Saturday, December 31, 2005

Paying Tribute to The Departed Soul

Today, there was a condolence meeting of sorts to remember Prof. M. C. Puri who was killed by the terrorist attack of the day before yesterday. At 6.30 PM today, around 100 people gathered in front of the main building and paid tribute to the departed soul by lighting candle. I took part in it. It was something different than usual. Later, when I told one of my friends about it, he regarded it as a farce. According to him, we should go and bang the perpetrators, probably LeT people.

I myself don't very well identify with such formal methods of expressing sentiments. I wasn't brought up in a culture when people send gifts and cards, and give hugs and kisses to show their love. Nor is our sorrow given a very explicit vent. I, therefore, feel hesitent in attending such ceremonies.

A decade ago, I would have declared such things as very mushy. But I realise that these are just various ways of expressing some emotions. They are not the emotions themselves. Just as these gestures don't certify the genuineness of the emotions, they don't prove them false too. I remember the enthusiasm with which I used to sing the National Anthem, and I still do. Is it not a similar gesture? If that's natural to me, why should I shun something quite so similar to it? Such arguments have gradually allowed me to open my mind to different things. The inner resistence to these things that I surely feel aren't due to any actual relation to these things being right or wrong. Just due to the difference in the culture of my bringing up, these methods initially appear rather unnatural to me. That resistence is very natural. But, of course, there's no strong argument in favour of giving in to such resistence. So, against some strong internal resistence, I have been attending parties, sending pleasantries, etc. By and by, I have learnt to accept those ways as my own too.

The condolence meeting was organised by some members of Concern (left) here. The guy who criticised it is surely right oriented. I wonder if his disgust at the concept has its roots in this right-left divide. If so, it's very unfortunate. Differences in ideologies may give rise to arguments; they shouldn't create enemies, everything done by whom is hateful. Even in presence of strongest of differences, we should be open-minded towards everything. If something doesn't have something blatantly wrong about it, we should refrain from criticising it on the basis of our earlier prejudices.

That's all for this blog!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Linguistic Nationalism, Religious Nationalism, Nationalistic Nationalism

Today, I got delayed for my lunch. The reason: two chaps were heatedly arguing on something in S-block. I kept ignoring them for a long time to finish my chores. Their discussion never seemed to end. Finally, I couldn't resist getting involved myself. Though, I managed to extricate myself after around twenty minutes of involvement, by the time I reached mess, it was 1.55 pm. Poori was over! :(

The discussion was hovering over a comparison between LTTEs and Kashmiri militants -- a very catchy topic in the shadows of yesterday's terrorist attack on IISc. One of them was of the view (according to me) that Indian Tamils should refrain from providing any kind of support to the LTTEs. The basis was that LTTEs are militant group and the Srilankan unrest is essentially an internal matter for Sri Lanka. The other guy, a tamilian, was vehemently opposing the statement which was drawing equivalence between jihadis and LTTEs. His arguments: LTTEs don't target innocent people; jihadis do. Hence, it would be wrong to call them a terrorist organisation.

The point of the discussion was indeed blurry. I got a feeling that both weren't really talking the same thing. The first chap was basically talking about the monetary and financial aids that LTTE gets from Indian tamils. The other chap was justifying, in an askance manner, the ways of LTTEs.

I made the following brief (compared to the long discourses that the two main parties of the discussion were issueing) point and excused myself: The stories we hear about such events, be those of the Kashmiri jihadis, or of the LTTEs, are all coming to us through media, politicians and people who have been personally afflicted. All of them have their vested interests while propagating the news, and hence, can't be completely believed. Under these circumstances, how good is it to make strong opinions about anything of this nature, and then act upon them? I feel we should talk about it, think about it, but should refrain from doing anything drastic about it, especially if it supports violence in any form. People in Pakistan raise funds in support of the jihadis. I am sure they do it with a vehement sense of pride and justice. The stories of violence we receive are through the army and politicians. The story they hear are told by Pak government, the militant groups and their politicians. We all are biased. We hear stories told in a way to instigate a particular type of interpretation; and then we interpret them as per our wish. We shouldn't make haste in developing very strong opinions on such matters. On the other hand, we should consider honestly if we do honour national boundaries. If we do, we should respect them practically.

After my leaving the spot, I could see that the temperature subsequently rose considerably. I heard the tamil chap accusing the other one that there wasn't much point in the whole discussion as the other guy hated [sic] the tamilians or something like that. The first chap was denying the charge; but the tamil chap seemed to know what the other guy had in his mind.

I feel, if the tamil chap was discussing with this thing in his mind from the beginning, the whole discussion was a complete waste. I also heard him saying that he considers himself a tamilian first and then an Indian, and it's perfectly valid for him.

Nevertheless, whenever such a discussion happens in close proximity, or events like yesterday's happen, some old latent question raise their heads again. Why do people finally take to violence? When is it right to resort to violence? Are all forms of violence wrong? How does one define violence in self-defence? Is there any such thing like absolute truth? If not, how long will this argument be used as an excuse by man to let out his violent instincts, his lack of courage to act according to reason? Are the people who believe that there can't be a common consensus noble people? Are those who try to enforce one form of common consensus tyrrants?

These are endless questions for me (and I am sure for many). And I am nowhere close to any light on these matters! :(

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


We have been wondering why one wouldn't attack IISc if it's so high-profile. I always felt we were vulnerable. Now it's proved to be the case.

Are there no rules in this game of terror?! If even top academicians are in the hitlist of these people, who aren't? What do these people want? And how do they think they'll achieve it? What's their game plan? God only knows!

They are out killing the best people of the world! Who do they want alive then?

This blog is dedicated to the fresh sensation of terror so close by. More factual stories tomorrow...if we live till then (and in that feeling lies the success of the terrorists - a grain of terror in millions of hearts!).

The Sensitive Cancerian!

I am a cancerian. And I am a very sensitive chap. Astrologers say that cancerians are supposed to be that way. My being sensitive, however, mayn't be used as confirmation of the conjecture. Anyway...

I feel my being sensitive is both my biggest asset, and a curse.

My artistic and scientific aptitude has all its roots in my sensitive nature. I am strongly sensitive to the presence of beauty. Be it something physical like natural beauty, the taste in the simple mess food; or something abstract like the architecture of a software system, or the elegance of a mathematical proof; or something emotional like the presence of fond feelings like love and affection. My sensitiveness has got me my talents. And it has got me friends of every type, simply because I could manage to notice the presence of love in so many shapes and sizes, even though their expression has often been lame and inarticulate, often inexistent!

My sensitive nature has been a curse too. Not because of the obvious reason of hypersensitivity. I feel, given my sensitive nature, I am also quite a level headed chap, with more than sufficient nerve to deal with situations of tremendous stress. Moreover, I do boast of having a nearly-sound philosophy behind things I do. That saves me in many a moment of despair.

The problem comes when my sensitivity is noticed. I suddenly become very vulnerable. I try to hide it; and when I can't, I try to explain it, and further goof up the situation. Given all the above, I am still, somewhere deep down, a bit ashamed of being so sensitive. I don't know why. For example, I don't get upset at most of the things. But, suppose someone asks me, even with the best of intentions, if I took his/her words to heart, I get terribly disturbed. Immediately, I start wondering: 'what did I do to make him/her think that way?! Was I actually hurt, and was trying to hide it from myself?!' The thought gives place to a very unsettling kind of brooding.

There's another slightly external problem. I feel, somehow, perhaps due to my own fault, a very 'Sujit Da' image has got built about me. People around me have started looking at me as a matured guy. So far so good. But I feel, along with that, I have been implicitly stripped the right to emote like others. Somehow, my getting angry, upset and all that doesn't go well with the image that's got created about me. I confess, this feeling has been brewing in my mind for sometime now, and in part gave rise to my story The Other Way Round Nirvana.

Unfortunately, whenever I violate that sedate (nearly lifeless) image of mine, it causes a strange terrorlike reaction in people who 'half'-know me. They try to confirm if I got hurt; they disbelieve me totally when I say I didn't; and they try to cover up what they said or did to save me further hurt; and thenceforth are slightly careful with me. There're plenty of people, of course, who're well aware of this sensitive aspect of mine, and are at ease with it. They don't refrain from giving me those 'alleged' hurts, because, they know that they mostly don't exist, and even if they do, I am well capable of handling them without their help. But with many, my idiosyncracies backfire. And I am not so arrogant as to say that I never care about these 'half'-dear people.

One option is of course to be quiet. Over the years, I have kind of developed an idea when things may turn ugly. It's easy to keep quiet. But, it's not easy too. Since, I feel, being clear and complete in the best possible way is both my duty and my right. Burrying things inside causes a lot of internal disquiet.

I wish people knew that I am like that. I wish they knew that there's nothing to be alarmed about it. I wish they knew that it's not my weakness or failing; it's just a bit of my idiosyncracy, peculiarity -- or whatever you may call it. I wish there hadn't been a reason to write this blog. I wish you had felt happy and amused, and slightly affectionate towards me, after reading this blog, and not get alarmed at my self-exposition. Because, I like analysing everything, myself included. And I am frank and honest enough to expose my worries to you. Hm!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Shankar's Nostalgia

Here's what Shankar wrote: (reproduced without permission!)
Just thought of sharing this with you all.
When I was walking down to the bus stop today, I saw two kids walking down to the school. Well you may ask me what is new about it. everyone does and this is everyday affair.
What I saw was the elder kid about 5-6 years old carrying the bag of his younger brother and cajoling him to move fast, pulling him, patting his head while the younger half asleep more interested in the activities across the road. when i saw this, i remebered my childhood days when my elder brother used to do the same. Such incidents must have happened in everyone's life but in due course get buried under the rubble of today's fast moving world. Not that I don't have love or affection for my brother, but are losing out trying to be too professional?


...and here was my reply:
Hi Shankar,
You have a good precious beautiful heart! God bless you! :)
Change is the rule of life. But they needn't always change for the worse. But some joys are always bartered for some other. That's how the game goes.

We needn't always think that 'we are trying to be too professional.' Everything has its own good and bad points. You are one lucky chap to be staying with your family. But I have been away from them, now for almost a decade. Call it profession; but our ancestors have called it 'kartavya.' We all have to part with our dear ones at the call of duty. We have a duty to fulfil. To science, to society, to ourselves and our family. We miss them; and they miss us. But we both know that I am on my way to fulfil my destiny.

I feel that's quite fair. Isn't it?

Thanks for the nice thoughts to think on.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Performance by Mukhosh

Yesterday was unique in a sense. Saw a play for the first time in Rangashankara. That too by the IISc Drama people. It was a good experience.

Especially the second play 'Soorponaka' had its message quite clear. Throughout it was an anti Aryan propaganda. It showed the other side of an otherwise well-popularised story of Ramayana. In that Soorponaka, Ravana's sister, is not a demon who approached Laxman for sexual reasons, but a pampered princess and sister who unfortunately falls in love with Laxman, an Aryan, and gets punished by being ruthlessly mutilated by Laxman. Raakshasas are not savage man-eating demons, but original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent. They are far more advanced compared to their Aryan counterparts. Talk about arts, science, architecture, or culture, Raakshasa are well-developed, while Aryans are savage in comparison mostly thriving on their maiden advantage: that in war-technology. Being invaders knowing not much beyond waging war on other more developed, and less aggressive civilisations, their only plan is to destroy other civilisation and encroach on their land. The stories about the atrocities by demons, and their ugliness, and the generally bad image that thrives about raakshasas is projected as nothing but negative propaganda by the then powerful aryans.

More than any particular chain of events, the play conveyed the same message loud and clear: the glorification of our mythological heros, and the dishonouring of Raakshasas could be nothing but a propaganda.

Right from the start, I saw the play in the light of the colonisers and colonised people. The Aryans represent the imperialist forces, and Raakshasas represent the Indians. The whole thing fit perfectly! Regarding the negative light in which the aryan mythology has been shown looked to me as nothing more than an allegory. There seem to be some historical evidences regarding the authenticity of the actual scenario shown. Could be. But I could never really think that even if such a school of historical thought exists, portraying it could be the prime motive of the play.

Anyway, just a matter of interpretation.

Mystery and Curiosity

Have you heard people talking about the 'mystery' that they love about themselves? Well! Don't take me wrongly, but that's utter crap! We don't like mystery. We like it because we get to unravel it. It's too damn poetic to sit staring at a mystery praising its beauty and never moving a limb. I feel we humans are born curious and our joy lies neither in absense of mystery or in its permanent presence. I think we just can't do without one or another mystery which we can rip apart into thousand pieces. We are like mice who just need something to chew, for their teeth (our curiosity) keeps growing all the time. On a philosophical note, I would say that 'curiosity' is the most godly virtue that we have got. It's that invisible thread pulling at which, by and by, which can reach God. It's the thing that frees pursuit of knowledge from the mundane issues of right and wrong, purpose, need, greed, and all. It's that which justifies knowledge and its pursuit without any crooked argumentation.

Many people have met frightful ends in order to satiate their curiosity. So many mishaps would've brought all crazy expeditions to an end hadn't man been so inherently curious.

Joy of Living

In fact, to lead a neat life, where we are healthy, disciplined, adventurous,
social, and productive all at the same time requires a lot of energy. There was a time
long back when my self-image was that of an absent-minded professor. I never felt a
pang of guilt when I left my room untidy; or failed to keep a neat attire. Now,
things have changed for me. In my early youth years, my intellect was the most
treasured and pure thing for me, which would preempt all other aspects of my life.
Over the years, the emphasis has shifted. Those intellectual activities please me as
much now, but not the cost of other aspects. I feel, staying healthy and happy, keeping
a productive routine, enjoying other good things -- for instance food and sleep, are
as important as being intellectually productive. In fact, the objective is to lead a
life which I would honestly feel that others would love to lead. But as I told above,
it requires a lot of energy to be like that. It's so easy to be consumed into thoughts
full of wrathful determination to prove one's ability; it's so difficult to remain
peaceful,, and make productivity, efficiency and effectiveness, a natural by-product
of that life. It's so difficult to give 'joy' of living the status of one and only
product of life!

Angel Game in Rhythmica

Christmas approaching. This means a lot of fun in our music group. We play the
secrete angel game. I guess you must be aware of this game. Here's a summary. All of
us meet at a place. Chits are written for each of us. Then eacho f us picks up a chit.
I become the angle of the person whoe name I get. I send him/her gifts and goodies for
as long as the game runs. Of course, in turn, I recieve gifts from my angel, whose
identity remains a secret for me. Depending on the creativity and enthusiasm, the
process of receiving the gift could be arbitrarily callenging (and interesting). We
have a yahoogroup for this group from which the members can send anonymous postings.
Thus, communication happens, but the person remains a secret. Some amount of
disruptiveness has a natural place in this game. So, these disruptive elements (which
may include me, but I would not tell you :)) send fake messages and gifts, primarily
to increase the confusion in the group. Overall effect of this, of course, is very
Of course, one side effect is that your mailbox gets filled up with hundreds
of mails everyday, most of which is junk.

The Strange Title

Of course,
The prime reason was that blogspots asked me to name my blogs, and I couldn't think up something more appropriate. Anyway, now I have to stand by it!

I am always distressed by the way people interpret and misuse philosophical statements that glorify simplicity and related things. A simple man is a happy man, they say. The answer to many profound questions is very simple, to quote another.

I don't disagree with all that. But I still feel that the state where this realisation descends can't be earned just like that. One has to take a very long journey, perhaps to arrive at the starting point. But having made that journey and not having made that creates a world of difference.

I am a researcher, by my profession, and by my fundamental nature. Searching and thinking is as fundamental to my nature as eating and sleeping. If a statement tries to discredit thoughtfulness in any way, it's like a death blow to me. I can't stop thinking. I can't live a thoughtless life.

All thinking that I do is to reach that state of simplicity. I feel, that simplicity can't be mine by the absence of complexity; but by understanding it, and controlling it.

My life's goals are all housed in the prestine concept of simplicity. But I am avowed to reach them through the complicated path of thinking and knowing. Perhaps they call it gyan yoga.

Hello, World!


I have been blogging for a long time elsewhere. Those IPs went internal to IISc; so those outside IISc won't be able to see them.

...and I have been writing diaries for such a long time. They were such wonderful outlet to my inner world, which is so much more vivid than the world outside! Speaking to myself is always the best way to find expression to my real thoughts, and to breathe easy, since I otherwise am a terrible brooder.

Whether this can play a substitute to diary. I don't know. Nevertheless, there's lot of scope for philosophisation.

So, keep watching.