Author Archive ajit08

The day a cow did my maths

So it was a bright sunny day… oh wait, it was a gloomy and dark evening. Frankly, I am sure you are not interested in the weather at all. So you must be sensing the saffron tinge with ‘cow’ in the title but sorry, my story is more interesting than politics.

As with my straight line life, my maths has been ordinary and as you know being ordinary at maths is the worst crime for a teenager because if you are bad that means you must be good at something cool and if you are good then you are small town Tony Stark, either way, your life is good but not for the folks who come under category ordinary because let me tell you one thing, the normal curve is not so friendly to normal people. Okay I painted the picture, my life was not so good back then and then cow came.

Okay let’s rewind a bit, so my maths teacher asked me to come for extra class after school hours, for a few minutes I got the ‘Good Will Hunting’ kind of feeling but now when I think about, maybe he did it angrily. So long story short, the genius in me went unrecognized and I started solving quadratic equations. Just a disclaimer for future generations, if someone is bad at maths, teach him to hunt or something so that he would do something productive in life, now don’t get me started on what I do for a living.

So one fine evening, yeah it was the fine one and we are settling on this, I was coming back on my Bullet 350, you guys on the internet are so gullible. It was just my Hero Buzz bicycle and it was cool in 7th standard. Now you will have to understand the schematics of newer and cool versions of Hero bicycles, their back carrier sucked. I was probably dreaming of somehow getting the letter from Hogwarts or somehow an expression of my dominant X-gene but while none of that had happened so far, my RD Sharma slipped from the carrier and was thrown on the dusty side of the road.

Now I realized quickly, not that quickly though, and applied the power brakes, yeah it had those. I quickly rushed to pick up that ill-fated book but there was the cow. It was staring at that with its manically hunger filled eyes.

Something then happened, the cow picked up my book with its mouth and at the same moment, I reached.

Now I don’t call myself a hero but animals don’t frighten me so I was not ready to let it go. Now you remember the battle between Avengers and Thanos for the infinity gauntlet, it was kind of the same thing, a little low budget and I was alone.

I started snatching my book from the hungry grasp of that cow or that was bull, let’s stick to the cow for now. I started fighting for my battle against the holy cow and I lost. I got only half of the book and then not even the better half, I got Geometry.

On reaching home battle worn and disappointed, with huge despair, I told my story. Contrary to the constitutional provision of the presumption of innocence, what I got was the conviction. Now if Salman can have the driverless car, why can’t a cow eat my maths book? But as always happens, truth can’t remain unencumbered for a long time so here it comes now on the public platform. Hope you guys will believe it and will not categorize it as a publicity stunt, by the way, on a completely separate topic, you can check my novel ‘The Universal Link’ on Amazon.

To paint the canvas with a single colour

Humans like to think of themselves as citadel of freewill, free from bounds of nature. There has been a growing conception among individuals that human behavior couldn’t be understood scientifically as we are way above the norms of nature. There is nothing afar from the statement. Homo sapiens is merely a species that too among thousands of other species. The attempt to enforce our conception of liberalism and independence without understanding the anthropological context for a target society is doing more harm than good. Before thinking of introducing any changes or doing them any good, we have to understand why other groups are different from ourselves and then it will be more easier for us to understand their behavior. Around 1960s American educators found that African American schoolchildren are rarely consuming milk and they started finding out reasons in their poor socioeconomic background and even discrimination but truth was far from that. Later on anthropologists elucidated that certain societies where milking animals are being kept, they don’t drink the milk but they sour it before they drink it, the reason is they lack the enzyme lactase that helps in digesting the milk. Not only lactose is being not digested but it also leads to indigestion of other nutrients.

While world has progressed a lot in terms of individual rights and independence, we shouldn’t judge every situation, region, country from the similar angle. Don’t feed milk to lactose intolerant in the name of equality, it will be a torture to them.

The Magic of Hubble

If for a time being you ignore the printed text in the photograph What will you think of this photograph?
I bet many of you would swear it to be artistic imagination and some of the art lovers would even try to persuade me to give you name of the artist but I think you all intelligent life forms would have Sherlock holmed (Yeah I have made it a word. By the way it means deduce/d) by now that it is a real-time picture captured by floating magnanimous telescope named after famous American astronomer Edwin Hubble ( Wiki it if you don’t know about him). By the way, you guys are fifty percent right okay I can give you slightly more than seventy percent but at least you are twenty-five percent wrong. Hubble images are too good, too colorful and too bright to be natural. There are artists hand involved in giving them this form.
The journey of the creation of a Hubble image begins when Hubble captures several black and white raw images of an astronomical object say some galaxy far far away(No, Hubble never found Luke Skywalker). Thousands of images are captured to make a single image.
Multiple images are then stacked to complete the picture then advanced image processor gives color to the image. Images are not given randomly to make them more beautiful (Come on it’s not a fashion show its science there should be some logic to give them color). Colors are given on basic of wavelengths of atomic emission to make the characteristics of the picture noticeable to the naked eye which otherwise would be difficult to study and yes, of course, it also lights up our desktop background. Images are now graphically cleared and corrected for any persisting abnormality and so a picture is born
Critics call this betrayal to the ordinary people by presenting graphically altered picture but it’s not the case NASA never said these are raw images. If you go to www.Hubblesite.org You would find Hubble explaining the mechanism of creation of these images. Yes, I have learned from there only. I don’t work for NASA, Hubble or George Clooney (Sorry Gravity still revolving in mind). Hubble through these images has given a dimension an opportunity to scientists, teachers, students, astronauts to study and see the objects far beyond the reach of human eyes because the only thing they had done is increasing the interest and attention. Every time I see these images I just remember star treks famous quote Space: the final frontier.
Courtesy: NASA and www.Hubblesite.org. If you want to know more about image creation click here

The man who knew everything…

For an artist joy of being recognized by name of his creation has no other parallel. Enjoying the praise of millions savoring his artistic dreams is something every artist dream of but as wonderful the feeling is sometimes other creations of the artist suffers huge indifference due to the dominance of one.
Leonardo Da Vinci of Florence revered and praised by all for his paintings and architecture. No sane man would object to Leonardo’s proficiency in painting but it was only one color extracted from a rainbow of talents Leonardo had. The man was a botanist, astrologist, geologist, mechanic, physicist, paleontologist, musician and of course painter all rolled into one. The article pays a humble tribute to the scientific contributions of Leonardo the miracle man the genius of a renaissance.

Much before Copernicus stated his opinions about earth’s orbital motion Leonardo discovered that earth moves around the sun and moon behaves in the same fashion.
Leonardo also noticed the mechanism of the thunderstorm and declared that light travels faster than sound
Long before the industrial revolution, Leonardo was able to construct a very powerful crane capable of lifting huge stones during the construction of churches.
Leonardo much earlier realized the potential of water and wind energy and utilized them in many of his gadgets
Leonardo gave a theory explaining the formation of mountains stating that they were ancient coastline which gradually shifted upwards
Leonardo gave working designs for self-propelled car and helicopter. Although experts believed that it was not possible for Leonardo’s helicopter to take off utilizing just muscular energy but the design itself was perfect
Leonardo also designed modern canons precursor of tanks and pistols. See them working in Ubisoft’s game Assasins creed’s Ezio Auditore chapter
Leonardo was the founder of skydiving, bungee jumping, and gliding before him it was believed that only witches or gods can fly
Leonardo also was able to design deep-sea exploration device comparable with modern scuba diving kits
Leonardo was a brilliant mathematician and cryptologist. His fantasy for mathematics and cryptology could be well realized while reading Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code.
It’s not possible to explain all of Leonardo’s works on any single page, book or Library so confessing about my poor knowledge about that great man I would end this article now to come some another day to say something more about Leonardo, not Dicaprio…Davinci

Apple, Gravity and Two Adamant Men

Years before our time man often used to wonder about the reason for the motion of planets, change of seasons and reason for every day’s entry and exit of sun but trapped on a subtle planet poorly resourced only logical explanation with them was god planned it that way.
Years later a god loving young man descended on earth on God’s own birthday to challenge his role in the motion of astronomical bodies. Isaac Newton from quite early age started getting more close to nature than to people reason was separation from his mother at age of three and then after eight her coming back bringing him stepfather. Newton started drifting away from his family and closer to the universe. At eighteen he joined Trinity college at Cambridge. Seclusion and isolation germinated strange habits in that young man at Trinity. He started looking for techniques to transform ordinary metals into gold and silver. He was also obsessed with looking for codes and clues in religious texts as Bible for the presence of God but of course, both of his endeavors turned out to be fruitless.
In 1672 Newton was elected to royal society and in the same year he presented his first paper that was on nature of light while Newton believed light to be composed of particles his senior in royal society Robert Hooke believed it to be composed of waves so Hooke criticized Newton to an extent that Newton pledged not to come with another idea publicly ever again and as at that time Hooke was a reputed scientist whereas Newton was a novice nobody really missed him.
After some years Edmond Halley visited Newton and casually started discussing coming with any mathematical equation to explain gravity and Newton at the same instant gave the equation that was worked out by him a few years back but never presented due to previous humiliation. Edmond Halley quickly presented Newton’s law of gravitation to royal society. Although royal society acclaimed the work but stated their inability to print it because they were out of funds. Royal society had spent all the fund in printing numerous copies of a worthless book titled history of fish. Conditions were so worse that salaries of scientists as Edmond Haley were paid in form of copies of book History of fish.
Edmond Halley was not a man to accept no so he decided to get Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica published by himself
Edmond Haley while regarded and revered astronomer giving world sacks full of scientific knowledge is most commonly remembered as the man who gave Newton fame of eternity and world wonderful knowledge of gravity which came out escaping ego of two brilliant minds of a seventeenth century
Courtesy: cosmos a spacetime odyssey

The French Paradox

Paradox as a word means ‘A statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true.’
No passing year was able to solve an unsolvable mystery that French in spite of taking so high calories how managed to remain skinny, thin and healthy. According to a number of surveys worldwide it was always found a proportional relationship between coronary heart disease (CHD) and intake of saturated fatty acids and alcohol. Only French managed to remain somehow immune to this direct relationship. This observation was now being called as ‘The French Paradox’.
One of the major explanation that was proffered to explain French paradox was homogenous drinking habit of French. French were known for drinking culture which remains consistent throughout the week in comparison to other cultures where majority drinking happens during weekends. It was noticed that red wine when taken in the moderate amount whole week resulted in protection against coronary heart disease whereas if taken inconsistently led to high cholesterol disorders and hence coronary heart diseases. Researchers further suggested that red wine consisted of tannins and flavonoids which are known for their protective functions.
Further, it was observed that French dinner and lunch are rich in high fibers such as beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Meat and other high cholesterol diet were often accompanied with salads, stews, fruits, and soups. French was also known for taking the high amount of unsaturated fats as olive oil, olive and nuts. Nuts were known to have the high amount of healthy antioxidant Resveratrol known to act against arteries blockage.
It was also seen that French have high cultural values associated with eating habits. French were known to treat food as the medium for pleasure instead of the way for survival. They were known to eat home cooked food and take time while eating, don’t snack and drinking while meals and in limited quantity. These basic attitudes were surviving even today and were expected to be one of the most important reasons for The French Paradox.
Even after nearly thirty years when the concept of The French Paradox was introduced to the world it still remained the object of interest and research among scientists and philosophers worldwide. Many arguments were presented to explain the paradox but still much is required to explore till then keep envying.

Nice guys don’t finish last…

It’s quite an old adage ‘Nice Guys Finish Last’ and its reiterated multiple times to emphasize the value of selfishness in the organic world, but the truth is certainly not what it seems, at least not according to game theory.
Many of us may be aware of game theory’s famous prisoner’s dilemma and if you aren’t then it’s nothing but simply a game where two players are asked to move simultaneously. If they choose to cooperate both are rewarded; if they deflect both are punished; and in case if one chooses to deflect and another choose to cooperate then later one will be punished (here punishment is graver than mutually deflection scenario) while former will be rewarded (here award is more than in cooperation scenario) so overall there are four possible scenarios.
Now it’s quite logical to cooperate in every stance because both of you are expected to gain in that case but not for a rational man who assume that if another player will choose to cooperate then best strategy with him is to deflect and if another player chooses to deflect in that case too best strategy for him is to deflect so no matter what he will deflect in every case. Bad luck for him another player is similar rational being capable of thinking on the similar lines so his actions will be similar. As a result, both players will deflect every time.
What if the game will not stop and will continue for several rounds then players will deviate from their selfish behavior because they know that if they will choose to cheat now they will be punished later but how selfless an individual should be if the game goes on.
A study was conducted inviting different strategies for the same game from a large number of computer programmers; mathematicians and evolutionary biologists, 63 to be exact where every strategy was either good or bad. Good strategies ranged from ‘No matter whatever you will do, I will always cooperate’ to ‘Tit for Tat’ and bad strategies ranged from ‘No matter whatever you will do, I will always deflect’ to ‘Randomly deflecting after 9 moves and then resuming good behavior’. Strategies based on their win or loss were awarded points and it was seen after 200 rounds that good strategies were always performing better than bad strategies and ‘Tit for Tat’ no matter how simple it looked, was the clear winner.
Different species in nature are required to participate in interspecies and intraspecies cooperation so it’s always lucrative to utilize services from another and never pay back. In that case, losers or softies slowly become extinct due to continued backstabbing after those cheaters are left with no one to cheat because another group of individuals whose motto is ‘To reward a friend and to punish a cheater’ punish the cheaters for their acts and slowly cheaters also become extinct. ‘Tit for Tat’ is the best strategy that’s being allowed by natural selection.
It’s assumed that our intellectual capability and our mental facility are nor for doing complex algorithms or differential calculus it’s just to bestow us with a power to differentiate friend from cheaters.
A huge gratitude to John Nash who passed away recently on 23rd May 2015 whose work on game theory explained how being a nice guy or gal is not so bad after all. Wondering if this is what we can call ‘Karma’

Peace, Nation and Fire within…

‘दो न्याय अगर तो आधा दो, पर, इसमें भी यदि बाधा हो,
तो दे दो केवल पाँच ग्राम, रक्खो अपनी धरती तमाम।
हम वहीं खुशी से खायेंगे,परिजन पर असि न उठायेंगे!’
Nearly a decade ago I read these lines in my Hindi textbook, often wondering why Krishna, who was master diplomat went with this irrational proposal when he knew that Duryodhana wouldn’t change his stance. Perhaps I realized now, there are some with whom you can’t reason with. It took Krishna this elaborate shenanigan to make Pandavs understand. I wonder what it will take us Indians to understand this again. India is standing on the crumbling plate, surrounded by enemies within and around. The only way to survive it is to outfight all but often opposition comes from within. Whether it’s in form of criticizing army in Kashmir or incubating terrorist camps in UP & Bihar by the secular government or most recent siding of West Bengal’s CM with Rohingyas. In the process, she completely ignored all the protocols and federal structure. The whole thing was done merely for some votes & while giving it a communal angle. With recent evidence unearthed by Amnesty International about Rohingya’s involvement in mass murder of Hindus in Mynammar, it was the first time Amnesty brought it forward while NSA was shouting it from a while ago. Maybe the problem is we Indians never appreciate what we have, we love patriotism only in the movies and unable to take a stand even on a basic issue. I can understand parties with different ideologies winning and losing the political battle but I am unable to understand how in my country people are able to criticize the nation and side with enemies while enjoying VVIP and star status. A lot to learn from Israel and to end a few other lines from the same poet: 

‘क्षमा शोभती उस भुजंग को जिसके पास गरल हो
उसको क्या जो दंतहीन विषरहित, विनीत, सरल हो।’          

Standing tall… 

Back in the college I always envied the life of consultants and wanted to be one.  Not that I knew much about the consultancy just that everyone wanted that so I followed with a sheepish instinct. One thing in particular which enticed me a lot about the job was that you get to travel from city to city and hotel to hotel. 

Life took its turn and I haven’t become a consultant but strangely something strange came true. I was assigned the responsibility of Adobe campus team and hence my desired nomadic life started. Chennai, Bangalore,  Hyderabad,  Jaipur,  Chandigarh and much more I have seen in a month. The dream of living and working from five-star hotels transformed into a reality.

As my dreams were realized and the goal came to fruition directly or indirectly,  I realized a very different thing.To be frank for initial few trips I was so mesmerized by glamour and pomp of these starred hotels that I missed it but it then grabbed my attention. I never saw a hotel staff in these hotels sitting down. Whether it’s reception desk or coordinating a 10 hr long interview,  they never sit down!! 

What makes a hotel really special? Is it really rooms? Four trips down and that will fail in gathering one’s attention. Is it cuisine? Believe me, it’s good but nothing exceptional or Is it some add-ons as the gym, spa, rooftop pools? Nah, even some residential societies have got them.  The only thing that’s special about them is their service. The men and women who are standing for hours with a smile just to make one feel special and royal. They face everything from praises to criticism and anger with the same smile and that too while standing tall. Isn’t it something worth learning?

 

 

The Train…

I saw on the display board with red and green,  it’s coming on platform 1, how often that happens but of course it’s no ordinary train.

While my bags passed through the metal detector, I waited and saw the engine passing by, nothing unusual then, on a big board it was there.Kalka Shatabdi being displayed in huge fonts. Then I remembered something, something I had forgotten a long ago.

Years ago I along with my family used to wait at platform number 1 for hours awaiting connecting train to Bihar.  Travel was quite different and it used to take three days to reach the destination.  The journey in the sleeper coach of Indian railways was some kind of experience that’s rarely forgettable. Getting in while fighting hundreds and fighting for your reserved seats.  Bringing homemade puri and dry sabzi for sustenance and getting down at every major junction to refill the huge camper. While those all combined to play an important role in brewing my childhood but at that time I wished for something more.
Awaiting for hours relishing dosa from railway canteen, I used to observe. Shatabdi used to be there every time that I ever remember. I used to watch it with so much of aspirations and hope, remembering my gk session about the fastest train in India. I used to wonder about the people traveling in this one.I used to watch those people with all suave personalities, with their classic style and demeanor. It was a dream for me being inside that train with so comfortable chairs and people being seated without shouts and screams over those seats. I silently promised myself that someday in days to come I will find myself in those posh coaches.
Days to months and then to years, my life changed a lot during the course of time and I graduated from the sleeper class to the Airbus somehow missing a key step in the middle.
As I know saw my name on the door of executive chair car of Shatabdi,  I looked back envisioning fifteen years ago me,  looking at me and smiling with pride that I kept my promise.