## Fuzzy Logic Controller for an Automatic Braking System

This is a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a Fuzzy logic Controller for an Automatic Braking System using MATLAB(R2015a).  Below is a typical automotive braking system and we shall discuss how the system can be automated based on a set of input parameters.

Source: www.carparts.com

The problem at hand has been adopted from Artificial Intelligence Illuminated – by Ben Coppin (1st Edition, Jones & Bartlett) – p.516-522.

Before we look at the problem, we need to understand the four key steps in creating a Fuzzy Logic System (FLS):

1. Define inputs and outputs
2. Create a membership function
3. Create rules
4. Simulate the fuzzy logic system / Fuzzy Inference System (FIS)

To get clarity on the above steps, we have to analyze the problem at hand. The problem given in the text book may look trivial but the actual scenario might be quite complicated and may comprise of thousands of rules.

As per the above problem, there are three inputs:

1. Pressure on the brake pedal (brake pressure)
2. Car speed
3. Wheel speed

And one output:

1. Brake (which has two decision parameters- Apply Brake or Release Brake)

To apply these rules, using Mamdani inference, the first step is to fuzzify the crisp input values. To do this, we need first to define the fuzzy sets for the various linguistic variables we are using. For this simple example, we will assume that brake pressure is measured from 0 (no pressure) to 100 (brake fully applied).

We will define brake pressure as having three linguistic values: high (H), medium (M), and low (L), which we will define as follows:

H = {(50, 0), (100, 1)}
M = {(30, 0), (50, 1), (70, 0)}
L = {(0, 1), (50, 0)}

Even though the author has considered the the membership function for the input parameter “brake_pressure” as triangular, I would opt for gaussian membership function (which suits the input requirement here)

You can create FIS using MATLAB or sciLab. Both have built-in fuzzy logic toolkits for this. I’m using MATLAB.

Step 1 : Open Matlab and type fuzzy on the command line to invoke the  FLT as shown:

This will open the fuzzy logic designer console as follows:

Step 2 : Click on the “inputs” section (in yellow) to add inputs. Note that an input is already defined here, we need to add two more for our problem. For this goto–>edit–>add variable–>input

Step 3: Double click on “BrakePressure” and click on the red-curve. Rename it from “mf1” to “low” and change the Type from ” trimf to gaussmf” as shown below. Similarly, do it for medium and high as well by clicking over the curves:

Step 4: Now let’s fuzzify the car speed input. This can be trapezoidal and triangular since we have a speedometer that can objectively tell the speed (eg. 55.5 mph). Double click on the rectangle that has CarSpeed variable. We will define the car speed as also having three linguistic values: slow, medium, and fast.We will define the membership functions for these values for a universe of discourse of values from 0 to 100:
S = {(0, 1), (60, 0)}
M = {(20, 0), (50, 1), (80, 0)}
F = {(40, 0), (100, 1)}
If the wheel speed is in fact 55, then this gives us membership values as follows:
M[slow(55)] = 0.083
M[medium(55)]= 0.833
M[fast(55)] = 0.25

**M[] for “membership of”

Step 5 : Set the wheel speed on the same parameters as car speed and based on three linguistic variables: Slow, Medium and Fast.

Slow

medium

fast

Step 6 : Now that we have defined the inputs, let’s define the output- that is break (Apply_break and Release Break). Both are trapmfs:

Source: AI Illuminated, Ben Coppin, p.520

By default, the system uses “Mamdani” model. Here the defuzzification is centroid method

The formula for centroid method is:

How the fuzzy values for the antecedents of the rules are applied to the consequents is being shown below:

Source: AI Illuminated, Ben Coppin, p.521

Step 7 : Remember the rules? Yeah… now since we defined the fuzzy variables and their membership attributes, we need to create the rule base by feeding it into the system. For this go to –> edit –>rules to get the Rules Editor. You can add-edit-delete rules as shown below. Once done, click ‘close’ to return to the fuzzy logic designer.

Step 8 : You can save it to the hard disk by exporting it as shown below:

You can export it to your workspace as well so that it’s instance is available throughout the session and you can invoke it whenever you want. To do this goto –> file–>export to the workspace:

click “OK”

Step 9 : Now your FIS (Fuzzy Inference System) for the automatic Breaking System is ready.

Click on your Fuzzy Logic Designer window-  view–>rules to see all the rules sets as shown below:

You can drag the red line (|) to left (<–) or right (–>) and see how the crisp output varies for various inputs as below:elow :

Step 10 : Plotting the surface. If you are using sciLab, you need to use a function called “plotsurf()” to plot the surface of the plane created by the FIS you have just created, but MATLAB makes things easier. You just have to click –> view –>surface to view the surface as shown below:

You can rotate it by dragging the surface :

You can aslo view the output in terms of just one parameter by varying the selection criteria :

The above plot shows how the output (brake) varies with respect to Car_Speed. You can try it out for other input parameters like Wheel_Speed and Brake_Pressure.

References:

1. Artificial Intelligence Illuminated, Ben Coppin, First Edition, Jones and Bartlett.
2. Artificial Intelligence – A Guide to Intelligence Systems, Michael Negnevitsky, 3rd Edition
3. http://www.mathworks.com

If you have any queries, you can e-mail me at : srinath.krishnamoorthy@villacollege.edu.mv

I m Srinath Krishnamoorthy. I m an MTech in Computer Science and Engineering from MA College of Engineering, Kothamangalam, and BTech in Information Technology from Government Engineering College, Palakkad. I m teaching Artificial Intelligence for the University of West of England (BSc Computer Science) in Male`, Maldives. My area of interests is AI, Data Analytics, Computational Intelligence and Theory of Computation.

## Perceptron Learning Algorithm in C

You can vary the learning coefficients (0<lr<1), the desired output, initial weights etc. And then see the difference in the number of epoch’s it takes for the perceptron to learn a particular pattern.

For example : For AND Gate Yd=[0 0 0 1]  and for OR Gate Yd=[0 1 1 1]

Here we display the output for AND operation:

Thank you.

The Author is an MTech in Computer Science and Engineering from M.A. College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. He currently teaches Computer Science(UWE) at Villa College, Male`, Maldives.

For any queries, you can reach the author at – srinathtk86@gmail.com

## Hope We Never Meet Again

#### I went to answer the call of nature. And that was when I saw it.

While relieving my bladder of its contents, I casually gazed around that dirty railway toilet. I frowned at the pungent smell that seemed to choke me and wondered why railway toilets were not a part of ‘Swach Bharat’.

“Was   it because railway toilets were not a part   of Bharat at all?” I thought with dismay.

That’s when my gaze locked onto the doodle on the toilet’s wall. No, it was not a doodle. It was a more deliberate, neatly written message with a blue marker pen. The message said: “Available @ cheap rate. Call Raja 9496352761. Ask for Sajina with a mole on her left breast… Fuck her as much as you want!”

“Some pervert who has no work…” I thought.

I finished my business, flushed the dirty closet and came out of the toilet. Then I went to my seat and made myself comfortable. I opened the India Today magazine and skimmed through the pages with little interest. I was on my way to Bangalore in the Intercity Express to attend my friend Kiran’s wedding. Arathy and Kiran were my colleagues in Zinfy Solutions. They fell in love and had come all the way to my village in Palakkad to invite me for their wedding. I had no intention of visiting Bangalore again, but the sincerity with which they invited me, prompted me to change my mind.

I boarded the train from Ottapalam Railway Station, since I lived a village called Mannur, just 15 kilometres away from Ottapalam. The train was moving so fast that the hot summer wind gushed in like a storm. Even though I pretended to be engrossed in the magazine, the reality was something else. Sitting opposite me was a voluptuous, beautiful and very sexy girl. She had boarded the train from Palakkad and I was stunned when she sat opposite me. She was wearing a yellow T-shirt that was so fitting that her ample bosoms seemed to be teasingly inviting me for a caress. If that was what made her voluptuous; it was her magnificently full, youth fed thighs inside that light blue faded jeans that made her too sexy for me to bear.

But it was her face that looked most stunning. Symmetry like I had never seen before. What skin she had! Those eyes seemed to tell an erotic love story when it brushed past my gaze. There was life erupting out of each and every cell of her body. Her eyebrows were threaded like perfect rainbows guarding her magical eyes. Her lips were sumptuous and full. There was a light shade of pink lipstick, but nothing was overdone. Her hair looked straightened and was coloured Burgundy. It glowed at the occasional touch of sunlight. She was listening to music on her iPad. I desperately wanted to strike a conversation with her, but had no clue on what pretext. Each breath filled my lungs with the fragrance of her shampooed hair (she probably used Sunsilk shampoo ) and the perfume she had on. She not only flared my sense, but fed my carnal hunger as well. My imagination ran wild like the speeding train.

The train reached Erode and that is when the OTHER GUY came. He sat next to me. Like in every story, the handsome hunk that plays the spoil sport for the hero. In the next 15 minutes, Mr. OTHER GUY charmed everyone around him with his chocolate-boy smile. Within the next 30 minutes, the girl was giggling at Mr. OTHER GUY’s jokes. I was frustrated seeing them discuss music, books and movies. I cursed myself for not striking a spontaneous conversation with this sexy babe.

“Did I lose my earlier self? Was Ritu still influencing me, making me scared to get into a relationship?” A random question that seldom had an answer kept bugging me.

Again, my bladder seemed to cry. So I folded the magazine and kept it where I was sitting and went to the same toilet again. While relieving my agonies into that dirty, stained closet, I saw that message again: “Available @ cheap rate. Call Raja 9496352761. Ask for Sajina with a mole on left breast… Fuck her as much as you want!”

This time the message seemed to lure me like a silent witch. There was a tingling sensation in my groin. For reasons unknown, I dreamed about this Sajina and how she would look in person. “Mole on left breast… Now, did that ring a bell somewhere? Forget it!”What if this Sajina looked as beautiful and sexy as the girl sitting opposite me? For   a fretting moment, I felt like calling this pimp called Raja and setting up an evening with Sajina. But an inner voice stopped me. No. I was not that type. Paying money for sex was not in my culture. So I put aside those thoughts and went to my seat. By now the girl was sitting in my place, rubbing the tip of her bosoms over Mr. OTHER GUY in a subtle, tender way. Both of them were listening to music from her iPad, each sharing a bud from the same headset. When they noticed my quizzical presence, both of them apologetically requested me to sit on the girl’s seat. There was nothing that I could do but oblige with a fake smile. I sat there, skimming through India Today with Dalai Lama in the cover. I strangely felt like a Tibetan monk ousted of every pleasure in life by China. My heart burned and boiled as the girl and Mr. OTHER GUY started having a really good time, all at my expense. The biggest disappointment came when I saw them exchange mobile numbers.

I became increasingly angry and this time my bladder seemed to roar. So I got up again and went to very same toilet. This time, the message on the wall grabbed me. I took my phone. The burning sensation of jealousy and failure made me dial the number on the wall. I waited for 5-6 rings. No reply. The toilet was becoming agonizingly hot. I was about to cut the call but then, at that moment a heavy voice answered the call. A voice that sounded elegant and far superior to any other voice I had ever heard. I asked for Sajina with a mole on her left breast. Initially, the pimp seemed perplexed, but I convincingly made a deal at an astounding Rs.5,000 for that night. I could not believe my luck. I asked the pimp to WhatsApp the girl’s picture as well. Then I cut the call and went back to my seat.

I waited for minutes that stretched like hours. And then my mobile vibrated indicating Sajina had indeed landed at my WhatsApp doorstep. Quickly, I downloaded the image. I was shocked. The girl looked like Ritu in every sense. She was extremely beautiful and sensuous. I could not believe my eyes. Even in a simple white salwar she looked awesome.

A beauty that would put even the girl sitting opposite me to shame. I could not believe my luck. Finally I can enjoy a girl who looked like Ritu! My old team mate! I loved her so much, but destiny had something else in store for us. As nostalgic yet dreaded thoughts haunted my mind, the price for the girl is what made me feel that I had hit a jackpot.

“WOW! All this for 5K! My goodness! I’m gonna enjoy tonight!” My thoughts spread like a wildfire through my body. I immediately started a conversation with this pimp named Raja on WhatsApp:

“I like her…I will take her all night…is it fine?” “Okay…fine,” replied Raja

“Where should I come?”

“Come near Domlur flyover and call me…”

“At what time…?”

“Any time…today we are totally free…”

I assumed that business was dull for this pimp and the call girl. Why else they would settle for such a cheap deal? Nevertheless I relinquished my luck and fantasized enjoying the warmth of Sajina’s body. I mean how many men would be lucky enough to enjoy the body of a woman who looked exactly like his lost love? I could not take my eyes off her picture. I mused drinking that intoxicating beauty of hers. With open eyes I dreamed of running my fingers over that beautiful face, lustrous hair, sumptuous lips and every nook and corner of her sculpture-perfect body. Only when my black jeans felt a bit too tight around my groin did I notice that I was having an erection. I closed my thighs instinctively to control it.

By this time Dharmapuri, Hosur and Karmelaram had all passed. It was 7:30 PM when the train arrived at Cantonment station. Luckily the girl and Mr. OTHER GUY got off there. I felt a pang of regret when I stared at her curvaceous body. “Not everything one desires can be attained…” I thought for a moment. I brushed aside my regrets since something better was waiting for me! Life is always like that. When something good slips right through your fingers, you run towards something similar to avenge the loss thinking that it is a far better option.

It was 8:00 PM when I reached Majestic Railway Station. I walked out of the station breathing the night air. It was refreshingly cool. I strolled through the crowded, dust filled subway and reached Kempegowda Bus Station. From there I took a Volvo to Domlur. As the bus started off, I dialled Raja. To my relief, the pimp picked the call without much delay.

“Hello Raja…?” “Yes…”

“I’m on my way to Domlur… will reach there around 9:30…”

“Okay…get down below the flyover and call me…”

The remaining part of the journey, I kept looking at Sajina’s photograph. It was not Sajina I saw, but Ritu. I kept wondering what all we would do to each other that night. It felt ticklish to think of my flesh meeting hers. Finally,   I got down near Domlur flyover and called the pimp.   Raja answered the call immediately.

“I’m here as instructed,” I said

“In five minutes, I will come and pick you…” Raja replied

“Okay…how can I identify you…?”   But before I finished, Raja cut the call. I waited under the flyover watching the vivid colours of the city. The bright neon lights of street lamps and a never-ending flow of traffic just mesmerised me like I was reliving an old dream. Suddenly, from nowhere, a maroon Skoda Rapid stopped in front of me. The driver lowered the window and asked me to get in.

The driver nodded. I got inside the car. It had a thick fragrance of Ambi Pure car-freshener that seemed to punch my nostrils. The car’s interiors were all plush red leather. I looked at the pimp. Raja was too elegant and charming for a procurer. With fair skin and gelled hair he looked nothing less than a corporate executive. But I had lived long enough to understand that looks can be deceptive. I wondered how a pimp managed to keep a Skoda Rapid offering a high class call girl to customers for just 5,000 bucks per night. I could never make sense of Raja’s business model. Well, that was none of my business anyway since I was just here to enjoy a great evening. We drove through the buzzing city traffic for nearly 20 minutes and then suddenly Raja made a left turn in to a pocket road. Here the traffic looked amazingly thin and population on the road was almost zero.

“Where are we going?” I asked “Kalpalli…” Raja replied. “Ohh… so she is there?” I asked.

“Yes. In another five minutes, we will be there.” Raja’s reply made me feel good. True to those words, Raja stopped the car after five minutes. But the place was isolated. It was completely dark and silent.“We have reached!” Raja said and got out of the car. I followed suit. Raja opened the trunk of the car and took a bag. He hung it across his strong right shoulder, closed the trunk and then locked car. “Beep”…the locking sound seemed to echo in every direction. I became really tensed for a moment since there was not a soul in the vicinity and there was nothing but a street light that seemed long dead. The moon was full and bright. So there was no problem with visibility under that cloudless sky. Raja looked at me and smiled. As though reading my mind Raja said: “Don’t worry, come with me…”

“We have reached!” Raja said and got out of the car. I followed suit. Raja opened the trunk of the car and took a bag. He hung it across his strong right shoulder, closed the trunk and then locked car. “Beep”…the locking sound seemed to echo in every direction. I became really tensed for a moment since there was not a soul in the vicinity and there was nothing but a street light that seemed long dead. The moon was full and bright. So there was no problem with visibility under that cloudless sky. Raja looked at me and smiled. As though reading my mind Raja said: “Don’t worry, come with me…”

I did not trust the alluring smile of Raja anymore and said, “Man… I need to go back and take cash from ATM. By the way, where is she?”

“You can pay me after the business, Sir. Please come with me…” he reassured me.

Some intuition told me that Raja could be trusted. So I followed Raja into that night. The moon above followed us like a silent partner.

“The end of this journey could be worth the entire wait and all the risk…” I thought, suppressing an urge to take my phone and have a final look at Sajina before I saw her in flesh and blood. She looked so similar to Ritu. My fantasies raced like a wild horse in a forest fire. After a few minutes of strolling, we stood in front of a huge concrete arch. A watchman sat on a steel chair in front of it. But the guy looked totally drunk. He kept blabbering senselessly in Kannada, which I was not able to comprehend. Then, I slowly looked up and was appalled to see the words written over the arch:

“KALPALLI CEMETERY”

“What the fuck!” I shouted at Raja.

Raja lifted his right hand to calm me down and then pointed across the cemetery, towards the other end: “Sir, do you see that flat over there? Across the cemetery? That is where she is. We need to walk silently and get inside the flat. We cannot take the car there! Sir, please trust me. Nothing will happen to you!”

I did not have a choice but to walk with Raja. He seemed to be a genuine guy. So we walked through the graveyard in the direction of the flat. There was nothing but hundreds or even thousands of gravestones around us. Suddenly, Raja stopped when we were somewhere in the middle of that cemetery. But I kept walking ahead without noticing that. Only after I walked a few paces did I find that I walking alone. As I turned around, looking for Raja, I found him standing still, like a statue staring at something on the ground. Raja’s head was bent. So I walked back to him.

“Hey… let’s get on with the business, man…Come, let’s walk!” I whispered aloud, tearing the silence of that night.

“We are already there sir…” Raja replied without moving an inch.

“What do you mean we are already there…? Where is Sajina…Where is she?” I looked around in confusion

“Here…”

“Where?” I looked around with zero understanding of what was happening.

Raja pointed to something on the ground. It was a grave stone. I looked closely and then stumbled backwards with my palm over my wide open mouth. It was horrific. There, inscribed over the black granite tomb stone were words that read:

### W/O Raja Krishnaswami

22-July- 1986 to 24-June-2015

My legs began to wobble and I fell back. My head struck against something that felt like a low lying branch of a tree. As I gripped my head with both my hands, unable to bear the searing pain, Raja rushed to me and helped me stand up. It took me a few minutes to regain my balance. Then, I looked at a Raja who was sitting on a nearby marble tomb as if nothing had happened. His pale face, under moonlight, showed no emotion.

Finally I asked: “Who are you and what the hell do you want?”

“I’m Raja Krishnaswami… Sajina is…sorry… Sajina WAS my wife… ”

I could not believe what I heard.      I was literally

flabbergasted.

“Why the hell did you write it on the railway toilet… that…”

“I did not write it…” “Then who did it…”

“I do not know…actually nobody knows who did that…All I know is that there are trains running the length and breadth of this country carrying the message you saw today. That my wife is a prostitute with a mole on her left breast and if someone wanted her, they had to just call me.” There were tears rolling down Raja’s eyes as he spoke.

“Then why you did not tell me earlier?”

Raja simply smiled at me. His smile carried more sarcasm than humour. Then there was silence. It just seemed to fill everything around me and Raja. A silence so deep, that it seemed to crush the very moonlight that surrounded us.

“I’m sorry, Raja!” I broke the silence with an apology. “No, there is no need to be sorry. It is not your fault.

Somebody loved Sajina so much that the person could not

tolerate her getting married to me… Or it was someone who knew both of us but simply wanted to…”

“Ruin your lives…” I completed the sentence for him. “Yes…exactly…and the person had an evil stint of success.”

Strangely, I felt comfortable with Raja. My heart went out to him and his dead wife. But one question kept haunting me like that silent dormitory of death in which I was standing right now.

“Raja… I can understand your feelings…but how did she die…”

“We were just a week into our marriage when calls started coming to my number. I had a nervous breakdown when people started calling and texting me with certainty on something physically secretive about my wife! I was shattered, she was shattered. Our relationship was tormented. We both plunged into depression.”

“There could have been a misunderstanding!”

“What misunderstanding? It was a deliberate attempt to destroy us…”

“There could have been someone she had an affair with…” I speculated.

Raja lost his temper at that point and shouted angrily at me: “Nooooo! No! That was not the case… I asked her a million times and she confessed that there was nothing of that sort…She was not the kind who would lie… Now I realize she was pure…innocent…”

Silence was the only reply I got. I understood that this Raja was a lunatic and the best way to get away from here was to use sympathy and compassion as a tool. But somewhere I felt for the poor couple torn apart by the cruel fate. I churned my brain and thought of every possible explanation to this puzzle and use it as an excuse to make a safe exit. An exit from a trap I had created for myself. “What if someone loved her…may be one of her colleagues or friends? What if she rejected them ardently…with great force? What if she was wearing a tight costume that exposed her cleavage and this pervert accidentally spotted the mole…?”

“Yes… even she speculated things on the same line. But I was blind and mad. Life became treacherous each day… Our marriage had become a hell and there were fights. Each day I would receive a minimum of ten calls from unknown numbers… We tried to come to terms with each other… But we could not…”

“Man…you should have gone to the police… Or changed your mobile number…”

“Yes… but before that everything ended…” “What do you mean?” I asked

“You see that flat…” Raja pointed towards the flat we were walking towards earlier. It was more than 15 stories for sure, maybe even more.

“Yes…” I replied.

“That is where we started our life. And that’s where she ended her’s. She jumped off the top floor. It all ended there. I insisted on burying her here so that I could see her whenever I wanted to, from our flat!”

I slapped my forehead with my right palm. This was turning more sinister now.

“The police arrested me initially and I told them our story… They did some kind of investigation and made a few arrests as well… most of them were juvenile teens. They had nothing to do with the crime other than dialling my number. They called because the number was written in some railway toilet…”

I noticed that Raja was sweating even in that chillingly cold weather. He continued, “But we could not catch the real culprit…The one who did all this is somewhere out there… Walking happily amongst those millions of strange faces…”

I felt tormented and lost, listening to this sad, wicked tale. “I’m sorry Raja… I think we need to go back…”

Raja sat silently with his head bent and did not move   a bit. I walked towards Raja and put my arms over Raja’s shoulders and said, “Come let’s go brother…”

Again silence.

“Come let’s leave this place…” I spoke a bit too loud this time.

The reply was a silence louder than the last. My skin crawled when Raja spoke: “Finish off what you came here for…”

“Finish off ? What do you mean …?” Raja looked in my eyes, held me by my left arm and made me stand and face Sajina’s tomb. “You came here to do something… DO IT…NOW…” he shouted in a voice filled with blood-curdling vengeance. I felt like throwing up at the thought of frolicking the rotting corpse of his wife.

“Are you mad…? Fuck you man…!” I shouted at Raja trying to get away from his iron grip. Raja pushed me over Sajina’s tomb. My head slammed against the cold granite.

“You came here to fuck her right… remove your trousers and get it done…NOW…” He shouted as if he had lost his mind.

I understood that Raja was completely nuts. I stood up slowly and pretended to remove the buckle of his jeans. My plan was to dash towards the exit. But unbuttoning seemed difficult since the buttons was stuck to some loose string. I bent down in desperation. Then everything happened in a fraction of a second.

I felt Raja’s cold hand holding my forehead from behind. I lifted my head in reflex. Before I could react, I felt the cold edge of a steel blade slit my throat. I saw my own blood spraying over Sajina’s grave. I wanted to shout, but the more I strained, blood spattered with more force, like a rhythmic dance of a musical fountain. A pain like no other I had ever felt, spread through every cell of my body. Like a fish thrown out of water, I struggled for life- air. Then after a few seconds, the pain receded like it was draining out of my body. I fell down, gasping for breath over the tomb. The last thing I saw was Raja’s blank face staring at me under the moonlight.

He stood there for some time looking at my motionless body. Motionless and emotionless. My blood formed a viscous, warm layer over the black granite tomb. Raja sat on Sajina’s grave and he placed the sharp edge of the imported commando knife over his left wrist. The stainless steel surface of the knife gleamed under the cloudless full moon sky. Raja closed his eyes and for an instant I was able to visualise the life he lived so far cascading down his memory lanes. And then I saw Sajina’s lovely face urging Raja to accompany her into eternity. After that, Raja cut his vein.

He fell down and hugged my lifeless head with love, as though it was Sajina’s. Blood flowed like a stream from his left wrist. Our blood got mixed over Sajina’s tomb and became one. Like brothers until death, we slept over her tombstone, deep into that night.

Between births and deaths, life dangles over two thin ropes of actions and consequences. If actions have the power to alter the very course of life, those digressions are what leads to the consequences that we face every moment of our existence here on earth. That is what defines who we are. And that very same thing defines who I’m. Well, you may be wondering “Who am I?” It is a long night and I have a short life. But within this short span, I will have to tell you a long story. My story. It is said that when a person dies, he has seven minutes of brain activity left. That is the mind playing back the person’s memories in a dream sequence. In that sequence, we find answers to questions that were left unanswered in this life. We also find answers to puzzles left unsolved in our previous lives. So before I leave this world to take another form, I want to tell you my story. But the events are all getting jumbled now as I try to rewind and recollect…

## Hope We Never Meet Again

Within 1 week, HWNMA hits #399 in Amazon.in best seller list and becomes #2 in NotionPress Store.
Consistently in the top selling category from the day it was officially launched. Thank you Readers!!!

***

When was the last time you read a heart-thumping, psycho-analytic thriller? Now, when was the last time you read a psycho-analytic thriller by an Indian indie author? If you haven’t lately, gear up because the book Hope We Never Meet Again is all set to take you on a rollercoaster ride. Written by Srinath Krishnamoorthy, the book is a spine-chilling crime fiction that is just unputdownable. The work is published by Notion Press and is now available to readers all over the world.

The story revolves around the murder of  a Bangalore-based techie, who dies under suspicious circumstances. Varun, the victim’s best friend decides to find the killer and on his journey learns secrets about his previous birth and his childhood. He learns that people are not what they seem to be. Alternating between dreams and reality, Varun makes desperate attempts to put his memories in place. Can Varun avenge the death of his friend? Will the mastermind behind the murder be brought under limelight? Read to find out.

Hope We Never Meet Again is a racy thriller that takes readers into an adventure across regions like Mannur, Pollachi, and the happening city of Bangalore. Srinath takes readers on a transcendental journey and intelligently weaves an intricate story, incorporating techniques of surrealism, psycho-analytics, and magic realism. This is, in fact, a novel that attempts to redefine the existing definition of a novel

Order your copy now from Amazon–> Amazon.in

Srinath Krishnamoorthy was born in Palakkad, Kerala. He holds a B. Tech degree from Government Engineering College, Palakkad and an M. Tech from MA College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. He is an avid reader, blogger and a traveler. This is his first novel and marks his transformation from a software engineer to a story engineer.

You can reach him at srinathtk86@gmail.com

**This blog is an excerpt from the official press release by NotionPress

## a’MACE’ing Days

Have you ever wondered, what is so poetic about an engineering college?

To begin this story, I would say I’m a confused guy. I keep asking questions… crazy things, like:

“Should I score marks… or should leave a mark in life?”

“Should I code in Java or should I decode my destiny itself?”

Insane and stupid questions. But answers were hard to find. And I have always felt that story engineering was far more fascinating than software engineering. So I decided to take a U-Turn in life. I quit my IT career due to my intense passion for writing. But then, I never expected to stumble across an ideal place to live my dreams. Dreams of romancing books, nature and words, all in one place. My search went on with hardly any luck… for that perfect place to begin everything. Everything that I would later want to define in this life as destiny.

Well, MTech was the perfect answer to every question fired at me by uncles and aunties and pestering neighbours: ” Ne ippo enna edukuva…?”,

“Chumma irrupa lle…?”,

“Joliyum kooliyum onnum ille…?”

“Adutha veetile Sheebaku bankil kitty… ninako?”

“Entammo…!!!”

Some random permutation of planetary positions somehow guided me to MACE.  But then, I just fell in love with this campus…and this beautiful town called Kothamangalam.

There are no hard and fast rules for falling in love with a place or a person. Some are love at first sight…others take time. The night before I came to MACE for the first time, I walked around Kothamangalam. Like I always do when I land up in a new place. Strolling around the town studded with beautiful churches and narrow roads, somewhere in my heart I did feel that “This is it… this is the place where my dreams belong…”.

The road towards our college from College Junction, those big trees with big eyes towering above us for god-knows-how-many decades, those fallen leaves and flowers (which I strangely feel like great hopes of silent romances), our front gate, walking down that beautiful steep trail towards college canteen with the OAT by its side… the time we spend sipping tea with friends after college hours…it all fills my heart with an extraordinary sensation of nostalgia. This campus has given me answers to some very personal yet fundamental questions about life, love  and future. Feeling lucky to have met remarkable people here… fellow MACEians with outstanding intelligence… people with great organising skills… guys who can even make the impossible look possible…a campus with quality students and wonderful faculty that can make one feel proud that he/she is a part of this grandeur. Being MACE’ian makes you feel mighty and that is just ‘aMACEing’ !!!

Like thousands of students who have come and gone… like the hundreds who are still there… I have also fallen in love with the fragrance of the first rain in our campus, with the dew drops that reflects sunlight from leaves and flowers as we walk towards our classrooms, with the ice-cold ITC, with the silent library, with the lonely OAT that gets jam-packed during Sanskriti, with that playground and with those quiet corridors.

Those walls, pillars and hallways always seem to burst with a million stories of love, loss and friendship. It may stand there for a thousand more years holding your…no OUR stories as well. Those pillars may murmur among each other the best or worst of our stories for timeless times.

MACE is indeed a timeless beauty. So is Kothamangalam.

The main juncture in the town (marked by the Kothamangalam Post Office) is where I feel nature and time split in two. You take a left turn for Kochi; a place buzzing with people and activity. You take a right turn and you are heading towards nature in its most classic form. I mean, how can we forget Boothathankettu, Thattekad, Edamalayar, Neriyamangalam, Munnar… the list goes on. Numerous evenings were spent driving around these incredible places with friends and those moments of excitement can never be forgotten. Kothamangalam is an astonishing sentiment if you know where to search it in your heart.

Then there is excitement. Raw fun. I have never experienced watching a movie in a theatre crammed with students from just one college!!! It was a Friday and Bangalore Day’s had released. We all simply rushed out of our exam halls and dashed towards Ann Theatre. Watching that Matinee with a roaring crowd, I realized that almost every seat in Ann Cinema was occupied by a MACEian.  Laughter, cheers, whistles and loads of fun. Nothing can be more exciting than watching a movie like that. Unforgettable. I can assure you, this is an experience you can rarely have anywhere else on earth. We simply rock!!!

This Diwali, my first novel is getting released. And this would not have been possible if it was not for MACE and Kothamangalam. I will always be indebted to this campus and to you my fellow MACEians for all the love and support that you have given me till now. Thanks to my dear friends and respected faculty members of CSE department. Thanks to Appu and Jithesh for passionately sharing my blogs.

You may not know me by my name, but we are building a bond through words. If you happen to read my upcoming novel, we may end up embarking an amazing journey of words and lives. And this journey is something that we need to continue.

Yes, there is a huge wall of time and space between us  but we are all connected by one single thread called MACE.

Typing this blog, images of a Sanskriti night flashes in front of my eyes. After a heart thumping, ground shaking dance, every light is put off. There is complete darkness.  The only things visible are hundreds of fluorescent bands. Green, pink and blue. In the name of love, unity and brotherhood, a hundred flashlights from mobile phones coming to life. There is just one emotion… one name… one feeling in every heart: MACE.

Maybe that is something aMACEingly poetic about our college- MACE.

***

The Author of this blog is Srinath Krishnamoorthy. Like millions out there, he too is trying to figure out what needs to be done with his life. After a three-year stint as software test engineer in Tech Mahindra, he is currently pursuing MTech in Computer Science & Engineering at MA College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. His début novel Hope We Never Meet Again is scheduled for release this Diwali.

The idea that I’m putting forward in this blog may seem absurd or even insanely mundane. Nevertheless, I was desperate to write about this for a long time.

I draw emotional cues from events, incidents or people before I start writing something. The spark came and completely set me ablaze during a drive from Kadambazhipuram to Palakkad. I can only wonder as to how one pair of human eyes and a single frame of vision can recreate some thing that spans continents, galaxies and most important of all…billions of hearts. Some things we see are so powerful that it can move us…forever. And for me the spark was nothing but a Banyan Tree.

That day and that drive changed things forever.

I stopped my car. Got out and walked towards the temple and sat down under the tree. It was always my wish to stop by a serene Kavu (temple) on a random summer afternoon. Sit over the concrete embankment, under centuries old Banyan tree and enjoy moments of utter isolation.  Solitude.

There was not a soul in the vicinity  and the only sound that seemed to exist was the leaves rustling and dancing in the fierce summer breeze.  The mud was red and the sky was blue. Cloudless.

I strangely got this overwhelming feeling of being submerged in the moment called “LIFE”.  I decided to lie down all the same. It always felt so nice to lie down under a banyan tree and gaze at thousands of restless leaves, merrily dancing and swaying above.

I wondered how powerful the creator is?

Those thousand beautiful leaves were amazingly similar yet surprisingly unique. I closed my eyes and my imagination extrapolated that fact over to a forest.

“Even a large forest with millions of trees could never manage to have two leaves exactly identical. Every creation is so unique.”

Being human is all about looking at things in a different way.

Under the cool shade of that Banyan tree I felt like dozing off for eternity. How wonderful it would be to slip into an everlasting slumber under that sweet shade? At that precise moment, the best option in the world seemed to be cuddling under that shade forever.

Is that shade a luxury in reality or a dark shadow in disguise? I started having some serious questions in my mind. I became restless as this question popped up in my mind.

“Why do we strive to live and die like any other person when we are all born unique?”

The following are the discussions that I had with myself.

What we idolize and imitate makes all the difference.

In short, what we perceive as shades are nothing but mere shadows.

The constant chase for assumed safe zones (SHADES) and the wrong perception of socially acceptable definition of success makes us just one among billions… and not ONE IN A BILLION.

An old story that I read during my school days floated down my memory like a feather.

Two young spectacle makers from Netherlands ( Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Janssen) in early 1600s arranged two convex lenses in two adjustable cylindrical moulds. They found it incredible since they could see far off things much closer. Immediately the toy industry in Europe found something amusing and hugely saleable. The miniature wonder toy was sold in thousands across the continent during fares. Everyone looked through the toy and were surprised to see their cattle grazing almost a mile away so close as if they could touch them. People would look through it and suddenly found everything on earth that surrounded them coming really close. children playing, cattle grazing, bridges, trees and what not everything was at arm’s-length. It was as if Earth simply moved closer to every man as he placed the toy over his eyes.

That’s when the toy came into the hands of an old Italian. He was shunned by the Church for his weird ideas and people thought he was crazy. The Italian immediately improved the primitive design of that toy and in a year, he had something scientifically workable. Well, what happened after that was crucial. He did not check out his cattle or his wife or his daughter playing in the courtyard. He just aimed it at the sky.

Galileo Galilei became the first human being to point that strange toy skyward and well, many still think that Galileo invented telescope. In fact, he did not. But he was the first man to observe the night sky and stars through a telescope. And yeah… that eventually changed the course of history and science forever.

All because he aimed the telescope far above the surface of Earth. When every man aimed for earth…he aimed for the sky.

It may seem trivial, but back then it was ground breaking. He broke the conventional norms and socially accepted standards to change the course of science. He paved the way for a new era.

We may have a billion things that everyone else has. But there is one spark…one source of infinite power hidden in us that belongs only to us. And just think…it has the potential to change the world.

Like the leaves of a tree in a huge forest, we are all unique. At a glance we look similar…But deep down we are unique in a zillion possible ways.

We are forced and pushed through systems that attempts to make us all look same. We can put even Einstein’s theory of relativity to shame by our mundane sense of relativity. Just kidding… but just imagine we are all programmed to think in a relatively acceptable way. The system teaches us to look for safe zones.

For many getting a distinction in SSLC is a big safe-zone. We strive, struggle and yeah..get there (most of the times).

But are we happy?

No.

Why?

Because someone out there is flaunting a rank and we crib about not getting there. The one who gets first class cribs about not getting a distinction. The one gets a just pass slaps himself for not getting first-class. The one who fails looks at the guy who gets a just-pass and idolizes him. And some one who cannot afford going to school silently sheds a tear or two looking at all this drama.

You can super impose this scenario across various arenas of our day-to-day life. Marriage, job, education, sports, politics, business, art, literature, what and what not.

My intention here is not to blame the system. But to point out that we are struggling hard to define our existence relative to millions out there. We cannot copy and many a times…we cannot cope up.

Why?

The answer will be a in fact a big relief for you. And the only explanation for the above dilemma is that we are all unique.

Every system that exist today is made by a group of individuals to suit their needs. Sometimes immensely talented people lose their fate, life and joy trying to comply with these systems.

Why?

Simple. What suits others may not suit you!!!

I get frequent phone calls these days from friends spread across various cities. Some of my blogs have been touching some nerves and many readers have started thinking beyond their daily routines. Good.

But is it good enough?

One of my very close friends wants to be a film maker. But he is trapped in his daily routines of life and he himself contradicts his own intentions to try his hand in film making. Pheewww…that’s confusing yeah??

I grilled him for long hours and found that the root cause for his frustration is his fear of failure. So after many lengthy telephone conversations, he comforted himself saying that he is safe under the shade of an MNC that gives him a salary good enough to comply with the so-called social norms.

Strange isn’t it?

So is there a way out?

Yes. Will come to that in some time!!!

Well, let me tell you the story of something we use on a daily basis:

In 1996, two PhD students from Stanford University, California developed a new kind of search engine that worked lot faster and showed more reliable search results. They used one of their dormitories and a set of commodity hardware (thrown away hard disks and computer hardware) to run the project.

They knocked the door of every company in silicon valley to sell their search engine but all in vain. They even went to big brands like Yahoo! and AOL to sell the algorithm for a few thousand dollars and a daily job. But every company turned them down saying:

“Internet search is working fine as of now…no need for any new armature stuff…”

They were disappointed but each rejection fuelled them up and their determination to prove their point became stronger by the day. And that is how Google was born.

The key is…they did not run behind brands after a point in time and neither did they give up. Yes, initially they failed. But they recovered and created a brand unlike any other. In short, Google became “The Brand”.

Well, none of us are here to recreate what Larry Page or Sergey Brin did. They are what they are because they worked towards what they believed in.

But we need to believe that we are all here to achieve something much more than mere existence.

The old saying goes :

“Survival of the fittest…”

But nowadays every one seem to survive and survive well… so now what?

We need to do more than just survive.

From the schools we study to the colleges we graduate… from to the companies we work to the girl we marry… from the food that we eat to the car that we drive…from the smart phones that we carry to the jaddi that we wear… we need brands to endorse us.

Years back when I was in my 10th standard or so, I remember attending a marriage reception. An elderly person introduced his son to my mom and some of our relatives:

“My son has finished Mechanical Engineering from MA College and has got placement in Wipro.” Poor son was already carrying his share of truck load of pride and was now squirming under his father’s words plus all the admiration from people around. He looked at me as if I was a cockroach that jumped in to his ice cream.

My Amma like always,  pinched my hand and whispered:

“Kandu padikada…” (learn from the boy). She never misses a chance to say that…even today!!!

I idolised that guy. Wawooo… he must be a real  genius…like Albert Einstein. I even spent clueless hours thinking about what his brain must be made of. Probably that was the first time I heard the name Wipro and thought that if that guy got in to this “Wipro”.. Wipro should be really great. I had the common sense back then to understand that big brains went big places.

Now, years later sitting in the lecture hall of MA College I realise that there is nothing great about working in an MNC and studying in that very same college. They are just brands and I’m an infinitesimally small roach trying to get my bit of shade.

The charm is all gone once we are there. Dreaming of a job in Google is fine. But that job makes sense if and only if that drive with which you joined the company stays with you through out. You are a born software engineer or banker or author or singer iff the passion sustains irrespective of the company you are working for. If that is not there…even a million \$ job in NASA sucks…eventually.

This SHADE in fact is a SHADOW. And this shadow is what is killing us all. We need to come out of shadows to unleash our true self.

Do not cuddle under the brands.  Do not run behind them, spending all our vital energy and accepting every shitty stuff they throw at us just to be accepted by them.

Do not teach your child that getting a BTech degree, a placement in XYZ MNC and grabbing a visa to US or  settling down in Germany is the greatest achievement they can have. Instead, tell them that:

“Keep doing what you are good at son… success will come…the world will come looking for you…”

And it will.

If you cannot change yourself and believe that your story is done, you can change one thing. And that is the future of your child. Let him/her do what they love and strive for excellence in that. By now you would have understood that society is just a piece of bull shit and the system really helps no one.

Money is again an important factor. What is more important is how much you enjoy earning that.

“What is the point in making money if you neither enjoy making it nor spending it?”

We all have something unique. If worked up on and guided properly, it can make us outgrow beyond the so-called brands and money would simply be counted as a by-product of our passion.

I will give you a more recent example.

One of my friends, Mary Antony Pallan has written a book- Vodka Sambar. She, like millions of authors out there sent her manuscript one after the other to publishers. She did face rejections, but finally decided to go ahead and publish the book herself. She started “Blue Fin”, her own publishing house. From editing the manuscript to designing the cover, she did everything on her own. And with some help from her friends and family, she is out with her first novel. Brave girl!!! Hats off.

Why?

Because she did not wait for a brand to come and endorse her talent as a writer. Today Mary is a Brand. She has carved a niche for herself.

It is not success or failure that matters….what matters is our attitude.

Remember, we do not need a Penguin or a Harper Collins to take our words to the world.

Mary has come out of those shades & shadows. She is all sunshine now.

Something as simple as a WordPress blog is all that you need to take your ideas to the world. As you are reading this blog it will be crossing the 6000 views mark from almost 70 countries. All this and more in just three months. To be blunt…a span of just 90 days.

Many say that:

“I need to do this  job for my survival.”

I believe that what defines us as human beings is what we do beyond mere survival.

Than what are the options in front of us? We need to survive and we need to invent and innovate.

Work at night??

Wawooo that seems to be a great option right?

Take time off guys. Take an year or two off. You are not gonna loose anything by not working for an year. Financials may be an issue…but hey who does not have problems?

Either you can live your dream or live somebody else’s dream. The choice is yours.

Plan your start up…pen down your next book…hum down the tune of the first song of your maiden album… pack the bag for your dream destination… take the camera that you dumped some where and go on a clicking spree… Who knows..that one idea…one song…one word…and that CLICK may be the next big thing?

It is you who can define your purpose of life…only you..you and you can decide your destiny.

I woke up from under the tree. I had no clue how much time had elapsed between then and now. But all I know is that I gotta go friend. Destinations are all unknown…but all I know is that I need to continue this journey.

It’s time to say good-bye. I have always wanted to write and words seem to be the only thing that does not exhaust me. God has always been great and showered happiness beyond wildest of all dreams. But true happiness is when an unknown reader from some remote corner of this earth sends a message and says:

“That’s a good one man…”.

Once again…

Do not hide under the safety of shades… come out of the shadows and enjoy the bliss and beauty of sunshine. Feel restless…and never settle down.

You are not here to prove that you can merely survive. We are all beyond that.

– by Srinath Krishnamoorthy

Author’s click by Dr. Vivek Vaidyanathan

Dedicating this blog to two brave ladies- Vinatha and Mary Antony Pallan.

#blogging102

## QUOTES FROM MY SOUL

– by Srinath Krishnamoorthy

Author’s click by Dr. Vivek Vaidyanathan

#blogging101

## CASTLES UPSIDE DOWN

I really did not plan to pen down a blog for this week. But no…my fingers are not in my control and they are revolting. This gut wrenching picture of a an innocent Aylan Kurdi lying lifeless over a Turkish Beach cannot go unnoticed…this cannot be ignored because HE is in a way… WE. And wait…read ahead before you give out that usual sigh of relief that anyway…it’s not my kid…and it is not ME…

Europe is crunching under refugee crisis and the accidental death of Aylan is an eye opener. He silped from his fathers hands and drowned right in front of 100 of terrified eyes. Illegal boats dump rufugees in tons each day   along along the shores of Europe. Many die enroute and never make it to their destinations.

Human life today seems to have no value 😦

Where did we fail? What is so intellectually wrong about everything political happening around us? Are we collapsing as a species(just like dinosaurs)? If yes, are we the reason and is there a solution?

From an anthropological stand point if you evaluate the ways in which humans have decided organise themselves, it is pretty clear that we are far away from creating a way of life that would sustain us as a species for a million years from now.

Take for example the ants. They have been here for over 130 million years and may survive a billion more years. Even though they seem small they form 15-25% of Earth’s terrestrial animal biomass (shocked!!!..but true). Millions of ants, live together and work in such a well-defined orderly manner (like an oiled machine) to create an environment of peaceful co-existence. That is why an ant colony is usually called a super organism. And don’t look down upon them as silly small ants…they have remarkable problem solving capabilities. Don’t be surprised to you see computer scientists running behind ants to optimise computer programs!!!

The question here is : When billions of ants can coexist peacefully why can’t we?

Are we not intelligent? Don’t we have the best of the brains an animal can have? There you go…we are animals and we keep living without realising that.

A few million ants can live in perfect harmony in a circumference of 30 centimetres… years together…generations after generations; but four people cannot live in a room without fighting even for single day. And we say we are the greatest of all species…let’s get done with that thought in the first place.

Well, if this is the image that you see every day, then we have no right to be proud. We are just a rotten bunch of fleshy mass corrupting this planet.

After seeing this image, I’m not ashamed to shout out that religion as a way of life and democracy as a way of administration has failed miserably in bringing common good to people. This image of the little Aylan Kurdy also shows that democracy as a political philosophy fails yet another time (like millions of other instances) to save innocent lives.

Now, the first question that would come to your mind is this:

“Is this writer a supporter of fucking autocratic rule?”

“Is he a communist? (Probably a Stalinist.. yeah )

“Or is this bugger a mad follower of He Who Cannot be Named (Adolf Hitler)?”

The answer to all these bizarre questions ringing in your head is a big, strong and bold NO.

Ohh…yeah… everyday of the year politicians go gaga over democracy…and we all clap along their wicked tunes. So the writer should obviously be mad. Yes I accept that for the time being… but first listen to me…

In the beginning of human evolution…that is when man walked naked with sticks in hand, he lived pretty much like any other animal. He was his master. He lived alone and he died alone. Simple.

But do we humans like simple stuff? No…

Eventually, we understood that living alone was no fun… so we grouped together. This had its own advantages. Better protection from wild animals, higher hit rates during hunting sessions, easier to find mates and higher chances of preserving the species. Probably our ancestors enjoyed more of sexual freedom…well making out was easier since the whole world was a one big hell of a forest!!!

But as always, like George Orwell says in his master piece Animal Farm:

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others…”

The concept of Alpha comes into picture. And then all the problem starts. Alpha is nothing but the ego. Alpha stands for the indomitable to dominate and conquer. Probably that was the single largest factor that ended the nomadic ways of human existence.

Somebody always among a group rules or overshadows others. And in the long run…we just don’t feel good if someone is not there to throw his/her share of authority over us. Most of the time they may not be half as capable as others, but we just let them do it…why? Because we are used to it. Simple 🙂

So in the great journey of evolution, Kings ,Queens and Empires came into existence. Autocracy was in fact the best known mode of administration. You paid tax to your king and he gives protection to you and your family. What’s wrong with it? Life was simple… so were the ways.

But Kings sometimes were really stupid and the hierarchical mode of administration concentrated wealth and power into very few hands.

So around 600 BC, in Rome, the so-called intellects  decided to make a small change. They decided to elect the king. Well, now the power shifted from one man to a few hundred men.  Those few hundred men started rolling over wealth and women. But yes, there was advancement in science, technology and mathematics. But whenever they went itching for action, they took their seemingly large army that would plunder and rape everything on their way.

But consistently they all made sure of one thing : Keep a large majority in deep dark ignorance and starvation. The philosophy is pretty simple- as long as the masses felt happy having bed, bread and shelter, no one would raise their voice.And to earn these three, make them work. Whenever the aristocracy realized that someone was voicing against their tide, they were silenced. Either by force or through bribes.

Just look around…even today our curriculum, media and government makes us all feel that getting a good house, a pretty spouse and a small car is the ultimate aim of life. As long as you work towards that and mind your own business…buddy everything is super fine. And when we people keep chasing our small dreams, there are others who walk over us virtually looting our very dreams.

But yeah, back then a lot of voices started surging from the masses and then all of a sudden, Religion was born. And that is the worst part of human evolution. The world would have been a far better place if people just went on with their respective way of life rather than grouping under the dark shadows of religion.

Religion was the most effective weapon used by the rich aristocrats to keep the ignorant masses in perpetual darkness. If you observe carefully, even today it is like that. Take any religion and you will find that the rich enjoy a carefree life. They never abide by the rules of their religion and lead a life of luxury. But, the religious establishments make sure that the poor and down trodden strata of the society are made to follow strict religious laws.

If inheritance of luxury is true…then the same stands true for slavery as well.

Generations are made to believe that their only activity on this earth is to eat, shit, pray and sleep.

So, as the light of democratic enlightenment started spreading across continents, a darker force of religion and superstition started flapping its dark wings against it.

This struggle went on for centuries, spanning generations. When the world was still split under autocracy and neo-natal democracy, one man set out to change it all:

Karl Marx, a German, brought about a revolutionary idea about every man being equal and distributing wealth equally. Maybe he was the first person in the history to openly talk about class struggles and distributing wealth into the hands of working class.

But he did not take two crucial factor into consideration:

1. Human beings are selfish
2. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

But somehow, communism caught the imagination of millions across the globe like a wildfire. And for almost 80 years, through USSR, the ideals of Karl Marx survived. But communism eventually did fall apart.

The good thing was that communism virtually ended the autocratic Tsar rule in Russia and gave strength to the working class world over. But the darker side was the likes of Joseph Stalin. Communism, I would say is the biggest anthropological experiment ever. The downside of communism was that it could thrive only if people could be grossly ignorant or the whole world followed nothing but communism. Because as soon as people got educated and enriched, they turned their attention towards the glitz and glamour of the free markets in the West :-  CAPITALISM. Capitalism in a way was the most beautiful alternative to communism. For many, communism was just a stepping stone to reach out and hug capitalism (like some of the politicians).

If the entire human race had come under the grip of communism, we all would be living and dying as communist. Most probably I would be tortured for writing this article and there is a fair chance for you would be sent to a labour camp in Siberia for reading this. Well, that was never the intention of Karl Marx and his whole idea of communism.

Meanwhile in India, people were famished and ignorant. Dark ages of varna system was running strong. The kings and elite castes enjoyed richness of every kind and the poor lived penniless and agonizingly destitute lives.

I felt like laughing when I saw Shashi Tharoor debating strongly for reparations from British Government. Look at the below photographs and tell me who needs to pay reparations to whom?

We speak a lot of India’s glorious past. Yes we had a past and it was glorious, but only for a selected few (castes). Till recent times, there were news of Sati being committed in news papers and what more, untouchability is no news at all. The upper caste men in parts of our country still rape and kill dalit girls as they fancy. And we say India is great.

It is not the British but the Kings who ruled various princely states who should be paying reparations to the poor, common man. Shashi Tharoor says British looted us…but who let them loot us? At least we got educated and due to that we have established ourselves in a global arena. I can’t imagine the plight of this country if people did not have the power of those 26 alphabets. You may say Sanskrit is this and Sanskrit is that… but why a common man does not know a single word in Sanskrit? It is because only a selected few had real access to that language. They kept the masses in dark and treated them like second class human beings.

Another big joke is the videos that go around these days telling Charaka did this…Sushrutha did that…Chanakya said this regarding management….Aryabhatta proclaimed this & that in astronomy before Galileo and Copernicus. Well hats off these gurus who did all this. But one question for which I’m unable to find and answer is:

Why the hell the common man in India did not have any access to these scientific inventions / discoveries? Why this great knowledge was not shared with the masses and was accessible only to a privileged few?

Can you point out one Indian King who has established a Vedic college and declared:

“Anybody can go and learn Vedic literature for free…and all the so-called Gurus should teach every man who comes there with the desire to learn- irrespective of his/her caste or creed…”

The first college in India was established by Church Missionary Society of England in 1817 in Kottayam (CMS College). Remember, most of our Princes and Kings usually sailed off to Oxford University to get their degrees. Why did they not start a college for the poor? Why it took a Christian missionary to come all the way from England and establish a college here in India?

Leave all that. Have these Kings laid one inch of railway track? Today we are boasting that Indian Railway is the largest in the world; employing nearly 100,000 people.

Try finding one Indian King who is capable of laying a railway track from Kasmir to Kanyakumari and from Rann of Kutch to Guwahatti? You won’t find it. British invaded India, they kept us as slaves and looted us…agreed…but that is because we never united against them as a one single country…as one single force…as one single entity.

When we finally succeeded doing that after 200 years of British Raj, they simply left the country. Just 69 years of standing independent and united and see how India is nowadays being hailed as a super power. But the sad truth is even today, you take any issue, the nation stands largely divided.

The moment Britishers came here, they understood that the socio-political situation in this country is ripe for exploitation. British are still here.. they have not left us.

The only difference is that they are replaced by the Desi-British. Just think why we accept the western notion of wonders of the world? There are temples in Thanjavur and Madhurai built by the Chola Kings far superior in architecture, technology and aesthetics than western buildings. And yeah… centuries before the westerners learned to make bricks. But still if you ask school children, they will all know about Leaning Tower of Pisa as one of the seven wonders, but will have no clue about Madhurai Meenakshi Temple, which has four Gopuras as tall as the Leaning Tower in Pisa. Madhurai Meenakshi Temple was built way before 7th Century AD. The tower in Pisa opened only in the 1372.

Who killed our history?

We ourselves have destroyed it.

I was shocked when I saw the initial scenes of the movie 7am Arivu in which the person goes asking if people knew who was Bodhidharm?

Strangely no Indian, including myself, had any clue…but surprisingly every Chinese, Singaporean and Malayan knew who Bodhidharma was. They even called him lovingly as their Damo and The Kung-Fu guy. And many even knew that he was the south Indian Chola prince who came to China and established Shaolin Temple. It is all updated in the official website of Shaolin Temple. Except for Indian’s everyone seems to know him.

This is high time we evaluate ourselves. If we have lost our great past, only we are to be blamed. Let us not put all the liabilities on someone’s head and perform an art of escapism. We are good at that anyway.

Thunder and showers are a certainty of monsoon. Only we are to be blamed if we fail to take an umbrella.

If we are still under the rule of our Kings and princely states…and if British never came here, who knows this could be our plight even today:

Well, coming back to global issues of 20th century, during the early 1930’s and till the end of second world war, the world rattled and battled under these ideologies:

1. Autocracy (Kings and Queens decided what to do and people had no free will)

2. Fascism holds the ideology of anti-democracy. The state is absolute and totalitarian and all citizens must follow the state. (eg. Benito Mussolini)

3. Nazism is a racist and anti-Semitic ideology which holds that the Aryan race is superior to all other races, and that the government must actively promote the perfect race- symbol of Nazism is none other than Adolf Hitler

4. Communism : is a social, political, and economic ideology whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society based on common ownership and the absence of social classes, money and the state. Sounds divine, but reality was much closer to brutality.

5. Democracy : People voted their representatives  to establish a form of government in which power ultimately comes from the people.

Everything else fell over a period of time, but Democracy survived.

The biggest confrontation between Capitalism, Democracy and Communism happened during Cuban Missile Crisis (Oct-1962). But thanks to JFK and Nikita Khrushchev who really understood the essence of the saying- with great power comes great responsibility. Try watching the ground breaking documentary “The Fog Of War” if you can. In that Robert McNamara, the then defence secretary, describes in detail the Cuban Missile Crisis. One wrong move from either USA or USSR would have turned the world into a barren nuclear wasteland. Well we have come that close to extinction…phewwww…

USSR fell. A big blow to Communism. But democracy not only survived, but kept flying higher and higher.

But today, even that is falling apart. Sad, but true.

Just look at this simple fact:

You elect a few hundred representatives to make decisions for a few billion people. Your part in this whole game is over till you cast vote. After that, for 5 years whatever our so-called representatives does sitting in the parliament is beyond your reach. Again, our netas will come begging for votes after their tenure and give all sorts of false promises… where cash needs to be thrown it will be thrown…where liqueur needs to be flooded, it will flow…where body of women needs to be used, they would pimp it out. Well they make sure they win…and make every citizen feel that they too are winning.

But are we winning?

Today politicians are far richer than businessmen since they are running politics like any other business. We people who elect them are nothing but scapegoats.

Democracy has become nothing more than citizen sponsored autocracy.

Democracy today is the process of intelligent people selecting not so intelligent people to make stupid decisions for them.

Just look at this:

Senior Bush and CIA gives weapons and training to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda to fight the communist.

Osama gets bored fighting communists and becomes Bhasmasura. He wants to pull a few tricks up his sleeves over USA. With all the training he got from CIA, he decides to hold Uncle Sam by his balls sitting in a cave in Afghanistan. And he succeeds when Junior Bush Saab is reading Alice in Wonderland for school kids.

Bush becomes restless like the guy who feels like hitting someone when he gets frustrated and calls up his generals. He declares war on terror and sends bombers to Iraq- a country that never threatened to fire a single bullet against USA. A country that was living in relative peace and harmony was attacked for no fucking reason. And millions of innocent civilians were killed. Poor old Saddam Hussain was arrested and hanged…for reasons unknown. Both his sons were slaughtered.

All this and more when Osama Bin Laden was having cocktail with ISI officers near an army base in Abotabad, Pakistan. People of Iraq were never a part of conspiracy to attack USA. President Obama openly admitted that after Operation Neptune Spear and decided to pull out the troops. But wounds run deep.

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi who was arrested by US as a low profile captive during 2004 and left free assuming that he was harmless formed the Islamic State of Iraq.

And now there is death everywhere. This is the perfect example of the saying: What goes around, comes around.

If any sensible Americans had any hand in the entire decision making process… I do not believe that they would have bombed Iraq.

George Bush kept saying there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq again and again and again. In fact there were none.

Democracy is a noble thought…a great ideology… but it has pitfalls. Especially when democracy becomes nothing more than a citizen sponsored autocracy.

When democracy boasts of equal opportunity for every good, it does offer an identical opportunity of things equally bad. The problem is that democracy is taking the shape of Demoncrazy… where the supreme power of decision-making in fact lies in the hands of selected few.

Still women are raped, blacks are shot at,bombs are blasted and innocents are beheaded…is democracy an effective solution? Or are we making ourselves a kind of species quite capable of building Castles in the sky but stupid enough to build them all upside down?

Democracy today is nothing more than a group of people who are bothered only about their rights and have no concern whatsoever regarding their responsibilities. (Shiv Khera, in Freedom is not free). If it was a good solution to human existence, this happy family would not have been shattered.

We need to think of an alternative…

We need to think…and think… and well some day I hope Karl Marx would rise from his grave, separate the true communist and false capitalist to his either side and proclaim a new ideology that he had worked out in his grave. Well, let that help us live like ants…billions in harmony for a billion years!!!

Ultimately this is the smile we wanna see always 🙂

## URBAN MATTERS

I always wonder what is there in a city? I still cannot figure out how people thrive in virtually inhospitable conditions and yet have a smile on their faces at the end of the day. But is it not true that people hate these cities as much as they love it? If life is a journey, some city seems to be ultimate our ultimate destination.(most of us having covered almost half of it…some crossing a quarter of it and some are striding the last mile).

And we all have, at some point in time, wondered what is there in a city? Why I’m trapped in this big, huge metropolis…with buzzing traffic, pollution and perpetual drought. Delhi. Mumbai. Chennai. Bangalore. Kochi. Kolkata.. the list goes on.

I find people from Mid-East, who constantly upload the pictures of black pines, mountains, rivers, farmers, cattle and infinitely green paddy fields everyday in their FB account. They do not shy away from explicitly conveying that their love affair with their native land still burns in their hearts. Like the first love…  Lost in time but a wound that still hurts .

Are they happy?

Maybe yes…maybe no. Whatever, the wheel of destiny puts us in a city…somehow somewhere.

Having said all this, one question that still beats many is that -why the bloody hell can’t I be in my own home town?

Why can’t I breathe fresh oxygen of my own village and let my children grow up exactly the way I did…listening to the stories told and retold by grandparents over generations?

Why can’t I be happy doing what I love and be where I really belong?

Why is it that I need to board a train or flight the moment I come out of college? What is the problem with Kerala (or whichever place you belong)?

Like a million questions that go unanswered in a billion heads…I too had my set of questions. Why we are not able to flourish where we really belong? I searched for an answer during my numerous journey’s and was unable to come up with an instance or a story that can substantiate my own theories about life, job, love and existence. Fundamentally our place of existence in the larger picture called life….

But time made me connect the dots.

It all happened a few days back.

It was a hot, humid, cruel sunny day when I reached Aluva railway station from Kothamangalam. My intended destination- Chennai. Now I hate going to Chennai since it’s super hot (no..not like Sunny Leone).I hate the noise and dust. This is the case with every other city in almost every other part of the world. I hate the crowd and pollution. (Even though I managed to hang on for three long years working in these Metros). Walking over to the platform I saw some other passengers as well who were waiting for the train to Chennai. I always wondered why people in thousands move into a city like Chennai that has huge scarcity of drinking water…is grilled by scorching sun and has  nothing but noise and dust. I just had a day’s business in Chennai…and I kept thanking god that I would be back next day.

So as always, I walked towards the Mathrubhumi Book Store, which stood welcoming nuts like me in platform No:1. There was hardly anyone in front of the store. An old man with a permanent frown and a lady who was counting cash sat inside the store.

With the curiosity of a four-year old kid, I started gazing at the books and reading the blurbs one after the other. I usually buy a book when I travel long distance. So I took a book written by Ayn Rand and read the title:

“Atlas Shrugged…” and then put it back in shelf. I was planning to buy a book anyway. So I took another. This time a Ken Follett…

“Oops this one I have read…” I understood and I put it back where it belonged. Likewise I continued my little rampage till I stumbled across MT Vasudevan Nair’s Bheema.

“Well…this one I need to read….hmmmm” but before I came to a decision, I heard a cruel voice:

Edukan udhesham undo…? (Are you really planning to buy?)”

I looked up and saw the face of the angry old man standing inside the store. He looked at me from under his spectacles as if I was a beggar who came to him for alms. I did not like the look in those eyes and retorted:

“Why? Can’t I just go through the books kept here?”

To which the old man said:

“…Else I need to get the shit out of his box-of-a-book-store….” I completed his sentence in my mind. I wanted to buy the book… but now my self-respect forbid me from doing so. The lady who was sitting inside the store seemed to be indifferent to what was happening between me and the owner of that Mathrubhumi book store.

My blood did boil… but I did not say a single word and walked on without looking at that old man. He was so arrogant maybe because they were doing great business. I planned to call Mathrubhumi office and drop an official complaint against their book store in Aluva Railway Station.

“How dare they kept staff who are arrogant and has no respect for customers…?” I fumed as I thought.

But again, I left it at that and wondered how lucky I’m to be born in God’s Own Country. We have surplus of everything. The only things lacking were proper job opportunities, business and industries. Due to some strange reason, these do not seem to flourish beyond limits.

Time ticked on and my thoughts kept wandering.

Well, thanks to Indian Railways, the train was gun on time. I boarded the train and well, I was on my way to Chennai.

***

I reached Chennai the next day. From Chennai Central, I crossed the road to catch a bus to R.K Nagar. The first thing that I saw was a man running behind a moving bus and in an attempt to get into the bus, he jumped over to the foot board. He slipped the next instance and fell right on the dust smitten road. I thought it was over. But he got up and again ran behind the same bus. Owing to the panic-stricken shrieks from the pedestrians and passengers, the bus by now had abruptly stopped. This time he was successful in his venture of risking his life for a bus ticket. The conductor simply smacked on the man’s head and shouted:

Thevidiya mavane…ariv irrukada unnak… (son of a bitch…do you have a brain?)” to which the reply from the man was a ridiculously embarrassing smile.

Again I wondered with a burning heart:

“This city has no water. There is dust and crowd everywhere. There are heart wrecking slums and people who risk their lives everyday for a few hundred rupees. Still people come seeking for Chennai…even people from God’s Own Country (Kerala) come here seeking a heaven. I mean…what the heck? What is it they seek? Why can’t people stay in their homes…back in Kerala.” I felt for people who strived to survive in Chennai and secretly was overjoyed since I was away from this messy hell.

And by then my bus; 175 B had come  and I was on my way to my friend Jayaram’s flat. He was working in RBS  ( Royal Bank of Scotland) and had taken a day off to accompany me to meet publishers in 4th Arlington Street, Chetpet.

I freshened up quickly. Myself and Jayaram gobbled our breakfasts. And we jumped into a OLA Cab. Thanks to the Android App and the jovial driver, the 45 minutes journey through the harsh Chennai traffic went of well like a short walk.

Time ticked off really fast and lo…by the time my meeting was over, it was almost 1:00PM. The meeting was fruitful and bore results. But our stomachs were growling by that time and we dashed out of the building in search of food.

The locality looked more residential than industrial. As a result we found it really hard to find a good restaurant. I was dying to have some good non-vegetarian stuff…but there seemed to be only one hotel in the vicinity and it was pure vegetarian.

We settled down in the far corner, under a brown ceiling fan that was rotating incredibly fast. And then we ordered two meals.

While we waited, I complained endlessly at the plight of the city and the hollow, objective nature of city life.

“What is there in a city Jayu? Look at this hotel…what kind of hygiene is this? You see, it is best to live in Kerala…why people live here man?I have no clue…” a kind of irrational arrogance exulted in my voice. It was as if my home town was the greatest and rest of the humanity that dwells in cities just deserved pity and nothing more.

The lunch came wobbling in the waiter’s palms. Halfway through the meal Jayaram asked a very genuine question:

“Man…what kind of opportunities do we have in Kerala? …moreover attitude of people matters a lot Sri…”

I did not reply since I felt that was absolutely bull shit.

“Opportunities are what we make… Life is what we make it…damn…” I thought but still I did not have a clue as to why cities in my state were not as industrious as their counterparts in Tamilnadu.

Why business do not flourish the same way as in Chennai? There is no water and except for few key areas, there was no proper electricity and people still lived here for generations.

‘What the fuck…” I kept thinking through the meal of white rice and an average onion sambar.

Once done with the meal, we proceeded to the counter to pay the bill. I had a 1000 rupee note and the gentleman (a middle-aged guy, in formal wear) sitting in the counter had no change. So in a humble tone he requested us:

“Please be seated here sir…will get the change…” he smiled at us and instructed a service boy to get the change.  We waited there in the lobby chatting and watching other people come and leave. It took almost 15 minutes for the boy to get the change and by the time we were loosing our patience.

Only after we paid the bill did we realize that we had a whole afternoon and an evening in front of us. So standing by the bill counter of that hotel, we started planning:

“Let’s go to some multiplex Jayu… I have still not seen Bahubali…”

“I don’t know which is the nearest one…lemme check…” And Jayaram started checking for nearest multiplexes in his smartphone.

“damn.. Internet is not working…” He complained

That’s when the man sitting in the bill counter intervened.

“Sir…if you wanna know which is the nearest multiplex, I will check out with my pasanga (boys) and tell you…” and he rose from his seat, put another guy in his place and went to the kitchen.

In less than a minute, the man came out of the hotel kitchen and told us there were two options:

” One is Padmas Theatre and another is in Abhirami Mall… first one being 4Km and the other being 6Km from here….” he settled down back in the bill counter as he spoke with us and mechanically started collecting bills from waiting customers.

“Ohhh Thank you!!!” we wished him good-bye.

“Will catch an auto Jayu…”

“Ya..that will be better…” we spoke as we got out of the hotel.

We waved our hands in an attempt to catch the attention of passing auto rickshaws. One did stop and the auto driver charged a ridiculously large amount for a ride to Abhirami Mall.

“Sir 120 Rupees sir…” he kept saying… and that’s when the gentleman from the Hotel’s billing counter came to our rescue once again:

Anne… Padmas theatre vandh 40 rupees… Abhirami vand 70… avalav tha (only 40 rupees to Padma Theatre and 70 for Abhirami. That’s all..)” he ferociously bargained with the auto driver and finally the driver gave in. He turned on the meter.

As I got into the auto rickshaw, I turned around and asked his name:

“Selva Raghavan…sir”

We shook hands… and as the auto rickshaw started moving towards the Chethak Bridge towards Egmore, I shouted at him:

“Is the hotel yours Sir…”

“No it’s not mine…” and he waved me goodbye.

Sitting in that auto I glanced one last time at the hotel and its name:

“MSE Hotel. High Class Pure Veg.”

A smile ran across my lips. As I watched the city underneath me, I wondered if I would ever meet Selva Raghavan or have lunch from this hotel in Chetpet again in my life.

But I was sure of one thing… I had answer to a very important question:

“What is there in a city?”

Other than buildings, dust and traffic jams…

“What is there in a city?”

The People.

The incidence was an eye opener for me. It is the people who matter and not the place. With grit, determination and sincerity human beings have built heaven like cities in desert parch lands.

How and why…? Finally I got an answer to that question.

Why some people even with humble beginnings reach great heights? Why places having every favourable resource to its credit crumble and still remain under-developed? It is the people and their attitude that matters and not the place per se.

People succeed in spite of all odds. Why?

Because they touch hearts. I compared the arrogant man sitting in the book store back in Aluva Railway Station and the gentlemen who helped us a few minutes back. Maybe that made  the difference. For instance it may seem small…but an extrapolation would reveal that the contrast is in fact staggering.

And as the auto rickshaw driver started chit chatting with us as if we were friends for years, I gazed at the buzzing city that carried a million dreams… But this time around I was  very much conscious about why the  saying goes :

“Chennai is a city…Madras is an emotion…”.

***THE END***

Photo Courtesy:

https://s3-ap-southeast- .amazonaws.com/media.thrillophilia.com/Chennai-Dr._Mithun_James-Flickr

The Author of this blog is Srinath Krishnamoorthy who like millions out there is trying to figure out what needs to be done with life. After bidding goodbye to an eventful software career that spanned just 3 small years, he right now breaking his head working on his MTech thesis. It also comes as a surprise that in his lunatic quest for “figuring out life” he ended up writing a novel “Hope We Never Meet Again” which will be coming out soon…how soon only god knows!!!