MINDSET

February 3, 2008

mindset (noun) – the established set of attitudes held by someone.

It may sound a bit bizarre but you ever gave a thought that you are sometimes or the other giving the liberty to someone else to think and make a decision on your behalf. And that you are not even thinking before creating a mindset. 

Now I am not asking you to be a paranoid. And certainly not to be suspicious of anything and everything that you hear, read or believe. I just want you to ask yourself a question if the facts you have been fed with since childhood actually are true? Is history actually what you believe it to be? Well I just happen to believe that history has been tampered with a lot of times. It is what the writers of the history have written and what they want us to believe in. 

Since childhood I’ve been told that Nathuram Godse was a Hindu fanatic who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. But did I ever ask myself a question why did he do that? Why did he kill Gandhiji when he had no personal gains in the act and his life practically would have ended with the life he was about to end?  

Maybe we don’t possess the reasoning ability to form an opinion of our own when such facts surface for the first time for us. But why is that even after acquiring the ability we fail to address those questions? Most of us live and die with the same notion we have since our childhood. At some point of time we become so resistive to new ideas that we continue to live with that mindset. 

Recently, on a visit to Mumbai one of the most controversial authors of all times, Salman Rushdie quoted “Twenty years ago I wrote a book they didn’t like (The Satanic Verses) because they didn’t read it. I mean grow up, this is my view”. People just went for his blood without having the knowledge of what he had written. And without even considering a remote possibility that he might be right. Similar incident happened with the famous Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen. Now humans are supposed to be the most intelligent of god’s creations. Have we gone so shallow that we can’t even let others have a different opinion, leave apart entertaining it? 

We take the case of Adolf Hitler – The greatest evil genius of all times. A brilliant leader and an equally good speaker. Most of the people don’t even know why he went around killing the Jews and the communist. Why a person who wanted to be a painter became a dictator? 

Now I am not an extremist or a Nazi. The point I am trying to stress is that before creating a mindset on anything just give it a thought. Give people a chance to justify themselves, give them a chance to express themselves. They might be having a totally different perspective of looking at things. Open up your minds, let the sunshine redeem your hibernated minds and then decide what you want to believe not what you have been SPOON-FED. Accept the fact that you are not infallible after-all.

The (Royal) Mechanical Drama

January 29, 2008

Originally written for the yearly college magazine with my friend Nipun but couldn’t be published. Reasons you’ll get to know as you read through it. A compilation of the most amusing lectures we ever had in our (Royal) Mechanical Department compressed to make a single day in college.

The latest RDB ringtone on my cellphone rocked me out of the bed. Wondering about the dream I had (about the red Ferrari and the pretty blonde), I switched off the alarm which had brought me crashing back to reality (groan!). For I was a mechanical student at MIT without a bike, in a department that had a grand boys to girls ratio of 139:1. It was then that a vehement bang on the door woke me out of my lazy stupor. Nipun shouted “Dude, its 8 already. Get ready fast or we’ll be late for class”.

We reached the class at 20 past 8, assured of the fact that the teacher would let us in. Better still, the teacher had not arrived as yet. He came half an hour late perceptibly elated for having made it to class finally. Before he could start teaching we asked him to give us the attendance for the last 2 classes he bunked because most of us were not meeting the minimum attendance requirements. To our amazement he replied that it did not make a difference because the same increment in the numerator and denominator would cancel each other leaving the percentage same! We could not digest the fact because this theory implied that one can never avoid an “attendance ordie” once the attendance is short even if he attends all subsequent classes! We decided to call it The Theory of Unavoidable Ordie. Anyways the only thing we discussed in that class was the unit of pressure PSI which he explained to be PASCAL PER SQUARE INCH giving two hoots to the established fact that it stood for Pounds per square inch. Poor Blaise Pascal! He must have done a summersault in his grave.

The next class, ‘Automobile Engineering’, was Nipun’s favorite subject. I still remember the first class when our teacher gave us the golden rule. “No need to study 2-wheelers because they are similar to 4-wheelers with 2 wheels removed.” We call it The Theory of 2 Useless Wheels. I opted to sit on the last bench thinking about the cute girl I saw at KC the previous evening. Suddenly I recalled the theory which our teacher had given us only a few days back. “Earth moves at a speed greater than that of light”. That puts even Einstein’s theory into question and so we decided not to name this one. We’ll wait until he gets a Nobel Prize for this. I came back to reality on witnessing the bizarre sight when someone tried entering the class 55 minutes late and our teacher stood protecting the door like a goalkeeper trying to resist the ball from entering the goalpost.

The bell rang and I got the much needed break. Nipun dragged me to the Juice Centre (our usual hangout) and we got late in returning to the class after the break. You cannot possibly keep track of the time while looking at cute girls (for all those considering us mechanical students as frustrated souls, all I have to say is- I won’t disagree!). The attendance had already been taken by the time we reached so we missed the most important part of the lecture. The teacher was talking adoringly about his dog but suddenly the focus shifted to Roll no 75, who had recently got his hair coloured and then to Roll no 57 (Me). I was asked for an opinion regarding a person without a heart. Hell, I could have taken out my own and given him the answer! Nipun made all efforts to escape the teacher’s “academic” interest and, to my amazement, came out of the class successful.

The next class was that of a ‘mass ordie’ subject so I decided to fixate myself on the first bench. I wasn’t very surprised that I was the only guy on the first bench! I regretted my sincerity after 20 minutes when the teacher started explaining how a straight line is a triangle with zero height! The Mathematics department is still researching on it. Following lessons in this class usually leads to the colossal reversal of hitherto established concepts. We call it the Theory of Reverse Engineering. Suddenly the focus of class shifted from the subject to meditation and to the concept “your God is inside you”. Yes, I forgot to tell you that this class also includes a totally new subject called Engineering Psychology. I wasn’t much interested in it so I started browsing through the syllabus copy and discovered that the topic we were discussing even before meditation was also not in the course. “Regular stuff “, I said to myself taking out my cellphone, looking at the phone number of my latest crush. And then all of a sudden, I saw her, the number and the cellphone moving away from me and right into the teacher’s hand. I requested, begged and then cried …. But to no avail. The ground slid from beneath my feet as the miserable truth dawned on me- “It’s the time to DisCo”.

(For the uninitiated, DisCo is the acronym for Disciplinary Committee. A Mechanical Department exclusive, this committee has had many dancing to its draconian tunes.)

I needed sometime to recover from the loss of my beloved cellphone and so Nipun and I decided to go out somewhere for lunch. Our meal comprised of 180 ml Vodka, 90 ml Peter Scot and some nuts and yes not to forget the much needed mouth-freshener.

With fresh minds (and we are not lying) we entered the class on time after lunch fixing ourselves as far as possible from the teacher. Before the teacher could start we were disturbed by loud snores coming from the second bench. The guy slept peacefully during the first four classes (including the breaks) and no one had bothered to disturb him. Somebody woke him up and he started observing the surrounding as if he had just come to planet Earth from a far off planet. “Are you a ‘dopey’? Half of the semester is already over and I have not seen you awake till date!” the teacher shouted. And I saw Nipun checking his breath to see whether or not the mouth-freshener worked. This class was basically a Communication and Presentation skills class (actually supposed to be a Mechanical Design class). We called it Soft Skill classes for 4 hours a week and that too without any fee!

 The last class of the day finally arrived. The subject had something to do with computers which both Nipun and I were really scared of, so we decided to move on to the front bench. The class was going fine, we understood everything, we were answering all the questions, we were happy and so was the teacher. Only 5 minutes were left when we saw a question mark on the teacher’s face. He opened his book, looked into it for sometime, moved a bit, looked at all of us with a grin …and I knew what to expect. It could only mean that the part of the class I was eagerly anticipating was about to commence. He said “Sorry I created a blunder while teaching the algorithm right in the beginning. Forget everything and we’ll start afresh in the next class” and he left the class. We call it the Theory of One Blunder per Class.

With that, came an end to another eventful day in the Mechanical Department. Bizarre, is what an outsider might call it; but it would take a mind of steel, processed by some HEAT TREATMENT, exemplified by some immaculate MACHINE DESIGNing; a soul unperturbed by MATERIAL(istic) Sciences  and a (THERMO)DYNAMIC body to appreciate the underlying beauty of this whole affair. Add to that some rib-tickling humor, dogmatic discipline and a woeful lack of girls. The result that you get is of breathtaking beauty. This is our Royal Mech. 

Problems of an Above Average Brain

December 4, 2007

It’s like my mind refuses to accept its limitations. Unable to accept that it’s just above average. Good enough to worth the work of great people but far too dumb to understand it. To understand how Newton invented the calculus, and Einstein the relativity theory. How people could be so imaginative?

 

After declaring half of the world population as dumb my brain is finally realizing that everything has gone all wrong. That everything is relative and now it’s on the verge of being considered dumb by someone else.

 

It’s now unable to figure out whether to be happy or sad. To be happy that it has the ability to declare half of the world dumb or to be sad that it actually is just intelligent enough to realize its inability to do anything great. That it will live and die like a normal brain. And it’s not a rare specie for sure. Wouldn’t it have been better if it was far too dumb to understand that it’s dumb? Ignorance is bliss for sure.

 

It always admired Sherlock Holmes and always wanted to be like him. Not the way he solved the cases, rather the way he subtracted emotions from the thinking part. Emotions kill rational thinking. They urge to you to take decisions which might not be the best choice and possibly the worst of all the choices.

 

My brain sometimes wonders if my heart wasn’t there. It has a misconception the heart is responsible for all the emotions and thus the illogical behavior of itself a lot of times. What it’s assuming to be heart is actually its alter-ego which does the ‘heartily-thinking’. It’s responsible for all the illogical thinking and when it comes alive the real-brain ceases its existence. It’s dodged by itself.

 

So what is the key to happiness then? I feel the answer does not exist. Maybe it’s the way things are supposed to be. God’s formula of striking a balance in the world.

 

There is a possibility you have no idea what I am talking about, or it may all seem too obvious to you to think about, or maybe you think everything written above is bullshit and you have a perfect answer to all of that. I don’t blame you. It’s just where your grey-matter stands make a difference.