Noting down

I was currently looking for an online notebook which had a column displaying all my notes, and a preview of the currently selected note on the side. I found a few.. Springnote, Helipad, Jottit… I also researched on many other platforms as well which I will be reviewing later.

  • Springnote:
    Pros: Good interface, Great history feature.
    Cons: No markdown. Lacks continuous development. Doesn’t support the most used browser (arguably), Chrome. Server issues.
  • Helipad:
    Pros: Decent Interface.  Quick. Markdown support.
    Cons:  Still needs mouse.
  • Jottit: Unarguably, the best.
    Pros: Markdown. Extremely simple interface. Keyboard Shortcuts.
    Cons: Cumulative History like springnote not available. I am still figuring out a way to rename the notes.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Jottit:
I did not find any help documenting the same. Hence I feedback’ed. Aaron (from the Jottit team) replied promptly with the  following answer.
Shortcuts are “access key” +:
+ d for delete
+ h for history
+ e for edit
+ m for new page
+ g for cancel

Access Key ( may be Alt (+Shift) in Windows.

A few thoughts over Gita

First let me start by my own understanding of the Karma Siddhanta of Gita.

Bhagvad Gita preaches us to be machines.

Gita asks us to be non aligned to the fruits of our actions. It says that we have no rights over our results but only over our actions. I agree with this completely, as there might be other people who are more deserving than us. There are far too many players and factors involved in comprehending our worthiness. But Gita moves forward to the extent of saying that we should work desirelessly, i.e., there should not be even hope for any kind of result. It means that we should work merely as machines. The only difference would be our cognizance of right and wrong. But our sense of right and wrong develops through societal norms and personal experiences. Hence we are advised to be like the pre-programmed but adaptive machines.

Though I have my own apprehensions about this whole idea, I think this is on the lines similar to that of what Gita generally preaches. The major criticism of mechanisation is loss of human element, but probably that is exactly what is sought by the philosophers and preached by Gita – Nirvana or Moksha from worldly premises and atonement of Self with no mroe human connections as such. It talks about not being involved with worldly affairs and cut all human ties. Removing the human element from our lives, we are but mere machines!


Now let me come to my doubts.

1) The relationship between Karma and Karmafal

Gita asks us to get detached from the Karmafal or the results of our actions. But at the same time it also says that we should do the work as per our role in the society. Bothe these concepts are mutually contradictory.

Our role in the society is defined through three things – our ability, society’s expectations, and our environment. All the three factors depend on the outcomes of our actions. For instance, if I start writing, and for a moment let’s suppose that I am good at it, the society will expect me to write (who am I kidding!). But my being good at writing will only be known through the results of my writing. If I, or others are detached from results, neither my ability will be known, nor will anyone expect me to write. Thus, I might as well be composing music or cooking Kormas.

Our work is defined by our past results. By asking us to not get involved with them, Gita is pushing us towards mediocrity. Has Arjuna been detached from the results, he would never have been able to aim the bird’s eye. He would probably have been gambling and Yudhishthira would have trying not to kill Draupadi with his arrows.

So how are we to forfeit this relationship between Karma and Karmafal and still do the work most suitable to us with utmost sincerity?

2) Existence of God

The other issue that I have is with God. The scriptures suggest that God is the selfless entity without any qualities or attachments. If so is the case, how come we pray to Him expecting He will help us with our troubles? How come He is supposed to love us or even listen to us?

God, is such an entity exists, is to only create souls. He is not supposed to be even affectionate to them, let alone the bodies. Hence all the rituals, the praying, the believeing in God too, can’t be nothing more than a mere facade. This alternative purpose, as told by many, still holds some value. It is said that apart from spiritual aims, the rituals and prayers also aim a physical and psychological gain. It means that all of the religious pracitces originated for humankind’s benefit (not spiritual at all), by the intellectuals for the then ignorant masses.

Thus, I believe that everything that we do to please God has nothing to do with pleasing Him or getting a better afterlife. We are free to do whatever we want, only if we are ready to accept  the consequences. It does not matter if we sin and are able to save ourselves from the laws and our own guilt, for our soul will be absolved with it on death. The propaganda of God gettign angry is completely false, because he can’t, as per our own spiritual leaders. There is no judgement day. There is no judgement. But, is there a so called ‘judge’? Lets think!

3) What is God?

I think that God is just knowledge. Lets assume we were in perpetual darkness. The moment we would see light, we would find out that the darkness was because of the absence of light. Similarly, our ignorance is because of the absence of knowledge. This ignorance is waht makes us believe in God. I believe in Him because I am not able to comprehend a lot of things happening around me. My ignorance is what is causing God to exist and the moment I will gather the knowledge about the incomprehensibles, I will attain God.

Finally, I would suggest that our confusion should not be about God’s existence. Its futile. Our confusion should only be limited to understanding our surrounding events. Even that is probably impossible. But in my view, being clear about our confusion is the first step towards eliminating it.

पात्र परिचय – भाग २ (ताऊ)

“मोटा है पर प्यारा है, ताऊ तो हमारा है”, “भाऊ भाऊ, दम-दम ताऊ” टाइप के नारों से आप ये मत समझना की ताऊ कोई पॉलिटिशियन है. ताऊ पॉलिटिशियन नहीं अल्सेशियन है. अल्सेशियन पिल्ला. ये बात ताऊ को नागवार हो सकती है और शायद पढ़ने के बाद मुझपे गुस्सा भी हो जाये, पर बात बिलकुल सच है. वो एक अल्सेशियन पिल्ले की तरह पूरा फ्री entertainment package है. जैसे लोग किसी पिल्ले की तरफ खिचे चले आते हैं. सबसे ज्यादा सबसे शैतान और नटखट बच्चे आकर्षित होते हैं. ताऊ भी ऐसा ही है – दुनिया भर के विचित्र लोगों का collector. यूँ भी कह सकते हैं की उसके साथ आकर लोगों की विचित्रता सापेक्ष  रूप से बाहर आ जाती है. यहाँ तक की कभी अपने को ‘सामान्य’ समझने वाला मैं आजकल खुद को ‘अजीब’ कहने लगा हूँ (पहले मेरा pen name ‘सामान्य’ हुआ करता था. अब ‘अजीब’ है.)

पात्र परिचय – भाग १ (गोगा)

हमारे एक दोस्त हैं – गोगा. मेरा ख्याल है कि पूजनीया आंटीश्री निश्चय ही सुनील शेट्टी और सनी देओल कि फैन रही होंगी. दोनों के vocal chords के sequential combination से जो ध्वनि उत्पन्न हो सकती है, हमारे प्रिय मित्र ने प्रथमत: हूबहू उसी का उच्चारण किया – गो गा. उनके माता पिता ने तो इसे मात्र एक incidental त्रुटि माना. वो तो हम जैसे कुछ मित्रहितवादी थे जिन्होंने उनकी इस खूबी को जाना माना पहचाना और ये थाना कि उनका हुनर पूरी दुनिया के सामने लायेंगे. इसके लिए उन्हें Great Expectations का पहला पन्ना पढाया गया, ‘I called myself Pip and came to be called as Pip’ से अवगत कराया गया, और ‘गोगा’ नाम दिलाया गया.

मिलि गै ज्ञान, नाम धरि गोगा,
पहिन के निकले करिया चोगा,
कामसूत अतुलित बल धामा,
लूट के आये एम्सटरडामा.

UPSC (CSPT) Interview, 2011, Shri IMG Khan

Result: Not Recommended
Essay (Cinema): 96
General Studies: 109+135
Public Administration: 102+93
Sanskrit: 169+142
Interview: 210/300
Total: 846 (written), 1056 (total)
Attempt: III
Roll No.: 007433

Related Details:
Hobbies: Poetry Writing, Dramatics, Computers
Games: Chess, Badminton
Education: B-Tech M-Tech (Dual Degree) Electrical Engineering, Decent CPI: 8.1, 8.4
Jobs: Sun Microsystem, Bangalore and Wadhawan Holdings, Mumbai (6 months each), Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Delhi (4 months, after mains 2010)
Options: Public Administration, Sanskrit
From: Gorakhpur, UP

11:10 IMG Khan’s Board
Me: Please may I come in.
Ch: Yes.
Me: Good morning ma’m. Good morning to all of you sirs.

Ch: Sit down
Me: Thanks Sir.

C: Sudhanshu. You have done your graduation from IIT Kanpur. Oh, you are an M Tech. So you have spent 5-6 years..
Me: Yes Sir 5 yrs.
C: .. in Electrical Engineering. Yet you took Sanskrit as one of your subjects. Did you have any background.
Me: No Sir. (little pause)
I took it because I was looking for a short subject, fixed syllabus.
C (smiled): So how is it fixed? You mean the stanzas are mentioned …
Me: Yes Sir.

C: Ok. How do you think Sanskrit literature is going to help you in the administrative services?
Me: Sir, the Sanskrit language is very theoretical…
C: No. I am asking about the literature..
Me: Yes Sir, I am coming to the same point. While the language is theoretical, the literature is very practical (C nods). They talk about nature, culture, current society traditions….We can take the good points and try to incorporate them in our society.
C: Like..
Me: Sir, like truth from ‘Satyamev Jayate’, secularism from ‘sarv dharm sambhav’, brotherhood, from Gita, ‘Karmanye Vadhikaraste..’ – doing our duties.. Sir actually I have a different take on it…. (blabble).. I think that it talks about adhikar ie right and not hope as in, karm karo fal ki asha mat karo. I believe that if there is no hope we might not be able to focus and perform well, but if we perform we do not have the right to claim results. There might be someone more capable than us. (blabble)
C: Ok. But today, the civil servants are focused towards performance and unless they perform they can’t be promoted and blah blah… Don’t you think that it is just philosophy and not realistic.
Me: Sir it is a bit idealistic but it has a definite realistic element as well. Ideally, we hope that we will get some result but in reality we do not reach our goal to the fullest. The result is something we can not have our right on….
C: No but …… (He countered and frankly I do not remember what he said). Leave it, Lets move on (pointed to M1)
Me: Sir I am also trying to say the same thing but probably am not able to put it correctly. (Then explained the whole thing again)
C: Ok (I believe he was not completely convinced, though he gave a pleasantly smiling look. I still am awed and gratified by his gentle countenance throughout the interview)

M1: Sanskrit is being taught till 8th 9th in our schools, yet people are not being able to speak in Sanskrit. In general how will you augment education through ICT. You have done your M Tech in Electrical Engineering, I believe you know ICT
Me: Yes Sir, Information…
M1: How will you help in education through ICT?
Me: Sir, a direct application that comes to my mind is Virtual Labs.. (explained a bit, babbled). Sir another way is teleconferencing. Teaching remotely. (again babbled something)
M1: But don’t you think it will be very boring.
Me: Yes Sir, I agree with you, it won’t be as good as a direct conversation with the teachers.
M1: So what can we do about it.
Me: (Thought for some moment), Sir we may put a trained person to keep a balance between students and remote teacher.
M1: What do you mean by balance?
Me: (I was trying to mean interaction but I was searching for the word. I don’t remember if I said something satisfactory)
M1: How can we increase interaction?
Me: Sir, one thing could be touch screen.
M1: But its not feasible to give touchscreens to every student.
Me: Sir I believe that current technologies can actually make it possible. We can also use (I said something which I do not remember at all. I believed I faltered yet again)
M1: Did you have any such thing at IIT?
Me: No Sir, not during our time.

(Somehow the lady member came to my rescue, it might have been hinted by the Chairman)
LM: Sudhanshu, I see you have done 3 jobs each for 4-5 months. Why?
Me: Sir, Sorry, Ma’m, I did the first two jobs to save enough financial resources for my preparations.
Ch: You mean coaching etc..
Me: Yes Sir. I did the third job after my mains 2010 to aid myself financially and to get a wider perspective about NGOs. Back in Mumbai, I started my own NGO Gut-Ka, where we did street plays to take up the causes, popularize the causes of other NGOs.
(The Chairman seemed interested and nodded his head a few times)
In Sir Ratan Tata Trust, I worked with around 35 NGOs all across India.
LM: What is the difference between a trust and a society.
Me: Ma’m a trust is an organisation, registered under The Societies Act itself, mostly to fund other NGOs. It generally hold shares or gets its funds from the corporate organizations, family businesses etc. and pass them on to the NGOs.
LM: It may not necessarily be a family organisation.
Me: Yes ma’m.
The society is an small organisation…. well ma’m it may not be small, its an organisation of 7 or more people for a social cause and social betterment.
LM: (Wasn’t satisfied) So you have poetry writing as your hobby. Can you name a few poets?
Me: Ma’m The first name I would like to take is of Firaq Gorakhpuri, because I am from Gorakhpur. Other than him there are many poets in Hindi like Dinkar Nirala Maithili Sharan Gupt…
LM: Who is most acclaimed poet in India?
Me: Ma’m in Hindi language?
LM: No in India, in general.
Me: Ma’m Rabindra Nath Tagore.
LM: Tell me some English poets.
Me: Keats, Byron, Shelly…
LM: Tell me some contemporary names.
Me: Ma’m, I can’t recall any currently.
LM: Okay tell me some romantic poets.
Me: Ma’m in Hindi?
LM: No I said romantic poets. Obviously English.
Me: (I took a long pause. I was confused because the earlier names I took were romantics only)
Ch (comes to the rescue): You may say no if you don’t read English poetry
Me: Sir I don’t read them but I may try answering the question.
(Small pause). Ma’m I believe Byron Shelly were romantic poets.
LM: Yes.
M2: Yes Byron Shelly.
(M2 continues. Smooth transition)

M2: So Sudhanshu, tell me the difference between Sanskrit Prakrit and Hindi.
Me: Sir Sanskrit is the most ancient language, the original language. Prakrit is an apbhramsh of Sanskrit, or if we say crudely, its corrupted form. Sir, Hindi is a language that developed due to common usage through a combination of Persian and the then prevalent form of Sanskrit.
M2: Hindi is an apbhramsh of Prakrit.
Me: Yes Sir.
M2: Now since you have used this word apbhramsh, I want to ask you to tell me the difference between tatsam and tadbhav.
Me: Sir, tatsam is the purest and original for of the word. Tadbhav is the form that develops and gets distorted through common usage. For eg, Ksheer and Kheer.
M2: Okay so tell me the difference between Dambh, Ahankar, and Ghamand. They appear to be very similar. What’s the difference?
Me: (Long Pause) Sir, I do not know the difference but I may try.
M2: Yes try.
Me: Sir, Ghamand is the most negative term of them all where we might have a pride of our positive and negative qualities both, and in general mostly the negative ones. In Ahankar, which is a bit positive, we have a pride in positive things but occasionally we may feel pride in negative things as well. Dambh is most positive one where we have a pride in our good qualities only.
(Now on some research I have found that Dambh should be either equal to or baser than ghamand. Hence the order would be Dambh M2: Oh.ho.ho.ho.. you are so wrong. You should check that.
Me: (Shyly).. Yes Sir.
M2: OK tell me the meaning of Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam. And from where is it taken?
Me: (Pause) Sir, I don’t think I remember from where it is taken.

(M2 hinted to M3, who promptly came to the rescue and I did not have to take a guess on the meaning.)
M3: Sudhanshu, I would like to start from your original point, ‘doing your duties’. What will be the basis for your duties, the orders or your own thinking… or what…. (Very long question, he was trying to explain)
Me: Sir I would go with my personal feeling wherever I would believe maximum people are helped.
M3: But if you are given an order which you know that is wrong, a written order. Then what will you do.
Me: Sir, in that case since I am an implementor I would implement the orders. But at the same time I would persuade him to take back the order and tell him about the wrongs.
M3: But Supreme Court has said in a recent decision that even the implementors are wrong if they go ahead on a wrong decision.
Me: Yes Sir. (I wanted to explain further, but he kept on explaining)
M3: So is there any framework for the actions…
Me: Sir do you mean ministerial responsibility.
M3: No an overarching framework.
Me: Sir Constitution?
M3: Yes.
Since you have written Chess, can you tell me the difference between three openings – ( I have no clue what he said ), Ruy Lopez and Queen’s Gambit.
Me: Sir, could yo please repeat the first one.
M3: ()
Me: Sir, I do not know anything about the first one. For the other two I may try but I am not too sure.
In both the openings, the pawn in front of the queen is moved first. (I had said queen instead of king in anxiety and I did not realize it till later. Now I find that this was a blunder overall.)
M3 (gave me a stern look): and then?
Me: Sir in Queen’s Gambit, the bishop is moved. (Blunder)
M3: How can it move if the pawn is in front.
Me: (Realizing my earlier mistake) Sorry Sir, I said queen earlier, the pawn in front of the king is moved. Now the bishop can move.
Ch: Are isne kabhi college wollege me khela hoga… (smile)
(I nodded. What else.. I felt I had committed the worst mistake of life not saying no at the beginning)

Ch: Okay Sudhanshu I would like to ask you one more thing. You said back then that Sanskrit was the oldest language. Do you know that the Tamilians are claiming that their language is the oldest. Now I think even the Telugu is in the run.. Tamil scripts dated 2500 years ago have been found …..
Me: Sir Vedas are believed to be written 1000 years,.. I mean in 1000 1100 BC
Ch: There is no conclusive proof for that.
Me: Yes Sir, all these are just claims. No one knows the truth.
Ch: Hmm (smiles). Ok Sudhanshu your interview is over. You may go.
Me: Thank You Sir. Thank you.. Thank You ( 2-3 times seeing each member, I left )
At the door when I looked back, I found M2 moving his head in a non approving manner, the lady member was smiling and the others had put their heads down.

11:30-35 The End. (20-25 minutes)

New Music Players: Minitunes and Guayadeque

Two awesome (yes, much more awesome than gmusicbrowser) players/managers are in development. Well, Guayadeque is pretty much developed and is extremely usable, but a bit ugly. The ubuntu repo version did not work for me, hence I picked it up from the site –

Minitunes, otoh, is extremely pretty, but under extensive development. Fingers crossed. It is available in ubuntu repos.

Both are extremely fast:
gmusicbrowser – 80mb
guayadeque – 55 mb
minitunes –  60 mb

The best one as of now is Guayadeque. Go for it.