A Curious Mind W(o/a)nders

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Untangled Tresses

-
Untangled tresses, could they be tangled again,
Should they be tangled again,
Would they be tangled again…

Messy locks they were to begin with,
Fragile strands woven together,
Chaotic adjustments to keep it whole,

Yet an ethereal beauty the tresses radiated,
An infectious joy from being whole,
A beauty lacking in the strands separated...

Still, tenuous were the contraptions at best,
Braids falling apart, coming together,
Then falling apart again..

Would the tresses get tangled again,
Could the tresses get tangled again,
Should the tresses get tangled again…

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Quote

-
One has to keep a particular openness of mind. Solving a problem is like going to a strange place, not to subdue it, but simply to spend time there, to preserve one’s openness, to wait for the signals, to wait for the strangeness to dissolve into sense.
- Peter Whittle (mathematician at Cambridge University)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Passage

-
Here today, I’ll be gone tomorrow.
But clocks will chime on unperturbed,
Hardly noticing my absence,
They never registered my presence in the first place;

The earth will keep spinning on,
Apples will continue falling for gravity,
Men will continue sparring,
And loving,
And doing a hundred trivial things,
Hardly noticing my absence,
They never registered my presence in the first place…

Malevolence or probably benevolence I imagined it was,
But indifference is what it really is,
Inconsequential speck of dust in the real scheme,
I’m here today, I’ll be lost tomorrow.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Magic Trance

-
Your fragrance is in the morning flowers,
The birds hum your mellifluous tunes,
The dawn paints your captivating smile,
My morning is blessed by your countless boons;

You are everywhere - your songs, your smiles,
Such a spell your magic has wrought,
Magic trance, you've weaved all over,
A trance from which hope I shall wake not.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Play

-
Another year ticks by,
Like a child lost in his game,
I play on unhurried,
Unmindful of time.

The more I play,
The more I lose myself in play,
The more I find the child at play,
The more I love the play.

I look for a steady playmate.
Is a playmate necessary?
Does this play allow playmates?
Do playmates play well?

As years go by I see plays within play,
So wonderfully fascinating, so absorbing,
Transfixed, I play on unhurried,
Unmindful of time.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Quest for Poise

-
Enamoured he was by men of poise,
Craved for equanimity and sang-froid,
Control over mind, body and thought,
Unflappable, tranquil, unassailable.

Enchanted he was by action without care for fruit;
Steady stream of unyielding will,
Undeterred by failures, unmoved by success,
Resolute, persevering, inexorable.

And work he did, untiringly night and day,
To transmogrify into his idol of poise,
To carve himself into a deity in human garb,
Imperturbable, impenetrable, towering.

Till one day he discovered to his utter surprise,
That he had stopped bleeding, he was above hurt,
Stopped crying, he was above tears,
Stopped laughing, he was above mirth!

To his utter dismay he realized that day,
He no longer touched anyone, nothing moved him;
He was just living dead,
As alive as an unfeeling stone.

Monday, June 03, 2013

The Mind at Peace

-
The stilled mind, the quiet mind,
Taut yet supple, 
Like a tiger before the pounce,
At war yet at peace,
In its own silence.

Staring death at each instant,
Still living life to the fullest,
Alert yet perfectly calm,
In harmony amidst the cacaphony,
The mind, in its own silence.

Monday, April 01, 2013

A Blight's Song

-
Incapable I am of being perfect -
I wobble, I slip, I flounder,
I meander, I squander, I wander -

Yet I want to reach you,
Attaining you is all I thirst for..

I possess only limited skills,
I accomplish little even when I try,
I trip and fall at every turn..

Yet I want to reach you,
Attaining you is all I thirst for..

Will I contaminate your splendor..?
Will I be a disgrace in your grandeur..?
Will your doormen ever admit such a blight..?

I do not know what you have in store for me,
Maybe consigned I am to eternal unfulfilledness..

Yet all I know is that I want to reach you,
Attaining you is all I thirst for..

Monday, March 04, 2013

Learning to Perform

-
Perform, at first I did for the admirers,
For the dilettante, the connoisseur, the critic,
For their applause, ovations…for the accolades,
I performed what was expected of me…

And the laurels flowed for sure,
Cynosure of eyes aplenty I was,
Bedecked, honoured and feted,
Celebrated, decorated and venerated;

Yet something was amiss somewhere, I felt,
A steady niggle at my heart it was, day after day,
And many futile nights I spent, looking for the flaw...
Till slowly, achingly, haltingly, it all dawned on me.

I couldn’t feel you in my song,
I couldn’t hear me in my song,
I heard the dilettantes and the connoisseurs,
But it’d been long since I’d heard my soul…

After that I began to sing for me,
Sing for the joy of realizing you…
Some in the assembly drifted, some stayed,
But you were mine, and I was in bliss.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Quote

-
The mind had to learn indirection and flexibility. Head-on attacks were second best. ... For all the best competitors, the goal was a mental flash, achieved somewhere below consciousness. In these ideal instants one did not strain towards the answer so much as relax towards it.

- James Gleick in "Genius", a biography of Richard Feynman

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quote

-
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.

- Albert Einstein

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kiss of life

-
Let not my stubbornness kill her, let not your stubbornness kill her,
Let not my ego kill her, let not your ego kill her,
Let not my stupor kill her, let not your stupor kill her,
Let not my naivete kill her, let not your naivete kill her;

She is as much your child as she is mine,
I can't heal this baby without you, you can't heal her without me...

Don't allow me to abandon her, don't abandon her yourself;
Our baby deserves the kiss of life, not the kiss of death,
A life of great vigour, tempered by our own experiences...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Selfish Organs

-
Its doomed to fail, the brain tells me,
The heart implores - go try once more,
If you jump ship its torrid waves, brain warns,
The heart tempts me - there’s an oasis ashore!

You’re brazenly being wronged, the brain tells me,
Heart says – balancing accounts can wait for later,
Its only agony and pain, the brain cautions me,
Heart counters – increasing torment increases the ardor!

The brain pleads – I’m just trying to save your heart,
The heart retorts – I’m ‘smart’ enough to take my own care!
And so I lie battered, in this internecine battle of selfish organs,
Of the wounds they’re causing to their master, they seem so happily unaware!

Monday, December 03, 2012

The dance of the Free

-
Tetherless, free...dancing my clumsy waltz,
Awkward yet blissful - a dance of my own,
Unscripted, unrehearsed, unrestrained;
I never learned to dance, but I learned to be free...

You threatened me with the fall,
So I gave up my craving for the rise;
You ambushed me with the dark,
I learned to see in my flickering candlelight;

You bullied me with the void,
I learned to find music in my nothingness;
You scared me constantly with death,
So I learned to laugh at life itself!

You had the power to steal everything from me,
But you couldn't take away my dance;
Awkward yet blissful - a dance of my own,
The dance of the Free.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Random impressions of India

-
I come back home to Kolkata, India, atleast once a year for a few weeks; this time around I jotted down some random impressions I had at the end of the stay:

- You have to stay continually alert and tough to survive...even on a day-to-day basis. Otherwise there is every chance that you will be tricked many times in a single day, or you'll be waiting in a queue ad infinitum, or you'll be charged a fine after an accident though it was no fault of yours, so on and so forth. You can't depend on the system, you have to fight the system every now and then.

- Judging by the standard of living, there are many sub-countries within the same country. The small minority of rich millionaires and billionaires live an enviable life by every global standard. The large middle class, of which I am a part, lives a life comparable to, or probably just a notch below an average advanced nation's denizens. The poor live a wretched life; its no life at all, just a daily struggle to survive another day. Despite such galling inequality the country doesn't fall apart since there is an osmosis between the various economic strata. Many of India's elite have risen through the ranks in a single generation, some honestly, some through the backdoor. Yet its this hope of breaking through the glass ceiling that prevents a rebellion by the deprived.

- There is hardly any formal social support system to fall back on. Thus you have to create your own informal systems and networks everywhere. If your locality has had some robberies you'd rather hire a few extra watchmen to patrol the place than expect much from the police. Only the elitest firms in the private sector give medical care, so you'd purchase your own medicare if you can afford it. Things like that. Relatives are important, community is important, workplace connections are important - these are the networks that help you naviagate the maze.

- Despite the distrust of governement in many day-to-day issues, there is an implicit faith in the government in certain affairs. Most people prefer to save in government banks, look forward to sending their kids to government higher education institutes (though they don't trust government "primary" education), prefer that there is some government control of natural resources, aspire for good government jobs etc. etc. The overall perception is that the government can be careless and dysfunctional at times, but its not inherently malicious.

- The 'honest' best that comes out of this country is very easily among the best you can find anywhere in the world (by 'honest', I mean the ones who've not used any back door to the top). And that's because their mettle has been tested in very demanding and chaotic of situations as they've tried to ascend the steps. If they've still managed to come out trumps, they are usually damn good. So if you care to look,  you'll find brilliant doctors, great scientists and innovators, smart shortkeepers, amazingly scheming politicians or traders...and all such innovative sorts strewn across the length and breadth of the country.

Thats it for now, more later :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pushing on


-
The further I move ahead,
The farther you recede,
Two steps forward I take,
Three steps away you push from me;

What am I doing wrong?
All I have is committed to this quest,
Yet you are not appeased,
No hymn of mine moves your heart…

You never held my hand,
Yet I pushed on undeterred,
Sometimes tripping myself every few steps,
Yet resolute in the hope of reaching you someday;

And push on, I will till the end,
In my own way, with my hand-made tools;
Sophistication, I might lack of fellow campaigners,
Yet my truth has to stir you someday…

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Whirlpool


-
Round and round, in circles I march,
Learn, unlearn, relearn,
Trapped in words, trapped in ideas,
Trapped in this body, trapped in this mind;

Fighting hollow battles, scoring empty points,
Furiously swimming in a whirlpool,
Trapped in my mirage, trapped in my senses,
Trapped in this body, trapped in this mind;

Proselytizing oblivious of my vacuousness,
Teaching to fly when I never had wings myself,
Trapped in my knowledge, trapped in my ignorance,
Trapped in this body, trapped in this mind;

Where is freedom, what is the truth?
What is real, what am I fighting for?
Will you ever reveal thy true face to me…
Will you ever rid me of me…

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lead me astray

-
Push me away, pull me afar,
Set me afloat, set me loose…

Let me drift, let me waft,
Lead me astray…

Take away the goals,
Take away the ticking clocks,
Strip me of all certainties,
Strip me of those convictions;

Take away the drive,
Take away the restraint,
Just lead me astray…

Rudderless, aimless, haphazard, lost,
Anonymous, blank, irretrievable,

Lost, lost completely lost…

For only when I lose myself completely,
Do I begin to discover you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Resisting the Juggernaut

-

The juggernaut of the inevitable,
Pushing, crushing, steamrolling;
The inexorable flow of nature’s will,
Overpowering; brooking no dissent,

Puny humans trying to resist, persevere,
Trying to comprehend, trying to alter the course,
Trying, trying, trying forever;
And inevitably ending either crushed or hypnotized.

Born into this theatre of mayhem,
How long can I stay untouched, unscathed…?
My certainties slowly melting away,
The farce of everything hits me in the face…

Yet persist doggedly I will,
To chart my own course to the shore;
However absurd, however meaningless,
I need to get to the true ‘meaning of it all’.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nice quotes

-
(i) A necessary condition for freedom is that you have no secrets to hide.

(ii) The problem is not when you are alone, it is when you are feeling lonely.

- Udayan

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm so lucky

-
There's something about your smile,
It's as if a million twinkling stars shining their benevolence,
There's something about your speak,
It as if the chirping birds at day-break singing their joy,
There's something about your touch, something about your feel,
Its as if the rays of the morning sun tenderly awakening me to the wonder of life...

Something magical in everything about you,
Atleast in the eyes of this starstruck beholder,
Starstruck, awestruck, lovestruck, privileged,
I'm lucky I know you, I'm lucky I love you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lament of a 'Known Uncertainty'

-
You commiserate, for I see the world differently,
You pity that I don’t get to see the world you see,
So I get a tender sympathy for all things you think I miss,
A benign compassion for a curiously different creature…

Yet, I have to go through your world to get to mine…
I experience your normalities, usualities and unusualities,
But I experience much more, feel much more,
See, hear, love and fear much more…

I mostly try to behave like you,
Like you think one must behave in your world,
Its not that hard you see, I know the world of yours well,
Its a beloved part of my world too…

Yet at times I try to show you that there’s a lot beyond,
A glimpse of the ‘real’ reality beyond your bubble…
For that’s what brought you to me in the first place,
The muffled voice of a kid trying to hear the beyond…

But times somehow seem different now,
You’re somehow mostly grown up these days,
Certain in your bubble, happy in your commiseration,
Content with being content…

I still try to reach out to that muffled, suffering kid,
- there are very few kids left in the world these days -
But the cozy, content adult gatekeeper brushes me off,
Brushes me off as a risky ‘known uncertainty’.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Are you there?

-
Where are you, do you know not that I seek desperately for you!

Hidden are you, in the joy of the song,
An indistinct voice I hear sometimes calling out from them…

Or concealed art thou in the lyrics of the bard,
Wisp of words unwritten I read sometimes when lost in those lines...

Are you among those birds soaring free in the evening skies,
Beauty of that spectacle whispers sometimes a purpose I don’t fully comprehend…

Or enwrapped are you in the drops of the morning dew,
An ineffable touch of delight I feel sometimes when the dawn breaks before my eyes…

Maybe ensconced you are in the squiggles of the equations,
A sublime caress I perceive often when playing in their midst…

Where are you, where are you,
Do you know not that I love you with all I have,
Do you know not that I seek desperately for you…

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Preparation for the Jorney

-
She toiled hard to prepare herself,
Read voraciously, studied all she could find,
Sought advice of masters who might know,
Absorbed what words of wisdom she could comprehend…

Determined she was, laggard she would not be,
when her journey commenced.

She practised hard, prepared her own way,
For she knew not the established style.
Her practice was steadfast…sincere, from-the-heart,

And the determination was very strong; laggard she would not be,
when her journey commenced.

At first it was about things without - the tangible things,
Later it was more within…introspection and circumspection;
When vanity came in her way, she shed all conceit,
Then went her pompousness, then her pettiness…

For determined she was, that when her journey commenced,
Laggard she would not be…

And finally the day arrived when she felt,
Felt an awareness arising from deep within,
She was now prepared…prepared to commence the journey.

And then, abruptly, all of a sudden, a new realization dawned,
It astonished her at first, she struggled with the thought,
This just didn't make sense!
But slowly, very slowly she understood...

The preparation itself was her journey.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nice quote

-

"The efforts of most human-beings are consumed in the struggle for their daily bread, but most of those who are, either through fortune or some special gift, relieved of this struggle are largely absorbed in further improving their worldly lot. Beneath the effort directed toward the accumulation of worldly goods lies all too frequently the illusion that this is the most substantial and desirable end to be achieved; but there is, fortunately, a minority composed of those who recognize early in their lives that the most beautiful and satisfying experiences open to humankind are not derived from the outside, but are bound up with the development of the individual's own feeling, thinking and acting. The genuine artists, investigators and thinkers have always been persons of this kind. However inconspicuously the life of these individuals runs its course, none the less the fruits of their endeavors are the most valuable contributions which one generation can make to its successors."

- Albert Einstein, in obituary for Emmy Noether, NY times, May 05, 1935


Monday, April 25, 2011

Some Moments

-
For that stunning stroke of brush on canvas,
For that harmony flawless…the supreme rhapsody…
For that unearthly shot to the distant goal,
Or that towering, masterful act on stage…
For that beauty sublime in the equation of math,

For awareness of the drop of pin in the midst of all din...

For such fleeting moments of clarity,
Moments, when the spark is expressed,
Flashes of absolute perfection...

Moments that make living worthwhile…
Life, a chance to make such moments…

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happy Birthday

-
Born anew every moment;
A new cell, a new tissue,
New atoms and new molecules,
Forming in me every second...

Yesterday's innocuous potatoes at dinner,
Metamorphosed into the new me of today...

New qualities, new discoveries,
New experiences, new truths...
Born anew every instant;

Birth and rebirth,
Till I become "Me".

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Instant

-
Fire within, yet calm his bearing was;
Abuse him or jeer him,
applaud or extol him,
the calm never left his being,
the fire never dimmed...

He waited patiently,
ages and eternities...
It was as if time did not exist for him...

The fire as strong as always,
the calm, just as serene,
and he waited...

Waited, waited, waited...

Till the mists could hide it no longer,
The illusions, obscure it no further...

In an instant he saw it all.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Music

Gem of a thumri in raag Kafi by Begum Akhtar:
Part-1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QesRs8PhUI
Part-2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0g2eLlpmK8&feature=related

Pandit Jasraj, Gaud Malhaar:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns_X_Q7Kdj8

Ustad Barkat Ali Khan (Bade Ghulam Ali's brother), two thumris in raag Bhairavi:
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fMr_Mg4LwI&feature=related
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zmWNcAH9cU

Ustad Munawar Ali Khan (Bade Ghulam Ali's son), raag Kedar and Hamir:
Part-1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV5s8jKX2_s&feature=related
Part-2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbqE053YpTA&feature=related
Part-3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyoHo5w1i6w&feature=related

Friday, July 16, 2010



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Goddess or Delilah!

-
Lay down you, your inquiring guard awhile,
And in she flows, untainted, nubile,
Into your innards, uninhibited, charming,
Gripping you with her innocent smile,

Weeks of effort, months of meditation,
Post punishing routine of practice, mile after mile,
The climax, that instant of clarity when she flows in,
Apparently making the effort all worthwhile…

Yet flows in she, only when guard you drop down,
Challenging rationality you surrender to her guile,
Whether goddess or delilah you question no longer,
Only then that damsel named ‘understanding’ enters,
Permeates you in her subtle, inimitable style,

So indoctrinated you are by the time you usually ‘understand’,
Critical independent thought, you’ve surrendered to her wile,
Goddess or delilah you’re capable of questioning no longer,
Tell me then, is all this effort of yours to ‘understand’ really worthwhile?!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Misc. Quotes

-
"There are two ways of doing calculations in theoretical physics. One way, and this is the way I prefer, is to have a clear physical picture of the process that you are calculating. The other way is to have a precise and self-consistent mathematical formalism."

-Enrico Fermi to Freeman Dyson (1953)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Introspective

-
Do you ever wonder what lies beyond the immediate that surrounds us...beyond our cities, our nations...beyond this earth. We seem so besotted by our daily lives that we hardly have time to wonder...
Why do we humans give ourselves so much importance...don't we realize that we are as good as marooned on a dead rock of dust, aimlessly spinning around a ball of fire...without any definite purpose, without any aim...
Furthermore, we seem incapable of understanding anything in full depth; any apparent comprehension only leads only to further, more incomprehensible, riddles...and everything stays as hopeless as it ever was.

Yet, despite the apparent tragedy of our situation, we manage to delude ourselves in our small, confined worlds... Probably that is a gift. So hypnotized we seem to be in the immediate and routine that the bigger, deeper picture gets lost in some recess of our mind...buried under layers and layers of the everyday.
But wishing it away does not change the reality of our condition, does it?

What is real meaning of it all? Is there any purpose to life beyond this delusion and routine? Are we capable of realizing the meaning of it all...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Perfect

-
In the midst of din, the perfect silence;
in the midst of cacaphony, the perfect song;
in the midst of friends, the perfect isolation;
in the midst of wisdom, the perfect ignorance;
in the midst of certainty, the perfect confusion;
in the midst of mirth, the perfect solitude;
in the midst of inebriation, the perfect sobriety;
in the midst of vigour, the perfect lassitude;
in the midst of failure, the perfect success;
in the midst of sleep, the perfect awakening;
in the midst of ruin, the perfect beginning;
in the midst of life, the perfect death.
--

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Cooking

-
Cooking often gives me a lesson in the way in which "real" science must be done...some basic theory, some experience, some experimentation, some intuition...
How much of each to use no one really knows... Yet with time each cook discovers for himself a sort of mix that works for him...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

An Unequal Game

-
What is me,
I ponder, ponder...fail to grasp...

A summation of faculties and senses..?
A package of genes battling to survive..?
A set of values, principles and ideals..?
Or maybe just a combination of circumstances and conditions...

My own self, its mysteries and depths,
Its enigmas, novelties and vicissitudes,
I know not, I fully comprehend not...

Yet in this lifetime...in this universe,
This obscure, perpetually-rebelling rag-tag army of me is all I possess,
It is all I have on my side in the game;
This game of pleading, coaxing, bullying or tricking Reality, whatever works,
Into revealing the “meaning of it all”...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Its like riding a bicycle

-
If you ride too slow you lose balance; if you ride too fast you lose control.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Notes to myself

-
If you see any proof in fundamental maths, you'll see a portion of it is argued and the remaining gap is supposed to flow out without ambiguity from fundamental truths or axioms (mathematicians use the terms trivial or obvious for these steps).
Now most mathematicians have undergone similar training, so what flows from axioms and what needs to be proved is fairly uniformly understood in the tribe. But it is a result of their traning...because remember, there is no way of proving/disproving axioms.
Many of these same theorems are proved in other areas like physics or finance or computer science and people in those areas often prove what is taken to be axioms in maths (and take as axioms what mathematicians prove)!

So what I assume to be true and what I argue to create higher truths is often just dependent on how I have been indoctrinated!

Sorry, there must be a better way of proving things.

As of this stage, I find the physical way of proving stuff (like in physics or finance) much more appealing because what these physical scientists take as axioms can atleast be verified experimentally. But it is very haphazard and area dependent... (what physicists take as axioms is often different from what people in finance take as axioms even if they are referring to the same basic phenomenon like stochasticity).

But there must be some way of regularizing this physical approach to mathematics..

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Misc.

-
Bad math problems are "notation play" problems. Stress on the form rather than content. (Bad)^complement = (Good)
I'm bad at solving bad problems. Get me good ones.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Note to myself

-
Must never use the eraser. It is as important for people to know my mistakes and wrong turns as it is to know the final successes..
Thats the only way they can build on it..

Friday, October 30, 2009

Moi quotes :)

-
Do not let your surroundings tell you your worth. Stick to what you think is your own worth (be honest about that assessment) through everything, and you'll see gradually your surroundings will begin to agree with your assessment.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sense your love

-
Can’t you sense a problem?
Sense her inner workings, inner beauty,
Her secrets, mysteries and riddles..

Like you sense your lady love,
Without the formality of words..

Why then these etiquettes, these jargons,
this choking formalism in your Science?!
Language as a tool to manufacture more language!
Labyrinths with pigeon-holes of increasing insignificance..

Just try sensing her like you sense the lady love in your life,
And in turn, she will bestow you with a sense of joy that no lady ever could..

Monday, October 12, 2009

Moi quotes :)

-
The true test of understanding is not really whether you can convince others about it. It is whether you can use it to build something more. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

You will be there, won't you?

-
When lost in life's tenuous maze,
Alone, forelorn and defeated,
Gagged and blinded, confused in haze,
You will be there for me, won't you?

When subsumed in ignominy of failure,
Ostracized by men of the world,
Beyond all balm, beyond all cure,
You will be there for me, won't you?

When drained hollow by aspirations of life,
Enervated, enfeebled and effete,
Barren and infecund, only dissipation rife,
You will be there for me, won't you?

You will be there for me, won't you...
--
originally written on March 25, 2005

Monday, August 31, 2009

Maintenance

-
How much time in our day goes off for just "maintenance" !

You sleep, you exercise, you eat, you study the same thing that you've studied earlier (coz you've forgotten), you talk to friends periodically, you watch movies or go for outings regularly...so many other things which are just maintenance! By "maintenance" I mean the effort to ensure that your life does not become worse than what it is currently...status-quo.

You or I am probably lucky because maybe our work itself involves some attempt (usually unsuccessful :) ) to push some limits of understanding. But if you look around you, most professions are "pure maintenance jobs"...ensuring that the world remains status-quo!!

But mind you, it is not easy to maintain status-quo...the laws of thermodynamics require that you have to put in "an effort" to stay even "the same"!!! But thats all the effort that most humans put all their lives!

Yet mankind would not have come this far, if we had been pure "status-quo-creatures".
A majority might like the comfort of "sameness", yet there is that slim minority of "crazy people" always trying to play at the frontiers...pushing the limits...ready to get a bloody nose 9 times so that in the 10th attempt they can figure it out...its a different world altogether at these fringes... Would we have survived as a race without this "crazy bunch"...??

Lets try to formulate all this abstraction through a simple mathematical analogy :)
If we assume human lives to be one-dimensional lines on a plane, the attempt to maintain status-quo would correspond to keeping the first derivative (i.e. slope) constant.
Most humans are born into a slope (in real world terms "social standing"), or early in career rise into a social standing with a certain slope function. Most of the rest of life is spent in keeping up that slope function. If you are able to see visually what I'm trying to explain, you'd intuitively understand that it takes an effort to keep the slope of a line "positive" under these assumptions!

The "crazy bunch" on the other hand is working for the second derivative (or acceleration).
The only issue is this...if you manage to generate a high acceleration without getting the direction of velocity (first derivative) right, it might just be a magnum-opus disaster! :)

Well, its damn funny if you begin to look at the human race at various levels of abstraction. Just like the landscape view keeps changing as you take-off in an aircraft (its breathtaking, right!)...and patterns which you never noticed when on earth become clearer and clearer as you start looking at it from the sky...the human puzzle too shows its hidden clues if one can cultivate the habit of looking from different heights...heights of abstraction :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nomad

-
The lure of love was not lure enough,
The threat of hatred not threat enough;

The ambition of power was not ambition enough,
The risk of ignominy not risk enough;

The security of the familiar was not security enough,
The scare of the unknown not scare enough;

He was a restless nomad at heart,
Had to get back on the road;
The road to the meaning of it all…

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The World is Not Enough

-
Familiar problems, familiar solutions,
Familiar grudges, familiar revolutions;
Familiar miseries, familiar joys,
Familiar games, familiar toys;

Familiar contentment, familiar ambitions,
Familiar failings, familiar resolutions;
Familiar silences and the familiar articulation,
Manifesting in it all, the same pattern of the same creation...

Living each day,
Day after day for a lifetime,
The joy each day of understanding the pattern better,
The tedium each day on understanding the pattern better...

This world is not enough,
Lets explore new patterns, find a new universe...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Conversations with the Big Magician-1

-

Tired of my pitiable ignoramus human plight,
To the Big Magician I went up one night,
Mustering all my courage, demanded with all my might,
C’mon Mr. Magician, into your divine creation spell, gimme some insight.

Listen mortal, he snapped, do I have a board which says free invite?!
Mr. Christ had to slug it over the cross for years, a’rite,
And that guy Einstein had to ditch his wife night after night,
And you know what, I still gave them hogwash, all that despite!

But such tactics weren’t putting me off that night,
C’mon Mr. Magician I said, have mercy on this mortal blight,
One can’t be such a dunce all life, I’ll be very forthright,
I’ll jump off the cliff right now if you don’t gimme that heavenly creation byte.

Some chord struck somewhere I guess, for Mr. Magician suddenly turned pretty contrite,
Go away he pleaded; I can’t stand this unforgiving spotlight,
These regular interrogations from you mortals; I beg you all, give me some respite,
And in between sobs, his sad tale he began to recite...

I was way too drunk, that fateful creation night,
It was some inebriated, unquotable abuse in between a drunken fight...
And you know what the real sad part is...I know so many abuses...I’m still trying to figure out which one I used that night!!!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Prisoner

-
Prisoner of my mind,
Prisoner of this flesh and blood...

Prisoner of my ignorance,
Prisoner of my knowledge,
Prisoner of my strengths,
Prisoner of my failings...

Prisoner of birth,
Prisoner of an unknown death,
Prisoner of my past,
Prisoner of present circumstances,
Prisoner of an uncertain future...

Prisoner of logic,
Prisoner of emotion,
Prisoner of the spoken word,
Prisoner of unspoken words...

Yet uniquely free...
Free cause I’m aware of my prisons.

I try to understand...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Intuiting

-
Try picking up any new art, hmm lets say cooking. At first you are struggling with everything; sometimes you've put too much spice while at other times you've forgotten it completely! Some other time the salt has gone wrong...or god knows what else. Struggle for a while though, and the struggle becomes progressively lesser even without you making a conscious effort. It is as if your body has sub-consciously figured the thing out! Or if you've ever tried to woo a member of the opposite sex you'd know what I'm saying. At first (s)he is one big package of mystery. Yet gradually you manage to recognize the sublime clues (s)he is throwing around...and then somewhere down the line, the clues even begin to make sense!

Though not that apparent, the process of discovering new stuff in science is in fact quite similar to the examples above. Whether you are doing maths or physics or any of the newer exotic specialisations, the first stage is usually feeding yourself the basic stuff in a form that you understand. The "form you understand" differs from person to person and it is important that you figure out the drink that suits you best. For someone it might be mathematical symbolism, for someone else it might be practical examples, while for a third person it might be some other hybrid. As they warn: if marriages are made in heaven, you'd better search hard for your special someone on earth!

Give yourself the right drink for a while and you'll find that you've reached a state where you're able to sense pictures in jigsaw fragments and melodies in the notes. Thats "intuiting". The ability to make jumps in reasoning and see the story linking disconnected episodes... It is a very sublime thing; if you try to immediately logically reason it, the thing just goes away! But allow it to play itself out without willful tinkering and you'll begin to witness the effortless "falling into place" phenomenon. Try the rigorous checks later on; 9 out of 10 times you'll find the jigsaw pieces fell in place just right!

Intuiting is an amazing faculty and doesn't seem to be limited to any particular field of activity. Talk to any good football coach and (s)he'll emphasize the development of "legs in your brains"; thats just another form of intuiting.

Step back and think for a while... What makes us human... Can't machines today do almost everything we humans do... Well everything except "intuiting". Have you ever seen a machine drunk?? :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Process of "figuring out"

-

Many of us engaged in research are so busy with “figuring out” stuff that we rarely have time to step back and figure out the process of figuring out itself. In this brief article I’ll try to turn the lens onto itself by using an analogy with learning to drive a car.

a) Logical Rigor: Some people need to know all the traffic rules to learn to drive. Whenever faced with a tricky situation, they’ll refer to the rigorous rules to show them the way. Suppose such a driver has learnt driving in the U.S. and is asked to drive in India, he will first try to understand how many of the U.S. traffic rules apply in India. Then he will try to map the differences, if any, in terms of the U.S. rules that he already knows.

In the world of “figuring out”, these are the disciples of rigorous logic. It is indeed quite amazing that the fabric of nature can be expressed through the rigour of mathematics and that mathematical rules discovered in one branch of human knowledge apply with minor changes to other unrelated branches (much like traffic rules in India and the US); well, but that is how reality is!

b) Experimentation: Some people need to drive on the road before they learn how to drive correctly. They will violate speed rules to discover speed limits, drive on wrong lanes to understand the correct direction of traffic and so on. They need to check whether what happens on the real road matches with what is mentioned in the traffic rulebook.

In the real world, these are the experimentalists. They are the ones on the fields and in the labs, verifying hypotheses against the realities of nature.

c) Intuition: This is the third technique to learn driving and frankly, is the least understood of the three. Students of this school may fiddle a little at the steering wheel, they may read a few traffic rules here and there, or might play around with the car on the road for a while; and somehow in the process of doing such apparently quirky things they get a hang of how to drive.

These are the intuitionists of science. They are the ones fiddling around with stuff according to no prescribed rules and possess the remarkable ability to divine the picture of the whole from random jumbled fragments.

In a certain sense, it is as if the intuitionists are the adventurers discovering new habitable territory; the disciples of rigour are the manufacturers of the equipment required for discovery, and the experimentalists are the final arbitrageurs of habitability.

In the world of science, the above three are not watertight categories really, and most researchers possess a combination. The intuitionist often keeps experimenting to build his intuition; the experimenter requires mathematical knowledge to decide what rules to check against the realities of nature, and the logical theoretician tries to stay updated on empirical results.

Yet despite all the skill set mix-ups, I’m ready to take a wager for any amount that if you talk to a genuine researcher, you’ll notice one of the three streaks dominating.
Of course, me and me alone decides who is genuine enough for our bet! :)


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pursuit of Science

-
The strive for a meaning deeper,
Quest for a beauty profound,
Hunt for the subconscious whole
Buried somewhere in apparent fragments,
The pursuit of science...

The joy of fearless intuition,
The delightful subtleties of logic,
The exultation on the path of 'figuring out'
And the euphoria of comprehension,
The pursuit of science...

Maybe lost I am on an insignificant speck of dust,
Wandering in a universe I do not yet fathom,
Struggling every step to make sense of it all...
Yet overjoyed I am,
Beyond words, beyond expression, beyond all imagination,
That I chose the pursuit of science...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thoughts for the day

-
1. Mathematics is just "consistency rules"
2. Empiricism in Physics is "laboratory experiments". Empiricism in Social Science is "observations".

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Words of Wisdom

-
1. Degrees are the means, not the end...don't ever get confused about that.
2. The only way to the goal of perfection is through improving approximations.

Yep, both mine :P

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Theatre Unparalleled

-
Such an amazing theatre this…
Such astonishing performances, such a fabulous stage,
I gaze in awe…

What ingenuity and improvisation,
What brilliance with determination,
How can I not be moved…

Thrilled I am…beyond words, beyond descriptions…
To find myself in this marvellous troupe,
Unravelling the script even as we perform…
Perform the human play…

Thursday, April 10, 2008

-

-
"He never grew up; but he never stopped growing."

The Economist, Mar-Apr 08 issue, pg 92

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Paradox

To transcend humanity while continuing to stay human,
To rise above shortcomings while preserving failings that make a human,
To patiently persevere...persevere as only a human can,
To wonder...wonder as only an insignificant awestruck human can...

To stay a bumbling human yet dare to understand the meaning of it all...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Purpose

-
I, an inconsequential human,
Wobbling in a universe I don't yet understand...

Fighting my ignorances,
Battling my limitations,
The follies, the momentary delusions...

Diligently paying my labour of existence,
The price of every breath...

To what end...what be the purpose of this life,
The meaning of it all...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Courting a Problem

-
At first it’s just a foggy blur,
You’re neither sure nor clear,
Yet somewhere…somewhere deep down within you,
That insatiable bug named “curiosity” has raised its head,
And you know you’re on the roller-coaster again…

You court that fuzzy blur,
Play with it, fight with it, dream of it…
And then one day all of a sudden,
Sudden as if by magic, you start seeing indistinct patterns,
Patterns in the haze, sequences in the blur,
Gradually getting unambiguous, lucid and clear…
You know she’s agreed to your serenade,
The “it” has morphed into a “she”,
And your joy knows no bounds…

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Quote

-
If you can't solve a problem, then there is an easier problem you can't solve: find it

- George Polya

Monday, June 25, 2007

I hate "knowledge-middlemen"

-
Make all knowledge easily available...and most people have the intelligence to figure the thing out for themselves.
Most professions thrive through maintaining information asymmetry...and that's disgusting.

Plus as an individual, it your own responsibility to develop your faculties, so that given access to the knowledge, you can figure the thing out yourself...otherwise you are doomed to being exploited forever...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Clarity

-
It's damn simple...and loads of fun!
:-)

...i'm sure i didn't make any sense, did i... :-D

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Have fun

-
It's damn important to do things just bcoz they are fun...
[without always thinking if doing the thing fits in with your larger "saving-and-uplifting-the-world-agenda" :-)]

Having fun is vital oxygen for breakthrough research :-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fooling around

-
I'm sorry; but with all due respects, my purpose in life is to fool around :-)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Humour

-
Do you realise the meaning of humour?
The immense depth required for that genuine mischievous twinkle...for genuine humour...
It's not that easy to have pure unencumbered fun.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Paths to Enlightenment (in Mathematical Finance)...courstesy Wilmott

-

0.0 First steps -- General:

A. Black Scholes and Beyond: Option Pricing Models, N A Chriss
B. Derivative Securities, R Jarrow, S Turnbull
C. Introduction to Mathematical Finance: Discrete Time Models, S R Pliska

0.1 First steps -- Interest rates:
A. Fixed Income Analytics, K Garbade

0.2 First steps -- Stochastic Calculus:
A. An Introduction to the Mathematics of Financial Deivatives, S N Neftci.

0.3 First steps -- Honourable mention:
A. Option Market Making: Trading and Risk Analysis for the Financial and Commodity Option Markets, A J Baird

-------------------

1.0. Introductory -- General:

A. Options Markets, J C Cox, M Rubinstein
B. Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives, J C Hull
C. An Introduction to Mathematical Finance: Options and Other Topics, S M Ross
D. Paul Wilmott Introduces Quantitative Finance, P Wilmott.
E. The Mathematics of Financial Derivatives: A Student Introduction, P Wilmott, S Howison, J Dewynne

1.1 Introductory -- Interest rates:
A. Modelling Fixed Income Securities and Interest Rate Options, R A Jarrow

1.2 Introductory -- Exotics:
A. Structured Equity Derivatives: The Definitive Guide to Exotic Options and Structured Notes, H M Kat

1.3 Introductory -- Stochastic Calculus:
A. Elementary Stochastic Calculus With Finance in View, T Mikosch.

1.4 Introductory -- Computational:
A. Pricing Derivative Securities: An Interactive, Dynamic Environment with Maple V and Matlab, E Z Prisman

1.5 Introductory -- Honourable mention:
A. Investment Under Uncertainty, A K Dixit, R S Pindyck
B. The Complete Guide to Option Pricing Formulas, E G Haug
C. Real Options: Managerial Flexibility and Strategy in Resource Allocation, L Trigeorgis

---------------------------

2.0 Halfway technical -- General:

A. Quantitative Modeling of Derivative Securities From Theory To Practice, M Avellaneda, P Laurence
B. Financial Calculus : An Introduction to Derivative Pricing, M Baxter, A Rennie
C. Arbitrage Theory in Continuous Time, T Bjork
D. Theory of Financial Decision Making, J E Ingersoll
E. Risk-Neutral Valuation: Pricing and Hedging of Financial Derivatives, R Kiesel, N H Bingham F. Mathematical Models of Financial Derivatives, Y K Kwok
G. Continuous-Time Finance, R C Merton H. Paul Wilmott on Quantitative Finance, 2 Volume Set, P Wilmott.

2.1. Halfway technical -- Stochastic Calculus:
A. Introduction to Stochastic Calculus with Applications, F C Klebaner

2.2. Halfway technical -- Computational:
A. Implementing Derivatives Models, L Clewlow, Chr Strickland
B. Pricing Financial Instruments: The Finite Difference Method, D Tavella, C Randall

2.3. Halfway technical -- Honourable mention:
A. The Treasury Bond Basis, G D Burghardt, T M Belton, M Lane, J Papa.
B. Dynamic Hedging, N Taleb.

-------------------------

3.0 Technical -- General:

A. Options, Futures and Exotic Derivatives, E Briys, M Bellalah, H M Mai, F de Varenne
B. Modelling And Hedging Equity Derivatives, O Brockhaus, A Ferraris, Ch Gallus, D Long, R Martin, M Overhaus
C. Dynamic Asset Pricing Theory, D Duffie
D. Derivatives in Financial Markets With Stochastic Volatility, J-P Fouque, G Papanicolaou, K R Sircar
E. Mathematics of Financial Markets, P E Kopp, R J Elliott
F. Option Pricing and Portfolio Optimization: Modern Methods of Financial Mathematics, R Korn, E Korn
G. Introduction to Stochastic Calculus Applied to Finance, D Lamberton, B Lapeyre, N Rabeau
H. Martingale Methods in Financial Modelling, M Musiela, M Rutkowski
I. Pricing and Hedging of Derivative Securities, L T Nielsen
J. Essentials of Stochastic Finance: Facts, Models, Theory, A N Shiryaev

3.1 Technical -- Interest rates:
A. Interest Rate Models Theory and Practice: Theory and Practice, D Brigo, Fabio Mercurio
B. Efficient Methods for Valuing Interest Rate Derivatives, A Pelsser
C. Interest-Rate Option Models: Understanding, Analyzing and Using Models for Exotic Interest-Rate Options, R Rebonato
D. Interest Rate Modelling: Financial Engineering, N Webber, J James

3.2 Technical -- Stochastic Calculus:
A. Brownian Motion and Stochastic Calculus, I Karatzas, S E Shreve
B. Stochastic Differential Equations, B Oksendal
C. Stochastic Calculus and Financial Applications, J M Steele

3.3 Technical -- Honourable mention:
A. Optimal Portfolios, R Korn
B. Option Valuation under Stochastic Volatility, A L Lewis

-----------------------

4.0 Hard core -- General:

A. Security Markets: Stochastic Models, D Duffie
B. Financial Derivatives in Theory and Practice, P J Hunt, J Kennedy
C. Introduction to Option Pricing Theory, R L Karandikar, G Kallianpur
D. Methods of Mathematical Finance, I Karatzas, S E Shreve

4.1 Hard core -- Stochastic Calculus:
A. Continuous Martingales and Brownian Motion, D Revuz, M Yor
B. Diffusions, Markov Processes, and Martingales (two vol), Rogers, Williams

Monday, April 23, 2007

All that I want to do

-
All that I want to do is understand,
Understand…not through the lens of hocus-pocus that’s been used since long,
But through the method of science,
Understand the world of mass-interacting humans…

Free me from other bondages…cares,
Free me from the need to appear in-sync with the world;
I am not like all around me,
I can’t live not knowing…or atleast without trying to know…

Few moments of bliss when I’m getting to know,
Come with so many moments of mundane living,
Which I don’t understand, can’t make sense of…
Guard me from that so-called usual...I just can’t figure that out…

All that I want to do is understand…

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Timeless Wisdom... from Feynman

-
What should we teach people about science?
"I think we should teach them wonders and that the purpose of knowledge is to appreciate wonders even more."

What is understanding?
"Test it this way: You say, 'Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own language.' [If] you cannot [then] you learned nothing except the definition.... To learn a mystic formula for answering questions is very bad."

What is the first principle that must guide a scientist?
"You must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.... I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you're maybe wrong.... One example of the principle is this: If you've made up your mind to test a theory ... you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out. If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make [any] argument look good. We must publish both kinds of results."

What is unique about science?
"Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.... As a matter of fact I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."

"I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mess... in absence of agreement on equilibriums

-
Life becomes messy when counterparties can't agree on an equilibrium.

Somebody's terrorist becomes somebody else's freedom fighter...somebody's love becomes abuse for somebody else... You'll find endless instances of these kinds all around you.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Extreme view

-
Most people work so that they can lead a good life outside of work.
It it were in my power, I'd ensure that such people remained unemployed forever.

If your work doesn't obsess you, don't work..starve and die and decrease the burden on this planet.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Living Masks

-
What’s the point of tears,
If there’s no remorse in the heart;

What’s the point of a smile,
If there’s no joy in the heart;

What’s the use of a thanks,
If there’s no gratitude in the heart;

Just what is the use of bravado,
If there’s no real courage in the heart...

Such hollow masks people adopt to live in this world…

What’s the point of living,
If you are dead in the heart…

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Life as an instrument of defiance

-
Have you ever felt the urge of using life as an instrument of defiance…instrument to defy god, defy inevitability.

Whenever in the dumps, conventional wisdom dictates that we blame ourselves, learn from mistakes, adapt and move on…that’s what clever people tell you to do, right?
But what if you are sure you are right?

An arbitrage bet might fail under two scenarios:
Scenario 1: You bet it wrong, i.e. you just did not understand the arbitrage opportunity right.
Scenario 2: You figured it out perfectly, yet ran out of liquidity before the arbitrage bet could work out.

Very often, like in real financial markets, in life too you are dependent on external sources for liquidity…that’s the nature of living, right?

It is in scenario 2 that the urge arises…urge to use life as an instrument of defiance.

We, in our submissive meekness, rarely recognize Scenario 2…the tragedy of being human I guess…

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What Can I Do?

-
You shield me from hurt and pain,
By taking it all on yourself;
How, just how can I stay oblivious…

You suffer today,
So that I might not suffer tomorrow;
How, just how can I stay oblivious…

Just how can I walk on unmindful…
Just how can I walk on unconcerned…

Yet what can I do except entreat…
To allow me a share of your woes,
Use of my shoulders to lessen your burden…

As your friend, as somebody who truly cares,
As your fellow-traveller.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Quote

-
In physics, you're playing against God; in finance, you're playing against God's creatures.

(In "Calculus of Risk", Scientific American, May 1998, Emmanuel Derman uses "people" instead of "God's creatures")

Indifference

-
She had trained herself to be indifferent,

To negotiate through valleys of suffering,
Without shedding a single tear…

Oblivious to love,
Oblivious to misery;

To sit patiently silent through chicanery,
Without raising a single question…

Oblivious to integrity,
Oblivious to duplicity;

To bury her real emotions,
In an omnipresent smile,
In honey-covered words…

She thought her cultivated indifference to be a boon…

I thought it was the worst kind of curse,
She was no longer human…
And ironically, she had trained herself into it!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The first drizzle

-
The first drizzle of the season here in Mumbai today.
Got drenched while coming to office.
It's wonderful :-)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Useful Quantitative Finance Sites

-
1. Wilmott forum: http://www.wilmott.com/

2. Nuclear Finance forum: http://www.nuclearphynance.com/

3. Repository of papers: http://www.finance-and-physics.org/Library/articleh.html

4. Another QuantFin articles d'base: http://www.finance-and-physics.org/Library/articles.html

5. Online Exotics Calculator+Formula Database: http://www.sitmo.com/live/OptionVanilla.html

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Twisted Reasoning

-
A curious incident happened today morning.

At the Mahalaxmi station, noticed a well-dressed (should be well-educated, middle class) person urinating on the railway tracks. As usual, couldn't stop myself and ended up accosting him...appealing to his education/value-system/sense of hygiene.

Generally have found that in such cases that if the person is from a decent background, he realises his mistake and the sense of shame ensures no further repitition.

But today's guy shot back with a curious reasoning. His explanation was this. Anyways at a railway station you have all these trains...and if a person were in a train and using a latrinal, it would amount to the same thing though then nobody would say anything.
By this time my train had arrived and I had to leave...hope I left him feeling sufficiently humiliated so that he wouldn't easily repeat the exploit.

Well the flaw in his reasoning was simple.
At any point in time, a system is designed such that the best case scenario can happen from among available alternatives.
On a moving train, given the alternatives possible, making a latrinal the way it is, is probably the best case scenario for the Railways.
For our guy at the station, with a public bathroom available nearby, urinating on the tracks isn't.

I wish I get to meet him again to explain the logic.

Monday, February 05, 2007

-

It sometimes requires more courage to live in hope than to live on-the-edge.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Teaching

-
If you become a teacher do just the following:
1. Give him/her your value system. (toolset)
2. Teach him/her to think independently.

Then set him/her free and see the magic s/he creates.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

In the Ring

-
You’re in the boxing ring,
Punching, ducking, jabbing,
Getting hit…hitting back…

He is your opponent,
You want to overpower him…

You want him down,
Down on his knees,
Flat on the floor…

You want to win…

You are trading blows,
The pain, the hurt…
The smell of blood and the drama;

You fall countless times...

Many run away when you fall,
They have valid reasons to run away;

A few help you rise,
And they have no reason…

You’re getting better with every round,
Sharper punches, better footwork…

But the more you fight, the more confused you get...

You are no longer fighting him!
You hardly care about him;

The realization dawns…
You are your opponent,
And you know you have won…whatever the outcome.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shantiniketan etc.

-
Visited the abode of poet-laureate Tagore, Shantiniketan, during this trip back home.

Brief notes for myself now...will elaborate when I have time.
-Stayed at Prantik
-Visited:
1. Konkalitola mondir: One of the 51 Kali Peeths
2. Amar Kutir: Cottage industries emporium
3. Kopai nodi
4. Khowai: Gully eroded landscape
5. Vishwa Bharati University:
a) Gour Prangan: Morning assembly
b) Kala Niketan: Ramkinkar Baij exhibition was on
c) Sri-niketan: Leather and handicraft workshops
d) Upashona Griha: Meditation complex
e) Uttarayan complex: Five buildings inhabited by the Tagore family...Udayan, Konark, Shyamalee, Punashcha and Udichi buildings plus the Motor car used by Gurudeb and display gallery (with duplicate Nobel medallion) in Bichitra bhabon.

Also visited Netaji Bhabon in Kolkata besides a speed boat trip down Ganga :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Birbhoom...

-
Travelled extensively in the Birbhoom area of Bengal in the last two days.
Saw Shantiniketan, Tagore's abode among other things.

A longer post on this later.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

from Feynman archives...

-
We want [knowledge] so we can love Nature more. Would you not turn a beautiful flower around in your hand to see it from other directions as well?

Of course, men want knowledge for many other purposes also, to make war, to make a commercial success, to help the sick or the poor, etc., motives of various values. These obvious motives and their consequences the poets do understand and do write about. But the emotions of awe, wonder, delight and love which are evoked upon learning Nature's ways in the animate and inanimate world, together (for they are one), is rarely expressed in modern poetry where the aspect of Nature being appreciated is one which could have been known to men in the Renaissance.

And the crassness of our time, so much lamented, is a crassness that can be alleviated only by art, and surely not by science without art. Art and poetry can remind the mind of beauty and gradually make life more beautiful.

My lament was that a kind of intense beauty that I see given to me by science, is seen by so few others; by few poets and, therefore, by even fewer ordinary people.

The same thrill, the same awe and mystery, come again and again when we look at any problem deeply enough. With more knowledge comes deeper, more wonderful mystery, luring one on to penetrate deeper still ...It is true that few unscientific people have this particular kind of religious experience. Our poets do not write about it; our artists do not try to portray this remarkable thing. I don't know why. Is nobody inspired by our present picture of the universe?

The value of science remains unsung by singers, so you are reduced to hearing about it -- not a song or a poem, but an evening lecture about it....Perhaps one of the reasons is that you have to know how to read the music.

For instance, the scientific analysis says, perhaps, something like this: "The radioactive phosphorus content of the cerebrum of the rat decreases to one-half in a period of two weeks." Now, what does that mean?It means that the phosphorus that is in the brain of a rat (and also in mine, and yours) is not the same phosphorus as it was two weeks ago, but that all of the atoms that are in the brain are being replaced, and the ones that were there before have gone away.

So what is this mind, what are these atoms with consciousness? Last week's potatoes! That is what now can remember what was going on in my mind a year ago -- a mind that has long ago been replaced.That is what it means when one discovers how long it takes for the atoms of the brain to be replaced by other atoms, to note that the thing that I call my individuality is only a pattern or dance. The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, then go out; always new atoms but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday....

Friday, January 19, 2007

find your DREAM

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What are you beyond...beyond being your parents' wonderful child...your siblings' wonderful brother/sister...your friends' best friend...your employer's star employee...your spouse's wonderful husband/wife...your kids' wonderful dad/mom...what are you BEYOND all this, that's your CRAZY DREAM.

You might choose to fulfill your dream through these identities but first find it...find it beyond these identities...find it IN YOURSELF.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A rhymer for all people who think they're not lucky

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A strange thing happened last night,
I woke up in a fright,
It was suddenly so very bright,
Oh my! What a dazzling sight!

A fairy emerged from nowhere,
Oh! It was such a strange affair,
I didn’t know for what to prepare,
There I was, under her affectionate glare!

In her mellifluous voice she chanted,
If there was anything that I wanted,
A swish of her magic wand was all that was needed,
And that’s it! Whatever wish, it'd be granted!

Guess what I asked…

I told her to make you the luckiest person in the world,
And what’s more, to make you believe that you are the luckiest person in the world;
So never again think of yourself as not lucky,
For my wish has been granted…granted by the fairy…and however hard you try, you can never ever again be unlucky!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Look at things AFRESH

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When your body aches even after sleep,
The mind dizzy, dazed and confused;

And simple things start looking complex,
Pedestrian dilemmas rendering you imbecile;

When you are moving; Moving
more because of the flow than your own will;

And no longer thrilled about every moment you're alive...

It's time...time to either give up or look at things AFRESH.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Converting a .ps document into pdf

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Watch Guru

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I liked it. I think you'd like it too :)

Honest Answers

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To answer the some questions HONESTLY it takes very long.
So don't ask me those questions or if you do, please bear with me as I evolve my honest answer.
I can't give those "media-friendly" one liners and I don't know how to be dishonest.

Sometimes even life-time isn't enough time to figure out the perfect answer...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Games traders play!

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Let's lighten the mood on this blog a little! Let's play a game :-)

1. There are 44 chips.
2. The first player may remove as many chips as desired, at least one chip, but the not the whole pile.
3. Thereafter, the players alternate removing, each player not being allowed to remove more chips than his opponent took on the previous move.
4. The player that removes the last chip(s) wins.

Hint: This is a simple example of a class of Impartial Combinatorial Games called “Dynamic Subtraction Games”…so you can crack it to win every time!

Happy playing :-)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Judgement at Nuremberg

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It's been a long time since a movie really stirred me.
This one did...
Watch it if you get hold of the dvd.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Raincoat

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Watched the movie Raincoat yesterday.
Fine performances...I liked it.

Human dilemmas fascinate me...maybe because I struggle with them daily :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Math problem treasure-trove (olympiads, putnam etc.)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Kanheri caves

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Visited Kanheri caves on 31st December. Situated deep within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, these are buddhist rock cut caves with representations from both the Hinayana and Mahayana sect. Constructions started from the 1st century BC onwards till about 6th century AD.

If you are in Mumbai and have some time at hand, make sure you visit this place.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Science: Breakthrough of the Year and the Runners-Up

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Nothingness of Modern Urban Lives...

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Wake up at day-break,
Scramble through morning routines,
Rush to station...just in time for the train,
And rewarded with two inches of space,
You cling to it in the sea of humanity;

Meetings and discussions at office,
Phone calls and deals so many,
The PC your soulmate as you negotiate;
Lost in the flow...wherever it flows...

Friends in the evenings,
Movies on weekends,
A restaurant, a pub, another outing;
Killing time coz you have time to kill...

How long, how long can I shield myself from all this I wonder...

Yes, I deliberately choose to stay away from this hollowness;
The "nothingness" of modern urban lives...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Interesting articles in finance

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A life lost...?

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The more and more I get to know,
The more I realize I don’t know;
The more I realize I don’t know,
The more I want to know what I still don’t know…

In pursuit of the known unknown,
I struggle from shore to shore;
A life lost to the bottomless well of knowledge,
I often wonder, could this life be worth more…

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Push me

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Challenge me, confront me,
Hurt me, try to knock me off;

Please push me to the fringe,
The middle-path is too boring for comfort...

Harangue me, abuse me,
Make me the target of your diatribe;

Contradict me, stymie me;

Or I'll waste away in the succor of routine...

Let me earn each breath of fresh air;

Help me explore my limits,
Then I'll know you are my true friend...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Decency vs Dignity

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Being decent to another human is not the same as giving the human his/her dignity.
I, as a human, prefer dignity to decency if the choice comes to that.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

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The best way to bring a sustainable change in the world around me is by bringing the change in myself.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Meaning of "Ayan"

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1. Hindu/Tamil: Brahma, the God of Creation
2. Sanskrit: Soaked in the Divine (as in Satyanarayan)
3. Biblical: Motion, To Arrive (related to Noah); Iian, which is pronounced like Ayan, is the Scottish variation of John
4. Hebrew: Nothingness, Peace
5. Persian: Notable
6. Islam/Arabic: God’s Gift
7. Several African Languages: Center Part of the Soul.



Detailed explanations:

The path through which the sun travels in the daytime is called 'Ayan'

'Ayan' also means character as in Rama"ayan"

In Tamil: 'Ayan' is the name of Brahma, the Creator.

'Ayan' also means Shepherd

'Ayan' is also a form of African drumming.

'Ayan' in Turkish, means "obviously" or "clearly"

'Ayan' [Urdu/Persian.] with the last 'n' not pronounced fully... but half i.e. nasal tone sound..)... means something that is open and clear /something like : "something vividly clear on the face of it" or prima-facie.

In Somalia 'Ayan' means "the lucky one". However, in Somali, 'Ayan' is the female form of the name, and 'Ayanle' is the male form.

AYAN: Somali female name meaning "bright."

In Sanskrit this also means "Speed" in English or "Gati" in Hindi.

Sirr & Rooh form “Rooh-e-Insani (Human soul) or Ayan. This part of the soul is inscribed with commands characterizing the life. It is also termed as Ayan. When a human being gets acquainted with it, he can witness the record & scheme of “all that exists”, written on loh-e-mahfooz.

Narayan - the Sanskrit word, is explained as Nara + Ayan = Narayan. ie.,Nara meaning human being and Ayan meaning the mirror. In essence it is the reflection of self - the soul.

Egyptian MythologyPtah was also a miracle worker. It was believed that Ptah saved the town of Pelusium from Assyrian invaders with an army of rats. Ptah ordered the rats to sneak into the camp of the Assyrians and gnaw through the bowstrings and shield handles of the enemy. Without weaponry or defense, the Assyrian army fled. It was also said that he stopped a fight between Horus and Set: He judged between Heru and Set; he ended their quarrel. He made Set the king of Upper Egypt in the land of Upper Egypt, up to the place in which he was born, which is Su. And Geb made Horus King of Lower Egypt in the land of Lower Egypt, up to the place in which his father was drowned which is "Division-of-the-Two-Lands." Thus Horus stood over one region, and Set stood over one region.
They made peace over the Two Lands at "Ayan".
That was the division of the Two Lands.
http://www.crystalinks.com/ptah.html

In Nigeria and Benin, the spirit in the drum is called Ayan.

Ayan is also the name of a type of tree (African Satinwood), the one Shango is said to have hung himself on, and wood used for bata in Nigeria. Some people from long lines of drumming families have Ayan as part of their last name, such as Master Rabiu Ayandokun from the town of Erin Oshun, Nigeria.

"Àyàn or Àyòn is the òrìsà of drums. In Cuba it is spelled Aña yet is pronounced exactly as it would be in Yorùbáland. It is also the name of the African Satinwood tree, Distemonanthus, used to construct drums, Sàngó dance clubs, houseposts, and sometimes canoes.

The following oríkì (praise poem) tells us something of Àyàn:
Chief of trees that talksThe one that makes me eat with the chief of the market
The one that makes me know the road one has not seen before
The slender tree that grows money
"The one who finds brass and carries it" "Talks deeply"
Àyàn support me
We never follow you and go hungry
http://www.batadrums.com/background/ana.htm

Message board on: http://www.behindthename.com/bb_gen/arcview.php?id=52823
Out of the meanings given, the Sanskrit origin ones are basically correct.
Derived from the root i with cognates all over the Indoeuropean languages e.g. ειμι, iter, иду, signifying motion, one gets aYan, the act of going, or the path, and is used both literally and figuratively.
A peculiar development also led to it meaning a house or place of refuge.But all that is about ayana, not aayana; i.e. the first vowel is as in cut or cot, not as in car. That can happen in Sanskrit if one uses the prefix A to the above word, in which case the meaning changes from going to coming, and Ayana usually means approaching, though it can mean income as well.

Alternatively, since ayana has celestial significance, Ayana can mean belonging to the solistice. I do not think that either of these two aayan is used as a name.

AYAna (or aayaan if you prefer) is a very famous character n mythology: AYAna ghoSa was the husband of rAdhA, the heartthrob and lover of kRSNa, the playful pastoral God, an incarnation of viSNu, the protector amongst the Hindu trinity.

AYAna can mean arrival, and natural temperament, but I do not know if the name is anyway connected to the word.

source: http://www.sarbadhikari.com/ayan/ayanmng.htm