Sunday, October 07, 2012

Bias

The human mind cannot  be unbiased in the way academicians think it can be.
But it can be free in a way academicians almost never think about.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Note from Athens

i don't like identity 
i don't like homogenity


Friday, October 05, 2012

Done!

I killed everybody and holed myself in to finish my masters: write my thesis, study for that one tough exam, give the talk and leave! So it's done, and I'm down to less than a month in Europe. 20 days travelling with mom through Munster, Salzburg, Athens, Paros, Santorini, Delphi, Paris, and Gran Canaria. Then last 10 days in NL, with a brief weekend in Berlin.

Things that confused me this week:
> Science is based on the premise that the universe is random and there is no coincidence. And yet, the way we search for causes suggests that there is a reason for everything. Does this mean that nothing is random, or  is there a constant called random cause

> The multiverse view is more mainstream than not in the quantum physicist's mind. It is interesting that the "bubble" theory is the same as that proposed in the Vedic physics book I am reading, published before the bubble theory.

> We reached Athens yesterday. The non-touristy parts are shockingly like Mumbai. What is wrong with cities. The population of Greece is 10 million, 4.5 of which live in Athens. What is wrong with cities? I'm excited about finding a good book on Greek cosmogony. In Greece neh means yes :)

> Is it a coincidence that the word revolution is about something coming full circle. Is this gonna end in a full circle: wealth increases > people consume beyond need > crisis (one revolution?)

I write some long stories soon. I miss it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tough to accept?

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. … We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?” 
– George Orwell, “1984″

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hey

It's the last leg
nostalgia sets in
I cross the line between
hate and love

I sat on it long enough

I make a list
of things I will miss
I make peace
with a country
I say goodbye to
disillusionment

I am stronger
I realise the difference between
individualism
and independence

I realise:
everyone is good
everyone is trying
everyone is ignorant
everyone is attached
everyone is conscious
everyone desires

Essentially the same
conceptually different

I will miss:
wind
canals
bikes
birds
trees
seasons
especially spring
cold winter air
some silence

Love surprises me:
it begins at
the end

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Solar System Scale

My first educational product design.
Thank you Pedro, Robert and UNAWE.
3D printing next week!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

"odds and evens"

you're even, i'm odd

i don't like to live alone
she's gone to berlin
she'll probably meet lucy

you're odd, i'm even
i don't have to wonder
what's taking you so long

you're cautious
it keeps away
the unstable

you're even, i'm odd
an even number of times

one day you come to me
and live in my arms

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pretty much blind and deaf


And it´s worth mentioning that both the axes tend to infinity :)
via http://abstrusegoose.com

Den Haag HS, 10:45 pm

Also on Cowbird

My train pulls into the station. I stand up and walk to the door. A guy crosses me. Head down. The train stops. Train door's locked. Cops outside each door. Holding guns. I watch four black guys who i smiled at earlier start to walk away from the entrance. One among them is a girl. With short hair. She didn't smile back.

I move to the next compartment to see if something was wrong with the door. The rest of the people seem to know or not care about this protocol. They aren't restless. I try to make eye contact so I can ask. Nothing. I can see what's going on at the previous door through the mid-glass.

Cops start to cross me. They've come in through the front. I put the pieces together. This is a movie story-line. None of the cops are black.

The lady cop looks nervous. Two special plainclothes policemen come rushing through, announcing themselves. They return a few minutes later with the most mild looking of the four guys. He is handcuffed but not struggling. He doesn't look defeated either.

It has been 15 slow minutes. I ask the Dutch suit next to me if he knows what's next. He ignores me. He is with a co-suit. His eye is twitching. I wait. I feel bad about being ignored. It crosses my mind that it's because I am brown.

I walk to the door and start to peer out. The cops have left my door. A few stand around the previous door. The platform is bare. Has been cordoned off. About 20 more cops on the platform. All with guns. A group of girls start to laugh inside the train. It distracts me.

This seems serious. I consider dying for a few brief seconds.

I'm not ready yet.

There is commotion in the next compartment. They have the boisterous guy. He was holding a cigarette in his mouth before. Unlit. He is screaming something in Dutch. But not struggling to be free. He is very angry. They ask him to quiet down. His friend with long braids also stands handcuffed.

The train door opens. I walk slowly down the stairs. There is a cop car outside my narrow exit. The two Dutch suits lead. They bend under the plastic red and white tape like barrier. I follow. I smile at the two cops standing there. They look ready.

Some Indonesians stop me to ask me what's going on. I explain what I know. They tell me about the helicopters hovering. This was planned to every detail.

I see them put the braid guy in the cop car outside my exit. And the boisterous one in a bigger van. I wait to see if they have the girl. They don't. I smile.

I cycle home.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Past or Future

We keep thinking of eternity in the future. We need to start thinking about eternity in the past as well. It's only fair to time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Symmetry breaking happens when a group of particles that once had no preferred alignment or direction suddenly does, creating a collective behavior.
~WIRED, Theory explains weirdness 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Indian Government Strikes Again

Today I read "G20 summit: India announces $10 billion for debt-wracked Eurozone"
Have these guys been to Europe and have they been beyond their city in India?
Is this really a time to gain leverage? Because of China?

Tell them this:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur

...stopover on the way home from Timor-Leste (over 3 days of travelling because of strange connections :))

Friday, June 15, 2012

“Because I’ll Never Swim in Every Ocean”

Want is ten thousand blue feathers falling
all around me, and me unable to stomach
that I might catch five but never ten thousand.
So I drop my hands to my sides and wait
to be buried. I open a book and the words
spring and taunt. Flashes—motel, lapidary,
piranha—of every story, every poem I’ll never
know well enough to conjure in sleep.
What’s the point of words if I can’t
own them all? I toss book after book
into my imaginary trashcan fire.
Or I think I’ll learn piano. At the first lesson,
we’re clapping whole and half notes
and this is childish, I’m better than this.
I’d like to leave playing Ravel. I’d like
to give a concerto on Saturday. So I quit.
I have standards. Then on Saturday,
I have a beer, watch a telethon. Or
we watch a documentary on Antarctica.
The interviewees are from Belarus, Lima, Berlin.
Everyone speaks English. Everyone names
a philosopher, an ethos. One man carries a raft
on his back at all times. I went to Nebraska once
and swore it was a great adventure. It was.
I think of how I’ll never go to Antarctica,
mainly because I don’t much want to. But
I should want to. I should be the girl
with a raft on her back. When I think
of all the mountains and monuments
and skyscapes I haven’t seen, all the trains
I should take, all the camels and mopeds
and ferries I should ride, all the scorching
hikes I should nearly die on, I press
my body down, down into the vast green
couch. If I step out the door, the infinity
of what I’ve missed will zorro me across
the face with a big L for Lazy. Sometimes
I watch finches at the feeder, their wings small
suns, and have to grab the sill to steady myself.
Metaphorically, of course. I’m no loon.
Look—even my awestruck is half-assed.
But I’m so tired of the small steps—
the pentatonic scale, the frequent flyer
hoarding, the one exquisite sentence
in a forest of exquisite sentences.
There is a globe welling up inside of me.
Mountain ranges ridging my skin,
oceans filling my mouth. If I stay still
long enough, I could become my own world.
~Catherine Pierce

"Waiting"

I watched you
wanted you
one day
I whispered these words
wrapped in a gentle wind
through the flower of my lips
glazed with want
you flirted
then fled
how fast you run
feet trip over hot steaming sidewalks
you dance and dodge
at last feet sidle back
I sit wrapped
wrapped in a cool
breeze of assumed indifference
I wait for you
~Marilyn Buck (1989)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Atephilia (love of ruin)"

A phantom feeling: lashes fluttering
against my cheek. No flesh, no nerve. Wax wings:
imaginings that spring from wish alone.
The thirsty wanderer endures the same
fateful mirage: eats sand and tastes champagne.
You seem so whole; I’m left no room to mourn
the rubble we’ve become. The pilgrimage
we make each day; our devastated bed
beguiles. And we are sights to see. Engaged
by graveyard days, I rest against your head-
stone chest like flowers, so you’ll understand
what wilting is. One kiss with ravaged lips.
Embrace with wasted lust. Remaindered man
and woman wrecked by wants. This mess is us.
— Jessica Piazza

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wake Up Campaign for Mumbai

...and perhaps other lost cities of the world: where-ever the sky is greyed with pollution

Media:
posters, stickers, banners, car paint, carrying placards, blogs, t-shirts

Some of the messages:
More Open Spaces | Less Ugly Buildings
More Public Spaces | Less Malls
More Bicycles | Less One-Member Cars
More Trees | Less Cement
More Solar, Wind, Hydro | Less Oil
More Uniqueness | Less Brands
More Art | Less Posh
More Functional | Less Fancy
More Need | Less Want
More Humility | Less Ego
More Natural Light | Less Tubes
More Meditation | Less Idolization
More Life | Less News
More Community | Less 'Less Community'
More Human Being | Less Human Resource

Languages:
Marathi, Hindi, English

What do you'll think?
I'm leaving Mumbai but it's still been home for 20 years.

How to execute this?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Astronomy in Timor Leste!

This is a photo story of a journey I took to the country Timor-Leste with the larger aim of introducing astronomy among the children and public. The project was a student ambassador project of the Universe Awareness Foundation (www.unawe.org), where I am currently completing an internship.

Our days were packed with activity, laughter, tempers, disillusionment, hope, joy, and love. We conducted activities for over 800 kids over two days, one in the capital city of Dili and one in a town-village called Gleno, a teacher’s training program for about 40 teachers on how to introduce astronomy in the classroom, and a public observing event for the transit of Venus, which occurred on June 6, attended by about 3800 people from the capital.

We were the team: Cindy (our ever trusty project officer, who took care of our lives), Pedro (the international project manager of UNAWE, our supervisor and guide), Ana (the program coordinator from Timor-Leste, an amazing spirit and math teacher and almost an astronomer), Carla (a super-passionate Portuguese fellow student and dear friend), Ainil (a gentle Indonesian soul and an excellent astronomy out-reacher), and me (a universe opener).

I hope you enjoy the journey (this is the short version. For all 300-something snaps and the complete story, click here)

CLICK ON SHOW INFO FOR THE DESCRIPTIONS IN FULL SCREEN MODE:)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Being Free

i can never be free
from you

unentanglement of
souls
is theoretically
impossible

but

entanglement can change form
from soul to spirit
from love a to love b

i can never be free
from you

even when you're no longer here
with me

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Power vs. Knowledge

It's sad that power and not knowledge rules the world.

The Chinese have always been such a learned and beautiful society. And they're receiving much attention today because of the power they have managed to strategically out on the world.

An Example from the Leiden University Newsletter this morning: Leiden University strengthens ties with China

So when you get the power, people decide to listen to the knowledge. 

But China made a cool science breakthrough today: It smashed the distance record for teleportation!

The Grammar of Happiness

Yesterday I attended a talk by linguist Dan Everett on the Piraha people of the amazon and their special language. In Piraha, the people call themselves Hi'aiti'ihi, roughly translated as 'the straight ones'. Their language demonstrates their straight intentions:

1. They have no present and future tenses. They speak in the now (and nearby in time)
2. They don't have conjunctions
3. They don't have a written form
4. They have recursive reasoning but not recursive language
5. They don't have colors
6. They don't have numbers (but know the names of all their children :))
7. They have 'we' but not 'I'

They call other people the crooked head :)



The point of no recursive constructions is in opposition to Chomsky's running idea of universal grammar (making it a tad bit controversial). There's a missing piece in linguistics. A sort of unequationess between semantics or meaning and syntax or form. We make the natural assumption that there's a code to crack in everything.

But what's more amazing is their way of life. The Piraha's are a hunter-gatherer tribe who have rejected civilized ways for over 300 years now. They don't have houses and don't trade and money is not a concept in their lives. They live within nature and know everything about the plants and animals around them, how to talk to them through whistle and gesture, and how to feel them.

A few years ago, they started to use some cloth from the outside world. And today, the Brazilian government has built some house structures and brought some electricity and water pumps to their living area. After much resistance.

The Piraha's have no concept of God as they don't live in the hypothetical. It's not in their frame of thought and consequently not in their frame of language. Dan went there as a missionary to convert them and to save them with God. After eight years of living in the Amazon and nature, he found himself carrying a different message :)



This is our world. This is everybody's Earth.
Be responsible, please.

(Pictures from search on the internet)

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Be Yourself

What does it mean to be yourself? I don't quite understand this statement.
Earlier people became. Today people are made.

Alan Watts and the Illusion of Maya

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Sheesh

We're called Human Beings and not Human Doings for a reason.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

"Der Lagi Lekin"

Der lagi lekin, maine ab hai jeena seekh liya
Jaise bhi ho'n din, maine ab hai jeena seekh liya
Ab maine ye jaana hai, khushi hai kya, gham kya..
Dono hi, do pal ki hai ruttein
Na yeh thehre na rukein
Zindagi do rangon se bane
Ab roothe, ab mane
Yehi toh hai, yehi toh hai, yahaan
Der lagi lekin, maine ab hai jeena seekh liya
Aansuon ke bin maine ab hai jeena seekh liya
Ab maine, Yeh jaana hai kise kahoon apna
Hai koi, jo yeh mujh se keh gaya
Yeh kahaan tu reh gaya
Zindagi toh hai jaise kaarvan
Tu hai tanha kab yahaan
Sabhi toh hai, sabhi toh hai yahaan
Koi sunaaye jo hansti muskurati kahani
Kehta hai dil, main bhi sunoon,
Aansoo mein moti ho jo kisi ke nishani
Kehta hai dil, main bhi chunoon
Baahein dil ki ho baahon mein hi
Chalta, chalun yunhi raahon mein
Bus yunhi, ab yahaan, ab wahaan
Der lagi lekin, maine ab hai jeena seekh liya
Aansuon ke bin maine ab hai jeena seekh liya
Hai koi, jo yeh mujh se keh gaya
Yeh kahaan tu reh gaya
Zindagi toh hai jaise kaarvan
Tu hai tanha kab yahaan
Sabhi toh hai, sabhi toh hai yahaan

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flower in the Window

I am really annoyed with myself for judging the Netherlands so harshly. Very uncool of me. But now that I've been to more of the country and seen more vibes of people, I see that my it was just my immediate surrounding that wasn't suiting my sensibilities.

Leiden (where I spent the last 1.5 years) is quite a wealthy like city of the Netherlands.
And with most very-wealthy places, a tad bit snobby (and slightly grumpy to me).

And then I get angry when people do that for India.
Make generalizations when their vision is so small.
When my vision was so small.

Shame on me :)
Ah well.

Finally visited the flowers at Keukenhof:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Clump

The more we clump, the weaker the bonds of interconnection become. Imagine a world where a tree union said all the trees that are in the majority and in clumps define things for every other plant, imagine what that does to all the small trees and plants, and what you're left with after that process is over. Why do we constantly try to restrict the subtlety of diversity in human beings and strive towards the norm, instead of growing within that wave like balance.

This is so nice: Man Single-handedly Plants Entire Forest

Holi

Holi from Variable on Vimeo.


via Veena

"The Small Picture"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Goodbye Leiden, Hello Den Haag :)

Leiden in January:


From Leiden to Den Haag - Feb-March:

Friday, April 06, 2012

South America Calling

South America has been calling me for a while. A long long while. And Europe has just intensified this feeling of discovering that beautiful continent.

At a UNAWE workshop last week on using astronomy to inspire children, I met a lovely spirit: Peeli

She taught me this:
Tierra mi Cuerpo, Agua mi Sangre, Aire mi Aliento, Fuego mi EspĂ­ritu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp5I07QmgOs

It means:
Earth is my body, Water is my blood, Air is my breath, Fire is my spirit

It's really mind blowing how these specific elements come again and again and again and go right back, back to the beginning. These elements that make us.

Only the sky is missing :)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dance vs. Powerpoint: A Modest Proposal

Although I've been a science editor for about eight years now, I'm not a big fan of the academic publishing industry in its effort to share knowledge.

The matter tends to be limited to specialists only, with little effort from scientists themselves to communicate their ideas in more than one form.

They spend all their time and energy writing. And then writing some more.
But who's reading?

Here's one unique idea. A brilliant "offline" one :)
(And this is one idea that needs to be used alongside who knows how many :))

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cypresstraat 59

So I moved homes.
This is Cypresstraat 59, The Hague
Come one. Come all.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Why I deleted my Facebook account

- The Timeline feature, which I really don't like, triggered the deletion. It's an example of freedom to go.

I still think it's a great tool to keep in touch with people. I'm just going to concentrate on other ways :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Winter song"

I've never had the chance to speak to bare trees
Like i have here
Towards the north of this world
The sun slices through life in the south
It diffuses around here
Leaving bare northern skin

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Balance Wizard

On a Which Wizard Are You quiz, I came out as a Balance Wizard. Hmmm.
What goes up must find equilibrium :)

We Tell Stories

 

Last night at storytelling night Anja told a beautiful story about a father, a daughter, and a king. A tall tale (re)told by the Brothers Grimm. It's been 200 years since the household stories by the Brothers Grimm was first published, bringing stories from all over Europe to the world. And I loved them as a child and I love them now.

The whole concept of Storytelling night is fantastic. Sahand's family's passion and way of life, Mezrab, has storytelling evenings three times a month (http://mezrab.nl). I learnt much about storytelling culture in different regions of the world. In some places, people from the village gather around trees, in others, in a tiny room :) Both his mom and Anja really made me miss home! Mezrab's storytelling night is not only about the stories: it's also about a confluence of culture, the storytellers' energies and love for sharing, Mezrab-mom's lekkerest soup, music (lovely pianomagic of Chopin and Satie), family, and  Sahand's spirit that makes it all come together.

Maybe on the next storytelling night, I will story one of my favorite favorite childhood ones from Amar Chitra Katha: http://www.amarchitrakatha.com/

And I hope to see storytelling in Mumbai some time real soon :) (with Snigdha)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life!

If life is defined by its evolution and we see so clearly that planets, stars, galaxies, and our universe itself are constantly evolving structures, what does that say about their life?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Simple Question

What is wealth / money a symbol of?
How does it change in context?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Flood"

I woke to a voice within the room. perhaps.
The room itself: "You're wasting this life
expecting disappointment."
I packed my bag in the night
and peered in its leather belly
to count the essentials.
Nothing is essential.
To the east, the flood has begun.
Men call to each other on the water
for the comfort of voices.
Love surprises us.
It ends.
~Eliza Griswold

"How Am I Doing, Really?"

You do not want me to answer that,
for it would mean peeling back my skin
splitting open my chest bones,
revealing a heart that still beats
though it is half the size it once was.
It would mean sawing off the top of my skull
and shaking out pieces of my brain
which hardly functions right, left
are memories, the latest ones first,
like daguerreotypes nestled in a velvet lining,
you dead on the bed, your head to one side,
mouth open, an image that is with me always.

How am I doing, really? Really well
on the outside, so that everyone seeing me
murmurs, "So brave, so astonishing,"
while inside I am climbing onto that last bed,
spooning my body around yours,
and dying even more slowly than you did.
~Jane Yolen

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thoughts on the Plane from Portugal to the Netherlands

When travelling, you talk about your country a lot. Personally, I´m a bit tired of country talk. I wish I could refer to where I´m from by latitude and longitude, by the position of the sun, moon and stars, by the soil under my feet, the landscape that surrounds me, and the energy that influences me, people and non-people, material and non-material. At every point in time. Explaining where I am from and what I do is tiring me.

But I have realised many things from all the India-talk. The foremost being that India isn´t meant to be a country and it is indeed a sub-continent. My flatmate and close friend Radha is from the Northeast of India (Assam) and she´s brought up the feeling of un-belonging to India several times. When explaining why Hindi isn´t spoken all over India I have realized why Hindi isn´t spoken all over India. When explaining why I speak Native-like English, I´ve understood the extent of British influence. When explaining our education system, I´ve realised that it both is and isn´t our education system. When I saw how similar Goa is to Portugal, I can´t even describe the feeling because I am still feeling it.

All these discussions and many many more have led me to believe that we need to rethink how the government of India operates to be a collaborative, cooperative, and cultural unit. The government of India is also very young. Not even 65 years old. And in the forming-storming-norming-performing cycle, it is only at the beginning of the storm. And I think the youth of India (including me) need to realise this picture quite clearly. Realise who we were, who we are, and who we will become if we continue in a state of apathy and selfishness. And instead of being stuck in the definitions of others, for example democracy, capitalism, economics, the minds of India need to pull their act together and define something that suits our inherent senses and sensibilities, our intuitions and emotions, our peacefulness and vibrancy.

We have such nice hearts and souls and we are so wonderfully flexible. We need to see all that we have instead of continously measuring ourselves by Western standards. We need to see that we are quite good at natural formations and disordered order instead of destroying our flexibility of life through corporatism and capitalism and our fake democracy.

The number of my friends who have left India to go abroad is something that has disturbed me for the last 10 years. I feel if they had this picture of the life cycle of a country, perhaps their reasons would have been different. I´m not sad about globalization and our ability to kind-of choose a lifestyle that we want. I love that so perceived freedom. Diversity and mixing is amazing. Travellers will always travel. Seekers will always seek. Adapters will always adapt. I am sad about those who leave for better opportunities and begin a life of not-so-happiness because they haven´t found it but have made too much of an investment to keep looking. Especially since I know how much opportunity lies within our land itself. I am sad for those who are lost and aren´t moving in the direction of balance and centeredness.

The country of Portugal is in its so-called economic crisis. Isa, a Portuguese friend, had such an unexpected attitude to the gigantic increase in taxes effective a few days ago. She said, our minister said it will only last for 2 years and then it will all be ok. The country of Portugal is quite involved in the welfare of its citizens and Isa trusts her governance system. (I don't know if this is reflective of other people in Portugal, but that's not the focus :)) I have no such trust in the Indian governance system. I don´t trust that they have the best interest of its people in mind and I don´t trust the direction it is taking India in. Modern India is hell bent on forgetting Indian culture, doing more to undermine it than to enrich it. And our people (including me) and government is letting that happen more and more everyday. For what? What is the plan? Is there a plan? Why don´t I know it? How do I find it?

I have often thought that the distance between me and my government is so far that whatever I say or do won´t make a difference. For the first time today I have realised that the distance between me and the policy makers of my country need not be soo far. It need not be impossible. Now I just need to find out about how to make it possible.