…because classroom assignments are no fun without chai. This is a response to a quick prompt that needed us to incorporate “play” in some daily ritual. The soundtrack is Wagon Wheel from Incompetech.com and the Glass is from my wall clock.
aliens, ancient aliens, dinosaurs, known, Lady with an Ermine, leonardo da vinci, mirror-image, outer space, paintings, planet, popular culture, pyramids, raphael, renaissance, singham, The Annunciation, The Madonna of the Yarnwinder, The Nymph Galatea, The School of Athens, UFOs, unknown, Virgin of the Rocks
My brother and I love Ancient Aliens. We derive that same strange joy out of watching the show that we do from watching movies like Housefull and Singham with like-minded company.
While I do believe aliens exist, I do not like the narrow or no definition of ‘alien’ the show seems to suggest. They never really specify who or what they imply by the term. Sometimes, the aliens are angels. Sometimes, the Hindu gods are aliens. Sometimes, some of the prophets are aliens. Though I do not recall seeing it in an episode, I am sure some of our long-gone creatures must have been branded aliens too, or perhaps their going-away had something to do with aliens.
Always, the show talks of these entities from somewhere away from the three-dimensional earth, that have come to our planet, who the ancient people often mistook as Gods or their agents. Or these entities helped us build the pyramids and the Angkor Wat. The explanation of all historic mysteries is ‘aliens.’ They might as well be saying ‘because we don’t know the explanation, it must be the aliens,’ like this meme so aptly illustrates. I feel they equate ‘can’t be explained with all the known science and facts’ with ‘aliens.’
It is difficult to explain the unknown with the little-known, specially when ‘known’ isn’t as quantifiable as it parades itself.
An occasional episode here and there does provide food for thought, and one such idea had to do with Leonardo da Vinci, the famous Renaissance painter whose work is so familiar with all.
Imagine my excitement, when the opening segment of the show suggested that his paintings contained aliens and UFOs. Load of stuff to do with him being a messenger of aliens and it was they who inspired him to sketch out all those inventions we today take for granted. In the commercial break, I tried hard to remember whether I ever noticed these aliens before. Except that the Mona Lisa has a kind of odd face and that famous enigmatic smile, I couldn’t think of any other. Then just when I was about to place that episode into Rohit Shetty category, the second segment began. That is where they started mirror-imaging those paintings and then superimposing these mirror-images. Before my eyes, the screen was showing how Virgin of the Rocks became an archetypal alien. Then there was The Madonna with Saint Giovannino, and no way could the Unidentified Flying Object in it be hastily dismissed as a cloud or the moon (a moon isn’t ever a grey hexagon with yellow streaks emerging from it, is it?).
To summarize, about half a dozen paintings of the master could be superimposed on their own mirror-images to form what were obviously portraits of, well, aliens; and some paintings depicted UFOs without even having the need to mirror-image them or anything.
After my brain was bamboozled completely, I realized that I could see this for myself. Yes, I had that much time and curiosity. But to be fair, in the spirit of science and statistics, I also decided to do the mirror-bit with another Renaissance painter’s works, just to see whether the appearance of aliens had something to do with the style and approach towards painting back then. And also to see if every well-composed painting would result in a symmetry that bears likeness to a human-face that could be mistaken for… you guessed it right, an alien.
I am not sure whether I did exactly what the show did, but here are some of the edits anyway:
I can’t say whether there are any aliens in the last two, because I have never come across (in popular culture) any looking like the things in above.
To summarize, my photo-editing adventure resulted aliens in four out of the eight Vinci paintings I tested, and zero out of four for Raphael. Visual reference point for aliens was based on how ‘obvious’ the symmetry looked like alien-forms, rather than one having to struggle to see them. This brings us back to the point I earlier mentioned regarding the unknown and the known.
Here’s the said Ancient Aliens episode.
…that led people here. (And according to me, which posts they might have ended up on).
2. save our planet paulo coelho
Isn’t it like everybody’s responsibility? Why single out the poor chap?!
Must have led to this.
3. jeera goli pills what do you do with
Why, eat them of course.
Posts: The Joy of Churan
4. lady scooters in india
Didn’t know they made scooters with specific genders.
Posts: Wincing in the Rain
5. vaidehi patil maratha
Someone was curious about my caste, which to their disappointment was not confirmed on this page.
6. scooter lady feet scraping
I feel for you, searcher. My pet peeve too. I hope you saw this.
7. rape treta yuga
Why oh why?! Can’t imagine why someone searched for this, though ‘treta yuga’ may have led them here.
9. essay on proudy ravana
Here’s one hidden in a story: Raavan-dahan.
10. how can we make borkut of amla
The same way you make orange juice from apples…
Post: For the churan-minded.
Thank you, WordPress.com stats.
One morning, carrying a heavy, imbalanced handbag on my shoulder and with my mother in tow, I spotted two turkeys strutting outside the Churchgate station.
The turkeys are no metaphor– they really were there, the turkeys. Outside the garbage strewn back-gate of Western Line’s last point, the birds, males I presume, walked proudly in the lane full of early morning commuters.
Then my mother displayed typical Mumbai behaviour. ‘Oh that’s ok, she said, ‘they are here usually in the morning and disappear by evening.’ I watched them chase a female. A female turkey, that is. The third bird was almost inside the Stadium restaurant. I wished it safety. ‘Let’s go. We may not get a cab till CST and then we’ll miss the train and then how will we ever reach Pune,’ she said, hoping to take my mind off what must be a regular sight for her. All this she poured before I could mumble ‘Shivneri.’
And what those birds did through the day, she must not have ever spared a thought to. She must see them every day, then perhaps hear some train announcement coming from the station nearby, realize the time or rather the shortage of it, and rush into the busy day. So, wondered the non-Mumbaikar me, what could these birds that weren’t seen so commonly even in the jungles of India, be doing on a busy Monday in the middle of a Mumbai road? A little shudder reminded me of the heavy handbag as I thought whether my mother saw the same birds every day.
They were not led by any human. Or a dog too. I decided to scan the restaurant menus of South Mumbai the next time I happened to be in one.
How magnificently they walked, pecking at bins occasionally. There was always this other angle, a slight chance, and Georgio Tsoukalos would agree– what if the underworld was actually rife with shape-shifters and unfriendly aliens? The turkeys did seem to know their way well. Too well. And they hypnotized the public enough to not get themselves into anybody’s conscious thought.
Imagine– three gangsta turkeys, plumes shining and stuff, boarding a local from Virar early morning. The crowd dispersing, respectfully and not in their senses, letting them get in before the train moved. The birds standing at the door through the journey with élan, cluck-clucking through some secret conversation. Maybe I should pay close attention to their clucks. It could be in Morse. Because it’s extremely funny, funny in ‘this chicken tastes funny’ way, to spot foreign birds strutting on the roads of Mumbai. Or maybe, I just didn’t pause enough, like others around me, to discover the reality.
An environmental movement seeking volunteers to offer services (voluntarily, in case you missed it) to help us go meet dodos that are currently partying with quaggas and passenger pigeons.
I do think it’s an interesting idea.
…that led folks to my blog. (And according to me, which posts they might have ended up on).
1. meerkat with burnt roses picture
Post: Had I been a meerkat
2. 10 examples of speech bubbles about of grandfather
I’ve no clue. Maybe because this post has the word ‘grandfather.’
3. graphic design planet earth
Wow, looks like I might just be contacted by a Pleiadian client.
4. human lookalike meerkat
Um, what were they trying to breed?
Post: Had I been a meerkat
6. horrid humans
I really hope the one who searched for this did not end up on my About page.
Posts: The murder of Aral: now we have another ‘Dead sea’ , Sublime
7. is mukhwas good for you.
Of course it is.
Post: The Joy of Churan
Can’t read Cyrillic. But Googling suggests it’s got something to do with tectonic
Post: Plate tectonics: far-apart continents
9. my son only draws distorted shapes
Is he a toddler?
Post: The distorted rickshaw
10. punjabi drawing on scooter
Like, a Punjabi sitting on a scooter and drawing or a Punjabi’s drawing on a
Post: Wincing in the Rain
Thank you, WordPress.com stats.
to hear your language, from across continents, when the mind gets infested with Dementors.
Dear Tonks, Compositus Modestus for your mind Expecto Patronum for your thoughts It's times like these that make me wish I was a wizard and you were a witch A spell here, to clean the mess A spell there, for happiness A bit of potion, if I could make A little stress, away - I would take Would fly on the broom and reach there Or the Floo network to be where you are I wish so much, I really do To take these problems away from you To take you in my arms and fly away Where it's only fun, joy and play Love Lupin