Monday, November 17, 2008

Who knows...

Who knows when, will this journey end
and what waits for me around the bend
Darkness that will swallow me
or sadness that will follow me...

Who knows when 'I' will cease to be
and will 'I' know what's really 'me'
just a bunch of memories fleeting
that vanish forever never meeting ?

Some say,
there is no death but life eternal
nothing exists but light supernal
Or, I might get into heaven or hell
but show me really who can tell ?

Why do I think of the journey's end
when I have still see the way to go ?
Life is neither foe nor friend
that I should want to leave it so..

I am not too weary of life
but still know am not in place
I am not in any pain or strife
yet I yearn for that blessed grace

Who knows when, will I burn the last
To be lost and forgotten in the jaws of time
or will 'I' come back ages past
to redfine what's me and mine.. ?

Who knows...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

by the seat of one's pants...

I was reading a book on complexity theory and am really and truly fascinated and totally into it, when my mind started wandering and then got to thinking about "am I destined to be a better theoretical scientist ( whatever the hell that means) than a practical one ?" As it is I like to study things from a theoretical point of view, building new hypotheses and testing them ( preferably in my head and as soon as possible because I am too lazy to remember them and test them later and another reason for that is .. 'The Moment' is gone so it is no longer fun ), using concepts from one discipline somewhere else in a way that no sane person would even think of doing it. Essentially dreaming in the field of science and to answer any question, the first thing that jumps to me is make a theoretical model of it and see if it works. Whether it works in practice or not is not my problem. To add to that, am not really that interested in the practical things I have done in my PhD, but am very much interested in the concepts that are addressed by doing those things and reasons for doing those things. I am not interested in 'honing' my skills for doing a western or a southern. If it gets too much I would just get someone who can do it better to do it for me. I do NOT believe that expertise in a variety of techniques is a way to achieve greatness in science, but rather the ability to tell which experiments to do is more important. Being this way and in a lab where computation or any kind of theoretical construction is avoided with a furrow in the brow and pained look ( this may have some association with the ability to comprehend too much of imagniation, but that theory is yet untested.. :D ), I think I have stumbled upon a new method of research. I call it 'by the seat of one's pants' research.
We know what the meaning of the phrase is " doing something by the seat of one's pants" it is usually meant as 'not being very serious about something and taking risks willingly and gladly, goofing around not caring about the results.Often with total disregard to rules.' Obviously doing things this way will be frowned upon since it is often of no productive value. So it is... but in science they way I envisage, 'by the seat of one's pants' seems like a great idea... There is a higher chance of this happening in theoretical research simply because less money is involved. The way to do this type of science is simple :
1. Read lot of stuff till you find something that triggers your imagination ( for purposes of a coherent discussion let us say that imagination is restricted to ideas and not fantasies, though fantasies sometimes do help... )
2. If you like an idea, just incubate it.. keep it in your head and don't think about it.. suddenly sometime somewhere this idea will click with another and viola !! something interesting is already happening ( Until the viola happens.. you are still treading the road and not flying by the seat of your pants... And PLEASE DO NOT do anything to trigger or hasten the 'viola !!' stage. Otherwise the whole point is lost. Here is where the pants come in.. )
3. Now, we you get your viola!! done.. test it out in the computer or in your head, or in component space or wherever the hell you think it is the most fun and easiest to do. Don't worry about publishing it or convincing others of it or other such trivial things... and if it works.. IT is past the first stage...
4. Now the most important thing... now test it against known knowledge about whatever you are doing. If your idea has already been proved by someone else then ah!.. too bad but at least you are bright enough to think about it on your own. If it is going against whatever is being said by 'bigger' people then hmm.. one wonders, because obviously I am not wrong there must be something I haven't explained or thought about. So rethink your idea, do patch up jobs and these are not necessarily to solve the question that has arisen in the first place. More often that not the patch up jobs are more fun than the idea it self.. Who cares about convincing others or getting this published or written.. If it works in your head, if it is cohesive with each other not like sticky goo but like an array of light then waaah... that feeling is the most wonderful thing in the world. This is not a fantasy creation, be sure to test your idea against all that you can with the harshest of measures, but when you think it works, and literature says it does not... don't believe the literature, patch up your idea. Often to the extent that the original thing is unrecognisable but then it will become something really beautiful !!
Point no.4 is the 'seat' of my point. But there are severe warnings before doing this..
1. If you are worried about career or are otherwise bothered by thoughts of the future please do not go down this path
2. If you think you know everything and that a particular problem is solved please do not go down this path
3. If you want to work to get more funding please do no go down this path
4. If you are afraid this will lead you to 'loose your focus' and other trivial things, please do not go down this path
If the above 4 things do not apply to you please welcome to this amazing field of science. Experience the warm rush of thrill down one's spine when two seemingly unconnected ideas just melt into one like one wonders why were they ever separate. See the beauty of it all. Sadly people will not understand/like you, they will think you are mad, but are still favoured. they will say you are lazy and not work but still would wonder how you get things done to an equal extent as them. If you start wondering how to explain what is there in your head and start looking for alternative ways of communication.. the signs are clear.. you will soon take off and fly.. by the seat of your pants...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

being professional... yaah... boo !! being practical... yeah right.. :D

I am surrounded by professional and practical people a lot.. I do not call them that, it is by their own definition of their actions that this comment is made. so I tend to wonder a lot why of why on earth are these people like this and where have the real people gone off to ?.. I do not hate them, criticise their way of life or hold any sort of grudge against them. But I see where they are going and I see how much it is going to hurt some of them. Especially the converts to this fold.. and my heart bleeds. I am not saying that not being these two things should nessecarily be equated to being ireresponsible. I am assuming that the person in question has the basic nature to accept all his or her responsibilites and work on them.
So this is my argument over some of these peoples professed ways to practice...
For a long time I thought that being professional would depend on what profession one is professing.... You know a baker might 'flare up' from time to time, or a doctor might be 'sick of it all'. But sadly that is not so. There is a category of behaviour that I have heard being classified as 'being professional'. Listed below are some of the characters expected from me to be professional and in quotes are my honest to existence questions to them..
Irritating (to me ) things like :
1. Having a proper 'sense' of dress ( am not talking of cleanliness here only 'sense' of dress please make no mistake).. " Now if I would be working my best and what I say and do does not depend on what and whether I wear anything, why the hell should the dress matter ? "
2. Having a proper 'sense' of where to show emotion and where not to show emotion... " This works only for a politician and NOT for anyone else, so if you mean to do it otherwise you are doing what politicians do... dupe yourself and people"
3. 'Being professional' towards only certain people... " this is my favourite hit.. if you want to be professional then please do so towards all the people in your profession and not only the people you want to avoid in your life "
4. Having a 'sense' of behaviour.. ( again am not against the basic tenets of decency and humanity ) " What the hell do you mean by this ? how can anyone else have a sense of behaviour that you have ?" Examples of when to be our self and when not to come to mind, especially dependent on whether the boss or people you don't like are there.
5. Talking only about professional things when you know you can have so much fun by talking about other creative things as well ... " Welll.. if you are so scared of me intruding into your boundary that you limit yourself access to whatever interesting ideas I have to offer about whatever.. then there is only one word for you... COWARD he he he. Creating shields around you so that sooo many people don't get through.. how the hell can one live like that ? I would die of asphyxiation"
so if you are being professional like mentioned above.. I would gladly make a fool out of myself and say yeah.. boo !!!

And now the most trusted defense of professional and practical people... being practical itself !!!
I always wondered.. isn't being practical dependent on what you are going to or already practicing ?
This includes the following things...
1. Giving importance to people based on their use to you... ( this is most of the times done involuntarily by people ) .. " this is such a waste of time.. because then you have spend your energy into evaluating how much use someone is or will be and this turns out to be a continuous process. why not assume everyone is important and go ahead to do your work ? Examples of giving importance to an idiotic boss because they are the boss or to other people like yourself because they are predictable and will not cause you harm, come to mind.."
2. Changing your outlook depending on how much acceptance of the aforesaid useful people will it achieve... " again.. why ?? just be open enough to get acceptance anywhere.. why waste time in doing this nonsense ? Anyway if you are among people who are equally practical and professional it should not matter right ? I think all this boils down to covering one's vulnerability or tweaking gain out of every situation. both of which are logically correct but rationally silly things to do in life."
3. The last and the best... telling non-practical people to be practical.. or trying to take advantage of their 'impracticality' " Please leave people be. you think you are helping them become happier and achieve things. Please understand very clearly you are NOT !! you are stifling them, you are stripping them of their emotions and their capacity to think straight, By telling them to focus on things like their 'career' or their 'work' at the cost of everything else.. you are dehumanising them. You have destroyed your own life.. now don't take theirs to make you feel better that more people are in the same boat, so you have that many less people to analyse real time for your first two tenets."
It is a fact that when confronted about point number 3 practical people get angry but being practical do not show this emotion and do something else instead. but the recent converts get very defensive and try to tell you that their choice is right for such profound things as 'life', 'living', 'happiness', 'satisfaction'. Yes it is true if all these things depended upon not being connected to anyone else in the world more than it is needed and therefore not being affected by the pain, happiness of others. I have never seen a more idiotic way of looking at life. I know the answer to their quandary but I am not going to write it here because who am I anyway ?
I used to imagine ostriches with their heads in the ground, but even they come up to breathe, these people will end up breathing their own stale breath and then they will maybe think if they have some semblance of sense that " yes that impractical, unprofessional fool is right, he might be poorer or less renowned, or less successful but man he is laughing like he has gone crazy... and i am not.. because i am not supposed to..""
Being practical... yeah right... :D

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What problem to choose ?

Well.. I am in IISc banglore here. And there was a talk by Nobel Prize Winner Richard Ernst. The lecture was NOT about science, it was about what science should be about. The title of the talk was " Scientists, the caretakers of the future". This casts scientists in an amazing heroic light.. He was of the opinion that scientists should not just remain in the ivory towers. (The actual words he used was underground shafts but ivory towers is less demeaning.. :D.) He was of the opinion that science should not just be limited to advancement of science but also of society, and not just in the area of technology development or health etc. He was talking about social outlook, and social outlook in the sense of accepting responsibility for society, social welfare and thinking beyond self goals and self interests !!! He talked a lot about how the consumerist economy of the developed countries dictates the world market, companies stimulate desires for things that we don't really need, he gave examples of such products. It was an extremely interesting point of view to take about the world. It reminded me very strongly about Indian Philosophy.. :D Karma Yoga, Realisation that ones own ego and its existence is the least important. This was the first time I have a heard a western scientist talk of such things, he said that we as scientists have a responsibility to educate the young in the way of open ended thinking, thinking of science not just for science's sake but also its impact on the everyday life that we could bring about. I am of the opinion that he was NOT talking about developing more comfortable ways of spending life, but he was talking about looking at science as a tool to enhance life of everybody. He actually showed a model of social behaviour that was centred around achieving self goals, and he was talking about model where we work and I quote "We work not expecting anything in return, we work out of a sense of responsibility towards the society'. He himself confessed that he was deeply and profoundly moved with tibetian buddhist philospohy, maybe that was root of all this talk.
This led me thinking, he even touched upon this facet... What problems should a scientist choose to address ? Should we think of career when defining our area of research ? Is 'cutting edge' so necessary all of us should strive for it ? I know that we all want to work in the best of your fields, but the best of our fields should not be defined by academic inaccessibility or location of research or economic returns of the research. That is point which made the most impression on me, economic value of a piece of science to society does NOT mean that that piece of science is helping society. it might just cater a cascade of new consumerism and does not teach responsibility to the people of their actions.Look at the US, they enjoyed a very long period of economic stability and affluence for about 40 years. ( 40s - 80s this is my belief not necessarily a verified fact) and look at what nonsense they have come up with in their lives. So many things to make life 'easier and more comfortable' but what shit have they done to the environment ? more than compared to the rest of the world in the 20 years following that. A scientist should choose a problem for the following reasons :
1. It is enjoyable to solve that problem
2. That problem should not build an ivory tower around itself
3. The point is for the future of humanity, anything that can ensure survival of humanity for the next 100 years or so is a good thing.If your problem is helping this go ahead, otherwise please stop and reconsider.
Teaching is one thing, really educating is another. This is maybe to ideal and unfortunately survival and economics take the upper hand always.But that does not mean it is not doable and if it is the only way to survive it has to be done. Scientists talk a lot about noble beliefs and so on, but the all important funding comes majorly from government or private groups that obviously have expectation of some returns from their investment. But this man was talking of educating the 'society' in accepting responsibility for consequences of their actions. He believes that we as scientist could do some difference because we are privy to infrastructure and information processing many are not ( i am not talking of computing and network or journal access here) but a company of minds that can think, project, and hence make a better impact on shaping the younger generations. I mean scientists can get together and help policy makers change their minds, and people will listen because we are scientists, we are supposed 'to know' right ?
Think about what problem to choose carefully. Scientists I believe are gifted individuals who have the capacity to solve problems. The point is to use this ability not for any 'gain' but for enhancement and ensuring the survival of humanity. Enhancement does NOT mean living in affluence, it just means having a society that is made up of individuals who are responsible, open minded.
A person does not have to be intelligent to imbibe all this, just open enough to look beyond their own boundary. As scientist we often do that. giving all out for a problem without caring for food or drink ( Mr. Einstein comes to mind here ) is an an example of that. Doing phd from princeton because it will get me a good post doc is idiotic, it is practical but does not achieve anything to anyone except that person. Doing phd in solving a problem makes more sense because solving it might lead to enjoyment of science and enhancement of life. Science is career oriented, it should be problem oriented. Big lab scientists are revered as gods, they are... but only based on their achievement in science. not because they head dept. of something in harvard. Professionalism is correct, but only when conducting meetings for funding agencies, never for research, never for applying to labs, never for making personal impressions on people hoping to get selected or recommended by them. This seems ideal but that does not make it wrong. please think about this...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

to burn for something...

lately I have been feeling a little left out of life
It seems programmed you know, grow up, get a job and a wife...
but this living is not living...
what is living if I don't yearn for something ?
I am alive only If I burn for something...
consumed in passion for that one quest
I want to be washed away in that tempest
yet my anchors don't loosen so I can't give it all
I can run to the edge but am still afraid to fall
what I burn for has to be the purest of the pure
anything lower I cannot endure
The hardest journey, the darkest places
the most feared, the most cruel faces
burning my hopes, my dreams, my desires,
burning in this biggest and hottest of all fires,
being burnt beyond the last of my excuses
After that truth triumphs, everything else refuses
to exist and then there is freedom complete
engorged on infinite peace I will be replete...
After I am gone, when this image is lost
you know they might say "
yes he was a fool who yearned for something
impossibly hard to get, still he burned for something.."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The bubble that won't break....

Irridiscent colors a raging storm
all hated, all loved, all mine
had a feel of the void, so this burrowing worm
tries to crawl out, out of time
seeing it all, knowing its fake
I still am trapped..
in a bubble that won't break

Am told faith and guru is strength untold
that I should believe and I will behold
the glorious truth that is out there
everytime, everyplace, everywhere and nowhere
But how will I, who won't believe in me ?
ever believe a guru and ever be free ?
Screaming in silence, in this world so fake
I still am trapped...
in the bubble that won't break

The wrongs of me, the chains of my faults
suffering from self righteousness, unforgiving
begging for mercy, kept locked in vaults
not moving on to continue living
What do I do now, how long will it take ?
to be free of..
this bubble that won't break

If its just a bubble then why should I care ?
Just drop it all, stand naked and win ?
Why is it that I cannot dare
to drop all masks, stand happily and grin ?
contemplating death, a stupid way out
another wall within, the void still without
Is this really the way to be ?
and what really is at stake ?
that I still choose to be
in this bubble that won't break ?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

my work.. ( or a heroic representation of it.. )

i create codes.. not understood by all..
i seek language and patterns in a 4 letter universe
the information is there i can almost sense it..
the answer is there.. mocking me with time...

the 4 letters conceal the truth
lying to each other, in effect to me
some behave while others mis..
my wits against their order...

i struggle to calculate
the sense from the non-sense
the battle is won....
when the plot is deciphered..

Stranger in a Strange land...

Looking at the world
through clouded glasses
Seeing boundaires & worries,
small worlds, one for each
Worlds collide, yet none change,
Why ? I do not understand
it seems i am..
A Stranger in a Strange land

Charted territory, a patchwork of maps
No rhyme no reason but rife with gaps
people too happy or too scared to step out
of their patch and reach with their hand...

Being 'practical' is glorifying
but are just instincts of survival !!
being 'emotinal' seems horrifying
so reason begins to unravel
I see al this & I see its end
they don't heed me,
have blinkers on my friend
I say,
Step out and see, just take my hand
but .. who will follow
A Stranger in a Strange land ?

People tell me ' why look outside ?'
'just stay in your patch and prosper'
I say' building towers within walls, to see farther away,
is a rule of cowardice I will always betray'
I don't understand the world nor do I expect it to understand me
Yet I accept the world, so why does It not accept me ?

I speak of this and carry ' fool' as my brand
Inspite of being right..
I guess I really am
A Stranger in a Strange land...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


A pilgrim of nowhere
I don't belong to anything
In the crowd, but not of it
What am I ? a pauper or a king ?

Do I live in a castle,
with its walls so high ?
Or am I destitute,
living on a prayer and a sigh ?

I could be both,
yes I can be either
being a king seems to be sad
and I can't be a pauper either

Guarding my emotions
with bars of memories
or hoarding the joys
from all the good stories

Giving it all up
when I see it as futile
only to begin again
is this really worthwhile ?

There seems to be a wall
built to surround me
I scream out for help
but no one stays around me

Is this is the cry
of a lonely soul ?
Or is it the shriek
of a thing so foul ?

I don't see the world
as I am supposed to see it
I don't know how to be
If I did I would be it..

thus I begin to question
the very nature if this state
is this my delusion
or is this my fate ?

I see people as they are ( or I think that I do )
not as they want to be seen
Is this the reason I am blind
to all things in between ?

Is this why I am
stuck between these two faces ?
neither makes sense
but offers empty places....

About Me

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just your regular guy who dreams too much. i read a lot don't remember it all though.. swim, trek, yoga.. think and read more.. that about sums it up..