Thursday, April 28, 2005

Wooing the Lady !!


I am completely in awe of the complexity of the universe and the arbitrary nature of many of its little wrinkles and fractal permutations. Infact, it all appears so difficult that we all pray for a little luck to get us through.

A couple of days back I was proctoring an MBA exam. Ten minutes before the end, this MBA student gives me his answer sheet and walks away. I was just putting his exam away,when he came running back up to me,and asked me if he could have his exam back. The way he pleaded with me, made me think that he'd forgotten to add something of 'great' importance.

There was just about five minutes left, and me being the considerate proctor, I gave it back to him and asked him to work on it very quicky. Unfazed, he took a piece of colored paper from his wallet, and rubbed it all over his answer sheets. After doing this for a while, he grinned , gave me his answer sheet and said

"Thats my lucky charm" .

I was too stunned to say anything.

Ah!the things one do to woo the lady.And if luck,indeed be a lady,the courting,the flattering,and the indulgences directed her way continue unabated.From the Exams to playing to walking to living,you name it,superstitions and good luck charms are embraced,usually against people's own good judgment.

But why do we do this? Just because, just in case, or just don't ask.Come to think of it, believe in them or not, good luck charms and superstitions have been an integral part of human life throughout history. From rain dances, to human sacrifices, to touching up answer sheets, they're all attempts to curry the favour of gods or the powers to be. Good luck charms and superstitions can serve simply as comfort, but at the other end of the spectrum, the world of superstitions can be a hall of mirrors navigated by people who border on obsessive-compulsive behavior.

The black cat crossing the road is a classic example. I do feel a bit discomforted when one crosses the path, but then the excitement of expecting the unexpected(which, by the way, never happens), makes me go on my way. But I know a few people, who would faithfully obey the sign from above, and turn back and go another way.

And to top it, intellectually people understand that it doesnt make sense, but emotionally they're unable to make the break.And we all know,Emotion always overruns intelligence, otherwise we'd have world peace, right?.

Well, I'd like to believe that, they're really an attempt to control the universe that is way too powerful for us to control. And now, I'm going to practise some 'mumbo-jumbo', and try my luck at making breakfast.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Whats in a name!!!


Every once in a while, I go on this 'death-wish' trip to Detriot, to visit J~. So there I was, a couple of weeks back!!.7.00 AM in the Morning, and I'd been in downtown detroit for 20 Mins!!! And the news played the now so familiar

"Good Morning ye all, the latest from downtown Detroit, in a shoot-out lastnight, two policemen were killed......."

(And as you can see, I've survived so far). J~ derives a lot of pleasure in making me relish every moment of being alive, by always coming late to pick me up. After 60 Minutes, I'd almost given up hope of making it out alive, when J~ finally turned up. I let out a sigh of relief and got in the car, and after the 'not bad!!you're still alive' dialogues.....J~ dropped a bombshell...

J~ : So, How would you like to put your Hindi skills to good use....
Moi : eh? Hindi?. Were you drinking last night?..
J~ : Er..No...Actually, we're heading to a 'Children's educational fair' now, as part of the Indian Student association. We're organizing a 'Write your name in Hindi' event.
Moi : Damn neat, so whats for breakfast.
J~: Candy!!! You and I are running the first shift...I'm in charge of setting things up.
Moi : WHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTT?? Write in hindi?? you and I??..we cant even write our names in Hindi...and our best hindi was left way behind in the Pilani mess..

But J~ was adamant and insisted that we were being way to modest about our now perfected hindi. So there I was sitting in this table waiting for the next bunch of grad students to save us, before we began embarassing ourselves. J~ in the meanwhile came up with this brilliant idea of preparing a chart featuring 'Hindi Alphabets from Mars'. We tried finding the hindi equivalent for every english alphabet, and in this process we 'discovered' that we could represent all the english alphabets with less than a dozen hindi alphabets. An acheivement we're still proud of.

Well, our job was done, we'd set up everything, and so J~ went out to call for replacements. That was when all hell broke lose. Suddenly I was surrounded by a dozen kids aged 5-10.....the fair had opened!!!

" WOWEEEEE!!! I Want to write my name in HEENDI", shouted one....

and that set of a whole chorus of 'Me too's '....and I panicked!!!!.But then something struck me, In the land of the blind , the one eyed man is king. And that reasoning made me feel very very good!!. And mustering up all my 'hindi', I squeaked,

'Who wants their name written in Hindi, the national language of India',

and soon the Wayne's, the Zachary's, Amy's, Julia's and Linda's were all leaving the table, in joy claiming that they could now spell their names in Hindi. J~ returned after a while, and was amazed at the speed at which I was churning out 'hindi' names...but soon he was busy distorting names as well..

After the storm had passed,

J~ : Do you think ,that kid will ever find out that you spelt his name as 'Jakoory' instead of 'Zachary'.

Before we could exchange corrections, we were surrounded by yet another group of children, and we went about our ways, killing english names. But then all the equations changed when this very ABCD girl came up to the table with a kid and said,

'Look Rebecca, you can write your name in Hindi' ..

I wanted to say ' yes she can if she wants but we can't for sure', but senses prevailed and I quickly became very busy arranging stuff around/under/over the table. And so they moved over to J~'s side. And to top it, Rebecca turned out to be this 'I seek knowledge' kid, and asked ' What is hindi'..and the ABCD's girl reply...

'Oh!remember, I wrote your name in Sanskrit, this is a similar language'

...was enough to scare the bejusus out of J~.But I must say I did enjoy watching J~ squirm in his seat, beads of sweat forming in his forehead, trying to spell 'Rebecca'correctly..And finally after what seemed like a very long time, he succeeded in writing the name and they left. And now it was my turn...

' How did it go? Did you get Rebecca or Rebekaka?......

But I guess we'll never ever find out...and finally our replacements arrived, and Pandits S~ and J~ walked out heads held high. Besides, Whats in a name??
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