Saturday, November 16, 2013

Freakonomics Goes for a Walk

We earlier had occasion to make mention of ‘Freakonomics’, the celebrated book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. This 2005 book was to have sold a 100 copies in the assessment of the creators, but has sold 4 million in 35 languages as of date. This blog too has offered a freaky perspective from the Worm’s angle, and has many more to offer... therefore may God bless it…

So…today we analyse a thing as simple as walking, not even jogging, he, he, he…

Unless you know this already, next time you walk, notice that when you advance your left leg, the right hand promptly follows ‘ín tandem’ as the cliché goes…If you are strolling in the park or lolling on a street, just look at fellow walkers, preferably of your own sex. You’ll find the same sequence: RL-LH/ LL-RH/RL-LH/ LL-RH/ RL-LH/ LL-RH/...’RL’ standing for Right Leg and so on. Here are the mandatory snaps collected by IK, and if anybody is mean enough to claim that they are his/her copyright, they, i.e. the snaps, may hereby be treated as withdrawn…

Obviously a teetotaller!

Now for the Freakonomic explanation…

First, we’ll start with animal walk, or trot, not being a sprint or a jog. Here are snaps of a smart pony, who ijj a regular walker..

You’ll see that whenever this friend of ours lifts his left front leg, the right back left leg follows suit. The sequence is substantially the same as the one we noted above, the only difference being ‘hand’ is replaced by ‘front leg’…obviously. Here it goes:  LFL-RBL/RFL-LBL/ LFL-RBL/RFL-LBL/ LFL-RBL/RFL-LBL..

You’ll appreciate what the horse does, once you apply the logic tool ‘reductio ad absurdum’, or ‘proof by contradiction’ to the problem.

Ya- what options does the horsy have I sayyyy…? It can be safely assumed that the initial sequence of the limbs cannot be ‘both-left’, or ‘both-right’, for then, the horse will be imbalanced, and will collapse or topple over to that very side..They cannot be ‘both-front’ or ‘both-back’, for that would amount ‘hopping’, a faster action which is beyond the purview of this blog today..and that leaves the diagonal placement right-front-leg--- left-back-leg and so on. …the obvious conclusion is: a four legged animal cannot walk unless the sequence of placement of the front and back legs is ‘diagonal’.

Very well…but then a human is no four-legged animal I sayyyy…How do we relate the human walk to the fox-trot …? No man or woman is known to have collapsed for following the left leg with the left hand and not the right one…Enter Freakonomics…and our explanation is simplicity incarnate….everyone has experienced that, but it is do far removed from today’s dawn and dusk, that only a freak can reach out to the primordial impressions of childhood…he, he, he…

As toddlers we have all walked on all-fours, is it not? We must have behaved like the pony in the foregoing pictures, because as we have seen, there is no alternative: a four legged animal cannot walk unless the sequence of placement of the front and back legs is ‘diagonal’ . The behaviour has simply got extended into our subsequent days, it’s a habit acquired in childhood…

News is we discovered a kindred blog called The creator is ad guru Vinayak Razdan, and the blog is ricchhhh… boyyyy…! It contains lot of original stuff, the sort which is only available in Crawford Market or chor-galli or on IK, and is so generous, it allows you to use its content to your heart’s content, provided you give the back-URL, suits us, hope we got it correct. It sported the Mir sher we partially quoted earlier- we expat Delhiites may utter it when cornered: Mir wrote in response to the taunts of Lakhnavis, for after the eclipse of The Great Mughal, Avadh’s where he settled:

Kya bood u baash poocho ho poorab kai saakino,
hum ko gareeb jaan kai huns huns pukaar kai,
Dilli jo aik shahar tha aalam mai intikhaab,
rahtay thay hee jahaan muntakhib roozgaar kay,
us ko falak nai loot kay weeraan kar diya,
hum rahnay waalay hain usee ujray dayaar kai..

Translated by 8ate:

Ye the residents of the east/
what are you mocking at to know about my where-abouts and my origin/
finding me poor addressing me mockingly/
once there was a city of Delhi/
a select place of the world/
where only the chosen professionals lived/
the heavens have looted it to make it a desolate place/
I am the resident of that devastated land.

Vinayak is a Kashmiri Pandit who is a votary of the Kashmiriyat cause. 8ate is a worshipper of Allama Iqbal, who was again on the borderline of Islam and Hinduism, if there was one. Pakistan was the vision of persons who had reasons to be privy to, or claim foreknowledge of, both Islam and Hinduism. Allama Iqbal and the Qaid-e-Azam had Hindu Grandparents. Most Hindu leaders like Gandhi or Nehru have lived only the Hindu-half of the story. You and I have lived NO half of the story and are therefore Experts...

For our practising Bhopali Muslim friends, Classical Hindustani lies on  fringes of Islam, maybe spelling Qafirdom, but the hearts of many are out of sync with the message of the brain, and there are boys who’ll give their right hand to be compared with Sureshbabu Mane, son of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan…or fankaras who’d become disciples of Roshanara Begum, aka Pta. Annapurna Devi, w/o Late Pt. Ravi Shankar...

Interesting snaps from 8ate:

Here is a sensational sample of Vinayak’s creativity…