Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ego versus Self Respect

In my previous post, I wrote about a fine distinction between Ego and Self Respect. I''ll elaborate it here.
Ego is something you throw on others, usually to satisfy your desire to exert power or authority on them or to show them your worth. Self respect on the other hand is quite essantial to your existence as a person of honour and diginity in your own eyes.
You need others to satisfy your ego, which is not the case with self respect. You can be a person of high self respect without forming a coterie around you.
When your ego shatters, you usually have three mutually exclusive and exhaustive feelings :
1. You may experience extreme anger and it usually gives rise to a flame of revenge in your heart which in no time becomes an uncontrollable fire.
2. You become helpless because you can't do anything about it. You are too powerless to do any harm to the person who was the reason for bringing down your ego.
3. You start to analyze the situation rationally and bury your arrogance and then you are able to see the logic and the reason.
On the other hand, when you lose self respect, your anger is directed more towards yourself than towards anyone else. You start questioning the very reasons for your own existence. A person who doesn't value himself/herself can't expect others to value him/her. Self respect is one of the central tenets of the life of a rational human being.
When ego shatters, it is usually the result of loss of your command or authority over others. Loss of self respect on the other hand is always the consequence of guilt, a feeling that you did something wrong in the past or that you could have done something in somewhat different manner.
And now that you, the brave reader, has read so far, I'll give you some food for thought : There are times when ego is shattered into pieces and is accompanied by loss of self respect too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When is it time to let it go?

In relationships, it is not uncommon to see people sacrificing their ego. And most of the times, it is quite important in order to sustain the relationship. And it is not wrong either. But if it comes to sacrificing your self respect, it is the final checkpoint. You may go ahead or you can still come back. And if you decide to go ahead, whatever be the outcome, one thing is definite-there would be no way back to be the same person that you once were. And you may find yourself wondering if it was all worth it.
The key is to understand the fine boundary between ego and self respect.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Mystery of Floating Stones

It is mentioned in the epic Ramayana that Ram Setu was built by the son of Lord Vishwakarma when Lord Rama needed to cross the sea to reach Lanka. The bridge known as Adam's Bridge is said to be built of floating stones. The epic mentions that whenever the name of Lord Rama was written over any stone, it started to float in the sea water.
Some such stones are said to be scattered at Rameswaram during the Tsunami and one of them was brought to Patna to prove the evidence of Rama and the bridge. The proof was given in the form of this video :
Even after watching this video many people won't believe it. And I can understand it. It defies logic and reason. But is it actually so? How can this mystery be explained?
About 4 years back, I was in Rameswaram and in one of the several hundreds of temples, I saw not one, but 12 such stones! They were of various shapes and sizes.
Here is a possible explanation : Before I start, I mention it very clearly that the following explanation, though not verified through thorough experiments, is supported by some of the observations that can be made by watching the video itself and some other experiments I did myself.
Any object when immersed in a liquid would displace some part of the liquid. This is so because when it is immersed in the liquid, it would occupy some of the volume that was earlier occupied by the liquid.
Any object floats in any liquid when the weight of the liquid, displaced by the fraction of the object immersed in the liquid, is equal to the entire weight of the object itself. Thus the fraction of the object immersed in the liquid depends on the relative densities of object and the liquid. For example when ice floats in water, approximately 90% of the volume of ice is immersed in water and only 10% remains outside water.
These stones might be special in the sense that they might be hollow from inside. They may have some air cavities inside them, so that the weight of the water displaced by them is more than their own weight. These air cavities need not be uniformly located inside these stones.
Logic behind the explanation :
I'll mention about the two surfaces of the stone. First surface ( which I'll denote by surface A ) has "Ram Setu Shila" written over it in Hindi in red. The other surface is opposite to this surface ( I'll denote it by surface B).
If we watch the video carefully, we'll notice that the weight of a stone of the size as shown in the video would be definitely more than 15 Kgs. A stone of this size would weigh not less than 30 Kgs. (Assuming the normal density that we observe in most of the commonly found stones). It is highly improbable that the density of the stone material would be lesser than that of water. Another observation that supports this explanation is that the stone shown in the video always floats with surface A exposed to the viewer and the surface B totally immersed in water. This suggests that the stone is not uniformly built and that the stone has higher average density near surface B as compared to the average density near surface A. If it were not so, then the stone would float even with surface A immersed. But it automatically realigns itself so that when it floats, surface B is immersed and surface A is exposed to viewer. ( This conclusion is drawn on the basis of the fact that according to Physics, stone would always float in such a position/configuartion where its potential energy is minimum.)
I did this experiment myself with stones in Rameswaram. All the stones there would also float with one particular surface always immersed in water and the other one always exposed to the viewer.
Thus we can say with reasonable level of confidence that the stones don't have uniform density and that more air cavities must be located near the surface which is exposed to the viewer when the stone floats (surface A in the case of stone of the video.)
I could have verified this theory myself by breaking one of the stones that I found in Rameswaram and looking for air cavities inside the stone. But had I attempted to do so, the temple priests would have broken my head :P

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Everyone was looking around!

Some facts about IIT JEE - 2004 Mathematics Paper :

Duration of paper : 120 minutes
Total number of questions : 20
Maximum marks : 60 ( 10x2 + 10x4)
Cut-off : Less than or equal to 09. ( IITs don't release cut-offs. However I came across a guy who scored 9 marks in mathematics paper and still made it through)

It was one of the most gruelling papers in the history of IIT JEE. Needless to say that candidates were tormented all through the paper.

A friend of mine, Animesh was one of the fortunate few who cleared JEE 2004.
This is what he said about the Mathematics paper of JEE 2004 and his secret of success.

"I looked at the first question for a long time. And after a Herculean effort, I solved it but my gut feeling told me that the answer was not correct."
"I looked at the second question. I couldn't do it."
"I tried the third one. It tore through my gray cells without producing any useful result."
"The familiar story repeated itself in the fourth question."
"Then I looked at the 20th question. Forget about solving, I couldn't understand the question either."
"19th question. And I thought to myself if I had seen anything remotely related to it ever before!"
"I was petrified. I turned the pages of 40 page question paper cum answer booklet back and forth, trying my level best to find one question I could dare to solve. There wasn't any!!!"
"Then I closed my eyes and thought that JEE-2004 was over for me."
"But what happened next, diffused all the tension out of my mind."

"I looked around the examination hall. Everyone was looking around!"
"And I smiled to myself - the game was on."

Monday, May 5, 2008

Appearances can be deceptive


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Their comments, My reactions

Whenever I write a new post, I usually take Orkut's help to make people read it. And I expect people to comment on it, criticize it and at times appreciate it as well. But then it seldom happens as you plan it to be. Some innocent people don't understand that they are supposed to comment on the blog and not in the forum messages. Also many a times people don't even comment when they are supposed to. But I find those people much better than the ones whose comments are something like this:
1. Hey you write very well. Keep posting.
You fool! It was the photograph that I wanted you to comment on. And whatever I wrote in that post was about the place where I took that photograph, the camera I used etc.
2. Man, I have already commented on this post of yours. But this deserves another comment. Nice post! Keep blogging.
You lazy ass! There are 15 other posts on my blog. When the hell did I say that you have to comment on the same post?
3. What a blog! Excellent man. Keep blogging. :)
When you commented last time on some other post, your comment was : Excellent man. What a blog! Very nice. Keep blogging :)
If you were in front of me, I would have made sure that you don't remain capable of putting that :) ever again at the end of your comments. :X
4. That was good inspiring post.
I never doubted your intellectual incapability. Forget about the post itself, had you read even the labels for that post, you would have understood that it was intended to be a humorous post and not an inspiring one. :X

PS: Genuine comments and criticisms are always welcome :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Anatomy of Love - I

So much has been written about this word that I am not sure whether I'll put something new or not. Everyone might have his/her own views about it, but here I put some of my own views about love. And I don't say that whatever I write here is absolute. These are just my views. They might be correct; they might not be.
The first question that comes to my mind is whether love should be conditional or unconditional. And my answer might amaze you or even confuse you. I say it should be both.
Love should be conditional when it comes to the selection of person(s) whom we love. Love in its absolute sense is too precious to be given to each and everyone. Love, in a way, is response to the values in the persona of other person.
We come across many kinds of people in our lives. We like or love some; we don't like or love others. And at times we detest even the presence of some people. Why is it so? It is because we don't like their certain habits. Or in other words, certain aspects of their personality.
The list of habits or qualities that one admires or detests may vary from person to person and also with age and certain other circumstances for a particular person. When it comes to marriages in India, many people give preference to physical beauty much more than education. It is exactly the opposite with many others. Similarly, five years ago, I used to detest smokers. And no smoker could be my friend then. Though I still don't approve of smoking but at the same time I don't detest smokers or smoking now. And when I say that the list of such habits that we like or dislike may change, it doesn't mean that it would necessarily change. I didn't like lazy people five years back; I still don't like them.
When I say love, it could be for anyone. I love my parents so much. Most of the people do. But when I talked to a deserted child in an orphanage his views were not the same. The way he talked about his parents suggested a sense of disgust even at the mention of the word 'parents'. Why is there a difference in his and my response to the same question of love for parents? It is because his parents did not set an example of love and care that was expected of them. The values that were expected in their behaviour towards their child were completely missing or else they would not have deserted him in the first place.
Our habits together form our way of life and thus, shape our character. These values are reflected in almost all the works we do. And thus the values inherent in someone's character are the reason why we love someone and hate others. And thus when it comes to selection of people we love, love is absolutely conditional.
Here I should emphasize that I am not writing about the regular crushes that some people might have on actors/actresses and so on, though even in that case it is their physical beauty that is the reason for crush.
And when should love be unconditional? I'll explore this question some other time.