Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tortoise and Hare - A closure.

It has been a year since I last updated an article.

Let me start 2017 citing a closure to an old fable that endlessly confounded me!


“Something does not add up…” the king Sher Khan sipped his coffee, he was totally perplexed. A tortoise had beaten a hare at a running race - again.

“You know”, king said to his minister “I was a young cub when this race happened first. I hardly knew as to what a hare was at the time. Must be an easy prey I thought – it was beaten by a tortoise at a running race after all. My impression changed completely when I tried hunting one. Those things can run I tell you…”

“Yeah, slow and steady wins the race – that is the lesson”, said the minister. “Yeah yeah" said the king clearly unimpressed. "Please get me an appointment with the Elephant. I need some counsel”.

“Generations have used this story to extol the virtues of the tortoise – the steady one”, said the wise old Elephant, “and criticise the hare – the lazy one. Every time we take the old lesson of ‘slow & steady’, and judge the hare as lazy.

We never think as to why such a skilled runner loses to a slow tortoise? No one before you has sought to understand. I am happy that you are not ready to brand him as a lazy under performer.”

“What is your guidance”?

“Every animal is not made for every race. Get his strengths assessed, if you need to unravel the truth.”

The King instructed his minister to speak to the Hare and assess his strengths. Though sceptical initially, he nevertheless implemented the suggestions. The result of the changes astonished him! A month down the line, he went back to the Elephant.

“It turns out, the hare is not a slouch. His biggest strength is Competitiveness. We realised that the tortoise race failed to inspire him. He needed a worthy opponent – someone faster than him. He needed a real challenge!

We have been training him for sprint races with other hares and faster animals. His performance has improved by leaps and bounds. In him, we have a potential sprinting champion” beamed the king.

“So what the moral of the story, dear king?”.

“The moral is: not slow and steady, but playing to your strengths wins the race!”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Black IS White...

The Vetaal stirred and woke up from its slumber, and noticed that it was being carried by the brave King Vikram towards the kingdom of Ujjain. It smirked, and started “O mighty King, the road is long and arduous”. “Here we go again” said the King to himself. “To lighten the tedium of this journey, I wish to narrate a simple story. At the end of the story, I will ask you a question…”
“Hang on, I wish to ask you a question first, and a simple one at that” said the king. “Who are you?”
“Hahahaha!” laughed the Vetaal, “What an apt question, O great one! I shall answer it later”.
Vetaal started its story…

Long long ago, in a land of the ancients lay a village. It was lucky to be graced by a great warrior – who was the commander of its army and police. The village was also cursed, for it bore the brunt of one of the most ferocious bandits ever known. The commander and the bandit faced off on many occasions, but there was never a clear winner. And the menace of the bandit continued. The bandit hated the commander and the village. He vowed to destroy both.
The commander approached a sage for guidance. The ancient one gave a most startling piece of advice. He asked the commander to leave the village and go away. Though reproachful, the commander obeyed… and miraculously the bandit also faded away. Peace, though in a bewildering fashion, was finally achieved.

“O wise king”, the Vetaal said, “please explain the bandit’s actions: Why did he hate the commander and why did he leave!”
 “Vetaal” thundered the king, “I know the answer”

“First the hatred:

Most of us either hate or are afraid of the people who are different from us. The more different a person is, more is our negativity toward that person.
The human mind is a sucker for coherence. For every event, we seek to know a cause-effect relation. We look at the decisions made by others, apply our own thought process to it, and judge it. If the person has behaved in a way agreeable to us, we like that person. If he has not, we dislike him. It takes a very mature mind to attempt to understand someone else’s thought process, to get into another shoes. To not judge.
Our greatest growth opportunity shall always exist is knowing the person most unlike us. It is only by understanding them, by accepting them shall we realize our own truth.
Because the commander was so different from the Bandit, the bandit felt threatened by him; thus hated him.

Now the second part:

“Ours is a relativistic world. Being such, things derive their identity from the opposite. Ex – what is ‘DAY’? You cannot answer without knowing what ‘NIGHT’ is. Same is for truth and falsity etc. The world is formed by an interaction of opposites.

The identity of each and every entity in the world depends on the thing that lends essence to it. Do you agree?” asked the king. “Agreed” said the Vetaal.

“Since each and every entity in the world derives its meaning from the opposite, it is the opposite force that lends meaning to us all. IN EFFECT, WE ARE WHAT WE ARE NOT. This is a big irony!

In absence of the commander, villainy ceased to be meaningful to the bandit. There was no challenge, there was no expression – no fun. Hence the bandit gave up and faded away.

“Perfect!” shrieked the Vetaal. “You are possessed of a most sublime mind! Now I shall answer your question. Please reflect on your own thought about opposites. Like the commander and the Bandit – the two of us are opposites. I derive my identity from you!”

“I will, O great king, leave you with this thought: ‘Black is white, day is night, green is blue – I AM YOU’!! With this, the Vetaal took off from the king’s shoulder and flew toward its tree…

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Friend (Fiction)

The Friend – A Vikram Vetaal Story.

(Set in 18th Century India)

{Italics – Flashbacks;

Regular fonts – Present.}

My Dear Readers, we have all been in situations where we aren’t quite sure whether we are doing the right thing… What do we do then? Typical people like me will follow the herd, doing what is convenient for the moment. The heart and the mind aren’t in the same place, the effort is devoid of all spirit – one only goes through the motions. But then that’s not the way life works… sooner or later one is called upon to live out his true self…

The Vetaal stirred and woke up from its slumber, and noticed that it was being carried by the brave young King Vikram – AGAIN- towards the kingdom of Ujjain. The Vetaal smirked, and started “O mighty King, the road is long and arduous”. “Here we go again” said the King to himself. “To lighten the tedium of this journey, I wish to narrate a simple story to you O mighty king. At the end of the story, I will ask you a question…”

“Ok Ok Vetaal, I know the rules! Now get on with it!”

Vetaal started his story…

Looking back with a certain amount of uncertainly, he saw the big opaque wall of dust ... stirred by his army marching toward the enemy territory. The enemies had a huge battalion, he had heard – with hundreds of horses and thousands of swordsmen. ‘Who is the enemy and who is the friend’, the soldier thought to himself… unable to find a comfortable answer, he drew his sword out and waited for his general’s final order to charge… Cold adrenalin started flowing through his veins, his heart beats went into an overdrive as he waited... With a billowing sound of the conch shell, his general signaled the attack. The change commenced, even as the war cry “Har Har Mahadev, Har Har Mahadev” filled battle field with an insane fervor ... full of doubt, but arrested by the frenzy, the soldier raised his sword and charged with his army… into the heart of the neighboring province.


“We live for the King, we die for him. Our king is our God” boomed the strict looking general… The soldier mechanically repeated the lines – “King is our God”, “King is our God” went the battalion… The solider who was aware of the barbaric tendencies of the king, still repeated anyway. “Some God this guy… He should be called a demon”, the Soldier cursed, he wanted to scream insults to the king– but he repeated the chat anyway…” King is the God”!


“Your king is a most heartless man”, the tall skinny fellow - his friend from the neighboring province, said. “He loots people – whether his own or those from other kingdoms. His lust for money, power and skin are legendary.”

“In that case, I mustn’t serve in his army, should I sir?” enquired the soldier.

“You are a soldier it’s your duty to fight – what you fight for is your choice. Good and bad are generally very fuzzy in this world. Ultimately, every one chooses his own dharma”

“How is your king?” the soldier asked earnestly.

“He is a noble man”…


The greenish yellow coloured guava looked real tasty, especially so because the tall skinny boy who held it hadn’t eaten since 2 days… He was about to have a bite when he heard movement from behind a bush. Inquisitive, he rushed, as fast as his hungry sore body permitted, there he saw a kid… The kid lay almost unconscious. The boy rushed to the kids’ side … perhaps the kid was about to die… This was a sight that he was becoming accustomed to in his draught stricken neighborhood. The draught had claimed his little brother… Could he let this little chap die – could he tolerate another death…? Would he live if he offered the fruit to the kid… he handed the fruit to the kid and passed out.


Charging amidst the frenzy, the soldier heard movement from behind a bush. Inquisitive he rushed toward the bush. There he saw a tall skinny man- his friend – almost unconscious… The peace in the friends put brakes on his adrenalin fueled blood thirst…Perhaps the friend was about to die. This was a sight that he was becoming to in this era of heartless expansionism of his king. His kings’ imperialism had claimed so many lives. He had watched so many people die… Killed so many. But could he let his friend die? Could he tolerate THIS death – of a man who had saved him? Will his king let him live if he dint kill the friend?

“Good job soldier”, shouted his commander, seeing him standing near a near- lifeless body, “now finish him off!”

Filled with confusion, doubt and guilt, the soldier raised his sword… There was no getting away this time, no convenient routes. He had to do the uncomfortable thing – he had to make the choice…

‘I am a soldier – this person is my enemy – I must kill him… He will die anyway

But he had saved my life… he had put his own life on the line to save mine…

My King is a barbaric man … his lust for power; money and skin are legendary… He has killed so many people… This man – my friend – he had saved me.

You are a soldier… It’s your duty to fight… What you fight for is your choice…

Do the right thing…’

Noticing the soldiers’ hesitation to finish off the foe, the commander ordered a foot solider to finish the job. The other guy started rushing toward the friend, even as the war cry ‘Har Har Mahadev’ tore through the car chaos.

‘ Do the right thing… Your king is a bad man; fighting for him you become a part of his crimes.’

The foot soldier was getting closer and closer… The friends’ eyes were all peaceful neutral. He was waiting for the fatal blow.

‘What does Har Har Mahadev mean? Mahadev is the destroyer of evil. Har Har Mahadev means that each of us is a Mahadev – a destroyer of evil. My king is the evil man here. Fight evil. Fight the king. Choose your karma – do the right thing.. SAVE THE FRIEND!’

‘Har Har Mahadev’ yelled the soldier and leaped between the friend and the foot soldier – and killed the foot soldier… He then tossed his water pot to the friend. The friend drank thirstily. This irked the soldiers comrades. Some of them started charging towards him...He banged his chest and yelled‘ Har Har Mahadev’, raised his sword and charged towards his own people …he felt the peace… He felt at rest with his actions. For the 1st time in his life, he felt the power of conviction. He had done the right thing, he was saving his friend.

He saw around him, his comrades were getting beaten by the neighbors. He was fighting on the neighbors’ side now. Soon his comrades will be beaten; he will save his friend and migrate to the neighborhood. His friend will tell everyone how he had been saved, and will help him migrate…

Lost in his thoughts, he felt something sharp on his back... Piercing action… It penetrated his back… deep… a fatal blow ... He turned around to see that his friend had stabbed him… With a confused look on his face, the soldier faded away….

“O wise king”, the Vetaal said, “tell me which of the two friends were on the correct side of dharma and why?”

“Vetaal – in my opinion, the friend – the guy, who killed the soldier at the end, was on the right side of dharma.”

“Give me the reason, O wise one”.

“As a kid, the friend was acting in his capacity of a human being. During the draught, he saved a dying a kid by putting his own life on line. Then on the battle field, the friend did what a soldier should – fight for his king. This is where the other one went wrong. You cannot sit in judgment of your king whilst on a battle field. On the battle field you are just a warrior – and your dharma is to fight.”

“Bravo king, bravo!” Boomed the Vetaal, “As always, you are absolutely right!” Saying this, the Vetaal took off from King Vikram’s shoulder, and flew towards his tree.

King Vikram grit his teeth, and ran after the Vetaal.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Victory (FICTION)

Part 2:

“You know Doc, 95% of all court cases are won by rich people. And the same numbers of cases are lost by the poor. This leads us to a rule of thumb, if you are fighting a case for the poor there are 95% chances that you will lose – no matter how good you are. Now, a new Lawyer – who starts off on his own - typically doesn’t get rich clients – as the rich can afford better Lawyers. So a new Lawyer has to live with poor clients. Which means that he will lose 95% of the times.”

“Mr. Lawyer”, said the wise old doctor, “ don’t you think you are blaming the economic circumstances of your clients for your string of losses. I know its difficult to lose cases, and I also agree with your observations. But there is a problem with that thumb rule of yours – it isn’t actionable. Instead of figuring out ways to make the cases of your clients work for them, you want to change the clients themselves… That is indeed a travesty. The country needs young dynamic Lawyers, people for whom Law isn’t a business – but a profession. You of all people should not be making such statements.”

The Lawyer winced, he knew that the old man was right, “ But sir, they beat me and beat me time and again. The Senior Lawyers made minced meat out of me in courts. There was no romance of Law in real life courts doc. I am not fit to be a Lawyer… Lawyers like me are responsible for the loss of faith of the common man in the judicial system. I must quit before I do any more damage to any one else.”

“ Don’t get too worked up son… You need rest”, said the doctor…


‘The dark sinister damp cave was home to legions of rodents. But today it had a new visitor… The Kidnapper searched for a good spot to tie his hostage up… searching the dark cave, he glanced upon a pillar like structure. Dragging his hostage by his hair, the kidnapper tied him to the pillar. He then removed the piece of cloth that he had thrust deep into the hostage’s throat, and slapped the hostage into consciousness. “Please let me go” the hostage begged, even as he scanned the stench filled, rodent infested cave with fright filled eyes. “Hahhahaah” laughed the kidnapper – a laughter full of lunatic hatred, “take all the money you want, but let me go” begged the hostage again. “Money!!! Money!! Money! Its all about money for you isn’t it… You call yourself a SENIOR LAWYER! Shame on you” said the kidnapper, spitting. “Try saving yourself with your money here” the kidnapper said. Laughing his lunatic maniacal laughter again, he filled the hostages cloths with breads and rotten tomatoes… he then left the hostage there, even as the rodents smelled out the breads…’ The Lawyer woke up with a start… looking around to assure himself of normalcy, he cursed himself for having had that violent a dream… Spotting the good doctor just outside his hospital room, the Lawyer waved out to him…


Part 1

Swoosh… blew the wind, carrying fine dust particles within its sweep, depositing the dust on the tear filled faces of the kids… the dust, thus transported, punctuated the tear lines, as the helpless kids and their hapless parents stood over the ruined flat ground – ground that held their huge - illegal hutment… They never knew that it was illegal – they never cared, for the grind of hand to mouth existence left them with little mind space to think about very things that they could afford to take for granted…

Through the tinted windows of his ragged car the man saw the scene… a tear trickled down his youthful face and got lost somewhere in his unkempt stubble... some more tears followed…

“…..this Sessions court hereby dismisses the petition and orders the eviction of Shivraj Slum…” announced the Magistrate emphatically… he now sat comfortably on his sofa…

“Illegal possession of Land decries the very spirit of a democratic nation” had boomed the defense counsel – he now relaxed in his king size couch – celebrating yet another victory… Law was just his business – not a profession (and not a noble profession at all).

3 days ago the man – (‘the Lawyer’ from here on) had lost the case and his loss had cost these people dear. He loved challenges, and had considered this to be his biggest one. He had worked hard out of his skins, but he wasn’t good enough to match the guiles of his veteran opponent…The slum dwellers had been more than glad to let the Lawyer represent him, they could scarcely afford to turn down free unsolicited help – that too at such a critical juncture… he had been so confident – he had assured the slum dwellers that the victory would be theirs because good always won – atleast the teachers at the Law college always said so…; and the slum dwellers had believed him, they trusted him...The bulldozers returned after having completed the demolition…

The Lawyer cursed himself for having committed this act of insanity – cursed the moment when he accepted this case, cursed his immature guts, cursed the slum dwellers for not getting a better lawyer, cursed the day he got into the Law college, he cursed his very existence…‘fools are braver than the wise’, he realized… knives of guilt tore through his being as he saw the little slum dweller kids snatch food out of the jaws of street dogs… and he cried, he cried his heart out – he yelled in agony and literally fell out of his car, onto the ground… on his knees..

A sharp pain on the back of his neck shook the Lawyer out of his grieving state – at first he did not realize that he was being pelted with stones … some more curses, some more stones… The Lawyer put his head down as the slum dwellers continued to vent their anger on him… And he felt the pain – their pain… Pain – it can be such an effective balm … nothing quells the flames of guilt as pain…, “hit me more – kill me – Kill me!!” He said to himself, as gasps of insane laughter escaped his bleeding mouth. The image of his veteran opponent seemed to appear out of his subconscious – he wanted to spit at him – but he couldn’t.. He passed out.

Part 3:

“In the fight between good and evil, who wins is decided not by who is better – but by the time during which the clash takes place”, said the Doctor.

“What do you mean by that doc?” the Lawyer asked.

“ As per Vedas time is cyclical, and is divided into 4 yugas: Satyug, Terta Yug,Dwapar Yug and Kali Yug. In the 1st two yugas, the universe favors the good very strongly. Such is the bias of universe that in this age ( Sat and tetra yuga) a young prince, aided by an army of monkeys, is able to defeat a mighty asura warlord.

What this means is that had Rama and Ravana fought in a later period, lets say the 3rd or 4th yuga, who knows the result might have been different…

But, despite the fact that the universe is biased in favor of the good in that era, it ensures the survival of the evil.

Likewise, in Kaliyug the universe strongly favors the evil – this is the essence of maintaining balance. We are in Kaliyug, where the good finds it impossibly difficult to match up with the evil – the evil will almost always win, but the universe will ensure the survival of the good. Pragmatically speaking, it makes more sense to be a bad guy in this era, but it isn’t that simple. The universe has designated roles for all of us. If a guy ,meant to be a good one, behaves in an opposite manner, he still suffers from the fate earmarked for the good guy, in addition he also loses the protection of the universe meant for the good guy.

There are good people and there are bad. The universe needs both – for balance is the true expression of the universe.

The victory, thus, lies in being yourself – whether good or bad. The results are pre-determined anyway”


“We are creatures of our experience.” Said the doctor

“What do you mean sir?” asked the Lawyer.

“Our experiences tend to repeat themselves –thus the guy who wins, tends to win again and the guy who loses – tends to lose again. Our experiences, thus, tend to trap us. If you are to start winning, you need to change your experiences of yourself. The best way to do this is to have smaller goals for yourself. Start winning smaller battles, do small things right, gain momentum for the War. Life is all about momentum. The one who wins is the one whom the momentum favors.

The Victory, thus, lies in attempting to do the right thing. The Victory lies in putting in your best effort…The results are pre-determined anyway”


“Your work is an expression of who you are”. Said the doctor.

“Could you elaborate sir” requested the Lawyer.

“Our entire universe was created because of this question ‘Who Am I’. Everything that you do, everything that you hope for, everything that you stand for is your attempt to answer this question. The biggest statement that you make to the universe is in form of your work. Through your work you communicate to the universe as to who you are.

Often people misunderstand this, that the universe responds to your statement of who you are. Thus a Lawyer who loses too many cases isn’t a bad Lawyer – but it’s the other way round. A bad Lawyer loses too many cases. A guy isn’t rich because he has loads of money; but a rich guy (because he is rich) has loads of money. So the right sequence is "BE ( a good Lawyer)- DO (good work) - HAVE ( good results)", and not "HAVE- DO- BE".

Your results do not define you. But your definition of yourself defines your results…

The Victory, thus , lies not in seeking run away from problems, but in sticking to your definition of yourself – irrespective of your results. The results are pre-determined anyway…”

“You cannot give up son, because the country needs young dynamic Lawyers, people for whom Law isn’t a business – but a profession”.

Part 4 : 8 months from the date of the court ruling…

The Lawyer got discharged… his limp had been replaced by his old swagger. His confidence and faith restored… With his definition of a victory changed, the Lawyer filed an appeal to the slum eviction case…

“Your patient has been discharged sir”, Said the Doctor, “ He has been healed”…

From the other end of the line the Senior Advocate hung up, smiled and said to himself “The country needs young dynamic Lawyers, people for whom Law isn’t a business – but a profession”.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Escape (FICTION)

With a mischievous glint in his eyes, the little kid looked beautiful – cute - serene. Despite all that they had been through, the kid smiled as if smiling was the only expression known to it. The kids expression bought a weary smile onto the wrinkled face of the freedom fighter. They were being chased down by the Raj. Day in day out his comrades were hunted and shot down by the government.

The Freedom fighter was tired – he had gone without food for the last three days; and had undertaken travel along a most hazardous route from Nasik to Bombay. But now, despite the fact that he was tired, bruised and battered, he knew that he was on a noble mission; He had reached Bombay… But so had his pursuers, they knew that he was here and they were thirsty for some more blood.

The government had already killed 7 of his comrades – mercilessly. However, he had, with the little kid, escaped... but he had been battered…There were clots all over his aged body, his muscles pleaded him for rest… a bullet had brushed his shoulder – rendering his right arm motionless – useless.. .another bullet had brushed his thigh... Bullets – were they the most dangerous things invented by man… Bullets – using them a guy as weak as a lame goat could kill a man as well built as he had been, that too from a distance of more than 20 feet – ridiculous! … He did not like bullets, nor did he like any fire arms. He liked swords and maces. Bullets always reduced the room for manliness in a fight… the modern fight was not a competition of competence, but that of resources. And right now, the government had far better resources than he did.

He looked at the serene looking kid again – it had been with him since a long time now. It had even accompanied him in the jail, the kid was the freedom fighters biggest moral support. He wanted to be never separated from it. His comrades had rebuked him for his attachment with the kid and had asked him to leave it behind – but he wouldn’t listen to any of that. He was clear – where he goes the kid would go. And it had caused him grave inconveniences – having the kid with him…

3 days ago, the freedom fighter had escaped from the high security Nasik jail, with 8 of his comrades and the little kid. They had a mission and a very simple one at that. They had to deliver a map to one of their friends who had been working from the outside. The map would give his friends the location of the huge consignment of weapons that was hidden somewhere near the western coast of Bombay. He ( and his friends ) did not believe in the non violent form of agitation that was being pursued by some illustrious persons. No movement could be achieved without blood – look at the French Revolution, the Russian revolution – everywhere martyrs like him had shed their blood for a higher good. His people would be proud of him – very soon they would be an independent nation. His countless comrades, friends would be recognized as being “Shaheed”. He smiled, ignoring the pain in his jaw…

The next morning he would have to reach the appointed place – by 4am in the morning. Just 5 more hours, and his calling towards the independence of his nation would be complete. He would then die, even kill a few of the white well built young men – he allowed himself to chuckle at that.. but he did not realize that he chuckled too loud…

A strong young white man heard the muffled chuckle – he had been searching for the old escaped convict. He had travelled from Nasik to Bombay chasing a rogue gang of prisoners ; he and his team had hunted them down – and he had enjoyed it! He enjoyed the sight of the rogues withering in fatal pain, and witnessed their last breath. His job demanded mercilessness – but that was something that came to him naturally. He was a merciless, heartless killing machine. He signaled his men to close in on the target…

The freedom fighter picked up a sound, then some more and then some more! They had found him! It couldn’t be! How on earth! The frigging whites! God Damn them, their 8 generations! He struggled to his feet, the kid seemed very heavy now.. he just couldn’t carry it… He must leave without the kid. He must, else he would get killed and his mission would get compromised. He needed to make that sacrifice.. He kept the kid down, bowed and did a final namaskara to the ‘Bal Krishna’ Photo that he had been carrying all along. He looked at the Lords face again – and tried to extract the last ounce of faith… The Lord smiled at him – for the last time…

The freedom fighter ran with all his might – the white soldier saw him and smirked! Took aim and bang….bang… bang…

The next morning news papers reported “ Major terrorist attempt on Mumbai foiled. The Army hailed by the president of India for leading yet another Anti terror operation”.

The news paper also featured a picture of the White Soldier – Major Kaul – from Kashmir,India; and that of the freedom fighter - the terrorist...


A departing thought : A similar picture of a martyr ( or a terrorist depending on the view point ) and a white man was published on 23rd March 1931... Martyr or terrorist - Good or bad is a matter of perspective...

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Choice ( FICTION )

The Choice…
(My 1st attempt at writing a short story ).

The stagnant ceiling fan greeted him as he woke up - sweating… “ Damn – another power cut! ” he cursed… his mind then shifted to the recent pleasant event that had taken place his life. He smiled, he was happy – very happy in fact. His childhood dream had come true… very soon the world would know – they would know about the most enduring mysteries of all of our times… Something that even Einstein had failed to answer…

He looked around the house… the house was bathed in utter darkness…he was alone – that’s the way he had been since a good amount of time now. Normally he never missed company, for his research kept him more than busy. However, now in his elation he missed some one to talk to. He missed his parents – who stayed in another city… Very soon they would know about the success of his mission. They would be proud of him!

He had always welcomed power cuts when he stayed with his parents. That was when ever one was free at the same time. He played the guitar, and sung, as Mom , Dad and sisters applauded . Dad narrated his stories … he winced as pangs of loneliness pricked into his being…

He looked outside, the trees and their leaves seemed dead still ( he could judge from the sounds – lack of them), as though they had been stuck to that position – it felt pretty odd … He looked at his wall clock to figure the time out – the glowing wall clock showed 10.30 PM.. “that’s odd” he thought, he had slept at around 12Midnight… the battery might have run out, he said to himself, and groped his way to his study and found a candle… He then went to the kitchen to look for a match box… cocooned in the darkness, he couldn’t see a think – he noticed that no light what so ever creeped in from the outside through the windows – there must have been a major power outrage he thought…

He fixed himself a pot of coffee, and went into his balcony… the wind, the breeze, the sounds produced by the trees, the howling dogs and the purring cats – all were conspicuous by their apparent absence…

His cell phone beeped –some light at last! He looked at it – nothing ( no sms, no call, no alarm)… he wondered why and how it beeped… he was about to put it down when he noticed the time on the cell – 10.30.00 PM… Strange he thought… He turned on the cell phone torch and… he couldn’t see a thing – the neighboring buildings, the ground, the trees – there was nothing there – the light didn’t hit anything at all – it kept travelling in a void! While he turned to go back into the house, the light from the torch fell on his building – rather the place where the building had been! There was no building… his flat was floating on the 18th floor…

He fell back and pinched himself – again and again – on his wrist, to be sure this wasn’t one of his adventurous dreams, his wrist started bleeding…
“Are you afraid doc” a voice boomed out of no where… He felt a spine chilling fear … cold adrenalin started flowing through his nerves…“ Yes yes yes” he wanted to yell – but somehow he could not… he shut the balcony door and ran to the little Mandir in his house… Profuse tears of fright filled his scared face as he looked at Hanumanji’s photo…
The voice again boomed in his mind, with no apparent physical origin “ don’t worry Doctor, you will not be harmed in the least ”, the voice seemed tender – almost a feminine one… “ Who is it ”, he asked in his mind , firmly perched near Hanumanji – the protector - as he felt the kind of fear that he never had … whatever this creature was, it could converse with him thought thought.

“ I am here to discuss your latest break-through, Doctor.”
“But who are you?”
“ You have already heard about me, my son..”
“But you are a myth!”
“You are interacting with me now.. aren’t you? ” the voice said, with a certain amount of mirth “Shall we discuss your breakthrough now?” came the thought, was it growing impatient?
“ But if you can speak into my mind, you already know about my work.. why ask me again?”
“ I want to give you the pleasure of speaking about YOUR work with me. Now, speak up pls”.

“ Ok”, he said still fearful… he thought that it would be better to tell the voice as SHE knew already… would she steal his invention and claim it as her own… he did not know, but the sheer fright of death made him talk , “my work revolves around the theory of ‘Quantum Leap’ of electrons. The basic structure of an atom is analogues to that of the solar system. The nucleus is formed out of protons and neutrons ; and the electrons revolve around the nucleus in a number of rings ( again –just like the solar system). The position of each electron around the nucleus is determined by the strength of its charge. The electrons with lower charge revolve closer to the nucleus, and the ones with the higher charge revolve away from the same.

It sounds pretty simple till this point, however things get complicated when we take cognizance of the fact that the charge of a particular electron is subject to change – both ways ( i.e – it can get higher and lower). The change in the charge of an electron affects its position around the nucleus, and the electron ‘leaps’ into its appropriate place around the nucleus. It leaps – meaning it vanishes from its former position and re-appears into its new position – there is no ‘in between state’.

This process( the Quantum leap ) causes all changes/randomness of the universe. We say that ‘Nothing but CHANGE is permanent’ and it’s the quantum leap that is responsible for keeping the universe in the steady state of change.

Also, we are aware that the Physics Laws of time and space don’t apply to subatomic particles, i.e they can move freely between past, present and future. The Quantum leap is also responsible for the time variability of the sub-atomic particles.

Scientists around the world, including Einstein, have tried to decipher the patterns of the quantum leap. But till date none were successful. Now, for the 1st time Humanity will know how the Quantum Leap works – because I have figured out the formula for the same! Now, we will be able to predict the future - we will be able to go into the future; into the past - Correct the errors, and create the perfect world!” he said beaming with energy, in the dark pooja room. He hadn’t moved an inch from the mandir.

“ Well done, my son. You indeed have done the unthinkable. But however, let me tell you this, you aren’t the 1st one to have figured out this formula … There were others before you”

“ What?” he said, scandalized, “ You lie! No! I am the 1st, I am the creator of this formula! You can take my life if want to, but you cannot deny me my work!” he yelled at the top of his voice. Yelling at the top of his voice might wake the neighbors up, he thought for a moment, but then he realized that he seemed to be the only person in this weird world – his house was hanging in the air…

“ Calm down. I am not denying your genius. Hear me out – please” said the voice.

“Ok” he said, trying to keep his nerves in check. An outburst of an anger could prove fatal here…

“There have been others who have come across this realization. Right from the Sage Vishmitra, to King Ashoka’s Scientists, to Einstein. They discerned and discovered this formula.”

“Then why did they not publicize it? Why not it put to service of Humanity”

“ I talked them out of publicizing it”. The voice said coolly. Still communicating through thought.

“ Why?”

“Do you understand, Doctor , that time is one of the fundamental pillars of this world. If people come into possession of tools that make time meaningless, then this world itself will get destroyed. All the people that I just mentioned understood this fact, and they co-operated with Us in maintaining the balance of this world.”

“ You are denying me the rightful recognition that I deserve”.

“ You will no doubt earn the accolades, but your invention will become the curse for humanity. The way a similar invention by an Atlantian Scientist cost the Atlantis dear… This formula destroyed the Atlantis…”

"Atlantis existed?" He asked, bewildered...

"Yes, and a scientist there refused to heed me..."

“But this is my childhood dream… I will not give up on it. I deserve my recognition. I deserve popularity for my hard work, I deserve a Nobel prize..”

“Over thousands of years, greatest people of your species have kept this a secret. If you abide by me, you will gain THEIR recognition ( which I believe will be much more valuable )– for they still live – in another world – another place in the space-time continuum. Their scarifies in this world have earned them the right to understand greater mysteries of greater worlds. Your childhood dream was never to win a Nobel price, but to know the mysteries of the universe. A very select and secretive club of highly refined individuals awaits you. The Choice, my son, is yours. I will take your leave now...."

He woke up with a start! “Phew! was that a dream?”, he thought , he checked his wall clock, his cell phone, the trees and dogs outside, and smiled. It had been a dream… He smiled again.

He started readying himself for his presentation that was to be given to the scientific community of the world. History was about to be made in the matter of a few hours…When he was just about to leave, he saw the news paper – a UFO had been sighted the last night in his area… he noticed the pain his wrist (where he has pinched himself) and the blood clots there … All of a sudden, the haunting voice came back to him one last time, “The Choice is yours”... he left for the hotel where the presentation was to be made – now unsure whether to make the announcement…

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Ocen Conveyor and the effect of Global Warming.

Life on Earth is supported by a complex web of differing, but intergated mechanisms. One such mechanism is that of the Ocean Conveyor (also known as the Thermohaline circulation). The Ocen Conveyor is a mechanism whereby the ocenic water circulates through various parts of the Earth. This circulation is influenced by the density of water (in turn determined by the temperature and salt content of the water), the fresh water fluxes and the wind driven surface currents.

How does the Ocean Conveyor Work?

Let’s visualize the Earth as one big containor. In this container, waters of different temperatures exist at different places (thanks to the presence of the ice caps at the Polar Regions at one place, and that of the Equator at the other). This difference in temperatures (along with other factors – salt content and Air currents) triggers certain movements:
– The cold water dives to the ocean floor and the hot water comes to the surface
– The cold water is then propelled toward the hotter regions (near the Equator), there it becomes hot and rises to the surface;
- The hot water is, in its turn, propolled toward the colder areas – in the process it gets cold and dives to the ocean floor.
This cycle keeps repeating itself. The result is that every drop of water in the ocean completes a world tour once in every 5000 years!

Why is the Ocean Conveyor Important to Life on Earth?

1. It aids temperature management across the planet. It brings heat to the colder regions ( and vice versa)

2. It supports the life of more than 5000 species of marine Phytoplanktons.

Phytoplanktons are responsible for about 50% of the Photosynthetic activity that takes places on the Earth; thus, around 50% of all oxygen generated on Earth is produced by the Phyto Planktons. The Phytoplanktons depent to a great extent on minerals found near the ocean bed. The Ocean Conveyor (through its alternate diving and rising motions) performs the crucial role of supplying minerals to the phytoplanktons;

3. It circulares Oxygen, generated by the phytoplankton, throughout the planet.

What will happen if the Ocean Conveyor Stops?

Biologists opine that stoppage of the Ocean Conveyor was one of the biggest factors resonsible for the Permian Mass extintion (PME). The PME, which took place 251.4 Million years ago, is one of the 20 known mass extinctions to have occurred on Earth – infact, the biggest of them all. 96 % of all marine life, 70% of the terrestiral vertebrate life became extinct.

This occurred, among the others, because of the dramatic decrease in the amount of ice on Earth. Decreased ice slowed down the ocean conveyor significantly. A slowed ocean conveyor couldn’t generate enough oxygen and couldn’t circulate minerals – phytoplanktons died and the ocean food chain took a massive hit as a result of this; the level of photosynthesis and oxygen in the ocen reduced drastically – as a result – 96% of marine life came to an end.

Stangating water, reduced oxygen, huge amount of dead marine matter lead to a mass secretion of Hydrogen Sulphite – which took a huge toll on the terrestrial life – wiping 70% of it off.

What effect does Global Warming have on the Ocen conveyor?

Consumption of fossil fuels (emission of Greenhouse Gases) and deforestration have lead to a steadily increasing Global temperature. Increased temperature, among the other things, leads to a reduction of the volume of ice on Earth – in from of glacial retreat, shrinkage of the Greenland Ice sheet, Arctic shrinkage. This is a viscious cycle – Ice radiates a good amount of heat away from the Earth – The Albedo Effect; Reduced Ice, thus, in its turn, leads to higher temperatures.

What can we do?

Studies by the Climate commission indicate that even if the Greenhouse gases were to be retained at the year 2000 level, temperatures shall still continue to rise, as a result of thermal inertia of the oceans. Thus, there are two things that we need to control immediately: deforestration and emission of greenhouse gases.

Efforts are on throughout the globe to create awareness amongst people. To start using cleaner fuels, to plant trees, to reduce usage of paper, reduce reliance of fossil fuels, to create alternative greener fuels – fuels that will stem the greenhouse effect and promote sustainability. The International community; the Governments, the scientists and the Courts across the world have started actively promoting the green culture.

To Conclude:

Around 97 to 99% of all the species that have ever lived on Earth have become extinct – for some reason or the other. Global warming has the potential to have a major disruptive effect on the Ocean conveyor and thus become a reason for extinction of Humans from the Earth.

The Green wave has started to flow across our planet, but, all said and done, we do rely heavily on fossil fuels, and may continue to do so in the near future. What the Earth awaits is the one major technological breakthrough… and the onus of bringing about that breakthrough rests on our civilization.