Friday, April 27, 2007

Carnatic Conundrum

In which Ludwig starts giving voice to unspeakable Friday morning thoughts

If 'Mandolin' Srinivas played the mandolin, 'Flute' Mali the flute, 'Ghatam' Suresh the ghatam, 'Chitraveena' Ravikiran the chitraveeNa, 'Guitar' Prasanna the guitar, and 'Fiddle' Subbaiyer the fiddle (heh!), what, pray, did 'Tiger' Varadachari play?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bole Re Wagtailuva

In which Ludwig takes pictures and rambles on again about the rain in Begumpet

Summer has been beating down upon us with her usual diligence and fervour. However, the last three days have been unusual. The mornings have been pregnant with expectancy, the afternoons hot and muggy, the evenings windy and leaden-skied. Yes, against all odds, it has been raining (drizzling, anyway) in Begumpet. Wednesday and Thursday weren't very great productions, a lot of wind reeling drunkenly hither and thither, fatal hoardings, but very little by way of precipitation.

But today, finally, the weather decided that it had had enough of the thillana variety stunts and tried to settle down for a proper katcheri. A hush descended over all the land, there was no wind to speak of, the setting sun turned syrupy golden.

And then, quietly, it started to rain. As showers go, it wasn't much to speak of. Garden sprinkler variety output. But it did leave everything wet, and green, and squelchy, which is always good.

We whipped out the trusty Powershot S45 and started clicking like there's no tomorrow. The lights went out, and mercifully put an end to all the lingering air conditioners. Quite appropriately, the laptop launched into bole re papiihara (YouTube, you can find the full audio and lyrics here). Who are we to argue with Fate? We lined up a bunch of "rain" songs and let fly (1).

The kids from the building were playing galli cricket downstairs, and their easy Hyderabadi admonitions floated upstairs, "What re, vy your dooing li' that li' that?", "Notredee-notredee-notredeeeee! Rrrredeeee!!!" . Presently, it stopped drizzling, so we hauled ourself onto the roof to see what was to be seen.

Per usual, the cupolas of our local Kremlin, the Hyderabad Public School, gleamed creamily in the distance. The grotesque new foot overbridge butted its way into our picture, and someone seems to have spilt a palette of watercolours on the sky. After some time, this fellow came fluttering by and with what seemed like visible relief, perched on a handy construction rod.

It was quite tired, wet, and frazzled. It sat morosely there for a bit, incessantly wagging its tail and shaking out the droplets from its fuzzy breast. Eventually, it decided that enough was enough, and let out a few experimental trills. Having discovered to its apparent astonishment that all was in working order, it flitted off towards Hussain to catch the passing 1021 Dn Konark Express, itself all wet and gleaming liveried. It seems like it was this, but alack, we were too busy trying to photograph to notice whether the supercilium was supercilious enough and so on...

And then, the lighting of the lamps...

1. There are so many of them...Sadly, we've skipped (PARENTAL DISCRETION ADVISED) this classic and this one, which our formative years.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Beginner's Guide To Winning The Nobel In Physics

So we're sitting around, going from page to page, in that desultory late night fashion, wondering whether one ought to spend a couple of hours in coming up with a theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic that is both consistent and complete. Yes, yes, we're aware that those two blokes thought they'd cracked it, but actually hadn't . Hardly the sort of thing that would dissuade us, eh?

In any case, in the midst of these travels, we discovered Wolfgang Beirl, who had a link to The Statistical Mechanic, who in turn points to whole bunch of interesting physics blogs. Further, TSM leads us unto Gerard 't Hooft, Nobel Prize winning dude who has some very very useful suggestions on how one goes about becoming a physicist.
It so often happens that I receive mail - well-intended but totally useless - by amateur physicists who believe to have solved the world. They believe this, only because they understand totally nothing about the real way problems are solved in Modern Physics. If you really want to contribute to our theoretical understanding of physical laws - and it is an exciting experience if you succeed! - there are many things you need to know. First of all, be serious about it. All necessary science courses are taught at Universities, so, naturally, the first thing you should do is have yourself admitted at a University and absorb everything you can. But what if you are still young, at School, and before being admitted at a University, you have to endure the childish anecdotes that they call science there? What if you are older, and you are not at all looking forward to join those noisy crowds of young students?
The good professor goes on to list the different things you need to master to be good at physics. Languages, for example.
English is a prerequisite. If you haven't mastered it yet, learn it. You must be able to read, write, speak and understand English, but you don't have to be perfect here. The lousy English used in this text is mine. That's enough. All publications are in English. Note the importance of being able to write in English. Sooner or later you will wish to publish your results. People must be able to read and understand your stuff.
The man is very funny, we're thinking. He goes on to list other subjects: primary mathematics, classical mathematics, optics, statistical mechanics, electronics, quantum mechanics and so on. Read it all yourself. And remember, if you ever get that telegram from Stockholm, your journey started at the choultry.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Plugs for Local Events

Which are more plugs for local events



> hi!
> evam is in Hyderabad on the 14th of April 2007
> Details are as follows:
> orange house
> presents..
> HAMLET by evam
> -the original spoof!-
> on saturday,14th April, 7 15 pm
> at Shilpakalavedika, Madhapur,Hyderabad
> for details call :9885054191, 9885052368
> so tell ur friends the Evam Team performing their very famous show. :-)

Moving Images

Apparently, they're showing "An Inconvenient Truth" again this Sunday (8th April 2007) evening at the Prasad preview theatre place (near L.V.Prasad Eye Hospital, Banjara Hills). Timings are a mystery. Anyone else know anything about it?

UPDATE: No screening of "An Inconvenient Truth" this Sunday. Watch this space.