‘…. What the hell kind of a name is Yossarian?’
Lieutenant Scheisskopf had the facts at his fingertips. ‘It’s Yossarian’s name, sir,’ he explained.
‘Read me back the last line.’
‘ “Read me back the last line,” ‘ read back the corporal who could take shorthand.
‘Not my last line, stupid!’ the colonel shouted. ‘Somebody else’s.’
‘ “Read me back the last line,” ‘ read back the corporal.
‘That’s my last line again!’ shrieked the colonel, turning purple with anger.
‘Oh, no, sir,’ corrected the corporal. ‘That’s my last line. I read it to you just a moment ago. Don’t you remember, sir? It was only a moment ago.’
‘Oh, my God! Read me back his last line, stupid. Say, what the hell’s your name, anyway?’
‘Well, you’re next, Popinjay. As soon as his trial ends, your trial begins. Get it?’
‘Yes, sir. What will I be charged with?’
‘Is Popinjay really your name? Just what the hell kind of a name is Popinjay anyway? I don’t like it.’
‘It’s Popinjay’s name, sir,’ Lieutenant Scheisskopf explained.
This is an excerpt from Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.
So, really, What the hell kind of a name is Yossarian?
It is rather unfortunate that Indian cricket fans don’t understand the higher motives of our cricket establishment. In a show of true democracy and freedom of speech, people of India have protested the ‘bad’ performance of the Indian cricket team in SA. Effigies have been made and effigies have been burnt. Cow dung has been smeared on name plates. Peoples representatives in the Parliament have voiced the public’s concerns and have even threatened to table a Privilege motion against the visionary coach of our cricket team. Blogosphere has been inundated with posts criticizing the Men in Blue. On the one hand, all this is quite satisfying, that the Indian democracy is thriving, but on the other it is very dissappointing that our democracy and fredom of speech are all for the wrong cause. Infact, even I was on the same side of the wall as the rest of the Indians in this matter till yesterday. But all that changed when I chanced upon a classified document last night.
The document is titled ‘Vision 2020’. At first I wondered why our dear APJ’s vision is lying around (and that too as a classified document) in the BCCI office. Then I realised that BCCI could have a vision of its own for Indian circket. When I had started reading it, I realised 2020 is not the year 2020 but 20/20 cricket.
This in brief is the vision of our cricket administrators\coaches\players. In the next 5 to 10 years 20/20 cricket will be the most popular cricket form. Test matches would more or less be extinct. One day matches would be of lesser importance than they are today. No other cricket team in the world realizes this. To completely dominate the cricket for the next fifty years as the Australians are presently doing, we need to embark on a well thought out plan. Never mind if we keep losing for the next 4 to 5 years. Some battles must be sacrificed to win the war.
So, what is the plan? In 20/20 cricket, a team has to bat for only 20 overs. So, we have to optimize the batting pace such that we score as much as possible even at the loss of all the wickets in the 20 overs. We are slowly perfecting this aspect, as can be seen from the previous three ODIs, in which Indian batting lasted 29.1, 41.3 and 38.1 overs respectively. When 2020 arrives, cricket would resemble more with the American tribal game, Baseball. So, we need to have people who can hit sixes every other ball. Again our team is making progress. Scoring through singles will be of no use in 2020. So to practise for this, our team has stopped scoring singles even if the asking rate is around 5. Our coaches also take pride in inventing new batting techniques. For example, we now have people who can play tennis shots with a cricket bat.
There is also talk that like in Baseball, three strikes will be given to each batsman before he is declared out and it is needless to say our batters (batsmen in the old lingo) are trying to make full use of this provision. The pitching (bowling in the old lingo), though hasn’t seen much progress. But we have surely taken a big stride in improving the affairs. Talk is that like in baseball, only full tosses will be allowed in 2020. This will solve the problem of ‘bad’ pitches that we have seen in recent years including the ones in last month’s Champions’ trophy. Hence, our bowlers are now practising on 24 yard pitches so that when we do play on 22 yard ones, all the balls would be volleys. To give an example, Zaheer Khan who was extremely slow in learning, used to consistently bowl ‘good’ yorkers. But unlike others, he hadn’t recognized the changing contours of international cricket and hence was dropped out of the team. And see the results now. After intense coaching in hitech labs, he has rectified his bad habit and now bowls only full tosses at waist height. Sreesanth is a quick learner as the selectors pointed out when he was selected. And sure he is. Only full tosses.
I have revealed more than I intended to. There is now the danger that other countries will also embark on such paradigm shifts and thwart our plans for world domination. But, I could no longer stand the effigies (being made ever more realistically) of our great visionaries being burnt everyday, their name plates being smeared with Cow dung (however religious Cows are to Indians) and so on and so forth.
P had finally decided, after days and cold nights of indecision. The indecision wasn’t in regard to whether he should leave the field or not. Everybody has to. That is the rule. The decision was on when to leave the field. No one can stay on the field for more than a week. P had already stayed for five days there. He could have delayed his decision by another two days, but no more. He picked up his belongings – a small bag, and stepped carefully over the numerous people sleeping on the field. The Fields were always crowded. The field on the other side of the village is said to be more luxurious, but no one knows how true or false it is.
P left the field and walked down the road to the village. A few flickering lamps could still be seen at this hour. Beyond the village the ghostly outline of the Castle, atop the hill was barely visible on this foggy, cold, dark night. He had still to decide where to go. He had hoped that the long lonely walk on the road would help him in making that decision. But, presently, he was more busy shivering because of the cold and out of fear too. The fear wasn’t because of the dark night and the lonely road. He was actually enjoying it. He was afraid that he still hadn’t decided where to go and the village was approaching.
P was chilled to the bone by the time he reached the main road of the village. A wild idea now struck him and he toyed with it hoping that it would keep his mind off the disturbing fact that he didn’t know where to go. The idea was to go to the Castle and that night itself! It wasn’t forbidden to go to the Castle. Infact P did consider, going there, the previous morning. There is also nothing wrong with going to the Castle in the night, though it is not customary. But …….
“Hey traveller. Why don’t you come inside? It is cold out there”, said a man looking out of a window. Was it out of pity? Or was it to earn some money or worse still was it to rob P?
“I’m going somewhere”, replied P even as he was considering accepting the offer and walked toward the wall under the window.
“But, why do you have to go somewhere?”
P didn’t reply. He walked to the wall and looked up at the man at the window. A few moments passed without any one speaking anything. Finally, the man sensing that P didn’t really want to come in, said, “You can atleast spend the night here. You can go somewhere in the morning. It is very cold and you are shivering.”
“I’m going to the castle.”, said P as he turned away and started walking down the road.
“But, you are going down the wrong ro..”, the man’s voice faded away in P’s joy at finally deciding on his destination, at least for now.
A few hours later, atleast it seemed to P like a few hours, P was at the foot of the hill. As he climbed up the road, he reflected on what made him decide to go to the Castle. Was it because the thick walls of the Castle would shelter him from the cold better? Surely not. It cannot that cold in the village. Was it that the grimy wall under the window turned him away from the village? No, P didn’t recall being disgusted or having similar feelings when at the wall, though he was somewhat annoyed. But, was the annoyance with the grimy wall or the pestering man or with himself? Or…
P had just turned at a corner of the winding road and the brilliant rising sun glowed on him. P then decided to postpone his reflections to enjoy the scenery.
“So whats your thesis on”?
“Well its got something to do with Nonlinear stochastic adaptive modeling of …”
They had finally reached the counter. The queue was unusually long today. The canteen at the Mooshika avenue is the best in the campus and attracts a huge crowd at lunch time. It is located below ground level with a dome made of glass at the top. Sunlight filters through the glass creating fantastic patterns, fractals and famous equations and formulae. It is said that between 3:00 and 3:20 pm the image of the great Bingo Mooshika can be seen at the center of the canteen.
They had finally managed to get a place to sit. The famous equation A = BC2 filtered through the glass above onto their table. They opened their food packets made of cloth. This canteen serves one of the best cheese and the cloth packet is quite clean too and most eat the cloth as well. The cloth has high fibrous content.
“Yes. It is to do with Nonlinear stochastic adaptive modeling of human religious practises.”
“Whoa. That’s something.”
“Yes. Sounds big. Infact the actual title is even longer. It is only a subclass of humans that we are studying. It is a very interesting field.”
“So what do you do? What religious practsises do you study?”
“Our work is very specific and is concerned with just one practise. A very interesting one it is, actually. Even more interesting is that it is spreading like wildfire the world over and especially in this country. What they do is – each day in the morning , they come and sit in their boxes. There is a sacred stone, of roughly our size, on each of their tables. They hold this sacred stone with their hand, usually their right but i have seen some holding it with their left also, and they keep moving it for hours, all the while staring blankly at the wall in front. Most of these humans do it for atleast 9 to 10 hours daily with a few breaks in between. The ones in our country keep doing it for 14 to 16 hours a day. They do it each and every day!!”
“Insane, is all I have to say. These humans are crazy.”
“A few years back some maverick sociologists claimed that the practise actually has some biological and social significance and that it is not some religious practise as such. But our work conclusively proves that all those claims are crap.”
“So what did you do? I mean any experiments?”
“Oh yes. Extensive experiments. One of the largest experiments to be ever conducted on humans. We have a huge lab at the outskirts of the city. IT PARC is its name. Intensive Technisch Prufung Amano Religious Cratise.”
“What was that?”
“It is actually a joint project by our country, the Germans and the Kakrafoons. So had to accomodate each one in the lab’s name. Anyway, so we have got some forty thousand humans. We take extreme care not to disturb them. State of the art technology mousy, state of the art. Those sociologists I was talking about, they had simply fabricated their data. They show all sorts of pictures which they claim depicts the motion of the sacred stone in some crappy abstract space. I say they could have earned more money and fame showing off their pictures in an art gallery. Atleast they look better than the modern art of Moofa H.S.N. I mean what order can you find in the movements of the SS, I am sorry the sacred stone. We call it SS.”
“It is simply random. We tried all sorts of expeiments. To just give you an example, we tried to find if the motions of SS by human H1 is in any way coupled to those by H2, H3, or any number of them. We did try up to 50 humans and we just gave up. No order. No patterns. No fractals. No jargon. That is what it is. Mousys haven’t been looking in the right direction. All the mousys just want some instant fame and the easiest way out is to use fancy words like order, patterns, fractals what not? I am not saying it cannot be studied or described. We have done it. All that I am saying is all these mousys take a human or two and try to get some results. They don’t obviously get any results because they look in the wrong direction. Then they take some data from experiments which don’t make sense at all and try their best to find patterns.”
“Ok boss. Tell me what you mousys have done.”
“Alright. Alright. First and foremost, it should be recognised that empirical observations show you that SS motion is random. So trying to study the causes of individual movements is futile. You have to study the SS movements en masse. Mousys have tried to find all sorts of exotic linear models. You have to realize that it is a highly nonlinear system. We also do not assume the exact form of the nonlinear model a priori. We have 42 parameters in the model that have been adaptively found over a course of experiments spanning two years. Then finally we depicted our results in a 52 dimensional Jerry space. I see that you are growing impatient or else I would have given a more detailed description of it.”
“Ofcourse. That is more food for thought than I can digest in day.”
And our friends leave the canteen just as Bingo Mooshika is filtered through the glass dome. Strangely, for it has never been seen before, there is a mysterious smile on his face.
One of my friends showed me this. Absolutely hilarious.
1. Go to google
2. Type in: french military victories
3. Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”
Bangalore has 2 types of buses in terms of service, those that have a conductor and those that do not. In this classification buses with radio service and other such luxuries are not included.
The conductorless buses are a testimony to the Karnataka government’s commitment to efficiency. For each conductorless bus, our country gains another worker who can be employed for some other job. Critics of conductorless buses ignore the fact that such a system has worked so well in so many developed countries. There is also evidence that the workers, gained by operating conductorless buses, have played a major role in boosting these developed countries’ economies.
The conductorless buses help our society in more ways than by just providing extra workers. All the passengers have to board or disembark from one entry/exit. This means there is space for an extra seat or two in the bus. Additionally, each passenger has to buy a ticket from the driver cum conductor at the entrance itself thus ensuring that no one travels without a ticket. The small increase in the time that a bus has to stop for at a bus stop, which is only about 4 times as that of the conductorfull buses, is acceptable considering the sharp rise in the revenues since the introduction of the conductorless buses. Besides, the extra stoppage time keeps a check on all those rash drivers who mistake our beloved city’s beautiful narrow roads for race tracks and brings back order to the traffic.
In the next part of the guide, we shall see how well the buses of Bangalore are designed.
“Five years after the horrifying events on September 11, 2001, the Discovery Channel presents an in-depth look at various terrorist acts around the world. It now seems impossible to imagine a world without the threat of terrorism. Terror Strikes unravels the secrets and inner-workings of terrorist attacks. Featuring a diverse and fascinating lineup, Terror Strikes not only shares the carnage and truths of these atrocities, but also mourns the victims and celebrates the heroes.”
Starting 1st September, Discovery is showing some of the worst terrorist attacks in the past few years to ‘celebrate’ or mourn on the eve of the 5th anniversary of THE TERRORIST ATTACK. As you can see, Discovery is going to present an in-depth look at ‘various terrorist acts around the world’. These are the terrorist attcks that they are covering:
1 Sept. 7/7 London
2 Sept. Beslan
Did they say around the world? Where is India then? Is it not a part of the world? I’ve forgotten, it is not part of the world, it is in the third world. When there is so much terror in the world, then why care about the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and…. worlds?
‘Featuring a diverse and fascinating lineup…’ . Or, probably it is not so fascinating to see 7 local trains (transporting people packed like cattle) being blown up compared to some arbit train in Madrid. After all, in India, train accidents keep taking place once every few months. Tourists, these days prefer the beaches of Bali to the Paradise on earth, Kashmir. So, why talk about some inconsequential, remote place, where there are no tall buildings for planes to crash into and no planes to crash into buildings?
And yes, in the U.S., Discovery is concentrating exclusively on 9/11 – WTC, Pentagon etc. It is indeed a ‘Global village’ that the U.S. lives in.
Is it anway or anyways? You may ask me why I am asking this question? It is because, increasingly, people seem to be using ‘anyways’ and I think ‘anyway’ is correct. Again one may point out that languages, like so many other things in this world, evolve. Then some enthusiastic persons could even go on to accuse me of not believing in the thoery of evolution at all. But I am not all against the evolution of languages or so many other things in this world. In fact evolution makes life less monotonous and more interesting.
But, I feel ‘anyway’ is correct in a sort of logical way. Again those overenthusiastic persons start jumping to say that there so many things illogical in the English language. Alright, but why make something which is already logical illogical. Infact why not apply the theory of evolution to make the illogical parts logical.
Now why is ‘anyway’ more logical than ‘anyways’? Use of ‘any’ inherently implies a set of objects is under consideration and that there is a choice that can be made. Regardless of one’s choice, if the end result is the same, then one would say ‘irrespective of the choice or path…..’ or ‘anything leads to …..’. Or if we consider the choice to be a variable ‘x’ then one can say ‘irrespective of the value of x …’ or ‘for any value of x …’. These different ‘values of x’ are different paths or ways and hence the previous semi-statements can in short be expressed as ‘anyway’.