Sunday, December 06, 2009

Nice Guy Syndrome

A woman has a close male friend.he is probably interested in her, which is why he hangs around so much. She sees him strictly as a friend. This always starts out with, you're a great guy, but I don't like you in that way. This is roughly the equivalent for the guy of going to a job interview and the company saying, You have a great resume, you have all the qualifications we are looking for, but we're not going to hire you. We will, however, use your resume as the basis for comparison for all other applicants. But, we're going to hire somebody who is far less qualified and is probably an alcoholic. And if he doesn't work out, we'll hire somebody else, but still not you. In fact, we will never hire you. But we will call you from time to time to complain about the person that we hired.

DragonflyBlade21 at

Couple of days back a college time buddy of mine called me after a long time.His wife (who was also our classmate) has asked him to call me. They were based at USA and they had just returned from an All Indian get together where they had watched "Wake up Sid" on their host's home theater system. She said Ranveer Kapoor's character and mannerism reminded her of me . Needless to say I was Instantly inflated and asked "Oh really ! Do I look like him ?" ." No ! Dumbo , its not about looks its about mannerism "She replied.(My Ex would have agreed with the dumbo part).
Though I was kinda disappointed to know the finer points of her compliment, still It gave me a hope that something in me stand a chance to get a Hot Bong chick like Konkana Sen someday. for now It looks like I would have to settle for a lot less. Anyway after 30 Min of who-is-where-doing-what catching up .They enquired about the state of my romantic life (Ah! finally I found someone who gives a shit ). I said its OK, a bit like IRAQ after US attack, ravished but trying to resurrect and at times missing Saddam Hussien.

"That's sad ..But you know something ?that's what happen to Nice guys ..Always..without fail" She said . That was followed by a rare event when a woman said something which every man from Adam onward has been wondering ."I don't know how girls think" She said .
For the record I don't know that either .And this post is not about neuro anatomical functioning of half of the world population . Its about the observation my friend made about nice guys. They are indeed unlucky with girls. She is not alone in thinking that. As it turns out this is a consistent observation across geographies.Many amongst us have tried to decipher it . It won't be an exaggeration If I say that It has acquired status of a pseudo science. so much so that New Scientist has an article which quotes a research to argue that when it comes to dating their is a contradiction between stated preference of women and their Actual choice.

They prefer to date so called bad guys. nice guys are often "just Friends" material who with a little bit of luck might hope to be "transition man" for their Female friends. nothing more than that . Academics call it "Nice Guy Syndrome" . I have seen it happening way too many times . I agree with the observation but often time I find the conclusions of these article to be incomplete. So here is two cents on this topic.

Nice Guys :

Lets deal with the easy part first.I might be disappointing a lot of my brothers by saying this but in majority (not all) of the cases these so called "Nice guys" are not Nice in true sense of word.their nice act don't originate from a genuine niceness from with in but their chivalry is driven by a desire to fit in,to validate them self. They are subconsciously dependent and insecure whiners at Best and shrewed long term strategist at worst.

I have seen a lot of such specimen in my life. the insecure types keep on doing things for female friends and in the back of the mind they keep on accumulating some sort of Karma points which they think they can redeem on judgement day. so when like a hidden cost in credit card contract ,when female discover the finer point of "service" they are often shocked and forfeit the payback .they back out. guy's investment becomes Non performing asset. At that point These guys join the Nice guy brigade. "After all that I have done for her.......Bitch " goes their statement after the first brush of reality.

There is a sadder version of story too . In few cases girls say YES because they are unable to say No .They don't want to hurt him . After all He is a Nice Guy and nobody want to hurt a nice guy.Add to this a motley crew of girl's gossip loving friend( HE is invariably a Friend to them too) who will say some thing like " Now come on ..Look how cute He is and HE care for you too" or "Decide fast or I will gona grab him " (Yea that's why he is still single) . This cute-caring logic is a pure bullshit .I care for Katrina Kaif and I am cute too (see above ) . I guess All I need now is bunch of her friends to lobby for me. wish me luck.

My observation is that This kind of cute ness infected association are usually not long lasting .a little change of surrounding a new city ,a new job, a new school or new friends and puff....there goes the clutter romance.

Other kind of nice guys are the strategist . They are dangerous and should be avoided at all cost. Ever heard the campus rumor where a female broke up with Her long standing relationship and her BEST friend was there to "Support" her in difficult times ? Well the Truth is that in all probability This best friend is usually a big contributor to her difficult time . He is the self serving catalyst who fuel the petty difference /spats of couple. when these differences pile up They are always there to listen to them and agree with Her unconditionally.Their claim to fame is that They "understand her ". which is absurd ( come think of it.Can anyone ever understand her?? ).
Trust me on this I know a case where a south Indian guy with zero knowledge of Hindi used to sit down and listen to the Hindi rants of a UP girl who couldn't speak basic English .Best part is that HE was able to "understand" . Love can over come any barrier it seems.

This is not to say there are not good guys around . There are and they also screw up the things too. Problem with genuinely nice guys is that they are ..Well Nice. They are always trying to reconcile their desires with their moral standards. Am I acting selfish ? Am I good enough ? is it right to feel this way ? . Yes you ARE Horny Buddha of our age .Now go do something to fix it.In their quest for a life of higher morals they start denial / justification of their feelings .This results in a person being more anxious around someone he is trying to cultivate a relationship with. they Mask it under some stupid "friend " stuff. They try to fool themselves.Thanks to temptation of proximity to their object of desire, by the time they realize the nature of their endeavour they become as manipulative and deceitful as the other guys discussed above. My heart goes for such folks .

Its very hard to tell the difference. one possible indicator is guy's behavior out side of romantic context . How He deal with people he is not romantically inclined to . I am not saying that he should treat everyone in same way .There SHOULD be SOME deviation,some special allowance for partner. But too much of deviation and there is a problem.As they say in England Someone who is nice to you but rude to waiter is not a nice person . Other definitive indicator is Friction . a genuinely nice guy would give You a friction once in a while. The REAL Nice guy would stand up against you for principals. A subtle indicator is their approach . I have seen that a real nice guy would tell his feelings to come clean of guilt , to stop being two faced, not for the purpose of knowing your response. This is not to say that their guilt is girl's obligation or it make them a better candidate . No its not like that . Its just an intention vector. YOU still have to choose .He can still be the wrong guy for you but He will not be BAD guy for sure.

Good Guy screw ya! and Bad guy screw ya ! and Rest of them don't know how to screw ya
Samantha Jones in Sex and the City

Now lets talk about the BAD Guys .He is the "Lucky Bastards" down the street.The guy with ear ring and ponytail. Jerk ,bully,non committal. He drinks , smokes and do fast bikes. He had 5 girlfriend in college. and all were Hot chicks. sounds familiar ? Meet The Bad guy . Now who gave him this label? His Ex Girlfriends and Nice guys . I admit that most of BAD guys are BAD in True sense .But their "Achievement" are generally exaggerated . We are often very selective in our observation.

Lets talk of statistics first . The assertion that they get more girls. well they get more girls because they try more .Do your math right . lets say I invest my energy in one girl at a time. so if I do not succeed, I fail 100%. My roommate, juggling four girls at any given time, fails only 25% whenever he is rejected. And even if both of us courts the same number of girls, he will have gone through his girls much faster than I. This alone gives him "more girls". plus when you are aiming for four girl its likely that you won't be emotionally invested in them . so it would be easy for you to move on .
However there is a lot of baggage which comes with being a BAD guy . But thanks to their arrogance "bad boys" are just themselves without reservation, for good or bad. in that narrow sense the bad boys seem more honest.At times their arrogance gets them laid. but most of the time it also get them in trouble.

So how come they end up getting girl.Well I don't claim that I know how it work with girls (who can ?) . My experience with them is fairly limited .I can count the number of girls I have dated on my left thumb and I can count the number of rejections I faced on remaining fingers of my left palm . But in spite of my limited exposure I can say that their is something weird about them and I am not talking of anatomy. I am talking about their whole approach toward the subject of relationship. like pseudo nice guys explained above , many girls ( not all) too fool/justify them self by self serving constructs .They are confused and indecisive .In fact some enjoy this a lot .and thanks to skewed gender ratio in educated young people they can easily afford to be that .Many of girls I know practically maintain a "buffer" of potential partners to choose from. They keep on doing things for her and she purposely pretend to be oblivious to the ulterior motives of the folks around her.

I guess some of the confusion and complication can be PARTIALLY attributed to our social structure.In spite of media propaganda about gender equality our society has yet to get rid of gender stereotype.We need to learn how to deal with an independent women.We assume and enforce the world view of female dependency. for instance I am 30 and still single cause I want to wait for the right sort of girl.But when it comes to my social acceptance my single hood is not a showstopper its only a minor nuisance. I doubt I could have afford to do that had I been a woman.I bet life would have been a hell and I would have well past my expiry date by now . By that logic dependability becomes a major factor for girls. Since social cost of a failed relationship is very high for women. and the power balance in relationship is inverted the moment they are committed. ergo they keep on delaying the decision and keep on enjoying the free lunch in the mean time. Eventually when they have to choose She can choose only one person so rest of the pack is bound to feel shortchanged and harbor bitterness.ergo Legend of a Bitch is born .

Labeling people is wrong and putting them in boxes is BAD. As a human we are evolving all the time .In due course of time both men and women realize that there's a difference between being a genuinely good man and just being a Nice Guy. so Nearly every sane woman over a certain age learns that what she wants is a good man, not a bad boy or a nice guy. What give them a bad name is the things they do in between .

So this was my take on the whole thing .As an alleged victim of Nice guy syndrome I admit that don't know how to deal with it so I am leaving that part as an exercises to readers.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Sixth Sense

This is one of the most exciting TED talk I have ever seen.

Update : here is an article debuking the greatness of talk . Link Its a very Good read. Lesson for me is that I should not get carried away with tech demoes .

Friday, November 13, 2009

On Heroes,Humans and Role Models

A locomotive is moving. Someone asks: "What moves it?" A peasant says the devil moves it. Another man says the locomotive moves because its wheels go round. A third asserts that the cause of its movement lies in the smoke which the wind carries away.

The peasant is irrefutable. He has devised a complete explanation. To refute him someone would have to prove to him that there is no devil, or another peasant would have to explain to him that it is not the devil but a German, who moves the locomotive. Only then, as a result of the contradiction, will they see that they are both wrong. But the man who says that the movement of the wheels is the cause refutes himself, for having once begun to analyze he ought to go on and explain further why the wheels go round; and till he has reached the ultimate cause of the movement of the locomotive in the pressure of steam in the boiler, he has no right to stop in his search for the cause. The man who explains the movement of thelocomotive by the smoke that is carried back has noticed that the wheels do not supply an explanation and has taken the first sign that occurs to him and in his turn has offered that as an explanation.

The only conception that can explain the movement of the locomotive is that of a force commensurate with the movement observed.

The only conception that can explain the movement of the peoples is that of some force commensurate with the whole movement of the peoples.

Yet to supply this conception various historians take forces of different kinds, all of which are incommensurate with the movement observed. Some see it as a force directly inherent in heroes, as the peasant sees the devil in the locomotive; others as a force resulting from several other forces, like the movement of the wheels; others again as an intellectual influence, like the smoke that is blown away.

So long as histories are written of separate individuals, whether Caesars, Alexanders, Luthers, or Voltaires, and not the histories of all, absolutely all those who take part in an event, it is quite impossible to describe the movement of humanity


I have been on this planet for a little more than three decades now and I must admit that though I don't remember it in great detail now but I have good reason to believe that my experience during the first decade should have been the best .For ,after that I started indulging in a paranormal activity called Thinking. And That was a BIG mistake . Why ?? To answer that you need to know the nature of my indulgence . You see ,I have been trying to make sense of world and people around me and its taking longer than my initial estimate. There are many aspect of our existence which I don't understand. and whenever I try to go down the path of logic of what drives the thinking of my fellow humans I always come back empty handed .On every such attempt my faith in Darwin got reinforced.I am thoroughly convinced that We ARE descended from apes.

One damaging side effect of this habit is that often times it put you at odds with your peers .Specially When you are trying to argue a view point by rule of logic . So very often I discovered that like the man who attributed motion of locomotive to the movement of wheel ,inWar and Peace ,people around me start a discussion logically but their logic stops after a certain limit . its not that they are incapable of following the logic ( like in differential equation or advance Quantum physics ) its just that they are uncomfortable and unwilling to follow it . and if you try to tell them your reason they will listen to it,agree with your premise ,your hypothesis , your extrapolation but They will Dismiss the conclusion. I can understand it if agreeing to conclusion demand them taking any action. what make me sad is that even in purely theoretical , academic and intellectual discussion people flat out refuse to learn and acknowledge the finding.What make it worse is that after that point they try to throw personal insults to prove a point and win an argument .

If Brain is the source which moves our society and civilization then knowledge is the fuel which run it . Refusing to validating the knowledge and trivialization of seeker/pursuit of knowledge is bad and in some cases fatal for society . still I see this happening around me all the time . I used to wonder why ? I even used to ask it aloud but not anymore at least not very often . In very few cases I make an exception .This post is about one such case.


Few days back I was sitting in the company of few of my friends. We were having free flowing conversation about nothing specific . suddenly out of some random event out talk drifted toward a certain public figure ,a sportsman (lets call him Sir X) . Sir X is a well known name in world and often quoted as the best player the game ever had . I am no expert in that game ( or any game for that matter ) but still I will submit to you that the Sir X has earned his reputation , he has worked hard for it . During our conversation somebody in the room suggested that Sir X should be treated as a role model for future generation, not only in his area of expertise ( the game ) but also in every walk of life .

I politely tried to suggest that casting someone as a role model for young kids , that too in "EVERY WALK OF LIFE" is a very big decision . are you sure Sir X deserve that ? I tried to support my argument by quoting some well known incident where Sir X tried to evade tax on multiple occasion for an object of personal luxury and trying to modify a certain instrument of game for unfair advantage . I purposely quoted just two Factual and well documented incidents. so that their is no scope of ambiguity. I didn't even bought in the often discussed but inconclusive point about Sir X's affiliation toward individual performance at the cost of Team ( which i believe is just a matter of opinion and I defend Sir X there) .

My intention was to construct a complete picture so that we can choose carefully what we idolized for generation to come . But the reaction I got was surprising . from a non committal "Hmmm But ... " to " Lets not be judgmental " . I am accustomed to both but one of the person in room snapped back at me saying that

"HE is good because He will never react like you " . I admit that I was shocked and Hurt. I was Hurt both by her reaction and reaction (or lack of it ) of rest of the people in room . I was even more troubled by my own reaction , by the fact that these things STILL matter to me . I was under the impression that I am "Seasoned" after all My years here ( sorry for the style but I feel terribly alien to my peers when I think of these events ) . It seems like I will never be seasoned enough when it comes to two things

A) Ideas I am passionate about ( in this case KIDS and the environment we provide them )
B) People I care for (there were few in the room) .

But question still remains ? Why folks act the way they do ? and How can we solve this .

Specific Details of Sir X is irrelevant .. They are all around us . you can think of Sir X as

  • A certain veteran actor of Bollywood who falsely presented himself as farmer so that he can avail subsidy on land and buy it at low price which Ideally should have been given to a more needy person .He is a great actor .idealized by millions of Indians as role model.
  • A certain chief minister who go Tom Toming about Industrial progress in his area but at the same time he is mastermind behind biggest communal Massacre in recent history . Many amongst us believe that he should be India's president .He has created Biz friendly atmosphere in his state for sure . But does that qualify him as the best guy to RUN the country ? I don't think so.
  • All the investment banker in USA who took Bailout funds (Tax payer's money)from US Govt to save their arse and than they went on rewarding them self Hefty bonus while their countrymen were loosing their jobs . These guess have an air of self righteousness which is very similar to the one exhibited by my peers.
Truth be told ,for most of us if we want to see Sir X we need to look in mirror .there is a bit of Sir X in everyone us . Its in me for sure . only distinction i can possibly claim is that I am not in denial of it .

Another unfortunate aspect of this tendency is that how it rob the spotlight from more deserving people.who are actually doing something meaningful and they are consistent in their values.

  • Megha Patker ,NBA Activist .She was a gold medalist from Tata Institute of Social science. She could have picked up a well paying job at any corporate or UN agencies .She choose to fight for a cause . She is,as a TISS allumni told me at a Cocktail party, the only TISS graduate who is ACTUALLY making the difference. Now tell me how many time we hear about her ? Is she getting her due credit ? having had the honor of meeting her once I can tell you that she couldn't care less for it .She is one women with a mission .What a pity all we can think of social cause is some Beauty queen visiting Dharavi with a Team of Photographer .
  • Pullela Gopichand , The Badminton player who refused to endorse a Global Soft drink Brand because he himself don't drink it. What he got ? an Oblivion .
  • Keshub Mahindra , The Leading Industrialist from Mahindra Group who refused Padmabhushan saying that he don't deserve it because He was on the Board of Union Carbide at the time of Bhopal Gas Tragedy( Link). Its worth mentioning that He was a Board Member, a designation which doesn't entail any operational responsibility .Yet he didn't evaded the responsibility. That's a Gold standard one can set for himself and posterity.
  • E .Sreedharan Who after years of excellent work as Head of DMRC and Konkan Railway offered resignation after a mishap at Metro construction site which was clearly a mistake on part of vendor. He didn't choose to encash his past good work to sanction some mistake . His standard were not flexi.
Whenever I discuss these people and their work the response I get is "Uhh huh ..Here He goes again.." .Once a person said that "They are good , May be they are GOD .But you know what ? they are not cool " . May be He is right. consistency ..that too self imposed is not cool anymore .


You can't deny other person's reality , you can only build upon it
~ Emily Levine in Trickster's Theory of Everything .

Human brain is gifted with a strange capability of constructing things. We look at one half of an object and in our brain we can see how an object will look like in full . this capacity of creating self fulfilling constructs is not only limited to physical universe . We do it all the time in the realm of thoughts , ideas ,values everything. Perhaps that is the reason why some of us fail to see the complete picture . Our schools don't teach us critical thinking they teach us facts .they don't teach us how to think they teach us What to think .That's why most of the time We work on a limited /Bounded rationality . That's why our logic stops the moment we enter a uncomfortable zone .Man is an rational animal .We are told .But this doesn't give us a free ride at rationalizing whatever We deem fit . What will happen to a world where everyone act in this manner? Where everyone is rationalizing the path of least resistance . Where everyone is governed by their basic instinct ,Convenience and will full ignorance ? That thought gives me a shudder .

But I have seen enough of world to know that I have to live with it . No One can be changed by preaching. Bhagwat Gita says that You are entitled to change only one person in this universe . You yourself .That too is a tough job. Herman Hesse Wrote a book to explain the same point . Although I try to present my point with all my energy but I don't harbor any illusion to be capable of changing any one's world view .I used to think I can but not anymore . But at the same time I know that everyone of my peers , whose behavior is troubling me right now will change their thoughts , in their own sweet time . I have seen it happening in some other context so I know it will happen here too . I might not be there to see it happening but I know it will happen someday .

That leaves with me with critical Question "How to act in a situation like that ? What should be my approach when I face a situation like the one I faced in the room that night? How can I fit in with the reality of my peers without denying it and Keep my version of reality intact ? I have no definite answer . I have a hunch .


Regular reader of this blog know that I am very passionate about the kids and the effect society have on them in their formative years . I have talked about it in past . I might be paranoid about it and in all possibility I might be overreacting . But the fact is that We as a society don't pay much attention to the kind of environment we expose out children to . If every kid is our chance to change the world to a better place then I am very sorry to say that we are fucking our chance and we are fucking it badly .

First HERO a kid have is his parents.for better or worse there is not even a choice involved for both parties . Kid will see you as role model and He will imitate you in thought and action . Thats one BIG reason ( for there are many ) why I am still single and somewhat afraid of getting married . I don't see myself to be a good enough role model . for now I can only resolve to teach my kids to think critically and examine every thing presented to him . I will try not to impose my world view on him . I will try to teach him to create his version of reality while being aware of tricks of his own constructs and If he ever asked for my opinion I will tell him that Amitabh Bacchan is a Great actor, Narender Modi did some good work to promote business in Gujrat ,his father is an Average blogger who is terrible with spellings and Sachin Tendulkar was the greatest cricket player we had .

And I will make sure that He will have intelligence to interpret these facts for what they are actually worth . Ithink I owe this much to future generation .I don't want to fuck my chance to change the world.

Picture credit: Infinityrain

Update: A funny observation I just noticed that this essay was published on 14th of November Childeren's Day .

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Death of a Helpline

By the time you swear you're his,
Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
Infinite, undying,
Lady, make a note of this —
One of you is lying.
Dorothy Parker

As I write this , I just get off from a 1.5 hour long telephonic conversation with a female friend of mine ( I know I have your attention NOW , Thanks ) . She was girl friend of a friend of mine ( Sorry for disappointment ).They had a fight and He wasn't answering her repeated calls ( 2 calls in 15 minute to be more precise ) . All through our conversation she was constructing a solid case against her beau, with anecdotal evidence supporting her preliminary and irrefutable hypothesis that Her boyfriend is the most insensitive man ever walked under the sun .Our conversation was abruptly terminated with a crisp sign off message "wait a sec ..HE is calling " . I am not waiting . why ?? Because I know that on Her chronological scale "a sec" will pass only when her boyfriend will be rude to her again and that may take anything between 1 week to 6 month .

This is neither new nor one off incident for me . On last count there were 4-6 such girls who regularly resort to call me in the hour of their "Boy friend inflicted distressed" . Initially , as a cornered concerned friend I used to try tohelp them by listening intently , carefully analyzing the situation and suggesting a Win-Win Paradigm for them and their boy friend . But it didn't helped them one bit . so for past few months I decided to help my self and admitted the futility of my endeavor . I stopped being my rational ,analytical logical self and constrained my self to " You are right " " I understand " " He should understand ", "That must be hard " ," Really ?? I can't believe HE did that" etc .

The trouble is that even that has started taking its toll now . I am tired of this thankless job .I think I can spend my energy on more useful tasks ( like updating this blog more often ).So I have decided to put an end to this . since some of these girls read this space regularly so I am officially announcing the closing of this help line here ( for those who don't read it I will send them the link to the post over email ).

Message is loud and clear I will not be entertaining such calls anymore . This line is and will be [perpetually ] busy.

Aforementioned helpline was one of many humanitarian activities where I got my self involved into without making a conscious choice . But my days of youthful indiscretion are long since over ( or so I am told by my Mom) so i am getting rid of them one by one . Today is the day to mourn the death of this helpline .

Funeral Speech:
I can call for souls from the heaven & ghost from hell, So can you.
That is not important, what is important is, Will they come?
William Shakespeare In Hamlet

Ladies and their boyfriends

We are here to bid final adieu to this unpaid job of mine in which you pushed me on the name of our friendship.Its a norm that on funeral you talk about the good and bad time you had with the deceased.share those learning you had from him. Everything in life teaches us something but whether we learn it or not is optional . same is true for this experience too .I have some fond memories of my time with this helpline . I learned a lot of things from it . It will be terrible loss if all this learning is lost. So for posterity's sake I am listing some of my conclusion here.

  • Your intentions and sincerity is useless if it originate from a sense of compromise somewhere deep down . Glory of sacrifice is often overrated.
  • No amount of Display of effect can't produce the cause. Be Honest to yourself and don't deny the reality . if the feeling is not there anymore than admit it .
  • Avoid Long Distance relationships. they are only good for cellphone company .still if you got to do it then use Skype . Why ?? because when the damn thing will eventually blast ( usually its a question of When ..not If ) you will find your self only emotionally broke not financially broke.
  • Watch your words to know where the relationship is heading. Avoid few words like plague. Excessive use of word "SPACE" is most reliable indicator of upcoming disaster .
  • If you think your life is boring than its probably because you are not doing anything interesting . Not because your partner is not showing enough interest in you.
  • There is a difference between missing someone and your obsessive need of companionship to compensate for your lack of purpose in life . understand it before its too late .
  • Its never too late . you will always find someone else and it will be Equally( if not more) hard to adjust with him/her.
and lastly

  • When you call someone at 2 'o' Clock in night to tell your problems.He deserve a proper "Thank you"
So "Thank you" and I hope not to hear from you again .

PS: This post was written at 4 in morning with a part humorous and part frustrated state of mind .

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Some Videos From My Himachal Trip

I was in Himachal Pradesh for much of last two weeks. I visited a lot of little known towns and monasteries. Why I went on this trip and What was my experience is a topic of subsequent blog posts on Knowprashant . for the time being I would like to share this video.

This video captures one of the high point of my trip . Here you can see some Kids from the village Nako singing few Kinnauri songs on my request .Look at the innocence and cuteness of these little performers . Do watch it till the end when they sing a hindi song .

Here is one more which I capture at a primary school in the village of Kalpa .

keep watching this space for story of my trip. That's not as refreshing as these videos but its worth reading nevertheless.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Blogger's Meta Curse


Last week I attended meet up of my college alumni association's Delhi NCR chapter . It was good fun. I didn't knew many people there as most of the attendees were from batches which were 6-7 years Senior to me.though you share a generic affinity toward the Alma matter but its hard to feel the warmth toward those people whom you haven't seen around during your time in campus. Still there were few familiar faces .I was chit chatting with them and drifting through the usual drill of alumni meets . Things like Tilak, Drinks,snacks, some games and finally when enough number of folks were there we started with the formal introduction . Everyone took their turn at podium , introduced them self, shared info like batch ,branch ,hostel and took us on a sinusoidal ride along their carrier graph .Toward the end of their "concise" audio biography [some of them ] flaunted their better halves . For the record All of them were both symbolically and literally "better" in every respect other than (perhaps) good luck. 

I went through the drill and after the introduction ceremony a couple of guys walked up to me and asked

"Are you the same guy who debates a lot on our mailing list ?"
I was expecting something like that , 

" Yes . I do present my point and push them when needed." I replied.

they shook hand with me and said " It a pleasure meeting you Boss".

"I subscribe to the RSS feed of your blog .I must say your write very well. I wish I could write like that ". one of them said.

Needless to say I was happy to hear that . I was almost about to pull out my Parker pen to sign autograph when I heard following remark from him and stopped my self

"I wanted to start a blog too but I gave up the idea and deleted my Wordpress account " He continued ,

"why ?" I asked

"I had nothing substantial to share . Life is boring .I think .You would admit that you have been very lucky in some ways . I mean how many people find them self in situation like yours. you have got an interesting life . a life which offers a string of event to fuel your writing." 

I smiled with amusement .I had heard the comment before , a couple of time at some blogger's meet .sometime from my family members who read my blog. But truth is that much as I would have prefer it to be other way round there is nothing exceptionally interesting or exciting happening in my life.which is not happening to the next guy. Than why the contradiction in the observation ? why so many of YOU think that I (or any blogger or creative sort of guy ) is having a ball of time and yours is a run of the mill life.

Answer lies in what I call "Blogger's Meta Curse"


so what is this meta curse? It is a constant tear which pulls a blogger in two opposite direction. its more common amongst the blogger who (like me )write a personal blog. those of us who writes a technical or news blog are somewhat immune from it (not that it makes there job any easier or less valuable) . and reasons for this is understandable; they draw their inspiration from the event around them . those event happening around them and brought to them by other sources like RSS,press coverage ,TV,Print etc are. they act like the triggers which initiate a thought process which eventually culminates in the form of a blog post . They know where their muse is and so the go their for stimulus. 

That's a luxury a personal blogger don't enjoy. He has to extract the theme of blog post from the day today event of his life and since his day to day life is not very different from YOU . so they have no option but look at the things differently . Add their own perspective (or Twist ?) to the narration. Its that narration and not the raw detail of what actually happened, which make their writing interesting . look at some post i made recently , what were the circumstances I described in them ? Meeting your Young family member at wedding , Sitting next to a couple in cafe, finding something to deal with lonesomeness, reading an email from friend about his new born baby and finally one of the most popular post here which was result of me stumbling upon a random video on YouTube. While this perspective offers a functional value but it come with its own set of disadvantages . That's why I call it a curse. I am going to list some of these side effects below.



One who is too wise an observer of the business of others, like one who is too curious in observing the labor of bees, will often be stung for his curiosity. 
~Alexander Pope

After 04 years of blogging about my personal life , it has become a habbit for me to see things not as it happens but as I see them happening . and the gulf is continuosly increasing. My perception of world operates on a meta level . Many a time , even when something is happening I find my self separated from situation and watching it with an amused , detached indiffrence. Mind you I am not any enlightend Buddha sort of a person , in fact each one of us have this tendency .what ? you think you don't have this ? Tell me have you ever caught looking back at your life with a detached amusement? Yes? so do I . only difference is that it has timeshifted for me . Thanks to the blogging and some other things , I can do it in real time . 

This real time meta reflection create all sort of problems.I often find my self alieniated from the surrounding . I smile at seemingly random inconsequential events for reasons which make sense to me only. I look intently to mundande acts of people . and worst of all , I search for sign of serienditpty or some cosmic pattren in every event around me . ( Just FYI I have made some good progress in that direction ;) ) . 

At time I feel that this has deprived me the ability to experience the life in first hand , first person manner . I don't look forward to rain in order to get relief from summer , I look forward to rain so that I can smell the earth ( even on my third floor apartment ,Go figure) . I don't watch Matrix for thrill of some kung fu action, I watch it to know how Wachowskis have hidden the real story under nth layer of detail(Ya Ya, I know its just a movie) and unlike crative littreary genius of past I don't drink beer to stimulate my brain I drink beer so that i can slow it down . Damn thing never stop thinking and it always want a little more of analysis . 

This overthinking create a very awkward situation when I find myself in mixed company . Few months back I was at a couchsurfing party where a Brittish lady asked me to dance with her ( hold your horses , she was 60 year of age ) . we danced on the tune of "Falling in love with you " song from UB40 .After the dance we were having drinks when she said

 " its a nice song , My favorite
 " Ya , Its my fave too. you know the story behined UB 40 ? " I said and without waiting for her reply I continued " its called UB 40 because members of the band meet first time at at Unemployment Beaurau Street No 40 " . 

She smiled and said "So you were thinking about UB40 while dancing . ?

"Well...Yes" I said .

 She laughed , pulled my cheek and said " I bet you are not vey lucky in dating "

 I smiled stupidly .

 "cute boy , Here is a tip from Mommy " She continued " Don't think too much and while you are with girl there is no need to be intelligent .it doesen't impress them much " she declared. 

I am still trying to internaliz that lesson. :-)

Efficiency Loss :

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public”:~ Anonymus 

For human beings Brain is the prime mover , the source of all acitivity . We navigate our way through life under the control of our brain. Our thoughts power our every action. its very intutive to extrapolate that effort putin by brain has some linear co relation with the effeciency of our action. ie More thinking, means more understanding , more accurate actions , means more full filling life . right ? Wrong . Just like all the understanding of Internal combustion Engine and Power transmission assembly won't give you an iota of advantage when you drive a car , in the same fashion all the deep philosophical thinking about the nature of universe,purpose of life , understanding of motivation of human action and other such crap won't help you make your life one bit easy. It might give you a perspective but it won't make it easy on a day to day level. This thinking thing is some thing which is done for the pleasure of persuit it self . its a very personal joy . However sicne fndametally Mind is also a machine , it gets tired at times . and sometime it get tired when you need it in REAL Life ( like at work) . this happend a lot with me. it still happenes but with a little less frequency . another aspect of this phenomena is that if you think too much about mundane things of life and share it with people around you , it can get you in trouble because 

#1 ) they can get bored and start avoiding you thus pushing you higher on your meta cloud .
#2) They might think of you as a crazy philospher ( Which might be true . Is it ??) 
#3 ) sometimes their expectation from your intellect becomes very high. 

One of the best ways to avoid this is to avoid telling your work collegue your blogging habbit. very few of my co worker follow this blog and I bet they will have a shock of their life if they ever got to read this. maintaining this kind of split personality has its own challenges but potential benifits make it worth.

Communicating with "Third Person" :

We entered a oneness of silence; words seemed the rankest superfluities. Eloquence flowed in soundless chant from heart of master to disciple.

~ Swami Paramhans Yogananda

Most of my social engagements are around the theme of Blogging , Technology, Web 2.0,Mobile,Philosophy and Beer only. I don't remeber when was the last time I attended a normal event like wedding, Birthday ,Pooja etc. Thats not my thing , I am Cool Blogger Right ? Holy shit . Here is the thing about all these events . most of the session there are boring . no better than your regular corporate power point tamasha. But some are good . I meet some of the most interesting people at these events. Almost all of my friends in delhi ncr today are due to my involvment in such meetups only. 

I have noticed a strange thing amongs many of these friends. Those friend amongst this group who are personal bloggers ,Whenever I am with them I always get a distinct feeling that though they are with me , nodding to my remark , answering my questions, laughing on my joke still they are not there. as if I am talking to a medium . real self is somewhere else .standing by the side may be.

 Lately I had a pleasure and previlage of interacting with a very talented blogger , a celebrity in making .This feeling was very clear during my interaction.There  was a third person bitween two of us. Always.That third person was aloof and observant at the same time .  I saw that third person once . We were in a car, I looked up to the ceileng and there it was , hanging up side down . watching intently . when I treid to scream it casted some hogwartian magic spell and my scream was supressed. All right ! That last part was figment of my imagination But I did saw it ,for a sec, before my car hited a bump and I was jolted back to reality.that was the moment when the core idea of Meta curse theory was born.

Anyways,I had  felt this way  few time before (with diffrent folks, some of them bloggers , some not )  everytime I got an impression that the "Third Person" don't want his existence to be acknowledged and He might be offended if I even tried to commit the transgression of attempting to contact him . That made me a little uncomfortable and concious. 

So this is for the record " As I am blogger too. If you ever feel the presence of that Third person while talking to me and if that had made you uncomfortable , than Please accept my sincere apologies" .

Epilouge :

So now you know that My life is not more intresting than your's. its just a matter of how you look and how you present the story. Purpose of this article was to share this simple fact . If you are holding back from blogging or any other creative activity because of that , than you don't have that excuse any more . go ahead give it a shot . trust me, to create something  is a very empowering experience . 

The only risk here is that of striking balance . When you live constantly on this Meta state , after a while you start enjoying it. At times this is not a good trait.specially in social setting. it makes people (specialy host) very uncomfortable .Now I am putting a concious effort to stay on the same level as the rest of the folks.If you meet me next time . do let me know if Its effective or not . 

Happy Blogging . :)

pics credit :Hugh Macleod 

Monday, May 04, 2009

Mario Saves the Princess

They say that being a dragon is all fun and games till some tincan bastard comes and shoves a sword in your throat. Irony is that even he won't get a kiss from the thankless princess . Mario , you did the right thing...

Sunday, April 19, 2009


जीवन से सकल सुहास गए , जब से सुखा ये मन चन्दन.
अधरों ने हँसना सीख लिया , जब थके नयन कर के क्रंदन  
सूने घर की तन्हाई में सुनते हम अपना ह्रदय स्पंदन 

मित्र हमें समझाते हैं , करतें हैं वो सब लाख जतन 
नाना विधि बहलाते हैं हमको ,सुनते हैं मेरे कटुक वचन
हो के निढाल गिर जाते हैं , मिटती न ललाट से एक शिकन  

में उनके तर्क समझता हूँ , कहता हूँ "सुन ओ मेरे मन ,
यादो की चार दिवारी से , चल दोनों करते बहिर्गमन ,
प्रक्रति के कलरव से भर दें , आ अपने जीवन का सूनापन"  

कब ज्ञान ,सहायक होता है , ये सब हैं झूठे आश्वासन
चाहे वो अधम मनुष्य रहे , चाहे हो कर्ता श्रष्टि सर्जन.
शब्दों से काट नहीं सकते , उलझे इतने हैं ये बंधन .
गांडीव उठा , तज बुद्धि ज्ञान , सब भूल श्रृष्टि में अपना स्थान
स्वर्ण मृग के पीछे दौडे जाते , देखो कैसे वो रघु नंदन

Pic courtesy : Prof. Frances Pritchett, Univ of Columbia .(Link)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Colors of Poetry in Gulaal

This is a long overdue post.Sometime back I complained about popular music and poetry being heavily skewed toward the Love and related "mushy" emotions and lacking proper representation of other human emotions. Personally what i miss, most is the poetry about veer rasa(valor / Courage). As far as I remember "Rang De Basanti" was the only recent movie where someone showed that. So i was pleasantly surprised to see a very contextual use veer rasa poetry in the Anurag Kashyap's latest flick "Gulaal" . a movie based on student politics ,rajasthan and a Ex - Monarch turned revolutionarie's denial of new reality of unified india.

As someone who is born and brought up in rajasthan I could relate to it at so many level .Although story is a work of fiction in all probability but mental construct of character shown in the story is anything but fiction. In the street of Jodhpur, Jaipur and bikaner you can find every single character living , breathing, smoking beedi and chewing tobbaco (not to mention spitting it on the wall of fort also ) . 

I don't do movie and book review here on this blog but if there ever was a contemporary hindi movie i want to review it would be Gulaal.But this post is not about movie , its about the use of poetry in the movie's narration. hats off to Piyush Mishra for composing the music and writing lyrics . they were superb. My fave part of movie was the scene where narrator (played by Piyush mishra himself) recite two of very popular poems . incedently both of them were in my school text book . It was very nostalgic to see them in entirely deffrent but fitting context .

First was the famous poem by Bismil "Sarfaroshi kee tamnna" . Mr.Mishra has tweaked it beautifully to reflect the reality of modern day india. I am sure Bismil saheb won't mind the palagarism . see it in the embedded video below .

Second was a poem "श्री कृषण का दूत कार्य " ( When Krishna acted as messenger )by Ramdhari Singh "Dinkar". It was in my younger brother's hindi text book. Its really cool you can see the scene in embeded video below .it start at 2:27 in the can read the transcript of poem on my other blog here.

Finally there was best of all , a Piyush Mishra's orignal composition . Aarambh
listen to it here.its mind blowing. I liked it so much that i set it as ring back tone on my mobile phone. so here is one more reason for you to give me a call sometime . :) 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Geography lessons from a drunken philosopher

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts - for support rather than illumination”

Andrew Lang

Ever seen a mountain ? Those big huge vast bodies of stone. Apparently frozen in time. Everyone think of them as embodiment of timeless ness. Epitome of stability. Set in their path, making concession for nothing and no one. Hiding precious things like gold, diamond and some purely utilitarian things like coal and fossil fuel. Sometime covered with snow but mostly barren. Very few people live there most of us go to mountain for convalesce.

This is the common perception about them and for most of the purpose this perception serves us well to understand them. Unitll ...untill you see a river flowing through a mountain. For river, those same timeless , changeless , eternal Mountain makes exception and give path to the her . It tears himself apart to make way for river's flow .never regretting or thinking about the loss of identity incurred in the process. River flows through it and life flourishes in the valley. People worship the river. His sacrifice or contribution is never noticed or appreciated. However he notices that children in the valley never draw a picture of river without mountain but then they are children their parents lives on the bank of rivers and soon they teach their kids that valley owe everything to river.

River keep flowing till it falls in sea. After that there is no river any more . There is only sea. River loses its identity. Her water becomes saline. Sea never takes notice. After all for sea its just another river falling in to it. What’s the big deal ? Mountain feels bad. He thinks his sacrifice, his effort went in waste. He made an exception for river. And river chucked that for what? To become just another anonymous contributor to saline water reservoir ? Mountain feels sad and angry and a volcano erupts from it . it’s lava hurts the people living in the valley. they curse mountain.

But than one day after a very long time something strange happen .a lone drifting cloud ,floating high up in sky passes through the mountain. That cloud is not visible either to people of valley or river. And much like mountain, that lone drifting cloud is of no use for them. Thanks to their altitude, that cloud collide with Mountain. They talk , She listen to his story ,understand his pain and tear start rolling from her eyes . Only the water is not saline this time and people in valley call it rain . Volcano cools down, grass sprouts on the mountain, and river get filled with fresh water. Life flourishes.

That lone drifting cloud who appeared out of nowhere tells something to the mountain and mountain is happy again .He can see things in perspective. Looks back at the river, valley and people. only this time he don't seek any validation , recognition or approval. He resolve to keep doing what he always did. As the lone drifting cloud moves on to her path to heal the pain of others like him he prepare to face another season of summer. Another flow of river passing through it. World, oblivious to all this keeps moving on.

Are you wondering what that cloud said to mountain which made him forget his sorrow? She asked him to not to be judgmental and learn to let go . She told him that "what you are is your nature and what other are is there nature. neither is wrong or right . only different and she told him that "Because of your this very nature you have a special places in god's heart. He loves you more than anything else. Ever wondered why mountains are highest place on earth ? Because highest on earth is nearest to god."

Forever the rationalist, mountain dismissed the idea saying "I don't think god gives a damn."

Lone drifting cloud smiled and said “Who do you think has sent me??

In life we all act like that mountain at times, than we feel angry, upset and dejected. if that's the case I have one advice for you. look around and look up. Trust me ,Your guardian angel your lone drifting cloud will be somewhere near to you.

Pic courtesy Aris Gionis

Thursday, March 26, 2009


24 years of existence: No invention and No incorporation yet! Even Mt. Everest remains out of reach. What a waste the years have been!!

Varun Gupta's status message on Facebook on his birthday .

Here is something I wrote last night . These thoughts were germinated in my mind around my birthday couple of days back .It reached a crescendo last night and result is this poem. I hope you would like it.

प्रारंभ से पूर्व ही पटाक्षेप हो गया ,
जीवन प्रवाह में स्वप्न बस अवक्षेप हो गया
करता रहा प्रतीक्षा , रात भर वो भोर की
सोचा किया
की , क्षितिज पार कहीं सूर्य सो गया
बचपन में था चाहा
उसने छुना आकाश को
फिर घोसले का प्रेम उसकी बेडी हो गया

जीवन में शीत आयी तौ दाना " खुदा" हुआ
रिमझिम जो बरसे
मेघ तो , महा भोज हो गया.
की भांति पाले उसने, सपने किसी और के
जब उड़ गयी वो कोयलें , वीराना हो गया.

देखो सरल इंसान कितना गूढ़ हो गया
योवन के राह देखने में प्रोढ़ हो गया

सर्वत्र है सम्मान उसका , पर किसको ये ज्ञात है
जय घोष में दबी कहीं जो उसके दिल की बात है
कर कर के हर किसी
की कही , वो महान बन गया
जन्मा था जो परिंदा वो अब इंसान बन गया

Note:Regular reader of "knowprashant" might remember when same thing happened last time . This time however I was not exceptionally happy or sad that day . but its kinda hard not to reflect on your life on your birthday.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Some Thoughts on Terrorism

Nothing in this world is to be feared...its only to be understood

~Marie Curie

I was sitting on my living room couch, lazily reading some old magazine when I learned about Terrorist Attack on Sri Lanka’s cricket team. There was a news flash on TV and within 5-10 minute "experts" were ready with their “informed” opinion on how this incident will effect everything from Cricket, Peace in Asia and sponsorship of IPL. True to their nature, News channels were filled with rhetoric, meaning less call for action and other such ploy to cash on public sentiments. In short our reaction to the attack was very predictable : “knee jerk “. Having seen many such incidents in past I was confident about what is to follow. We will forget about it . Soon. 

But I was afraid,Loss of human life is always tragic. But I think it will be a mistake to see this incident as just another terrorist attack. Something is different this time, something subtle which disturbed me.A threshold has been crossed. Its not terrorism anymore. This issue is a Vendetta. Implication of this difference are far reaching and if not checked in time.It will be devastating to stability of our nation. 

What is Terrorism?

Its not in my nature to be afraid . Never . I strongly believe in above mentioned words of Marie Curie. Whenever I am afraid of anything .I take it as a symptom/side effect of my failure to comprehend. My life's experience has thought me that if you look deep enough , hard enough and long enough you will find some pattern of logical coherence in every problem. So I spent last couple of days thinking about the problem of terrorism . This essay is result of that thought process .

First and foremost I was surprised to see that most of the time when we talk of Terrorism we talk about act of violence only. Our whole perception of terrorism revolves around acts of violence. Something that is not violent is not terrorism. That’s the fundamental flaw in our thinking. Violence is culmination of terrorism not origin of it. We talk about "How to solve/remove/eradicate Terror" very few times you will find your self thinking what Terrorism actually is? What we are trying to do is to solve a problem with out understanding it . A hallmark of brute force mentality. No wonder that we are not going anywhere with it . So first step in my quest was to define the term “terrorism”.

You will be surprised to know that till this day there is no standard definition of terrorism on which all of us agree . wikipedia define it as "violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands." Now tell me "What were the demands of Gunmen who were involved it Mumbai Attack of 26/11 ? What were the demands of fidayeen who carried out September 11 ? None. How did attack on sri lankan cricketers helped the cause of terrorist?”.No,None,zilch,Nada.

Vir Sanghvi was right when he said that “Joker is the terrorist of our time.(Link) .Like Joker ,these terrorist never cared to put forward their demands. They never tried to hold hostages. They just came and started killing civilians . they knew they won't get out of it alive . but still they did it .why ? 

At this juncture I want you to forget every single rhetoric filled in to your head by media ask a simple question to your self "Is there anything ,anything at all in the world for which you are ready to die? or ready to kill " I doubt if your answer will be anything outside of standard response of "my family". Very few of us will even consider the possibility of doing such act for the sake of any idea ,opinion or promise land. We will call it madness. ergo we lable doer of such deeds as MAD. This is shallow thinking . We need to understand that fundamentally they are (were??) same as us . I don't think anyone start his life with the intention of killing the strangers . Revolutionaries and Terrorist are not born . They are created by a system . Ergo, any solution to the problem of terrorism must address and attack the underlying "system". 

We don't need to study groups like LeT, LTTE, Al kayeda to understand the basic premise and modus operandi of Terror. Basic premise is "When logic fail or when one of the involved side is not open to logic you resort to non verbal force to attain your objective". A kid in school playground who Bully his peers, A spouse who exploit the dependency of his/her partner for undue advantage in relationship. A Manager who exploit his insider knowledge/position to push his own agenda. Politician who exploit the differences between his electorates to manipulate them. No matter which walk of life you choose. Chances are that you will encounter someone who is a terrorist there. Its our foolhardiness that we associate terrorism with violence and bloodshed only. Some are terrorist in thoughts, some are terrorist in action. Usually terrorist in thought breeds terrorist in action. when we blame a single individual for terror we are basically trying to surge off the responsibility.  

Ways of Terror

Thanks to my early and extensive exposure to news media in my formative years I have seen many terrorist conflict from the side line, on my SONY Trinitron. List include Arab Israel conflict, Fijji, Maldeev, Bostnia,Afganistan ,PLO, IRA, Chechen rebel etc . At Home turf we had more than our fair share of conflict like Punjab -Khalistan Issue, Kashmir issue, GNLF, Sri Lanka -LTTE,BODO. Its seems world will never run out of such things. On the surface level each issue seems to have a different cause and a different origin but once you venture to examine these issue beyond superficial details and compare underlying socio-political-philosophical dynamics you will see a shocking level of similarity . you see a clear and distinctive pattern .in following section I am going to present some of them.

Implosion of Roles:

"Bush and Bin Laden are really on the same side: the side of faith and violence against the side of reason and discussion. Both have implacable faith that they are right and the other is evil. Each believes that when he dies he is going to heaven. Each believes that if he could kill the other, his path to paradise in the next world would be even swifter. The delusional “next world” is welcome to both of them. This world would be a much better place without either of them.

Richard Dawkins

First and very obvious part of any terror situation is a "Oppressor-Victim" duo . oppressor violates the rights of victim and victim retaliate . This part is fairly straightforward. what’s hazy is the perception of the act in the mind of oppressors .from the sideline it might seems to us that oppressor is taking a liberty in full knowledge and awareness about his action .But from his frame of reference its not that black and white. Often time oppressor never really makes a conscious choice to commit the transgression. 

Think of the White people in pre civil war America who practiced slavery . it took a Abraham lincon to abolish slavery. Think of constitution writer in modern world who coined the phrase “One Man One Vote”. It took feminist moments to convert it to “One Person One Vote” . Think of all our ancestors in India who celebrated “Sati” system . think of Tulsidaas calling women destined to torture . Think of all the great people who were upholder of cast system and never found anything wrong with it . it took Ambedkar to make them realize. How does American soldier killing innocent civilian in IRAQ are different from German soldier killing Jews in World War 2?

All these people were perfectly sane, educated and god fearing people based on the standard of their respective times. It’s the standard of morality of that times which needed a revision . Much as we want to believe otherwise , Moral framework of society is not frozen , its not a objective constant . sadly moral framework is a “work in progress” and every society need to revise morality periodically. 

In all the example mentioned in previous paragraph , you will see that wherever an issue of transgression/terrorism was resolved by non violent method ,without a blood shed it was resolved because both parties were open to dialogue and they had vested interest in resolving the situation . This is not true for our time. For a long time now involved parties has vested interest in keep this issue alive . In one form or another.

What ? You don’t know what I am talking about ? I am talking about Military Industrial complex, I am talking about Arm Race and Cold War. I am talking about dependency on Oil . I am talking about aiding LTTE . I am talking about PAK Govt’s need to keep the Kashmir issue alive in order to divert attention from more burning pressing issue at home. I am talking about willfully ignoring issue of human right violation in Tibet and Philistine by self appointed moral watchdog of modern world. Hard as it may seems to believe but we have created these monster and we are creating some more. Boundaries of the roles between Oppressor-victim is blurred. Meaning of these terms are imploded. 

At times we are terrorist in thoughts, at times we face terrorism in action. Roles are swapped periodically. That’s why we are stuck in this perpetual cycle of Terror.

Flexi Ethics leading to Nihilism

All Bombs are clean; their only pollution is the system of security and of control they radiate as long as they don't explode
Jean Baudrillard in Simulacra and Simulation ( A Very good book)

When it comes to matters of foreign policy , conventional wisdom dictates that “there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies . There are only permanent interest” . No country and I repeat NO Country today practice an objective or moral foreign policy . All these world bodies are a hogwash. An elaborate drama, staged for the sole purpose of providing a cloak of legitimacy to the greedy agenda of whoever pulls string. 

When your ethics are situational (flexi) than you can’t help violating the right of someone. Do it over a sustain period of time and you have a disaster in making .No act of transgression goes unpunished. Nature has its own way to deliver justice even when there is no enforcement authority to administer it. That’s why bodies like UN,NATO ,Non Align Moment, OPEC are somewhat ineffective in handling the terrorism issue. They are mere puppet to the global bully. They turned blind eye to the act of transgression and now they are resting in a well earned oblivion . Appeasement is predecessor of terrorism. 

For example right now world is busy keeping china happy. Mark my word; 10 years from now world will be facing tibetaien terrorism. Sooner or later agitation in every victim reaches a critical point. After that point, underlying issue becomes irrelevant. Fight becomes a vendetta and ideology becomes nihilism. This is dangerous. Those people won’t stop at anything. Not even killing there on people.

its is widely believed that “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” . A freedom fighter stands for values of his people. He enjoys sympathy and (moral) support of his people. That’s his power. By that logic no terrorist would ever think of hurting sentiments of very people he is fighting for. But that’s exactly what gunmen in Lahore did when they open fired at the cricket team. Cricket is a Quasi religion in Indian subcontinent. Why they did it ? Because for them there is struggle is not about attaining a goal anymore . It’s a pursuit of total annihilation. They are fighting a battle where on a certain level they have already accepted the defeat.

Its not about idealism and ideologies anymore. System failed and tricked them for far too long . Now they are trying destroy that system . That’s what disturbed me about these attack. This time its there final shot . they have an asymmetric advantage over us. There will be blood on the street. There will be collateral damage. 

Collateral Damage

"The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it. ”

Morpheus In The Matrix

When elephant fights . It’s the grass, which suffers. I have had opportunity to talk to some Pakistani guys . They are very much like us . Very loveable people. My friends who study in US universities face this dilemma often . They can’t help feeling an urge to avoid a Pakistani guy/girl in social setting. I am sure it will be same for Pakistani folks. And if the conflict came to final phase I am sure our soldier will kill their people and vice versa. That will be a real loss . That will be the innocent victim of terrorism . We will condemn the killing . We will say its bad. 

Have it ever occurred to you that at some level, we might have endorsed these acts? At least subconsciously? Read the lines from matrix movies quoted above. As I write this there are 16,200 websites on internet which quote it verbatim . Pretty neat for a movie right ? Most of these guys who published this will say that they agree with Morpheus. Now Read it once again carefully. You will see that this is an endorsement of terrorism. A justification of collateral damage.  

Lets face it , it can be our turn someday .Possibility that YOU and I can be a collateral Damage is very high. Danger has knocked on our doors. We had attacks in MUMBAI. We have a totally unstable country as neighbor. To complicate the situation we have an economic climate which is less than healthy. If things continued like that than its only a matter of time when this menace of terrorism will claim somebody from our friends and family.That’s what I am afraid of and that’s what You should be afraid of too.


So In my opinion these three component are common to every terror situation . Any possible solution to the problem of terrorism should must address theses three component simultaneously .Our traditional response to the threat is to First Quarantine the sect , which is followed by a Power struggle and finally dialogue ,on the terms & conditions of who ever comes out victorious in that struggle. This system never works. Much as the same way that all the prison in world can’t bring down the crime rate.

 What we need to do is to 

#1) Stop/Control the implosion of roles . Define the identities of all the involved parties. These identities won’t be black and white .so do a honest job of admitting where you acted as an oppressor and where you suffered like an victim . this honesty is difficult to achieve if you are in the position of power and if its against the public sentiment. But this is the price we need to pay. It will be a stepping-stone toward developing confidence. Once the identity is defined we can find the overlap and common ground . Trust me this will be a Big Step. But this require a political will power. This sort of will power is hard to attain in a country where no one has got an absolute majority in past few elections .

#2) Define a moral /legal/Constitutional Framework : This is relatively easy if Step #1 is achieved . Define a framework based on humanistic values . Freedom, Peace ,justice and Equality. 

#3) Seize the killing at once . Let go of past . easier said than done .

Easiest way to attain #2 & #3 is to attach some sort of economic reward to the peace. Something like Suez Canal . Everyone knows that suez canal has done more good to the cause of Egypt-Israel peace than all the guns and politicians. There are more than enough economic incentive of peace in Indian subcontinent. If only our politician choose to highlight it . Social incentive can be another bait . Think of the public euphoria if Every Pakistani can visit Ajmer Sharif. and If Indians can do the trading with Pakistan. This sort of economic dependencies are best guarantee of lasting peace. Wishful thinking ? You are right it IS wishful thinking . But is it Impossible ?? 

This is for our politician to answer and their time is running out . 

Photo Credit : Sunandini Basu

Author's Note: This Post/Essay is a slight detour from usuall stuff i publish on "knowprashant". this kind of thing happens to me once in a while when i put on my dusty academic hat . do let me know if you like it .