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