20-2021 Don’t look before you leap #2

Don’t look before you leap #2

Dont look before you leap #1

It was sometime in 1998. India had still not entered the Internet like we see today, or rather the Internet had not entered India like we see it today. There was still no public or private enterprise giving access to the Internet. The communication infrastructure was in an unbelievably pathetic state. Not every house had a phone connection. We were still living in a world of fixed landline phones and snail mail technology.

IEEE started activities vigorously in Hyderabad, at about the same epoch. It was necessary to reach out to as many people as possible. The w-w-web was found to be an inexpensive but effective option. I proposed voluntarily to create a presence for IEEE (India Council) and IEEE Hyderabad Section on the w-w-web. As usual, I did not look or hesitate before I decided to take the leap. There were of course many unseen and unknown hurdles which could have ruined my dream.

I recall some of the major obstacles which came my way:

0. I knew I was developing a high-visibility, long-lasting product for an audience of highly competent professionals. So I had to be extra careful at ever step. All the work had to be done by myself, single-handed, without any help from anybody. Web technology itself was not known to many people at that time.

1. Internet access was through remote terminals connected to the server via shell access. Familiarity with command line tools was a very helpful skill. Dial-up modems using slow, unreliable phone lines were the only choice we had.

2. Web technology itself was in HTML 3.x age. The browser I had to use was a purely text-oriented one : Lynx. The browser had many limitations, it could not even parse tables (or frames). No graphics, no colours and none of the fancy features commonly used today by everyone.

3. We had to be contended with dial up modems (over pulse-based telephone lines using ATDP commands). The mail client available was only mutt. Only serial-line protocols e.g. kermit were available (at least to me) for downloads/uploads.

4. Very little scope for browsing and obtaining online help. No way to Google for answers you didnt know.

5. Content for populating the website had to be collected and organised from scratch, almost all alone.

In spite of all the above obstacles, I managed to create fairly exhaustive websites for IEEE India Council and IEEE Hyderabad Section. This achievement received appreciation from all users, and also recognition by IEEE Headquarters in the form of an international award presented at Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). The citation said “for providing excellent websites for IEEE India Council and other Indian Sections”. I am proud to note that IEEE Hyderabad led IEEE India to find a place on the web. This was further confirmed by another award from IEEE for outstanding achievements and contributions

The seed I sowed on 1998, has grown to be a lovely tree and is now helping many activities of IEEE in India.

This is one more evidence of the power of positive thinking, and taking the leap without hesitation.


Anti-climax :: I had to discontinue my 35 year old relationship with IEEE, because of a humiliating/insulting gesture by the Chairman of IEEE Hyderabad Section. They say “the axe may forget, but the tree cannot”.


19-2021 Vaastu shastra — Psuedo Science or Real Rubbish ?

Vastu-shastra (aka vaastu shastra) is not pseudo-science. It is neither science, nor pseudo. It is real-rubbish. Here is how I prove my point:

I write this article in 2021, about a house I built in 1985, 36 years ago ! When I started this project, a whole lot of well-intentioned, respectable and honourable “friends” warned me and explained to me the need to respect vastu shastra as they knew it. I heard all of them attentively and even took notes. The idea was not about ensuring compliance, but to make sure that I break every one of these rules. I wanted to make sure I did not obey any such rule, even by oversight.My friends thought I was hopelessly doomed, and that every misery would fall on me, sooner or later. I and my family have lived here for 36 years and still wonder what all the hullabaloo was about. If I see any one of those doomsday prophets again, I will certainly take them around the house and point out all the “vastu flaws” in my design. I will challenge them to show me all the misfortunes I have faced in all these years because of violating their sacred psuedo-science (aka real rubbish) predictions.

How is it that I and none in my family faced any serious illness or healh issues ?
How is it that I and none in my family faced any grievous accident or injury ?
How is it that I and none in my family had to go to jail or face any criminal proceedings by law enforcement agencies ?
How do you explain that the house has seen three joyous occasions in the form of marriages : my son, my daughter, ourselves (60th anniversary which in Hindu customs is celebrated like a marriage) ?
Why did we never face any major monetary loss like theft, burglary, fraud, in all these years ? Or, why did we not suffer any natural calamities like fire, lightning, earthquake, floods etc. ?

I must admit that I do not know what is in store for me, but I have waited for 36 years and found nothing remarkable. Neither have I gained great fortunes just because of my refusal to join the vastu chorus. Vastu, for me, is nothing more than a fart.

Vastu believers have a right to their beliefs. They also have a right to appear like donkeys when their doomsday predictions go wrong. But, they can also save themselves from their disgrace by not imposing their views on people who do not believe in their so-called pseudo science.

36 years is a lot of time, to support the predictions about vaastu. No one can brush aside the above experience as an isolated case of coincidence.

Beware of superstition sold under the name of vastu the pseudoscience.

18-2021 Long live religious freedom !

Deepavali 2021The latest news about Deepavali festival in India (Nov 2021) proves once again, the filthy and dangerous nature of religious festivals in India.

Today’s Indian Express (6-11-2021) reports in its Headlines page :

  1. Foul air at 5 -year high, Delhi can’t breathe
  2. Hyderabad sees five-fold spike in post-festival pollution

delhi-visibilityTheir cartoon is self-explanatory and highlights the pathetic state of things.

This is what we have to pay, for enjoying religious liberty. When will we learn to respect social responsibility ?