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Thursday, November 10

Another Victim !

Shyam Sunder has managed to dupe yet another person, this time an alumnus of College of Technology, Pantnagar. Here is the story. Please spread the word as far as you can.

Wednesday, September 21

Beware of Fraud !

I am pasting the mails I sent to IITK friends today. Please spread the word, as it appears that some other cases of receiving similar phone calls have also come into picture.

--

Hi all,

This is really embarrassing but also important. There is this who called me up under the name Shyam Sunder, claiming to be a passout of 1996 batch. He said he has been working in Sydney Australia and has come down to India to interview with some company in Chennai. His wallet has been picked up and he needs some help to get back to Bombay.

I was a little suspicious in the beginning so I asked for some identity proof. His ICICI account showed the name Shyam Sunder. On google, I found out that there indeed was a alumni named Shyam Sunder in 1996 batch. The page which showed his name didn't open (it timed out). So I fell for the bait and transferred money to the account. He promised to contact me back on reaching Bombay.

After I had made the transfer, I just out of curiosity again tried to load that page and lo ! Shyam Sunder from 1997 batch (MSc. Chem) actually died in 2002 from blood cancer !!. Details are on the 1996 webpage since he joined the institute along with them. Then I searched for that ICICI account number and found this:

http://m.1asphost.com/alumniuce/message.asp

This guy has been doing this for sometime now I guess. If only I would have searched for the account number first !! But please spread the info. Since he will definitely try to contact others also.

Is there some public place where this information can be posted so that it turns up quickly on google? I will put it up on my blog. Please do so on your blogs also. I am also going to file a complaint with ICICI Bank about the misusage of this account but I don't think much can be done on that front.

This whole episode has been quite disheartening !

Regards,
abhaga

--

Hi all,

This reminds me that I forgot to mention the account number in the last mail. It is 004701530996, Koramangala Branch, ICICI. Please make this information as visible as possible.

About the phone number, I guess he may have similarly pleaded somebody that he has lost everything and needs to make some urgent calls and used the phone since I got the call from a Chennai local number: 91-44-52163430.

I talked with ICICI customer care. They have asked me to lodge a written complaint and said that bank will "follow up the case" which amounts to nothing I guess but I will file the complaint nonetheless. Cyber Crime Branch people want me to come down to the branch between 10:00 and 5:00 on weekdays to "discuss" the matter with them. I will see if I can manage that.

Regards,
abhaga

Monday, August 22

Google : Looking Back in Time

Well, yet again nostalgia at work. I promise this is going to be the last post in this mood, at least for the time being (of course I may have to post nothing at all for sometime to honour that but ab bol diya to dekha jaayega).

Sometimes I think of Google as the Hubble Telescope. Now Hubble was a wonderful thing. Along with Voyager 1 and 2, it was the Hubble Telescope that made sure that I want to be a astronomer even today. Now in the age of ISS and mars rovers, it is difficult to understand the kind of fascination and excitement that something like voyager and Hubble generated. I had a big poster of Hubble Telescope from a science magazine that I used to cherish a lot. Ah ! the good old days of big dreams when satisfaction was so easy to achieve !!

But lets move over Hubble. The topic of this post is not Hubble but Google and why I think of it as Hubble sometimes. One of the most exciting part of Hubble was that it could look into very distant corners of Universe. Now the farther we look, the older the pictures get since light takes a lot of time to reach us. So the farther ahead we look in distance, the further back we look into time. Now this was something amazing. Every few months, some images taken by Hubble would be released and you would find yourself looking further back into time. So how does this connects to Google? Well, in a rather peculiar way.

I have now walked this earth for about 23 years and in those 23 years, there have been so many things that I have loved and lost. That odd piece of poetry, that lovely snap, that wonderful story, that song from the lost lanes of childhood, that innocence!! Some of those are lost for ever and can never be recovered but others would still be around, somewhere if only I could reach out but the search space accessible before Google came up, was very minimal. What Google did, I can never be too grateful for. So many things have turned up before me when I had no hopes of finding them ever. As time passes, and here enters Hubble, Google reaches out to more and more things and comes up with another lost piece on my past. It keeps looking deeper and farther back and keeps getting better :-).

And following is what I found last month. It took Google 2-3 years since I first looked around for it but eventually it did find it. So before the curiosity kills the cat, this is the text of a Motorcycle ad. It appeared in 1998-99 when I was down and out in IT-BHU trying to make some make-or-break decisions in life (it all turned out to be good in the end, almost too good ) and I liked it so much that I had it struck on my wall. No great poetic gem or deep philosophical vibes here but just something that touched my heart at one point of time in my life. So guys, here it comes, my way

I am not a star.
There is no halo over my head.
Fate doesn't like the colour of my eyes.
Struggle and strife are old friends of mine.
Who am I ?
I am survival. I am guts. I am pride.
I like odds.
Especially when they're
stacked against me.
Because there will
come a time when I will
stare them in the eye.
And smile the smile of
the one who's pulled it off.
I am the guy who will have
deep lines on his face someday.
And it'll make me look good
when I laugh.
Because that is the day
I will fear no fear.
And taste sweat that is sweet.
And look back for the
very first time and say,
I did it my way.
The long hard way.

Tuesday, August 16

2 Kshanikaayein

The ocean of beauty,
The Islands of pain.
The Earth.
The men.
---------
Clear blue sky,
No rain but Sun.
Some tan,
Some burn.

Thursday, August 11

Musings from the edge of life !

"How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams... at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?"

He must have been so happy when I was born. So many times he must have carried me in his arms. So many times he brought me chocolates when he returned from office or market, brought me comics. How happy he became on seeing me and mom and my sister. And somedays ago, I carried his body on my shoulders and gave it to fire.

I always thought I was wiser then all are, that I knew and understood the inevitability of death. I could hardly imagine myself crying over somebody's death. Even that day when I reached home and looked at his body lying in the room, the sense of grief was more because of surrounding environment rather than inner grief. But when I finished performing his last rites and sat down by the burning pier, from somewhere those tears came and started rolling down my cheeks and I couldn't stop them. Yes I knew he had lived a full life, that now he was in acute pain and may be it was best for him to go but heart knows no reasons.

But it is all okay now. Mind has taken over, reason has won and good sense has prevailed but the sense of peace that I felt after those 2 minutes of tearful eyes is still with me. Its only so sad that some good Samaritan spotted me crying and took upon themselves to calm me down. Perhaps few more tears would have been much more effective.

But it's okay. Nobody dies by stopping to breathe. It is a much longer process. Till even one person is alive with memories of him, he lives on. God bless !

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

My mom was at his bed side when nana ji left this world. She told me it was the first time that she saw somebody leave the body. I have never seen anybody die. Never seen that final moment, just before that there is life and just after that there is no life. Medical science tells us that this is not a well defined point but that is besides the point.

The point is that this moment is unique to death. Birth on the other hand has no such moment. When we are born we are already alive and no matter how far back in time we go, there is no point, well defined or not, when we can say that at this point life started. Do you know why? Because there is never any new life created in this world. It is merely passed down from the parents to the child. And around that life, a body is built. The whole process of procreation just passes on what already exists, it creates nothing new.

And that means that the whole world, everything living in it is just the manifestation of that same life. There is no beginning or end for it, there are no two different beings. The same being keeps branching, sprouting in new ways, spreading around and death keeps trimming it, just like a gardener trying to keep some tree in shape.

There is little that this simple point of view explains about the complex phenomenon of life and death but I never thought this way before.

Wednesday, August 3

To bend and not to fold

There are thousands of things in my mind right now that I would like to put on this blog, share with the world. But I hardly manage to find time or the kind of tranquility that I want in order to write. There is one thing however, that never fails to push me to the emotional state where words just seem to flow. Few minutes ago, I watched a video prepared by IITK students called "The Way We Were".

There was nothing much in the video. Large part of the video is a music video produced in house at IITK which, I must say, is quite good. The rest of the video is brief snippets of some junta talking about how they feel about IITK and what makes it special for them. It is this part that prompted me to write this post.

First to quote a dear friend of mine, the later part in the video looks rather like a "boisterous attempt at self-glorification". I somewhat agree with that and it is this feeling of agreement that forces me to think what would I have said if I was there in the video? What has IITK given me? What makes it special? so very special?

For answering this question, let me first look at what the junta in the video said. Most of what they said, involved the facilities, the people, the place, the activities that happen in IITK. They talked about having become tough and mature through the 4 years they spent in IITK. They talked about the friendship and camaraderie that people shared and so on. What I believe, though, is that most of these have little to do with IITK in particular.

In fact, most of those feelings have to do with the fact that this was the first time for most of them that they came out of their houses and parental guidance and stayed alone in hostel. Staying in IITK gives it a flavour of its own for sure but they probably would have felt the same way on leaving from any other college. And on the same note, people across the college hostels make bonds and friends that they cherish for life. These things do not make IITK stand out. There has to be something else, something different.

And probably I am in a better position to see it since I spent one year in another college before coming to IITK. I have fond memories of the place, all those late night sessions that happened there, my first 9-12 movie, all those delicious journeys back home and the atmosphere there. It was all so wonderful. What was missing then?

There were 9 hostels there in which BTechs used to put up. We lived according to our Depts and years. So the set of students one lived with remained same for 4 years. Classes were held in small groups formed out of.. again, students from the same batch and same Dept. So at times you could be hanging out with the same guy, maybe your roommate, for 24, 48, 72 hours straight. We developed strong friendships, we had lovely talks but mostly within this small group. True there was interaction across batches, across Depts and across hostels but that was minimal. For all the 4 years, I was 1st meta, then 2nd meta, then 3rd meta and then 4th meta. In fact, I was Roll No 31 to be precise, a number that always reminded me that I was the 31st person to have taken this Dept in the order of my rank in entrance exam. Didn't matter if I topped the Dept., I remained Roll No. 31. I am not saying that the system was repressive or mocking in anyway but such small things tell you something important about the attitude of the place, the culture of the place. The junior senior interaction was governed by these Roll Nos. So the person with the same roll no in the senior batch would be my "baap" and would help me out.

Contrast this with IITK and you know what is different. If I have to say in short, then at the cost of intending a little pun, I would say IITK is a "melting pot". It melts everything that gets into it, consumes any identity that all the external things impose on us and frees us to discover what lies inside. Consider that I was roll no 4, that I lived in Hall 2 and that I took quantum Physics, Linear Algebra, Data Structures, Mechanics of Solids etc etc. None of this information will let you say with certainty what my Dept was, what my year was and what my Rank in JEE was. As the joke goes - "Saari AIR pahle hafte me hi nikal jaati hai". It was after the freedom from all these outside aberration that I was set free, set free to explore, to do, to take up responsibility, to stand up for people, to fight for causes, to touch the sky and most importantly, to bite the dust.

I stayed in a hostel that housed 500 junta, junta across batches, junta across Depts and each one of them was there as a result of a flip of a coin, completely random. There was no scheme, no choice. It was like being born again. I studied in a class of 400 junta, across Depts. and what sitting in L7 feels like, anyone from IITK will tell you. I did courses with my seniors, got an A, did courses with my Juniors, got a C, did courses in other depts, did courses in which I was the only BTech. .. the list is endless. In one of the courses I did, there was so much variety of junta that no slot from Monday 8:00 to Friday 5:00 was free for classes. We finally settled for the weekends and late evenings.

And everything that I mentioned above, everything that happened around me told me something. It told me that there are no boundaries that cannot be crossed, no labels that cannot be scraped and no challenges that cannot be accepted. And the system identified me for what what I am. It didn't categories me and set me aside, it gave me a chance to choose my own labels. And what is more, it made sure that no matter how high I reach, there is never lack of things, of people to look up to. The end of the road was always only the opening to a whole new landscape, with higher peaks, with new challenges. There was no best, everyone was best in something. And this was possible because system allowed it and in fact encouraged it.

This is what IITK did for me. It made me tough but not brittle. It made me flexible but not plastic. I remember a poem I learned in school which talked about "things in life have taught me to bend but not to fold". Something similar happened in my life around 5 years ago.

Friday, July 15

What better way to be back

than to introduce myself :). So here it goes:

Three names you go by:
1. Abhaya
2. Abhaga
3. ashu

Three screen names you have had:
1. abhaya_summer (yahoo)
2. mathabhaga (aim)
3. tohellwithname (indiatimes)

Three physical things you like about yourself:
Being known as a hetrosexual, I refuse to answer this :P

Three physical things you don't like about yourself:
1. Moment of inertia
2. Uncertainity
3. mass

Three parts of your heritage:
1. Desi lucknowi nawab :)
2. Hindi/urdu
3. Family

Three things that scare you:
1. pain
2. appear to be selfish and double standard
3. there might be no afterlife

Three of your everyday essentials:
1. emails,surfing
2. The Hindu/ TOI
3. plan to start reading all the books I have accumalated

Three things that you are wearing right now:
1. pain in my index finger
2. a not-looking-happy look
3. a worry that TV repair costs too much

Three things that you want in a relationship:
1. a girl (yes, I am discriminating on the basis of gender. Go, sue me :P)
2. high interest rate (ICICI Bank)
3. should be reflexive and transitive at least (posets)

Two truths and a lie:
1. This is not what I wanted to write.
2. This is what I wanted to write at the first place.
3. one of the above has to be a lie.

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you:
1. Electricity (touch them)
2. Magnatism (see them)
3. Elasticity (way they move)

Three things you want to do badly right now:
(Let me clearify first. I do not want to do these things badly but int he best possible manner :) )
1. Finish this.
2. Be someplace else.
3. get my finger fixed.

Three careears you're considering:
1. Linguist
2. RJ
3. professional backpacker

Three places you want to go on vacation:
1. Home :)
2. Egypt
3. NZ

Three kids names you like:
1. narendra (reminds me of Vivekanand)
2. Sona (my neice)
3.

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE:
1. learn as many languages as possible
2. visit as many places as possible
3. go to space, moon would better, mars would be great and anything beyond that would have me die in peace :)

THREE(make that more!!) PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO TAKE THIS QUIZ NOW:
I do not believe in this so will break the chain :-)

Thursday, June 16

I-am

Alright !! So time for another I-am-back post but let's make an exception this time. Instead of a I-am-back post, let's have a I-am-around post this time because I don't know if I am back still.

But as I said, I am around.

Tuesday, May 17

Nilgiris - The Magicians II

The story goes back around 10 years. Some bright young students were having a Botany class and the topic of discussion was flowers. Flowers of all colors, red, blue, orange, violet, yellow, green... "Green?? Who said that ?", demanded the teacher. The culprit was asked about which green colored flower he had seen and was ordered to bring one to the class next day which he couldn't. The reason for this was, as the teacher told them, that there are no green colored flowers, none in the whole world !! No green roses? How unromantic !!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Fast forward 10 years and we find ourselves in Ooty. Well not exactly in Ooty but on the Coonoor - Kotagiri road, in a organic farm called "Beulah Farm" which, in Hebrew means, Blessed by God. It is run by a person called K. Eapen Jacob, who is 70 years of age and who insists that he is only the in-charge of the farm, owner being the God.

In the farm, Jacob grows various varieties of herbs, fruits and rare plants, lots of these are used in continental food. For the first time in my life, I saw 3 varieties of peppermint. There was a plant whose leaves were 50 times sweeter than sugar. And there were strawberries, peaches, avocado and marmalade oranges. And this brings us to the things for which he is famous world over, his Jams and his wines, Elixirs as he likes to call them.

He makes around 10 different kinds of jam and lots of varieties of wines (> 30). The speciality of these wines, apart from the fact that he makes one from every thing he grows on his farm, roses, rhubarb and even basil leaves, is that no yeast is used in their preparation. I am no expert on wines but he said that everywhere in the world, wines are prepared using yeast. Interestingly he says that he has no secret formula. He made his first wine from rose leaves by accident when he left a pile of them with sugar and water and forgot about it. Later when he discovered it by the nice smell it was oozing out and offered it to some of his friends, it turned out that he had produced some really fine rose wine !! Since than he has been making these wines. The hilarious part was when one company offered him lots of money for the formula but won't believe him when he told them that he has no formula !!

Jacob says that these wines are grace of God and you immediately think that such a simple person is made for God's grace. He gets a lot of visitors everyday and despite being in his 70, he is always so enthusiastic and open to show you around that it touches you. He will proudly show you all the various species of plants that he has around and some of the cute birds that he has on the farm. You always get to taste all the wines and jams whether you are buying or not. Even the prices are fixed at 100 /- per bottle which were fixed in early 90s and he has refused to increase it. He says what he is selling is the cheapest thing in the world, water and sugar. What should he charge for? Somebody should go and tell this to Pepsi and Coke please !!

And when you will come to know that out of all the various varieties of wines that he makes, he has tasted only one, you will also start calling him a magician. So much love and so much affection and you start wondering if he is for real? Where do you find a person in this camera crazy world who says that he doesn't like to be photographed? In his guest book, there are entries of people who are who is who of India and still he treated us, 5 unknown youngsters from Bangalore, with all the attention and love.

And as if all this was not enough, after 10 long years and thousands of kilometers away, it was in his garden that I found the proverbial green rose ! Yes, it exists !! The world is not that unromantic after all !!

For a second, I just turned to check if he had not just disappeared like those genies from the fairy tales. But he was right there, busy showing some other plants to the junta.

Some of the days, you just want to believe in all those fairy tales !!

Saturday, May 14

Nilgiris : The Magicians I

I got a little distracted from the Nilgiri posts for a while but no more. So here it goes.

The trip to Ooty was memorable not only for the nice sceneries, beautiful places, and lovely climate but also because we met some of the most unforgettable people. Having come back to the daily routine and struggles of life, they even seem like a little unreal. But they are very much the people of this world who have learned to keep the balance between the ambition and satisfaction. This post talks about one such person named Antony Joseph, creator of thread garden.


Are they real?


Thread Garden is situated in an exhibition form right in front of the Ooty lake. It consists of over 300 varieties of plants in it, plants with lovely flowers, of all shapes and sizes. Not impressive you say? Well consider that none of those plants are real (you wouldn't guess yourself) but have been manually created by 50 crafts men over 12 years using threads !! Over 60 million meters length of threads have been used in this creation and you have to see it to believe it. You can read more about it at the above site.


The Artist

We met the man behind this effort, Antony Joseph and his passion for his creation is obvious. He happily explained us the details and answered all our questions and doubts. He calls his technique "Four Dimensional Handwound Embroidery" and on hearing that, the first thing that popped up in the top minds for Silicone Valley of India was ," Haven't you patented it?". To which he replied in a confident voice that there was no need for it since nobody now a days had enough patience to do such a thing. Some might call it an artist's arrogance which is no doubt present in everyone of them and without which probably they won't be such good artists anyway, but what I saw in that statement was the confidence that comes when you do something not for any other purpose but for the love of it. And you know that nobody without a love would be able to make that kind of sacrifice.


Out of the world !!  Posted by Hello

And the garden is not only just a artistic expression, it is also scientifically accurate. Every plant species that you see there, has been modelled after carefully study of a original sample and every little detail has been faithfully reproduced. He rightly said that it is the work of both an artist and a scientist. The two of them are never really far apart. Are they?

The whole effort is supported by Madurai Coats which provides all the threads for the garden. It was a nice experience watching the garden and talking to Antony. It is such people who inspire you to keep that dream of yours intact and keep working towards it relentlessly.

Friday, May 13

थके थके से कदम !!

थके थके से कदम दिल का बोझ सहते हैं ,
ज्यों लद के फूल से दरख्त झुके रहते हैं ।

कभी उदास हो कर दिल भी हमसे कहता है,
बातें वही जो सब दुनिया के लोग कहते हैं ।

दीवाने दिल के हाथों इस तरह मजबूर हैं कुछ,
गुनाह कर नही सकते, सज़ायें सहते हैं ।

कभी छलके थे मेरी आंख से जो दो आंसू,
अब हर एक शख्स की आंखों से देखो बहते हैं ।

Wednesday, May 11

On the shades on sadness !

I bought a combo cassette of Kajal and "Do Badan" this weekend. Both the films have excellent songs and I was thinking of getting "Do Badan" for quite sometime now. To make things better, I got it paired with Kajal.

I hardly remember the story of either of the movies but the basic undertone of the songs in both the movies remain sad. Of course, Kajal has this favorite Bhajan of Mine "Tora Man Darpan Kahlaaye" but most of the songs, even the romantic ones are not without a touch of melancholy in them. I remember the picturization of "Chhoo lene do naazok hothon ko" in bits and pieces and I can see a Meena Kumari trying to keep away a drunk Rajkumar. Similarly all the songs of "Do Badan" are sad songs.

Now from the musical point of view, two movies are very similar. Music director for both the movies is same, Ravi, and Rafi and Asha have sung most of the songs. The only difference is in the lyricists and what a study in contrast they present. Shakeel Badayuni has written songs for "Do Badan" while Sahir has penned down those beauties for Kajal. It is interesting to see how different they stand inspite of the fact that both are writing sad songs, songs that talk about lost love, broken heart, distraught life and so on.

Shkeel is not happy with his pain. He doesn't enjoy it. There is an anguish in him, an anxiety which forces him to complain, to try to over come it. You can really feel for him, you can identify with his struggle. He is broken, he is defeated and he is helpless. And he blames the world for all these things. And you feel sorry for him, for yourself because you know how unjust this world is.

Sahir, on the other hand is same but different. He is also in a lot of pain. He has also been served a hard deal by fate but he enjoys it. He relishes in his pain in his own way. We can sit and admire him but we cannot be sad with him. His sadness is his alone. He doesn't blame the world. He is not concerned with it. His emotions, his energies are all concentrated on his love and himself. At the most, he just wants the world to leave him alone. We get a feeling of something very deep, something that is quite alien to us. He will also make us cry but not because we sympathies with him but because we feel presence of a pain so deep that it haunts us. It is not connected to him or to anybody. It stands on its own.

To me, both of them give immense satisfaction of having listened to some wonderful poetry. And the lovely music and excellent gayaki just make it over the top. It is my belief that every good poetry deserves to be put to music. That is when it realizes its true potential and blossoms in all its colors. You have to listen to Neeraj reciting his geets once to realize what I am saying !!

Thursday, May 5

Do nightmares qualify for dreams?

[With due apologies to Philip K. Dick]

For some days now, every morning I find a bunch of emails in my inbox from some friends who are graduating from IIT this year and the mails bring back so many memories, happy and sad !!

It was around 2 years back when I was also busy writing such mails to all the people I knew. The world still seemed very small and every fellow IITian a close friend. It was beyond imagination that I wouldn't keep in touch with that guy living at the end of my wing whom I hardly had any interaction with. I wanted to get every address, every phone number, every email id. Yahoo groups were formed, mailing lists were created and with all the fan fare we marched out to the real world. And yes ! I also got all those "Friends' " episodes, all those songs, all those movies. How could I ever live without them?

Today after 2 years, I have never talked to or mailed to R, my roommate for 3 years. I have little idea how M is doing,my next door neighbour for 2 years and the mails to our dept yahoo group draw a blank. Keeping in touch with guys has reduced to occasional calls in 1 or 2 months and did I mention that I never got a chance to see all those movies I brought along?

No! the life has not been bad. I have moved on, have met new people, people who can speak a full sentence without bringing in your blood relatives in between, have been living in the lovely city of gardens and have been working in a job that gives me satisfaction. It's just that at times when I look back at myself collecting all those addresses and writing all those CDs, I laugh at my naivete. So many of the guys left and I couldn't even say a good bye because I was busy, taking away with them so many memories that have even slipped my mind now. Perhaps in trying to get more, I missed out on whatever was on offer. Wouldn't that one parting hug have been better than all the useless information I was busy collecting? Only if I would have known at that time !!

And today when the details have begin to smoother out, the faces have started to blur and names a little forgotten, those 4 years seem like a dream. Yes ! it was a dream and it still is. A dream that constantly reminds us that it is possible to do better, that dreamlands do exist !!

I can say this today looking back at all those years. And I can see how all those coming out in to the real world will soon realize that what they left behind was a dreamland. I don't know how it must feel like to suddenly walk out of a dream. It was a little different for me. I stayed back at IIT for one more year after graduating. Things happened, lots of them, some good, some bad and when I left IIT, I really wanted to go from that place. Somewhere in that one year, the dream had turned into a nightmare.

I can't tell you why I feel this way now. I probably don't have any coherent answer. But that one year made me understand why no dreams are ever dreamed in full and why we always wake up at the most interesting moments. Dreams are not meant to have logical endings, they are not supposed to end because what ends, no longer remains a dream.

But still, even nightmares qualify for dreams. Don't they?

Naach : The Cosmic Angle

For long I have had this peculiar relationship with dance. Peculiar? Well, Let me explain.

I like to read and I also like to write. I like to listen to music and so I also want to learn how to play an instrument. I enjoy good meaningful Cinema and so I have a strong desire to pick up a camera someday. With dance this is different. I love to dance but I hardly feel enthusiastic about watching a dance performance. I never went to any live dance performances even in IIT whereas I always went to all the musical (vocal or instrumental) once. I wonder why?

May be the reason can be as banal as having not been exposed much to this particular art form. But I think there is more to it. The fact of the matter is that whenever I look at somebody dancing, I want to go up and join and dance my heart out. It is not so when reading a book. Though I may get inspired but I do not want to go and start writing. I also do not feel that instant need to go grab a camera while watching a movie. They are all different. There is nothing like dance which invites you to come and join right in without any wait or delay. Singing can come close where often one feels inclined to start humming and singing with the singer (much to the chagrin of fellow humans).

I have had some vague thoughts like this for sometime but it was some days back that they got the nucleus to crystallize on. 29th of last month was World Dance Day. It was started by UNESCO in 198 . The aim was to expose more and more people to this wonderful form of expression. I cannot say that they have been very successful because a generally well aware and interested middle class young boy, that would be me, lived 23 years of his life without coming to know of it. Anyway, they do get credit for initiative at least.

So I was talking about the nucleus. On 29th of April, I read this wonderful article in TOI's (Yes, TOI i.e. Times of India. They still manage to get in some articles worth reading in that tabloid. ) The Speaking Tree. Here is the first paragraph from that article:

Why God Chose to be A Cosmic Dancer
JAYA C MEHTA
[ FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2005 12:59:20 AM ]

When I gave up a promising career as a painter for pursuing classical dance, I was often asked which of the two was more satisfying - painting or dancing. My views on this are best expressed in Osho's words. Osho reflected on why Shiva as Nataraj was the Cosmic Dancer. Why wasn't he a painter, poet or sculptor? When a painter finishes his painting, the painting assumes its own existence. The painter becomes separate from his painting; it has a life of its own. Similarly, the poet is separate from his poetry, the potter from his pottery, the writer from his novel and so on. But with dance, the dancer and the dance are one; they can never be separated. That's why God is a dancer. He dances in his own creation. He is present in the leaves, flowers, rivers, animals and every human being. His dance is all over. He has not created the world, he is the world. The world is God's dance, just like a dancer's body is the canvas into which the dancer pours the colours of her feelings and impressions.

You can read the whole article here.

To me the article makes a lot of sense. And it's such a beautiful thought. Isn't this the reason why dancing is such an expressive way of feeling together? No other activity will makes you feel so close. It's like when your limbs move in unison, when the hands make those perfect sweeping gestures, when the legs decide to follow the beats together, that your hearts also beat in the same rhythm and your souls become one and it doesn't matter what the music is, what the style is.

And when we are really ready, we don't need any music, any beats. We just close our eyes and dance away, to beauty, to love and to life !!

Thursday, April 28

Nilgiris - The Host


Stolen Moments Posted by Hello

I almost skipped this one. In fact I went on the trip because the tickets had already been bought and I was not very keen on going and getting them cancelled. Now in the retrospect I think even procrastination has its own virtues.

The best part about the trip was our excellent host, Colonel Rajiv Kumar. Due to his busy schedule during our visits, he was not able to accompany us on our excursions but he made sure that we had a well planned and satisfying itinerary for the 3 days. Alas he will be moving to another place in a short while and so we will have to be on our own when we visit next. It was due to him that we got to stay in the DSSC guest house in Wellington, away from the maddening crowd in Ooty in this peak season. And staying in Wellington, which incidentally is the center of Madras Regiment also, gave us the chance to explore more in the Kunoor Valley and beyond. Dear Rajiv, if you are reading this, thanks a lot indeed :)

And how can it end without a little something about DSSC. DSSC stands for Defense Services Staff College and it trains some of the best military Officers. The officers come here after 10-12 years of service to learn about more advanced aspects of warfare, strategies and other stuff that is important once you are in higher ranks of the service. It is a very prestigious college to attend and only few get a chance to do it. The campus is very beautiful overlooking a scenic valley and is surrounded by a golf course on all sides. It has students not only from Indian armed forces but from all around the world including developed countries like USA, UK.

I really liked the following that was written on a wall in a class room:
"The welfare and comfort of the country comes first, always!"
"The welfare and comfort of those you command comes next."
"The welfare and comfort of your personal self comes last."

No wonder, Indian Army has produced people like Sekhon, Mulla, Abdul Hameed and Major Somnath.

Monday, April 25

Nilgiris - The Blue Mountains !!

With two aching calfs, few scratches on my hand and a heart full of memories, I am back from the Nilgiris (Ooty for the uninformed). It was a nice trip to a nice place in nice company and a nice host and there are quite a few nice experiences that I would like to write about but right now I am too tired to write anything worth reading.

I'll be back !!

Friday, April 15

Dil ki aawaz bhi sun !!

Although he is undoubtedly the master of this genre of posts, bringing back to my attention some of the wonderful old songs that I have love and lost over the years, let me also try to contribute a little.
Today I came across this song and boy ! am I hooked to it now !! The poetry, the music and the rendition, everything is so addictive. And it is not only the powerful lyrics but the way Rafi has rendered them, every nuance of meaning hidden in those lines comes out. As the poet goes from the self defending to encouraging and finally blaming mood, Rafi's voice makes it difficult to not appreciate the changing shades of mood. The pain and that wish to get back what has been lost just gets to you. The music provides full support to the inherent flow and rythme of the lyrics.
May be it is the mood or the mausam, I just can't stop humming these lines. Incidently they come from the kalam of Shaqeel Bandayuni, somebody who is rising quickly in my list of favourites. Music is by O. P. Nayyar.

दिल की आवाज़ भी सुन, मेरे फ़साने पे ना जा ,
मेरी नज़रों की तरफ़ देख , ज़माने पे ना जा ।

एक नज़र फ़ेर ले जीने की इजाज़त दे दे,
रूठने वाले फ़िर पह्ली सी ्मोहब्बत दे दे ।
इश्क मासूम है, इल्ज़ाम लगाने पे ना जा,
मेरी नज़रों की तरफ़ देख , ज़माने पे ना जा ।

वक्त इन्सान पे ऐसा भी कभी आता है,
राह मे छोड कर साया भी चला जाता है ।
दिन भी निकलेगा कभी, रात के आने पे ना जा,
मेरी नज़रों की तरफ़ देख , ज़माने पे ना जा ।

मैं हकीकत हूं ये एक रोज़ दिखऊंगा तुझे,
बेगुनाही पे मोहब्बत की रुलाऊंगा तुझे ।
दाग दिल के नही मिटते हैं, मिटाने पे ना जा,
मेरी नज़रों की तरफ़ देख , ज़माने पे ना जा ।

Monday, April 11

उस दिल मे जो है छिपा

उस दिल मे जो है छिपा, जान ना पाया हूं ।

जो स्वपन देखती हैं मेरे संग वो आंखें,
मुझसे पहले भी ख्वाब बुना करती होंगी ?
जो रातें अब मेरी यादों मे कटती हैं,
मुझसे पहले क्या सोच कटा करती होंगी ?

अंजान स्वपन रत्नों से भरे हुए उसके
मन आगारों मे अभी झांक ना पाया हूं ।

उस दिल मे जो है छिपा, जान ना पाया हूं ।

अब तान छेडता हूं मैं उसके हाथों पर,
कल तक क्या जीवन राग हुआ करता होगा ?
अब गीत है अपने प्यार, मिलन, विरह का तो ,
मुझसे पहले क्या गीत हुआ करता होगा ?

जो सांझ सवेरे मन गुंजन गाता होगा,
वो स्वरलहरी मैं अभी कहां सुन पाया हूं ?

उस दिल मे जो है छिपा, जान ना पाया हूं ।

इस बार नही फ़ूला है बस वन उपवन मे,
इस बार बसंती रंग चढा मन पर मेरे ।
और उन जाने अंजाने रंगों से प्रियतम,
मैंने अपने जीवन के कितने चित्र उकेरे ।

पर तेरे मन की शाखों पर जो फ़ूल खिले,
उनके रंग अब तक देख कहां मैं पाया हूं ?

उस दिल मे जो है छिपा, जान ना पाया हूं ।

Friday, April 8

Guide to Life

There have been complaints that my last post about my vacations was too out of the box and that a little more earthly account of the same would be much more appreciated. So now, when I am more into my senses, I thought of writing a Guide to Life. No, I don't plan to write a guide to life, if you ever lay your hands on one, tear it apart, burn it, bury it deep into ground but don't read it but rather a brief guide to Life.

The first line can be approximately translated to :
"The amount of time spent on deciding the title of a post and amount of time spent in actually writing the post sum upto a undetermined but positive and finite constant, within the limits of experimental errors. This assumes that the time you spent in writing the post and the time that you spend in deciding the title are directly proportional to the final gravity (depth of meaning) of the result."

And since there is hardly anything graver then Life, the post losses out on any chances of having any gravity at all.

So much for the last post. There are several interesting things happening around me right now.

1. One of the guys whom I interviewed has joined the company. If I correctly remember the interview, I may now have a reputation to live upto !! Seems a little weird.

2. There is some commercial interest in our company now. So the days of peace and serenity may finally be over.

3. I have started to read again, thanks to the over 40 hours of journey to my native place. I have been writing a little bit about the books that I read on another blog, will post the link after sometime.

4. IIM results are coming out and I am hoping for some (read more then 1) treats at least.

5. What else, weather in Bangalore right now is as good as it gets. Only that I have managed to catch a little cold that is stopping me from going all out and enjoy it.

And best of all, I have discovered a convenient way to use unicode on windows, Aksharmala. So in near future, I will again start posting hindi writings in Devanagari Script.

All this and more, thanks to the Hindi Wikipedia. Wikipedia is amazing and it was great to see Hindi Wikipedia. Right now the English Wikipedia is bigger then the CD version of Encyclopedia Britannica and is growing at a fast pace.

I will sure try and get my hands dirty with this thing, specially the Hindi Wikipedia. As a start, today I translated the 100 word Swadesh list on English Wiktionary.

Wednesday, April 6

Ab samay milan ka door nahi !!

Ab samay milan ka door nahi.

Main ghoom raha tha vyathit akela, raat shahar ki galiyon me,
jyon pagal bhanwara dar dar bhatke band kamal ki kaliyon pe,
man ki aakulta pag me bhar,
main chalta jata idhar udhar,
lagta tha jisko dhoondh raha,
voh paas hi hai, kahin door nahi.

Ab samay milan ka door nahi.

pighli chaandi si chandra kiran girti patton se chan chan ke,
tim tim nartan karte taare, man bahlaate the ban ban ke.
rukna kintu na bhagya mera,
man ko tha duvidha ne ghera,
"manzil meri aane vaali aur,
main ab tak thak ker choor nahi?"

Ab samay milan ka door nahi.

Chali pawan fir door desh se ye sandesha le aayi,
us virhani ki vyakulta apne antar me bhar laayi,
"Tum udwigna hawaaon me,
mere antar me jwala hai.
Itne din yajna chala ye ab,
antim aahuti door nahi !!"

Ab samay milan ka door nahi.

Tuesday, April 5

Life

The total sum of gravity of the title of a post and post itself is more or less constant.

As usual, I am trying to be witty after a long hiatus from this blog but the reason for that is not at all usual. I was on a journey, one like I never went on before, one I would hardly ever go on again.

Those who cared to keep track, saw me travelling to City of Nawabs from City of Gardens and back. Those who cared to travel with me, travelled from as far as Deccan Queen and NCR and for next 15 days, City of Nawabs turned into a Never Never Land. Unfortunately I cannot tell you what Never Never land is, You will have to see it for yourself, someday !

For now, its spring time, both inside me and outside me. I guess I should start bracing up for summers !

Friday, March 11

Tum hi tum ho base khayaalon me

Tum hi tum ho base khayaalon me,
kya likhoon ab ki kuch bacha hi nahi.

bhari mehfil me bulava do jhukti palkon ka,
pukaarne ka voh andaaz ab bacha hi nahi.

jo ghul jata tha tabiyat me shahad ke jaisa,
tamaam shahar me vo lahza kahin bacha hi nahi.

ye mere dil ke lahoo se ranga tera haath sanam,
hina ke rang ke layak ye ab bacha hi nahi.

mere pahoonchne me bahut der na ho jaaye kahin,
aur vo kah den ab aaye ho? kuch bacha hi nahi.

ki jis lohe se khuda dhaalta tha aadam ko,
ab bahut saal hue, faulaad voh bacha hi nahi.

aaj duniya me her insaan lahoo ka hai pyaasa,
aur ragon me daudta paani, lahoo bacha hi nahi.

ki ab maykhaane me sab pee ke hosh khote hain,
jo pee ke hosh me aaye, voh ab bacha hi nahi.

vaqt ne likh diya sab kuch abhaga chehre per,
chhipaayen dil me jise, raaj ab bacha hi nahi.

Thursday, March 10

Feeling harrased?

This comes from here. Awesome site if you are feeling a little down at work. Works magic for me. (Be warned that some of the content might be offensive. Click at your own risk. (no images, only text) )
1. Save every Free Credit Card Offer you get, Put it in pile A
2. Save every Free Coupon You get, put that in pile B
3. Now open the credit card mail from pile A and find the Business
Reply Mail Envelope.
4. Take the coupons from pile B and stuff them in the envelope you hold
in your hand.
5. Drop the stuffed to the brim envelopes in your mail and walk away
whistling.
I have now received two phone calls from the credit card companies
telling me that they received a stuffed envelope with coupons rather
then my application. They informed me that it they are not pleased that
they footed the bill for the crap I sent them. I reply with "It says
Business Reply Mail" I'm suggesting coupons to you to ensure that your
business is more successful. They promptly hang up on me.
Now, I did this for about a month before it got boring, so I got an
added idea! I added exactly 33 cents worth of pennies to the envelope
so they paid EXTRA due to the weight. I got a call informing me about
the money, I said it was a mistake and I demanded my change back. After
yelling at the clerk and then to the supervisor they agreed to my
demands and cut me a check for the money. I hold in my hand at this
very moment a check from GTE Visa for exactly 33 cents.

Monday, March 7

Marginalia

A lovely poem about the marginalia, something to which I have been quite opposed till now (and I am not alone) but recently I am beginning to rethink about it. More of that later, right now enjoy the poem. Its lovely !!

Marginalia

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."

-- Billy Collins

The pain of being a mediocre

Yes I have done it again !! Once again in my life, I stamped myself with the mark that I hate most, the mark of being a mediocre !! I don't mind begin bad, hardly anyone minds being good but mediocre is one thing I never want to be.

It has happened so many times in the life now that I hardly feel sad and that makes it even worse. I am getting used to live like this. And this time it was nothing less but the profession that I have chosen for my life, things that I have been doing for 5-6 years now. After having spent 5 years typing, sitting in front of computer I do not know how to put together a decent piece of code fast enough !! How much more time do you need Mr. Abhaya Agarwal? How much?

Yes Google I accept !! I am still not worthy enough to set foot on your premises. But I will be.

Because if India has to change, I have to be the first one !

Wednesday, March 2

Ladies of the world !! Listen!

Today seems to be the day to take all the quizzes !!
I am not "that" good really ;)




Your Seduction Style: Ideal Lover





You seduce people by tapping into their dreams and desires.
And because of this sensitivity, you can be the ideal lover for anyone you seek.
You are a shapeshifter - bringing romance, adventure, spirituality to relationships.
It all depends on who your with, and what their vision of a perfect relationship is.



Now this is flattering :D. Got the link from Jaya's blog




You Are a Pundit Blogger!



Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few
.


Sunday, February 27

Wisdom

"Life is a tragedy for those who feel. It is a comedy for those who think."

May be it is a action movie for those who act :)

Friday, February 25

Ghulam Ali and Jagjit Singh concert

Since a lot of people have been reaching on my site searching for the Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali concert, I thought I would put up the relevent information.

Date : 5th March
Venue:
Tickets: priced at 250, 500 and 1000/- available at Planet M, Pizza Corner and some more places.

will update it soon.

Thursday, February 24

KFC vs MacD

Veg Burger at KFC (in Forum Mall to be specific) sucks big time. I took the crispy one and if that was a crispy one, God have mercy on the normal one.

MacD wins hands down. It is not on thin air that they have built such a fortune. They rock !!

Tuesday, February 22

bahut bechain hai ye dil mera !!

bahut bechain hai ye dil mera,
ki aaj kisne hume yaad kiya?

mili sharaab ya aankh ke aansoo,
ki humne jo bhi piya khoob piya.

Hansi khushi umeeden baad-e-vafaa,
mila tha jo bhi sabko baant diya.

liya Zindagi ko humne aade haath her pal,
Aur zindagi ne bhi bharpoor inteqaam liya.

dekh yoon zindagi ka haal abhaga bola,
jiya jiya, na jiya to bhi aisa kya na jiya.

Wednesday, February 9

raaj-e-mohabbat jin dilon me hote hain

Raaj-e-mohabbat jin dilon me hote hain,
voh kuch chup chap se, khaamosh se kyon hote hain?

mahakte hain chaman jin gulon ki khushbu se,
subeh do ashk unki aankh me kyon hote hain?

na ki parwah kuch zinda main jab tarapta tha,
mere marne pe voh kyon zaar zaar rote hain?

lagaaye daag kaise aadmi ne seene pe,
zamin ke, abr her ek roj aake dhote hain.

ye bahaaren, ye mahfilen, ye khushi ka aalam,
aur hum badhavaas se, khaamosh baithe rote hain.

Na ker tu gam mere dil ab kisi ke khone per,
voh kahan paate hain jo kuch bhi nahi khote hain.

Monday, February 7

Saturday Night Fever

Another gem from Hussain brothers. I got two more of their albums yesterday which takes the count to 11 now.

Once again, you have to listen to this one to understand why it is here and what does it have to say that you cannot read.

Meri uljhan se mere saath ulajhne vala,
koi to hota meri baat samajhne vala.

Aaine teri to sakhiyan hain voh aankhen, ye bata,
kiske khwaab un me sanjoye hai sanwarne vala.

Apna dil bhi vo kasauti pe kabhi to rakhe,
mere ahsas ka maghmoom parakhne vala.
[maghmoom - woe]

abke aaye jo koi abr to kuch aisa khayaal,
meri aankhon ki tarah roj barasne vala.

-- Priyadarshi Thakur Khayal


Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali are giving a combined concert in Bangalore on 5th of March. Guess who is excited about it :)

Saturday, January 22

On His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-three !!

I know it is a little late but how often do you find somebody like John Milton writing a sonnet about turning 23.

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits indu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-master's eye.

-- John Milton


Now at first look his poetry seems to be rather terse and lacking in warmth but I have found that it does has a way of growing on you over the time . "On His Blindness" makes much more sense now then it used to back in school. Following is an excerpt I found on the net while searching for Milton. I guess I am not too off the popular opinion here.

"Milton both in his life and work was cold and lonely. He was a master without scholars, a leader without followers. Him we can admire, but cannot love with an understanding love. Yet although we love Shakespeare we can find throughout all his works hardly a line upon which we can place a finger and say here Shakespeare speaks of himself, here he shows what he himself thought and felt. Shakespeare understood human nature so well that he could see through another's eyes and so forget himself. But over and over again in Milton's work we see himself. Over and over again we can say here Milton speaks of himself, here he shows us his own heart, his own pain. He is one of the most self-ful of all poets. He has none of the dramatic power of Shakespeare, he cannot look through another's eyes, so he sees things only from one standpoint and that his own. He stands far apart from us, and is almost inhumanly cold. That is the reason why so many of us find him hard to love."

-- H. E. Marshall


Is there some similarity to Bachchan here who is also called a Aatmvaadi kavi ? Unfortunately for most of the part, Milton is still pretty hard for me to read and comprehend on my own. So this comparision will have to wait.

Thursday, January 20

Language and Education - III : Arts

The arguments of last two posts seem to indicate that the future of human languages is quite bleak. There is however a silver lining in the black clouds.

As I see it now, the previous arguments fail if you want to apply them to things related to art. I am using this word in the broad sense of meaning most of the creative activities. Now in art, there is little role of "building on top". Surely to become a good writer, as anybody would tell you, you must read a lot or to produce good music, it helps to listen to a lot of good music. It helps but again whenever you start, you are at ground zero. You have to start on your own and buildup. The fact that Ghalib wrote very good sher-o-shayari, makes it no easy or no less creative for a new shayaar to start writing. Similarly Picasso's paintings might have influenced a lot of painters but each and every one of their works is a result of a journey they did alone.

Another point is that I think most of the art is very personal. A true artist creates and lets the creation go but that in way takes away the individuality that resides in those creations. And so something like "collective feelings" won't do. It just doesn't fit my concept of creativity as of now.

Now the problem of channel remains true even in this case. You will find no artist who will say that he has been able to convey exactly what he wanted in his creation. Because if he had been able to, there will be little motivation for that next one. However this vagueness is the biggest asset that languages and other mediums of artistic expressions have over a better channel. They allow the artist to keep his individuality and still give enough to the world. Naked feelings are too crude to be conveyed around. And anyway, we have always had that means of communication called inspiration that sciences lack so much. I think this combinations is very good for the purpose at hand.

Someday in retrospect, it will seem ironical that the first ones to dump languages were the sciences whom it served beautifully always and it took arts to save it and nurture it who always complained about its inadequacy for their purposes.

Language and Education - II : Future

While writing the last post, I again got a direction that led to my favorite theory of future evolution of human race, namely gaia or collective intelligence. I am not sure how much time it will take us to reach there and the chances of it happening in my lifetime or your are quite bleak. We are talking of evolution here guys :) !!

If you again consider the argument of last post and I would stick with the mathematics, today one needs to study a lot before he gets to the point where he can start making new contributions to a field and even then he/she ends up in a very specialized field. Now there are two things that make this model of progress inherently doomed.

First one is a little silly but it stands none the less. Most of the major contributions of a mathematician come at a young age and in the first half of his career. There are very few examples of ground breaking works from old mathematicians. For more on this, Hardy's "A Mathematician's Apology" is a good read. Now as the amount of the knowledge to be gained increases, the time you need to study and learn that increases and so the amount of time you have to contribute decreases. The solution lies in a way of quick learning. More on this in a while.

Second reason is that as we get more and more specialized and focused, we struggle to keep the big picture in mind and as a little look into the history of science and maths will tell you, real progress, real breakthroughs mainly come about from inter field explorations. Examples are Coordinate Geometry and most recently, proof of Fermat's last theorem that was the result of a beautiful result connecting the fields of Elliptic Integrals and Modular Forms. Remember, it took a life long ambition and decades of hard work on the part of one man to achieve it.

Now the obvious solution to this problem is collaboration but the effort needed to collaborate can be huge. It is tough for a professional topologist to understand more than 30-40% of a Number Theory Journal (okey, NT's language is easy but take any other field for that matter). And to look for the right techniques and keep track of all the work going on can be out of bounds for a human. If it is not yet, it will be very soon.

The common problem in both the above cases is that the communication between humans happens through language and words right now which if I go by information theory, is a channel that adds noise to the information being conveyed. Moreover the capacity of this channel is limited and we seem to be approaching that limit(think in terms of 100-200 years here). What is needed is a way to be able to communicate better both in quantity and quality. And as the whole evolution story tells us, if it is needed, it is going to comeup.

Some indications to that is already here in form of internet or cyberspace. It is nowhere near to what will come up eventually but it is a beginning in that direction. Machines still do not work as an entity but they can connect and in a way, even humans connect through them. May be this is just an experiment before the actual game with humans begins.

It is sad that languages whom I love so much and which have been so useful to us all this time, will have to phase out to allow for future things but may be not. That will require another post. Meanwhile Future looks exciting and I just can't wait !!

Language and Education - I

If one has to name one skill of human race that has enabled it to survive and prosper on earth, it will have to be the ability to build up on top of existing knowledge. And if we stretch the point a bit more, even the evolution of life is dependent on this very ability. The difference is that before the evolution of primates, this ability was mainly hidden in the genes, completely in the hands of nature, something called Natural Selection. But as the evolution happened and the brain size increased, species started to use this ability consciously and then came man and devised language.
Normally when we talk about language, we think of it as a medium to communicate information. But language also enables us to store information. The capability to store information protects against the attrition of knowledge and allows the coming generations to build on top of what has already been done.
And this is one of the aims of education that the champions of creativity sometimes completely forget. It is good to have creative, innovative people but for pushing the frontiers and for filling the details, we also need people who are knowledgeable.
Consider the example of Mathematics. A large number of people never get interested in this queen of sciences because they have to suffer a bad teacher early on in the education. But this doesn't undermine the importance of education. The amount of mathematics that has already been done and is being generated everyday is enormous. The probability of one person mastering all the 3 main branches of mathematics had become negligible in the beginning of this century and currently the situation is that mathematician as a profession name is nothing more than a crude generalization. Now a days we have professions like algebraic topologists, functional analysts and so on. Now before you can start making any significant contribution to the mathematics, you have to study a lot and that requires many of the habits that education, and I mean "regular classroom education" imparts us. It can be a matter of debate that had Ramanujam got proper school training what would have happened to him but we are all aware of the problems he had to face because of lack of it. He discovered a large part of work done by Europeans in the last 200 years and then started building on top of that. Had he been able to pick all that up in a proper training, he might have proved to be much more productive.
The idea is that education saves us from reinventing the wheel. Inventing it might be a fun and most innovative thing to do but not very useful !!

Saturday, January 8

Ek Ghazal

This one is a proper Ghazal following all the rules of form of Ghazal. The meter of different shers might be a little off but I hope it is bearable.

kabhi hans ke thodi shikayat karenge, meri jaan sun na
ki sapno ki tanhai me kuch kahenge, meri jaan sun na.

range kore kagaz the pahle bhi maine, magar tumse mil ke,
ajab dard aaya hai nagmon me mere, meri jaan sun na.

Machalna to hai dil ki aadat purani, magar is dafa to,
buna dhadkano ne bhi hai ek tarana, meri jaan sun na.

jo taareekh me darz ho na sakin, aisi kuch daastanen,
shab-e-taar me gungunaate hain taare, meri jaan sun na
[shab-e-taar - dark night]

hawayen kahengi khalish mere dil ki , magar apne muh se
kah na sakoonga main tumse abhaga, meri jaan sun na.
[khalish - pain]

Wednesday, January 5

Na uthe sitaaron ki paalki !!

kabhii yuu.N bhii aa merii aa.Nkh me.n ke merii nazar ko Khabar na ho
mujhe ek raat navaaz de magar uske baad sahar na ho
[navaaz - to grant]

vo ba.Daa rahiim-o-kariim hai mujhe ye sifat bhii ataa kare
tujhe bhuulane kii duaa karuu.N to duaa me.n merii asar na ho
[rahiim-o-kariim - kind & generous; sifat - talent]

mere baazuo.n me.n thakii thakii , abhii mahav-e-Khvaab hai chaa.Ndanii
na uThe sitaaro.n kii paalakii, abhii aahaTo.n kaa guzar na ho

ye Gazal ki jaise hiran kii aa.Nkho.n me.n pichhalii raat kii chaa.Ndanii
na bujhe Kharaabe kii roshanii, kabhii becharaaG ye ghar na ho

vo firaaq ho yaa visaal ho, terii yaad mahakegii ek din
vo gulaab ban ke khilegaa kyaa, jo chiraaG ban ke jalaa na ho

kabhii dhuup de, kabhii badaliyaa.N, dil-o-jaa.N se dono.n qubuul hai.n
magar us nagar me.n na qaid kar jahaa.N zindagii kii havaa na ho

kabhii din kii dhuup me.n jhuum ke kabhii shab ke phuul ko chuum ke
yuu.N hii saath saath chale.n sadaa kabhii Khatm apanaa safar na ho
[shab - night]

mere paas mere habiib aa zaraa aur dil ke qariib aa
tujhe dha.Dakano.n me.n basaa luu.N mai.n ke bichha.Dane kaa kabhii Dar na ho
[habiib - beloved]

--Bashir Badr

And to really appriciate it, you have to listen to its rendition by Hussain brothers who bring out the magic hidden in these words beautifully and make it almost palpable. If you are a Ghazal listener and you have not listened to Ustaad Ahmed Hussian and Mohammed Hussain, you have missed out on something big. Just rush and grab a copy of one of their albums or if u can, listen to them at www.musicindiaonline.com in Ghazal section.

Tuesday, January 4

Pune Visit

One of these days I may write more about it but for the time being, he said it all.

Monday, January 3

From last year !

3.

chalo mere saath jab tak raaste apne judaa hote nahi,
musaafir chaar din ke hum, kisi ko bevafa kahte nahi.

hain is umeed me kayam nafas ke silsile ab tak,
ki mera muntazir hoga, liye voh haath me khanjar kahin.
[Nafas: breath,saans Muntazir: one who waits]

asar deedar ka hai ya ki kaafir ho gaya hoon main,
tamanna-e-parastish hai magar koi khuda bhata nahi.
[parastish: worship]

bahut si khwahishen aayin humaare darmiyan lekin,
na main badla abhaga, na meri aawargi badli kahin.

1.
Zinda rahe to fir milenge,
haal-e-dil tumse fir kahenge,
aur karenge umeed,
ki kabhi kisi udaas shaam me,
tumhaari aankhon se ek aanson humaare naam ka bhi bahega.

Zinda rahe to fir milenge,
haal-e-dil tumse fir kahenge,
aur karenge umeed,
ki kabhi kisi andheri raat me,
taaron ki us barat me ek chehra tumhe humaara bhi dikhega.

Zinda rahe to fir milenge,
haal-e-dil tumse fir kahenge,
aur karenge umeed,
ki chahe tum mujhe bhool bhi jao,
tumhaare dil me thoda sa dard humaare naam ka fir bhi rahega.

Zinda rahe to fir milenge,
haal-e-dil tumse fir kahenge,
aur karenge umeed,
ki yon to mahfil me ashraar bahut se pade jaayenge,
humaare dil ke chaalon per bhi koi to wah wah ker uthega.