Tuesday, November 12, 2013

About Time

Recently, I came across a Youtube video of Javed Akhtar reciting one of his poems called Waqt which means time. Beautiful. On the video, his face reflects his wonder about this transient thing called time, which he has distilled in his poem.

One poetic thought made an impact on me. He asks, is time standing still and we are moving along and it only appears to move, like the stationary trees that appear to move when I travel on a train.

Wah wah!

And then today I read an article titled "Saving time: Physics killed it. Do we need it back?"  It describes a scientific theory very similar to the poetic thought I just described; that time is an illusion. The past, the present and the future coexist if we view the universe from a vantage point outside the universe.

That is uncannily close to what scientists are theorising. (Let me temporarily discount the possibility that Javed Akhtar read about this somewhere and developed it poetically. Even then, no mean achievement, really) Is this why G.P. Rajaratnam said, "ravvi kANad kavvi kaMDa"? ರವ್ವಿ ಕಾಣದ್‍ಕವ್ವಿ ಕಂಡ - A poet sees what the sun cannot see, based on a poetic idea that the sun sees everything.

A quirky idea popped up. There are some who jump in to the ring to claim that Indians knew "all this, long ago, "western" science is finding this only now". Would they claim something similar now? Or, does the language of the poem, Urdu, come in the way?

We need not say TIME will tell, do we?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Humour with Strangers

Recently, I was in the queue at the cash counter. There was this guy with a fairly neat beard, holding a Philips trimmer. 

I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "you have done well" and pointed to his purchase. His eyes lit up and he said, "Oh! Is it good? Do you use it too?" before he had seen my practically bald head and clean shaven chin.

I smiled and pointed to my t-shirt that carried the Philips logo and said, "I work for Philips". 

We both had a good laugh.


Last Sunday, my son M wanted to eat chaat. When we were at the self-service counter a gentleman came to the counter and ordered a bhel puri. But the way he said it was bel. (ಬೇಲ್ ಕೊಡಿ)

I told him, "If you want bail, you should go to the court, not a chaat shop!"

Fortunately he had a good sense of humour. He guffawed and told his wife too and we all had a good laugh.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You are the Buddha

Here is a translation of a kannaDa poem I wrote. (Here)

If hirsute growth is the measure,
you are a dullard for sure

If saffron robes and religious marks are,
you are uneducated for sure

If you can't fool with eyes half open, weaving meaningless words
you are an idiot for sure

If you can't fleece and give nothing in return
you are poor for sure

Don't worry, if you look at all such charlatans
with skepticism, you are the Buddha, said Omar

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sir MV, Amartya Sen and Bharat Ratna

The cabinet decided to award the title Bharat Ratna to Sir M VIshweshwaraiah. Knowing his character, none in the cabinet wanted to write to him and seek his acceptance of the award. Nehru was up to the challenge and wrote.

True to his nature - straightforward, upright - Sir MV replied that he is ready to accept the award only if it did not rob him of the freedom to criticize his (Nehru's) government if the need arose. Nehru wrote back that it was precisely for this that he was being awarded the Bharat Ratna.

This is a long story in short.

Nehru did not place the condition that Sir MV could comment only when his opinion was solicited. He did not stipulate: "Don't foist your UNSOLICITED opinion on the nation".

Sen's opinion, right or wrong, needs to be foisted on the country. This is the "job" (unpaid) of an intellectual. If the nation has any Sen_se, it will listen. And think.

I can anticipate a retort that Sen is no Sir MV. Perhaps. If so, the government should have had enough sense not to anoint him the Bharat Ratna.

Merrily go on Bharat Ratna Sen. Even if you get senile and speak nonsense there is a distinct possibility that you make more sense then than others who are supposed to be sound of mind.