10 things I don’t understand

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  1. What the hell is going on in a girl’s shower. The amount of colored liquids in an average girls loo would be something like 138. (fascination with Barbie-dolls also)
  2. Whether humans are fundamentally  good or fundamentally evil.
  3. Which country would a child belong to if he was born in a no-mans-land Antarctica, and assuming he doesn’t know who his parents are. And no one adopts him. What passport would he hold.
  4. I love Wikipedia. It knows everything. but how? people contribute, fine, but who edits all those articles.
  5. Why do some birds migrate tens of thousands of miles twice a year from one pole to the other. Possibly every climatic condition is available at lesser distance. Horrible decision making yes, but why.
  6. The justice system, and how one human being is allowed to judge and decide what is right and what is wrong for another human being, including sentencing him to death. I understand there is no other option, but it’s not like we are trying to find one either.
  7. Why do we all love an unseen, unknown God so so dearly.
  8. When we can just only move anything from point A to point B, how does that clean our planet.
  9. If the economy grows and people make more profits, then who is loses out. X can only earn if Y spends, then how are we growing.
  10. Why do random such things suddenly start making us icky on a Thursday after-noon.

 

I am going back to my normal life. till some other thursday and some more things.

 

Sidharth

2nd feb 2017

 

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Being 30

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So I turned 30 today. (24th march 2015)Technically yesterday since you are going to be reading this today, but I was writing this yesterday of today, so this blog isn’t wrong and you aren’t wrong. So sweet and funny. Nice way to start, but then, most of everything from now will be cranky. Because as much as the universe will tell you, that it’s just another day, fuck it’s not. 30 is big. It’s 10 years older than 29. Your age now starts with a ‘3’, and that’s troubling.

It’s that mythical age, which you knew you would one day get to it, but could never actually comprehend reaching it. And now you have reached it and all of this starts playing in your head. Because It’s that age you always thought those really old cousins of yours’ would be, not you. And then you realize you are now at that age and you are now that really old cousin. Also, you are now closer to the big 4-0, than the smaller 2-0. Shit. Not helping.

Now 30 is also quite a curious age. Since all your friends are also 30 or almost 30, you’ll see them in absolutely different shapes and sizes and lives. This normally doesn’t happen with any other decade number. There’ll be a friend still living in with a bunch of 22-year olds, there will be that guy who’s just fully quit at this point, another dropping his kids to school, a couple of people still searching for the perfect break, most fully suited everyday thinking they now have a career and not a job, a soul searcher who acts mature-r than mature. Yet another who’s become a hippie and has it totally figured about what she wants from life. And then that investment banker who thinks he’s gods gift to the world. Oh, I forgot about that 30 year old single guy. The one who just can’t find miss right, as much as he tries, and then his mother just keeps setting him up on dates. (and the 30 year old single girl who’s doing great in her career, but who’s beginning to give up on love, thinking she’ll probably just remain single always)

Anyways, ill tell you how a typical 30th birthday happens, basis my experience, because it was pretty typical.

  1. When the clock strikes 12, you have most of your unmarried friends over, since they are the only ones who would still come at 12. Irrespective, you have cake, drink beer, laugh a lot, talk a little economics and then some philosophy about all of us ageing and what it means and then you sleep. Good beginning to just another day. (but it’s not)
  2. You get up with lots of phone calls and a bad hangover. Calls mostly from your first degree friends and relatives. Married friends wonder when you will get married. And relatives wonder when you will get married. Unmarried friends are just plain relieved you are not married. You talk about 30 being just a number.
  3. Oh, in between the extended family calls. It’s the big birthday. And I am still not married. They border on thinking if I am border-line gay. And so now I have a parallel story playing in my head. I am unsure about why everyone who knows me is trying to figure out “what the problem is”. The head appreciates all the unsolicited support, but also keeps wondering if it would be greater if everyone stopped thinking there was a problem. Because there isn’t any. I’m just not getting the right life-partner. And I can wait.
  4. So with them done, we come to the others, those that immediately after wishing, ask what special I am doing on my birthday, also since it’s the big 30. When I don’t show as much excitement as they expected, they tell me I must have a wicked day and then they make those breaking-the-ice sympathetic random statements like 30 is the new 20. That’s quite a shitty thing to hear. Because 20 is 20, 30 is not 20. Also, 40 is 40 and not 30.
  5. For lunch I meet my school friends, who I anyways would have met a day here or there. We go out for a slightly better lunch, and then spend an hour extra, watching the world-cup cricket match. All of us take an extended break from the regular Tuesday schedule. Fun.
  6. Somewhere between lunch and dinner, I start having crazy thoughts where I suddenly start feeling I have become a decade older.
  7. I don’t know how u think about these things, but my mum was about 32 when she first dropped me off at my boarding school. And she was so grown up and old then. Which means I am old now. Which is strange, coz she doesn’t seem any older to me now than she did back then. She seems to be the same age. Which means I’m the only one growing in my family. Fuck.
  8. Then I start thinking about random peculiar things. Things like when kids now call me ‘Sir’ I can’t tell them that I am still 20-something, so not to do that. 29 felt so good because I could use that statement.
  9. For dinner I go out with the mom and the dad. To pizza hut. With discount vouchers. Yes, for 3 adults of the same family that’s as good a choice as any. Both things.
  10. I come back from the dinner, and this is when the best friends start calling again. Asking how the day went. Then we talk about regular things, just like any other day. Yup, perfect the day went.

30 is peculiar in other ways too. A 29 year old sidharth could still get along with the 20 year sidharth, but the 30 year old just cannot. The 30-year-old-adult finds him annoying, loud, senseless and stupid. But he’s also jealous of him. 

Hell, since I’m now obviously also a lot wiser than most of you 20-somethings, ill advise you on a lot of stuff. We’ll start with how to accept the 30 year milestone. (Because if you are not at-least a little reluctant to move from 29 to 30, then that means you did something pretty wrong with the last decade of your life. And because we can’t keep bitching)

  1. Medical advances are getting better and mostly everyone is living longer. So we’ve got more time to do fun non-core stuff, provided random things like falling-off-a-building-and-you-die don’t happen in your life.
  2. Think about how you could do with a dirty bathroom when you were 20, but not now. You will like your present self even more and have a reason to look forward to future self.
  3. You are no longer the intern or new hire. Ur not someone in between either. You are actually the guy who will train these trainees/students/interns. And that will feel pretty cool.
  4. There’s not a hormonal overdose happening like it did 10 years ago. Today, a good conversation is as good as most other things life can offer.
  5. Guys get better looking as they get older. Girls, get ready to get hotter guys.
  6. 20’s were too much of an exploring of your own self. Creativity, inner world, purpose, ideas. 30’s should be more to just sit back, chill, relax and have good wine.
  7. The friends who’ve stuck around are actually the friends. And with new friends you know what exactly you want. So no wasting time and effort.
  8. You can date older and younger. Neither will you look like a toy-boy, nor like a cradle snatcher.
  9. You actually get mom and dad, and can relate to them.
  10. You still have 10 years until you are 40.

The young are slaves to dreams. The old servants of regret. Only the middle aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits. – Hervey Allen

Why we are fans of Rafael Nadal

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Now, being a sports fan is such a stupid thing. A bunch of strangers in their 20s and 30s are paid to play games against each other, that have no real world consequences, and we have decided that we care a ton about this. There are teams that must win and teams that must lose, and players that must play better than other players—and yes. this is all critical. The person we are rooting for may not win in a long time. But then one day, he does. And now, we all want to stand on the street and yell things. (WBW). It’s odd, but it’s still just so universal

For anyone who follows tennis, this question is like the holy grail. This question of who is greater. This, that polarizes the tennis world more than the cold war ever did. Or our religious, cultural and ethnic divides do. Good thing. And irrespective of our country, god and skin, we all have an opinion and we all have taken our sides.

I also have my opinion on this, but Ill keep that to a future post. This post is only about why us fans of Rafael Nadal are fans of Rafael Nadal, and why that’s the only way it should be.

BECAUSE WHEN NADAL WINS, WE WIN AS WELL

Because the Underdog wins: It doesn’t matter if Rafa is the No. 1-ranked player on the planet or coming into a tournament as the No. 1 seed, he always seems to visualize himself as the underdog. He seems to scratch and claw for points. He isn’t the perfection that federer may be. The same with us. We may not be the best, but we want to win. And we’ll bloody fight it out for it.

Because of the intensity: The style of play, the focus, the way he looks at the racket, tells a story. A story of a guy who just doesn’t like losing. And yet, one who loves the game even more. He doesn’t destroy racquets or rip apart officials, but he shouts, pumps his fists and fires himself and the fans up, when his game needs a spark. This rubs off, and allows us crowds to relate to him and see him as human rather than an elite superstar.

Because he puts the court over himself: He’ll slide on the clay, he’ll chase down potential winners on the hard court and he’ll lay out for a ball at Wimbledon. Nadal’s disregard for his body and his own self, preferring to win the tennis match, tell us, how much he wants to take a bite of that cup, and that yes, we are backing the right man. Why would we want someone to win, who himself doesn’t seem to want it enough.

Because he gives us a reason to rebel. To oppose. To go against the tide: Rafa started coming up around 02-03. We dint even know his name then, let alone being fans. Oh, yes these were the federer years. When the great man was just winning everything and everyone. Which, mildly put, was mildly bugging. And then he beat the man who couldn’t be beaten. And then he beat him everyday. Because there wasn’t anything like second best. Yup. Same.

Because he is a Gladiator: Nadal’s warrior image comes not so much from his attacking aggression as from his never-say-die defensiveness. Federer and the others would never be seen as gladiatorial figures because they are not battlers, scramblers; Nadal always seems to be fighting for his life, every point, every game, in every match. Such is the passion. Respect. We want to.

Because you keep writing him off, and he keeps coming back: Rafa can’t win outside of clay – he does.  His playing style is too rough on the body –  doesn’t seem to matter much to him, he’s not coming back – he does. Each time Nadal is on the court he seems to be telling you that – if you love what you do and are willing to work for it, if you are willing to put your soul into what you do – every single day, and if you don’t give up, you’ll be successful. He could be 80 years old, and in a wheelchair, but you don’t write him off. Not us either.

Because he might not have been gifted, but he more than made up for it: It is often said that there are few things in the world of sport more aesthetically pleasing to look at than Roger Federer’s one handed backhand. Nadal on the other hand, bludgeons the ball, relentlessly. But yet he finds ways to win. Everytime. And that’s the bottom-line.

Because he stands for grit, perseverance, determination, doggedness. For single-minded focus. For mind over matter. : Big qualities for us. Period.

Because even we have OCD’s: Nadal must do his weirdness thing, before every point. Must. Maybe it helps him focus maybe not. But he must do it. Everytime. Because just like every shot, everything else in the world must also be perfect. Same.

Because Uncle Toni built a machine: We know that. Nadal knows that, everybody knows that. Only if we too could be as efficient.

Because when Rafael Nadal wins, we win as well.

Regards,

Sidharth

Feb-2015

 

Reference:

*Lots of internet articles.

*Waitbutwhy – like a lot of times.

*others.

The Banking story

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Once upon a time, in a far away land, lived a very prosperous tribe. Just a mere 10 years back, they would fight every-day, rob each other of their valuables, murder for money…. but not anymore.

Because deep down, no-one wanted it. So a few youngsters got together and they devised a fair, safe system where everyone could deposit their valuables without the fear of losing their stuff, being robbed, living in fear … and then take back their valuables from the system when needed.

They dint have their own houses so they occupied a long forgotten public house, and kept everyone’s wealth… They guarded it well…

They decided to call this a BANK.

The region became peaceful. People started leaving their homes un-locked. They started trusting one-another.  Importantly, the tribe could now concentrate more on growing their crops and increasing their productivity, so everyone could eat more and they could barter for more. And that’s what they did. Slowly they all became prosperous.

The news of this tribe spread. Other youngsters came to this tribe, learnt and started their own banks in their villages.

So the once warring tribes, now became friends..

A few years passed. Members of these tribes began to wander. But they dint want to carry expensive valuables and money during their journeys. So the first tribe again started thinking of a solution.

And they did come up with one. A partnership between the various friendly tribes and their banks.

So now banks had multiple offices. Deposit money at X, collect from Y. They called it a Merger. One man famously said “our world is becoming flat”. Most did not understand.

These tribes now became even friendlier with each other, and trade between them was on an all time high.

Slowly the tribes became more and more ambitious. So a few tribesmen started asking for loans. And then more and more..

But the bank did not have so much money. So they started rewarding those who would deposit money, with the promise of more after a certain period of time. To offset the loss, they would start imposing an interest on those borrowing.

FAIR-ALL. Everyone thought it a brilliant idea.

A few years passed.

By now, these kids were not young anymore. Greed and power had seeped in. They thought they were the singular cause of all the progress of society. The controlled the entire economy. They started calling themselves the bankers.

And now slowly, since the entire tribe’s money was with the bank, everyone was alarmed. The bank controlled all the trade. This was becoming pretty serious.

So the governments of the tribes stepped in, and assured the citizens that their money was safe.

This was a blessing in disguise for the “bankers”. They were virtually clear of all the responsibility. The responsibility was now entirely on the Government. But lucky these boys were. They still had all the control of the bank’s by-now full coffers.

They then got the most ambitious of everyone in the tribe. Weren’t they the most intelligent, they all thought. They were THE bankers.

So in-spite of the money not being theirs, they started investing in others ventures. Took a share in the produce, in the profits… and very quickly went berserk. Started investing left, right, centre. Starting providing loans to all and sundry. Even if they well knew they wouldn’t get money back.

And invented a few useless words. And more useless concepts.

In this over-excitement, they ended up taking more wrong decisions than right ones. And ended up losing the entire tribes money as a consequence. And now since each of the banks were inter-dependent, all the other tribes got affected, without even knowing how.. and why….

People lost all their valuables in this very organized nonsense. The bankers ran away into oblivion.

The government compensated the citizens. With the taxes that the citizens only paid in the first place. And So now the government itself was bankrupt.

Slowly the tribesmen began fighting again and anarchy came back. Back to where it all began..

One old man, wondered to himself… “These banks started so well. It was such a good concept.… THEN WHAT THE FUCK WENT WRONG.”

A young boy – after listening to this grumpy old man remarked : “Profitability sir. Banks weren’t meant to run after profitability.  They were only meant to be safe-keeps of our money. Wonder why you allowed it to happen.”

Dear Mr. Terrorist…

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Dear Mr. Terrorist.

I have no idea why you are doing what ur doing. Or how your conscience allows you to sleep every night. Or whether you have been brainwashed into thinking this will take you closer to God. (And if that is the case, I suggest for once you question the people who have told you this as to who told them… and them…)

Are you doing this for money… or is there a larger conspiracy behind this.

What is it that you might be gaining from this activity?.. Or what exactly is you’re agenda .. Don’t you think there are far better things to put your mind onto. Go on a holiday, climb a mountain and come back down, go for a swim, try to woo a pretty girl, paint, build a house, buy someone a gift, pro-create… you will get only one chance to live all this.. and so will that person in-front of you..  and incase you have decided to find my ideas useless, atleast allow that person in-front of you to lead his own life and decide for himself.

Or are you doing this because someone wronged you sometime, and now you want to create this loop where you will wrong everyone else. You hate that person, dont you. And you still want to be just like him.

If you want to see fear in the eyes of us, and stop us from happily going to the market and places of our interest, then tell us how u think you are going to win.. do you want to see us terrorized.. Well then ok, yes we are terrorized…does fear in someone’s eyes excite your buds.. does that satisfy your agenda. And if there is anything else we may as well do that. If you want me to say sorry to you, I’ll do that. I don’t know for what and why, but if it’s an ego issue, I have no issues in letting you win.

Coz it’s not an ego issue for me. I rather see my loved ones and people around me happy and free and chirpy.

Look at your most loved one eye to eye, and ask yourself, do you really think this is a work for God. You may get an answer if you really want one.

Regards,

All of us, waiting for you to figure out.

The Order of things – Old and New.

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                        The Order of things – Old and New.

I was getting itchy to write, and kept wondering. And then I remembered having this conversation with dad, a long time ago over some late night coffee. I think he wanted to discuss my grades then, and those discussions have never really been my strong suit. And so I smartly thought of fooling him into making him believe I wanted to have a more meaningful and intellectual conversation. The most important inventions by man, was the best I could come up with. I couldn’t have felt smarter.

How amazing it is that we drink water from a tap (pretty much) and never once worry about dying forty-eight hours later from cholera.

Now, I’m reasonably certain that inventions haven’t really made our lives happier as such. Because if we believe they have, it would be assuming that our grandparents and their grandparents and so on would have lived extremely sad, grumpy and unfulfilled lives. And that would be extremely brain-less of us to believe. There’s no way we can know exactly and for sure, but it’ll be something like how people once thought the sun revolved around the earth.. Where we just can’t think of anything else except that our 100 years of life are/have been the most special.. Ever..  It is a) not true and b) amazingly idiotic.

But it’s certainly made things easier. And science has told me that since I was in grade 5. Machines help make work easier.

So then, in the 10000 odd years of recorded history, which are the top inventions which have shaped life like we know it?

Despite the impossibility of fairly comparing, i’m pretty sure most of us would have the same answers. I’m listing mine down. These are based on their significance on humanity in general and on me as a subset. (Some questions one thinks of because we want the right answer. Some you value because no answer is really right. This might be one of those)

My TOP FIVE

  1. The Wheel: The Undisputed no 1. It allowed us to farm, move, make pulleys, do pottery and countless other things. Made us less nomadic and then almost every other invention happened. What is particularly fascinating is that man’s use of the wheel could not have been in mimicry of nature, since they only occur in microscopic form. Humanity continues to have the hugest dependence on the wheel.
  2. Controlled Fire: Enabled people to cook food, landscape manage and fend off the predators. We would probably still have been competing with lions and tigers but for learning how to control fire.
  3. Electricity: And then there was light. Modern society is probably more dependent on electricity than any other thing. Personally, I think I am just incapable of imagining a world without electricity.
  4. Internet: The flag bearer of the digital age. Information and connectivity was never so accessible, democratic and real. The world became flat again and nothing deserves the credit more than the world wide web. Also, we probably have only begun to see the power and effects of the internet.
  5. Plough: Compared to some of the gleaming, fancy inventions that fill our lives today, the plow doesn’t seem very exciting, or high profile enough. I wonder who invented the plough, and when. It probably developed independently in a number of regions. Plough made work easier and faster. And that made farming so efficient that people could harvest more. Trade was the spin off, which led to the era of the great civilizations.

MY NEXT FIVE:

  1. Religion: Opium of the masses. The most stupid invention. EVER.
  2. Printing press: This was the turning point at which knowledge began freely replicating and quickly assumed a life of its own. The diffusion of knowledge it created gave billions of humans the education they needed to create their own inventions in the centuries since.
  3. Paper: So we could outsource the job of memorizing. Also, created the possibility of a central barter system (money) – the abstraction at the core of the modern economy.
  4. Gunpowder: Outsourced killing to a machine. And since, the world has never been stable enough.
  5. Optical lenses: Refracting light through glass is one of those simple ideas that took a mysteriously long time to catch on. But it was centuries before the invention of eyeglasses dramatically raised the collective human IQ, and eventually led to the creation of the microscope and the telescope.

Other important ones that I could think of: Cotton, GPS, semi-conductors, cement, boat, calendar-system, internal combustion engine, plastics etc.

BUT WHATS THE POINT…..

So does innovation and invention raise the overall wealth of this earth. Personally, I think only temporarily, because once you consume, what’s left behind is only the mess. And then you need a new innovation to take care of that mess. And then u just get embroiled into a crazy loop.

world debt

On a universal time-line, the overall wealth can only decrease. Because everything comes from the earth and consumption can only result in loss, and inventions increase this rate of consumption.

Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates. And so we must realize that the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment. Not the other way around.

For our era, the major problems that technology has helped cause, are environmental, demographic, and socio-economic. Environmental  – because of the crazy and unsustainable burden being placed on the oceans, skies, soils, and nonhuman life-forms; Demographic, because advances in lifestyle, medicine and other such stuff are rapidly pushing up the median age and so everyone now is troubling the earth for a slightly longer time; and Socio-economic, because a globalized, high-tech economy is making the rich richer, and the poor poorer.

Also, if we take a moment to think, outside of the sciences and technology, and apart from the legacies created in each family, humanity is struggling today for a sense of cumulative achievement. I have been a science student, and then I have been a business student, so I’m hoping I don’t have the yogi bias towards our current lifestyles..  but pertinent questions remain pertinent.. Are today’s statesmen an improvement over those of our grandparents’ era?  Or are there really substantial improvements in music.. Or with architecture. Or literature…or philosophy… Your guess is as good as mine. And this is my point.

Some facts that freaked me out:

  • The earth is 4.6 billion years old. Let’s scale that to 46 years. We have bin here for 4 hours. The industrial revolution began 1 minute ago. In that time, we have destroyed more than 50% of the world’s forests. And we some-how still think its sustainable.
  • By the time you finish reading this sentence, 3 acres of forests have been cut down.
  • Up-to 28000 species are expected to become extinct by the next century due to activities of mankind.
  • According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports, the earth’s temperature has increased by 0.8 degrees Celsius over the past century. More than half of this increase has happened in the last 25 years.
  • The Arctic ice is melting rapidly. By 2040 the region is expected to have a completely ice free summer, or even earlier. The Montana Glacier National Park has only 25 glaciers instead of 150 that were there in the year 1910. Sea levels have risen about 7 inches in the in the last 100 years, which is more than the previous 2000 years combined.
  • The CO2 levels have been the highest they have ever been in the last 800,000 years.
  • Sea levels will rise by 7-23 inches by the end of this century due to global warming.

As the deniers say, the science is unsettled. But behaving like an ostrich and being oblivious to these problems is just not crazy, it’s evil.

We really are an insane species. We worship an invisible god, and continue to destroy a visible nature.

The central question then, for techies is.. Whether innovation in the material and productive realms can be sustained? And like the statement we’ve all heard– is our generation capable of leaving our planet in a better position than how we inherited it.

Sorry for the distressing facts, because this was not this post’s intention when it started. But I hope it’s distressing you now. Coz it’s serious, and we just fold our hands and sit back, we are going to be fucked.

SO WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS:

Before finding solutions, we need to first understand which direction we need to run towards, for finding the solutions. Is the objective of existence ‘EASIER’ or ‘HAPPIER’. I’m assuming we all have the same answer. And here-in lies the problem. Because I think what we all are looking for is meaning. That fuzzy little thing that doesn’t talk much… But if we can find meaning in creating a happy sustainable earth, I guess our planet would be sorted.

So then, what could come in the future which could potentially make it a top 5 and hopefully solve some of the mess we have created.

Here is what my mind can think of.

  1. Currency: A new mode of barter system, that takes into account acts of kindness. To hell with economics as we know it. The current system has fucked us in more ways than one, and the basics I think are just wrong. So consider that you wanted to go buy vegetables. You would get them for free from the farmer. The farmer would get kindness points, which he could use somewhere else. Kindness points would also be rewarded for other random acts. Say helping an old man cross the road. I had written about it earlier as well, in the post titled UTOPIA.
  2. Sustainable Energy: Have listed a couple of options. I’m sure there are lots more.
    • Magnetic levitation: If we could perfect this art, we could soon have floating cities, complete with green forests, mountains and urban centers. The floating platform would rotate, generating energy as it spins and theoretically fueling a completely sustainable society. Unfortunately, like most utopias, this idea is likely to remain a pie in the sky. Smaller concepts are def. doable in the near future, like super high speed rail, space launch systems, 3D cell cultures, flying cars etc. Possibilities are endless. Along with solar energy, it adds up as the renewable energy source, we are all so desperate about.                                                            floating city
    • Solar paint: So we could soon paint our houses with color that would double up as solar panels, capable of harnessing the suns energy and powering our houses. Low CO2 production, renewable and recyclable, this could soon be extended to our cars and most other things. Solar paint technology is based on Organic photo-voltiacs, an emerging 3rd generation plastic based PV technology. Capabilities are end-less.                                                                                                                                                                   solar    .solar2
  3. Artificial reality: A simulated environment that can emulate physical presence, this could be fun. At a 2D level this is already happening everywhere in our lives.. like what you are currently staring at. Or the voice you just heard from your telephone. Or that video game. Or the movie that you just saw. However, what could potentially be game changing is complete 3D replication. That which is indistinguishable from reality. A metaphysical transportation to an altered state. Like put on these goggles, go nowhere, and be transported anywhere. This would give each of us access to so much, that currently is out of reach physically, and also greatly reduce the need for physical travel (which usually brings along its friend called pollution) With Face-book purchasing the company Ocular VR, this possibility could be closer than we think. Number of other companies as well.                                                                                                                                   ai
  4. 3D printing: What’s cooler that the stuff you can 3D make today. The things that you can 3D print tomorrow. I shouldn’t be using the same adjectives, but this could be game-changing as well.Stuff 3D printing may be able to do
    • Houses: it could build entire houses in less than 24 hours. Home prototyping, disaster recovery, low income housing etc could all be a reality, which could mean lesser wastage,more appropriate use of physical materials among’st others.
    • Trees: Technically its 3D printed wood. According to some research on 3D bio-printing, cells can be cultured to excrete non-living material, like wood. The earth could be green again in hours. Also, astronauts could bring wood to space without carrying heavy trees. Mindblowing.
    • Meat and Leather: Imagine being able to chow down on a steak or wear fashionable leather – minus the whole slaughtering animals thing. The process is completed using cellular matter known as bio-ink. I know nothing more, but it’s quite hot and the world is excited about it.
    • Complex Organs: New advances on the horizon of 3D bio-printing could soon make organ donor waiting lists a thing of the past. Scientists and biologists are hoping to soon print a functioning heart in one go.
    • Food and Flavours: A 3D printer in each house with the ability to print healthy meals from everyday powders, laced with our favorite flavors, and with a shelf life of 15 years. Amazing, considering the amount of wastage they might potentially reduce.                                                                     3d organs 3d printing 3d food
  • Memory Implants: Imagine conversing in fluent mandarin without ever having heard the language. Imagine managing to by-pass tedious years of schooling, and much more with the help of simple brain chips. I won’t get into the deep- science, but this is definitely doable. This possibly means all of us could become experts in everything. From thinking like Einstein to moving like Jagger and playing like Federer. Possibilities are maddening and endless and we would not have to waste half our lives just trying to learn a fraction of the knowledge this universe possesses. What this means, is far more useful lives, raising the entire baseline aptitude multi-fold and hopefully lesser strain on physical resources.

I totally hope that these possibilities listed above can see the day, and soon. And if they are kind-meaning-ed, just like they should be, we can surely hope of leaving behind a brighter world. And richer. With richness and brightness hopefully not being calculated by our methodologies of money and markets.

It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions.  – Nicolo Macchiavelli

Other Fun Inventions:

Invisibility cloak: Seems straight out of a fantasy book, but some scientists may be close to creating it. The basic science is that one has to re-create the mirage effect to in-effect create invisibility. Sounds fun, crazy and can create pretty weird situations.

Teleportation: Now I do not know how this could be done, but this would be extremely fun. The Hindu Gods did this all the time, so its def. possible. A random theoretical argument could be that everything is energy and energy can change forms hence this could one one day, be possible. And btw, Einstein did teach us that mass and energy can inter-change if theyr really in the mood.

Time Travel: This would create havoc. It’ll be creepy, weird, strange and every other bizarre thing all rolled into one. Theoretically it’s possible, provided one can travel faster than the speed of light. Or even  close enough to the speed of light. Einstein showed us that time is an illusion, it’s relative. Acc to Special Relativity, a surprising thing happens when you move through space-time and when your speed relative to other objects is close to the speed of light. Time goes slower for you than for the people you left behind. So, for instance, if you begin your journey at close to speed of light in 2014, it would have taken you maybe only 5 years to travel to the year 2050, whereas it would have taken all of your friends on earth 36 years. Basically you have been travelling at a rate faster than 1 hour per hour, and hence time traveling. Traveling into the past is slightly more complicated and slightly more weird. Also with a lot of paradoxes. (eg grandfather paradox)

If you have ever fantasized about other such crazy concepts, please share. It’s always fun. 🙂

Regards,

Sidharth – nov ’14

References:

Conserve energy future

National Geographic

www.readwrite.com

Popular mechanics

www. Dvice.com

www.spaceplace.nasa.gov

Michael Kaku’s “Future of the mind.”

Extremetech.com

Lots of other cool websites.

Lots of other cool people.

Chandigarh – what you might not know what you know.

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Chandigarh – what you might not know what you know.

Everyone loves to love Chandigarh and then everyone loves to hate Chandigarh. And then a few more years down the line and you get to the hate to love Chandigarh feeling…. And then you can’t live anywhere else but Chandigarh.

I don’t know what got into my head when I thought of doing a write up on Chandigarh. But for all its blandness and sameness, there’s an incredible amount of brilliance about this city. (I haven’t spent an exceptionally large part of my life in Chandigarh, so hopefully that nostalgic – “my city is great – hoo hoo” feeling is not an overly big underlay of this write up.)

 If we really want to understand this city, we’ll have to start a little way back…

Before all these buildings conceived by Le-Corbusier came up, Chandigarh was a wide marshy area.. Weird aquatic and amphibian life lived here. Then the Harrapans, from the Indus Valley civilization came and they made it some kind of their lazy sub-urb. It was a fertile, easy and well connected area and having a holiday-home made the perfect sense.

IMG_20141009_112907

**excavated harrapan culture era findings from sector 17 and other areas.

Quite a co-incidence then, that 7000 years down the line, this piece of land continues to have a similar positioning – that of two almost identically planned cites, serving a similar purpose, almost as if time meant to perpetuate a tradition of planned settlement in this part and on this very land.

So those among’st us, who are born on this soil of Chandigarh, are blessed with some awesome legacy.

Ok, cut to recent history.

I am not sure when exactly did Pt. Nehru first think of Chandigarh, but it probably must have happened right after the partition. Lahore, till then the biggest city of the region, now fell in Pakistan.

Everyone was really sad and upset. And then someone in East Punjab must have suddenly woken up like, oh fuck – we don’t have a capital anymore, let’s go get one. And so was born the concept of having a Chandigarh.

partition1

**a map showing the bifurcation of the state of Punjab.

After the consideration of 8 possibilities, the location was selected in the spring of 1948.

Those must have been fun moments for Pt. Nehru.  He must really gotten excited and kicked with himself, because he would say all kind of fancy things. Like let this new town be symbolic of freedom of India… unfettered by the past… country’s faith in the future etc. This must be that little glamour thing in his job.

So Chandigarh was going to not only be the new capital of East Punjab but would also serve to settle thousands of refugees. Hence, its DNA needed to be of ‘welcoming’ sorts. And so it was.

Anyways, the foundation stone was layed in 1952.

A little more than a decade had passed. Then another jarring thing happened. Someone, somewhere, decided that Punjab, was still too big. Break up time again.

Some were happy, some were sad. Chandigarh, from being Punjab’s city, now got to be the capital of both Haryana and Punjab. So Chandigarh definitively must have been happy. Hoo-hoo….. And it also got a union territory status.

PLANNING:

This is where all of the awesome-ness is. I have never seen a city as well made as Chandigarh. And I doubt whether you have either.

So here goes the story.

The initial master plan of Chandigarh was prepared by the American architect-planner Albert Mayer who was working with the Polish-born architect Matthew Nowicki. It was previously supposed to be a Radial City like Delhi. But Albert died while working on the plan, which creep-ed out Nowicki  and then he just refused to work on the project anymore. So a French dude, Le Corbusier was called to complete the master-plan. He further called in 3 more of his folks, Maxwell Fry, his wife Jane B Drew and Corbusier’s cousin, Pierre Jeanneret.

First thing, He discarded the old radial plan and suggested a new Grid Iron Plan which we see today.

master plans                                                                     **The original plans, as conceived by the different architects.

chandigarh - what you might now what you know.                                                                                                     ** Chandigarh like it is today.

 Grids:

Somewhere along the line, Corbusier got massively impressed with his grids. So much so that thought about having lots of grids. Everywhere

grid2grids1

**Buildings in chandigarh 

Things get a little weird when even the man-holes have grids on them.

grid-manhole

**Just a regular manhole. Weird, but highly in love with its master.

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Now the initial plan had two phases: The first for a population of 150,000 and the second taking the total population to 500,000. Today the population of Chandigarh is a little more than 1.0 million, and I’m not sure if Corbusier really thought so many people would want to live in his city, so he dint really plan a third phase as such. But I guess it’s doing just fine, other than the sprawling suburbs mushrooming everywhere around it. And I don’t mean Panchkula and Mohali. Those are cities, and because I live in one of them I wouldn’t want to think of them negatively.

So Le Corbusier divided the city into units called “sectors”, (as you can also see in the plan), with each representing a theoretically self-sufficient neighbor-hood with space for living, working and leisure — Each with its own market, places of worship, gardens, schools and colleges. – all within 10 minutes of walking distance from within the sector. These sectors were linked to each other along the line of the 7 Vs, or a hierarchy of seven types of circulation patterns. Corbusier called it Les Sept Voies de Circulation” which i think is just some fancy term in French and doesn’t mean anything extra.

If you want to know more about this, then you can stare hard into the picture below and try and read. Else, just give it a skip.

IMG_20141009_115708

Now each of these sectors are pretty similar looking, with each sector measuring 800 m x 1200 m. Now compare it with Delhi. Dwarka, GK, Punjabi bagh..

Strangely, there is no sector 13, because apparently this number creep-ed out Le Corbusier. So he just decided against having a sector 13.

The city was to be surrounded by a 16 kilometer wide greenbelt that was to ensure that no development could take place in the immediate vicinity of the town, thus checking suburbs and urban sprawl; Stud-li-ness yes.

Post Corbusier, unforeseen growth and influx of people ensured the development of the third phase of the city. But ill give this a skip, because I find it boring and irrelevant.

Now the Grid Iron plan is itself inspired from a human body form. But that is another story. But it is freaky fun. And it is relevant. So we will take it up.

The biological inspiration:

So Le Corbusier was strangely spiritual. Or the fact that Chandigarh was once a part of the Harrapan culture could have played a part… though probably this bit is just a figment of my imagination.

He conceived the master plan of Chandigarh as analogous to the  human body. He felt that cities also have a brain, heart, lungs, limbs and arteries like human beings. And other such stuff. Anyways to cut a long story short, slightly below is also an illustration that will help to make it simpler.

  1. Head (The Capitol Complex: Sector 1.. #high court, vidhan sabha, secretariat)
  2. Heart (The City Centre Sector-17)
  3. Lungs (The Leisure valley, Sukhna Lake, Rose Garden, Innumerable open spaces and other prominent gardens/greens): With its green lungs, the valleys and gardens ensure the urban eco-system functions efficiently and provides the inhabitants the principle of care of the body and spirit.                                                                                                                                                 sector17 etc                                                                                     **clockwise: 1. One of the many city parks. 2. Sector 17.   3. Sukhna Lake. 4. Rock Garden.                                                                 
  4. The intellect – The right hand (The Cultural and Educational institutions, ie Punjab University, the PGI and other campuses and museums etc)
  5. The circulatory system, veins and nerves (The gridlock of roads, water, electricity.) The 7V’s act just like the bloodstream, lymph system and respiratory system act in biology.
  6. The other hand ( The activity area ie The Industrial Area, grain market etc)                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Human body representation.  

chd.biology

Each time I read up about this, it amazes me even more. Mind-blowing.

Some other random interesting facts about Chandigarh, which I just feel like telling you.

  • Located near the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, Chandigarh has grown to a population of about 1 million. This is roughly the same as that of Mizoram and slightly more than Sikkim. And is about 1/16th that of Delhi. The Chandigarh capital Region has a combined population of about 1.7 million.
  • There are no statues/memorials/edifices. Corbusier wanted this city to be free of personality cult. Of-late the new authorities have compromised with this, with the new IT park being named after a former PM, and this still pisses me off.
  • Taking it further, no road is named after any person, living or historical. So probably Chandigarh is the only city without an MG-road. Phew, thank God.
  • The only monument is the open-hand structure, a sign of peace and reconciliation. It stands for “open to give and open to receive”. It represents peace and the give and take of ideas.                                                                                                                                                open hand                                                                                         **1. The open hand structure, and 2. the monument to peace.-at Sukhna Lake complex
  • The sex ratio of Chandigarh is 818. The national average is 940. Which is strange considered the number of times iv heard in my life “Chandi chicks man”.
  • Chandigarh has a literacy rate of 86%, and I don’t know what relevance this stat. has or why it is in this blog.
  • Chandigarh has the highest per capita index, and the highest human development index, and is the cleanest city in the country, amongst others. Such accolades for the city don’t stop, no bragging.
  • Industry: After going slow for years, industry seems to be picking at a good rate of late. The city is ranked 9th in list of top 50 cities identified globally as emerging IT service destinations. Ahead of cities like Beijing.. Ooh really !!
  • There is no sector 13. But the sum of adjacent sectors follow a pattern that is divisible by 13. I guess even though Corbusier hated 13, he was scared enough to not ignore him totally and did give it some role after all.
  • The V8 road system was so designed, that never a door will open on a V3 or greater road. Quite cool.
  • Architectural controls: In order to curb undue individualism, there are some crazy controls to limit randomness and regulate development. The basic aim was to ensure uniformity in skyline, heights and architectural character. For eg. Even for signage/hoarding of a shop, the dimensional limits is set. But this oddness is a good thing. Chandigarh doesn’t look like a mithai shop.
  • Also, there are no advertising hoardings. Anywhere in the city. So Chandigarh doesn’t have any of those crazy mobile phone posters sticking out of everywhere. Yes, unbelievable in today’s time, but this is true.
  • Language: Punjabi is pretty predominant here, and its quite a loud language. Sometimes I would’nt know if someone was just greeting me or trying to fight me, and id have this little panic while trying to figure out. English and Hindi are very common as well, and im fine with them.
  • Chandigarh has two satellite cities: Panchkula and Mohali, along with smaller urban agglomerations like Kharar, Zirakpur, mullanpur etc. Together they constitute the Chandigarh Capital Region.                                              tri-city

**The Chandigarh capital region

—————–     ————-              ———————-            ——————              —————          —–

Failings:

Le Corbusier famously said, in Chandigarh we will walk without automobiles. And New York’s fifth avenue and 42nd street will appear grotesque. The new city may have become India’s most “spacious” metropolis, but its avenues are so broad, distances so wide that pedestrian paradise isn’t as easy as originally thought of. A fledgling transportation system, perhaps a bi-product of the grand design, has failed to help. No doubt then, that Chandigarh has the highest per capita cars in India.

Although Chandigarh  began as a cherished hope for equality, for oneness and for hope, it has become a socially segregated city, a fortress of privilege. It’s often accused, that it lacks culture.

Chandigarh is too western, too sub-urban, too middle class.

—– —–            ———————                    ———————                    ——————-              ————–

So then, what does Chandigarh mean to mean. Today, does it mean the hope for future. Does it give its residents the quality of life it promised.  Is it unfettered from the traditions of the past…  And is it the India, that India wants to be like. Yes, a big YES, is my answer.

“Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.”  – unknown.

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Some more, really interesting pictures, which should be seen.

IMG_20141009_120357wpid-wp-1412839766504.jpegwpid-wp-1412839739336.jpegwpid-wp-1412839730377.jpeg

*1. human body diagram – by Le Corbusier.

*2. Letter by then PM-Jawaharlal Nehru- to then CM of Punjab Pratap Singh Kairon.

*3 Original drawing of the open-hand structure.

*4 Photograph of Chandigarh in the late 1940’s

References:

 

Regards,

Sidharth Sarda – October 2014