We’re in the 21st century and it’s depressing the hell out of us. Why? 1. The idiots are winning. The history of the human race can essentially be summed up as a fierce battle between the idiots and others. For thousands of years, massive effort has been expended into quelling, sedating and keeping idiots under […]
Here’s a collection of truisms I’ve observed over the years on life, love, truth, humanity and other inconsequential matters.
There are only two things people do at work: watch YouTube and attend meetings. Draw upon your Kundalini of Meeting Wisdom with the help of Dr. What Ho!
A description of the history of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the most important scientific idea in history.
It was the best of days. it was the worst of days. We were all headed to Heaven. We were all going directly the other way.
You are a strange man, Suhel Seth. I gaze upon you in intrigue and fascination, as I would a smoldering car wreck.
What started out as a 500 word review of “Interstellar” has culminated in a 4,000 word treatise on the laws of physics.
Dear Arvind Kejriwal, forgive us for we know not what we do.
An NRI’s (or an Indian-American’s) perspective of India is typically distorted by either unconscious embrace of his Indiatva or a struggle to reject it.
News as I See It: The coming age of hyper automation. Bad ass bankers. Modi meets Obama. Shakespearean slander. E for Ebola.
This week in The Jaundiced Eye: Which deaths matter? The Big Pharma Disorder. A flashback to the OJ verdict.
Sep 27, 2014. The world we live in always has something scary at any point in time. We have an unmanageable Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a terrorist movement flexing muscles in Iraq and Syria and presumably thirsting to wreak destruction on the world at large. Ebola is spreading faster than expected. 2,800 people […]
A list of ‘things I believe in.’ Naturally, this is work in progress.
I’m happy to announce that you can download 3 Lives free at Smashwords.
India – Cut and Dried takes artistic liberty in chronicling real experiences during my life in India between 2002 and 2014.
The cosmic calendar provides perspective as we ponder earthly matters. Read more.
Yesterday, What Ho! received this letter from God in which he clarifies his role and responsibilities and tells us, that contrary to perception, he doesn’t answer prayers.
Why are there things? Why is there a universe? Why are there stars, planets, earth, moon, human beings, frogs and flowers? Why are there scientific laws? Why are there abstract things like time, space and distance? Why is there anything? Of all the possibilities, isn’t the simplest that of nothing?
Mohandas K. Gandhi never professed to be a saint. But he is considered one by many. He never professed to being flawless. But many consider him flawed. Gandhi the husband and father was probably flawed. Gandhi the politician was not a saint. And then there’s Gandhi the pacifist who inspires awe. His courage was extraordinary, […]
A legendary search for an identity; of a soul in obsessive search of salvation.
Dear Dr. What Ho! I’m a student in a CBSE school in Delhi. I’ve just entered this torture chamber that they call Std XII. I think people should be happy that we go to school at all. It’s not like we’re getting paid for it. Putting such annoyances aside, I’ve been a hard working […]
What is the Hindu Way of Life? Who is a Hindu? Here’s my take.
Part Deux of Indian English phrases: On “untimely demises” and “baseless allegations.” Imperfections of Indian Inglish which add color to our lives.
Is there a purpose to our lives? Or are we imagining that there is one?
Does God exist? Is God a man or a woman or even human for that matter? Does he keep tabs and protect the good and punish the bad? What is good? What is bad? Should I believe the words of self-appointed spokespeople who claim to have conversed with God? Does it make sense that God […]
The Jaundiced Eye : In how many different ways can you calculate your age?
The rule of three says you can get only at most two of charisma, integrity and performance in a leader.
Finding the most number of right answers? Or finding the least wrong answers? Which is a better way to educate our kids?
Imagine the consequences of being alive for 200 years. Would a longer life be a curse or a boon? Interesting questions.
Dhoom 3 is paisa vasool. It’s Aamir Khan’s gig and every one else is just part of it.
I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area now doing some stuff. Since I’m here, I figured that I’d get my driver’s license renewed. As per the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, in order to renew the driver’s license you must – Provide an acceptable date of birth and legal presence document (e.g. passport) Provide […]
For all the arguing we do, we just don’t seem to be good at it. Arguing has been misunderstood over the centuries as something anyone with lots of time and a Twitter account can do. What’s not appreciated is that it’s an art form, the sort which requires great passion and lots of practice to excel.
Is patriotism morally just? What logic lies in blind loyalty to a nation, whose citizenship you hold only because of a random act of nature? What does it mean to fall in love with India?
Is there a formula for a good life? Are there secret ingredients like some sort of a magical mix of love, work and social connections?
BIG NEWS, folks. I have started a new religion. Is there a need for a new religion, you ask? And I say no, but have gone ahead with it anyway. In any case, I’ve already updated my Twitter bio with this announcement. So, this whole thing is kind of irreversible at this point. The die […]
Despite claims that his life has been ‘totally transformed’ by attending a two week meditation retreat conducted by the Vipaassana Buddhist foundation, friends of Mr. Srijith Nair claimed that he’s still the “same shallow and self centred chap we’ve always known.” “Yeah, we were all pretty surprised at first when we heard from our buddy […]
In what is being called a challenge to conventional free speech principles, a study performed by scientists from the Indian Institute of Science has concluded that the nation will be “significantly better off” if 82 percent of its citizens stopped having opinions with immediate effect. “We tested a large number of people across a wide […]
In what’s shaping up as the debate of the year, the Universe issued a strong statement, earlier this week, denying that it was either ‘messing around’ or ‘screwing up a man’s entire life up’ and in attempt at damage control sought to downplay the fracas as “shit happens.” The saga of alleged sabotage, according to […]
Our lives are shaped as much by our personalities as they are by our genders, ethnic origin and other demographic factors. Introversion and extroversion are the north and the south of temperaments. According to studies, one third to a half of all people are introverts, which is pretty amazing considering how few people would admit to […]
Here’s where the rubber hits the road. Can Narendra Modi repeat his Gujarat success on a national scale? Is Modi good for India?
Life in uncertain. Why do we struggle to comprehend uncertainty? What can we do about it?
A wodehousian re-telling of the tale from the Mahabharata of Bhishma and how he came to take his terrible oath of celibacy.
Is proof required to believe? Or must there belief sometimes before proof can be understood, as in the case of the Pythagoras theorem?
What are the jobs of the future? What sort of a career would you guide your kids to? This is a pretty scary question if you think about it.
Corruption. Voter education. Terrorism. You name the problem. I have the solution. Bring it on.
Have a question? Need advice? Ask Dr. What Ho!. This week, we help a reader gauge the accuracy of a fortune cookie message and what it means to his career.
The mind substitutes likelihood with representative-ness of an event. This is how we make errors in judgment which can have far reaching impact on society.
Viswaroopam: This review has been cleared by the Censor Board, approved by 58 fringe groups, cut by 223 words and blessed by Amma before being published.
Are we condemned to always play out our Darwinian impulses? Will our humanity always beat out the divinity in us?
How to crack the twitter code! My contribution to that awesome thing which Subhorup Dasgupta is in the process of doing.
I’ve watched my share of Bollywood films. And here are some invaluable and subtly powerful lessons Bollywood has taught me on this rocky journey.
I stopped watching news on television more than five years ago. Here’s why.
Middle Class Muggle writes, “I’m tired of working hard to make a living. So, I’m thinking of entering politics.” Dr. What Ho! responds.
The king of the jungle lays down the rules.Straight from the heart.
In the conflict between free speech and morality, the former always should win. And exceptions should be made only when one person violates another person’s freedom of expression in a manner that can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The time has come to confront the question that’s been on the lips of women since the dawn of time. “Why do men suck?”
I’ve re-discovered the joys of train travel lately. And the more I think about it, there are good reasons train travel is way cooler than taking a flight.
No country or culture has been able to stop them. Is there such a thing as a ‘rapist’ gene? What are the fundamental causes? And what are the proximate causes?
A letter from an ordinary citizen of India. To whomsoever it may concern.
It’s important to understand that the UPA government is being accused of two things on the 2G scam front: corruption and incompetence. Here’s how to look at it.
Time is one of the most fascinating human constructs. In the matter of cosmology and universal time scales, the Hindus have put forth a grand idea, and whether true or not, it does make the pulse quicken. My belief is that it would benefit all to take notice of this.
Creativity is divergence in thought – an ability to consider infinite possibilities in the place of one or few. We are all born with it. Tragically, it dies within most of us by the time we cross the age of ten. Why? Why are not more of us creating things? Does creativity have to involve pain and suffering? What does it mean to create?
According to reports, repeated use of the word ‘qualia’ has supposedly sparked the latest groundswell of outrage. Chopra apologizes and gives up on humanity.
The argument against capital punishment: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Hanging a murderer is to seek retribution and to not attempt his reformation. Death penalty is not ethical since none of us have the right to demand or take another’s life. Death penalty is not an intelligent option as it […]
Dear People of Earth, I believe that I possess an abundance of patience. Try carving out the Grand Canyon for millions of years to know what I mean. Yet, I’m worried that you folks are on the verge of exhausting this inexhaustible patience of mine. Allow me to share a few observations with you, in […]
There’s a fair amount of hand wringing every time an Olympics rolls around. Why does India, a nation of 1.2 Billion people, prove itself incapable of winning even a single gold medal? If there was a gold medal for not winning gold medals, we might not win even that, it seems. Why do we fare […]
I will freely admit that I’m an unabashed admirer of scientists. Well, most of them. They are practitioners of the scientific method, a means which is relentlessly objective and rational. The scientific method calls for a statement or theory to be verifiable (or falsifiable) and repeatable. Practitioners of the scientific method do not subscribe to […]
Many years back, I read a book titled simply “The Vedas.” It’s an English translation of a series of discourses given by Paramacharya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati of Kanchi Mutt. I’ve read this book several times over in the last five years. Each time I’ve read it, I’ve discovered a new and intriguing notion missed in […]
A What Ho! thesaurus of terms related to homework and school. Parent-Teacher meetings and Annual Day functions Contrary to popular belief, these are not occasions to explain to the class teacher as to why you missed an entire season of Dexter or why you have declined all social invitations, including an invitation to a dinner reception […]
I’m writing about something that happened a long time back. In fact, it was so long back that I was in 8th standard in school. My school was run by the Church of South India. The class was an eclectic mix of rich and not-so-rich, mostly Tamil, Malayali and Telugu speaking, Christian, Muslim and Hindu […]
This is a world for the privileged few. The rest of us just happen to live in it. Here’s a pre boarding announcement that makes my case
A memo from the Supreme One outlining “painful” cost cutting measures now required as a result of administering penalties & benefits to a rising after-life population on an ‘eternal’ basis
Does the simple apology merit existence? Is “sorry” worth the trouble of expression? I pondered on the hurts, pains, aches, anger, disappointment and disillusionment we cause each other. When considered against the backdrop of our monumental blunders, our abject apologies seem inadequate.
Scientists at CERN in Europe recently claimed that they may have found proof that the Higgs Boson aka the God Particle exists. What Ho! recently caught up with the elusive Higgs boson in a dimly lit corner of a cafe in Casablanca, where the God Particle agreed to speak on the record. Here’s what I heard.
When it comes to his own specialty, evolutionary biology, there is none better than Richard Dawkins. But the purpose of this book is not to explain science. It is rather, as he tells us, “to raise consciousness,” which is quite another thing.
Today (July 4, 2012), scientists from CERN in Europe announced that they may have found clear signs of a particle which is thought to be the Higgs boson, popularly known as the God particle. The hardworking scientists aren’t getting ahead of themselves, and are not quite confirming the existence of the Higgs boson outright. They’ve […]
Indians occupy a special place in the pantheon of insensitivity. We are a nation of uncaring, indifferent boors, whose lives are only occasionally punctuated by those (increasingly rare) Satyameva Jayate moments, when we sit down and pretend to care about our fellow citizens. Why are we a nation of dimwitted fools?
A short interpretation of a “bliss mantra” from the Taitriya Upanishad in the Vedas.
Can a perfect society exist? Is the existence of a flawless society of humans possible? Tanya Singhal, a Ph.D. student in Europe, writes about the impracticality of the Utopian ideal in this guest post for What Ho!
Empathy is the ability to view the world from another’s perspective. Of all emotions, it’s empathy that makes us human. Some would even say it’s empathy that makes us divine. So how exactly does empathy work from a neurological perspective? What triggers empathy? Can we be trained to be empathetic?
Recently, Laughing Gas completed its first year anniversary of its existence. Here’s a fan speculating that its origin might date back to much longer than that! Thank you, anonymous! All I can say that it continues to worry and amaze me simultaneously that folks are actually reading this blog.
I’m asked often by impressionable lads and gals, “What does it take to make it in the big, bad world of business?” In response, I always ask, “Can you handle the truth?” And when they nod hesitantly, I tell them, “A booming voice”. In fact, I call it the eleventh commandment.
As to whether God exists, we’re all betting. No one really knows what’s going to happen, except N. Srinivasan and BCCI. On why militant atheism does not make sense to me.
My living will, for the record.
If Rome is the eternal city, Istanbul has to be the timeless city, having endured centuries of struggle and change. Notes from a recent trip to Turkey
Who am I? That’s a simple question. Yet one without a simple answer.
In an intriguing twist to the 2,000+ year old history of the religion, a prominent leader of Tibetan buddhists today stepped forward with the startling and controversial claim that the core tenet of his faith – “to stay in the moment” – was perhaps over-rated.
Have I mentioned that you could follow What Ho! on Twitter and get a daily commentary on life in this wonderful country of ours? Here’s a collection of tweets from @waatho – What Ho!’s twitter account for your enjoyment. If this is not good enough reason for you to follow @waatho, I don’t know what is. Cheers! Follow @waatho
This year, as is the case each year, there will be a crazed competition among teenagers, in which they will fight each other to the finish for a grand prize. Yes, I’m talking about the Hunger Games, also known as the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Exam (IIT JEE).
It’s not hard to understand why Rahul Dravid is celebrated as a hero. There are obvious and undeniable reasons. Yet at some level it is hard to fathom how such a persona – one who was so unwilling to seek public attention and uncompromisingly focused inwardly – came to be a hero in these modern times.
Prices have sky rocketed. And it doesn’t seem to faze the affluent residents of Garden City in the least. Profligacy is rampant and purses seem to have lost their strings. These are heady times in Bangalore. When is this going to end? I have no idea. Until then, it looks like the popcorn at the movies is going to cost a little more.
The evolution of V-day from its 12th century pagan origins (as the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia) through its Christianization by the semi-heroic figure of St. Valentine (who secretly and illegally married off lovers and paid with his head) into its modern avatar of a blockbuster Hallmark holiday is mind boggling. What and who did the trick?
There’s a storm brewing in this country, in the form of the alleged 2G scam, which has the potential to unseat the government. Given the complexity of this case, and our own lack of time to comprehend what’s being reported, not to mention who to believe about what, I figured I’d put together a simple dossary of facts and observations on this. Here’s everything you’ve always wanted to know about the 2G scam but were too afraid to ask.
Where do thoughts spring from? What is knowledge? Does it come from sensory inputs? Is there such a thing as pre-existing knowledge? So asked Immanuel Kant, one of the most influential philosophers in Western thought, who lived in 18th century Germany. Pondering the question of “if a baby were to somehow be born without eyes, nose, ears […]
We live in an incredibly fascinating world. I found more evidence of this in the last couple of weeks while reading a couple of different but related articles. The first insight came from a video by Professor Philip Zimbardo on the “The Secret Powers of Time“. The good professor posits that we, humans, tend to […]
In an aggressive bid to stay afloat, Kingfisher Airlines has announced massive discounts for passengers who are willing to fly the plane. However, the airlines has put in strict qualification standards for eligibility. “Only those with a two wheeler license and a helmet are eligible for the scheme”, cautioned the airlines spokesperson. “Also, preference will […]
Groucho Marx said, “I refuse to become a member of any club that’s willing to admit me”. This clever absurdism reveals the innate human tendency to desire something and yet feel unworthy of it at the same time. It’s been such a long held, gloomy Western tradition to view marriage through a Marxist lens, that […]
BCCI has announced bold steps to revamp Indian cricket to make it even less appealing to fans. The President of BCCI said, at a press conference, “We’ve taken specific policy decisions around match fixing which are path breaking in nature. All series played by India in India will be won by India. We also expect […]
If I had a dime for everytime I got this question from my younger one (in fifth grade), I’d have assets so disproportionate to my income that would put the local MLA to shame. “Why do I have to learn this?” Caught off guard the first few times, I drew a blank. Quickly, I learnt to come up […]
Everyone’s talking about Pakistan. You can’t run for office, nay even step out of the kitchen these days without knowing your Waziris from your Mehsuds and your Lashkars from your Jaishes. Not everyone knows what they are talking about. After all, there are lots of guys over there doing some incredibly bizarre stuff, that it’s not […]
Scientific progress has not wiped out religion. At the same time, organized religion is losing their grip. This tale is not over, and has a few twists left
Light is at the core of physics. Light, its attributes and energy, define the very parameters of this amazing universe that we find ourselves in. The nature of light, also (less commonly) known by its scientific name – electromagnetic radiation (EMR) – is the most fascinating conundrum we have encountered in nature. Light is the two-faced […]
It’s not clear why men and women decided to get together and start this thing called the human race. But one thing is clear – that LSD was definitely involved.
Long long ago, there lived a farmer named Jack. He had a beautiful wife and two lovely young children. Jack was very proud of his family and worked very hard every day in his field to raise crops and vegetables so they could live comfortably. In a few years, he built a nice little house for […]
Once in a while, you have a force that arises in this universe which grows its strength only through changing the very conditions from which it arose. Gandhi. Einstein. Jobs. Yes, he belongs on that list of people we find hard to describe with words, and can appreciate only by the impact they had on our […]
Scientists in Europe claim that they have observed neutrinos traveling faster than light. What are neutrinos? Why is it surprising that they can travel faster than light? What’s the big deal? Neutrinos What are neutrinos? They are sub-atomic particles – little wisps of almost nothing, with no electrical charge. Being neutral, they are found nearly […]
In 2008, we saw collapse of financial institutions, led by US banks, unprecedented for its severity. Now, history appears to be about to repeat itself in Europe. Since we seem to be headed into the open season for bailouts, I decided to send in my bailout application right away to beat the rush and get ahead […]
What can you write about Rajnikanth that has not been already said? I guess you could start by asking how you go from a dark skinned, Marathi speaking, bus conducting Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in Bangalore to Rajnikanth, the biggest commercial movie star in India? Rajni’s Sivaji – The Boss, released a few years back, was […]
We’ve heard the prediction for years. The next billion users of the internet will skip the PC altogether and use a mobile phone to access it. It’s happening. I met one of those billion on my way from the Chennai airport earlier this week.His name is Palani. He’s 23 years old, has completed 10th standard in Tamil […]
A review of Dr. Stephen Hawking’s “The Grand Design” by guess who?
Why is corruption such a big deal? India’s GDP is growing at 7-9% per annum, and presumably will continue to blaze along for some time. So, why fret about corruption when things are looking rosy? What are we complaining about? Don’t we have more important things to do than (Jan) Lokpal bill? We’ve been mired in corruption […]
Height matters. Is this fact or fiction? Bad news for short people never seems to end. Their cup of woes continues to overflow. First it was those studies which showed that short people get fewer dates, less promotions and earned less than taller colleagues (because their bosses were taller?) Again, those infamous studies told us that […]
We are witnessing a remarkable period in the history of the world’s largest democracy. In just a few months, we’ve seen the Prime Minister’s Office censured by the Supreme Court (a first), a Union Cabinet Minister sent to jail (a first) for alleged involvement in the largest scam in our history, and now the spontaneous […]
Ever wonder what the statute of limitations on a college degree should be? I mean, how long should a college degree be allowed to be valid? Is a college degree really worth anything, say a decade from when you are out of college? Laughing Gas recommendation is to render all college degrees that are ten years […]
There is a lot of hand wringing about the recent downgrade of the US debt, an unprecedented event, which some say, is the beginning of the end of the amazing run of the United States of America.
Why would anyone want to give us an award? A few days back, we received a congratulatory message from the young folks (let’s pretend that they are young) at indiantopblogs.blogspot.com. Suspicious that the contents of the message might contain inflammatory materials or worse, substances of the exploding kind, we called in the SWAT team – […]
Google+ is out. In limited trials. So is it a facebook killer? If you are not familiar with limited trials in the tech world, think of it as letting a select few people watch a movie premiere, so you can change the ending (if that’s possible) and also drum up publicity in advance of releasing […]
Those who forget history, they say, are doomed to repeat it. What Ho! is proud to bring you the memorable moments in the post independence history of India, as seen on a Facebook wall. Inspired by Teddy Wayne, Mike Sachs and Thomas Ng ‘s Op-Art at New York Times.
It’s hard to fathom a cheerful world while in the throes of existential angst. But, life’s not as bad as it looks. 3 reasons why.
Laughing Gas is now What Ho! at http://whatho.in. We are in the middle of unpacking the boxes, applying for gas and phone connections, figuring out where to put the TV and hanging pictures on the wall. Welcome to our new home! Do stay and look around, and let us know what you think. Thanks for visiting! […]
For us fogeys at Laughing Gas, there is unlikely to be a moment rivaling the euphoria on this day in 1983, when Kapil’s Devils won the Prudential World Cup, in one of the greatest team efforts in Indian sports history. Scorecard: India won by 43 runs. India: 183 (54.4 overs). West Indies: 140 (52 overs). Man […]
This week, we take a closer look at an interesting phenomenon in which a bunch of people voluntarily squeeze themselves into a giant pressurized metal tube which is then sealed and propelled into air. Yep, we are indeed talking about the joys of flying coach class. A gentleman named Tony Januss kicked it all off when he […]
And, the survey says … the happiest nation in the world is China with a perfect score of 100/100. According to a Happiness Survey commissioned by Kim Yong Il himself, North Korea comes in at a modest number two with 98 points. The top five list of happiest nations in the world is rounded out […]
What’s up with our Pradhan Mantri-ji these days? He seems as alert as a fan smoking a joint at a Grateful Dead concert. Don’t get me wrong. I think he’s an individual of high caliber, impeccable manners and faultless integrity. His pedigree is stellar. Who can argue with a London School of Economics Ph.D.? His track […]
Having lived on both sides of the pond for a good many years, I can understand both reluctance and enthusiasm on part of of Indian diaspora when it comes to returning “back” to India “for good”. I’ve known better than to be in the middle of these debates, but have gleaned enough to know the […]
Last night, Chennai Super Kings beat Bangalore Royal Challengers with ridiculous ease to win their second and back-2-back IPL title.
What happens when we die? What we believe in this regard, interestingly, likely plays a role in the way we live our lives. For the longest time. after-life has been a source of mystery, intrigue and anxiety for humans. Every religion has its hypothesis on what happens after death. The Judaeo-Christian-Islamic versions speak of a “transfer” to a waiting […]
Some one once told me that everything in this world is controlled by just fifty people. These fifty people, he said, determine everything. And he meant everything. As in everything from stock market movements to oil prices to US presidential elections to opium trafficking and mujahideen movements in Afghanistan to installing the next puppet government […]
Live from McDonalds, in HSR Layout in Bangalore. Folks, the super-sizing of India is well under way. It’s about 1 pm, as we enter the newly opened (well, 3 months back)McDonalds, walking past a mute and vaguely disturbing figurine of Ronald McDonald at the door. Once inside, we are greeted instantly by a bedlam of loud conversations, […]
Live from BDA complex, Koramangala, Bangalore: Winds of change are blowing in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and across the Middle East. The latest scene of action seems to be Imperial Hair Dressers in Koramangala in Bangalore. I was shocked this morning to find that a coup of sorts was attempted 3 weeks back. Disgruntled elements in the […]