Sunday, January 30, 2011

Post 4, An obvious observation

As another week comes to an end, I find myself thumbing away at the keypad of my blackberry, late in the night once again.

The other night, I was thinking how my blog seems to be more of an escape rather than the real me. My daily life deals with things such as dealing with my father's cancer, handling a million minor tasks at home and not finding the time to take care of a zillion more, my work and so on. Somehow, I seem to get away from all that when I begin my writing. Here, I can dwell on Quality, the Universe and whatever else I choose to.

So my blog is a lot about what I think and how I feel about things. It is however not quintessentially me or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it does not really represent me as a whole. More often than not, my posts are far removed from my current situation in life.

But that would make this blog a diary - something that I never intended this to be in the first place. So, it being disconnected from my daily life should not be of any concern.

Interestingly enough, while I understand this of my own blog, in retrospect I realize that I have sometimes ignored this when reading other blogs. Extremely naïve of me one may say... and quite obvious one may condescend. But that is how it is (with me) often.

I wonder whether this is a common mistake that a lot of readers make or I am more of an exception. I also can't help wondering whether there are blogs out there that quite accurately paint a picture of the author as a whole without just opening a small window to just some of their facets.


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Monday, January 24, 2011

Post 3: The Universe

I don't know why I always do things in the last minute - but here I am again writing a post in the wee hours of the morning on the last day of the week to meet my self imposed deadline. On the brighter side, given my hectic and erratic schedule, I am glad that so far, I have managed to maintain this commitment to myself.

Well, getting down to the post itself, have you ever thought about the universe? How big is it anyway? Does it have an end? If so, what lies beyond it?

I still remember the feeling I had that morning in class 3 when I bumped into these questions for the first time. If you've ever tried riding the superman at six flags on a full stomach, you should know.

These profound questions were introduced by an innocuous diagram on the right hand side of the page in black and white that had an Alfred Neuman look alike (coincidental no doubt) peering over an edge of some sort and asking: "If this is the end of the universe, what lies outside?".

So what are the options really? There is a lot of literature out there but frankly, since there is no way of knowing at least in this life time which of these (if any) are correct, my theories are as good as any.

The simplest is that the universe has no end. Which is sort of difficult to reconcile with the big bang theory - which you would tend to believe given that there is plenty of evidence for it - such as the cosmic background radiation, evidence of an ever expanding universe and such. Though you may be inclined to wait another couple of millenia for an alternative theory that throws some light on dark matter, dark energy, why the expansion appears to be accelerating and so on.

The other option is that our universe - and perhaps a zillion other like it are contained within a bigger universe... Which in turn is contained in another in another in another ad infinitum. And what created it? Let us not even get there ...

The fact that neither makes much sense is something you will eventually reconcile with once you realize that no matter how long we survive as a race and how advanced our technology gets, we may never really be able to answer these simple questions.

Why try to answer these questions at all you may well ask. And really, there is no reason why you should or shouldn't just as there is no apparent reason why this universe should exist or shouldn't ...

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Post 2, Week 2 - The Night Sky

Having lived in rather remote places for most of my childhood, I have always loved watching the night sky. In the evenings, my parents would settle down on the veranda for a cup of tea and my brother and I would continue playing till it got too dark. Then we would sit on the stairs and invariably my gaze would turn to the stars above.

I remember one evening when we were walking over to the EACs house for a dinner party. I had the torch in my hands and much to my parents disapproval, I insisted on flashing it at the sky every now and then. I thought, if everyone is there on those stars looking down at us they could see the flashes. Then again, I thought if earth looks as bright from out there as those stars do from here, then this must be a futile exercise. But then again, I reasoned, since it is night here, this side cannot be shining. So, if anyone happens to be looking, they might still see the flashes. Naïve.

Growing up at Shillong, when I was in class 1, I remember almost every other evening, we'd go over to my Mama's house. On our way back, I'd be skipping and hopping down the steep road with mom holding on to my hand to keep me from stumbling as I tried to spot the little bear between the swaying pines.

High school brought me to Delhi. A landscape so different from the hills and pines I was so used to that I might as well have gone to Mars. Between voracious reading, rehearsing for the school play, some reluctant studying, bunking out to watch movies, falling in and out of love and a million other things, I still found the time to look up to the skies. I missed the zillion stars that light up the skies over Shillong and the other small hill towns but realized that this made it much easier to pick out Orion, the big dipper and most of the other constellations. I watched them move with the seasons. I noted where they stood in the middle of the dusty summer and where they shone as I felt the first dew drops of september on the grass under my feet.

Even to this day, almost invariably, I spend some time out on the balcony before I sleep, watching the stars. For the last fortnight or so, the skies over bangalore have been clear enough for me to clearly see the little bear again. It reminds me of Shillong, the swaying pines and my Nani.

Watching the night sky fills me with a peace that I find hard to explain. As I look up to the stars, I feel a connection with all my ancestors and with all future generations to come. I don't know how many of them looked up at the stars but these were there then too... And will be there long after I am dead and gone. I may not have gone to Egypt but when I see the belt of the Orion, I know that the architects of the great pyramids must have looked at them too.

Standing on my balcony, sheltered, I bask in the star light from thousands of years ago from distances so great that I cannot even begin to comprehend them. I am filled with wonder at the universe. I am filled with joy at having been given this opportunity to experience this ... and humbled ... so truly humbled by it.

Try it some time. Take some time out to just stand and stare at the heavens.
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Friday, January 07, 2011

Post 1, Week 1 - The resolution

Here we are, in the New Year and in the blink of an eye, we are almost at the end of the first week as well.

My blog has been languishing for quite a while now and it is time perhaps to get it up and running again. Previous attempts to resuscitate have failed over the years, leading me to adopt a somewhat cautious approach this time:
The plan is to ensure that I publish at least one post every week.

Who am I kidding?

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