Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tagging Tales

"You are tagged" . After endless chats and some Gyaan sessions from fellow Bloggers, I have finally understood what Tagging means. I also understand that I have to tag someone now. The last few weeks have been very strange for me. Almost a result a week and So-near- Yet- so-far-performances, I have realised that Indian B school Entrances are insanely competitive, mind numbingly unpredictable and absurdly unintelligible. Not a loser's rant though, having seen some amazingly wonderful people (Courtesy PG) bite the dust this year, it makes me wonder whether two B school Entrance seasons have made me any wiser. The fact remains that the art and science of convincing every B school, that I am the candidate to pick, has made me a tad wiser. But as Gabriel Garcia says "It is that wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good", hoping that it helps me when I need it the most. Wisdom plays a beautiful game with you , with its sworn enemy being Ambition.Wisdom will behave like a well trained army, cunning in its strategies, thorough in its moves and perfect in execution. On the other hand, Ambition is a slave of guerrilla tactics, always in the hiding, unorganised, amateur and passionate, but more often than not catches wisdom off-guard. The battle is an endless one, with Wisdom ruled by practicality and Ambition driven by dreams. In this battle of epic proportions, no clear winner ever emerges. When elephants fight, its the grass that suffers. All our minds are simply battlegrounds and what we are today we owe it to these mighty elephants. Our Character and personality is shaped by the wounds inflicted in these battles.Wounds that should never heal and are never meant to heal.Wounds, no matter how painful and deep they are, have their right to be. Things will always be clear in hindsight, the future is always hazy because of the vagaries and the randomness of these elephants. What is required is to let them have their way, not because I believe in Destiny but because it works like a feedback mechanism. You are a reflection of your Wisdom and Ambition and vice versa.No one holds an edge, no one is smarter, they simply coexist.On this note, cutting short my wanderings, shall complete my tag from Pragnya now. We all have moved on but the memories of yesteryear's linger like the flavour of a well brewed Cuppa.

Ten Things I miss in Life Now( The prime numbered ones being missed most)

1. SVNIT ( The People, the Campus, The LAN, The Rickety Hostels!! )

2. Gujju's and Gujjuland, No seriously !

Unending Bakar sessions with G 8 and the T group .

Postponing my Next bath

5. Ghar ka Khana :)

The pure joy of being carefree, whiling away time in the Canteen

Reading Books at unearthly hours and end up bunking classes in the morning.

8. Gassing in Vivas in front of God Level Proffs

9. Anandalaya

10. Lack of Good Company at CCD, missing this tagger
- My sincere Coffemate.

Ten Things I want to achieve in a Decade or so
(The prime numbered ones being most aspired for)

1. A trip to Israel

2. Reading the most amazing books ever written and having my own library

3. Getting into MICA, and then going on to study at the best places in the World.

4. To be more respected than to be rich

5. Work with the BBC

6. Become an Active Alumnus

7. Coax mom into publishing her writings

8. Getting Engaged ( Trust me, that's Gonna be Tough :P )

9. Become an Addicted PaGaL

10. Own a chain of Bookstores to revive the Dying Art

P.S 1 is neither prime nor composite.

And Thou shall tag

Dream Catcher

(Waiting for you to start)


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Superstitions!! For the lack of a better topic

Ok I have been tagged and as Pragnya tried to explain me the whole concept ( Hats off to her..Phew patience lady) , all I could understand was the fact that people want me to update my blog. I am still trying to understand what the whole Idea is.Would have been great if I could use some PaGaLGuY emoticons here. People, Kindly enlighten.Anyways, here is a post from the past on superstitions. Promise to post something new soon.

What is common to the great Black Plague of Europe in the 14th Century, Francis Bacon and his Sylva Sylvarum (FYI it is a name of his book), Tetra phobia and Triskaidekaphobia and Sigmund Freud? Voltaire once remarked “It is to religion what astrology is to astronomy, the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.” The phenomenon has withstood the test of time and has been passed on from one generation to the other. It has been intricately woven into the fabric of our lives and most of us seldom think about it. But science and logic have always been locking horns with it and the battle between them has been an endless one.

Many intellectuals have also fallen into the tempting trap of superstitions. During the time of the Black Plague, Pope Gregory I the Great passed a law requiring people to say "God bless you" when somebody sneezed; this was said to prevent the spread of the disease and to cure whoever already had it. Francis Bacon (in his Sylva Sylvarum, X, 998) mentions that "it is constantly received and avouched that the anointing of the weapon that maketh the wound will heal the wound itself" This superstition was still in practice in eastern England in the 20th century: At Norwich, in July 1902 a woman named Matilda Henry accidentally ran a nail into her foot. Without examining the wound, or even removing her stocking, she asked her daughter to grease the nail, thinking that if this were done no harm would come of the injury. Within few days she died of lockjaw. The integer 13 for no faults of its’, bears the brunt of many superstitions. The fear of the number thirteen (13) is so pervasive that it even has its own term: triskaidekaphobia. The belief that thirteen brings bad luck has been an extremely pervasive belief throughout many societies, and is strong enough that many major hotels and high rises traditionally either build only twelve floors, or, if they want to go higher, skip labeling the 13th floor entirely! Many people refuse to stay on the 13th floor, or in room 13. People stay home from work, for fear of something bad happening. Most airports don't have a thirteenth gate. And in Topeka, Kansas, where the zip code starts with 666, they skip from 66612 to 66614. The tradition of touching wood traces back to an ancient pagan belief. Spirits resided in trees, particularly Oaks, and that by knocking on or touching the wood, you were paying a small tribute to them by remembering or acknowledging them, and could call on them for protection against ill-fortune. Breaking a mirror or walking under a ladder would bring seven years of bad luck, left palm itching indicates monetary gain, the list is endless. Every culture has its own set of superstitions and beliefs, and superstitions are a reflection of our insecurities and inadequacies.

But if we delve deeper and look into the reasons as to why the human race is so much in love with superstitions, the results seem to be a tad surprising. Let me give you a sneak peek into this amazing world of superstitions. Superstitions could stem from various reasons and factors which include Gender, age, thinking styles and point of views, and most importantly parental and peer pressure. Mostly, our development from an innocent infant to a mature adult is largely influenced by people and the environment that surrounds us. “Conventional wisdom”, albeit questionable, is the single biggest reason as to why people are superstitious. We are bought up to accept some things at face value, especially if coming from an adult or a family member. They have been immortalized in folklore and. Another possible reason for our belief is a desire to control our lives and to cover up shortcomings. If you believe that you got rejected in an interview because a black cat crossed your path, you essentially have an escapist attitude and consoling yourself. Most superstitious people would argue that they have actually seen their superstitions come true. But that to me seems a classic case of ‘seeing only what you want to see’. The cat may have crossed your path a million times, and then nothing untoward happened. But the one time something went wrong, rejecting all past experiences, one would confirm their superstition based on this single and probably random event.

But if we see carefully, there seems to be a subtle undercurrent or connecting factor to all of the above explanations. Essentially, looming fear is the cause of superstitions. Consider the scenario, when people used to think that thunder and lightning indicate that god is unhappy. It is the fear of the unexplained, incomprehensible and the unseen that is the cause of superstitions. Once people understood that lightning is due to the attraction of highly charged particles in the atmosphere, the belief died a slow but certain death. When we fail to conduct scientific enquiry, we tend to believe any wild goose theory that is thrown at us. It is our pessimistic and dim outlook towards things in life that makes us cling to such beliefs, as they provide us with answers, no matter how improbable, and soothe our nerves. To calm our fears of failure, rejection and essentially the unexplained, the mind sees these explanations as plausible.

As long as one has silly ones like crossing the fingers for good luck, superstitions make life interesting. But I wonder if Matilda Henry would beg to differ. But will superstitions find a place in this fast developing and scientific world, the one where intense questioning of anything and everything is the norm? The question I believed is best answered by Robert Means Lawrence in his book The Magic of the Horse-Shoe “The world moves and civilization progresses, but the old superstitions remain the same. The rusty horse-shoe found on the road is still prized as a lucky token, and will doubtless continue to be so prized; for human nature does not change, and Superstition is a part of human nature.”