Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I have a dream ... always

There is one specific reason why man kind is supposedly at the top of the food chain (Apart from the moot point that we made up the whole food-chain-pyramid-thing and put ourselves on the top). We are the only life form we know of that can dream. The amoeba might want to correct me on this but until it can establish meaningful two-way communication with us and then convince us that it does dream, I don't think we need to change our stand. I am discounting the various scientists who say that animals dream. Why? Because ... well because animals haven't told us that they dream (Duh!). Come on, are you saying you are going to believe it if some lab-coat says that your pet gold fish was dreaming about being a great white!?! Using their so-pis-ticated brain equipment and monitors, the lab-coats have only proved that the animals have a brain. While they are sleeping.

So we are better than all other life forms on earth because we can dream. What we still haven't figured out is the 'why we dream' part? We all know of the 'dreams' we have when wide awake. Those are the ones where we believe we are better than we actually are in life. And its obvious why we have them. We dream those dreams exactly because they provide an escape from reality and the mediocrity of it all. What we haven't figured out is why we dream while we are sleeping. (Going-off-on-a-Tangent-alert: Are we actually sleeping when we are dreaming?) Once we answer that question, I guess we can start working on the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. We could, potentially, also easily figure out the mysteries of the Higgs boson though it would mean that the guys running the LHC should stop running it and sleep in it. Anyway, all that is just a guess at this point. Coming back to dreams, once we have established the answer for 'why do we dream' we can move on to the more vexing 'why do we dream whatever it is that we dream'. I mean, if there is a formula for dreaming stuff up like a Kekule or an Einstein or a Mendeleyev or a Martin L. King did wouldn't you want to know it too? I definitely would pay top dollar for it (Actually I won’t. I am more likely to try and pirate it off the net or at least wait a few years for it to become more widely available at a fairly reduced price. I am cheap that way but that’s beside the point. It’s the thought that counts, right?). Especially if it helps me get rid of this recurring nightmare.

Like it says, it has been more than a decade since school and I still wake up with a cold sweat. I want to know why. I want closure.

PS: Just so there are no doubts, Chimps and Orangutans are not animals. They are just hairy man-kind. Extremely hairy.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Unlikely Home

Back in time when I was half my current age, I remember when almost every house had something called a 'ventilator' built into each room of the house. Not the hospital variety but nonetheless for the purpose of ensuring continuous airflow in the room. These were usually holes in the wall - about 6 inches high and about a foot and half long - right where the wall meets the ceiling. They used to come in different flavours too; everything from plain holes punched through the wall to ones which were covered with wire mesh to ones which had intricate masonry grills within them. Depending on your taste (or lack of it) and your purse you could choose your ventilator. I do not see them in houses and I wonder what happened since none of the new constructions I come across these days have these things. We sleep with the windows and doors of our room closed and the air conditioner switched off and I often wake up feeling the air has gone stale by the morning. I for one miss the presence of a 'ventilator' in the room which could help with this situation.

This however is not about me missing the ventilator though I think I did a fine job of giving that impression. I bloody well did say so in so many words. But this is actually about birds. If that has thrown you, don't fret. It was meant to. If it hasn't thrown you, then you are lying. To yourself and to whomever else you told that it didn't throw you. Please pick yourself up now and let me explain. You see, one of the advantages of having these ventilators was that the birds in the urban jungle actually had a cozy nook to go back to (I am actually referring to the birds of the avian variety which, fortunately for us, can still be found in our cities and towns albeit in rapidly dwindling numbers). Especially the smaller ones like sparrows. These birds saw the ventilators as the perfect spot for resting, getting out of the rain, building their nest, breeding and the whole related nine yards. It was a common sight to see a big mess of sticks and twigs right up there near the roof of a house. I do not know if the birds would have used the same nest year after year if they had been left undisturbed because usually the households tended to clean the place up and get rid of the nest. Even the most bird-friendly households would do it, after waiting for the young ones to leave. And I think, one of the reasons why these ventilators have disappeared from buildings slowly could be because people didn't want to handle birds and their nests along with the rest of their household. A pity, though, because it’s a loss to both of us.

Well all this reminiscing has come about because we have a bird take up residence in our house recently. Not in a ventilator though because a. the bird is not so old-fashioned and b. we don't have ventilators. It has found acceptable accommodations on our tread mill instead!!! We have one which spends all its time covered and unused and this must have been noticed because the pigeons have gone ahead and made themselves comfortable on it.

Oh yes. That’s an egg!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012


Reporting live from somewhere in the south of the north pole and north of the equator from the eastern part of the world map. This is breaking news, though we are not sure what it is breaking.

We don't have to worry about the world ending today since it is already tomorrow in Australia!! This is coming in live from our correspondent Charles M Schulz. Early, unsubstantiated reports are also coming in that New Zealand might actually be further ahead into tomorrow than Australia is. On the ground in Australia, our field reporter Peanuts is reporting that Australia's tomorrow looks much too similar to the rest-of-the-world's today. Australia has strongly urged its brethren in the international community to learn from it's mistakes and work harder in the remainder of their 'today' to make sure that atleast they can enjoy a more spectacular and easily discernible end to the world. Australia is not able to pin-point what has to be learnt and improved upon though. We will be keeping track of the developments Down Under and will bring them to you as they might or might not develop. 

However, these initial reports have thrown a big-sized monkey wrench into the plans of various networks which were primed to bring the 'end-of-the-world' action live to our living rooms as it happened. The media - parked in their mobile units and packed in with their changing vans, make-up kits, boom mikes and cameras of all sizes - is currently cooling its collective heals on the beaches of Australia and doing its bit to improve the shore-side economy. With an eye on grabbing the mind-share, eye-balls, ear-space, head-space - and any other thing they can grab - of the global audience, many of these networks have plans for airing exclusive and in-depth 5 minute interviews with the harbingers of the end. The names of Jesus, God, Satan and Kalki are doing the not-on-the-record rounds but the general feeling is that they are ready to grab whoever makes an appearance. We are currently receiving reactions to these plans by the leaders of the major religions of the world from their private bunkers. They have criticized the networks of pandering to the global audience in these dire times and have accused the networks of being secular and not believing in their true God.

Our resident doomsday expert Maya feels that this overwhelming presence of recording, mixing, transmitting and manipulating equipment might have scared away the Gods of Doom which is why Australia is experiencing a 'To be continued' instead of 'The End'. There is however no doubt that our interpretation of and hype around the message from the ancient calendar is correct. In our studios we have an expert panel of eminent public personalities picked from the field of Commercial Cinema, Business, Politics, Reality TV, Sports and other prime time TV regulars on stand by to explain why the world has not ended, if it doesn't end.

Elsewhere, life continues as usual. More on this, after the break.