Now being published as a novel. Click the picture to find out more:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Straight and the Winding

I was watching this video about how Euclidean geometry doesn’t apply to the world as we experience. Apparently this is so because fundamentally it is impossible to draw a straight line. Another book, that I have only partially read because the mathematics spilled out of my head after the 7th page, states that there was no need for Euclid to make the assumption that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. It goes on to state that the shortest distance between two points is always a curved line because the space itself is curved. As my universe started crumbling down with this revelation, I decided to vehemently protest but was stopped in my tracks by a footnote which quoted Einstein’s theory of relativity as a reference. Somehow, if you can throw in his name, many a weird things become plausible including big bangs, parallel universes, multi-dimensions, Gambling Gods, bushy moustaches, romantic physicists etc. etc. The only known competitor to Einstein is probably Religion.

But then again, have you ever tried walking straight from point A to point B? It is not too difficult if there are no distractions. Such a setting could be the 100m dash at the Olympics. Of course, the idea is to run the shortest distance possible to the finish line if you want to win the race. For simplicity sake (And for Euclid’s sake; May he remain peacefully and eternally dead), lets assume that the shortest distance is indeed a straight line. Let’s now move to a more real world setting. A shopping mall, for instance. Have you ever noticed how people walk around in a mall? I have. Not out of choice but because my office is situated right on top of one of those things.

You have got to understand that I am not prejudiced. It is just that when I get out of my office and inside the mall to get my lunch, I walk with a purpose and energy and it is my mindset that clashes with the aimless zombies that mar my way. We could be the best of friends at any other given time but at that particular moment, I simply thank my stars that guns, knives or for that matter weapons of mass destruction, are frowned upon in this country. There is a good possibility that I might have gone trigger-happy otherwise.

An average shopper (if you could call them that since they are all extreme outliers and they hardly seem to shop) is a fierce combination of being decidedly indecisive and resolutely unyielding. They are like the walking dead or barely walking (take your pick) who seem to suffer from the same lack of direction as a leaf in a whirlwind. But unlike a leaf, they simply wouldn’t give way. Not if you request, not if you holler, not if you stomp, not if you were driving a fire truck with the sirens blaring and if you were to viciously open the hose.

Further, they seem to have a type of randomness to their moves that will defy the results of an unbiased coin toss carried on indefinitely. Even a series of coin tosses will eventually follow some sort of a statistical distribution (I think so anyway) but not a selection of shoppers whether or not they are in the same group. In fact, shoppers who shop in a group add a whole new dimension to the term Catastrophe. They act like a bunch of ants pulling their load in different directions but that is where the similarity ends as unlike the ants, no larger force prevails to guide their movements. The resultant unpredictable chaos could make for a study in paranormal occurrence beyond the realm of human understanding.

To be fair, sometimes a pattern does emerge and the packs of zombies start to behave more like a herd gathered around some new attraction that more often than not consists of skimpily clad girls selling the latest perfume till stock lasts or an emcee pretending that he has something profound to holler about. But those are rare exceptions to an otherwise mind-boggling myriad of floating undeads the movements of which when plotted on a chart would put quantum analysts to test and might even cause the discovery of a radical new theory which should be aptly named The Special Theory of the Shopping malls and Rats therein. One of the key statistics of such a theory has to be the average KMs travelled by a given shopper in any given visit to a given mall which when stretched out on a straight line could reach halfway to moon.


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Serious Amateur

I think I have mentioned this term before. A Thundercat inspired me into coining it. I have a fairly good idea of what it means but I don’t want to define it too narrowly because it can be used to refer to a lot of people. Instead, I would like to paint some pictures for you to derive your own damn meaning…

Remember the rich boy in college who would turn up for the street-soccer game dressed like he could be the first replacement choice for Liverpool, especially when they are down and out which is pretty much all the time anyway? Well, he is NOT a Serious Amateur. Even if he did have some skills (and I could have had a million dollars).

But the girl who competes like the Warrior Princess Xena over a board game of no less stature than ‘Taboo’ even when the skills are no match for the nonchalant opposition as can be seen from the back-to-back effortless defeats, She is.

Serious Amateurs inhabit that tiny territory that has not been claimed by the amateurs or the professionals. It is a growing profession (How ironic) and is normally associated with that phase of a civilization’s growth when
- the majority have decided to relinquish arms
- insidious boredom has been seeping in for at least a select segment of well-off people who can lead quite comfortable lives with relative ease without over-exerting themselves, and
- in absence of warriors with claimed and verifiable kills, the finer ladies have decided to offer themselves to those who demonstrate proficiency, even if only perceived, in more than one vocation.

This period may or may not be followed with decay. Think medieval renaissance. Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo and thousands of others who wanted to be like them and you would know what I am talking about. Those Thousands of Others could be called Serious Amateurs (As long as you pay royalty to me each time you refer to them or anybody else as such).

Alright, I may have gone a bit too far. No. I have gone a bit too far. This is already getting too serious for my comfort. Perhaps we need another pictograph (This is only a second for me and so I thank you in advance to visit a secluded place to make fun of it before continuing your reading):-

Hmm. Now, that I think about it, what I really want to be is…. The Cool Dude.
Funny, how perspectives change once you visualize your thoughts.