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Science Vs Intelligent Design

July 12, 2011

A friend of mine Mr. X had come home recently and as we were having tea, the discussion veered towards the complexity of the universe and what is beyond the edge of the universe.

No, we generally do not talk about such stuff. And no, we are not geeks.

That was when Mr. X looked at me and said, “It really is fascinating, just like the marvel which is the human brain. The creator must be great.”

I generally do not let such statement fly without a suitable riposte and I replied, “Well dude, I don’t exactly believe in the concept of a divine creator.

 “What?” he said, “You don’t believe in God? Then in that case, how can you explain the complexity of the universe? Can ‘your’ science explain what is beyond the edge of the universe?

I smiled and replied, “My friend; this statement that you just made, is exactly the difference between you and me! You just said it now.

And what is that?” he asked, intrigued.

I replied, “I am humble enough to say that I do not know the answer. But on the other hand, you have already decided on the answer. That is your first mistake!

And I continued, “If we were having this discussion 2000 years back, you would have also claimed that the earth is flat and the center of the universe and the Sun is revolving around it. Science has really come a long way in explaining many things from that day. I am still willing to give science a chance, but you are not. That is the basic difference between you and me; the difference between a Rationalist and a Theist.”

With a look of mild contempt, he asked, “So what if one day, you finally realize that there is God?

I replied, “My friend; this statement that you just made, is another perfect example which shows the difference between you and me!

And what is that?” he asked.

I said, “I would be pleasantly surprised if that day ever comes. But on the other hand, my friend; you would be crushed if that day comes when you realize that there is no God.

Visramam Ellathe Veeranmar!

July 8, 2011

It was one such evening at the kallu-shaap where alcohol was the only thing that flowed more freely than free speech and the quintessential mallu liked both, on his own terms.

Chandranna, give us another bottle of the best kallu that you’ve got,” said Devassy and quietly slipped a 20 rupee note into Chandran’s pocket with a wink only to be greeted by a seedy smile.

The logistics in a kallu-shaap worked slightly different than in a normal bar. As the blokes knew, that in a kallu-shaap, one tips the waiter even before getting the stuff, because kallu unlike other forms of alcohol tasted best when had fresh! And in a kallu-shaap, the best kallu went to the highest tipper (bidder?).

It was a hot Friday afternoon, and they had come to celebrate after what they deemed had been a particularly efficient and successful strike at theKerala University Senate hall campus that morning. As they sat there in the dilapidated hut situated on the Trivandrum bypass road near Technopark, they could see vehicles whiz past them; everyone in some form of hurry or the other.

We’ve dealt a crushing blow to the university chancellor’s hopes today,” said Devassy. He was a left leaning student leader and he was proud of it. He belonged to a rare breed; people who were always busy even when they had absolutely nothing to do.

Even though he had passed out of college three years back, he remained back as a member of the politburo because he had nothing better to do. He was happy; merely living in his comfort zone.

Jithesh; enthuvadey! Are you even listening to me?” Devassy asked, mildly irritated that his friend did not seem to share his enthusiasm.

At that moment, Jithesh looked up. All that while, he had been paying particular attention to his karimeen polichathu.

I heard you but it hurts when I see you without a regular job.”

Jithesh was quite the opposite. A simple man from a humble middle-class family, he had found a job right after college and was living a content life. And for a vacation, he had come back to Trivandrum to meet his friend and drill some sense into him.

Devassy was angered, “Regular job? What is wrong with you? I am happy now and you want me to find a boring desk job like you in a company full of the bourgeoisie? Capitalism is messing with your brains, my dear friend!”  

But Jithesh was persistent; “But can you atleast quit the politburo. Aren’t you too old for this petty post?

On hearing that, Devassy picked up his glass and emptied it in a single gulp and he said, “Cant you get it? We are fighters; always ready to serve a worthwhile cause. There is not a single person who can touch me as long as I have this post.”

He filled his glass once again, raised it haughtily; looked Jithesh in the eye and said it once again very slowly, “We are merely warriors; warriors without rest.”

Jithesh let you a sigh and said, “You, my friend, are suffering from an addiction. An addiction of a comfortable lifestyle corrupted with power. Let us drop this topic for now.

And they both went back to what they both loved! More kallu!

Pretty soon the afternoon became evening but still they were not done; not done in reliving those tales from college. They were living in the past; in pleasant memories that they both cherished.

Finally, at around 6 PM, it was time for them to leave as it was time for Jithesh to get back to the railway station. As they rode back to the city through Kazhakootam, they were stopped by the police.

Kalippu aliyaa; it is the month end and they will not let us go without money,” said Devassy quickly to Jithesh as they pulled over.
And soon, they were surrounded by the cops.

A formidable looking cop with a big moustache and an oversized paunch said, “Drunken driving eh? Ok guys, you know the routine! Pay up 300 rupees or get into the police jeep.” And he quickly turned off the ignition and pocketed the bike key.

The cops left them alone to corner more people. There was no escape for them; not without the bike.

How much money do you have on you now?” Devassy asked quietly after a while.

Jithesh said, “Just 80 bucks and what about you?

When have I ever had any money with me? Endae Karthavae! We are in deep shit!” Devassy replied and said, “What the hell do we do now?

And they stood there, unsure; uncertain about what was going to happen.

Finally, after some time, Jithesh asked with a mocking grin, “Devassy, I thought you were one of those warriors; warriors without rest!!

So?” Devassy asked with a blank expression.

With as much contempt as he could possibly muster, Jithesh replied, “Nindae vandi alle? Poyi police-inde kaalu pidi” (It is your bike right? Beg the cops to let us go)

PS: Story inspired by an old incident which involved a couple of friends.

 PPS: The title in Malayalam means “Warriors without rest!”

Not just another weekday

July 7, 2011

Tuesday was just another ordinary weekday until about 6:30 PM as I was trudging back to my house from office.

As soon as I entered my housing society, I spied upon a wallet on the pavement. My first instinct was to ignore it and mind my own business and I almost started walking away when something inside urged me to pick it up before someone else stole it.

The wallet belonged to person called “Sergio”; it had a lot of papers in it, an ID from Guatemala, a health insurance card, a photo of Jesus, and more importantly about 150 dollars of cash in it.

Thankfully the ID card also had a local American address, which was thankfully within my own housing society and I walked up to the house and returned the wallet.

The old lady who opened the door was taken aback when I returned the wallet and as I left said “God bless you, my child” with a huge smile!

That pretty much made my day and I was filled with an inner glow which lasted for more than 15 minutes; and I walked back home with a spring in my step.

I realized at that moment that the line was in fact a powerful mantra!

It just reaffirmed the fact that no amount of money could ever equal that feeling; that inner joy of having a clear conscience; that satisfaction of simply being humane.

As it turned out; it was not just another weekday…

Airport Rage

July 6, 2011

It was a 3 day weekend here in America and my friend Mr. FR decided that he would come over to the Bay Area since he had nothing better to do in LA.

Last week, Mr. FR called and said, “Dai, I am coming over on Saturday. Do you mind if I book my tickets to the San Francisco Airport instead of San Jose as it is cheaper?

And to people who do not know, the SFO Airport is about 45 minutes away from my place (Sunnyvale) and SJC Airport, about 5 minutes.

I replied, “Not a problem”.

So Mr. FR booked his ticket and forwarded the mail to me. Being the busy man that I can be, I noted the arrival time (in the mail) and nothing else.

So on Saturday, I got up early and timed my arrival to the SFO airport to match Mr. FR’s arrival time, 12:15 PM. Just as I was about to drive into the airport, Mr. FR called, “I am standing outside at the arrival gate.”

I replied, “Perfect timing (glowing with pride as I was on time); I will be there in a minute.”

I made my first pass through the arrival section, and did not spot him. So I made my second pass and still could not spot him. And then, I made my third pass and realized that something was wrong.

I called him immediately, “Dai, I have made 3 passes through the arrival gates and did not spot you.

Mr. FR was mildly angered when I suggested that he might have made a mistake by standing at the wrong place and replied, “Nope. I know that I am at the correct arrival gate and I have been watching every single car. You just did not pass this way!

Ok!” I replied and decided to park the car and then find him.

Again for people who do not know, the parking in the SFO airport has got to be the most complicated parking lot in the entire world; designed with a singular objective to confuse the common man and cause brain damage! And it took me a good 20 minutes to find an empty parking spot.

I called him and said, “Dai, I have parked my car now. Can you come over to parking lot F/G-35, level 4?

He said that he would give it a try and after 5 minutes, I got a call from him, “Aliya; there is nothing here which even remotely looks like parking lot F/G-35, level 4!”

This guy is really pathetic; what a loser,” I thought to myself and I said (with a condescending tone which I like to use in such cases), “Ok machu; go back to the terminal. I will come there!”

It took me a good 10 minutes to walk from parking lot F-G-35, level 4 to the domestic terminal. But still I could not spot him.

He claimed that he was standing at the correct terminal; I claimed that I was standing at the correct terminal. We tried a variety of things but we just could not spot one another!

And thus, we wasted more time, walked a lot more; got irritated and finally, we were exhausted, almost waiting for “rapture” when suddenly Mr. FR asked (with an almost pleading tone), “Dai, I hope that you are at the San Jose Airport!”

And that was when the penny dropped! We were at different airports. He had booked his ticket to the San Jose Airport and merely thought that forwarding the mail to me was good enough!

Apparently, it was not! It was 1:45 PM by the time we realized that we were at different airports.

He then said, “Kollam aliya; so what do we do now?” He actually took about 10 seconds (I counted) to finish the “kollam aliya” part of his line.

I really am perceptive when it comes to deciphering such things. The line was said in a tone which really meant, “You Dumb F; when are you going to stop being such an idiot?

I replied very slowly, “Take a taxi and wait outside my house. I will be back in about an hour!

Athu sheri” he said and then ventured to say a few other things; certain unprintable things, which I will exclude from this post in the interest of the general public!

The lesson I learnt that day: “Airport Rage” can certainly turn a seemingly docile mallu into a hate spewing maniac (for about 15 seconds)!

The rest of the weekend was pretty awesome. I saw T-3 (was ok) and also saw “Delhi Belly” (was awesome). On Monday, I managed to drop him at the correct airport for his return flight. We Sagittarius dudes tend to botch up many things, but we live and learn!

And if anyone is interested in the map/airport locations:

The Mauryan Secret!

June 23, 2011

As I mentioned long back in a post of mine in October 2010, my dream has been to complete a full sized novel (which very few will eventually read). And for the past few months, I have been perfecting my story, doing my research on history and places, finalizing the characters and I have also actively been striving to improve my craft.

History is a funny topic. It might look bland if you happen to glance through events of the past but the moment, you ask the questions “Why?” and “What if?”, it opens up a whole new interesting dimension to the story. And History as we all know is mostly just one aspect of a story; one sided interpretation of facts.

And this story of mine also started with a big “Why?” and a generous slice of “What if?”

As of today, I have completed a mere 2 pages of the manuscript and I really liked the prologue and am excited about writing more, which augurs well for the occasion.

But to complete the tale, I need to visit a few places. Hopefully in the next year or so, I will get to visit many of the places that I intend to include in the story, from the protected jungles of Kerala to an ancient university in Uttar Pradesh; from the ruins in Gujarat to the war torn area inNorthern Sri Lanka.

Hopefully in the next year or so, I will get to learn a lot more about Kalaripayattu and do more research about ancient Indian Epigraphy as well.

The dream is very simple; I need to complete about 250 pages of the document. I need to do it for myself. Not bothered if it never gets published; but I need to complete it.

The working title of this project is “The Mauryan Secret”.

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