Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Nude descending stairs... (censored)

OK, so I really like photography. I've had a camera for seven years now. I have a Canon EOS SLR (the baseline model, which in plainspeak means I spent all my money on beer before I went to buy the camera), and three lenses. In all, a very good system for taking cool photos. All I need now is talent. But I do get lucky from time to time and come up with a picture which I really like (but, most of the time, others don't).

This here shot was taken in Brussels in October, 2003, on an afternoon too cold to be outside. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

On success

In the early 19th century, in a small town in Germany, the mayor died in a freak accident involving a horse, an umbrella and a carrot. That is a story for some other time, though, and we should stick to the topic of success for now. The townfolks decided to choose another mayor, but this time on the basis of who could deliver the most goods for the general upkeep of the town. Different candidates promised different things, but the two biggest contenders were the two richest people in town -- Otto and Jurgen. Otto promised to build a new town hall, while Jurgen gave his word to improve the quality of roads. True to their words, Otto got the construction of the new town hall started while Jurgen hired employees for putting new cobblestones on all roads. One day before the election, Otto invited everyone for an opera in the town hall which was followed by a horsecart ride in the town square, generously sponsored by Jurgen. The opera was astounding and the rides were great fun till Heike, the promising teenage rider, decided to impress onlookers by riding fast. She did very well till she reached the corner of Church street, where the workers had missed a patch of road, the cart overturned and there was much commotion. Needless to say, Otto quashed Jurgen in the ensuing election.

Moral of the story -- if you want to succeed, you can't leave any turn unstoned.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Judging intelligence - I

We all would most probably agree with the adage "nothing succeeds like success". But, how does one succeed? I wish I knew the formula. Wait a minute -- I think I do. E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N. At least in our dear country.

Darling, I know that you can kick the football right out of town with your weaker leg, but do you have an engineering degree? No, son, please don't spend your life trying to improve your dribbling... take my advice and go to seth Igatram Institute of Technology (sIIT) for a BE in IT. I know the director there and I can put in a word for you. Make the right choice now, and you will thank me later.

Not all of us, no matter how much we would like to, have uncles and/or aunts who know directors of such institutes. In a country like India, where how you bring home the bacon after your elementary studies (if you are fortunate enough to have received education at all) is decided by what kind of advanced education you choose to receive (because elementary education is no longer sufficient for homecoming of bacon).

There are many factors at play when you are choosing your future (or being handed one)
  1. Popularity of choices (engineering and medicine are all time favourites).
  2. Parental imposition of decisions.
  3. The number of stupid choices you have made thus far in life (dropping a year for travelling around the world before going to college is a big no).
In a nutshell, you better not drop a year in school (no, the amputation of your gangrenous leg will have to wait till you finish your board exams, hon, and we are thinking of your future), choose the right degree (a four year degree course having recognition in the US of A), choose the right specialization (choose something where they teach you how to program, and you are home free), choose the right college (the initials should have an I, and an M or T, at the very least).

How do you get into a degree college? You allow yourself to be judged. You have 180 minutes to answer 100 questions, and try not to get too many answers wrong (negative marking, you know).

Sweety, we know that you built that model plane out of cardboard complete with working ailerons, rudders and elevators, but darling that won't help you get into this college, would it? Hon, so what if you are good at illustrations and logo designs, that doesn't mean much when it comes to making a living, does it? So honey-bunch, please start working on your entrance exams. Yes, I promise you I will let you finish this model of ship inside the bottle later.

All sarcasm and cynicism apart, how do you measure intelligence?

That, son, will be the subject matter of the next blog. Don't watch this space. Go and practise trigonometry, as there are only two months left before you get judged.