I have a question!

I have a question. It has born out of a repeated observation. Almost all the times when I have been to washroom to relieve myself, I see that people become completely silent. And I am making this observation against the washrooms which are located in a building where people work and most often know each other in person, for example in an university or in a office. The fact that they know each other makes me wonder why did they even not acknowledge the presence of the people they know. I understand that this might vary from culture to culture but I have tried varying this observation by asking many of my friends and family and they seem to attest the same.

Well the simplest of reasons I am being told of is that it is out of etiquette to do so. But I don’t remember any teacher of mine telling me about this. Or may be I have been to one of the not so good schools. But even if it so I wonder how people could resist saying hello to the people (they know) when they encounter them in washrooms and loos. How could the etiquette gain such an enormous power that it dictates human behavior to become completely strangers to each other during that time? Strange, isn’t it?

The another argument which comes upfront is the following: Washrooms are usually the places where there is always filth and foul smells. So why to stay there to exchange words of acknowledgement. One always tries to leave such a place as soon as possible. Well I could have really considered this argument had I never been to any washroom myself. The washrooms I am talking about since the beginning of this post are actually the ones which are very well kept and sanitized. These are the washrooms equipped with world class toilet fittings. These are fitted with hand dryers and automatic dispensers to release water and soap solution in urinals and toilet seat. To an average nose like mine, there are absolutely no foul smells. So an urge to leave ASAP doesn’t seem reasonable.

Consider the third argument: Bathrooms are usually congested spaces so its not really possible to carry a conversation. To me this also doesn’t seem to be the case. Current architectural plans of bathrooms are quite spacious. They are some times as big as living rooms and have ample of space to move around and relax. Thus this argument doesn’t seems to sustain as well.

I don’t really know why people behave like that. Take all the arguments and see them in parallel but what I am wondering about is the disappearance of a simple acknowledgement in these spaces. Till we find the answers we are free to speculate and off course to observe silence in any such washroom we enter.

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Experiencing music

Just an hour before I was in a friend’s room. His name is Johnson, an intensely passionate person with an interest in automobile and mobility design. He was playing certain numbers from Pink Floyd, Strings and Porcupine Tree on his acoustic guitar. He played really well.

After experiencing every such performance I get moved with the power of music. It is one unique trait which has always made me respect the subjective part of human beings. One closes his eyes, his fingers strike the chords and his mind weaves a complex pattern of rhythm and beats. How amazing and awesome is this as a spectacle! It transforms the space and the time where someone performs and someone listens. One looses track of gross details instead start sensing a flow in the environment. There are simply the notes all around, arranged carefully on a time line to constitute this flow. Thanks Johnson!

Buy first the sleekness and then grave for staying sturdy.

The hand held gadget market is rolling at its best these days. Its not rare to spot smart tablets of different sizes and cell phones with bigger screens supported over android or apple platforms. The consumers seem to be happy too though I have few of those walking towards me while trying to establish a Wifi internet connection. Anyways I don’t intend to comment on the software of these products in this post. Instead I would love to write about an interesting observation here. These smart tablets and iPads typically have sleek, minimalistic and clean designs with rounded corners. With a glossy finish these products look wonderful in a consumer’s hand. But stay there for a while and you will see that the person is barely in a position to keep these hi-end tablets and pads in his hand confidently. Most often he could be seen taking special care while handling these products. The fear that the tablet or the cell phone will slip off from your hand is quite evident. And then just next to the tables where these gadgets are put for sales, lies a series of bags and jackets. The manufacturer of these bags, jackets and stands advertize by saying that they know how to keep your favorite gadgets ‘safe’. And then you spot the same consumer with a reincarnated version of these gadgets in their reinforced skins. So whats the point? The aesthetic for which one buys these gadgets gets compromised so soon. I wonder how designers would address this? They have rounded off the corners to make it look sleek and humanistic but they had to also offer you additional ‘designed’ material to make these corners sturdy. Doesn’t it ask for a little more- in terms of considering the overall ecosystem of the product.

Woody Allen – Attempting (not) to glorify the popular notion of a hero on a screen

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Recently I had a chance to watch three different movies by Woody Allen- Annie Hall, Manhattan Murder Mystery and Whatever Works. In the first two movies he had acted as well. After watching these movies I have no reservation in admitting that I really liked his treatment of the stories. He sort of demystifies the idea of a hero on the screen. In Manhattan Murder Mystery, he plays the character of a guy who is full of anxiety, someone who refrains from being adventurous. On the contrary the wife of this character is full of adventure and dare. She is the one who would try revealing truth behind a murder. She is the one who would walk a mile extra than her husband to try out a spy plan. In any such situation, the character which Woody Allen plays had no option other than to follow his wife. But he does so with great anxiety, often to an extent of breaking the silence and breaking up the articles.

One other thing which I would like to make a mention of is his attempt to break the frame and talk to the audience. One can see him talking to the viewer of his movie when he is having dinner at his girlfriend’s house in Annie  Hall. His does this more often as a director in Whatever Works. I guess as a strategy this works very well in case of movies where the characters are constantly engaged in talks and discussion amongst themselves. A viewer, if ever, feels disinterested has something to grab whenever one of the characters disengages with the inner world of cinema and talks to him. Frankly I felt the same in the initial time. But suddenly with one of the character talking to you, enables the viewer to reorient himself. Isn’t it amazing!

Origins of the tune “Twinkle twinkle little star”

Got to know that “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is originally composed by Mozart. The lyrics that he chose were from a different song called “Ah Vous Dirais-Je, Maman”. It reads as following:

Ah vous dirais-je, maman
Ce qui cause mon tourment
Papa veut que je demande
De la soupe et de la viande
Moi, je dis que les bonbons
Valent mieux que les mignons
Ah vous dirais-je, maman
Ce qui cause mon tourment
Papa veut que je raisonne
Comme une grande personne
Moi, je dis que les bonbons
Valent mieux que la raison.

And it’s English translation is like this:
Ah let me tell you mommy
Whats the cause of my torment
Papa wants me to ask for Soup and meat
But I say that candy is better than all of that!
Ah let me tell you mommy
Whats the cause of my torment
Papa wants me to think like a grown up
But I say that candy Is better than reason(wisdom).

Credits: Bruce Balentine

A dreamy morning

I woke up this morning at around 7 … had a bath and then somehow again went to sleep only to woke up at 9  to rush to my office. Within this time, I had quite an unusual dream, and it goes like this.

I was climbing up the staircase to get to my flat…  but the steps were getting smaller and smaller with lesser and lesser foot space to use. This didn’t affect me much in the beginning as it seemed like a visual illusion to me but it did slow me down. I just continued as I had to get to my flat after returning from a day’s work. Slowly and slowly quite alike “Alice climbing up the tree to get to the wonderland”, I got to a point where all the steps finally vanished and I found myself gaping through a ventilation window into someone’s drawing room. Even those present in the room, a family of possibly 3 members were surprised seeing a stranger looking at them through the ventilation window but they quickly resettled as if nothing had actually happened. They gave me a feeling that they had many such experiences. As if they knew that the staircase end at their ventilation window. So every now and then they had some stranger looking at them. If I recall  there were three people in the room, a man in his early 40s with his wife and a kid around 12-13 years old with chubby cheeks.

I knew that I had a flat in this building and the only way to get there were those strange staircase. So I had no option but to follow whatever came next. I stepped into their house with an excuse on my face, telling to myself that its OK to use their house to get to my flat. Apparently the family stayed quite indifferent too.  They kept doing whatever they were busy with. For few seconds, I sat on the couch with the kid.. trying to dust off my clothes. I also gather the stuff which I had dropped on the floor while I was jumping down from the ventilation opening. While I was taking this little break I saw that the family had exactly the same cap and also the same model of the cellphone as mine. So for once when I got hold of my stuff, I was a little confused about its ownership. But then I had to make my move. I got up, pressed chubby cheeks of this kid and gently stepped out of their house. By this time, I woke up and my dream ended!

I was really surpirsed by this dream and was wondering how could I remember it so well. Its very rare with me that I could remember any of my bedtime dreams.