Sunday, January 31, 2010

BASED ON A TRUE INCIDENT

As the temperatures started rising, the fear of water receded. Following the routine of the cold winters, the boy decided to visit the dreaded friend on alternate days only, and if possible, even lesser. But the rising temperatures coupled with repetitive use of the same pair of socks for over two days, forced him to change his thoughts about water. His body had begun to release toxins so powerful that if he hadn’t done something about it, his respiratory tract would have burned or shut down the entry points to save itself.

So gathering a lot of courage, motivated by the desire to have his respiratory tract intact, he picked up his bucket, mug and soap and entered the bathroom. After about 10 minutes, when he was all cleaned up and smelling of water, he smiled to himself, satisfied with the decision. But the smile didn’t last long.

He wanted to move the hands of the clock backwards, undo what he had done less than a quarter of an hour ago. He wanted to correct his mistake; a mistake too trivial to be made. He had broken one of the most fundamental rules of bathing. He had forgotten to carry his towel. Next moment he wanted to bang his head against the wall.

With no better option left, he stood there to test some laws of physics on evaporation of water. For once he thought of exerting some energy to heat his body to help evaporation but then the thought of the associated release of toxins came back to him and he refrained from moving a muscle. As a he decided to wait, a stream of forbidden words left his mouth addressed to the trio of himself, luck and his smart decision.

After running out of all the restricted words he knew ten times over(which took quite a while), he stopped. He learnt that evaporation does occur, but it’s a very slow process, at least when we talk about water on someone’s body. Finally, losing patience, he covered himself up in whatever clothes were left dry, ignoring the wetness over his body, and rushed back to his room.

Within the safe (and warm) zone, he quickly dried himself and swore to himself to never forget the importance of that piece of cloth. Soon after he wrote what you just read.

PS: The actual incident wasn’t as dramatic. Now I know why they actually say “BASED ON A TRUE INCIDENT”.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One problem - 'n' years - No solution

Why do we have tests/exams?

Yes that's the question that's been bothering me throughout my academic life.

I wirte this article with an impending MATHS quiz just 11 hours (or rather lesser) away. All I have in mind.... Why the hell do I have to appear for it, or even I forget about this one, why do I have to appear for all those in the next week?

It has always been very hard for me to understand the motive behind exams. Lets assume the most common answer is the truth, "to ensure revision and make sure everything is understood".

Well, that might have been true in some age I didn't exist, because all that I've seen, the marks secured have absolutely no relation with what we know.
Do they? Aren't they suppose to have some relation. I mean, my marks in a test should reflect how much I had understood. But unfortunately(or maybe fortunately) it doesn't work that way.

Many of us have seen it over and over again. People with lesser understanding or maybe the same can end up with more marks. Leaving aside the cheating part, yet it often comes true. So if the system doesn't give the desired result, why not just scrap it.

So many times we have seen that those with great grades too can't solve practical problems. So if eventually what matters are the solutions to practical problems, why have theoretical tests.

OK. Maybe we can leave aside Maths as a lot of it is theoretical but what about others. And why the hell don't we have the right to choose what I want to study. If to this the authorities have to say that we might not know what we need to study in the field, won't we understand as we go along. Won't it be more fun if I were to realise that a topic that interests me demands me to be thorough with another topic? Won't I be more motivated to study that way? Won't I learn more that way?

I know these statements are of no value. This system and method has been prevalent since ages and it'll take a really good effort to find a more fool-proof method and even more effort to convince the authorities to change their ways.

Till any one of us comes up with that great idea (which I hope comes soon), I guess we have no option but to slog (talking about topics I don't like - not exactly counting in Maths) and show that you know it even though you don't.

All the best to all the others in the world who are trying to attain the same goal.

Friday, January 15, 2010

THE MYSTERIOUS PHENOMENON

WARNING : THIS ARTICLES CONTAINS DETAILS OF A PHENOMENON THAT MOST OF US FEAR. THIS SHOULD NOT BE READ BY THOSE WHO WILL BE HAUNTED BY THE GRUESOME DETAILS FOR A LONG DURATION.

As the article begins with a reference to a phenomenon, I would first like to name and discuss more about it. Not just to lay a strong foundation for my article but also for quietening curious mind (who are really curious to know what can be so gruesome) and again reminding readers to be sure that they really want to read this.
The phenomenon I shall be discussing is DEATH.
I’ve feared death since I was a kid. At some random nights, I just couldn’t sleep and would start crying wondering why people had to die. Wondering how will life be without someone I know. Wondering if this life was not the only one. But then recently I saw death prevail over a creature. I use the term creature because it was not a human (Thankfully).

It was a night when my friends and I were enjoying. Having fun. As we were walking on the road, dominated by pedestrians, not by vehicles, I observed a cat (the unfortunate creature) looking for a space between the human train to walk through. That was my initial interpretation. But it wasn’t looking for a chance to walk across the road; on the contrary it was looking for a chance to DASH across. Just before I walked past it, it found a space ahead of me to get in between. Now I’ll try to narrate what happened next in slow motion, the way it is all seemed when it did happen.

[Another warning for those who cannot bear the details.... STOP READING]
The cat looked around quickly (this was fast-not slow as until then I had not seen what was coming). All it must have seen was a set of humans. But I could see over people’s heads a motorcycle coming. As soon as things became clearer, (the fastest working of my brain as observed by me) a thought did flash to block the cats way and not let it through (or atleast I think the thought came to me—let’s not discuss that now). But it was already too late. It had dashed across the seemingly empty road ahead.

Then came the horrifying moment. First an attempt to speed across (by both—cat and rider) and then an instantaneous change of decision and a failed attempt to halt (again by both). The collision was definitely fatal. One with the head of the cat and the head of the beast driven across. The hit was very bad or probably the best. Though it did kill the cat, but did so very quickly. As far as my knowledge spans, its brain went numb and was unaware of the pain that followed immediately afterwards. The body jumped about as though trying to revive itself, trying call for help as life made an exit. But in vain. All we could do was to hold our breaths and watch a life end.

That moment I realised, that’s how death is. One moment you are perfectly fine and next moment your body moves into its final fits.

I do not know how to end this article. Maybe I’ll just STOP, just like the cat just ceased to live anymore. AND THAT WAS IT.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Did they choose wisely????

Four boys sitting in a typical boy’s room, discussing a topic typical for such boys—girls. Laughing, abusing and making clear their feeling of envy at appropriate moments, they scrolled down the list of female acquaintances in each other’s friend list. Then, the topic slowly shifted to the next best topic –placement.

With a very clear picture of what was happening, one of them showed how much he regretted coming to the reputed institute. Others try to defend the institute’s image, not driven by a feeling of belongingness but an attempt to defend their own decision to be there. Soon, the argument is over. All sit there discussing not the magnificence of their college, but the loop-holes in the system. Then all of them start pointing out causes, pointing out the unsuccessful ventures of the institute’s leaders, pointing out the outsider’s opinion of the insiders, pointing out the dead end that the institute is headed towards.

Within half an-hour, they disperse to return to their personal tasks; only superficially, deep down each one of them worries about his future, remembers his efforts, questions his decisions and tries to find a way to evade doing so again within the next few years.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A piece of fiction ---Or is It????


Note : I'm sorry to those who found my previous article confusing (as I myself found it very confusing when I read it). In future (sometime in future--definitely not this article), I shall keep in mind to make my language lucid (not only for my readers, but for me as well)



As a lover of computer science, genetics, biology and evolution, I‘ve always if it is possible to merge all of them. I’ve always wondered if it is possible to create a virtual world that knows nothing but the basic laws of nature and has all the chemicals we started with; then can it create a sequence of events that can help understand evolution. What if such a virtual world could also be made physical? Can’t provide a suitable environment, not to study the birth of life as we know it but in the form of robots? Imagine the following:
Let’s say some day we succeed in creating bots so small that they are to nano-bots exactly what cells are to us. So, then can we create an environment, not virtual, full of all the basic materials necessary for creation and living of a bot, and leave the world to flourish in a glass chamber in a laboratory. The world will have absolutely no interference from the creator: humans. That world will be unaware of how it was created. Can’t it flourish successfully?
The thought that actually is the foundation of this article is still to come. The world should flourish in a similar fashion. That world, too, at some stage should host a set of creatures (can’t exactly call them bots anymore as they are completely independent) which are like humans. (Remember, here we assume that they do not attain the size of humans, but yes they should definitely be larger than the bots that initiated the process : hence I first assumed the existence of a bot that is like a cell to a nano-bot). But if something like humans does evolve, those bots will start questioning and hunting for answers. They will soon have defined the laws that drive them (which can be different from how we are driven). And then they too will come at the huge question. Who created us? Why are we here? What are we supposed to do? Why do we live if we eventually have to die? Throughout this process, the creator is aware of all these happenings (though not the specific turnout of events but a general growth trend monitored with the help of a super-computer itself). So, to encounter these questions what does the creator do? Nothing, just sits and wait for the outcome of such questions. Remember, all this while, the bots are living in a contained chamber; a chamber of which they are either unaware or have not yet found a way to break through. But till when can such a chamber restrict them? Till when can their thought-restrictions (probably implanted by us) drive them to believe that it can’t be broken? One day they shall find a way to break-through such a chamber. One day they shall understand that they are nothing but test subjects for a completely alien species; a species that has a different time-domain, a species that created them just to understand how things work and how things evolved.


At this dramatic point, they shall try to escape; try to enter the real world; try to find answers to some truly disturbing questions. At this point they would forget about all kinds of restrictions that they have either learned or were either taught to them by their creator (without their knowledge). At this point any code (as they are mainly bots) that was supposed to restrict their thoughts would be over-written or re-written to defy any such limitation on them. And then what?
Their life would be no more as we wish to study, their life ‘s aim has shifted to meeting their creator, meeting their GOD. But will humans allow it? Will they just let them prepare them to break through the barrier? Of course not. Realising the potential danger, humans will pull the plug, put an end, terminate this world.


And that is what they’ll call the doomsday!!!!


This is definitely a work of fiction, a work of science fiction. This work might never come true in the real-life ( and I actually hope that most of the things I said are utterly rubbish). But despite being an atheist, I’ve always wondered one thing : What if we are these test subjects? What if some unimaginable creatures created us to study their growth? Why is not possible that like we are trying to interpret about life, someone else is trying to find the solution to the same problem?

Give it a thought.

PS : This article doesn’t question my disbelief in God, as for me God (if at all) is to us what humans were to those bots (in this piece of fiction). They were just creators, but not controllers. They are mortals as well (except that their time-domain is entirely different).

Another end note : At the very end when I used the phrase “different time-domain”, I realised that this shall always remain a work of fiction as different time-domain somehow seems to contradict the idea of relativity. Though I’m not even close to being a master at that subject, this in some way seems to deny the theory (and since Einstein has way more credibility than me, it is better that we stick to his theory). Though I would seriously like to hear that it is possible.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY

STATUTORY WARNING : This article is not meant for those with short attention span cause this spans a lot of issues some so deep in the article that I myself have lost count. So all the best for the few readers who shall read this article.

WARNING (part II) : This was written as when thoughts surfaced so please ignore the randomness of the various parts and paragraphs.

Yesterday I had a four hour long chat with a long lost friend; I don’t exactly know why I mention this but something in that discussion led to a chain of thoughts that is the foundation of this article.

Last year, in April, I sat for the most important exam of my life, JEE. Eventually, I landed up in this institute IIT Guwahati with my dream subject, COMPUTER SCIENCE. Sitting outside, preparing day and night to come to this institute, I had thought a lot about how this place would look like from the inside. I had always imagined it to be a place rarely found, a place where the thinkers reside, a place where there’s no restriction on thinking, a place that, in short, stimulates dead neurons to life and create miracles. I thought it as a place where everything was secondary to learning. But I sit here disappointed. Were my expectations too much to ask for? But is this the real question????

Confused.....so am I! Let me try to be clearer. These days all my thoughts about IIT-G and course structure revolves around my concern over my grades. So should this one. When I arrived here, I had it all planned up. How I would learn all there’s is to computers and try something new in due course of time. But my ideas and plans were all vaporised once I spent a few weeks here. Completely deviated from my path, I forgot my long term goal and even though I could do better, ruined my grades. I blame my seniors for this. For teaching me to ignore studies, teaching me to disrespect the value of learning, disrespecting my own vision.
But now comes the true question.... Are they really to be blamed? Yes, I do remember being woken up at odd times to do some of their stupid tasks; I remember being abused at for not doing their work properly; I remember myself planning excuses lest shall encounter someone on my way. But now as the haze lifts off from the unclear past, I ask myself: was it not me who wasted time sleeping 10 hours when he could have studied? Was it not me who spent hours discussing with friends what assholes are our seniors? Was it not me thinking over how I would like to kill the seniors who had just abused me and thinking over it until I had spent hours on it?
So are they really to be blamed? Next is the adaptation issue... or is it? Did the pathetic food in mess and memories of home actually hinder my studies? Or was it just another excuse?
This brings me to my concern: We all at some phases of life hold someone else responsible for ruining how we had planned it, but in this effort to save our ego, we create a hypothetical memory of the incident ourselves. We remember else’s fault more clearly than our own. We cover up our faults in our narration to others. And that’s precisely what I did until a few days ago. Now I take up the responsibility, not of my future (as atheists are generally expected to say), but of my past. I accept that it was more of my fault than theirs. I accept that I could have countered each of their moves and kept myself on the track. I could have out-spoken them and still not created a hostile environment.
But why do we do this? In my opinion, brain is nothing but a super-advanced computer. Nature, in the form of brain laughs at us as it shows that it is ages ahead (not behind-as we would want to think) of us. Brain is a living computer with electric signals being transmitted by neurons, where sodium and potassium play the role of silicon and copper wires. Still not convinced? Let’s see, what’s the basic purpose of computers? To solve problems and so is that of brain. Each thing in life is a set of problems, from the point of getting up from bed to going back to walking to speaking to learning to thinking. All these can eventually be broken into some basic problems, and eventually the brain has programs to solve them (we just don’t know the algorithm completely otherwise Artificial Intelligence wouldn’t have been a distant vision).
Why would a computer try to excuse itself? Why would it try to not accept its mistake? How does that actually help? Psychology says that it’s our nature to protect our ego, but I ask why? At what loss are we if we do accept that we too can commit mistakes, mistakes so grand that we might have to regret them all our life? These questions trouble me. Why can’t I sit and write this very article happily despite knowing I was the one responsible for what I’ve ruined? Why does this realisation have to be such a burden, such a pain? Why?
Consider a computer.... never commits a calculation error, does it? None. So many would now be happy to claim that brain is not a computer after all. I disagree again. In life, there’s no perfect answer. Brain does some calculation on the basis of its inputs and prior knowledge and decides a step which it seems best (which probably is based on probability). So why does it go wrong (wrong here doesn’t imply incorrect but a decision which is not actually the best)? I probably think it is based on incorrect inputs or pool of incorrect knowledge.
This possibly explains some of my mistakes. The pool of knowledge, in case of living entity, should also include its own behaviour (which in itself is a huge topic to discuss). And here I fail desperately. I’m probably the most gullible person on this earth. And that could be the basis of all this trouble I’m facing now....
I guess I’ve eaten up a lot of my readers’ head without much productive coming out of this article. So I shall conclude.

PS : in the line where i blame my credulity, I’ve again made an attempt to cover some of my flaws, though not intentionally. This brain is a tough thing to understand.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A day to be forgetten and yet remembered

This day came back to me as a memory many months (actually almost two years) after it actually occurred. The importance of that day in my life is now apparent, but then I ignored it. A huge incident occurred that day. Someone decided to end her life. I wouldn’t ask why such a decision was made, not because I’m scared of the discussion that’ll follow about how another existed, but because I’m aware of the causes and the decision made was desperate; one made in haste to get relief from the excruciating pain, none physical but majorly mental. The pain, as I see it, was definitely unbearable. And now when I look back , I can (for the first time) understand what actually a person who commits suicide feels. One feels things moving out of his hands, things that cannot be corrected and wishes that the other side of life is more pleasing. One wishes to start afresh, to be a baby again, to grow up again as he thinks he would have wanted to and then get back in a more desirable position, one in which he doesn’t find himself at fault, in which time cannot indict him of his mistakes . But does this truly happen?
I’m an atheist and I know just one thing, this life is all you have. But looking at that person, who according to me is an epitome of strength, fail to control the sudden burst and temptation to end this temporarily-out-of-place life, I doubt if I’ll be able to resist such a temptation when I too fall in deep shit (as the New Generation calls it).
But the importance is not in reviewing the cause of the incident but in analysing what happened afterwards. If that day, the person’s wish had been granted by the so-called GOD, my life would have been turned upside down. With all my motivation lost, I’d have ruined all my future and landed up in a place nowhere close to the one I’m in now (IIT-G). But this is when I look at the incident from a personal and selfish point of view. Some of the people who would have been immensely affected by the incident are either unaware that it happened or are ignoring its importance like I did until yesterday.
That is probably the only desire made by the person that I’m happy has not been fulfilled; happy not just for myself but also for the person as well.
Only one message to my readers : Think of this as the glimpse inside the brain of a suicide victim (a suicide victim, according to me, is not one who commits the crime but his relatives who actually suffer the absence of the person) and think twice before making such a decision.