Friday, December 31, 2010

The yogic delusion

Now that I am back in India, I have decided to explore my Indian roots. Naturally, learning yoga becomes a part of it. Since I don’t keep new year resolutions anymore, a few weeks ago I signed up for a yoga class (Yogasana to be precise). First day of class they taught us various breathing exercises and I could do most of them. My success went to my head. I thought to myself, this is so damn easy, I should have started doing this long time ago. I also started growing a beard assuming that wearing a saffron robe is just a couple of weeks away.

However, the second class came and to begin with, we were asked to sit in a particular position to start the rest of the asanas. To my horror everyone in my class could do it in a jiffy. As for me, I couldn’t even start. I mean, I tried, but all the fat refused to budge, and I couldn’t even begin. The nice instructor told me to not worry and once I start practicing it everyday I would be able to do it effortlessly. The rest of the class was even worst. I spent the entire 2 hours looking at other people perform while I sat there twiddling my thumbs just trying.. most of the times I was far from even pretending to be trying.

I still can’t believe that someone can actually do something like that. I mean, how can this body part go and touch that body part? Or for that matter, how am I supposed to touch my forehead to my knee? For that to happen my stomach cavity should be empty and I should have like half a dozen ribs less. Any amount of practicing everyday is not gonna make it possible. Its like saying, “If you practice turning your head everyday, very soon you will be able to turn your head to your back!”

Now I am more or less convinced – I am either an alien, or just like the extra tooth, I have some extra bones in my body, that do not give me the flexibility that other human beings are naturally born with. Mind it, I am no longer blaming my fat.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The I-don't-care syndrome

So I am back again in Mumbai in the exact same area where I spent all my teenage years. Now after more than a decade after my teenage, I can actually retrospect about my naivety then.

As a college going youngster, I was always very particular to be prim and proper each time I left my house. I was conscious about the way I looked, the clothes I wore, the way I walked and even the company I kept. In my mind I was a superstar and everyone around me, right from the neighbourhood dhobi, was a fan. My every step was followed by a dozen paparazzi.

Now, I guess I have understood my fallacy. Over the doggone years I realized that nobody really cares about what you do how you look or who you hang out with. Everyone is bothered about their own life and about their own looks. These days, I have developed that “I-don’t-care-about-anything” attitude. So generally when I walk out I am unkempt with least attention to anything. I just go about doing my own stuff. Places like malls and theatres where I wouldn’t have dared to step inside in my PJs I walk in casually in anything these days.

And now I wonder, all those precious minutes that I spent thinking about myself in my teenage, I could have utilized for doing higher good in life!! Tch, tch – too late!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Buoyancy Effect

I went swimming in Mumbai the other day and the first thing I noticed after I got down into the pool was that I sank to the bottom of the pool like a rock. And I thought to myself – “Wow, the buoyancy of water in Mumbai seems to be way lower than that in Singapore”.

I was enthralled, captivated and (pardon me for saying this!) proud of myself. I thought of myself as the modern day Archimedes (but in swimming trunks). As I started my arduous journey towards the other end of the pool, I was exploring scientific reasons for this difference in my mind. Theories included – the latitudinal difference between Mumbai and Singapore (close to 18 degrees), the difference in composition of water (the pool seemed to have a lot of Chlorine) etc. I had some whacky ideas about time difference, population, atmospheric pressure also.

As I got off the pool to go home, I was thinking to myself – “today is gonna be a long night researching about buoyancy on the internet” – fundamental physics that I have long forgotten about. The fun part about reading physics at my age is – I start with one topic and then I realize to read this I need to know another topic before and so on and so forth. I like this particular set of comics by Abstruse Goose to really get an idea of my ordeal (Click on the image to follow the comic).

Click me

Anyway, the pool dressing room has a magical device called “weighing scale”. It estimates the force that you exert on the surface of the earth. After I was done dressing up, I casually stepped on it. To my bewilderment, I had gained a whopping 3kg in 3 weeks. All illusions about buoyancy, specific gravity and physics vanished in thin air. All that I had discovered was – “Denser objects sink faster”.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holy Dog!

One often asked question by my foreign acquaintances is – Do you have cows on Indian roads? I believe every non-Indian is taught only two things about our country – All Indians are born computer geniuses and we let cows on our roads because they are holy to all of us. An excellent explanation of why we have cows on road is given here. But, my general observation has been – we have no cows on the roads in Mumbai. We have a lot of clowns inside cars that do not obey any traffic rules whatsoever (that includes this clown as well).

As far as animals on the roads in Mumbai are concerned, we do have a lot of dogs. We have dogs dogs everywhere. We fondly call them “stray dogs”. Stray because, you dare not stray close to them lest you accidentally step into their pee-marked territory and they tear you apart. And if you end up going into their territory with your car, the moment you get down, they “own” your car by peeing on your tyres. After that, getting into the car is an exercise altogether.

There are places around my house which are inaccessible from sundown to sunrise because dogs own them. If cows are holy to me, then I guess dogs are holier.

Stray Dogs