Sunday, January 18, 2009


Our daughter Medha was born *exactly* on her due date, which still caught us unprepared. With her first few cries the world around us underwent a massive transformation, without really changing one bit. (Morons like oxymorons, you must be thinking, and honestly I am growing tired of this pattern.)

Throughout the pregnancy, whenever friends warned us about the loss of freedom, hours of sleep and sanity, that lay yonder, I always thought, "C'mon there have been at least about 10 billion births before this. If all sorts of people could handle it without any additional qualification, I think I can handle it too." Today, while I stand behind my statement, I can't help but think about how much easier it was to transition from bachelorhood to matrimony, than from there to parenthood.

There is lots of freely available advice on childcare. Most of the good stuff comes with a killer caveat: each child is also fiercely unique. The situation boils down to something like this. You have user's manuals for ten thousand different VCRs. However, you don't have the manual for the exact model you have. So if you browse through enough different manuals, the instructions for operating your VCR would probably be a proper subset of that accumulated wisdom. But then again, it might not - since remember every VCR here is unique!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Not what, where, when, how, which, or who. For "why" is undoubtedly the emperor of questions. Or so I can confidently claim in these parts, where the idea that opinion supplants fact, or a well-reasoned argument, is not seen as anything unnatural.

But I digress.

I was first introduced to the power of "why" when I was about half my current age. There was this particular girl, whose depth and thoughtfulness I was very impressed with, and no, I am not talking about Ayn Rand - although I did have a mild necrophilic crush on her. This person was as real as Coke, and really smart. It took me a while to realize that what was being perceived as her smartness, was, in fact, her gift for using "why"s as semantic placeholders instead of the more uneducated "I mean"s, or "um"s.

"Hi, my name is Sachin."

You have to admit it makes the conversation one notch more interesting, even if it is only because it is unexpected.

"There are 24 hours in a day."

"God created man."

"The capital of the United States is Washington DC."

You get the idea.

In many cases, the answer is merely illuminating, and many times that is enough to make for a good week. If you are lucky enough to ask the right "why", you may suffer a mild stroke of insight. And if you are really really lucky, you may have an epiphany that may change your life.

Of course, I haven't had the last one yet, but it is fair to suppose. (Linear extrapolation was precomplied in my DNA.)

Of course, this begs the question, why?