Wednesday, May 29, 2019

My April Book

The only book I read this April was "5 Questions Of  The Inquisitive Apes. Authored by my blogger friend Subhrasis Adhikari. This book is a non-fiction work and the second one to be authored by him.
It embarks on a lovely journey of how we came to be, what we are, why and how, in millions of aspects, en-capsuled in a few of 200 pages odd. Though there is a sound research work, what I loved most is the real life anecdotes he connected his analysis with.

I am yet to read his first book, but here we go with this one for now.

Questioning our own existence on this earth and delving straight into the curiosity of questioning about it, the author quotes Einstein saying never stop being inquisitive or lose the holy curiosity.

Started off with a appealing anecdote he had during a train journey, about our perception of understanding what we see and what we understand, the author went on to say there is always more to the truth from what you see. The book kept me hooked on as I read about  how we came to be.  The author has summed it all up there. The evolution of the apes to we beings. Right from the Big Bang theory to various tell tales from Africa or Egypt.

Unlearning the rainbow is something that commonly muses me as my daughter debates that I sometimes do not even an iota of an idea what shade dress I am myself wearing. I enjoyed that chapter, in the middle of some class of physics, quantum mechanics, psychology, neuroscience.

The interpretation of the 1.2kg protien, the brain which is the marvellous creation of evolution is presented with cognitive view. The psychology of optics and the connection to human nature, concluding it to the individual perceptive habit.

Freewill is a illusion, and are we mistaking randomness for freewill? It strikes a chord. Sometimes we unlearn our prejudices and lot of our moral value become irrelevant he says.
Human behaviour explained with enthralling anecdotes. Curious human mind is well interpreted when you say even the fundamental things like time and space are more mysterious than we can think of.
One things really shocked me. Apples, onions and potatoes have the same smell. Seriously? I do not want to accept that.


Further he tells about a logical angle to the biology and sex, the female and male social hierarchy and behaviour pattern, going on to analyze the successive versions of feminism from 18th century to the metoo campaign. If it was a war for social power or not, woman definitely is the goddess of the liberal society is what I could feel from reading it.
Had never known of the breast tax, and how it came to an end. The Hijab protest of Iran was however known to me.

Right from the beginning where he mentioned about the Big Bang theory, till the end of the book, as he questions our being, what angle we think about us. We could even think of us as an fact or information! Our association with our body. For me, memories were close to heart, but when author says they are electro-chemical information stored in brains, and also urges us to ponder over how about storing memory in some bank and then transferring it to some other body, is what I had to read over again and again. Memory transplants are apparently tried on rats and I dread this should stop at this.

Complexity of our character. You will be hooked on to the flow of words where the Author talks about Path to God. Like there is no success formula, every soul has his or her own journey in this path to derive happiness. Classifying human mind into pigeon hole is impossible yet the neuro scientists do, concluding every soul has more than one character. For the same reason, we can hack our brain. yes. Hack. By Yoga/meditation/ and the new therapy- the laughter therapy.

Self actualization is important and control of the gross body is explained with vivid examples. The Yogas, the Oxycise, and the practice of Meditation/Dhyana through which we can control our "intellect" is what is eye catching.

WHO ARE WE
Atoms? Genes? We matter. Because we are the matter that makes the universe. The unproven fantasy of us being just souls v/s just a collection of cells. The contradiction of we control the brain or the other way is just nailed in here. Claim of soul being proven is still a fantasy else someone would have received a Nobel Prize for it he says.

The magic words of the author, talking of the magic wand for Pain/Stress, the endurance of pain and how he connects it to faith is remarkable. Beginning with a gripping miracle anecdote from Kolkata, he says while our Babas have cured cancer with a healing touch, the modern cities like Singapore too sell zero point magical wand for stress relief, just like the Harry potter magic wand. Did you know WHO statistics shows India is top in the list of depressed countries? 

And as we battle with faith and truth, the word of 2016 in Oxford Dictionary is Post Truth. We believe in what is shown to us rather than the objective facts.
What makes us happy  is connected to the Human Development Index. Did you know about a bacteria for happiness and Oxytocin the love hormone and many more? Was all new to me.

Over all, the pursuit of our entire being starting with Big Bang theory to different characteristics and hierarchical structure of our development, is all sometimes a maze. The questions of the inquisitive apes remain with n number of vivid answers. In vivid world of science, fantasy, spirits or as a common social being. With the catastrophic changes, like the sixth extinction or the global warming, it is upon us to chose to nurture love or hatred, suppress hatred and promote peace. It is through stories we can create strong society, a happier one and that would be the triumph of the inquisitive apes, he says.

Overall, the book geared up my learning. 
I liked many lines in this book, but a few random lines were:
  • Equality does not exist in nature. We humans create them.
  • What we are today is combination of selfish desires, cultural emotions and intelligent tactics.
  • Vision is our strongest sense
  • It is our conscience to check the eggs before we roll the eggs into our nest
  • May be it is Physics that wants us to be happy
------------------------------
So,
Dear Author,

Glad to know from your Bio that you are a established Toastmaster too. However this read is neither your evaluation nor a detailed or a perfect book review. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and this is just my quick review.

And,
Dear readers,

This book is sure a very intelligent and engaging book. A must read.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Who Says Times Can't Be Relived

Image Source; Google

I am sure, it is an easily agreeable fact that, when we just want to get out of our monotonous routines, we look back. Be it flipping picture albums, talking of past to our family members or listen to some music, specially the old classics.

Well, when it came to this morning mood, two things mused me to re-write this old post.
1. Looking back at my very old posts, this one from 2010 tempted me to re-polish it and share.
2. As I take a stroll in the sprawling lawns in my residential community where the kids are occupied playing different games in the open, a few adults crib we do not have a play pen for kids. "What more did we want than this much open area available while our urban towns are stuffed with only artificially turfed play pens? Also a good turnout of kids who play every evening. In fact I moved here, only for this luxury for my kids!"

As for my growing years in school,in our good old days, most often the playground was our streets. We were a dozen of romping horses on the community streets, mixed majority of girls and boys, with all the under 15 united in a gang.


How many of you can easily connect to these games we played? Names are endless, at the same time, they are close to me when written in native language! 
Kere-Dada; Kuntebille (Hopscotch); Chowkabaara; Dodge-Ball; Knocking the tower of stones ; Kabaddi ; Fire in the mountains; Dog and the bone; Kho-Kho; Running a cycle tyre all on the streets with a stick;
How many of you have called the spirits? Still wonder where did some of such creepy games originate? 
Do remind me of any such game that you want to share. Of all, I would say, the random nameless ones were always the best. Running after one another, specially in the rains, or picking up wild berries far in the areas close to the fields. 
I recall, more funnier games where-in we simply enacted the television soaps. The detective Byomkesh Bhakshi, or the creepy Kile Ka Rahasya, the He-man or the Shakthimaan which came much later in 1990's. Though the traditional games have almost lost their identity, this trend surely has not changed much, though the difference is the animated and cartoon version have their own magnitude and influence.

Jumping between compounds of the row houses was just a  custom.  Especially when we played hide-and-seek, the favourite game. We were allowed to religiously intrude into someone's terrace, between another's guava tree branches, or the  garage. Scared the squirrels on the trees, chased snoopy the catty and many more. Street dogs hated this gang and never wandered anywhere close to these hurricanes!
Screaming at loud decibels, was mandatory. No neighbour was annoyed. In fact these pepped up every body's evening tempo. No kids or no noise just haunted everyone.

In small territory, we bustled covering miles. Screamed at top of the vocals; sweating piggish; called each other names like 'fatty, swollen cheeks, egghead, duffer'; made faces out of anxiety; also seldom banged and bumped into quarrels. Am sure many of the graduate schools have adapted games from the rural -traditional games. They sure were good communication and personality building games then.

And needless to say, we compare the current times to the old, call those games quite productive where the best part was the connection. Connection between the children. By my experience, I bet it was the factor that effected our strong bonding that even today I can connect to many friends, irrespective of age. Those many of whom I even connect on Face Book may have been one of my play mates but our bonding meant a lot.

Having said that, talking of comparison, yes, I find myself smiling with a strange essence of satisfaction when I see both my kids wandering in the lawns with their cycles. Playing random games with the bunch of children irrespective of age, come back with mud packed clothes, sweating and tired. 
Last night, when my 4 year old walked inside the house exhausted, almost ready to crash on bed, telling me "give me food" is when I feel, "yes. this was how we were..so we want our kids to re-live some of our moments". Somewhere, yes, we all are greedy that way. And I am.

So who says, times can't be relived!