Aristotle said once, I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies. We all are trapped inside our endless desires. Why humans are not ever satisfied? We always want something; food, money, sex, status, friends, social life, sports, trips, peace, war, superpowers!! Our mind is constantly trying to catch something, most of the times some elusive things. Why can’t we live like other living things? Have you ever thought if reproduction and survival are the only goals, why are we worried about so many things? Many researchers are trying to orient answer to this question towards consciousness. But do you think is it really unique to us? EvolutionWe are NOT the only living things which have cognitive abilities.

People were trying to address this question since 17 century [1]. This endeavor has also touched various philosophical topics including the Body-Mind problem. Thomas Nagel’s famous paper “What is like to be a bat” had similar perspectives. Birds are thought to be evolved cognition parallel to humans. There are plenty of reports ranging from abstract concept [2] to symbolic communication [3]. More notably research of Irene Pepperberg and her group on Alex the parrot. Not only birds, there are many different animals including dogs, cats, chimpanzees, few invertebrates on which different cognitive experiments have been done. There is whole separate section on Wikipedia about Animal Consciousness. If these animals have some kind of consciousness, why they are not acting like human? Do they have such ever unsatisfied desires? Our current experimental technologies don’t have this answer. But philosophy is dealing with this issue since pre-Aristotle time [4]. Plato suggests that individual desires must be postponed in the name of the higher ideal while Kant categorized them into ‘hypothetical imperative’. These all philosophers defined desire in different ways but at the end purpose of human desire remains elusive rather with unsatisfied answers. This question is worth thinking about. We are not great philosophers but we have enough ‘consciousness’ to think about it. Evolution requires survival and reproduction. Though conscience has been associated with encephalization during course of evolution, where does the desire plays role into this? Is it heritable entity? Where the desire does came from? More importantly why we are always unsatisfied? It looks like more we are thinking about it, more we are getting unsatisfied answers!

Rohit [DeXter] Suratekar

References

[1] Peter Carruthers (1999). “Sympathy and subjectivity”. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77: 465–482.

[2] Pepperberg IM (2013). Abstract concepts: data from a Grey parrot. Behav Processes. Feb;93:82-90.

[3] Voke and Shackelford (2012) The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Evolutionary Psychology (Oxford Library of Psychology). Oxford University Press.

[4] Robert M. Young (1996). “The mind-body problem”. In RC Olby, GN Cantor, JR Christie, MJS Hodges, eds. Companion to the History of Modern Science.

External Links [ All accessed on 22 February 2014 ]

Image Courtesy: Hardin 1999, The Funny Times.

Brain is mysterious organ. It is the mastermind of all your daily activities. More you know about brain, more you will get tangled! Many researchers have spent their whole life trying to understand little but still this object is cryptic. Oliver Sacks is one of those researchers. He studied many neurological cases where classical neurology faces radicle challenges to explain them. He says his whole life is with sick and that sickness drives him to think what he could not have thought without it. His most popular book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales” published by ‘Simon & Schuster’ in 1985 in which he has described some case studies of his patients. This book got critically acclaimed and was economically successful. Many other websites and blogs have already spread across internet dissecting these cases.   Most fascinating study I came across in this book is the story of Dr. P. This is the story of Visual Agnosia patient who is not able to recognize faces. Not even his Wife’s face, which he thought is Hat!

The_Man_Who_Mistook_His_Wife_for_a_Hat_coverDr. P, proficient musician as well as painter, was having some problem with his vision. After some tests his ophthalmologist thought problem is with brain and suggested him to visit Dr. Oliver Sacks who was neurologist. He indeed was right. Dr. Sacks found out in few tests that Dr. P is not able to recognize familiar human faces. He was clearly the victim of visual agnosia and more precisely ‘prosopagnosia’ which is disorder of face perception where face recognition is impaired but rest of visual process and intellectual functioning is normal. His conversations with Dr. Sacks obviously suggest that he is fluent with his conversation which may indicate that he is fine with his verbal and communication areas in brain. In some tests where Dr. Sacks asked him to recognize hand gloves, he was unable to identify them. This is hinting towards more complex agnosia. He asked Dr. Sacks to give him hand gloves so that he can ‘feel’ it. I guess he was not getting enough visual information (Which is questioned in postscript by Dr. Sacks) this involving some Apperceptive visual agnosia, where victim cannot form a whole percept of visual information. But event where he was analyzing National Geographic Magazine refutes our assumption about apperceptive visual agnosia. Where he was able to recognize tiny details quite well but again he was unable to perceive that picture as a ‘whole’. We can infer from this is that this was not the only prosopagnosia case but combination of more. Another striking feather about this disorder was Dr. P was able to perform all his routine functions with music and singing. That incidence on the dinner table, when he suddenly goes into shock, there was someone at door (or when someone interrupted his singing) implies that he associates most of his actions with his ears. This is also hinted when Dr. Sacks described his first meeting as “He faced me with his ears”. Dr. Sack’s inference about the paintings is somewhat confusing. He has no idea about the mentality of Dr. P. Was he trying abstract art or it was just outcome of his malfunction? May be or maybe not. If this was artifact of his vision processing, this could be the more evidence that he was able to perceive visual information but was not able to understand it as a whole. When we look at these conditions Dr. Sack’s description about Dr. P as a mere computer sounds logical. He can receive all normal information which others are receiving but is not able to process it normally. Emotional, cognitive component in this case is very subtle.  Even Dr. Sacks was very careful when he brought up that point in the postscript of this case study.

In conclusion, I think, our knowledge of how brain functions is limited. Classical neurobiology is not sufficient to answer all the questions we are facing. The curious cases like Dr. P’s agnosia are important in understanding some new concepts. Finally Dr. P’s case was not just the simple prosopagnosia but the blending of some other disorders. Yet elusive fields in this area like emotions, cognition, judgment etc. are subtly involved in these studies. The concepts like ‘Abstract Attitude’ need to be modified. But in the end understanding of cases like Dr. P’s agnosia is keeping us one step closer to understanding this very complex structure!

Rohit [DeXteR] Suratekar

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Man_Who_Mistook_His_Wife_for_a_Hat_cover.jpg%5D [Accessed on 28 February 2013]

References
(1)    Oliver Sacks. The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales. Simon & Schuster (1985)
(2)    The Case of Dr.P & Visual Agnosia. Web Link: http://webfusion.net.nz/oliver_sacks_dr.p.html [Accessed on 28 February 2013]
(3)    Wikipedia. Visual agnosia. Web Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_agnosia [ Accessed on 28 February 2013 ]
(4)    Wikipedia. Prosopagnosia. Web Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosopagnosia [ Accessed on 28 February 2013 ]

Well, there are many online tutorials for LaTeX which can cover Basics as well as Advance knowledge of LaTeX, then why creating one more? While learning LaTeX, I came across many different types of data, different way to get know about LaTeX. Some were too easy to understand and some were too difficult. Most importantly, there was so much information, formats, styles in which I have no interest. I will be not using that information too often. So I created this post where I will add all the information which I find important to students like me.

OBJECTIVE

Objective of this post is to give to working knowledge of LaTeX in such a way that, person with NO previous knowledge of LaTeX will get use to that environment and later he/she can find more interesting stuff by own.

FOCUSED READERS

I will be providing information to readers belongs to Molecular Biology / Biology/ Life Science background. This declaration is important because main use of LaTeX is wide range of Typesetting and Maths Formulas which has very less occurrences in these areas. I will be mostly concentrating on Reference Management. And this article is mainly created for users trying to make their ‘Research Paper’ on LaTeX with lots of references.

Introduction and Need

You must be wondering why we should learn this robust system when there are easier and simple word processors like Open Office, Microsoft Office etc. You can better look at its advantages/disadvantage (of course! Everyone has its own) Here. Many universities are recommending LaTeX. May be you will encounter your Guide/Teacher/Leader who will force you to learn it. Better to get know now 🙂 . Here I like to add comment on our Focus. This system is very good for creating research article with lots of reference. You don’t need to concentrate on their occurrence and indexing. Just concentrate on article, rest of the work will do LaTeX better. Even if you want to add reference in between your already indexed citations, No Problem, Just cite your article anywhere and LaTeX will index it for you!

INSTALLATION

LaTeX is mood killer! When you have decided to look at LaTeX, it will kill your interest in installation 😛 . This happened with me twice. I went back to MS Word after surfing its official website. You can get step by step information Here.

Just I want to add important point that uninstall/clean up your system if anyone has previously used LaTeX on that system. My recommendation is to download Full Package once so that you need not to download again if any package is missing. It’s around 1.3 GB [ProTeXt-3.1-061212]! If you don’t have good internet connection, you can download it in parts. Better to ask your friend with good connection to download for you.

Linux system is better than Mac and Windows. But I guess most of us are using windows, so from this point, I will provide information for Windows Environment [Windows 7]

For Windows you need ProText. After installation you will get TeXstudio in your program list. That is what we need for our document creation. You will also need TeXworks. If you still not getting correct downloading links, I have given downloading links at the end of post.

USER INTERFACE

[Those who are pretty comfortable with normal windows UI can skip this section]

Now you are ready for getting to know about LaTeX. I will start with TeXstudio UI. See Image 1. There is lot of

TeXstudio User Interface

information I can provide you about this UI. But I will give you some important areas and their functions. I am assuming you are ‘talented’ enough that you can get use to rest of the function later by own. Note that all the minor details are not provided here. You can check original documentation to check such details. I am just providing you working information.

[ A ] is your main working area. Here you have to add your commands as well as document stuff.

[ B ] Is area where you will see your various sections, chapters, labels. These will act like bookmark, so that you can access any part of your document in single click.

[ C ] is not for you 😛  This section is for advance users. Better to ignore for right now.

[ D1] and [ D2] are some shortcuts to regular functions. These are fancy buttons provided in this UI so that you don’t need to remember code/command for every symbol or action.

[ E ] is your menu bar just like MS Word menu bar.

 COMMANDS 

[This is the section for which you read the entire article written before.  Here we go! ]

Beginning

Some of the beginning commands/lines are called ‘Preamble’. These are like settings for layout. Detail layouts and preambles can be found Here.

In General you can go for

\documentclass[a4paper,12pt]{article}

This means create layout where paper size will be A4, body font will be 12 and Style will be of Article. Don’t worry about style right now; you can do anything in any layout. These are just standard formats which can save your lots of time (You will understand it later when you actually start working in LaTeX). You can add additional information like Author name/year/Title but this will not display in main document but added to your document attributes.

\documentclass[a4paper,12pt]{article}
\title{LaTeX Basics}
\author{Rohit Suratekar}

After layout setting, there is command you need to add before start your actual document content.

\begin{document}

Now we are ready for your document content. Considering this is a research article, we will start our document with Title.

Title and Headings

Now you will need to know about sections. These are main parts of your articles. Every research article may have sections like Introduction, Method, Observations, Results etc.  When you start any section in LaTeX, it will automatically Bold and its font will increase than that of our body font. You can add subsections or subsubsections. Latex will automatically number them for you.

Generally you can start section like

\section{Introduction}

You can add any section/subsection anywhere. No need to worry about numbering. It will be added automatically.

But what if you don’t need numbering for you section? There is option. Just add asterisk ‘*’ before section name.

\section*{Introduction}

This will create Heading without numbering. So you can create your title with above command.

This will align your test to left by default. If you need your Title at Center use following.

\begin{center}
\section*{LaTeX Basics}
\end{center}

Further details about sections and their formatting can be found Here.

One of the important advantages of sections is that you can access any section any time with single click. These sections will be visible in Section [B ] (see figure 1).

Body Content

Add your content in each section. There is wide range of good typesetting in LaTeX. You can check them online or in any book. If you want to learn some important and basic settings , I recommend you to read book ‘The Not so short Introduction to LaTeX 2’ by Tobias Oetiker et al.  It is simple book of 145 pages. You can learn basics in 2-3 hours. You can find ebook on internet.

Reference, Citation and Bibliography

According to me, this is the most important advantage of LaTeX. It gives you too much flexibility and ease towards citation management. Only one concept you need to understand is ‘Key’. Every reference or bibliographic item is identified with unique ‘Key’. You have to assign it to every item. It can be number, word or combination. So every time you need to cite any information in article, just use this ‘Key’. LateX will take care of rest.  Detailed steps can be read Here. You can go to bottom of document and write following code. . .

\begin{thebibliography}{1}
\bibitem{rohit2012} ``LaTeX Basics'', WordPress Journal , 2nd edition
Rohit Suratekar,
Mcgraw Hill  (2012).
\bibitem{book1} ``A Guide to \LaTeX2e: document
preparation for beginners and advanced users'',
Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly, Addison-Wesley (1995).
\bibitem{article3} ``The \LaTeX\ Companion'',
Michel Goossens, Frank Mittelbach and
Alexander Samarin, Addison-Wesley, (1994).
\end{thebibliography}

Here , {1} indicated at first is the argument <widest entry> is the widest label in the list of entries. It helps in alignment. You don’t need to worry about it right now. Second line starts with first item. In that item ‘rohit2012’ is my unique key for reference “ Rohit Suratekar. LateX Basics. WordPress Journal, Mcgraw Hill  (2012).”

So anytime I want to cite this reference, I have to add just following command after my sentence/part of article.

\cite{rohit2012}

You can add keylist to add different references at one site.

\cite{rohit2012, article3}

Above command will cite item 1st and 3rd of our bibliography.

You can read more basic tips and formats Here.

Ending

At the end of your document, you need to close by following command

\end{document}

Execution of file

TeXworks

When you are working with LaTeX you will find many different types of files created after saving our document. Well, as a beginner I would like to suggest again don’t go into those details right now.  Just one more environment you need to know is ‘TeXworks’. This program will compile your ‘.TeX’ file and will create lots of different types of file. Only file matters to you is .TeX and .PDF. You will get your Pdf output from ‘TeXworks’.  Just open this program and import your .TeX file and click on ‘Typeset’ or Ctrl+T or that Green Button. [ See image 2]. Be sure that the typeset is selected as “pdfLatex+ MakeIndex+ BibTeX”. Now don’t ask why we have to select this. You will know after using LaTeX for a while. After clicking on that Green Button, you will see your output PDF file. If there will be any error in your file, It will show there.

ADVANCE TIPS

BibTeX

There is something called BibTeX system for large number of references and citations. Here we import our citations from one external file. Concept is same as above we discussed. Every item has to get unique key. Now creating BibTeX you need to follow specific format for entering your data in your reference file. You can check out these formats Here.

Now what you have to do is just create blank document in your simplest text editors [Like Notepad]. Add your all references in that file with format mentioned in above link. And save your file with extension “.bib” For example, if you want to save your file with name ‘myreference’ save it as ‘myreference.bib’ Now you don’t need to add separate references or citation in your document file. Every new citation or reference, you can add in your ‘.bib’ file with new unique key. And in your Main document just use that key in your citation command. But you need to add some commands in your main code for using this reference file.

At the bottom of your document just add following code

\bibliographystyle{plain}
\bibliography{myreference}

Where ‘myreference’ is the reference file name which you created earlier. You can add multiple files.

\bibliographystyle{plain}
\bibliography{myreference1, myreference2, myreference3}

After saving files just goto TeXworks and typeset your desired file.

Sometimes you will not get your references in your PDF file. In such cases delete all file in your folder with ‘.bbl’ extension and typeset again.

Figures and Charts

These are very delicate elements of your article. Their placement, alignment, size, caption matters a lot. Single bad image can screw your article. I suggest reading Wikibooks on Floats and Tables or read in short Here about these elements.

Multiple Columns

There are many Research journals who demands multi-column article. In such case you can use ‘multicols’ function. Read details about it Here.

Foot Notes

Sometimes you need to add foot notes in your article. It has very simple command

\footnote{Your content here}

Just add this command after word/sentence where you want to give footnote. Add your note in Brackets. Do not worry about numbering. LaTeX will take care of that.

I think this much information is enough for creating your research article.  Next time we will discuss about some advance commands and Mathematical typesetting.

— Rohit [DeXteR] Suratekar

REFERENCES

Oetiker T., Partl, H., Hyna, I., & Schlegl, E. (2003). The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX 2 (p. 145).

Abrahams (2003). TEX for the Impatient, (1), 1-391.

External Links [Accessed on 24 June 2012]

Downloading Links [Accessed on 24 June 2012]

Notification

Posted: April 9, 2012 in Archive, Event, Random, Story
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It is definitely not what you are thinking. If the thoughts about Facebook notification touched your mind, go outside and get some ‘real’ life! [It is coming from person like me, strange but true] This was about one email notification. My heart was pounding really fast. That strange mail was staring at me like something important. I was really amazed to check that notification, which I sent one year back! It was started in February 2011 a week after valentine day [ 😉 ].

But before we start, you should know reason behind this affection. I completed my applications for masters in December 2011. So admission decisions of universities will be rolling out from February 2012. Every day I was checking my mail almost every time I visited Facebook. Now you can get idea about how desperate I was! Each time I open my mail account, I saw “4-5 unread mails”. And when I saw their subjects, ‘XYZ group has updated’, ‘XYZ has sent you friend request of some XYZ’, ‘ABC has won million dollar lottery!’ To avoid frustration, I unsubscribed all my subscriptions to all fun groups and sites. I should not say situation improved, But after that whenever I opened my account, it showed me ‘1 unread mail’ or ‘No new notification’. Bahh! That was more frustrating.  In lieu of this, my excitation was in Log Phase. In addition, some of my friends got admit from universities. In result, my mind was creating ripples about ‘these’ mails. There was one more thing, my messenger always produce some strange sound when there is any unread mail. My situation was similar to that Ivan Pavlov’s Dog. Whenever I heard that messenger sound, my mouse automatically clicks on Firefox shortcut on my desktop. Then my brain will start producing some unnecessary thoughts. It was reflex, I can’t control it. As a result, every mail I received was treated like a mail from Nobel Nomination committee.

Now back to valentine day of 2011. It was last semester of my Engineering. We all friends were indulged in past four year’s memories. I created one ’To Do’ list, the list of things I never did in these 4 years but want to do before leaving this hostel life…

Well some of them I am writing here [Censored Version 😛 ]

Eating Maggi in our College’s main Cafeteria ‘Nescafe’.
[It is strange but I never went there because it was costing me double than my regular canteen at hostel 😀 and they says ‘single’ people like me are not welcome there  😐 ]

Playing Volleyball at main ground in middle of night
[I am not a sport person. But there were rumors that some hot MCA chicks play Volleyball on weekends on main ground. This was not logical because Girls Hotel will not allow girls after 9 pm. But someone put Picture of girls playing at night on Facebook and we got convinced.]

Continuous Gym for whole week
[Indeed, This was most difficult task in my entire list. Not just this list. I was planning this ‘adventure’ since last 3 years  😐 ]

Watch Sunrise at Naini Bridge
[This was one of the famous spot for hanging out in city. I had no intention of completing this task but legend was my engineering will never complete without this event. At least what I heard from my seniors]

Prank ChiChi (our Night Canteen Owner) for free Cold Drinks
[Chichi was one hell of a narrow minded person. Her canteen was costing 5-10 more bucks than normal value on every item. So this was one of the common dreams among students to get Free Drink from her. It sounds easy but her accounting skills were good. Hence it was challenging task.]

Collect all the lend money from friends
[It is fact that, Friend in need is friend indeed. But in some of the cases like this one, I would suggest ‘Bite Me’! And still you are believer of that quote; I would suggest borrowing some from others. Then it would be fair. ]

Date with a college Girl
[Now, this was something out of my expertise but it was effect of Valentine Day! Challenge Accepted!! ]

And there were some more like these. Now on one crispy afternoon, me and my friend were having lunch in cafeteria. We were discussing about my ‘to-do’ list. Discussion was pretty loud. 4-5 other students joined us. At the end of discussion, we end up on one ‘bet’.

“I have to complete at least 3 of these things; else I will give treat to all the friends in one of the costly hotels and vice versa”

That list may sound easy to you but practically difficult for me. I came to compromise with friend that I will complete at least 3 of these in 1 year.  And that moment we set a reminder on http://emailfuture.com/ , which will automatically send us email in future!!

To
future Rohit,

I am sending this mail on 21 February 2011. I hope this mail server will deliver you on 21 February 2012. And if you receive this mail, I guess world is not ended yet! 😛

This is reminder that you have to complete at least 3 things from your “to do “list made this week. If you are unable to complete your objective, it is mandatory that you have to teat XYZ (friend’s name) in the most costly hotel in present city.

Digital Signature

Rohit

XYZ

Referee: ABC [another third party friend who will decide who won and who lost]     “

Well, I was totally forgotten about this bet and my to-do list. I was expecting some serious email from my admission applications. Instead I got this wonderful mail. I was laughing at home for almost half an hour when I received this mail this February. The emotions at that time were priceless! There was laugh, nostalgia, happiness, satisfaction and also fear. Blending mixture of these was ecstatic. My mother came to my room to check what is going on. I was smiling at my laptop screen with mobile in one hand. Many memories refreshed. I immediately called that friend and told him

You owe me one dinner at Costly hotel in your city!”

               

28 February 2012, for most of us it is just regular day filled with their routine activities. But there was brain storm, a zone of imagination where some glorious nervous cells were signaling about “Clean Energy Options and Nuclear Safety”, a theme of the National Science Day 2012 of India. Well, my brain cells weren’t in that storm but at one point I just thought about present situation of science. For mere organism like me it was more than enough. The best way to check our present position is to check our Past and imagine future. These two factors are sufficient to envisage present situation. I guess, if we compare our past to “Vision 2020” of India , we will get some glimpse about our present progress in Science.

As today we are celebrating this occasion to mark the discovery of Raman Effect, we should start with Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman and Physics. Undoubtedly, Physics is fundamental aspect of our universe and root of all natural Sciences. I am proud that India’s science roots are very powerful. It has been claimed that Indians were involved in many experimental sciences thousands years ago. But according to documented evidence, thrust for knowledge of atoms and molecules was started with legendary Kanada [concepts of atom (Ann, Parmanu) and relativity (Sapekshavada)] which carried on by many personalities including Homi Bhabha [Father of Indian Nuclear Programs], Jagdish Chandra Bose [Foundation to Experimental Science], Jayant Narlikar [Conformal gravity], Vikram Sarabhai [ Indian Space Program ],  Satyendra Nath Bose [Bose–Einstein condensate ] etc. Physics, like the mathematics and astronomy of ancient India, is replete with theories and calculations that anticipate western scientific achievements by considerable periods – in terms of centuries ! Our modern scenario was even better. Enlisting all notables in physics is technically not possible but many distinguished personalities related to modern physicist can be found here . Government of India has also been encouraging and furnishing Indian Physics. IISc, IITs, NITs, TIFR, ISI, BARC, ISRO, IIST, IISER, IMSC, Raman Research Institute etc. are on frontier of Physical Research.

Mathematics is the Heart of Indian Research Field. Many ancient legends like Aryabhata, Baudhayana, Bhāskara I, and Panini are immortals in Mathematics. Later Jyeṣṭhadeva , Ramanujan, Ramachandra etc. founded modern Indian Mathematics. Again complete contribution to Maths is ‘uncountable’ but some of the prominent personalities can be found here .  Modern science is not complete without mentioning Vijay P. Bhatkar and his PARAM supercomputer. India has bestowed respect to science when Dr. Abdul Kalam [Missile Man of India] took oath as 11 th President of India. Similarly, other fields were no exception. Presently research in going on in every field of science ranging from basic Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science to more advanced nanotechnology, synthetic biology, genetic engineering. Some of the noticeable modern scientists from India are enlisted here .

As magnificent was our past and is our present, we should not conclude without considering actual facts. Recently, in ‘China versus India’ debate held in Bhubaneswar, present Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has told that China is ahead of India in scientific research . Considering contemporary rival and his position relative to us, we should worry about our present scenario. Annual report 2010-2011 of Government of India, Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology has main groundwork of ‘Strengthening’ our research and development. I think, our situation is satisfactory when we will concentrate on ‘Developing’ rather than ‘Strengthening’.

Happy Science Day !!

[Image Courtesy:

http://www.indiaheritage.org |http://www.all-about-forensic-science.com| http://publishingarchaeology.blogspot.in ]

[Original Post : http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rohit_Suratekar/blog/ ]

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you

— Friedrich Nietzsche

 That’s what happened when I looked long enough in the Reading Comprehension passages of ETS. Sad ETS! I have no idea from where they gather their passages; it was like reading ancient Mayan language. I could have been more correct about meanings of Mayans but I let my guards down when it comes to those eclectic, crafty write-ups.

Nietzsche and I first met in September 2010 in one of the RC passages, especially about literary renaissance. Technically he was little related to rebirth I mentioned above. Hence I should take this opportunity to thanks Wikipedia. Wiki was/is/will always be the vessel of digression. I must say, every detour I took on Wikipedia reveals new facet. At that time it was better to engulf into literary articles than Jenifer Aniston’s affairs. Do not underestimate my words as well as power of Wikipedia. There is no link between Nietzsche and Jennifer but you may end up on both the pages within few minutes.

When I first read Nietzsche’s article from ‘Thus spoke Zarathustra’, I was impressed. Though I didn’t understand single line from that article (Except one “Friedrich Nietzsche born on 15th October 1844”), there was something mysterious about his article.  Last time I experienced such spark in ‘Batatyachi Chal’ by Pu. L. Deshpande. Certainly, scenario was different but feelings were same. Further, I started reading his book “Beyond Good and Evil”, still reading. This is difficult novel but worth reading. His distinguish thoughts are, no doubt, better food for our thoughts.

I have read many articles about philosophy but his works seems different. Before, I was indifferent to such philosophical writing. I always thought that was ‘High-Class’ S##t.  Definitely, that was something more than normal men’s perceptions and reading between lines.  His nihilist philosophy may looks like atheist and caustic but has point.  Skepticism is important and so are believes. There should be line between these two. As quoted from ‘Prejudices of Philosophers’, “Every great philosophy up till now has consisted of- namely, the confession of its originator, and a species of involuntary and unconscious auto-biography”. I agree, in fact, my advance writing is inspired by this conscious philosophy. I find resemblance of such philosophy with music from Mozart or Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. Both were legends and pioneer in their area of expertise. When you listen to their music first time, you will not understand depth and hidden meaning. As soon as you will use to their pitch, you will find that music has some own philosophy. I think music and philosophy has parallel roots.

Anybody can become philosopher, ohh wait, they are! Refined and sophisticated version of your thoughts could be the trigger you are looking for. One should be philosopher, at least once in lifetime! You may not be Adept, but will become Adaptive.

Image courtesy : Wikipedia Commons [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nietzsche187a.jpg ]
Quotes Reference: Friedrich Nietzsche. Beyond Good and Evil. Dover Publication, New York 1997

When all other fixture souls were indulging into their ephemeral dreams about Friday night, I was on verge of organic and inorganic world. Even Apollo was abdicating empire to Luna. Coldness of that roaring wind was augmented due to height of that hill. I tightened my hold on sweater. Body was producing heat through continuous vibrations. I was able to hear only sound of wind, and now bonfire; considering coefficient of friction of my jersey was not satisfactory. That magnificent aura on horizon was rendering into deep, dark void. When those benevolent birds were returning to their loved ones, I was camping in that secluded place. I was not inspired by ‘Into the Wild’ neither trapped like ‘Cast Away’. Just roving away from any direction leads to destiny. I was perched on that passive stone with only elements who can listen to my silence as interestingly as kid listening to Cindrella story.

Sometimes it’s amusing that not thinking about thoughts and listening to nature’s own Rap. Crickets were adding salt to that ‘natural’ song. Everyone was happy about weekends but I was indifferent. Some says adventures and challenges are the players who kept your match playing till end. Without them everything is empty. I do believe in him. But sometimes mind pop ups different ideas. Celestial bodies offer reasonable explanation. They are numerous and far beyond our reach. They become visible in clear sky but disappear near vicinity of lunar aura. They are actually so far that we always saw their thousand light year old reflections. Still we are searching selfishly their patterns and tempting figures. Our desires are numerous and far beyond our reach. They become visible in passive, hostile environment but disappear in vicinity of achievements! Reality is always different that we imagined.

I realized that we always make things complicating after listening alarm set on my mobile. We push our self into sea, where we have already planted traps. And when we got entangled into these, we realize we shouldn’t have planted them.

I checked time, it was late. That was time to face towards my path…

After all; I was ‘also’ Human.

Snow WhiteLATELY I am trying new adventures. From past experience I noticed that for my every quest I got always capricious reactions. The comments which I usually get lie between approbative and mild criticism, even sometime sarcastic taunts. But thanks to my endurance, I decided to go for new hunt. While thinking about next move, accidently I came across mirror. I always wanted a furtive glance in Snow White Mirror. Alas! No chance in this Muggle Blood. I stared at my unclear image. That dusty glass was unable to reflect my true personality [ 😛 ]. I looked at my 2 month old beard and mustache. I imagined one Dwarf with black beard [Again Snow White Fantasy … 😀 ]. When I gazed at my belly , puzzled and wondered ! That voluminous trunk was not sign of gourmandism. Believe me, it’s ‘Home Food Effect,’ nothing else; considering my last 4 years on mess food. Immediately I checked calendar. It was hardly 2 months. Deliberating these extra 6 kg,

“Every day I was gaining 100 gm.”

Mirror My mind got wordy with some ‘unfortunate’ words like Exercise, Gym, and Swimming. At first I thought these ideas are prosaic. As an Engineer, Matter of fact approach to problem narrowed my option to ‘Jogging’.

I asked my muggle mirror, “Is it good idea?”

No answer!

I asked again, and what a surprise! I heard some muttering. Inaudible, but still I was trying to listen. Though my conscious mind told me that’s Fruit fly who is shacking her wings, I wasn’t ready to buy it. Bah! Finally I woke up from this daydream when that Fruit Fly landed on my nose tip.

It seems still adventurous to me. I was looking at this with Positive attitude. As a result one of my old thoughts came to me with different avatar,

“Every day I was losing -100 gm. “

Meanwhile I didn’t notice that my Mom was standing behind me. She wasn’t puzzled as she was aware of what can 21 years old boy do in front of mirror. I returned to my room directly towards closet to check Sport Shoe. As soon I opened door, I faced one more Mirror. That mirror was trying to pull me again inside fantasy world but my mind barraged with Jogging thoughts.

“What you doing there? Come here “

I heard clear voice this time. I pinched myself and started searching that bastard fruit fly.

“Rohit, what’s wrong?”

Now, there was neither fruit fly nor ‘inner’ sound of my conscious mind. I was thrilled. I adjusted that mirror towards light to check what’s going on. How unfortunate am I! There was no Snow White. [:( ] I turned around and saw my mother staring at me, this time with Puzzle!

“Are you okay dear?”

Certainly I was not. “I needed cup of coffee.” I replied with yawn.

She left room when I landed on my bed. It seemed that paranoia was still chasing me. I saw my reflection on Fan hanging on sealing. This time that mirroring me a bizarre image. Image was 7-8 kg thinner. I started reconsidering my new venture. Again that fruit fly was roaming around my head. I lost my patience and started searching potential weapons. There was newspaper on table. I got what I need but my target was missing. Sadism!

I went to kitchen and get one glass of water. Now my image was fluctuating. As soon as I drank ‘half’ of water, I don’t know it was dilemma or dizziness but that half glass forced me to think … Was that end of my new adventure? No wait! It was never started one. Still starting new venture is an adventure. So why call it adventure? Am I confused or feeling sleepy? And what the hell is “Huummm..hummm” means?

Ohhh! As I expected, my old ‘friend’ followed me inside kitchen. That fruit fly buzzing was blended with my thoughts. I was on verge of reality and fantasy. Mirror was pulling me inside while my mind and ‘friend’ were keeping me on ground.

I was allured by Snow White but Coffee was what I need.

Hell yahh !

Coffee is what you need when you started thinking about half empty glass and half full. 😛

त्याला ती एका पार्टीत भेटली.

खुप सुंदर होती ती. साहजिकच तिच्या मागे खुपजण होते . ती सुंदर होती, बुध्दिमानही होती. सर्वांनाच हवीहवीशी वाटणारी. पण ती कोणालाच जवळीक साधु देत नव्हती.

तो फार साधा. आर. के. लक्ष्मणच्या ‘कॉमनमॅन’ सारखा. त्याला तर त्याचे मित्रही भाव देत नव्हते. मग तिच्यासारख्या मुली तर चंद्राइतक्या अप्राप्यच! तिचं त्याच्याकडं लक्षही नव्हतं त्या पार्टीत. आपल्याच विश्वात मश्गुल होती ती!

पण आपण धाडस करायचच, असं ठरवून, सारं बळ एकवटुन त्यानं तिला विचारलं, ‘तु पार्टी संपल्यावर माझ्याबरोबर कॉफी प्यायला येशील?’ तिला ‘नाही’ म्हणणं फार सोप्पं होतं. पण त्याच्या डोळ्यांतले नितळ, पारदर्शी भाव आणि आवाजातलं आर्जव जाणुन तिला का कोण जाणे, ‘हो’ म्हणावसं वाटलं. ती ‘हो’ म्हणाली आणि त्याचं टेन्शन शतपटीनं वाढलं. या शक्यतेचा त्यानं विचारच केला नव्हता! जवळच्याच कॉफी पार्लरमध्ये दोघं कोप-यातल्या टेबलावर बसली. कॉफीची ऑर्डर दिली. पण काय बोलायचं, हे त्याला सुचेचना! तो खुपच नर्व्हस झाला होता. आणि या गप्प गप्प अशा विचित्र डेटनं तीसुध्दा अवघडली. झक मारली आणि याला हो म्हटलं, असंही मनात आलं तिच्या! कॉफीचा एक घोट पोटात गेल्यावर अचानक त्याला कंठ फुटला. त्यानं वेटरला हाक मारली. वेटर प्रश्नार्थक चेह-यानं टेबलाजवळ येऊन उभा राहीला. तो म्हणाला, ‘थोडं मीठ देता? मला कॉफीत टाकायचंय!’ सारं कॉफी शॉप या अनपेक्षित मागणीनं गोंधळात पडलं. विचित्र नजरेनं सारे त्याच्याकडे पाहु लागले. तीसुध्दा! वेटरनं मुकाट्याने मीठ आणुन दिलं आणि देताना – “कैसे कैसे लोग आते है!” अशा अर्थाचा चेहराही केला. त्यानं मीठ कॉफीत टाकलं आणि तो कॉफी पिऊ लागला! ती खरंच गोंधळली होती. अशी विचित्र डेट आणि आता कॉफीमध्ये चक्क मीठ! अखेरीस तिनं विचारलंच

“पण तुला ही अशी जगावेगळी सवय कशी काय लागली?”

“माझं लहानपण समुद्रकाठी गेलं..” शब्दांची जुळवाजुळव करत तो म्हणाला… “सारखा मी समुद्राच्या पाण्यात खेळत असे. आई कॉफी प्यायला हाक मारायची, तसा मी धावत धावत व्हरांड्यात येई आणि खारटलेल्या पाण्यानं खारटलेली बोटं बशीतल्या कॉफीत बुडवून पीत असे. आता आई राहिली नाही आणि ते समुद्रकाठचं घरही. पण खारट कॉफीची चव जिभेवर आहे. खारटलेल्या कॉफीनं मला लहानपणच्या आठवणी पुन्हा भेटतात. ती चव बरोबर सगळं बालपण घेऊन येते…” भरलेल्या डोळ्यांनी तो म्हणाला. तिचं ह्र्दय भरून आलं – त्याच्या निरागसतेनं. किती हळुवार होतं त्याचं मन. मग तीही बोलली… आपल्या दुरवरच्या घराबद्दल, बाबांबद्दल… तिच्या स्वप्नांबद्दल… खरचं खुप छान डेट झाली ती! मग ते पुन्हा पुन्हा भेटत राहीले. अखेर तिला पटलं, हाच आपला जीवनसाथी. तो शांत होता. संयमी होता. हळुवार होता. तिची काळजी घेणारा होता. मग एके दिवशी दोघांनी ठरवलं आणि लग्न केलं! चार-चौघांसारखं आयुष्य सुरु झालं आणि दिवस खुप मजेत जाऊ लागले. एखाद्या परीकथेसारखे. खरंच त्यांचं आयुष्य खुप सुखी होतं. ती त्याच्यासाठी सर्वकाही करायची. कॉफीसुध्दा! आणि हो, त्याच्या बालपणाशी त्याची नाळ जोडलेली राहण्यासाठी चिमुटभर मीठही टाकायची त्या कॉफीत! अशीच भर्रकन ४० वर्षं कधी उडुन गेली, ते कळंलच नाही. एके रात्री तो झोपला, तो पुन्हा कधीच न उठण्यासाठी…! काही दिवसांनी ती सावरली. रोजचे व्यवहार नेहमीप्रमाणे करू लागली. एकदा सहज म्हणुन त्याचं पुस्तकांच कपाट आवरायला घेतलं असताना तिला त्यात एक चिठ्ठी सापडली. त्याच्या अखेरच्या दिवसात त्यानं ती कधीतरी लिहीली होती.

“माझ्या प्रिये, मला माफ कर! आयुष्यभर मी तुझ्याशी एका बाबतीत खोटं वागलो, त्याबद्द्ल मला क्षमा कर! हे एकच असत्य मी तुझ्याशी बोललो… पहिल्यांदा आणि शेवटचं! आयुष्यभर ही खंत मला जाचत राहिली. पण मी कधी तुला खरं सांगण्याची हिंमत करू शकलो नाही… केवळ तु मला खोटारडा म्हणशील आणि मी तुला गमावून बसेन या भीतीने!

प्रिये, आपण सर्वप्रथम जेव्हा कॉफी पार्लरमध्ये भेटलो, तेव्हा मला कॉफीमध्ये घालण्यासाठी खरं तर साखर हवी होती! त्या क्षणाला मी इतका नर्व्हस झालो होतो, की मी साखरेऐवजी चुकून मीठ मागितलं वेटरकडे आणि मग त्या विषयावरून आपलं संभाषण सुरू झालं म्हणुन मी ते तसंच पुढे चालवून घेतलं… खारट कॉफी मला आवडत नाही. किती विचित्र चव ती! पण मला तु खुप आवडतेस… आणि तुला गमावू नये म्हणुन आयुष्यभर मी खारट कॉफी मी पीत राहिलो. …आता मरण्याआधी मी तुझ्यापाशी सत्य उघड केलंच पाहीजे. नाही तर हे खोटेपणाचं ओझं मी पेलू शकणार नाही! प्लीज – मला माफ

करशील?”

स्वप्नं थांबवलीत तर आयुष्य थांबतं ,

विश्वास उडाला कि आशा संपते ,

काळजी घेणं सोडलं कि प्रेम संपतं..

म्हणून स्वप्नं पहा , विश्वास ठेवा आणि काळजी घ्या , आयुष्य खूप सुंदर आहे..

— Anonymous

I don’t expect you to digest this crap (even I can’t believe it) but still it’s worth telling. I was with my bunch of friend on the Friday night. It was dark outside (It was night, what you expect. I added this to create better scene). Air was pretty cold. The speed of R6 was making me much colder (Ok, that was CD100). We were heading towards Kolhapur’s so called famous Food restaurant.  It was little bit noiseless compare to other days (may be effect of heavy rain two hours ago). I could hear sound of crickets and toads jumping around (and annoying ‘silencer’. No idea why Milton Reeves called it silencer.)

shHHH…shhHH… (I can’t recreate sound of Breaks more superiorly) 

“oye easy be !”

Slippery road failed to transfer our ‘momentum’; we crashed on shallow pond near that restaurant (remembered ‘Launchpad McQuack’ from Duck Tales). In addition to momentum, one more force was acting weird that moment, ‘Weather’. Hasty Rain! I hate it!!

“Rohit, get inside fast and get my bag with you” (Duh, I wasn’t planning to stand in that heavy Rain)
“Where are you going?”
“Arre… my mom asked me to pick up some stuff, I will be back in minute”
“Is it urgent?
“No”
“Then why are you going in this heavy rain?”
“It will be late when we finish our dinner”
“Ok… whatever … come back soon! Other must be waiting for us”
I rushed into restaurant. There was something wrong, I could smell it! (Definitely not with chicken cooking nearby) It was hotter inside. (Here you can consider both meanings of ‘Hot’)

“What took you so long? Where is Akshay?”
“You were losing great scene” One commented while pointing eyes towards Girl seating in Corner Table.
(Girl was really hot)
“You know who is she?”
“How I suppose to know?” I replied innocently.
“Good, Where is Akshay?”
“Whats ‘Good’ in it … No idea, he has some ‘work’”
I adjusted my chair in ‘position’.
“Hey, that’s my position…”
“Early Bird catches the ‘Warm’”
“I know which warm you are talking about” Akshay put hand on my shoulder.
“Where the f*** was you?”
“Ohh sorry, some work”
“What sorry, you should be punished” (omg … I didn’t know that coming) Chandan puzzled all while checking his inbox.
“What?” Akshay was confused now. (So was I)
“Yahh… It’s not just 5 or 10 mins… you are 35 mins late…”
“That was Rohit’s Fault… He took long time to get ready… “
“Hey…Stop there boy! Don’t drag me into this… see… I called you exactly on time” I showed them my log book. Now all were looking at Akshay…
“So what… I am late… WTF with punishment…. “
“You do this every time… you are late in every event!” Ninad abetted Chandan in Field.
“True!” (It was my turn to add something)
“Truth or Dare?” Ninad suggested (That was good idea! I was thinking about Party or this dinner)
“No … No truth or no dare… just eat and let’s go Home!” Akshay replied while taking Menu Card in hand.
“I don’t wanna know about his ‘truth’… just give him some Dare!”
“Yes” other shouted in one tone.
After some denials and question-answers finally he agreed for Dare.
“Ok … you saw that girl at corner table… Get her mobile number” (omg… I started picturing future scene… It was cool!)
“Are you crazy?” Akshay shocked
“No, I am not… but I didn’t understand… you talk to gals all the time… why you are shy now?”
“That’s different… I talked to my friends… not strangers”
“Ohhhh…. That’s bulls**t” all nodded
“Just go and get her number… we will order something for you… “Now I took menu card from his hands.
For few moments everybody was quiet and looking at ‘that’ girl. As soon as she looked at us, everybody changed their eyesight and again reminded Akshay,
“Go buddy, fast… u can do it!”
He took long breath and replied, “OK… but don’t look at that table”

Now the show begins …
He walked straight to reception counter. (It was near ‘that’ table) He discussed something with the man working on computer. (I saw this move in many films)Then he walked slowly towards that table. Acted like he remembering something. (ohh… classic move)Took out his cell phone, checked something and asked that girl

“Hey… what time is it?”
“No idea … may be you should check on your wrist watch!”(Bummer)
“Yahh… but my watch is not working and so is mobile phone” (safe play dude, but pretty desperate)
“There …” She pointed out Clock hanging on wall near reception desk. (She is good)
“We know each other? I am getting feeling that we met before” (He must have lots of experience to ask this question to change that ‘Time’ topic.)
“I don’t think so” (It was time to reconsider that Dare…)
“Yes… remembered you were in my brother’s party” (He was real Player, What a shot! Kudos!!)
“Raj is your brother?” (How dumb is she!)
“Yes! He is…” Now he sat down on chair (I was really impressed so far from his performance)

Others started laughing. I put hand on Chandan’s mouth and started watching ‘show’ again!
“Ohh … He never mentioned your name before!” (How would he)
“I am not his direct brother, but cousin” (Safer play, nice strategy)
He talked to her for 2-3 mins and as he was going to ask her mobile number….
“You know, how I met your brother… its cool story” She questioned while taking her phone out of purse (now I am confused!)
“Aaa… no…. how?”
“See your Inbox…” (omg … what’s going on!)
Akshay was confused too. He was now in chaotic circle.
“Whats in Inbox?”
“Wait for it …. “ (??)
Then Akshay got one SMS and he suddenly stood up. Came directly to our table and shouted,
“WTF”
Chandan and Ninad started laughing loudly…
Akshay’s face was turning into Red. He hit that menu card on Chandan’s head. I had no idea what was going on. I asked, “What the F*** is going on here?”
They were still laughing… unable to control. Akshay was looking at that girl. She was laughing too. Now I lost my control… can’t wait to find out what was in that SMS. I grabbed Akshay’s cell phone and opened Inbox … there was one SMS from unknown number ….

I met your brother 18 years back on my birth. His real name is Chandan and he is seating right in front of us!!”

*Facepalm*
*Blank*

[Original URL: http://rohitsuratekar.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-i-met-your-brother.html ]