Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Review - The man who knew infinity

This is for the first time I read a biography of an Indian and I regret reading it so late. Even though I knew about this book much earlier, also had seen it the book stores both online and offline umpteen times but never bothered to read, the reasons completely unknown to me either. But the positive side is that I got to read this book at the right time in my life when I needed some inspiration and motivation the most.

If I have to write about this book, there are two spectacular things which have to talk about, Ramanujan and Robert Kanigel. Well, this is a review and I solely have to talk about the book. The author has already talked about the hero impeccably. The book has been written with great ardor. I liked the way; the author has explained the back drop before talking about the genius. For example, in the initial pages, he explains the village Kumbakonam, religion in that place, economic and social conditions, relations and then talks about Ramanujan. The backstage is perfectly set for reader of any ethnicity, culture or nationality to feel what he feels, to see what he sees and to try to be a Ramanujan. The reader can understand the social dilemma of India of that age with ease. For the aspiring writers, Robert Kanigel showed how simple language and content can produce worthy material for a wider audience.

The author has well researched in the works of Ramanujan. As a reader we get an insight of his mathematical achievements with his age and it is easier for a math student to appreciate the discoveries in that era. A non mathematical student too can catch up with the timeline to see the genius exploding with more complex things. The author also has laid emphasis on the relationship between Hardy and Ramanujan, and I am still not sure, who discovered who? May be the universe wanted them together. The author also raised few questions for the reader to draw their own conclusions like Ramanujan really getting this prowess from goddess Namagiri, Ramanujan really willing to go to London after initial year of opposition, before leaving for London, Ramanujan sleeps in the temple for three days and then says that the goddess appeared in his dreams and has permitted him to go, in London when the intended stay was for two years, was Ramanujan willing to stay longer? Apart from this as and when they appear, the author asks these questions, which surely carry lot of philosophical weight.

The author also gives a glimpse of psychology of Ramanujan, which most of us never thought of.  His behavior when his friend scores more marks during his childhood, in London when the guests avoid his third offering and hence runs away to oxford, in his early teens  he runs away from home twice, in London, he sleeping on the tracks unable to handle the pressures of family back in India, his dependency on south Indian food. While reading the section after he was swimming in turmoil, I could just remember the quote from ‘’ Thus spoke Zarasthura’’ ‘’One must have chaos to give rise to a dancing star by Friedrich Nietzsche’’. Also the relationship of Ramanujan with his family is also expressed in detail. Especially his mother and wife Janaki. His mother is the source of inspiration but later, near his death he sees a clash between his mother and himself due to Janaki. He misses Janaki in London and wants to spend his time with her nearing his death.

Best part of the book is after Ramanujan dies. I was curious to read that part. The author talks about the aftermath, the discoveries of Ramanujan and its effect on people and the world. The usage of Ramanujan’s math in day to day life which is the application part. His discovers are used in detecting cancer, string theory, computing pi in computers etc.  Mathematicians from around the world getting inspired by his work and unable to prove the theorems what a government clerk from India could do. He inspired the youth with maths. There was no doubt that he is less than any Euler, Gauss or Jacobi. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Accidental stumble to nostalgia

I was browsing through some of the videos in youtube and then Suddenly I saw a video titled '' life at IITM'', my mind just drifted to 2005. When I was seeing this video which I had previously seen umpteen times,  I saw a video titled IIT Madras 46th convocation video in the suggestions list, I clicked it to watch. To my amusement I had to listen to the first few seconds a  couple of times to know that it was my name and after my name. I continued to watch the video and when I saw myself in the video, I could not control my nostalgia. Went to the past, travelled it, enjoyed it , shed a tear or two and it was really hard for me to come back to normal. Those were the best days of my life and when I see myself since I graduated in 2009, it is completely a different phase. Accidently watching this video made my day refreshing the memories, putting a smile on my face. 

This is the video of my convocation back in 2009. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

100th Post : My most cherished memory

Finally!! after I started serious blogging  again in the year 2013, today is my 100th post. And this post I would like to dedicate for a small memory from my graduation days. Even though I have struggled a lot in my life,  my memories with me are the happy ones.When me and my friend meet, we talk about this even now. It might not be a very big thing for many but for us it was surely a memory for life . 

It was the year 2005, our first semester of college. We all were new to each other. Somehow I struck a chord with a guy who was two rooms away from mine. We shared common interests and were becoming good friends. Fortunately we were from the same branch. 

On one night of November, the climate was excellent and it surely demanded some booze and a good company to chit chat. It was 9 30 pm, and I came out of my room and at the same time, my friend too came out of his room. We both saw each other and the same thought came to our mind and we uttered, Beer? .

We knew wine shops would close by 10 pm in chennai, so we had to dash. It was 1 km away. Moreover due to heavy rains, most of the trees had fallen down blocking all the shortcuts in my campus. The roads had turned into rivers. Worst thing was just one bicycle. And that bicycle was a racing one, so it was not comfortable for two heavy guys to ride. But we were determined and set forth.

Myself being more energetic of both, took the initiative to ride and when we crossed the college boundaries, the area was much flooded and were completely unaware of the path we were riding. We just had the destination in mind and had to reach before 10 pm

Finally when we reached there, the guy was about to close the shop. We took two bottle, sat under a shed, getting partially wet and drinking and chit chatting for an hour. Then we rode back drunk in the same path.

We reached our rooms, took bath and had an wonderful sleep.

Drinking so common that it cant be categorized as fun, I agree, but the way we two thought of it and set forth like a mission and the jokes we were cracking all the way were the most memorable. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

When is the right time to quit?

We all live a life which is very mysterious. Few get things easily but few have to efface to get the basic amenities. Some despite having a poor academic record settle for excellent good jobs whereas the studious kids continue to slog. No one knows why this happens. It is an axiom. Lets not say it is due to Karma. I would prefer another post for that. So in this mysterious life, the one who gets easily or minimal effort is not of my concern but I am interested about the ones who work hard. Struggling in life is an important thing. Most of them cant face the failures. But the ones facing it,surely come out strong and complete. The best part is that they dont quit. Rather they keep fighting and their history or the path is a teacher for people like me.

Recently I had shared about Rahul Dravid's speech on relating chinese bamboo to our life.Which can be read here. Coming across another source of inspiration, this man just tells us to fight and keep fighting I am sure most of us would have seen MR. SV SAAR in facebook or at CP, Delhi or in other social media platform. His life is an example of fighting. I can learn so many things from this man. So if you ask, what is the right time to quit? This man says it all. It is ''NEVER''.