Friday, December 30, 2005

Thevan Kathaigal

Today I was reminded of the novels by Devan. I have read four of his

1. CID Chandru (part 1 and 2)
2. Kalyani
3. Komathiyin Kathalan
4. Thuppariyum Sambhu

I found a website that has a listing of all major works of 20th Century Tamil Authors and Their Works . Back home in Vellore we have copies of Mister Vedantham, CID Chandru and Komathiyin Kathalan. Next time when I go home I should bring back Mister Vendatham.

Thevan died very young.

I wish somebody could digitize all the literary works in Tamil. May be Badri Seshadri might be able to find somebody.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Sachin Tendulkar's humble admission

One thing that I have always admired about Sachin Tendulakar, apart from his cricket, his mature handling of his career and stardom. I grew up watching him grow. The first time I heard his name was when he hit a century on his debut in Ranji Trophy. Those were the days I followed, along with my brother, every cricket match irrespective of who played, national or international.

Yesterday after scoring the 35th century, he had this to say

"Heroes will always be heroes. Mr. Gavaskar was my hero, and he will always be my hero. Message to him is thanks for all the support he has given me. He himself has set such a benchmark that only a disciplined lifestyle can help cross it."

Check the article here.

There is an old interview of Rahul Dravid in cricinfo that is moving tribute to Sachin.

There is no stopping you Sachin. Go for 50/50.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Entrance into big city by a boy living in small town

I grew up in Vellore which is a small town. The only experience of a big city used to happen whenever we visited Madras. I had this habit of checking the milestones along the way and never slept during the entire course of approximately two and half hours of journey. After putting all of us in the bus Appa used to go out to get some fruits and the driver will be making sounds "drrr drrr drrr" with his engine and I remember how restless I used to be for the bus might leave without appa. The very same thing is experienced by my nephew Ajju. The stop along Sunguvarchathiram during these journeys were the only time we ever got drink 'cool drinks' as the regular soft drink was called by us. Amma used to call it crush.

Over the past 25 years I have seen so many things changing on this road between Vellore and Madras. One thing that has not changed, atleast to me, is the sudden entry of the bus/car into the Kathipara junction from the narrow lanes of St. Thomas Mount. In spite of Madras starting before in Porur/Poonthamalee, for me the bigness of the city and its feel always happened when the vehicle entered the Kathipara junction with that famous statue of Nehru (the opening of which was MGR's last public function). With all those huge bill boards it typified the city feel for me. The SPIC building that looked so big when I was a kid, doesn't look that big anymore to me. Then probably it was one of the few tall building in Madras.

Recently when I entered San Francisco from the south side (from San Jose) I was reminded of all these things and the milestones that I used to watch so religiously. I thought I should have a picture of this signboard and hence here it is.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Legally Blonde

I just watched the movie Legally Blonde starring Reese Whitherspoon. I liked this movie very much inspite of its cliches and some stereo typical portrayals. After all it was a very genuine movie about a genuine character.

Elle is a sorority girl and she remains that way throughout the movie. More importantly she is proud of whatever that she is. It is very subtly brought out in many of the dialogues, like the one she has with
Paulette Bonafonté the person who does her nails.

This movie was released long back and never watched it thinking it must be one of those date movies, telling myself that I don't like these
kinds of movies. I am glad I finally saw it.

I had similar thoughts about Miss Congeniality until I saw. I like that one too.

Have read about the sequels of both of them being bad. Anyway haven't seen them, until then.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Thaneer Thaneer

A recent news item in The Hindu reminded me of that great movie Thaneer Thaneer by K. Balachander adapted from the play of the same name by Komal Swaminathan. I was very young at the time the movie was released, but I was also part of the drought and the severe water scarcity TN faced during that time. I remember filling almost all the things that can hold water right down to the tumbler. Little wonder the movie was a big success and went on to win several national and international awards.

KB made some of the amazing movies in Tamil cinema and I have always loved to watch his movies, be it Nizhal Nijamagirathu or even Azhagan. The adaptation of Komal Swaminathan's play was very. I have since read the play. I don't recall the actors who played the various roles, except saritha, who was by default in all KB movies at that time.

25 years hence, the problems have not yet gone away nor there seem to be a will on the part of the government to solve it. If we read the Independence day addresses since 1947 of the Prime Ministers of India, I am sure every time they might have projected the solution to drinking water and power supply to all in 10 years from then. 10 years seem to stagnant and it is always the same.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ramesh Mahadevan

This post is about Ramesh Mahadevan. Yes it is the same Ramesh Mahadevan that you are thinking about. I just read for the zillionth time his essay A Grandmother Remebered and cried once again.

I recently spoke to him when he was in Boulder, CO around labor day. I should say it was a very pleasant experience. That is an understatement. I have been in regular touch with him through e-mail and finally had the opportunity to talk to him.

Among his various writings I find this on grandmother to be the best. He is able to connect to his readers so intimately, something that I find in Tilotamma's writings too. Apart from Ramesh the writer, he is an amazing person.

He has promised to visit me the next time he will be here.

Waiting to meet you Ramesh. I can't thank you enough for all the pleasures that you have given me through your writings.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Permission Vs Forgiveness

Today while hearing All Things Considered on NPR, one person said something which made me to ponder. He said "Forgiveness is easier than getting permission". The news report was about wetlands in New Orleans area. He was referring to a lake in which there are crocodiles and alligators. He said there is a notice that says "Don't feed the crocodiles".

I was wondering why it may be easier to forgive.

Is it that when a permission is being asked, humans feel that they have power and mostly want to deny and when somebody has committed the act and asks to be forgiven, we may be feeling "now that he has already committed it, let me atleast pardon him and take the moral high ground".

I really don't know.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Calibrating Life!

While driving back home yesterday, I was listening to the story of Chicago White Sox headed to the Base Ball World(?) Series. A fan talked about the time scales of a white sox fan. Since the last time they were in world series was 46 years ago and the last time they won was some 90 years ago, he said that white sox fans talk in terms of generation.

It reminded me of my calibration of money during the graduate school days. I used to calibrate all expenses in terms of number of coffee i can have in school cafeteria. The cost of a 12 Oz coffee was $0.86. Every monday morning I used to go to the library to check the books (the ones that library is planning to sell off) that I can buy. They were really very cheap, typically 50 cents to $2. So I used to 'sacrifice' a few cups of coffee for the books. Over time I bought close to 60 books, all gems.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Shaking Hands with Prof. Noam Chomsky

After missing his previous talk at Stony Brook, this time I didn't want to miss Prof. Noam Chomsky's talk on campus. It didn't matter that it was in linguistics. He qualified each and every word, lest they are not misunderstood. Whenever a question was asked he answered at length. Earlier I have read his interviews during his visit to India in Frontline (where else) and used to wonder about his long answers to questions. Now I saw it in person.

After the talk, I went to him and thanked for his great and amazing intellectual contribution. I may not agree with him on many things, nonetheless he has been pivotal in my understanding of a issues in a perspective that I would have otherwise not had.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Nobel Week: 3 Down

Today the Swedish Academy announced the chemistry Nobel Prizes.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Nobel Week: 2 Down

In 2001, when I was doing Quantum Mechanics course here at Stony Brook we studied about Glauber states, a fundamental contribution by Roy Glauber, that describe the behavior of photons, also popularly known as light. I picked up the original Phys Rev Lett. and the Phys. Rev. paper and went through it to basically understand the implications. I couldn't understand lot of it (still couldn't). Later lots of progress was dependent on this fundamental contribution and finally today Glauber received the fabled early early morning call from Sweden. He has been awarded half of the Nobel Prize for Physics for the year 2005.

The other half is jointly awarded to John L. Hall & Theodor W. Hänsch for their contribution to precision measurement and a technique called optical-comb frequency.

More about this later when have a few more details of this.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Nobel Week: 1 Down

It is that time of the year when the pinnacle of academic achievement (there are differing opinions to this) gets recognised in Stockholm, Sweden. The Nobel Prizes. Today the Karolinska Institute this morning announced the awarding of the Medicine prize to two Australians. May be this is the first time the prize has been awarded to somebody from Australia.

On a lighter note, it required the sporting aussies to think of a non-stress reason for Ulcer. No wonder. Great job blokes.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Mahatma's Birthday

Today, 136 years ago, Mohandas Gandhi was born. My relationship with the Father of Nation has always been emotional. I remember writing in my high school history books near his image v.v.v.v.v.v. good, and of course, v.v.v.v.v.v.bad for Dalhousie and the likes.

Inspite of reading the history of Indian Independence from various sources and perspectives, Gandhiji never ceases to amaze me.

I remember very vividly all of us kids from the nursery school walking in a disciplined manner, atleast 4 kms to go to Lakshmi Theater in Vellore to watch him come alive on silver screen.

Vaazhga nee emman

Monday, September 26, 2005

What is the good word?

This morning I heard David Bouchier talk about blog, his blog on WSHU Public Radio and how he finds the word blog ugly. He asks whether there is a better word for it? I can't think of any, but I don't even know whether one needs another word.

I remember how different the word Google sounded when I first came to know about it 5 years ago. Now we even have the verb, google. Some day, web historians will answer the question that David Bouchier asked today.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Kannathil Muthamittal

Hearing this story on NPR reminded me of that poingnant movie by Manirathnam, `Kannathil Muthamittal'. I consider KM one of his best movies along with Anjali and of course Mouna Ragam (thanks Magesh).

Friday, September 16, 2005

Recalling the Leap Into Motherhood

Just this morning while driving to work heard this poignant story on NPR and it reassured my belief in human hope. It is not just an hyperbolic statement. Many times in our lives we take decisions based on just our beliefs and what we see as 'right' at that moment. Later many years down the line when we look back, we realise how thankful we are to ourselves to have made that decision. It brings big lump in to your throat. It is due to the overwhelming joy.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Nay Sayer

I have always been a Nay Sayer for most of the things. When I was young, I always used to say "Mudiyathu", " Maataen", all meaning 'NO' whenever I was asked to go on an errand, be it any thing. It was another matter I eventually did do the job, but always had this tendency of saying No. After I got married, a Sher told to me by my wife(not considered a great sher) that she learnt when she was young, seemed to aptly state my tendency and how it must have been for people who had to hear it from me. Here it is:

Nahin nahin mat karo sitamgar
Nahin nahin ka nahin hai mauka

Tere bas is nahin nahin ne
Mujhko chhoda kahin nahin ka

Needless to say, this tendency has reduced considerably.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Snakes of India

I must have been 6 years old when I first visited the Snake Park in Guindy, Madras. During those days, Park meant only the ones where people can go and relax. Used to wonder what is a Snake Park. I should admit that at the time when I visited the Snake Park, I wasn't much pleased about it. Years later, when I first went to the Aniketh, a canteen in Pune University campus, did i think of snakes in a different perspective. In that canteen, there is a sticker which says "Don't Kill Snakes". I was really taken aback. It is another matter that I never worried about it later.

There is a review of a book on Snakes, Snakes of India: The Field Guide by S. THEODORE BASKARAN in Frontline. I didn't know that it was Whitaker who founded the Snake Park.

Monday, September 05, 2005

First Word

Finally decided to start a blog on September 5, 2005, celebrated as Teacher's Day in India.