Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How to not teach your kids to eat veggies

Radio : If I couldnt be strong...
Son: Why couldn't he be strong?
Me : Because he didnt eat his veggies
Son: Why?
Me : Because he doesnt listen to his mama/daddy
Sameer : I eat carrots. But I dont like broccoli
Me : Noone likes broccoli

Thursday, June 11, 2015

On PK - Take 2

I found PK to be fairly mild in its criticism of religion( given everything else I read  about that topic)

However here are some of the things that have been said on the Internet
This movie unfairly singles out Hindus
Of course Pakistani reviewers would like this - that shows doesn't it
This movie hurts the religious sentiments of Hindus
Its only Hindus that will say religion is man made all Muslims and Christians are sure their religion is true.

As always , even mild criticism of religion cant be made without the right wing nuts up in arms.
There is lot of things about the above that annoy me - as an Indian , as an erstwhile Hindu , as a non believer - which are in no particular order.

a. The insistence of right wing groups to frame their opposition as "Hurts the religious sentiments of Hindus" - Hindus, probably more than any other religion, are NOT a monolithic entity. Thanks to the naming of the practices of a geographical location as "Hindu" - we have no consistency or uniformity of practices or belief. Add some philosophy to it that is liberal in nature (Truth is one , paths are many )
or a vedic couplet like
 Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation?
The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?
 He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it,
Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.

which show people doubting what God himself knows or whether he even created creation or not?
Or a belief system that included non belief! (Carvaka)
So when someone says hurts religious sentiments of Hindus (or really of any religion) - it is nonsense. Most people don't care or would simply shrug.
No one appointed a political party or a mahasabha or a guru as the spokesman of any religion. No one appointed a mullah or a political party to represent their views and we should point and laugh at those who would appoint themselves to such positions - instead of siding with them.

b.Ah Pakistan. It looks like views about Pakistan can only fall into two extremes. Either they are all peace loving , decent human beings stuck with a corrupt, evil government OR Pakistan is encouraging(a very large understatement) terrorists , who kill innocent people and each and every citizen is morally responsible for this (if not eagerly abetting and supporting them) and while this exists India cannot have any relation whatsoever with them - not in sports , not in entertainment etc.
This movie seems to fall into the former and its detractors in the latter. Indians actually should be well aware of the complexity of treating a nation as one , given our own heterogeneity. While the above is an exaggeration , Pakistani characters are generally depicted as with a heart of gold or evil -even if the movie has both (or perhaps Hindi movies have one dimensional card board characters)

c. Its actually surprising to see the match be a Hindu Indian Girl + with Muslim pakistani boy in a Hindi movie. usually its the reverse.

d. While the movie probably did have more examples of Hindu's doing stupid stuff , with the chief villain being Hindu , and the other religions were represented briefly , it's silly to think that it singled out Hindu's - because you then did miss the point of the criticism. The point is not that cracking a coconut to please some God is silly (while kneeling down to face a particular mosque isnt) - its that why would an all powerful , all good being care about such things ? And it doesn't matter whether you talk about making the sign of the cross or fasting or rolling about on the ground or whatever - either the God you believe in is a petty one , or that God doesnt care about such thing (or he might not care at all about humans or he might not even exist)

e. And even with all that - this is such mild criticism. Hirani is probably a mono-theist/ deist. He didn't actually show religion in its every day evil form. He didn't really show how it destroys lives - every single day , not as an exception , but as a matter of course. He didnt show how badly people suffer because of it. he didn't show the absolutely evil practices it inspires. Well other than a bomb blast. And even then , the super privileged religious people found enough to object to the movie. Just shows you.

Cooking with leftovers - Paneer Undhiyu Frankie

Multiply quantities by number of frankies you wish to make
1 tbsp  Paneer jalfrezi - recipe by Sanjeev Kapoor (Substitute with any leftover Paneer dish that doesn't have much gravy)
2 tbsp Undhiyu - subsitute with any vegetable  that has a little bit of thick gravy
1 tbsp Maggi Tomato ketchup (hopefully no MSG or lead)
1 tsp Frankie roll masala
1 tsp Parmesan cheese (substitute with any cheese)
2 tbsp chopped capsicum / onion mixture
1 tsp chopped coriander leaves
1 Chapatti or roti or plain parantha
A little cooking oil and/or little butter

Heat oil on medium high flame. Add the chopped capsicum onion mixture and give it a char ,If the flame is high enough , you should still have a crunch factor(a minute or two). take it out and then Heat the Undhiyu and Paneer on the same pan so that they are warm, then take it out.
add a little bit of butter to the pan and place the chapatti over it. Once the chapatti is warm , add a little bit of butter to the other side and turn it over. Assemble the below quickly if you dont like the Frankie crisp (I do , so I can take my time). Sprinkle the frankie masala over the chapatti. Then add the undhiyu / paneer mixture in the center as a  thick vertical diameter. Add the chopped capsicum  and onion and spread the Maggi sauce over the mixture. finally add the coriander leaves and sprinkle the cheese over it. Hopefully the cheese melts a little bit when you fold the chapatti and helps the frankie remain closed. Heat till desired level of crispness. Fold the chapatti over from both sides over the mixture and take it out of the pan.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A cooking problem

Software Problem : Fast,Good, Cheap - Pick 2
Cooking Problem : Quick, Healthy, Kids love it - Pick 2

Friday, December 19, 2014


PK is a typical Rajkumar Hirani film - A mix of comedy with some romance thrown in , a preachy message - well shot , reasonably acted and decent music.
The movie is worth a watch - but I'm still disappointed. It's paradoxical that one can watch a brainless movie and come out happy (golmaal 3?) since expectations are non-existent but a good movie that doesn't match expectations feels worse or a movie that could have been so much better - if only they had let me(joking) direct and write parts of it, feels that much worse
The movie is similar in theme to Oh My God - Both these movies are against organized religion and the organizers while still supporting a theistic view. The irony of course , is that they don't seem to realize that they are in fact promoting one version of religion (a personal monotheistic one with one benevolent God) while making the pointed criticism of why are there so many religions? And why would any God want this confusion. But they don't seem to realize that it applies to their view too.
I first had an idea to write a book about this based on what I vaguely remember what Sagan had said in one of his books and I paraphrase - In our grand universe - the earth is a pale blue dot , the distinctions of religion or countries are too small. So an Alien who would observe us , our customs , what would he think especially when it came to religion. (not exactly original I guess?)
But I never went ahead with that idea - and this is in a nutshell , the story of PK. There is also a romance track that we shall ignore.

Over time there have been similar things - People seriously consider the question of "If Aliens exist are they saved by Jesus's sacrifice? Or would they have their own version of Jesus" - If you think thats crazy consider that various noted religious leaders have considered the questions of "Do pets go to heaven? How about babies? Unbaptized babies? Is there an intermediate stage between Death and Hell?" - There are answers of course - religion always has answers - but ponder how these leaders have arrived at the answers!
John Loftus' outsider test for religion also ponders a similar theme.
I guess my main complaint is that the satire is not biting enough and is needlessly diluted by the romantic plot + alien thrown in. Also an unnecessary bomb blast. While this maybe the "oh a bollywood movie needs this to be successful" - but many movies are successful in bollywood these days and they arent typical bollywood movies. I also think this tackles the easy, obvious problems in religion. It doesn't deal with the core things that make religion problematic - i.e. How do you verify the truth of a truth claim , given that humans are imperfect and everything we "know" is ultimately something we believe we know. And while the movie alluded to it , it didnt really drive home - Why is there evil in the world? And why wouldnt a God do something about it (or if there is a reason why would we think this God is good?)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Anti-scientific beliefs
Since I have voluntarily sworn off commenting here , but because an itch must be scratched ...

The question is why are we fine with some beliefs that are not scientific in nature (batman is the greatest character ever!) v/s other beliefs (Catholicism is true!) when no one claims a scientific basis for those other belies - other than we " aesthetically don't like religion"

So lets take subjective beliefs - No one claims they are objective - my likes dont match your likes so I might find something to be the best and you dont - There isn't a logical problem there - we all agree.

But what about religious beliefs? Why do we object to religious beliefs or demand evidence? Because some , not all , religious beliefs aren't subjective.
Does God exist? (S)He either exists or doesnt - but it cannot be that (S)he exists for you and not for me.
Did God reincarnate himself as his child and then sacrifice himself to himself in some grand scheme ? Well he either did or didnt - it cannot be true for you and false for me.
Did God found a church and must we now follow that Church ? Either he did or he didnt - it cannot be true for you or false for me

Science does not claim to evaluate the best fictional creation - but it does claim to investigate how the universe began. So a claim that Batman is the best character ever isn't anti-science , but a claim that God created the universe , is  - there isnt any evidence to it.

To be sure there might be subjective religious beliefs like religion made me a better person ? perhaps it did and perhaps it made someone else worse - we can react to religion differently so that part is subjective - but whenever Religion is making a fact based claim? Well you need some science there - if you still believe firmly , without evidence , then that is an anti-science attitude.

You cannot handwave a factual claim and say well its not a scientific claim and then use that to be shielded from criticism.

Friday, June 15, 2012