Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Year Resolution

A new year is dawning upon us. The holiday week between Christmas and New Years’ Eve is the time for a reflection on what has happened in the past, applaud your self on your triumphs, reflect on your decisions and analyze the mistakes that you made in the last year. A new year is a new life, as in the door step of yet another life, a point where you can look back on your past life as well as look forward for a better brighter one. Our ancestors understood this perfectly and hence the first month of the year is January. It is named after Janus, a roman goddess with two heads, always depicted to be standing at the doorstep with one head pointing outward and the other inward. This is a perfect depiction of the above mentioned philosophical approach to New Year.

January was not always the New Year for the Romans. Julius Caesar honored himself by making July the first month of the year and the same logic was followed by Augustus but it became August then. Finally when these rulers fell to Time, January emerged back like a Phoenix from ashes…

New Years Eve is not only the time for reflections but also a time for resolutions. To take a small but a firm step forward and deciding that ‘this has to be done this year’, that thing you do before the turn of 2006.

For me 2005 has been real special. I graduated with great honors. Had a wonderful time during practice school building robots, got a job that I would only have dreamed about and all things are looking bright and clear. Looks like my ship is ready for sailing after all. My New Year resolution is ………….. I think I’ll keep it to myself. May all your resolutions come true :)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Coming Back to Life

This is one of my favourite songs... Christmas & New year are times to rediscover yourself and be literally born again... Coming Back to Life.

Performed by : David Gilmore of Pink Floyd at the Pulse live concert

Enjoy and have a great holiday !

Our Foray with The Legends of Rock

It was a Saturday. So not wanting it to be the usual (drooling at the shiny merchandise@ForumMall), we decided to go to hit this place called LOR-Legends of Rock (for Bangaloreans, its in Kormangala 6th Block – you can spot it on Google Earth if you want)

As we got in it looked deserted (it was only 8 p.m.) and I said to myself “I aint see no legends or rocks”, some Keith Urban song was playing and it looked like a dead pub. But as time waned and pitchers piled up, people started pouring in. The music meandered like a river and spanned genres that led me into a rollercoaster experience.

It started off slow with Keith Urban, Coldplay and then shifted gears to classic rock of Eagles & Floyd (one of my favorites). We shifted gears too ditching beer for tequila shots. As the music and spirits soared… paradigm shift again. The music started “hardening” as if we were on wet-cement. “Wherever I may roam” by Metallica caused quite a stir in house. Then Iron Maiden and Judas Priest followed as I ditched drinks and fell into the age old form of enjoyment – Head Banging.

It took me back to my college days where we would wait through the boring performances waiting for the Battle of Bands to start. And when it does we would head bang so hard that they would almost fall off and make us docile souls for days to come as our necks would be as stiff as a rock.

Then we noticed that the entire crowd in the pub was youngsters like us (18-28) but two gentlemen in their 40’s were enjoying the music as much as, if not more. We went and talked to them. They were from Delhi (one was a hardcore rocker in his days) and had come to enjoy the music at the LOR (Legends of Rock). They were innovators with more than a dozen patents and about 50 papers to their name. One was working at GM (General Motors) and other at IBM...

This was a heartening sight as it was contrary to the usual age-old opinion that people who enjoy hard-rock are all junkies and turn out to be failures in life. If this was failure then what is success I ask! The grand finale was me and one of them singing Hotel California together. Man, it was a great experience.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Of Emily Rose, Exorcism and my Beliefs

Yesterday I saw “Exorcism of Emily Rose”. Movie was alright (enjoyable, an amalgam between a court drama and a horror flick), but what really struck hard me was the fact that the story was based on a true incident that happened somewhere in Europe.

Divine/Demonic intervention into ones life that people call possession (divine or otherwise) is a wondrous phenomenon. Such beliefs exists across civilizations and so does the myths and rituals that follow

In India there are several incidents of divine possessions. A small girl of 5 wakes up one fine day to talk like an old lady who made prophesies was a subject of great interest somewhere in late 90’s. In Kerala (a state in southern India where I hail from), there are actually possession rituals that ready a person for the divine sprit to enter and use his/her body for conversing with their devotees. The most famous of them being the Theyyam and ThumbTullal.

Theyyam is a ritualistic dance with its rare and grotesque make-up and costume, lively foot work, gymnastic fervor and ritualistic vitality. Theyyam represents a glorious period of folk life in Kerala and the souls of the dead heroes of the land and the gods and goddesses are supposed to come in our midst through the medium of the possessed dancers and converse with us on matters of even contemporary significance. It is the worship of spirits by invoking them to the mortal body of the dancer who impersonates them and gives blessing to the believers. Theyyam evolves from Kaliyattam practiced by aboriginal tribes of northern regions of the state.

Thumbitullal is a ritual often used by rural pre-teen and teen-aged girls to entertain themselves. A few of them would gather round one seated in the middle with an arecanut or coconut efflorescence ion her hand, and sing meaningless ditties, while the girl at the centre would get into a trance and tremble rhythmically until she became ecstatic. But this ritual is also used in some temples where the trance is a way of inviting the devi (or mother goddess) to posses you with her mystic chants egging the girl on.

All this about the divine possession of mortals. What about demons. Are they to be left behind? No way…

Kerala is as famous for its magic (Manthravadam) rituals and exorcism as it is for the divine possessions. 'Manthravadam' or performing rites for propitiating supernatural forces (a type of native 'voodoo') is popular in Kerala. This comprises general 'poojas' performed for house warming, before embarking on any new venture, tiding over evil astrological influences, or for overcoming diseases. The rites involve chanting mantras (magical prayers), preparation of a diagram usually using colored powder, offering flowers, throwing offerings into the sacred fire and so on.

Exorcism is also practiced as a healing technique. Even Ayurveda (the oldest form of medicinal approach) accepts the possibility of a human being possessed by evil spirits. At an exorcism ceremony, the person usually starts shivering and dancing ('Tullal'). The evil sprit is drawn out of the person by different techniques like prayer and caning. The exorcism process is quite similar to the christan way (I can’t be sure, I’m not an expert :) but with more jazz and color surrounding the ceremony.

All this brings us back to Emily Rose. And what do I think?

As I said earlier, I believe that forces do exist but not as GOD/Satan but as a stream of unending energy that flows through each of us. A kind of Ying-Yang that keeps people sane (neither too divine nor demonic). But due to certain reasons, often psychological (as in case of demonic possessions) or self-induced (for divine), we kind of tip the scales towards one and end up in what is defined as a possessed state…

And exorcism? I believe that in certain cases it can be helpful as it is just but a way of creating a shock (equivalent to one during treatment of a mental illness) that can bring the person to his/her senses. It is an alternate version of therapy one which leverages the patients faith to pull him/her out of the trauma that hey are in. But the exorcist should be able to determine when this kind of therapy fails and should be learned enough to recommend a doctor’s opinion as and when required. It’s a thin line to tread for exorcists and one small mistake can cost a life like Emily’s!


This is something i wrote a long time back... wanted to put it up somewhere. What better place than here...

On the debatable question of creation, the Old Testament says, “God said, Let There Be Light and there was Light”, science says that all that we see around us is the result of the biggest fireworks in the Encyclopedia Galactica. I have long longed to be in the shoes of Einstein, waiting to develop a unified theory of “The One” (not the Matrix ‘One’), a confluence of science and divinity. It is this desire that leads me to believe that it was God who gave the “Divine Spark” for the Big Bang saying, “Let There Be Light”.

Everything in nature is dual. Good and evil, birth and death, light and darkness. So why can’t God and Science be but two sides of the same coin. What or who is God? What is our purpose here? I attempted to delve into the depths of these questions knowing fully well that a great many have perished seeking this “Holy Grail” and spend a whole lifetime fruitlessly, tirelessly to find why we are here.

This dichotomous quality needs to be examined a bit more closely, first in scientific terms and then though the divine before arriving at harmony. Bible defines the body to be “from dust and unto dust”, so we are just big chunks of matter. But what separates us from the rock or the flowing water is the divine park of life. In scientific terms, the energy that runs through our arteries, pulsating through our heart. Thus we are but a confluence of matter and energy which leads us to the ultimate theory of E = mC2, thus making it a divine relation. Tracing it to its origin, life before the big bang was just one whole aggregate of energy and matter entwined in a plasma state, that wanted to be free, to dichotomize itself and turn into matter and energy, thus spawning the Big Bang, the scientific equivalent of Genesis…God.

Religions have a rather interesting way of defining creation, be it Genesis in the Old Testament or Amon Ra’s creation of the world by the Egyptians. A rather interesting perspective of this dichotomous approach is taken in the Indian Mythology in the texts called Puranas. It talks about God in a hermaphroditic from, a half-man, half-woman being as the one who initiates creation. Named Ardha-Nareeshwar in the scriptures, the being splits (much like an amoeba, the most basic form of life) into its male and female equivalents (the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine) called Shiv and Shakti, whose confluence thus spawns creation.

My unified theory thus defines God as “the ultimate sacramental form of energy”, that divine spark that exists in us. Thus God resides in each one of us providing us life and reason. We are all born with an inherent amount of this divine cosmic energy whose quantity is defined and controlled by our own karma. With every righteous deed, we escalate its amplitude and every act conceding to the seven sins diminishes its shine. It’s the expanse of this sacred spark in us that we call the soul that decides our fate after death. “From the divine we come and unto it we go”, as we die that reminiscent energy seeks its parentage, amalgamating into the One before its deeds are reckoned. If we cannot elevate our self unto the paths of nirvana, we fall into the infinite cycle of life and death, born each time with that spark that is left in us from our past life until we attain fulfillment in but a spiritual sense.

This duly explains why Jesus or Buddha is not born every now and then and why they are called "Son of God". We all are sons of God, but they are great souls who have uplifted themselves to nirvana and paved the paths for others to join them in the confluence with the dichotomous scientifically correct God….


It sure is the END OF AN ERA...

Though i have been working in Macromedia only for the past 3 months, the feeling of you being a Macromedian is just awsome. I have been using MM products right from 2002 when i was in college and heard that the best way to make good animations is this software called Flash (or something). I said..."Yeh, just another GIF animator here".

But Flash 5 just blew my mind. The professionalism of the authoring enviornment, the ease of use and the awsome help was just too much for a college guy to bear with. I started moving to flash making it an integral part of all my presentations and people loved it. (I'm still commended for the clever :) use of animations to drive in my points by my professors). I moved through Flash ver 5, 6, 7 loving each minute of it, creating Swfs, animated GIFs and applications. The quiz club in my college still (sometimes) uses my applications in flash for Scorecards & special rounds.

As i got out of college and got an interview with MM, i never could believe my luck and was a bit pessimistic about my chances. To get it was pure elation like Harry finding out one fine day that he was a wizard :) My life changed and i couldnt believe that i was working for the company that i worshipped all this while.

But now, 3 months here (which has been purely magical) the Macromedia brand is seizing to exist. Adobe has acquired Macromedia in totallity. I'm excited and anxious about my future in the new company of Adobe but this will surely mark an end of an era and i will be, "through and through" a Macromedian till time exists or i seize to.

based on http://biz.yahoo.com/bwml/051201/16066.html?.v=1
Here's what my dear friend and colleage Harish thinks of it

Turn the page...but the Memory Remains

That's what is happening in my life now... I have moved from being a student into a whole different ball game. I'm loving my new avatar as a corporate neo :)
Not that i did not enjoy myself as a student (oh those times... the Memory Remains), but the fact that i had to live through those boring lectures kinda took a bit of the fun out of it.

I'm a person who believes that creativity should not be restricted. Indian education trains you for all imaginable situations but kind of cripples your imagination and creativity since it is more focused on what you kind of reproduce in the exam rather than how original & creative you are. Now it feels as if I'm a birdling who has been beak-fed for the entire life, getting my first chance to spread my wings and go for the kill myself.

Its like a whole new page in my life, fresh, waiting it to be painted with the colors of imagination. And seems like i have come to the perfect place... A company that has fostered creativity in millions of designers all around the globe, Macromedia is more than perfect for me (i guess !)