Thursday, 27 February 2014

One thing in History I would do differently

Kudos to IndiBlogger for launching IndiSpire this week - for inspiring ideas and aiding the pursuit of intellectual happiness.

This is an initiative wherein bloggers suggest an idea for the week, all ideas get voted upon & the idea that gets the most votes is the chosen topic for the week, for all of us to blog about :)

Here is the debut topic:


The hashtag is #RewriteHistory.

hmm.. alright, there comes my licence to effectively make History into Herstory :)

Which historical figure's shoes do i want to be in? A Fashionista can't be spotted in ugly shoes so i rather make a wise choice here.

Emperor Shah Jahan it will be!  For sure, he wore nice shoes.  See:

Those shoes are what fashionistas call as 'loafers' & traditionalists call as 'jhootis' - whilst contemporary loafers can be made of any material, jhootis are always ethnic Indian flats made of environment friendly fabrics.

After all that shoe obsession, before the guys get away without reading this post, now, let's get down to 'what is that one thing Shah Jahan did, that i would do differently?'

As we all know, Shah Jahan built the World's most popular Monument of Love, the Taj Mahal in Agra.  

No .. that is not the one I am about to 'undo'.  Yeah, I still have a modicum of discretion left in me or what? :)

The monument was built, reportedly, over 22 years by approximately 20,000 workers (goodness me, that would be a whopping 440,000 man years)!

Legend has it that Shah Jahan, upon completion of the monument of love Taj Mahal, reportedly cut off the hands of the chief architect and all the workers, purportedly, to ensure that another clone of this monument never comes up.  

Wait .. jumping (in the present) is prohibited ..

Yes, this is just a 'legend' - a strong 'legend' at that.  A social belief or myth that has existed for long.  I do not know for sure if this is true or false.  Nor have I been able to find out proof or sources that either prove or disprove this (actually lost a day and half already in finding it - if i delay this post any further, this topic will lapse tonight :)

Therefore, for the purposes of this blog post, I will 'assume' this were true.  I apologize if that hurts anyone's sentiments - kindly consider it as creative freedom and subjunctive mood romancing each other (yeah, subjunctive mood is my most loved aspect of the English language :) 

If I were Shah Jahan, assuming he cut off the hands of the architect and the workers, here is how I will do it differently (these are purely my personal views, in exercise of the freedom of speech in my Country, so hence treat this exactly as that):

1.  I hate clones, yes, as much as Shah Jahan did - to give you some proof, someone couldn't even take that I copyright my avatars (that i created) on Bitstrips :)  However, may be, thanks to the fact that I was born four-and-half centuries after Shah Jahan (in which time, we shall safely assume that humankind progressed forward for good) & a modern education, I hate 'destroying' - even on the face of the gravest provocation, I stop just one step short of pressing the 'delete' or 'destroy' button, as it were, in real life.  But i do everything else to contain & conflict-manage the situation though.

Therefore, I wouldn't cut off people's hands.  That said, I would fiercely protect my right to the architecture because I engaged and invested in the art & architecture. Is that what we would call as having the Taj ('Taj' in Hindi means 'Crown') and wearing it too? :)

How would I do it?

Before I proceed further, for any of us uninitiated , if we don't know of the Taj's unparalleled architecture and design including gem inlay work, here is a glimpse:

One of its kind isn't it?

So, here is what I would do different instead of cutting off people's hands:

1.  I will copyright the architecture as the inventor (yes, my people and I would be the inventors) & original patron of the genre :) See, this is why I told you its unfair to compare us with Shah Jahan - he just didn't have our education & Google power :)

2.  I will bind the Chief Architect, all architects for that matter and all the workers as well, into individual signed written agreements that:
(a) should they disclose / impart the trick of the art / architecture, they shall do so with disclosure to my Court (no, not Court of Law, this is the Emperor's Court, which I think was the closest Kings had to Cabinets) with an accompanying payment of 'Royalty' to my people's exchequer (I will have my Courtiers publish Royalty calculation guides).

(b) a strict non-disclosure clause if (a) is not adhered to.  They just cannot do it and if they do it, we would take social (ostracize), legal and trade (boycott) actions.

3.  Therefore, they cannot clone it for free. Yes, they will clone it for payment. I will receive that payment and channelize it to (a) maintenance of the Taj Mahal (instead of relying on my successors in future) (b) in setting up formal schools to teach the art and architecture so it spreads far and wide and brings in more revenue (c) set up research labs to come up with preservation techniques and come up with improved art and architectural genres.

4.  Because of the goodness I seed in 3 above, by the time these folks are busy cloning the Taj Mahal, my people & i would have moved on to better architectural splendors we have since built :) Who cares if someone is cloning the iPad 2 when we have iPad 4 with retina display released? yeah? Especially when someone is paying us for the delayed cloning act!

By doing this as differently as i have articulated, I believe I would have given the art its due (in letting it spread) - after all, all art & science is for humanity as a whole - we are journeymen & women Nature chooses to endow, only for us to play our part in improving the journey for humankind as a whole. 

At the same time, I would have fiercely stamped my authority on a genre I helped fund, nurture and bring to fruition - something that I incubated and therefore my people & I own.  

wait, i am not done yet ..

5.  As part of the Royalty clause, I would write in and therefore get a good percentage (is 15% good enough?) of all the tourism revenues of every monument thus built (built? ah, well, cloned).  


Like it? Leave your comments and share your thoughts with me :) What's happiness without the joy of sharing and what's intellectual happiness without the tadka (that's Hindi for 'sautee') of debating?

Thank you IndiBlogger for this nugget of intellectual happiness .. I LOVED putting this post up .. hopefully, you, the reader enjoys it. 


All images in this post have been derived from 'Free to use, even commercially' advance setting Google search; each image is gratefully acknowledged and credited to its source.  Copyright for the images rests with their respective owners. 

Cheers :)

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Seven Shades of Seriousness ..

Seriousness, sure, is a very serious disease.

To make matters worse, its a contagious disease that many of our social constituents pollinate on unsuspecting hearts & minds.

And, I have observed that, seriousness, often, if not always, fails to redress or solve anything in life.  It only compounds underlying difficulties.

Humor, on the other hand, seems God's way of equipping us to cruise through it all. 

So, this post is my funny take of my encounters with someone or something whose condition is serious - put in Hindi, 'jiski condition serious hai' :-)

Encounters, to me, include observing them and developing perspectives about them, as well :)
So, here's presenting to you, my Seven Shades of Seriousness,  my lighthearted illustration of 7 people / things / entities whose condition I deem serious:

1.  The Indian Rupee:

I find the Indian Rupee's condition serious and here's how & why:

Images Courtesy: 1234

Images Courtesy: 123456

I have created each illustration to demonstrate my concept of why I think the underlying person / thing / entity's condition is serious.  In doing so, wherever I have taken images from the public domain, for use in my overall illustration, sources have been duly credited underneath each illustration.

Some components that I made myself, entirely, from scratch, are proudly illustrated with a magnifying glass effect; so, here we go for the above illustration:

   Magnifying glass image courtesy 

It confounds me that, being a tropical country, where the Sun rules at least 80% of the country 80% of the time, we don't seriously tap solar energy for our transportation needs and instead, end up importing crude oil, thereby inflicting seriousness onto the Indian Rupee's condition.

Let's continue to see how the Indian Rupee's condition is further serious:

Images Courtesy: 123

As we can see, though the Indian Rupee's #ConditionSeriousHai, but the Rupee is very upbeat about its recovery because the Rupee loves the new Doctor recently in charge of its recovery.  Quite nice, because I like the Doctor too :) Got it? An adoring and trusting equation with one's doctor can,by itself, cause a placebo effect and help heal and recover much faster, as we know. So, three cheers to the Indian Rupee's future and the Doctor Governor who is in charge of it!

With that, let's move to the second shade of seriousness:

2.   The Indian Family:

For a Nation steeped in our family values & culture, just see how serious this entity called 'The Indian Family' is:

From a glorious past, here is where I see the Indian Family has traveled from & through to stand as it does today:

Images Courtesy: 123456

The Indian Family today is a mute, powerless spectator as essential commodities are on what I call a '100 Rupee dash' (yes, analogy drawn from the '100 meter dash'):

Images Courtesy: 1234567

I find each constituent of the Indian Family in serious condition:

Images Courtesy: 12, 345, 678  

Images Courtesy: 123456789101112

hmm.. its gotten serious, has it?  

Well, this is a 'No Entry' space for seriousness.  So, let's take a chill pill, shall we?

On that note, do we know how a chill pill looks?  Here's one contemporary form: 

 Yes, the 'now softer' Cadbury 5 Star :)
                                              Image Courtesy

To know more about how this chill pill rids us of seriousness, get Here ..

Even better, watch this video for a demonstration:

                                               Image Courtesy

See what i mean? Ain't it a cool chill pill?

Now that we are lighthearted yet again, here is one very uniquely Indian way of how the great Indian Family will overcome its serious condition:

'Jugaad' or what is uniquely an Indian method of creative problem solving!

Images Courtesy: 1234

Time for the third shade of seriousness:

3.  Indian Cricket:

Well, being a passionate sports fan myself, i can guarantee that 'Cricket' in this Country is not just passion or obsession - its nearly a religion!

Here's my funny take on what ails Indian Cricket and how its condition is serious:

Images Courtesy: 1234567

Do you notice the dressing room and the shirts? I have worked on the original image to produce the cricketer's jersey that actually reads 'Hara India' that, in Hindi, stands for 'defeated India' :(

In my view, if Indian Cricket's #ConditionSeriousHai continues for too long, then, IPL may well end up as 'Indian Patients League', what say?

Over to the fourth shade of seriousness:

4.  Angry Birds:

Yes, in the land of games, we are!

Angry Birds, once the unquestioned ruler of the game land, has since, to use its own in-game terminology, suffered a 'birdquake' and has been crushed by candies!

This is my lighthearted take on this truly serious development of 'Angry Birds' being eclipsed in every way by 'Candy Crush Saga':

Images Courtesy: 1234

As an ardent Candy Crush Saga player, I immensely enjoyed creating this below component from scratch, taking shots of the bridge, the lolly pop hammer and the candies & later my favorite cute little plane :)  Only the pigs & angry birds were used from the aforesaid sources - but i have worked on the birds further, to show them in blue eyed tears :)

In the day & time of 24 by 7 news and LIVE! coverage, here is my lighthearted LIVE! coverage from The Bubblegum Bridge:

Yes, the wingless angry birds are drowning, unable to take off to the next level.  The smirking pigs are escaping whilst the candies & the lolly pop hammer stand guard :)

Seriously, whilst Angry birds, in my view, has not taken off to the next level as a game and franchise, Candy Crush Saga has scaled great heights endearing itself to millions worldwide, across gadgets and platforms, much represented by this cute little plane that ferries us from one episodic level to another in this game with 400 levels:

Let's bring on the fifth and sixth shades of seriousness, much in the same breadth.  Because, their woes are akin.  They are melting alike!

5.  The Global Environment and 6.  The Global Economy:

Images Courtesy: 12345

Here is a magnified view of 'The World That Was' & 'The World Now':

I created this below illustration component from scratch, drawing by hand (except for the lamp which was from the aforesaid source) & would love to draw your attention, in particular, to the 'Derivative$' - yes, ending with $ :)

To me, the Global Economy's #ConditionSeriousHai because the founding social pillars Legislature, Executive and Judiciary have lost out to:

(i) leaders, across spheres, reverse funneling welfare away from the people, eclipsing law in the process

(ii) bureaucracy that is forever on display in every nook and corner, and,

(iii) derivatives becoming the mass financial weapons of destruction in recent times (which is why you see a blast coming out of an otherwise well-wishing lamp, engulfing the global economy ultimately).   

ah ah, remember, its a 'No Entry' zone for seriousness.. time to pause!

So, please allow me to entertain you with some fond jokes I have recently heard:

Joke 1:

This is an original joke an agriculturist told me during the recent 'Pongal' harvest festival (which is celebrated as 'Makar Sankranti' in the North of India and as 'Pongal' in my home State in mid January); i have illustrated the joke here.

Farmers were curious when they found a certain farmer's cattle recently wearing a mobile phone around its neck:

Images Courtesy: 12
So, a bold farmer approached the owner farmer and the conversation goes as below:
Images Courtesy: 12

HA HA HA HA .. isn't that a good one? 

Joke 2:

Now, i'm not sure how original this joke is, but i absolutely loved creating this illustration for the joke:

Images Courtesy: 123456789

I love this :-P

This sequence is worth a magnified look (I have used images from the aforesaid sources and worked on them):

Hope that made you laugh :)

Now that the mood is hopefully lighter, let's move onto the last shade of seriousness.

7.  Bitcoin:

Life is a cycle.  Look no further for proof.  I began my shades of seriousness with a (real) currency and will end it with a currency - albeit virtual :)

Bitcoin, my favorite virtual currency is in serious trouble.  These illustrations I created will help us understand how its #ConditionsSeriousHai:

Images Courtesy: 1234

Images Courtesy: 1234

So, as we can see from my illustrations, the Bitcoin is in serious trouble - from being hoarded thereby creating a digital mattress effect to being warned by the Central Banks!

I personally, being unashamedly geek, love Bitcoin for its disruptive value (after all, every addition to our lives over the last few decades started out as a disruptive technological entrant)!  But, I mourn that its #ConditionSeriousHai !!

Here's hoping & wishing that its advantages prevail over its troubles ..


Those are my seven shades of seriousness.  Hope you enjoy :)

I immensely loved creating the illustrations and this post - ideating, looking for images, creating some images from scratch, creating each of the overall illustrations and articulating about my shades of #ConditionSeriousHai :)

For all the significant investment herein, my view that humor is the only antidote to seriousness, stands doubly reinforced. And absolutely loved this rather unique oxymoron of a blog post - depicting seriousness through humor!

On that note, how can I end this post on any note, other than a joke?

Well, we all have our tryst with the 'Device Manager' but ever wondered how it may have got its name?
Image Courtesy

Here is my friend's take: the 'Device Manager' must have evolved as a name from 'The Vice' manager, which in brief lingo can be written as 'D Vice' manager :) 

I bet you agree :) I do!

This post is written for the IndiBlogger Cadbury 5 Star #CONDITIONSERIOUSHAI campaign.

Cheers :)


Copyright clarification: 

I have created each illustration in this post and hence the copyright for the entire illustration as such - idea, concept as well as presentation - rests with me. 

Underlying images used from the public domain are gratefully acknowledged and have been credited to their respective source(s) and the copyright for these rests with their respective owner(s).

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

My take on the 'Whys & Wherefores' of Studying in The UK

This post is about my recommendations for 'Studying in The UK' - if I had a choice, what subjects & specializations will I choose, where & why?

At the outset, let me put forth that options abound.

Refer for the range of courses and study options available, practical advice and scholarships.  Advantages of an UK education as well as tips for post graduation phase are elucidated therein.

Well then, we are all set for me to provide my special take - yes, options abound.  But, I'm never the one to settle for anything less than the very best - so, if I had a choice, this is what I will choose:

Hope you loved what I have authored with much passion and research :)

As cited in the Bibliography section, I am a passionate literature fan (smitten by The Bard and doing theatre since the age of 14, in love with Jane Austen) and a born spectator with keen interests in Tennis, Football, Cricket and F1. I am also an opinionated social observer and news junkie. Therefore, this is my perspective of what I would love to study in The UK.  

There are plenty much options beyond what I have authored, feel free to visit and ask the British Council for support.

This post is written for the IndiBlogger & British Council #KnowledgeIsGreat initiative / contest.

Cheers :)