Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hello Ames!

Well its been sometime since I wrote on this blog. Been a bit lazy for some months. But, I am thinking of starting again, a fresh start, maybe this time I wont be lazy n give it up mid way.

So this is a blog about me, my new surroundings, my latest habitat. I recently joined Iowa State University for a phd program in electrical engg. My majors area is control systems. Not doing much of that right now though. So since I dont have much to talk about regarding my work I aim to write about the place I live in.

Ames. Its a city/town/village in america. Its small and quiet and non-happening. You dont even find criminals here. Its small that you can travel across it on foot. An ideal place for a university though. You can do research and when you get bored go grab a coffee and do research again. Coz there is nothing much you can do. I am hoping that the lectures will keep me busy. Right now the schedule is thus - get up in the morning, have a heavy breakfast, attend lectures, while away some time in the library and then move on to my Arjun and LN's place. That is the best time of the day. Sit there, joke around. Shreyas joins us sometimes. I came to know these guys as we travelled on the same flight from bombay. Through them I got to know a large group of seniors. Its fun to be with them. Finally if I am bored I sleep of at their place or drag myseld back home.

Home. Well if thats what you want to call it. I share a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 bengali guys. Nayan and Ashutosh both work in the same lab. Ashutosh would prefer to buy chicken only if he could have it. Nayan is quite cool. As he puts it "anything is good to eat as long as it tastes fine." Only thing that really gets to me is when they start talking in bengali. Usually they don't but i guess sometimes they cant stop themselves.

Now the courses have started gathering pace. Homeworks are flowing in. Seems like it is going to be a little hectic this semester. But getting to learn lots on interesting stuff. And as long as I enjoy it I don't think it will be that much of a problem. Well thats all for now. I know this might sound more like a drab diary but remember its just a start.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sifting sands...

of time I found this piece of non-prose, buried beneath, something I had written back then, when I was reading non-canonised literature during a humanities course. I call it non-prose because I am not into writing and wouldn't want to hurt poeple by standing myself in the line of those who pen rhymes regularly. It was inspired by what I felt when I read about people who are neglected in society and literature which has been sidelined for social political cultural reasons. Also I haven't visited my own blog page for what might seem like ages. So some are free to consider this a filler. Anyways here it is...

Shifting Sands

Lying on the shore,
A grain among many more.
Touched by a wave,
Wet my skin, made me crave.
I rode it around.
Laughed and cried, felt no strain,
Going against the grain.
Thought heaven I had found.
Then it receded,
To the unfathomable back again.
Leaving me on the shore,
Lying naked.
As I await the touch, left in pain,
A grain among many more.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wait and Hope... Wait and Hope...

The Count of Monte Cristo signs off with this message. But I guess we are all living aided by this cane of life (or shall I say cain?). Are we not living a purposeless life making purpose out of things which we know will not bear fruit. Is it cyclical behaviour or is it habit? Our purpose in life is to create it for ourselves, follow it knowing it is a creation of our imagination and hence fictitious. We constantly strive to define, to give meaning to our work, our life, presicely because we know there isn't any meaning to it, for if it had one we wouldn't be defining it. What is the ultimate aim, the outcome, the end of it all? Nothing. It was nothing all the way long. We just pretended to see a path. We were told to see it, told it exists, made to believe we walk it, and we did just that feeling helpless carrying this burden of creating a world out of nothingness, as apart from this we could do nothing! We have been here from centuries, waiting, waiting for someone to give us direction, show the right path, the divine way of living, waiting under this tree to see it bear fruit, internalising the unfruitfullness of our wait, waiting for someone.... he will come... we know he will come, the one we are waiting for... what do we do now?... I don't know... lets leave... we can't... why not?... bcause we are waiting... Waiting for Godot.

Ok enough of me trying to be philosophical, absurdist, existensialist, blah blah whatever you may want to call it. Lets snap back to reality. I was reading a play by Samuel Beckett titled Waiting for Godot which has tiggered this blog. Samuel Beckett was a great playwright of the existentialist era. He was from the absurdist theatre group. Absurdism, existentialism were philosophies which suddenly sprouted post the WW-I/II scene in Europe. Seeing the abyss in which mankind had fallen some people questioned the necessity of it all, while others answered them by demonstrating the futility of it all as also that of life.

Waiting for Godot, is one of the major plays by Beckett. It is just a few absurd lines being spoken on stage. Imagine an extempore speech where you are thrown on stage with no time to prepare, not given any topic or asked to speak on something like "life". What will happen to you? You will speak some incoherent stuff as it pops in your mind. Imagine that four such people have been sent on stage and asked to make a dialogue. Well talking just gets tougher. That's just how this play seems st the most superficial level. The most incoherent part is the speech given by Lucky. It sets you wondering as to what was the author thinking when he wrote this play? Then as you start pealing the layers one by one, you discover new intriguing faces of the play. Yes the play is a bunch of absurd lines, but it is a portrayal of life at the same time. The play has repeated dialogues under similar settings which give you a feeling of deja vu. But isnt life so too? Does man ever learn from mistakes and learn to live in peace. Progress in life is inevitable but with progress corruption is inevitable. So there is nothing like true progress in reality. These plays attack the chronology of things and their rationality. They believe comprehending existence is beyond the rational self of man. To understand the nothingness in all that surrounds us is dangerous, as such knowledge will cause everything to implode. Especially man's inflated ego. So to make things meaningful we create beliefs and central to them is the belief in God. If we remove the centre, a singularity most situations loose meaning. The centre is the focus of every action and all our life revolves around it. So where is this centre? We do not know. How can we detach ourselves from it? Do we risk losing everything, everymeaning from our life? We shall never know. All our life we will search that focus towards which we spiral, the quest never ending, how much ever close we come we find ourselves equally far away.

The question then is - do we search this meaning, this centre which defines us? Or do we live in this mirage created by us clutching this meaning to our hearts? That is left to us. Afterall we are all caught in a whorl - one taking us out into nothingness freeing us of meaning, another drawing us in, giving meaning which means nothing.

Interested people can check out this link of Beckett which has his texts on-line. You will find the above mentioned play there.

Friday, September 15, 2006

We will miss you... Schumi...

I know this is a little late to put up this blog but couldn't help it. I had to have a blog dedicated to him on in my list. So this will be it. A short one to avoid being repititive of all those blogs written by friends.
Schumi... the man who made me watch F1. Another sport striked of my regular list. I havn't been following the sport that regularly after Schumi performed badly last yr. He was surely the greatest driver I have seen on the circuit. His talent on the wet, his tenacity, his determination to win (at any cost maybe but lets not take a very puritanical view of it all. Its a race afterall and everyone does such things to a small or large extent). I feel the same void I felt when Michael Jordan left Basketball for good. Coincidently he also bore the same name. The only thing that saddens me is the way people look at controversies more than the man's greatness in sport. He was criticised enough for his tactics but his brilliant strategies have not been applauded. He has done it all, from cunning tactics, controversies, brilliant overtaking, to tenacity and determination shown in winning a race with his mother hospitalised a day earlier, to coming back after multiple fractures to win races and secure championships with dominance.
All I want to say is Hail Schumi! We Love You! We Revere You!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hungarians produce good mathematics because they don't have ganpati processions!!

I revere the man who made this statement. It was one of my math profs from high school days. The story goes thus...

A group of young enthusiastic kids sitting in a classroom learning math. It is a day prior to ganpati. Loud processions pass by on the road chanting the lords name.

P: This is a beautiful hungarian problem. (writing a problem on the board) Its solution seems to be from God's book.

Suddenly there is this big procession which begins to pass below the window creating a huge ruckus, enuf to keep u from hearing what your grlfriend might shout in your ear. Dear prof. has to wait for sometime before he can begin opening God's own treasure box for them.

P: (turning to students) Hungarians produced beautiful mathematics... because they didn't have Ganpati processions.

It's Ganpati time again. Ganpati! God doesn'y play dice, but man sure does. Throw a dice and pick an animal. Viola! it's an elephant! Cut his head off and stick it onto a man. And we have our God... Lord Ganesh. ( if I am hurting anyone's religious sentiments I am sorry. Please excuse me for my senile irrational blabber. I hope the world's intelligent humans can surely do that, forgive this poor crazy dumbwit.) Supposed to be the lord of knowledge and intelligence. People pray to him for days on to gain intelligence. Well after such devotion can he refuse them? Nooo! So he gives them enuf to lock their brains and stop thinking.

Yesterday on the streets, today at my home, I was wondering where did this all start? What did the first man gain by instilling the concept of religion in man. Or was religion not a concept but part of the gene mutation that came with evolution from Homo-Erectus to Homo-Sapien. It had to be one of these two. Because we come to identify with things we hav seen. But no one has yet seen God. They all talk of experiencing him though! So they dance and sing and make merry when he arrives, (well if it causes discomfort to some people its ok, those must be sinners hence God himself punishes them) and shouting out loud welcoming him (well you have to shout loud if u want him to hear it in heaven as he descends into the idol in front of you) Why is it that people forget about other people when they are looking after God. I feel people should rather look at how they can benefit other humans than how they can please the lord and themselves. To me religion and god signify only a support system, just the way you need a railing to a staircase that spirals upwards to keep you from falling in case u feel giddy. Why have people made it into a integral part of their system. Why do people think that just because we live in a society means we have to put up with every belief of theirs? Why is there a demonstration of their love and devotion for god? It is too much to go into the debate of how religion came into being or the existence and uniqueness of god. If people can just learn to respect others and their beliefs and needs it would make life so much more peaceful. And this is certainly not in the hands of god... god has done his job, we are left to do ours. Afterall Kronecker's words couldn't be truer... God created the integers, everything else is the work of man.

Friday, August 25, 2006

My coffee beans...

A few words from me, that's it! It is these that I will grind and brew for you. Might have a good aroma, or maybe some ncie flavour, sometimes just a li'l acidic... and once in a while one of those badly brewed ones that just give no taste. Would still love you people to taste it and help me be a better barrista or shut down my shop. :)
Some of you must be thinking how is it that I have come to be here. Well, since I had some free time on my hands, so thought it would be interesting to try out new things. Some of the stuff I offer might just be raw beans but you can still munch on them. So this was just me starting out and I hope you guys will at least come back and taste my first concoction. Have an invigorating day everyone!