Out For A Drive.

Local news informed me that our local river Mula Mutha was in spate and so I decided to go and see it as I do every year during the monsoon.

I left my home for the first time in 161 days yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the drive not only to the bridge over the river but also upto Yerwada, a suburb about three Kms away and back home. I was surprised to see just about 30% traffic than what I had got used to before the lockdown.

A still photograph and a short movie of the river taken from the bridge with the traffic noise as background for the latter.

Is COVID The Only ImmediateThreat To Mankind?


This is a guest post written at my request by my close confidante and friend Koushik Sekhar with whom I have discussed this topic threadbare on a number of occasions. He is more articulate than I am as the post will reveal and hence my request to him to write this post for this week’s 6 on 1 Friday blog post.

Over to Koushik.

Covid is not the immediate threat to mankind. Covid is merely the messenger.

There is a more serious threat to mankind- a kind of epistemological disaster and Covid related problems is only a symptom of a deeper malaise . It is a steadfast refusal by the elites of the world to acknowledge the value of knowledge generated by earlier societies and to accept that the generation of knowledge does not have barriers of time, space, race etc. Moreover there is an attempt to eliminate or suppress knowledge that does not generate wealth for the few or which threatens their power.

Decades of globalisation has made it so that these elites are no longer define-able by geography or a political affiliation or education or race. Hence taking aim at the root of problem is no longer so easy as the threat is amorphous and not easy to target and work upon.

This attitude that ‘all conjectures are conjectures but my conjecture is more science than yours’ is deadly for the future of man especially when the conjectures are failing badly. If this isn’t deadly enough, the way institutions are used to muzzle the spirit of enquiry among the outsiders of the systems makes it a larger threat to the world. And lastly , an attitude that ‘all vested interests are vested interests, but mine is more science than yours’  is also prevalent. I am not sure which is causing more damage to society as the competition is lively and tremendous.

To name a few, the new class of global elites have no answers for huge problems we face:

1. How to maintain a happy society with constant economic output or even if economic growth is not possible.
2. How to have social stability in a society where technological advancement is seen as the goal and highly disruptive, to society, technologies are unleashed at a rapid pace.
3. How to handle societies which have become destructive and want to spread their ideologies to others who have better solutions using any means fair and foul.
4. How to manage highly heterogeneous societies which want to have separate rules for each of its constituents.
5. How to guarantee rights to people when they have near zero duties
How to leave the world as we found it.

The attitude of these elites has been that if we pretend that these problems do not exist they will go away. They have spurned knowledge that did not come from them or came from sources unacceptable to them. But these problems have become too big now and the chickens are coming home to roost. Propaganda is no substitute for logic nor can it solve problems created by a long history  underlying such propaganda.

As I could not phrase it any better, I am quoting from this excellent blog on the topic.

Quote

‘pratyaksham hyetyormūlam kritantai etihyorapi, pratyaksheṇāgamobhinnah kritanto vā na kinchan’,

essentially meaning that ‘in case of a conflict between direct evidence and inference/scriptural evidence, direct evidence shall prevail because it is at the root of both inferential evidence and scriptural evidence’.

Adi Shankaracharya, the first Shankaracharya said: ‘gnānam na purushatantram, kintu vastutantram’ — knowledge is not derived through word of command, but though objective reality.

UnQuote

We need the intellectual vigour encapsulated in the Indian proverb which states that ‘truth spoken by a fool is preferable to lies spoken by the great Guru Brihaspati’, also known as the planet Jupiter, the giver of all wisdom.

There are serious epistemological problems in the world today. The Aristotelian logic is no longer adequate to understand reality and solve problems and is at the root cause of many of the problems we have today. We need to understand nuance which is ever present in nature and reality and our logical systems should be in consonance with that.

More here

and here.

We are increasingly becoming exclusive instead of being inclusive.  Many of our values are driven by ‘either or’ rather than by ‘and’.  For example : the framing of the LGBT issue as one being either pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT is seriously deficient. The truth is that society has to be both pro and anti-LGBT at the same time. Pro LGBT as far as providing them safe spaces are concerned and providing them protection and avenues for self-sustenance; but society also has to be anti LGBT in so far as it being discreet and not impeding the lives of other people.

Today’s elites consisting of bankers, businessmen and politicians have become equivalent to those that tried to punish Galileo for his heliocentric theory and a lot of mainstream scientists are tagging along as they get their share of the booty. Such scientists are not scholars in pursuit of the truth.

Truth doesn’t need advocates or us. We, the mankind, need the truth as it helps us manage our societies and avoid making disastrous and irreversible decisions regarding environment, family, culture, food, education which can set us back by 100s of years. In the last 100 years, we have done a lot to move the clock back. It is not clear how far we can push in the wrong direction without being able to turn back.

I am an optimist. I believe that this too shall pass and one day our descendants will look back and see how foolish we were about so many things. But right now it is imperative that we do not believe things at face value that are fed to us and question what is right and wrong. We need to look for ideas, concepts and hypotheses that provide alternate solutions to the prevailing wisdom as the prevailing wisdom is not working. We need to have only one permanent affiliation namely that with the truth and all the rest our affiliations and associations of political, material and religious kind are only the means to that end.

We also need to update our epistemological tools drastically.

The steadfast inertia/ refusal to not do these things that is perhaps a greater threat to mankind than Covid. In fact the impact of Covid itself is much larger than what could have been because of this mindset and this will reveal itself as the efficacy of various successful approaches taken by the discredited ones all over the world come to light after the Covid storm has passed.

The pursuit of truth has taken a backseat for a long time now and its cumulative consequences are amongst us. This is the most serious threat to mankind.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Raju. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Favourite Foods And Memorable Eating Places.


That is a typical South Indian meal served on a plantain leaf which would rank as my all time favourite food.

I hope that my fellow 6/1 bloggers Conrad and Shackman get an opportunity to try that experience.

Having been on expense account travelling jobs during my working days, I had enough opportunity to eat in some of the world’s most well known restaurants and more so within India. I have also been blessed with so many friends all over who insisted on feeding me home cooked meals that it will be impossible for me to list all those as well as choose the most memorable except for the few cases right in the beginning of my sales career in rural India when I had to visit villages and towns without restaurants and so the local customers hosted me meals in their homes. Those experiences are simply unforgettable and I can hold forth on them for hours if opportunity presents itself.

I live in Pune which is famous for its street and restaurant food and during my younger and working days, I could gorge myself on street food and never have home cooked meals for days together other than break fast of course. Here is a look at some of the food in my home town.

Those days are gone now and I don’t relish eating out any more. I prefer meeting my friends for lunch at my local club which is centrally located and convenient for all to reach with plenty of parking space too. The club serves different cuisines, many types of Indian, Continental and Chinese and so the guests have a variety of choices. I normally satisfy myself with a soup, a couple of sandwiches and an ice cream to finish off the meal. My major meal has been breakfast now for many years and lunch the only other meal that I have is a small in quantity affair.

I hope that I have generated enough curiosity and interest in my taste in food for my readers to try out some and if it is Pune that they would like to try, I would be delighted to host them.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Padmum. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Dated Language.

I sent a message to a friend who had been of great help to me thanking him. The message read –

“Thank you. You are a Brick.”

For my American friends and younger Indian friends, the Oxford English Dictionary defines Brick as:
“British informal, dated, A generous, helpful, and reliable person.”. I have used this word often in the past without any problem.

Agreed it is dated but, so am I and my friend is of the same vintage too.

What leads me to writing this blog post however, is not to defend my datedness but the response that I got from my friend.

“I can appreciate your thanking me but, why do you also insult me at the same time?”

I was puzzled and rang him up to ask him what the problem was and was told that his message read as “Thank you. You are a prick.”

I explained to him what the message was and pacified him but, went to WhatsApp to check if I had indeed made a typo. I had not and so, I took a screen shot of the message and sent it to my friend.

He on reinvestigation found a one in a million chance of an opaque stain on the screen of his smart phone, exactly at the point where the lower loop of the brick appeared. He just cleaned up the screen and the message was not an insult anymore.

I wonder if I should simply stop using the word again in my communications.

Philosophy Of Life.

I was pleasantly surprised to listen to this song from a WhatsApp forward yesterday.

This was sent to me by a very dear friend who thought that I would appreciate the philosophy that the lyrics convey. Little did he know that this promptly took me back to the 60s of the last century when this movie was released. I was enjoying the life of a bachelor with a full time public sector company job and was smoking Charminar cigarettes. I had also got a Ronson lighter as a gift from an uncle who had quit smoking. In this song, in the movie, when the hero lights up with the lighter, the signature tune plays and I went on a wild goose chase to get a lighter with that application. Finding it extremely difficult to get gas to refill the lighter I finally had to discard it till I finally gave it away to an antique collector who was fascinated by it.

I loved the song for its lyrics and I wish to share it with my readers.

Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udata Chala Gaya

I flowed with life as it developed
I blew away all problems like rings of cigarette smoke

Barbadiyon Ka Shok Manana Fizul Tha
Barbadiyon Ka Jashan Manata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udaata Chala Gaya
{adinserter 1}

Mourning failures was a waste of time
So I moved on, celebrating my failures
I blew away all problems like rings of cigarette smoke

Jo Mil Gaya Usi Ko Muqaddar Samajh Liya
Jo Kho Gaya Maein Usko Bhulata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udaata Chala Gaya

Whatever life offered, I believed was my destiny
What I lost, I kept trying to forget it
I blew away all problems like rings of cigarette smoke

Gham Aur Khushi Mein Farq Na Mehsoos Ho Jahan
Maein Dil Ko Us Muqaam Pe Laata Chala Gaya
Har Fikar Ko Dhuen Mein Udaata Chala Gaya

Where there is no difference between Happiness and Sorrow
I moved on, trying to bring my heart into that state
I blew away all problems like rings of cigarette smoke

Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Album: Hum Dono
Music: Jaidev
Vocals: Mohammed Rafi.

I smoked for fifty five years and am paying the price for it now but, while I smoked, I enjoyed every puff and tried to live my life like the lyrics of this song suggests.  I think that I mostly succeeded too!

My Latest Social Media Correspondent.

She is all of nine years old and when the school reopens will be at the last term of her Fifth standard. She is the daughter of my niece in Hyderabad and since the lockdown, has decided that I am fair game for her smart phone shenanigans.

She is totally adorable and I love the banter and enjoy our exchanges but this post is not about our relationship. It is about this little girl’s dexterity with the phone.

She texts fast and her responses to my messages are in half the time that mine are. She uses emojis widely and never uses a wrong one to convey any particular emotion. She chides me for being slow! And there I was thinking that I am a fast typist!

She recently produced an old photograph of me with some others and asked to point out which was me. Before I could respond, she sent the same photograph back on whatsapp with an arrow superimposed on it pointing to me with just ? in the comments section.

I have been trying to figure out how to do the same thing since then and am still to come up with the technique.

I dread imagining a future full of these children as adults using all technology at lightning speeds and leaving us oldies gasping for breath.