Friday, November 28, 2008

Time Average

In my study of physics over the years, I've come across a certain topic called the ergodic principle several times. In essence, it states that if you wait long enough, a system explores every single possiblity and state it can exist in. So when you wait long enough, neither you, nor the system can tell where it started.
The attack on Mumbai that is still on, has caused millions to react to the scenario. For one thing, I notice that there's suddenly a display of grief online. There are poems, there are dedicated status messages, and there are blog posts expressing grief and ire at what happened. While my heart goes out to all those affected in more direct and tangible terms by this travesty than myself, I do see a certain trend arising out of all this. And the trend is error-free because I have a huge pool of such incidents within this year to observe the pattern.
We're going through this cycle once every fortnight now. Only that each time it gets worse and bolder. Almost all bomb blasts carried out this year in India have been serial blasts. We thought it was really bold of them to have successfully carried of 6-8 coordinated blasts at the same time. Then there was a time they let us discover no less than 28 bombs in a city in the span of 48 hours. Then the number rose further to 16 blasts. This time round, instead of walking into our backyard, they sailed in through our front gate and brought us down to our knees.
What did we do in response everytime? Poems, blog posts, status messages. The standard knee-jerks. "Oh, this is a terrible tragedy". Thats pretty much what even I did. We got up and declared proudly through whatever means of communication we had, "Terrorists, you will not destroy our spirit!". In the next few days, and on the first anniversaries of these tragic incidents, if the number of dead is above a certain cut-off, the news channels reported how everyone has gone back to their business as usual. "The spirit of the city has not been broken". Of course, the polite political condemnation had to make its presence felt. Before we could prosecute the perpetrators of one blast, there were some fifteen more.
My point here is that if we were to note the time axis, there is a peak of such knee jerk reactions everytime such an incident occurs. Slowly, it fades away. Tomorrow, my status message will be something completely different. And it will continue to be different till the next spike arrives. And I'm sure the next spike will arrive. The terrorist does not take note of your status message and your declaration of an indomitable spirit.
Why do people go back to their lives as before? Because they don't have a choice. The 200 dead have left 2 million behind who still have to live. And we say people have gone back to normal, really, on the average. 200 is not a number. 200 is a fraction of the number of lives that have been irreversibly altered by the incident. They will never go back to 'normal'. But because even this number is much smaller than the mass that wasn't affected directly, the blips get lost out in the average.
As time progresses, we would be exposed to every possibility, so no one can tell where we came from, much like the system I talked of.
While I express my heartfelt solidarity to the people of Mumbai, its about time we stopped knee-jerking.
A little less bark, a little more bite.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Anything Goes

I had once written in a song I wrote, "The one thing that I hate about people, is that anything goes". I don't know if what I'm writing right now is a reaction amplified by days of no sleep and a strong sense of irritation. Nonetheless, sleep or no sleep, its quite true about the people of my country and especially my city - ANYTHING GOES.

The thought struck me first this morning, when I was driving to college. Anything goes brings itself out the best on Delhi roads. The feeling just got worse as the day progressed and I began to notice things that irked me more and more.

It's alright that we cross the road at random places, because even in the middle of rush hour traffic, the only thing one has to do to cross the road, is to walk in and stick one's indignant hand towards the oncoming traffic. Because lets face it, the person driving will do everything in his power to prevent himself from running over you (even though thats precisely what he wants to do) because he doesn't want to go to prison.

It's alright that I push my car into the little morsel of space I see in between the two cars ahead, because my time is the only time. All else can take a hike.

It's alright that when I get into a bus, I push the person next to me to get in, because that seat is mine and mine alone.

It's alright that when I see a long traffic jam ahead, I turn back my car and shift lanes headlong into oncoming traffic. And its easy for me to turn a deaf ear to the honking behind me because I'm on the phone anyway.

It's alright that I smoke in a closed elevator, because I'm not the only one suffocating.

It's alright that every two weeks someone walks into my country's backyard and blows up a few people to smithereens. Its not even worth noticing unless its atleast a hundred people. Even if it is, a few hundred in a billion never really mattered anyway. We can always bring in another hundred.

Tomorrow morning, the newspapers will read tall stories of my city's courage and how quickly I can forget it all and go back to my normal life till someone comes two weeks later. I wasn't killed, nobody I know was killed, so I guess the world's filled with sunshine.

Tomorrow morning, the minister will appear and condemn the heinous act and promise to bring the perpetrators to justice, a promise he's learnt to rattle off emotionlessly with all the bi-weekly practice he's got.

It's alright that I suck the last remaining life out of my planet. So what if a few countries sink today, there's two hundred of them. So what if a few can't breathe the air today, I still can.

We've just been brought up to adjust, to compromise. And we pretend its courage.

It's alright. It's evolution.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Ringing In My Head... this the cure,
Or is it a disease?

Oh wait...its nuclear physics.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Seen The...

home inside my head,
All locked doors and unmade beds.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Lazy Years

The idea for this post accidentally popped out of my friend's mouth as we woke up at 6 pm after an afternoon nap today. As he woke up, he said, "There was that show called The Wonder Years, we must produce one called The Lazy Years!". Needless to say, this last weekend that he's graced with his presence, has been the biggest sloth fest. We could probably provide electricity for a whole block for a day with the amount of energy we've 'conserved' over the last three days.

Winter's come to Delhi now (well, almost) and I'm certainly the cold-weather person. I love Delhi's winters except for the fact that this year it's rather smoky and hazy, almost like the Gods above are having a bachelor party in the basement. Winter brings along with the chill, a certain slowness to the normal functioning of one's daily businesses. That sort of explains why I haven't posted for almost 20 days now. Probably also explains why I'm writing this post to delay starting out on the mountain of work thats piling up in the background.
Anyway, here are Siddharth Krishnamoorthy's tips to save the day during this winter:
  1. Have a bath within the first hour of getting up. That saves you from the possibility of sitting every week end at 6.30 in the evening, posting on your blog and wondering if you should just push it off to the next morning. I I won't...I will...maybe not...I will...we'll see.
  2. If you should nap in the afternoon, like I did today (and prospectively on many more days to come), make sure you get up before it turns dark. Its a really tough ask because the old light dies a little too fast for its own good, but do it to avoid time zone confusions when you get up rather disoriented and dazed.
  3. Mind over matter is my best advice for weekday mornings, especially Mondays. Please muster all your faith to prevent you from killing the cause that causes you to wake up early on Mondays.

My point is, around this time, we're already leaning quite heavily in one direction. A small push is all it takes!

Have a lazy winter.