Sunday, 2 August 2009

" ... Roadsinger rode on, to another land
Though the people spoke a different tongue,
They’d understand
They showed him how to share and took him by the hand
Showed him the path to heaven
Through the desert sand

Where do you go? Where do you go?
To find happiness,
In a world filled with hatred,
And tears.
Where do you go? Oh, where do you go?
If no one cares
And everybody’s lost,
Looking for theirs.

Yusuf Islam ( Album = Roadsinger )

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

"Ideas worth spreading" go multilingual

Today the "TED Open Translation Project" has been announced publicly. Before that, people were invited to participate in a top secret TED project. Later, it was revealed that the secret project was about translating your favourite talks into your native/near native language so that larger communities can benefit from "ideas worth spreading".

Now, I certainly do not think that every idea presented at the TED conference is worth spreading, but I want to continue participating, as some/many of them certainly are (e.g., Cameron Sinclair, Barry Schwartz, William Kamkwamba, etc.).
Often times, I watch a talk and think that it would be great if people with some kind of financial power could watch this, but then they do not speak or understand English. Now these barriers are being lifted.

With this great project I can even enhance my Hindi skills, just by watching new talks with their Hindi translations. A good alternative to Hindi movies??

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Paradox of Choice

Recently I started to watch the TED videos.

One of the videos stood out for me: The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz.

In the video, he basically tries to explain why less is often more.
Please forward it to youngsters, as they seem to be very confused these times.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Life goes on ... doesn't it?

The latest attack of the Israeli army on the Gaza population is over for now. Unfortunately, it has not been the first, nor does it seem to be the last.

But for now, people affected by this crises and survived, are going on with their lives.

Going on (?) ... after I've finished my thesis, people told me that there will be a period in which I will feel purposeless, in the dark, looking for something to do, etc. Back then, I thought, "you watch! that will not happen to me, i'm longing for some rest for too long, i'll make the best of my free time".

Guess what? Turns out they were right and I was wrong. Sure, for the first few months I was occupied with a project of my brother. And then we went to Istanbul, where you don't do much but visiting family members and get visited by them, etc. But then, we came back to Vienna. And here I'm now feeling purposeless, in the dark, looking for something to do, etc.

It seems the routines of life, like school, university, work and all, are nothing but mere parts of a play ... things we use (or rather abuse) in order not to think too much ... you know, about life, the universe and everything.
We abuse them to keep up our illusion, that we are doing all this stuff for a reason, to fulfill our duty and what not.
I think we all need a period, in which we have absolutely nothing 'meaningful' to do, in order to realise that we haven't been doing anything 'meaningful' anyway. This period should not last for long, though. It should lead to the realisation what 'meaningful' things are. I hope I arrive there soon, because time is precious and doesn't wait for anyone.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

How to draw the line between naivety and mercy

Today we went to a shopping street in Vienna. Normally I don't like to go shopping and often prefer online shopping anyway ... As we entered the street two women came towards us and gave us (me, my sister, and mother) roses while saying "all the best" several times.

I thought "hmm .. is it world's women day? or any other special day I do not know about?".
At the same time my sister was thinking "hmm .. is some political camp promoting for the next elections?"
Neither of us were right. After the few moments we were thinking this and that, the woman said "please, make a little donation for the children". I didn't even ask for which children, which organisation, etc. I simply obeyed.

My father thinks that this is naivety, that they used me and I allowed it. I think that I was simply taken by surprise and had not enough time to think. But what if I had time to think about it. Would I be able to say no and give the roses back??

The same thing happened to me as I was in India. At every traffic light when the car stopped , several children came to my side of the car and begged. It is difficult to say a firm "no" in such situations, especially to children. In foreign countries it becomes even more difficult ... they don't understand what you are saying and often do not care anyway ... the people around you look at you to see how you are going to respond, etc.

I think women are being more used in such situations. In India they never asked my brother, but only me, saying "didi didi, khana khana" meaning "sister sister, food food".

In short: it is hard to be a woman in this world, I'd say. :-)

Monday, 6 October 2008

Clearing out

I want to move away from here. Basically, we decided to move away as a family, but I seem to be the only one who takes this decision seriously and started preparing right away.

I started to clear out all the boxes etc. in my room as I don't want to carry everything with me. It is amazing how much useless stuff one can collect over the years. I think that one should throw some of the stuff over board every once in a while and remember the effort in order to avoid keep collecting things like that in the future ... eventually arriving at the optimal state where one only gets things he really needs.

Within the box of mails from my friends back home, I found very old notebooks of mine in which I apparently took notes of 'significant' incidents in my life. One example: on 19 April 1996 I apparently watched 3 Ninjas for the first time. Then, on 26 April 1996 I watched the second of the series, and on 3 May 1996 the third. According to other records I watched the first movie for the fifth time in 11.3.1997. I must have had a lot of free time at my hands back then ... :-)
In other boxes I found a lot of pictures. Real old ones you know ... printed on real paper :-)
I threw away lots of them and didn't tell my sister. I know she will make a fuss about it, even though she certainly has long forgotten that they even existed. I only told my best friend, and now she threatens me to use this knowledge in order to blackmail me for the rest of my life. :-) Maybe I should choose my best friends more carefully :-)

My decision to get books from the library, rather than buying them, turns out to be very wise. I only collected books I loved reading and wanted at home so I could randomly open up a page and read a few pages, such as the Wodehouse books, the Hamza Yusuf books, etc.

So I'm through with the boxes ... well, kind of ... but there still is a lot to do and I wish that I can soon arrive at the mentioned optimal state ...

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Ramadan is here

Again the blessed month of Ramadan is here. 1.8 billion muslims around the world will be again united in the same worship of fasting from dawn to sunset for a whole month. Our prayers just before fast-breaking, at which their acceptance is much more likely than at other times, will be for our brothers and sisters in faith and for all the people around the world who are facing injustice and difficulty.

By postponing our basic human needs, we will yet again experience, to some extent, what other people in other places have to face every day ... Hopefully, this will make us see that giving charity is the most natural thing to do with the blessings we have been given.

By weakening our material bodies through fasting, our spiritual senses will be more attentive and accessible. Therefore, during this month, we should concentrate on activities to purify our hearts from character defects and diseases.

I wish every one a blessed month of Ramadan. May Allah enable us to take the most out of it.

I would wish to spend this month in a muslim country, where the people around me would share the same feelings as I do and would just ... understand. But I don't. I'm planning to spend the last third of it in Istanbul though. And who knows ... may be I don't come back.