23 October 2008

Yet another one? - to make it half a dozen.

Before going to the main topic, I shall write down a small thing.

On 17th of September, I was coming to the 3rd floor of my department building in the elevator (Lift). One side of the lift is a huge mirror. On that mirror, I found some dirt. On inspection, I realised that it was the oil from someone's head - when that someone had leaned back on the mirror and had rested his head there.

Well, nothing to do with me. I just left it. (The mirror is in the picture below -- the ghost like person is none but -- yours truly ;) )

After two days, in the lift, I saw the same thing. Then I realised that the cleaning people haven't cleaned it yet. So, it was 19th of September. I just wanted to know how long will it be there.

On that oily patch, I wrote "19" with my finger - so that the date will stay there every day and I'll not have to keep a count of it. (This theory simply is wrong - I have to keep the count in my mind.)

Anyway, the point is that I made a mark "19" on it.

And that is still there -- today being 23rd of October -- meaning, it is/was there for one month and 6 days. I don't know what are these cleaning people doing!

Well, coming back to the title. If I am not very much mistaken, I started my German course in October 2006, that is to say, I have been doing German courses for the past two years. And yes, I am enjoying the fruits of it. I am able to express myself better, I don't feel like an illiterate anymore, I can slightly flirt, my confidence has been boosted big time, I started a German blog etc. etc.

Again it is another October. Yes, on 22nd of October 2008, I have started to go for a French course (beginner's level). The first class was not bad at all.  This course is offered in the university and the teacher was really very sweet and wonderful.

Once I learn French too, then it will be the 6th language in my collection. Well, I almost never speak in Hindi for my accent is good enough to make any hindi-loving person have a broken heart! ;) .. but I count Hindi, as I can understand/read/write Hindi and also speak actually *well* with the wonderful mallu-accent!

Even though I fluently speak Tamil, I am an illiterate if you consider my writing/reading skills. Still, I do count Tamil! :)

Other languages being Malayalam, English and German. Not bad for a *young* fellow like me right? ;)

Give me another two years and then you'll see me speaking a little bit (very little bit) of Spanish as well... which is in the list of languages to be learned. :)

Signing off, Sands.

PS: The other day, I told my dad that my German has improved by leaps and bounds. Then he asked me - "So, Tamil or German -- which one is more easy for you?". I said, "of course Tamil". Then he laughed.. and said - "Ha ha .... now, I know how much your German must have leaped".

With a single sentence, he managed to crush my pride... by saying both my Tamil and German are bad! :( :( :(

Smart fellow, isn't he? ;)

17 October 2008

Energetic People

Two days back, a friend of mine said - "I think, about 90% of all the people we meet are weird". Later, anyway she made it clear that I belonged to the rest 10%. I am sure that she was feeling good about being in that minority which she definitely considered to be "normal" .. or rather, "non-weird".

In fact, the definition of NORMAL itself is "what/how the majority does". If one looks from that point of view, we are the weird ones.

Fortunately, some of my friends, with whom I have *stuff* to do, belong to the minority of "weird" people. There is one common trait of these weird people - they are energetic. YES, THEY/WE ARE.

There is nothing in the world which can make them tired. Well, we are human too, we get physically tired, but the fire will be there inside us always. And many a time, we are good at sharing the energy! :) Great .. isn't it?Mental Energy! ;)

Trust me, it is not that difficult to have a good/positive way of thinking. It is perhaps much easier than having negative thoughts. If I get started on this topic, I am sure to go to "there is no spoon" - which is from the movie Matrix. But the idea "our mind is the most flexible thing" was developed by me even earlier! :)

Yes, that's the key. We, as specially intelligent creatures, can choose the mood which we want to be in. And I choose to be happy and energetic, with lot of plans and ideas always within me. {For the first time in the history of this blog, I dare say that if you think all this is just boasting, bragging.. I don't care}

Well, I have been blamed of writing too long posts. I better listen to my readers. And I should move my blogging days from Friday to Sunday/Monday - so that my readers are not tired when they see my blog! ;)

But there is a small message before I leave.

My dear fellow, you can decide whether you should let something affect you too much or too little. You can choose how happy you should be. Should you choose to be happy and energetic always, you will be. (Or at the least, most of the times). Please do give it a shot.

This message is to an Indian friend of mine - who comes to me everyday; who is almost always cribbing about life; who is a whining baby. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to listen to my advice! :(

Signing off,

PS1: I once had an argument with the same friend (from the first paragraph) and another friend (a very energetic soul) about our ignorance of our ignorance. I am not ignorant that I am a normal human being who is bound to have the fatigue of a long week and I don't deny that I feel a little tired now. Let me head home! :)

PS2: These wonderful, lovely friends of mine here in Germany are from totally different fields of life - a programmer, a computer-linguistic student, a doctoral student and a German-teacher! :)

Post Script Long: The dialogue sequence from The Matrix [Youtube Link]

  Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.
  Neo: What truth?
  Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
  Neo: There is no spoon?
  Spoon boy: Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

10 October 2008

Jam, Love, and Three girls

Lately, I am cultivating the habit of listening to some radio programs. Every morning, I do listen to one or two of the umpteen FM stations. (Language Learning through Radio Programs - I could write a book on that)

My favourite is (for no specific reason) Bayern Drei (don't bother the name). Just like every other station, they too have frequent reports on weather and traffic. (Did you expect something about the eatable jam?? after seeing the title?)

It is indeed surprising that, every morning, in the traffic report, they report at least 5 traffic jams; And that the traffic blocks are on an average 3 kilometres long. Indeed surprising, right?

Well, sometimes there is some news of an accident too, which could be accounted for one of the five traffic blocks.  Otherwise, how could there be so many long traffic blocks?

The fact which leaves me surprised is that, Germany wasn't developing (in the past 10 years or so) as fast as many third world countries are doing right now. I don't think that there was any car-population explosion, which was totally unexpected, so that the government didn't have enough time to make enough infra-structure. Still there are these JAMS!

After the report, I give a minute's thought to Bangalore and Chennai. And wonder, how bad it would be there?... if this is the situation here. (Don't forget that, here the pollution control is better, nobody sounds the horn and also that you can easily stay without lowering the glass - which is totally the other way around in India.)

(Did you expect something about the eatable jam?? after reading the cheesy title?)

Now is the better part: A little about languages.

'love' is overloaded with so many meanings.How many words do we have in English, which mean LOVE? - Just one .. and that is LOVE. Whether it is a child's love to its mother, or a lover's love or any other love (even the love of/for God)

The situation is the same in German too. It is even worse because the word for love (liebe) is also used as 'dear' (only in female cases).

The word for 'love' is overloaded with so many meanings.

Now looking into Indian languages, there are a couple of words for love - depending on what type of love it is. Right? A mother's love  is not the same as a lover's love. There are different words for it.

All the same, a lover's love is best expressed in English! :) 
Since when am I this crazy? Writing about these things? That too, too incoherent!????

Well, let me wind up with a curious thing: I met three girls in the past 10 months. All three of them have something unusual in common - all three of them are children of dentist parents!
[ No,  they are not sisters ;) ]

Hmmm.. one of them is named Hermione. ;)
Others are real! ;)

Signing off, Sands.


3 October 2008

Lot of Things :)

Since the last time I wrote something here, at least three topics have passed my mind, which I considered worth writing about. Lack of time kept me from writing.  :( ... Well, I was never in short of topics to talk/write about! ;)Sherlock Holmes

At some point of time every year, I have a Holmes addiction phase. It usually lasts for about a month during which I re-read many/most of the adventures/stories of  Sherlock Holmes and refresh my memory. The stories are so wonderful that every time I read them, I have the same thrill (almost) which I had had in the first read. The wonderful friendship shared by Holmes and Dr. Watson gives me a special feeling too.

The language which Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle has used there is perhaps the best of all the English literature I have ever read.

This morning, I was listening to "The Hound of Baskervilles" (human-read MP3 -- available at project Gutenberg); later I listened to  "The Adventure of Empty House". At the end of this entry, I have added a small passage from "The Adventure of The Greek Interpreter", just to show the beauty of deduction. :) [You could very well avoid to read that]

Philosopher's Stone But sometimes I do want to be able to remove the memories of some books which I've read, so that the re-read can be as pleasurable as the first read. I was reading a classic-of-the-future (Harry Potter part 1 and 2) again, and I felt the need of having forgotten the story to have the fresh-feeling! :)

This is surprising: - For the past two times, when I start to type in the new entry, I don't have the flow which I usually have. It feels like some block. My typing speed is really much above average (I believe) and this much of an entry should be typed in in a couple of minutes. But this time (last time too) I needed longer time than this much text-typing would take. I also hit the backspace a few times.

I believe/hope that this is just temporary. (Well, in fact, knowing the reason for this is really bad.  I have something in my mind which I am dying to write. But keeping from writing, as my readers (nor I) are not Waitress with Beer! :)really ready for it. It has something to do with the 2-3 year challenge I once mentioned). So I have to get over this background topic, before I come to any other thing. Hence the little trouble.

These last two paragraphs came is with such an ease, that I myself am surprised! :)

Hey, I almost forgot to tell about the famous Oktoberfest. I had been already three (four) times there at the festival. All the time, with some friends. I should perhaps dedicate an entire post to the festival. Let me have my pictures ready, then I might do the post. :)

Before leaving, there is a small quote from one of the books I am reading lately. I have spent lot of time in trying to convince people - about Evolution. Daniel C Dennett sums it up - all that I have to say on that topic.

"To put it bluntly but fairly, anyone today who doubts that the varieties of life on this planet was produced by a process of evolution is simply ignorant - inexcusably ignorant, in a world where three out of four people have learned to read and write"

-- Daniel C Dennett (Darwin's Dangerous Idea).

Not agreeing with evolution: I would compare it with people not having accepted/agreed with heliocentric system - a few centuries ago.

Signing off, Sands.

PS: Below is the excerpt from "The Adventure of The Greek Interpreter". Mycroft Holmes is Sherlock Holmes' brother.

The two [sherlock and mycroft] sat down together in the bow-window of the club. "To anyone who wishes to study mankind this is the spot," said Mycroft. "Look at the magnificent types! Look at these two men who are coming towards us, for example."

  "The billiard-marker and the other?"
  "Precisely. What do you make of the other?"

The two men had stopped opposite the window. Some chalk marks over the waistcoat pocket were the only signs of billiards which I could see in one of them. The other was a very small, dark fellow, with his hat pushed back and several packages under his arm.

  "An old soldier, I perceive," said Sherlock.
  "And very recently discharged," remarked the brother.
  "Served in India, I see."
  "And a non-commissioned officer."
  "Royal Artillery, I fancy,'' said Sherlock.
  "And a widower."
  "But with a child."
  "Children, my dear boy, children."
  "Come," said I. laughing, "this is a little too much."

  "Surely." answered Holmes, "it is not hard to say that a man with that bearing. expression of authority, and sun-baked skin. is a soldier, is more than a private, and is not long from India."

  "That he has not left the service long is shown by his still wearing his ammunition boots, as they are called," observed Mycroft.

  "He had not the cavalry stride, yet he wore his hat on one side, as is shown by the lighter skin on that side of his brow. His weight is against his being a sapper. He is in the artillery."

  "Then, of course, his complete mourning shows that he has lost someone very dear. The fact that he is doing his own shopping looks as though it were his wife. He has been buying things for children, you perceive. There is a rattle, which shows that one of them is very young. The wife probably died in childbed. The fact that he has a picture-book under his arm shows that there is another child to be thought of."

Isn't this great? This example here sounds a little too far fetched. But Holmes would say - "Simplicity itself"