Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Length Of A Minute...

...depends on which side of the door you are.

Confusing no? We will come to that a little bit later. Before that lets grapple with the basis of this theory.

In High School and later at Technical/Pure Sciences courses in college, we are introduced to the Theory Of Relativity as theorized by the genius Albert Einstein. And if you are as challenged as me, I am sure you too must have gone nuts trying to figure out and understand this theory. The problem was not that the theory was complicated, but rather how our education system deals with it. Our text books are written by people who have this knack of making the simplest of concepts appear complex and let's not even get into the "methods" used to "educate" us in school. I leave that to the newspapers. Instead, here I will attempt at providing some real life insights and examples to the components of this special theory.

1. Length Contraction: This postulate states that objects are observed to be shortened in the direction that they are moving with respect to the observer.

The problem here is that to observe this effect happening will require you run around with a measuring tape trying to observe and measure at the same time. It might not lead to the proof but it will definitely lead you to a hospital.

Simple Real Life Example: Aare bhai, just observe two guys comparing the size of their hardware, where the length will increase dramatically with respect to the other guy. Here also the observer "notices" that the length of the other person's hardware keeps getting "shorter" as the conversation "moves" forward.

2. Relativity of Simultaneity: Two events that appear simultaneous to Observer A might not appear simultaneous to Observer B, if B is moving relative to A.

Here again, for a person to understand what the postulate means, his knowledge of the Queen's language will be severely tested. Also the examples given in text books will require the poor guy to move at speeds close to the speed of light and till that happens, we will continue producing confused people.

Simple Real Life Example: Aare bhai, just ask any 2 person to recount an incident where both were present. You will be surprised at how different the same episode turns out to be. Other classic examples would be our politicians and sport persons being "mis-quoted" in the press, although there might be audio and video tapes to prove otherwise.

3. Time Dilation: Moving clocks appear "slower" than an observer's stationary clock.

This essentially means that if you move at speeds close to the speed of light, the length of a minute for you will be slower than a person who is stationary. Again the physical improbability and hazards involved prevent a student from fully grasping its meaning.

Simple Real Life Example: Aare bhai, ever felt an urgent need to take a dump and you run to the nearest loo, only to find that it is already occupied? Sample conversation:
You (outside the loo): Abe ...., jaldi ker bhai! gaa*d phat rehin hain (Translation: come out fast man!)
Friend (inside the loo): Haan bhai.. bas ek minute (Translation: Almost done. Gimme a min)

X secs pass with you prancing outside the door muttering some nice expletives while your friend is enjoying his time in the loo. Finally he decides to come out..

You (near explosion): Abe madarch*d, ek ghanta lagta hain kya hugne ke liye? (Trans: $#@#, you took an hour)
Friend (innocently): What are you saying? I was inside for precisely 3 minutes, that too counting the 2 minutes prior to when you came!

So with the simple example above, you observe this classic postulate neatly explained. In this case your friend is the static observer (as he is sitting) while you are the moving subject (as you are literally prancing about, outside the door) and so he notices that your watch has been moving at a faster rate to his and therefore, his "1 minute" was equivalent to "1++ minutes" for you.

So if you were to reword this postulate, it would be:
"The length of a minute depends on which side of the door you are"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Yeh Hain India Meri Jaan - 2 ...

OK people here is the second installment of this series. This picture was carried on the front page of the print edition of DNA in Mumbai on the story of Sanju Baba's release from jail on bail.

Why is it featured here? Take a closer look and take a guess. If you don't want to put too much strain on your grey cells, then you can select the area below the "Spoiler" title with your mouse and find out why this picture is so essentially Indian :-)

  The picture shows "fans" of Sanju Baba celebrating his bail from jail with a poster of him carrying two guns, the very reason why he was sent to jail in the first place! 

Many thanks to Angelo for the wonderful idea

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ladies Time To Chak De...

Finally a movie with spunky female characters with a never-say-die attitude and an abashed desire to follow their dreams without the usual cliches that accompany a Bollywood movie. All characters are very real and their problems, be it family pressure to stay back at home, to give up the game, racial and regional prejudices and most importantly gender prejudices, are so real that you can almost recall a close female family member going through them as you are watching the movie. These spirited girls not only defend, but take the fight back to the enemy camp with hockey sticks blazing. Something you don't get to see often.

I won't venture into writing a review of the movie which I don't think I can and instead bring to notice a stark contrast between the portrayal of the Bharatiya Naari in movies like Chak De and the other most popular mainstream entertainment medium, the TV

My parents are living with me since the past one month and my mom can't survive without her daily dose of K-soap operas which start at 7:30 PM every weekday and extend upto 10:30 PM. So I end up watching a lot of these soaps with her. Two of her favorite soaps are Saat Phere, which follows the trials and tribulations of a dusky (surprise surprise) woman called Saloni and the other called Kasamh Se (take a guess who produces this one) which is the story of Vani, another 'steel' woman. So all my understanding of TV soaps come from these 2 popular shows and I should be notified if there are shows which showcase women in a different light

Production houses claim that their soaps are 'women-centric' and they touch relevant social issues to which I say BALLS!! They do nothing other than re-inforce stereotypes which should have been left behind with the Y2K bug in the last century. What are they? let us find out
  • Women have 3 exciting roles in life to choose from in such soaps. Either she is the eternal suffering wife/girlfriend, the helpless matriarch of the family or the evil scheming vamp
  • Problems are always larger than life with which you can't associate with. Most of them would involve the woman of the house risking her life and limb to save the honor of the family
  • Even if she manages to be successful in her above mentioned effort, it will be a return to her thankless job once that is done.
  • No matter how many times she has been proven correct, she still has to give her agni-pariksha to her own family every time another crisis arises. This is the most worrisome of them all. But then again, if our own demi-gods weren't able to rise above such issues, what can you expect from petty mortals like us :-).
  • She will submit to the wishes of the family patriarch no matter how silly, how whimsical or how outrageous that decision might be
  • She takes a lot of shit from her partner
This is when I get confused. Which one is the real Bharatiya Naari? is it Preeti who refused to get married to a glamorous but egotist cricketer? Or is it the pint sized powerhouse Jatni Komal who defied traditions to play hockey? Or is it the "bad girl' Bindiya, who despite being her ego managed to help her team when it needed her the most? or is it Saloni and Vani? Or is it totally something else which we haven't been able to comprehend or even start to?

I am confused..

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Skin Deep Beauty

One of the biggest malls in Mumbai is the Nirmal Lifestyle Mall in an area called Mulund, which is a slightly 'downmarket' area as compared to the rest of Mumbai. It is not surprising to find Mumbaikers born in the city, who have never been to Mulund!

Me and my good friend Sharan reached the mall towards the afternoon, after having traveled for an hour from Santacruz by auto. Being a Saturday, the traffic was not that bad. We have been hearing a lot about the mall and so we had great expectations from it. But sadly, it didn't really live up to its hype. Its huge, no doubt about it and it is populated by all your typical mall brands. But we were really disappointed by the lack of continuity in the shopping experience the mall offers. There is this huge domed area in the middle of the mall where shoppers can walk around, check out live promos, relax or simply look at people move by. While the dome protects shoppers from the rains and the sun, lack of ventilation can make it stuffy and the sheer size of the area means that if you plan to install central cooling there, it will require a nuclear power station :-). And yea, the total lack of eye candy in the crowd that throngs there is appalling.

For lack of anything better to do, we headed for the Pond's Skin Clinic stall in that area, which was offering free analysis of your skin as well as promoting their latest range of Age Miracle products. We were the only men in the line of middle aged women waiting patiently for their turn and it was quite interesting to see the shocked expressions on their faces. But we were quite impressed with the professionalism of the experts in the clinic. They didn't even bat an eyelid on seeing us. They asked us to fill out a form and I decided to test their 'scientific' methods and their result analysis. I lied to them that I was 23.

The skin experts explained to us how exposure to the elements and not using their products lead to aging of the skin. We were then introduced to terms like age lines, open pores, oily dermis layer, dark eye circles and age spots. So much learning within a span of 5 minutes, it was mind blowing. To drive home this fact, our UV mug shots were taken which accentuates all the blemishes in your skin. Trust me, it is not pretty. Sample the picture below.

After that an analysis of the mug shots was done. Surprisingly, I managed to clear most tests as 'good' which meant that I had the skin of a 23 year old guy ;-). I just needed to do something about the dark circles around my eyes for which I was recommended a particular product from their line. I was shocked to know that their products cost anything from 200 to 600 Rs. for a small pack!! Ladies, you really have costly needs.

Complimentary services include an instant photo taken by a professional in front of the Pond's backdrop.

Post photo shoot, we barely managed to step outside their stall when a shitty thing happened. Quite literally. And straight on my head that too!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Yeh Hain India Meri Jaan..

We know that India is a land of diversity and has surprises in store for even the most well traveled.

Will feature series of snapshots depicting our such little quirks which makes us so essentially Indian.

Presenting the first one. See if you can figure out what makes this picture so Indian :-)

And congratulations and all the best to Chitra for taking the step to quit smoking :-). I hope this article inspired her :P

Monsoon Fashion

First of all, many many happy returns to my sweet friend Soumya. She turns 16 today :-) and will remain that forever

And for the rest of you fashion conscious females, if you are wondering how to keep your feet dry this monsoon and at the same time wear something which goes with your well fitted jeans, you can try out the latest range of gumboots in really funky designs as depicted below.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Every Dog Has His...

... Autorickshaw!!

Today was a typical Mumbai monsoon day with the rains unrelenting for most part of the day. So much that the driver of this particular Auto abandoned it for the cozy comforts of the nearby tea-stall leaving Mr. Doggie to hike a free ride.

So now you know why all cabs and autos in Mumbai smell funny :-)