Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The God in all of us.

Another interesting day at the university was about to start. I fetched coffee from my favourite coffee stall. Everyday a group of females would gather at the only table available at this stall to gossip. I was cursing them silently for blocking my way to the sugar and spoons which was at the centre of the table. After exchanging some formal smiles and excuse-me’s, I managed to get all i wanted . I was just looking forward to my daily ritual…sitting in the garden in front of the university and enjoy a quite coffee while watching the city zoom away past me.

My peaceful ritual was interrupted by a very polite ‘Do you have a few minutes for me…?’ request. It was someone i didn’t know. He looked as if he had got up from his bed just 5 minutes ago and had come straight to me. The only thing pleasant about him was the polite smile he had. His request sounded like the first-liner of a salesman. My first  impulse was to pull the ‘Oh i don’t speak German’ gig. but then my curiosity got the best of me.

He wanted to know whether i was a Believer. Another one of those….I thought. I had met so many of these ‘followers of Christ’ who were trying to get you into their ‘Community’ of believers. I find it bad enough that the society is divided into different religious groups and now people were trying to divide a religion even further. I didn’t have the patience to deal with the guy. I just told him that I wasn’t a believer. He was visibly disappointed and inquired about my reasons for not believing in. I was glad that I had once argued and defended my belief in my God with a certain atheist friend of mine; i had enough arguments to throw at him.

I started by asking him about what he thought of Pope’s latest speech in Africa. His opinion about safe sex and family planning. This dude tried to sell me the ‘deeper meaning’ in the Pope’s message. According to him the Pope only wanted to emphasize the importance of loyalty in a relationship and the meaningless of pre-marital sex. I asked him whether he really thought that ‘…using condoms is a sin…’ had a deeper, less obvious meaning to it. I asked him if he really thought that making kids and simply saying ‘God will look after them…’ is sensible. ‘German badly needs children…’, he said. But I asked him to consider countries like India or even Africa where resources are limited. He didn’t have an answer to that. He gave me a long look, sighed, wished me good day and left me with my now cold cup of coffee.

I couldn’t stop thinking about our conversation. I had felt like an atheist at some level. I felt guilty for having said that i wasn’t a believer. But i just didn’t want to my waste time on ‘believers’ like him: people who believe more in the number of followers than what/who they all follow.
what is religion? Is it going regularly to church or temple or mosque and folding hands in front of statue and meditating? How many of you people go to pray because you really want to and not because you’ve been brought up so or because not doing it would be a sin? Is it more important to pray and preach than practise? Isn’t it more important to become a good human first? Why aren’t there people who go around asking ‘what good deed did you do today…’?

There are saints in all the religions in this world. What is the one thing they have in common? No, it’s not the total devotion to one supreme power. It’s serving God’s children. Humanity is biggest religion. It forms the core of every religion. And the God of Humanity lives in each one of us.

Friday, 26 June 2009


Remember those old fun days back in school were you'd think up something to fool your friends? Or where you get fooled by someone else and then just could not go to sleep without pulling the same prank on someone else? An recent incident in the train reminded me of how times have changed.

I was on my way back home from uni and 2 boys, probably in the 5th grade or so, came and sat next to me. One of them tried to sell the other a absurd story about a guy who fell between a train and was dragged till the next station before being noticed. He even tried bluffing saying the video was on the CNN website. The other kid simply says, 'I don't believe you one bit', pulls out his iPhone and shoves it into his friend's hands asking him to show him the video. He shouts 'Erwischt!' (Gotcha!) and continues laughing at his bluffer friend. I could see the disappointment and embarrasement on the other kid's face.

We are moving at a really fast pace. There were times where having a landline was a big deal, now even mobile internet is becoming a common daily facility and in a decade quantum computing maybe also not be a big deal.
Are we moving a bit too fast? Isn't there too much information around and almost everyone is playing wiseguy. Could it be that we've forgotten how much fun simple things like playing a prank are?


Wednesday, 27 May 2009


The entire day today was a big technical failure. This might sound a bit confusing; the explanation follows shortly. For those of you who don't know me - i'm a gadget geek; can never have enough of them. And I'm really attached to all those little possessions of mine; as though they were living creatures. I already know that i'm crazy so dont bother reminding me that.

Now let me tell you about my day. It starts with my cellphone alarm not waking me up; battery dead. I was an hour late. So i quickly plugged it in to charge and hurried to jump-start my morning with a coffee.
By the way, breaking a cup, completely tearing up the milk carton and soaking myself in milk are a few of the non-technical blunders i did today; I wouldnt have been surprised if today was Friday 13th!
Finally, pleased with myself at the mess i had made, I had my breakfast. I was done and dressed up in 15 minutes. Locked my room and was gone. I reached the station about 10 minutes earlier. I decided to call a friend while waiting... I had forgotten my cellphone!

The '!' might seem a little melodramatic. Not quite; I have never forgotten my cellphone . I felt panic contacts, my internet, my lecture schedules and even the train connections were all on my cell. My laptop was down too since a few days. I had put it to 'Sleep (mode)' recently and it never woke up again. I have been feeling digitally crippled all week and now this. Anyway I manage to summon all my courage(now getting melodramatic) and decided to go on without my cell.
The usual 37-minute journey to my university suddenly seemed awfully long. I decided to fish out my seldom used MP3-player to kill time. Like I said, seldom used. No battery again. I was having quite a roll. I finally survived the journey and got to uni....and the day of troubles had only begun.

A lecture had been shifted to a new lecture hall and the hall number was saved in my phone. I was pretty impressed at how long the university building was. I luckily spotted my prof and followed him. Then there was this 'interesting' student I had shared a few smokes with...she wanted my number and she asked me to buzz her from my cell. I ended up giving her my number and asking her to give me a missed call on my cellphone so that I have her's. she was impressed by that. I totally dig women! My friend who was supposed to pick my up later in the evening couldnt call me to tell me that she'd be a hour late. Yeah that was fun too.

This day made me realise how important this small, taken-for-granted device really is. I'm one of those people who uses every single function that a cellphone comes with...and a few more that its not meant to be used for. Living without a cellphone/ laptop is really hard for me; I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone on this one.
One of my teachers once said,'Cellphone is the oxygen of modern life. You can't live without it. ' And my provider is O2; the name was wisely chosen.

Pics Courtesy:

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Norton dependency.

He's was really sick for about a month. I tried what i could but I simply couldnt find out what was wrong with him. The Doctor with The Yellow-Black Badge tried his best but he simply hung his head in defeat. The virus had indeed infected laptop was really infected.
W32.Grenail!D - that was the final diagnosis. I had hoped Norton, The Doctor with The Yellow-Black Badge, would be able to fix that bug. It simply gave me continous alerts about the virus, reminding me everyday of what my poor laptop was going through.

Jokes aside...this crap was no joke. I've spent days hunting through the wild jungles of computer forums(or fora) for some solution. Zilch. I finally decided to contact Norton Support Centre. I have had the 'honor' to use their services once before and their service charges made me realise that it wasnt worth bothering.
This time though I knew what exactly was the problem. The infection seemed to be in two system files(/system32/spoolsv.exe and /system32/smlogsvc.exe). I just wanted to know why norton was being able to get rid of these(Yes i did try doing live update and scanning in safe mode; norton didnt even detect the infection). Detection occured only in normal winXp mode. So I explained the situation to my outsourced service guy(an indian btw...surprise) and he said i need to pay 100€ beacuse they need to sweep the registry and make necessary changes. I tried telling him that the infection had been contained to these files. But he seemed to be programmed to say nothing else other than offering the option of paid services.

This is the second-time Norton dissappointed me. Some more weird facts:
1. I scanned my system using online scanner offered by other Anti-Virus Programs like Kaspersky, McAfee and even Norton Online Scanner. None detected anything wrong with the files(even norton didnt!!!)

2. The Anti-Virus program ranks the virus as a 'high risk' although Norton says the Virus is 'low threat, easily removable and easily containable' on their website.

I'm pretty convinced that Norton is best Anti-Virus. But I just dont get their money-making attitude. Every good company has a certain commitment to their customers. Sad that Norton doesn't

For the infected patients:

Trial and error payed off. Start the system in safe mode and change the filenames(e.g temp_spoolsv.exe). This has to be done in safe mode otherwise the file simply copies itself again and remains in the folder(even when system restore is disabled). Then run system scan and norton takes care of the rest. I havent had any more detection for about 10 days now. Dont forget to change back your filenames otherwise your printer is gonna give you some attitude. I really dont think that this solution is worth a 100€.

For itune fans:

I recently came across the best itunes replacement ever. Songbird. Its powered by mozilla and is ofcourse a freeware. It has a amazing inventory of really cool addons(media flow, lyric master, album art) and its got an integrated web browser too. I simply loved it because of the addons. I hated itunes because of the extra apple processes that ran in the background robbing my cpu. And Songbird can speak iPod too!

For music downloaders:

For those who get a bad conscience when it come to downloading music without paying, let me tell you about Last Sharp. Its a music grabber which gets music from, a simply great music site. i found it so much better than itunes store(you get to hear almost all songs in full length for free). You can either buy it or use Last Sharp to grab songs running on radio channels. And the best part- this is legal. At least in germany. so have fun!

Logos Courtesy:

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Blood is thicker than water?

I've had quite a few incidents recently which have made me wonder about the different relationships that we make in our lives; relatives, friends, girl/boyfriend, colleagues, that hot-chick-next-door :-) Although some of us might taken it for granted, all these relationships have a very important role to play in our lives.
My friends have always been the most important people in my life. I dont have siblings and I could never really 'relate' to my relatives. They somehow always seemed too different. I've always had the luck to have great friends and they were always family to me. I never really knew how awfully good or what horrible stress it can be to have siblings. Until recently. This made me think about how some friends can be closer than siblings one has known for ever and how some siblings can be worse than worst friends.

-complete strangers who we run into in the bizzare journey called life; strangers who then become true companions, sharing our lows and highs, shedding tears during our sorrow and shouting their hearts out during our joys, questioning our logic when we're about to make mistakes again but always there to pull us out of the pits we fall into.

- shared a womb, shared parents, shared possessions and sometimes fought with each other for that 'better' toy the other one had. Known each other for ages and yet, sometimes, grow up to live like complete strangers trying to ignore each other's existance. I've seen siblings who cant stand each other;hate do do things together, fight over money or property, blame each other for the silliest of things. Yet even they share a strange bond which, at times of need, makes them look out for each other.

Relatives - those people who come to visit during festive gettogethers or suddenly show up when some important decisions have to be taken; financial or otherwise. They are supposed to be family, I was told. I found most of mine worse than strangers; I dont know if only my relatives are so. But they are always their to give one a certain sense of belonginess.

What makes 'strangers' to friends and become a part of our life? What makes siblings or relatives, the so called family, behave like they couldnt care less?
Is it because we get to choose our friends and not relatives? Is it because we mostly have friends who are more or less like ourselves but the relatives often just too different?

I've had bad experiences with close friends in the past; backstabbing, lies, taking advantage - there have been quite some unpleasant memories. But at end of every friendship that went wrong, I could atleast tell myself that they were after all just strangers. But what about when you're own family lets you down?
I've seen enough people chose family over friends without considering what their friends have done for them. 'He/She is my family... ' seems to be a quite a common and unfair excuse.

Is this fair? Shouldnt the people, who really care for us, be the ones who deserve our affection? Is it fair that some people, who have nothing in common with us other than the surname, enjoy right to interfere in our lives?
Blood is indeed thicker than water, but let that not be the philiosophy while deciding whom to have around us.

The Innocence
This is an old sketch i made about 4 years back. Think i'll be starting with sketching again. Learning oil painting's pretty messy :-D

Monday, 19 May 2008

A Dilemma: Should I Ignore or Just Say No.

I simply hate saying no.

'Dude could you help me with this?’, 'Mate, I really need your help on that...’ Don’t all of us know these phrases? I, from nature, like to help people out as much as I can; forgetting at times that I may have something better to do. Don’t know what makes me do it. But I find it really hard to say 'No'. Some people call it kindness. Some say it’s just a desire to help others; supposedly a virtue. Or like a good friend of mine once said, ''s again just pure, simple selfishness in the end'. Somehow the latter does make a lot of sense.

Most of us help others just to have a clear conscience. It's that joyful feeling of having done something good that makes most of us help others out. Hence, Selfishness. Or maybe some people, like myself, believe in the old saying, 'Do good and good shall be done unto you'...which, when you take out the philosophy, translates into being selfish!
But think about it this way: thinking about yourself first is selfish. But we had established that helping someone is also selfish. So it’s just a matter of choosing one of the two evils; the latter at least give you a good feeling in the end.

But what can one do when you either need to chose between yourself or helping someone? At first, the answer may seem simple; yourself of course. Is there anything better than looking after one's own a**? In case it really does come to a point, where I don’t feeling like helping someone...what do I do? Do I chose myself first and spend the time debating with my conscious that what I had to do is more important? Or should I help someone and then get angry at myself for not finding enough time to get my job done. Let me add to that: I am not a multi-tasker. So people who come with the advice, 'Try to balance both...’ it doesn't work with me.

And how does one really deny someone help in the most charming manner? I know a few people who keeping whining about their problems till my conscience forces me to offer my help. Like I said, I just can't say no.
I have two options at my disposal. Whenever I have a conversation with someone, where I have the feeling it could eventually end in an 'SOS', I just flee the scenario, in an attempt to be selfish in, let’s say, a non-selfish manner; without hurting any feelings. Or I try to steel myself and manage a squeaky 'No, I'm sorry'. Neither of these really helps me in the end from feeling bad about of the many vicious circles of life.

Blessed are those who can say 'No' without having to fight their guilt. But I guess, it is because of the remaining 'unblessed', that we manage to survive some particularly difficult days.

Speaking of which, I need a big favor from a friend...hope he doesn't say no :-)

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Unity in diversity.

Its been a while since I've been brooding on this topic. Finally today found the time to bundle my thoughts and jot it in. It has rattled in my mind ever since my last Ikea visit. Now one might wonder what it has got to do with Ikea; nothing at all. Let me elaborate.

Sometime back, Pia, a friend of mine, and I went for window shopping. We decided to look around in Ikea. After an hour jog through the showroom, we decided that it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a lunch break. While sitting in the sun, enjoying the infamous .99€ Hotdogs on a bench outside Ikea, Pia started staring with a smile; she stares when she finds something interesting...or annoying, only then its accompanied with a frown.

I looked around to find a African-Chinese couple. I asked her what she found so interesting. She said it was one thing when a native, German in this case, had a foreign-partner. But here, there were two people from completely different cultures; Pia found that quite daring. I, a person who doesn't like too many complications in a relationship, just shook my head. Pia knew about my view on complicated relationships and now started staring at me...this time with a frown though.I tried to explain to her my logic for the umpteenth time,'everything is jolly-jolly in the beginning, then comes a time when you cant make anymore compromises...'. She shook her head as always and it was my time to stare with a frown.
On my way back home, started this rattle in my head. Marrying a foreigner has too many complications for me. I'm an Indian who intends to marry an Indian. Sounds pretty simple. But is it really so?

I've attended a lot of arranged-marriages; I've seen all the process that lead to that culmination. There are a thousand criteria that a future husband/wife needs to satisfy. I confess, I have my own too. One of the few most important among them : Religion, Caste. India is a very large country with lot of customs and beliefs. Non-Indians find it amazing how we manage to live together "peacefully". But take a closer look and one sees a country divided within itself into thousand layers; each layer claiming to be superior than the other in some way.

Why is it that two people are so different, when one is a Hindu and the other a Christian or Muslim? Lets increase the level of magnification; why is a Brahman better than an Ezhava, why is a Roman Catholic superior than an Orthodox? It was harsh enough that the way of life divides people in The Rich and The Poor. But man wasn't sad enough. He made his life even worse by dividing it further.

'I may be poor, but i am a Roman Catholic. I'm a much higher caste than my poor Orthodox neighbour.'

Inter-caste marriages are almost a sin towards The Society; let alone inter-religion. The Society will never allow it...or speaking politically correct, it will never support it.Yes, it is as absurd as is sounds. But a true fact. And finding a partner was supposed to be simple.

Every Indian knows the Phrase 'Unity in diversity'. But how many really live its meaning. How many of us look at another person as another human being? Will it ever change? Will we ever grow up? Will we ever be what the term Human describes to be?