Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Review - The man who knew infinity

This is for the first time I read a biography of an Indian and I regret reading it so late. Even though I knew about this book much earlier, also had seen it the book stores both online and offline umpteen times but never bothered to read, the reasons completely unknown to me either. But the positive side is that I got to read this book at the right time in my life when I needed some inspiration and motivation the most.

If I have to write about this book, there are two spectacular things which have to talk about, Ramanujan and Robert Kanigel. Well, this is a review and I solely have to talk about the book. The author has already talked about the hero impeccably. The book has been written with great ardor. I liked the way; the author has explained the back drop before talking about the genius. For example, in the initial pages, he explains the village Kumbakonam, religion in that place, economic and social conditions, relations and then talks about Ramanujan. The backstage is perfectly set for reader of any ethnicity, culture or nationality to feel what he feels, to see what he sees and to try to be a Ramanujan. The reader can understand the social dilemma of India of that age with ease. For the aspiring writers, Robert Kanigel showed how simple language and content can produce worthy material for a wider audience.

The author has well researched in the works of Ramanujan. As a reader we get an insight of his mathematical achievements with his age and it is easier for a math student to appreciate the discoveries in that era. A non mathematical student too can catch up with the timeline to see the genius exploding with more complex things. The author also has laid emphasis on the relationship between Hardy and Ramanujan, and I am still not sure, who discovered who? May be the universe wanted them together. The author also raised few questions for the reader to draw their own conclusions like Ramanujan really getting this prowess from goddess Namagiri, Ramanujan really willing to go to London after initial year of opposition, before leaving for London, Ramanujan sleeps in the temple for three days and then says that the goddess appeared in his dreams and has permitted him to go, in London when the intended stay was for two years, was Ramanujan willing to stay longer? Apart from this as and when they appear, the author asks these questions, which surely carry lot of philosophical weight.

The author also gives a glimpse of psychology of Ramanujan, which most of us never thought of.  His behavior when his friend scores more marks during his childhood, in London when the guests avoid his third offering and hence runs away to oxford, in his early teens  he runs away from home twice, in London, he sleeping on the tracks unable to handle the pressures of family back in India, his dependency on south Indian food. While reading the section after he was swimming in turmoil, I could just remember the quote from ‘’ Thus spoke Zarasthura’’ ‘’One must have chaos to give rise to a dancing star by Friedrich Nietzsche’’. Also the relationship of Ramanujan with his family is also expressed in detail. Especially his mother and wife Janaki. His mother is the source of inspiration but later, near his death he sees a clash between his mother and himself due to Janaki. He misses Janaki in London and wants to spend his time with her nearing his death.

Best part of the book is after Ramanujan dies. I was curious to read that part. The author talks about the aftermath, the discoveries of Ramanujan and its effect on people and the world. The usage of Ramanujan’s math in day to day life which is the application part. His discovers are used in detecting cancer, string theory, computing pi in computers etc.  Mathematicians from around the world getting inspired by his work and unable to prove the theorems what a government clerk from India could do. He inspired the youth with maths. There was no doubt that he is less than any Euler, Gauss or Jacobi. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Accidental stumble to nostalgia

I was browsing through some of the videos in youtube and then Suddenly I saw a video titled '' life at IITM'', my mind just drifted to 2005. When I was seeing this video which I had previously seen umpteen times,  I saw a video titled IIT Madras 46th convocation video in the suggestions list, I clicked it to watch. To my amusement I had to listen to the first few seconds a  couple of times to know that it was my name and after my name. I continued to watch the video and when I saw myself in the video, I could not control my nostalgia. Went to the past, travelled it, enjoyed it , shed a tear or two and it was really hard for me to come back to normal. Those were the best days of my life and when I see myself since I graduated in 2009, it is completely a different phase. Accidently watching this video made my day refreshing the memories, putting a smile on my face. 

This is the video of my convocation back in 2009. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

100th Post : My most cherished memory

Finally!! after I started serious blogging  again in the year 2013, today is my 100th post. And this post I would like to dedicate for a small memory from my graduation days. Even though I have struggled a lot in my life,  my memories with me are the happy ones.When me and my friend meet, we talk about this even now. It might not be a very big thing for many but for us it was surely a memory for life . 

It was the year 2005, our first semester of college. We all were new to each other. Somehow I struck a chord with a guy who was two rooms away from mine. We shared common interests and were becoming good friends. Fortunately we were from the same branch. 

On one night of November, the climate was excellent and it surely demanded some booze and a good company to chit chat. It was 9 30 pm, and I came out of my room and at the same time, my friend too came out of his room. We both saw each other and the same thought came to our mind and we uttered, Beer? .

We knew wine shops would close by 10 pm in chennai, so we had to dash. It was 1 km away. Moreover due to heavy rains, most of the trees had fallen down blocking all the shortcuts in my campus. The roads had turned into rivers. Worst thing was just one bicycle. And that bicycle was a racing one, so it was not comfortable for two heavy guys to ride. But we were determined and set forth.

Myself being more energetic of both, took the initiative to ride and when we crossed the college boundaries, the area was much flooded and were completely unaware of the path we were riding. We just had the destination in mind and had to reach before 10 pm

Finally when we reached there, the guy was about to close the shop. We took two bottle, sat under a shed, getting partially wet and drinking and chit chatting for an hour. Then we rode back drunk in the same path.

We reached our rooms, took bath and had an wonderful sleep.

Drinking so common that it cant be categorized as fun, I agree, but the way we two thought of it and set forth like a mission and the jokes we were cracking all the way were the most memorable. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

When is the right time to quit?

We all live a life which is very mysterious. Few get things easily but few have to efface to get the basic amenities. Some despite having a poor academic record settle for excellent good jobs whereas the studious kids continue to slog. No one knows why this happens. It is an axiom. Lets not say it is due to Karma. I would prefer another post for that. So in this mysterious life, the one who gets easily or minimal effort is not of my concern but I am interested about the ones who work hard. Struggling in life is an important thing. Most of them cant face the failures. But the ones facing it,surely come out strong and complete. The best part is that they dont quit. Rather they keep fighting and their history or the path is a teacher for people like me.

Recently I had shared about Rahul Dravid's speech on relating chinese bamboo to our life.Which can be read here. Coming across another source of inspiration, this man just tells us to fight and keep fighting I am sure most of us would have seen MR. SV SAAR in facebook or at CP, Delhi or in other social media platform. His life is an example of fighting. I can learn so many things from this man. So if you ask, what is the right time to quit? This man says it all. It is ''NEVER''.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Right inspiration

It is true that sportsmen are the ones who inspire us very easily than any one else. May be it is because we keep track of their performance or may be their success is validated with numbers, figures and statistics. I personally have learnt a lot from Rahul Dravid since 1996 and I never turned to any other player for any source of inspiration. Earlier I had written a post on Rahul Dravid being my role model. It can be read here. Even after his retirement whenever I see his sayings or words of encouragement in any interview, I again feel energetic and a gush of confidence passes through me. Recently I came across this. 

Like many, I can relate to this very easily. The feeling to give up comes quiet easily when we fail in every endeavour. But this text sums it all. So lets work towards our goals unflinchingly.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Happiness is imagination

It is our need to be happy, to have a healthy life but more than that it is the necessity to remain at peace with everything. Physical laws never lie and hence taking an analogy from zeroth law of thermodynamics,which states that when two bodies are in equilibrium with a third body then all are in thermal equilibrium. If our body is at peace with our soul, then anything which comes to either body or soul would be at peace. It

Unfortunately zeroth law talks only about the final state of equilibrium. The eternal peaceful state. But it doesn't talk about the path taken to achieve that. To our rescue comes in the First law of thermodynamics, which talks about the balance of energy. It broadly says to give something, a part of it would be consumed and the rest given out. The law balances out everything. Again if I try to make an analogy, in order to be at peace with anything, which is the ultimate thing, I have to take in something, give out something and can consume. 

Psychology says that, a person who smiles a lot or laughs a lot, is unhappy deep inside or sad. So the person is giving out happiness by consuming the pain, when the input was the experiences of life. Another example is of the Taj mahal, everyone appreciates its beauty, architecture, but no one talks about the amputated 22000 approx workers who were amputated by the emperor. In another example, of marriage, when the couple are unhappy but cant separate due to social causes, they pose their happy face all around but they are unhappy within themselves. In an another example, when we say Gandhi was responsible for non violence, he was the winner, yes he was, but at the cost of many many lives. This list of examples are umpteen. In all the examples, it can clearly be understood what the inputs, outputs and consumed are. 

Now it doesn't stop here, there is another law, the second law of thermodynamics, which comprises of two statements, and each of the statement starts with , '' it is impossible to ...'' . Briefly speaking about the first statement, it says, '' it is impossible to work with a single reservoir''. hence lays the importance of having a source and sink. From the above examples it is evident that, when there is no source there cant be a sink. The second statement of the law states that, '' it is impossible to extract energy from low temperature to high temperature without doing any work''. If a person thinks that he/she is at peace, then little work by an external agent enough to disrupt the happiness. But those who are really at peace, it is very very difficult and hell a lot of energy is required to perturb them and they cannot go havoc by themselves. 

The bottom line is that, to remain at peace and to enter the real temple of peace we have to walk on the rubble of pain or suffering of self or of anyone. So my query is how can such a person be at peace? Because those things will follow us at some or the other point in our life and we cant discard them. Our memories and thoughts wont let that happen.

Also, state of happiness is never an absolute entity. It doesn't exist by itself. So this means, we really can never be happy . Happiness is just an illusion.

Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination .... # Immanuel Kant.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Practical relation

I thought of this when my friend asked me that why some relations have a honeymoon stage and they forget the reality, how can we more practical? 

We humans never live our life as we want, we always live in the perceptions or stories which others narrate us about life. Our first school which is home teaches us many things when we have not yet experienced them. And we form a story in our mind. Few stick to it, and few explore their own story. The ones who explore their own story are cautious about their life but others sooner or later realize the reality. They realize it because it is not what they wanted. Their out social behaviour is not directly proportional to their inner psychological behaviour. For such people who strike a unison between the two are the ones who explore life themselves are the only successful ones. 

In most of the cases of relationships, the relationship only starts with external beauty or money or anything else. And this is imbibed in our minds from the society. When I say society, it includes home too. During an arranged marriage, a average or below average looking girl has to work her ass off to look pleasing and beautiful to the groom.We learn this from home. The movies which have largest amount of influence on us, show the guy falling in love with a girl at first sight without even knowing anything about each other. And the guy is so lucky that, he always gets a beauty with the brain. Irony is in reality that is not what happens. 

If society teaches us that, then that is what we do. Earlier people used to take time and talk and then they used to fall in love, hence forth their relations used to be stronger. Now a days, charade the partner with flowery talks, rosy gifts and good looks and you are the winner. With time, this has to fade, and when it does, things go venomous. Few are wise enough to thing through this problem and go for a logical conclusion either to seperate or stay together. Such people who stay together make the strongest bond. When they think, they actually see their innerself from the exterior and know what to do. They then try to strike a balance between their external social behaviour to their inner psychological behaviour. It is when they explore themselves.

I think, the only way anyone can avoid such agitations to the mind is by thinking and knowing oneself. By being truthful to the partner and developing trust.We should be able to express in a subtle way whatever wrongdoing we do to the partner. This doesn't come easily. But by doing so we would surely develop a trust. The most important thing is we are in now way over shadowed by infatuation or in flimsy grounds. Such open behaviour would surely start from our first school, when we are allowed to express our mind and are well supported or guided in our thought processes. The mentoring part need not be in relations but can be in anything. It is  the practice in petty things which would help us take good decisions for big things. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Unpredictability of Mind

I admire science, the way it has evolved and made our lives bit easier. For example, few Indians alleged ISRO for spending huge amounts in their research work. As a counter statement to that the chairman said, it was because of this research work, ‘’cyclone Philian’’ was predicted accurately which in turn saved many lives and lot of wealth. This is just an example.There are many such examples to add to the list. So science surely has taken a giant leap in predicting the uncertain and the unpredictable nature up to an extent. But still nature has lot of uncertainty imbibed in it which we humans cant predict with ease.

A tree of same species never grows in the same shape or size, the fruits of course are of different shape. Even though the climatic conditions are predictable upto an extent but not to the fullest. Behaviour of animals too is unpredictable.  Life and death, these processes have value because of soul in organisms. Even these processes are highly unpredictable. So is it wrong for a person to be unpredictable? Is there any scale which can measure their predictability?

I think every person has some unpredictability within themselves. Few flauntingly reveal it whereas others conceal it for themselves. Life is well experienced when you have a bumpy ride, which keeps you awake. On a straight road, you have the tendency to sleep and meet an accident. A monotonous life teaches nothing. Any person will know his life and so his vacillations and hence should mend them for himself not for others. Why fear unpredictability when the whole world is devoid of that? 

Sometimes we decide something to do but unfortunately it doesnt work out and we happen to plan something else. Upon doing so, some other things pops up and hence disrupting the whole initial plan. What do we do at that state? We either re plan our things or stick to the old one. What do we do when this cycle occurs quiet often? We enter a state of confusion, helplessness and the near and dear ones term as a unpredictable person. But who knows what goes in our mind? It is foolish to expect someone to understand and more idiotic on our part to make a complete fool of ourself by telling our problems to others 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

To suggest or not

 Have you ever tried suggesting something to anyone? If they are your close aids, then you would have surely done it  accepting their nagging behaviour and trying to soothe them in the best possible way you can. And surely with time, their nagging would be on the steeper accent rather to the opposite side. One day, there will come a time, when you reach your limit and to vent your anger, you would say something harsh or rude to this already hurt once.

The music starts now. For all the positive talks you had been making are all dusted aside and the fight is now with you for being rude for once. Then you are just the part of the crescendo. Finally the relation reaches a fracture point of hatred. Where one party points to the rude statement and webs the story around it, and the humble person talks about their arrogance and rude behaviour.

I guess it is the normal human behaviour to see  negativity in a positive thing. We need not have special skills for that, we are born with them. Tell them hundred comforting things, they will all be thrashed for the one rude comment you make. I agree that the person is hurt but they should understand that, ''everything has a limit - iron ore cannot be educated to gold'' as Mark Twain said.

It happens that in everyone's life ups and downs are there, but what good is it, if a close friend of yours when comes to soothe you is gifted with anger, mockery and hated in return. We all at some point do, such a think. But lets bring our intellect and think before we hurt our loved one who is taking the burden of being our mother and strengthening our relation with them for ever. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I think, one of the most influential feeling is the ‘’feeling of rejection’’. Rejections in love, marriage, career, education etc. It can happen anywhere and anytime.Name anything and you cannot separate the tendency to be rejected from it. Sometimes rejection comes handy by making us stronger in the fight and at the end we have greater probability of getting the best. We learn many things from them. A great person once said, ‘’it is the loss of something which teaches us’’. So when we are rejected, we lose something, which makes us more aware of the reality and the digression from reality to illusion shrinks. But everyone doesn’t see the hope in such rejections. I think this is the sole reason why people commit suicides. 

Anyone who has been facing rejections continuously for sometime becomes cranky. Has severe mood swings, jumps from one decision to other, doesn’t have his mind at bay and ultimately becomes more and more worrisome. I would not blame the victim but the people around them, who, instead of giving a helping hand, think them as a person with lot of mood swings and no stability in thought. If the rejections are new to us, we might take it positively but when this becomes the routine, we cannot take life easily. Hopefully if people around us are supportive, emotionally, this problem can be faced easily. It becomes worse when the victim goes into a shell when finds none near him as a support. Isn’t it a bad idea to see our loved one, going into a shell and living their inhibitions and rigidity?

Times do change. The law of nature is balance. Rejection faced in life has to be compensated with some acceptance or vice versa. Hopefully we become more supportive to our loved ones who are in this path of resurrection and make our bonding with them much stronger.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Forced solitude

The thought of being alone or in solitude is itself very dangerous. No one wants to be alone and live a life of solitude. Our life is not designed for that. I think a good life is to meet people, laugh a lot , make good friends and try out many new things which were always strange and awe for us. Since centuries many people have talked about life. Well I think that every person has the right to talk about their life and their stories should not be ridiculed. It is their experience and a unique one. 

Like everyone I too have a life and being a fun loving person makes me attached to people very easily. I like company of people. I like to talk a lot about anything, from sex to salvation. It teaches me many things. The more I interact with people, the more I learn about philosophical ideas, ( everyone is a philosopher ) , their psychology, ethics, morals and the list goes on. This is the best ground level experience which anyone can experience.But there is a problem.

Myself being an extrovert, I have many problems dealing with people. Extroverts tend to talk a lot, they share almost everything. If they are in some problems, they always put their thought fluctuations, thoughts etc. But the listener tends to think of the speaker as a person with mood swings, no rigidity on thought. I have faced this whenever I have interacted with few people. They just tend to listen and speak nothing. Either they dont like my company or I dont make sense. 

This hurts a lot as you cant speak always. Being an extrovert, I like to converse and a conversation is when both of them speak. It is the difference in opinion which teaches a person, as said by a great person. But when people mistake you, the best thing I feel to do is to go into a shell. Live a life of solitude not by interest but I am not left with any option either. I would like to lead a life of forced solitude. I would like to do things which I had never done before. Who knows, may be I will fall in love with myself. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bird of hope

Immediate thought and the immediately scribbled words.

The sun never forgets to rise,
So you never neglect to smile,
No trait can compete this prize,
Making easy your rough mile.
You should be like a bird of hope,
with wonderful feathers,
sitting on a branch of a tree,
singing the songs of life.
When a dream breaks,
when the life is upside down,
It learns the lessons with a song.
The song is eternally sung,
And one day comes the wind,
with its loud song, keeping you quiet,
making you listen to its song,
You then listen with your smile.
Will go the wind one day and you,
will be back to your songs of life!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Religion of a ''New born''

What should be the religion of a new born? Is religion inherited? A new born baby is forced to follow the religion inherited by the kid’s parents. Why there is no freedom of choice? A new born can definitely not have the intellect to choose among different religions. Richard Dawkings says that we shouldn't refer to children as 'muslim, christian, jewish' and so on. We should say, 'children of muslim/ chirstian/jewish parents'. His argument is that children are too young to have decided if they are religious or not. But when the kid grows up and if, still adheres to the ideology of God, even then they don’t have freedom in choice. For example in the movie, ‘’ Life of Pi’’ the kid follows many religions. He has the freedom to choose and is well supported by his parents. Atleast he takes time to experience the different religions. I don’t think we still have that freedom in our societies. Any family who supports such kinds of activities is hated and is seen as a black sheep, because religion is still very sentimental to people.

I feel that, a parent should guide the toddler with ideas on life in the simplest way, basic etiquettes, good habits, give them information from all religions etc. And our job is to pass on the right information to them which is only possible when we ourselves read different religious texts. How many of us have taken the initiative to read other religious texts? We surely should not dump the misinterpreted versions to them.  Then the kid comes up with umpteen questions which is good for the development of both the child and parent. The kid will have some basic knowledge to start his quest, which would be filtered or corrected with his interest later in future. Most kids in our present world are not even presented with the ideas of religion but they are accustomed with the rituals. I still feel religion should be by choice. When the crux of all religions was to spread harmony, peace and brotherhood, then why not pick any? 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

God and Karma

Few days back I got this thought on God and Karma. I was thinking how these two things work together. There are people who say that God is everything. He is the one who drives our actions, directs us to whatever deeds we perform in our life. It is said that everything is pre written. When that is the case where is the space for Karma? If by sowing good, we reap good, which is Karma, but the director of this is the God then how come we say Karma solely driven by our actions. I think these two ideologies are different concepts. God and Karma are mutually independent. One school of thought says that God is everything and we should have utmost respect for the God as he is the director and we are the actors. Whereas Karma says you are the director cum actor and you perform all your actions and take the responsibility for that.

But what about the people in middle, there would surely be people in the middle who believe both God and Karma. Have they misinterpreted the ideologies? They say God wants us to perform good acts. If this is the case, then somehow I don’t see a fit to the logic. For example, a teacher guides us upto a certain period of time. Then we are left of our own for the quest of truth which is when we learn the most valuable lessons. In this process we do remember the teacher but we concentrate more on our present actions and always thank our teachers. When we are born, the basics are taught by our parents, teachers and one day we are of our own, performing our own actions. And that is when Karma comes into play. Then where is the question of God?  

So I think, we should either we should believe God or Karma. I haven’t read the different religious texts which talk about these two concepts. I would like to read them and rethink the idea. As of now, my vote is for Karma!!