March 21, 2011

Supermoon Demystified

A Presentation that I made on the occasion of the 'Supermoon' for my short talk that took place at the PAO on the 19th of March 2011

March 15, 2011

Me, Lucky Laxman.

            The story of a guy new to the city, who has travelled all the way to test his luck.
    Hello! Myself Mr Lucky Laxman. I hail from my little village which you might have once heard of. Yes yes, the same one which you hear of when there are floods. Once I remember, a man was eaten by a tiger, and perhaps that is how you realised that such a place also exists. Maaf karna, I do not know whether you will like my story or if I cannot control my desire to talk. It is in my nature to do so! See, I do not know when I was born, they say it was when the cocks were crowing at the dawn of Diwali. I was supposed to bring good fortune to my family, which has not happened till now.
   That is what the milkman’s son, the boy who works as a clerk in your town had told me to tell a stranger if he asks me about me. But you seem to want to know more. So I will oblige, sarkar! All I remember about my childhood is that I was neglected by my parents who had to take care of five more children. Three of them were girls and I had a brother who was younger than me. Our father used to work on the farm. Nahi bhaisaab, we did not own a large tract of land (nor did we grow sunflowers like the fields in the cinemas that they show on the TV). My father was a labourer on the zamindaar’s farm. Being the only man in our village to have a radio set, I made friends with his son, but when they discovered our friendship, I was not given food for days at stretch.
        Soon, they opened a school in our village and they said that the babus wanted us to give us free education. But before I knew it, my sisters were married of for the lack of money to cure my mother’s illness. Like a tornado that steals away everything from you, my father decided to take my mother to her native village,which was a two day boat ride away. Little did I know that he had done so to prevent him from being hacked to death because of the debts he was already drowning in. Escaping in the night with the only piece of silver that we treasured, they left me alone. I was just 13 and deserted. The zamindaarsaheb  had no option but to take me under his umbrella, after all he had to somehow got back the money that he had lent! Now I think this has been too much, I talked too much. But fine, if you insist I will go ahead. Who is interested in my story? Phew.
     My life took a twist, for the good you might think. But no, I was the son of a coward all would say. Living in the staff quarters and being constantly abused by the other workers was not good idea too! Somehow, the kind wife of the zamindaar who was educated decided to send me to the school, where I was to learn what my name meant and wondered if my father ever knew why they had named me so. “Lucky!”, the lone teacher would call out to me while I used to wither to the pain of the cane stick which would heavily come down on my hand. My evening job was to take care the lone elephant that belonged to my landlord and sometimes I used to give rides to the village children too at a nominal fee. Yeah, although I was envied by all the other children, it was not as fun as you think it was. The elephant, used to be under constant frustration due to his strong will to mate, as I was told by the wiser people. But somehow, I managed to grow more and more attached to the elephant, and my schooling was going on fine, despite having to sit with kids five years younger then myself. Until the next big thing in my life happened.
     A girl happened. Yes, that is the last thing you and I would expect to happen to me. So what if I lived in a village? Can’t I do what all humans do? Or at least want to do? All the time when I was returning from my daily schooling to lead the life of a mahout, I did not know which life was worse as by this time, the enthusiasm of being in a school had nothing but drained down. School for me was nothing but another excuse to escape from a life of slavery and torture. But the thing that kept me going was the neighbouring grocer’s daughter, who was also in the same class as me.  Arre haan, I forgot to mention to you that girls are not at all made to study in our village, but due to the Panchayat’s move to give money and exemption from taxes the miserly grocer had decided to send all of his daughters to the school. And hah, the oldest was nothing but meat for my eyes. What to do sirji? I was growing up and could not take away my eyes away from her. And who knew, as shy as she might be, who could avoid my prying eyes? Yes, I was the hunter and she was my deer but things went so fast that I can’t gather enough courage to tell you about what happened next.
      It happened. It just happened. It happened one dark Navratri night, as I expected, no one bothered to know where I was, as far as I was not breaking into their houses or doing some nonsense that was typical of me. And she just decided to drop by to see my new shed, which shocked me. I’m just too shy to tell you what happened next.
      As you expected, it was only 5 months down the road when trouble literally knocked on my road. I was made an outcast, almost hacked to death one day when I tried walking down the road which was very much expected.I was just 17. Eventually, I was forced to marry her because of the the seeds I had sown. The miser got the dowry too, that is 3 years of bonded labour and as far as I adhered to the limits and toiled for him, he had no harm in calling me his in law. She was happy I’d say although our child was born stillborn. The other thing that happened was that I was evicted from my landlord’s house, just because I was a black sheep in the family, although I think he had used my services to his stomach’s fill (maybe beyond that too, I couldn’t count big numbers to take notice of that!). I was taken in by the miser on my daughters request, although he believed that a vermin like me could no longer be called his in law. I hardly get to look at her, let alone talk to her! I know that I was just being punished for what we I had done!
    Sorry Sir, I did not want to tell you all this, but what to do? I just can’t stop! By now you must be thinking that I am a good for nothing pest who had his hands  in messing up lives of many people, but wait! Every dog has his day! And how can I not take you through what happened next to finish of my tale? So here we go again!
   Remember the floods I was talking about? Yes, you must have guessed it by now how my tale will end, but still let me finish it. Last year as the learned men wrote on the newspapers, we were bound to expect heavy rains. But even the village elders, so as old as the village Banyan tree couldn’t believe their eyes when we had the storm blow our our hamlet. No, not that I thought that such an event would make any change in the way I lived, but I had lost all of hopes after being relegated to a near untouchable status in the village. The neighbouring river was overflowing with water and the sarkari dam broke. My friend had said that these city-folks were not to be trusted in this respect. He said all they did this was to gobble up money, not for the development of the poor.
     The neighbouring river had flooded, but till the time it managed to carry away our kaccha houses, we all had been relocated to a nearby hillock, thanks to the landlord's grace. Now comes the interesting part. How can this story end with out a good beginning? When will I live up to my name? As destiny could have it, the time was now! ‘Lucky’ for me, the sarpanch’s seven year old son, who was playing in their backyard was ignored by the people who were rescuers (As a matter of fact I am told that he had nine children!). The only time they realised this was when they heard a squeaky cry in the midst of the torrential rain that was pouring. As no one was willing their life, I could no longer let the window of opportunity close. The redemption time was here! I was not to be left behind. I just grabbed the old elephant, they let me do so as I was the only beacon of hope that they saw! And the rest was history. Although an elephant has less stamina, they are good swimmers like many other mammals. Years of experience came into play and the rest they say, is history!     Yes, you might have not got to read my name on the papers, but yes I got my lost respect back, and somehow I got my ‘wife’ back too. Here I am standing in front of you sir, nothing short of a young man all set to start a new life, all ready to make a new beginning and prove to the world that I can stand up on my own. Now tell me sir, what do you think about my story? Sounds like a film that they show at the chai-gadda right?

(This is an original piece that I have penned down. Although it makes me look like the Indian guy who writes palatable stories for the crowd, I have just experimented with most of my inspirations in here. Would like to thank the people who helped me write this and gave me feedback and also thank you for patiently reading it. No infringement of image copyrights intended. Your comments would be  much appreciated)

March 14, 2011

The new Baba in Town

   For those who do not keep in contact with the gyaan that is flowing like the wind, here is a specially chance to catch up with the new Baba in town. Although he is not seen batting one eyelid on the TV like the one Baba that we have, he does like blogging and using his recently acquired Windows 2000! Introducing 'The Gyaani-Baba' (I personally prefer to call him the Gyaan-nahi Babe)! I am a disciple of this walking talking crap machine, proud to be so! His words of wisdom soothe my barking dog and make my friend’s constipated cat shit. His power is tremendous and so are his psychopathic aliments! Hold on to your pants and get glued to his philosophy (or whatever!). Right now, Mr. Ishan Naik, one of the creators of the "Indian League" has stated that "Gyaani Baba was a character in their comic series". Aaj Tak has promised me that it will make an inquiry on National TV if this Baba is another plagiarist like Pritam and Anu Malik.
  Till then let your Karmic juices flow with the GYAANI BABA KA BADLA! (Learn to click on links, gyaanless people!)
Yours Truly,

March 10, 2011

An Ear's Worth


        Yay! yippee! It is 3:47 am and I have got to answer my PE and EVS exam in a few hours time but never the less, the exams are over and I am eagerly awaiting my results. If I make it this time, then I am going to make it large! The World-Cup fever has got into my nerves and head, thus I expect to surrender myself to the lord of entertainment in the town, cricket! Have a lot of activities planned this summer. Besides the regular classes, I have to lend a hand to AFA's numerous activities and make hay whether the sun shines or not. Also, we have planned this talk (and PowerPoint presentation) series at the observatory involving scientific principles that is open for all to attend and participate in. And not to forget the astrophotography outings that we have planned.

    Now, let us get back to work. An Ear's Worth. If you are searching for some usual tangy post, then this is not for you. But but hold on! Who knows if it might strike a chord in your mind? Well, as the title suggest, this has something got to do with the ear. I'd say evolution of the human ear to be specific. Now I am not any evolutionist or an expert in this field, I am a great devotee of Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution (and the outcome of evolution, most certainly!). You'd be thinking what do I, a self confessed astro-buff have got to do with the ear? A lot I'd say. Read on! (It is 3:58 am, so excuse me for the brash storytelling)

   The date was 24th May 2010. In Pune for an exam, I experienced one of the best examples of 'whatever happens, happens for the good'. Somehow, I had made it to the top 6 of my age group in the National Level 'JVPP' examination organised by Vigyan Bharti. It was here that I met a radical (but good at heart) dude from my soon-to-be Higher Secondary school besides having my first McMeal with my dad and him. Enough of beating around the bush. Let me take you to the time when the results were being announced. My heat was beating (just like that of Jerry when Tom chases him) and as the announcer started with the reverse order, my mind transported me to the observatory (just got reminded of a friend who dreamt about NSG commandoes at the obs after 26/11, dunno why!).

   There I was lazily sitting in a small circle with a bunch of kids who I was meant to engage into some meaningful activity while a lot of members were kind of really enjoying their heart out at a KK (Krishnakumar Kunnath) concert that was being held in the city. Oh! I had almost cursed myself to death reading the updates that Suyash was sending me! But then I had already missed it and not much could be done. To speak of the work at hand, engaging a bunch of kids in a scientific discussion under a dull, pathetic sky isn't a cakewalk. Right from talking about what I don't recollect to the most important question that came across from a young mind, I kind of ended up enjoying the day. The question that made my day was "How did the main sense organs evolve?". Let us keep the evolution of the other organs apart fir now (especially the eye, which is also me up on FB if really interested). Read on to see what I said about the evolution of the external structure of the human ear. Mind you, I give you no promise that this is correct as I have not yet googled the correct thing out, will do so soon! I have tried to reproduce as much as I can remember here!

  " The evolution of the ear is actually common sense if you know a little bit of acoustics and reflection of waves. We all know that the ear is concave in shape. If we try cupping our hands around our ears and try listening to people talking at a distance, we hear them much more prominently then we ever could. What is exactly happening in here? Nothing but reflection of the waves coming from infinity which end up 'focusing' into one's inner canal. That is why we have the outer cartilage, if I am not wrong instead of a plain, bland hole to serve as a receptor for our hearing purpose. Here arises the question, why only ahead? I think we could have done better at surviving in during the early periods of man if he had the cartilage cupped with the opening facing the opposite side as it is now so that he could be alert and sensitive to any sound made by a predator. But perhaps, as he grew more social and social, he found an overwhelming need to gossip and therefore it leads us to the current shape"

Science of spying on bitches

   Phew! I had just made that spontaneous answer and had never bothered to check the outcome. And then, just like it had started, the next time I had to remember the science behind the way I spy on bitches was at the final written round, wherein we were made to write on the same old topic. How the human ear ear evolved, according to us. Suddenly, I felt a jolt, some-one had pushed me. And the rest as they say, was history! I came, I heard and I conqu-eared!

So, missing a concert wasn't that bad an idea, eh? Now hopefully, If I fare badly in my PE and EVS paper, do not forget to remind me that everything happens for good!

  (P.S. - It is 05:01 am now. Time to post and sleep. Till date, only Kirit Ayya has undergone my half-asleep science lectures. Just because that nut put me to sleep doesn't mean that you do not notify me of my mistakes! Happy vacations and do comment!)

Creative Commons License
Me, Midas Touch by Raj Kunkolienkar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at