‘Car’mic vibrations

Buying a car is one of those events which have a range of emotions depending on the kind of person there is. To the showroom staff, it is just another day at work. To some, it is another shopping experience [at least in the USA]; but for most of us, it is a lifelong dream. Right from saving up to buy the car of choice, to customizing the features that are needed before delivery; there is a good amount of planning that goes into this experience.

As mammals that have evolved over several thousands of years, we have an advanced brain which is said to be categorized into two broad functional areas. The left brain deals with the logical and analytical aspect of thinking, and the right brain is said to be responsible for the emotional and artistic aspects. Let me cut to the chase. I have been fortunate enough to buy a car in recent times and this post is about the internal conflict / synchronization between the two halves of my brain while I am in it.

Action: Press the unlock button on the car remote.

Left brain: Ok, the 40 bit pseudo random code is transmitted to the receiver in the car. This code contains information that tells the receiver to perform the unlock operation. The receiver uses the same pseudo random number generator as the transmitter, which keeps them in sync. Now that the code is recognized to be valid, the relevant actuators kick in and unlock the doors for me to enter. 

Right Brain: That’s a brilliant blue exterior! Love those metallic blue grains that give the body a shine. Is the door unlocked, let me press it again to make sure. Yes, I can hear the doors unlock now. Yay! Time for another drive!

 

Action: Perform preliminary driving prep

Left brain: Fasten Seatbelt. Plug in the key, turn clockwise till you hear the click and the instrument panel comes alive. Check the dash for any warnings.

Right brain: The white dial on the black background looks gorgeous! So glad that I have an analog speedometer instead of a digital one.

 

Action: Start the car

Left brain: Step on the brakes. Turn the key clockwise to start the car. The intake valve opens up. Fuel enters the cylinder. Intake valve closes. Piston moves up, compressing the fuel. Spark plug ignites the fuel. Piston moves down due the energy generated. The momentum gained by the piston brings it back up, the exhaust valve opens to let the exhaust gases out. But wait, I am in the Parking gear [P], that’s all I have for now. But before I go I want to inform you that the wheels aren’t coupled to the engine yet via the gears.

Right Brain: The hum of the engine feels so good. Just the right amount of bass, just the right amount of vibration that resonates with my soul. <Goosebumps>

Left brain: Hey maybe you have Goosebumps because the frequency of the hum produced matches your resonant frequency! Point to ponder upon…

Right brain: Shut up!

 

Action: Start driving

Left brain: Step on the brakes. Shift the gear stick to Drive mode [D].Basic 4 stroke engine functionality going on. Crankshaft rotates transmitting power from the engine to the gear train. Gear train couples to the wheel to transmit the energy generated. Release the brakes. Step on the gas. Camshafts are responsible for timing the opening/closing of the intake/exhaust valves. Dual Overhead Camshaft [DOHC] engine has one camshaft for the intake valve and one camshaft for the exhaust valve which gives better intake/exhaust control to optimize the fuel consumption during idling and high speeds.

The transmission is Continuously Variable [CVT].So there are no discrete gears, we have gear cones instead of gears which means that the engine is at optimum RPM for a given speed at any point of time Cool isn’t it?  :)

Right brain: DOHC with CVT, yeah! Just what I wanted! I have a car which uses a more precise timing control with a transmission suited for better mileage. Let me see if it gives a burst of speed when I need it. <Steps hard on the gas> <Car lunges forward> Duh, I don’t need a turbo! <Goosebumps> <Head blanks out>

A few seconds later – <Head clears>

This has been a relatively short journey in life. A few months ago, I never had the slightest idea that I would buy a car, especially the one that I had dreamed of owning in my teens. Being here is flattering and humbling at the same time. Flattering because I get to live this moment; humbling because I realize that I am standing on the success of my parents, forefathers and well-wishers. Many people have extended their support in making this possible, and the best I can do in return is to live the moment and cherish their relationships.

‘Accord’ingly, thank you Soichiro, it’s a Honda!

Calling all Anti-rapists!

Hear one. Hear all. Come forth with your solution to rape.

The best 500 solutions will get a cash prize of $1000 each evaluated at the lowest value of the rupee within the last calendar month*

The top 200 solutions will be given gold at half the market rate without exercising the impact of import duties, for 5 buying cycles without imposing a maximum weight limit **

The top 100 solutions will have free electricity and vegetable supplies for the next one year ***

The top 10 solutions will be given a grand prize of free petrol/diesel for 3 years from HPCL/IOCL bunks for 2 registered vehicles per solution****

Think. Speak out. Act. Make a difference. The next victim could be your friend/fiancée/sister or simply a person whom you neither know nor consider as a fellow human being.

*Values of the US dollar above 70 rupees will not be considered under this scheme
**Maximum weight per transaction is limited to 10kg. 5 buying cycles are to be completed within 1 calendar year or at 30kg, whichever occurs earlier.
***Limited time offer: Onions included! Hurry, offer lasts till imports continue from Pakistan!
**** Privately owned trucks and buses are currently not included in this scheme

Disclaimer -
We offer no guarantee that these solutions could be implemented by the government. We are merely interested in bettering the lives of our fellow citizens, atleast monetarily if not physically.

Rant of a superhero fan…

This post is triggered by the numerous hate responses to Man of Steel. As a person who loves comics in general and a fan of Christopher Nolan, I would like to address these concerns directly in a Q & A format. This will be split into two parts, first analyzing the Bat trilogy and the second addressing Man of Steel. Those who haven’t seen Man of Steel yet can still read the second part of the post as it does not contain spoilers. Skip it if you want to watch the movie with an open mind.

Part I – The Bat Trilogy

  • Why pick Batman?

Warner brothers had no idea of giving this a reboot. Batman has a riveting story that any director would want to tell. The previous movies and the old TV series might have been “good” for the time, but they had deviated way too far from the theme and essence that the comics conveyed. There was a new dimension that had to be brought to Batman to establish his true identity.

  • What was the story that was intended?

Nolan’s vision was to explore the character and build a story that was justifiable. The story had scope for character development, from showing the inner scars of Bruce Wayne to go on and show how he overcomes them to become a better person.

  • There are many villains in the Batman universe, why choose those who were chosen?

Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed by a street thief for petty money, which was during the depression. Bruce chooses to avenge his parents, but doesn’t have a roadmap as such. After numerous experiences in life, he chooses to use his wealth and intelligence to create a face that criminals would fear.

The first step would be to battle the gangs in Gotham, or the “mob”. The muggers and the crime lord Carmine Falcone are interconnected. A psychotic doctor, assuming the name Scarecrow, plans to release a fear toxin that will paralyze Gotham. It is also revealed that the Scarecrow was pressurized by Ras Al Gul to create and release a fear toxin. Henri Ducard is a detective who trains Bruce in the comics, but Nolan merged Ducard and Ras Al Gul to make an intricate plot for Batman Begins. Scarecrow uses the city’s organized crime to smuggle his toxin, acting on the orders of Ras; this makes way for a believable plot; as against bringing in a Penguin or a Riddler for the opening movies. The first movie established a solid foundation for the subsequent movies that followed.

Batman isn’t complete without the Joker. Nolan’s version of the Joker and Ledger’s rendition of it will probably be the best in the movie franchise; in parallel with Mark Hamill’s version in the cartoons. The origins of the Joker are as mysterious in the movie as they are in the comics. Nolan chose to expose the chaos that the Joker could unleash as a sociopathic character. He merged the origins of Two-face as an outcome of Joker’s actions, by adding a personal tragedy that pushes Harvey Dent to the ‘dark side’. Harvey’s killings form an important part of the story which lays the premise for the third movie.

Bane is a product of a drug test, as per the comics, and increases his strength by pumping the drug ‘Venom’. As for Catwoman, she was never a killer, Nolan stuck to the comics and treated her as a hired professional thief. He extrapolates the story of the League of Shadows and links Bane to it so create a continual contemporary storyline; thereby making a logical and realistic trilogy.

Throughout the trilogy, there is always a mix of villains that work together, to make to plot as believable as possible. Debates about the other villains like Poison Ivy, Riddler, Mad hatter, Killer Croc, Hugo Strange etc can be silenced; because frankly we didn’t miss them!

Now that we are done with the Bat trilogy, let’s get to Superman.

 Part II – Man of Steel

  • Why Superman?

This was another superhero franchise that never quite got what it deserved. It was very well worthy of the reboot. Riding on the success of the Bat trilogy, who better to be on board than Nolan, Goyer and Snyder; all of whom have a good track record.

  • What was the story that was intended?

The writers’ vision was to explore the character and build a story that was justifiable. The story had scope for character development, from showing how a misfit alien tries to align himself to the society to go on and lay a foundation for subsequent movies.

  • Why General Zod?

To explain this convincingly, we need to explore the origins of Superman as per the comics as and per the movie.

First, the comics -

Jor-El predicts that Krypton would cease to exist, but by the time he figures it out it is too late to save its entire people.  It becomes wildly unstable due to its radioactive core which results in frequent quakes. Kal-El [Superman] is sent to earth just so that he can be saved. Earth was chosen as it has a lower gravitational field and a brighter sun than Krypton; which implies Kal-El would possess superhuman powers.

Now the movie –

Krypton is shown to have births from separate incubation chambers and Kal-El is supposed to be the first natural birth in Krypton [after centuries]. Jor-El is the person who cracked this code for natural births and saves Kal-El and the code containing genetic information for natural births. I will avoid discussing about the code as it involves spoilers.

All that we need to understand is that there are reasons why Zod comes looking for Superman.

One – He believes that Kal-El has access to the genetic code which can help him rebuild Krypton

Two – Earth is a good planet to ‘terraform’ to Krypton [terraform = create the properties of one planet to match that of the other]

  • Character development of Kal-El

Kal-El is brought up as Clark Kent, by Jonathan and Martha Kent. The trauma that he undergoes as a child is depicted quite well, and I don’t find a reason to complain. Examples – Trying to adjust to the various sounds in daily life, focusing only on what he wants to hear or use his X-Ray vision only when needed, controlling his anger while bullied in school etc. His foster father is his greatest inspiration and is instrumental in molding him during his formative years. The father-son moments have preachy moments but it blends well with the story. The numerous instances where Clark does superhuman feats and the consequences that he and his parents face are portrayed well too.

  • What people wrongly think went wrong –

Ok, there is good justice being done to Kal-El and Superman. So why are most people disappointed with the movie? The answer is simple. Superman is not Batman. Most people expect a Dark Knight when they walk in to Man of Steel. I would be surprised if they are not disappointed. It is like walking into a ‘Fast and the Furious’ movie and expecting Bruce Lee to show you his cool Jeet-Kune-Do or Karate moves!

In all fairness, Batman and Superman cannot be compared; even with Nolan+Goyer+Snyder at the helm of things. All we need to ask ourselves is one question – Did they do justice to the story of Superman? Hell, yes!

Superman and Batman are two different characters. Frankly, Superman is less exciting because he is too perfect. He doesn’t have the dark past like Batman, or the quick wit of Iron Man, or the bad ass demeanor / adamantium fists of Wolverine. Superman is intended to be an ideal superhero and an ideal man which is why certain amount of suspension of disbelief is needed to appreciate him. Batman is supposed to be a believable character – he is a guy who has his limitations but still goes on to fight his demons and rise above them.

Anyway, all said and done; for the people who think that there wasn’t enough character development that went into Superman, maybe we need to look deeper. Take off your Dark Knight cape, and wear the Superman hat; you would definitely enjoy this effort.

Keep calm and trust in Nolan.

Formul(an(archaic)) argument

Well, to start off, I must confess that I have lost the high levels on interest I had in F1 about 2-3 years ago. The reason behind this lack of enthusiasm to follow races was the guilt that struck me about the amount of fuel that is pumped to move those machines. While I have always adored the engineering that goes behind running them at about 300 kmph, the fact that fuel prices in India are increasing way beyond the range that a common man can afford plagued me from getting into the sport.

During the course of a casual discussion with my sister, I was provoked to finding out the details so that I can dispel/root my perception of the sport and its impact on the ongoing fuel crisis.

Outlined below is a summary of my findings.

Petrol consumption in India – 

Volume of one oil barrel = 42 US Gallons
1 US gallon = 3.78 L
Crude oil consumption in India per day = 3500 k barrels [ Source: Energy Information Administration]

Percentage of oil from a barrel that becomes gasoline = 45% approx

Petrol consumption per day in India =
42*3.78*3500*1000*0.45 = 250047 kL per day

Petrol consumed in F1 -
Consumption by one team in one season = 200kL [As per the official F1 site]
Number of teams in F1 = 11
Total fuel consumption by all teams in one season = 2200 kL

Comparison -
Case 1 – F1 v/s India
Petrol consumed in one F1 season = Petrol consumption per day in India / 113
Petrol consumed in one F1 season = Petrol consumed by the whole of India in 32 min

Case 2 – F1 v/s a Boeing 747 aircraft – assuming that the same quality of fuel is used [frivolous, but anyway!]
Fuel consumption of 747 = Average of 19L per mile = 12L per km [From the Boeing site]
Distance that can be travelled by a Boeing 747 using 2200kL of petrol = 2200kL/12L = 183334 km
Air Distance from Bangalore to London = 10500 km approx [basic googling will get you this info]

Petrol consumed in one F1 season = Petrol consumed by a Boeing 747 aircraft to make about 9 round trips from Bangalore to London.

Those are interesting figures. At the end of this exercise, I don’t know if I should be happy that the fuel consumed in F1 is not as high as I thought it to be [kudos to those engineers!], or if I should be disturbed by the fact that we are fast depleting the fossil fuels which have formed over the last 600 million years!

PS – I hope I got my math right!

(Dis)Re(garded)public of India. . .

What is a republic? We have heard this go around a lot, let’s hit the dictionary.

Wordweb tells me two things –

  1. A form of government whose head of state is not a monarch
  2. A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them

Well, today is the 63rd anniversary when we technically “became” a republic. 63 years ago, on this day, we formally had a constitution in force. After all these years, I don’t understand why we need a holiday. It is attributed to the celebration that we are supposed to have for having becoming a republic. While I bask in my ‘freedom’ of speech that my friends in some countries may not have, it is imperative that we ponder upon the rising hypocrisy we are living with.

2012 has been an eventful year, as the ones previous to it were – Big fish got caught in scams. Ministers were caught watching offensive videos. Family politics ruled. We had our most successful Olympics so far, but more money was burnt playing a tournament of a pseudo national game. A terrorist was hanged. We had an exodus from the south to the east. A budding psychiatrist was gang raped causing international uproar. With all of these and more happening; is there actually a point in being busy priding ourselves of being a secular, socialist, democratic republic? I agree that things cannot change in a day, but if Republic day, Independence day, Gandhi Jayanthi, etc are to inculcate national pride and patriotism in us; I feel they do a shoddy job! If Gandhi were to be alive today, I think he would have wanted us to work all the more instead of watching a bunch of movies or going out on a fun trip.

Sad to see that we live in extremely hypocritical times – Goddesses are worshipped but women are raped. Criminals can plead innocent and walk free, but a person posting her opinion on Facebook would be arrested. We pride ourselves for our cultural heritage while today it is merely a fancy term which few of us truly understand. We ban realistic films quoting secularism; religion serves more as a dividing force rather than bringing people together. Bundhs are respected (feared) more than protests. Bureaucrats rule the roost while lay-men hunt for someone who can provide them with free rice or TV.

It is high time we focus on grass-root problems rather than live in the glorious past.

Every year should be seen in comparison with its previous year. An annual poll must be conducted and a specific number of issues need to be identified to be solved within the next year. An action plan is to be made and presented to the public within a timeline. By the next year, progress that has been made on these specific problems is to be documented and presented to the public on lines of the annual budget. I don’t see how progress can be achieved in the current setup where accountability is virtually absent.

An example run would be something like this –

Step IPolling results of issues at hand as on 26th Jan 2013

  1. Ensure safety of women in cities and villages alike.
  2. Mitigate religion oriented communal issues.
  3. Encourage education of children >5 years old.

Step II – Action plan presented at the Annual Action Plan Convention on 31st  March 2013

  1. Ensure safety of women in cities and villages alike.
  • Create a separate security wing specializing in human safety – rape, child abuse, domestic violence etc
  • Develop a task force and agenda to recruit police officers specifically for the security wing. Provide appropriate monetary benefits to encourage enrollment.
  • Develop a training program to effectively utilize the newly hired man power.
  • Chalk out a plan for having counseling sessions directed at parties responsible / affected due to the problems listed  – men, women, in-laws; with primary focus being on reaching out to the remote corners of India. [These sessions would help overcome male dominance / perversity which I would say is the root cause of the issues listed]

2.  Mitigate religion oriented communal issues.

  • Appoint a committee to select religious leaders from each religion to participate in a parliament of religions. Priority to select a candidate is to have understood his/her religion and interpreted its teachings correctly.
  • Convene a parliament of major religions practiced in India with participation from influential members of each religion. [This would allow healthy exchange of thoughts and open up people to the fact that no religion is superior to the other]
  • Develop an agenda to have religious discussions on a public platform across India with participation from these influential people from all religions. [This would help in reaching out to the masses to promote communal harmony]

3.  Encourage education of children >5 years old.

  • Estimate number of children who do not have access to primary education.
  • Develop a training program for teachers to be hired in government schools.
  • Recruit teachers as necessary with a student:teacher ratio being 30:1. Train them as per the new standards mentioned. Offer monetary / fringe benefits to encourage enrollment.
  • Deploy these trained teachers to identified government schools.

4.   Announce the budget for each of the points mentioned above.

Step III – Annual Review Presentation – 26th Jan 2014

  • Budget allotted: X
  • Amount spent: Y.
  • Deficit / Excess: X~Y. Quote reasons.
  • Mention specifics regarding progress made on each issue.
  • Present the action plan for next year

If an ordinary guy like me can think of options in an hour, I am sure people sitting high up in the ladder, people whose decisions move things through our sluggish system can think of better and more plausible options. The very sense of being a republic is lost in today’s times. In spite of all the rant, I am disappointed that I am not able to do anything to change things. I am just hoping something knocks some sense into at least some of those even remotely concerned!

Nolan’s reckonings…

Christopher Nolan is a household name now, largely owing to his retrieval of the Batman franchise; breathing a new life into the characters than Frank Miller & Bob Kane created. There are many of us who have been fans of Christopher Nolan’s movies for a long time, and many more joining in post the success of the Batman trilogy. I first started off with The Dark Knight and then went back to watching all of his movies, right from Doodlebug, his first short. His movies are more than just a visual spectacle, having sharply etched characters that you take home with and ponder upon, way after the credits roll. There is much we can take out of Chris Nolan’s movies, the ones that he created and also those that he adapted to the big screen. These are some lessons that I realized, upon multiple viewings that his movies may not need, but truly deserve!

Note – There are no spoilers in this post.

1.    “Man’s reach exceeds his grasp? It’s a lie. Man’s grasp exceeds his nerve.” – Nikola Tesla, The Prestige.

In tough times, when failure shows its ugly head, most of us believe that we are limited by our abilities in performing that particular task that we failed in. We tend to believe that knowing something superficially is good enough and do not find a need to get into the details, or rather barely reaching the subject instead of grasping it. Through this quote, we are introduced to the idea that we are limited by our inability to explore new possibilities, thinking out of the box or taking risks; and not by our inability to do something. This quote is of an important consequence in the movie, and if taken in the right spirit can lead us to expanding our possibilities! The only lasting limits that are imposed are those imposed by ourselves!

2.    “Now you are looking for the secret, but you won’t find It because of course, you are not really looking” – Cutter, The Prestige.

This is a simple line with a lot of depth in it. Often, we come across problems that seem impossible to crack, or tasks that remain pending for a long time. What could be the reasons for this – we choose to conveniently or situationally ignore them, or we simply aren’t trying enough to solve them. It’s not just about wanting to solve an issue, it is about trying all at hand and all that is possible to achieve the desired result. How many of us actually put in our 100% in everything that we do? Point to ponder upon.

3.       “What is the most resilient parasite? An idea. Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate.” – Dom Cobb, Inception

“True inspiration is hard to fake” – Arthur, Inception

We are what we see ourselves to be. Genuine inspiration that comes from within is what makes people succeed in what they do. No amount of coercing or cajoling would help in that regard.  What the mind can conceive and perceive, it can achieve!

4.    “Why do we fall Bruce? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up” – Thomas Wayne, Batman Begins

This is a simple line that goes a long way in shaping the character of a self-made individual. A friend once told me that situations and experiences are what make a person brave. To quote Nietzsche, “Something that doesn’t kill you simply makes you stronger”.  Failures are important in one’s life as it is in times of adversity that the true abilities of a person are tested.

5.    “If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become legend Mr.Wayne” – Ducard, Batman Begins.

Ok, this is a dramatic dialogue at the first glance. However, it can be weaved into our life by visualizing ourselves as being symbolic to atleast one strong ideal or trait, and living by it completely. For example, Mother Teresa is a symbol of peace, Steve Jobs is a symbol of innovation, Bhagat Singh is one of the many symbols of the struggle for Indian independence. These are people whose names will live on for a long time after them, as they have been immortalized by their value systems, for living their lives by one ideal. If I devote myself to the pursuit of perfection, I can ensure that I perform all tasks to the best that can ever be. If I dedicate myself to the pursuit of happiness, I turn out to be an optimist in life.

6.    “People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I am flesh and blood I can be ignored and destroyed; but as a symbol I can be incorruptible and everlasting” – Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins.

Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society’s understanding” – Ducard, Batman Begins.

I wish our politicians see this quote and live by it! The recent molestation incident at Guwahati is a clear indication of the apathy that exists within us. It is disgusting enough to realize that we live in a country where a girl is molested in public, what makes it worse is that it wasn’t one or two individuals, but close to 30 people violating all laws of humanity by indulging in this act. This incident is spoken about for a few days or maybe weeks in the media, and finally one fine day the accused will walk free, all ready to molest his next victim.

Would a public trial of the accused and meting out life terms for such people be dramatic enough? I cannot say! The judiciary needs to be the symbol of hope that the citizens perceive to be incorruptible. Happens only in Utopia, many might reckon, and I don’t disagree!

7.    “Men fear most what they cannot see. What you really fear is inside yourself” – Ducard, Batman Begins.

The whole of Batman Begins talks about fear and its ramifications on the lives of the characters. It is primary to identify the fear within oneself in order to overcome it. As shown in this movie, it is imperative to first embrace the fear and then confront it. I used to be acrophobic, having a fear of heights. It took me one jump off 2000m to get me out of it. That incident of paragliding reduced my fear to look down from a height by a great deal! Though this is a shallow example considering the intensity of this statement, I think it pretty much conveys the point.

8.    “It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you” – Rachel, Batman Begins.

Many of us plan many things that we intend to do, but never end up finishing them. People are recognized by what they’ve done and not what they intended to do. MK Gandhi is remembered for using non-violent methods for leading a nation to freedom, in spite of all the stuff that is written about him in recent books. He defines nonviolence.  Adolf Hitler was a perfectionist who was obsessed about perfection in all that he did. But he is remembered for the Holocaust which led to the unfortunate deaths of millions. Actions definitely do speak louder than words!

9.    “People are only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these civilized people, they’ll eat each other.” – The Joker, The Dark Knight.

Most people might have missed the genius in this dialogue. It talks about how opportunistic people can get when it comes to survival. When pushed to their limits, or even otherwise, there are few of us who actually stick to our value systems all along, and take the tough path to success.

10.   There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us” – Selina Kyle, The Dark Knight Rises

Though this dialogue has an important consequence in the plot of TDKR, I couldn’t help but notice how it talks about the economic disparity in society today. Some of us are fortunate enough to have a comfortable life. How many of us are doing our bit to give back to the society, and bettering the lives of our lesser fortunate countrymen.

11.   “Victory has defeated you” – Bane, The Dark Knight Rises

Bane means this in a different light when he says this, but I am not getting into the plot of TDKR. The way I see it is this. We sometimes tend to get complacent with success and might reduce on the quality of work that we do, not intentionally, more involuntarily. And this, when done, leads to one’s downfall. Complacency brings in a false level of satisfaction that leads us to lower our standards.

12.   “You do not fear death. You think this makes you strong. It makes you weak. How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death?” – Prisoner, The Dark Knight Rises.

The best part about the trilogy is that all along, fear is acknowledged, not run away from. I feel this is very relevant in life. The fear of failure brings in a drive that pushes us way beyond our established boundaries, enabling us to do things that we once thought were impossible.

13.   “A hero can be anyone” – Batman, The Dark Knight Rises

I liked the way this is put in the movie – casually quoting that anyone who wishes well and does their bit to help others can be a hero. A small deed can make a huge difference in the lives of many people. It’s all relative!

I acknowledge that this post has rushes from this blog on Forbes. I have added content that I observed from his movies and those I suppose Nolan intended the audience to know. There are many other movies that have things to learn from, but there has been a consistency in Nolan’s heartfelt storytelling that I find some details hard to miss! I am sure there are other details I might have left out. As with any viewer, perspectives and opinions differ.

This post is written out of reverence to the content that needs to be told, and not out of my misplaced sense of self righteousness :)

Police Story..

I recently had the ‘privilege‘ of accompanying my cousin to the police station to get his identity verification done for his passport issuance. I am deeply troubled by the attitudes of those employed in government offices. The people who are supposed to get our prime jobs done are so narrow minded that, at times, they do more harm than good, knowingly or unknowingly. I mostly think it is the former! Outlined below is my experience and views on the process.

We got a call at about 10 AM from the police station that we need to be present at the police station at 12pm, with some documents that need to be produced. I understand that the purpose of this procedure is to verify that the passport is issued to an authentic person and that it is not a fraudulent individual. We were present at the police station at 12 noon and were told to wait for a while till the supposed person is to arrive.

A girl in her late teens / early twenties enters the hall with the required set of documents for the same process, and she too is asked to wait like the rest of us. I shall term her as Ms.G for simplicity. She received a call on her phone and was engaged for the next 15-20 minutes. She kept her voice low and made sure that she wasn’t disturbing anyone in the waiting hall. One of the older, pot-bellied staff in the police station, whom I shall term as X, did not like the sight of her speaking over the cellphone in a police station. He rudely asked her to cut the call or asked her to get out and do the talking. This was strike one. Ms.G ended the call she was on and sat waiting there for the verification staff to come in.

A few minutes later, Ms.G got another call, which she received outside the police station. She wound it up in less than 5 min and came back in to the waiting hall, sitting with her legs crossed, one on top of the other. At this moment, a jeep rushed outside the police station, which made X and the other staff in the police station stand up. I also observed that he hurriedly wore his hat, which is a part of his uniform. A few other people who were waiting stood up looking at the others. X observed that Ms.G and I did not stand up in response to his act and shot us a glare. He also gestured Ms.G to uncross her legs. Strike two. A lady sitting comfortably in a government office when an officer walks in is supposedly disrespectful! She was as confused as I was and we didn’t understand what he was trying to say. A lady sub inspector walked in to many people standing up and saluting her. I neither stood up not saluted her as I didn’t find the need to do so.  She went into her chamber and was not seen thereafter.

The guy who verified the identities of all these people was a youngster, in his mid 20s. I was pleasantly surprised to find him being extremely courteous and polite to all the people whom he was interacting with. The verification process started at about 1230, and went on for half hour. I noticed that X was shooing away people waiting outside the police station. Where are they supposed to go!!

The waiting area had 3 vacant seats at the time as most people were in the relevant rooms where their respective queries were catered to. Meanwhile, X did not find anyone to bully or boss over for the next few minutes. He glanced at me, and concluded that I must be his next unfortunate victim. He approached me and asked in Kannada if I had any work to be done at the police station. I responded that I had just accompanied my cousin who is getting his identity verification done. He promptly asked me to get out, as I was supposedly crowding up the area and taking up unnecessary space! Strike three.

I was shocked for while about the audacity and rudeness of X. All people present there were seated, and I would have gladly offered my seat to anyone who would have come. It’s not the seat that I am bothered about. X’s attitude and apathy towards fellow humans disturbed me. I got up and left the place giving X a cold stare, not once looking back.

As I stood waiting outside, my mind was seeking answers to many questions –

  1. Why is apathy shrouded in most government servants? Are they doing us a favour by doing their jobs?
  2. Why is there not enough respect for women even in today’s times? I cannot understand why making oneself comfortable is a matter of concern.
  3. Why do these people demand respect, instead of commanding it through their actions?

This incident has left me with serious doubts regarding the senior or older government servants. They need to set examples to the younger generation, and if this is the mentality of the vast majority of the work force, the future doesn’t look bright.

As Christopher Nolan puts it in “Batman Begins”, I would say that “people need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy”. I would suggest that a special commission be set up to monitor the behavior of people in government offices, and their attitudes towards the general public. Their pay needs to be proportional to the quality of their service. It is because these people get their salaries irrespective of them doing or not doing their jobs, that they are so apathetic to others’ needs. The rudeness exhibited by X demands a dismissal from all kinds of service if you ask me! A guy who thinks he is above the general public just because he is wearing the police uniform, which earns their respect , is a disgrace to the whole police community.

I just hope youngsters do not follow in the footsteps of the likes of X…