April 14, 2008

Cookery of Errors...

This work was in my drafts for a long time. Had to put it up. Completed it now. :)
'Experience is the best teacher' - someone said long time ago... we learned it the hard way.

[Strings - Zinda]

It was a saturday evening. Me, Praveen, Joel, Abe, Rony planned to prepare dinner. :D. The modus operandi was similar to an software project (We are software engineers :D .. except Rony. He works for the bank.).

[Bob Sinclair - World, Hold on]

Step 1 was planning stage. We planned to keep the requirements to a minimum and prepare veg food. That went pretty easy and everyone was very confident of getting through this nice n full :). Step 2 was procurement. Me n Joel went to the nearest supermarket to get the groceries. This too was an easy step. Rice, Onions, Coriander, egg (oh ya... this was the 1st requirements change in the cycle.), tomato, 'payar' (mallu term - english conversion - anyone?) n oh ya - 'puliyogare' ready-to-use mix

[Gary Jules - Mad World]

Time is 9PM. Step 3 began with creating the plan of action - as to how we'll go about preparing each curry. The fun began after we put the rice for cooking. We had brought white rice. Supposedly it should get cooked perfect with 7 whistles of the pressure-cooker ( 8-| ). So 7 whistles it was.... anyways. In the mean time - we got to cutting the vegetables - onions, tomato, green chilli :D.

[Moby - Porcelain]

It's 7 down and we slowly open the cooker after letting it cool down. Standard operating procedures followed. We started seeing the inevitable. The rice was overcooked and had become almost a paste. But the project had to go on and reach completion, as what was at stake were the lives of 5 great people. :) . The time was, after extraction of the rice from the cooker, 9.45PM.

[INXS - Afterglow]

Next was the convert this paste-like-rice to puliyogare. We tried mixing the ready-to-use powder - well as you can guess - it was impossible task - and it stayed so. the mix got all wrong. Disastrous. Our hopes of having a decent meal looked bleak. But not to accept defeat, we planned counter-measures. That was to create a curry using some home-made masala I had brought from home. Since the time was near 10.45PM by now -after all the mixing and disaster planning - I was sure - there is no point calling my mother to find out how to exactly use this masala. I had a very vague idea. But it was one idea anyway. So we fried few onion pieces, and mixed the masala, water - and lo! we had a ... umm... some kinda curry. Which had minimal taste.Well, that was the next failure.

[Crazytown - Black cloud]

Still we went ahead. We create the payar-curry, to some success, I must say. The time was near 11.30PM by now. And we were all terribly hungry. In a haste we made double-egg omlets for each one of us. By 12AM in the morning - it was all set to be eaten. So now - we had another problem - the puliyogare - if you can call it that - was not hot at all, the paste nature of the rice meant it got all stuck up and was like chunks of rice. But there was no other go. It was project deadline and it had to go live. So we all put on to the plate a mix of all what we made and had it.
It was not really bad. The process was a disaster.

[Craig David - Hot Stuff (Bob Sinclair World Hold on remix) ]

Like the wise man's words - experience is the best teacher. That's for all you readers! Learn how not to cook from what we did. It was a cookery of errors. :)


This about this special 'Vishukanni' that I saw today, and also last year. :)
For those who don't know what Vishu is & the concept of 'Vishukanni' - WikiMan to the rescue!

From the page:
"The festival is marked with offerings to the divine called Vishukkani. The offerings consist of a ritual arrangement in the puja room of auspicious articles like raw rice, fresh linen, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, the yellow flowers konna (Cassia fistula), and a holy text and coins, in a bell metal vessel called uruli. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. This arrangement is completed the previous night. On the day of Vishu, the custom is to wake up at dawn and go to the puja room with the eyes closed so that the Vishukkani is the first thing one sees. Since the occasion marks the beginning of Malayalam New Year, it is also considered auspicious to read verses from Hindu Holy book Ramayanam after seeing the "Vishukkani". It is also believed by some that the page of the Ramayanam to which you open up will have a bearing on your life in the coming year."

I do doubt a bit about the entire explanation by Wikiman, still nevertheless the explanation of Vishukanni IS correct.

The one I witnessed it something different. The difference bears on my views on religion, perspective on what means 'will have a bearing on your life in the coming year' :D...

This might sound silly, but your views on this take a back seat! So read on now... this is my kind of Vishukanni:

A quick bike ride in the wee hours, early in the morning... needn't be long distance. It just has to have all the elements of a bike-ride! Speed, hi-revs, sharp corners with that heavy braking, a short, very short break before returning home. Where people see the 'nillavilaku', the holy books, n everything that makes up the vishukanni, making them feel that the year ahead is going to be good n blessed, to me - the bike, the ride, the wind-in-the-face, the chilling temperatures cuz of the speed, the speed itself, the music from the engine n the happiness felt on the return is what makes the moment, the day, the year- special.

Oh, I really don't mind making every early morning stints like this... just the difficulty in waking up. :D :P!

So why did I wake up early today - to drop a friend at the airport. He had to read the airport at 5.15AM at the latest... but things did go as planned - we could only leave home @ 5.12. Obviously - I don't think 12.5km in 3 mins is practically possible - thats like - 250kmph from the word go. NOT even a ferrari can do it. Please - b'lore roads and the unreliable traffic in the morning hours which means - no rules followed by others - even if u keep em all. So it would not be possible before being run over by a truck running on ur side of the road with its headlights off. So. :P

I did that distance in 9 mins. A more reasonable speed. near an average 85kmph (I am not doing the exact math here.) But thats good for a pulsar 150 and our roads and considering that it was, really, a cautious ride with proper slow-downs at major junctions and also taking care of not going through the gutters and all.

The return was also the same, maybe a slightly more than 9 mins. But not touching 10.

Last year, we went on such a trip to marathalli, @ 2AM in the morning(or was it 1.50AM.. not sure).

There is something really vindicating in the ride. A feeling of freeing our minds of troubles. Forgetting the problems of the past, getting ready for a new day, a new year (Our way of showing gratitude to the year past, and ushering in the new year.). We mark this is a special occasion just cuz we are all kerala and we are not particularly religious enough to keep any holy books, we found our own way to celebrate it. (No offense meant..).

Just that today, it was just me n my friend, last year we were 3 - those 2 are home now. So happy vishu to 'em and all who are reading this! :D

(Had to write this before heading for office, apologies for bad grammar, spelling mistakes, slight level of incoherence in ideas, and not elaborating further...)!

:D - clicked this after reaching back:

(No time to get this photoshop-ed!). The Vishukanni, the Verses are played from engine's music, the divine light is what you feel when ride to your heart's content.

Happy Vishu to all again!

April 1, 2008

What is Real?

This is a question we all have, atleast after the movie 'The Matrix' was released. We were all stunned by the concept of the movie. The concept was so overwhelming, so stunning, so undeniable that all the special effects (which were fresh, never before seen), the amazing characters - Agent Smith, Morpheus, Neo, Trinity - each character chosen to perfection that - for sure - we could relate to one of those characters.... all this was just an extra compared to the idea.

"What is the Matrix?"
I am not here to review the movie. I am sure there are millions of reviews out there. Millions of theories developed on it. Universes created around this idea. So much.

I am here because today I ended up asking myself - 'What is real?"

Morpheus: "What is real? How do you define real? If you're talking about what you can hear, what you can smell, taste and feel then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."

Is that it? It is perhaps oversimplified in words - but what it covers is perhaps just about everything we know, everything that we 'think' we are capable of doing, everything that we think we have done. I am not speaking about the matrix. But a concept similar - one where - we can't be sure of what is reality.

I can explain this with a few commonly heard examples - which have to be amplified to a certain extent.

"Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder".

My explanation may not be the best - but - it easily translates to "We love to see what we want to see'.

"My God is the right God".

Many say that, like I say there is no God, it is perspective. Religions have no proof but a book written many many centuries ago - depending on whichever religion saying that it is right and implicitly meaning the rest to be wrong. My point here is not religion - but perspective.

How do I know if this world exists only just in my imagination? That this computer itself doesn't exist - that you, my dear reader, are only a figment of my imagination? That I myself don't look me? What if the 'mental projection of my digital self' is wrong?

To twist things further - in my thoughts - you think -that I am thinking about you thinking about what I've written on this blog which itself is probably not real... heh... its an endless spiral..

We have defined our world in 3 dimensions - maybe 4 or sometimes 11, even 26 to support our theories about our world - but those are not the rules of the 'apparently real' universe. We have created a translation of those rules so that we can understand how to obey them.

Our world is a result of our thoughts - maybe we all exist in a matrix - our thought processes overlapping each others creating complex relations - mix of love n hate, laughter n sorrow, genius n idiocy, real n unreal. I don't know.

'Reality' becomes a scary situation when you think about it. It is not as simple as we just usually don't care about it. Maybe we don't have to, as we, atleast now, can only define it by our sense of taste, smell, vision, touch, sound. Our dimensions are bound there. A reality defined by years, centuries, millenniums . ages of understanding - evolving from atoms, to become entities which question our own existence.

What would prove that all this is real? What is the truth about us? Who are we? Why are we here? Where is this going to end? Does it end? Are we prepared to realize who we are? Evolution of the most extreme kind. To know the mind of the God( - the explanation of my question is what I mean by 'knowing the mind of the God'. It is one phrase, not to be split :P)

My thoughts spiral outta control these days, a mixture of thoughts at the level of a normal human being working to earn his monthly income to live to the thoughts of a person trying keep up with relations, to the pinnacle - thoughts about who we are. The perfect mid-life crisis.

Lost in thoughts of where I am headed.

I took the red pill, I am going to find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes...
Tumbling down, breaking a bone or two, reeling in chaotic thoughts, to the point where I know I am free.

In chaos, I find order...
In the enigmatic. I find clarity...
In complexity, I see arising simplicity...
In the unreal, I find the astonishing possibility of reality...

The real has become a matter of perspective. Absolute is a word that is relative in itself.

I find myself being asked these questions:
"Why, Mr. Anderson? Why, why, why? Why do you do it? Why, why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something, for more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is, do you even know? Is it freedom, or truth, perhaps peace or could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson, vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify it's existence that is without any meaning or purpose! And all of them as artificial as the matrix itself. Although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it Mr. Anderson, you must know it by now. You can't win, it's pointless to keep fighting! Why, Mr. Anderson, why? Why do you persist?".

Not exactly those words... but question built on the same idea. Why should I persist to know?...
...there is only one realization: "Know Thyself".

It is inevitable.... We are only as real as we think we are.