Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Cool Army Led by Cmdr Natarajan, Gen Axay; and the Crack Team Carbon Black Ox Hide

Update for week ended 27 January 2012

The cooler climes of the north beckoned the pandemonium of parakeets. The rose ringed, the yellow backed, the plain green. All of them lived in forests and groves of the south, but the cooler climes just north and outwards into the urban jungles, as well, were tempting for them to fly away. The icy cool winds from the Arctic which is normal for this time of the year was blowing southwards from the circle and would usually have been shielded by the mighty fold mountain ranges in the north, but this year, the fog rising from the plains was weaker than in the previous years, and so the cooler winds had little barrier but to keep blowing over the ice capped mountain tops, and get cooler with the ascent and the glacial ice and then spread it south. And so beyond the Narmada, it blew and almost close to the source of the Deccan rivers of Krishna andGodavari. The winds were like an army. In this mighty army were scores of and scores of Mol-e-Cules of the Commander Natarajan (though the troops below would prefer to call him cool Nitrogen), ably supported by the platoons manned by General Axay (he used the x in place of ksh just like many Northern Hindus who would offer prayers to Goddess Laxmi instead of the Southern way pf addressing her as Goddess Lakshmi). He led a team of the easterners who sometimes pronounced the A as an O and so their General was often referred to as Oxay Gen. But the smaller crack teams controlled by the Captains Kariban were a smaller team compared those led by Natarajan and Axay, but quite useful in some situations (like those mentioned ahead). Their unit attire was black also referred to as Karban Black, but would then dress up in Ox Hide while in combat. (when in combat they would almost become invisible because of the Dyed Ox Hide they would wear – because of this they were sometimes called Carbon Dioxide). So this army moved quite swiftly into the lands north of the Krishna and south of theNarmadaand settled quite easily in the wooded orchards and groves of the chikoo, mango and even the summery lychee. The vineyards along theGodavaribanks were also occupied by this army and the crack teams were at their best.

As they very invisibly penetrated each leaf in this plateau region through the undercover route of the gates of the Stomata (not to be confused with the fruit that disguised in the garb of a vegetable to get into all Desi kitchens to sour up the food). And though the stomata had two very able guard cells around the opening, during warm sunshine, the gates would usually open up wider. And this was the opportunity that the Karbon Black Ox Hide (Codenamed CO2) wearing crack teams used to penetrate the innards of this green factory. And it was a perfect factory that used a lot of energy – solar energy. All the operations happened in little cells, no different form the guard duty cells near the stomata. The core of these cells was the nucleus, where all the chemicals were used that helped the factory in its production, the key chemical being the green coloured chlorophyll. But the walls of these cells were permeable quite easily by the CO2, as they sealed themselves into little spacious hollows that could float inside the factory and towards the Nucleus in airtight containers called vacuoles. These moved randomly and could collide with other vacuoles to get larger and thereby reach their target faster. Once there, the solar energy would react with the occupants of these vacuoles, especially trained to target the CO2 unit and with instructions from a remote controlled unit within the cell called the Mitochondria, they would start breaking up the team along with the H20 team and quickly reassemble them into final factory products of complex Carbo Hydrates and some excess baggage of  Ox Hides would get freed and be set up on the vacuoles to be moved outwards from the cells towards the Gates of the Stomata to be liberated.

The cool winds blew from the north intoD street. And the parakeets flew in their pandemonious abandon towards the green fruit trees lining the streets. The cooling down in the European and other such northerner states helped in bringing cooling winds to this street. And the D boyz used this opportunity in the sun to make some good dough. The icy winds with their abundance of carbon dioxide (normally associated with waste products from factory production) was used up quite rapidly in the sunny green streets. Thus providing food for the D Boyz helping their weak and sagging SENSEX to grow about 12 % to move up this month to a respectable 17233.

And the liberated Ox Hides would return back to General Axay’s platoon for their next instructions, while the crack team Karbon with their leftover Ox hides covered with light and Heady Hydra haired Generals (snidely called Hydrogens) would travel along other food vacuoles towards the venous system of the leaf to finally find its way to the Phloem transport system which would direct them to their next fruit. It could be the mango, or the chikoo or the watery, nectary grapes.


So such is life that is so amazing that one can find so much of industriousness and round the clock work in such sedate environments like a plant leaf. It is truly amazing and never ceases to surprise those who go looking for such knowledge. So have fun this week and try and explore more around you. You would be surprised at what you find. Do share with me some of those finds. I am sure I will be as amazed as you, if not more.

Have a nice week ahead… Cheers


A Long Time Ago……

Update for Week Ended 13 January 2012

My introduction to history happened a long time ago (just like how they described history lessons in my school books…. All the chapters started with “it happened a long time ago”) and I really liked what I was introduced to. Partly because it was something new compared to the reading, writing, (a)‘rithmetic rigmarole till then; and partly because our Class III teacher had quite an interesting way of teaching, by involving the class into playacting the chapters from the book. So the book had Mzee Safari who was like the sutradhar (story teller) who introduced each chapter and took us through history, almost like he had lived it (Mzee is a Swahili word for wise old man while Safari refers to the journey that he undertook, his journey through time). And the teacher for some strange reason chose me to play the role of Mzee Safari – so I had the privilege of living history through his words in the book. And my first lessons included how early civilization used barter trade instead of currencies. So the desert people would bring camel loads of salt to be exchanged for animal skin and grain from the cultivators and animal herders; while the hunters would exchange ivory and ostrich feathers for cowrie shells from the sea-faring fishermen. It was so interesting as we also play acted this class, bring along faux skins and cowrie shells, beads and feathers to exchange in a recreated old world market place. And these early forms of money or currency have been modified and reintroduced into many economies today. So a cowrie or Kodi which was precious still finds pride of place in our world as the Koti or the more familiar Crore. While the prized feather of the Central American bird is the currency of Guatemala – the quetzal. And before the metric systems came to place, many societies used different bases for their currencies – so twenty shillings made a pound; or three pies made one paisa while four paisa made one anna. And sixteen anna made a rupaiya. And these sixteen anna were considered a whole leading to phrases like “the sixteen anna truth” meaning the truth, the whole truth and the only truth (solah anna sach – in Hindi or Urdu). Such was the power of these sixteen coins.

The power of the Sixteen was back on D Street. The sixteen D Boyz were ready to take their pet, the SENSEX into the sixteens territory. Yes, they had to work hard on Monday to prepare for the grand entry the next day, but the hard work paid off. So on Monday the SENSEX remained firmly in the Sixteen Thousands and although there was reverse pressure to push it back on Thursday below the True Mark of the Sixteen, much resistance helped the SENSEX buck it and stay on course to grow 306 points over last weekend – to close at 16154. The D Boyz were last seen collecting their whole sixteen annas of profits for the week, before heading for some kite flying pleasure on the weekend.

Mzee Safari unfortunately did not last very long – he was with us in letter and spirit and playacting for 2 years. And then in Class V, we were taken to meet mummies in pyramidic tombs before going out of the dark continent and over the oceans to the new worlds.

This weekend, many cultures will celebrate the winter solar festival of plenty – so Punjabis will huddle around the bonfire to eat popcorn and rewdi (candied sesame seeds), singing songs in bonhomie; while the Tamils will boil and cook rice in milk with a dollop of jaggery on top, and perhaps dance a step or two around the decorated stove cooking the pongal. The Gujaratis will spend all day on their terraces flying kites and eating platefuls of that winter one pot meal – the undhiyo; while the Bengali will usher in the dawn on the banks of the confluence of the mighty Ganga with the Bay of Bengal at Gangasagar Island. And before I sign off for this week, may I use the standard Marathi greeting for this occasion – Til Gul Khaa aani God God Bola – Eat the candied sesame rolls and speak as sweetly.

Have a nice weekend…. Cheers…

Riding the Wave

 Update for week ended 6 January 2012

Joe Hardy and Frank Hardy were brothers but so unlike each other. While Joe was dark haired with sapphire-blue eyes, his younger brother was a blonde with grey eyes. Joe was into sports, while Frank liked the arts – especially music. He was the bass guitarist of his high school amateur band, and also did the lead vocals. But one thing these Hardy Boys had in common (apart from their surname) was their love for solving mysteries. They could crack mysterious disappearances of brief-cases stashed with a million dollars, or solve the case of the unseen girl who would steal from the local supermarket or that Ming vase that mysteriously disappeared and reappeared in the Nevada mansion. They sometimes had truck-ins with the bad guys, and yet helped the LAPD solve cases that could not be solved by the cops. Joe loved the mysteries that took him to sea-gull strewn beaches of California. It also gave him an opportunity to indulge in his favourite pastime – surfing. [And for those who logged in recently, this is just to clarify that the surfing that Joe enjoyed was not one that was done at internet cafes or at home PCs, but on the blue ocean.] The cool California currents that flowed southwards along the coast not only ensured that the ocean breezes were cool, and the lack of any strong wind system hampering this, the waves in these deep azure waters along the coastline, also raised among the best surfing waves. So Joe would go out to the sea in his black wet-suit, belly down on his surfboard and paddle his way out into the reef beyond the beach. And where the waves would started over at the reefs, he would slowly crouch into a knee crawl and slowly stand up, with arms stretched out to provide the much needed balance. And then the kinetic energy of the waves would take over, as it would take Joe sailing through at speeds of over 15 knots per hour. He would bend to keep his balance and ride the waves as it twisted him along the wave crest. The surf ride would last longer if Joe bent and slowly rose as the speeding wave would slowly lose steam as microbubbles under the surface of the surfboard would slowly merge into bubbles and foam their way to the front of the wave. And as the foam bubbles would slowly burst on reaching the surface of the sea, they would burst – and the wind coupled with the aerodynamic moves of Joe, would harshly spray onto his wet body suit and also pepper his black hair. And once a while, Joe would flick his head to shake off the excess water. If someone from the shore was filming Joe’s surfing on a slow motion capture film or video camera, then it would look like the ideal sporty moment that is highlighted in many macho after-shave ads. And as the foamy bubbles increased, the speed of the wave would slow, at times forcing it to buckle under its own momentum and crash into a convex downward spiral, either forcing Joe to switch over to the wave that emanated a few seconds later by its side, or crash with the wave to dive into the sea, and emerge back again to ride the next wave that would take Joe on his surfing expedition again.

The D Boyz were unlike the Hardy Boys, as they did not particularly like the mysteries that awaited them at D Street each day. They preferred a slightly more predictive lifestyle, but that was not to be. They has mysteries from all sources, that constantly spooked them and their pet SENSEX which at times had to duck to avoid any damage to it, or got into an unexpected blow that would knock it spiraling down the slopy streets. But riding the waves was what they did in the past 2 weeks, as in the last week of December, they rode the start of a wave pattern that crashed slowly but surely, and since they knew of this, they decided to quickly maneouvre onto the adjoining wave that helped them ride higher and with some smart body movements, they are hopefully able to stay surfing longer. (A picture of the waves is below)

The fortnight saw the SENSEX fall to 15500 before rising to above 15900, and steadying itself to 15867 today…

And as Joe would walk back to the pickup truck that Frank would have driven in with to the beach, his surfboard tucked under his left arm, the swimsuit clad young dames on the beach would not shy off giving him a second and third look back as he crossed them. Joe was the shy kind, and would toss the surfboard onto the back of the pick-up truck, open the right door, and just hop in. But Frank by that time, would have been busy chatting with another swimsuit model through the open window of the pick-up truck from his left hand side seat and not even notice that Joe was ready to be taken back home!!

So for those who have not been reading up their mystery books from yore or also from the current, this is the time to go back to your home libraries and fish out those simple books. Perhaps there is a mystery that still holds your interest. Anything actually, Monsieur Poirot or Mr Holmes, Nancy or Joe, or Jane or Julian, even a Byomkesh and Pradosh —- that is quite a collection to choose from, what do you say?

Have a happy and nice weekend… and in case I forgot, I also wish you a very happy new year.