Scenario 1: You are a content middle aged man with a loving wife and a kid but stuck in an underpaying job that helps you pay your rent. Which makes you a bit sad because you know you could have been worth something if only… If Only. Ah! Life, somehow feel so incomplete. Always. What if you had gone down the road not taken? How many ‘If Onlies’ you consider in a single day?
Scenario 2: You are a hugely successful middle aged man even featuring in Time Magazine. Yet you have to force yourselves to wake up in mornings, brush teeth, get ready and drive to the workplace where you are considered a God. You feel so incomplete even after achieving everything you ever dreamt off. You feel so alone. You don’t have someone to hold on to at nights and have deep conversations about love and life. You can’t help thinking about the road not taken?
“It’s easy to think that as a result of the extinction of the dodo, we are now sadder and wiser, but there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that we are merely sadder and better informed.”
“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams
In 1985, literary genius, Douglas Adams decided to go on a tour with zoologist Mark Carwardine around the world in search of Critically endangered animals for BBC. They goto Bali in search for Komodo Dragons, Zaire to see Northern White Rhinoceros, New Zealand to watch Kakapos, China to witness Yangtze River Dolphins and lastly to Mauritius to watch Rodriguez Fruitbats. Mark’s role, in this endeavor, was to be the one who knew what he was talking about and Adam’s was to be extremely ignorant and to whom everything that happened should come as a complete surprise. This book is written as if he is narrating his incredible and life changing journey, around a campfire to a bunch of his friends. Continue reading
With the aathemaar-u* being away for couple of weeks, I suddenly found myself with lot of free time to spare after work everyday, which was inadvertently spent watching reaction videos on YouTube and staring at ceiling contemplating about Life and universe.
After slacking away couple of days in such a manner, marinating in my own mediocrity, it became apparent to me, while watching a Hindi dubbed Telugu film ‘Daring Gundaraj’, that how pathetic last few days have been. I needed to refresh myself. Lord Tyrion’s words reverberated in my head “a mind need books like a sword needs a whetstone if it’s too keep it’s edge”. I decided to give my brain some much needed exercise by indulging in some heavy work of fiction.
–Trivial Details Ends–
Anathem by Neal Stephenson was zeroed in for this absurd task, solely because it was huge and it’s blob contained words like Extramuros. Few chapters into the book, it dawned on me that I have bitten more than I could chew. The alacrity quickly turned into regret as I tried to make sense of an Alien world with its own vernacular that author plunged into starting from the midday Provenor. I was like a Sline who’d been to no Suvins, getting lecture on Hylaen Theoric World, which even after being translated from ancient Orth to fluccish, was incomprehensible much like how the praxis of kineograms would have been to a Millenarial. I reckoned I’d rather have watched some spec-fic Speelies accessed from reticulum on my jeejah. Continue reading
Moonward was on my to-read list for a long time because it was conceptualized and conceived by a figure named Appupen. The Malayali in me was quickly attracted to this seemingly abstract work of art. I consumed the book in a single sitting, which is not that hard with Moonward, what’s hard is comprehending it completely. Appupen’s Moonward is an engaging read. It graphically presents an absurd dystopian future. Its not a fun read though, its vicious, dark and brutally honest. I had to pore over it a couple of times to get a hang of it.
We are introduced to the fantastical universe of Halahala. A bright meteor flashes across the heavens and crashes into the primordial landscape. Life emerges from the spot where the meteor crashed. The plants and the animals evolves and within time Halahala is full of life. Soon the strong starts feeding on the weak… and inevitably a war erupts between the animals. To maintain peace among them, wisest of them all, a ‘Tortle’, tells them of a divine being called God who might invoke earthquakes and erupt volcanoes if they don’t behave themselves. He then goes onto draw an image of the God on a rock. Continue reading
I picked up this book randomly, no one had referred it to me, neither I had read about it anywhere. And am glad I did it because ‘’Flowers for Algernon’’ is a beautiful, beautiful book. It’s a science fiction per se, but it’s much more than that.
Charlie Gordon is a mentally disabled, thirty three year old man, with an IQ of 68 who is administered at a centre for retarded adults in University. He goes to work at a bakery sweeping floors and cleaning Toilets as a day job for which he is given daily food and a place to sleep. Professors at the university take note of Charlie as the only one among a group of half-wits to show an acute eagerness to learn and hence, they select him as the first human test subject for a surgery which claims to increase human intelligence. Charlie is very excited, he always wanted to be smart like those ‘profissirs in wite cot doing spearmaments’ and his ‘frends at the bakery’. Continue reading
Three hundred years ago… French Mathematician Pierre De Fermat postulated the famous mathematical theorem:
For any n>2, then the equation:
an+bn=cn, cannot be solved with any positive integers a,b and c.
But he just invented a problem; he never did solve it per se. In the margin of one of his diaries he very wickedly wrote down that:
“I have a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain…”
What a Troll!!
This unapologetically mischievous guy then went on to challenge his rival mathematicians to solve the above mentioned theorem.
But no one could ever solve it. Even after his death, for the course of next three hundred year several mathematicians racked their brains to solve this without any success. This pesky troublesome Theorem came to be known as Fermat’s Last Theorem. Continue reading
As you read through first few chapters of this autobiography, you will realize Richard Feynman, was no ordinary genius, he was a magical person. Feynman is a physicist who taught at Cornell and Princeton, worked on the Manhattan Project and won the Nobel Prize for his work in Quantum Electrodynamics. He’s also a complete mad-case.
The book is a series of autobiographical stories — pranks pulled as a student at MIT and at Los Alamos, teaching himself to paint, scientific discoveries he made, his three marriages, how he was rejected by the draft board for being mentally suspect, learning to hit on girls at bar, learning Portuguese, Cracking safes, becoming bongo player. Whew! Continue reading