Saturday, July 6, 2013

Paradigm Paralysis

If A 14-Year-Old In Africa Can Build These With Scraps, Imagine What We Could Do In America?
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but not everybody has a belief in himself to overcome his problems. When a task is challenging or even slightly unfamiliar we look for the escape route.

For a family of three, our groceries cost (60-70% organic) around 300$ a month. Our gas cost - 200$, that's only for driving to a park and ride three miles away from home. Our daily commute costs another 400$ a month for the metro train. Another 200$ per month for auto insurance premium. When they say the middle class is getting squeezed, it is not because we can not afford food, it is because we pay three times more on transportation than on food.
There is a crying need for innovation in transportation.

Commuting to work alone in a four wheeler is backwards, feeding that huge car which overtakes our lives is backwards. Feeding the monster at the signals, when the delays are a direct consequence of  the monster's size is backwards. Sprawl due to wasted parking spaces for these monsters is backwards. Hailing electric cars as progressive is backwards. No matter what MPG breakthroughs we may get, getting stuck in traffic while commuting to work is never going to help anybody.

The solution:

We should be riding a motor bike to work or errands. A motor bike in winter months or in the rain is unimaginable, but now there is an answer for that. Lit motor's C1 is a fully enclosed bike with temperature control, which means you can stay warm in winter and
dry in the rain or cool in summer. I am not a stealth marketer for that company, I am a daily victim of my commuting horrors. Once there are enough of these two wheelers on the roads, it encourages other two wheeler manufacturers and people benefit.

TL;DR Two wheelers are too important to fail. Cars should not be synonymous with travel. We should not be paralyzed with the paradigm of car as a primary mode of transportation.


Cars are important too, for a road trips with family or friends, for carrying groceries and shopping goods. But with companies like Zipcar and other pay by the hour car rentals or car sharing apps, it is getting easier to live without owning a car.

I am not arguing against mass transportation by buses or trains. Rather, these bikes should fill in the gaps of mass transportation due to unserved areas, infrequent schedules etc.

The park and ride near my home has 2000 parking spots, but if one reaches there after 8:45 am to park her car and take the metro, she is out of luck, all those spots get filled by that time. While I am happy that 2000 people take the metro, parking spots place an upper limit to metro's usability. If people rode in on their bikes, there is no doubt that 4000 people could use the facility.

Daily parking at the Metro station costs about 5$ a day, the cost could be down to 2.50$ for a motor bike since compact bikes virtually double the parking capacity.

Picture Courtesy:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How many?

"How many members are there in it?” That is the first question I am asked by all newspaper reporters. “How many followers have you? By their number we shall judge whether what you say is true or false.” 

Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Dissolution of the Order of the Star 

This week's celebration of Tumblr's David Karp feels like that to me. I haven't used Tumblr much, except browsing some very popular and hilarious memes like  mckaylaisnotimpressed. So this post is not about criticizing Tumblr, it is just amusing that "Success" is defined by how many millions or billions a company is acquired for. I hope we celebrate every day heros more often.

Also posted on Quora.

Monday, May 13, 2013

I digg digg

Love the clever Digg lines above headlines(have to find the right word for it). I'll keep adding to the collection here.



Friday, February 15, 2013


Read this somewhere sometime back, thought of it today, searched and found it on some blog. The-10-very-best-zen-stories


Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

the coming counterculture

the coming counterculture

Some blogger took the time to type down his thoughts and they echo with mine. I hope to find some way to fight our car culture. Now with Lit Motors C1, cars have become an 'unnecessary evil'. 
I am not a paid blogger for Lit Motors. This is a great product to disrupt transportation and can't wait to see the production cost go down and its adoption go up.
Cars are a similar technology. They have impacted our cities so much that it’s difficult to live without one. Trying to get out of the system is impossible, and would negatively affect your quality of life. You are locked in. But when that “locked in” feeling is dictated by a single company — Facebook — it becomes a bit more frightful.
No fights with Facebook for now, I have made my peace with it (by not being a direct user).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wishlist for 2013

My wishlist doesn't mean things I want for myself, it usually means things I want to see widely adopted. So here is one (non-controversial) from my list.

  • Efficiency of a motorcycle, convenience and protection from the elements like a car.
  • First gyroscopically stabilized bike => No fear of losing balance.
  • Greener than a hybrid/electric car(I assume), without the heavy price tag (expected to be around 12k in the next few years).
  • Needs less parking space
  • More of these on the road translates to less congestion.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What would you do for a designer shoe?

Just shook my head in disbelief, and thought this is worth mentioning.. Some of us are so caught up in designer labels that their whole value system is compromised.

If Shoe Won't Fit, Fix the Foot?

Men, don't be quick to point fingers at women..

Wonder what this kid sells for an upgrade of his iPad/iPhone when a new version comes out!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Taking for granted

I had a toe fracture three months back and am recovering from it. A toe fracture is different from fractures at other locations because one has to carry the whole body weight on these toes. I couldn't walk or stand for long due to terrible swelling. For somebody who feels alive during a work out as opposed to sitting around lazily, it was a very long three months of my life. I realized how much we take good health for granted until something like this happens. I thought to myself, I wouldn't ask for anything more if only I can walk better. But since it started getting better and bothering me less, my silly little problems are bubbling up again...after a while I realized what my wish/priority was just a few weeks ago and how easily I forgot all about it, such is life!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

We must be aware of how we dissipate energy

The impact of Jiddu Krishnamurti's works on my life has been tremendous for the past fifteen years. Here is one pearl of wisdom that I just got in my email, and is so dear to me .

To bring about a good society, human beings have to change. You and I must find the energy, the impetus, the vitality to bring about this radical transformation of the mind, and that is not possible if we do not have enough energy. We need a great deal of energy to bring about a change within ourselves, but we waste our energy through conflict, through resistance, through conformity, through acceptance, through obedience. It is a waste of energy when we are trying to conform to a pattern. To conserve energy we must be aware of ourselves, how we dissipate energy. This is an age-long problem because most human beings are indolent; they would rather accept, obey, and follow. If we become aware of this indolence, this deep-rooted laziness, and try to quicken the mind and the heart, the intensity of it again becomes a conflict, which is also a waste of energy. Our problem, one of the many that we have, is how to conserve this energy, the energy that is necessary for an explosion to take place in consciousness: an explosion that is not contrived, that is not put together by thought, but an explosion that occurs naturally when this energy is not wasted. Conflict in any form, at any level, at any depth of our being, is a waste of energy. -

Collected Works, Vol. XVI,152,Choiceless Awareness

Friday, April 27, 2012

Write something...

For the past few months I have come across several posts which emphasized why blogging(writing) is a good thing and I could see why that's true.

Once there was an article on CNN which said all the unfair practices of Foxconn is not going to hurt Apple's sales. I was so fired up to bash that writer, so looked at his post again to paraphrase him, and to my surprise everything he said was true. I wanted him to preach people not to buy any Apple products for ethical reasons, but I realized that his article was just fact based. Its true there are "Opinion" columns, which persuade people towards the author's opinions, but this was not such a column. This is just one example of why blogging is good. When we are writing anything for the whole world to see (I am not kidding myself, my blog readership is in single digits on a lucky day) we tend to be more careful. Also, just the act of writing helps us think more about something.

Yesterday I came across yet another article , and from the comments, came across this 'Don't break the chain' and found a great tool to implement it. The first thing I am going to do after hitting the publish button is add a link to my 'Blog daily' chain.

Happy blogging!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"The most important environmental issue is one that is rarely mentioned, and that is the lack of conservation ethic in our culture."

- Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day founder and Wilderness Society counselor

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Remain with a Feeling and See What Happens

You never remain with any feeling, pure and simple, but always surround it with the paraphernalia of words. The word distorts it; thought, whirling round it, throws it into shadow, overpowers it with mountainous fears and longings. You never remain with a feeling, and with nothing else: with hate, or with that strange feeling of beauty. When the feeling of hate arises, you say how bad it is; there is the compulsion, the struggle to overcome it, the turmoil of thought about it.Try remaining with the feeling of hate, with the feeling of envy, jealousy, with the venom of ambition; for after all, that's what you have in daily life, though you may want to live with love, or with the word love. Since you have the feeling of hate, of wanting to hurt somebody with a gesture or a burning word, see if you can stay with that feeling. Can you? Have you ever tried? Try to remain with a feeling, and see what happens. You will find it amazingly difficult. Your mind will not leave the feeling alone; it comes rushing in with its remembrances, its associations, its do's and don'ts, its everlasting chatter. Pick up a piece of shell. Can you look at it, wonder at its delicate beauty, without saying how pretty it is, or what animal made it? Can you look without the movement of the mind? Can you live with the feeling behind the word, without the feeling that the word builds up? If you can, then you will discover an extraordinary thing, a movement beyond the measure of time, a spring that knows no summer. - J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Noble silence

"Before you speak ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?"

This is my rant about Facebook and I hope Facebook fans finish reading this rant.

The loud noise: FB IMO is a platform for degrading the quality of life. Does seeing my friends in a good shape motivate me to exercise? No, the intent was there for me to lose weight after pregnancy, but there was never enough time. 
I can feel happy for a close friend that she is in a good shape, but not for all the hundreds of contacts who are called 'Friends' on FB. Those pictures don't help, they ruin a few minutes of my day. If you think what is a few minutes in a day, multiply it by the number of "Friends" you have on FB. Every time somebody posts how well they are doing in their careers, personally, financially, or family-wise, they are rubbing it in.

FB helps us violate a basic tenet for happiness - "Don't compare yourself to others".

Rant to research : Is Facebook making us miserable?

 The damage is not just to the people on the receiving end. Think about getting addicted to check how many likes you got for that stunning picture of you or for the post about how cute your kid is. Instead of letting us focus on real actions/challenges of the day, we limit us to the shallowness of who said what about me.

The white noise: All the comments in reply to somebody's post/update. If you like something, why can't you let the person know privately, why does everyone(not just the friends, but friends of a friend)  have to go through what you think. I know that there is a "hide" option, but one will end up hiding all her friends if she can't stand this white noise.

Discipline Issue: I think Facebook should be used by highly disciplined people, undisciplined lot end up wasting their time. Think about how much time you can free up and work out in the gym instead of seeing pictures of your friends on FB.

But what about Egypt?
From the time I quit Facebook due to noise ranging from white to loud, some wonderful things have happened.
Hosni Mubarak's 30-year regime was brought to an end and though Facebook's role was not clear, let's give it the benefit of doubt. 

"Rome was not built in a day".

FB "might" have helped Hosni Mubarak's downfall, but if people get complacent about that and watch Cricket of NFL equivalent in Egypt and don't work on a better governance, simply overthrowing the dictatorship is not sufficient.

What do you suggest?
Remind yourself this quote every time you post something on FB.
"Before you speak ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?"
Is it a good piece of information that you want to share? Excellent.
Is it some silly update about how you can't get enough of your new tech toy - Noooooo! Don't limit yourself to the shallowness and materialism.

PS: I didn't mean to say I was sad or depressed from others' FB updates, its true I lose my balance for a few minutes, but I am the happiest person in the world as I know that true happiness comes from doing good work, and from family and real friends. I quit FB when it appeared to me that nobody was responding to my posts asking them to take a minute to sign various petitions online. Thanks to my friend who said he hid my updates because they were all petitions, nothing interesting. I quit because of you, thanks for helping me save my time from the distractions of FB.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

One of the many reasons I never followed Queen O

Finally someone had the guts to stand up to Oprah! 

Bill Maher, host of HBO's Real Time, and notorious religious nonbeliever, taped a harsh and hilarious Christmas message for his website that served as a damning critique of all Americans and of the on...

Proud of Raghu

Amazing performance despite the TV characters category in Double Jeopardy, and no luck with Daily Doubles.

Monday, July 26, 2010


In this relationship called society, every human being is cutting himself off from another by his position, by his ambition, by his desire for fame, power, and so on; but he has to live in this brutal relationship with other men like himself, so the whole thing is glossed over and made respectable by pleasant-sounding words. In everyday life, each one is devoted to his own interests, though it may be in the name of the country, in the name of peace, or God, and so the isolating process goes on. One becomes aware of this whole process in the form of intense loneliness, a feeling of complete isolation. Thought, which has been giving all importance to itself, isolating itself as the `me', the ego, has finally come to the point of realizing that it's held in the prison of its own making. - Commentaries On Living Series III Aloneness Beyond Loneliness

Monday, June 28, 2010

Privatizing The Cost Of Transportation

Are we driving to the poorhouse in an automobile?

In the early 1920s when every US city of more than 5,000 residents had at least one streetcar line, households spent an average of just 3 percent of household income on transportation. Today families spend an average of 19 percent.

In the 1920s, streetcars helped build wealth for both cities and individuals, and made living much more affordable. Streetcar companies bought franchises from cities in order to run their lines in the streets, contributing significantly to municipal budgets, especially in places with extensive streetcar systems – like Los Angeles, where franchise fees added up to 16.7 percent of the city’s budget. Moreover, there was so much development and business activity around streetcar lines that early property value maps showed the highest values along streets with the most streetcar lines.

Concentrating transportation, residential density and business activity in this way also helped build personal wealth. Federal Reserve Board data shows the rise and fall of the personal savings rate in the US exactly mirrors the rise and fall of automobile sales. Bernstein notes that Ellen Swallow Richards, who introduced home economics into the high school curriculum in the early 1900s, preached that transportation costs should never rise above 5 percent of income and that one should never go into debt to buy a car. Ironically, drivers training eventually crowded home economics out of the high school curriculum, and today young people routinely go into debt to buy a car.

It was Will Rogers who said that Americans would be the first to drive to the poorhouse in an automobile, and the combined costs of transportation and housing in Los Angeles today suggest this is coming true: Median-income households in Southern California spend about $12,000 a year on transportation, almost as much as they spend on housing – $12,240 – for a total of 52 percent of income, significantly more than the 30 percent for transportation and housing in 1920.

Collectively, the 4 million households in the Southern California region spend about $50 billion on transportation each year – which adds up to about $1 trillion over the 30-year span of the region’s transportation plan. Bernstein notes that individuals pay for 90 percent of that $50 billion – federal, state and local revenues together pay for just 10 percent. The private automobile has shifted much of the cost of transportation onto individuals.

Re-building streetcar systems and concentrating residential density and business activity around them would once again create efficiencies that would help build wealth and make living more affordable.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

So long as the animal is petted he reacts nicely

You will be able to see for yourself how you are conditioned only when there is a conflict in the continuity of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. If everything is perfectly happy around you, your wife loves you, you love her, you have a nice house, nice children and plenty of money, then you are not aware of your conditioning at all. But when there is a disturbance - when your wife looks at someone else or you lose your money or are threatened with war or any other pain or anxiety - then you know you are conditioned. When you struggle against any kind of disturbance or defend yourself against any outer or inner threat, then you know you are conditioned. And as most of us are disturbed most of the time, either superficially or deeply, that very disturbance indicates that we are conditioned. So long as the animal is petted he reacts nicely, but the moment he is antagonized the whole violence of his nature comes out. - Freedom from the Known Chapter 2

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2009:The year in review
Here are some of the things that
I stumbled up on/ touched me/I enjoyed/ inspired me.

Book : Finding Flow

Movie :
The lives of others

Monday, April 19, 2010

What a coincidence, I ordered a netbook for Dhatri just a few days before watching this.

This talk also resonates with my recent read, one of the classics in child development 'How children learn'

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Saving Bill Watterson's commencement speech for myself, Dhatri and everybody else

Bill Watterson
Kenyon College Commencement
May 20, 1990

I have a recurring dream about Kenyon. In it, I'm walking to the post office on the way to my first class at the start of the school year. Suddenly it occurs to me that I don't have my schedule memorized, and I'm not sure which classes I'm taking, or where exactly I'm supposed to be going.
As I walk up the steps to the postoffice, I realize I don't have my box key, and in fact, I can't remember what my box number is. I'm certain that everyone I know has written me a letter, but I can't get them. I get more flustered and annoyed by the minute. I head back to Middle Path, racking my brains and asking myself, "How many more years until I graduate? ...Wait, didn't I graduate already?? How old AM I?" Then I wake up.

Experience is food for the brain. And four years at Kenyon is a rich meal. I suppose it should be no surprise that your brains will probably burp up Kenyon for a long time. And I think the reason I keep having the dream is because its central image is a metaphor for a good part of life: that is, not knowing where you're going or what you're doing.
I graduated exactly ten years ago. That doesn't give me a great deal of experience to speak from, but I'm emboldened by the fact that I can't remember a bit of MY commencement, and I trust that in half an hour, you won't remember of yours either.

In the middle of my sophomore year at Kenyon, I decided to paint a copy of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" from the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling of my dorm room. By standing on a chair, I could reach the ceiling, and I taped off a section, made a grid, and started to copy the picture from my art history book.
Working with your arm over your head is hard work, so a few of my more ingenious friends rigged up a scaffold for me by stacking two chairs on my bed, and laying the table from the hall lounge across the chairs and over to the top of my closet. By climbing up onto my bed and up the chairs, I could hoist myself onto the table, and lie in relative comfort two feet under my painting. My roommate would then hand up my paints, and I could work for several hours at a stretch.

The picture took me months to do, and in fact, I didn't finish the work until very near the end of the school year. I wasn't much of a painter then, but what the work lacked in color sense and technical flourish, it gained in the incongruity of having a High Renaissance masterpiece in a college dorm that had the unmistakable odor of old beer cans and older laundry.
The painting lent an air of cosmic grandeur to my room, and it seemed to put life into a larger perspective. Those boring, flowery English poets didn't seem quite so important, when right above my head God was transmitting the spark of life to man.
My friends and I liked the finished painting so much in fact, that we decided I should ask permission to do it. As you might expect, the housing director was curious to know why I wanted to paint this elaborate picture on my ceiling a few weeks before school let out. Well, you don't get to be a sophomore at Kenyon without learning how to fabricate ideas you never had, but I guess it was obvious that my idea was being proposed retroactively. It ended up that I was allowed to paint the picture, so long as I painted over it and returned the ceiling to normal at the end of the year. And that's what I did.

Despite the futility of the whole episode, my fondest memories of college are times like these, where things were done out of some inexplicable inner imperative, rather than because the work was demanded. Clearly, I never spent as much time or work on any authorized art project, or any poli sci paper, as I spent on this one act of vandalism.

It's surprising how hard we'll work when the work is done just for ourselves. And with all due respect to John Stuart Mill, maybe utilitarianism is overrated. If I've learned one thing from being a cartoonist, it's how important playing is to creativity and happiness. My job is essentially to come up with 365 ideas a year.
If you ever want to find out just how uninteresting you really are, get a job where the quality and frequency of your thoughts determine your livelihood. I've found that the only way I can keep writing every day, year after year, is to let my mind wander into new territories. To do that, I've had to cultivate a kind of mental playfulness.

We're not really taught how to recreate constructively. We need to do more than find diversions; we need to restore and expand ourselves. Our idea of relaxing is all too often to plop down in front of the television set and let its pandering idiocy liquefy our brains. Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery-it recharges by running.
You may be surprised to find how quickly daily routine and the demands of "just getting by: absorb your waking hours. You may be surprised matters of habit rather than thought and inquiry. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your life in terms of other people's expectations rather than issues. You may be surprised to find out how quickly reading a good book sounds like a luxury.

At school, new ideas are thrust at you every day. Out in the world, you'll have to find the inner motivation to search for new ideas on your own. With any luck at all, you'll never need to take an idea and squeeze a punchline out of it, but as bright, creative people, you'll be called upon to generate ideas and solutions all your lives. Letting your mind play is the best way to solve problems.
For me, it's been liberating to put myself in the mind of a fictitious six year-old each day, and rediscover my own curiosity. I've been amazed at how one ideas leads to others if I allow my mind to play and wander. I know a lot about dinosaurs now, and the information has helped me out of quite a few deadlines.
A playful mind is inquisitive, and learning is fun. If you indulge your natural curiosity and retain a sense of fun in new experience, I think you'll find it functions as a sort of shock absorber for the bumpy road ahead.

So, what's it like in the real world? Well, the food is better, but beyond that, I don't recommend it.

I don't look back on my first few years out of school with much affection, and if I could have talked to you six months ago, I'd have encouraged you all to flunk some classes and postpone this moment as long as possible. But now it's too late.
Unfortunately, that was all the advice I really had. When I was sitting where you are, I was one of the lucky few who had a cushy job waiting for me. I'd drawn political cartoons for the Collegian for four years, and the Cincinnati Post had hired me as an editorial cartoonist. All my friends were either dreading the infamous first year of law school, or despondent about their chances of convincing anyone that a history degree had any real application outside of academia.

Boy, was I smug.

As it turned out, my editor instantly regretted his decision to hire me. By the end of the summer, I'd been given notice; by the beginning of winter, I was in an unemployment line; and by the end of my first year away from Kenyon, I was broke and living with my parents again. You can imagine how upset my dad was when he learned that Kenyon doesn't give refunds.
Watching my career explode on the lauchpad caused some soul searching. I eventually admitted that I didn't have what it takes to be a good political cartoonist, that is, an interest in politics, and I returned to my firs love, comic strips.
For years I got nothing but rejection letters, and I was forced to accept a real job.

A REAL job is a job you hate. I designed car ads and grocery ads in the windowless basement of a convenience store, and I hated every single minute of the 4-1/2 million minutes I worked there. My fellow prisoners at work were basically concerned about how to punch the time clock at the perfect second where they would earn another 20 cents without doing any work for it.
It was incredible: after every break, the entire staff would stand around in the garage where the time clock was, and wait for that last click. And after my used car needed the head gasket replaced twice, I waited in the garage too.

It's funny how at Kenyon, you take for granted that the people around you think about more than the last episode of Dynasty. I guess that's what it means to be in an ivory tower.

Anyway, after a few months at this job, I was starved for some life of the mind that, during my lunch break, I used to read those poli sci books that I'd somehow never quite finished when I was here. Some of those books were actually kind of interesting. It was a rude shock to see just how empty and robotic life can be when you don't care about what you're doing, and the only reason you're there is to pay the bills.
Thoreau said,

"the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

That's one of those dumb cocktail quotations that will strike fear in your heart as you get older. Actually, I was leading a life of loud desperation.

When it seemed I would be writing about "Midnite Madness Sale-abrations" for the rest of my life, a friend used to console me that cream always rises to the top. I used to think, so do people who throw themselves into the sea.

I tell you all this because it's worth recognizing that there is no such thing as an overnight success. You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure. The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. At that time, we turn around and say, yes, this is obviously where I was going all along. It's a good idea to try to enjoy the scenery on the detours, because you'll probably take a few.

I still haven't drawn the strip as long as it took me to get the job. To endure five years of rejection to get a job requires either a faith in oneself that borders on delusion, or a love of the work. I loved the work.
Drawing comic strips for five years without pay drove home the point that the fun of cartooning wasn't in the money; it was in the work. This turned out to be an important realization when my break finally came.

Like many people, I found that what I was chasing wasn't what I caught. I've wanted to be a cartoonist since I was old enough to read cartoons, and I never really thought about cartoons as being a business. It never occurred to me that a comic strip I created would be at the mercy of a bloodsucking corporate parasite called a syndicate, and that I'd be faced with countless ethical decisions masquerading as simple business decisions.
To make a business decision, you don't need much philosophy; all you need is greed, and maybe a little knowledge of how the game works.

As my comic strip became popular, the pressure to capitalize on that popularity increased to the point where I was spending almost as much time screaming at executives as drawing. Cartoon merchandising is a $12 billion dollar a year industry and the syndicate understandably wanted a piece of that pie. But the more I though about what they wanted to do with my creation, the more inconsistent it seemed with the reasons I draw cartoons.
Selling out is usually more a matter of buying in. Sell out, and you're really buying into someone else's system of values, rules and rewards.
The so-called "opportunity" I faced would have meant giving up my individual voice for that of a money-grubbing corporation. It would have meant my purpose in writing was to sell things, not say things. My pride in craft would be sacrificed to the efficiency of mass production and the work of assistants. Authorship would become committee decision. Creativity would become work for pay. Art would turn into commerce. In short, money was supposed to supply all the meaning I'd need.
What the syndicate wanted to do, in other words, was turn my comic strip into everything calculated, empty and robotic that I hated about my old job. They would turn my characters into television hucksters and T-shirt sloganeers and deprive me of characters that actually expressed my own thoughts.

On those terms, I found the offer easy to refuse. Unfortunately, the syndicate also found my refusal easy to refuse, and we've been fighting for over three years now. Such is American business, I guess, where the desire for obscene profit mutes any discussion of conscience.

You will find your own ethical dilemmas in all parts of your lives, both personal and professional. We all have different desires and needs, but if we don't discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled. Sooner or later, we are all asked to compromise ourselves and the things we care about. We define ourselves by our actions. With each decision, we tell ourselves and the world who we are. Think about what you want out of this life, and recognize that there are many kinds of success.
Many of you will be going on to law school, business school, medical school, or other graduate work, and you can expect the kind of starting salary that, with luck, will allow you to pay off your own tuition debts within your own lifetime.

But having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another.

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it's to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.
You'll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you're doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you'll hear about them.

To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble.
Reading those turgid philosophers here in these remote stone buildings may not get you a job, but if those books have forced you to ask yourself questions about what makes life truthful, purposeful, meaningful, and redeeming, you have the Swiss Army Knife of mental tools, and it's going to come in handy all the time.

I think you'll find that Kenyon touched a deep part of you. These have been formative years. Chances are, at least of your roommates has taught you everything ugly about human nature you ever wanted to know.
With luck, you've also had a class that transmitted a spark of insight or interest you'd never had before. Cultivate that interest, and you may find a deeper meaning in your life that feeds your soul and spirit. Your preparation for the real world is not in the answers you've learned, but in the questions you've learned how to ask yourself.
Graduating from Kenyon, I suspect you'll find yourselves quite well prepared indeed.

I wish you all fulfillment and happiness. Congratulations on your achievement.

Friday, February 26, 2010

You know, actually we have no love - that is a terrible thing to realize. Actually we have no love; we have sentiment; we have emotionality, sensuality, sexuality; we have remembrances of something which we have thought as love. But actually, brutally, we have no love. Because to have love means no violence, no fear, no competition, no ambition. If you had love you will never say, "This is my family." You may have a family and give them the best you can; but it will not be "your family" which is opposed to the world. If you love, if there is love, there is peace. If you loved, you would educate your child not to be a nationalist, not to have only a technical job and look after his own petty little affairs; you would have no nationality. There would be no divisions of religion, if you loved. But as these things actually exist - not theoretically, but brutally - in this ugly world, it shows that you have no love. Even the love of a mother for her child is not love. If the mother really loved her child, do you think the world would be like this? She would see that he had the right food, the right education, that he was sensitive, that he appreciated beauty, that he was not ambitious, greedy, envious. So the mother, however much she may think she loves her child, does not love the child. So we have not that love. - The Collected Works, Vol. XV Varanasi 5th Public Talk 28th November 1964

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I am posting this blog on leechblock before adding my own blogspot to the blocked list.
So, no email, news sites from 9-5 on weekdays, hurray!

Leechblock - to manage focus and avoid distraction

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mindless 'Use and Throw'

I wonder how somebody can routinely dispose a plastic spoon after a single usage out of it. One possible explanation is that we don't concern ourselves with anything/anybody other than ourselves. I want to celebrate my kid's party in style, of course I don't want to spend 2-3 hours loading up the dishwasher with reusable plates and cups. That time is better spent watching my favorite movie for the nth time.
It's time for some party planning. First - appetizers, next cutting the birthday cake, followed by lunch or dinner and lastly dessert. So, over four courses, four spoons/forks for each person. For fifty guests, it means 200 plastic spoons. Two hundred spoons to be added to a landfill or an ocean floor to live on forever and kill the marine life, and all this to save an hour so that I can watch TV? Seriously!

The Problem with Plastic

The main problem with plastic -- besides there being so much of it -- is that it doesn't biodegrade. No natural process can break it down. (Experts point out ­that the durability that makes plastic so useful to humans also makes it quite harmful to nature.) Instead, plastic photodegrades. A plastic cigarette lighter cast out to sea will fragment into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic without breaking into simpler compounds, which scientists estimate could take hundreds of years. The small bits of plastic produced by photodegradation are called mermaid tears or nurdles.

These tiny plastic particles can get sucked up by filter feeders and damage their bodies. Other marine animals eat the plastic, which can poison them or lead to deadly blockages. Nurdles also have the insidious property of soaking up toxic chemicals. Over time, even chemicals or poisons that are widely diffused in water can become highly concentrated as they're mopped up by nurdles. These poison-filled masses threaten the entire food chain, especially when eaten by filter feeders that are then consumed by large creatures.

Plastic has acutely affected albatrosses, which roam ­a wide swath of the northern Pacific Ocean. Albatrosses frequently grab food wherever they can find it, which leads to many of the birds ingesting -- and dying from -- plastic and other trash. On Midway Island, which comes into contact with parts of the Eastern Garbage Patch, albatrosses give birth to 500,000 chicks every year. Two hundred thousand of them die, many of them by consuming plastic fed to them by their parents, who confuse it for food [source: LA Times]. In total, more than a million birds and marine animals die each year from consuming or becoming caught in plastic and other debris.

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Gift Policy

Every year for Dhatri's b'day party, we request friends not to bring any gifts for Dhatri. I know that almost everybody that I know is used to giving gifts on occasions like this, and it rather feels odd to go empty handed to a party. I myself feel it odd, but when I think about it in bigger context, I don't mind it at all. But I at least owe an explanation to all my guests for making them feel that way. So here it is..

Impact on resources

Our world population is almost 7 billions. When I fly, I look at the vast land beneath me and think that there is no problem of running out of resources, but I know that it is just plain ignorance, and perhaps a convenient way to justify our unsustainable and irresponsible lifestyles.
Polluting chemicals due to manufacturing have already reached the polar regions. If you care about the future generation, now is the time to question your consumption patterns. Here is an excellent video to educate people about how consumption negatively effects everything else.
The story of stuff

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" Navajo Proverb.

Non biodegradable stuff

Most of kids gifts these days are made of plastic. The cute "educational/fun" plastic toy will live on forever in a landfill. I know, you did see some plastic stuff in my home, but most of it is stuff I bought used on craigslist. In my opinion, that's better than buying brand new stuff.

Unmanageable living space

It is a tough job to keep everything back in its place when there are so many toys. there actually is "no place assigned" for a given toy because there simply are too many toys.

Materialism and the culture of expectations

Kids should be able to value friendships more over the gifts they bring.

Money that could be spent on better causes

I don't mind donating money(donation in-lieu-of gifts) for some cause, but Raghu doesn't like that idea. He feels that we shouldn't be asking others to donate money and should leave it to their will.

Stress of buying a meaningful gift

Buying a gift for another person is always stressful for me. Unless you know what the other person has and what he wants, you can't buy a good gift. Yes, there are gift receipts, but getting it exchanged is stressful for the recipient. It may not be stressful, it is time consuming at least.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sneaky repackaging

I've been drinking Silk soy milk for five years. This product's packaging has changed and I thought that must be some marketing idea. Luckily I noticed the missing USDA sign on the new cartons. Now they are going to lose my business. I'll also try to spread this as much as possible. Good that I noticed this, otherwise I would have been fooled into buying their products for several more years.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Don’t Be a National Park Bagger

Keith Goetzman summed up every bit of how I feel about travel.

Sour grapes? Maybe. I once thought I would travel to many of the world’s most beautiful places. The Patagonian Andes, Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands—all awaited my intrepid exploration. Now, with the reality of climate change hitting full force, I see that even if I had the means, visiting all my dream destinations just wouldn’t be right, and that in some ways staying close to home is the best way to honor the earth. So yes, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there are some national parks I will never see, and that photo or video images will be my only acquaintance with them. Which is why I’m watching every last episode of The National Parks, which can be viewed online through Friday.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Atrocious Advice from "Supernanny"
-Alfie Kohn

Copyright © 2005 by Alfie Kohn. This article may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this notice along with citation information (i.e., name of the periodical in which it originally appeared, date of publication, and author's name). Permission must be obtained in order to reprint this article in a published work or in order to offer
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Sunday, August 5, 2007

My post on hypnobabies yahoo group.

Hi Hypnomoms,
I used hypnobabies and had my dream birth:) yet to post my birth
story(my baby is 9 months already). In the mean time, I just want to
inform other moms about Elimination Communication.

In the book Diaper-free baby, Ingrid Bauer talks about gentle
elimination communication with babies and I can't sing enough praises
for her and EC. I started ECing when my baby was two weeks old, now I
can figure out when she wants to pee/poo. I rarely had any accidents
and it's working so well!

As I said earlier, I can't praise enough.

I've seen some negative feedback on this forum about EC. Please don't
let that effect your decision making. There is a nice support group
for all your EC questions(with 2003 members!). Lots of EC wisdom/tips
there to support you all along.

Please check out this group.

Pregnancy is a special time, I miss my pregnancy days :) I wish you
all the very best and hope to see you at the above yahoo group(for EC).


PS: I am not affiliated with that yahoo group in any way other than
being a regular member. I took the time to post this message because I
love EC and the fact that DD doesn't have to suffer from diaper rashes.'s easy on the planet(no disposable diapers)
3.easy on my wallet
4.easy for me and my husband(DD potty trained around one year !!)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

This original post is located here.

The following article was published in chicken’s digest monthly – May 40016 AD.

Author: Golden Chick.

Chicken population is getting fed up by the activities of CETH (Chicken’s for ethical treatment of humans). Yesterday they vandalized a restaurant of KFH(Kentucky fried humans) protesting against alleged ill treatment of humans in slaughter houses. Before a couple of months they ransacked research labs of chicken & chicken medical co protesting against scientific experiments being conducted on guinea humans.

This inchicken behavior failed to draw enough public attention. Thus these vegetarian terrorists gain confidence and are encouraged to do more such humanely acts. The meat industry and scientific community are suffering huge losses because of these veggie terrorists.

They spread a lie that humans are ill treated in slaughter houses. It’s true that men are castrated without sedatives in slaughter houses, but I would like to point out that this is perfectly legal. Further these veggie terrorists forget that earlier humans castrated bulls in slaughter houses without sedatives. Actually every act of alleged cruelty pointed out by CETH terrorists were all earlier done on animals by humans.

CETH argues against de teething of humans in slaughter houses. But if human teeth aren’t removed these dumb witted humans will kill each other by biting. Space is a luxury in slaughter houses with each human getting 1 square feet of space, so they keep on fighting. Top avoid damage to human flesh, we de teeth them. And no we cannot administer sedatives while de teething. If we administer them meat prices will shoot up by 20%. Further, humans de-beaked chickens without sedatives in the past, so why should we care now?

CETH points out that stunning is ineffective. They say that as a result humans are killed with consciousness and at times are skinned alive and with consciousness. But I would like to point out that the meat industry has reduced this number to a large extent. Earlier around 10% of humans were skinned alive, but now that number has dropped down to 2%. Now let me describe this process and the precautions taken by our industry.


During shackling, humans are hung upside-down by their legs on a line of shackles moving fast—approximately 182 humans per minute. Leg deformities and other injuries typical of large broilers may exacerbate the pain as their sensitive periostea are pinched and compressed by the metal shackles. After shackling, 3 percent of humans will have broken bones and 4.5 percent had dislocations. But this is immaterial since they will be slaughtered within an hour of shackling. If the industry tries to reduce shackling speed, then our production time will be drastically reduced.

Stunning and Temporary Immobilization

After dumping and shackling, humans proceed to the stunning area, where they are passed through an electrically charged water bath before having their throats cut. “Humane slaughter,” as defined by law for most species in many developed countries, requires that humans be rendered unconscious and, thus, insensible to pain prior to slaughter. But it is almost impossible to ensure that every human is rendered unconscious because the varied nature of the species hinders the effectiveness of the electrical settings. Doing so would increase our costs by many folds. As a result around 3% of humans escape stunning.


After being stunned—or rather, temporarily immobilized or even entirely conscious after completely missing the stun bath due to avoidance behavior—humans are conveyed toward an automated spinning blade, commonly referred to as the “killing machine,” which is designed to cut their necks. Some conscious humans are able to avoid this blade, as well, by lifting their heads or flapping their sides. Many humans dodge the knives, some completely, some partially, because they are not fully stunned.


Humans are dipped into the scald tank, which contains scalding hot water, to facilitate skin removal. It’s true that sentient humans are, indeed, sometimes scalded. Red-skin human carcasses, commonly found when electrical stunning methods have been used, are caused by a physiological response to heat when live humans enter a scald tank. But I would assure you that this number is very low, just 3.7 million humans per year which shows that our plants operate at 97% efficiency levels.

From the above said arguments it would be clear that CETH is exaggerating the activities done in slaughter houses. I would like to point out that chicken gospel says that humans were created for the well being of chickens. Everything was created for chickens and thus religion doesn’t prevent eating human meat. Further from a biological stand point it will be clear that chickens have sharp beaks to tear of human flesh. Chicken Godcreated chickens as carnivorous beings and thus its unnatural for chickens to become herbivorous.Veggie chickens lack essential nutrients and thus lead an unhealthy life style.

Hence I would request government and public to stop the atrocities of CETH and save the meat industry from these vegetarian terrorists.