Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh God!!!

Reading Acts of Faith again, put a bee in my bonnet. There is so much destruction and mayhem being done in the name of religion and god. How did it all come about? Did the stone man have a god? How did he decide; ok let me worship this tree, storm, sun, ocean, river or supreme being and I shall successfully hunt, mate and live to see another day.

As Calvin tells Hobbes (and I paraphrase), Who looked at a cow first and said lets squeeze this and drink whatever comes out of it" :-).

So where did it all start?

From what little I researched, the concept of religion budded in the Middle Paleolithic age ( about 60,000 years ago) when the Homo Neanderthals had just started living in tribes and bands and having social connections with each other. They did not want their dead to be forgotten and hence started burying them with grave goods. This, as Philip Lieberman suggests, is considered the earliest detectable forms of religious practice since it may signify a "concern for the dead that transcends daily life”. The different rituals came in to being as a means of strengthening social bonding and group cohesion.

Then came the animal worship, though I was able to find lots of information on what animals were worshiped (funnily the animals that were worshipped were also sacrificed at their own altar) I was not able to find why they felt the necessity to worship them at all. What made them think, if I worship the bear, I will have good hunting season?

The upper Paleolithic and later the Neolithic showed an abundance of female imagery such as Venus figurines, which led some to believe that societies had a female-centered religion and a female-dominated society then. (I like that.. I surely do!!! :-)). It was during this time that humans started believing in polytheism or existence of many gods. (According to Vincent W. Fallio) by this time special rituals and ancestor worship were being used by the elites in the society to solidify control over their societies, by convincing their subjects that they possessed a link to the spirit world that also gave them control over the earthly realm.

This was handed down to the later Neolithic age, Bronze and Iron ages by when the religions , rituals and symbols were further trimmed down and become more specific to the regions. Sun, Moon, water, air and the planets started taking on mythical and religious significance. Great works of art and literature sprang from them until religions as we know them now evolved.

Basically what started as respect for the dead and an opportunity to bond with other members of the species has grown uncontrollably into a mega money making destructive machine that is running around the world amok.

While I have delusions of becoming agnostic when frustrated, my upbringing precludes me from that. Too, I have to say that I love my religion and my Gods, however they came in being. Sigh!! Just not their tendency to exacerbate fanatics and violence.

PS: Did you know that that Eve or the first woman (called Mitochondrial Eve) lived almost 50,000 - 80,000 years before Adam or the first man (called Y-chomosomal Adam). So we can trace back matrilineally much longer than patrilineally.

Note: Mitochondrial Eve is defined as the woman who is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor for all living humans. Passed down from mother to offspring, all mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in every living person is directly descended from hers. Mitochondrial Eve is the female counterpart of Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal most recent common ancestor, although they lived thousands of years apart.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Acts of Faith

It feels like all my favourite authors are dropping dead. It was just a few months back that I went on mourning for Michael Crichton, and now (well actually, a month ago) Erich Segal passed away at 72, owing to a heart attack.

His "Love Story" (which actually made me cry, my only consolation then was that my rather stoic brother had tears in his eyes at the end of the book too) was my first book and it had me hooked.

The next book of his, that I got my hands on, was "The Doctor". The summary on the jacket of the book said it was about two friends who fall in love. Being in school and quite a romantic (whose parents had strictly forbidden romance books until college) I was quite happy to devour it. Only to find that the book was more about their lives before they fall in love and marry, which was almost at the end of the book. Quite disappointing!!!

What I didnt realise then, was that it took a little more maturity, than what I had then, to enjoy his books.

I have since then read and enjoyed almost all his books and found them to be introspective, something you can read, think and read some more.

I have to mention his "Acts of Faith" as it remains my all time favourite. God Knows! I must have read that book some 15-20 times. But every time I read it, I find one more facet to enjoy and think upon. And everytime I read this book, I find myself living with the characters and sharing their agony, their love, confusion and happiness.

I shall not say any more, as I am no good at putting my feelings into words, especially when they pertain to books (one of the main reasons why I never write reviews on books)

But I have to say that Erich Segal was a great author and he goes right into my Personal Hall of fame!!! RIP!!!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Video Shoot and me

What can I say! the only time I had ever had a video camera pointed at me (not counting the stuff we do over vactions ofcourse) was during a training I took on interviewing. It was done quite professionally. There was a camera man with this big video camera and the room was rigged with lights and the whole set up was making me nervous as hell. And all this only to play the video back to me and give me the feedbacks on my interviewing skills.

So when two days back a colleague came to me and asked me to speak for a minute or so on a given set of topics for a video, I told him hell NO. Infact so uninterested was I, that loads of pressure from the powers-that-be had to be brought on until I had to capitualte.
Armed with advices on what to speak, what to wear (that grated hmph!) cursing them, I took all of 20 minutes to prepare some haphazard stuff.

But lets be honest, I still had that greasy nervous feeling at the bottom of my stomach at the thought of facing a video camera and also a bit of excitement. I had been told to speak slowly and that each sentence would be taken as a separate shot so that only part of my speech could be used if they so wished, editing, mixing and matching yada yada

Next day I was all made up and armed with a few lines that I had prepared when this organiser comes to let me know they are ready, and I postpone it. I postpone it, until my make up is all gone and I look tired as hell.
Then with no more excuses left , I follow the man to the location, with thoughts of those bright lights and huge camera,... only to enter this tiny conference room, containing just one other colleague with his canon digital camera to shoot the video and a mobile fone to record the audio and no hot bright lights.

hehe.. was not sure if I should laugh or cry. And after the 'shooting" was all done, I was told that after editing, my words might or might not be included in the final video. It all depended on the powers that be.
Anyways spent a day pretty excited over nothing and that was fun in its own way :-)

PS: I dont think I looked any good in the video, but when I asked them to reshoot it, the guy refused saying I was looking quite casual and that was what he wanted (like I care) ... hmph! trust me when I say, I am soo NOT looking forward for this video to come out.

PPS: They reshot the thing again. I dont think this was any better.. But my friend in the next seat begs to differ. I forgot all the lovely phrases and stuff I had written down in the original when I spoke this time :-(... Thats OK, coz I am still not looking forward to the video.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh Joy! Another meeting

My company loves acronyms. Absolutely adores them, so much so, that even the most mundane of things are shortened to some acronym or other.

So we had this meeting for the full team of 50 or so folks to discuss PMT on PSN for GDC, which will incorporate PQA, and can be found in PMSS and PTD.By the second acronym I was already in ozone.

The room was nicely darkened and I went in eagerly with the idea of finding a good place right at the back of the conference room and rest my poor eyes.

Since I have always been lucky in such things, all the seats were already taken and it was SRO (hehehe sorry! force of habit.. Standing Room only.. ). So my friends and I perched our small behinds in the little place available on the computer desks to listen to the lady drone.And who comes to stand right next to me , but my boss' boss. Darn! cannot even comfortably whisper and snicker. sigh!

Since time flies when you are having fun, the clock was ticking ever so slowly and my legs were starting to ache, thanks to my awkward perching, and I was squirming all over. A faint smell of sweaty socks was wafting in the closed room, just to make us feel even better.

At last the presentation wound to an end and I jumped off the desk in great relief... when aaargh!!! there were people in the room who had actually been listening to the BS going on and they had questions to ask.. hmph!

Anyways after a clear understanding Einsteins theory of relativity (you know, the one about sitting on a hot stove for a minute, feeling like an hour), I am back at my seat, still feeling dazed and sleepy and cursing fate, for I have another meeting to attend later in the evening.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Obituary: Chivalry and Manners

It’s with great regret that I am writing about the death of manners and chivalry.

Just yesterday, travelling in the public bus, I saw men rushing towards any empty seats, lest any of the women standing might sit in it. But what shocked me was when this guy in his 30s pushed this fragile looking old lady to take an empty seat. She almost fell and he did not even give her a second look… He had got a place to sit and that’s all mattered.
What pushed me right over though was when I got up to give my seat to this hugely pregnant woman, carrying a toddler, and this hale and hearty woman walks in and coolly sits in my seat and refuses to get up. Some people really ought to be tarred in honey and tied to an ant hole.

Most of the mails I get officially lack a “Please” or “Thank you”. Even when it is asking me if I could help out someone and do some work, it comes with a “Can you do….”
I hold the door open for someone coming behind me and they just breeze by me. Hello! Do I look like the automatic door opener here?
One person was actually surprised when I said I would not do the work he wants me to , if he does not send a proper mail to me. He feels that I am being too sensitive. Hmph!
While such people grate on me like a nail scraped on glass, every one else seems fine with it?
Do you also get irritated with such manner less folks? How do you handle it?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Random Thoughts

=> I told my friend this morning that it was great to be misunderstood as long as the misunderstander has only good things to say about you. My friend gawked at me and asked what I had had for breakfast.. hehe
But seriously, some one told me today that I would make a good mother, since it was really all about love. Now! I dont know if I would be or not but hey it was a really sweet thing to say. What say?!

=> Why do we get angry when we get frightened? Or is that just me?

=> I dont want to go back to school, but I miss my school friends. I am still in touch with most of them, but somewhere down the line they have become intimate acquaintances from best friends. I am still puzzling out how that came to be.

=> My parents make a lot of sense and I seem to be agreeing with them on most issues nowadays.. Oh my God! I must be growing old!!!

=> Speaking of parents, it just stuck me that I wouldn't like to have a kid just like me. My mom has the patience of Job. Hehe

=> Have been reading about all these world travellers and I am SOOO Jealous. I wanna go too. There is this guy who has travelled to 40 countries and I have been to 4 :-(
Thats it! I am going to quit my job and become a World Traveller. Next on Agenda.. Egypt!!! Anyone out there wants to sponsor me? I will send you photos of the sphinx. :-)

=> Why is it OK to say one can do a bit of work, even if they cannot and do not. But Not OK to say its not possible to finish it by the time line given, at the outset. Have you come across such a situation? I have and it always confuses me. It does not show one's reluctance to work, just the lack of resources to complete it. Y'all get it, right?

=> Will I be ostracized if I say I have never seen "The Sound of Music". Heard the songs, seen some posters but never seen the movie. hmm! thats next on Agenda.