Blessings from God Via Facebook

Is it just me or does anyone else think it equally absurd that there are apps on Facebook that pretend to send you blessings from a God of your choice? I mean, look at the picture below and tell me how does Sai Baba (who lived like a zillion years alo) send blessings to families of people who subscribe to his app on FB?

Sai1

Not only that, if you go ahead and click on any link from this notification, it forwards you to a page where Sai Baba – and this is what I find most incredible – actually asks your persmission to access your public profile!!!

Sai2

Now now, some will tell me that I shouldn’t make fun of people’s religious sentiments and beliefs and that everybody has a right to look like a fool, blah blah blah. But hey.. look I am just saying that I find it absolutely amusing that a God is trying to connect to me (Ok, not me but SOMEONE) via Facebook. And that he needs my permission to access their public profile?

Well, just really ticks me off everytime I see it.

Well then, I am sure a lot of people will hate me for writing this, because some do not have a sense of humor, but you’ve got to give me this – that seeing on your News Feeds that a certain someone has just received blessings from a God via facebook is actually funny.

Imagine my timeline showing that I received a Law of Nature from Einstein today. Most people would look at that piece of news and say… Duh!

What’s your Sun Sign?

virgoWhen somebody asks me what star-sign, or sun-sign, or moon-sign I am, a sort of embarrassed grin shows on my face. I am sorry, I could just easily say I’m a Virgo, but something in me stops me from saying that. Then as a few moments pass, I usually stumble for an answer but none comes out.

The problem I face is that whatever I tell others about me should at least be consistent with what I myself consider to be true and of any relevance whatsoever. But when a question like what Astro Sign I am comes up, it puts me into a dilemma.

Firstly, some people in an ancient civilization thousands of years ago came up with this idea that you are somehow governed by the position of certain celestial bodies (like the sun or the moon) in space at the time of your birth. Not only that, they even place you in the same “group” as others who were also born in the same “time period” even though in different years. The thought of belonging to a “group” based on what constellation was being seen at the time of birth sounds as ridiculous to me as belonging to a group based on the color of the walls of the delivery room. Extremely useless, isn’t it?

Similarly, another supposition that a constellation has an effect on a person simply by virtue of it being a recognizable shape in the sky is quite unreasonable. What about groups of stars that don’t form a recognizable shape? Does the non-appearance of a figure make the other stars impotent? What about the asteroids right in the middle of our own solar system? Don’t they get a say on my life? What about Neptune and Pluto? I love Pluto and I want Pluto to have a role too. But no one would listen to me. I know, I know what you will say about this. Wishful thinking on my part, isn’t it?

Anyway, ever since I was a kid, I have been told time and again that I am a Virgo. Well, my birth date falls on 29th August and matches with the date range for Virgo (23rd Aug – 22nd Sep), so I am Virgo. And whatever people said about my personal attributes based on my “sign” was, again, based on the description for Virgo.

But a few years ago, while studying astronomy as a hobby, I discovered that the charts published in newspapers, magazines, astrology books and everywhere else were all WRONG. They were all based on the noted positions of the sun relative to the 12 constellations more than 2000 years ago. I found out, as a matter of fact, that these relative positions have changed over a period of time due to the wobbling of the earth around its axis – also called precession. So, as of the new charts, my actual sign turned out to be…. LEO!! (Aug 10 to Sept 16). Look it up here.

astrotattooWell, I was hurt. I sort of started believing I am a Virgo and it did seem like the most beautiful sign of all 12. Especially when they said that Virgos can be “tough on the outside but soft on the inside” and that “we care a lot about those we love and sometimes really hate the people we hate,” I know they struck a chord with me. And I am not the only one. Others were angry too.

But, now that I know I am not a Virgo anymore, I can’t continue to lie to and deceive people I interact with. Add to that the fact that there are 13 – and not 12 – zodiacal constellations (Ophiuchus – Nov 29 to Dec 17 so boo to those affected by this), the whole thing makes even lesser sense to me now than it did before. Damn that bloody astronomy that changed my view and took away the cosy comforts that astrology provided me when it told me I was part of a group who acted in exactly the same way as I did and that everything happening in my life was pre-determined and so I was not responsible for my failures. And even though the scales fell from my eyes long ago, this exposed piece of error on part of the astrologers even killed whatever little fun I had reading newspaper horoscopes.

So, when somebody asks me what Sign I am, I can either tell them that I am still a Virgo, in which case I would be lying, or I can tell them that I am a Leo, in which case it will not adhere to the prevailing, albeit incorrect system, thus making even this piece of information utterly useless. Compounded by the fact that even knowing a correct Sign really amounts to nothing, I am usually unable to answer at all. But then, one realizes that delving into such an explanation for such a trivial question might not always be the smartest thing to do. So, one quietly answers “Virgo” with the hope the Bozos asking this might climb down our backs. Unless I was Ophiuchus.

newzodiacs

Taking Down Bob – My First Short Story eBook

Finally, I have managed to write my first short story, something of an achievement considering the fact that I’ve been toying with the idea for a couple of months now.

Bob is the hostel psycho, a brash fat giant who often loses himself in enthusiasm and whose idea of fun often meant suffering for others. Most of the hostel inmates are tired of Bob’s bullying and their inability to return the favor. Tonight, a weird shoe fight riot has broken through the hostel and Bob has already been dominating the entire proceedings by beating the crap out of most inmates with his heavy boots. Though scared of him, they ultimately hatch a plan of getting him alone and attacking him in a group. The story deals with how 18-year olds of this Bob dominated hostel work together to catch him in a spot through conspiracy, risk, teamwork and double-crossing.

Taking Down Bob is a story that is close to my heart as it reminds me of the great time I’ve had in our college hostel and, though it is a piece of fiction, it will certainly seem inspired from a series of events sometime in 2005, to those who spent their time in the same hostel as me.

The story has been published today as a multi-format ebook by Smashwords.

I hope you will read it. It’s completely free and available at:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/243973

And if you like it, don’t forget to let me know by leaving a short review.

My profile page at smashwords is:
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/shitijbagga

Book Review – The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

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Last night, I decided to read ’The Importance of Being Ernest’ by Oscar Wilde. It is a humorous short story described as a drama setting. The main protagonist is Jack Worthing, someone who needs to be well behaved due to him being the guardian of an 18 year old girl, but on the other hand, has a fun loving side to him, which he can only fulfil using an alternative identity of “Ernest” in another part in the country.

Being a comedy, the story is set in a world where some people follow a flawed logic, for instance, Jack’s friend Algy says to him, “..girls never marry the men they flirt with. Girls don’t think it right..” and on another occasion, Gwendolen, who is Jack’s darling says, “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing.”

In such an illogical and humorous world, the alternative identity of ’Ernest’ cause great troubles for Jack and his friend Algy and they constantly try and work their ways out of it, when a clever twist of the plot towards the end unveils a decades old mystery.

Though the book is a pleasant read and may not appeal very much to an experienced reader, owing to the fact that the plot has been exploited hundreds of times in other writings and cinema, I still suggest one reads this simply to enjoy the writing of the literary genius of Oscar Wilde. This is a very easy to read book and the humorous dialogs by each character are really a treat and some of these even made me laugh out loud.

World’s Most Dangerous Saloon

 

I don’t know the actual source of this image, just something I found one of my friends had shared on facebook. This is the sign board for a very dangerous saloon. Especially because it does children cutting.

Working Like a Ghost

Danger! That’s what working for far too long does to you.

Books I Read Last Week – Part 1 (Aug 6-12, 2012)

Last week has been miserable in terms of the amount of reading I’ve done. It has also been the first (extended) week of my blogging here so I guess I am dividing time between blogging and reading. Further, I’ve been very busy at work and at home as well, due to which I couldn’t concentrate on reading much.

But this is what I read last week:

1. Joy in the Morning
by: P.G. Wodehouse
Literature and Fiction / Humor
Status: Half Read, Still Reading

As I am a big admirer of books by Wodehouse, it is quite difficult for me to not read one of his classics. This week, I’ve started reading Joy in the Morning, another classic novel from the Jeeves and Wooster series. Till now, Bertie Wooster has refused Boko and Nobby to cooperate in their second scheme to sacrifice him for making poor old Boko look good in Uncle Percy’s eyes. At the same time, young boy scout Edwin has burnt down an entire house as a result of his act of kindness. Sadly, I haven’t been able to finish this during the week but I plan to keep this as my target in the coming week.

This book also belongs to the series of the Books I Like to Read Before I Sleep which is another blogs posting of mine.

2. Billions and Billions – Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium
by: Carl Sagan
Science / Astronomy / Philosophy
Status: Half Read, Still Reading

Being a staunch admirer of everything that the great Carl Sagan has ever written, it is truly amazing to read his books like Cosmos, Pale Blue Dot, The Demon Haunted World, etc. This week, I’ve started reading Billions and Billions chapter-by-chapter. My intention is not to read the entire book at once because most of the chapters are dealing with different topics so it is possible to read each chapter even after some gap of time. Till now, I’ve read Dr. Sagan’s musings on how, in human history, the significance of numbers has increased and Millions led to Billions led to Trillions. I especially enjoyed Sagan’s light-hearted commentary on observing how people all over the media were increasingly attributing the phrase “Bbillions and Bbillions” to him, despite him having never uttered it even once in his popular television series: Cosmos.
Overall, An excellent read.

What about next week?

I plan to finish Joy in the Morning and Read Billions… a little more. Would you like to recommend me a nice book?

There’s a Murphy in my Office

Most of you must have heard about Murphy’s Law. I am listing below the laws that are applicable to our workplaces. Am sure most will agree with these. Have Fun!

  • The printer is either out of toner or there is no paper only when the client asks for 10 copies of a 120 page report by evening.
  • The network would snap just when you were explaining an important point over a NetMeeting conference call.
  • All mails except the most important one, which was sent way before, will find their way into your inbox.
  • The client will call only when you had left for a coffee break. And when you call back, he/she won’t be available in office.
  • When its a busy day for you, all your colleagues would be chatting just outside your cabin.
  • When you don’t have much work… all your colleagues will be busy.
  • The display settings on your computer will play havoc only when you have to finish a presentation by afternoon.
  • The better your presentation, least the impact.
  • The frequency of mailing performed by a person varies in inverse proportion to the amount of work at hand.
  • Assaf’s Laws of Paperwork
    — When there are two possible forms to fill out on any given matter, the wrong form is always filled out at first.
    — The wrong form is not discovered until it has been signed by all parties concerned, sealed, and delivered.
  • Assaf’s Corollary
    — Once the right form has been filled out, signed by all parties concerned, sealed, and delivered, it turns out it was filled out wrong.
  • Paper is always strongest at the perforations.
  • The 90-90 Rule of Project Management:
    — The first 90% of a project requires 90% of the allotted time. The remaining 10% takes another 90% of the allotted time.
  • When reading this page at work your boss will pop-up (behind your back) and ask you why aren’t you working.

OverBOOKed

Too Many Options?

I am a voracious reader. And a compulsive-obsessive book collector. For me, genre is not and has never been a barrier. Science, Philosophy, History, Politics, Literature & Fiction, Biographies, Psychology, you name the genre and I have read something related.

So, it is imperative for me to carry a book wherever I go. Whether I am going to office in the morning, or visiting friends and relatives over the weekends or simply out for break, I always need to carry a book with me. I am building my personal space for books, a mini-library if you may. As of now, it contains over 130 books (as of last official count), all of which I have bought in the last 2 years. That basically means 1.3 books a week. And most importantly, each of those titles has been purchased after careful deliberation on my part.

That is not to say that I am reading a lot of books in practice or that I must be a speed reader. No, I am hardly able to cover a book in less than 2 weeks and there is a very bad reason for it. I don’t seem to have the time for it. When I am travelling to office every morning, I read for about half an hour. Then I start to feel sick because of reading in a moving car (does that to me a lot). In the evening, I reach home quite late and it is only when I get into bed that I continue the book. Needless to say the tiredness of the entire day gets the better of me and every night I fall asleep with the book still held open in my hands. Yes, every single night. Next morning, the cycle continues.

Weekends are when I really cherish the idea of reading a lot. I have mostly been able to pick up a book and, provided there are no distractions, have been able to enjoy my reading quite a lot. On the whole, I think I have read at least 110 of those 130, but having 20 unread books can sometimes be very troublesome. Let me explain.

I sometimes get into a phase, in which I have termed myself as being ‘Overbooked’. It is a state in which I am eager to start/continue reading a book but I am unable to decide which one. For instance, should I read ‘The Republic’ by Plato that I bought a long time back and really want to get through, or should I pick up from where I left off with my PG Wodehouse collection? Things get complicated when, simultaneously, it occurs to me that I have recently bought Sam Harris’s ‘The Moral Landscape’ but deep within my heart, I really now need to read Christopher Hitchens’s ‘Hitch-22’, an autobiography that I have secured in a plastic bag since last 2 yrs for the fear of it catching even a mote of dust. I could even read up the 2nd volume of Stephen Fry’s autobiography, titled ‘The Fry Chronicles’. But, Truth be told, there is no greater masterpiece like the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ collection that I have. So, basically, I am spoilt for choices.

Sometimes, this phase can get really frustrating and absorbing, with the result that I spend most of my energy in this futile attempt at decision-making and end up reading nothing at all. But I often wonder why this happens to me and it might make you wonder if I am simply a spendthrift who keeps buying books by the dozen but does not care to read them.

But it’s not that I don’t care, for I purchase every single title after very careful deliberations and am very touchy about the condition of each book in my collection. I take care to even wash my hands before I take out some of the special books form my library. It is just that I do feel spoilt for choices and with the kind of affection I have for my books, it is somewhat like having many girlfriends, all of them being equally amazing (well, not really), but you can’t spend time with all of them together. I know I could have used a better analogy and this one might make me sound like a nerd or a geek who really doesn’t understand the difference between women and books, but I hope you will not judge me on this because I do understand the difference and never mix the two.

Has this ever happened to you, being spoilt for choices and feeling actually frustrated about it? If yes, I would love to know what you do in such a situation. How do you come out of such a dilemma when you are spoilt for choices? Please share your experiences with me.

DETECTIVE HIRED TO FIND GOVERNMENT

A really nice and hilarious blog…

INDIA UPDATE

Concerned citizens are in the process of hiring a detective to find the government, which has been absconding since August, 2011.

“We looked all around for clues, but we couldn’t find any,” said one of them. “That’s why we decided to hire a professional.”

Early favourite Sherlock Holmes has dropped out of the race, as he is busy locating missing cast members from the Olympic Opening Ceremony, one of whom was apprehended yesterday in Croydon. NDTV sleuth Arnab Goswami has also declined, citing prior commitment to yelling. Home-maker Purnima Patel’s offer of her mother-in-law has been rejected, despite assurances that ‘she can poke her nose anywhere.’

“We are currently considering Professor Higgs, of Higgs-Boson fame, provided his rate is reasonable,” said a concerned citizen. “If he can find something that small, he can find anything.”

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