## Friday, September 25, 2009

### The Amazing Number Nine...

By asking me some question about the number 9 during Navarathri, a dear friend provoked the numerologist in me, and I simply cannot resist sharing some very interesting facts about the number. The speciality of the number 9 can never be exaggerated! You certainly know some facts about 9, even though you may not have given much thought to them. May I enumerate a few outstanding facts below:

0. 9 is the final digit of the decimal system of counting.

1. Add any digit to 9, and the sum of the individual digits of the result will equal the original digit; compare this property with that of zero, which leaves the original digit after addition.

2. Multiply any digit with 9, and the sum of the individual digits of the result will equal 9; compare this property with that of zero, which leaves zero after multiplication.

3. Divide 9 by any digit, and observe the beautiful pattern that emerges out of the result.

4. Astronomically, there are 27 constellations in our galaxy, and each one them has 4 directions, and 27 * 4 = 108, In other words the number 108 covers the whole galaxy.

5. In Pythagorean numerology, 9 is the last of the digits, and thus marks (among several other things) conclusion, end, finalization, judgement, fruition, rhythm, justice, regeneration, spirituality, voyaging, ambition, intellectualism. Also, the words "FORTY FIVE" and "FIFTY FOUR" each sum up to 54 (9x6). Note that 6 is the sum of the factors of 9 (3x3=9, 3+3=6). Also note that 5+4 is also 9. The Gematria of the word "Dan," which means a judge, is 54 (9x6).

6. In one minute, we breathe in approximately 15 times, in 1 hour 900 times, and in 12 hours 10800 times, and in a day 21600 times. The sum of individual digits of either 10800 or 21600 is nine.

7. According to Indian mythology, there are 4 Yugs
Satyug - consists of 172,800 years (1+7+2+8 = 18 == (1+8 = 9)
TretaYug consists of 1296000 years (1+2+9+6 = 18 =  (1+8 = 9)
DwaparYug consists of 864000 years (8+4+6) = 18 = (1+8 = 9)
Kaliyug   consists of 432000 years (4+3+2) = 9

8. In Hinduism, Rishi Vyas created 9 Purans, 108 MahaPuran (Upnishads). Mahabharat has 18 chapters, Geeta has 18 chapters, Bhagavat has 108000 verses. The sum of individual digits of each of these numbers is 9.

9. Our festival "Nava Rathri" literally means, and is practically celebrated for, 9 nights, and it signifies the 9 forms of the Goddess.

So much more can be written about the number 9, but I am feeling overwhelmed and saturated at the moment. However, in addition to the above 9 facts, I shall cite certain miscellaneous references that I had come across during my study of the number 9 (please note that I have not personally done any research on the references below):

A. In Roman Catholic Europe, when the Angelus tolls (at morning, noon, and evening), it ring 3+3+3 and then 9 times, in celebration of the Virgin's conception of the Saviour.

B. The Ennead, or nine pointed star, is an ancient and sacred symbol. It comprises three trinities. The Egyptian, Celtic, Greek and Christian myths all have an Ennead of nine gods and goddesses, representing the entire archetypal range of principles.

C. The sum of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet is 4995. Note that the sum of individual digits comes to 9, and also that 4995=5x999. Also, "th orgh mou" (tee orgee mou), my wrath = 999 (Hebrews 3:11)

D. In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are also nine in number:
The word of wisdom,
The word of knowledge,
Faith,
Healing,
The working of miracles,
Prophecy,
Discerning of spirits,
Divers kinds of tongues,
The interpretation of tongues.

E. Nine persons "stoned.":
The blasphemer, Leviticus 24:14.
The Sabbath-breaker, Numbers 15:36.
Achan, Joshua 7:25.
Abimelech, Judges 9:53.
Adoram, 1 Kings 12:18.
Naboth, 1 Kings 21:10.
Zechariah, 2Chronicles 24:21.
Stephen, Acts 7.
Paul, Acts 14:19.

F. Nine widows are specially mentioned:
Tamar, Genesis 38:19.
Woman of Tekoah, 2Samuel 14:5.
Hiram's mother, 1 Kings 7:14.
Zeruah, 1 Kings 11:26.
Woman of Zarephath, 1 Kings 17:9.
The poor widow, Mark 12:42.
Anna, Luke 2:37.
Widow of Nain, Luke 7:12.
The importunate widow, Luke 18:3.

G. Nine persons afflicted with blindness:
The men at Lot's door, Genesis 19:11.
Isaac, Genesis 27:1.
Jacob, Genesis 48:10.
Samson, Judges 16:21.
Eli, 1Samuel 4:15.
The prophet Ahijah, 1 Kings 14:4.
The Syrian army, 2 Kings 6:18.
King Zedekiah, 2 Kings 25:7.
Elymas, Acts 13:11.

H. Nine were afflicted with leprosy:
Moses, Exodus 4:6.
Miriam, Numbers 12:10.
Naaman, 2 Kings 5:1.
Gehazi, 2 Kings 5:27.
5 through 8: The four lepers at Samaria, 2 Kings 7:3.
Azariah, 2 Kings 15:5

That should do for now... ;)

Cheers!

## Wednesday, June 17, 2009

### Plastic Breath

"Do me a favour, will you?" I requested our house-keeping lady, "Please stop burning those disposable cups and plastic bags in the campus around our office."

All I got in response was a big grin. It was not the sort of apologetic grin exhibited by someone who realizes that she was caught red-handed doing something idiotic. I may have construed it to be a defiant grin, but considering her case I resolved that it must be a grin that stemmed out of ignorance. The only tool I know to eradicate ignorance is proper education, which I then attempted to impart.

"You smile," I said, "but mine was a serious request. Plastic ought not to be burnt."

The grin only got wider, and this time it was accompanied by a glint in her eyes. The look on her face resembled that of a professional flutist who is informed that a flute ought not to be used as a musical instrument. Her features seemed to be shouting out to me that she knew best, that she had been burning plastic since time immemorial, that there was absolutely nothing wrong in doing so, and that she would keep up her excellent work; besides, nobody (else) had ever voiced an objection.

"You are certainly aware," I continued my efforts, "that the city corporation deploys garbage collection trucks?"

"Yes, sir," she replied with a smile. I was glad to have found an entry point. It's always easier to start with something one already knows and then proceed to teach the unknown stuff.

"Perhaps you are also aware that they maintain two separate containers: one to collect organic waste, and the other to collect inorganic disposables?"

"Yes, sir," came the concise response accompanied by the familiar smile.

"Do you know why they separate the two?"

"No, sir." The smile vanished.

"Most inorganic matter such as disposable cups and plastic bags that we discard can be recycled: used to manufacture new cups and bags. Apart from the obvious commercial value, burning plastic is not a good practice: it harms the environment as well as our health. When you set fire to all those items, all of us - starting with you - are forced to inhale the unhealthy fumes."

She seemed to seriously consider my tutoring for a few seconds. I thought she understood when she said as much, adding, "I was not aware it's bad for health."

All that had transpired only yesterday. "It's no use," said one of my colleagues when I told him what had taken place, "You just wasted your time and efforts explaining all that stuff to her." A few minutes ago, he called me out to show me something. I saw - in a small sand pit right next to the office building - a warm fire consuming a decent sacrifice of plastic cups and bags, exhaling dark smoke all the way up to the partly blue sky. Our lady stood by its side, poking her offerings with a long stick.

I rest my case.

## Monday, May 25, 2009

### Yipeeeeee!

It's raining, it's raining... it's rai-ai-ai-in-ing!

Yes, the monsoons have begun, bringing the much awaited respite from the sickening heat of the summer of 2009. This is my favourite time of the year, the time I eagerly look forward to every year, year after year. As the dark clouds collect overhead, as they rumble and spark into charged action, the lingua pura of nature never fails to inspire awe in me.

By the way, although it may seem as if the wind, the clouds, and the rain speak different languages, they are still able to communicate perfectly with all entities they influence: plants, animals, puddles, ponds, rivers, oceans, raincoats and umbrellas, half-constructed flyovers, dilapidated roads, deteriorating buildings...

All right, let me check myself before I get too carried away... I wish I could share much more about the pure language with my friends and readers, but, quite honestly, I know that words cannot effectively express the essence of such communication. I shall, therefore, desist, lest I fail as I have on several occasions in the past.

Somebody was heard complaining that rains in Mangalore have lost their intensity over the years; they are not the same as they used to be about twenty-five years ago. Very true, but we - shameless creatures called Homo Sapiens - are solely responsible for such deterioration in the natural standards. We don't have the right to complain as long as we continue to corrupt the music of nature with our needless noise. If evolution does not sort this matter out, Destiny certainly will.

It's raining, it's raining... it's rai-ai-ai-in-ing!

## Friday, May 15, 2009

### A Small Step

Save power. Contribute to fighting global warming. Use dark colours.

Cheers!

## Thursday, May 14, 2009

### Rewrite: Rolling Stone

I've started rewriting my story 'Rolling Stone'. This rewrite will not only put to use some of the valid criticism and feedback I had received for the draft that I had posted in this blog sometime in the past, but will also expand the material to make it more enjoyable.

Earlier, I had broken down a few portions of Rolling Stone into shorter scripts, which I had posted here under independent heads. The intention was to develop each portion clearly, and to avoid getting my readers (or myself) entangled in a messy web of characters developed unclearly. I had also written a few incomplete bits of scripts, which couldn't see the light in their independent capacity; these will also be integrated into the rewrite.

Shall keep you posted.

Cheers!

## Tuesday, May 12, 2009

### Three Cheers To Twitter!

Suddenly I've become a big fan of twitter. Indeed, I was introduced to the concept a few months ago, but had failed to understand its relevance. Now I do see sense in it, thanks to Santhosh Kamath, my colleague and friend.

My latest updates in my sidebar. :)

Cheers!

PS: One of the most inspirational videos I've ever seen:
http://www.maniacworld.com/are-you-going-to-finish-strong.html

## Thursday, May 07, 2009

### Haiku

I really don't know how I got inspired into writing Haikus; but it happened, and it feels wonderful! Since a few days these short (3-line) haikus have been popping up in my head at odd times. I have posted 6 of them at my poetry blog:   http://endlesschasmpoetry.blogspot.com/

Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed composing them. Surely will do more in days to come.

Cheers!

## Friday, February 13, 2009

### Writers And Readers

I have great news for all the good writers who have always held an ambition to see their posts in print, but were unable to get their work published for various reasons. I also have good news for all the voracious readers who would like to read some excellent creative writing - stories, tales, scripts, poems, How-to, and other articles - all categorized and structured, and available without spending a penny.

There is a community in the web that not only offers authors a channel of expression by creating their literary projects, but also allows them to obtain valuable feedback on their work from other authors, reviewers, editors, in fact, any other member of the community. Authors may then continue to edit/revise their work based on the suggestions received, while submitting more posts for feedback.

Once authors have written enough substance that could make up a book, have perfected their work, and have earned sufficient stars from the reviewers, they may decide to submit the project for publication. The community considers all such submissions for an open vote, and the top 10% of the projects that receive a thumbs-up are published in print and made available through sites like Amazon.com and a few select outlets.

The membership, the writing space, the feedback, the reviewing, the editing, the publishing and the marketing are all absolutely free! It works on give-and-take policy. You read and review their posts, and they will return your favour by reading and reviewing yours. Invite members of the community to be your friends, accept their invitation, send them requests to review your work, review theirs from time to time, and that's all there is to it. Some projects may also be open to authors other than the project leaders, in which case you may post your work in them as well. If that project gets published, it may also contain your contribution in print.

And hey, in case you are not published during one voting cycle and you think you really are good enough to be published, you are free to resubmit your project during the next voting cycle. There is no limit to the number of times you can submit your project, developing and improving it during the intervening time.

If you are only a reader, all you need is the free membership, a basic profile, and you're on your way... Search for projects that you may be interested in, add the authors as friends, and start reading their work for free! You may also seriously help them review/edit their posts and earn yourself the honor of Top Reviewer. Author can rate your feedback, based on which the honors will come to you. And if some work you have been continuously following gets published, you can also say with pride that you have read the work well before it saw the light of day, and perhaps even contributed much in shaping it. And hey, some project leaders may even share a percentage of their royalty with you for helping them!

It's very similar to blogging, only a lot better and richer experience.

The community is: WeBook ( http://www.webook.com )

You can find my profile at: http://www.webook.com/member/Pradeep

Join, write, read, and have a great time!

Cheers!

## Wednesday, February 04, 2009

### What Have We Here?

Let's be honest. Let's be straight. And let's not lose perspective.

What happened in Mangalore was nothing short of terrorism. That's that. No matter which organization perpetrated it. No matter what they say their motive was. It was terrorism. Simple.

I heard somewhere that our country does not negotiate with terrorists. Wonder if I heard that in a dream.

This incident is a clear reflection of the socio-political impotency in one of the largest secular democratic republics!

This will not stop as long as eunuchs represent us in the government.

Moreover, I wonder why our so-called religious leaders are silent about this issue. If some Double-H, Tripple-S Somebody Swami were to come out and make a bold statement condemning such dastardly acts, then perhaps...

Or perhaps I'm asking for too much. Perhaps they too have turned into...?

Bah! What a world we live in!

## Thursday, January 22, 2009

### Rename Pradeep Bluto

Okay, so some of my colleagues want to rename me. And for some reasons known only to them, they decided my new name would have sound evil. After some deliberation, they have come up with the name Bluto.

For the benefit of my friends and readers who come from a different planet, the name comes straight out of Popeye comics. Bluto or Brutus is Popeye's nemesis. Like Popeye, Bluto is attracted to Olive Oyl, and usually attempts to kidnap her. However, with the help of some spinach, Popeye usually ends up defeating him.

I've come a pretty long way from Pradeep to Pepe to Mad-scientist to Prady. The two names thathave really stuck to me are Pradeep and Prady. It now remains to be seen how Bluto does in this regard.

One thing is sure, though: No spinach can defeat this Bluto!

Cheers!

## Tuesday, January 20, 2009

### Life, Explained

On the first day, God created the dog and said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."

The dog said, "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said, "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."

The monkey said, "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?"

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said, "You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said, "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years."

Man said, "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."

That is why:
For the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves.
For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family.
For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.
And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you. There is no need to thank me for this valuable information. I'm doing it as a public service.

## Friday, January 16, 2009

### Reality Need Not Bite

Today I wrote this letter to my younger self. You are free to read it and decide if it makes any sense. If you find anything of value in the letter, you may take it home. In any case, please do leave me some comments (maybe I could gather something of value from them).

My dear Pradeep At Twenty,

I’ve heard people say that reality bites. Many of these people advocate the use of fantasy as a channel to escape the pangs of hard facts. In this friendly letter, I hope to offer you an alternative: a way to handle reality without necessarily having to escape from it.

At the very outset I clarify that I find nothing wrong in the concept of fantasy. A well-written fantasy novel is worth the read if it will open the doors to a new, beautiful, hopeful and peaceful world where happy endings bring showers of joyful tears. It’s worth it. It may not always appeal to me, but I hold nothing against it. A good cartoon, or an animated movie in which a mouse, a cat or a dog go bonkers is equally worth it. Even at 34 I would never like to miss “The Tom and Jerry Show”, “The Popeye show”, “The Flintstones”, “The Jetsons”, “Asterix and Obelix”, and so forth. They are all wonderful. The more, the merrier!

And yet...

Does reality not bite? Yes, it sure does! It does so in different ways, and to varying degrees. At times it glides in stealthily from behind you and nibbles at your neck, driving chills through your spine. You may be able to remember such times. At other times it voraciously gnaws at your juicy buttocks, perhaps taking a big piece of your ass (read soul if you want) as it leaves. You may be able to remember such times, as well.

I recall the times when hard facts had hit me, or when reality had bit me. I discern that the wounds I have suffered fall under three very significant groups: paining-wounds, healing-wounds, and where-the-heck-are-the-wounds.

Paining-wounds are those that still hurt much, and may never heal unless I get up and decide to do something about them (I have realized that, contrary to the popular belief, time does not heal on its own).

Healing-wounds are those that used to be paining-wounds, but I had got up and decided to do something about them, and they currently show signs that they may heal in due course (due course has no exact definition).

Where-the-heck-are-the-wounds. Now, this is a surprising group. These are wounds that I had expected to suffer (as when reality had chewed off a large piece of my ass). But they do not exist; nor does the pain! Why not?

The answer became obvious after a little analysis, mixing the ancient wisdom (laughter is the best medicine) with a bit of introspection. I realized that whenever I had laughed in the face of hard facts, they could not wound me. Humor had indeed shielded my ass. Humor had saved my soul. The understanding was complete, and very satisfactory.

Although fantasy certainly offers a channel to escape the pangs of reality, it is short-lived; it offers no balm. You may enjoy a dip in a bathtub ready with warm water on a cold winter night, but that satisfaction is short-lived. You can’t possibly spend the whole winter in the tub. The moment you are out of the tub, it’s winter again.

The alternative I have to suggest is humor: perceiving humor in the very face of the biting reality. That way, you wouldn’t have to run away or escape from hard facts, but could rather face them and laugh at them with courage and vitality. It seems to work. Every time.

You may contend that creating or perceiving humor amidst hard facts is not easy, and bringing yourself to laugh in the face of reality seems impossible at times. Undeniably True. Even in my case. Otherwise I would never have suffered any wounds.

Nevertheless, I shall attempt to walk this path henceforth. If only I had understood as much when I was your age, I would perhaps have suffered much less. At least, I can now try to avoid wounds in future. I encourage you to try and do the same. After all, you have nothing to lose by your attempts, and so much to gain.

Love always,

## Friday, January 09, 2009

### A Few Changes

Please note that as of today I am moving my poems and stories to their own independent space. Kindly find the links to my other blogs in my sidebar.

I have also added a "Follow this blog" widget to all my blogs, so please take advantage of the same. I have also listed the blogs I regularly follow in my sidebar.

This blog will, of course, continue to host general articles, which do not fall under stories or poems.

Happy blogging.

## Wednesday, January 07, 2009

### 2008 Darwin Awards

Yes, it's that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are
bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us.

Here are the glorious top 10 winners:

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended
victim during a hold-up in Long Beach , California , would-be robber
James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered
down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked. And
now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a
meat-cutting machine and, after a little shopping around, submitted a
claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent
out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine
and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car
during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman
had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus
driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be
transporting from Sarare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit
his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered
everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers
to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very
excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't
discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious
head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he
received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying
to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was
hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a \$20 bill on the
counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer,
the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which
the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and
fled, leaving the \$20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he
got from the drawer... \$15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives
you money, is a crime committed?]

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided
that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window,
grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it
over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the
would-be thief in the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store
window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man
grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the
woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher.
Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in
the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of
the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he
replied, 'Yes, officer, that's her. that's the lady I stole the purse
from.'

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a
Burger King in Ypsilanti , Michigan , at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and
demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't
open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered
onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The
man, frustrated, walked away. [A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER]

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked
on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police
arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor
home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man
admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into
the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle
declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever