Archive for the ‘Offbeat’ Category

…So Breathe

Posted: May 10, 2016 in Offbeat


Cultivation of hope,
Fights its way through the soil;
With all the tenacity,
Learns to stand still
And continue to blossom
As long as the sun.
In sweet adolescence,
Dances with the wind
And sings. No song.
But, to inspire the world
And bestow upon thee,
A bud, a flower, a fruit,
A shelter, a home,
And air
For you to breathe –
Is all it longs…


Bhagavad Gita

Posted: February 1, 2016 in Offbeat, Science, Social
Tags: ,

Coming from a Hindu family, spiritual education was part of the growing process. Such education was pervasive and accessible, but I never felt the need to pursue it. I was too young to relate to the sermons and understand the implications. Last week, a casual, friendly discourse on non-action (Akarma in Sanskrit) incited me to study the Bhagavad Gita to learn to practice Akarma.

Karma well known in the western society, meaning action or performing a duty – is one of the three Karma Yoga explained in Bhagavad Gita. Akarma the holy karma – pertains to performing a duty naturally and without obligation, not expecting an accolade, reward or proprietorship. To be able to perform Akarma is an incredible achievement as it requires complete devotion and detachment. It comes as a result of unrelenting Yoga, in which one subjugates the mind and the heart, enjoys the happiness within and is detached from the worldly allure.

Akarma is developed by exploring the deep realm of the mind, heart and in-between. Even though many wish to practice this sacred karma, the mind fails most of the many. The unbridled mind discriminates and makes judgements, calculates cause and effect and decides one’s action. The mind, without you knowing, expects fruit of your actions, and as a result engenders desire, anxiety, distress, hate, anger, ego, envy, confusion and similar temporal disturbances – perpetually. To be able to inhibit such involuntary emotions implies controlling the mind – the unit that controls and dictates the self. Is it possible to dominate this predominating unit and dictate the thought process? The need of guidance, I felt imperative; and to find answers, I pursued the Bhagavad Gita.

The experience was unique and enlightening. Unlike in science, where we deal with the outer space – explore the outside nature and formulate laws and principles, the Bhagavad Gita deals with the inner self. In other words, science tries to explain the way of nature, while Bhagavad Gita explains the nature. Great physicists and scientists of the past have tried to reconcile the two, but the challenge is far from difficult.

The Ghost

Posted: January 10, 2016 in Offbeat
Tags: , ,


That mirror.
Amid the absolute darkness.
Nobody knows.
Nobody cares.
There is that nobody.
Laughing at your basic theory,
Turns on the light.
Can you see him through that mirror?

Do you ever muse over your dream? How it originates? What it means or what it is? Perhaps, it’s just a mundane, worthless, surreal experience – sometimes scary and mysterious while sometimes a projection of your fantasies. Well, that’s dream. And it’s something no one seems to be interested about, even though it entails the most extraordinary experience. One of the thing that fascinates me is the way time slows down during dreaming. Your brain processes a large number of information in a very short time. Practically, your brain is working impossibly faster while you are dreaming than while you are conscious. The reason is pretty simple – as most of our senses get to rest, brain gets all the munchies.

A striking incident happened last week when I was traveling with two of my friends from Boca Raton to Miami. As I fell asleep on the way in the backseat of the car, I experienced this crazy dream of winning the lottery of 350 million (which probably got into the mix from seeing a lottery ad in a hoarding board). I received the full money (as there is no tax cut in dreams), but for some reasons (I can’t recall), I wasn’t allowed to spend the money. I woke up and asked my friends to stop by a store before we reached home. NOT! Dreams can be false and are most often so in my case. Well, I did not win the lottery, but that’s not my point. I was dreaming for 7 minutes (at most), as I happened to notice the dashboard clock (right in front of my eye) change from 9:35 to 9:42 in between. In these 7 minutes – I bought the lottery, won the lottery, got the money etc. etc. Life moved much faster in those 7 minutes of drama that spanned at least few days.

Scientists define dream as a recollection of past events and experience. This however contradicts with the free fall experience which many people like me do not have an experience of. To justify the claim, they assert the brain to be simulating such fall from real life experience of jumps and falls and likely enhancing it. I am no scholar and it might be true, but I happen to be a bit of a skeptic, and I, for one, don’t feel like believing in such unfounded assertions. Can we be so sure when we know so little about the brain itself? What I feel could be true is the eye and other senses stifling the brain to process things differently, and confining the brain to this inadequate 3 dimensional world. Or may be it’s the world itself that confines the brain and limits it’s potential. Will we be able to think faster if we were in a different world driven by different gravitational force, speed, physical parameters and constraints? May be. May be all you need to do to explore the universe is just close the eye for few minutes…

Perplexed I am. Constantly. Eternally.
Absurd obsessions profoundly grounded.
Mystic is this star dancing around. Mystic is this world.
Only if you look closely, you’ll see.
Take my eyes, take my mind.
Comprehensible enigma toys me throughout,
Incessant thoughts turn into crazy dreams,
Seeking unobvious answers;
Willing to solve the missing elusiveness;
Willing to elucidate the prevalent ignorance,
Blinded by orthodoxy, blinded by lack of imagination.
Futile venture you may call,
Trivial you may call.
Trivial I am.

If one yearns back to the days of ancient computing, the recent development of powerful hand-held devices that boast inclusive working platform might be stupefying. Now as nostalgia sets in, we can only think back to that day when late Steve Jobs, the Apple honcho, first unveiled the groundbreaking development of iPad. With that, the inevitable was imminent – our usual habit of general computing and web browsing went through metamorphosis thereby giving birth to a new dimension to basic computing. Apart from witnessing an intuitive experience on a miniature level, which wasn’t necessarily seen before its time, one thing that shocked everyone was its highly competitive $500 starting price point, much lesser than what was anticipated. Even today, it seems that many companies strive to achieve that price figure– thus, bringing us into the constantly shifting price wars.

Now as I stumble upon these burgeoning tablet developments, I foresee a constant threat imparted upon the laptop and smart phone manufacturers, and most significantly to the titans itself – the expediency of the Apple’s iPad is now in jeopardy. Apparently that’s the key reason for major smart phone and laptop manufacturing companies like Samsung, Motorola, HP, Acer, Toshiba etc to venture into the tablet business. One reason for most of these tabs to groom and transcend iPad and other contemporary devices is the easy working platform offered by the Android OS. Development and deployment of app has become a walk in the park for aspiring mobile app developers – the key reason why android tablets has mushroomed over the past few years.

Now with the Samsung Galaxy tab been able to keep the iPad at bay with its all-in-all features and flexibility, Amazon – the eminent e-commerce portal, has dared to bite the bullet to disrupt the tablet ascendancy. Amazon with a perfect mindset first dropped the Kindle to cater readers who love to read electronic books. The highly sought device with its near-perfect attributes gained the deserved prominence in no time. The features they mention in their site describe it best to make you wonder:

  • 30 days battery life with a 3 hours complete charge.
  • Perfect screen resolution to avoid glaring so that one can read under a bright sun with no difficulty.
  • Millions of free books, music and movies from Amazon store.
  • Thousands of popular apps.
  • Cloud hosting to all Amazon products. And lots more…

With this huge success, Amazon subsequently released the much hyped Kindle Fire. Many, including me, were enthralled to find out its price and functionality. In addition to an easy-to-swallow $199, the Fire offers comprehensive features and ample of free stuffs – 9 million free books (now that’s fascinating), thousands of free songs, movies and popular apps. Amazon Kindle Fire is here itching to ignite itself into stardom – thanks to its combined functionality of being a Reader first with a superb battery life, display and performance. For an ardent book reader like me, a tablet replacement at such an affordable price with millions of free books and all inclusive features of that of a tablet, the Kindle Fire is definitely the first choice. But for others, will it contest to supersede the titans in the tablet landscape? Or will it merely prove to be nothing more than a laughable tablet wannabe?

In a political climate where I could go onto spark a nation-wide strike for not getting the reddest of grapes, Nepal Banda is a familiar trite and a well-celebrated Nepalese culture. From neighbors’ quarrel on ‘who killed the chicken’ to major political parties’ altercations, have we ever reached an agreement through negotiation? No. Yes, strike is a must. And we, the proud civilians are always on the receiving end to bear the regular ordeals. How long we endure and put our freedom and rights at the corner is something you need to chew for a moment along with your tonight’s dinner. But hey! Before you decide to not bite the bullet anymore and let loose of your violet self, here are few positives about Banda to calm you down.

Before I start pouring some ice, I’m bleeding to throw few of my personal opinions on the way I couldn’t contain, which you can skip. Something of a deep ignominy I perceive, is the demand of many political parties to label their every dying affiliates as a martyr. Worthless to talk about these proclaimed visionaries, who, once for not getting their demands fulfilled, unleash their student dogs to wreck havoc onto streets, vehicles, even ambulances. Pardon thee for forgetting those brave patriots who righteously sacrificed their life during the Anglo-Nepal war and the Rana regime. Me? Nah! I have done enough chickening and hatching outside the class as a punishment by my ‘General Knowledge’ and ‘Nepali’ subject teacher. I can’t forget those names again, which we revere on the auspicious day “Sahid Diwas”. Also, if the martyr names so easily add up, think about the kids memorizing 100+ names! I, for one, denounce the ‘martyr’ labeling fashion. No chicken, no cries. No fries, no drumsticks and no nuggets as well.

Having mentioned all these unpleasant consequences, I dare to emphasize on some good aspects that a Banda carries with. Now, before I finger fuck the keyboard, I would like to express my consolation to all the job holders having to do the day’s commute by foot. But for me, as my office remain closed on the days of strike, Nepal Banda is another HOLIDAYAY to enjoy. A long sleep till the break of noon is always pleasing to the eyes and a solace to my restless mind. What makes it even better is seeing the red light next to the fuse gleaming. As load shedding hours are lessened on the days of strike, I don’t have to worry about charging my laptop. The outside is even more jovial. Children get animated with joy when they hear that their school is closed due to strike. Furthermore, as means of transportation is either bicycle or the 11 number bus (I mean your two legs) on such days, the atmosphere of the Kathmandu valley is deservedly relieved from the air and noise pollution. Seeing all the people walking on the road, a long walk suddenly becomes enjoyable and refreshing, and a little exercise to warm up those lazy bones. Sometimes, it also becomes quite eventful as forgotten friends and acquaintances stumble upon. Time to hit the tea shop.

Now something, in fact another thing, worth chewing for even longer with your dinner is – why can’t we exercise the Banda atmosphere without a Banda? In many developed cities like Beijing, there are more than nine million bicycles facilitating as many people to carry out their everyday work propelling here and there. Not because they don’t have enough resource to afford a motor vehicle, they do so in order to preserve natural serenity and minimize pollution. The question is, can you let go off your usual habit and dedicate a day (at least once a week) for mother nature and help the already dilapidated environmental condition of our beloved Kathmandu valley regain? All we need is a small spark. If you ask me, I won’t mind to walk a few miles for a good cause. In fact, I relish walking, listening to some good old songs with them ear phones plugged into my ears.