Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shri Mahabharat Katha Part I

It is often said that what is not in Mahabharat is not worth knowing. In short, Mahabharat contains all the knowledge. And I am not talking about just the wisdom contained in Bhagvadgeeta, or the talks on politics, social life and religion between many of the extremely knowledgeable characters here. Neither am I talking about the endless plots, subplots, conspiracies, relationships and other things which would give the best soap operas of our times a run for their money.

What I am talking about is that every single time you start reading this story of Bharat, you find yourself with a new understanding of those times and a new knowledge of people and how they functioned then.

It is to spread that knowledge amongst the masses that we have started this new series, a collection of teachings the Mahabharat story provides us. After all, fame increases by spreading knowledge1.

The series will contain some dramatic insights in the life of people of ancient Bharat, as well as carefully researched thoughts on how this tome of endless knowledge can be used to improve the standards of our lives today.

Part I: How they achieved Enlightenment?

Just as an example, we all have seen the palaces and houses of those times. But has anybody stopped to think about what we saw2? Those houses were often full of rooms without proper-sized windows (visualize any throne room in any palace), and yet they would always be full of enough light to shame today’s 100-watters and tube-lights. Now, we are not amongst those people who believe that our ancestors had invented everything, including electricity. There is a much simpler and much more elegant solution which they had found out.

And what is that solution? Just visualize any king, noble or even simple soldier from those times. Now answer me this. How much lumens of light will be reflected into a room when (say) 50 people, each covered with 75% of their body-area with highly reflective metals like gold, stand at strategic positions around one candle3? Now substitute that candle with a brace of torches, or a candelabra, and you should get some serious lighting in any room of any size.

Told you, much simpler, environment-friendly and visually pleasing at the same time. Our ancestors were a smart lot.

Don’t believe us? Perhaps you will believe us when the idea is copied by the West and comes back to us from them. Oh wait, they already did it. Remember the scene from “The Mummy” where they reflect a single ray of sunlight with a mirror to light the entire (cavernous) room?

That’s all for today. And till the next time, here’s something for you to consider: Cheese must be an ingredient in Draupadi’s “Akshaya Patra”. How many times have we seen a pizza slice reluctant to let go of the comfort of the circle, and the resultant endless strings of cheese like the hands of two lovers from Bollywood cinema being dragged apart by their “pyar ke dushman” parents?

Coming up next: Measuring time in ancient times

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

1. Before you start shooting e-mails correcting me, that is the correct proverb for the Kaliyug.
2. Hint: nobody before us did.
3. Did you expect the answer here? We are not going to do all the hard-work here, people.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Definitely Not 42

And here is your this week's supply of completely random questions which probe into the deeper mysteries of life:

  • Why didn't I go to a highschool in a(ny) serial on US television?

    Corollary: Where do all highschool kids in Indian television serials go to "learn"?

    Corollary to corollary: Are there any highschool kids on Indian TV?

  • Is there some Murphy's Law which gets you ambushed by heavy rain when you are about five minutes walking distance from home, on the very day that you don't take your jacket with you?

    If not, is it too late for me to start a list of Fleiger's Laws? (Yes, before you ask, the law will mention the fact that the rain will stop when you are soaking wet, and about 10 meters from your door)

    Or, like faces on currency notes, is it a requirement that you can only compile lists post-mortem?

  • How do you have simple spelling and grammer mistakes (not to mention complete and obvious lack of research) on the websites of (admittedly) major newspapers?

    How come a newspaper reporter and/or editor does not know that Aamir Khan was blogging way before Amitabh Bachchan started, and not the other way round?

  • Why does every episode of CID end in such a lame fashion?

    In how many ways can you say "You will [go to jail, hang]" before it starts getting repetitive and boring?

    Can once in a while a criminal confess before the officer of appropriate gender moves his/her hand near the criminal's face with some force? And why do killers start crying, and confess after just one slap?

  • Read on a bus window: "Please keep all body parts out of window opening." Am I crazy or does that sound extremely uncomfortable, not to mention, dangerous?

The regular programming will continue soon.

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken