Friday, September 28, 2012

Who should be the first author?

After studying and working in organizations where research is a primary area of work, I have learnt a lot of sordid aspects of Research. I will not dwell on all of them here ...I will be talking only about one sordid aspect i.e. "Who gets to be the first author of papers published?"

Everyone wants to be the first author! With a few exceptions that is.....the few people who are (1) not at all ambitious about getting authorship and (2) people who have not contributed much to the research and who also  are also ethical enough to state that they do not want authorship as they dont deserve it.

I have observed with such a profound sense of disgust, people in high positions who bully  students, research scholars and research assistents who are below them in the hierarchy, into giving up the first  author positions to them, though they have done practically nothing!

I have seen a much admired psychiatrist who demanded an authorship just because he loaned his computer to a student doing his thesis!(This was in early ninties when few people had computers in India).
 I have seen a research scholar who did  years of  field work, data collection and analysis and  also wrote the papers for publication but had to take a back seat when it came to authorship! The first authorship went to her boss who was clueless about the work done, the second authorship went to her boss's colleagues and the remaining authorship went to the  Director of the Institute. This girl who did all the work was "thankfully acknowledged' at the bottom of the paper!
 This director in this same Indian organization has authorship of tens of thousands of papers...he is not even aware of many of the  papers where he is an author! Every faculty member and some savvy students gave him an authorship to curry favours. Truth be told, my guess is he never asked for authorship but the Indian mentality to kiss his feet was inbuilt in the people who gave him authorship.

I have seen assertive research assistents fight tooth and nail with the faculty with whom they are collaborating for authorships. The scenes are ugly and one gets to see the  so-called educated and respected faculty behaving like dogs fighting in the street for a piece of meat.

What made me write this article is the bitter-sad story a Chinese post-doctoral student in the USA whose data collected over three years was literally hijacked by a new pushy faculty member who like a gutter-born person, published her work with his name as first author! This girl was bitter but could do nothing about it. She quit her post in frustration and joined another university and has started new research from scratch again! Three years of her life has gone for nothing! And the saddest part is that she has put so many aspects of her life on hold for the last several years to achieve a few papers .(Her goal is a faculty position when she returns to China and she will not get it unless she is first author of published papers.....now she has to do new work for another 3-5 years all over again! If her data is hijacked again, I think she will either kill herself or kill the hijacker!)

I was so moved by what happened to her but apart from cursing the faculty who stole her work and cursing his family, I do not know what else to do. I have read articles about this happening but not enough is being done about this appaling, disgusting theft by professors.

My suggestions to rectify this issue would be:

  • All faculty should be taught to practice ethical behaviours in research...not just ethical practices about the subjects of research such as not causing pain to animals when conducting experiments but also about this theft of work of students, research fellows, etc.
  • There should be regular meetings where all people involved discuss and come to an agreement as to who will do what, and who will use what data for their papers and who will get what authorships(first author, second author, principal investigator, etc). The decisions should be put down in writing...no such thing as a 'gentleman's agreement' here! Faculty are definitely NOT gentlemen; they are not to be trusted and they are worse than dacoits!
  • The faculty, students and research-fellows who are not assertive and cannot stand up for themselves should be given some training to improve their assertiveness.
  • The psychopaths amongst the faculty should be identified early and turfed out(I do not see any point in giving them a chance to change...research by psychiatrists has proved that they do not change even with therapy or rehabilitation programs)
  • There should be meetings devoted solely to the issue of  authorship when the research work is done by a multi-discplinary team. God! The fights for authorships are brutal then! All the happy beliefs I had were broken when I saw people from multiple discplines come together! I thought women are sweet and gentle...they are not! They fight more visciously and savegly than men for the authorships...even when they have little or no work. The belief I had that those with PhDs are decent men because of their high level of education was rudely shattered. They may not steal your money but boy! Watch they stealing all your data collected painstakingly over months of gruelling work!
Another belief of mine which was shattered was the belief I had that if one remains polite and decent one will succeed at some time or the other. This is completely untrue! The Chinese girl I was talking to you about had a wonderful boss who was a gentleman, polite and decent and "not-at-all assertive".
He did not stand up for his student when her data was hijacked by the jackass professor from another department! He felt sorry for the girl but feeling  sorry will not get her three years of life back!
Now that science and technology have progressed so much, the fields of science are no longer exclusive but collabarative. For research in MRI for example, the people collaborating includes medical  doctors of various discplines such as neurologists and people from a variety of  discplines such as  physists, engineers, statisticians, mathematicians, etc. So when the question of first authorship rises, all the discplines are fighting for first authorships as each one thinks his/her discpline has contributed the most or has made  the most valuable contribution!
The fights for credit which goes on behind the closed doors of research institutes is incredible!
Of course, most of you have read about the discords between famous scientists in the past...how gender, race, fame or it's absence made or broke people n the field of science. In the past, women's contributions to science went unrecognized; People of coloured races were not recognized inspite of fantastic work; Now, we have the unethical people who are higher up in the hierarchy  stealing the work of their students and researchers.
  • The faculty needs to firstly acknowledge that these unethical practices are happening.
  • Then they should set up a committee  with the will to prevent these injustices from happening.This committee needs to be manned by ethical people, with the power to set right the injustices and prevent them form happening.
  • The students and researchers should be able to protest against injustices without fear of having their grants revoked.... whatever intimidation tactics used by faculty should be recognized and stopped.
  • Which researcher is doing what part of the research, what is that researcher's expectations in terms of credit and authorship should be agreed upon in advance and with clarity and with consensus with all the concerned parties. If there is no agreement, there should be meetings until consensus is reached.

If this is practiced in the tens of thousands of universities and research institutes, there would be less despair among the people way down in the food chain; there would be greater motivation and enthusiasm to do work.  Of course, the fat professors would lose quite a bit but they should remember that they would remain uncursed by their subordinates!
 

Monday, September 24, 2012

DD in Canada and India

I have worked with the DD i.e. developmentally delayed(previously called mentally retarded) in India and Canada. There are a lot of differences between the DD of India and DD of Canada.
When the IQ of the DD from India and Canada the same, the behaviour and skills is not the same. The DD from Canada are superior to teh DD from India in the way they talk, think, behave and the skills they possess.
Here are a few differences i have observed and later I have discussed teh possible reasons for this difference.

A guy with borderline level intelligence from Canada reads various crime fiction such as those by Stephen King, Linwood Barclay and so on. Normal (i.e. no diagnosis of developmental delay) high school and PUC students I have met in India would or could only read the comic Tinkle! They did not read anything apart from Tinkle and thier text books. A young Canadian lady wiht mild DD reads romantic novels usually read by teenaged females and young women. I have hardly seen any  developmentaly delayed in India reading unless it was compulsory.

While the DD in Canada, who have ADHD or are dyslexic, do not read;  the DD of India who are not dyslexic also avoid reading.

I have seen both the Indian and Canadian mildly DD working and earning. There is not much difference in their abilities to do manual, repetitive and simple jobs with a few simple steps such as working in the retail industry (stacking boxes, packing, moving items) or hotel industry such as washing dishes, mopping the floor, sweeping, etc. But there is a difference in the way they do the work. While the Canadian does the work and can articulate clearly why he has to do something, the Indian simply does what he has been taught or told and has no understanding why he is doing something. A Canadian worker will explain that he has to wipe the table with a disinfectent so that the germs on the table will be removed and we will not get diseases. The Indian DD worker, will not be able to articulate why he is using the disinfectent. he will mostly say that he ws told to do so by the owner or that he will be punished if he does not use the disinfectent.

The Canadians with DD have a sense of style and will spend their megere money on going to the beauty parlour to get thier nails done or whatever. I have not seen this among the DD in India except if they are from rich families. The DD who show some interest in dressing well are

 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Decor of Indian resturants in North America

After trying out food of various countries in the hotels of Toronto and  a few cities from USA, I discovered that   I prefer Indian food and to some extent Mediterranean & Mexican food. More often than not, I end up eating Indian most of the time.

While I am okay with the food served in Indian resturants most of the time, I am not happy with the decor of the resturants and the music. The writer, Harlan Coben, shares my dislike of the music in Indian resturants and he has brought it up in  two of his crime fiction novels!

For people from Canada and USA who have eaten in Indian resturants, I dont need to explain about the food, decor and music. The food from most resturants tastes about the same, especially north Indian food. Different Indian resturants seem to offer the same food. Pardon me if I sound critical but this is my opinion and my opinions are not necessarily facts!

 The music streamed into the Indian resturants are either  songs from the 60s-70s  Hindi movies or instrumental music to the same Hindi songs . Some resturants have instrumental music which sounds like Hindustani classical or semi-classical to my untrained ears.

 And how do I describe the decor? It is usually a mish-mash of Indian artifacts such as Mughal style paintings, brass vases, photoes of Gods, Indian musical instruments, brass vessals, Photos or paintings  of Gods, Indian women in saris, Rajastani dancers, elephants, etc. Most resturants have a God at the entrance, usually Ganesha and unlit brass lamps.

Each time I sit in an Indian resturant and wait for the food to arrive, my husband and I  look around and discuss  how we would decorate an Indian resturant . I think, we have unconsciously fallen into this  exercise while waiting! Only recently did I realize,  how repeatedly we had been doing this !The more tacky the decor, the more quickly we start this discussion! Udupi Palace on Gerrard street is one resturant where we start this discussion even before sitting down!

This discussion has not gone far as the wait at Indian resturants is thankfully brief(except if you have ordered dosa which takes about 10 minutes or more  to arrive).
 I would like to have white washed walls (with the traditional lime), solid teak or teak like wooden tables and solid, heavy wooden chairs. I want the white tube lights which would fill the resturant with light. I dont like the dim lights of most resturants(not just Indian). I know most people would disagree but I simply love well lit places. Hmm. What else? I really cannot make up my mind about decorations except to say that I do NOT WANT plastic flowers, brass vessals, lamps, statues, assorted paintings and sculptures of  varying styles.
In India, I had loved the ambience of roadside dhabas. I had admired the minimal decor of roadside coffee shops especially in villages, small towns. Let me add here, as far as I know, people who own these resturants do not even consider decor when they plan their resturant...the bottom line is money...how much money they can make! The busy loud resturants in small towns serving non-veg food ( called 'military' hotels in areas of Karnataka !), the busy tightly spaced resturants in bus-stands providing super-fast service and serving hot masala dosas, idlis and coffee to travellers also fill me with nostalgia. These small town resturants were always painted in garish colours such as fluroscent green or a sort of sky blue. They remind me of the decor of Mexican resturants in Toronto and US cities. When I lived in India,  I hated these garish colours but .......after living in Canada and enjoying the garish colours of Mexican resturants, I am wondering if I should reconsider using those garish colours in the resturants of India  if I do open a resturant in Toronto!

I think I would like to have black and white photoes of Indian kitchens with the traditional instruments of cooking such as the mortar and pestle, the vanake(stick used to crush grains), the beeso-kallu(more primitive mortal and pestle to grind rice, wheat, ragi, etc). Photoes of plates of food or food on banana leaves, photoes of a marriage meal with a row of banaan leaves with food on it and servers serving.

Or I could make a silent movie with various food based themes such as  traditional Indian cooking process(women cooking at homes in villages and cooks cooking large quantities of food in wedding hall-kitchens), eating, serving food(in homes, hotels, weddings, in the fields during harvest time, etc) and run this movie silently on walls of the resturant where the patrons can see. I would like to make the movie with the cooks using archiac cooking instruments and new ones too and show the progression and evolution of cooking implements, etc.

I could also put up on the walls, hand-written and framed recipes of the foods served in my resturant. Maybe a little bit of history of each dish.

A color photo of spices, a photo of various fruits and vegetables, photoes of markets selling fish, food and vegetables, wholesale grain market (such as city market of Bangalore)of photoes capturing rice from it's start as a seed of paddy to reaching the table could also be used. But of course, these photoes should not put you off your food!
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My husband's idea of decorating the hotel includes having small thatched huts with 6 foot high walls, a round table with chairs inside this hut, which has an entrance without a door. Maybe he wants the walls to be white-washed with lime. He wanted a mud floor with cow-dung to smoothen and harden  it but I doubt if even Indians would come in if we had such floors!

If Indian kids coming into resturants weren't so unruly, I would have had a few  Kashmiri Kangris in each of these huts for the patrons to warm their hands in winter(apart from having the regular heating)

Instead of photoes to decorate the walls I could have nooks in the wall and place a range of mortal and pestels used in India or a range of (same colour) rare cooking implements from different parts of India. A couple of  humungous but aesthetically appealing  vessals used in large scale cooking, could be placed as decorative pieces in some places in the hotel. unpainted natural-looking clay pots of various designs could also be used to decorate...only clay pots or only black and white photoes or only color photoes...NOT ALL of them TOGETHER. I dont want a mish-mash but one theme at a time only, for decorating

I could also have photos of a certain theme and change the theme and photos once in a while. The theme will always remain Indian food but there are so many themes within Indian food to photograph. Foods from various parts of India, vessals from various parts, stoves from ancient to modern times, photoes of people eating, I could go on and on about the range of food themes and photoes one can take in India.

But my favorite idea for photos for Indian resturant decor would be  a series of black and white,candid photoes of ordinary, anonymous people in various places, eating or drinking and appear to be oblivious to the world around them . For example a photo of a guy, sitting at a window, with a cup of coffee, reading a newspaper; a couple sitting in a park, laughing and surrounded by a picnic basket and food; a mother feeding her infant( a common sight in India) by putting balls of rice into his mouth while having him perched on her waist, a couple of teens watching cricket on tv with plates of food in their hands, farmer eating under a tree near his fields,etc.

I would put these  photos on my own dining room walls but my husband will not let me hammer a single nail on the wall!
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Another idea for decorating Indian resturants : The Indian resturants could serve Indian food but SHOULD loose  the Indian music and Indian decorations. The resturants could have an aesthetic decor with a universal appeal.....the decor could be modern, of any ethnic or non-ethnic type and plesant, low-key and unobtrusive. A series of paintings or art-work by one artist would be one such idea. Aquariums, continuous stream of air bubbles or water bubbles is another(or does this sound tacky? When I visualize this it doesnt seem tacky to me. Fresh flowers in vases would be great and  Ikebana would be even better but I can also see Indians protesting to this decor as it is not 'Indian'.

And no music at all. I like music but prefer silence or barely audible music in resturants & shops. I find the non-stop music in shops distracting and wish they did not have music. I also hate Indian music...hate is too strong a word but I am FED UP  of the Indian music in Indian resturants. I prefer silence! I prefer the sounds of people chatting and laughing filling the air. The sound of waiters walking around serving is also natural and nice. But Indian music...NO

 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Who is the bigger thief?


Who is the bigger thief?

There has been a dramatic Increase in the number of thefts  by servants in north Bangalore. The women who come to work in the homes of the middle class people, steal a range of things from the houses. The things stolen include money, jewels, utensils, clothes, grocery and food  items, implements lying around the house such as scissors and even children’s toys. This is the sad & exasperating tale in the lives of most people who hire servants in north Bangalore. Apart from theft, many do not come on time, absent themselves for days, do slip shod work and demand a wage increase nearly every other month. Many also stop coming without giving any notice !

Recently when the maid stopped coming without informing, my friend immediatly suspected that she must have stolen something valuable from the house. But what  can one search for  when one does not know what is missing?

My friend was cursing the servants and all of their tribe, when her mother interrupted with this story. Two servants who had been working in their house  last year had narrated the events in their lives. Both were wives of farmers, who lived in villages just a few kilometers away(villages such as Rajan Kunte). One servant’s husband had sold his land for 2 lakh rupees in order to get his daughter married and as they no longer had agriculture land, the lady had started coming to work in people’s homes. She said that the man who bought her land had merely promised two lakh rupees but finally did not give the full amount . He also built a fence round the land and refused to let these people in and refused to return their land. He then sold this land to real estate developers for crores of rupees who inturn build apartments and sold the apartments for even higher amounts! The other lady’s husband was given only fifty thousand rupees for his land and then the land was converted into sites and sold for several lakhs of rupees!

The wives of these farmers are now working as servants in homes for one or two thousand rupees now! The farmers had no idea that their agricultural land would be converted into sites for building houses and that the value of their land would be several thousand times greater than what they got. These farmers would have been wallowing in luxury if they had sold their lands at the right price...now they have lost their means of livlihood and sunk in poverty.

So. Who is the bigger set of thieves? The women working as servants and stealing a few items from the houses or the men who robbed their husbands by paying a pittance for their land, which was actually  worth a fortune?

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The conversion of agricultural land into residential sites especially near growing cities like Bangalore is rife with crime, with sad stories such as this. One can go on and on about the various dimensions of evil and disasters happening due to these conversions.

The conversion of agricultural land into residences means less greenery, less food grown, less land for plants, animals, insects, birds, etc. It is leading to an ecological disaster

When agricultural land is lost, then man moves into forest areas to replace the lost land and this leads to decrease in space for wild life i.e. both plants and animals.

The conversion of agricultural land has lead to cutting of several trees and this is a huge  ecological disaster as seen by the erratic and  scanty rainfalls in Bangalore and Tumkur.

The types of crimes, the number of crimes related to this conversion of land  is another huge sociological issue. Murders by family members for this land is one  crime; paying a pittance to illiterate farmers and selling the land for exorbitant amounts is another.  Selling one  lot to two people is another! Threathening farmers who refuse to sell and then buying their land at low prices is another despicible crime I have heard of .Kidnapping young unmarried daughters of the farmer if he refuses to sell his land is another shameful thing I have heard of. There may be other types of crime related to this issue but these are the ones I have heard of.

A friend of mine who works as a teacher  in Nelamangala was reporting the atrocious behaviour of school age kids. She links the lack of discipline &  morals in these kids directly to the poor role models i.e. their parents, who have become  arrogant with the new money they have acquired  by selling their lands.  She was so disgusted by the students behaviours, especially the boys, that she quit her job.  She had to deal with parents who demanded that she pass their wards, who not only demanded that she not punish their son but also made veiled threats. Can you imagine, what the hell  is happening in these small towns? Here, the police are deferent to criminalsespecially the rich ones  as they are the ones who call the shots. Here teachers and school principals fear their students and their parents and don’t dare question them when they do things such as assaulting female students. The use of modern technology(example taking obscene photoes and threathening to circulate them, sending obscene messages on mobiles to females) to harass the female students is another shameful facet of life in small towns. Access to technology is due to access to money and access to money is due to selling their lands. While they have become richer, their morals have taken a nosedive.

The bottomline is that the quality of  life in Bangalore is worsening day by day. Crime is increasing. The increase in population is putting strain on the infrastructure. The politicians are  shameless and corrupt and are  eating away the resources like rodents instead of using them  to develop Bangalore.

 Those, who can get away from Bangalore, should get out.  What I cannot understand is why should one pay so much to live in Bangalore either as a renter or owner when this city has such a poor transport system and roads, no electricity for many hours a day, no  consistent water supply, increasing crime rate, lots of  mosquitoes,  unaffordable schools and now it also has   garbage everywhere !

Informed choice in arranged marriages:

The earlier post I wrote was my angry ranting after hearing   devastating news of a young friend’s “Arranged” marriage breaking up just 2 months after the wedding.

I am writing this after witnessing and hearing about so many miserable and unhappy arranged marriages which are so damn avoidable!

Here are some pre-marriage suggestions for  the brides and grooms going in voluntarily or involuntarily or semi-voluntarily into  arranged marriages. I am giving these suggestions after witnessing arranged marriages in several  middle-class, urban, educated,Gowda families of Bangalore and Tumkur and  some arranged marriages of other castes and even  other religions such as Kerala Christians & Mangalore Christians and Muslims and  other Hindus of mostly Bangalore area.  So the suggestions are based on the problems I have seen arising out of these marriages.

I am not giving any suggestions I picked from other sources such as internet, people, etc. These are my own, based on my personal experiences

 I do not know enough to talk about arranged marriages in rural areas either. They have a whole lot of issues not seen in city people’s arranged marriages such as lower literacy level and it’s  effects on marriages, the superstitious beliefs  prevalent in villages, the younger age of the girls getting married, the ignorance and misconceptions  about sex, the life of newly wedded women in drought stricken villages and in poverty, life in the joint family system, etc.

Informed Choice is the one phrase which sums up all I want to advise people about arranged marriages.

In most arranged marriages I have seen, the parents ask their friends, relatives and well-wishers if they know of any suitable bride/groom for their child in their caste/sub-caste. The people look around and pass on information about any suitable person to the parents. The parents would then check out this person and proceed or not proceed with the marriage.

 About 60 years ago, the Gowda population was confined to the southern parts of Karnataka and it was easy to find a bride or a groom closer  to home. However, the Gowda population (like all other castes) has spread out  from their traditional regions i.e. Tumkur, Chitradurga, Mysore, etc  and spread over Karnataka and India and even in other parts of the world such as USA.

Today, the increase in and spread of the Gowda  population  to different parts of India and the world, has made finding the right groom or bride (belonging to the same caste and sub-caste) a much bigger process than before.

Therefore,  parents are now trying to find grooms and brides in new ways such as the internet, matrimonial sites, matrimonial agencies, etc. They now have access to some information but not all information about the prospective bride or groom. Yet, they go ahead and agree to get their children to marry these relative strangers.

First of all, youth in India should think about the concept of marriage as early as they can and ask themselves these questions. Do I want to get married? What does  marriage mean to  me? What do I want out of my marriage and out of my partner and his/her family? What kind of a wife /husband will I be, when I get married? Do I have the qualities a husband/wife should have?  Why am I getting married? Is it to make my parents happy or is it for me? Am I flexible enough to adapt if the person is different from what I expect? Am I ready to solve problems arising out of the married relationship, if things do not work out?

Many Indian youth have  unrealistic  ideas about marriage. Several youth I have interacted with have high expectations from the wife or husband but never ask themselves, what they are bringing to the table.  Everyone I know dream of a beautiful girl (or handsome, tall guy), want a “doctor” or “engineer”, who have fantastic qualities. But, they do not think about the other party’s expectations from them!  Many men (at least the ones  who have approached the women in my family and my relatives) want to marry a rich person and don’t think of becoming rich through their own hard work!

informed choice as “a decision-making process which relies on a full exchange of information in a non-urgent, non-authoritarian, co-operative setting.” The process of informed choice is based on the midwifery philosophy which states thatMidwifery promotes decision-making as a shared responsibility between the woman, her family (as defined by the woman) and her caregivers

Monday, September 10, 2012

Why do I buy/hoard books?


This article is an effort for me to understand myself...understand what makes me buy and hoard books...especially books which I dont ever read ! I am trying to put down all the different motives behind buying different books and maybe this self-analysis will help me overcome my addiction to buying books.
 I was buying and hoarding books like crazy when I was in India and also in Toronto. As of 2012, I have stopped (or at least making serious efforts to stop) buying books! Reasons:

  • My dad is a hoarder and I seem to have inherited it! So I want to fight this hoarding disease.
  •  Also,my mother who is visiting is nagging me to "keep the important books" and throw the rest...she has been continually nagging me. I think her disgust at the messiness of my house (books everywhere) is the main reason for my efforts to stop buying-hoarding books
  • I am running out of space to store these books and they are spilling all over my home.
  • Years ago, I had sort of fantasized   that  my kids would gratefully inherit my book-collection when I die... but I dont have kids nor will I have them and so, one major incentive for my hoarding is gone. I told my sister, that she is the lucky beneficiary of my books when I die and she shook her head, grinned and responded,"No thanks Akka. I have Kindle!"
  • I realize that I am not reading most of the books collected at home; These days, I seem to be reading only the books borrowed from the library .I am now asking myself, 'why do I keep these books, if I am not going to read them'? I still dont have the ability to throw or give away the books I have....but I have developed the ability to stop buying from nowonwards.
  • I bought several books for other people...such as my siblings in India and for nephews and neices. I dont think these books will ever leave my house as they are hardbound, weigh a ton and cost too much to transport; ergo, no point in buying books for friends and relatives in India.(The airlines too have cut down luggage allowed and Canada post is terribly expensive..I dont know any other way of transporting these books to relatives and friends in far away India)
  • I bought several books which I had read already...I planned to reread these books. But these books are simply gathering dust! I am rereading only about 100 of the thousands of books I have bought .
  • I am now discovering many many good books and authors I like. I am also realizing that it does not make sense to own every book I like....not unless I have a huge room & can afford bookshelves & have the time to dust the books regularly. I am finally accepting the fact that there is no need to own every book I like!
  • I have this compulsive obsession to buy all the books in a series or all the books of one writer and now I have lousy books which I have never read, occupying valuable space in my tiny home! For example, I loved Gone with the wind. And then, like a fool, I bought Scarlett and Rhett Butler's people....which I began to read but did not complete.
  • I seem more likely to read a book I borrow from the library than a book I buy/own...The fact that I have a deadline to return the book prompts me to read ...when I own a book, there is no deadline and I dont read the book but decide to read it some time later!. In the interests of 'reading', it is better I borrow a book than buy!
  • Of course, there are a few books which I read immediatly after buying ....but most of the books I buy, get dumped into a box, with plans for future reading. I think this happens because there is some mysterious but  plesant 'feeling' when one buys a book...it may be a sense of fulfilment or feeling safe("I dont have to worry about not getting  this book... because I now own it") and this 'safe' feeling seems to extinguish  the drive to read the book! Dont ask me why but this happens to me... Another example is that  I am more likely to listen to a favorite song when it's on radio than if I buy the song's cd! I am more likely to utilize what I borrow than what I own!
  • I am realizing that I will never read at least 50% of the books I own and so I should really stop buying any more books. Some of the reasons for not reading the books are given above. I am going to write below, the types of books I have accumulated at my home and the reasons I bought them...then you will understand why I will never ever read them!
Classics: I had this habit of buying classics, when I was in college. Then, I wanted to read them as everyone told me they are good; I wanted to read them, most probably to impress others! I also had a crush on at least two English professors and maybe wanted to impress them.
I have read and enjoyed classics such as by Charles Dickens(David Copperfield), Jane Austen(Pride and Prejudice) but I own other classics which I am less likely to read such as dramas by Shakesphere and novels by Thomas Hardy.
Non-fiction books on philosophy, literature and other areas: I buy these books, thinking that I will read and learn, read and improve, etc; I am now realizing that I am not going to read them as long as I have access to crime fiction books, television shows and daydreams. Since, there is never a moment, when I will be denied access to these three things, it's unlikely that I will ever read these non-fiction books meant to improve me!
Buying books for others but they dont want it : I have several  books accumulated for this reason.
Buying books reccomended by others but after buying, I realize that I dont like it
Buying a book because it is cheap, getting books for free, accepting books dumped on me by others who are moving their house, etc.
Reading a review, falling for it, buying the book and then realizing that it is not my cup of tea... but then too lazy to return it to the book shop.
The gift coupon to a book shop is going to expire and I buy what was best in the limited choice I had and then disliking the choice.
I bought several books in India, which are not available in Canada...but not read them at all. I think I bought them simply because I thought they are difficult to get in Canada and now that I am in India, I better buy them...they are all lying in my home in Canada, unread! These books include Philosophy books from India, Sudhir Kakkar's books, books by Indian authors such as Premchand,Ravindranath Tagore, etc.
Believe it or not, I have also bought several English non-detailed texts I had as a child from the McMillan company in M.G road(Sringar complex)! I felt such a strong urge to buy them for myself and my neices and nephews but I do not think I ever read those books after buying! Did I buy them out of a sense of nostalgia? Maybe.( I am still looking for the Lost Horizons, abridged version by E.F.Dodd. I loved the woodcut illustrations in it)
Hmm. What are the other books I have bought, which I dont read? Just remembered, I bought a few comics (Lucky Luke) in Dollarama as I could not resist those rare old classics for a dollar!
I have this compulsion to buy the books I enjoyed during my childhood...while buying, I am so sure that I will read them, but in the end I dont! I try to get the new children(neices and nephews) to read but they are refusing! They are into the new kids books such as 'diary of a wimpy kid' and refuse to read the books i reccomed they read such as the  Billy Butler series I loved...
 God ! It is so frustrating !.... I know that it is wrong to force them to read what I loved. I have also bought all I could find of the ladybird books whose illustrations I loved as a child (illustrator is Eric Winter and writer is Vera Southgate). I dont read them but still gaze at the illustrations with the same rapture I did as a kid.
I have gone through phases of collecting certain books. Some of the phases I have gone through include,
Wanting to own every Charlie Brown comic, Phantom comic, Andy Capp comic, TinTin comic, Asterix comic, Dennis the Menace comic, Amar Chitra Kata and a few more. In India, I could not afford to buy them and also could not get them in the shops. I also went through a really stupid phase of wanting to own at least one copy of every magazine ever published! Little did I know about the humungous number of magazines published! Inspite of my protestations that I am giving up buying books,   I am right now in the phase of collecting Modesty Blaise comics (Titan publications) and hopefully this addiction will fade away soon. My rationale for collecting this is that : I cannot borrow Modesty Blaise comics as they are not available in the TPL and I do want to read them. I had read the Modesty Blaise strip as a child when it appeared  in the Kannada newspaper daily i.e.  Prajavani...or is it Samyukta Karnataka?
I have gone through phases of wanting to read/own mythological stories and folk tales from all over the world. I have bought so many and read only a few of them! When I see a mythology book I dont have, it is impossible to resist buying! I now have books on Indian , Roman & Greek, Irish and British(King Artuhr, Celtic tales, etc), Japanese, Egyptian, etc.Though, I now own several mythology books,  I  dont have  interest in all of them and I have not read  some of them such as the Native Indian stories, the Chinese and Japanese stories.(the tales about animals dont interest me such as teh Native Indian ones  and the names in the Chinese and Japanese put me off reading...no disrespect intended.)I cannot understand why  I have this irresistable urge to buy, fully knowing that  I will not read. I wish I could  stop buying books which I know,  I wont read.
I have also bought books at cities I am visiting as some sort of a souviener. Also from museums that  I am visiting. I have bought books on India simply because it is about India...and I think it will be a good coffee table book( But I dont have many visitors home and there is simply no space on the already littered teapoy for coffee table books!)
What else.....Oh. I have bought books simply because the titles were intriguing and now so many such books litter my house,unread & undusted  ....but I cant bring myself to give them away! Some of these books are:
I have two and even three copies of many books, simply because I dont remember buying the first copy, when I am buying the second! To avoid this,  I carry a list of books I have and dont have... yet I  made these mistakes! Damn memory!
My motive for buying the unread books seem to be as countless as the books themselves!
But I think I am going to go through all the useless books I bought and find my motives...it may help me understand myself.
A major reason for my buying this many books is the fact that I buy them at Goodwill store, where the books cost about a buck or two...this is so cheap that the temptations to buy is strong...the defence I have for buying so many  books from Goodwill which I never read is "It is only a buck or two. So what if I dont read. I am only losing a buck or two.'
I had accquired over time a series of comics which was complete except for the first comic. I then paid through the nose and got a second full set on ebay; this set had the first comic  which I lacked. The seller refused to break the set to sell me  the one comic I wanted. So now I have one set of twenty and one set of nineteen second copies of the same comics! Why was I so obsessed with buying that one comic....I must surely be suffering from obsessive -compulsive disorder too!
I also went through a, thankfully brief , phase of  wanting to own all Indian crime fiction books.I started with Sacred games  and a few H.R.F.Keating books and the case of the missing servent by Tarquin Hall but quickly came to my senses.....there is a glut of crime fiction books in English from India now...I know I cant keep up with buying them all, nor do I want to. English novelists from India were so few in the 70s and maybe 80s too but now there are so many!
Stopping now. I need a break!

 

Last walk at Sunnybrook park by the stables

Last walk because I can't take the mosquitoes.  I found this tree unusual... I dont know what these red berries are but th...