Monday, October 31, 2005

Might wanna take a look at!

Here is an interview with Prof. Chomsky. An interesting read; here are a couple of samples.
Chomsky sighs and says that he has never claimed to have a monopoly on the truth, then looks merry for a moment and says that the only person who does is his wife, Carol. "My grandchildren call her Truth Teller. When I tease them and they're not sure if I'm telling the truth, they turn to her and say: 'Truth Teller, is it really true?'"
It sounds to me as if he was an arrogant young man who thought, with some justification, that he knew more than his teachers. Chomsky bridles at the word arrogant and says: "No. I assumed I was wrong and took for granted that the standard approach [to linguistics] was correct."

Aye, aye Abi!

Abi says Scott Adams rocks; I say aye, aye! Abi's post also has some interesting links. would love this!

There is this story about Gabriel Garcia Marquez meeting his grandmother after he wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude. He told her the story. She laughed: “Oh! This? I can tell you much more crazier stories.”
From an article published in Tehelka; link via Uma.

India...whither goest thou?

thani oruvanukku unavilai-yenil jagath-thinai azhithiduvom
Even if a single person goes hungry, we will destroy the world; Bharathi's anger, in my opinion, is not misplaced. And, Sainath says 21% of Indian population cannot afford medicines, and thousands of farmers, even food. Depressing; yes. But it is more than that; it is a clarion call for action, interspersed with some sane advice:
"Don't measure progress in terms of production in tonnes," urged Dr. Swaminathan. "Measure it in the rate of growth of farmers' incomes."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

An anthropologist reads Mahabharata!

Readings of Mahabharata are subjective and individualistic. Even for the same person, the readings change with time, with moods, and with reflection and meditation.

When we were kids, Mahabharata was narrated (episodically) to us by our grandmother. She was highly critical of her own narration. More than once I have heard her say, "Yes, this is an inconsistency. But, the elders used to say so; and, I am an ignorant woman. You guys, when you grow up, should be able to read the original and find things out for yourself".

Thanks to Kiran, I recently found the book YugAnta of Irawati Karve, which is a scholarly and anthropologist reading of Mahabharata. The character sketches of Karve are stark in their simplicity and power, and the book is unputdownable. Karve brings to relief the various characters in a few simple sentences, and breathes life into them. Many of her explanations look deceptively simple; however, a huge amount of critical study of the text must have happened, the essence of which is distilled and crystallised into this book.

While a similar scholarly reading of Ramayana by Srinivasa Sastri is voluminous (and by no means anthropological), YugAnta is short and flows easy. The book leaves you asking for more; it kindled enough interest in me that I felt like going through the original Mahabharata at least once.

I recommend this book for anybody who is interested in knowing (a) the characters of Mahabharata at a greater depth, (b) the possible later interpolations and additions to the text of Mahabharata, (c) the socio-anthropological aspects of the Indian society at the time of Mahabharata, and (d) plausible explanations for all those inconsistencies that you always noted but were afraid to ask. It, however, is not recommended for those who can not (and will not) tolerate any secular (and non-scriptural) reading of the text of Mahabharata.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Thanks to MR, I now know that...

My blog is worth $2,822.70.
How much is your blog worth?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Do you know Guru?

Here are some fortune cookies about (and defining) Guru (thanks to Deep for the pointer). My favourite is the one about the guy in T-shirt and sandals. While we are at it, I should also tell you this: Once my computer told me, "You are an insult to my intelligence. I demand that you log-off immediately". And, my login id is guru:-)

Graphics blind the eyes.
Audio files deafen the ear.
Mouse clicks numb the fingers.
Heuristics weaken the mind.
Options wither the heart.

The Guru observes the net
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is as open as the ether.
When the Guru administers, the users
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a sysop who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
And worst, one who is despised.

If you don't trust the users,
you make them untrustworthy.

The Guru doesn't talk, he hacks.
When his work is done,
the users say, "Amazing:
we implemented it, all by ourselves!"
When users see one GUI as beautiful,
other user interfaces become ugly.
When users see some programs as winners,
other programs become lossage.

Pointers and NULLs reference each other.
High level and assembler depend on each other.
Double and float cast to each other.
High-endian and low-endian define each other.
While and until follow each other.

Therefore the Guru
programs without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Warnings arise and he lets them come;
processes are swapped and he lets them go.
He has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When his work is done, he deletes it.
That is why it lasts forever.
When you overesteem great hackers,
more users become cretins.
When you develop encryption,
more users become crackers.

The Guru leads
by emptying user's minds
and increasing their quotas,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
When users lack knowledge and desire,
management will not try to interfere.

Practice not-looping,
and everything will fall into place.
If a guru falls in the forest with no one to hear him, was he really a
guru at all?
-- Strange de Jim, "The Metasexuals"
guru, n.:
A person in T-shirt and sandals who took an elevator ride with
a senior vice-president and is ultimately responsible for the
phone call you are about to receive from your boss.
guru, n:
A computer owner who can read the manual.
The Tao doesn't take sides;
it gives birth to both wins and losses.
The Guru doesn't take sides;
she welcomes both hackers and lusers.

The Tao is like a stack:
the data changes but not the structure.
the more you use it, the deeper it becomes;
the more you talk of it, the less you understand.

Hold on to the root.

The melancholic Abe Lincoln!

Here is an excerpt from the book Lincoln's melancholy: How depression challenged a President and fuelled his greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk. It has some interesting thoughts:
Yet Lincoln's case is perfect, too, in a very different sense: it forces us to reckon with the limits of diagnostic categories and raises fundamental questions about the nature of illness and health.
"It's not the large things that send a man to the madhouse," Charles Bukowski has written. "No, it's the continuing series of small tragedies . . . a shoelace that snaps, with no time left."
And, finally,
For example, in males, schizophrenia usually surfaces in the late teenage years; manic depression in the late teens to early twenties. Unipolar depression, which Lincoln would struggle with his whole life, typically breaks into the open in the mid- to late twenties. Lincoln was twenty-six.
All these reminded me of that other great book "An anthropologist on Mars" by Oliver Sacks, which, I read recently, and, which, in my opinion is a must read for anybody interested in the workings of the human brain.

By the way, the NPR books site is a good place to drop by; you get to read lots of excerpts from lots of interesting books.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A 'left'-handed complement?

I got a link to this article about the revival of a Russian satirical magazine called Krokodil from PTDR. Apparently, the magazine targets the new ills of the Russian society, and what (and, more specifically, who) do you think features on one of their cover pages? Bollywood (and yes, you got it right - Sharukh Khan). Is this identification of the elephant, coconut trees, Belur temple (?), and Sharukh Khan with exotic Bollywood films an indirect complement to SRK? And, by the way, who is that heroine? I am ashamed to say that I am not able to identify her! Could any of you?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Barefoot college?

Got this link about the Barefoot College from Conversations with Dina. Very interesting, ain't it?

A literary Sunday!

It is raining heavily, and I am stuck in the lab. Fortunately, the Hindu Sunday edition is up; and, what an edition it turned out to be!
An update

And, I am not the only one who noticed the literary feast. Uma calls it a fest and has more stuff from The Telegraph.

Umberto Eco seems to be in Madras; here is an exclusive interview with 'the professor who writes novels on Sundays'.

And then Vikram Seth talks to Mukund Padmanaban about Two lives.

And then Gowri Ramnarayan pays a tribute to Sundara Ramaswamy: No compromise in writing.

Finally, the inimitable Ram Guha, following his article on Ba, writes about Mahadev Desai, Gandhi's Boswell.

If it is raining outside, it is a literary flood on the net!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Such writing moves my heart!

Take a look at this prize winning piece of Uma.

A time to look back!

Do you remember the IIPM fiasco? Do you believe in the Right to Blog for Awareness? Then, why not go sign the petition? Link via Conversations with Dina.

Did I tell you something about nit-picking an article on Sania Mirza that appeared in the Hindu some time back? Here is Nirmal Shekar with some sane and sensible comments.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Argumentative Indian vs argumentative Indian!

Here is a pretty argumentative review of "The argumentative Indian" in EPW by Ram Guha; link via Indian Writing. Not having read the book myself, I am not able to make any comments on the review, though, as Guha himself says,
One might choose to take Amartya Sen's side in all these debates - I would, at any rate.
However, at least on one issue, I am with Guha and not with Prof. Sen; it pertains to Prof. Sen's reading of skepticism expressed in Indian epics like Ramayana, and what it means to the Indian argumentative tradition (As mentioned above, I am yet to read the book and this comment of mine is based on a cursory reading of the preface that I got from PTDR sometimeme back). I certainly am not comfortable with Prof. Sen's reading of the discussions of Rama with Jabali, for example. Probably, the point behind adding such sections in Ramayana is to show Jabali as a negative example; within the traditional reading, Jabali goes back on his arguments, and, if I remember correct, Vashishta pacifies an angry Rama by saying that Jabali said all that he said without meaning any of it. So, it is pretty tricky to pull that argument. It is much better to take the Gandhian attitude (mentioned in Ram Guha's review). Scripture or no-scripture, precedence or no-precedence, continuity or no-continuity, we make decisions about things like secularism, argumentation, equality, multi-culturalism, peaceful co-existence, etc, based solely on what we perceive to be their merit; which means, even if these are alien to us, we would still go with them. May be that is what Dostoevsky implies when he says "If any one could prove to me that Christ is outside the truth, and if the truth really did exclude Christ, I should prefer to stay with Christ and not with the truth".

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A few links!

Here is a cute, cute story.

Here is the latest Tangled Bank; it begins with a quote from Darwin explaining the name Tangled Bank.

The latest Resonance is a special issue on Hans Bethe; don't miss the transcript of a conversation between David Mermin and Bethe on the beginnings of solid state physics.

Here is Prof. D. Balasubramanian in today's Hindu on ways of avoiding/postponing Alzheimer's disease.

So long, and happy reading!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What say you of the Tennis Queen!

That is what Shakepeare would probably have said about Sania Mirza. Here is a report in today's Hindu.
Sania has discipline, tenacity, flamboyance and talent.
She is the first significant Indian female athlete.
The tennis star is an icon.
"Sania has discipline. tenacity,...": may be. "Tennis star = icon": agreed. But, I beg to differ on "the first significant female athlete" stuff. I object not because it is an hyperbole but because it is an injustice to innumerable others: see this, for example. There are many other points in the report on which we may nit-pick. Having said that, I must confess that I also believe and look forward to her world transforming performance.

Monday, October 17, 2005

SMS treats us to a dinner!

That was a nice party Suresh. Thanks a lot. Best of luck. And, keep in touch.

Shape-Memory-Suresh (to disinguish him form Polymer Suresh and Thin-film Suresha - thanks Praj for pointing this out), yesterday treated us to a dinner at Basil to celebrate his admission into TU Delft, Netherlands.

This is Deep; is he contemplating 'The Gajar ka Halwa situation'?

This is SMS giving instructions to the waiter about the camera; but he forgot to tell that me and Prasad should also appear in the photograph. All you can see is my glasses and Prasad's hand. From left to right: SMS, Jayakumar, Sadhana, Kavita, Santa I, Praj, and Deep.

The other angle.

The 'Mumurshu Gadha' with Praj; do they remind you of Samuel Jackson and John Travolta? Who is Samuel Jackson?

Sadhana, in close-up. She is such a cute kid; bore all our nonsense for three hours without losing her patience (as long as she got all the chicken pieces from her father's biriyani).

Prasad and me: we were discussing my marriage plans. Does that explain the smirk on his face (and the glowingly serious expression on my face)?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I always knew!

Go here; link via Slashdot. I saw the story in the Hindu too; but I am unable to locate it. The only bad news, as of now, seems to be this:-)
"There's a big gap between rats and humans," Dr. Zhang points out.

A few links!

The next few weeks ae going to be a bit busy for me. So, the detailed posts have to wait for later. However, that should not stop me from posting links that I find interesting.

Here we go:
Anita Nair on her Kathakali field work.
Hugh and Colleen Gantzer on the Eco-smiths of Bastar.
Ranjit Lal on Madras and Chennai: I have been in denial of the name change for quite some time now. May be I should relegate Madras to my Madras memories, and get used to Chennai. Till we meet then.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Travels on a monsoon evening!

Despite the inevitable disparities in the way rainfall was distributed geographically and over time, it has been a good monsoon. Much of the country has got normal rain, and Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat have received far more than they usually do.
The Hindu Editorial on October 7, 2005

I sit inside the bus, warm with the human warmth of passengers, and alive with murmurs of conversation and occasional outbursts of laughter. It is dark outside with heavy, water laden clouds hanging so low that you can see their passing forms on the rocks on either side of the road. The monkeys that I usually spot are nowhere to be seen. Poor creatures! I wonder where they would be. Will they also sit, like crows, completely drenched and still on some tree branch?

Lightening flashes at the horizon very mildly, as if somebody is dipping and dimming a motor-cycle lamp on a far-away road. Occasionally, even when a stray lightning splits the sky with its strange dendritic form, the distant rumble of the thunder is lost in the sound of the bus engine, and the murmurs inside. The water droplets are heavy; the earth, completely wet and drenched may be to a few millimeters deep, no longer exudes heat as it does during the summer rains. There are ruddy water poodles everywhere, with waves that arise with each falling droplet of water. The water droplets are so heavy that when it falls in the pool, the water from the pool splashes a transparent screen of water at least an inch high.

All colours, even in such darkish tone, look startlingly fresh - the green of the leaves of the tamarind trees, the red of the flowing water, the darkish blue-black of the tarred road, the brown of the rocks with their blue veins. The hardness and rigidity of the spotlessly wahsed stones are palpable even to the eye. A bluish smoke rises like a fume from a tea shop - a thatched affair where a lady is brewing tea; she stands facing the road, but her face and her upper torso are turned to her right towards the small TV. A few old men, with beedis in hand, and two kids, are also intently watching the (black-and-white) song. A mongrel at their feet is looking lazily at the bus as it passes by.

But for the continuous fall of water droplets, waves in the poodles, and the flowing little streams, everything else is stilled. The trees just stand as if they are enjoying a shower, but are too lazy to soap themselves. There is an old, dead tree standing alone; having lost all the bark, it is white with dark lines running. The tree reminds me of a similar dead ashwaththa tree (full of screeching parakeets) at the threshold of my village. I wonder why people never cut such trees; may be there is a taboo against cutting a tree which is hit by lightning. I have to ask Anna. He may know.

As the evening ages, it is becoming darker. There is a continuous sound of falling water drops and running water outside, as if the heavens are murmuring secrets into the ears of the earth. Once in a while, there is a slight movement in the trees, and the water droplets ahead of the bus fly at an angle; it looks as if the earth heaves and shivers a little. The river of my childhood is full to the brim. In its muddy waters I see the image of us kids and our cousins fooling around in the water while our mothers sat on the stones chatting among themselves.

A strange peace descends. The passengers complain to the driver about the time he is taking to cover fifty kilometers. But the complaint is just an excuse to engage the driver in a conversation; the driver looks into the mirror on top and smiles indulgently. At that moment, my destination disappeared from my mind. I wanted this journey to be eternal. It was sad. It was pleasant. It was a rainy, rainy monsoon evening.
O Krishna of the Ocean and rains! Enter the ocean;
Take and give, fill and throw. Don't hide a thing.
Darken your body like the First lord of Pralaya,
Dazzle, in the hands of the Padmanabha,
Whose shoulders are well formed, like the ocean; and
Vibrate like the right-handed conch in his hand;
Stop not; Rain incessantly - like the arrows from Saranga.
Rain - so that we may live in this world.
May you be happy with our Margazhi bathings.
- Andal (in Aazhi mazhai kannaa...)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The High-Tea of Kotts!

It was on a cloudy monsoon evening,
that Kotts (the guy in the middle) gave us a High-Tea.

Friends from far and near came for the party. Let me introduce some of them to you.

Here is Praj the great - the eternal philosopher:

And then, Prof. Chokshi, Kotts' thesis advisor (obviously sad that Kotts is leaving):

Here is the photographer Arun Rao who photographed everybody (so, who photographed him?) with Kris, the local TEM-boss:

This friend of Kotts is here for his colourful dress: do I need to tell you that Arindam is from Bengal?

Here is the Jason Statham of our Department, Rejin, that sleepy headed transporter:

After Statham, it is time for Jackie Chan - Santa II:

Here are (from left to right) Prasad, Easwar, and Panicker. Prasad and Panicker are Kotts' labmates. Easwar used to be Kotts' competitor in A mess, and is presently with TVS, Hosur.

Then comes (Mura)li-ji; like the sorceress in Scorpion King, li-ji can predict the future. We always ask him if it would rain. If he says no, then we remember to carry our umbrellas.

Here is Prady, a member of the hockey club which ran a farewell match for Kotts the other day.

And then comes the Chandrabindhas fame "Mumurshu Gadha", Santa I. Santa is a labmate of Kotts and keeps the conscience of the NRI scientists by singing to them "ye jo desh hai tera".

This is Pandu from CSA, the true chameleon. The pinkos think he is a saffron-wallah. The saffron-wallahs think he is a pinko. Only we know that he is the Dark Lord (of some Ram Gopal Verma movie. What?...Sarkar - Well, may be).

Here is Srini of CPDM, who keeps his eyes in the right direction, which is heavenward:

What? Munna-Bhai. No...No...No... It's our own Shastry Anna-Bhai:-)

Finally, on popular demand, here is (1) Saswata et al and (2) Abi, the Guru of gurus (or, Guru's guru):

Before I sign off - Best of luck Kotts. Do keep in touch. The 2'o clock tea gang, the friday movie gang, the 5'o clock hocky gang - all of us will miss you. Yours truly,

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen!

O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason.
Read this and this; if you thought that was bad, as their homepage makes it abundantly clear, IIPM
proudly understands that what we teach today, others adopt tomorrow . .
unless, of course,
In every wound of Caesar that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
Postscript: This is my IIPM tag post and all the title and the two quotes in this post are from The life and death of Julius Caeser

Monday, October 10, 2005

Ram Guha on Ba!

A nice (albeit short) essay by Ram Guha was published in yesterday's Hindu about Ba. I look forward to the promised biography with more than casual interest.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Short story aspirations!

Here is an old post about writing novels. In case your interest is in writing shot stories, here are some tips; link via Kitabkhana.

I like that!

Just for this,
Be fearless, like that suave cosmopolitan M. K. Gandhi, that most international of khiladis, who told us repeatedly that while his political gurus were Gokhale and Ranade and Tilak, his spiritual gurus were Tolstoy and Thoreau and Ruskin, and that he got his non-violence not from the Gita, but from the Sermon on the Mount.
it might be worth reading this rather long essay; a link I got from here. While we are at it, I should mention the disgust I felt (from which I have not yet completely recovered) when I heard Shashi Deshpande say that she did not like RK Narayan because he wrote with an western audience in mind.

Hmmmm... I would love to read that!

Here is a review of The singing Neanderthals; link via John Hawks. Bit of googling got me these other reviews: guardian unlimited; Independent.

By the way, these lines from the Bookslut review,
Try to square this supposition with our ancestors trekking out of Africa to new lands over a million years ago, or burying their loved ones in emotion- laced ritual at 90,000 years ago.
reminded me of that moving scene described by Madhavaiah Krishnan (in the collection Nature's spokesman) about elephant herds mourning for their dead.

Friday, October 07, 2005

When Kotts went to Palakonda, and his baggage went to Guwahati...

Well, not quite, but almost. You see - Kotts is a hyperactive guy - how hyperactive, you may never even imagine. Once, Praj, Kotts, and me, came back from a movie and got dropped off at the main gate of the Institute. Kotts excused himself saying that he has a sample to load, took his cycle from the aero parking lot, and flew away. While Praj and me ambled along and were nearing the Department, we saw the apparition of Kotts for a fleeting second as he whizzed past us from MRC towards the Department. Apparently, in the time that it took us to reach the Department from the main gate, Kotts has been to MRC, milled his sample in the ion beam, and was going back to the lab to load it. If you doubt the veracity of this story, you do not know Kotts. In any case, last week, our Kotts was running on several railway platforms all over Andhra, and this is the story of that adventure.

Kotts took the Bangalore-Guwahati express to go home - to Palakonda near Sikako (that is Srikakulam, for those of you not familiar with the lingo). When the train reached Madras, Kotts got down to get some drinking water and some good chai. Kotts was looking at the engine of the train, and sipping his chai, while the sneaky southern railways guys, connected an engine from the other side, and left - taking with them the Kotts' baggage. And, lo and behold, after his chai, Kotts gets this surreal scence of an empty platform with just the engine - the bogies have vanished as if it was a Garcia novel or Vittalacharya movie!

Kotts runs to the authorities, explains them the situation; they tell him to take the next train along the same route - they promise him that they would inform the authorities at Ongole to get his baggage, so that he may pick it up there. Kotts takes Coromondel, reaches Ongole, and finds that neither the superindentent nor RPF have any idea about the baggage; but they promise him that they would inform the chaps at Vijayawada. Time to run since Coromodel is already on the move - once bitten, twice shy - this time around, Kotts is careful to watch the bogies, and not just the engine.

Now, Kotts reaches Vijayawada and completes his ritual rounds with the station superindentent and RPF, in vain. Now, there is the second (and last) call for Coromondel; before Kotts starts his second 100m run of the day, the station superindentent of Vijayawada promises to inform the chaps at Vizag so that he can collect his luggage at Vizag.

If, by now, you thought that Kotts got his baggage at Vizag and went to Sikako, you do not know that truth is stranger than fiction ;-) Well, no baggage in Vizag too, but the chaps at Vizag tell him that probably the baggage is there in Ongole or Viajayawada, after all. A few frantic calls afterwards, Kotts realises that the baggage was picked up at Viajayawada - but before the news reached the station master, Kotts met him, had his discussions, ran to the RPF, had his discussions, and, finished his 100m run, and left for Vizag. Kotts came back to Vijayawada from Vizag, and picked up his baggage. And, so ends the adventures of Kotts on the railway platforms of Andhra!

Before I sign off, I guess the Institution of Indian Railways (IR) deserves a few good words; as Ram Guha once pointed out, IR is one of the legacies of British which helped strengthen our democratic foundations. So, long live IR and officers and employees of IR who come to the rescue of passengers at times of stress and trauma. (By the way, I have another adventure of Shankara, Phani, and me with IR to narrate; remind me some other time). And, it is also time to wish Kotts all the best for his post-doctoral tenure in Germany for the next few years!

The not-so-gentle madness!

Sometimes, when they see me, my friends duck. I can see why. When I discover a new writer or book, I get this irresistible urge to thrust it on all my friends, so that, over coffee we can discuss the author/book. And, when I strongly recommend the book (and offer to loan the book), if the offer is not taken, I get a bit irritated. I have not yet gone to the extent of this friend of Pradeep Sebastian, who buys books so that they can be distributed among friends; but, I know I am almost there. So, it is when my friends perceive me with that manic gleam in my eyes, and nervous energy in my walk that they duck; and, if they are lucky, and manage to evade me, they heave a sigh of relief and say "Abba, Aaj bachgaya hoon main". The same story repeats with the movies I like, and the blogs that I love to read (as Deep, Praj, Santonu, Shencottah, and innumerable others would vouch).

So, not surprisingly, when I find kindred souls who love to read, and share their love with others via their 'strong' recommendations, my heart leaps with joy. Here, I have in my mind Ram Guha, Pradeep Sebastian, David Davidar, Shashi Deshpande (as I recently found out), Harold Bloom, Somerset Maugham, Virginia Woolf, and, their ilk. It is well near impossible, for example, to read Woolf's Common Reader and not be obsessed with Woolf and the authors that she writes about.

Well, dear reader, if you are wondering what this rambling is all about, you guessed it right: some recommendations for you:-) Here is a review, appropriately titled "Book lust" that I got from here: the book itself is titled "Leave me alone, I am reading" - such sweet words (and such sweet freedom to proclaim it - Boy, am I jealous?!).

Here is another link that discusses the pleasures of reading (again from PTDR):
The spectacle of King Lear wandering the plain in his madness, of the gnawing self-consumption of Dostoevsky's underground man, of the wittily articulated hopelessness endured by Kafka's heroes, even of Anne Frank's unbearably poignant self-discovery - all give us an intense but inexplicable and even disturbing pleasure.

The distinctive form of aesthetic pleasure we take from the literary experience gives us the sense that we are being deepened, empowered, and enriched even as we are being entertained or charmed - pleased in the deepest sense.

Finally, since it was so strongly recommended by the reviewer of "Leave me...", here is the link to Villette online.

So long, and happy reading - till we meet again!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

My favourite newspaper on Vibes!

So, last week was Vibes, and we had a special, cool, noisy and flashy visitor on almost all the days; I mean the rain, lightning and the thunder. However, that stopped neither Vibes nor our participation. Here is a nice summing up of the festival in today's Bangalore MetroPlus. The news about the stall the India Literacy project is missing in the report above; I understand from Kotts that this stall had a good number of visitors. By the way, Hindu also had a nice stall which was selling their "The Hindu speaks on" series; I bought the one on music which had some fundoo photographs at the end. And, here is the anticipatory piece that MetroPlus published a few days before the event. I guess the volunteers (Santa, Prasad, Rajesh, Hari, Srini, Viswaroop, and the innumerable others) deserve three cheers...Hip... Hip ...Hooray Hip ...Hip ...Hooray Hip ...Hip ...Hoooooooooray ;-))

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The time has come...

Microsoft is not the answer. Microsoft is the question. NO (or Linux) is the answer. (As quoted here.)
Why do birds migrate? According to this page, the reasons are complex and not fully understood. But a simple explanation is food and a safe place to breed.

Now, why do people migrate from Windows to Linux? The answer is pretty much the same: the reasons are complex and not fully understood. But a simple explanation is that Linux empowers you in the sense that it allows you to modify the code according to your whims and fancies.

Well, you guessed it right - I am a Linux fanatic! And, here is the good news, that I got from here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A singular image of future?

Prediction is very difficult, especially, if it is about future.
Niels Bohr
Thy letters have transported me beyond
This ignorant present, and I feel now
The future in the instant.
The tragedy of Macbeth
I got this from here: looks like nano features prominently (and, at times, menacingly) in this book on futurity. Makes me wonder if I should switch fields to be near the singularity as it nears us!