right. QED. Okay, one can argue that the examples I chose were self-servingly chosen, but that is the WHOLE POINT OF EXAMPLES. They are self serving. Why indeed would anyone use the wrong examples to illustrate a point. Anyway, what I mean is, I need to talk too.

I need to talk rot if it comes to it. I need an audience. I need to tell someone really badly that I saw this woman whack the daylights out of this man because he was feeling her up in the bus. I swear. I saw this happen- three days ago. And I haven't been able to tell anyone. And it's driving me crazy. (Telling moms don't count. With me, telling my mom, is like telling myself).

I come back to this great line in shall we dance. I think I have only three great lines I repeatedly quote. But as long as it's different ppl listening each time, I always come off as very *knowledgable*
Anyway, the shall we dance line is powerful.

We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything--the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things--all of it, all the time, every day. You're saying, 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.'

My point isn't get married, it's more about having someone to notice you.

We need someone to see us. How the hell is that going to happen when you're a castaway. Every single day we underestimate the therapeutic power of being around other people. Not buildings and cars and infrastructure and qyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi. But people. Any people. The worst kind of people. But people. The worst thing is not having someone to talk to. It's cruel in the "it's not so bad so you oughtn't complain about it because there are ppl dying in iraq and getting lynched somewhere else and not having someone to talk to isn't half as bad but in fact it's bad precisely because there's no one who will agree that it's bad and therefore you are stuck in your own pot of self pity and beyond a point self pity is noxious toxic waste" kinda way.

I'm kinda glad that I'm woman enough to admit it. I wouldn't have been a coupla years ago. And I'm not going to mask it with important sounding words like vulnerability. I've just begun to hate the idea of giving everything a name as though that's explaining it. Sorry.

Anyway, there's nothing romantic at all about leading a life as a castaway.
I stand, thankfully, corrected.