Monday, February 24, 2020

ਅੱਜ ਦੁਨੀਆ  ਪਾਲਦੀ

ਬੂਟੇ ਲਾਓ
ਫੁੱਲ ਖਿਡਾਓ
ਹਾਸੇ ਪਾਓ

ਵੱਡੇ ਬੀਬੇ ਬੰਦਿਆਂ ਨੇ
ਚਾਰੇ ਪਾਸੇ
ਲਾ 'ਤੀ ਅੱਗ
ਅੱਗ ਲੱਗਣੀ
ਪੀਂਗਾ ਪਾਂਦੀ ਖੇਡ.
Devanagri Script:
आज दुनिया पालदी 

बूटे लाओ 
फुल्ल खिड़ाओ 
हासे पाओ 

बड़े बीबे बन्देयाँ ने 
चारे पासे 
ला 'ती अग्ग 

अग्ग लगनी 
पींगां पांदी खेड 

Roman Transliteration:
Ajj Duniya Paaldi

Boote Lao
Phull Khidao
Haase Paao

Bade beebe bandeyaan ne
Chaare Paase
La ditti Agg
Agg Lagni Danaee

Peengaan Paandi Khed!

The world needs
Gardeners, Idiots
and Jesters.

So we may
plant trees
and laugh.

The wise ones
set the world
on fire.
May wisdom
be burnt to the ground.

Let laughter
claim the swings again.

क्षणिका: शायरी और हश्र : Poetry and Bounty

शायर बनने का हशर 
मैंने देख लिया है. 
अब मैं 
माली बनना चाहता हूँ। 
यास नहीं, 
फूल उगाना चाहता हूँ। 
I have seen 
the results
of being a poet. 
I now want to become 
a gardner. 
I do not want to reap 
I want to nurture

Friday, February 21, 2020

Today's original question of the day

If the term for those who support BJP at all costs is Bhakts,
What is the term for those who oppose the BJP at al costs?

Note: Just like 'Bhakts', the new term is used as a abuse or slur word and is used indiscriminately against anyone who opposes the work of the ruling party. They don't actually have to know what they are talking about.They just have to face some logical opposition from you to some nonsensical stuff they have put up against the ruling party.

And quote:
Now, waiting for the day when the liberals will blame the BJP for the red colour of Planet Mars.

More on Harappa Valley Civilisation

Remember my fascination for Harappa? Today, I finally had some time and went to my favourite page - This site helps us stay in touch with archeological work being done in Pakistan. 
And guess what I found? This absolute treasure trove:–1500-bc?fbclid=IwAR2nBCEgTkrP0swi-NxpOiffN2-LvrCya8YDlx2ncYl2-inM4CN1KquuyM8 All the content we know related to Harappan food! Also, at this site today, I read an article that corroborates my idea that the Harappan seals were mercantile branding instruments.

BUT coming back to the main thing. This is what I think (more thoughts on the IVC)
  • The cooking and storage vessels I have seen so far indicate a narrow stove fire, not unlike the later Chulhas that we observe in the region.
  • I also think that grains were the staple diet, cooked with some form of spiced gravy/sauce, since the cooking pots need the use of a ladle.
  • Family units were probably from 4 to 12 ppl, with community cooking, while not the norm, was not unheard of either. Much like today's times.
  • The other thing I deduce is that either men and women both donned terracotta bangles, or women did much of the household shopping. Because terracotta bangles are discretionary expenditure. They are neither precious enough to be saved for, nor important enough to be preserved specially. So the preponderance of terracotta bangle bits can only mean that they were bought and sold often. The same goes for terracotta children's toys. So I think that while they were an agricultural - mercantile civilisation, home commerce was in the hands of women and there was adequate financial freedom to do discretionary expenditure.

I also think that India and Pakistan should put their political differences aside and work together to unravel the mysteries of the civilisation and the genetic stock that they share. If the Indian side added to this database that is very nicely compiled and made publicly available, we would be able to draw a map with food habits and commonly used food substances. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

STOP forcing everyone to serve meat.

It started with a mixed event turning veg. Which means I could attend it now. So I expressed my happiness. And people started making all kinds of accusations. like it was a sin to be happy that finally there is ONE veg only event happening in life.

Now, I normally ignore this stuff, esp this recent Must-Serve-Meat imperative that has been put on the society by the meat eaters. If you are vegetarian, you are told that every place must serve meat. WHY? Why must every place serve meat? What about the rights of the Jains and the Vegetarians by choice like us to enjoy a meal out? No one bats an eye on Vegan coffee shops, but the pressure from the meat eater is relentless. Do we force you to eat only veg? NO. We only ask to eat our own food without you going to town about how it is discriminatory to not serve meat everywhere. It is NOT discriminatory. It is discretionary. Like all food choices are. They are discretionary.

And for those of you who are being pushed non-stop to "try" non-veg, here are the confessions of a person who has suffered this pressure for over 3 decades. 

Things they don't tell you about non-vegetarian food


    No. Really. It STINKS. Like alcohol, the smell takes some getting used to. Earlier, North India had Vaishno Dhabas and South India had Udupi restaurants. Now, this meat eating prerogative has KILLED eating out options for us. You know what this means? A 1000 cr business for Bikanerwala. And people like us, who really cannot stand the smell of non-veg wafting either from the kitchen or a nearby table, just not being able to eat out.
PVR cinemas gives us the option to see only veg things while pre-ordering snacks, but there is no such restriction within the theater. So the person sitting next to you could well be polishing off chicken while the smell is fed to you, killing your appetite and movie experience.
Once, at a restaurant in Goa, which came "highly  recommended" the smell of freshly dead and cooking fish was so strong that I went out while the rest of the folks finished their food. It was either that or Emeset 8 mg. (strong anti-emetic)

Why does non veg smell? 
For the reason that most dead things do. Putrefaction is a microbial process driven mainly by secreted protein hydrolyzing enzymes and decarboxylase enzymes which convert amino acids into wonderfully aromatic chemicals (e.g. cadaverine, putricene).
Interestingly, mammalian olfactory receptors for these chemicals fatigue quickly and the longer you are in the vicinity of the source, the less repulsive it becomes. (Thanks to the Quora person who wrote this succinctly and precisely) 

What this means in plainspeak: Those who eat it get used to the smell pretty quickly. And that's good for them. But that does not mean that the stink does not exist for the rest of us. It is very real.

B. It does not actually have any taste. It is just flesh and blood. All the "flavour" comes from the spices and the sauce. You can tell one meat from another only by the density and the texture. NOT by taste. Updated: As HT has pointed out, they can tell the taste from the taste itself.

C. It is NOT needed for survival. Vegetarians and Vegans are healthy and have been for centuries.

D. It is NOT good for the environment to create a balance by eating other animals. In fact, as the WHO has pointed out many many times, beef eating is one of the biggest issues with global warming. Rearing cattle for beef is a very high carbon footprint activity and beef releases methane into the environment. The other animals are not far behind. Please don't play God. Humans have not demonstrated any spectacular balancing of population themselves. 

So, if you are being told how it is incorrect to "deprive" school children of "animal protein", please tell them that millions in this country have survived many years on veg food. Our antecedent is established. The core diet that should be offered universally is vegan. Those who want to add dairy can do so. Those who want to eat animal protein can do so too.

All this while, I thought it really was no big deal. In India, everyone has the right to decide how everyone else should live their lives and personal boundaries are not known in our culture. But being name called for just liking the idea that it is a veg event now, NOT by the meat selling lobby but by the folks who are supposed to be educated, just blew my fuse.

It isn't a big deal if YOU focus on what you want to eat, and let me focus on WHAT i want to eat. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Aaj ka Geniune Doubt

What did Varun Grover say when he reached the entrance of Shaheen Bagh? 

1. Varun Grover is a person who protested against the govt's National Registry of Citizens by reciting a poem that said, "I will not show you my papers"

2. Shaheen Bagh is a place in Delhi where protestors against CAA have been holding a sit-out protest. This protest has blocked a major road of Delhi but the protestors are least bothered. Recently, a video was made at this location, in which the speaker was talking about the need to cut off the North East from teh rest of India by blocking the train tracks using the sheer manpower of the Muslim community. After the video surfaced, the speaker was booked by the law. After that, the protestors at Shaheen Bagh started checking the identity papers of everyone who wanted to enter Shaheen Bagh.  (The same people who want to enter and live in a country without showing their papers)

Sanskrit Sukti on Mother and Truth

नास्ति मातृसमो गुरु: 
नास्ति सत्यसमो धर्मो 
Nasti MatriSamo Guru:
Nasti SatyaSamo Dharmo

Meaning: There is no teacher like the mother.
And no Dharama better than Truth. 

A smile to remember: Because Bukowski still knows best

We had goldfish and they circled around and around
in the bowl on the table near the heavy drapes
covering the picture window and,
my mother, always smiling, wanting us all to be happy,
told me, 'Be happy Henry!'
and she was right:
it's better to be happy if you can
but my father continued to beat her
and me several times a week
While raging inside his 6-foot-two frame
because he couldn't understand what was attacking him from within.
My mother, poor fish,
wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times a week,
telling me to be happy:
'Henry, smile! why don't you ever smile?'
and then she would smile, to show me how,
and it was the saddest smile I ever saw
One day the goldfish died, all five of them,
they floated on the water, on their sides,
Their eyes still open,
…and when my father got home he threw them to the cat
there on the kitchen floor and
we watched as my mother …smiled.
-Charles Bukowski

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Aakrosh/ Anger

आक्रोश के पास 
न दिल होता है 
न दिमाग 
आक्रोश के पास 
होता है 
केवल रोष 

आक्रोश को 
न शान्ति मिलती है 
न प्रगति 
आक्रोश को मिलती है 
केवल विजय 

न सृजन करना जानता है 
न प्रेम करना। 
जंगल की आग की तरह 
लीलना जानता है 

जंगल की आग से 
न वार्ता की जाती है 
न उसका मार्गदर्शन 
जंगल की आग को 
बुझाया जाता है.

has neither heart nor head 
Anger only has 
its wrath 

Anger does not get 
either peace 
or progress
It gets 
a victory. 

Anger can neither create
nor nurture
can only 
reduce to ash

Like a jungle fire

A jungle fire 
is neither understood 
nor gently guided. 
A jungle fire 
is Extinguished. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

On public protests being a new career stream all over the world

पहले वे तुम्हे बताएँगे 
कि वे कितने नाखुश हैं 
फिर तेज़ाब की तरह 
फ़ैल जायेंगे 
सारी मिटटी को 
कई पीढ़ियों तक  
ज़हरीला बनाने के लिए. 

क्यूंकि रोष के पास 
कोई उत्तरदायित्व नहीं होता, 
केवल अधिकार, 
जो सुशासन के कारण मिलते हैं
और सुशासन के निर्मूलन में 
प्रयुक्त होते हैं. 

सुशासन से नाखुश 
केवल अवांछित तत्व हो सकते हैं. 
सुशासन की प्रक्रिया का विरोध 
केवल अराजकता करती है. 

First, they will tell you
how unhappy they are
Then, they will pour
radioactive waste
into the soil
to poison it
for generations to come.

Because protest
has no responsibility
just brute force.

When anarchy screams
Listen carefully,
a civilisation is close enough
to threaten
the mayhem.

Nayi Kheti / New Cropping

हम आजकल 
खेतों में 
गोदाई करते हुए 
मिटटी में 
यूरिया और पोटाश के बदले 
नफरत बीजते हैं 

उस से फसल 
शुरू शुरू में 
बहुत हरी दिखाई देती है 
हमारे सुदूर, पर उज्जवल 
की तरह. 

थोड़े समय बाद 
हमें पता चलता है कि 
मक्की पक कर पीली हो जाती है 
और नफरत 

In our times
when we plough the land
to prepare the soil
we do not add
or potash
to the soil.
We add

At first
the crops look bright and green
Just like our distant
but bright and green

After a while
we realise
that corn, on maturing, turns yellow
and hatred
turns red.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Book Review: Hidden Files: Tales of Cyber Crime Investigation

This book is a surprise! I picked it up for some light reading and finished it at one go. What i love best about the book is its precision. It covers - the case, the investigation, the result. No judgements, no hyperbole, no sweat and toil and best of all, no warnings, lessons, 'I-told-you-so's.

Cyber fraud is not new in our world. Most cases in the book deal with civil offences (except two, one with national security and the other with a crime). But they all affect lives, and they all hold lessons of hope. Usually, when I read about cybercrime, inherent in that is the story of "Don't do this" or "Don't do that". But here , the message I got at the end of each story was - don't worry. No one gets away with this. We have what it takes. I Loved that positive message.

Should children read this book? 
Of Couse! All children above the age of 12 MUST read this book. It has nifty stories that read like detective fiction, except, they're true!

Since the book itself is very succinct and to the point, I think the review should be like that too.

I'd love to read more by this author (Have ordered his second book already)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Mera aaj ka original insult

आप वो हैं जिससे Mariana Trench पूछता है, "कितने नीच हो तुम?" 

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Sanskrit on Vidya: From Super 30

विद्या  सर्व जयनी
विद्या विघ्नहरनी
विद्या सकल कार्य
विद्या देव शसित्
विद्या न्याय दात्री
विद्या जगत् जयनी
विद्या मनुज सौजना

The tribal woman/ Kabeelan

कबीलन जब मरती है 
सबसे पहले भरती है 
घर में 
धान, और अन्न का दाना 
फिर सिखाती है बच्चों को 
खाना बनाना, 
जानवर को चारा खिलाना। 
फिर वह तजती है 
बिलकुल अंत में 
जब प्राण पखेरू उड़ते ही हों 
तब वह करती है 
कपड़ों, और छोटे गहनों का 
हाथ से पकड़ाती है 
अपनी अंगूठी, 
बिछुआ, करधनी. 
और तब, 
मरती है, 
When a tribal woman
decides to die
She fills the house
with grains, and essentials.
Then, she teaches the children
to cook
and keep house.
And then
She stops eating.

On the last day,
just before its time to go
She hands out
the clothes
and the trinkets -
the tiny pieces.

And then,
the tribal woman

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Budget 2020: 10 point analysis

A. Dis-incentivising or penalising savings is not going to increase consumption automatically. Indians are savers. As consumption patterns within and outside India would show, Indians like to splurge on non-essentials after creating a secure nest egg.

B. An environment of economic insecurity does not lead to consumption. When you give tax breaks to startups going bust, you have to remember that this here today gone tomorrow model of employment is creating a lot of negative stress in the talent and consumption market. Find a way to stop this environment of financial insecurity, esp in the job market.

C. In a country like India, the small trader and the bottom of pyramid hold the key to economic activity. The current budget allocations will not put the money directly in their pocket. The tax provisions will make it harder for them to do work. In a depressed economy, the small trader is the key to reversal. Because s/he is among the few entities in the system that are financially stable, independent, and profit positive. Further, the trickle down effect from the small trader to the bottom of pyramid is instant. Pay attention to the small trader.

D. The key to giving power to the farmer is to make it possible for him to trade on location and timing arbitrage. The best part about this Budget is that it hopes to give the farmer both - a series of village level storage owned and operated by women-led SHGs, and Indian Rail and airways working to give the farmer the location advantage. (the minister announced that both railways and the UDAN scheme will run special charters for agri produce). Today, we see goods shipped from one end of the country to another in a jiffy.This was unthinkable just half a decade ago. If the govt executes it right, buyrs will compete on a pan-India e marketplace for agri-produce, and shipping will be taken for granted. The power of that change will be immense. The FCI dreamed of this, but could not realise it. For the first time, the govt is using inland waterways. Since the agri-belts are typically around rivers, the sector is a natural beneficiary.

E. I cannot remember the last time the Finance Minister missed mentioning the Defence outlay in the Budget. The irony is that security is one of the key planks holding this govt aloft. In such a long budget, to not give credit to the defence forces, and equally importantly, the paramilitary forces , is a sore miss for me. The other sore miss is sports. If there is one sector in which India has seen a hockey stick growth curve under BJP, it is sports. Today, we win medals in pretty much every sport we choose. To miss the sports outlay in a budget speech was unfortunate.

F. It is fantastic that the minister has earmarked 103 lakh crores (thats 10 to the power of 12, by the way), for national infra pipeline. Heres a supplementary question - after this awesome highway, waterway, etc. is built, who is going to ensure that it remains usable? Highway Patrol and policing. Policing may be a state subject, but I do believe that police reform is one fo the top 3 priorities for India today. And the center could have "urged" the states to collaborate on a national project involving police reforms, peer benchmarking, and experience sharing across states.

G. I also loved the focus of the FM on all the sectors in primary produce - horticulture, fisheries, dairy, irrigation, input costs, power, (the scheme that allows farmers to produce solar energy on their barren land, and then sell it to the grid if they would like had me going yooohooo), distribution, storage, et al. At 2.83 lakh crores, agriculture is not just the second highest outlay in the budget , it is also well distributed.

H. Why, in God's name, does Kashmir need 30,757 crores in a year? And Ladakh barely one fifth of that?

I. SC, ST, and OBC, between them, will get 1,38,700 crores. But no idea what this will be used for. How will we end caste based politics in this country? By officially creating caste based sops, like everyone else has done? I really thought BJP was different.

J. And now for my second most favourite part of the Budget: 3150crores for heritage and culture. India has history in literally every sq km. But it suffers from so much neglect and apthy. Every single Indian I know who has gone outside has come back to say, God we have so much, and we dont value it! Well, I am glad that someone is valuing it, and not just that, also realising the tourism potential of this wealth of history that we sit on and take for granted. The new museums, and the recurating/renovation of the historical ones, is so necessary. Not just that, the 5 sites that are going to be developed - that is going to be a tourism goldmine if we do this right. I am quite, quite looking forward to this one.

And that, ladies, and gentlemen, are my ten humble points on Budget 2020