Archive for the ‘General’ Category

2013 has been snooze time, so far. Breaking the lull, here is yet another comeback to the WordPress world.

Yours truly has been rather busy of late, doing little more precious than precious little. In the interim, your friendly blogger penned lyrics for a soon-to-be-composed number, for a band.

Stanza excerpts from the song are shared below.

Thundering whispers,                                                 
Echo of a silent breath.                                                          
Jungle reflects all,                                                      
A ripple across the breadth.                                       
Atop the earth’s throne,                                                          
A flyspeck of nothingness,                                                      
Liberated soul.                                                                       
 
‘Who am I?’, I ask,                                                     
Peeping within the abyss                                            
A place that is mine.                                                   
Of words that remain wordless,                                              
Of fun and of strife,                                                     
A journey is, after all,
Making peace with life.

—x—

Lift spirits. Not lyrics.

 

 

Wish you a Powerful birthday, Mr. Ramanujan.

Powerful is of significance here. In keeping with your nature, you may be thrilled to learn that this happens to be your 125th birth anniversary. 125, being what you would refer to as a Powerful Number.

Today the idle mind travels back a century to the intriguing life that you led – and could have led – had you not succumbed to the invitations of death far too early in life. Apologies Sire, we have never understood nor appreciated mathematicians very well; most times, not at all. It may not surprise you that a hundred years since, little has changed in this respect.

You presented to the world a vivid picture of what raw genius looked like. Genius appears in various degrees; spine-tingling, probably being appropriate when referring to yours. The kind of genius that is easily given to mass misunderstanding, and its logical extension, avoidance. That very few of the best teachers or compatriots could comprehend your ability bears testimony to the vast reservoirs of genius that you were gifted with.

A soul not given to the shackles of commonly accepted norms, and largely untainted by the fangs of education, you showed the world the values of harnessing one’s deepest interests in an area by flunking repeatedly in subjects others than Mathematics. The system tried its best to smother your talents; little has changed since you passed the world. We continue to be committed to building well-rounded individuals.

Most of us do not see beauty hidden in numbers. The ornate unending continuum of continued fractions – one of your favourites – to the very depths of Infinity, fails to excite but a handful amongst us. We love our Music, being moved to tears by pathos and left euphoric by uplifting tunes. When reminded that the wiggling notes are permutations and combinations of the twelfth root of 2, displeasure sets in. We do not appreciate Math detracting from our appreciation of Music. Breaking emotions down to wiggling roots of 2 is patently unromantic, bordering almost on the blasphemous. We like to appreciate the message, whilst dismissing the messenger.

Fault us not, Sire, for we see little utility in much of what you devoted your life to; abstract mathematics. An area replete with such gruesome arcana that all but the best, and/or the most persistent, of minds get lost in the abyss. Perhaps there is a class of beauty, that lies beyond the limits of our imagination, that is accessible only to a select few. The limits of our aesthetic powers inhibits our appreciation.

There are few things more disconcerting than the act of trying to express beauty, to an audience not gifted with the right eyes. The only thing more disconcerting, is to be at the receiving end, as a mathematically blind bystander. We, Sire, find it much easier to remind ourselves of the apparent non-utility of a subject area as daunting as yours. Brushing aside intimidating genius is easier than owning up to the limits of our comprehension.

Few possess the gift to channelise the power of the human mind in forging new pathways. Fewer still are endowed with the ability to carve multiple pathways to a destination. Most of us wilt not far from the starting point. There is probably a thin line separating a freak from a genius; we seek benefit of doubt in the former.

In this age of vast computing power, it is unthinkable to contemplate what you achieved, working mostly with a rundown slate, a chalk, and your elbow standing in for an eraser. A true rags to mathematical riches story.

Divinity probably exists. The world had occasion to witness it; in you.

SR signature

Finely attuned ears began hearing faint rumblings of discord in the cricketing world. The Brotherhood of the Retired was seen furtively scampering off to their favourite pub – The Old Guard – in the dark of the night to discuss a matter of growing importance.

The attendees had all retired from the game, and were somewhat weary of warming the benches in the commentator’s box in dreary test matches that no one bothered to watch. The uber veteran expert opinionators encountered a new grouse. The commentator’s box faced a population explosion problem. Hitherto, opinions, sane or otherwise, were seldom in short supply but experts were. Now, a new batch of Old Guards had taken birth and were jostling for a stake in the commentator’s microphone.

The veteran Old Guards decided to summon the new Old Guards to smooth things out and to explore a peaceable solution. Sachin Tendulkar was invited as a special guest to offer thoughts. Tendulkar exuded stoic silence, as usual, opting to let silence do the communication.

Veteran Old Guard Ravi Shastri was seen hooting at the top of everyone’s voices, in a veiled but hopeless attempt at drawing attention. The shirt-ripper Sourav Ganguly, self-anointed leader of the new Old Guards, furiously waved his Armani signalling Shastri to back off. His boom boxed, Shastri yelped and sat down.

This infuriated Navjot Sidhu, the Senior Wrangler, who was entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring no meeting was ever tainted by the vice of peacefulness. He did his bit, and with his brusque brouhaha, managed to evoke an equal and opposite reaction from Danny Morrison. Danny M huffed, face contorted, mouth and eyes pointing in humanly impossible directions. He made a valiant attempt at beating Sidhu at his own game but the latter countered with a dangerous weapon – the word bomb. Sidhu trembled, words scarily rushed out in rapid succession; Peace made a hasty exit. The veteran Old Guards seemed in charge.

Or so it seemed.

Loath to miss an opporunity at letting someone else walk away with the laurels of instigating a ruckus, Ganguly grabbed the microphone and hinted that the veteran Old Guard ought to move on. Retire. Again. It was time for the new Old Guard and fresh Old Blood to clean up the mess left behind by the veterans, and create a messy legacy of their own. The long dead W. G. Grace, was seen vividly expressing his displeasure (it seemed he wasn’t allowed to bat first, which seemed to irk him the most). The psychoanalyst and accidental Captain Mike Brearley chimed in with a whisper of approval. Shastri had an attack of his customary Feelings and yelled his innards out, as always, for no reason and little provocation. Gavaskar silently lobbied for the commentary box at the Wankhede Stadium to be named after him. Ramiz Raja and Aamir Sohail seemed clueless, as usual.

Kapil Dev, with a rich history of letting tears do the talking at opportune moments, outswung into action. Finding a perfect spot, in line with the lead camera, Kapil cried his gullet inside out. Every little drop of tears was summoned from the recesses of his being and unleashed at the opponents. The veteran Old Guards smiled, even as Kapil wailed himself into enervation. Not to give the veteran Old Guards an inch, Ganguly sent Vinod Kambli to counterattack. Kambli came forth and exploded in a tear bath that seemed to knock the great Kapil off his rails. The latter quickly collected himself and parried with a seductive display of passionate tear making. A sympathy wave enveloped the veteran Old Guards. The new Old Guard seemed worsted.

Ganguly, prudently, shifted track and requested the special guest to speak a few words.

Tendulkar took him quite literally.

As the new grand old Samaritan still adorning whites, many hoped that his statesman demeanour might calm things down. After what seemed like an eternity, the Little Master cleared his throat and out came a stream of words in all their empty glory. Many leaned forward, lest their aging ears failed to pick up words of erudition. Some claimed to have heard the occasional semi-moderate decibel ‘proud’. Tendulkar seemed lost in thoughT.

God then spoke.

He made a fervent and moving plea to the Old Guards, addressing both the new and the old, encouraging them to return to the cricket field. In a single shot, he silenced the warring parties. Even Sidhu and Danny M fell silent.

Tendulkar urged the Brotherhood of the Retired to shed their inhibitions, legacy and historical inertia in favour of a path-breaking step. The Retired ought to make a comeback. To buttress his persuasion, he cited veterans from other sports, his friend Michael Schumacher for instance, as luminaries whose examples ought to be followed. He even invoked the long forgotten memory of Nolan Clarke. Now, a princely 64 years old, and thrilled to have found a mention, Clarke cast his weight behind the Little Master. Fellow forgotten Old Guards John Traicos, Miran Bux and James Southerton, the oldest Test debutant, were unamused at being ignored.

The new Old Guard seemed thrilled. Given his many unsuccessful attempts at continuing in his state of cognitive dissonance with regards to his playing days, Ganguly was seen smiling the widest. Ponting, Srinath, Jayasuriya, Dravid, Kumble, and Shane Warne were all seen warming up, stretching their dormant muscles. Tendulkar’s stature, meanwhile, soared a little more.

The enthusiasm seemed to rub off. Drawing inspiration from the new Old Guards, the veteran Old Guards plotted their comeback.

Everyone was happy.

Tendulkar managed to add another record to his cap.

He never retired.

—————-

It is hoped that the cricket devoted post will not put off HaLin’s beloved non-cricketing nation readers. Baseball, unfortunately, bears some resemblance to the glorious sport but any allusion to cricket’s quality is purely a figment of the baseball fan’s imagination. HaLin admires all sports equally, after cricket.

HaLin has been dividing time over the past few months, somewhat unequally, between laziness and more civilised writing than what he is accustomed to on this blog. The sheer volume of the latter succeeded in overpowering the former, and a new blog is born.

http://wordjock.wordpress.com/

The new blog will serve as an archive of HaLin’s reviews of book releases, penned for official sources. In keeping with these Facebooky times, you, dear Readers, are encouraged to ‘show your love’. Who knows, you might actually find a book worth reading, after all.

HaLin shall continue to indulge in less civilised forms of writing, treating touchy subjects minus wordy diplomacy, on this blog.

Your persistent patience in resting awhile on this blog is acknowledged, with humility.

A misty morning chill gently awakens the senses. As time marches on, the fog perishes to the arrows of the sun, which assumes ferocity as the day progresses. Dark clouds take over as evening approaches; this time it is the sun’s turn to accept defeat, which calls it a day ahead of schedule. The scent of wet earth wafts through the air, as the scorched ground gratefully welcomes the rain. The crimson twilight transitions into the blackness of the night, with the moon nowhere in sight.

The combined assault of the rain and blustery winds perturbs the otherwise peace-loving trees. Where they towered motionless in the stillness of the morning air, they now morph into enraged giants sparring with the forces of nature. In the darkness, the trees seem to draw closer and appear larger. As the night advances and fatigue sets in, the torrential downpour recedes into a steady drizzle and the trees slip into a drenched slumber.

The groovy flicker of a candle penetrates the darkness, imparting a melancholic eeriness to things. Lifeless objects come to life through their shadows, which dance upon the walls in merriment. In the spartan cottage from where I write, electricity and time are expendable luxuries.

For I am in jungle territory.

A family of frogs come to life. Their sonorously rhythmic croaking breaks the tranquil night. Beginning sporadically, other members of the croaking brotherhood soon join in, drowning the chirping of the night cricket. A few of these little beauties, youngsters from their appearance, saunter next to me, contemplating a leap. I watch riveted for the eventuality. The prospect of a body less than an inch tall taking on a hurdle several times its height is captivating.

The leap is successful and the frogs are relieved.

The ride has transported them from the alien confines of my dwelling to the familiar vastness of the jungle.

I hear sounds amid the din of rainfall. A bat announces its arrival. My eyes catch a glimpse of the striking silhouette of its outstretched wings. The sighting is brief, for the bat dissolves into the darkness as quickly as it arrives, leaving no trace of its existence.

The candle drowns in its own waxy muddle. Time ticks by.

Screeches originate from a branch less than ten feet from me. My torch follows the sound and discovers the piercing eyes of an owl, staring at me inquiringly. The light stays focused. So do the eyes. I move the torch momentarily to prevent discomfiting the night watchman. When the torch swings back to its earlier position, it discovers emptiness.

The owl has disappeared.

A voice in my head reflexively recites an old verse.

We see what you see not,

Your visions murky, eyes rot.

When you turn, we shall be gone,

Whispering our hidden song.

Then you see what may not be,

Shadows move where light should be.

In the darkness, all but blind,

A restive silence befriends the mind.

 

—————————–

Originally penned on Oct 20, 2011, from the depths of a jungle in the middle of nowhere. Reminiscing wilderness.

The customary three-digit word sighting is in hibernation. In its place appears a 25-word variant, conveying a story.

Ray beams. Paper reams.

Eyes gleam, Ponzi scheme,

Zealous stream. Bursting seam…

Deafening scream!

Pipe dream. Sunk regime.

Losing steam; soul redeems.

…Nested dream.

Silence.

——————————————

“Brevity is the daughter of Laziness.”

– Unknown (but possibly linked to yours truly)

——————————————

25-word rejoinders would be welcome in the Comments.

 

This post shall be really short. My book review showed up in The New Indian Express. A first.

No satire, (un)fortunately!