Monday, 21 January 2013

नए मील का पत्थर पार हुआ

translation on 13-12-2012. For A.

"नए मील का पत्थर पार हुआ

कितने पत्थर शेष न कोई जनता ?
अंतिम कौन पड़ाव नहीं पहचानता ?
अक्षय सूरज, अखंड धरती,
केवल काया, जीती मरती,
इसलिए उम्र का बढ़ना भी त्यौहार हुआ।
नए मील का पत्थर पार हुआ।

बचपन याद बहुत आता है,
यौवन रस्घट भर लाता है,
बदला मौसम, ढलती छाया,
रिसती गागर, लुटती माया,
सब कुछ दाँव लगाकर घटे का व्यापर हुआ।
नए मील का पत्थर पार हुआ।"

-अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी

Everyone wonders,  how far the road goes,
But the Final Destinationeveryone knows.
The eternal sun, the endless skies,
Only the body, lives and dies.
And so we celebrate, as another year is lost,
After all, a new milestone was crossed.

I yearn, often, for the childhood years,
Wholesome youth, free from fear.
Seasons change, shadows spread,
Vessels empty, enchantments dead,
I staked everything, and lost.
A new milestone was crossed.

- Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Monday, 17 December 2012

I Wish

There are times
when I wish.
for what, I cannot say
I do not even know
But I wish.
I smile with my friends
And joke and laugh
But suddenly, without notice
My brain whips around
The world ends
And I wish.
I shut the doors
And work hard, keep calm
And breathe.
But a word, a picture,
A stray thought
And the world comes crashing in
And I wish.
I learn to stand
I know I need to learn
To be a man.
And to Stand.
But still, sometimes,
I look at the sky, searching,
The clouds hide every star.
And, I wish.

- Yours Trully
for A. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


My long obsession with a simple statement -

"The truth is out there"

has led my subconscious to an obsession with the straightforward question -

"Is there anyone out there ?"

Thursday, 4 November 2010

DaisyWorld - why we may not have much warning before the Cimate Catastrophe


These are some simulations I did for fun, as a small extention of the zero dimentional Daisyworld Paper of Watson and Lovelock in '83. The upper graph has temperature on the y axis, and x axis has the poles on the edges and the equator in the centre. The lower graph has population on the y axis while the x axis is the same as above. Green line is the black dasies and blue is the white daisies.

The basic premise is this - there is a planet whose sun's luminosity is increasing linearly. The planet has white daisies that reflect sunlight (and thus reduce local temperature) and black daisies (that absorb sunlight and thus increase local temperatue) both of which grow at some common optimum temperature 300k, with growth rates reducing rapidly away from this temperature. (fairly sharp gaussian in my simulation).

The surprising result is that the black and white daisie populations at every point are such that the optimal temperature is maintained for as long as possible. When finally the daisies cannot regulate temperature any more, we do not see a gradual degredation of populations, we see a catastrophic collapse.

The earth's temperature and chemical regulatory systems are much, much more complex. But this kind of catastrophic transition is fairly common in complex dynamical systems. It is a possibility that has a non neglible probability.

Music Credit - People Are Strange by the Doors. I do not own the rights etc, I just thought it would make a nice sound track for the graphs. Fair Use maybe ? since its not a commercial movie etc etc ? I dont really know.

Typos - in the initial rolling text, it should be first white daisies and then black, instead of black and black. Also excuse the thin lines on the graph. There are around a 1000 graphs making up that video, I cant be bothered to wait the few hours it takes to generate them. Also, the code is a couple of years old, it'd take me ages to make sense of it ! Now on, I will write clean readable code with documentation and comments !

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Very Random poem written 26-04-2010


I stare at the ceiling
Lying in my bed
Afraid of the Voices
Shouting in my head.

Afraid of the silence
Playing videos all night
Alone in the darkness
Afraid of the light.

I listen to lectures
Ignoring whats said
To drown in that noise
The voices in my head.

I talk constantly
I have much to hide
Echoing loudly
the emptiness inside.

I use my words
To hide from my friends
Its standard practice
For one who pretends.

I know what to do
but I don't even try
Leaving my soul
To suffocate and die.

I make no effort
I dabble and pretend
Paralyzed and waiting
For this nightmare to end.

The day is not far
when Ill resort to lies
Extinguishing finally
The spark in my eyes.

I listen all night
I talk all day
I speak the most
when I've nothing to say.

-Yours Truly

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Books I've recently bought and cant wait to read ! :-)

  1. Ever Since Darwin by Stephen Jay Gould
  2. The View From Serendip by Arthur C. Clarke
  3. The Last Spaceship from Earth by John Boyd
  4. The Pollinators of Eden by John Boyd
  5. Report on Planet Three by Arthur C. Clarke
  6. Beyond This Horizon by Robert Heinlein
  7. The Essence of Chaos by Edward Lorenz
  8. Astounding Days by Arthur C. Clarke
  9. The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin
  10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (again ?)

As you can see, that's all sci-fi and science. I keep thinking I have read all of Clarke worth reading and then I pop into a second hand bookstore and am pleasantly surprised by some book of his I had not seen before, it happens all the time. John Boyd I havent read yet, but he looks promising. This Lorenz is the original Lorenz (of the Lorenz attractor) so it should be interesting to read his take on chaos now that Ive had the chance to study the math behind it somewhat. Lee Smolin happens to be my current research supervisor, and that paper is due in soon, so I probably ought to be working ! :-)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

A very old War

Khandava Forest was an ancient forest mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. It lay to the west of Yamuna river, in modern day Delhi territory. Pandavas cleared this forest to construct their capital city called Indraprastha. This forest was earlier inhabited by Naga tribes. Arjuna and Vasudeva Krishna cleared this forest by setting up a fire. The inhabitants of this forest were displaced. This was the root cause of the enimity of the Naga Takshaka towards the Kuru kings who ruled from Indraprastha and Hastinapura.

. . . . . . . . .

Emperor Janamejaya ascended to the throne of Hastinapura upon the death of his father Parikshit. According to legend, Parikshit, the lone descendant of the House of Pandu, had died of snakebite. He had been cursed by a sage to die so, the curse having been consummated by the serpent-chieftain Takshak.
Janamejaya bore a deep grudge against the serpents for this act, and thus decided to wipe them out altogether. He attempted this by performing a great Sarpa satra - a sacrifice that would destroy all living serpents.
At that time, a learned sage named Astika, a boy in age, came and interfered. His mother Manasa was a Naga and father was a Brahmin. Janamejaya had to listen to the words of the learned Astika and set Takshaka free. He also stopped the massacre of the Nagas and ended all the enemity with them (1,56). From then onwards the Nagas and Kurus lived in peace.

from Wikipedia.

Well, as Dantewada has shown us again, they are living in peace no longer.

Notice how the locals (who were presumably referred to as serpents, or perhaps the words for serpent and the local tribes just happened to be the same) are now referred to as serpents literally. Dehumanised in the stories we tell our children, so we can collectively forget that thousands of years ago the 'aryan' invaders cleared the forests and displaced the locals and formed the Vedic Civilization that most modern Indians are descended from.

The story of the burning of the Khandva forest by Krishna and Arjuna - in the Mahabharata - tells us how they set the forest on fire and killed every living thing in it. An exaggeration obviously, but perhaps it captures the brutality of the violence that was perpetrated. The capital of modern India stands where the Khandva forest used to be. Where Takshaka's people were massacred.
I like the irony.

Throughout history, the forest people have not been a part of our civilization. It exists only where we burnt their forests down. Gazni and Ghori and Timur never looted them, the British never really ruled them and the Indian state was conceived and implemented without their participation. And on paper their lands suddenly belonged to the powers that be - in the city Arjuna cleared land to create.
Oh yes, I like the irony.

It is not a law and order problem, it is not merely an insurgency, it is very much a clash of civilisations. To solve it, we must address the problem of somehow including the Adivasi stories and dreams in a composite vision for the future of the land that constitutes the Republic of India. We need to assure them - and change ourselves to make our assertions a reality - that our civilisation is not antagonistic to theirs. The maoists will wither and die if the Adivasis are with us.

Or, bring them to the table through force followed by a place within the Indian Democratic setup. However we go about it, we must first internalize the fact that they are a civilisation seperate from ours which needs to somehow be brought round a point where we can share a nation without risk of future conflict. One way or another.

It is my view that the only way to make sensible policy decisions is to face the truth, and there is much to be said for the paradigm of the clash of civilisations. Looked at from this perspective, it is easy to see why and how events started spiralling out of control once we wanted the lands they lived on. If it was obvious to us that Iraq was about Oil, it should be equally obvious to us that Dandakaranya is about Land. It always has been. For several thousand years.

There are no heroes and villains in this, no great virtuous proletariat fighting for some serene Utopia. There are interests. Do we really care if some large companies make even more money ? Or is it more important to us that the discord and violence that has plagued our country for millennia is finally resolved ? Do we want the freedom to roam through our forests welcomed by our fellow countrymen or are we content to let economics take its course and exacerbate the violence ? what is in our best interest ? Perhaps the market is not the best mechanism to handle this. Perhaps we need a more creative, more innovative approach. Perhaps we need to declare our forests sacrosanct since people depend on them for their livelihoods. Perhaps we need to work out some concept of collective land ownership for tribes that have lived there for hundreds of years. Perhaps we need to do the fair and right thing by the tribals we have forgotten and ignored throughout history, and THEN crush the maoists.

If we cannot be sensitive and innovative, we must at least be decisive and firm. To dither mouthing platitudes is plain cowardice and spinelessness. Are we the "virtuous" ? then lets act like it. Lets do the magnanimous and fair thing. If we are not, lets do the pragmatic thing that has worked for countless empires before us, and subjugate the "enemies" who stand in our way and challenge our state. Its been done before, even by us (excellent article by Shekhar Gupta), countless times.

People who believe their own propaganda seldom solve real problems. We must face the truth about our history, all aspects of it. Every invader and immigrant brings with him new tensions and conflicts. India is a multilayered closely packed collection of such conflicts accumulated over millennia - from the ancient Aryans to the more recent Muslims and British. To pretend that everything has always been hunky dory - while the stories handed down from generation to generation in every language tell of strife and conflict - does not help bridge the divides and disaffections and mistrust that plague our country.

Problems don't go away simply because we try hard to forget them and the harsh bracing truth is always better than the palliative lie and those who forget the past, are condemned to repeat it.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


I'm a river creeping to the sea,
I'm a lemming rushing to its fate,
Let me be please let me be,
Its too late, its too late.

With empty words I amuse,
Profound in my decadent state,
I neither accept nor refuse,
Its too late, its too late.

With quiet and indifferent eyes,
I stare blankly at the date,
Silent, watching as time flies,
Its too late, its too late.

The truth makes way for lies,
As the floods of sanity abate,
Songs subside, give way to sighs,
Its too late, please, Its too late.

I feel no love,
I feel no hate,
I feel nothing,
Its too late.

- Yours Truly

Monday, 8 February 2010

Test Batsmen ?

Look at the records below and assuming all of these players play in the same domestic tournament, on similar pitches against similar teams, please select 3 middle order test batsmen.
The numbers are Matches, innings, not outs, runs, highest, average.

j : First-class 51 86 3 3648 203 44.38
i : First-class 89 141 17 5348 209 43.12
h : First-class 31 44 4 1917 259 47.92
g : First-class 46 74 11 3603 302* 57.19
f : First-class 36 52 4 2641 309* 55.02
e : First-class 36 60 6 3437 265* 63.64
d : First-class 25 36 6 1673 197 55.76
c : First-class 83 120 14 6189 250 58.38
b : First-class 34 55 2 2891 243 54.54
a : First-class 15 24 1 1149 194 49.95

it is obvious that the selection should be c, followed by g and e.

now the key :

a : Manish Pandey : 15 24 1 1149 194 49.95 : give him a few more seasons. he has some way to go.
b : M. Vijay : 34 55 2 2891 243 54.54 : among the better ones, has his chance now. Has to make the most of it.
c : S. Badrinath : 83 120 14 6189 250 58.38 : has his chance now, and should have had it a few years ago. Should be able to make himself a regular.
d : Virat Kohli : 25 36 6 1673 197 55.76 : A decent first class record, as good as M. Vijays. but young....he will have his chance.
e : Ajinkya Rahane : 36 60 6 3437 265* 63.64 : amazing record, 2 splendid seasons, he must get a crack at the test scene before the future Indian middle order is decided, surely. also a youngster...he will have his chance.
f : Rohit Sharma : 36 52 4 2641 309* 55.02 : another good record, he seems to be on the verge of getting his break in the test team.
g : Chheteshwar Pujara : 46 74 11 3603 302* 57.19 : another young man with a superb record. He too much get a crack before the future of the Indian batting order is settled.
h : Abhishek Nayar : 31 44 4 1917 259 47.92 : Probably not test material.
i : Yuvraj Singh : 89 141 17 5348 209 43.12 : definitely not test material, but he has played 33 and is a first choice bat in the middle order.
j : Suresh Raina : 51 86 3 3648 203 44.38 : In the running only because he was Greg Chappel's protege. He has his first test call-up for the second test between India and SA. His first class record is sub-par.

oh the vagaries of selection :)

Whats Important ?

1. Health
2. Human Contact
3. Fun
4. Constraints


ever since I was a little kid, Ive wanted to build a model aircraft (one that actually flies under its own power) and I still do, more than ever.
and not just from a kit....I want to come up with my own designs. how hard can it be :-)

I want to do something really cool with my iTouch and the iPad I know I will one day own. Heck....Id like to control my model plane using my iPad :D

I want to make money by doing something 'useful' in society. Make pans, provide advice(!!), build spaceships, whatever.

Im not sure I want to do a Phd any more....but I need to find a good substitute for a Phd. something I can spend a couple of years doing, thats ridiculous, unlikely, high risk, high return and high impact. before I go home, get married and start trying to not be boring and irrelevant.

Im irrelevant now too of course....but I dont feel it. Im in a place where people are moving, its 'the place to be' in theoretical physics. If a great discovery is made - in any of a staggeringly large number of fields - chances are it'll be by someone associated with PI or someone known to people associated with PI. and then the discoverer will soon be associated with PI :P

Perhaps the reason Im scared of going back home is that I feel I need to be in the 'right place' in order to feel useful and competent. Im scared once I let go of all this, the phd offers, the scholarships and the world in which these things matter, Ill be a nonentity, with no intrinsic value or interest. Maybe I rely too much on where I am in order to feel good about myself.

Maybe this would not be the case if I had some nice round meaty piece of original research in my kitty. Of any sort....something I had built, anything, anything that had come to fruition. other than scholarships I have got based on impressions I have made upon people. I keep telling myself...these are great people (and they are) both as human beings and as scientists, and if they think Im good enough....maybe I am.

Once I go home, whats to certify Im good enough for anything ? Its a family business....I would be much less concerned about taking up a random job. there, the fact that someone was paying me good money would tell me that I was worth something to them.

Nope.....I cant go back unless I resolve this. I need to go home after Ive convinced myself that my worth is something I carry around with me, not something that is bestowed upon me by the institute I am in, or the scholarship I get.
which brings me back to "doing something thats ridiculous, unlikely, high risk, high return and high impact." :D

Monday, 30 November 2009

Typical ~ 1

click on the image to read the article, its quite ridiculous.