Monday, August 30, 2004

1. 'Sexually frustrated chimp starts smoking in China'

2. 'Science proves that love is blind'

What next?...

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The art, science and philosophy of Philosophy is nothing but a huge conspiracy to keep ordinary men and women like you and me occupied, beguilingly engaged, and in general distracted in giving deep thought to problems which REALLY don't have answers, while 'practical' men and women (for example; politicians, fruit vendors, car dealers, real estate agents and hair stylists) are free to turn the world topsy-turvy and to their advantage, reaping profits from the evil machinations of their friends the Philosophers (who are secretly in collusion with them, and regularly receive hefty perks and commissions, thereby enjoying a carefree life-how else do you explain that most great philosophers lived well into their nineties?) and from the general, global state of confusion they have created.

Friday, August 27, 2004


I was watching a fascinating program on the history channel yesterday, which depicted the fall of the Roman Empire at the fall of the Goths and 'barbarians'. It was a very nice show, typical of the History channel, with a big real life cast substituting for the major players in the drama including the Roman soldiers, their Generals, the Emperor, and the Goth leader Alarick. The tale was interspersed with extensive narrations by eminent historians from America and England. The story was essentially one of how the 'barbarians' ousted the Roman seat of power which had ruled the world for hundreds of years, not only literally, but symbolically through its art, culture, science, politics and customs in general. The battle scenes were superbly narrated, including the first ruthless defeat of the Romans at the hands of the Goths at Adrianople in modern day Turkey. The Roman emperor then managed to make peace with the Goths. But the peace was illusory. Its terms included donation of land to the Goths and their inclusion in Roman society. In return, they necessitated the unconditional loyalty of Goth soldiers to the Roman army. However, the Romans did not keep their word. In major battles, the Goths were typically the first ones to die on the frontlines, saving the lives of Rome's sons. Even assimilation of the Goths in Roman society was a farce. Roman women looked down upon the Goths as uncultured, and the men remembered the Goths' vicious deeds in battle. Slowly, the Goths began to realise the trickery to which they had been subjected. Out of this frustration and feeling of betrayal rose a Goth king called Alarick. He marched against Rome itself and plundered it. Having made his point, he rode away, only to die at a young age in a few days. After that, for all practial purposes, Rome's glory had been undone. The Goths settled in Rome and its outskirts, and ironically became the last upholders of Roman culture itself. This was about 400 A.D. The show concluded with an admonition- any civilization which considers itself high and mighty is going to fall sooner or later if it disregards the wishes of its neighbours.

Compare this to the present day United States, which seems to have been prescient in realising this means of achieving harmony. (Even if it does appear as hegemony to many people) It is a point worth noting that the US gave REAL rights and previleges to the 'Goths' (Asians, Europeans) who went there seeking better climes. Of course, in this case, the Goths never came to plunder and loot. But IF America had failed to regard their desire for assimilation, then they very well could have risen against her discriminatory policies in a violent way. America has always adopted a shrewd policy with any 'Goth' who wants to partake of her riches. First and foremost, call him an 'immigrant', even a 'resident alien', but never a 'barbarian'! Give the 'Goth' all the rights and opportunities necessary for his upliftment, but only if he becomes an 'American'. So that technically, he is a 'Goth' no more. This way, you get to have the cake and eat it too. Interestingly, America has worried about immigration ever since the middle of the 18th century, when large numbers of Germans came to the her shores, fleeing from religious persecution. Benjamin Franklin may well have been the first American to think about this (just as he was the first American to think about many other things) He seems to have devoted a considerable amount of thought to whether Germans would find Americans attractive and vice versa! Already, he was thinking about the mingling of different nationalities to create a single insular persona- the 'American'. This also was an important folly on the part of the Romans, exemplified time again in History. They strove to protect their 'pure blood', just like Hitler did with his 'Aryan blood'. History has showed that this policy simply does not work. Better to have instead mixed blood with the same national identity. Of course, other countries have also adopted these policies. Nonethless, because of its preeminent position of power today, I think that America provides the most striking comparison with the great civilizations of the past in realising how to 'include and rule', and she has been the most perspicacious in not commiting the same errors as did her lofty precedents . Maybe if Rome had been wiser in sensing the wishes of 'immigrants', they would never have become looters, and Edward Gibbon would have never written 'The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire'. The most powerful man in the world may still have been 'Maximus Diodemus' instead of 'George Bush'.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


IN John Allen Paulos's book 'I think therefore I laugh: An alternative approach to Philosophy', he is inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein's statement that one can write a comprehensive Philosophy book consisting of jokes alone. If you get the joke, you get the philosophical point. After reading this book, I tend to agree. If we really think about it, it's surprising how many jokes we crack everyday; mundane, sophisticated, derogatory, or otherwise, mostly at the expense of others. Many of these jokes are downright stupid, and we are aware of that. Now in this book, Paulos explains why they illustrate important points of philosophy. And in doing so, he sure gives us a rollicking, rib-tickling time. Paulos weaves an extremely entertaining web of anectodes, humor, and language puzzles, each time demonstrating a central philosophical point. In doing so, he also pays due homage to more or less most famous classic and contemporary philosophers including Russell, Wittgenstein, Hempel, Dewey, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Hume, Descartes, Kant, Quine and Popper, among others. He uses examples from daily life, indicating the paradoxes we unknowingly indulge in during our everyday hustle- bustle. He inspires us to look about for such examples, and most importantly have a good laugh about them.

Case in point. Today, I started to read the manual of a computer program named SYBYL which I am supposed to learn. All of you will know how mind numbingly unforgiving a manual reading session can be. However, my spirits were immediately uplifted when, on the first page of the manual, I saw the following typed statement:
I got the joke; I got the paradox. I laughed- thanks to Paulos.

Highlights of the book include a hilarious dialogue between two most unlikely men: Bertrand Russell and Groucho Marx, trapped in an elevator on a 'virtual' level in the Empire State Building. Their conversation is completely nonsensical, each talking from his unique point of view. But just like Lewis Carroll's nonsense, it makes perfect sense. All through the book, Paulos uses two proverbial scapegoats, George and Martha, to illustrate the finer points of philosophical thought through seemingly idiotic, bizzare and generally hilarious conversations. In doing so, he touches upon reductionism, syllogism, sylligism, opportunism, and most of the other famous "isms". A few examples:

Everybody loves a lover
George does not love himself
Hence George does not love Martha

Illogical as the above argument looks, by the rules of logic, Paulos explains that it makes perfect sense. Or consider this "Proof that God exists"

1. God exists
2. Both these statements are false.

Welcome to the world of paradoxes! Some thorny thinking convinces us that irrespective of whether the second statement is true or false, the first statement HAS to be true. In fact, you can substitute any statement in place of the first one (For example, 'George Bush was in love with Elizabeth Taylor'). The second one will guarantee that it's true.
How about this one. Its a chilly winter night and Martha meets George in front of his house.

Martha: George, what are you doing?
George: Oh, I am looking for my car keys. I lost them near that bush there.
Martha: So why aren't you looking for them there?
George: Because its brighter here and I can see better.

Some of the examples are outright stupid, great examples of PJs that all of us crack sometime or the other.

Martha: That's the last straw! I have had enough of this. I wash my hands of the whole business.
George: A good idea. You can wash your neck too.

Paulos says that this dialogue actually demonstrates an important philosophical principle.

The title of the third section is: "The Titl of This Section Contains Three Erors"
Can you spot them? If yes, you would have unearthed a very important philosophical 'classification of classes or sets', having deep implications for math and logic.

Another examples of this 'classification of classes':
'Robert Benchley once remarked, "There may be said to be two classes of people in the world; those who constantly divide the people of the world into two classes, and those who do not." He should have added paradoxically that he belongs to the latter class.

I could go on and on! But I don't want to give away the wonder of the book. It is a truly refreshing read, for the sheer reason that it shows us how we can constantly laugh at others, life, and most importantly ourselves, and have an educational experience doing it. I think it would be a fascinating experience for us to glance around everyday, and have a look at the idiosynchracies that we indulge in, the jokes that we crack, and the criticisms that we dispense, and endure, knowingly and unknowingly demonstrating philosophical insights. Paulos tried to convince us that there is more to daily life than we think, and that philosophy need not be a separate 'subject' to be studied. It is a part of our everyday where-withal and exemplified in all its glory in all our relationships. I had a ball of a time reading this book, and I think that you will too.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

1, 2, 3...ENOUGH FOR ME!

George Gamow begins the first chapter of his delightful book "One, two three...infinity" with an apocryphal story about two Hungarian aristocrats who play a simple game. In this game, one of them merely has to say a number, and then the other one has to say out a number larger than the first number. Then the first aristocrat has to say out an even bigger number and so on. This is how the conversation proceeds:

Aristrocrat 1 (after thinking for twenty minutes): OK! 3
Aristocrat 2 (after thinking for an hour): Sorry! I give up.

No doubt this gentle slander was Gamow the prankster making fun of Hungarian scientists, many of who were among the most brilliant of the century. But further on in this fascinating chapter on the 'Mathematics of Infinity', Gamow talks about a real tribe of people in the deepest jungles of Africa called the 'Hottentots'. Apparently these people speak one of the most phonetically constrained languages on earth. The consequence-they really cannot count beyond three. So that if the Hottentot has to say how many hogs he killed for dinner, or how many enemies he slew in battle, and if the number exceeds three, he will simply say 'many'. With such a limited power of expression, how does a Hottentot father know, for example, how to share his goats equally among his two sons? In doing this, the Hottentots display what is one of the simplest but most ingenious methods of counting ever, and one which has deep reperscussions even in the most abstract and bizzare reaches of mathematics: Comparison. The father will simply line up the first goat for the first brother with the first goat for the second brother, the second goat for the first brother with the second goat for the second brother, and so on. If in the end, no goats are left over, that means that the goats have been equally distributed. This is how the Hottentots have got over their debilitating difficulty of counting beyond three. This method of establishing a one to one correspondence between things for counting them is so simple, that one would think it must have been discovered by all the arithmetically challenged people in the world.

Apparently not. In some recent amazing research published by linguist Peter Gordon from Columbia University, a tribe of people has been discovered in the jungles of the Amazon, which simply cannot count beyond three, no matter what. The reason, Gordon claims is that these people simply don't have NAMES for numbers beyond three. This conclusion roils up a long debate which connects the fields of Linguistics, Philosophy, Cognition and Mathematics: the relation between language and the real world. To do this, Gordon travelled into the Amazon jungle to visit the Piraha tribe, a remarkable group of only 200 people or so, who are some of the last artefacts of the simple life on earth. To test their counting skills, Gordon conducted the simplest tests. For example, he placed a row of ten batteries on the table and asked the Piraha to duplicate the row. Negative. Next, he drew successively, rows of one, two, three and ten lines on a sheet of paper and asked them to duplicate them. Negative. Lastly, he placed candy in a box which had pictures of a certain number of butterflies on them. He then shuffled the box with others and asked the Pirahas to pick the one which had the candy in it. In this case, even with the lucrative reward inside the box, the Pirahas could not pick the right one if the butterfly number exceeded three.

For me, this was an astounding finding, precisely because I used to think that anyone who would have a problem counting beyond three would at least not have a problem when it came to DUPLICATING objects greater than three in number, by applying the simple process of comparison demonstrated above by our friends the Hottentots. I still have to read the original article because it's not gotten published in detail yet. One interesting question springs to my mind. Can the Piraha at least distinguish between, say, twenty matches and thiry matches? If that is the case, then it would seem that our mind has a remarkable ability for 'counting without counting'. The real question is, what exactly happens in out brain when we count? Is counting just a conditioned reflex incorporated by parents and teachers in us as children, so that "one" is instantly identified with the abstract entity "1" in mathematics and so on? Or is counting an innate act wired in our brain at birth? Whatever the case is, one would expect that simple duplication does not need counting: you merely need to assure for example, that you place a battery in front of every battery in the initial row, no matter how many there are. In fact, if someone does this and correctly duplicates the row of batteries, I would NOT say that he is 'counting' in the literal sense of the term. From this point of view, I would deem Gordon's experiments as being inconclusive to whether the tribe was 'counting' or not. But ironically, it seems that the tables have been completely turned on us, because the tribe could not even do duplication. The only conlusions that eminent researchers have drawn from this fact is that languaage must be irrevocably linked with math. However, I fail to see again how a 'duplication' experiment can say the final word about 'counting'.
Why were the Pirahas unable to duplicate the row of batteries? I don't know, although I would agree that the observation is very fascinating.

Ludwig Wittgenstein once said that all our knowledge about the world is made possible through language, and that without language, even thought and logic do not exist. At face value, this seems to be a valid conclusion. What happens when I try to solve a logical puzzle? I say to myself, either silently or loudly, "Ok, this is the case...hence....therefore" and so on, until I reach the solution to the puzzle through more or less articulated expressions. But a more introspective analysis may make us think that the logic inherent in the world and in nature would be independent of language. However, any step on our part towards resolving this matter is doomed, because we can only use language to talk about language! This is a long standing and probably the most famous and intractable puzzle in logic, mathematics and philosophy. How do we talk about the nature of logic itself, but not using logic? How do we dissect the most abstract intimacies of language, without using language at all? Wittgenstein was very much aware of this self engulfing problem, like the serpent who perpetually continues to swallow his own tail, even as the tail moves away from him all the time. That is why the last paragraph of his famous work "Tractatus Logico Philosophicus" contains a most profound and provocative phrase; "Whereof we cannot talk, thereof we must remain silent". Wiggenstein would surely have loved to know about this discovery.

The problems of language and counting are as old as humanity itself. Gordon has made a path breaking discovery and one that would surely shed light on fundamental issues in a variety of fields. However, I am skeptical about his concusions drawn from the 'Duplication' experiments, and amazed by the results themselves. In fact, such events are quite profound, so that I would need to think more about this discovery and not draw any rash judgements from it. But Gordon also provides a marvelous example of that central principle common to all acts of discovery and progress; experiment and observation, something which can relegate even the most beautiful theory to non-existence, and elevate even the most mundane sounding theory to eternal glory. Science and Society, both benefit from this almost final judge of contention. As to Wittgenstein's proclamation, maybe the following can give a possible answer:
"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should confirm by observation"!

Friday, August 20, 2004


Some recent fascinating science news with implications for society:

1. Tribe without names for numbers cannot count: Amazon study fuels debate on whether the concept of numbers is innate.
2. First 'black' drug nears approval: Controversial study suggests treatment should factor in the patient's ethnic group
3. Gene therapy cures monkeys of laziness: Switching off key gene turns layabout primates into keen workers

Thursday, August 19, 2004


The above line had been uttered by someone in some movie or in FRIENDS...I don't remember the exact context. But whoever it was, he or she must have been prescient about future research.
This article says that what your name is can make a difference in how the opposite sex perceives you. Its actually not just your name, but a combination of your name and looks, and also the way you p-r-o-n-o-u-n-c-e your name. For example, if you are a woman, the next time you meet a good looking man, it may be to your advantage to say that your name is 'Holly', especially if your real name is 'Paula'.
Amy Perfors, a graduate student at MIT (where else) did a study in which she showed photos of men and women (actually friends of hers) to prospective daters, each time switching the names randomly. She found that her audience warmed more to members of the opposite sex with particular names. However, she says that the effect is 'statistically significant' but not very large, so that 'if you're Brad Pitt, you'd be more attractive than Joe Schmoe regardless of what your name is; but if Jud and Jim Schmoe are otherwise equally attractive, then Jim, who has the 'better' name, might be statistically more likely to be rated attractive than Jud.' She also says that her own name, Amy is not particularly attractive , but that she does not want to change it because 'she likes it.' The effect of the names has to do with what part of the mouth the vowels and consonants are pronounced in. Perfors says the effect does not work for 'dipthongs', vowels which can be pronounced in multiple ways. Of course, socially provocative gossip like this would be gathered up by many newspapers and journals, and this is exactly what happened. However, as was also expected, few sources reported that the results won't override any and all factors if you want to go on a date and are banking on obviating all influences of your clumsiness simply by saying "My name is X, Y X", where X and Y are last and first names respectively.
By the way, MY name IS Matt, I assure you...

P.S.: Perfors's explanation is at

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

"All women whether of rank or professional degree, whether virgins, maids or widows, that shall from after this Act impose upon, seduce and betray into matrimony any of his majesty's subjects by the use of scents, potions, cosmetics, washes, artificial teeth, false hair, Spanish wool, iron stays, hoops, high heels, shoes or bolstered hips, shall incur the penalty of the law now in force against withcraft and like misdemeanors, and that the marriage, upon conviction, shall be null and void."

Monday, August 16, 2004


Jeremy Bernstein obviously admires J. Robert Oppenheimer. This is not surprising. Almost everyone who came in contact with his sparkling intellect idolised him. In the 1930s, as a Professor at Berkeley, his students were so awestruck by him, that they could frequently be seen imitating his mannerisms. There were a few who loathed him for his high brow attitude and sharp tongue. In fact, people who met him could roughly be divided into the above two categories. However, the latter formed an exception. The result is that he is generally considered by everyone who had known him, whether it was the janitor at Los Alamos, or Nobel Laureates, as an exceptionally brilliant intellect, and one who also had acute insight into human nature and the consequences of the atomic age.
Now in this new biography, Bernstein brings his well known skills at chronicling famous scientists to bear upon this remarkable man. There have been a few biographies of him so far. Probably the one by Peter Michelmore is most compelling. (The Swift Years: The Robert Oppenheimer Story)The closest that one can get to knowing him well is through his touching and insightful collection of letters, chronicled by Alice Kimball Smith and Charles Weiner.(Robert Oppenheimer: Letters and Recollections) But almost forty years after his death in 1967, what made him tick still seems a mystery. Was it his innate charisma and the blue, innocent, harrowing glare of his eyes, or his lightning fast mind? Was it his incredible knowledge about all things intellectual, from physics to Dante to the Bhagavad Gita? Was it his mesmerising command over the English language, a mixture of spell binding and obscure words, that drew hundreds to his lectures? Or was it his role as the Hamlet and conscience of the atomic age? Certainly all these factors contributed, but Robert Oppenheimer is still not completely unraveled.
However, Bernstein makes a sincere and moving attempt to do this. He is very well qualified for the task. Over the years, he has written extremely informative and entertaining biographies of physicists. He is also a well trained physicist himself and has worked at some of the better known centres of physics in the world-Harvard, Los Alamos and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Most importantly, he worked at this famous institute at a time when Oppenheimer was its director and some of the most acclaimed scientists were flocking there to work at the frontiers of knowledge. Bernstein does not intend this book to be a biography of Oppenheimer. Instead, he says that this is 'The biographical column for the New Yorker which he never wrote.' Bernstein focuses on the main events in Oppenheimer's life which gives the reader much insight into his human nature. He begins every chapter with a curious and affectionate anecdote about his life. Like the time when the absent minded professor went on a car ride on a moonlit night with one of his female students, and then got out for a stroll and walked all the way back to his home, completely forgetting about her. Or warm recollections about the great man from some of the people who knew him the best- fellow Nobel Prize winning physicist and friend Isidor Rabi for example. The most interesting part of the book probably is the one that sheds light on Oppenheimer's tenure as director of the Institute for Advanced Study, one of the most acclaimed intellectual ivory towers in the world, where Bernstein had an opportunity to observe Oppenheimer almost daily. The stories of the odd men and women who worked there during the 1950's make entertaining reading. For example, here's a hilarious exchange between an aggressive young American mathematician (AM) and an elderly French mathematician (FM) which Bernstein overhears:

AM: Prof. Leray, do you watch any movies?
FM: Silence
AM: What about gangster movies, Prof. Leray? BANG BANG?
FM: Silence
AM: Do you have gangsters in France, Prof. Leray?
FM: Yes, but they constitute the Government.

There were many similar small anectodes in this book which I did not know. The main focus in all of this is the towering intellect at the head of the institute. Bernstein discusses the warmth behind many of the small favours that Oppenheimer did for others, and the formal notes which he sometimes used to post on the notice board ('Members are kindly requested to play touch football out of earshot of the library'). Bernstein also discusses Oppenheimer's security clearance hearing, a painful event for him and his family, and a shameful act on the part of certain members of the Government. All through the book, the author brings an honest, personal perspective to the life of this great man, one who did commit follies in his life, but which I think should be excused in light of the great positive influence he had on people around him and on science in America. In that era of distrust and bitterness, Robert Oppenheimer was a guiding light to everyone and a champion of freedom, full of insight, compassion and understanding. It is important that he be remembered in the same spirit that Einstein and Russell are remembered. Bernstein's book helps tells us why.

“There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. Our political life is also predicated on openness. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as [we] are free to ask what [we] must, free to say what [we] think, free to think what [we] will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress.”

J. Robert Oppenheimer

Sunday, August 15, 2004


I have always been wondering about the musical dichotomy between Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Pt. Kumar Gandharva when it comes to the lyrics of the 'cheezas' (songs) they are singing, since I have listened to them both for a considerable period of time now. I will promise a reasonably lucrative treat to anyone who can decipher the lyrics of five of Bhimsen's cheezas which I will choose for him. Its a true miracle how he makes himself heard and transcends the boundaries of normal musical appreciation, when most of the lyrics in many of his performances are all but unintelligible. However, his vocal range and sheer voice quality is so extraordinary, that it really does not matter whether one can listen to, let alone appreciate the lyrics or not. Kumar, on the other hand, hangs on to the lyrics as if his life depended on it. The best proof of this is gleaned from his famous 'Nirguni Bhajans' where every word is uttered as clearly as the ancient sages used to utter the words of the Vedas. Now, since I make many feeble, private attempts to sing, I can appreciate the fact that if you know and understand the words of a song, you can enhance its quality considerably when you sing, because then you can sing it with more emotion and understanding. One then wonders, if the quality of Bhimsen's performances would be magnified even more than what it is now, if the words are clear. However, thinking about it, I realise that the words are probably not intelligible to US, definitely not to HIM! I am sure that he is very much aware of the meaning and effect of the words. It is a real tribute to this great doyen of Indian classical music, that his words actually percolate to the minds and hearts of his fans, without him even uttering them as such! The conclusion, I guess is that, Kumar with the words, and Bhimsen with or without them, make no difference as far as appreciating them is concerned. Both are examples of truly timeless voices.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Wishing everyone Happy Independence Day!
May our country have a bright future...and the good sense to preserve it.

P.S.: Posting this today because its already the 15th in India.


The case of the Dhanonjay Chatterjee hanging again brings to light the intense myth and bombast creating ability of the media. Its absolutely appaling how much the media has batted this to and fro for the last two months now. I am not saying that the issue does not deserve debate or attention. However, it is quite clear that the media is not discussing the issue primarily as a human sentiment arousing debate but as a platform for rhetoric which it is undoubtedly profiting from. However, I strongly think that this is yet another thing which they have conveniently borrowed from the American way of life. The only difference is that in America, they are discussing much more important issues, such as the resignation of the New Jersey Governer who came out of the closet and announced that he is gay...
The media question has no easy solution. That is mainly because of the sometimes protective function which the hyberbole of the media serves. For example, a lot of times, many issues would not have been brought to light at all, had not the media made such a big hue and cry about them. Minority and special demands groups are entirely dependent on the media for acting as a mediator between them and the 'outside world'. It seems that the media is a necessary evil. The only strategy for not letting the media go on the loose all the time would be a personal one. I think it would be entirely upto the individual to ignore or fuel their aspirations. Of course, we are all doing that to some extent. But maybe we need to do it more and better to keep them in check.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


"The faint aroma of gum and calico that hangs about a
library is as the fragrance of incense to me. I think the
most beautiful sight is the gilt-edged backs of a row of
books on a shelf. The alley between two well-stocked
shelves in a hall fills me with the same delight as passing
through a silent avenue of trees. The colour of a
binding-cloth and its smooth texture gives me the same
pleasure as touching a flower on its stalk. A good library
hall has an atmosphere which elates. I have seen
one or two University Libraries that have the same atmosphere
as a chapel, with large windows, great trees
outside, and glass door sliding on noiseless hinges."
-R. K. Narayan, The Hindu, 23rd September, 1951

Saturday, August 07, 2004

I am so happy today! I took the "Which friend (from FRIENDS) are you?" quiz, and was there ever a better reciprocation of your deepest desires?! I turned out to have a lot of Chandler in me, just what I wanted! To be like my favourite FRIENDS character...well actually so much idol worship is bad, and I do sound like I am starting to tread on the steps of Beatles fans in the 60s, but the momentary pleasure was undeniable! Could I BE any more happy than this?!
Check out the test at

I am really frustrated with the library hours during the summer. The library is open from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm on weekdays, closes at 6.00 pm on Friday, is open from 9.00 am-6.00 pm on Saturday and is closed on Sunday. Its so complicated to remember all these schedules. Also, I always am of the opinion that libraries should be open all day long especially on weekends when students like me get some respite from their work. I hoped at least, that the music and media library would be open. But its hours are even shorter, and especially on weekends, they are comparable to the average length of a Hindi movie. Moreover, all library workers around the world share the common quality of being indolent and taking a break the moment they get the slightest chance. So, to pamper their whims, the library is also keeping "Intersession hours" till the end of August, which are even shorter. This is soooo irritating. Have they forgotten that Emory is a RESEARCH University, and that science never sleeps? Despicable!

Monday, August 02, 2004


Then there are those who come and go
and toss compliments to and fro,
those who are always lavish in their praise
and stare at you with an affectionate gaze,
those who would not think twice or even once
before gracefully regarding your opulence,
But when after many years you turn around
they are quite simply nowhere to be found,
these angels, these backbones of bygone times
have left you now to seek better climes.
O! why did you give them all those dues
treat them generously to all that booze,
proclaim to the world that everlasting friendship,
when all there was was an ephemeral kinship.
Better then, are the ones who were behind the stage,
away from yours and everyone's gaze
standing there quietly but needlessly to ensure
that in times of need, they will always reassure.
It is never too late and forget this not,
that rare are the ones who matter a lot.
Laugh laugh laugh, and the world laughs with you,
weep weep weep, and there are indeed very few.
With this, lets propose a toast to friendship,
and always be wary of that diabolical 'feignship'

To true friendship...HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY!

P.S: This post was inspired by Vinayak's "Friend Sheep"