Cleaning Up

Another let-me-clear-out-my-drafts post.

Of half-baked notions conceived during periods of unforeseen stupidity, Of iceberg-tip ideas that could have become revolutionary thought pieces, Of extended ramblings that are now reduced to mere twitters,but of course, to to make way for more.

Basically, blog posts I had planned to write but now the events around which these ideas had formed have faded in my memory – so a few words on each (which after having written the post, I realise are not that few).


It is interesting to reflect on how Rumors are the social equivalent of a biological virus. How they spread like there is no tomorrow. How they distort truth to a point where it is often difficult to differentiate what the truth really was – and yet they are often but a reflection of the truth. How they never die out. How a rumor can often destroy the life and reputation of some people – never to be universally redeemed. Perhaps I should read this or something similar some day.

Can an author’s characters convincingly express views contrary to his/her own?

What was I going to write here? I have put God’s Debris as a reference. I didn’t read the entire book, but it is basically a discourse between two people about God. Maybe somewhere I felt that the discussion was futile, because even though the characters are countering each other’s point of view, one of them were stating arguments as if they were meant to be refuted. Thus the author’s point of view prevails, even with a character who is trying to state the opposite – he is but a creation of the author. I might be wrong here. Scott Adams even states in the book’s introduction: “You won’t discover my opinions by reading my fiction” – and I would expect a man with Scott’s intelligence and humor to be capable of creating a completely independent character. Perhaps I need more evidence – or maybe read the entire book.

On Jargon: How it creeps into your worldview and everyday conversation unbeknownst to you. Often you only realise much later that you are using words and phrases which even you don’t fully understand – yet base your decisions upon them.

One of the interesting ones I can remember is ‘ Value Addition’. A colleague from my previous job use to keep mouthing this (so did I, I think) – “I am leaving this job, there is no value addition”. Another favorite – the world over is – Web 2.0. This is worth reading by the way.

When Less is More: Really? I actually thought like that – the endless multitasker? I have mentioned Jharkhand. I had been to Jharkhand in June 2005 for a 5 week long internship at an NGO called Pradan. In the din of city life I have almost forgotten what it was like to be there.

I just remembered how there was a lot less available to do there. No TV, No Internet. One English newspaper (HT) and two-three magazines at most (Businessworld/Outlook). And of course, my market research project at Pradan. But because I had less things to do I did them well.

For the first time in my life, I read newspapers cover to cover every day. From being completely illiterate about Politics, I picked up on a few stories because I followed them everyday. Which made me realise how you make sense of things not from the point go – but incrementally bit-by-bit. To learn something you don’t need to start over (Oh! let me reach back into history and learn all about this before I start with the new stuff) but by plunging into the present process and sticking with it.

I also mentioned Mamta didi – a one woman army with the confidence and audacity to change the world. I must go there again someday. I miss you Saroj da, Nitin, Vikas, Bharat – and I feel sad that I have not kept in touch. I miss Lucky Dhaba. I miss the Papdi Chaat at Chaibasa. I miss my journey’s on rickety buses with Sudoku puzzles for company.

I recently read about the Less is More school of thought here. The article is somewhat half-baked though – not something I expect of Seth Godin. There was an importance difference in Jharkhand though – there was less to do by design and not by choice.

But if you really want to know what it is like – leave everything and elope to some distant village – maybe to work with a grassroots NGO. You will exhibit withdrawal symptoms at first but the trip will be completely worth it.

Technology at the speed of thought.

There times when you think – how cool it would be if a certain electronic gadget existed.

So for example, how cool it would be if I had a phone which could wirelessly send out audio (via bluetooth) and my bluetooth-enabled car stereo would play it for me.

Or how cool it would be if I could make VoIP calls (such as through Skype/Gizmo) over the high speed internet connection on my phone.

Or how cool it would be if, combining the above two I could listen to millions of internet radio stations in my car

Or HCIWB if I had a transparent non-intrusive display on my windscreen which would display news via RSS feeds, song lyrics and more.

‘Technology @ the speed of Thought’ is a concept that basically says this: Now that the whole world is connected through the internet, a simple Google search will reveal that such technology already exists – either someone somewhere is working on it, or it is ready to go mainstream, or someone has already identified the possible issues with such a technology and those are to be resolved. Thus as you have thought about a certain piece technology there is a very high probability that it exists already. For the first one see here, here and here. Also a cool ad for the Rokr E6 here (just in case you haven’t already)

As you can see some ideas which I had wished for about an year back are already mainstream.

Crystallizing Ideas: Basically there are so many things and ideas you think about/know about/have an intuitive sense of – but it become more tangible when someone says it. Sometimes it gives a framework to your thoughts. Sometimes makes you aware of a connetion between notions which you hadn’t thought of. It brings a clarity which you had failed to achieve. The one I can think of is the cowardice and wisdom wala funda which I had read about in Foucault’s Pendulum and had blogged about it earlier.

Amused Apathy: I have mentioned these: Bombing in Sarojini Nagar, Riots in Gujarat, Earthquake in J&K. Perhaps I should add the death of an IITD professor at IISc. Tragedies happens all the time. So what’s new?

What they often talk about alongside tragedies is Courage – how people put their grief behind and moved on. I often wonder what it really is, especially for the bystanders like you and me: Is is relief – that it didn’t happen to us?, is it apathy – just shrug/nod and go back to work? Or is it some demented sadistic pleasure manifested as mild amusement?

Also see Schadenfreude. Alok Rai – I am fortunate to have been taught by you – I think I learnt this word in your Modern Fiction class. And the Wikipedia entry reminds me – I must do a post on words which have no English equivalent yet represent a significant emotion/feeling – kinda feeds back into the Crystallizing Ideas sub-post. Also highlights the importance of names.

If you actually got down to the end of this post – I must say I am extremely grateful – my fundas are not valued everywhere.

2 thoughts on “Cleaning Up

  1. […] Cleaning Up The House : Part I April 10, 2008 Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashish @ 1:40 pm The last one was here. […]

  2. Sameer says:

    Seriously dude, got to believe that not everything has a reason and leave a few things to primal instinct.

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