Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friends - A short story

The cellphone's ring tone was pleasant but both of them stopped their discussion in between. They were smoking in the balcony.

"A" located the phone and handed it over to "B". It was for "B". It was from the office and that made him little uncomfortable. "You are leaving for Chicago tomorrow morning", the voice from the other side informed.

"Business trip for 15 days", "B" gave explaination to "A" who was in the balcony again, taking the golden puff. "A" showed no interest in knowing. He has always envied "B" for he always considered "B" to be inferior to him. But here is "B", visiting places and earning handsomely.

"B" had to reach the airport at 4 AM next morning. It was obvious that "A" would drop "B" at the airport by his car. But "A" wanted "B" to say so - request him for it. It would satisfy his ego. "A" has always been an egoist. Without it, "A" doesn't exist. Finally "B" had to request to be dropped at the airport.
His ego was inflated.
For the last few hours, since the phone call arrived, he was feeling diminutive.
Continually.
This all had been suffocating for him. Everything "B" said or everything that belonged to "B" had been irritating "A".
Now suddenly his ego is inflated.

Both of them were silent while leaving for the airport. None of them spoke. All the way to the airport they remained silent. In the car they have been sitting hardly 6 or 8 inches apart. "A" was wearing tough looks while "B" was enveloped in the guilt of having troubled him in that early hour.

Both of them looked at each other at the airport but none of them uttered a word.

For "B" it was liberating. Leaving the guilt behind he was galloping towards security check like an agile lamb in the sheer excitement of the journey ahead.

"A" was feeling heavy while returning. He was thinking of "B". He was scolding himself for not talking to "B" even on the way to the airport. He suddenly felt like going back and hugging "B" and to cry like a child. But No! Again the tough alter ego overpowered him. He diverted his thoughts, lit a cigarette and switched on loud music.

He sensed a saline taste when he entered the house. He touched his eyes. They were wet.

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Hindi version of this story is written next....

दोस्त - लघु कथा

फ़ोन की घंटी ने दोनों के संवाद में खलल डाल दिया। दोनों छज्जे पर खड़े सिगरेट फूँक रहे थे।
"क" ने जाकर देखा - फ़ोन "ख" का था। अब बारी "ख" की थी। फ़ोन देखते ही थोडा असहज हो गया। लाइन पर ऑफिस से कोई था। "कल सुबह की उड़ान से शिकागो जाना है", उधर से उस आवाज ने कहा।

"१५ दिन की बिज़नस सम्बन्धी यात्रा है", "ख" ने "क" को लौटकर बताया जो वापिस छज्जे पर आकर सिगरेट ख़त्म कर रहा था। "क" की मुद्रा असम्बधता जता रही थी लेकिन उसे "ख" से एक जलन थी। "क" को हमेशा यह एक पहेली ही लगी की कैसे "ख" जो की उसकी नज़रों में एक नाकाबिल इंसान है, कैसे इतना हासिल कर पाता है।

"ख" को सुबह ४ बजे एअरपोर्ट पहंचना था। यह स्पष्ट था की "क" अपनी कार से उसे छोडेगा पर "क" ये "ख" से कहलवा लेना चाहता था। "क" का आत्म शायद इसी से संतुष्ट होता था। तुलना से बढ़ जाने वाला आत्म "क" के जीवन का आधार रहा है। इसका न होना तो "क" के अस्तित्व पर प्रश्न चिह्न लगाता था। आख़िर "क" ने "ख" से अपनी मान मनुहार और सुबह तडके एअरपोर्ट छोडे जाने की विनती करवा ही ली। एकाएक बड़ा हो गया था वो। पिछले कुछ घंटे, जबसे वो फ़ोन आया था, "क" को छोटा कर रहे थे। लगातार। दम घुट रहा था उसका।"ख" की हर बात में कमीं, उस से जुड़ी हर चीज़ भद्दी लग रही थी "क" को। एकाएक बड़ा हो गया था वो।

घर से निकलते समय दोनों चुप थे। कोई कुछ नहीं बोला। सारा रास्ता चुप्पी में ही कट गया। दोनों के बीच ६ या शायद ८ इंच का फासला रहा होगा कार में बैठे हुए। उसके मुंह पर सख्ती छाई हुई थी जबकि दूसरे को ग्लानी हो रही थी उसको इतनी सुबह कष्ट देने के लिए।

एअरपोर्ट पर दोनों की नज़रें मिली पर बात नहीं हुई।

"ख" इसे मुक्ति मान रहा था। ग्लानी को छोड़ आगे की यात्रा की उमंग में किसी चंचल मेमने की तरह कुलांचे मारता सिक्यूरिटी चेक में दाखिल हो गया।
"क" बोझिल हो कर वापिस लौटा। "ख" के लिए दुखी हो रहा था। कोस रहा था उपने आप को उससे सारे रास्ते बात न करने के लिए। मन किया की वापिस जा कर गले मिल कर रो ले। पर नहीं सख्ती फिरे हावी हो गई। एक सिगरेट जलाई और तेज़ म्यूजिक के साथ अपना ध्यान हटा लिया।
घर में घुसा तो मुंह में नमकीन सा लगाता। हाथ आंखों पे गया तो भीग गया।

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Starting up an SELP Project

Started working on a project these days. Doing it under the tutelage of SELP program's leaders & coaches. I am committed to conduct a Disaster Management Awareness Program for some 50 people so that these people take up the responsibility of spreading the awareness in their communities and families.

In India, as I observe, the common people are still not aware of disaster management techniques and policies. I am taking up the responsibility to educate myself as well as 50 other people into such special knowledge.

I am seeking out the information about government agencies and NGO's who are willing to educate my group about it.
If any of us knows about such agencies/ people / NGOs, I am the one who needs your favour!!

Times of India - Lead India Movement

In the wake of the forth coming general elections, the Times Of India group has come up with an idea to make the public aware of the power of their vote.

I request you all to be a part of this movement to give India leaders who deserve to lead us.

Pasting here a copy of the invitation letter I received from Times of India.

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Dear Teach India volunteer,

A few months ago, you decided to take time away from your busy schedule, in order to give back to society. Today, the nation needs a concerned citizen like you.

India is on the eve of perhaps its most important general elections ever. We need to ensure that we don’t waste this once-in-five-years opportunity yet again, like we have been doing for the past 60 years.

The Times of India is set to launch Lead India ’09, a country-wide campaign across all our newspapers, with the aim of ensuring that better candidates are put up and elected in the coming elections. The campaign will first try to put pressure on political parties to feature better candidates, by mobilizing the opinions of lakhs of thinking individuals around the country; and then act as a Voters’ Guide to help voters make a more informed choice, through detailed investigation of all key candidates in 40 urban constituencies.

To enable Lead India ‘09 to become a powerful peoples’ movement, it needs a core band of volunteers willing to play the role of catalysts. As a member of this core, your main role would be to ignite the minds of our countrymen – through heart-felt participation in blogs and discussion boards… or indeed by hosting your own blogs on any issue close to your heart. You would also be expected to reach out to friends in various community websites and involve them in the movement through simple pledges like ‘I say NO to criminals in politics’ or ‘I’ll not let my vote go waste’. Therefore, please let us know the social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Orkut etc) which you are a member of.

So, if you want to be a change agent in this historic election, do write back to us by February 23rd and we’ll give you a special pass and pre-registration to the forthcoming Lead India ’09 website.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Everyday musings


These days, Navya is mastering the language. I observe her picking up the animated hindi one-liners from TV commercials so quick that I sometimes wonder as how intelligent these kids are. The other day a new commercial of Sprite drinks was being aired and the character in the commercial says “Kutte ko Patao” that means “befriend the dog”. She picked it quick and repeated it with a hearty laugh. Soon after I heard her saying “Cheeku” loudly – another commercial. “Khane ke bad” ("after the meal" – from a chewing gum commercial) came no later.

Even while watching movies at HBO, I would watch out for the subtitles to get what those texan accented husky voiced hollywoodians are saying but she would catch those words at once from the dialogues she is familiar with like eyes, nose head etc…
Navya is using all her skills to play with the language to the limits and to express herself.

Monday, February 23, 2009

बोद्ध साहित्य में आत्म के विचार

हिंदू धर्म ग्रंथों में आत्म (सेल्फ) को एक चिर अर्थात सदैव जीवित रहने वाला माना गया है। जबकि गौतम बुद्ध ने आत्म को एक प्रक्रिया या प्रोसेस माना है न कि तत्त्व या सब्स्तांस। एक जीव को उन्होंने एक भौतिक-मनोवैज्ञानिक मशीन माना है जिसमें मानसिक एवं शारीरिक उर्जा का लगातार संयोजन एवं परिवर्तन होता रहता है।

चेतन को बोद्ध धर्म ने हमेशा एक वस्तु के सन्दर्भ में ही परिभाषित किया है । इसके अनुसार चेतन या चेतना का वस्तु के बिना कोई अस्तित्व नहीं है और यह उस वस्तु कि अपनी खासियत भी नहीं है।

जेइन, बोद्ध धर्म का एक प्रकार या मत है जिसमे प्रचलित एक कविता के अनुसार :
एक प्रेमी के लिए उसकी सुंदर प्रेमिका उसकी उमंग है
एक साधू के लिए ध्यान बंटाने कि वस्तु
तथा एक वोल्फ यानि भेद्दिये के लिए एक अच्छा भोजन ।

प्रसिद्द बोद्ध भिक्षु नागार्जुन ने भी एक स्थान पर यह स्वीकारा है कि एकमात्र उचित दृष्टिकोण है किसी भी दृष्टिकोण का न होना।

हिन्दी लेखन का प्रयास




अब जब लिखना शुरू कर ही दिया है तो मेरे लिए हिन्दी मैं भी अभिव्यक्ति जरूरी हो जाती है। इंग्लिश तो बहुत प्रयत्नों से सीखी हुई भाषा है पर हिन्दी में तो अपने आप २५ वर्षों से ज्यादा समय तक अभिव्यक्त किया है ।

ब्लॉग लेखन वाकई मुझे रोचक लग रहा है। अब ब्लॉग की हिन्दी तो मुझे पता नहीं...शायद होती भी न होगी।

कुछ लिखने का विचार काफी समय से साथ है लेकिन उचित समय, परिस्थितियों तथा स्त्रोत का आभाव काफी मानसिक उर्जा ले बैठा। अब ठान लिया है की यह बहाने छोड़ कर सीधे लिखने ही बैठा जाए। अपने पाठकों, यानी की आप से भी टिप्पणियां चाहियें जिस से लेखन के स्तर का निर्धारण हो सके।

चूँकि हिन्दी के साथ यह वार्तालाप बहुत समय के बाद तथा जीवन के बहुत से झंजावातों से जूझकर बाहर झाँकने के बाद हुआ है, तो अभी लिखते समय ही बहुत नोस्टालजिक महसूस हो रहा है।


Dahod visit

Recently visited Dahod, a sleepy, laid back town of eastern gujrat. This serene town houses one of the biggest railway workshops in India. The economy of the town is majorly dependent on this workshop as a large part of the population is employed there. Even the markets run on the spendings by those workshop employees.

My elder brother works in the railway workshop and posted in Dahod. This visit was a sort of family get together. How can I forget to mention that Navya, our priced possession, just turned two and we celebrated her second birthday there in Dahod during this visit.

Dahod is a city with a population of around 80,000 ( source: wikipedia) and the last great mughal ruler Aurangzeb aka Alamgir I was born in Dahod in the year 1618.

Visiting the city, specially the railway colonies reminds one of the bygone era when british railway officers used to live in the sprawling bunglows that are still standing there to narate their sparkling past.

In the my next posts, I 'll discuss the marketwallah of Dahod...really interesting tales to tell.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ghajni - Living the life in the moment

Recently saw the movie Ghajni and mustering the patience to watch its "so called" original Memento.

The movie interestingly dipicts the way of life where one is free of the emotinal states offered by the conditioning of the past one has lived so far.

The protagonist in the movie goes for an invented way of being and creates a web of new drama or script and becomes a part of it (in other words his new reality to live within). This invented self is quite powerful in the events of life he is surrounded with.

A very interesting article (link given next) discusses the moral aspect of living when one forgets or gives up on the past.
It questions the involved morality issues that were imbibed in the identity from past.

Links for Jugsuriya's comments and a counter view on it:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/3953070.cms
http://aristotlethegeek.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/universal-morality/

GNU/LINUX STORY

Years ago a small team of programmers at AT&T wrote one of the best operating systems of all time – UNIX. Little did they realize that in the years to come it is going to rule; rule as an operating system of choice for researchers, educators, corporations & students alike.
Later many corporations, including Microsoft at one point of time, promoted various flavors of UNIX e.g. SCO UNIX from SCO Inc., Solaris from SUN Microsystems, AIX form IBM amongst many others. These flavors are running a large chunk of computing machines even today. So UNIX has matured for almost 40 years now and has given the world computing world more than what its developers could think of in the year 1969, the year of its birth.
Somewhere in 1980, AT&T put some restrictions on the use of UNIX. One of the restrictions AT&T imposed on UNIX was not to disclose its source code and disallowed any modification to it by outsiders. It troubled many a people including one programming wizard who was working at MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. His name was Richard M Stallman.
Richard M Stallman aka Gandhi of the software world, left MIT and stared an organization to promote his philosophy that “SOFTWARE SHOULD BE FREE- FREE AS IN FREEDOM”. He stared FSF- Free Software Foundation to realize his dream( visit http://www.fsf.org/).
The team of FSF dreamt of writing there owns UNIX like operating system to counter the threat of “software development driven by corporate ambitions”. They thought of writing software for the people and this model would be driven by “competence” and “a sense of improvement not by business ambitions.
Here , don’t ignore the fact that in 1984, when they decided it, PC were not really usable by research organizations or business houses and Windows like GUI based operating systems were nowhere in the picture.
This operating system was given a name “GNU” – an antelope as described by English Dictionaries. When RMS (Richard Stallman prefers this acronym) was asked as what GNU stands for – he jokingly said – “GNU’s NOT UNIX”.
Before writing GNU Operating System, the FSF team wrote a number of UNIX like utilities for their Operating System from the scratch. And as a matter of fact many of these utilities would have beaten their commercial counterparts in terms of efficiency in the time to come. Some of the very popular GNU utilities are : GCC – a C compiler, GDB – an application debugger, GIMP – an image manipulation tool amongst many others.
Writing a kernel for the Operating System is one of the most complicated tasks and GNU team had also been working on “Hurd” – a kernel for its would be Operating System. By the year 1990, the working model of Hurd was not ready but at the same time a student in Finland – “Linus Torvalds” wrote his experimental kernel. He posted it on web for other hackers to test. He developed it has a hobby and did not think of using it for anything meaningful.Somehow the hackers on the web bundled together the GNU utilities and Linux ( as it was christened later) Kernel together to develop an Operating System named as Linux (but it refers to merely the kernel or the contribution of Linus Torvalds) or GNU/Linux to be more precise.
It was published using a licensing scheme that made sure that Software Biggies should not befool the developers behind the GNU/Linux movement. This license was also written by RMS and known as GPL – “GNU’s Public License. Two key features of this license from users’ point of view are:
You can make changes to the software released under this license as you get the source code along
You can also sell the modified code but provide the source code with it
Later some corporations like Red Hat, Caldera, and Mandrake got motivated from GNU/Linux and developed their business model around it for improving and selling their version of GNU/Linux and to earn mainly from the customer support services.
Soon after the IT giants like IBM & Oracle showed interest in the server version of GNU/Linux. Their support boosted the morale of the GNU/Linux community to think beyond merely writing experimental software. Soon after GNU/Linux is considered as a serious threat to the commercial market of UNIX variants and Microsoft Operating Systems. Whereas it has already crept into the Operating System Courses text books for students and won hearts of the researchers and hackers alike.
Independent Websites, like http://www.wikipedia.org/ claims that through conventional means, developing a GNU/Linux like application would cost more than a billion dollars.
Today, GNU/Linux has support for almost all the application programming languages. It comes with wonderful GUI in the form of GNOME and KDE. So unlike Microsoft products which say Freedom from Choice – GNU/Linux offers the users Freedom of Choice. Most of the commercial software has also been developed for GNU/Linux platform. Sun Microsystems, IBM, Adobe, Oracle, HP and many other companies develop a lot of software for Linux. Linux flavors are also being used from Mainframes to real- time computing.
So next time you see a GNU/Linux flavor on a machine, you know how it relates to UNIX: How it got developed to counter UNIX licensing and ended up being called a UNIX like operating system.
Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux
http://www.gnu.org/
http://www.fsf.org/

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This article was written for and published in the Education Services' in-house publication "Messenger".