Things I learnt during the 3-odd months of the summers of 2014, in no particular order:
The world and nature runs overwhelmingly due to randomness and stochasticity – scary.
Of the famous Lennard-Jones Potential, Lennard-Jones is a single person and not two people!
Something special happened in the Bengal region in the 1860’s and later – some great people were coincidentally born at that time – Tagore, Prafulla Roy, Jagadish Bose, Vivekananda etc. And their students’ generation – Satyendranath Bose, PC Mahalanabis, Gyanchandra Ghosh etc.
On Mahalanabis – he had an uncanny eye for talent and for getting the greats of the world – Norbert Wiener, Satyendranath Bose, JBS Haldane, RA Fischer, AN Kolmogorov – to come and don dhotis and work at ISI Calcutta.
- Further on Mahalanabis – he courted his wife-to-be, Nirmal Kumari Mahalanabis, for seven years; took the unpublished works of Tagore’s Lipika, overnight from Shantiniketan to Kolkata to read to his ailing lady love (height of romanticism – this was 1900’s); rebelled against Nirmal Kumari’s father for their marriage (presided over by Tagore); maintained an extensive bibliography of Tagore’s works (authoritative); wrote a treatise on Brahmo Samaj marriages etc .(more on him in another post)
- The buses of Calcutta can kill anyone any day – got almost killed one day!
- Songs, especially of Tagore, which I am coming to love more and more with each loop of play, have a strange effect of feeling and understanding me!
- Travelling alone can teach you words of Tamil, Kannada, misconceptions about certain cultures, ways of handling money, finding cheap transport, making new friends and learning to appreciate the small things in life!
- The nation is in the safe hands of a large number of enthusiastic researchers – my colleagues!
- I tend to procrastinate at the slightest opportunity, work madly when I can and can successfully experiment with food!
- It is possible to travel from ISI Kolkata to Shyambazar via a jittery bus and take the Metro to Park Street, a distance of 14 km, just to have the fantastic rolls from the shop jutting out of the historic old building of the Asiatic Society!
- Bladderworts (Utricularia sp) close their insect-trapping chambers at breathtaking speeds! We’re talking microseconds over here!
- It’s easy to break WAP WiFi security and many still use this outdated security measure!
- Talking with people, especially like-minded ones, is fantastic!
- North Calcutta, I love you despite the filth; there is history at each step!
- South Calcutta, I miss you while in the historic far north!
- Research is frustrating but O what would one not give for the moment of epiphany! Saw a guy solve an open problem in Computational Geometry sitting in the same lab as me!
- Language is a wonderful thing – the day we went bangmay must have been wonderful!
- There are mixtures of nice guys and dusht guys everywhere! A guy took me from Yelahanka New Town in Bangalore to the city bus station for free while the taxi from the bus to the airport duped me!
- Weather of Bangalore, I love you!
- I can make anything interest me if I try long enough!
- People in general are so talented and great! I regret not talking to more people (and hence be in awe of them) earlier! Multi-talented geniuses they are – some great athletes cum authors cum academicians all in one; some great researchers with mind-numbing talent in literary fields as well as courage to learn from!
- Forests of Bhutan, I love you!
- The calming effect of the Buddha, I love you too, and my mother needn’t worry, I am not going to abandon samsar-moha.
- Some things and some people have unknowingly come to mean a lot in my life!
- Staying alone for some time in an academic campus and contemplating life in general gives an unknown meaning to life.
- Kanpur, I miss you too! You are so beautiful too in whatever way you are, whatever anyone else might say!
- I love composing letters, but can’t complete or post them!
- Academia, I love you!