Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Diaries

Einstein had precisely defined relativity: when you are sitting with a charming lady, hours seem like a minute. And when you are sitting on a hot stove, a minute seems like hours. This is exactly what I feel during the lectures. I feel I’m in an oven, and I impatiently glance at my watch to know when the eternal hour will pass. And here I am in my room. I just watched this movie (Motorcycle Diaries) and didn’t know when it was time for dinner. The movie is captivating! It’s a biographical of Che Guevera, the famous Argentine doctor who became the icon of revolution in South America. The movie is not so much about the life he led as a revolutionary. Rather it is about the road that led him there, and is based on the diary he kept during his journey through South America with a friend on a motorcycle (he called his notes ‘the motorcycle diaries’).

The movie has brilliantly portrayed the life of Che. But more importantly, it is beautiful even as a stand alone. I had watched a part of it with my mum (had to leave half way against my will as I was getting late for my train). My mum didn’t know who Che was. Nor did she know Spanish (we had to rely on subtitles), yet she appreciated it. This is a proof enough of how impressive the movie was! Be it the frozen roads through which they dragged their broken down Norton, or the fling Che had with the mechanic’s wife; the poverty of the common folks and the coolness with which the rich pick out a handful of miners out of hundreds of aspirants; Che’s asthma attacks and their treks through the Andes; or their conduct at the missionary where they cured the lepers – every incident is an art piece. It was a pleasant change from a Hollywood thrash. Then again, I have taken to liking foreign movies. Of course art knows no language. Of course I rely on subtitles.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The next village

My grandfather used to say: “life is astoundingly short. To me, looking back over it, life seems so foreshortened that I scarcely understand, for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next village without being afraid that – not to mention the accidents – even the span of a normal happy life may fall far short of the time needed for such a journey.”

More headbanging

This was even better. Booze and rock all night long. Literally. There were college bands competing in the last round of ‘the rockers’, but they were nothing less than any pro. I forgot all my pain when they started playing numbers by iron maiden and ac-dc, and of course metallica. And what a place I chose for myself to stand – beside the speakers! I was leaning on them! And I could feel the music – the beats and the bass. It was an unbelievable experience. The single best part of the cultural/tech fest that we had over the last three days. And I am looking forward to more concerts next year, but before that I hope to make it to the ‘rendezvous’ – the IIT Delhi cultural festival. I LOVE ROCK!

Saturday, February 17, 2007


My neck is broken. So are my arms and legs. My voice is gone. My eardrums are damaged. I’m totally dehydrated and sweating like a pig in this cold. I have no energy left in me…still I never felt more alive thus far in my college! This is what Parikrama can do to a person who worships rock. I had a ball of a time screaming, jumping, dancing and head-banging right in front of the speakers which were blasting away classics like purple haze, another brick in the wall, comfortably numb, highway to hell…it was awesome! And tomorrow there’s another band playing…

Monday, February 12, 2007

String Theory

[this is what I do when i get bored waiting for a train at a railway station]

The string theory was proposed in an attempt to unite all the laws of the universe to give ‘the theory of everything’. It simply states that the visible matter is nothing but the energy produced by the vibrations of ‘strings’, which are very much like that of a violin, or a guitar, but are very small (of the order of 10-33 cm or Planck length). If the atom were the size of the solar system, strings would be the size of an atom. Just as vibrations at different frequencies produce different notes in a guitar, vibrations of different strings give different matter.

Two main kinds of strings were theorized – open and looped. Both satisfied the mathematical equations. So far so good, but then the physicists encountered a problem. They came up with five different variations of the theory. This was a major problem – how can different theories explain the same universe? And if there are five, there can be more.

Then Edward Witten, the scientist/physicist from the institute of advanced science, came along and proposed that these theories are just images of a single theory (people believed him because he is said to have the highest IQ of all living humans). He went on to propose his own version of the theory called M-theory. According to this, the strings are not one dimensional, but three dimensional, and can be stretched like a membrane (simply called ‘branes’), few of them vast enough to cover the entire universe!

He also said that all the strings are open looped and are attached to this mega brane. But gravitons (the particles responsible for gravity) are closed looped and can roam around freely. They can also leave our universe and enter another and vice-versa.

If the above theory is true, then it may be able to explain the phenomenon of ‘Dark Matter’, which has puzzled the physicists for a while now. May be the extra gravitational force that the astronomers are detecting is not being exerted by some dark matter from our universe, but from the gravitons that escaped from a neighbouring universe and entered ours! In that case, there would be no need to look for dark matter, but other universes.

Scientists at CERN are conducting experiments to detect the gravitons that escape our universe in the particle accelerator. They crash two atoms at very high speed and detect new particles produced. If gravitons do have aforesaid property, then it will show it by its absence, i.e., experiments won’t be able to detect its presence.

Then three things will happen – it will be the first experimental proof of the M-theory; dark matter puzzle will be solved; and presence of multiverses will be confirmed. We live in interesting times indeed.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Trees

For we are like tree trunks in the snow. In appearance they lie sleekly and a light push should be enough to set them rolling. No, it can’t be done, for they are firmly wedded to the ground. But see, even that is only appearance.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I hate my college. I hate the shallowness that prevails here, all the chatter about fraternity, love, respect, honour, dignity. I hate the seniors the most, who don’t know how to treat a human being, let alone knowing the meaning of these words. They are still ragging us (understatement) – and it’s been six months since we’ve joined the college. Name me a college in India where this happens. You know (ruch, dax, richa di, or whoever is reading this post) you are better off than I am. And dax thank your stars that you didn’t qualify in jee and land up in this asylum, instead you got into Miranda. Studies ain’t that great here. In any case, what they teach in an engineering college in India is a junk (profs claim that). So what really matter are the experiences you earn, opportunities you make use of, friends you make and people you interact with. And if these be the stuff one goes to college for, then all of you are at an advantage. Remember the names of your batchmates and seniors. Report to the senior hostels at their whim. Attend all the junk events that take place everyday (almost) Why? Because that is what makes ISM alumni association so strong; it grooms your personality. To hell with that! I was never made to memorise the names of the Doscos (I don’t think anyone was). Is it just remembering a few thousand names that makes one old boy society strong and the other weak? But for a handful of friends, I’d sure have considered it a hell. But I didn’t know these people before I came here. So it really wouldn’t have mattered had I gone somewhere else. I know one thing for sure – I wouldn’t send my son here, and I wouldn’t have anything to do with this godforsaken place once I graduate.

Ps: I just wanted to cool down a bit. I’m not depressed. I’m not on drugs. I’m angry, thats all.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I had a very interesting weekend. And I don’t know where to start. Should I begin with our train journey to kolkata in which we had to bribe the TT to get a berth? Or the onward journey to khadagpur in a local train, which the ladies of our group made miserable by their constant chatter? (thank god I’m not dating anyone of them). But I think the best start would be to begin at the moment I reached khadagpur – I fell in love with the town! It’s green, clean, and quite with almost no human activity. And IIT KGP (that’s what IIT khadagpur is called) reflected that quality (it’s huge), except it was buzzing with students from all over the country and abroad who had come there to take part in the ongoing tech fest organized by them.

Our team had made a robot which broke after qualifying the prelims. We were of course mighty upset, but I for one was cheered up by the lecture I attended by a Nobel laureate Kevin Warwick. He gave a talk on cyborgs. It was both enjoyable (somehow these physicists have a good sense of humour) and informative. They also distributed a DVD free of cost. It was of a soon to be aired Discovery Channel documentary on future living. Then we attended a musical show performed by some American band. It was a disaster. I’d rather listen to Parikrama.

Anyway, since we had nothing better to do, and the accommodation was hard to get, we decided to go to kolkata and spend the night there. So we did – in a dingy three bed hotel room which had ancient fittings (the hotel itself was located on the 4th floor of a shady looking building). Someone had suggested we go there. He even booked the place for us.

The next day we went to ‘aquatica’. For those who don’t know cal, it’s a water park. And we did what you do in such a park – had fun! We bathed in various slides and wave pools for almost four hours and then we decided we had had enough of that to last a year. So we went back to the station. But the earliest train would not leave before until 5 hours. So I decided to kill the time in Park Street, where I had awesome beef steak and a much needed draught of beer. That was the last thing I did in cal before boarding the train back to Dhanbad. And the return journey was no less interesting. We traveled in a general compartment where there was literally no place to stand straight! I kept my sanity only because I had my music plugged to my ears. I actually managed to sway my body to the beats even though my lower half was numb with pain (it’s a 5 hour journey and the train was an hour late). The other passengers could not believe I could be so cheerful - they were all fighting over place to sit/stand. Thus I (and my friends) journeyed to Dhanbad. we reached there at 2 in the morning and to our luck found a dhaba there. And we hogged like starved pigs on butter chicken and tandoori roti before going back to college and collapsing on our respective bed.

What an experience!