The social matrix

We may have built a society unknowingly, but man is still a handiwork of nature. So there are things that will always sprout from their origins, and wrap around us like a web or a matrix. Many years ago, as I was returning from work on a winter night, I overheard a girl talk on her cellphone. “It’s always the son that a mother likes more,” she exclaimed, stressing out the relevant words. We see it played out in Hindi movies all too often, in scenes that we make fun of for their over-sentimentality. The play ‘Bollywood ka Salaam, 1960s Ke Naam’ did that remarkably well, in a scene when the son returns home from abroad, and the mother awaits him with a bowl of kheer in  her hands. And in ‘Qurbani’ we see the father-daughter pair. Let me try and create a little controversy. Does the preference for sons arise from here, or is it the other way round? The sciences may have many theories...
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In dreams lies a history

The dream is the (disguised) fulfillment of a (suppressed, repressed) wish. — Freud From falling teeth to missing a train, dreams have been our constant night companions since childhood. We may wonder whether babies, or dogs, have dreams. Maybe they do. What else could our mind be busy doing while we slumber away, but fulfilling our own suppressed, repressed wishes! Or trying hard to reveal us the truth through those strange assembly of characters, objects and situations that had never been together before! They have done some great cultural service too. Religious prophets found their revelations in night-long sojourns into the unconscious. Prophecies are born only in dreams.  The connection between irrationality, dreams and religion is hard to miss. And in recent times, prophets of violence have found in dreams a divine justification for war. I had a theory of dreams in my college days – I saw dreams as simply imagination running wild and loose, without the controlling influence of our conscious mind. Imagine...
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Where do dreams come from?

A moment’s reflection will tell us that dreams are not random, haphazard collection of images or events. There is a plot to them. I like to think of them as stories that our half dead brain produces. Which means our mind could have a faculty built within whose function is to concoct stories. The most interesting aspect of dreams is that they are false. These are false stories that we watch while asleep! It is interesting, because our brain is tied up so close to reality — we see, touch, hear and so on, only that which is real — that it is strange to see it concoct sekuences of events that never occurred! ...
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The world of thoughts

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn) “Don’t think.” [sochne ka nahi], the local, middle-aged grocer, who also runs a farmhouse in a nearby city, advises me from his experience. During my college days I was much intrigued by the reality of the world of ideas and thoughts that surrounded us. I found it difficult to understand the reality of this world. One day I had an hour long conversation with my professor of anthropology over phone on this topic. (there were no mobile phones then). Later on, I found much comfort in the analogy of a bell… my assumption was that our thoughts and the brain corresponded to the bell and its sound. So our thoughts were as real as the sound waves that reverberated from the bell. I thought I had solved this problem. … I am no longer concerned about whether or not our thoughts are as real as physical objects or even waves. What is of greater importance is what value they hold for...
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If it’s ‘riksy’, do ‘aks’

Photo credit: ZedZap..Merry Xmas dear friends The under- educated Indians, the ones who toil in shops and such other sundry places, do leave behind, oft times an impression with their large heartedness. “It’s riksy,” says the mobile phone repairer. “Replacing the glass is riksy, but I will get it done.” “Risky,” I correct  him. The man disappears behind the door. A play once used another of these simple tongue twisters that bind the lower class of humanity, with no redemption in sight. “Ok, Aks. ” the actor challenges the lawyer in the court, based on a dandy Bollywood aspirer and English learner, much to the amusement of some in the audience. Written typos are now pretty well known. “Snakes and drinks,” I once read on a hotel sign board. We too make mistakes, for English is not our first language. I remember Astad Deboo correcting Moushami Chatterjee’s idiom on a TV show — ‘hit rock bottom’, not ‘hit the rock bottom’. ...
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