Jan 132010
 

I have no means to verify the contents of the mail that I received from my brother today, but its still a good read.
So here it is, word to word, as I received.

“An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem
science has with God, The Almighty. He asks one of his new students to
stand and…….

Prof: So you believe in God?

Student: Absolutely, sir.

Prof: Is God good?

Student: Sure.

Prof:  Is God all-powerful?

Student: Yes..

Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal
him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God
didn’t. How is this God good then? Hmm? (Student is silent.)

Prof: You can’t answer, can you? Let’s start again, young fella. Is God
good?

Student: Yes.

Prof: Is Satan good?

Student: No.

Prof: Where does Satan come from?

Student: From….God. ..

Prof: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student: Yes.

Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything.
Correct?

Student: Yes.

Prof: So who created evil?
(Student does not answer.)

Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these
terrible things
exist in the world, don’t they?

Student: Yes, sir.

Prof: So, who created them?
(Student has no answer.)

Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the
world around you. Tell me, son…Have you ever seen God?

Student: No, sir.

Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?

Student: No, sir.

Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have
you ever
had any sensory perception of God for that matter?

Student: No, sir… I’m afraid I haven’t.

Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?

Student: Yes.

Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science
says your
GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Prof: Yes. Faith… And that is the problem science has.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Prof: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?

Prof: Yes.

Student: No sir. There isn’t.
(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega
heat,
white heat, a little heat or no heat.. But we don’t have anything called
cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t
go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold .. Cold is
only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure
cold. Heat is energy  Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the
absence of it .
(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as
darkness?

Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?

Student : You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something.
You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing
light….But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it’s
called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were you
would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?

Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there
is life and
then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the
concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir,
science can’t even explain a thought.. It uses electricity and
magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.To
view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that
death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of
life: just the absence of it.
Now tell me, Professor.Do you teach your students that they evolved from
a monkey?

Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of
course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where
the argument is going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work
and cannot
even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not
teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher? (The
class is in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s
brain?
(The class breaks out into laughter..)

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain,
felt it,
touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to
the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol,
science says
that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then
trust your lectures, sir? (The room is silent. The professor stares at
the student, his face unfathomable. )

Prof: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.

Student: That is it sir… *The link between man & god is FAITH *. That
is all that keeps things moving & alive.

NB: I believe you have enjoyed the conversation. ..
this is a true story, and the student was none other than…….. … *

.. *APJ Abdul Kalam **, *

*THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF INDIA *”

Jan 102010
 

Its 8 O’Clock in the morning, here in an interior village in Virar(mumbai), and I have second thought about stepping out of my house. ‘Cause its cold out there, and my home provides me tempting heat. Of course its not as chilly as it used to be during my school days, and I used to leave for school a 6 o’clock which was really very cold time.

Oops! Sorry to all you city folks. You do not know what chilly winter is( except for your elders who have experienced it in their youth. To experience the chill, open the deep freezer of your refrigerator and set the thermostat to maximum cold. Then after an hour or so, place your hand on any cold object in it. Felt the cold? Well, its like that, but for the whole body.

You know the reason for this, but you don’t want to blame yourself. How many trees do you have in your surrounding? Your cars cannot replace trees as the subsitute of chlorophyll for producing oxygen. Neither can they cool down your surrounding as trees do.

As soon as I reach the station area of virar, I start feeling hot, due to less natural vegetation and more concrete jungle. Which is shabbily planned too. But my green belt of vasai is completely engulfed by trees, and hence our climatic conditions are somewhat balanced. If you had read in news, vasai was undergoing through turmoil few months back, as we were opposing the inclusion of our villages into the virar-vasai municipal corporation. We foresee the effects of  unplanned and unwanted development(read concrete jungle), hence the opposition. Our local politicians had tried to prove it as a communal event, but above are the true reasons.

Few days back two environmental activists from mumbai were threatened by unknown people to withdraw their PIL against development of public places. Stand up alongside this activists, if you fell that you deserve some fresh air and a space to loosen up your legs. The results of the vasai-virar case will be out in few days, and we know we have done out best against this environmental enemies. Its your duty if you need some chilly winters.

Jan 082010
 

……..this is not my view. It the view of our worthless bureaucrats, while we continue to tolerate uneducated ministers, who draw huge salaries during their nonuseful tenure, even if they are not qualified enough for any job.

As can be read in the report, Jasveer Kaur Ahluwalia was denied the well deserved pension after retirement from the municipal corporation aided school. How could be judged as unqualified after so many years of service? And wasn’t the school paying her monthly wages officially? Or was it done under table? I don’t think so.

Do you expect, from a person who is nearing his/her retirement, to go back to school and obtain some “necessary” training? Why can’t we have some exceptions or cutoffs for such requirements. Especially if the requirement was not in existence previously when the person was carrying out the duties responsibly and smoothly.

It can be seen how our system has failed us once again, and it keeps on failing. Somewhere, ministers prove it while here our bureaucrats make the point.

Our system is really collapsing if we cannot give an aged women a rightful living.

Jan 082010
 

Just see the video of a cop struggling for life helplessly, on the roads of  TamilNadu, even as ministers watched the event with inaction. Police suspect it to be a case of mistaken identity. It can be seen that the cop was assaulted brutally(with bomb and sickle) and then left for death on the road. But no one seemed to know what to do with a half dead human being. And mobilising help, which should have been a “flick of a finger affair” , turned out to be a roadside show, with the protectors of out constitution turning themselves in to mare spectators. Did it ever even occur to them this cop might have been on duty to protect their worthless lives during his career?

Hah…..a death by mistaken identity!! Why aren’t the identities of our ‘good for nothing’ ministers ever mistaken?

Jan 062010
 

No. Not a good decision by any child to commit suicide due to academic pressure. But is the child mature enough to take any big decisions, leave alone that of suicide? What drives a child to this? It certainly is not the film, “3 Idiots”. Censoring some scene in the film is like half measures taken against a deeply rooted issue.

I rewind back few years when I was in school myself. I never felt the pressure of education as I was completely satisfied with my results. Standing 6th or 7th in a class of 75, with occasional top marks in one or the other subject, was quite good for me. Let others run fight for top ranks. I was completely satisfied. Neither were my parents persistent on the matter or my studies. Now, let me clarify here, my grandparents were farmers and my parents had the luxury of being well educated at the cost of the education of their siblings. So they knew the importance of education, but not by force. So, without any pressure, I managed to study in my own time and on my own responsibility, completed engineering successfully(though not with “flying colours”), and became a Marine Engineer. I am happy, and though I look back and feel that I could have done better, I even know that I couldn’t have been better off, had there been pressure on me from anyone.

Back to present. My niece is studying in class II, and has joined tuition classes since class I. Can you believe that? You better, as its true. My cousins who are in class Xth this year, had started extra coaching out of school since class V. And these are not isolated cases. Around 80-90% of these students feel the pressure of the competition. And few of them crack.

Extra coaching for class Xth is ok as they have to compete against lakhs of other candidates for a seat in the college/trade of their choice(If I start writting about who makes this choice for them, it would fill up lot more space, and consume much time of mine). But whats the need of starting extra coaching at the tender age? I see none of these young students better off than I was at their age in terms of knowledge. I had enough time to study and play. They have only one schedule in their timetable….Study all day.

I would also like to comment about a trend started by some schools in the city, wherein interviews are conduct of both parents and the child who is to be admitted. Parents, to find out if they are capable of affording the education cost in that particular school. Children, to find out if the child is competent enough for the school to maintain a high passing percentage. If a child is able to learn before even attending the school, then whats the role of teachers? Are the schools afraid that their teachers are not competent enough to carve a statue out or a rock?

Lastly, I would daresay that the indian education and syllabus of all the boards and universities is top class, else we wouldn’t be in demand abroad. But something is wrong with our outlook in terms of the future of child. And that forces us to keep a stern hand above a child, while he really needs a firm hand on his shoulder.

Its better if parents let their young ones study, and not force them to.

Jan 052010
 

Few days back, I happened to be browsing through TV channels, and came across BBC airing ‘Hard Talk’. The guest in studio that day was Fergus Anckorn. The interview was largely about his remarkable survival as a prisoner of war, wherein he described the treatment they had endured and his survival because of his good hand at magic tricks.

But what made me think was a statement he made during the interview. The world wars were brought upon this earth, resulting in blood sheds, and at the end of it all the leaders came together and wrote down the terms of truce. So he asks, what was stopping all this leaders to come together before the war, and call a truce with some terms agreed upon? What was the need of all this killing?

Yes, the conditions were hard to make such settlements, as some leaders would have nothing of it. But are these wars the sole means o proclaim supremacy? And at whose cost? Going back to the histories of all the wars fought, we can analyse that these wars have been influenced by the greed of few individuals, whom we have always been selecting as our leaders. Look at the world wars. Look at the gulf war. Analyse the so called, war against terrorism, being accomplished in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its simply filters down to someone provoking someone else for a battle and being the sole gainer at the end of it all. And innocent lives are taken all over the world, just for greed.

This all needs to be stopped somewhere. Someone needs to sit down and chart a plan of truce between these fighting world. And for our future benefit, the mind of the younger generation, needs to be fresh and free from hatred. To help them think whats good and whats not for the benefit of mankind.

Someone needs to think like Fergus Anckorn. And act on it.

Jan 012010
 

2010…its here!! With a promise of beginning our lives, afresh. For many, its just another first day of the year. But for some, its and excuse to rejoice, occasion for party and day for new resolutions.

People have celebrated all night, and with a spinning head and dizzy mind, have resolved many things. But do think before resolving anything. Remember your previous years resolution. How much have you succeed in that? If that was just a boozed up resolve, without any act, then better not go through this process again.

And finally, I wish you and your family a very happy and a prosperous new year. Though I think that wishing the stock market alone would bring prosperity to many families.

Dec 302009
 

So I completed my tour to Aurangabad. And am back with some good memories, and few bad ones too.

To say about Aurangabad, it seems just like any other cities of India, hastily developed, neglected. But its proximity to many of the tourist destinations, has kept the city on the map. First, it has the panchakki (a mill running on a water driven turbine, the water for which comes from few miles away, naturally) right in the heart of the city. Then there is the Bibi ka Maqbara(the tomb of Aurangazeb’s wife). This monument is built on the lines of the Taj Mahal in Agra, except that it is bit smaller. Then we have the Ajanta and the Ellora caves, with all their carvings, paintings and sculptures on rocks. The grandeur of these places is quite spectacular. Also there is the Daulatabad fort, which I managed to climb only half the distance because of  tiresome mount. With all this historical places surrounding it, Aurangabad is one big center for tourism in India.

All these places have many things in common. They are very old. They are spectacular. And they are not maintained properly. The fort was completely grass ridden. There can be spotted few futile attempts to restore the surrounding of these places, but the entire process of tourism is not in place for the ease of the tourists. And this, after paying for the entry tickets at each of these places. There were around 3,00,000 tourists on that single day when I visited the fort, so the calculation goes to 1500000 rs per day during the holiday season.

Speaking of tickets, each of these places had different rates for Indians and foreigners, which does not go well with me. And so I comment. The ticket price for foreigners, was rs 250 where as for Indians was rs. 5 at the fort. Shocked by the difference? You go to a tourist destination in the world, and I don’t think there are separate rates for different people. Its a well known fact that most of the foreign visitors to India are cheated/looted in one form or the other. But this by the government!! This can be likened to racism. Though, we would label any such act by other country as racism, in this country we call it tourism.

With all it splendors, and all its shortcomings, this truly is “Incredible India”

Dec 232009
 

So its that time of the year, when all the paper mache and the bells, stars and the decorative lights, come out of the attic. And the Christmas tree is decorated, with an expectation of pleasant season ahead. And in my house, I cannot neglect to bring out the Getco, my humble oven, which has assisted me during my countless baking experiences in this short life.

Yes, it’s also the time for Cake. Though, I would agree that there is no specific time to have a cake( and eat it too.) Eating a good cake is one of the most pleasing experience, a person can have in life. Cake is said to be the dispersant of all the worries and troubles. An entire novel has been written around the cake(which I read and found to be light and interesting).

Personally I have never loved a cake, if its not the mawa cupcake from the merwan bakery(at Grant Road in Mumbai)(here, I deviate from my rule of not advertising any establishment or product through my post, simply because I have not found any competition to those light, delicious cakes, and they are worth making an exception.), or if I have not made it personally. I have had many cakes from different bakeries, and many I liked, but none I loved.

I personally bake a cake atleast twice a year(Cooking being one of my hobby, and baking a cake being at the core of it). Once for Christmas and once for the Easter. I have tried many cook books, seen many TV shows, to find out the best method of preparing a cake. But I never seemed to get it right. The cake was either heavy, or more crumpled. Until last year, when the brother-in-law, of my brother-in-law(whew!! exhausted while typing it twice), gave me a very basic recipe for preparing a cake. And I found it to be one of the best for home made cakes. So let me share it with you all.

You require 1/4 kg butter, 1/4 kg Refined flour, 1/4 kg Powdered  Sugar, 6 Eggs, Vanilla Essence and Half a teaspoon of Baking powder and a pinch of Salt. You can also use equal quantities of Semolina(Rava) and Refined Flour to get 1/4 kg of the mixture instead of using refined flour. Any bigger size you require, increase the ingredients in proportion. And finally you will need all the dryfruits that you want to have. Some people prefer to soak the dry fruits in white rum, to get a different flavour. I am extremely sorry for all my veggie friends, but I do not know how to make a veggie cake. I can’t imagine how a cake can be without eggs. No offense meant.

Its very easy. Whip the butter, Whip the eggs. Mix them. Add sugar. Mix well. Add flour ( or flour and semolina mixture) and mix well. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence and mix well. Then add half a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt. And mix again. Be sure not to leave lumps of butter, sugar or flour during all this mixing. And loo!! You have the batter.

Now just add some dryfruits(if you need a fruit cake), and get it baked at your local bakers or in your oven. Use the oven’s manual for correct temperatures since I do not know them( my getco didn’t have a temperature indicator. There were only two modes, baked or unbaked, which was determined by a thin poking stick).

My getco is no longer functional after all these years of service. But my neighbouring baker is in good business. So I am destined to bake my own cake this year too.

Happy Baking to all…… and Eat Cake.

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