Posts by Tunart

In Pursuit of a Guru

It was 20 years ago; I had just graduated from university. After a short-winded software developing adventure with a friend of mine, I decided to do my military service upon the insistence of my uncle. However, I had to travel first. Under the influence of the many parapsychology books I read during my university years, my interest in India and the Nepal region had increased greatly. After reading the Lonely Planet book on Nepal which was given to me by a traveler friend in those days, I started to believe that I could take a trip to the Far East on my own. At the end of September 1996, I started my journey to the capital of India, New Delhi with a one-way ticket, a backpack, a sleeping bag and my trusty old camera.

I arrived at the airport in New Delhi at 03:00 am. I did not know what to do next or where to stay. I arranged a place to stay for the night through the information desk at the airport. I took a taxi. When we stopped on a deserted street, the taxi driver pointed to the inside of a dark building. I do not think I was able to sleep at the hostel that night. But I hit the streets early in the morning. The owner of one of the canny travel agencies noticed my weird, anxious and searching eyes and took me inside his tiny shop. My travel route was determined within an hour. Agra, Varanasi, Jaipur, Kathmandu and Delhi. Train and flight tickets were prepared. A car and driver were arranged for. I was sure I was overcharged for all these, but I still paid much less than I would have in Europe.

We hit the road posthaste. A short, thin and weak man stopped in front of the shop half an hour later with his tiny Indian Tata car and said let’s go. I remember I did not have any impact on how things turned out from this part on during my trip. I spent the first few hours of our journey trying to figure out whether cars traveled on the right side of the road or the left side in India.

When we arrived at the town we were to stay at, the driver would take me to a nice restaurant, he would eat outside at a separate table. Although I invited him over several times, I understood that he wanted to be with his friends at the restaurant rather than chatting with me and I did not insist. I still remember the delicious taste of the amazing vegetarian dishes with curry sauce. Each dish was served with buttered bread fresh out of the oven. I never went hungry in India. Chicken meals between the 35th and 46th pages of the thick book they handed me, the menu that is, were my favorites.

One of my main reasons for coming to India was my curiosity towards the Indian culture. After all the books I read about Hinduism and Buddhism, maybe I could meet a guru in an ashram and he would change my life with just one sentence. What a dream! When I shared these thought with my driver, he promised to stop at several ashrams on the way and introduce me to the people there. Nevertheless, he also warned me that I would be disappointed.

Was that the magic word that would enlighten me?

We stopped at one of them; the first word that the bearded man who welcomed me was “Money”. “Is that all?” I said to myself. I came over from the other side of the world, entered an ashram in a remote corner of India and the guy said “money” as soon as he saw me. Was that the magic word that would enlighten me? When we were back on the road, my driver smiled at me with an expression on his face like he wanted to say ‘I warned you’. A few days later, he pulled over while we were going on an asphalt but narrow and dusty road; he turned to me and said now I’m going to introduce you to a real guru. My expectation was of course a man with a huge beard in a majestic building. But instead, there was a poor skinny man in front of me, wearing only a piece of cloth in place of underpants, living in a tiny, boxy and dark hut. Of course, he had a beard but it was obvious that he did not grow it so that people listen to his words. A few of his followers, who were as frail and naked as him, were meditating around the sides of the road. When I went over to him, at first he hugged me and then served me some kind of food made of bird eggs which was the only thing he had at that moment. I took so as not to offend him and ate it for the same reason. While I was expecting him to ask for money, he just smiled. I learned that they were feeding on the grass growing by the roadside and meditating throughout the day. Except for the piece of cloth they wore instead of underpants, the only thing these people owned was their own self. They did not have identity cards. In other words, there was no difference between their existence and absence for the rest of the world.

We were not able to communicate verbally that day, but after that meeting I learned to ask this question: “What do we actually have?” and that I don’t need magical words to learn.

My Photographs From India
My Photographs From India

A Future Without Room for Surprises

Devices that make our lives easier, eventually tend to get smaller and smarter. The limits of the sizes of devices will be determined by human ergonomics for some devices, and others will be in atomic dimensions thanks to nanotechnology. In the future, many devices, also commonly used in healthcare, will enter our daily lives as well as our houses; just like the sphygmomanometer.

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Why are Some Living Things Symmetric?

We can see that nature doesn’t have a concern about forming everything symmetrically, when we look at a scenery, trees or clouds. Nevertheless, there must be a benefit in having a symmetrical appearance for some living beings, because this feature evolved and preserved itself for millions of years from the past to the present.

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What They Don’t Teach You in Engineering Faculties

On the last days of engineering school, a teacher I liked said, ”Even if you develop the world’s most useful software, you aren’t considered successful if you fail to market it.”. Even though we didn’t fully understand the meaning of this at that time, as each year passed, my experiences kept hitting me in the face with facts. What was it that they didn’t teach us at engineering school?

They teach the students in an engineering faculty how to approach and analyse problems like an engineer. Analytical thinking skills are one of the essentials when it comes to being successful in our education. But us engineers make a habit of using these skills in our everyday lives and creating an analytic world around us, or imaging the whole world is like so.

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White Balance in Photography

One day you are walking in a forest all by yourself. Moreover it is midnight. It is pitch black. Suddenly an alien appears before you. Luckily you happen to have your camera with you. Moreover with flash. However your camera remains in the settings you have done during the shooting yesterday. You take a completely isolated photo of the alien in the middle of the darkness.

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The Features of Woody Allen Movies

I recently bought a DVD set of the Woody Allen’s movies I hadn’t watched, which I saw at a shopping center, with great joy. I can say that Woody Allen has become a member of our family for the last week.

The movies we watched are:

  • Deconstructing Harry
  • Celebrity
  • Sweet and Lowdown
  • Anything Else
  • Everyone says “I love you”
  • Mighty Aphrodite
  • The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
  • Small Time Crooks
  • Hollywood Ending

After watching so many movies, my engineer brain couldn’t stand without creating an algorithm for the Woody Allen movies.

  • The main topic of the movies is relationships between men and women. So, love, marriage, desires, dreams, infidelity, separation, etc.
  • The movies mostly take place in New York. Because he’s a New Yorker. Alternative locations are Paris, Rome, Venice.
  • He also plays in most of his own movies. In fact, saying that he plays himself in his own movies is more accurate. He probably doesn’t stick to the text in the script during his parts either. He could even be improvising. Woody Allen,  describes himself as an atheist although he’s from a Jewish family. But he doesn’t neglect to make a small reminder of the genocide in almost every movie. The characters he plays in his movies are mostly socially handicapped, over intelligent or naive, extremely chatty, obsessive, characters who make fun of their appearance, romantic or characters who can’t control their emotions.
  • The subject is told using a humorous language. The backbone of the scenario is based on the following logic: Unexpected events occur in the main character’s life. These incidents bring good results with them in an unexpected way, when normally they are supposed to result badly. We can sum it up as situations starting with foolish behavior, somehow concluding with small happiness.
  • Characters we often encounter in the movies are: psychiatrists that are of no use, stupid prostitutes, normative Jews, unsuccessful artists and himself with his overly obsessed personality.
  • At the end of the movies, you end up with a feeling ”how much fun our silly lives actually are” inside.