Saturday, May 28, 2016

Protagonists or Antagonists: Walter White aka Heisenberg

Some actor are meant to bring life in to the fictional characters and make them feel like they exists for real. While the characters of fantasy series like Harry potter or LOTR are obviously Imaginary and can only be Imagined, there are some that borders on reality and possibility of existence. One such series is Breaking Bad that gives us a protagonists or antagonists, whichever way you call him, who, when confronted with eminent death, turns to illegal ways in order to secure his family's future but then started liking it.
From a Simple chemistry teacher 'Walter white' to Drug Kingpin 'Heisenberg'.

Walter White AKA Heisenberg

Breaking Bad is a TV series that focus on a character who after being diagnosed by the terminal cancer, the mild mannered school teacher gets turned in to a ruthless criminal mastermind and Drug lord. What started out as a quick money making route before dying for Walter White ended with him building an entire drug empire, so big that he himself states that it could be listed in Nasdaq. What's interesting and at the same time, disturbing about the character is, that as he gets deeper, he becomes more heartless, his fear from threats to his family are always dealt by him with someone's death. The pseudo name Heisenberg, becomes a known name around the Drug cartels or underworld, Such that although not everyone has seen the Heisenberg, the name stroked fear.
An Explanation or a threat to his wife's worries
 Bryan Cranston's portrayal of Walter White is spot on, he makes you feel sorry and completely root for the guy. At the same time, he makes you doubt his morality like in scenes when Walter white aka Heisenberg is striking fear, even when he is talking to his own family or friends. Few such scenes are the ones against his wife, "I am not in Danger, Skyler. I Am the Danger. A guy opens the door and gets shot and you think that of me? NO! I am the one who Knocks!" or the one against his own lawyer, who wants to get out of the business and he replies,"You are out, when I say You are out" or the one in final part of the series against his own confronting DEA Brother-in-law,"...Thread Lightly." and many such iconic dialogues that has now become famous Quotes.
In short, Stay Out of my way

The show is critically acclaimed and so is the character, with Actor Bryan Cranston winning numerous award (total four Prime-time Emmy Awards from five seasons of shows) so is the show. What's interesting about the show is at the end it shows, 'Karma catches up with you eventually'.
Final confessions
Also the most interesting and to some extent influential part of the character or human behavior is, when a man is pushed to a brink of his end, the fear of being 'nothing' entire his life and failing his family can make him look for more, take risks in new ventures and try his best. And that is when he follows his heart and does what he feels he is really good at. But the thread of Right and Wrong is what holds him, and in case of Walter white he didn't care about the line. What went wrong with Walter white is he started to feel proud of work. Being the best in it, despite being provided with numerous opportunities to get out, he stays. As he admits it that he liked it and he felt alive.

There are many other such characters that are equally awesome and amazingly portrayed but for me, right now, Walter White with his trademark Black glass and Black hat with Black coat as Heisenberg, stands on top.
"Heisenberg?" - You are goddamn right
P.S. Inspired by Indibloggers IndiSpire 119 topic. Give your opinions about it.

A modern story with a lot of old life lessons
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Olympic legends #1: Jesse Owens

The Buckeye Bullet
  With 72 days to go from today for the World's biggest Sporting spectacle, Its time to Know about some of the greatest sporting legends to be a part of this event. While I have already written about Karoly Takacs, one of the biggest inspiration in the shooting sports or in any difficult life experiences, this post is regarding another such inspirational runner, who overcame racism, poverty to become of the greatest in track and field games.

The Buckeye Bullet
Also known as,"The Buckeye Bullet" Owens won 4 gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic, that included 100m, 200m, 4x100 and long jump. For Hitler and Nazi's this event was the stage to showcase the world its Aryan race supremacy and inferiority of other races, But Owens proved it wrong, winning 4 medals and breaking two records along the way.

Defiance in the face of Evil
During the games and afterwards, there were even reports that a furious Hitler, after witnessing Owens 100m win left the stadium without shaking hands with the winner. Although years later Owens himself denied this reports. But even then he wasn't fairy tale story back home for Owens, After having lived all his life in poverty and struggling to ends meet by working at young age, and training without Scholarships despite being eligible. Owens was disappointed although not entirely surprised that he was not even congratulated by his own president.

 “I loved running because it was something you could do all by yourself, and under your own power.” - Jesse Owens

After the 1936 Olympics, Owens opted out of few games to earn some financials gains through advertising and using his physical talents by racing against cars and horses. As a result of this he was never picked again. Later in his life, he was appointed as the goodwill ambassador of US.

One chance is all you need - Jesse Owens
In 1980 Owens died of cancer having played only one Olympic Games.
The dormitory used by Owens during the Olympics has been fully restored into a living museum, with pictures of his accomplishments at the Games, and a letter (intercepted by the Gestapo) from a fan urging him not to shake hands with Hitler.

In the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, just after the Olympic cauldron had been lit, the 80,000 individual pixels in the audience seating area were used as a giant video screen to show footage of Owens running around the stadium.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why do we neglect our own safety so easily?

If you think about it Indians don't care about safety standards, most of the times the set parameters of safety for a company, vehicles, schools and other places are never met. As an Individuals itself people don't care of their own safety, which is evident if you see how people travel in local trains or how some bikers drive in traffic.Most of the people don't wear seat belts or helmets and the ones who do, do it to avoid fines rather than safety purposes.

So it should not come as a surprise, when Global new car assessment program (Global NCAP) came up with the following Statement, "The latest Indian crash test result in Delhi continue to disappoint with all five model rated as zero."

Maruti Suzuki celerio and Eeco, Renault Kwid and Hyundai Eon, were the cars that was tested and all of them scored a zero rating. Mahindra Scorpio- an all terrain SUV once termed as prime minister's Vechicle, was the fifth car and it disappointed too with zero rating.

The results of Five vechicles:

According to NCAP general secretary David Ward, a car must have 'A stable Body shell ' and  'atleast a Front Airbags' to be considered stable during crash.





Industry Experts are disappointed by Renaults as even their Airbag- fitted version failed the test.

On Renaults kwid, this is what the NCAP said, "It is very surprising that a manufacturer like Renault introduced the Kwid initially lacking this essential feature. Global NCAP stongly believe that no manufacturer anywhere in the world should be developing new models that are clearly so Sub-standard."

It looks like even the manufacturers are avoiding the safety parameters with such results. Its sad that one of leading automobile markets in the world has such a poor standards of safety, despite having a world's highest death rate in road fatalities. One of the reason is lack of legislation or laws about testing vehicles. Lets hope that such news could bring about the required change in mindset of people in searching for a low maintenance and high efficiency cars with the required safety considerations.

Friday, May 6, 2016

21 vs 10000- Battle of Saragarhi

Recently, I came across a Facebook post by Eric kirsch regarding who the great warriors really are, and who are the real HARD MEN. He wrote about the Battle of Saragarhi, where 21 Sikhs defended a fort against 10000 afghan pashtuns. Sounds familiar, reminded of movie 300, yes Spartans vs Persians, it’s sad though that most of us, apart from Sikhs, know more about the Spartan war (thanks to the movie) then this battle. 

One way it could have been told to us is by including it in the textbooks; after all it was one hell of a David vs Goliath battle. No wonder, most Historians compare this battle to the battle of Thermopylae, both had similar background, a tiny defending force facing a huge contingent of army, holding their post for time enough to strengthen their army back home, and both fighting till their death.
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Battle Of Saragarhi

The Sikh led by Havildar Ishar Singh, chose to fight till death, considered by many military historians as one of the history's greatest 'Last Stands'.

The Battle of Saragarhi was fought before the Tirah Campaign on 12 September 1897 between 21 Sikhs of the 36th Sikhs (now the 4th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment) of British India, defending an army post against 10,000 Afghan and Orakzai tribesmen, other estimates put the opposition force above 13,500+.

The 21 Sikhs defended against a massive border incursion while positioned in sentry defense of the foremost positioned tiny garrison on the line.
Details of the Battle of Saragarhi are considered fairly accurate, due to Gurmukh Singh signalling events to Fort Lockhart by heliograph as they occurred.

A Quick Run through the battle:

  • Around 9:00am, around 10,000 Afghans reach the signaling post at Saragarhi.
  • Sardar Gurmukh Singh signals to Col. Haughton, situated in Fort Lockhart, that they are under attack.
  • Colonel Haughton states he cannot send immediate help to Saragarhi.
  • The soldiers decide to fight to the last to prevent the enemy from reaching the forts.
  • Bhagwan Singh becomes the first injured and Lal Singh is seriously wounded.
  • Soldiers Lal Singh and Jiwa Singh reportedly carry the dead body of Bhagwan Singh back to the inner layer of the post.
  • The enemy breaks a portion of the wall of the picket.
  • Colonel Haughton signals that he has estimated between 10,000 and 14,000 Pashtuns attacking Saragarhi.
  • The leaders of the Afghan forces reportedly make promises to the soldiers to entice them to surrender.
  • Reportedly two determined attempts are made to rush open the gate, but are unsuccessful.
  • Later, the wall is breached.
  • Thereafter, some of the fiercest hand-to-hand fighting occurs.
  • In an act of outstanding bravery, Ishar Singh orders his men to fall back into the inner layer, whilst he remains to fight. However, this is breached and all but one of the defending soldiers are killed, along with many of the Pashtuns.
  • Gurmukh Singh, who communicated the battle with Col. Haughton, was the last Sikh defender. He is stated to have killed 20 Afghans, the Pashtuns having to set fire to the post to kill him. As he was dying he was said to have yelled repeatedly the Sikh battle-cry "Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal" (Shout Aloud in Ecstasy! True is the Great Timeless One). "Akal," meaning Immortal, beyond death, the Supreme Creator God unbound by time and non-tempor.

The following day when thousands of British Army reinforcements arrived and successfully repelled the Afghan's, exactly 21 Sikh MEN were found, most shirtless, all knives drawn from hip sheaths, and covered in blood surrounded by over 600 dead Afghan fighters.

All of the 21 Sikh non-commissioned officers and soldiers of other ranks who laid down their lives in the Battle of Saragarhi were posthumously awarded the Indian Order of Merit, the highest gallantry award of that time, which an Indian soldier could receive by the hands of the British crown, the corresponding gallantry award being Victoria Cross.
A fight till death

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Rituals-Where does it come from?

How can tossing a baby bring good luck?
Ever Imagined how did it start, when did it began, who said it first, or why was it started? we knew many of those rituals is not something that came with life on earth, not something that existed in stone age times or even during the times when gods graced the earth to teach righteousness. Some of the rituals are downright ridiculous and unbelievable still we followed them just because it was said by elders who were told by their elders. Rituals like widow burning or Sati was eventually banned, while baby tossing is something that has existed till the recent past.

Some rituals was results of clear misinterpretation.
When questioned why? they would probably tell that these rituals are meant to cleanse you or bring good luck and health, but how? They are not sure. A lot of rituals that our parents told us probably had no meaning because when you question them, they would not know and turn us down by saying that we are not meant to question it. And that is not true, I had once read a story- Devils tree about a child being stopped by a elderly from climbing trees by saying that it was haunted in return the child did not heed and said that so far he had been doing it for long time and nothing happened, so probably you are wrong. that child was Swami Vivekananda. Can you Imagine what would have happened if some other kid had listened to it and continued the word of haunted to his other friends and then his kids in future, this is how rituals grows, they are baseless but would have still stopped kids from doing it in the name of god or devil or what not.

Read them and be your own judge
Some are clear cases of misinterpretation, one regarding Sati is cleared out in the following site Religion and its rituals were meant to teach us about what's good and bad, what's right and wrong and not to live in fear. Sometimes religious rituals or teaching can be wrong, or it could be depended on the situations, if you can see and understand what is wrong and your religion teaches you to do otherwise, then think about it again. Even back in Mahabharata, all the elders like Bhisma, Dronacharya and others knew what was happening to pandavas was unjust but they still stuck with kauravas because it was their so called dharma to the motherland and king that was stopping them So it was not surprising that Lord Krishna wanted Arjun to fight them. While even In Ramayana, Vibhishan left his evil brother Ravan  and came to Lord Ram because he knew what was wrong and took side of the right.

So that's what i took from those stories that religion and their teaching depends upon what is right and what's wrong and with relevance to these times I guess we all are smart enough to distinguish that.

P.S.: All the stuff I wrote here about Gods and rituals are my opinions, and meant no disrespect to anyone.

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