Monday, September 7, 2009

Applied Mathematics and Urinal protocol

Many of us have grown with idea that advance mathematics is for textbooks and for those weird looking, specs wearing, mysterious looking guys. These kinds of species are normally found in corner table of research libraries, having a gigantic stack of book in front of them. It is not our fault after all, most famous mathematics have something abnormal about the way they look (be it Albert Einstein, Newton, Pascal, Babbage or others). Alas! Reverse does not held true else I would also be some kind of mathematician ;-)

Most people believe complex formulas of mathematics have little, if at all, application in real world. If you are one of them and feared Maths like hell, then think again. I know you hated those torturing Maths Exams, and now thinking I am some kind of Psycho to say Maths is good - but hold on your allegation before you read the whole stuff. Be patient!

Mathematics is beautiful; it can be applied to problems of everyday. Read the little research article below about the common problem every guy faces and how the formula can help in designing urinals more effectively. Read the comments too, where people have suggested modifications in formula and of course there is ultimate fun side too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Journey into Paradise - A Short Pictorial Essay

Few days back, we, a group of 6 nature junkies, made a journey into paradise. Remembrance is still fresh, eyes are still green and we are still into feel of paradise. I am talking about ride from Ooty to coonoor in Nilgiri Railways.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway is UNESCO world heritage site. The train, popularly known as toy train as other hill railways, runs between Ooty and coonoor (and beyond that). The track between Ooty and Coonoor is around 18 km and passes through amazingly beautiful nature sights. There are tunnels, bends in the track, tea plantations, depths and heights of hills, beautiful towns and nature views on the way. See some of the images taken from inside train.

The train crossing old bridge

ketti - an intermediate station between Ooty and Coonoor, there are four stations

Train starts at 9 in morning form Ooty. We were bit late as usual - we always have some valid technical reason to be late (people call that ‘excuse’) - but somehow managed to get into train. There were 4 or 5 small coaches in train; it was more like a big bus than a train if you compare with mammoth trains. Climate was beautiful, bit cold and it was drizzling too. There were few over exicted kids in coach and I could sense their ill intention - to shout out load, all the way. Anyway, that was good, when I feel like shouting I could use the excuse that kids were shouting and as a reaction I did that (as per Newton's law -for those who are looking scientific explaination ;-)

The train track route

The train started and so did the kids. Of course, I joined kinds, "Hurrayy.... hoooooo..." was the sound all around. An old man sitting near was looking at me with some surprise in eyes when we were shouting. He must be cursing us for noise pollution!!

Words would not do justice, neither I claim it is possible to describe the 'feel' of journey. There were tea estates one side, some old bridges on the way, lush greenery around and tunnels on way. The climate was soothing and drizzling added to its beauty. We saw some remote houses, clouds touching the hill, extreme calmness. The feelings was of ecstasy and being into paradise. At least, paradise of my dreams would not be much different!!

Tea plantation -Ooty is famous for tea estates

Lake on the way surrounded by green

After 1 hour, we reached coonoor. By this time, I have exhausted much of energy in expressing delight by shouting, though it was bit of shameful to know that kids were still in full passion!! I guess they had their full breakfast, while I did not have any (a lame duck excuse ;-)

Monday, May 25, 2009

The truth is out, finally!!

Here is the truth (finally!!) on what happened in Jaipur on weird and wonderful day (and night ;-) of July 12, 2002. The day was discussed many times over the years and here comes truth about what really happened.

That was a hot summer Friday evening of 2002, I was an university student that time, we decided to watch the laugh drama 'Tajmahal ka Tender'. I could not recall whose crazy idea was that, but soon found all 7 of us agreeing to that thought. After all, who do not want to laugh? Posters of the drama were all around University claiming it to be ultimate fun.

After reaching famous 'Ravindra Manch' drama theatre, we realized tickets are bit too costly ;-) Naturally, a heated debate had to start; some anti-art people strongly opposed the idea of spending ‘rare cash’ on drama (they called it 'nautanki', sadly!!), though I was strongly in favour of it. Majority won and we had to drop the dramatic idea of drama.

Someone came out with compromise formula "let us go for movie, it is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie and must be good". Interestingly, that was the day when 'Devdas' was released. Those days Bhansali used to make good movies - of course later he made ‘Sawariya’ and rest is history – we agreed that movie would be good.

Skeptics like me argued 'Today is Friday and we are not going to get tickets!’

'Let us try at least, trying does not harm', one Devdas guy of our group made me to shut up. Those days he was into ups and downs of complex, complicated and on-the-edge-of-break love story. He persuaded all of us by emotional blackmail and sympathy! Soon we were in tune that drama is bad idea and best thing to do now is to go and try for movie tickets. What a sudden surprise turn!

Well, we skipped the 'Tajmahal ka Tender' and directly went to 'Raj Mandir' cinema, one of the best cinema halls of India before these multiplexes came to life. As expected, there were big queues on ticket counters and it was almost impossible to get the tickets unless some miracle happens. A big disappointment! But then, Sanjeev had some top-secret weapon to save us. He straight went to manager's cabin and happily came with 7 tickets.

Surprised we were, asked with curiosity how he made the wonder happen. Sanjeev was hesitant to tell us, he would just smile and would not reply. Some got the fake impression that his smile did wonder ;-). Later we found out (with all our spying abilities), he was having a journalist I-card with him to use in these sorts of situations! All journalist out there, execuse him. Some I-cards can do big things, that day we came to know.

The movie was finished 12.30 or so in night, we decide to walk back to university hostel, a straight 6-7 km walk. The mid summer night walk was fun - a great many things are really discussed over walk only. We sang the songs on the way, discussed philosophies, life and big dreams of future on the way. At 2 p.m or so, reached to campus back and sit on the green lawn in from of VC office!! Here came the twist in story, someone (Sanjeev if my memory is any good and effect of almonds is still there), thrown the idea to go into university swimming pool. In hot summer night of Rajasthan, that was very tempting thought- but was risky also. The swimming pool walls were 16 feet high and then there were chances of getting caught by ‘chaukidar’ (the guard). There was also thought by someone that police roaming is also there in and around university at night-time.

A big debate again with pulls and pressures. Opponents of lovely idea compared the walls of pool with big wall of China, thrown impossibility of practical execution of idea. 4-5 of us liked the idea and thrill; we decided to give this a try. With full enthusiasm, reached the swimming pool and chalked out strategy on how and in which order to climb the high wall. All minor details were planned, like who would support from down, how not to fall of the wall etc. etc. There was a big tall guy among us, now an officer in paramilitary, who pushed most of us and using some support from wall (it was rough wall and bit broken also, so was easy to put the toe in and get above), we reached on top and pulled the tall buddy also. It was big swimming pool and coincidently none of us knew swimming. We reached to the less deep end of pool and dipped ourselves into it. Those were happy movement, going into pool at midnight with some kind of adventure and a bit of fear. Bathing never gave so much pleasure before. We stayed in pool for around an hour and came out as if have done some great thing.

That day was and is discussed many times, an experience that we cherish till now. By the way, none of us liked the thought to do that crazy mid-night gate crashing again, we never repeated.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Questioning Life

That was one beautiful evening, I was sitting with my friend Sravan, and our chit-chat shifted on life and what it is. Intricate topic, that provoked dormant thoughts and lead to exchange of ideas at different level.

Being poetic person, I feel and experience things. Sravan, being a logical person, reasons out everything. Sitting on a beach at midnight, I would just feel the magnificent mighty waves, the amazing beauty of nature - while Sravan would think about the energy of waves, the origin of sea, the chemical composition, how the sea can be purified to solve the drinking water problem of world and so on!! We had two different views on what life is, our instruments to understand it are different - his focus being on logic, my focus on experiencing the things. But basic quest was same, to make an attempt to understand life.

Life can be viewed in terms of what is it not. It is like saying - light is absence of darkness, Life is absence of death. But in simpler terms there is difference between a living body and a dead body - that difference is 'life'. In smallest measurable quantity of time, when there is transition from life to death - there is something that is no more. That something is life; call that 'life element'. What happens to that when that element is no more in body - after what is called death? . Is that element different in you and me? It that element permanent and above the relativity or is this pure biological aspect, that life element also degrades as body degrades?

There are views, philosophies, experiences and visions about that life element. That element may be energy, pure consciousness, or something that is pure biological phenomenon that is still unexplained.

Sravan, being analytic person reasons that things which are unexplained today including life element, would be common knowledge some day, may be after few hundred years down the line. In primitive times, people used to view rain, earthquake and other natural things as something super-natural and things which can only be 'experienced'. There was no explanation for them. Over hundreds of years, people having logical bend of mind discovered and explained these phenomenon. Now these are no more para-normal, we know them, we understand them - and even can create most of these natural things at will. So time would come, there would be no mystery about life element and what happens to that element after death. This ultimate research may take hundreds of years, but it is bound to happen.

I, on the other hand, believe there is something beyond science, something that can only be experienced but cannot be explained. Today medical science have advanced and reached peak point (or will reach in next few hundred years) where every part of body can be made in laboratories. But I am sure, that will never come, when life can be created in laboratories. Spirituality and yogic techniques have developed preciously for this reason - to experience because life force cannot be known, it can only be experienced.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Into The Feel of Music

After researching thousands of years, civilizations have discovered several means of being in Ecstasy (the state of bliss). It was and is never ending quest to find means of ultimate joy. One wonderful instrument discovered is this process is music. Music leads you in state of harmony and tranquility without any active efforts. Many meditation techniques (specially the “Osho” ones) have music and dance at core. It is language of soul and desire of ears.

Everyone listens some sort of music. Possibly each of us has developed exclusive style to listen, experience and realize music. The element of style in listening is diverse and very personal. The taste, listening approach, reaction to song, everything about music differs from person to person. Only constant is “feel” of music.

The way I love music/songs is drowning, diving and immersing into it, bit similar to a drop dissolving in ocean. I would listen a song and if I like it, then unending tryst with song and its music would start. I would listen it again, that in turn would make me to like the song more. So I listen it again and then again! This leads to a vicious cycle. The more I listen, the more I like. After 15-20 times, I start feeling the music. Few more rounds and then music takes over me, all around, it starts resonating in me. Not only the ears but every part of consciousness in me experiences, admires and cherish beauty of music. The music is in me and I am in it. The difference between listener and listening is diminished. Nothing but music remains and oneness is experienced.

The habit of listening the song again and again, possibly 50-60 times and even more, in continuation is irritating-frustrating-annoying for those around me. Few years back, I worked in night time for short duration at my workplace. We were 3 guys at that time and used to sit in mini conference room. I would start listening the 'Razia Sultan' movie songs (Remember those great creations ‘Ae Dil E Nadan aarzoo kya hai’, ‘Tera Hijr Mera Naseeb Hai’ and ‘Aayee zanjeer ki jhankar’). If you like the song, it feels good but if do not like, then it is big torture. I would listen same songs for continuous 1 hours or so every day, for 1-2 weeks. It was unfortunate (for my those two friends!) that I was not having the headphone that time. I would listener on full volume on my workstation. You can imagine the torture those unfortunate chaps have gone through ;-). Basically, it was very hostile workplace for them; making them listen very same song over and over was big physical and mental harassment. Things would become horrible, when I would start singing along in not-so-charming voice!! But, then finally good sense prevailed and they accepted my 'extreme' style of feeling music. Rumors were floating around that they went to Psychiatrist to get mental damage corrected that was caused by fashionable way of listening music ;-)

My taste of music is varied, it scale over many decades. So when I like 'Dil ki Girah' of 1967, so do 'O Pardeshi' of 2009! Choice and taste of music changes as time changes. Nothing remains permanent, other than “feel” of music. These days my penchant is for Sufi sort of creation.

Listening and feeling music is a sort of meditation for me. When in resonance of music, it feels you connect to ‘Supreme’ (The God) Energy to some extent. It is way to relax at gross level and a way to feel oneness with creator at subtle levels. Diving into music is among few unique experiences. Some of such other experiences are walking at Palolem beach, Goa at midnight with friend, watching the mighty waves of endless sea (I feel very near to creator); being in some deep forest on long trek surrounded by nothing but green (It turns eyes into green and you appreciate nature like never before); sleeping in open at my tiny and beautiful village and looking at stars (fresh air, clear sky and serenity of night is revitalizing); reading classic Hindi poetry at leisure; spending 10 days in isolated hills of Jaipur doing Vipassana Meditation and list goes on.

Enough of my ranting, now let me play 'Dama Dam Mast Qalandar' 30th ( or is it 50th, my maths is little week ) time !

Monday, February 23, 2009

Into the WonderLand( aka WonerLa )

“ Wonderful “!

This was the experiece of 'WonderLa' in one word. This amazing trip happened last Sunday. WonderLa is Amusment Park having many thrilling rides (both dry and wet). Some of the rides really are breathtaking and test the courage of the rider. The kid within me came out with full force. My friend says, "I am paying money to get scared! This is scary business ;-)". Whatever it is - it is fun, adventure and thrilling.

We, Indian have a culture of group celebrations. We are wired to enjoy, laugh, cry, party and do anything in-group. A natural extension of this group culture is to have group activities at workplace. Call it 'team fun day', 'outding day', 'fun day' or any other crazy name. Idea remains same. You go out with your work buddies and do anything other than work. This 'outing' day is the most liked day by majority of people. It would easily win 'Most enojyable day of last X month' award, hands down!

Software techies are known for laziness. I think our bunch is on top of that category. So, in principle we never do activities, which would require movement of any body parts except fingers. Doing any activity that has possibility of pain is big no-no for us. Our 'group' activity generally means eating, drinking (to save water some people prefer bear and all!! ) and doing lots of 'bakar'( Could not find right English word for it, may be because English guys do not do it ;-) ).'Bakar' essentially means doing chit-chat without topic and laughing out load on anything.

By bad fortune, this time we decided to go to wonderland (aka WonderLa), which is located outside of Bangalore. Among many good rides, my favourites are 'Insanity' and 'Lazy River’. Oxford dictionary describe word insanity as "in or relating to an unsound state of mind; seriously mentally ill". This ride does not disappoint and lives upto its name. It leaves the rider in relatively permanent disorder of mind! The ride will rotate, revolve, move, shake, and throw in all possible angles and directions in good speed. You sit helplessly and only companion in that moment of fear is 'cry'.

Intially finishing comparitively easier ride give some sort of confidence. But it was of no use as Insanity was confidence-shaking ride, anyway ;-(. I wish, I could describe experiece of one friend in his own words. But the gentle language of blog does not allow me ;-). You know, what I mean! I enjoyed insanity a lot and went there again after a break to have another round of this crazy and horrifiying ride. But was disappointed when operator said miminum 10 persons are needed. There were long queues for other rides. For Insanity, we 3-4 guys waited and waited. No one turned up and unfortunately I could not get the thrill again.

The other good ride was 'Lazy River'. The 'Lazy' prefix, made it ride of choice for many. It was indeed lazy. You put yourself in the air tube and leave in the river (3-4 feet deep). The water flows slowly and river meets itself after a circle. This leaves you on same spot where you started with zero calorie loss! Our group was bit crazy and turned this lazy-friendly ride into hyperactive one. Basically, people would turn the air tube upside-down and now you are into 3-4 feet water. Laziness was distrubed ;-( One again sits on the tube and in few seconds finds again into the water. Conspiracies and sudden shock were the element of that moment. Soon we found each of us throwing everyone else into water. Also it was an opportunity for new swimmer like me to try different techniques. It was an out and out fun.

The trip was as wondrous and memoriable as past trips to WonderLa. My only advice if you are planning to go there is “Do not miss Insanity”! May you come out “safe” out of instanity ;-). All the best!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Experience of Chhayageet

It is around 10 years back I started listening radio. One programme, I try not miss is 'Chhayageet'(छायागीत). It is on 'Vividh Bharti' radio station, every day 10pm.

Cocept of chhayageet is derived from 'Chhayavad'. It roughly translated to 'Era of shadow'. It was an era in Hindi poetry during which love for nature and love for mysticism upsurged. Poets like Jaishankar Prasad used the symbolism to express the beauty of poetry, depth of emotions and feelings. I have likings for writings of this era. They are simply amazing; possibly peak of classic Hindi poetry.

Chhayageet is on same concept, though at much less intensity of symbolism. The anchor (generally Kamal Sharma or Amarkant or Yunus Khan) would do commentry or poetry or express the nicely written theme phrases in-between songs. The songs are based on some common theme. Sometime it is 'virah'( pain of separation ), sometime love, sometime nature and so on. The binding between the songs is theme and the commentry by host RJ. Listenig commentry is as pleasure as the songs.

After day’s hard work, one go to bed to relax. The music starts on Vividh Bharti. Chhayageet steps in and breaks silence of night. I am in 'tandra' (The state of higher consciousness between sleeping and waking ). Soft, soothing and old music is playing. The songs are as wonderful as it can get. I am half sleep, half woken.

Body is sleeping, thoughts are disappearing, and mind is still. The calmness of night would accept nothing but 'Chhaya'( or chhayageet ). Music appears to come from infinity. It comes and dissolves into me. I surrender to its magic. The combination of 'going into sleep' while listening chhayageet is unmatchable. It is unmatchable in experience, calmness. One appreciates music as never before.

This amazing composition was coming to my ears yesterday when I was sleeping. Wished, I could stop the universe at that moment!! Listen it here. Video is not that good. Songs are all about lyrics and music. It has best of both.

"Palkonke peechhe se kya tune kahe dala fire-se to farmaana...... Nainone sapnon ki mehfil sajayee hai tum bhi jaroor aana......"

Thanks Vividh Bharti for having such wonderful creation. Long live chhayageet!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Swimmer of the Month - I

So finally, decided to do this crazy thing also. With all passion and high spirit( aka "josh"), decided to join swimming classes. With two friends, went to enroll for class.

"So we would be expert swimmer", I asked while giving form. I must confess that my stress was on 'expert' word ;-). It is just impossible to be an expert in just 21 days - but no taxes on high hopes( or call it my fertile imagination, given the impracticality of it ! ). By the way, 21 seems most commonly used/abused word. So many books having title like 'Learn how to be Superhero in 21-days( replace Superhero with any term you like - actor, manager, poet, singer, musician or worst a swimmer!! ).

"You would learn basics" the reply came.

Of course, this was bit discouraging. But hopeful ( or hopeless is more appropriate word!?) guys like me believe in looking at brighter side of things. I consoled myself that 'basic learning' is for normal learners and I would do more. Never knew, these high hope were soon going to be drowned in the pool water ;-)

So we finally started with full 'josh'. First few days were easy. Splash legs left right left, do basic hand movements and other sort of basic things. It was more of play and we enjoyed it. Frankly, swimming looked easy and 21-days seemed more for such basic thing.

As days passed, coach pushed into real swimming. Now, the pool appeared wider and longer, initial high hopes hit the reality and watered down. Suddenly, 21-days seemed less time! Lungs started saying 'oxygen mange more' while swimming. Respect for Michael Phelps ( the guys who won 8 gold at Beijing Olympic in swimming ) increased !

Swimming require technique, stamina, persistence and much more. If you think these are inappropriate words, then try and you would not have different opinion ;-) At least, I know it hard way!

Classes are still on ( will end on 25-Feb) and I am struggling! Now the water feels cold, pool looks wider and I no more want to be an 'expert' swimmer! Basically, it would be good for me if I stop abusing 'expert' word ;-) Have set a realistic target for myself. To cross 21-metre( a coincidence that pool width is 21! ) wide pool from the deeper side. 16-feet depth is too much, psychologically speaking ;-). So this is my 'do or drown' mission now and want to finish it before classed ends.

You can wish me luck. I would need it when in 16-feet deep water and no one around ;-)

Going for swimming class now!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hello World!

Hello World!

"The Last Freedom" is a search of a random individual about life, its purpose and challenges. It is about 'The Last Freedom' and about the path to that.

Welcome to my blog. I am Suresh, have inclination to-wards spirituality, philosophy, trekking, yoga, advance technical troubleshooting and so many other things. This is my first attempt on blogging, do not know how long I would post here. I was thinking about blogging since at least 2 years, but my laziness always won. This time I am inspired to blog; would write some other day on inspiration.

Mostly my posts would be related to observations about life and its meaning, the current happening around the globe, yoga, adventure, struggle stories on challenge to change my boundaries and essentially anything under the Sun, I think about. Having said that, basically, do not know myself what exactly I would write about ;-) .

If you happen to reach here, by accident or by deliberate attempt - then do say "Hi" to me. That would be encouraging; I would know someone is reading the random thought of mine.

Hope to post here weekly/fortnightly.