July 25, 2008

Don't ask Stupid Questions!

Questions to which the answer is meant to be obvious or questions which we feel are so irrelevant that one would not wish to answer them seem to render themselves in people’s minds as stupid! There are so many times when I feel like asking some questions, at times very simple but something which I am not too certain of.

Then there are those questions which occasionally pop into my mind but I refrain from asking as I know the answer and a part of me only wishes to reconfirm what I know. Then there are also those times when I feel I am going to ask a real stupid question and then go ahead and ask it which results in people getting confused. Now, those who previously were giving me those ‘You don’t know!’ glances start to look about trying to word their understandings to better my understanding.

Recently I have also come across some who when I do ask my ‘stupid’ questions, seem to have an answer which makes quite a bit of sense. Why do those who are not too sure of the answer exclaim and say ‘Oh! Even I was wondering about that once!’ but, they only remain stone faced and end up failing to do their bit of explanation.

With time I have realized some key aspects of a Mr. Know – it – all versus a Mr. True Know – it – all.

Mr. Know – it – all
  1. Tends to talk in a finalizing tone(the one that gives you a feel that it’s the end of the conversation)
  2. Usually tends to override someone’s sentence (seeming to already know what that someone was intending to say)
  3. Has an inclination to ask you the ‘stupid’ questions which have been riding on the top of your head and then pounce on you with a detailed explanation of the answer also.
Mr. True Know – it – all
  1. Gives you a tinge of a feeling with regard to Wikipedia
  2. Seems to be asking you also questions regarding what you might truly know more than Mr. True Know – it – all
  3. Doesn’t ask the ‘stupid’ questions, but rather just answer the peeking questions in your head.

July 16, 2008

Unaccustomed to the truth !

I started reading Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri close to a week back, and it being mostly short stories, helped me read it with comparative ease over the period of last week. Now I have reached a portion which is a predominantly a longer short story giving the story of two Bengali kids who have grown up and then end up finding each other in Rome when each is at Rome for very different reasons. The girl is on her last single vacation and the guy is based in Rome as a photographer. One of the aspects of this story is the predictability and also to some extend the similarity to the previous short stories in the book. All of them deal with Indians settled in the US in the age group of 26- 35years and how different they are as compared to their parents who would have migrated to the US in their early 30s, but all married and settled in life, hence leaving very little for change in their way of life. One tends to relate to the inhibitions parents have and the frustration grown up children face while having to explain matters to parents, who at their age having seen life in much more wider perspective, and who also seem to think all issues kids are faced with are either immaterial or of much lesser priority as compared to mainstream life. When we read the first 2-3 short stories, we tend to feel what the author is trying to portray but on moving to the 5th or the 6th story you feel the lack of matter and the simple difference in settings and back drops creeping up as the story unfolds. Now towards the close of the book, it seems to be just a litany of differences between the two generations as seen from the author’s eyes. At the end of some stories, there also seems to be a typical 'feel good end' which is 'listen to what your parents told you' !

When I think about some similar scenarios, the difference being I believe some believe in voicing their opinions/ frustrations, and some of us listen, keep peace, and still continue to proceed with our lives as we see appropriate. This demarcation of thought will exist and in some ways I already see the difference in thinking between my brother and myself, in spite of it being just a mere 6 years that separate our ages, and hence I can not start to think what can be difference in thought between parents and children. Though I believe that there is always the support and advise which one requires from parents, but under most circumstances we do tend to take our own decisions assessing pros and cons over time and finally with our fingers crossed.

July 10, 2008

Where is my old cell phone?

What happens to all the electronic waste that we generate when we decide we are going for a upgraded desktop or laptop? I am not too certain as when I look around, all the equipment I see which people have brought are either passed down to someone or the other, be it the kiddies in the household, or maybe the house help. But how many of us throw away some electronic item which is not usable, by throw away I mean dump it in the garbage bin and let the garbage van come and pick it up. I for one can’t think of anything which I have thrown away. I have a cassette player which I bought way back in 1997 and it is not in use but then it still remains where it has always been.

How often would you be required to change electronics, and if the ones that you are chucking out are in good condition, then you would not throw it away right? But, what if they are in a non working condition? I guess then it would contribute to scrap. And what happens to this scrap which is mostly plastic or metal. I believe the metal can be melted and used again, if they wish to do that, but what about all that plastic? I am surprised to read here how the junk lands up in China, predominantly electronic waste including plastic components and how they deal with all this waste. They melt the most components and those which are not easily melted are just dumped to the ever increasing toxic wastes in most of the water bodies in and around China.

Aren’t there any laws which say that you can not dump your trash in a poor country? Oh yes, there is! But, the United States didn’t sign that treaty by the UN and now for the measly money that is offered to the poor in China they sacrifice their health.

I for one have decided that before I decide to discard any electronic item, I shall try the passing it down to some needy person rather than have my electronic waste result in some child’s persistent cough.

"A lot of people may think electronic manufacturing is a clean industry, but it's not," says Zhao. "It's a dirty process." Just because we don't see the dirt, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. –Time Online

July 4, 2008


Today I came across this blog entry by The Curious Capitalist regarding Starbucks and their bathrooms (Yes, I know that's a weird topic to associate with Starbucks ), but nevertheless they had a very interesting idea that there should be a charge for using the bathrooms at Starbucks, considering that the employees work to keep it clean, and under most circumstances they are used by customers of competitors rather than customers who would be coming to Starbucks alone.

So what if we have a charge to use the bathroom in all restaurants and cafes, I guess that's not a bad initiative. And the better thing would be that if you make a purchase from the place, then they would very willingly deduct that amount from your bill so essentially this ensures that the customers still retain their free usage of facilities. But it will certainly be something which will require getting used to. Though this idea is not something everyone would be averse to as I for one can say that I would prefer to use a paid but clean facility rather than one which seems to be one used by all with no regard.

In most touristic locations I have noticed that the paid restroom facility is not a very far fetched idea, rather used and their need understood by all.Such facilities for some reason have a tendency also to remain more soothing to the eyes hence also making their usage not a very debatable choice !