Bhrigu's question

कभी जो याद भी आता हूँ मैं तो कहते हैं के आज बज़्म में कुछ फ़ित्ना-ओ-फ़साद नहीं - मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

Location: the valley, California, United States

Bay Area, Strategy Manager, Haas- U. C. Berkeley, Marathons

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Quiz for Kids - Identify the theme

Here's a quiz for children. They are allowed to google. Adults can try 'em too. Please post your replies in the comments section.

1. Someone who does not eat meat. (10)
Ans. Vegetarian

2. This primate has an exposed butt and is often found near lions in Africa. It stays on the ground and does not reside in trees. The name of this primate rhymes with the rocky animal in the famous Beatle song. (6)
Ans. Baboon

3. In US Congress, it is an attempt to obstruct a particular decision from being taken by using up the time available, typically through an extremely long speech. The first four letters of this word sounds like a female racing horse that is less than five years old. (10)
Ans. Filibuster

4. This term defines a rude, obnoxious car driver who does not give way. Quite a street swine, huh? (4-3)
Ans. Road-hog

5. This is a arthropod (like crabs and lobsters) that keeps latching on to ships and whales. You must’ve seen these whitish things and assumed that they were rotten blisters on the whale. The first four letters is also the word for a place where grain is stored. (8)
Ans. Barnacle

6. This is a tropical cyclone whose name originates from the Arab-Urdu-Hindi word for storm. It is the name given to the storms in the Taiwan-Japan area. (7)
Ans. Typhoon from Tufan

7. In Turkish, it means “without a leader”. It was a disparaging term used for freelance Soldiers. The word is in two parts (5-6). The first four letters of the first word means “to hit” and rhymes with the famous TV serial set during the Korean War. The first three letters of the second word is the first name of the director of the film ‘Moulin Rouge’.
Ans. Bashi-Bazouk

8. This nine (9) letter word is a form of Islamic art. The first four letters stand for the generic name for a people of North Africa and the Persian Gulf. The next three letters are the short form written as a suffix to a gentleman’s name – especially one who owns a country estate.
Ans. Arabesque

9. Name of a small arthropod. The first five letters could describe a scale of length in the metric system, slightly less than an inch! (9)
Ans. Centipede

10. The original term referred to a person who damaged sacred figures, idols and paintings. Now, it means, a person who does not respect authority. The first four letters of this word is a synonym for statue and also the name of a (differently spelt) Ford car. (10)
Ans. Iconoclast

The 10 answers above comprise a theme from a much loved work of fiction. What theme?
Ans. All are swear words of Captain Haddock in Tintin comics.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Shanta Apte and Longfellow

This is an excerpt from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's (1807-1882) poem. The entire poem can be read here.

A Psalm of Life

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Let us, then, be up ........(repeat)

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up ........(repeat)
Longfellow's poem is sung as a song in the Marathi film Kunku (Hindi: Duniya Na Mane) made by V. Shantaram in 1937. The singer is the actress Shanta Apte, a fiery woman in real life, she acted as Neera in Kunku.
Neera is trapped into marrying an old widower Kakasaheb. He is a progressive lawyer with a son and daughter of Neera's age. Neera refuses to consummate the union claiming that while suffering can be borne, injustice cannot. Neera faces many hurdles including her mother-in-law and a lascivious stepson Pandit. Finally the widower realizing the unfairness of the situation commits suicide thus freeing Neera.
It is reckoned to be a landmark film. It required a lot of guts from V. Shantaram. This Prabhat film was the film version of a Marathi novel 'Na Patnari Ghosta" written by Hari Narayan Apte ['Na Patnari Ghosta' - literally: stuff/stories you will not understand].

The film also starred social worker/feminist Shakuntala Paranjpye as the daughter of the old man. She's the one who brings about the change in the young bride and her father. Just as Nora in Henrik Ibsen's 'A Doll's House' undergoes radical change during the course of a particular event. Read more about the film here.

I thought the song was quite interesting since Longfellow's poem was prominently featured, sung in a defiant albeit poignant tone! Remember, this was 1937. I recently got an mp3 of this song from a generous collector. The film is available from the Prabhat website. [Or if you are in the US, from the Neelam website]

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quiz Question: Name the author

Who wrote "Health and Fitness, A Repair Manual - A book for men" and "Family Health and Fitness Manual". This author is a vegan and a spokesperson for PETA.

Update: The correct answer is Greg Chappell. See this

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Quiz Question: Famous painting

X was born in Bristol in Gloucester, England in 1884 and so named because of his tendency to nip the backs of visitors' legs. When his first master Mark Barraud died destitute in Bristol in 1887, X was taken to Liverpool in Lancashire, England by Mark's younger brother Francis, a painter.

In Liverpool X discovered the Phonograph, a cylinder recording and playing machine and Francis Barraud "often noticed how puzzled he was to make out where the voice came from". This scene must have been indelibly printed in Barraud's brain, for it was three years after X died that he committed it to canvas.

X died in September 1895, having returned from Liverpool to live with Mark Barraud's widow in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey, England. Though not a thoroughbred, X had plenty of bull terrier in him; he never hesitated to take on another dog in a fight, loved chasing rats and had a fondness for the pheasants in Richmond Park!

In 1898 Barraud completed the painting and registered it on 11 February 1899. This painting is very famous.

Questions: (1) Name X (2) Why is the painting famous i.e. where can you find it today?

Update, The correct answers are (1) Nipper, (2) the HMV Logo. More info here. The info in the question was from here.

My favorite columnist

My favorite columnist in the world is Mumtaz Hamid Rao. He was formerly a director in PTV, was a columnist in the Pak Observer and is now editor-in-chief of Pakistan Times. I mean, who else could write such a marvellous 'About Us' section? For instance, how can one not admire this passage?

While elucidating our vision, I reiterate my swear that; ‘the key target of my colossal objective is to take the Cyber Media to the zeniths of flashy victorious magnitude with a singular gusto—to portray in entirety—the events-of-the-day plus to rip all types of misdemeanors and felonies—wherever the vile exists—with a warmth to notify to the germane muscles—via dissemination of ground realities in the shape of news pieces as well as the in-depth psychoanalysis on the up to date issues, engulfing the societal—explicitly—those dwelling in the East and the West—around the world—today.

Parikshit Sahni learns life's lessons

Very nice article by him.
How old are you, Sir?”

He laughed out loud again. "God knows! But three of my grandchildren are married and have children of their own! So I must be pretty old."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Astrologer blues

Article in Mumbai Mirror, Jan 17th 2006 in which an astrologer writes:
[..]According to numerology Himani Kapoor and Vinit Singh have the greatest probability of winning.[..]In fact, I fear for Debojit.

Another one chips in:
[..]Debojit Saha's stars are not favourable. He will be out for sure.

Headline in Mumbai Mirror, Jan 18th 2006:
Himani ousted!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

CSM: India's girl deficit deepest among educated women

The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article. I was quite surprised by the revelation.

The practice is common among all religious groups - Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, and Christians - but appears to be most common among educated women, a fact that befuddles public health officials and women's rights activists alike.

"More educated women have more access to technology, they are more privileged, and most educated families have the least number of children," says Sabu George, a researcher with the Center for Women's Development Studies in New Delhi, who did not participate in the study. "This is not just India. Everywhere in the world, smaller families come at the expense of girls."

There may be an explanation

Karuna Bishnoi, spokeswoman for UNICEF in Delhi, says it shouldn't come as a surprise that educated women are among the most likely to use prenatal sex determination.

"I personally believe this as a failure of society, not a failure of women," says Ms. Bishnoi. "Women who choose this technique may be victims of discrimination themselves, and they may not be the decisionmakers. Nobody can deny that the status of women is very low in India. There is no quick fix to this."

The Japanese have gone potty

Article on toilet wars in Japan.
Japan's toilet wars started in February, when Matsushita engineers here unveiled a toilet seat equipped with electrodes that send a mild electric charge through the user's buttocks, yielding a digital measurement of body-fat ratio.

Unimpressed, engineers from a rival company, Inax, counterattacked in April with a toilet that glows in the dark and whirs up its lid after an infrared sensor detects
a human being. When in use, the toilet plays any of six soundtracks, including chirping birds, rushing water, tinkling wind chimes, or the strumming of a traditional
Japanese harp.

Civil liberty proponents are worried.
But some civil libertarians are having nightmares about "smart toilets" running amok, e-mailing highly personal information hither and yon. There are also Big Brother nightmares about master computers monitoring millions of bowel movements, checking around the clock to see who is constipated, who is not eating his peas and who is drinking too much.

"I assume the records that come out of my toilet will have the same degree of protection as records that are generated when I take a medical exam," said Lawrence Repeta, a director of the Japan Civil Liberties Union.
Read the whole thing.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lead runner in the Mumbai marathon

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Google video - Pyar Kiya to Nibhana


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Quiz Question; Speech

Who said or in what context were these lines spoken?

"My friends, each of you is a single cell in the great body of the State. And today, that great body has purged itself of parasites. We have triumphed over the unprincipled dissemination of facts. The thugs and wreckers have been cast out. And the poisonous weeds of disinformation have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Let each and every cell rejoice! For today we celebrate the first, glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directive! We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is a more powerful weapon than any fleet or army on Earth! We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion! We shall prevail!"

Update: The correct answer is: The Apple Commercial shown during Superbowl 1984. You can see the commercial here.