Friday, September 17, 2010

Harry Potter, The Defense Against Dark Arts and the Seven Unwanted Vices

For those who have been following the "Harry Potter" series (books/movie) religiously, would be well versed with the fact that Harry and friends had a subject called "Defense Against Dark Arts" all along their education. Also the fact that the job of the "Defense Against Dark Arts" teacher was jinxed , and hence no Professor remained in the position for more than one year. This meant that each year we had a new Professor for the position and consequentially the scope of introduction of a new charachter each year/book.

I realised a small observation regarding the people who took up the post each year. Apparently each of the seven people, were charachteristically different from each other, and exhibit some charachteristic unwanted vices (unwanted in the sense that we wouldnt want it in ourselves) .

  • Quirrell, in the first year, is some-one who is cowardly and spine-less
  • Lockhart, in the second year, is some-one who is boastfull and fraudulent.
  • Lupin, in the third year, is some-one who is miserable.
  • Moody, in the fourth year, is some-one who is cranky, Vichitr and actually deceitfull(no more spoilers)
  • Umbridge, in the fifth year, is some-one who is corrupt and un-just.
  • Snape, in the sixth year, is some-one who is vengeful and un-courteous.
  • Slughorn, in the seventh year, is some-one who is lazy and nepotistic.
Just an observation, although some vices apply to others also.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quote Unquote - III

  • The 20s are designed for failure, so fail all your can. Because in 30s there is no room for making mistakes -- Dustin Hoffman
  • Animals do smart things with their pea-sized brains, and humans do animal things with their smart-sized brain -- Gaurav Patil
  • Jumping off of a 200-foot cliff is a lot of fun for 199 feet, That final 12 inches is a bitch -- Sam Davidson
  • Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into -- Henry Beecher
  • Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you do not need an appointment -- Catherine Aitken
  • There is always room at the top, but there is no lift -- Jaswant Singh
  • Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness -- Mark Twain
  • I believe that parents also want their kids to chase their dreams, but they know from their own life experiences how hard it is know which dream to chase. -- Amit Singh
  • The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments. -- Adam Smith
  • The road to positivity is strewn with the abandoned vehicles of the faint-hearted. -- Anand Jadhav

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Invented Proverbs - Part V

  • People are too lazy to specialize, hence they generalize. They hence do not work on facts, obtained through specialization, but rather on perceptions, obtained through generalization.
  • Xenophobia is selective Mis-Anthropy.
  • Your popularity is directly proportional to the ratio of your twitter-followers-count to your twitter-followings-count.
  • GOD is a placebo for Human fallibility.
  • 90% of people within any group, resent the fact that they are not 100%
  • History may be written by victors, but Archaelogy is not.
  • I am not an atheist, I am just GOD with retrograde amnesia.
  • I am not on bench, I am suffering from a "Programmers block".
  • There is a whole range of gray shades between pride and shame.
  • If we cannot have consensus on current affairs, why do we expect different people to have a consistent view of history, for today's current affairs are tomorrow's history.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Logical Grouping of Devanaagari Baaraakhadi

Came across this interesting realisation about the arrangements of the Baaraakhadi in Devanaagari.

This is about how you use your tongue and mouth cavity to articulate a particular sound.
There is a sort of logical grouping and progression about the arrangements.

क, ख, ग, घ, and ङ sounds are all articulated by the tounge against the back of the ceiling of the mouth cavity
For च, छ, ज, झ, and ञ sounds, we move forward and use tounge against the centre of the mouth cavity's ceiling
ट, ठ, ड, ढ, and ण are produced more forward behind the gums of incisors
त, थ, द, ध, and न are produced with the tounge against the teeth
and प, फ, ब, भ, and म are produced by the lips alone.

Considering the expertise on grammar that stands 2.5 millenia, this phonetic formalism is not a surprise.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The curious case of the missing Bania

Disclaimer : Academic post, not meant to be normative, the word "Bania" is used bona-fide.

One of the undeniable realities of Indian history has been the caste system. A little thought on the same(induced by formal history reading) would lead one to conclude, that this social stratification had not been uniform throughout the country. The caste divisions as seen in Uttar Pradesh are different from those in Tamil Nadu.

One of the more peculiar things regarding this that I realised in hindsight was the absense of the trading stratum within the Maharashtrian caste heirarchy. There are Brahmans, there are Kshatriyas and Shudras and there is a "warrior+peasentry" mix in the Marathas, there are Dalits, but no Vanika. Such an absense of the Vanika is not seen starkly in any other place, which have their fair share. I think I can safely argue that on an average, having business sense(or business shrewdness) has never been the common man Maharashtrian's strength. This is also shown by the absense of any big Maharashtria names in the field of business, (specifically as business owners).

I think that one of the outcomes of this was that trading people from other places, came in and filled this vacancy. As much as different strata of the society have a varying degree of influence on the society in general, it can be argued that the "having" of economic clout goes a long way in determining the political (and other) clouts. Consequentially there is absence of Marathi clout specifically on the economic front in Mumbai. The popularity of people like MNS and SS could be attributed to this resentment.

Having said all this, it is possible that my observation may be incomplete and hence flawed.