Anthony Bourdain – The lost human-ness

The first time I encountered the name ‘Anthony Bourdain’ was when David Choe (an artist of Korean origin based in Los Angeles) did a portrait of him. I am immensely inspired and follow Choe’s work now and then, and his portrait sparked an inquisitive burn in my heart to know more about Anthony Bourdain. The first thing that came to my mind when I started watching ‘Parts Unknown’ on Netflix, since I had the subscription and this series showed up as soon as I typed his name, was ‘This guy knows and understands more than what meets the eye, and definitely been part of a very deep and painful struggle’. Maybe It is the lines on his face, or the audible sound of the concoction of words that leave his wise aura, or simply the feelings of relating to someone’s struggle and celebrating small victories of strangers who are just happy that someone recognizes their pain, that his work speaks volumes about his passion towards understanding and depicting the struggle in different parts of the world and how their cuisines have been part of the struggle and celebration, both. Both of these are virtues, in my opinion at least, and few people use their virtues as a tool, rather than a shield to protect their egos and images. To know that an artist of international capacity is doing such work restored my confidence in human race. The episode on Libya is my favorite because of him and his crew wandering through the conflict zones to tell this brave story of the struggles and wins of Libya and its people. The libyan people winning over Gaddafi and storming of his entire compound, and how it was done, as narrated by the guy who himself sent messages to the U.N. to give directions to the bombs, was exhilarating and goose-bumpy. When the entire world was busy uploading fake happiness on social media, this dude was out there in Libya glorifying their struggle, and understanding the change in their life and making me, and so many others feel so happy about it. This episode was also one of his own favorite, as he wrote about it on his website – http://anthonybourdain.tumblr.com/post/50670679641/libya

Recently, in the Le Chambard hotel in Kaysersberg, France, where Bourdain and his crew were intending to draw attention towards the Alsatian cuisine, he was found hanging dead in his bathroom one morning. His passing away, especially a suicide, left me grieving for a stranger, after a very long time. The feeling that I will never be able to watch Anthony Bourdain visit the extremities of the wake of human race’s hate, greed and contempt and find victories that keep people alive and kicking, along with their cuisines and what not!, made my stomach putrid, and my head fuzzy. David Simon, the creator of ‘the wire’, recently wrote about his perception of Anthony Bourdain owing to their meetings and work together. Being an addict and having quit too, Bourdain, on meeting David for the first time apologized on writing that he could not find heroin easily in Baltimore in one of his pieces, and David hilariously called him the most incompetent drug addict to date. David’s write-up/ memoir is highly recommended for all inspired human beings to indulge in the human-ness of Anthony Bourdain – Link

Committing a suicide is considered weak in the society in general, and although people try to find a very strong reason to justify it, they tend to judge it as an act of weakness. His mother commented that Anthony would be the last person she would imagine doing such a thing, and most of us think the same. But, the message from David Choe on Instagram recently, about his and Anthony’s clinical depression, and how one should fight it by staying in touch with other people suffering from the same problem, touched my soul.

David Choe – Instagram

I personally think it is right to say that people suffering from depression should share their problems within their own genre, and should stay positive by sharing all the time. Isolation is personal, and self-inflicted, and in most cases, owes to the feeling of not being received honestly. However, if you ever found a person to talk to, with whom you can share your thoughts and struggles, and know that the person would understand and share his/ her experiences as well, would be satisfying and positive.

P.S: Everything can be cured, or at the least given hope for, except death. Death is final. Choose Wisely!

Read more: https://pagesix.com/2018/06/09/the-troubling-signs-leading-up-to-anthony-bourdains-suicide/

Picture Credit

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Murphy’s Law

Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr. was an American aerospace engineer who worked on safety-critical systems. He once said “If there’s more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in a disaster, then somebody will do it that way” working at Wright-Patterson Air-force base in late 1940’s, which later was popularized as Murphy’s law. He spent his life working to increase reliability and safety to prevent human error. Overall, it is statement of caution, to prepare yourself for the worst, when the best is expected.

Strangely enough, I noticed that people from both lazy-pessimistic and active-optimistic lifestyles use this quote in their own way. “What has to go wrong will go wrong anyways! Why care about it?” and “If there is something that will go wrong, we need to account for it and at least understand it!” are the most extreme thought examples to support my theory. To the core of its strangeness, human society has remained tolerant of some weird thoughts, but more importantly extremely silent about them as well. The society reveals what it shows, but believes what it does not. So, Murphy’s law might be unknown to some of you, because it is just a saying with no proof, but since the bigger chunk of population is stuck with the 9-5 grind, so Murphy’s law is synonymous with unknown glitches with any kind of work. Ultimately, quoting Murphy’s Law becomes the verbal hunter of all the nervous feelings of unknown failure to shove them deep inside and never to reveal. It makes us believe that the universe a.k.a. nature is out there to get us, so we should not fuss over something that was out of our control and try to learn from it. When I stumbled upon a cool proof recently, I had to write about it.

The most common story capturing Murphy’s subtle rant is of the tumbling of a toast with butter on one side that tumbles down to the floor. It is believed that it always falls butter side down. The toast when tumbles, somehow always falls in the worst condition possible. Robert A J Matthews, who was a visiting professor at Aston University in Birmingham U.K., in 1995, wrote a paper on the proof that the tumbling toast does fall butter down every time. He did this by proving that the dynamics of the toast with butter on one side while it is falling from the table always make it fall butter down. Robert Matthews now works as a consultant in Science and Media across the whole world.

Interestingly, he further goes on to prove in this paper that nature’s or universe’s fundamental constants (like height of an average table from where the toast can tumble which is dependent of average human height) are somehow helping the toast to fall butter down and proving the ‘innate cussedness of the universe’. But the important take away is that as humans, we are supposed to be intelligent enough to not to keep cursing the Universe and find a solution to the problem.

This is for everyone who thinks that the world out there is to get you. This paper, if extrapolated to other human situations, might prove that the world is really out there to get you! But, as humans, we like to stay on top of our life. Ultimately this tussle with the fundamental universe’s constants becomes life! or one may preach ‘ignorance is bliss’ and let the toast fall butter down with not a care! To each his own!

P.S. Nietzsche, a German Philosopher, believed that Struggle is the essence of life. If you are not struggling with something, then you are either on a break, or doing something wrong.

www.aston.academia.edu/RobertMatthews

Tumbling Toast Proof

 

The first Acura NSX and Ayrton Senna

You must think (if you do not know already), what is common between the first generation Acura NSX and F1 racing driver Ayrton Senna.

Well first, its the legacy. Acura NSX was one of the first ‘affordable supercar’. It was the year, 1984, when Honda decided to built this ‘affordable supercar’ code named ‘ HP-X’ (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental). Later, it evolved to NSX (New Supercar eXperimental), as the enthusiasts know it now!

I would dare not try to describe who Ayrton Senna was! It is beyond the understandable mystique to me. To put it simply, whenever the hint of his yellow helmet was noticed by a F1 driver in the rear view mirror during a race, especially during rain, he was allowed to overtake! That is a glimpse into the kind of racing maestro he was!

The Formula 1 season of 1987 was a high noon in Senna’s career. This season brought him in deep relations with Honda. In 1988, He joined the McLaren team, which was using the Honda V6 engine at that point of time. His understanding of how Honda engines perform and how can they be tuned to his tune became better!

In February 1989, Honda engineers were testing the NSX at Japan’s Suzuka circuit, as a part of the car’s final development stages when they were lucky enough to have Senna testing his F1 car on the same circuit. They wanted his opinion about this car, which for them should be a game changer in the supercar market.
Owing to his subtly gracious, pleasant and in-different nature, he did a lap of the circuit to provide a feedback. “I’m not sure I can really give you appropriate advice on a mass-production car, but I feel it’s a little fragile.”

Little did the Honda team know that they will have to work eight more months on the car to make it ‘Senna Proof’!

The Honda engineers were baffled as the chassis was already as rigid as contemporary Porsche and Ferrari models. It was not really surprising for them to trust Senna on pointing out this sensitive flaw!  As a result, engineers increased the chassis rigidity as high as about 50% from its original form before Senna had a lap!

Honda wanted it to meet or exceed the performance of the Ferrari 328, while keeping it reliable enough to be a affordable supercar. So, the 2.0L V6 of the HP-X was discarded and the NSX was formed, restored with a 3.0L VTEC V6 engine made entirely from aluminum, making 274 HP and 210 lb·ft (280 Nm).
The aerodynamics of the body (interior and exterior) were designed by Chief Designer Ken Okuyama and Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara, imitating the 360-degree visibility experienced inside an F-16 fighter jet cockpit.

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Honda’s involvement in F1 made them trinkle the motorsport technology in their products which led to the NSX being the first production car to feature an all-aluminum monocoque body. This saved nearly 200 kg in weight over the steel equivalent.

The first gen NSX is still regarded as one of the most balanced super cars in terms of handling and speed.

The new Gen of NSX (which comes in about 25 years after the first gen) is being dubbed as a highly electronic masterpiece, but it lacks the human touch and feel ! Maybe they don’t have Senna this time around to make it a legend again!

A True Romantic – DySP Shalley Singh

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“What he seasoned and skilled in the few years of the life he lived, much less in number than your whole life put together, was spectacularly much more than you can ever imagine in the wildest of your dreams!”

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(2nd from left in the above pic)

When I was really young, my three cousins were the biggest influence to the shenanigan-devising part of my child brain. They were the most mischievous, adventurous, vivacious, snappy and buoyant children I have ever come across. Just to exemplify their skill, they once (in their early teenage) borrowed bicycles from their neighborhood and set upon a journey of more than 100 km to reach the mountains of Patnitop from Jammu city (Jammu & Kashmir, India) and stayed there for a couple of days (No one really knows what they did to survive!) and came back without a scar of struggle on their faces. Overhearing the story as my parents discussed it with utmost concern over dinner for those couple of days until they returned made them super-heroes in my mind.

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(1st from the left in this pic)

The elder of them all, Shalley Singh, was their Comrade. He had the key to devising the plan and the younger ones executed it to perfection. They were the most entertaining cousins, because of the camaraderie and love they had for everyone.

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(1st from the right in this pic)

In a very sad and unfortunate time, our Uncle, and their father, Dy.S.P Udayveer Singh Sudan, passed away fighting terrorists and Shalley Bhaiya (Bhaiya – What we call our Elder Brothers out of respect in India), who were still in high school, volunteered to join the Police in his place.

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(1st from the left in this pic)

In more than ten years of his service to J&K Police, Shalley Bhaiya killed more than 500 terrorists and foiled numerous of terrorist attacks. He was lion of the valley and his name was enough to send the terrorists in a scare-frenzy. He once, unarmed, hiked to a village and waited until the night to grab one of the heads of a terrorist organization by his neck while he was asleep in his bed. This is the kind of heroism one hears only in fiction, but there are many more stories which lead to my conclusion of him being a true Romantic.

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Romantics absolutely do not think of anything other than their passion and like to spend most of their time with it. Shalley Bhaiya used to remain in the jungles of Kashmir for months and then return with a big smile and dread locks, which I fascinate to this day. His natural dread locks were a result of staying in caves and walking across jungles for days as a result of their search operations. One thing which inspired me to the soul was his Cheerful Devil-may-care nature. Whenever I used to hear the news that Shalley Bhaiya had come back home for a while, I used to push my father to visit my aunt. He used to tell us these amazing stories and entertain us kids like everything was fun and games back at work. This absolutely amazed me. This is the Soul of a True Romantic. If I ever was on a search operation for months and came back home, I would like to stay aloof for a while to come back to my senses. But Shalley Bhaiya used to meet everyone with a grand smile, unbelievable stories and an even grandiose heart.

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His bravery had spread all across Jammu and Kashmir and He was on the epitome of his life, about to get married in 10 days, when he was ambushed and assassinated by the terrorists. It was an act of ‘the dagger in the back’ and it is still a ‘conspiracy theory’ as the terrorists alone could not even have thought of coming near this Lion Heart.

The Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, India, at that time, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad was himself present at his funeral pyre where he was decorated as a Groom in a Spectacular Sherwani.

I have him in my Heart and Mind every moment of my life and always try to imitate his brave nature in everything I embark. He is still with me in his spiritual form, always telling me to be Brave, Kind and Whole Hearted – A True Sikh!

Heaven must be a special place to be with his presence!

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