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The year was 2004, and we used to wait for someone to write in our Orkut scrapbooks. Broadband connections were nowhere nearly as fast as it is today, but we refreshed our scrapbooks every few minutes.  The arrival of each scrapbook entry made us happy. It’s easy to call us losers, but social networking websites met a fundamental human need. There was a time when I used to wake up at 6 to log into my Yahoo mail account. My internet connection was too slow that I couldn’t read mails before 8.  But when I could, I felt happy.

I spent many hours every day in Yahoo chat rooms. The boys in my hostel found this a waste of time. But I was instantly a hit with chicks. I metamorphosed into an online Casanova. Jocks in my college were worried. They said I was cheating. The plain truth is that I wrote well. Always on the lookout for great genes, teen girls didn’t miss this. Nerd is the new man. I felt pleasure when I was flooded with offline messages when I logged into Yahoo Messenger after many days. When I did not see enough of them, I was sad. Such pleasures and disappointments are what the internet and social media are all about. It is easy to call all this trivial. But this is big deal, because social media is our culture. For a nerd, the cost of sending out an instant message isn’t much, when compared to walking up to someone. Through small chunks of text I sent out and took in, I was creating a whole world inside my mind. My understanding of human nature became deeper over a long time.  Continue Reading

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Years ago, a smarty pulled a trick on me. In the mornings, she would promise to come to my room. Before sunset, while the keyboards still jingled and rattled. Beaming, I always whispered, “Why, oh, how nice of you!” But, after a while, she started defaulting on her promises.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

I waited and waited and waited till it was too dark. The reasons she gave me were always along these lines, “This morning, a coconut fell on my grandmother’s head. You know, I love her more than anyone on earth. Weeping. Sob. Sob.”  Soon, suspicion began to dawn on my nerdy mind. The underlying assumption, of course, was, “Now that you have seen what it is like, if you want more of this, you must put me permanently there.” I could never get my head around this line of reasoning. But, this didn’t have any effect on me for the same reason rain does not have a big effect on the nerd who always reads in the school library.

I, the scholar and gentleman, still courted her, tolerating her antics with Buddha-like patience. I wasn’t big on sleeping with her. So, she assumed that I wanted to make her my “wife”. Now, I am being blatant at the risk of sounding honest. It is very cruel, to be honest. Continue Reading

Books

butterfly-sleeping-croppedThe-Cute-Girl-That-Fashionably-Sleeps-So-Little is an Aspie, as I had suspected. She admitted. How do I know? A few days ago, when I was traveling in the bus, I was thinking about amusics. Amusics have no taste for music. Milton Friedman, Freud, Nabokov, and Che Guevera are good examples. Nabokov once said that his most painful experience while teaching at Cornell was that once when he was in the library, a student was listening to classical music, from his transistor radio. When Nabokov asked him to stop, he said that there was no one in the room, and that the he has kept the volume really low. Nabokov said, “But, I am here.”

I, then, remembered that The-Cute-Girl-That-Fashionably-Sleeps-So-Little once called the police because “Loud Sangeet” was coming from her neighbor’s house. Why should a shy girl call the police because someone was listening to “Loud Sangeet”? I do not know whether this fits, but Yvain has a very good explanation. On his roommate: Continue Reading

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Pointing at the bird, my mother told me and my little brother that this bird that never rests has better work ethic than us.

I was nine years old when I noticed that a bird was building a nest inside my “home”. For weeks, I would lie on my bed and watch the bird carefully build its nest. The bird made countless trips to and from the nest to collect materials to build its home. Pointing at the bird, my mother told me and my little brother that this bird that never rests has better work ethic than us. And that it is time for us to shape up. I think she should observe some Magazine editors here, but I suppose it is a bad thing to find flaws in other people.

I and my brother soon started hatching plans to trap the bird and its baby in the night. We even bought a cage. “But, we should wait for the right moment”, we told each other. We waited and waited and waited. In those days, I read as much as I can, about birds.

One night, we both decided that the time has come. We woke up in the night after our parents had slept, and started walking towards the nest, holding each other’s hands with a torch and a cage. When we were about to trap the birds, we noticed that the birds had left that day evening. We stared at each other, with an expression of astonishment on our faces. And then we went back to our beds feeling betrayed, with incommunicable discomfort. Continue Reading

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Paul A Samuelson, the great pseudo Economist passed away two days back. I got into Economics reading “Economics” by Paul A Samuelson. His was the one of the very few Economics books available through my college library and I had to start with it. Samuelson didn’t take a strong stance on several issues, maybe because he didn’t want to appear dogmatic. He was of the opinion that Equality is an ideal, and the case of minimum wage laws is too complicated that he can’t oppose it strongly. Luckily, I never took much to Samuelson.

David Kramer blogs:

“His textbook Economics is still probably the most influential book used in introductory “economics” courses in colleges and universities. Though I can’t cite the exact phrase, I do remember skimming through the section on inflation years ago (after I was steeply involved in Austrian economics) and remember the book stating something to the effect that “we don’t really know what causes inflation.”

If I weren’t an atheist, I’d say I hope that Samuelson burns in hell.”

The economic naiveté of Paul Samuelson could be understood by just looking at the fact that he was stupid enough to believe the fudged Statistics from Soviet Russia. The only good thing that could be said of him is that he had the honesty to admit that he was wrong on Soviet Russia. He said: “How could one know that those statistics were fudged?”. He badly needed a lesson in a priori reasoning, which he dismissed as an exaggerated claim.