The Jagadguru as Agony Aunt II

In his continuing efforts to solve the problems of His devotees, the Jagadguru presents the second instalment of his irregularly published column – Dear Jagadguru: Krish on Love, Sex, and Home Appliances. We would like to remind all His devoted readers that they can gain His darshan by emailing their problems to dearjagadguru AT aadisht DOT net.

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Respectful Jagadguru,

Forgive me for my gall in asking this question. Your wisdom is boundless but I see you have restricted your advice to only Love, Sex, and Home Appliances. I understand Love and to an extent, home appliances. But why Sex, it arises out of carnal impulses and is sinful. Or is it part of your deeper Maya that ordinary mortals like me cannot fathom? Please enlighten your devotee.

At your Holy Feet
MMM

Dear MMM,

If you cannot understand this it is because you have been fooled by the crap of free-market fundamentalists. These right-wing fools can only see things in black and white and can’t understand that Love and Sex are the same thing. As for carnal impulses well I have already explained it clearly that this is all part of human biology. As I have said an ideal society is one which will be based on biology-driven humanism. Writing about sex is only helping the biology-driven humans.

Good night and good luck!

Jagadguru

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Dear Jagadguru,

Why have you adopted the title given to you by those lousy right-wing fundamental capitalists? Why have you changed your website from http://krishonpolitics.in/ to http://jagadguru.in/? Isn’t buying lot of domain name falling for corporate conspiracy to make money off people?

Your chela,
Arthur Dent

Dear Arthur Dent,

how do you bullshit with a straight face?

Goodnight and good luck!!!!

Jagadguru

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Dear Jagadguru,

You give advice on so many things. Like love, home appliances, sex etc. you have impacted me Very Much. I want ur advice that is why. I have problem relating to all these fields you are expert of.

Some years I have been happily married. I have very loving relationship with my caring godfearing husband. But only in one aspect he is lacking. He is not being able to satisfy fully my sexual hunger.

I cannot tell anyone this because in Indian culture manhood is very important, and I do not want our friends to think that my husband is eunuch.

This is giving rise to very uncommon situation. I am working everyday in the house (I am not maidservant, I am only taking care of our family house). One day, after my husband went to work in the morning, I was feeling very tired, and resting my backside on the washing machine. Then I felt the vibration from the machine giving pleasurable sensation to my buttocks like how the sensation feels when my husband is thrusting and planting his seed in me. Only, my husband finishes all this very quickly, and washing machine being on for 15-20 minutes, it is very exciting. Nowadays, I am feeling very attracted. I am sitting on it as soon as my husband is leaving for work and getting lot of satisfaction.

But this guilty pleasure is making me feel very sinful. It will be very hurtful for my husband if he is coming to know that washing machine is causing more satisfaction. Please help, Jagadguru.

Thanking you

SDG

Dear SDG,

In my perfect society people will use reason over emotions in solving their problems. So there is no need to get guilty about your washing machine. It only shows that women should be the most against religious crap. In fact it is the religious fundamentalism which has led to you feeling guilty.

If your husband cannot give you pleasure, it is because he has a biological defect. Huh well this is not unlike the biological defect which most right wingers have. But at the same time you should use dryers rather than washing machine. This is because of the inherent dumbness of the trickle down theory.

Good night and good luck!!!!!

Jagadguru

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Dear Jagadguru,

My girlfriend and me like to bite each others’ necks when we are together. Although it is very pleasurable it eventually leads to bruises developing and this is very embarrassing when my family members notice. What is the way out?

Your devoted worshiper,

MMA

Dear MMA,

Shameful. This kind of violent acts has no place in a civilised society. I don’t understand how you call yourself educated if you like biting. This kinda atrocity of biting and eating each other will lead to a cannibal society. I don’t see this is any different from you and Modi and bin Laden. Here is an offer. You can send your degree to me and I will burn it for free.

Good night and good luck!!!!!!!!!!

Jagadguru

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Once again, we would like to remind our readers that they can send their problems in to dearjagadguru AT aadisht DOT net.

Odd Bedfellows

Google Reader recommends that I subscribe to the following blogs:

Okay, what’s the connection here? That they all rant? I think the Peking Duck doesn’t. I think this along the lines that Amazon.com screenshot which Masabi sent me: if you liked Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, you may also want to buy Iron Maiden: Rock in Rio.

Serious note: Google Reader looks at the blogs you read, sees what other people reading those blogs also read that you don’t and recommends those. This just goes to prove that I am very catholic in my reading tastes.

The Importance of Cities

This Indian Express anchor story on how Bihari migrants send 18 crore (180 million) rupees home through money orders every year gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. The money (heh!) quotes:

Noida’s post offices send out over Rs 36 crore a year through nearly 3.65 lakh money orders.

The rise in money orders shows the growth of Noida and its migrant population. Officials say migrant workers send 95 per cent of these.

Santosh Pradhan, who runs a paan shop in Sector 33, has been sending Rs 5,000 home every month. Noida has been good to Pradhan who has to look after a family of eight.

For a saada-paan I would get just a rupee in Bihar, whereas I sell it for Rs 4 here. The profit is more and that’s the reason my whole family is doing well now,” (emphasis mine – Aadisht) he says. Pradhan claims he has been able to repay all debts in his village and is now planning to buy some land there.

When he came to the city eight years ago, he could send only Rs 10,000 a year. Two years ago, he brought his wife and two children to the big city so that “they get better education and learn English and Maths and study among the children of rich people.”

(link)

Arising out of this:

  1. This is yet more real evidence against the widespread subconscious illusion that ‘India lives in her villages.’ The problem with that is that India makes a living in her cities, and most villagers would rather live in the cities.

  2. On that note, an Urbanisation Feeds poster on the lines of Samizdata’s Socialism Kills poster would be fun.

  3. And arising out of point 1, the whole motivation behind the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is flawed, forget the structure and the implementation. It’s easier to generate wealth in cities and then send it to villages – so what public policy should be doing is creating cities – as Atanu Dey has repeatedly been pointing out.

  4. 1.8 crore commission on 36 crores of money orders works out to 5%. SBI charges 30 rupees on a demand draft, and 0.15% on electronics funds transfer (with a minimum of Rs. 100). According to the Boston Globe article I linked yesterday, Basix charges 2%. The post office is ripping people off, but that’s because they have to cover the costs of their brick-and-mortar infrastructure. In Basix’ case, they aren’t dragging overheads around. Mobile banking matters.

 

Innovation in the Third World

This Boston Globe oped (free registration might be required) is astonishing. The author, somebody named Jeremy Kahn, has violated the Sominism-cheat-sheet and Neelakantan’s guide to writing about India left, right, and centre. He appears to have actually understood the nuances of what he’s writing about! And he doesn’t mention caste, growing inequality, pollution, or elephants on the road even once!

OK, that’s the sarcasm out of the way. Seriously, the oped is a very good read. It’s about how Third World conditions are forcing cellphone companies, banks, and Tata Motors to innovate and come up with low-cost technology, and how this means that design and innovation is now splitting up and being driven by two different things: luxury in the First World, and productivity and low costs in the Third World. In the bargain, First World and Third World innovation are both leading to high technology, and the Third World is now actually in a position to export technology to the First World.

 Excerpts:

This might seem like a classic example of the Third World struggling to catch up with the First. After all, people in the United States and Europe have been using ATM cards and the Internet for years to perform the simple banking tasks Das is only now able to do. But look again: The technology used to bring slum-dwellers like Das their first bank accounts is so advanced that it isn’t available to even the most tech-savvy Americans – at least not yet.

This represents a stunning reversal of the traditional flow of innovation. Until recently, consumers in the Third World also had to tolerate third-rate technology. Africa, India, and Latin America were dumping grounds for antiquated products and services. In a market in which some people still rode camels, a 50-year-old car engine was good enough. Innovation remained the exclusive domain of the developed world. Everyone else got hand-me-downs.

And as they do, companies are confronting the unique challenge of making high-tech products cheaply enough to make a profit. In some cases, this means shifting jobs for talented designers and engineers to the developing world – not just to save labor costs, but in order to better understand the markets they are now trying to reach.

“Developing markets offer the best opportunity for global firms to discover what is likely to be ‘next practice,’ as contrasted with today’s best practice,” Prahalad has written. “The low end is a new source of innovation.”

In a globalized world, people in emerging markets want first-class products – but at prices they can afford. Meeting that demand, particularly in countries where basic infrastructure is weak, requires more creativity than designing a product for a more advanced, affluent market.

Read, read. It’s worth the two-minutes it takes to register.

Bombay to Bangkok

I saw the 2130 show at Rex on Friday night because I didn’t want to endure the traffic on the way home. It turned out to be well worth it.

The hero of the movie is a cook who is on the run from a gangsta-rapper mafioso. He gives him the slip by impersonating a urologist in a medical relief camp in Thailand. He then falls in love with a Prostitute with a Heart of Gold who tells him to keep his morality off her body. Such joy. Oh, and the sidekick is a sardar called Rash.

While I am delighted that the fabulosity of urologist-based humour is being recognised by mainstream storytellers, I am also miffed at losing the first-mover advantage. A month ago, Kodhi and me had decided that it was essential to have a urologist as a recurring character in our sitcom when we got down to making it. Now we’ve been pipped to the post by Nagesh Kukunoor.

The really worrying bit is that fundaes cascade in Indian entertainment. One guy uses a funda, and two months later it pops up in five different movies and TV serials. The most painful example has to be when J-First started calling The Consultant Formerly Known As Gandyman Jignesh. For a year nothing happened. Then Jigneshes started popping up everywhere. There was a Jignesh in Guru. There was a Jignesh in Honeymoon Travels. And while Jignesh did get established as the archetypal Gujew name, J-First lost its exclusive ownership of the Jignesh concept. I fear a similar thing may happen to urologist jokes.

That aside, the movie is to be commended for faithfully sticking to the standard romantic comedy framework. The lead pair makes out after being imperiled, they fight at the eighty-percent point of the movie, and they make up at the climax. The only minor deviation is that the moment of truth and not the make up happens at an airport terminal, but that is okay.

What is saddening is that the movie failed to make use of all possible Thai stereotypes. It brought in massage parlour workers, Buddhist monks, laughing Buddha statues, tuk tuks, and fried locusts, but mysteriously left out ladyboys. Tragic. It came so close to perfection.

The best part of the movie, though, came after actually watching it. An IMDb search for Lena Christensen eventually led to the Wiki page for SARS Wars. Now this is a movie that I have to watch:

Thailand’s leading health official, Public Health Minister Ratsuda, declares Thailand free of the SARS virus and that Thailand’s superior technology and medical research will prevent the disease from occurring in the kingdom.

However, far away in Africa, there has been an outbreak of a mutant Type 4 strain of the SARS virus, which causes sufferers to turn into bloodthirsty zombies when they die. A hornet carrying the virus from Africa is hit by an airliner and lands in Thailand. It flies into the open window of a farang driving a Volvo and stings the man on the back of his neck. The man becomes patient zero in the outbreak of SARS 4. He returns to his apartment building and infects others in his building. Among the zombified creatures is a giant Burmese python named Albert.

Meanwhile, Catholic schoolgirl Liu is kidnapped by a gang led by a transvestite named Yai, who dressed as a sexy woman in a bikini and used a furry as a distraction. Liu’s father, an influential businessman, does not wish to involve the police, so he turns to his old friend Master Thep. Thep, injured from his last outing, assigns his stop student swordsman, Khun Krabii, to rescue Liu.

I love foreign cinema.

Property Broking is Fraud

I think even mommybloggers will not object if I call property broking a fraud occupation. After all, it seems to be giving Prakash Kumar Thakur far too much free time:

“It’s emotional blackmail,” declares Prakash Kumar Thakur, basking in the attention brought by his court case against the tennis star. She has been asked by a court to appear before it on March 10.

“Yes I am happy,” says the 28-year-old property broker, and adds, “the admission means she knows she is guilty”.

Sportspersons alone aren’t at the receiving end of Thakur’s appeal spree. He has also filed a case against a major publisher for “wrongly printing” the Tricolour in a Class VI book, and moved the court against the film Hanuman Returns. Pandey and he have made everyone from the film’s producer to Sharmila Tagore a party for joking about Hindu gods like Hanuman.

Recently, when a woman’s organisation calling itself the Lathi Brigade asked them to withdraw the case against Sania, saying the picture of her with her feet on a table that also sported a Tricolour was the result of trick photography, they too got slapped with a legal notice. Thakur’s charge is that their comment amounted to contempt of court.

(link)

Someone, file a 295A case against him. Emotionally blackmailing muscular Gult girls offends my religious sentiments.

The Underpants of Power

Bangalore Central now has Spider-man, Noddy, and Pokemon underwear for sale. Tragically, only in children’s sizes.

This is most discriminatory. Why do only kids get to have superhero underwear? I want superhero underwear too. Though I’d prefer Saint of Killers or Bigby Wolf on my underpants. Commentors, please refrain from making jokes about Apollo and Midnighter.

(Incidentally, the Underpants of Power was a concept used in a strip comic which got discontinued within almost a year. I’ve forgotten the name. The main character was a little girl who lived with her widower father. Her best friend was a nerd and there was another spoilt-princess character. Does anybody remember what this was called?)

The Importance of Mendel

Sometimes I worry that one day, a Greenpeace volunteer and an ICICI Credit Cards sales executive will meet, fall in love, marry, and have babies. And that with this awesome parentage behind it, the babies will grow up to be the most tenacious, irritating direct salesmen ever. Words cannot describe the unspeakable horror that would result.

Then I remember that inheritance is Mendelian and not Lamarckian. And I sigh with relief.

More Mommyblogger Mockery

The Mad Momma asks: Why is it alright to be openly intolerant of children?

It’s for the same reason it is alright to be openly intolerant of anything – salwar kameezes, Shashi Tharoor’s writing, chicory-blended coffee, and so on. Freedom of speech are there. Or as Skimpy famously put it, I am a free citizen of free India and I shall say what I want.

Of course the reason I express my intolerance of children more than my intolerance of anything else is that nothing is as much fun as enraging mommybloggers1. Enraged mommybloggers move about in herds, angrily clucking ‘Wait till you have kids of your own!’ or ‘You are horrible and have no empathy!’. The warm, fuzzy feeling to be obtained from people bitching about being mischaracterised as emotional and stupid – and doing so in an emotional and stupid manner is delightful.

The pinnacle of emotional outbursts, of course, was this point-by-point takedown by J. For my own amusement, and for yours, beloved readers – I will now respond to this:

kids will become irritating when they are given too much attention:–Dude if you are dating a woman or married to a woman and if she will not give you enough attention, you too will become irritable. Correct me if I am wrong.

Being an upright young man with Saivite neo-Edwardian values, I am able to separate my behaviour from my mental state. Kids are not. I blame their mothers, given that they seem to be unable to differentiate between being irritable and being irritating. This pernicious encouragement of expressing your feelings regardless of the consequences is undermining our society.

This is also probably the reason why kids in Delhi and Chennai are the worst behaved–whoa whoa wait a minute. Iam smelling discrimination here or you are a less travelled person who is like a frog in the well….kids are kids irrespective of caste, creed, religion and nationality. Every child of a specific age behaves quiet similar and this is one of the reason why all the mommy bloggers relate to each other irrespective of their financial and geographical status.

If every child behaved ‘quiet’, I wouldn’t be bitching about them online. And yes, it is discrimination. Man is endowed with the ability to discriminate between right and wrong. Without the ability to discriminate, there would be no way to promote virtue and punish vice.

Jobless doting female relatives, who do nothing but stay at home–what kind of a loser talks like this about the women folk who spend their entire life serving their family. WTF do you mean by “jobless”. Does jobless means earning money only. I really question your upbringing today which taught you to respect people on the basis of their revenue generating capabilities.

No ‘jobless’ means sitting on your arse while the domestic servants do all the work, the husband earns all the money, and the grandmothers do most of the child-rearing. What part of ‘do nothing but stay at home’ do you not understand? I use words with precision.

In the case of Chennai, because they actually are unemployed–Can you please support your statement by some figures (if at all you are intelligent enough to understand what I am saying). By the way in my work career I have come across some really intelligent tamilians and real dumb punju’s. (how does this sound since you are a punju)

Given that I have been abusing Punjews online since… oh, 2003, and with an especially popular campaign in 2005, and that I am widely acknowledged to be Tam – it sounds like validation.

and in the case of Delhi, because employment for Delhi women usually means fraud stay-at-home stuff like garment designing–FRAUD?????????? Are you a fuckin police or intelligent department official who can pronounce a profession as “FRAUD”. As a matter of fact can you design a garment? DO you know what kind of creativity goes into it. Have respect for every person who is trying to make a honest living yet tending to their responsibilities.

Yes, deciding to put sequins on a salwar kameez is very creative. And a business set up purely to satisfy ego, and which gives lower returns than a fixed deposit is an honest living. As for whether I can design a garment, I’m thinking of having a Kansa Society T-shirt up for sale on Myntra soon. Also, why do I have to be a fuckin pole or intelligent department official to pronounce a profession fraud? Nobody in my IIMB Batch was, and everyone used to pronounce either consulting, or marketing, or I-banking, or HR fraud. To say nothing of all the courses we used to pronounce fraud. Your grasp of lingo is really quite terrible.

With non-stop attention lavished upon it, the kid becomes a monster–How dare you call a kid “monster”. They are the only purest form of mankind left now. Rest all are busy talking bullshit (like you). Did you ever have a kid come to you and look at you with those innocent eyes and appreciate all tat you did for him / her? I have experienced that innocence and how can you call such children monsters, just because they are extra energetic and crying is one of the ways to express their needs (god created that way)

Well, there goes the argument for intelligent design…

Also, J, you are wrong. Kids are not the only purest form of mankind. Masabi, Skimpy, and Jugga are. There is no malice in Jugga’s heart. He loves all of humanity, without fear or reservation. So much so, that he hugs hijras on MG Road and gives them money. Read Skimpy’s petromax post to realise that he is fearless, and unconstrained by the mores of society. As for Masabi, you only have to gaze into his eyes to discover how innocent and pure he is.

But I never saw kids throwing tantrums in mumbai–Dude refrain from making such statements. How many kids did you sample and from which cities. Can you once again provide some statistics.

No. Can you provide some statistics on kids being the purest form of humanity?

have seen this with my own nephews and nieces also. The one who curls up with a Roald Dahl and generally doesn’t talk is the one whose parents are a doctor and a physiotherapist, and who therefore hardly see him. On the other hand, the Nephew Who Bites has lived his entire life with a stay-at-home mother, a stay-at-home grandmother, a drop-in-practically-ceaselessly grandmother, and a father who is an ameer-baap-ki-bigdi-aulaad, and so doesn’t need to work— I am an Associate Director in a big firm in Manhattan and my husband is a software professional. We both spend few hours in the morning and few in the evening with my 22mths old son. Contrary to your statement he bites us, he throws tantrums, he screams his lungs off on roads / malls, spits food. Well his grandparents do not stay with us. (now its your turn to start battering working mothers)

No, I shall stick with my theory of attention as it stands. Since his tantrums are not being caused by nurture, they are evidently being caused by genetics. So it’s still your fault.

And where I’m concerned, Ma and Papa used to just leave me alone and whack me every once in a while, and I am now a model of manners, rectitude, decency and sobriety. So much so, that people refuse to believe that I’m Punjabi.—-hahahahaha. This was my fav part out of the whole blog. Dude get a life, you were deprived of love and attention your whole life that’s the reason u r spitting venom at mothers who are showering attention on their kids.

They’re so busy showering attention that they can’t recognise literary references. Oh well.

Think about it. You devote an entire blog to the kid, and nothing but the kid–How about devoting entire life for my kid. The happiness he gave me, nothing else can ever match it. I will not mind giving up everything for him.

Well, you’ve given up spellcheck. ‘Appauled’?

1: This is not strictly accurate. As Ravikiran discovered, making sexist comments at feminists is huge fun too. But enraging feminists will lead to undesirable friction with the girlfriend, and who needs that? So mommybloggers it is.

DU Economics

Skimpy has been writing about how people with an Economics background from Delhi University have abysmal conceptual clarity about the subject.

Ok I guess I’m likely to get flak for that comment about the “BA types”. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a few Economics toppers (undergrad)  from Delhi University. And I’ve found them extremely weak on fundamentals. They know what the graphs look like. They know the definitions well. They know the formulae. But are frequently found wanting when it comes to absolute fundamentals.

Considering that there are hajaar people in my sample (technically, in IITese, anything greater than 2 is hajaar), and given that DU is considered to be the best univ in India for a UG in Economics, I think my generalization is justified.

Coming back, Aadisht says that this lack of fundamentals in these people might be attributed to inappropriate teaching. I won’t rule out that reason. I have the sneaking feeling that lecturers and professors in DU are also mostly from the same background – with an undergrad in Economics. And would have themselves learnt stuff the same way.

When I said inappropriate teaching, I was talking about the terrible textbooks and curriculum more than the teachers themselves. I haven’t seen it for myself, but I got the impression that the fundamentals of microeconomics and macroeconomics form only four papers out of about twenty or thirty in the Economics Honours course at Delhi University. Equal weightage is given to highly arbit courses like Economic History of India and whatnot.

After that GTalk chat, I realised that there are two other important factors at work: the DU admissions system and the DU examination system.

DU admission happens on the basis of your Class 12 board exam marks. Class 12 boards consist of one massive exam at the end of the academic year, with at least a month of study leave leading up to it. DU exams are the pretty much the same. Although some internal evaluation and mid-year exams have been introduced in recent years (I think), the major component of evaluation is still the end-of-year exam with lots of study leading up to it.

To use another framework invented by the Wimp, people who grasp concepts immediately are studs. People who can’t grasp concepts, but make up for it by devoting all their time to mugging and understanding the implications of the concept and how to use it without actually understanding the underlying logic are fighters.

The problem with a massive exam where you get a whole year to prepare for it is that unless you design it very well to test only for conceptual clarity, it ends up obliterating the differences between studs and fighters. The studs will always appreciate surprise quizzes where they can use their understanding of first principles to come up with answers while the more structured, studying-oriented fighters will be caught unawares. Similarly, studs will prefer open-book exams where you have to figure out which first principle to use, and then build theories from the ground up, while the fighters will prefer closed-book exams where they can peacefully obtain marks by regurgitating a given formula or derivation1.

So the DU admission procedure neutralises any advantage studs have over fighters, which leads to the intake consisting largely of fighters. And then three years of an examination process which once again neutralises the advantage any stud in DU might have, means that the toppers will usually end up being mugging-oriented fighters rather than concept-oriented studs.

By contrast, engineering colleges have semester-based continuous evaluation, where the advantage given to a fighter is heavily mitigated. For starters, you have only a four or five month semester to mug, instead of a whole year. Secondly, your concepts keep getting tested throughout the semester. This means that the lead time you have to absorb a concept goes down, and puts additional pressure on fighters.

In the IIMs, the situation is made even more brutal. You have trimesters instead of semesters, and the lead time for fighters to absorb concepts falls to almost Nil. Studs have a clear advantage in this environment (except in courses with lazy profs who set only a midterm and endterm).

Two related points:

  1. A couple of years ago, Annie Zaidi complained that she loved English literature, but used to keep getting outscored by people who didn’t understand it but just mugged it like robots; that this proved that merit in education was nonexistent, and so there was no merit-based argument against reservations.
    Actually, rather than proving that merit in education is nonexistent, it only proves that Annie’s university rewarded meritorious fighters rather than meritorious studs. The policy response therefore is to change the evaluation system, not to proceed with reservations.
  2. The question of what you should be evaluating in an educational system – actual conceptual clarity or the ability to be functional despite a lack of concepts of course remains open. Ideally, an evaluation system would reward both the ability to grasp concepts and derive from first principles, and the ability work with something even if you don’t understand it. But that only reinforces the case for continuous, multi-component evaluation systems.

1: Skimpy’s anguished outburst in the Financial Derivatives class on this very topic will remain forever etched in my memory. In the memory of everyone who attended that class for that matter.