Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Waves whisper

Waves are today more active. I could hear them speaking with rocks. There are high-rise buildings on the other side which can only see those waves from a distance – just like me. When I sat here for the first time, I was moved by the misty air that had encompassed the buildings, sea, people, cars, buses, etc. Water had been still then. No conversation was there between the rocks and waves. But today is a different day. They are talking. I could hear their whispers. Imagine you have a big sack of rice. You open it and turn upside down on a floor. You hear some sound, right? Waves and rocks are whispering similarly. Once in two minutes. I had to first concentrate to hear their whispers amidst the sound of honks and chats. No. I need not concentrate. Whispers come from this side just like how the noise comes from the other side. The pleasant of those two touch my heart. Whispers. A pair of lovers sits on this side – immersed in their world. An old man in rags is lying. A girl talks loudly to her mother. Few dogs bark at other roaming dogs. Few dogs bark at a small girl with no clothes. Waves still talk to the rocks – wetting them with their words. I have to leave now. When I am about to get up, it suddenly dawns on me - waves are trying to talk to me. Ah! How could I have missed this! Observation too often leads to distraction and inattention. I sit again. Waves tell me the stories of abyss where human existence, survival and extinction become the sound produced by a single rice grain in the turned sack full of rice. They now ask me to get up and leave. I just follow their words.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

This is Lakshman ...

Here is the photograph of Lakshman.


I have been trying to get a photo with his trademark smile but could not obtain. You can still see a smile in his eyes. Please read these posts, to find out a bit more about Lakshman and his tragic end, written by Guru, Abi, and Shencottah.
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Laa. Sa. Raa Writings

Thinnai has few Laa. Sa. Raa pieces (in Tamil).
Frontline published the english translation of his story in 2001 - Mud
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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Laa. Sa. Raa ---- Melted, Vanished, and Now Flows Forever

Laalgudi Saptarishi Ramamirtham (Laa. Sa. Raa.) is no more. No more in the form which we always like him to be. He chooses the form which he always likes to present himself - abstract, simple, mysterious, magical, esoteric, loving, affectionate, strong, supple, beautiful, orphic, silent and invisible.
He passed away on October 30, 2007 at the age of 91 (on his 92nd birthday). I came to know about this from Thinnai. It is a shame that I came to know after so many days. I do not know if I have to blame myself for not reading the news with enough attention or the present state of media. It is a personal literary loss to me. I always wanted to meet him. I even called up his home few years back and checked with one of his family members if it was possible to meet him. I was told about his fragile health and asked if it would become an interview. I said it could never become an interview. It might rather become a visit with not even one question asked or one sentence exchanged. But.. But.. the visit never materialised. Meeting Laa. Sa. Raa has joined the list of things-not-done-and-cannot-do-anymore.
But wait!!!

Meeting Laa. Sa. Raa is meeting his words!!

No!

Meeting Laa. Sa. Raa is meeting his words and going beyond them to see what he conveys.

Going beyond them to see what he communicates.

Going beyond them to meet ourselves finally.
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1. Dhalavai Sundaram's interview with Laa. Sa. Raa in 2002 (in Tamil)
2. Photo courtesy: Thinnai and Dhalavai Sundaram's Blog

Saturday, November 03, 2007

British Petroleum Fined

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that BP's (British Petroleum) US subsidiaries has agreed to pay $303 million in fines to settle charges that it manipulated propane markets. Moreover, the other US subsidiaries of the multinational company will pay a record $50 million in criminal fines to settle Clean Air Act requirement (passed in 1990 following the explosion at Union Carbide's chemical plant in Bhopal) charges stemming from fire and explosion at its Texas refinery, and $20 million in criminal fines and restitution for violation of the Clean Water Act relating to oil pipeline leaks in Alaska.
Robert A. Malone, BP America chairman and president, said,

"If our approach to process safety and risk management had been more disciplined and comprehensive, this tragedy could have been prevented. We did not provide our people with systems and processes that would have enabled them to appreciate the risk of a catastrophic release from the F20 blowdown stack and understand the danger of placing occupied trailers so close to it. We deeply regret the loss of life, the injuries, and the community disruption caused by the explosion."

Eric Schaeffer, director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said,
"Let's hope these criminal fines wake up BP's management and force the company to clean up its refineries. BP spends a lot of money advertising itself as a 'green' corporation. Some of that money would be better spent protecting BP's workers and neighbors from the company's own pollution,"
Why should Indian regulators and environmental agencies take note of these?
BP holds 71% holdings in Castrol India Limited. It has a 51% joint venture with Tata Group to participate in the Indian solar energy market. It also trades crude oil, bulk chemicals, and petroleum products in India.
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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Rationalist

M. Karunanidhi, the present Tamil Nadu Chief-Minister, has always claimed to be the rationalist. An example from his recent interview with Shekhar Gupta might be very enlightening.
He says,

"Jawaharlal Nehru did not accept Ram (as a divine being); he calls him a hero, not a god. C. Rajagopalachari wrote a book called Chakravarthi Thirumagan (The Emperor’s Blessed Son) that says Ram is a prince, not a god. It is not as if only the DMK is saying it."

C. Rajagopalachari did not believe Ram as a God. Why? Because he wrote a book on Ram titled The Emperor's Blessed Son.
Now what is Tirukkural? Please do not say following our rationalist's approach that the rationalist believes that it is a type of painting as he has written a book on Tirukkural titled Kural Oviyam (Kural: A class of couplet, Oviyam: Painting, drawing, art).
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Padams

Aruna Chandaraju wonders why padams are not heard often?

From The Hindu article:

Chitravina Ravikiran holds:

“Most artistes are daunted by its demands — a super-slow tempo which calls for great breath control, a platinum-like voice which doesn’t lose intensity even when modulated to the thinnest, and a mind capable of grasping its microscopic details.”

Sakuntala Narasimhan:

“Brinda took nearly one year to teach us the famous Sahana padam because it was so difficult.”

Sripada Pinakapani:

“Vilambalaya rendition keeping tautness intact is the vital requirement in padams. And in this age when unnecessarily speedy renditions by performers are common and accepted, where pyrotechnic displays draw applause, and where many students are in a hurry to ascend concert-platforms without acquiring perfect breath-control, where is the atmosphere for padams to flourish?”

(Thanks Manu for bringing this article to my attention - Shencottah.)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Serve with a Smile from Heart

Sincere smile in itself is heart-transforming. When people serve food with hearty smile, there are only few other things that can match it in its strength, intensity, and power to transform.

Lakshman is one of them. He works in A-Mess at Indian Institute of Science. His smile is not a customary smile you get to see in some restaurants. He really smiles. If you are not in a hurry, you can feel that his smile is not on his face. It is from his heart.

When he serves from the buffet place, I am sure everyone eats more happily. If you tell him, "enough". He says, "Crispy Dosa, Sir. Take two more." You cannot refuse. You take at least one.

When your turn comes, you see only two idlies on the plate. Two cold idlies. You have to tell some people to bring the new batch of hot idlies. But with Lakshman, even if you are about to take those two idlies because you have to keep up your appointment with someone, he does not allow you to take those. He rather tells, "Just a minute, Sir. Hot idlies are coming." He goes inside to serve us with hot idlies.

Thanks Lakshman for those smiling servings. Lakshman is no more. Mogadalai's tribute is here. He died in a van accident. His wife and daughter died too.

Why did not I write about his smile-and-serve when he was alive? Why did the loss of that initiate this blog-post? Is it because we will know the value of some only when we lose them?

Death is a powerful heart-transformer just like the smile of Lakshman.
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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cough and spit anywhere

Few months back, our media flashed photos and video clipping of Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav's paan-expectoration when he attended a function where hygiene was supposed to be the main theme. We all must have laughed and once again reinforced our beliefs and biases about persons. The following incident happened two days back inside the Kabini Canteen, Indian Institute of Science.
There was a "research-scholar" sitting in the next table. I was having my Rice+Rasam with my friend. The hot rasam of Kabini was very good especially when you were recovering from fever. Since they keep the rasam and sambar vessels outside, you do not have to ask anyone. Just go and fill the tumbler with rasam. Drink slowly. That seemed to be a very good recipe for recovery. I was relishing my rasam when I was shocked to see our "research-scholar" spitting down. Oops!! This was inside the Kabini Canteen. There are chairs outside too. It is okay if you spit sitting outside as it is on the ground you are spitting. But inside where flooring is done? I was really stunned. He did again. I did not know if I had to go and tell him. We finished our lunch and were about to leave. I showed my friend the deeds of our "scholarly" friend. Then we decided to go and inform him not to spit inside.
I told him,"Please do not spit inside"
He looked at me as if I was curtailing his civic rights.
He said,"Cough comes."
"You could then go out and spit."
"It comes frequently."
"You could still take your food and sit outside."
He just nodded his head but still stayed there. I could not say anything more. I then left the place.
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Derivatives

When I saw a book on "Derivative Pricing" way back in 1999, it caught my attention immediately. I knew then derivative as limit of certain ratio of infinitesimals, rate of change of something, local property, etc. But what was derivative pricing? I knew certain pricing was based on intersection of demand and supply curves. I wondered if derivatives were used to find the intersection where one could achieve maximum pricing, and hence the name "derivative pricing". Better sense prevailed. I opened the book and read few pages. It opened the door to the world of modern quantitative finance.
But what are derivatives? Derivatives are financial instruments whose worth depends on the value of an underlying asset. You will soon read lots about derivatives in the context of Indian markets.
Here is a book Derivatives: The tools that changed finance by Phelim Boyle and Feidhlim Boyle, written in plain english to make concepts clear. You will not be able to solve Black-Scholes equations after reading this book. But you may appreciate why we have to solve them. The book is available for free download.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Man Booker Prize 2007 - Announced

Anne Enright was named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for her novel The Gathering. For more details, read this page.
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Monday, October 08, 2007

Drops of Ganga

I stumbled upon three tributes to Raja Rao while looking for information about the Telugu writer G. V. Chalam. That is not true, isn't it? When a friend of mine mentioned about the online existence of excerpts from Chalam's Sasirekha, I wanted to find more about him. I told this to my friend CCG. And CCG told me about this literary e-journal. It was while browsing through the archives that I noticed the three tributes to Raja Rao. Here they are:
"The luminous novelist has passed away on the 8th of July, 2006, at 12.45am. I am told by his wife Susan that he passed away calmly and surrounded by people who loved him. I cannot avoid admitting that I am writing this with a deep sorrow - or dukkha as Raja Rao would call it - affecting my soul. One thing is sure: Raja Rao would never have remained in this world for so long but for the devoted and painstaking care of his adorable wife Susan. In her, he must have found the peace he had been searching for in his novels, as echoes of her personality and character can be heard in Rao's last masterpiece, The Chessmaster and His Moves. She said she still feels his presence so strongly that to her their hearts are one. I could not, therefore, imagine a better person at Rao's bedside at the time of his peaceful death."


"Going to see him would be for me like making a pilgrimage – I wanted to do that in a duly reverential frame of mind...To me Raja Rao seemed like a hermit living in a lonely garret to pursue a higher quest of the mind oblivious of the consumerism that marked American life...(Once) Shamefacedly I brushed them aside as he went on about the divine status of a woman in Indian society. I kept up my end of the debate trying to tell him that a human status would really be quite enough for the time being. But it was an unequal argument because he was charming, erudite and eloquent and I was not only awkward but also in great awe of him...He lived on a higher intellectual and philosophical plane and could easily have dismissed people like me who knew much less and lived in a limited world. But I think it was a measure of his generosity that he had time for even those who disagreed with him. I like to remember him not only as an major writer of the twentieth century but also as a humane individual who had encouraged an unknown young academic many years ago."

It is good to see that Vijayakumar T, in his tribute, mentions Preface to Kanthapura and Kanthapura in one breath. He also writes,
"The Meaning of India is valuable for me because it is an eminently teachable text—at least several essays in it. As many of us know, books that are good to read are not always amenable for teaching in a class room. But The Meaning of India proved to be one partly because of its aphoristic style. Formulations such as "India is not a country (desa), it is a perspective (darsana)" and "it is not the Indian who makes India but 'India' makes the Indian" remained with the students long after they may have forgotten the argument leading to these conclusions."
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Friday, October 05, 2007

Real Thing of Everything

A devotee once asked Sri Ramana Maharshi, "Is there any psychic effect in visiting sacred places like Mt. Kailash, Benaras, etc.?"
"Yes"
"Is there any benefit accruing by dying in Benaras?"
"Yes. The meaning will be clear if the real Benaras and real dying are understood."
The devotee was silent in front of Silence.
The above conversation is mentioned in the book Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi. There are many other Maharshi's books made available for downloads here.
The same theme is touched in Raja Rao's On the Ganga Ghat, and is elaborated and extended to many other related areas by Osho in Hidden Mysteries, which is available for online reading in this website.
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Thursday, October 04, 2007

I am not Okay - You are Okay

Nirmal Shekar flogs Sreesanth for his behavior in the second one-day international match between India and Australia. It is quite irritating to see aggressive and belligerent nature in the field of sports; especially when it is directed against opponents. It is one thing to boost your fighting spirits on your own and another thing to encourage your spirits by spraying venom on opponents. There is nothing called "there is a limit to aggression shown on others". Who will then decide the limit? The winners?
Nirmal Shekar implies sledging at right time is a mark of great champions!!! Ha..Ha.. You can call that as my wild imagination and feel logic is stretched too much there. You either condemn all sledging or support it wholeheartedly. There is nothing in that article about sledging by Australians - maybe they sledge professionally!! Anyway is it boring? Ask the media.
BBC writes In truth, India only matched Australia in the verbal exchanges and general posturing, which further marred a forgettable game of cricket.
Why do people then criticize only Sreesanth? Is it a case of "I am not Okay - You are Okay"?
Thanks Manu for bringing this article to my attention.
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Womb, Matrix, and List

J. J. Sylvester coined the term "matrix" in 1848. But what is the etymon of matrix?
matrix 1373, from O.Fr. matrice, from L. matrix (gen. matricis) "pregnant animal," in L.L. "womb," also "source, origin," from mater (gen. matris) "mother." Sense of "place or medium where something is developed" is first recorded 1555; sense of "embedding or enclosing mass" first recorded 1641. Logical sense of "array of possible combinations of truth-values" is attested from 1914.
How is womb connected to matrix? In the sense of origin? Or in the sense of source?
But wait, there is another word - matriculate. The etymon is matriculare - to register; to create a list. Could it be possible that Sylvester had coined matrix from matriculare? I do not know. Incidentally, the online etymological dictionary attributes the confusion to translation from Greek to Latin.
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Math in Blog Posts

It is always a challenging task to render equations in web browsers. There are so many latex-to-html converters. The latex code is converted to an image file to be embedded into the html page. There are then MathML standards. The question comes next is if the browser is MathML compatible. I am not sure if blogspot supports latex. Do let me know if anyone says yes. I have just come to know that wordpress supports latex code though it uses the same trick of converting the code into an image. We need not do any conversion. Just write the latex code as follows:
$latex this-is-my-latex$
Insert this into the code of your post. It's done. You can also change the background and foreground colors of latex rendition as well as the size.
To change colors: $latex this-is-my-latex&bg=cc0000&fg=ffffff$
To change the size: $latex this-is-my-latex&s=3$
For more details, visit this page.
I told this feature to my friend Hariharan. He immediately tested it and was quite happy though he felt MathML is the key to math-rendition on the web. The tools are still under development for MathML, and browser compatibility standard is the key issue. You may also see this google gadget - equation editor (to convert latex code to an image)
Addenda
I was wondering how it had come to my mind the possibility of using latex in wordpress. I now remember the spark(!) came after seeing these posts of Mogadalai and Terence Tao. I then checked the wordpress help. Though I have been reading their blogs for quite sometime, the spark(!) gets initiated only when the time is right!!!!!!! Thanks.
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Truth - Relative and Absolute

... But I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him. I am prepared to sacrifice the things dearest to me in pursuit of this quest. Even if the sacrifice demanded be my very life, I hope I may be prepared to give it. But as long as I have not realized this Absolute Truth, so long must I hold by the relative truth as I have conceived it. That relative truth must, meanwhile, be my beacon, my shield and buckler...
- Mahatma Gandhi (from this wonderful site)
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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Vishy Anand is World Chess Champion



Viswanathan Anand remained unbeaten and scored 9 points out of 14 with four wins in the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico to become the undisputed World Chess Champion.

(photo courtesy: Susan Polgar's blog, Official site of WCC 07)
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14th round results - WCC 07

Svidler defeats Grischuk and Kramnik beats Aronian in the fourteenth round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.
Peter Svidler - Alexander Grischuk (1 - 0)
Viswanathan Anand - Peter Leko (0.5 - 0.5)
Alexander Morozevich - Boris Gelfand (0.5 - 0.5)
Vladimir Kramnik - Levon Aronian (1 - 0)
Points after fourteen rounds

Viswanathan Anand (2792): 9/14
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 8/14
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 6/14
Peter Leko (2751): 7/14
Levon Aronian (2750): 6/14
Peter Svidler (2735): 6.5/14
Boris Gelfand (2733): 8/14
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 5.5/14
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Saturday, September 29, 2007

12th and 13th round results - WCC 07

Three decisive results in the twelfth round, and one in the thirteenth round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.
12th round results
Peter Svidler - Viswanathan Anand (0.5 - 0.5)
Vladimir Kramnik - Peter Leko (1 - 0)
Alexander Morozevich - Alexander Grischuk (1 - 0)
Levon Aronian - Boris Gelfand (0 - 1)
13th round results
Levon Aronian - Peter Svidler (0.5 - 0.5)
Boris Gelfand - Vladimir Kramnik (0.5 - 0.5)
Peter Leko - Alexander Morozevich (1 - 0)
Alexander Grischuk - Viswanathan Anand (0.5 - 0.5)
Points after thirteen rounds
Viswanathan Anand (2792): 8.5/13
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 7/13
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 5.5/13
Peter Leko (2751): 6.5/13
Levon Aronian (2750): 6/13
Peter Svidler (2735): 5.5/13
Boris Gelfand (2733): 7.5/13
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 5.5/13
14th (last) round pairings
Anand needs atleast a draw in the last round to win this championship.
Peter Svidler - Alexander Grischuk
Viswanathan Anand - Peter Leko
Alexander Morozevich - Boris Gelfand
Vladimir Kramnik - Levon Aronian
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

11th round results - WCC 07

Anand beats Morozevich in the eleventh round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.
Boris Gelfand - Peter Svidler (0.5 - 0.5)
Peter Leko - Levon Aronian (0.5 - 0.5)
Alexander Grischuk - Vladimir Kramnik (0.5 - 0.5)
Viswanathan Anand - Alexander Morozevich (1 - 0)
Points after eleven rounds

Viswanathan Anand (2792): 7.5/11
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 5.5/11
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 4.5/11
Peter Leko (2751): 5.5/11
Levon Aronian (2750): 5.5/11
Peter Svidler (2735): 4.5/11
Boris Gelfand (2733): 6/11
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 5/11
12th round pairings
Today is a free day at the world championship. The twelfth round matches will be played on September 27, 2007.
Peter Svidler - Viswanathan Anand
Vladimir Kramnik - Peter Leko
Alexander Morozevich - Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian - Boris Gelfand
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

10th round results - WCC 07

Aronian defeats Grischuk in the tenth round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.
Peter Svidler - Alexander Morozevich (0.5 - 0.5)
Vladimir Kramnik - Viswanathan Anand (0.5 - 0.5)
Levon Aronian - Alexander Grischuk (1 - 0)
Boris Gelfand - Peter Leko (0.5 - 0.5)
Points after ten rounds

Viswanathan Anand (2792): 6.5/10
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 5/10
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 4.5/10
Peter Leko (2751): 5/10
Levon Aronian (2750): 5/10
Peter Svidler (2735): 4/10
Boris Gelfand (2733): 5.5/10
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 4.5/10
11th round pairings

Boris Gelfand - Peter Svidler
Peter Leko - Levon Aronian
Alexander Grischuk - Vladimir Kramnik
Viswanathan Anand - Alexander Morozevich
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Monday, September 24, 2007

9th round results - WCC 07

Morozevich defeats Kramnik, and Grischuk beats Gelfand in the ninth round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.
Peter Leko - Peter Svidler (0.5 - 0.5)
Alexander Grischuk - Boris Gelfand (1 - 0)
Viswanathan Anand - Levon Aronian (0.5 - 0.5)
Alexander Morozevich - Vladimir Kramnik (1 - 0)
Points after nine rounds

Viswanathan Anand (2792): 6/9
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 4.5/9
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 4/9
Peter Leko (2751): 4.5/9
Levon Aronian (2750): 4/9
Peter Svidler (2735): 3.5/9
Boris Gelfand (2733): 5/9
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 4.5/9
10th round pairings

Peter Svidler - Alexander Morozevich
Vladimir Kramnik - Viswanathan Anand
Levon Aronian - Alexander Grischuk
Boris Gelfand - Peter Leko
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Saturday, September 22, 2007

8th round results - WCC 07

Leko defeats Grischuk in the eighth round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.
Peter Svidler - Vladimir Kramnik (0.5 - 0.5)
Levon Aronian - Alexander Morozevich (0.5 - 0.5)
Boris Gelfand - Viswanathan Anand (0.5 - 0.5)
Peter Leko - Alexander Grischuk (1 - 0)
Points after eight rounds
Viswanathan Anand (2792): 5.5/8
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 4.5/8
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 3/8
Peter Leko (2751): 4/8
Levon Aronian (2750): 3.5/8
Peter Svidler (2735): 3/8
Boris Gelfand (2733): 5/8
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 3.5/8
9th round pairings
Today is a free day at the world championship. The ninth round matches will be played on September 23, 2007.

Peter Leko - Peter Svidler
Alexander Grischuk - Boris Gelfand
Viswanathan Anand - Levon Aronian
Alexander Morozevich - Vladimir Kramnik
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Chessy Masala Dosa and Stretchy Mangalooru Bajji

I am following the World Chess Championship 2007 in spite of confusing rules of FIDE to determine the next world champion. Anand and others say the format is biased and designed to suit Russian (Kramnik) and Bulgarian (Topalov) lobbies. Anand also says that he does not want to dip inside the muddled waters of FIDE politics. He rather concentrates on chess matches. So far so good. When you follow a chess match, you have to participate in the process. Imagine watching a live chess match without any thoughts. It is not possible. You have to think about it. But if you think it is as good as you are playing. Not like other sports where you can watch live without doing anything that is connected with those sports. I watched Yuvraj's six sixers. But I did not feel the physical effort involved in that power hitting - meaning there is no pain or strain on my shoulders. Leave the mental efforts alone.
Now what am I writing...
I am supposed to write about masala dosa and mangalooru bajji.
Where is the link?

The link is the Janatha Hotel, 8th cross, Malleswaram, Bangalore.

I am sitting here in the hotel and thinking about what are the differences between watching chess live and watching other sports like cricket, hockey, football, etc live.

I am waiting for my masala dosa. It is surprising. Surprising to see people wait outside the hotel. You think there is no surprise about that as far Janatha Hotel is concerned? Surprising to see people wait outside when the hotel is closed. Ah! that's something, isn't it?
The hotel opens at 4pm. People wait from 3:30pm.

People?
A husband, A wife, and their small girl who asks sambar for Masala dosa which is not given at the hotel. Pay extra for extra sambar.

Two ladies with newly bought something.

Two girls who swallow mangalooru bajjis as fast as they send SMS.

An old man who sips coffee and thinks about good old days.

A girl who is carrying and is thinking possibly about the kid that is shaping up.

Two grandmothers with their grand-daughters eating some sweets which are possibly banned at home.

All these people are united. United to taste the time-tested Janata servings.

And what am I doing now? I am supposed to think about differences between watching a chess match and a cricket game. But here I am. Sitting and watching Janata's Janata.

Masala Dosa emerges just in front of me. Crispy and slightly sticky too. Pudina leaves are floating on the chutney. The chutney seems to be watery but it is not. You just dip your finger to feel the solid sediments of chutney.

I unroll the dosa to see the beauty of potato masala and grey chutney talking to each other on the crispy grass of masala dosa. I envy them. What is better than discussing chess with potato masala?

Small piece of dosa along with solid sediments of white chutney rolled together and meet their destiny in my mouth. I am watching ...

Chess is such a beautiful game that you do not mind losing yourself. Not just losing yourself but getting lost. I still remember a chess game I played with my friend in Tambaram bus stand. Without a board. How?

e4
e5
Nf3
Nf6

We played and pushed the game to its middle. We then found it quite difficult to analyse the position without board. Board is the substratum. Just like our experiences with relationships are to understand ourselves.

Where am I?

Who has eaten my Masala Dosa?

I must have achieved that in no time - much faster than how Anand plays a double knight Ruy Lopez variation.

Some say - Do not play Catalan against Kramnik. Sicilian against Kasparov, etc. But I play Mangalooru Bajji next.

Four small balls come. Elastic balls. Quite hot. Quite crispy. When I went to Mangalooru I asked Mangalooru bajji. They brought something quite different. I thought this is similar to how Hosur road, somewhere in its path, transforms itself to Bengalooru Road.

The small girl sitting opposite does not want to come out. The mother insists. But the girl moves between the table and the bench. The girl is quite happy with the masala dosa.

I am also happy with my dosa and bajjis. What next?
What will happen to this blog? How do I want to continue this? Chess statistics? Personal rants? Why I have to continue this? What is the big deal in saying I maintain a blog?
Hahahahhaa.....Hahahahhh.....
Two old men are laughing loudly.
Where are we?
Did I write "why I have to continue this blog"? No. It can't be true. Did I write that?
Masala Dosa is nice. Bajji is good. Something is still incomplete. Feeling of incompletion and feeling of something more might have created those words. Not me.
This is the right time to drink Janata Coffee.
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Friday, September 21, 2007

7th round results - WCC 07

Anand beats Grischuk in the seventh round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.
Peter Svidler - Levon Aronian (0.5 - 0.5)
Vladimir Kramnik - Boris Gelfand (0.5 - 0.5)
Alexander Morozevich - Peter Leko (0.5 - 0.5)
Viswanathan Anand - Alexander Grischuk (1 - 0)
Points after seven rounds

Viswanathan Anand (2792): 5/7
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 4/7
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 2.5/7
Peter Leko (2751): 3/7
Levon Aronian (2750): 3/7
Peter Svidler (2735): 2.5/7
Boris Gelfand (2733): 4.5/7
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 3.5/7
8th round pairings
Peter Svidler - Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian - Alexander Morozevich
Boris Gelfand - Viswanathan Anand
Peter Leko - Alexander Grischuk
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

6th round results - WCC 07

Gelfand joins Anand at the top by defeating Morozevich in the sixth round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.
Alexander Grischuk - Peter Svidler (0.5 - 0.5)
Peter Leko - Viswanathan Anand (0.5 - 0.5)
Boris Gelfand - Alexander Morozevich (1 - 0)
Levon Aronian - Vladimir Kramnik (0.5 - 0.5)
Points after six rounds

Viswanathan Anand (2792): 4/6
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 3.5/6
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 2/6
Peter Leko (2751): 2.5/6
Levon Aronian (2750): 2.5/6
Peter Svidler (2735): 2/6
Boris Gelfand (2733): 4/6
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 3.5/6
7th round pairings

Peter Svidler - Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik - Boris Gelfand
Alexander Morozevich - Peter Leko
Viswanathan Anand - Alexander Grischuk
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6th round pairings - Corrections made

The official site has changed the sixth round pairings from that of earlier pairings. The new pairings are as follows:

Alexander Grischuk - Peter Svidler
Peter Leko - Viswanathan Anand
Boris Gelfand - Alexander Morozevich
Levon Aronian - Vladimir Kramnik
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

5th round results - WCC 07

Three decisive results in the fifth round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico: Anand defeats Svidler, Gelfand beats Aronian, and Grischuk scores a full point against Morozevich.
Viswanathan Anand - Peter Svidler (1 - 0)
Alexander Grischuk - Alexander Morozevich (1 - 0)
Peter Leko - Vladimir Kramnik (0.5 - 0.5)
Boris Gelfand - Levon Aronian (1 - 0)
Points after five rounds

Viswanathan Anand (2792): 3.5/5
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 3/5
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 2/5
Peter Leko (2751): 2/5
Levon Aronian (2750): 2/5
Peter Svidler (2735): 1.5/5
Boris Gelfand (2733): 3/5
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 3/5
6th round pairings
Peter Svidler - Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik - Boris Gelfand
Alexander Morozevich - Peter Leko
Viswanathan Anand - Alexander Grischuk
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Monday, September 17, 2007

4th round results - WCC 07

Aronian scores full point against Leko in the fourth round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.
Peter Svidler - Boris Gelfand (0.5 - 0.5)
Levon Aronian - Peter Leko (1 - 0)
Vladimir Kramnik - Alexander Grischuk (0.5 - 0.5)
Alexander Morozevich - Viswanathan Anand (0.5 - 0.5)
Points after four rounds
Viswanathan Anand (2792): 2.5/4
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 2.5/4
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 2/4
Peter Leko (2751): 1.5/4
Levon Aronian (2750): 2/4
Peter Svidler (2735): 1.5/4
Boris Gelfand (2733): 2/4
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 2/4
5th round pairings
Today is a free day at the world championship. The fifth round matches will be played on September 18, 2007.
Viswanathan Anand - Peter Svidler
Alexander Grischuk - Alexander Morozevich
Peter Leko - Vladimir Kramnik
Boris Gelfand - Levon Aronian
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Sunday, September 16, 2007

3rd Round results - WCC 07

Morozevich defeats Svidler in the third round of the World Chess Championship 2007, Mexico.

Alexander Morozevich - Peter Svidler (1 - 0)
Viswanathan Anand - Vladimir Kramnik (0.5 - 0.5)
Alexander Grischuk - Levon Aronian (0.5 - 0.5)
Peter Leko - Boris Gelfand (0.5 - 0.5)

Points after three rounds

Viswanathan Anand (2792): 2/3
Vladimir Kramnik (2769): 2/3
Alexander Morozevich (2758): 1.5/3
Peter Leko (2751): 1.5/3
Levon Aronian (2750): 1/3
Peter Svidler (2735): 1/3
Boris Gelfand (2733): 1.5/3
Alexander Grischuk (2726): 1.5/3

4th round pairings:

Peter Svidler - Boris Gelfand
Levon Aronian - Peter Leko
Vladimir Kramnik - Alexander Grischuk
Alexander Morozevich - Viswanathan Anand
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

2nd Round results - WCC 07

Anand wins the match against Aronian while Kramnik defeats Morozevich in the second round of the World Chess Championship 2007.
Current standings after two rounds
Viswanathan Anand (2792) - 1.5/2
Vladimir Kramnik (2769) - 1.5/2
Peter Svidler (2735) - 1/2
Boris Gelfand (2733) - 1/2
Peter Leko (2751) - 1/2
Alexander Grischuk (2726) - 1/2
Alexander Morozevich (2758) - 0.5/2
Levon Aronian (2750) - 0.5/2
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Friday, September 14, 2007

1st Round results - WCC 07

All matches are drawn in the first round of World Chess Championship 2007.
Vladimir Kramnik - Peter Svidler (0.5 - 0.5)
Alexander Morozevich - Levon Aronian (0.5 - 0.5)
Viswanathan Anand - Boris Gelfand (0.5 - 0.5)
Alexander Grischuk - Peter Leko (0.5 - 0.5)
The world championship coverage internet links are collected by Susan Polgar here. The schedule is available here.

World Championship Chess Matches

You can follow matches live in the official website here. For Susan Polgar's live commentary, visit her blog.
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - The Schedule

The match begins at 14:00h local time. Add 10:30 to get IST i.e., for instance, the first round matches begin at Sept. 14th 2007, 00:30h IST.

Round 1: Thursday, Sept. 13th 2007, 14:00h
Vladimir Kramnik - Peter Svidler
Alexander Morozevich - Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand - Boris Gelfand
Alexander Grischuk - Peter Leko
Round 2: Friday, Sept. 14th 2007, 14:00h
Peter Svidler - Peter Leko
Boris Gelfand - Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian - Viswanathan Anand
Vladimir Kramnik - Alexander Morozevich
Round 3: Saturday, Sept. 15th 2007, 14:00h

Alexander Morozevich - Peter Svidler
Viswanathan Anand - Vladimir Kramnik
Alexander Grischuk - Levon Aronian
Peter Leko - Boris Gelfand
Round 4: Sunday, Sept 16th 2007, 14:00h

Peter Svidler - Boris Gelfand
Levon Aronian - Peter Leko
Vladimir Kramnik - Alexander Grischuk
Alexander Morozevich - Viswanathan Anand

Round 5: Tuesday, Sept. 18th 2007, 14:00h

Viswanathan Anand - Peter Svidler
Alexander Grischuk - Alexander Morozevich
Peter Leko - Vladimir Kramnik
Boris Gelfand - Levon Aronian

Round 6: Wednesday, Sept. 19th 2007, 14:00h
Peter Svidler - Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik - Boris Gelfand
Alexander Morozevich - Peter Leko
Viswanathan Anand - Alexander Grischuk

Round 7: Thursday, Sept. 20th 2007, 14:00h

Alexander Grischuk - Peter Svidler
Peter Leko - Viswanathan Anand
Boris Gelfand - Alexander Morozevich
Levon Aronian - Vladimir Kramnik


Round 8: Friday, Sept. 21st 2007, 14:00h

Peter Svidler - Vladimir Kramnik
Levon Aronian - Alexander Morozevich
Boris Gelfand - Viswanathan Anand
Peter Leko - Alexander Grischuk

Round 9: Sunday, Sept. 23th 2007, 14:00h

Vladimir Kramnik - Peter Svidler
Alexander Morozevich - Levon Aronian
Viswanathan Anand - Boris Gelfand
Alexander Grischuk - Peter Leko
Round 10: Monday, Sept. 24th 2007, 14:00h
Peter Svidler - Peter Leko
Boris Gelfand - Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian - Viswanathan Anand
Vladimir Kramnik - Alexander Morozevich
Round 11: Tuesday, Sept. 25th 2007, 14:00h
Alexander Morozevich - Peter Svidler
Viswanathan Anand - Vladimir Kramnik
Alexander Grischuk - Levon Aronian
Peter Leko - Boris Gelfand
Round 12: Thursday, Sept 27th 2007, 14:00h

Peter Svidler - Boris Gelfand
Levon Aronian - Peter Leko
Vladimir Kramnik - Alexander Grischuk
Alexander Morozevich - Viswanathan Anand

Round 13: Friday, Sept. 28th 2007, 14:00h

Viswanathan Anand - Peter Svidler
Alexander Grischuk - Alexander Morozevich
Peter Leko - Vladimir Kramnik
Boris Gelfand - Levon Aronian

Round 14: Saturday, Sept. 29th 2007, 14:00h

Peter Svidler - Levon Aronian
Vladimir Kramnik - Boris Gelfand
Alexander Morozevich - Peter Leko
Viswanathan Anand - Alexander Grischuk

Sunday, Sept. 30th 2007
Possible tiebreaks, closing ceremony
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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Man Booker Prize 2007 - six novels shortlisted

The six novels shortlisted are:

  • Darkmans by Nicola Barker
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
  • Animal’s People by Indra Sinha
The discussion forum at the official site is here.
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World Chess Championship 2007

The FIDE World Chess Championship 2007 will be held in Mexico City, from September 12, 2007 to September 30, 2007. The format is eight-player double round robin where each player plays every other player twice.

The eight players are,
  • Vladimir Kramnik (Russia)
  • Viswanathan Anand (India)
  • Peter Svidler (Russia)
  • Alexander Morozevich (Russia)
  • Péter Lékó (Hungary)
  • Boris Gelfand (Israel)
  • Levon Aronian (Armenia)
  • Alexander Grischuk (Russia)
The official site of the World Championship is here.
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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Expression of Beauty

It was a classroom. The sixth standard classroom. The mathematics teacher was strolling. From left to right. After few cycles, from front to back. He had given an exercise to the students. Two, in fact. One was an algebra problem and the other was a geometrical construction. The eyes of the students were showing the signs of fear, excitement, joy, tension, wonder, etc. depending upon the mind to which they belonged. But the teacher was ruthless.
If he saw something silly, he would stop and give a special treatment of impulse-strike, aided by his strong knuckles, on the head. He was sincere in trying to explain things. You had to tell him that you did not understand. He would explain. Again tell him that you did not understand. He would explain. Again tell him that you did not understand. He was quite patient. He would explain again. Explain again and again. Tell him you had understood and do a simple and silly mistake. You would then know what others were always saying - that he was a good volley-ball player. The only thing was the hit would leave a mark on your head.
He was interested in answers as well as how it was written (algebra) and drawn (geometry construction). The line that comes between numerator and denominator would often become a line that brings you either good pat or hit. The circles and lines should be circles and lines of same thickness. If you were going to draw a line second time to get good impression, you better do it for that line completely. If some portion of the line had more strokes than the other, the stroke you left would emerge on your head or palm.
Once a parent came and asked him in front of us, why did he reduce some marks though their son had correctly constructed the geometrical object. He said,

"Mathematics is a beautiful subject. When you write about such a beautiful subject, there is no place for any ugliness there. Whether you write or talk or communicate or learn, you have to do justice to the beauty of the content. You have to discipline yourself to appreciate the subject. Just knowing how to construct will not do. It is not enough for me."

That was Chandran Sir.

I did not understand completely then. That was the age where you would associate beauty to visuals and sounds; not to few symbols and their meanings. Those words and their contents have grown along various directions over a period of time destroying the artificial markings of human exploration. They go beyond subjects and ideas. Stressing the importance of how you could express something beautiful in a beautiful manner is such a wonderful feeling to pass it on to the next generation.

I liked him then. I like him now.

Happy Teachers' day.
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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dr. Rangaswamy Narasimhan is no more ...

Dr. Rangaswamy Narasimhan, the designer of India’s first general purpose digital computer, died in Bangalore yesterday.
He played a crucial role in institutional development - Computer Science and Technology Lab at TIFR, Computer Society of India, Computer Maintenance Corporation (CMC), and National Center for Software Technology.
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Patenting Traditional Knowledge Components

What should India do when patents are granted to traditional knowledge components? We normally listen to the lament that our documentation of our traditional knowledge is poor, and hence we are losing out in the present age of patenting anything and everything.
India’s strategy on patents arising out of traditional knowledge has been flawed. It has been focusing on proving that we have documentation for our TK (Traditional Knowledge). Much of India’s own TK must necessarily be unrecorded. Even where records exist, they were meant not as a legally rigorous treatise, but as an aid to oral transmission. Digitisation of TK can only prevent granting of frivolous patents, which, even if left alone, can neither benefit the “inventor” nor harm India. Digitisation may in fact act as an aid to researchers eyeing Indian TK as a guide to focused lab work.
India’s approach towards TK should be proactive rather than defensive. Instead of acting as a documentation assistant for others, it should molecularise its own tradition in healthcare and benefit therefrom under the present patent regime. Most of TK resides in the third world countries and is largely undocumented. India should evolve a strategy that can be adopted by other countries as well. Instead of trying to convince petty U.S. officials that our TK is indeed documented, India should try to work towards evolving a world consensus on the patentability of results of lab research which uses TK as the starting point.
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Monday, September 03, 2007

Book Search Engines

Pradeep Sebastian writes about buying books - used, out-of-print, rare, first editions, etc - on the internet. The following is the list of websites mentioned in the article.
  1. BookFinder (for price comparison as well)
  2. AddALL (for price comparison as well)
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pretensions

When did "passion-for-tamil" become synonymous with writing-tamil-fallaciously? I have recently seen the following words in a poster that invites people to attend some conference organized by self-professed only-tamil-correct-or-not people.
The words are ஆகத்து (aagaththu) and புத்துணற்சி (puththuNaRchi).
The first word is Tamil equivalent(?!!) for August and the second word is supposed to be புத்துணர்ச்சி which means "refreshing feelings", "new perception", etc.
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True Sense - Root - Etymon

When I was searching for an online etymology dictionary, I got this link. It is surprising to know that Anaconda can be traced (one of the branches) to a Tamil word. Do visit this page to know more about it. It was also not mentioned in this article of my friend where he wrote about few words that have travelled from Tamil to other languages.
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Chomsky's Thesis Draft

Noam Chomsky's thesis draft, "The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory" is available here. You have to register to download. The file size is quite big - full version: 436MB, zipped version: 380MB.

Link:
Noam Chomsky's website

Friday, August 10, 2007

Gian-Carlo Rota's 10 lessons

Kovailputhalvan has sent me this link to Gian-Carlo Rota's 10 lessons of an MIT Education. Thanks Kovaiputhalvan.
Few snippets from those 10 lessons:
--- Students join forces on the problem sets, and some students benefit more than others from these weekly collective efforts. The most brilliant students will invariably work out all the problems and let other students copy, and I pretend to be annoyed when I learn that this has happened. But I know that by making the effort to understand the solution of a truly difficult problem discovered by one of their peers, students learn more than they would by working out some less demanding exercise.
--- Half a century ago, the philosopher Gilbert Ryle discussed the difference between "knowing how" courses are those in mathematics, the exact sciences, engineering, playing a musical instrument, even sports. "Knowing what" courses are those in the social sciences, the creative arts, the humanities, and those aspects of a discipline that are described as having social value.
--- It is my theory that "knowing how" is revered because it can be tested.
(This knowing-how-and-knowing-what reminds me of Snow's Two Cultures!! Imprinting such "divisive" ideas on human psyche may not be good for education.)
--- The idea of genius elaborated during the Romantic Age (late 18th and 19th centuries) has done harm to education. It is demoralizing to give a young person role models of Beethoven, Einstein, and Feynman, presented as saintly figures who moved from insight to insight without a misstep. Scientific biographies often fail to give a realistic description of personality, and thereby create a false idea of scientific work.

--- Young people will correct any fantasies they have about genius. As they start doing research with their professors they learn another healthy lesson, namely, a professor may well behave like a fumbling idiot.
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Spreading Film-making to Villages

"After we screened the famous Bicycle Thieves to a group of farm labourers in a village near Thanjavur, a young boy, in response to our request for feedbacks, said the movie was never shot in the set, which is true." - says P.Thirunavukkarasu of the Tamil Nadu Documentary and Short Film Creators’ Association.

The Association teaches villagers the ABC of cinema - from cinematography to acting to editing to lighting. "We have conducted the five-day course in Tiruchi, Karur, Coimbatore, Ramanathapuram and Krishnagiri districts," he says.

But why? "Every village has a story to narrate, which is told best in visual medium. For, it helps the villagers, more comfortable with hand-held digicams than bigger gadgets, convey messages in their language and style, free of fear, inhibition, etc.," says Mr. Thirunavukkarasu.

He adds: "And, such documentation is cent per cent people’s history because they decide what, when and how to document. People tell their history and that too through a mass medium, which in this case is mass in every sense of the term."

(To read more, visit this page)

It is quite interesting to know that such courses have been conducted in villages. The association might also act as a facilitator to disseminate the works of people who attend their courses. But I could not find even the website of the association!!
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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Freedom To Create

Ingmar Bergman says:

"Freedom under which we work is the basis. Nobody can come to me and say "do that"...I am my own master...These are our work. We must feel proud...The actors, the technicians, the cameraman...We all discuss.. All are involved..."

||


What would he do if someone came, and said, "this movie won't make money unless you put so and so in it instead of someone else."

"I'd ask him to go very quickly out of the studio... perhaps I would go."

(From this YouTube video)




Friday, August 03, 2007

Carnatic Concerts in Chennai

For carnatic concerts' schedule in Chennai, listed for every month till January 2008, visit this page now, and then regularly to see the updates.
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Del.icio.us

Kovaiputhalvan told me about this web service on a rainy day. When I asked him to write the link, he immediately said, "One minute, I will send an SMS." We heartily laughed at our dependence on "new technology" while wiping few pleasant driblets of rain from our faces.

From Wikipedia:

The website del.icio.us (pronounced as "delicious") is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks. The site was founded by Joshua Schachter in late 2003, and is now part of Yahoo!.

From the website:

del.icio.us is a collection of favorites - yours and everyone else's. You can use del.icio.us to:
  • Keep links to your favorite articles, blogs, music, reviews, recipes, and more, and access them from any computer on the web.
  • Share favorites with friends, family, coworkers, and the del.icio.us community.
  • Discover new things. Everything on del.icio.us is someone's favorite -- they've already done the work of finding it. So del.icio.us is full of bookmarks about technology, entertainment, useful information, and more. Explore and enjoy.
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Sruti

Sruti is India's leading monthly magazine, started in 1983, devoted to Indian classical music and dance.

Contact details:

The Sruti Foundation,
9, Cathedral Road,
Chennai - 600086, India.


Subscription details:

One year - Rs.360 (including postages) - in India.
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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Present Quandary

From a Times of India article whose abridged version is available here. The print edition article has something more. The title of the article in the print edition is also different: Future Funda

Skewed wealth distribution: “The richest 1% of all adults own 40% of all global assets. The richest 2% own 51% of all the assets in the world. And the richest 10% own 85%. The bottom half own barely 1% of the global assets.”

What about technology? What is the next big thing there? Frey feels that tomorrow’s cutting edge technology is most likely already there today. “For really revolutionary, cutting-edge technologies, the next big thing was invented 25 years ago. It takes long for people to adjust their lives and start using these revolutionary technologies,” he says. Look at the internet which was invented in 1969, 38 years ago. Or the cellphone which was invented in 1973. And ATM machines which were invented in 1939.

Auditing and Public Finance

Himanshu Upadhyaya reviews the book:

Government Accountability and Public Audit: Re-engineering the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, B P Mathur; Eastern Book Corporation, Rs.495.
He says the book tackles the question,

Public audit of an organisation or individual by a statutory authority is proven to give teeth to enforcement. Why then has India's CAG failed to instill fear in the various government departments and enterprises it monitors?
From the review,
...Mathur goes into some history of public audit in India. Like other institutions of governance in India, the structure of Indian Audit and Accounts Department (IAAD) also has the colonial legacy stretching as back as 1858, when the East India company administration was taken over by the British government. Two years after that, the independent accounting offices of Bengal, Madras and Bombay presidencies were amalgamated into what came to be known as Auditor General. The subsequent Government of India Acts of 1919 and 1935 enhanced the position of Auditor General, whose stature and independence was equated to a judge of a Federal Court...
...Such indifference to audit queries, objections and Inspection Reports emanate from the crippling constraint that audit officers do not have powers to summon officials to depose and adjudicate, writes Mathur. He cites the example of audit of the Westland Helicopter deal (1989-'90, where for audit officials to get the files related to the deal was a herculean task. Mathur's view is that if powers analogous to a Commission of Enquiry Act were extended to the CAG, it will give it more teeth and help in carrying out its investigations...
...Although, the final outcome of public audit - CAG's audit reports – are presented in legislature for discussions and Public Accounts Committee – as well as Committee on Public Undertakings – are constituted with an express purpose of follow up on them to ensure parliamentary financial controls, the relationship of CAG and Parliament itself has remained rather ambiguous. Enough parliamentary backing hasn't come forth in event of attacks from vested interests who find the audit reports unpalatable...
The issues become complex here. Power should not be vested with a group of government institutions - dependent or independent of functions of Parliament. Monitoring agencies are also accountable. The psychology of correcting others is so dominant that we conveniently forget, and ignore the thought, to correct ourselves. This is applicable to institutions and individuals.
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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shiraz

I got to know about this movie from The Sydney Morning Herald while browsing Australian sites to know what they write about Dr. Haneef.

From New York Times:

Though of royal lineage, Selima (Enakashi Rama Rao) was an infant foundling raised by a kind potter and her adoptive brother, Shiraz (Himansu Rai). She is kidnapped and sold as a slave to Prince Khurram, who would later become Emperor Shah Jehan (Charu Roy). The prince falls for his beautiful slave girl, much to the consternation to dark-hearted schemer Dalia (Seeta Devi) who has her own plans for the prince. When Shiraz tracks down her beloved sibling, their tearful reunion ends after Shiraz is thrown in prison and sentenced to die. Only a pendant -- which proves Selima's royalty -- saves Shiraz's live. Selima marries Emperor Shah Jehan, becoming Empress Mumtaz Mahal. When she dies, the Emperor builds the Taj Mahal in her memory. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

Links:

Himansu Rai
Franz Osten

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ingmar Bergman

I had watched Wild Strawberries before. A friend of mine wanted to watch it for quite sometime. Never got the time and the mood to watch. We will never know why certain things are chosen to occur in a particular way. Today we thought of watching it. No, we did not watch it fully. But we had watched for sometime. We never knew that we were paying our homage to the film-maker Ingmar Bergman.

Ingmar Bergman has passed away today at the age of 89. I have also watched The Seventh Seal.

He has said,

"Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul."

"Anyone who makes films must have a goal before his eyes: namely, to try to get as close to the viewer as possible, to affect him as deeply as possible. What i call technique is knowing exactly how to affect the viewer. That's the crux of the matter. All the rest is secondary. And it is a matter of talent.."

"I want very much to tell, to talk about, the wholeness inside every human being. It's a strange thing that every human being has a sort of dignity or wholeness in him, and out of that develops relationships to other human beings, tensions, misunderstandings, tenderness, coming in contact, touching and being touched, the cutting off of a contact and what happens then."

Some links:

  1. BBC report
  2. Bergman profile - BBC
  3. Ingmar Bergman website
  4. Ingmar Bergman Foundation
  5. Ingmar Bergman - IMDB
  6. Bergmanorama
  7. Obituary - BBC
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Two Missions

M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, in 1997, identified two major goals for the 60th anniversary commemoration.
1. Hunger-free India on the lines proposed by Mahatma Gandhi in 1946 at Naokhali

Over 200 million children, women, and men go to bed now partially hungry. Unfortunately, an integrated strategy is yet to be put in place with the result that the goal of a hunger-free India is nowhere near accomplishment.

2. Knowledge and skill empowerment of rural families with the help of information and communication technology

While connectivity can be achieved, content creation and capacity building will be the greatest challenges. The content has to be dynamic, demand driven, locale specific, and in local languages. As a single step, the rural knowledge revolution is likely to have the largest beneficial impact on the physical, economic, and social well-being of the more than 700 million people living in villages. Poverty will persist under conditions where the human resource is under-valued and material resources are over-valued.

(From this article by M. S. Swaminathan)
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trust

There are stories everywhere. Each story speaks to us in a personal tone. The narration and sequence of events are some of the important aspects of story-telling. Stories are built around beads of small events that are tied together. Those events may be communicated well but the thread that ties them up may not be strong. Sometimes events may look frivolous but the thread puts them in a different perspective. So possibilities are many. I am planning, plans are always planned to have a shorter life, to write short pieces on such events that have occurred in movies, novels, and short stories; events that can be taken out of the thread and can be seen as a separate bead that shows colors of emotional shades. It does not matter if events are from art or commercial movies (what an inaccurate classification), good or bad novels, cooked up or real (this is something different), etc.!!! Here we go.
---------------------------

A husband creates a foundation to initiate many socially relevant projects. The foundation runs schools, colleges, and hospitals, to name a few. People are too happy to receive help from the foundation. The foundation becomes really a foundation to social changes.

But where is money coming from? Through legal or illegal means?

Investigators, Regulators, and Monitors suspect foul play. How to unearth the secrets?

Catch his wife - a soft, a law-abiding, and a law-fearing wife.

Police and others make her believe that if she could give them some proof of the foundation's source of income, then her husband could escape with mild punishment. Else?

What else? He has to pay a heavy price - his life; he is also in the hit list of many local criminals and politicians.

His wife thinks. She thinks again. She thinks again and again and again. And she decides to pass the laptop, which has all information about the source of money donated to the foundation, to investigation agencies.

Police and other government agencies come to his home to arrest him. He comes to know that his laptop has been given to them by his wife!

He could not believe it. Shocked; Shell shocked.

His parents start scolding his wife. What does he do? His future would possibly be doomed by this act of his wife. His name and fame would receive hits from all sides. What about his image? That would be smeared with black; black tar. Saving his face is the last thing he could expect.

What does he do?

Is he going to have vengeance against his wife? Is he going to scold her to start with? Is he going to mistrust? Does he feel betrayed?

He stops his parents from shouting at her and says, "If she had done this, she must have perceived that it would do some good to me. She will not do anything that would destroy me. She cannot do. Do not scold her."

Trust. This is it.

Apart from the trust he exhibits, it is his composure, that gathers energy and courage to say that 'I trust you' to his wife in such a situation, makes a good case to ponder trust, composure, courage in relationships.

(The situation is from the movie Sivaji - the Boss)

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Nutty Connections

There are many theories - scientific, philosophical, and soporific - on causes and their effects. Causality. And its effect. Can one find the link between the two? While you are thinking about all these, just read this (via) :
The (ground nut) oil prices have gained 23 per cent since the beginning of this year. The problem with groundnut oil is that mills are not getting kernel for crushing.
What is the reason? Possible and feasible reason?
One of the reasons is rise in direct consumption, including as snacks, especially for liquor consumption.
Peanuts are preferred to be eaten during consumption of liquor as they are cheaper than cashewnuts. Also, rising income levels are seeing corresponding increase in consumption of almost all products, including liquor.
My friend, who applies loads of coconut oil on his head, face, hands, etc., thinks of writing a petition to the government for a ban to use coconut in the domains other than.. other than applying on one's own body!!!
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