31 December, 2011

Metamorphosing out of 2011

Every year, the year that breezes by feels like the most eventful year of my life, and this year ain't no exception: Better, this has been the best ever in my life! Metamorphosis or rediscovery I am not sure of, but the feeling right now is right and great!

The first half of this year was the time when I made some serious structural changes in my life, in all dimensions and have tried fitting myself into a long aspiring role, which has allowed me to rediscover, reinvent,reinvigorate myself and to some extent inspire others.

Long term consequences of these changes although will be unfolding in the numeric change awaiting tomorrow, I will be looking forward to it, as usual.

I have also transcended into the next level of my commitment towards the change I want to see coming around, and will work more effectively come 'new year'.

I am also playing a mind game of sorts with myself: If I want to endorse "unfettered freedom", or "get bottled up", or strike an "unlikely balance". While one of the contender seems to be tipping off the balance big time, I will wait until I bring it to reality.

The biggest surprise I bestowed on myself has been the whole bunch of people I am getting to know.
Am i not surprised!
In this regard I was turning into a cynic. Glad now, that people of all nature and kinds, some real close, some working at deeper layers of thought, some resonating with all the action, and some outlawed from my field of interaction are all available, and if not in plenty but in adequacy.
Discovering new wells of resonance, ideating and implementing the collective vision have all had a good start, and within my constraints will sustain them.

If one thing I have grown disappointed with myself is my time utilisation. My efficacy of performing within time has been getting better, wheras the efficacy of allocating time itself has deteriorated. Will consciously improve this time timing time!  

It might not be an exaggeration if I could claim that I have gotten more confident of my writing skills. Not because I get to write technical articles for a newspaper, or I am asked to write for various fora, but because I am these days, more than ever before, able to vent out all of my thoughts, as effectively as the language permits, well within my nascent writing. 
Words, are becoming my closest companions, and there's nothing more to complain about. Will allow it to grow as far and wide it can.

2011- The most read year, as yet! My book collection is taking shape into a precious library. Reading has hit a peak after my metamorphosis, and the rate of reading and the extent of assimilation I am able to do are better. I have acquired an ability to be able to discern literature and have an opinion about it. It is not about the opinion, but the mind that is able to make sensible criticism on ideas presented in the works and sometimes even the quality of the work itself. That certainly feeds fuel to the aspiring writer in me.

Bouncing off the efforts of the 365 days of this year, I am looking forward to the challenges and the camaraderie at all strata.

PS: Well, yes it is just a number, still serves as the right time to self evaluate :) 

27 December, 2011

Dr.Mulugeta: Inspiration beyond Physics

"I was in prison for seven years, and the first four years of imprisonment, there were 45 of us in 4m x 4m room in the central prison in Ethiopia", reminisces Dr. Mulugeta Bekele from Ethiopia, not with remorse, but with a tinge of sadness of the time spent then, and a subtle nationalistic pride.
Dr. Mulugeta is an associate Professor Physics at Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia. He completed his Ph. D in Physics from the Indian Institute of Science, India in the year 1997 and now he's back at his alma matter for a month. It has been a deeply inspiring experience to have interacted with him, firstly to know the Physicist he is, and with subsequent interactions, I have known other nuances of this humble science and math enthusiast from Ethiopia with a life long of struggle.

Dr. Mulugeta was the only Physics major student at Haile Sellasie University, and he pursued his passion Mathematics via Physics during late 1960's, as a lone student during his under-graduate days.

After the monarchy in Ethiopia was overthrown by a military regime - socialist for name sake; although it did nationalise banks, industry and land, it was far from being the encapsulation of people's aspirations. As Dr.Mulugeta says, "The monarchical hierarchy under which Ethiopia was ruled until the 1974, using military had just lost its head - the monarch alone was gone, and there was a total military oligarchy. With zero representation of the people's voices, the new military regime had to suppress numerous popular people's struggles".

The people's struggles which were taken up in the form of student movements, workers unions, and other representation of the common man in Ethiopia ended up in a ghastly phase of Ethiopian history. During this time, Dr.Mulugeta was teaching at AAU and did participate in the revolutions during the monarchical oligarchy, and post that against the military oligarchy.

The military regime was ruthless and suppressed all forms of uprisings, and in doing so killed hundreds of youth and imprisoned thousands of them even without a trial.
The Physics teacher from AAU that Dr.Mulugeta was during the people's uprisings against the military regime did participate in all the youth movements. “As the educated section of the society, all young students and teachers were actively participating in the demonstrations, and it was natural for me to join in those struggles”, he says. 
The ruthless regime in order to curtail such people's struggles killed hundreds of the young students and put a whole lot of them into prison. Dr. Mulugeta was put into a prison during one such retaliation by the military. He speaks of the uncertainty about the term they would be serving, or even the future of all the captured people, for, there was reckless genocide going on.

"We weren't given a trial or anything; Directly dumped into the prison and we did not even know for long....And when one of my other physicist got a trial and was sentenced seven years in prison, we started thinking of the same luck for each of us. We did not know how long could seven years in prison be. The first year is Sunday, second year was Monday, third year was Tuesday and so on, like the seven days of the week, each year was to become a really long day for each of us...”, recollects Dr. Mulugeta from his prison experience.

Describing the inhumane conditions of the prison cells and the tortures they had to endure he says that the cell in which he spent his first four years of term was 4m x 4m, and 45 people had to live in that! With very little time when they were allowed to go out from the cell, it must have been really hard. Although he does not talk of his own difficulties at any point of time, he says that before he could be put into that cell, previously there were 88 prisoners in the same 4m x 4m cell!

Apart from the imprisonment, severe torture on the prisoners was common, where they used to be chained, beaten, broken and several severed to death.

After four years in the central prison, where he was moved to a larger main prison where each prisoner the space alloted to each prisoner is more or less similar to the central prison, but the solace was that they could walk around the prison compounding walls.

When Dr. Mulugeta was released in 1985 at the age of 39, after spending seven years in jail he went back to AAU and in 1991 he comes to India to pursue his Ph. D at the Indian Institute of Science. Today he is one of the most respected Physicists from his region and in recognition to his efforts in contributing to Physics and his struggles he is being awarded the Andrel Sakharov prize by the American Physical Society, about which he says,” My Ethiopian students in the USA recommened me for this and I am happy about it”.

A simple, humble, erudite physicist with a life story which moves and inspires the young, not only of his own country but well beyond.

21 December, 2011

The inverse nature of aesthetics and ratification

Well, in this post I try to give shape to an ongoing discussion about the essence of aesthetics and ratification.

Before I present my views, let me make it clear that although I can be in awe and savour the aesthetics of reasoning (which actually is more gratifying), I am delving into the other realm of aesthetics which is primarily dominated by senses and the 'gray areas of the gray matter'!

Casually many a times in my interactions I put forth a point,
"To sustain interest, intrigue is mandatory; Absolute comprehension is ruthlessly disconnecting!", or something on these lines, correlating the amount of comprehension with the interest on subject.
Take a minute, dwell on this idea, and read on :)

Irrespective of you being convinced or not, the point I am trying to convey here is that aesthetic sense (previously interest) needs a dose of obscurity to attain the 'tending to irrationality' sensations it renders, for its grandest impact. I am not contradicting my previous discourses about reasoning and logic; if so, let it seem so, for now!

Analysing art and photography should give us a good test case, and it shall be a very personal outlook of the debate and I do not intend to take it beyond; nonetheless if one feels coherent - feel free - tag along!

Art as in creative painting is what I mean in this context.
Painting is purely creative. Everything on canvas flows from the mind of the artist, even if inspired from reality - I as an observer has not seen the reality, and I am more than glad to look through the artist's prism. While being immersed in savouring a 'good'(by my perception) painting, the sea of emotions unleashed by the painting could be varying from anything that is euphoric to morose; personally, these experiences would have little explanations, or rather I wouldn't want to pursue it, because it would burst out the bubble of that profound sensation!
I'd rather leave the comprehension away in this case, and let myself be lost in the sensations of aesthetics.

Talking of photography, yes, photography is art. But the amount of impact it would have is lesser than that via artisitc painting. The 'obscurity gradient' inherently is lesser here! In a photograph 'the moment' has been frozen - it is quite remarkable and all. But my mind knows that it existed as it is there, and it is only  the perspective that has been altered. Reality is never all that exciting to the aesthetics- it needs something beyond reality - fantasy, something beyond the realms of common sense and that is what is aethetically pleasing to the mind!

And painting, or music churn out things which weren't already there! They create and render the influence of the artists persona and that confluence is what makes all the difference. Surreal!

Take for example that Picasso one above, and imagine a deeply saddening picture of a malnourished kid in African countries (which have been more than adequately photographed). Both make me sad. But I know the reason for the latter - there's a logical chain my mind is already thinking on - famine -govt apathy - policies -exploitation -.... I can explain my sadness here - empathy.

But, the painting I don't know why! It is still inexplicable to me.

The post is not about disregarding the mind boggling skill that photography is,but only analyze in relation to artistic painting. Even in photographs, the perspective offered by the photographer conveys beyond what the reality is.

For instance in this one by me (not a great pic, but the purpose seems to have been conveyed)

It is my perspective and not the reality itself. You would still be seeing it through my perspective, but I haven't created the reality there - it somehow lessens the thrill is my argument.

Both art and photography quench the lacunae of daily life by filling us with inspiration, joy, agony, awareness, love and beauty; No ratification can balance out the emotions, it can only mellow down some of the impact.

17 December, 2011

ITEC Movie Club scores from Offside!

ITEC's long standing aspiration of getting a movie club running finally and in a special manner was realized today. The purpose of this club is to watch and discuss progressive movies which would sensitize and increase awareness about issues which many a times go unnoticed.

The first movie screened today was the Iranian brilliance "Offside" by Jaffer Panahi. This being the first screening, the team had hoped to rope in a famous cinema person for the inaugural show.

Prakash Belawadi who obliged to be part of the first screening was the most apt person; with his cinema experience and critique on the IT culture was impeccable for the occasion.

Prakash Belawadi made a couple of interesting remarks about the IT work force and their ethos, which I think is in fact a less propagated reality of the IT culture. "Stuck in crowded work places, reaching via congested roads, slogging more than adequately- having a hellish lifestyle" was his perception of the IT community. Also, the corporate social responsibilty mask under which the euphemistic social endeavours are taken up by the IT diaspora was also retorted by him. IT community, the small community that it is has run away from the realities of the society in India, and without defining which society their social responsibility would be catering to, there would be little sense to their 'responsibility execution' was his straight forward view.

Talking about the need for movie clubs, and apprecating the efforts of ITEC he mentioned that benefits of watching a movie in an audience when compared to watching it in on DVD - the interaction and the commune emotions that are churned out are the things which are not to be missed.

Jaffer Panahi's Offside

Islamic Republic of Iran's oppressive regime and the nature of state controlled media with almost zero freedom are quite well known. Working in such an environment, Jaffer Panahi, has tried to bring out certain important issues via his movies. Currently, Jaffer Panahi is serving a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on making or directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media as well as leaving the country. All this for making progressive movies in a severely constrained society.

Offside is a heart touching story of a bunch of adolescent girls who disguise themselves as boys, so that they get to watch the World cup football semifinal match in Iran, which the Iranian women are not allowed to! A simple tale, captured on film in a documentary style with some exceptional performances by the cast renders Offside as one of the best movies of recent times. As Jaffer Panahi is known to be a neorealist film maker, Offside is a remarkable piece of work which more importanlty portays a retrogressive social practice persisting in a regressive social structure, in the most appealing manner, with subtle and sarcastic mock at the system, while projecting the aspirations of the female protagonists in various dimensions.

Although the direct idea might seem disconnected to our circumstances, it is a symbolic questioning of all the discrepancies of gender inequalities. The suppression imposed on the female population in many of the countries even today is of deep concern and the discussions which followed the movie did show that there is a lot that could be done! In India although with all the freedom we boast of, excpet for in urban scenario the condition and treatment of women is certainly not at par with men.

Prof Chatterjee from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, who was part of the audience discerned India and Iran based on his experiences: India is a country although with advanced consitution of law, women have a regressive mentality, as a whole; whereas, Iran although has a rudimentary consititution, women there have a lot more progressive mentality.

These are the kinds of debates and dicussions ITEC is looking forward to instigate by making the Movie Club consistent.

Offside is a must watch to everyone, and if interested to know more about the Movie club, the movie itself or about ITEC do visit the website http://www.itecentre.co.in/

13 December, 2011

Day dreaming in dreamy days

Without getting into the specific time as to when, although many of you might well be able to guess it, last few days have been really conducive for this gratifying, involuntary creative act - Day Dreaming!

There is something unique about day dreams, in that they are not in entirety based on the subconscious and hence most entirely implausible. These are perfect confluence of subconscious' aspirations substantiated by the ratification and planning of the conscious mind,yielding these wondrous mental states.

Deepest longings emanating from the core of the self, take shape and present themselves as realistic and hopeful projections of the mind, seeking whatever it really craves for!

Another important trait is that one does not forget what transpires in these dreams unlike their subconscious counterparts, which many a times need Freudian analysis to recollect and decipher!

While I cherish reminiscing and hoping for these day dreams to see their day, you try working on yours :)

09 December, 2011

Gullible vulnerabilities of a wobbling mind

My tending towards arrogance brag sessions about rationality and the import I give to logic and reasoning might already have established a projection of me in your perceptions; if it hasn't I'm glad.

This post is one of those periodic singularities in my blog, where my usual flow of ideas and opinions are obstructed to make way for something more trivial - my own personal commotion from within.

The grand title I have engraved to this post might have led some of you to expect, and I don't know what, but all I am serving in this post is confusion from within.

Ratification is gratification, being my mantra, a couple of minds around have been questioning if this is an absolute principle and would I be able to adhere to it eternally. Even before I could formulate my defense and present it, I introspect to find anomalies and inconsistencies in my proclamation of ratification.

I am so hopelessly irrational many a times, that I know it for sure that I am the most irrational rational around.

What instigates these objective experiences in me is not important, for I am not principled well enough to remain non-subjective. When I call these experiences, responses and expectations irrational, they are more than simple irrationality, these reach zeniths of ludicrousness, at least when probed from the point of the other me I aspire to grow into!

I am gullible most of the time, and this trait isn't about others deceiving me, but more on the lines of self deception. A delusion, that I for always have resented to get away from.

Vulnerable because, I am weak. Weak in the sense that not the strongest as I want to be. There must be some vents through which my strong persona leaks out, leaving me vulnerable.

The responsiveness in me that makes me look like a pathetic simpleton and the impulsive nature of reacting projecting me to be a loose cannon have a deep rooted inconsistency about my mental framework. Impulsiveness and spontaneity in reactions, not even responses have been the devil riding on my back for quite sometime, and I have not off loaded them. Even after pushing myself into super ridiculous and extraordinarily embarrassing situations I oscillate and rest back to abnormality.

The abstraction here is directed back at me, for I know no one but myself can alleviate this sensation of mine.

07 December, 2011

Hurting my non-religious sentiments!

/Me is a non-religious person, a proud atheist, and this post might well encapsulate in a frivolous sense the subtle 'trauma' our diaspora is being conditioned to.

Well, here are some of my genuinely exaggerated confessions:P

If you thought non-religious people did not have sentiments, yes you were almost right that we don't have unreasonable ones, like quarreling for a piece of supposedly 'holy' land, or a wall, or adulating each ones idols, or seeking supremacy in relic books. But we do have sentiments, that usually go unnoticed, and I assure you these are more personal, yet sensible stuff!

It hurts my sentiments when I'm asked to write my religion in the religion field  of every application form and that 'atheism' is not a recognized entry! Although my recent hack  “born hindu” seems to convey a gist of what I feel, that does still hurt my non-religious sentiments!

It hurts my sentiments, when I see that we are non-existent to the Government and media, and they don't want to give heed to this our swelling diaspora. This community, with obviously higher IQ is ignored, for we understand and endorse Darwinism and not the 'magic wand bang creationism'!

It hurts my sentiments, when the religious fanatics' 'hurt and trampled' bleating gets all the unnecessary importance, when there's a whole world full of more important things to be done!

It does not hurt, but only amuses me when an atheist is treated as a traitor or an embodiment of evil, instead of looking at the evidence and reason behind our natural vanity.

It hurts my rational sentiments (oxymoron, I get it), when instead of facing my arguments some of you dodge and hide behind a facade of sentimentalism.

It hurts my sentiments, when they perceive me uncultured, when the truth is that I'm more sanely cultured than even the most religious fanatic, for I have undone the rituals and superstitions and celebrate only the humanness!

It hurts my sentiments, when everyone talks of only sentiments and not of the intellect! How can you run a world by pleasing unreasonable sentiments, blocking all of rationality?

It gravely hurts my non-religious sentiments, when you threaten me of not allowing to have the delicacies for each of the religious celebration, and that alone of all I have mentioned has the most serious impact on me, sometimes making me rethink my stand as an athiest!:P

All said and not done, I feel hurt to see many of you still loosely stuck to your religious webs and pose helpless, while I cherish the bliss of cognizance, that builds through every moment, every day.

04 December, 2011

Sliding down the memory lane

After a really long time, I was there,
at those very places,
and I was soaked, really wet in reminiscence.
While childhood memories are nostalgic,
I seldom dwell on my own for some alien reasons.

And today, accidentally when I happened to be there,
and was free and decided to go strolling all the places,
It was, I say gratifying and deeply so.

All of it looks smaller, because I have grown twice taller! 
The distances I used to cover running ten paces are two hops now;
The garden beyond the walls I used to climb into, is now accessible via just a peek;

The big trunk trees that we used to climb upon,
They are almost the same, only look much taller;
Remembered the flowers, and it reminded me of their fragrance;

None of the buildings resemble what I remember
Colours have changed, structure tweaked
The place looks concise and all of it looks as if stuffed together.

The games we used to play,
running and hiding and seeking one another;
Felt a hint of pain to see the spot
where I had slid and grazed myself.

Aroma of the legendary Warrier bakery
and vydehi uddina vade,
Made a point to quench my taste buds this time
Finishing with the classic filter coffee;

Resting at the steps of the temple
after the triple conduits of the deity,
Wanted to do it, felt free to have it my way;

Went past school,
twelve years where I learned and unlearned,
Met a pal, who yelled "debian"
Facebook it seems, proclaims more than what I am.
buddy chat, catching up on jobs,past and future.
Between the two no girls to talk about,
Boring it was obviously.

Surprised myself
allowing this sweet sensation of reminiscence
I relish every moment of it,
I relish every moment of it,
Sliding down the memory lane.  

PS: The first twelve years of my life, approximately half my life I lived in and within the proximity of Rajajinagar. With twelve years of schooling from the very vicinity, all the memories I remember start with the places there: the streets, trees, buildings, eateries, temples, school! Saving it for myself here :)


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