54-2019 When a mother almost killed her own son ………

When a mother almost killed her own son …….

It is not known to many that the legendary Indian mathematician Ramanujan attempted suicide in 1918, by jumping before a train. Ramanujan was under mental depression, brought about by the harsh weather he was not accustomed to, strict and inappropriate dietary habits, very demanding and stressful research activity, poor health conditions, war related miseries, and above all, separation from his newly married wife Janaki. Luckily, he was saved just in time, because the driver slammed the brakes in time.

There is a saas-bahu twist to Ramanujan’s tale. When he returned to India in 1919, he was miffed at Janaki, his wife. Ramanujan rebuked her, “I wrote so many letters, at times once every week, but you chose not to reply even once”. Mystified, sobbing Janaki told him that she was writing letters frequently even when none were received from Ramanujan. She was handing over letters to her mother-in-law for posting, as she had no money for even postage. Both of them then realised the dirty game played by the mother-in-law in hiding letters from each other. Many years later, Dr S Chandrasekar recounted his conversation with Janaki Ammal, who apprehended that longing for loving words from his wife perhaps was one of the contributory factors for Ramanujan’s depression, which led to him to the attempted suicide. The selfish mother never thought of the consequences of her foolish and cruel act.

This episode has a sad and cruel climax. Just a few months later, the mother had to see with her own eyes, the painful death of her own son. The mother could not even repent the injustice she had done to her own son, and ask his forgiveness.

See Remembering Ramanujan

53-2019 Yet another filthy festival (#4)

53-2019 Yet another filthy festival (#4)

FirecrackerIt is time for yet another filthy festival celebrated in the name of religion. This jewel in the crown of religious madness is called “Diwali” or Deepavali, and is due in a few days. We will of course see all the filth and garbage which usually accompany such religious exhibitions. Add to all that, all the noise, smoke and poison showered generously using fire-crackers and explosives. Factor-in the number of accidents where people get hurt or property destroyed. You have the best reason to call Diwali the ultimate nonsense in religious freedom.

The only persons who seem to enjoy all this rubbish are the businessmen and shopkeepers. They allure you with cleverly-worded campaigns filled with dubious “festival offers” , and add insult to injury.

Long live religious liberty, to hell with commonsense and social responsibility.

  1. Filthy festival #1
  2. Filthy festival #2
  3. Filthy festival #3
  4. Filthy festival #4

Is there any way to save the planet ?

Stop celebrating such religion motivated festivals, and follow the example given by Greedy Greens.


52-2019 Made for each other and for தமிழ்

This is an update and sequel to my earlier post on my friend Shrinivasan and his wife Nithya . They continue to amaze everyone with their collaboration and achievements. Recently, they adopted a baby girl and gave her a தமிழ் name : இயல் . Their elder child (a boy) is called வியன் .The choice of two unusual, but pure தமிழ் names shows their respect and love for தமிழ். Their sustained contributions to தமிழ் did not go unnoticed or unrewarded.

I am blessed and proud to know Shrini and Nithya personally.

50-2019 Yet another filthy festival (#3)

We just crossed a filthy festival in India. It is time to drown in one more display of filth, noise, garbage and nuisance. durgaThis is called “Durga Pooja” (aka Durga puja) and was once celebrated, only in Assam and West Bengal states of India. It is now common to see it almost all over India. This time, it will be the goddess of strength/power who will be venerated with all the din and noise she deserves. Streets will be blocked, to erect pompous “pandals” . Blaring noise will be played on loudspeakers, austensibly to promote devotion and prayers. The grande finale will, as usual, include processions in the name of immersion, where all lakes, rivers and water bodies will be poisoned. Add all the filth and garbage which will fill our streets, and with anti-social activities of the muscle-men behind all this.

Long live “religious freedom”. Too bad for you, if you do not agree.

49-2019 Better light a candle than curse the darkness

I recently saw some cynical and illogical remarks from a learned friend about my
sunset webpage.

What should you do when someone says “Behold the beautiful sunset ” ? React with some cynical remarks about all that is not so beautiful around you ? Or complain about irrelevant and unrelated issues which people have not solved ? Why can’t people understand the value of appreciating the sunset ? Why don’t they learn to light a candle rather than curse the darkness ? Why do they criticise and belittle the person who lit a candle ?

In a way, this learned friend is much better than all the others whom I informed about this “sunset” web page, and who did not even care to give any signs of having seen it.

A big thank you to all others who watched and appreciated the sunset.

47-2019 Making-a-mockery-of-privacy — a sequel

The ridiculously shameful display I reported in my earlier post is not over. I discovered some more blunders in that site. For instance, that site does not mention anything about the Head of that institution. It does not display the name, official designation e.g. Dean/Principal/Director, contact details etc. Neither do we know his date of birth, qualifications if any etc., unlike the details given for all other faculty in this institution. Needless to talk about the numerous typos and linguistic gaffes. Ignoring all norms of decency and responsible behaviour, the website provides no “contact me” for giving feedback. There is no way you can report these blunders to anybody responsible, unless you use some public platform like this..

All this speaks a lot about the quality, competence and maturity of the people running this institution. Their website stands as proof of the saying , “where ignorance is bliss … ” Like Mark Anthony famously said “Oh judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts …. “.

Take look at this web page

46-2019 Making a mockery of privacy and decency

See the actual web page now.

Recently, I came across a ridiculous display of violation of decency and privacy. I was shocked and ashamed to see that this blunder occurred in the website of my own alma mater, where I studied almost 50 years ago. The website displays a whole lot of academic information as well as some irrelevant information and misses out on some meaningful information. For instance, it announces the date of birth of all its teachers/faculty (including the ladies). Why should anyone know who is older / younger than who in the University ? Strangely, it does not give the date/place where the teacher acquired the qualifications listed against their names. Strange ! No one seems to have noticed this goof up or has any objection to the public display of personal, non-academic information.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at this faculty details webpage.

Notice that this is the webpage of the Professor and Head of Computer Science ! Is this what you teach your students ? What quality can we expect from students trained here ?

45-2019 Every coin has two sides

Are you part of any email based mailing list ? Do you follow the discussions/conversations, on these email based communities ?

Recently, I came across a lecture on the perils of top posting: http://www.idallen.com/topposting.html . The person who posted this, used it for vehemently justifying the reason for his imposing bottom posting in the mailing list.

A longer lecture, which gives the whole picture, is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Posting_style.

In many practical situations, top posting makes more sense than bottom posting, both for the reader and the writer. Blindly and unconditionally condemning top posting is like putting the cart before the horse. It does not always make sense to post/view messages “chronologically” (as in bottom posting strategy) all the time. Imposing one or the other strategy blindly is a short-sighted policy which can cause more harm than good.

1. “Bottom posting” ensures that the last opinion expressed is at the very end of the message. This implies another irritating phenomenon. When some one adds a comment or opinion to the above, the comment \ opinion comes after the last opinion given earlier. Any body trying to get at the final opinion/comment has to go all over **again** all the earlier posts.

2. In many serious documents/publications, all the references are grouped and presented at the end of the document as a “Bibliography”. This avoids the need for the reader to read up all the background material before reading the main document.

3. When you watch the news, say election results, you want to know who won from which constituency. You do not want to know all the background stories about all the contestants, before you come to know about the results.

4. Imagine this scenario. You have a long thread “A” of discussion on a certain topic. A user X posts his opinion, views about A, using the bottom posting strategy. To read X, you have to go through all of A. Now comes Y with his view/opinion and bottom posts his view . To read Y, you have to go through all of A once again and then read X. In the end, you have a nightmare of posts.

5. By contrast to the above, in the top posted pile, you first read Y, and decide whether or not you want to to read X and A. Life become far easier now.

In short, it is a wiser approach to let the writer use his judgement and choose either top posting or bottom posting. Taking the context into account is more meaningful (and less myopic) than imposing one or the other approach blindly. After all, every coin has two sides.

May wisdom prevail. Amen.