Sunday, 14 July 2019

'Moo'sic

It is said that life on Earth depends on survival of the fittest. Hence the most weak species like the Dodo were wiped out or the most powerful species like the lion and the tiger are endangered as they have to deal with the so-called sharper minds of humans. 

Do IITian's have the sharpest minds among the humans? At least in India, we believe so, as most parents would love to have their wards in an IIT. They think that once their children are into an IIT they have that extra advantage over other ordinary students when they start out on the rat race. Yes, the every day struggle of humans to earn a living and achieve something in life use called a rat race.

But when they get into IIT, and especially IIT, Mumbai these students have to vie for space with so many other species. 

Once, students in IIT, Mumbai were vulnerable to dangerous species like the Leopard and the Cobra. The nearby Powai Lake was infested with crocodiles. Yes, you read right. Don't think that the IITian's have it easy inside that sprawling, tree lined campus. 

Nowadays, the Leopard and the Cobra have almost disappeared, though they do manage to make special guest appearances at lecture halls. 

However, today the street dogs, the monkeys and cattle, lord it over inside the campus. Few months back, I had written about the monkey menace there. The dog infestation is across Mumbai, hence nothing special to write about. 

But today, a student was run over by two, fighting bulls. It so happened that they were chasing each other on the IIT campus street when an unfortunate student happened to be in the line of their stampede. Of course, he happened to be staring into his mobile screen, which is an invention of a particularly mad scientist, bent upon making the human race to go backwards in civilization. So the bulls steamrolled the student who miraculously escaped with minor scratches though he did lose consciousness at that instant. But happy to report his survival. 

This goes to show that a few species are putting up a good fight to try and prevent the human race from running away and ruining the planet by infiltrating the highest echelons of human learning.

Last heard, the humans have appealed to their highest authorities to rid the campus of other animal species. Or atleast control them, as these other species do provide a stress busting environment to the extremely stressed students.

Yatindra Tawde

Saturday, 6 July 2019

The Egg Cop

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It was rolling across the green fields in the fresh morning air as the morning joggers were trying to kick-start their digestive juices. It was the newest gizmo in town and almost everyone in the park did a double take, blessed as it was with a unique shape, attractive colours and an undulating gait.

Yes, it was the Egg-o-Cop, an egg shaped robot cop, recently deployed by the US Police and given comparatively undemanding duty. And why not? It wasn't anything like it's famous namesake protagonist in the movie, 'RoboCop', which did excellent business in India.

Why Egg-o-Cop? It was, thanks to its cute egg like shape, that it got christened so.

And what was it doing in a park, you might ask. Well, the US Police gave it the all important task of generally keeping watch on the activities in the park. Not nosing around or poking it's non-existent nose in people's affairs but to act as the eyes and ears of the real Cops sitting many miles away in their headquarters, watching screens from across the city.

The Egg-o-Cop is equipped with a 360 degree vision which allows it to give live-feed back to the Department. And… and nothing else! Yes, it serves no other purpose than to be a remote traveling camera for the Cops... atleast not in three immediate future.

It is meant for patrolling and greeting people with a "Good day to you".

Yatindra Tawde

Friday, 28 June 2019

The Monk brewed the beer

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In ancient India, Soma was the preferred drink of the Devas and the Asuras. They fought a lot of wars for possessing this valued drink. It was so popular that it is praised in many hymns in the Vedas.

Not much is known now about its manufacturing process however it is thought that it was made from some hallucinogenic Himalayan plant. The supreme Indra is said to have enjoyed drinking Soma to his heart's content.

It is not known whether the Rishis made it or someone else but now that knowledge is lost, maybe for ever.

But not to worry as in today's world, the monks have taken to brewing beer and this beer is for the common man like you and me.

Yes!

These Belgian monks have been brewing, what is known as Trappist beer but they have certain rules for their customers. The customers cannot resell the beer; it is for their own consumption.

The monks had a well defined process of selling their beer. They can order by phone and can collect a maximum of two creates in person. But due to its limited availability this beer is comparatively expensive.

Precisely the reason why it piqued the interest of middlemen. They saw cool profits by selling it in the black market. Or to make it a part of legitimate business. Just like a famous Dutch supermarket did, by selling it at inflated prices. And they had been able to stock a staggering 7200 bottles! How? How was a company able to buy in such volumes?

This question caused them sleepless nights and they had to take steps to overcome this commercialisation of their non-profit venture, which was meant to cover the annual costs of running their abbey.

So they have stopped phone bookings and turned to a more efficient and customer friendly online reservation system. Under this system the customers will have to give their Aadhar card details, or rather, their address and car number, as they stay in Europe. And a single buy will be limited to two crates of beer for a period of 60 days.  Priority will be to those who have waited the most since their last purchase.

And no, the Trappist beer is not expected to be sold in the near future in India. We don't have any Belgian monks… otherwise I was already imagining a few Indians reading this, sharpening their Aadhar Cards for booking a crate or two and swiping their credit cards.

Yatindra Tawde

Monday, 17 June 2019

Girl Power

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Recently we saw a girl from Kerala galloping on a white horse, towards her school to write her exams.

Now, who in his/her right mind would gallop towards an exam hall? I remember being pushed by my parents, while I would be indulging in last minute revision, trying to remember whether the chemical formula of water was H2O or HO2. These three atoms of hydrogen and oxygen were held together by covalent bonds but the answers to some examination questions were very loosely attached to my memory. And once attached after a lot of effort, they refused to easily let go of my mind and spread themselves on the answer sheet due to which they had to be literally coaxed out in order to get converted into respectable marks on that results sheet.

But this story is about that gutsy girl, who not only rushed to give her exams but did it with a swagger, not many teens manage.I think the video was first shared on Twitter and within a short time, it became viral, so much so, that a top industrialist was mighty impressed. In fact, he eulogised her as his hero.

The government slogan says, "Beti bachao, Beti padhao" and found a ready role model who really lived that slogan.

Well, the girl is CA Krishna studying in 10th standard, from Thrissur, who always had a passion for horses from her childhood. And she was fortunate to have an encouraging father, a priest in a temple, who was ready to support her passion.

So a horse was gifted to her when she reached her 7th standard. Within a year she had mastered horse riding like a pro.

But she met many naysayers who discouraged her. Even her friends were part of this chorus.

"Horse riding is not for common girls like you", they said. "Only great women of the past like the Rani of Jhansi can ride horses."

All this strengthened her resolve and now here she was riding a horse to school. A horse named 'Ranakrish'!

Hats off to Girl Power.

Yatindra Tawde

Saturday, 11 May 2019

What came first? Chicken or the egg...

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What came first?

Chicken or the egg?

I read that researchers have concluded on this age old question. Till now I had always thought that this is just an English idiom to describe what caused what…

I was most surprised that this can be a subject of research. I mean researchers are actually trying to find out what came first…the chicken or the egg. And the researchers have concluded that the chicken came first, since the protein which makes up the egg shell comes only from the chicken.

That had me stumped. After all, it could not have come from humans. And why can't the egg have come first, since the chicken evolved much later, much later than the dinosaurs, who laid eggs!

Why would some researcher spend his precious time to get an answer for this question. What benefit can be derived for mankind by finding out whether it was the chicken or the egg. But then , in the western hemisphere, they do research on everything under the sun…and beyond.

For example, someone did a research on how long does it take for cow dung to dry out. Now how could that be of any benefit to anyone, including the cows? But then research goes on. It goes on because sometimes it leads to a breakthrough in totally unrelated areas.

For e.g. Few years back there was research on how geckos can walk on walls without falling. They found that there are Nano hairs on their feet which work like Velcro, and this finding helped the researchers develop a stickier, reusable self adhesive tape. So now we know for sure, what came first. The naturally sticky gecko feet came first, before the reusable adhesive tape.

Now many of you might join the research bandwagon to find out what keeps your wife in good humour... But don't try it out, you may lose many precious hours to find an answer to an unanswerable question!!

Yatindra C1 Claws Club

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Swachchata abhiyan

It was early morning. So early, even the birds were fast asleep.

 A time when Raghu liked to get the job done and over with. It was his me time. That way, he was a shy person. He liked to defecate alone in the fields in the darkness. Not for him, the community defecation festivals conducted every morning by his fellow villagers.

 The anti open defecation mohim, which was a rage in the rest of the country, had not yet touched his village. Perhaps, due to his village falling in an opposition ruled state?

 And so he was doing his job peacefully, sitting ('h' silent)below a tree, humming a tune.

Suddenly he was lifted up in the air, still in same position, his legs wrapped tightly by something. As he was being carried off with his pants down, he realised that it was an elephant from the neighbouring forest, which was swinging him wildly.

 With his heart in his mouth, he saw death. He saw his long departed grandmother, his uncle and an assortment of departed fellow villagers, all having a good laugh at his expense. As tears steamed down his eyes and with his bottom literally yellowed, he prayed… prayed hard.

 And miraculously, perhaps overcome by the pungent odour of the load it was carrying, the running elephant finally dropped him like a load of potatoes and ran off into the neighbouring forest.

 Today the man has become an ambassador of the swatchchata abhiyan of the village and his mascot is…who else, Appu Raja.

 Yatindra Tawde

Tu cheese badi hai mast

"Tu cheese badi hai mast mast", went the superhit song of the 90's, which had Khiladi Kumar and Raveena Tandon gyrating to the lyrics. The spelling of cheese above is not a spelling mistake, it is deliberately spelled so, since it is the heroine of this story.

 It is said that all living things, including trees, respond to various types of music, in different ways. While we have seen cats enjoying piano music, dogs have been known to headbang to rock.

 Trees respond to music too, and Indian classical has been proved to help the plants to thrive. However, certain research says that trees or plants respond to the vibrations produced by music. 

Taking inspiration from above I decided to study the effects of music on cheese; I was very eager to know how the flavour and ripening of cheese would respond to different frequencies of musical sound.

 So I went to the mall and bought 8 packets of cheese. After coming home the cheese was gently escorted out of the packs and kept on 8 wooden dishes seperately. Then eight pairs of earphones were placed surrounding each wooden dish. Lot of thought went into the selection of eight types of music. 

One dish of cheese wiggled itself to Elvis Presley while Beetles serenaded another.

 While Country Music took it back to its country roots, afrobeat shook it up to its core.

 Jazz was music to its core, and Folk music welled up its eyes. The cheese really thrived in Indian classical, growing in size and spilling beyond the borders of the wooden dish.

 But when I played it, its namesake song, "tu cheese badi hai mast mast…", and tasted, I slurped my fingers; it has a strong flavour. Perhaps it was influenced by the pair of handsome specimen who wiggled their booty seductively.

 You would think I have lost my mind but no.

 Recently a team of researchers, who, usually don't have anything productive to do, conducted an exactly similar experiment. The team used mini transmitters to diffuse the musical energy into the cheese and this experiment went on for 6 months for the results to be concluded and finally the results were announced.

 The cheese exposed to Mozart had a milder taste, but it was the cheese exposed to hip-hop which had a tangy flavour.

 Hope, further research doesn't say that the Gully boy binges on tangy cheese. Or the Classical wizard is a connoisseur of mild cheese…

 Yatindra Tawde

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