This post is a part of Chennai Bloggers Club’s(CBC) Tablog 3 where a group of bloggers write on the theme “Chennai: A Blend of the Traditional and Modern.” For those who are not aware, Chennai Bloggers Club is a group of wonderful bloggers who yap, scribble, ramble, annotate, facilitate and sometime even tolerate thoughts on a digital platform ;) We discuss anything and everything under the sun and at times over and above.
As customary, a blog tag is handed over by a fellow blogger to another and it was handed over to me by Madhvi Kumar. You can read her post here. A big thanks to her for introducing me in such a wonderful way.
As humans our routines become a pattern which reveals itself in everything we do. With time our brain recognizes this pattern as a common and accepted occurrence and frames a template around it which reflects in the way we perceive the world around us. This pattern is passed from one generation to other with small additions and
subtraction, but with the core intact. This is termed as tradition. ( For better understanding read THIS)
Anything that we do in the name of modernity has evolved from this tradition and hence its impossible for any civilization to call itself modern unless they have a foot grounded in its tradition. Also, the possibility of something appearing out of nothing is farce. There is a bit of Alpha 1.0 in every Lollipop 5.0.2 you own.
Having said all that, what makes Chennai stand out?
If I ponder hard to figure out if Chennai is the only city with a thriving blend of Tradition and Modern then am constantly asserted with a big NO.But who cares, this is my city and my blog :P And Chennai is the only city that has showed me visibly that it is.
- The advent of cappuccino and cocoa hasn’t brought down the craze for Filter Kaapi
- The emergence of Play Stations hasn’t brought down the craze for street cricket
- The popularity of Rock, hip Hop and Rap hasn’t hit the Margazhi Maasam Katcheris drastically
- Aerobics and Allopathy thrive side by side with yoga and several eastern medical practices.
- We might now make Ganesha using Plaster Of Paris instead of mud but still we continue to bathe him in milk and drown him in sea soon after :POh! those are common to many other cities too, right? Hmm.. Let me give it a personal touch:
As a person who was born in Chennai, the most vivid memories of my childhood revolves strictly around places like KK Nagar, PSBB School, Rouch Stationery, YMCA Swimming pool, Sivan Park,Udhayam Theater and a certain HIRE CYCLE shop off MGR Nagar. Unfortunately, my dad was transferred to a different city and I had to reluctantly leave this city. When I relocated to Chennai after 16 years, I thought it would hardly be anything like what it was when I was young. But this city proved me wrong.
The streets in which I played had numerous tall and new houses but it still had the same temples,playgrounds and its Gulmohar trees. The school road had become narrower but the school still looked and surprisingly smelt the same. If you didn’t know that every school has its unique smell then am sorry, all those years you spent in school is of no significant use. The Rouch Stationery was now called Rouch Fancy Stores with a bigger shop area and heavier footfall, but the guy at the billing Section was the same old guy with his beaming smile and paan tinted lips.The warm feeling that I used to get as a kid when he let me carry home a new Cosco ball though I was a few coins short will always remain fresh and the best part, he would do that with a smile and wink.I saw him doing the same few years back but the only difference was that there was no Cosco ball but a transformer toy in the kid’s hand. The Hire Cycle shop is now a Travel Agency.As a kid it helped local kids to commute in hour cycles, now the same shop was still helping people commute. The only difference is that the mode of transportation has changed and not the core. You get the drift, right?
More than the above mentioned , what makes Chennai stand out is the way it has received so many traditions and allowed it to blend in its DNA as it evolved into the present MODERN .The Madras Bashai (A dialect of TAMIL used in Chennai) is a standing testimony to it. Wonder how many know that the local slur Kasmalam and Bemani are borrowed from Sanskrit word Kash-malam (Discardable,) and Urdu word Be-Imani (Unloyal) and the most common words like Galeej(Shabby) and Dabbu(Money) from Kannada and Telugu respectively?
The list is endless but the inference in precise :No city has such a unique blend as Chennai, at least none that I reckon.
With that I pass on the baton to RAM THILAK who blogs at RTCEO’s Blog and Thoughts
He claims to be a weird recluse, a constant seeker for knowledge and by blogging he manages to slowly lose the former and enhance the latter. He believes that the more he writes, the more chiseled his knowledge gets.He writes on varied topics ranging from Philosophy to film reviews. Do visit his blog for more :)
Although there are 10-14 million species currently on earth, did you know that 99% of the species that existed on earth are already extinct? in words of Janine Benyus,an American natural sciences writer,”Think of our planet as a Research and Development lab in which only he best ideas move forward and the organisms that used too much energy/material or were toxic were dropped. What you wind up with are organisms that are efficient.”
Now lets understand where humans come in. Although life has existed on earth for 3.8 million years ,humans have existed only for around 200,000 years.We are nothing like other earthlings.Going by known records,just around 5000 years back humans invented wheel and now we posses technology that facilitates interstellar travel. Just because we can, we are way too experimental and our inferences have become our wisdom. What we fail to understand is that our inference are only based on what we see, which constitutes not even 0.1% of what is happening around us and what is around us is just a grain in this big beach AKA Universe and lets not even get into the concept of multiverse for now.
What is more baffling is that with such negligible information, we have the audacity to believe that we operate with complete capacity.Relatively speaking, We are nothing but toddlers on earth’s evolutionary timeline and and if we intend to survive for at least the next few 100 generations we must quit going against nature and start working along with it. What we built after the advent of technology hasn’t survived long. At least not as long as what our ancestors in antiquity built. The Great Pyramid, The great wall of China are classic examples. It is high time that “We” as a race need to let go the need to be right and de-freeze for we have already done enough damage in the name of technological advancement ,Religion, GOD and boundaries.
What is wrong with religion ?
God and religion are separate and it is us “toddlers” with lack of intelligence tend to mix things up.
If only the modern theists understand that they worship a god that they created and the Atheists understand that their problem is not with GOD who created life but with the GOD that humans created, things would be a lot different.
Am talking about a spiritual evolution that great minds like Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein wished the humans would transcend to. This transition will never happen until we let go the need to be right especially when our entire cognisance is nothing but an image of the past. With such a mind, we build our belief system which encompasses all religion and god.When one thinks about GOD he thinks only in lines of what he knows about GOD, a mere projection of all that has been told about GOD. Contrary to the popular belief, an idea cannot change life or solve problems.It just creates another idea in opposition or in acceptance.
As a great Indian philosopher once mentioned,”The mind itself has become the problem, and its fabrications further complicate life, bringing conflict and misery. The substitution of one idea for another, or the change of ideas does not transform the thinker.” When one Idea of GOD doesn’t suit or solve a problem, a new image and version of GOD is released and thus bringing in a new set of followers and with time it gains momentum and becomes a new religion. What we fail to understand is that an Idea or thought arises inside a thinker and the thinker himself becomes a problem for its him/her who distorts thoughts according to circumstances which makes the thinker and thought one and the same.When the thinker is the problem how do we change him/her?
Understanding the Thinker
Have you ever been to a spiritual discourse or a motivation workshop? As long as you are there, everything seems new and clear. As if you have stumbled upon a clear and wonderful way of altering your dull and monotonous life and there is this great upsurge of enthusiasm in you to mend your ways and aligning it to the new found way but the moment you get back home and start your daily routine, the same old restlessness and dullness sets in? That is purely because the thinker is more tuned to think in lines of the frame that he/she is set and the only way to get out of it is to break out of it. It might seem tough, for the mind believes that the frame offers a safety net but sometimes all you need is a free fall that gives you moments of thoughtlessness to capitalize on. Its only when the mind is still there is creation. Read more here to understand better. We need to break free from all dogmas of religion and especially the idea of personal god and free the Thinker from conditioned thoughts.Lets start from understanding ourselves for all we know is God is in us.
Why all this?
Unless the fact that we are not in the intelligence apex is established, we wouldn’t let go the need to be right, hence tried to establish that initially and whenever the topic gets there, people jump with a pointed finger and yell,”Do you mean to say that all the technological advancements that we have achieved is of no use?” Hence I had to illustrate how any technology that is against nature is unimportant and how humans have been exploiting and harming nature.For some strange reason, everything revolves around GOD for Humans right now, be it proving his existence or absence.So felt it was high time to understand that our entire take on GOD which is pinned to religion is wrong and we need to transcend to something higher and closer to truth for future generations to exist.
Am I an Atheist?
If this question has been constantly playing on the back of your mind throughout your read then maybe this helps.
“I thought I was one until I realised that my problem was never with GOD but with what people thought and preached GOD was “
Oru Ezhavum Purila *
Ne ivvalooo thooram vantiya :-o
*For very close friends ;)
This post has been published as a part of ‘The CBC Tablog – 2. Where a group of bloggers from CBC Chennai Bloggers Club) have come together to write on the topic – “One aspect of Chennai that I would like to change”
The Baton was passed on to me by Gayu Venkat who is claims to be a Juvenile Dreamer and a Jejune Sketcher who loves to find happiness in small things.You can read her post here
So, what aspect of Chennai I want to change? Hmmm..Let me try a relative sketch here.
Though born in Chennai, I grew up in a tier 2 city where people enjoyed many luxuries of nature that Chennai vaasis don’t. The biggest luxury of all was the interconnectedness that every occupant of a particular locality shared. I still remember how many families lived in my street for every time there was an Independence Day celebration, all the kids in the colony will team up for “collection” and the money collected thus will be spent on organizing games and fun events for every age group. Every game would have it’s season except for cricket for it was a perennial sport. Two months for Top and Marbles ( Bambaram & Goli), Two months for Badminton and Gilli, and last few months of the year would be dedicated to making Manja ( String used for fighter kites ) and Kite flying , endlessly running behind every single kite that loses the deal with a long pole or Kavvankal (a stone tied to a Manja string to pull kites stuck between tree branches or electric poles ) . These were the constant ones, other games like kabaddi ,Ice boys, Seven Stones, Countries will pop up depending upon the collective mood of the colony. If anyone one falls ill, the entire colony will know and at least half a dozen grannies from the colony will visit with some homemade remedy or some wise advice. There was something in everyone of the colony that kept us interconnected and that is what I think Chennai has lost in the name of growth and modernization. Now Chennai must have had it too but when and why did it lose it? My guess, the city has become too fast. Too fast to even stop for a moment and help someone who has just tripped, get up. Too fast even know who your neighbors are. Too fast to even acknowledge the new hairdo your wife had had hoping you would notice. Too fast to have a proper dinner with family every night. Too fast to stop for a moment and relish the subtleties of present than can give you happiness for a lifetime. It is this pace that I would like to change in Chennai. This pace is killing the present generation from true learning. Just like a wisecrack once said ,“It puts them all in a rat race and in the end, no matter you win, you end up being just a rat”
I see lions turning into rats deluded by this pace. So if you ask me, I wish Chennai slows down a bit. A bit enough for the human touch and feeling of interconnectedness to seep in.
I now pass the baton to Prashanth Ashok who happens to be a very close friend of mine. Known for the super friendly aura that he carries, he is fondly called as the Singapore Santa by fellow CBCians. One can talk about anything under the sun to him for his ears are as big as his heart. He blogs at AP’s (S)crap
There was a boy who lived next to our house in Trichy whom I never saw playing. Forget playing, I hardly saw him in the first place. There were few occasions when I did see him and am pretty sure he had a textbook in his hand. His room was pretty close my room and I have often (read daily) heard his mother barging into his room and talking high about a certain boy called Pravesh who happens to be from the same class as her son. A typical conversation would go like this :
Mom : You haven’t given your daily chemistry test . You know that you are weak in organic chemistry don’t you?
Son: Maaa… Its Sunday ma. Plzzzz
Mom: Did you skip eating because it is Sunday?
Son: Ma plzzz.. don’t start it again.
Mom: I was talking to Pravesh’s mom today morning. He is giving full test every Sunday.
Son: He doesn’t have to study like me. His parents went to IIT, he is a born genius.
Mom: His grandparents were illiterate farmers. Don’t talk like a Know-It-All!!
After a series of thuds there would be a brief silence and a few minutes later I would hear distant guttural mumbling of a hyperventilated mom.
I am pretty sure that many would have experienced or at least come across such drama before, but have you ever wondered whether intelligence can be genetically transferred?
You would have definitely come across many intelligent couples having intelligent offspring or a musical genius having a lineage of sons, daughters, grandchildren who are good at music. This doesn’t necessarily mean that intelligence or music runs in blood AKA genetically transferred.
Ever since Francis Crick and James Watson explained the structure of DNA many have lauded it as the discovery of the book of life which many mainstream scientists still hold on to. However, after 5 decades when the human genome project came into picture, the book of life turned out to be considerably less extensive than had been anticipated. Instead of the expected 100,000 genes, it was proposed that it contains less than 30,000. It is believed that genes, along with environmental conditions, determine morphology and behavior. Often the environmental conditions are disregarded by many and they tend to assume that behavioral and cognitive traits are genetically transferred from parents to offspring and it runs in blood. When it can be true with respect to morphology; Intelligence and behavior and even the so called hereditary genetic illness need not necessarily be so.
Imagine that our genes were merely building blocks, and a greater intelligence is in charge of whether or not we can crack the toughest of the examinations with ease or throw a basketball from the free throw line and every time it’s a shoot, or die very early like your family members due to a genetic predisposition of a hereditary illness.
If you were hoping that am going to talk about god then in a sense YES. The collective consciousness that runs through everyone one of us pretty much meets every standard that qualifies one as god. We often tend to neglect it as a determinant.
Instead of our lives being determined by our genes, they are more likely determined by what science now calls Epigenetics. Our genes grow in a soup of resonant fields created by thoughts and intentions. Rupert Sheldrake, the noted biologist and author of over 80 scientific papers on the subject has been trying for long to break through this dogma. According to him:
Organisms inherit a memory from previous systems like how humans acquire behavioral traits from cultural and traditional conditioning. He calls this system MORPHIC RESONANCE.
“MORPHIC RESONANCE is a process whereby self-organising systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems. In its most general formulation, morphic resonance means that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits. The hypothesis of morphic resonance also leads to a radically new interpretation of memory storage in the brain and of biological inheritance. Memory need not be stored in material traces inside brains, which are more like TV receivers than video recorders, tuning into influences from the past. And biological inheritance need not all be coded in the genes, or in epigenetic modifications of the genes; much of it depends on morphic resonance from previous members of the species. Thus each individual inherits a collective memory from past members of the species, and also contributes to the collective memory, affecting other members of the species in the future.”
– Rupert Sheldrake
It got way too technical didn’t it? Let me explain it in a simple way sans all the scientific jargon through the story I started this article with.
Pravesh is not intelligent because his parents were intelligent and they transferred it through their genes to him. He was intelligent because he grew up in a system/field that had intelligent beings (parents) right from his childhood. His brain developed in a highly intelligent environment which was a resonant field created by his parents by virtue of their cognitive and analytic abilities that earned them their places in India’s topmost technical institute.
Dr. Bruce Lipton, a controversial biologist, has pointed out that one set of gene blueprints can result in over 30,000 different possible outcomes. In multiple adoption studies conducted in the 1880s and 1990s it was found that children in the same family have an important causal role in gene expression, regardless of their biological origins.
Researchers found that even children who did not have particular gene combinations that would predispose them to certain types of cancer, but were adopted into families that had attitudes or prevalent emotions that resulted in this health outcome – also often developed the same cancers as their host families did. Social context also played a significant role in whether these adopted children developed a disease. It was surprisingly uncommon for the genes themselves to play out deterministic health scenarios.
Genes are not locked into a specific code. Gene activity, can change on a daily basis, and does. The heretofore accepted scientific paradigm of genetic determinacy is being turned on its head. As Lipton explains in a lecture:
In a study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, “after 8 hours, meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes. This correlates with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.”
There are now over 100 music neuroimaging studies from which it is clear that the brains of musicians and non-musicians differ. These relate to size, morphology, density, connectivity, and function that occur throughout the brain and support a range of cognitive processes that are often improved in musicians.
Now…does becoming a musician cause the brain to change, or do musicians have different brains to begin with? Try putting a pin there ;)
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How would it be if we can see music? Or taste colors? Or touch emotions?
Our senses generally functions separately. The fragrance/voice of your loved one can lighten and brighten you up. We can see a flower bloom and perceive the ripeness of a fruit by its color, hear the sound of danger. Every sense has its own characteristics and functions independently, but there are few for whom these bodily senses are merged.
Franz Liszt, a Hungarian pianist, composer and conductor, was well renowned in Europe during the early nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was considered to be the most technically advanced pianist by his contemporaries.
When Liszt first began as Kapellmeister (Conductor) in Weimar (1842), it astonished the orchestra that he said,
“O please, gentlemen, a little bluer, if you please! This tone type requires it!”
“That is a deep violet, please, depend on it! Not so rose!”
First the orchestra believed Liszt was just joking but later they got accustomed to the fact that the great musician saw colours where to others there were only tones.
Arthur Rimbaud, a famous and mysterious French poet in his sonnet “Vowels” assigned color to each vowel:
A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins!
Mysterious, because he started writing poems at a very young age, while still in primary school, and stopped completely before he turned 21. He was mostly creative in his teens (17-20).
“His genius, its flowering, explosion and sudden extinction, still astonishes” (quote in wiki)
They are just a couple of examples of great masters in whom the bodily senses tend to overlap .There are many others who walk among us with similar capabilities.
A study from the University of California, San Diego, suggests infants perceive the world differently than adults. For them, the senses are joined.
The authors of the study, Katie Wagner and Karen R. Dobkins, observe that early childhood development is characterized by “a period of exuberant neural connectivity” that may facilitate “arbitrary sensory experiences in infants that are unlike anything experienced by typical adults.” These experiences are similar to the condition found in some adults that is known as Synesthesia, a neurological condition in which two or more bodily senses are merged.
Famous neuroscientist,Dr. V.S. Ramachandran , in his book,The Tell Tale Brain, writes that these so-called synesthetes live in a wonderland between reality and fantasy. They taste colors, see sounds, hear shapes, and touch emotions in myriad combinations. He also goes a step further and argues that we are all Synesthetes .The use of metaphors like ‘feeling green’ ‘Hot Babe’, ‘Flat Soda’, and our ability to understand and deliver pun and seeing art as analogy for work of nature is the basis of all creative thought. This leaves us wondering if great masters and artists and poets are all in a way synesthetic?
Pablo Picasso once said,
“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”
Picasso understood the richness that lies in synesthetic perception which is nothing like the ordinary. It takes something very special to be that, something that would make you a master not because you have perfected an art, but because you have learnt to be one with reality. You have learnt be like a child, like a synesthetic .
Yesterday’s fiction is today’s reality.Many wildest fictious gadgets of the past have later become reality .Books and films are filled with such examples,
- Jules Verne came up with the idea of a fax machine in 20000 leagues under the sea*
- Arthur C. Clarke talked and wrote extensively about Geostationary satellites,
- and Edward Bellamy’s novel featured telephone and credit cards far before its time.
- In 2002, Phillip K. Dick’s short story was produced into the Hollywood movie called Minority Report. In the film, a computer allows the user to virtually drag and drop objects in a holographic screen which is now a reality.
The most recent of all, researchers at the University of Southampton have announced that they are able to store and retrieve huge amounts of five dimensional data on quartz crystals.
They have nicked it “Superman memory crystal” – after the “memory crystals” used as storing devices in the Superman films.They claim that using ultra-fast lasers, we can now encode a piece of quartz with 5D information in the form of nano-structured dots separated by only one millionth of a meter.If their claims are true, then,
the storage allows unprecedented parameters including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1000°C and practically unlimited lifetime.
The fact that humans have now stumbled upon something that would survive the human race is as thrilling as the fact that our ancestors might have done the same thing in the distant past.
In few of my previous posts I have discussed about the possibility of a highly evolved and a far more sophisticated and technologically advanced civilizations existing in our antiquity. Our history is filled with artifacts and religious metaphors that point towards the possibility of the same.The Sumerians talk about extraterrestrial beings whom they call Annunaki (star gods).Vedic texts are filled with divine beings called DEVAS who come in flying vehicles called vimanas.There are biblical references which suggests alien visitations and the list is endless.
Now,this wonderful discovery that enables us to store huge amount of data that can be retrieved even after millions of years, makes us think about the possibility our ancestors doing same hoping we would retrieve it someday.
It is indeed rational to question the possibility of such an advances race existing in antiquity. Modern archaeological findings supporting this idea are aplenty .
Michael Cremo in his book,Forbidden Archaeology: The Hidden History of Human Race published in 1993, discusses extensively about how archaeologists and geologists have unearthed skeletal remains and fossilized human imprints that predates the Jurassic age debunking Darwin’s theory of evolution.He also discusses on how they have been unscrupulously silenced by mainstream scientist as it negates the entire tenet of their belief and research framework.
Our ancient history is filled with architectural and technological marvels that are impossible to achieve even with the so called superior technological advancement of the 21st century.To quote a few :
Klaus Dona, an Austrian who devoted his life in collecting artifacts that throws light on unsolved mysteries of human past, has a baffling collection of artifacts including a pyramid with the an eye like the one that appears on a one dollar(US) bill.
There are several documentaries on these artifacts that suggest that human life existed far beyond the time frame our mainstream scientists believe.
You can watch this video to get a better idea about these artifacts.
It definitely appears as if our ancestors were far more technologically advanced and knew lot more about the secrets that nature holds than modern humans.
Am just spit balling here, what if… what if our ancestors knew that quartz crystal can store huge amount of info and had embedded answers to what puzzles modern humans in them and for long we have just seen them as plain quartz or artifacts.Its time that we examine crystals very closely next time we come across one while excavating.It might have been our ancestors flash drive ;) and you never know what information it holds :D
Ram ~ Knight 4ever
Am going to keep this really short!
I might be politically illiterate but my moderate understanding of human behavior can infer a huge resistance to change and abysmal amount impatience and misunderstanding among Indians with respect to present political scenario . Rather than seeing AAP as a party that poses a threat to ripe parties from left to right, national to state, we need to see it as a catalyst that has the potential to give the present political system a slingshot to effectiveness.
It has showed the Indian netas that a small upsurge from a common man can place a meek amateur starkly juxtaposed with a veteran. This act does not mark the birth of a foolproof party that would make India a paradise but it slaps a wakeup call to existing age old parties and makes them realize that they need to start doing rather than just promising, for in India, people vote against a party than for one.
Frankly, I neither see an ideal CM in AK nor great substance to be a trendsetting PM candidate. I am happy to see him as a catalyst. After all, a catalyst just increases the rate of reaction without itself undergoing any permanent change.