The Debut of Tektoks

Considering that I could soon announce “I used to be a blogger” as I drag my feet to publish new posts on my so called “active” blog, I had the temerity to start a new blog at https://tektoks.wordpress.com/ !

Having long back shunned all the advocated advice on blogging & blogging frequencies, I did not let those piddly little irritations come in the way of spawning more blogs. I think I now have the general drift of why low-income families continue to procreate rabidly despite having limited means.

The new blog is predominantly slated to be on data science and analytics, a field of my interest. I hope to publish posts for “normal” people and some for those who are from Planet Zog.

This little upstart was unceremoniously kicked out of Indiblogger, where it was told to get at least 20 posts before it could show it’s face.Since that is a tall order and could take several years, I decided to repost some of my not-so-geeky articles through “The Motley Collections” as well.

So re-blogging my first post on “The Art Of Finding Patterns”….

-ooo-

Prophecies have existed and have continued to enamor us since the ancient and the medieval period. Humans have always been interested in knowing the future, because of the decided advantage that gives us. Knowing what can happen next and being among the privileged few to have that knowledge, is the key to success.

Early in school, we learn that to predict the next number in a sequence, we must figure out the patterns in the previous set of numbers. While in textbook problems, we always know that a pattern exists and we only need to uncover it, in many real world problems, the question whether any pattern exists in the first place, needs to be answered.

Read the rest on my new blog – https://tektoks.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/the-art-of-finding-patterns/

 

 

Lend a hand of empowerment

When was the last time you saw a beggar ? That may sound like a superfluous question taking into account the poverty one encounters at every corner, but then let me rephrase – when was the last time you really ‘saw’ a beggar and not just looked through them.

Like many people , I too had stopped ‘seeing’ beggars till my son made me painfully aware of them every time a pair of hands extended beseechingly or knocked at the car windows in a traffic signal. While I was at pains to explain to my son, why putting some money in a begging bowl wouldn’t really help as it wouldn’t make the beggar stop begging , it still rankled that I didn’t have too many answers on how we could really help.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

You can give charity, but does your charity have the power to bring about a change.

Now people like you and me can. And its not charity because they don’t need alms. All they want is a little help, a slight nudge from us, in their bid to live their lives with dignity.

‘They’ are Devdasis – Women we relegated to an era gone by and forgot about them. But they continued to live, continued to struggle against an unfair destiny.The Devdasi system was outlawed in 1988, but 250,000 women still continue to be trapped in this system. Girls as young as 5 year old are taken away to be wedded to the temple deity and subjected to lifelong sexual abuse at the hands of higher caste men.Some of them had the grit to break away and are striving to educate their children and break the shackles society has imposed on them. Mahananda is one such woman. An ex-Devdasi, she has fought to survive in a society which looked down upon her and her children.Today, she proudly shows her sewing machine which she uses to run a small tailoring business and dreams of educating her children so as not to let her story repeat through her children.

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It was at an event organized by Indiblogger that I chanced to meet an ex-Devdasi – a woman who had not only broken away from the system but also fought to give other ex-Devdasis a chance to rehabilitate by working with NGOs and a crowd funding platform called Milaap. She spoke in Kannada to an audience which consisted mostly of bloggers. While she elaborated the many reasons women continue to be forced into becoming Devdasis including superstitious beliefs of a bad fate befalling the villagers if the Gods aren’t propitiated, the root cause was still the abject poverty which plague these families. She spoke of tragedies, but her voice carried the conviction of a fighter. They too deserved a chance to live with dignity and for once, we can do something about it.

Crowd funding is the new mantra which has the power to bring about changes – right from startup funding to social upliftment. It works on the premise of small amounts and large volumes. For a country like India, the potential is huge. Milaap is one such crowd funding platform which enables common people to lend money towards social change.You can extend a loan for any amount, starting from Rs.500, to a group of your choice. The purpose of the loan is mentioned like rearing buffaloes or starting a tailoring business and the amount is then repaid over a predetermined period in small installments. You won’t earn any interest in the money you lend through Milaap but the principal is guaranteed. The risk of any defaults is absorbed by Milaap and the NGO.

Giving charity is not so difficult, but giving charity to the right person, the right cause and in the right manner is difficult.And in all probability, if one really identifies the correct prospect, the charity would no longer be charity instead would be an investment.

So this new year, why don’t we stop giving charity and instead make an investment – an investment in people and the power of change.

While this particular event was held to promote the Hope Project which is Milaap’s initiative to help the Devdasi women re-establish their lives, Milaap continues to enable funding for various social ventures in the space of education/training, energy,enterprise development, sanitation and water.

To lend a loan to an ex- Devdasi visit http://www.milaap.org/hope

To check out the other lending options for social change visit http://wwww.milaap.org

Note: Please go through Milaap’s website and read the terms and conditions before making a loan.

References:
1.Watch Mahananda’s story : http://www.youtube.come/watch?v=k026QTnKlqQ
2.http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jan/21/devadasi-india-sex-work-religion
3.http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring02/Chattaraj/plight.html
4.http://hogfindia.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/devadasi-sexual-exploitation-of-girls-in-the-name-of-religion/

A Blogernity Leave

Had a brief hiatus from the blogging world as a result of couple of things. Among other sundry reasons, an important one being, I could think of nothing to write.And when you have nothing worthwhile to say, then its better to keep your mouth shut – is what a wise person had to say about the writer’s block. Whenever I did attempt to write, the words came out in choking fits rather like the phut-phut of an old scooter, than the gushing stream tumbling down the terrain.
Several crumpled sheets of paper later, I hit upon the brilliant idea of saying a thousand words without uttering a single word !
I decided to paint.
And soon I also became ambitious..
I decided to host my first joint painting exhibition with my dad-in-law.

All our paintings hung in a room in the majestic Durbar Hall in Cochin.A lot of unsuspecting folk did wander in and I like to think , they got enraptured by the paintings rather than trying to get some breeze from the sole table fan that was running in the room. Some stood ruminating, some whispered and giggled while some skipped through with all the ardor of the early morning walkers. Amongst all the visitors, there was also a journalist who asked a lot of important sounding questions. And wonder of wonders, we were in the papers the very next day. Yes, that was me all right, looking just like I had completed a 10 mile sprint. And the journalist had some good things to say too !
My son was not at all pleased at his not being included in the picture and wanted to know if I had become famous and intended to put on airs after that.
If that were not enough, the next day an entire gang of TV people were there. Boy , were we famous ! I have to admit though I did feel a bit ridiculous at having to reply to a blinding light in response to the questions the lady shouted from behind the camera. This time my son was not to be outdone and stuck to me like a leach for TV coverage. We were on the news the next day on Jeevan TV, sounding all important and business-like. My son although, was screaming blue murder, because all that could be seen of him was the top of his head and eyes. And if that were not enough, they had the temerity to put the TV logo right on top of his crescent face. I promised to sue them for the sacrilege.
Another TV channel turned up the next day. Now, we could definitely claim our rights to being hounded by the paparazzi !
Our exhibition lasted for 5 days and by the 3rd day, we had started feeling shopkeeper-like , faithfully opening shop everyday at 11.00 AM and shutting down at 7.00 PM. This was evident by the fact, that we had lost all inhibitions and had actively started inviting all passersby to have a peek at our masterly paintings.
The exhibition ended but in all this melee, the seeds had been put forth for the birth of a new blog and as has always been the norm, the older one does get ignored for a while.

FreshFromTheEasel

The Motley Collection wants to introduce its sister blog – Fresh From The Easel. As all siblings go, it was not too pleased to let go of all the attention and the readership, but hopefully the two blogs will be able to co-exist and share the attention of all its generous readers.

But my hiatus which I strove to break through this post will extend for some more time, as I take some time off to visit a dear old friend in Denmark.

Lo behold the Liebster !

Liebster-Award

Hey, I got a Liebster,
Its neither a fish nor a Lobster,
It’s got no’ing to do with guns or a gangster,
Oh a Leibster,is an award from a blogger.

Cant put it up on the mantel as a trophy,
Cant admire it while sipping your coffee,
But a Leibster is a special recognition,
A fellow blogger’s support to further your mission.

The Leibster if you get,
Write 11 facts without fret,
You answer the questions fired,
Making sure the reader doesn’t get tired

You pass it on to those who deserve,
To blogs that have the zing or the verve,
Or to blogs which touch a nerve,
And that is the duty you shall serve.

Yes, I got the Liebster too,
Its an honor to get, not one but two,
From Umashankar and Gus,
So let me start without any fuss !

-oo-

After writing that cheesy poem, I am still quite unapologetic and shall strive to inflict some more of them on you.

    11 Facts about me

Lists, Lists and more lists I say,
Haphazard planners don’ get in my way.
Eggs, eggs, everyday and everyway,
I fear I’ll turn into a chicken one day.
Love all animals, the dogs and the cats,
Till I had my own, felt all kids were brats
Dont reply to my emails/calls and you get on my wrong side
I sneeze 365 days a year, I have to confide
Admire but don’ fawn,
In libraries I will never yawn.
With my son, I watch slapstick
We laugh and laugh till we get sick.
God forgot to give me the musical ear
And if he did, he forgot to tell me dear.

-oo-

Questions from Umashankar :

1.Top 4 authors, or photographers, you love – P G Wodehouse, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Khalil Gibran
2.Top 4 Movies – Forest Gump, Schindler’s list, Ryan’s daughter, LOTR Trilogy
3.Top 4 singers/albums – I am not a connoisseur of music but I like music which can rev me up. Enjoy country music by Kenny Rogers, Brad Paisley, Jazz by Louis Armstrong and Contemporary pop.
4.What would you do if you were to be stopped from writing? – I would paint
5.Are you in favour of banning books? – Banning books has always denoted intolerance in my eyes. So, No
6.Are you in favour of capital punishment? – No.
7.Are you in favour of veils for women, as in hijab? – Shun regressive thinking.No
8.Which is the best translated work (or works) you’ve read? – Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky
9.Moments you cherish – Small moments of happiness, sounds of nature, shared laughter, memories that bring a smile
10.Moments you’d rather forget – Moments where my conscience was not with me
11.Is blogging for everyone? – Yes, freedom to blog is a freedom by way of free speech. But to read them or not is left to the reader’s discretion.

-oo-

Questions from Gus :

1.If you learn from your mistake, why are you afraid to make one? – If the mistake turn out too costly, it will be difficult to make another
2.How many of your friends would you trust your life with? – Less than the fingers on one hand.
3.What does life mean to you? – The search for contentment
4.Would you rather have your child be less attractive and extremely intelligent or extremely attractive and less intelligent? – The former and I assume it includes EQ as well.
5.What do you sometimes pretend you understand but you really don’t? – Purpose of my life.
6.When did you not speak up, when you should have? – When my mouth was full 🙂
7.What are you procrastinating, at this very moment? – Writing the post for the Liebster award
8.In what way are you, your own worst enemy? – The biggest battles are fought within
9.What do you wish you didn’t know? – The pain of losing a loved one
10.How old would you want to be, if you had a choice? – What I am now
11.What activities make you lose track of time? – Painting, Blogging, Reading, Writing software

-oo-

Blogs I wish to nominate are

1.A Nomad’s Musings
2.Life is Like This
3.i Share
4.Valli’s blog
5.Tangy Tomato Twist
6.Lazy Pineapple
7.Jaish Writes
8.Pattu’s Terrace Garden
9.Writer-z-block
10.Contemplations of a Rambler
11.Personal Concerns

And here are those killer questions from me :

1.Which is your favorite book and why ?
2.What is the one thing you would rescue from your burning house, assuming no one is inside ?
3.Which is the most discomforting movie you have seen ?
4.What is the one social issue you can take out time for ?
5.Are you happy more when you are writing or when you view your finished work ?
6.Why do you blog ?
7.If you had taken a different fork in life, what would you have been ?
8.Which is that one experience you wish to have before you die ?
9.Are you more comfortable in the company of others or being alone ?
10.Which do you think is the biggest malady plaguing the nation now ?
11.Why would you attend a bloggers meet or would you rather not?

Happy blogging !!!

Got tagged at 33!

Well, this is my 33rd post. Not 25, Not 50 but 33. You ask what’s so great about 33. Well, I got tagged by Suresh. He’s one of the bloggers I avidly follow as I relish his humorous posts and admire his command over the language which he wields with effortless ease to have you in splits. This is the first time I have been tagged and I wouldn’t have had the foggiest clue of what to do if you are tagged, if it were not for the helpful guidelines in his post.

Uncolored image courtsey : http://www.coloring-pictures.net
Colored Image : themoonstone.wordpress.com

These are the three commandments of the tag

1. You are tagged. (Note for all those who I tag: You should write an introductory note of the person who tagged you in glowing terms)

2. You give links to posts that belong to each of the following categories

1) Your most beautiful post.
2) Your most popular post
3) Your most helpful post
4) Your most controversial post
5) A post whose success surprised you
6) A post that you thought did not get the attention it deserved
7) A post which you are most proud of

3. You select five bloggers for passing on the tag and inform them about their being tagged.

Well, now that I have gotten that out of the way, let me talk about myself and my blogging which I am sure you are impatient to know all about.

As you can see, though I have been blogging for well over two years, I am still a newbie as far as blogging is concerned and my run rate has not exactly been a blaze of glory. When I started blogging I merely started it as a record to store some of my thoughts and share it with a couple of friends whom I thought might be interested in what I had to say. Then WordPress introduced me to Site Stats and suddenly there was a record to follow and hits to count.It sparked off a desire where none was. That is the problem with measurement and statistics. If there were no such tool, I could have blissfully continued to day dream that my blog was the one thing people wanted to read and for those who didn’t, well they were just poor sods who didn’t understand good stuff even if it struck them right on their faces.

Then came blogging networks like Indiblogger and I realized that there were just so many people who could write and write well at that. Again there was the ominous ‘Promote’ button and it was back to ranking on how many people ‘liked’ your posts. I, for one, surely didn’t want a feature like that. In this age of time-starved people, there just isn’t enough time to read and listen to what everybody has to say. One should just be glad, that somebody took out 5 minutes out of his/her precious time to read what you had to say. Why should the person be obliged to like it on top of that.

I hope that kind of explains the single digit ‘likes’ I always end up getting.

I wanted to write posts on humor, paintings, books, movies, life, work, food and anything under the sun which struck me. I did fiddle around with the thought of having individual blogs for all of them, but now I shudder to think of all the statistics that would have spewed out. Better sense prevailed and I let the blog be a potpourri of all my interests.

Here are my answers to the 7 questions

1) Your most beautiful post

I will interpret this in the literal sense and would probably put one of my painting posts.
My most beautiful post is ‘The House Amidst the Trees’. I guess that would classify as beautiful.

2) Your most popular post

I will have to go by the post views or by the number of comments. My post ‘The Hair tainted Revelations’ got the most comments.

3) Your most helpful post

The current crisis of waste management in Bangalore spurred me to write on this topic. The post ‘Time to come clean’ talks about waste management practices that I currently follow and would love to spread the message to more and more people.

4) Your most controversial post

I don’t court controversies as a rule so was a bit surprised when my humor post ‘The Mal-Connect’ was thought as controversial by some people.

5) A post whose success surprised you

Definitely it was ‘The Incident of the Jam Bottle’ which got me a contest win when I least expected it. I found out I had won through some comments people had left on the page.

6) A post that you thought did not get the attention it deserved

Honestly speaking none of them did. They were these rare pieces of good writing you would want to read again and again and marvel at the genius of the writer. But well, if you push me to name one, here’s one I was expecting much more from – ‘Making money last..’ and also the ‘The Dis-engagement Model’ (Psst.. Did I just break one of the tag rules?)

7) A post which you are most proud of

Well, these blogger contests, you know, lure you in with gadgets, travel gifts and what not. And lots of impressionable, gullible people think to make a quick buck out of it. Did I say I was not one of them? There was this Surf excel contest and I thought long and hard about it for a long long time. I was just about ready to throw in the towel, when I suddenly had this bolt of inspiration and finally managed to write this post ‘The Soaked Rebellion’ on a very unlikely subject.

All the questions are done and just when I was getting all warmed up too.

The bloggers I would like to tag are

Arch – She has a food blog. I love to ogle at the mouth watering pictures and marvel at her tenacity even if I can’t get off my lazy bum to make them myself.
Arti – She’s a veteran at Indiblogger and I like her travel blog.I find her style of writing / pictures easy on the eyes
Reema – Her blog ‘My Random Thoughts’ chronicles chapters from her life and her opinions on everything under the sun. I liked her post on Mother’s Love
Amropali – I like her short, pithy posts on life
Subhorup – I follow his blog ‘Subho’s Jejune Diet’ where he writes about blogging, living and other varied topics. His blog post titled ‘The Little Blog’ is one of my favorites

I do hope that each of them continues to uphold the tagging flame and be a sport in the blog relay…