Saturday, December 26, 2009


The name “Telangana’’ strikes a chord with every Indian by now. I am neither a schismatic nor against furtherance of downtrodden, who have been denied most basic amenities in a coons’ age. I am sorry that people of Telangana have been neglected with all forms of development. Government and political parties must strain every nerve to emulate the situation in Telangana. But I reckon splitting the state based on region would be like robbing Peter and paying Paul. A misstep to cover up a blunder is not the ‘solution’. It might give respite to the people of Telangana for some time, but after that they will be left high and dry.

“Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS)”, headed by KC Rao, who wrapped himself in pink flag, proclaimed to fight for the people of Telangana. Having seen TRS and KC Rao over 10 years, even dogs in street know by now what that party is all about and what it’s leader actually cares for. After losing miserably in state assembly elections and in center, the party has decided that they have to do something. And here you go; you get up in the middle of the night and decide that you want to do justice for people of Telangana and the next morning you are on fast. Come on; give people of India and Andhrapradesh a break. Few hundred people are good enough to create brouhaha and make it look like a freedom fight. All the party needed to do was throw few bucks and their job was done. Comparing Potti Sriramulu (who once fought for separate Andhra state from Madras) with KC Rao would be a Himalayan blunder. Late Mr. Sriramulu struggled for a noble cause and became a martyr. KC Rao, no one thinks so. You never know, we may have another Madhu Koda in making in the form of KC Rao.

Our political system is so corrupted that nothing constructive would be accomplished by the political parties without looking for personal benefits. They are all mouth and trousers. I support Gandhian style of protest by fasting, but not when fasting is also associated with so much of violence against public property. Gandhi did it for Indians and now TRS politicians are doing it for themselves. In my book Congress, TDP and PRP are no less evil than TRS.

Student leader of Osmania University went on record saying separate Telangana is his birth right since he was born in that particular part of the state. That’s the most irrational and incongruous thing I would imagine from a student leader. Tomorrow I will say oh! I was born in Visakhapatnam; separate country named ‘Visakha’ is my birth right. Come on; wake up and smell the coffee and do your part in clearing up the mess. I am sure the student movement in Osmania University is fueled by political motives as well.

You do see acts of humanitarianism, compassion and amity, like when students of Andhra University went on protesting for ‘United Andhra’. As I see it, those people who went on protesting for United Andhra, would not lose a penny if separate Telangana state is created. But they want to have united Andhra; it’s the feeling of brotherhood.

I anticipate that the rank and file of Telangana would be cognizant of egocentric motives of crooked, dishonorable and unscrupulous politicians and act wise by repudiating the separationists. I hope and pray for once central government would think through its head before it starts portioning the states.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My blissful experience with pain:

I am sure, all and sundry must have heard about people savoring their pain in achieving their dreams. I endured the same when I ran a full marathon a week ago. I rejoiced from start to end of 26.2 miles long run.

The marathon kicked-off about 7 am on a cold winter morning. There were about twenty thousand people, from all over United States, took off from Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. I was in penultimate coral to begin the run as I opted the estimated finishing time about 4:30 to 5 hours. I was wearing black under-armour and a white T-shirt with a caption ‘SMILE’ on it. I chose this T-shirt especially to bring out the smile in my fellow runners; for we all know how much of an effect smile has. I really felt invigorated listening to the cheering from spectators. I must say true act of altruism was shown up there. May be most of the spectators have had someone running in the marathon, but the way they were cheering all the runners was truly amazing. Several people were holding placards saying keep running, run strong, looking strong, keep-up the good work, you’re kicking ass! , personal messages for their beloved, and so on. While I was running I felt as though I was watching some sort of parade. There were several old men and women running at a good speed, looking at them running I felt even more enthused and ran faster (although I felt bad passing them). Some of the runners cheered for the fellow runners, as I heard from one of them saying “he cheers himself by cheering the fellow runners”. People made fun, said things, and laughed out loud. I heard several anecdotes as I ran along. Small kids were giving high fives to the runners. Several people ran for their Mothers to show much they love her. Volunteers were saying encouraging words to the runners. The total event was like traveling a long journey in train with enthusiastic fellow passengers and spectacular scenery outside the window.

Even though I was in pain in the last quarter of the marathon, the cheering from spectators kept me running. Having seen the kick-off, I decided myself that this is only the beginning of my marathon series, and the decision had not changed at the end of the marathon. I reached my destination in 4 hours 15 minutes although I could have done little better. My next target will be less than 4 hours. One thing I learned from this experience is “Running can also be an addiction”.

Vaishnava Janato

The English translation of "Vaishnava Janato “ -Poet Naris Mehta

One who is a vaishnav,

Knows the pain of others

Does good to others, especially to those ones who are in misery

Does not let pride enter his mind

A Vaishnav, Tolerates and praises the entire world

Does not say bad things about anyone

Keeps his/her words, actions and thoughts pure

O Vaishnav, your mother is blessed

A Vaishnav sees everything equally, rejects greed and avarice

Considers some one else's wife/daughter as his mother

The tongue may get tired, but will never speak lies

Does not even touch someone else's property

A Vaishnav does not succumb to worldly attachments

Who has devoted himself to staunch detachment to worldly

Who has been addicted to the elixir coming by the name of Ram

For whom all the religious sites are in the mind

A Vaishnav, Who has no greed and deceit

Who has renounced lust of all types and anger

The poet Narsi will like to see such a person

By who's virtue, the entire family gets salvation

For those who are interested in listening to the actual rendition of these verses in Gujarati

English translation by Unknown

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trying to be Indian

Last weekend I was a part of Diwali celebrations coordinated by a group of non-resident Indians at State college. You might be wondering if it was too early for us to celebrate the forth-coming Diwali; the answer is yes, but actually we were celebrating Diwali that should have been celebrated last month. Never mind, everyone and their uncle was there to rejoice the event. Despite the prolonged delay in the festivity, what strikes with awe was the ‘verve and gaiety’ people showed in facilitating and celebrating the event. There were several stage-shows related to Bharathanatyam, Bollywood, Hindustani music, Yoga and others. All acts were performed by the residents of state college and most of them were some way or other tie in with Indian culture.

I want to talk about one particular act named “Twinkle with the stars”. Although the main theme of the play was taken from a youtube video ( by Revathi Sankaran , the way the program was enacted by performers was stupefying. Every one of us would have sung “Twinkle Twinkle little star” when we were wet behind ears. In this program, a group of women, who were dressed to nines, personated as if they are from different parts of India (actually some of them really are!). It was really a sight for sour eye as we watched one by one singing “Twinkle Twinkle little star” and dancing in their native style. I would say it was very comical without mocking any culture or language and am sure everyone and jack must have enjoyed. Apart from the fun, one can easily learn something from this program about India. Undoubtedly, “Unity in Diversity” that many Indians always feel proud off. It also portrays the way we Indians take anything that is as foreign as this song and makes it our own. As Swami Viviekanada rightly said we belong to a culture where we welcome everyone and everything with our open arms.

Coming back to the event, for once I felt that the Indians over here feel more Indian than the Indians who are residing in India. I don’t know why, may be absence makes the heart grow fonder or maybe we feel that we owe something more to our nation. In any case most of the non-resident Indians feel their roots with India by celebrating all events, even if they have very remote connection to India. Although we celebrate the festivals at the end of the week, we celebrate it irrespective of the fact that whether our parents or grandparents have/do not have the tradition of celebrating that particular festival back in India. We try every possible thing that makes us feel Indian and do everything to make India a better nation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Top ten things that Biologists WOULD NOT want you to know

1. We claim that we work for 10-15 hours per day. In actuality, considering the down time that we have, our working hours do not cross 8 hours per day.

2. Sometimes we intentionally do not present our negative results, which would compromise the quality of the journal we are about to publish or down-play the significance of our work.

3. Many a time our motto is just to publish research papers and do not care a straw whether or not our research directly/indirectly aids in enriching the human lives.

4. Like in politics, in Science also ‘connections’ are very important for scientists to succeed.

5. In the name of attending conferences and exchanging ideas with fellow scientists, we travel around the world and have the pleasure of visiting places.

6. Success in Science is not always positively correlated with Intelligence/Creativity. Serendipity and Zemblanity play their part in grooming scientists’ future.

7. We strongly believe in Evolution, and make fun of theists when they say god created this world in 7 days.

8. Some of us do consider research just like any other job, and work very professionally without having an iota of passion for Science.

9. Doing Science is a rat race, so unfortunately sometimes unethical paths are chosen to achieve the desired goals.

10. In general, hypothesis precedes observations. But in Science most of the times we do experiments first. And having obtained interesting results, we beguile fellow scientists by saying that we had a hypothesis and we verified that by performing experiments.

P.S. I reckon some Scientists do not practice or believe in any of the ten things (let alone all) I have mentioned. I sincerely respect and salute them.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Top ten things that Life Science researchers would want you to know:

Top ten things that Life Science researchers would want you to know:

1. Most of us do not work towards developing medicine (to cure/prevent diseases). So avoid asking lame questions.

2. The kind of Science that we do is very different from what is shown in ‘Hollywood movies'.

3. We work very hard and don’t get much in return. So we are basically volunteering for good cause. Keep that in mind and ‘respect’ us.

4. We all know that Cancer and Aids are two top most killers: that does not make all of us know everything about those diseases.

5. We are not bunch of crazy people who has nothing to do other than Science. We do have our lives outside Science.

6. Rather than donating money to build Churches and Temples, fund Science, which will surely take you to heaven.

7. We do not kill animals indiscriminately. We, according to the rules of ethical committees, sacrifice their lives to save your/our lives.

8. Not all of us are going to get Nobel Prize. So stop asking whether our work is worth a Nobel.

9. Don’t believe the scientific news that you read in daily newspapers, they exaggerate our findings.

10. Not all of us are atheistic; so stop seeing us as a ‘threat’ to religion.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Freedom of expression

“Why is ‘Freedom of expression’ so important?” If this question is posed, one would get myriads of plausible answers. Freedom of expression has been the driving force behind the success of humankind in all walks of life.

Once greatest minds on earth believed that earth is flat until Aristotle enunciated “Earth is not flat, rather it is globular”. And yes, this fact had created so much of furor in those days, but so what, now every soul on earth abide by the very fact that earth is globular. Many a times, many of us have an opinion that is quite contradictory to the popular belief, but only few of us would come out and proclaim what we reckon. One must understand that by not being emphatic about your legitimate beliefs, a group of people on earth, often called minority, may be affected adversely for the lack of support. Take for example, religious freedom, equality rights, domestic abuse, corruption, classism and even history. The last example “History” intrigues me most. History is the knowledge about facts or events, how can people possibly have different interpretations when it is based on events or facts? This brings me to the topic that has become ‘a bone of contention’ in Indian media recently.

Yes, I am talking about veteran BJP leader Jaswanth Singh’s recent book "Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence". Jaswanth talked about Jinnah’s secular credentials, and how he is not very different from Nehru. I am not going to reason about ‘the new image’ he divulged about Jinnah, but will take you through the series of events that took place after the book was published. This book had cost him an arm and leg. He was expelled from BJP party for arrantly supporting Jinnah. And of course the book has won him a few friends in Pakistan. The book was banned in BJP-ruled state Gujarat for vilifying Sardar Patel, a well-known freedom fighter, who hailed from Gujarat. Countless debates were followed after Jaswanth was expelled to discuss whether or not BJP and Jaswanth were right in their actions.

It seems an inane idea for BJP to throw an eminent leader, who worked for the party over thirty years, for authoring a book. Does politics forbid politicians to share their ways of thinking? Do political party members abide by party’s principles (considering that each party has thousands of principles) all the times? Do Jaswanth’s views of Jinnah change the love people have for Patel or Nehru? Many a times authors pen something that world would little note nor long remember. Some obscure statistics present that out of a million books published by the press, not even 53% of them are read to completion.

To my understanding if a banned book like ‘Satanic verses’ was allowed to publish in India , very small percent of Indian population would have read and surely it would not have had any effect on Indian masses; for Indian masses care little. How many of Indians know how to read English, and what percent of Indian population would be interested in reading books on some author’s views on Islam. Even if fewer people have read, how many would get offended by the content of the book. Even if someone is offended by the book, an answer to a book is a book.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Maqbool Fida Husain, an Indian born world famous painter, often called “Picasso of India”, celebrated his 94th birth day in abroad. He is on self-imposed exile, as his life is under ‘threat’ from a variety of right wing activists in India. I am all ‘in’ for artistic freedom, if that does not hurt the sentiments of ‘conscious sane minds’. Although I am an ardent follower of Hindu religion, painting Hindu deities in nude would not offend me personally, but I don’t represent a billion Hindus. Like Mr. Husain has every right to paint whatever he contemplates, an ordinary Hindu also has every right to get offended. Many people would say why would Hindus get offended when there thousands of nude sculptures of Hindu goddesses placed around the temples’ walls. That is very true. But let me tell you, if your brother punishes your daughter for doing something wrong, you are all happy that your brother is taking care of your daughter; if a neighbor does it, you will go agog and pick up a fight with your neighbor. Call it hypocrisy or whatever; this is how 90% of human beings would react. One can’t find logical explanation for one’s actions all the times. Same holds true in case of Mr. Husain. A Muslim painter paints Hindu goddesses in nude that too in a sexual manner and it is inevitable that many Hindus would get offended. Do not expect that the rank and file would think logically before they act. Situation would go worse if the artist paints only mythological figures from a particular community and his intentions are clearly depicted in his paintings. In case of Husain, when asked in an interview “why he does not paint Virgin Mary, Mother Theresa or even Mohammed Prophet in nude” he refused to answer the question. I would not judge him, but will let you do so…………

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Journey to earth

“Hello, how are you?” asked Nehru, surprised to see Gandhi on earth.

“I am doing fine. I am sure you can’t be still alive, so what are you doing here?” asked Gandhi, equally astonished at his encounter with Nehru.

“Oh! I was in heaven, and they gave me an opportunity to visit earth, as a reward for my good conduct. I was hoping to see you in heaven ever since I checked in there; what happened?” enquired Nehru with a genuine concern, knowing that Gandhi deserved to be there.

“I was in hell all the while and I am going to get in to heaven after this trip to earth. For two pins, you never cared a button about karma concept and never listened to me when I implored you to read Gita. So let me tell you this, every human being does bad and good karma; based on his deeds, he would be directed to spend time in hell and/or heaven. Initially, he would spend his time in hell if he did relatively little bad karma and later he get to spend his life in heaven. On the other hand if he did lot of bad karma, the opposite would be the case. Now you know where you stand” smiled Gandhi with a grin on his face.

“Do you mean to say you did more good in your life than I?” questioned Nehru, bit disappointed over Gandhi’s sarcastic remarks.

“No, don’t take me amiss, I don’t mean to traduce you. It was just that I confessed my bad karma in my book ‘My experiments with Truth’. That nullified all the bad karma I did.”

Nehru for a fraction of second regretted that he did not know this eternal dharma, had he known about this he would have written everything in his autobiography. But in a jiffy he realized it’s much better that he did not write everything about him or it would have taken lid off so many things.

“Anyway, I am happy about you Gandhiji for all right things you did in your life, but you were born before your time, if you are alive now and have the courage to speak nothing but truth, you would have won yourself a crore rupees and a direct ticket to Heaven.”

“What…………… why do you think so?” asked Gandhi with a puzzled look on his face.

“Do you know about this television show, called ‘Sach ka saamna’, which is a Indian version of American TV show ‘the moment of truth’. The foibles and forte of this show are being debated on this earth as well as in heaven. In this show, host asks 21 questions that are interwoven to your personal life, whose answers would have to be either simple Yes or No. If you give right answers (basically speak truth), you would go home with a crore rupees. Polygraph machine or Lie detector, as the name suggests, examines whether a person is speaking truth or not. Even in Indralok, Gods are so tech savvy these days that everything is computerized and mechanized over there. And I tell you, Brahma is so happy these days, he gets to spend most of his time with Saraswathi” said Nehru with a glee in his eyes.
“So what is your point” asked Gandhi, still not very clear what Nehru was trying to imply.

“Ah! Same thing that I have said earlier, you would have made lots of money in your life time and also had a ticket to heaven. I envy those people who appear on the show, earn money and a have secure place in heaven. But Gandhiji………… it beats me, if you had written everything right about yourself in your book, why did you end up in hell in the first place. You confessed all of your bad karma, right?” asked Nehru.

“Nehruji, you are up the creek in this regard, do you really think 200 odd pages book is sufficient to write about all good and bad things you had done in your life. And above that we did not have lie detector to test our so called ‘true confessions’. In the similar way, 21 question and answers are not just enough to talk about person's life. Essentially, what I am trying to say is to minimize your bad karma so that you will have to spend less time in hell” said Gandhi.

Gandhi and Nehru reached and settled comfortably in Sabarmati ashram with much ease with their super natural powers. After a 'austere' meal they called it a night and retired to bed.

(To be continued)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

River side

It was not very rare for students’ parents to visit our tuition master (fondly we used to call him Masto). That was our evening tuition class, there was no power but the room was well-lighted with a number of kerosene lamps, and our Masto was teaching us physics. Everyone had one kerosene lamp in front of them. We were bound to carry the lamp with us, as there were no regular hours of power supply to our village. In fact, same kerosene lamp was also being used as torch light while we used to get back to our homes after tuition class. Naidu was standing trembled and was trying to answer the question Masto asked, fully aware of what was going to happen to him in couple of minutes. Home truth is Masto’s method of teaching was very peculiar, unconventional and bit weird: he used to make us know important question and answers by heart, which made many of us to do reasonably well in our board examinations. We had to memorize all the important question and answers that were taught a day before and we were asked the same questions the following day to see if we remember them at all. This method of teaching had been in practice in the best interest of students, since most of the students just wanted to pass in the board exams rather than acquiring knowledge about the subjects. This concept of “just passing the exams without having an iota of knowledge about the subjects” was very disturbing to many of the young and educated minds; but like in any other case, you follow the majority and the so called conventional (unconventional around the world) practices.

While we were in the middle of the class, Madhu’s father came and exchanged formal greetings with Masto. Madhu’s father came to express his grievances about his son. He told Masto that he was ashamed of his son’s misdeeds and his son had put him in much embarrassment. Masto was startled since he did not know what was amiss with Madhu, as Madhu by nature was a hard working and an obedient student. I must mention that our Masto knew more about our well being than our parents; since many of our parents were illiterate and they entrusted their responsibility of our well being on Masto’s shoulders. So it was an unwritten rule that Masto is responsible for our acts of delinquency. Since Madhu’s father refused to tell what exactly made him let-down, Masto called me and asked what was all about it and if I had any idea. If you are a nice and well behaved kid, it does not always come in aid of you. The same case with me; I was caught between rock and a hard place. I know I would have to face the repercussion if I told the truth but I could not help telling him and my fellow mates what had brought shame upon Madhu's father. Before I tell you the story let me take you through our village surroundings.

There were four villages surrounded by a river called Mahendrathanaya (Daughter of Mahendra) and the only factor that kept the four villages together was the village high school, Z.P.H. School, Peddaseedhi, where students from all four villages advanced their higher secondary studies. We belonged to the batch of 1991-1996. Since the school did not have enough number of teachers to educate us all the subjects that we ought to study, we were bound to take tuitions from Masto. Masto used to teach us Mathematics, Physics and English and he used to hire couple of other teachers to teach us Hindi and Social Sciences. On week days, we used to have two sessions and one in the morning and other in the evening. After the evening session we used to disperse for dinner. Girls used to stay back at their homes and we boys used to come back to the tuition, where we used to study together. Our Masto arranged the place in such a way that we could sleep there itself with out having had to go back to our homes at such ungodly hours. This arrangement primarily did some good to most of us; but some guys did make use of this opportunity and enjoyed themselves, in a negative sense of course. This is essentially because if some of us did not turn up to the tuition after dinner, Masto used to think that we were at our homes, as we were not bound to come to tuition after dinner. Some of us used to go for late night movies and few of us used to go sugarcane fields/edible plant fields and enjoyed ourselves. Since it was always in the night we escaped all most all the times with out getting caught. That’s when some of us did something in broad day light which had put us in odd position and taken away the freedom we were enjoying till then.

Here is a brief account of what happened on a bright sunny day morning on the banks of river Mahendrathanaya. Seven of us that include Ravi, Rishi, Kantha Rao, Laxman, Madhu, Kalidas and I decided to go to river to take bath. Kantha Rao and I were from one village, Theemara, and the rest of the guys hailed from the other village Thamara. Laxman and Rishi were short, well built, bold and daring and obviously these qualities made them the leaders of the group. Kantha Rao, Madhu and Kalidas were very ordinary and followed the footsteps of Rishi and Laxman. Ravi and I didn’t get along very well with the group but we were part of it. There were two different routes to reach our destination but they were connected at one place before the two paths lead to the river. As decided earlier, we met at the junction and that was actually when some of us had planned to have coconuts as our breakfast, as if they were up for grabs. Me, not being very daring to venture in to those kind of acts, decided to cut myself from the group, as I am fully aware of the situation if we get caught; Ravi, my good friend probably thought the same and joined me. The rest of the seven were determined to have coconuts, so they proceeded towards coconut plantations, unaware of the future consequences.

Letting the other guys to pursue their misadventures, Ravi and I took the alternative route to reach river. We were just playing around and trying to catch small fishes using our towels. It was nice then as the water level was waist deep, the water flow was not really high. If you were born in a village, although you miss luxuries that city kids would avail, you learn and enjoy so many things that you need in life without paying a penny. Having had the pleasure of fishing for some time, we let them go in to the river. When were about leave for our homes after morning ablutions, we found Kantha Rao running on the banks of the river. At first we could not understand what was going on, so we tried to stop him. We both failed to stop him and in no time he was out of sight. Later, by seeing the other person who was chasing him, we came to an idea what could have gone wrong. We both thanked God for not having had to join them and headed back to home imagining actual series of events that could have taken place and making jokes on that. At the end of the day, I went to Kantha Rao’s home to know exactly what had happened. His mother was bit worried and told me that he had not been to home since morning. Later, from Katha Rao I came to know that he went off to nearby town to save himself from the short comings.

What I gathered from Ravi was that the owner of the coconut plantations who was a resident of Thamara village filed a complaint in Panchayat. Since the premises of the plantations fell in Thamara Village, there was formal hearing in Thamara Panchayat. Laxman, Madhu, Kali Das and Rishi were called and they had to face the music. Kantha Rao was saved because he belonged to the other village and guard of the plantation did not know who Kantha Rao was. So we all thought it’s all over and were in raptures that Masto did not know about this incident till Madhu’s father came to tuition.

Masto was not very happy with me for not letting him know about the incident earlier. Ravi and I got bashings from Masto and we were fine with that as we were used to such bashings. What was not digestible was the kind of punishment Laxman, Rishi, Kantha Rao and Kalidas got. They were beaten up with a plank on their knees and on their fingers. So the take home message from this anecdote is not to go around and take other’s things for granted.