Category Archives: Quotes

Quotes from Barking, by Tom Holt

1. Pg 3
In every working day there is a still moment, a point of balance; a fulcrum, if you like, around which the scales pivot. The slightest nudge at this point decides whether it’s going to be a good day or a bummer. It can come at any stage in the proceedings; it can be a mssive boot on your instep in the crowded rush-hour Tube, or a call from a rabid client at 5.29, just as you’re pulling your raincoat sleeve p your arm. It can be a fleeting wisp of a smile from the new girl in Accounts, the dismissal of a loathed superior, an unexpected and undeserved pay rise or a bluebottle floating in your mid-morning coffee. But it will come, every day, and leave its little scar.

2. Pg. 5
Click-buzz, said the phone. Duncan held it at arm’s length and scowled at it for a moment before putting it back. In many ways it reminded him of the former Mrs Hughes; every day he held it close to him, and every day it whispered in his ear horrible things that ruined his life.

3. Pg 28
Duncan Hughes adhered to the school of thought that maintains that you shouldn’t buy newspapers, because it only encourages them. Nevertheless, he had a guilty feeling that he really ought to keep up with current affairs, as a sort of miserable civic duty.

4. Pg 30
There is a moment, a watershed in one’s development as a human being, which must be passed before one has any claim to enlightenment and understanding. It’s the moment when you come to realise that, just because somebody likes you, you’re under no legal or moral obligation to like them back.

5. Pg 153
We’re lawyers. We know that the secret of attaining happiness lies in starting off with a realistically achievable definition. Only want what you know you can get.

6. Pg 402
Very few of the millions of people who hate their jobs ever get around to admitting it in so many unambiguous words, and of that small minority, only a fraction ever take it into their heads to do something about it.

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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Books, Quotes


Some lines from Jo Nesbo’s Headhunter

1. Pg 39
A surprisingly large number of the world’s great works of art have been created by small men. We have conquered empires, thought the smartest thoughts, laid the most beautiful female stars of the screen: in short we have always been on the lookout for the bigeest platform shoes.

2. Pg 41
The world is full of people who pay serious money for bad pictures by good artists. and mediocre heads on tall bodies.

3. Pg 58
An artist who maintains that he has been misunderstood is almost always a bad artist who, I’m afraid to say, has been understood.

4. Pg 107
We all drink according to how thirsty we are.

5. Pg 108
There is nothing that makes a man grow beyond his stature than a woman telling him she loves him. and however much she might have lied to him, there will always be a part of him that is grateful to her for this, and that will harbour some love for her.

6. Pg 164
Modern man spends six times as many hours communicating as our forefathers. So we communicate more, but do we communicate any better?

7. Pg 224
Yes, it hurt to think, it was easier to desist, to be resigned, not to rebel against the gravity of fate. It’s just that the stupid, trivial course of things is so irritating that you simply lose your temper. So you think.

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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Books, Quotes


#flashreads for Free Speech – III

Another reminder that #flashreads will happen on 14th Feb. (You can see the #flashreads invite or read more about it here)

I’m posting one of my all-time favorite poems below.

सबसे ख़तरनाक / पाश

मेहनत की लूट सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
पुलिस की मार सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
ग़द्दारी और लोभ की मुट्ठी सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
बैठे-बिठाए पकड़े जाना बुरा तो है
सहमी-सी चुप में जकड़े जाना बुरा तो है
सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होता
कपट के शोर में सही होते हुए भी दब जाना बुरा तो है
जुगनुओं की लौ में पढ़ना
मुट्ठियां भींचकर बस वक्‍़त निकाल लेना बुरा तो है
सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होता

सबसे ख़तरनाक होता है मुर्दा शांति से भर जाना
तड़प का न होना
सब कुछ सहन कर जाना
घर से निकलना काम पर
और काम से लौटकर घर आना
सबसे ख़तरनाक होता है
हमारे सपनों का मर जाना
सबसे ख़तरनाक वो घड़ी होती है
आपकी कलाई पर चलती हुई भी जो
आपकी नज़र में रुकी होती है

सबसे ख़तरनाक वो आंख होती है
जिसकी नज़र दुनिया को मोहब्‍बत से चूमना भूल जाती है
और जो एक घटिया दोहराव के क्रम में खो जाती है
सबसे ख़तरनाक वो गीत होता है
जो मरसिए की तरह पढ़ा जाता है
आतंकित लोगों के दरवाज़ों पर
गुंडों की तरह अकड़ता है
सबसे ख़तरनाक वो चांद होता है
जो हर हत्‍याकांड के बाद
वीरान हुए आंगन में चढ़ता है
लेकिन आपकी आंखों में
मिर्चों की तरह नहीं पड़ता

सबसे ख़तरनाक वो दिशा होती है
जिसमें आत्‍मा का सूरज डूब जाए
और जिसकी मुर्दा धूप का कोई टुकड़ा
आपके जिस्‍म के पूरब में चुभ जाए

मेहनत की लूट सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
पुलिस की मार सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती
ग़द्दारी और लोभ की मुट्ठी सबसे ख़तरनाक नहीं होती ।

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Posted by on February 12, 2012 in Books, Life, Quotes, Thoughts


#flashreads for Free Speech – II

A reminder that #flashreads will happen on 14th Feb. (You can see the #flashreads invite or read more about it here)

A poem by Jeet Thayil

Let us govern those who undertake the telling of stories.
Censorship is good governance. Self-censorship is an attribute of the highest civilization.
If an actor speaks of God, he will be chastised. He will be refused an encore. If he repeats the speech, he will have his license revoked.
Let us govern those who undertake praise of the next world, since what they say is neither true nor useful to us.
Our best recourse is to be warlike.
We do not deny that storytellers are good at their job and give people what they like to hear. But the better they are, the less we wish our children and men to hear them.
We shall refute their attempts to be wise. We shall scoff when they repeat their vile allegation, Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent.
We will do away with the dirges of famous men and leave them for women, and not the best among women either.
Let us abolish those fearful and terrific names, Cocytos, the River of Lamentations, Styx, the River of Fear, Ganga, the River of Death in Life, Lethe, the River of Bliss, Tigris, the River of Affliction.
We shall disallow travel and the mingling of songs.

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Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Life, Links, Quotes


Delhi HC and Sec 377

So, someone has seen sense in this great nation of ours! Read the entire judgement here.

The judgement is beautifully written. I’ll quote the parts that I think have far-reaching implications here:

Pg 26:
Dignity as observed by L’Heureux-Dube, J is a difficult concept to capture in precise terms [Egan v. Canada,
(1995) 29 CRR (2nd) 79 at 106]. At its least, it is clear that the constitutional protection of dignity requires us to acknowledge the value and worth of all individuals as members of our society. It recognises a person as a free being who develops his or her body and mind as he or she sees fit. At the root of the dignity is the autonomy of the private will and a person’s freedom of choice and of action. Human dignity rests on recognition of the physical and spiritual integrity of the human being, his or her humanity, and his value as a person, irrespective of the utility he can provide to others. The expression “dignity of the individual” finds specific mention in the Preamble to the Constitution of India.

Pg 61:
enforcement of public morality does not amount to a “compelling state interest” to justify invasion of the zone of privacy of adult homosexuals engaged in consensual sex in private without intending to cause harm to each other or others.

Pg 62:
Further, Justice O’Connor while concurring in the majority judgment added that:
“Indeed, we have never held that moral disapproval, without any other asserted state interest, is a sufficient rationale under the Equal Protection Clause to justify a law that discriminates among groups of persons.”[page 582]

Pg 64:
Thus popular morality or public disapproval of certain acts is not a valid justification for restriction of the fundamental rights under Article 21. Popular morality, as distinct from a constitutional morality derived from constitutional values, is based on shifting and subjecting notions of right and wrong. If there is any type of “morality” that can pass the test of compelling state interest, it must be “constitutional” morality and not public morality.

Pg 86:
At the outset, the Court observed that the Act in question is a preconstitutional legislation and although it is saved in terms of Article 372 of the Constitution, challenge to its validity on the touchstone of Articles 14, 15 and 19 of the Constitution of India, is permissible in law. There is thus no presumption of constitutionality of a colonial legislation. Therefore, though the statute could have been held to be a valid piece of legislation keeping in view the societal condition of those times, but with the changes occurring therein both in the domestic as also international arena, such a law can also be declared invalid.

Pg 96:
Respect for human rights requires that certain basic rights of individuals should not be capable in any circumstances of being overridden by the majority, even if they think that the public interest so requires. Other rights should be capable of being overridden only in very restricted circumstances. These are rights which belong to individuals simply by virtue of their humanity, independently of any utilitarian calculation.

Pg 100:
The role of the judiciary is to protect the fundamental rights. A modern democracy while based on the principle of majority rule implicitly recognizes the need to protect the fundamental rights of those who may dissent or deviate from the majoritarian view. It is the job of the judiciary to balance the principles ensuring that the government on the basis of number does not override fundamental rights.

Pg 104:
If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of ‘inclusiveness’. This Court believes that Indian Constitution reflects this value deeply ingrained in Indian society, nurtured over several generations. The inclusiveness that Indian society traditionally displayed, literally in every aspect of life, is manifest in recognising a role in society for everyone. Those perceived by the majority as “deviants’ or ‘different’ are not on that score excluded or ostracised.

Read the whole thing. It’s fabulous. And mark my words, this is a landmark judgement!

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Posted by on July 2, 2009 in Life, Quotes, Thoughts


True Wisdom

José Saramago (Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature 1998) in his Nobel Lecture talks of his grandparents:

If I told her some bad dream, born of my grandfather’s stories, she always reassured me: “Don’t make much of it, in dreams there’s nothing solid”. At the time I thought, though my grandmother was also a very wise woman, she couldn’t rise to the heights grandfather could, a man who, lying under a fig tree, having at his side José his grandson, could set the universe in motion just with a couple of words. It was only many years after, when my grandfather had departed from this world and I was a grown man, I finally came to realise that my grandmother, after all, also believed in dreams. There could have been no other reason why, sitting one evening at the door of her cottage where she now lived alone, staring at the biggest and smallest stars overhead, she said these words: “The world is so beautiful and it is such a pity that I have to die”. She didn’t say she was afraid of dying, but that it was a pity to die, as if her hard life of unrelenting work was, in that almost final moment, receiving the grace of a supreme and last farewell, the consolation of beauty revealed. She was sitting at the door of a house like none other I can imagine in all the world, because in it lived people who could sleep with piglets as if they were their own children, people who were sorry to leave life just because the world was beautiful; and this Jerónimo, my grandfather, swineherd and story-teller, feeling death about to arrive and take him, went and said goodbye to the trees in the yard, one by one, embracing them and crying because he knew he wouldn’t see them again.

Read the above paragraph again to truly appreciate the Power of Words.

José Saramago’s autobiography can be found here.

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Posted by on May 4, 2007 in Quotes


Quote of the Day – 11-Apr-07

From Joel Spolsky’s Interview in “Founders at Work”. As you can see, totally loving this book.

That was probably the biggest mistake we made. And that’s the advice I give everybody. All those little coupon schemes, this is what General Motors does. They figure out new rebate schemes because they forgot all about how to design cars people want to buy. But when you still remember how to make software people want, great, just improve it.

Talk to your customers. Find out what they need. Don’t pay any attention to the competition. They’re not relevant to you. Only talk to your customers and your potential customers and see what it is that caused them not to buy your product or would cause them to buy more copies of it. And do that, and then ship it. That was something we really, really should have focused on, but, you know, we didn’t know any better.

…We spend an outrageous amount of money on quality office space that other people don’t. That makes it easier to recruit and makes us more productive, I believe. But I’ve heard from people that it would be considered completely unacceptable by the average VC to have private office space—because it’s considered an extravagance of a successful company or something like that. And, you know, “Why aren’t you all in the same room talking?”

I’ve had that argument whether it’s better to have private offices for developers. I don’t want to have that argument anymore. I don’t want to have to try to convince people anymore. Certain features—flying first class, Aeron chairs, double monitors, the best computers that money can buy—these are things which might be considered extravagant, but it’s nice just to be able to do things the way that we believe they should be done, without having to have a big argument educating other people as to why we know how to develop software and they don’t.

…Now Microsoft has forgotten all these things, and they’ve hired a lot of morons that don’t know these things anymore. I think that now Microsoft is kind of a big tar pit where you can barely move forward because there’s so much bureaucracy. But I learned a lot.

…I think what makes a good hack is the observation that you can do without something that everybody else thinks you need. To me, the most elegant hack is when somebody says, “These 2,000 lines of code end up doing the same thing as those 2 lines of code would do. I know it seems complicated, but arithmetically it’s really the same.” When someone cuts through a lot of crap and says, “You know, it doesn’t really matter.”

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Posted by on April 11, 2007 in Biz/Tech, Quotes

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