Books and books!!

The book which I am reading now is “The Dancing Wu Li Masters” by Gary Zukav., but I have not completed it. Its an interesting book regarding physics. I went to library today, as I had reserved some days back for a book, and I received a notification, that that book was available.. Now this book is “The Elegant Universe” by Brian Greene. Its a book about Superstring theory.. A theory claimed as TOE(Theory of Everything),which was the quest of Sir Albert Einstien, till his death. I am looking forward to read this book. Since this book is always out on circulation, I had to reserve it at the library.. so I got that today. Well, another book was strongly recommended to me.. “The Solitaire Mystery” by Jostein Gaarder. I couldnt remember the book’s name or Author’s name, but I found out the book using “The sophies world” as reference. I havent read Sophies World yet. It was recommended to me by Praveen, a long time back.. (geez.. I didnt get the book.. because I forgot!!!)

I have not been that avid reader from childhood. During childhood, we used to read a lot of comics. In Kerala, you had many malayalam publications for childeren.Phantom(The Ghost Who Walks) The ones we used to avidly read were, Balarama, Poompaatta and Balamangalam. I still remember Kapeesh, bandila, Doo doo, chamataka, Kaloolo, Mayavi, kuttoosan, Dakini, Luttappi, Dinkan, Shikari Shambhoo, Shuppandi etc etc. Then there was always the Amar chitra Katha. Most of the Indian mythology, which I picked up has been from my grandmom and Amar Chitra Katha. We had a huge collection of those books, which now seems to have disappeared. Even now, I sneak into Balarama or Poompaata, whenever I get a chance. Later, I was reading Indrajal Comics, and it was really interesting with Mandrake, Lothar, Hojo, Phantom(The Ghost Who Walks), Diana, with the pigmy bandar people.

Santosh(My friend), used to treasure books. I remember having participated in a mythological quiz along with Santosh. Needless to say he won, I got the second prize. As prize, I got Mali Bharatham.. Story of Mahabharatha retold by a famous malayalam author, Mali, who writes for childern. I remember having read that book again just two year back. Another book that I read was “Physics can be Fun” by Yakov Perelman. It was from the “Treasure Trunk” of Santosh. Santosh had a Metal Trunk box, where he used to keep all his favourite books.

At Perumbavoor(native town), we had a municipal library and Myself was a member during my school days. I used to borrow books from there. The one book that I remember distinctively is “Ninamaninja Kaalppaadukal”(blood stained steps), where a story of a soldier is told. After coming to Bombay, I became the “I” that I am now, thanks to some special persons. I was introduced to “Illusions- Adventures of a reluctant messiah” by Richard Bach, and that was the beginning. Soon it lead to books by the same author., Jonathan livingstone Seagull, The Bridge accross forever, One and Running from safety. Then I read books By Lobsang Rampa, the Third eye, You-Forever etc.. I moved into Indian philosophy, Yoga, Read a bit of Vivekananda, Osho “Bhagwan” Rajneesh, Paramahamsa Yogananda, etc etc. Then there was “Siddhartha” by Hermen Hesse., “Tao of Physics” by Frijtof Capra, Conversations with God, Seven spiritual laws of success, creative visualization, some books by Tony Buzan and the new age books and the last book that I completely read was “The Fountainhead” and “The Anthem” by Ayn Rand.

How it helped me?? I used to wonder at the world long time back.. Now the experience is deeper..

The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

No.. I didnt see it fully.. But It was really wonderful, that an organisation has got plants from all over the world and created atmosphere for them, all in one place. Kew gardens, as the Royal Botanical Garden, is popularly known is spread in around 300 acres of land, with a lot of green houses with controlled weather and you will find interesting species of plants there..

We took the tour by foot and since we had little time only (poonam had to catch the train back to Liverpool), we only visited some places.. but it was indeed nice. Well honestly, I was not overwhelmed., but I could imagine, how my amma and appa, and x will like this place..(in Algebra.. you denote a number, about which you dont know, or of which you are not sure by giving an “x”.. and by the way.. I am not a math expert).

Since the spring is yet to come, the rose bushes were still not having any leaves and tulips were still sprouting. I can imagine, how wonderful it will be here when spring and summer comes.. and since its not far away from where I stay, I will be dropping in for another visit there soon.

We couldnt visit the “Carnivorus Plants” section due to time limits.. had to rush back, dropped Poonam to Euston Station, and came back.. Yet another weekend gone…(life goes pretty fast.. dosent it..?!!)

A Sunday.. a lot of sleep, chat and Kew Gardens!!

Sunday morning, got up really late.., and even before brushing, got on to the net.. Havent had a voice chat yet with maama back in Kerala. And more over Amma was supposed to come in today to mama’s place. No one was online.. called up maama and asked him to come online. He told that amma was supposed to come there today, but hasnt come yet(already 3.00 pm??!!). Anyway I was having a voice chat with mama, Prema and maami, when AMMA came… Amma I miss you.. The only problem with the voice chat was that, My replies were reaching them after a long gap.. but hey. it cost me nothing to hear them. I enjoyed it.. I logged off nearly after an hour. and off to shower and getting ready.

Poonam, Zubin’s friend, had come down from Pune, to London(now Liverpool) for some training here. Last weekend she spent the weekend with us.. and for her it was a lovely weekend, as she decided to come down this weekend also. Today we were going to Kew Gardens.

and the trees told me..

I spoke to the clouds today,
and I spoke to the wind.,
Indeed I spoke to the trees by the road,
and They taught me a lesson.

I was upset., for I had to wait,
There was nothing wrong in it,
just that I felt, that I was back,
back to the time,when I had no option,
but to wait!

I was driving,
driving with the windows down,
the wind came gushing in,
and asked me coldly..
are you sad?!!

Yes, I said, I’m sad.,
though there was no reason to be.,
At the horizon,
clouds smiled at me,
and I stared at them jealously.

Leave me alone,
I said to wind.,
for you remind me that,
still I’ve got to wait.

I shut him out.,
and looked at the clouds,
They seemed happy,
beyond any doubt.

I asked them.,
What makes you so happy.,
though there seems,
no reason to be.!

Clouds smiled and replied,
We trust and we dont worry,
for the winds takes us,
where we want to be.

Jealous I was,
with those clouds,
when can I learn to trust,
so complete..

I ignored them,
then I saw,
the stark naked trees,
by the side of the road.

They were calm,
with no leaves on them,
were they dying,
of the cold?!

I let wind in again,
asked him the question,
Wind laughed at me.,
and told me the secret.

Trees were waiting,
for the spring to come,
then they will be clothed,
and will feel the warmth,
but they had to wait,
till the spring had come.

I smiled at them,
They smiled back.,
They knew me.,
and I too knew them.

While I was driving back,
the coulds were smiling,
the wind was humming,
and the trees told me,
the wait is worth it.

Kerala!! Gods Own Land!!

This Sunday, I had been to the airport to pickup Sunita’s Mother, who had come from Bombay and I smuggled out enough time to watch a Malayalam movie(Mayilppeelikkavu) at her house., before I returned. Though the movie was not that great, it defenitely was much better than the typical Bollywood Masala. Maybe I am biased, but I still have an attachment to kerala and its culture, where I was born and brought up.

backwatersKerala is one of the states in south India, which has got its own intricate tales, hid beneath the wonderful natural beauty of the place. Myth say that, Parasurama, after killing 21 generations of Kings(Warrior Caste), donated all his land, he had thus acquired. But after dontating all the land, he had nothing to give the priests who assisted him in doing this donation. He asked the Ocean god, Varuna, to recede and give him some land, which after a tussle, Varuna agreed, and the land thus got was donated to the priests., which is now known as kerala.

A study of Kerala history leads us to the fact that, kerala has a very long history, and its assumed that, King Solomons(1000 BC) ships used to get merchandise from Kerala. Arab and Chinese influence on Kerala cannot be missed by a student of history. Geographically Kerala had been protected from hostilities or influences from other parts of the Indian mainland, since it was cut off by mountain range on the east and ocean on the west. St.Thomas(one of the twelve direct disciples of Jesus Christ) had reached Kerala during 1st Century AD, and needless to say, Converted many of the brahmins to Christianity.. Christianity is one of the oldest religions of Kerala, so is Islam, which came through Arab Traders. Jews also arrived in Kerala during around the time of 500 BC, and had settled there.

KathakaliKerala’s culture seems to be influenced more by the aryan civilisation, since Sanskrit has played a major role in the evolution of Malayalam, the language of Kerala. The Kerala Brahmins(Namboothiris) has played a major role in the history of Kerala. Though it might have to be admitted that they have given a lot of twist to the history and culture of kerala, their contribution to the evolution of Kerala cannot be under emphasised. The Dance Drama art form of Kerala – Kathakali – has its origin from Ramanattam(the Dance of Rama) and Krishnanattam(the Dance of Krishna), which used to be a temple dance art. Kathakali, which literally means play of a story, is an interesting art form, where traditional mythological stories were enacted using the help of Mudras(hand symbols). The costumes play an important role in Kathakali.. Paccha(green) represents good people, Katthi(knife) and Kari(charcol) represents bad people and minukku(nice) for females and brahmins. I too had participated in Kathakali during my childhood.. The story was Santhana gopalam, where The warrior Arjun tries to save 12th child of a brahmin couple, but fails miserably, when Krishna appears on the scene telling him the reality of creation, and bringing all the 12 children back to life.. Well, I acted the part of one of the children. It took me quite some time to figure out what was going on, but when I was dressed up, I knew I had a role to play, and I did enjoy my brief stint as a “Kathakali” artist!!!!


Today is Shivaratri, an important day in Hindu Calender. Its interesting to note that, there has never been a religion called Hinduism, no code to specify that you are a Hindu or no paritcular God that you should worship.

Shiva one of the god in the trinity concept of Hinduism. Images of Shiva seems to have been found from the Excavations at Mohenjedaro and Harappa. But the symbolism, by which Shiva is worshipped, hardly reveals the metaphysical significance that the image represents.

Shiva as per mythological stories, has his abode as Mount Kailas,(in present day China), where he resides with his consort, Shakti(Parvati). Shiva is pure consciousness and Shakti is energy. As per the myth, Shakti emerges from shiva and merges back into him. Shiva is pure awareness, beyond knowledge, known and knower. This is a real hard concept to understand. In simple terms, for the world to exist, there has to be something to be experienced, and there has to be an experiencer and then there is the experience. Sorry if I am sounding a bit hard here. But this is the easiest it can get. Shiva lies beyond all these.. He is none of these., but without him nothing can be also.

This symbolism will be best understood by a particle physicist in the current world, as he can see the dance of creation going around him., since he can understand him too.

Coming back to India, where today Shivaratri is celeberated by people, Its indeed a sad picture to see today that we are losing a heritage., a heritage of intellectuls, thinkers, mystics, philosophers, scientists(yes.. scientists.. dont forget India brought about the concept of 0(zero))., and alas we are turning into a land of blind followers, beleivers, and “religious” people.

No regrets., May the dance of Shiva continue…

The happiness of Gravity.

I had studied Physics during my Pre-University years, and I had scored some marks also in the subject. But it was later, when I had left all my contacts with the subject physics, that I got enchanted with this discipline. People tend to keep away from physics, but physics as a philosophy is pure enchantment, and nothing but pure joy.

I understood the philosophy of the Principle of Gravitational force recently only. I had studied the Newtons theory of Gravitational force during the days in college., but I understood what gravity was recently only. Had a question been asked, whether a stone or a feather dropped from the same height, will hit the ground first, I would’ve answered, instantly that, the stone will be the first to hit the ground. I am sure most of the people will answer the same. Well, I too agree, if the stone and feather was thrown from top of a building near you., that stone will hit the ground first. But., but if you do the same experiment on the moon, the amazing result is that, both the stone and the feather will hit ground at the same time. Needless to say, the experiment was conducted by the first men on the moon, and the results confirmed to Newtons Gravitational theory, which predicted that both will land at the same time!!!!!

Wonder why??!! Lets try to analyse the thoughts of Sir Issac Newton. Lets not waste time discussing whether the apple fell on Newtons head or near him., but we know that it did give newton impetus to think about the principle behind the fall. The gravitational thoery, which Newton brought about, mostly was based on the moon and its movement around earth. Let us common people, look at it this way. Any object has got a field of attraction. This field gets weaker as the distance from the object increases. Now since every object attracts, using apple as our example, we say that Apple attracts Earth, as Earth attracts the Apple. But since the mass of Earth is much much greater than the apple, the attraction is fatal for apple which falls towards earth. Now lets imagine apple is in outerspace, beyond our atmosphere, still earth attracts it and apple also attracts earth.. but since the distance between both has increased, the attraction is weak. but given time, eventually, this attraction moves the lighter object towards the heavier object and the apple will eventually fall towards earth. So you may ask, will moon fall into earth eventually.. yes.. but dont worry, when it will happen, humans might have colonised other solar systems., ie it will take a long time for that to happen.

Now lets come back to the experiment of the stone and the feather.. Why does both fall together at the surface of the moon, when dropped from same height. you will say, that the stone has got more mass and hence it should reach the surface first and then the feather should reach the ground. Hmm.. here comes the shift in thinking. Defenitely the gravitational force applied on the stone is greater than the gravitational force on the feather. But… understand this, more force is required for the stone to move towards the ground at the same rate as the feather and hence both fall at the same rate. Didnt get the point.. Think about it. This is the wonder of physics.

Didnt get it yet… I will illustrate with an example. say you have got a 20 kilo stone on the ground, and a feather, both which you have to lift up simultaneously, You will have to apply heavy force on the stone, than on the feather to lift it up, where as you need apply only a little force to lift the feather up. Now think about the same with gravitational force.. the same principle applies there.. Even if the gravitational force is more on the stone, its required to move the stone at the same rate as which the feather is attracted. If you understand this.. you will be wonder at the marvel that is physics.

Issac Newton made this discovery, but we all need to discover it again, to understand the Wonder of the nature, the principle of Gravity.