The Oars  

Paddling through the sea of thoughts


He writes too much. This is not same as writing many articles or writing on varied subjects. This just means he is an alien to the land of laconia. Economy of words is indeed a tough thing. Usage of fewer words, to convey the same meaning is an art and he doesn’t know when he can master it.
A story, he remembers when it comes to being concise yet clear, terse yet conclusive, is this. He doesn’t vouch for authenticity though.
Winston Churchill (or was it someone else?) was known for his witty and short replies. And a journalist had a bet in a party to make him speak at least three words at one shot. She approached him and explained about the bet and asked him to cooperate with her. He simply responded, “You lose”.
To describe chatterboxes there are enough words, but for those who write too big and long, what’s the right word? Or should one be coined?

  posted by 3rd Person @ 4:43 AM                   

Thursday, May 29, 2003  

Trip to home
When he was looking in to his sent - items, he tumbled upon this. This was keyed in after a trip he undertook with his friends. He couldn't find a reason why this shouldn't be here and hence here it is...

Thirsty throats, scorching Sun, empty stomachs. Hot rocks, fried sand, no food. I am not talking about any laborers working their way out to earn their daily bread. That was the state of four guys on a trip. Add to this the fear of fuel tank going dry before they can drive to a fuel station.

A trip that was pretty rare to come by did come true at last. And as it concluded, it gave a good deal of lessons which for sure, these four guys would have imbibed. Whatever is the outcome of any act, good or bad, providence is as benevolent as it is strict. If the outcome is good, you are happy. If it isn’t then you have got your lessons.
What was expected from the trip was a beak. A break from the routine. Something different had to happen or rather, had to be done. And this trip, beyond any doubt, did it.

All these guys would certainly have come to know how cozy the lives of urban population are. These guys would have come to know what is it that all those thousands would be undergoing daily, who toil in the Sun digging, carrying weights, walking bare foot on the hot earth. For some of them, it was a revelation of how we take a lot of things for granted. And aptly two of them remembered the movie “castaway”, how Tom Hanks watches the lighter after being back from the island where he struggled to make some fire. What this trip has done for sure is to give the much required break in the routine and to help avoid the boredom of spending all those time just idling at home. It also provided a forum for discussions and arguments, agreements and disagreements. Those who couldn’t join the trip were greatly missed and no one can be sure if it can be said that those who missed were lucky too. It is too tricky to think about. Nevertheless, those four guys would have been certainly happier at the end of the day, to have homes where they can go back to. After all, home – sweet home.

Disclaimer: All the views expressed are solely author’s. Any resemblance to any incident / occasion that may or may not have happened or any group or individual is purely coincidental.

  posted by 3rd Person @ 7:25 AM                   

Thursday, May 15, 2003  

Logic - Part II

When the guru returned the next day, his wife related to him all that had happened the previous day. She added that the science of logic was no good and it is not useful at all. The guru smiled to himself and wanted to prove it to her that logic is indeed powerful and useful if used with commonsense. What had happened was that the student went by plain logic without application of discrimination. It was not the short coming of the tarka shastra, but it was the immaturity of the student that was exhibited the previous day. And the guru wanted his wife to understand that.

When they were having dinner that day, the guru suddenly shrieked. He caught his neck as if he was choking and fell on his back. He screamed, “By mistake, along with the food, I have eaten a bug that fell in my plate. It was black and round of about half-inch in diameter. I know it is a poisonous bug and I am not going to live for long.” Saying this, he fell unconscious.

The guru’s wife collapsed sobbing. The medical student ran to get his books and see if there is a remedy for this. The astrology student ran to fetch the almanac etc to see if the end was indeed nearing his guru. The logician just looked shocked for moment, thoughtful in the next and he continued having his dinner. This, the guru’s wife couldn’t tolerate. She shouted at him “You don’t have any concern for your guru’s well being. He is dying here and you are eating as if nothing happened. Don’t you even try to save him?”

The logician replied, “Please don’t worry madam. I know nothing has happened to guruji. He seems to be conducting some test. I am sure he hasn’t eaten any bug. He described the bug he ate with all the attributes. It means that he knew what he was eating before he actually ate it. And knowingly, who would eat a poisonous bug? Thus I deduced that no harm has befallen guruji and that he should be conducting some kind of test”

Hearing this, the wife was confused, but the guru got up smiling. He said to his wife, “Do you now understand the power or logic? Applying logical deductions appropriately is most of the times, wisest thing that anyone can do. In the last case, the student didn’t apply common sense and discrimination. This time he did. Tarka shastra is not at fault in either case, but the ability in applying it is questionable in the former case.”

The guru’s wife then understood why this incident was enacted by her husband. She developed a great regard for Tarka Shastra, the science of logic and deductions.

  posted by 3rd Person @ 2:10 AM                   

Wednesday, May 14, 2003  

Logic - Part I

Though logic is powerful, it should be coupled with commonsense to be useful. Logical deductions without commonsense can be sometimes harmful too. This reminds him of a story that he had read in his childhood from his all-time favorite magazine, Chandamama. Before he gets in to it, let him confess that he is weak in the art of concise writing (proven by the previous postings) and hence he has split this in to parts.

A guru trained a batch of students of various subjects. In this batch, there were students of medicine, astrology and logic (Tarka shastra as it is called in Sanskrit). It was those days when the students used to be resident at the Guru’s home, serve him and learn. One day, it happened that the guru had to go out to the near by town and would return only the next day. He assigned specific tasks to his students and left for the town. The same day, the guru’s son was suddenly taken ill. His body temperature was soaring high.

The guru’s wife was worried and informed about the state of her son to the students. The three students examined the boy for a minute. The medical student then ran off to prepare some medicine to give it to the boy. The astrology student opened the almanac and the boy’s natal chart to find out why the illness had occurred and to find out when it would be cured. The logician, however ran to the near by well to draw a bucket full of water.

Soon they returned, the medical student administered the medicine to the boy and comforted him. The astrology student consoled the mother saying that this illness would not stay for long and hence no need to worry. The logician came forward to pour the bucket full of water on the boy, but was stopped by the guru’s wife and his two friends. But he justified his trying to do it by plain and simple logic. If something is hot and has to be cooled down, easy way is to drench it in water.

The next day the guru came back from the town. (to be continued…..)

  posted by 3rd Person @ 3:08 AM                   

Tuesday, May 13, 2003  

Preconceived Notions

Mr. Darcy is an eligible bachelor. During a ball in his friend’s new house, he is offered to dance with Miss Elizabeth. She is a pretty girl, though not the most beautiful. Whatever magnetism she has lies in her deep and attractive eyes. Darcy, the self disciplined man rejects saying she is just “tolerable”. Elizabeth forms an impression within herself about Mr. Darcy: arrogant and proud man, both arising out of money. The impression formed took a whole book to be erased and to know the truth.

While the impression Eliza formed was not totally baseless, it could have been analyzed by her. Why in the first place should she? There is no need at all since she had never known Darcy before and she didn’t expect to see more of him too. So she just didn’t care. But most of the times we form impressions based on the momentary meetings or worse, by somebody’s words about those whom we have to deal with every day. It may be our bosses, colleagues, friends’ friends and tend to carry it too long that it becomes a liability soon. Being vigilant about our newly forming impressions is important because we are limited by our inability to comprehend beyond the situation. We are all emotional beings and the behavior patterns are not uniform. At a certain point of time we may be cheerful and if his day at office was not good, all the evening he will be frowning. If you are introduced to him in that evening, you will form a notion that he is serious kind of a person with no liking for any light talk which might not actually be true. You hear from a colleague whose boss is now going to be your boss. (S)he says umpteen good and bad things about your new boss and even before you meet him(her) you have mental image of that person which is highly likely to be a false one.

Forming impressions may have become too natural for us and it will be too tough to overcome it. But one way of minimizing its effects would be to be conscious about the impressions you form. You say to yourself, “I feel this person is like so and so, let me make sure after I start interacting with him/her”. This, he has found to make a difference. Even otherwise, it is worth trying. Being a third person and looking at your own mind is pretty interesting and as you go on, it is funny too.

  posted by 3rd Person @ 1:43 AM                   

Thursday, May 08, 2003  

How embarrassing can it get?
Interesting discussion on a group mail and everyone in the group is active. He tries to act smart. He puts in all the adjectives (of negative type) he knows to describe himself so he can rationalize the expectations of the group. Want to know what they are? lousy, short tempered, ever-cribbing, rigid, apparently orthodox but more close-minded, ignorant yet adamant, confused self-contradicting and totally uninteresting. Though the group itself is not new to him, there is a recent and pleasant addition to the group. Thanks to some effective marketing, the expectations from him are too high to be true. This called for a rationalization of expectations (this term stolen from his company's vocabulary used while reducing # of leaves :-( )

What is embarrassing about this? The story isn't over yet. This mail is sent to the group and now it rests in the 'sent folder'. While in office, how much ever one tries, there will certainly be some official work that can't be avoided. One such is the meeting that he attended and the minutes that had to be sent. After the mail was sent to managers, it has to be forwarded to team members. As luck would have it, this sent mail was lying just next to the 'rationalization mail' in the 'sent folder'. What happens next, instead of the minutes that have to be forwarded to the team, the 'rationalization mail' is chosen, the 'FYI' tag is promptly added, the team¡'s mail id is typed in to the 'TO' box and click, goes the mail..

What happened next is something he would want to avoid most. What the team members would have thought about it will remain a mystery. What impression they would have formed about their team lead, self-qualified by the long list of 'interesting' adjectives, is suspense. Can you guess when he realized?? He meets them to discuss and finds out if they could go thru the minutes of the meeting. They put up blank faces and ask "What MOM?" This smart guy goes to his 'sent folder' to prove to them that he has forwarded the MOM, pulls out the mail he forwarded, full screen and realizes his folly in front of the team!! The team is quick to respond. "This? oh yes we got it!!"

  posted by 3rd Person @ 4:00 AM                   

Tuesday, May 06, 2003  

Blinding Proximity
This is woven around the saying of Sri Satya Sai Baba “People in the proximity can’t appreciate the greatness of a great man, but people far way come all the way searching for the truth and His grace. This is an interjection due to some localite of Tirupati’s comments on the place calling it sarcastically, ‘so called holy’.

It was summer. And all the animals were waiting for rain. No indications of it however were present as the vast sky stayed blue all the time letting in all that Sun had to bestow on earth and He, as generous as He always is, was obeying the nature’s command of shining in full glory this summer too. Among the numerous things that were receiving his grace and heat, was also a pond in the middle of a forest. As if attempting to cool the mighty hot Sun, the pond was throwing away its water in form of vapor and soon, there was only so much water in the pond to keep the earth muddy.

The pond was home to many frogs and each of them thought it was the whole world. They thought the world is all muddy and there isn’t much beauty. Some of the frogs were enjoying their world too. They thought mud is the most beautiful thing created. Some leaped and splashed the mud around over their friends. Some waded in sheer fun. Some flirted as they waited for the rains to come. For any other being, the pond would have been a pit of slush totally avoidable and abhorring. But the frogs were happy and that’s what mattered to them.

Amidst all this hopes and wait for rain and glee of playing in the mud little did they notice that there are other things in the pond too. And one of their neighbors thriving on the pond’s life giving cooperation was a lotus creeper. It was busy with pleasing the Sun daily. A lotus would bloom welcoming the SUN as He rose in the horizon. The beauty of the lotus was open to the world.

The frogs playing in the shade of the leaves and the flower never noticed the beauty that had bloomed so close to them but kept on thinking that the mud is the most beautiful thing ever created. One of the days, a bee from a long distance happened to come in search of nectar and found the lotus rejoicing the glory of the Sun. The bee was excited at the grandeur of the creation and the nectar the flower offered to her. She could appreciate what beauty is and how important the lotus is for her. She took all the good things that the lotus had to offer, thanked the God and left swearing to herself how she would come there day after day to enjoy the beauty and get benefited from its grace.

The frogs however stayed as ignorant as ever in the shade of the blooming beauties enjoying the mud thinking it is the essence of life. And they would never be able to appreciate it unless they come out of the mud.

  posted by 3rd Person @ 6:37 AM                   

Friday, May 02, 2003  
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