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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nitin Rivaldo goes TAED

Notwithstanding glaring technical glitches and an over-enthusiastic Marathi anchor speaking in English, TEDxBITSGoa's show-'stopper' was Nitin Rivaldo.
If you are expecting to read a polarised opinion on Rivaldo, you are in for a shock. This post is about you - the indecisive Bitsian.
Rivaldo introduced himself and a few laughed. Well that's okay, we all suffer from 'premature laugh-aculation'.
What followed was a a mexican wave of laughs - a rare few guffawed and the others wasted no time in following them. The fun begins after the event.

6:00 pm, 6th Feb 2011 : Extremely polarised opinion - some vehemently abuse him with generous amounts of phlegm in their mouths while others make '\m/' even with their toes in order to praise him. Everyone is milling about like a large pika family - each moving in his or her own direction, be generally headed toward the mess (Can't resist but compare this to electrons in a wire!).

9:00 pm, 6th Feb 2011: Around the mess, now it seems like each group has his or her own opinion - the more aggressive ones have convinced the less decisive/more timid ones(one's who are in no small number, of which I too am a part of) of their opinion, and these guys have accepted it like it was their own.

7th Feb onwards: Lets face it, there is a pattern in which groups of people interact, and thus two large systems are created like enormous veins and arteries, with each node as one person - he would flip from one stance (the artery) to the other(the vein), without pausing to think what he himself feels about the whole thing.

Anirudh Wodeyar would have probably smelt this conclusion at the very first character of this post, but for the others, this is symptomatic of a deeper malaise - herd mentality. And this is not a post to laugh at the indecisive Bitsian - its a sample of the real world. You, myself, us - most give in to this genetic craving to stay in a herd, unnoticed and devoid of an identity. Don't mistake me - the craving to be noticed is equally deadly, one that afflicts most who just go the first step of recognizing the above problem, but don't give two hoots about the right solution - but only the easiest one.

Certainly it is a hard thing - processing each sentence with your own individual sieve, making an opinion independently and voicing it only if necessary. But the rewards of the such a meticulous life is one thing that every man cherishes - respect.

With this comforting thought, "Shine on, you crazy diamond!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

know thyself

I wrote this poem at the end of 12th grade and to this date, it hasn't failed to inspire me. here goes -


Open your eyes, O ignorant being,
Pause for a moment only to think
Of our own existence in this boundless cosmos,
In the infinitude of time - a mere blink.

Shield your eyes from mundane thoughts,
From the gory entrails of human desire;
Plunge to the depths of nature's divinity,
Purge your soul in the orb's fire.

Beyond the beyond, O myopic souls!
Ponder over results of today's sloppiness;
Quantify your dreams, qualify your actions,
Repay yourself this debt of happiness.

Wring your soul for the cause of others,
Quench their thirst with your sweat and blood;
The gratification that comes with kindness,
An unparalleled ecstasy rarely understood.

Get off your behind, O lazy being!
Lengthen your stride with spirited ease;
Be cautious about hasty ambition,
The joy en route it will only decrease.

So up and away O noble Brother!
always remember these truths of life;
Keep smiling, Keep working,
Know Thyself, My noble Brother.

- Akshay Surendra

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Winter at Corbett's place

We were fortunate enough to spend our vacation at a home stay in Chotti haldwani - the village in which houses Corbett's winter home. Here is a photo essay of the his winter house as it is now - A museum with his paraphernalia and photographs.

Corbett, his sister Maggie, his mother and two of his dogs - Robin and Roslyn.

This sambhar was shot by Corbett himself.

This table was designed by Corbett - the four legs like the four paws of a tiger.

These were his trunk and his lanterns. My grandma (in pic) had nostalgic feelings of her own as she chanced upon the large aluminium box. May I say she was tempted to take it!

If you are thinking the tree looks vaguely similar, you are right. The kanju tree and the wall still remain. This tiger was the Bachelor of Powalgarh, one of the biggest Bengal tigers ever shot. The Powalgarh area continues to house some of the largest tigers, as the locals pointed out.

You spend your childhood reading his books, pouring over his contents, quietly memorising the tiniest of detail - the tall Bombax with a handsome bole, deep valleys carpeted with spider webs moistened by morning due. You do not wish you were there, no. Its the comforting feeling of a surreal world that is your own - much like Hogwarts is to Harry Potter fans, only this is real. Every semblance to this place makes your heart skip a beat. And when you finally do arrive at the place, you are overcome with emotion. No, no tears. All those facts of Corbett country that I feverishly read over the journey to this place, it seemed okay to forget. Almost as if words no longer need to connect me to this magical place - I was one with it.
Thank you Amma and Pappa for making me live this small dream. And thank you Ajji and Shubha for being by my side.
And how can I forget, thank you Mr. Rajesh Panwar - you were not only a great host and a greater naturalist but a Corbett lover like me.

May His legacy live on.