Friday, November 28, 2008

“Life after People”

A documentary called “Life after People” was on Channel 7 last night. Sudarshan and I watched it. At the start I thought, “this is stupid!” (you should listen to the music and the narrator’s voice!), however after the first ten minutes or so, I got really “into it”. Sudarshan on the other hand was unable to share my enthusiasm and the best he could say about the documentary was “the graphics are pretty cool”.

I guess life after people will be largely dependent on how exactly we humans become extinct…

The show was based on the assumption that one day, all of a sudden, humans will simply disappear or drop dead – and only humans. All other mammals were assumed to have survived whatever it was that had resulted in our extinction. I think this is unlikely (unless all human beings board a space craft and fly off to some other planet and leave earth behind or fail to control a viral/bacterial pandemic that is human-specific).

I think that when we eventually “go”, we will take a number of other species with us.

There was one thing that the show spoke about towards the end which I found very thought-provoking. The show concluded that within 500 – 1000 years, most traces of the “modern man” would have been wiped off the planet. All man made structures would have crumbled and there will be no trace of our existence. The only reason we know about ancient civilisations such as those of the Egyptians and Incans was because they left behind writings etched on stone. We tend to store our legacies on books, CDs and computers that are far less durable…

They did suggest that perhaps Mount Rushmore, the Great Wall of China and perhaps the larger pyramids of Giza would still be around, but not much else.

If humans were going to be become extinct and life continued without us (which I am fairly certain will in one way or another), then is it important to etch our legacy in something more durable? Or, in the absence of humans, does our “legacy” too become worthless?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Laugh Kookaburra Laugh...

I can't remember the last time I saw a flock of birds in the sky. Apart from the common pigeons, magpies, indian mainas and the occasional rosellas I hardly see any other birds. I see a few cockatoos when we pass some bushland on our way to work but that is really it.

I don't particularly like birds - an extension of my hatred for all animals really, but now that I spend a lot more time looking at the sky (I have a seat by the window), I can't help but wonder where all the birds went!

As a kid in Fiji, my friend and I would lie on the grass and look at the sky and watch flocks of birds flying "to get home to sleep". We would lie there counting them (this was before Fiji got free-to-air TV!).

Perhaps I no longer take enough notice of the brids in the sky, or maybe they simply aren't there anymore! Either way, it is really sad.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

6 Degrees of Separation

I saw a really interesting documentary yesterday on the science of "Networking" titled "How Kevin Bacon cured cancer"

After watching that documentary, I felt a bit like I did when I first learnt about DNA for the first time. The world suddenly seemed very different.

The idea that everyone is connected to everyone else through very small path lengths totally blows me away. We have all heard of (and perhaps participated in the experiment through Facebook!) 6 Degrees of Separation but I think there is something else there. I feel like there is something really profound in that documentary - I just don't know what it is!

I can't seem to stop thinking about it though... Maybe there is really nothing there and I was just tired. Whatever the case, I will get over it.

(BTW, For those that are interested, you can watch it on YouTube...)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Where do you start?

I was speaking to my father-in-law when he was here about the state of India at present. He put all the problems in India down to one thing "Corruption". He was convinced that corruption was the root-cause of all evil.

When I look at problems at a state, national or global level, I am almost never able to find solutions. I don't know if that is because of my own ignorance or because there is genuinely no solution. Perhaps it is my mental make-up - very few solutions result in a win-win situation.

When I think about all the problems in my house, a city, a country or the world, I always end-up at the same place...

"Be open-minded, do what you think is right and understand that your way may not necessarily be THE way." It is not always easy to follow, but you have to try.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell for Obama

"He is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, 'He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.' This is not the way we should be doing it in America."
-Colin Powell

Been wondering about this for a while now... WHY HASN'T ANYONE ASKED THIS QUESTION ALREADY????

Comments like "Barrack HUSSEIN Obama - how can you vote for someone with a muslim name??" makes me SOOOOOO ANGRY! To think that there are Americans out there who feel taht way - and are allowed to vote!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My 2 cents on (for?) the Financial Crisis...

About three weeks ago, I got my first PROPER job. Since I started, I have had absolutely nothing to do! As a result, I have been reading online newspapers – as you do! The things that have been dominating both the local and international news at the moment have been i) global recession and ii) the American election. Here is my 2 cents (or perhaps 1 cent!) worth…

As I don’t understand economics AT ALL, I spent the first few days at work reading “How banks work” and “How the stock market works” on “”. (You try sitting at a desk for 8 hours straight with no solitaire to play!). I can’t say that I understand it all but I think I “get it” more now than before. However, I don’t believe that I understand economics enough to be able to make an informed decision on what is the right thing to do as an individual.

I guess if bad debts are what caused this mess than all I can do at the moment is spend no more than I make and save for a rainy day. I guess that is pretty much the philosophy of most Indians living abroad anyway. The quote of the day in my Tamil calendar reads, “Indru nee thevai ilaadhadhai vaanginaal, naalai nee thevai aanadhai vaanga mudiyaadhu” which roughly translates to, “Today, if you buy something you don’t need then tomorrow you won’t be able to buy something that you do need” I think the quote to an extend highlights the general Indian mentality – or perhaps I am generalizing too much?

I still don’t fully understand how all of the above is connected but I can see that it is. Perhaps I need to type “Economics” into Wikipedia and see what that returns. (I did read “Economics for Dummies” which was helpful but the current global financial mess isn’t any clearer to me!) Perhaps I should just accept that I am never really going to understand economics fully and therefore I shouldn’t bother.

With regards to the American election, I have become an Obama fan – more out of revolt for McCain and Palin (both of whom provided me with hours of comic entertainment!) than out of love or pure admiration for Obama. I would like to think that America will change dramatically as a result of this election but I won’t put my money on that.

However, ahving someone who can see the flaws of the country has got to be a step in the right direction... surely!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

July Flies by...

One week to the last week of July.

So much has happened over the last month I don't know where to start! Let's just say that life is really beautiful right now.

I get worried when too many good things happen. I think life has a certain equilibrium to it - something like Yin and Yang... When too many good things happen, I immediately start thinking that something really horrible is just around the corner.

Sometimes I think about that and I think, 'That is a really bleak way of living". Other days I think that it is that very view that makes me keep a cool head regardless of the situation.

I am happy now - so why should I think about the future? If I am so contented, then surely I won't be able to cope with anything slightly worrying that the future will throw at me.

I guess you should just enjoy every happy moment and deal with anything that is not... Seems so simple - then why do we worry?

I guess sometimes we feel like we are not strong enough to deal with everything life throws at us.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Life goes on.

Almost a month now. It is hard to describe how I feel. I can't say that "I am over it" or that "I am still in a state of shock". I miss Thatha very much.

I think how your family behaves when hit with a tragedy is a true measure of its strengths. The way my family has coped over the last month I am sure is one that would have made Thatha feel extremely proud.

I have two months to go till I submit. We are looking to buy a house. My parents are going to shuffle between India and Australia over the next few years. I am presenting at a conference in Adelaide. I will hopefully have a real job soon. Srini will be working soon. Rama is finishing off his degree and starting honours. My Grandma is looking after my pregnant cousin.

Life does go on.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


The following was written almost 15 years ago....

A pale old fellow with a billion wrinkles, a walking stick, thick black rimmed glasses that don’t seem to do anything, a dress sense that only makes sense to the wearer himself and of course the frail body that doesn’t seem to belong in this world anymore. That may seem like a perfect example of a grand father but my grand pa is different.

He is a jolly fellow who is always looking for an adventure and has trouble staying at one stop. He is always ready to put up a good debate and likes to talk to anyone who doesn’t agree with him. He somehow manages to find amusement in some of life’s hardest obstacles and manages to keep a grin on his face even after everyone else has given up. Even when his blood pressure reached 240 he somehow decided that a trip exploring the inner suburbs of Sydney would do him good!

He says that he is like a free bird now. In many ways I agree with him. He was a bird that had been locked away in the iron cage of all work and no play since the tender age of 12.

Vijaya Raghavan, a journalist, accountant, financial controller, champion chess player and much more, is now a retired citizen of Australia.

Vijaya Raghavan was a mother’s pet. His father was an astrologer and was a very orthodox fellow. V.R was born elder to six girls and 1 more boy. A total of seven siblings!

Being the eldest and being the eldest boy in the family meant that he was required to assist in the family income. For this reason alone, he started to look for a job and obtained one of book keeping. All the money (which wasn’t much as he was still a student), made through this job went into the helping of the family.

Paying for just one girls’ marriage in India is seen as a great economic struggle. Paying for six girls’ was almost unbelievable. Raghavan was required to help in paying for all his sister’s weddings and dowry’s. Because V.R’s father was hardly ever at home, the helping of his mum in day-to-day work and also in making important decisions on the family lay on his shoulders.

Finishing school, which was one place V.R hated (as his father was a miser and would not pay for the necessary stationary or books), was seen as a great accomplishment.

V.R’s life as a journalist, which India was in great need of at that time, started soon after his completion of school.

Marriage. This is seen a huge step for most if not all, of us. However, marriage in V.R’s life was even a greater step, as he now had to look after two families instead of one. It was also at this point that he moved out of home with his newly married bride to a whole new state.

In this new state known as Bangalore, my grand pa fought for a rather small book stall which was dually his as his former employer gave it to him. This hard-earned bookstall still stands today under my grandmother’s name.

With the money he made from the stall and other early morning, afternoon and other spare time work, he managed to bring both his sons (one of which is my dad) in a very successful manner.

My dad now looks after my grand pa as a way of repaying what he had given up in his life to bring my dad up.

Had it not been for my grandpa’s handwork, dedication to his work and family, and above all his high ambitions and willingness to stretch his limits to the max, I wouldn’t be standing where I am today.

A man of high spirits and extraordinary talents can now be seen sitting at the corner of his bedroom playing a gameboy an trying to beat his grandson’s score.


We all miss you very much...

Madras Srinivasa Raghavachari Vijaya Raghavan

27th September, 1932 - 17th May, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The case of the Strata guy

Let me start by describing an embarrassing moment, or as Sudarshan calls it "A Vidya moment". :P

Last Sunday Sudarshan and I were at Myers doing some shopping (I bought two pairs of shoes for under $20 at a 75% off sale btw - how good is that?!?!?!?!), when my phone rang. The phone call was from someone from our Strata and he wanted to come and check our eaves. Our eaves seem to be having some water issues so we told him that we weren't home but it would be ok for him to check it out.

He was supposed to be at our place around 4 and we didn't get back till 4:30 / 4:45. As we were driving past the back of our house, I saw someone in a light blue shirt. I said to Sudarshan "That must be the Strata Guy". This is when my brain decided that it would be a great idea to suddenly fill me with the overwhelming need to wave hysterically to this person as if to say, "HELLOO!!! LOOK AT MEE!!!". Well... he certainly looked at me! He squinted as if trying to make out who I was and continued to look at me like I was crazy.

As we drove closer, I saw on his shirt that he actually belonged to the local bowling club and therefore was NOT the Strata guy! I had just waved hysterically at some totally random person! Thank you brain! Smart move, that!

At first, Sudarshan tried to keep a serious face and tell me how it is dangerous to wave at strange men on the street but he preferred to point and laugh at me instead :P

Lesson of the week: Never wave hysterically at strange men wearing light blue T-shirts!

PS: Earlier that day at the fruit market someone was calling out to his son. He called, "Marco!!!", so I felt that it would be appropriate to call back "POLO!" - then walk fast and hide amongst the herbs...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


What a speech!

Extra proud to be an Australian today....

Good on you Rudd!!!