Sunday, 23 December 2007

Paris Visit

I visited Paris Last weekend (Stayed there for couple of days), It was a very interesting journey to Paris where at last minute we came to realize that Belgium Trains are at strike and there were no trains from Mechelen to Brussels, we had to share a taxi with a student from Japan and another professor looking guy. It costed us 35 Euros while a train journey would have costed us at the max of 6 Euros, Long Live Strikes..

I feel that was just a beginning and in the Brussels Central station we were taken for a ransom of 120 Euros for a return ticket as we did the booking just before an hour or so. Then the train strike cast its spells here as well, as the international trains leave only from Brussels Midi station , when we approached taxi guys, we got a reply saying that its pretty walkable. When we started walking we realized that we were lied to (May be the taxi drivers wanted to take advantage of strike and preffered to take only long journeys, Human mentality hardly changes ).

We were exhausted when we finally reached Midi station and when we boarded the train we were totally exhausted and we just crashed to our seats.

It was a super fast train (above) which reached Paris (Gare du Nord) in less than one and a half hours time . We were into to the land of "Oui"s and "Bon Jour"s and booked ourself into a hotel just opposite to the station and went for a Sight Seeing tour, after couple of hours I realized why Paris is so high in the books of romantics, there is a mystic aura that prevails in this city and it just takes you with it.

We were roaming around La Opera and went to Notre Dome and lot of other places around river

Siene where i got used to hearing "This was built during blah blah century and by blah blah blah for blah blah reasons" ot was a boring norm and the striking thing was the La Invalides where they have built a huge resting place for wounded soldiers and it was heartening to hear that Napolean personally visited the place to ensure the veterans got a good treatment.

After chilling out in the cold of the open bus, we settled back in the room and it was awesome to have a proper south indian food near the Gare Du Nord.

Whole of next day we spent in the Louvre (Still have doubts abt the pronounication) and i couldnt describe in the words, it would be a pure trance to any art lover and especially the classical european art. But somehow i was not really fascinated seeing Monalisa even at a closeup, I would rather prefer other works of Da Vinci than the Monalisa. The good find of the trip was my find of the impressionist paintings which i feel is really awesome. The main birth of impressionist movement was mainly rebellious of the norm and an urge to distinguish art from the photography. Its a typical competetive strategy of creating a new market place which impressionists did, where they wanted to outscore the photography which could take more vivid pictures of portrait and landscapes. Those loose brushes which leave an impression and which leave the viewer to guess this is really amazing and is philosophical as well.

Before going to Paris , i have never realized that
art could influence your life this much and i was very happy to have spent a bit to see paris and understand its mystical aura which we all still fail to grasp.

Couple of days after our trip i saw a movie called 2 days in paris and it was just what i wanted and is a great depiction of those who really dont understand what monsieurs live for.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Distraction Theft Attempt - Antwerp

Me and my friend had a very strange experience in Antwerp, Belgium, the story goes likes this..
We were on our way back to our hotel in antwerp after a harddays job in Mechelen(later we moved there itself) and we bought an australian delight icecream (which was fantastic) and we stopped for a bit shopping (i bought dorittos and he bought calling cards, so Shopping may be a bit of an overstatement) while we were walking outside, we were stopped by a tourist looking guy.
He kept on asking for directions in different european languages and after we gave up saying that we dont belong here and just on a short visit, two guys popped up out of a sudden, the road pitch dark (Imagine 6 pm during european winter) and after flashing their Police (politie) badges they asked our details about where we were coming from and wanted to see our passports, suddenly i remembered what my older boss told long back about a similar inciedent that happened to him in Geneva and i decided that these guys could be fakes, yet we were not in a position to argue back (I was scared that he could run away with my passport) and he took my friends wallet and wanted to check for the presense of drug.
They let the first guy go and told us that dark street is known for drug trafficking and they do a routine check. Luckily my friends purse was very lightly loaded and they let us go.
This was such a trauma and in hindsight, we concluded
> These guys were fake
> The first guy was used to distract us and was let go to have a watch whether anybody is coming on the way and to give a signal
> We were not all that couragious as we keep telling ourselves
For the next fewdays we always had a suspicious eye on others and were very hesitant to initiate a conversation with others. Esp in Paris where we spent our week (Another Post)


Mechelen is a very interesting place where i was working on a short assignment for two weeks for a client.
It has a very interesting history and has several places of interest.
I had couple of interesting anecdotes which i wanted to share.
I was trying to send a courier this morning to UK (Another seperate story) and the hotel receptionist told me in broken english that meant "This being a small city we dont have any courier offices" . Cool i had alternatives.....
It was time for lunch and after we were walking for about more than one half an hour around the noon we came to realize that the place didnt have enought restaurants as well ,gradually we were ready to make any compromises to eat anything and after a great search we ended up in a place called Panos which finally served some good food (some pretty romantic scenes by a cool couple sitting opposite to me)
In the evening we went for walk and bumped across a pub (where i did my first experimentation with campari ) and we were amazed to a very good dinner , -Omlet Champignon-(We thanked the server many a times).
Sometimes what we search for is always in a reachable distance and yet we keep searching.....


I took this photo, when we went to Kulu Manali (In Punjab) by Sep 2007 and i really liked the expressive face of the Old Man.
What could he be thinking??
Will he be aware of all the thoughtfulness and thoughtlessness and all of those philosophical confusions? Nope i hope!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Define Your Past, Predict your Future

Ostensibly the question "Who Am I" doesnt warrant a big answer but when you dig more on the philosophical side, it poses a huge challenge and is really daunting as hell.

Was reading through the Art of Now and traced its orign to Ramana Maharishi and on his soulful guidance to Bhagavad Gita.

Its a very interesting soul searching exercise that who am i can reveal you. So i thought instead of sitting in a room and trying it out, which i would do eventually , i would blog my thoughts.

So who am I? Well , this really depends on the Who Am I to whom? Philosophies want the whom to be "you", then what is you? This again traces us to I.

Who Am "I"
View 1:
"I" for obvious reasons is my body and mind put together, since body is not immortal , I am not the body, So is I using the body to stay for a while and have a nice time?

If this being the case, is "I" a space time like conitnuum across(which again is under debate) ?

If "I" is a continuum across, then there doesnt exist seperate "I" , which implies we are all part of an oneness which religions attribute to God. Hence great guru's like Ramana insist you to keep asking your self the question "Who Am I" which is the starting point of realization of oneness.

But if we admit such an oneness exist, does the oneness split itself and gets into the bodies? Why would it do so? Or should we simply conclude the oneness is in all and I am You and You are me.
If it being the case, do we really need to worship/beleive in god, because we ourselves are a part of the god. If we have a presense of god in us, why there are sinners? So should we realize this connection, is this what is called as awareness or consciousness.

This is an intresting realization of I , which i seem to conclude that it is not unique and rather it is the oneness.

So the physical I which we are really bothered about is nothing but an implementation of the interface "I", which we extend to whatever we want as a matter of convienience.

I dont want to dwelve into the complexities further which may satisfy my urge to verbalise what i feel but as a conclusion i was struck by following thoughts i have read recently.

> Who Am I? which leads me to oneness
> Dont get disturbed by Past, dont get daunted by Future.
> Live in now with full conscious ness , because now is what you have to define your past and shape your future
> Concentrate on the things that you do now , have full love over others because they are not far different from what you are because the oneness is in every one
> This way you can define your past and predict your future, because you hold the key

The take-away's of my last two months study has been said above, all of the above thoughts are based on several assumptions and recently it has been changing a lot towards what i elaborated above.

I beleive , i will stick to these concepts till a radical change happens in my thought process, because
> This gets me more disciplined
> I try to treat success/failure the same
> My resolve to get my things done is increasing several fold

All of the above thought process is not going to make me an yogi and that is not what i intend to become as well.

Just want to live a happy , simple and uncomplicated life.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Existence of Ghost

I came to my friend's place in Cirencester (Cool country side in GL, UK) and after the dinner our conversation started revolving around the ghosts.
My friend (Sam) was telling me that he has heard voices in one of the room in the house and knowing sam to be a sombre and courageous guy , unless he was intentionally trying to pull it on me (which is very unlikely) , i had to beleive what he told.

This again rose the curious mind inside me to kindle lot of questions in my mind, whether the ghosts really exist or is it a sensory perception?
The earliest ghost story that i have heard in my life was from my dad, who saw a person sitting on a restway bridge and didnt have any legs and that was a long story, my story being told by dad whom i respect for his analytical abilities ( i am still trying to outwit him without any success ) i couldnt argue more.

There are couple of insignificant encounters in my life where i came close to seeing a ghost but not quite successfully.
So what are the points for a ghost to exist, more than that what could be a definition of a ghost
Google says "def ghost" ghost as ,
"The spirit of a dead person, especially one believed to appear in bodily likeness to living persons or to haunt former habitats"

Ghost is a spirit of a dead person which will roam around their known places of hanging around.
So whats a spirit, Is it a collection of thoughts that represent the dead person? If it is a collection of thoughts, then whose definition it is? Ours or its(his/her)?

Is it just a phenomenon running in our confused minds? I strongly beleive so, unless you are told that the place you stay used to be a cemetry (we scared our collegue to hell by telling him so), your perception about the place is entirely different and the moment you hear that the place used to be a cemetry , your logical fixations start. So is a ghost just exist in our minds to attribute to the facts that we couldnt explain out of the normal sciences that we know? Most likely yes i would say, Our thoughts and conclusions are always based on the facts and fallacies of the science that we know and anything that we cannot decipher out of the science, we either reject or refuse to accept.

But it would be definetly interesting to understand whether the voices have been heard by more than a guy at the same time(provided nobody was walking around the closer road by) .

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Very Intersting Fact of Life - Question

I was reading an intresting book called "Smarter Selling" - not that i want to become a salesman but just want to understand one more domain.
It listed out 5 Kinds of questions ,
Surface Questions, Hunt Questions, Adapt Questions, Paint Questions and Engage Questions.
(They call it as SHAPE framework)
It rose a lot of thoughts.....

Asking the rights question at the right time is a paradigm which has been hugely debated but yet grossly less written about.

To sketch out the basics..
Why do we question? answer is simple - To get an answer, but answer really depends upon the type of the question ,person who asks the question, the circumstances at which the questions are asked, the questioned partie(s) and his willingness and so on.

The ability to question differentiates the intelligence of the human beings, we all chase for favorable answers but do we have right questions, are we searching for an answer with a wrong question?

Historically when did we start questioning? Must be at the primitive stages, so the first question of an early human could have been, I am hungry - where do i get food?
Then it could have progressed around
Where do i get a nice place to store my food to take it later?
Who like me , i like whom?
Where do i build a house ?
blah blah blah,
Those who had stronger questions which cant be answered by those who were around them, could have started travelling to get an answer.
Those who had the will and courage to fight to get an answer became immortal in life then onwards.
Those who had the question "How do i leave my Legacy" built pyramids.
Those who had a question of how to stop their enemy built Chinese wall.
Those who had a question to know whats in the sea became explorers
Those who had a question to see whats in the moon Built rockets......
This is on the positive side, those who had a negative questions, caused huge holocausts.
Those who ran out of questions, become Saints.
If we dredge carefully, if we have many a thoughts in our mind, have many a questions around them. They keep chasing answers for many a questions aimlessly.
So is it good to have lesser number of question? Is it good to have more number of questions?
Depends upon who we are and what we are.
Questions always play very interesting part in interpersonal communication. A conversation is always bound by questions, a question could decide whether we may be liked or not.
A question could make or break a deal.
Keep Questioning friends...........

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Why we need god? (Contd...1)

So am I searching god for satisfying my intellectual curiosity, may be yes. If this being the case, what am I trying to achieve? An Answer may not be. Will a honest attempt in the journey of undiscovering god phenomenon be of help to guide similar doubters, a big yes.

God Segments

God can be approached in three main angles, i.e. sociological, emotional and spiritual.

God does a great deal to the society. He bounds billions of people together; he exists in different flavors and does or doesn’t do a great deal of stuff. Lot of ordinary men’s hope of life is guided by the unquestioned existence of god. They just move ahead in their life hoping that god will wave his magic wand one day and help solving their miseries of life.

This segment is very poor economically and typically exhibits highest order of faith, second segment is the one which has got a basic security in life and hopes to join further rich segments, and here also he plays a vital role as he may further help them grow or punish them for any disobedience.

The third segment is the richer segment, this is same like the poorer segment and is equally desperate to impress god to grow richer and to retain all the worldly goods that they have collected over the years
These social segments predominantly believe in god for their material existence.

Emotional, this segment is a bit weird one and this segment tries to seek a solace in god for something which is non materialistic but yet not spiritual. Spirituality is a holy grail for this segment and they seek happiness through the Spiritual brokers who have easier access to the god.

Spiritual segment is a very interesting segment and this has more access to knowledge about and god himself in many a cases. Classical examples of this segment are Jesus, Buddha, Allah, ancient gurus who claim super power etc. This is the critical segment to observe as this segment defines god and people predominantly go by their word.

So why do they do it? Why only a few get enlightened to do this job for others? Who are this chosen few and why only few are chosen.

I believe this segment is dominated by those who are more intellectual than other and has an natural aura to influence knowingly or unknowingly. Did the earlier occupants of this category named god for the sake of lesser mortals understand something which they cannot comprehend?
Was god a convenient name given to a collection of concepts and sets of laws that people have to obey? Were they the critical influencers?

For long, the society has always been seeking answers to questions that it cant rationalize and comprehend. Human mind always wanders for guidance, starting from the days when we started wandering in the deep forests among the animals, by the virtue of survival we always wanted to be guided.

To be able to increase the probability of survival, men always moved in herds. When he got matured and started knowing things, the mental survival in a jungle of emotional distress sought a solace. He was searching for a safe boat to cross from non clarity to clarity. This was well utilized by the cleverer intellectuals of the ancient time who offered to sail them across and presented them a magical formula “GOD”.

There are two possibilities here, one is the cleverer intellectuals were honest and offered people something they found by chance or hard work or intuitions (several words really compete here) and it was true. Second case is that the cleverer intellectuals were duping, in any case it is not going to be helpful to go deep into how it originated as it may not help dealing with our case now.

God : Is a well sold brand by clever sales men?

The real critical success for Gods success in human life is the continuous selling, branding, re branding him as a concept. Certain versions of god sold really well and certain others didn’t and this was predominantly determined by which society sold which form of god. A further dissection of the same would require deeper understand of religion and it causes which is far beyond the scope of this and moreover Religion is a natural extension of the central theme around it (typically a or few or many gods in different forms).

An interesting analysis would be how different religions give forms to the gods: Let’s stick the major religions that existed and exist currently <>

Why we need god? (Contd...)

If one can prove gods existence won’t it kill the mystics of god, all those supernatural healers and god men? To me god has been kept in the art form now and the answer may lead to the commoditization of the God.

Imagine a scenario where god has been traced to live in the galaxy “Gringybringygravia” and he can be reached by sending a prayer with a combination of words that has been cracked? If god has been found, it would be safe to assume that there could be antigods by virtue of jealousy of his presence. So what if in the search of god, we stumble upon a poser?

And what if god is not really interested in communicating to us and intentionally wants to avoid all of the limelight as any other celebrity.

There are zillions of possibilities why a god could exist and equally same or number of possibilities why he cannot exist as well.

So is it all worthy to raise this question same like rest of those who wanted to solve this god question?

For all of those who accept the god, the case is very simple, the law is out there just stick to it, Use god conveniently and keep the faith until you die.

For those who deny, the case is again simple, just deny the fact that he exist and keep rationalizing the myth by using the science that you know.

The real problem is for those who are confused, these the people who are really struck in the grid lock. I am one such lesser fortunate’s…

So why should I work on Gods question, in what way will it help me, why shouldn’t I just accept the fact that he exists and move ahead. What difference doesn’t it going to make in my life if I get convinced that he doesn’t exist or exists.

If 5000 years of human quest for god cannot prove or disprove his existence what else am I going to make for the mankind? Do I need to spend time on something which I may end up spending my significant amount of time? Probably the answer lies in the psychology of human mind, being trained to work on knowing the unknown’s god is the biggest unknown.

So what do I define as god, to me, God is a resort where everything else stops to work.
God is a phenomenon that is observable through an event on absence of it. Is god scientific, I don’t think so? If yes, the scientists would definitely be working on it. God gives is a concept which was observed/created/nurtured in the human minds and actions over the long time. In a constrained society very few people dare to question him. He is just accepted without questions. But a logical mind which wants to be working on more complex problem god is a feast.
God is a placeholder for anything mysterious in life, anything that happens or not happens can simply be pushed to god. He takes up all the blames and beatings too along with the garlands.

Why we need god?

Off late I am intrigued by the question that has been daunting civilizations their philosophers, intellects and lot of ordinary mortals. This has been a very interesting question (probably Mother of all questions) that has taken an enormous amount of people’s times and sometimes their lives too.

So let’s start from where it would have all started. In the very early beginning of the mankind there would not have been any questions about the god, as the man (and women too, for a convenience sake lets keep it as a he) would have been busy searching for food. When there was enough food (or lack of it) man was in a dire need to attribute things that he didn’t understand to something that he is very likely to understand, and thus came god into the being.

The early god could have been a very simple phenomenon, inspired from the nature and may be from his ancestors. Different groups of human would have had different god(s) and when a group gets bigger and stronger their god would have gained more popularity over the other gods, so along with the war of human a subsequent war of gods was also started. When humans had nothing to quarrel about god and his various versions and forms gave them a real good reason to fight and live.

So did god exist from the start or was he created?

Before going deep into the question from where it may take ages to come out – a lot many a people have died in between - , is it really worthwhile to raise this question “Does god exist?” , more than answering this question, it makes more sense for one to raise this question before raising the initial one.

What is the use of raising the God Question, is it an intellectual curiosity, is it to help bolster ones reasoning abilities in what ways it is going to help human mind? Will it improve our life styles could it solve the terrorist problems, daily need of poor nations?
(It may not solve many worldly problems, but it may create more problems for instance what would religious fanatics do with out god? What would they fantasize about? )

While there are various stages in god denial, the god question is the starting point of atheism. Atheist strongly deny god and one is not sure whether all of the atheists would have gone through the path of searching for a god and got convinced that he doesn’t exist or simply followed those intellectual types with whom they wanted to get associated with.
There are multitudes of ways possible and for simplicity sake let’s keep the boat near the shore.

What are the benefits of getting an answer to the god question?