Monday, November 01, 2004

To learn to live without....

Day in and day out we use things that has become part of our lives... Hardly we stop to think "What would I have done without this??" If we continue to skip such thoughts, then one day we may lose our imagination. At a moment, when we may have to re-invent the wheel - we may not be able to do it. Hiking, backpacking or trekking has been my ways to stimulate such thinking.

(Un)fortunately this time, just before my Yedakumeri trip I dropped my watch and it stopped working. I took this opportunity(??) to experience 3 days without a wrist watch. Of course I was always in touch with people who had wrist watches... But if I had asked them time every time I looked at my empty wrist, I would not be alive to write this blog today. I realized that I had become totally dependant on some machine to tell me the time... even though I could look up to the sky and see where the sun was... I was not able to figure out the time... My mind was just simply not tuned to such a deduction. My closest approximation of time happened at lunch time. It was around 2:00 PM when I was really very hungry and it was almost 2:00PM. Does that meant that the biological clock can substitute the quartz clock ?? I have another reason to believe so.. earlier in that morning, I just got up at 4:00AM to alight from the bus. No alarms... No conductor stopping at the bus-stop. You can call it sheer luck... but it is worth training our subconscious mind to work so well for us. Trying to learn more about knowing time without watches lead me to this site... good one to read.

Another thing I learnt to live without is my warm soft bed. As a usual practice of carrying less baggage, I carried only one thin blanket to protect me through out the night. I was woken up many times during the night when-ever a strong gust of cold wind passed by the railway-station. Normally, this is bad.. but that night it was really good. By the time we slept there was enough cloud cover and it could have rained any moment. But waking up to pitch dark sky decorated with millions of stars was satisfying for two reasons - simplistic beauty was the first reason; and assurance that it would not rain was the second. I am thankful that decided not to take much of warm clothes for the night and thus was able to see the sky.

Food and water were in plenty during this trek. Some day... one of these treks will also teach me to live without the city food.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Adventures of Alice In Wonderland

Finally I finished the book... Not only I took too long to read the book... I feel I read it 15 years too late. Anyway, It is said about this book that it is for people at all ages... Each one gets his own interpretations. The book requires a fair bit of knowledge about rhymes of Vicorian era to understand that they are being mocked.

Some stories in this book are really thought provoking. Things like, Alice trying to answer "Who am I?" provoke deepest philosophical discussions. It also points out that no matter what you are inside, people only care for what you do. When Alice has a long long neck, it does not matter to the little bird whether she was a serpent or not. If "Alice/Serpent" was long and ate eggs, it was a threat to its family.

It is very well pointed out that it is very diffcult to think like another person. When Alice tells that it was very difficult for her to have changed so many sizes that morning, it comes as a surprise to the caterpillar for whom changing size and shape is just a part of life. But for little Alice it was so diffcult to comprehend the changes.

The whole episode of the Hatter and his realtion with Time is intriguing. What if Time was our friend?? What if we could really control Time? Obviously even though all of know that time has a constant pace, we often refer to terms like "time flies" or "it seemed like ages"... The Hatter puts the very same logic with little bit of exageration to make the point that individual mood has lot to do with how time passes.

The Mock Turtle's description of life under sea, is a good mockery of the British education system. So is the Court room scene a mockery of the British judicial system. The converation of Alice with the Dutchess mocks the intent of so many fairy tales searching for a moral in each one of them. A fair knowledge of the social setup would help to enjoy the book more.

My take : A must read, at any age. Preferable every 10 years.

My Lucky Pen.

I am not superstitious. Definitely not. I have never based any of my decisions on things that I cannot control...

Having said that I have had my share of irrational, inexplicable choices. During my school days from 7th standard I always wrote exams using the same pen. It was a HERO pen, Chinese make. Never used that pen for anything trivial. I used it for filling forms for scholarships, writing essays for competition and so on... You may call it down right superstitious. On the eve of the most important exam then (10th Standard,1994) I slept over it (literally) and broke the pen. If I was superstitious, I would have been mentally broken... thought it was some sort of a sign for something really bad. No.. I just went on to write the exams using a brand new pen. I did very well in the exams. This new pen soon became my "Lucky Pen".

Few days after the exam results I had been to SBI, JC Road where the rank holders would be felicitated. The manager had a very similar pen and our pens got exchanged while I was signing on the guest list. I realised it only after I had come home. But I feared that if I told someone that I wanted to back to the bank to exchange the pen, I would sound irrational and superstitious. What would the bank manager think?? Just 2 days before he had praised me for doing so well in the exams and now I would ask him for my "Lucky Pen"?? At last I thought it was not worth the effort... after all, it was not even my original Lucky Pen... if luck could pass on from my old pen to new pen, then it could as well pass on from my pen to that manager's pen and I would still continue to do well in the exams...

There ended my saga of "Lucky Pen". Now-a-days, I don't care which pen I use to do what ever important I do. I make it a point not to. Superstitions are bad either way... if they work for you we get over confident... if they don't we get a scape-goat to blame our mistakes upon. Its best to let them go as soon as possible. Nevertheless, life would get boring if everything becomes logical.

I hope the pen is working fine... where ever it is now... I miss you.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Figures for fun by Perelman Ya and others...

The past 2 weeks have been utmost boring.... It has got nothing to do with the world around me... At least the world around me gave enough triggers to be happy about... first it was Ganesha Chathurthi... on and off showers... beautiful scenaries were created which could have been photographed if I had a camera at hand... But that's all hind sight... To sum it up... the whole 2 weeks was just plain uneventful. However, I picked a nice little obsession with volleyball.. we play for at least 3 hours a day now... 5-8PM... I used to come home with swollen fingers during the early days... But now it is OK...

Also, during the week, I finished the book of puzzles - Figures for fun by Perelman Ya.I. It was a very good book to start with... but towards the end it became a drag... an interesting drag though. The book gives reveals some lesser known history of some of the famous puzzles like Sam Loyd's 15 Puzzle, the game of chess, the original Indian "Towers of Hanoi". For instance, I never knew that half of the 15 puzzle combinations can not be solved. After reading the book, I realized that the Internet is full of that info... How could I have missed it?? In the same breath, I also felt proud that the author had acknowledged the Indian origin of the chess and the problem definition of "Towers of Hanoi". However, felt a little perplexed as to how biased historians and rob a nation of the credit it deserves... Just take the "Hindu-Arabic" numeric system that we use... The name Arabic is there only because the ignorant Romans learnt it from Arabs. It should have been only "Hindu" numeric system. The Arabs were only the carriers that spread the knowledge around. I hear that in some books the numeric system is even referred to as Arabic system... what non-sense. Apart from the famous puzzles, this book also introduces various mechanisms of measurements with out instruments... and general awareness of some unbelievable numbers. All in all, a good read for any one who appreciate mathematics.

I have now started "Alice's Adventures in the wonderland" gone past 3 chapters... lets see how it unfolds....

Monday, September 06, 2004

Alumni Meet and JanmAsTami

Random thoughts.
The weekend was dry... or should I call it wet since it was raining all the while. Sunday, I had a chance to attend the Alumni meeting of my college (KREC, now called NITK). Most of them were from the 70's batches... very few were from the 90s... Only 6 from 2000 or younger... Well, it was heartening to see that most of them were in very good positions and in time, there was a very good probability that we could also be similar positions... But Andy pointed out those who attend the alumni meeting are only those who are successful... Either way, since we also attended the meeting, we were also destined for greatness :-)) wishful thinking.

Today is JanmAsTami, the day we celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna... Happy Birthday and Many happy returns of the day... Legend has that he knows everything... and hence I believe he can read this blog too:-)) I was talking to a colleague about the festivities in his house on this occasion... We both felt that the "cosmopolitan" nature of bangalore has eroded all distinctive brahminical cultures from our life... A holy day means no more than a holiday (and this one was not even a holiday) for us... But I believe (and desperately hope that it is true) that inspite of not following the rituals associated with a holy festival as this one, the faith is still intact.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Phew... the thoughts just stopped coming....

The moment I thought I should start blogging, the train of thoughts just got derailed. Let me be back after regaining some sense and composure...

Till then...