Cometh Holi, cometh the Ho(o)ligans!

Holi, the Indian festival of colours is quite a one-of-its-kind festival, commemorating both the destruction of Holika, as well as the burning of Manmatha, symbolising desire/lust. Read more on the mythology on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi

However, the colour-throwing, as fun as it may be, has often been quite a nuisance, since a lot of people are quite paranoid about the synthetic colours, their adverse effects on the skin/eyes, leave alone merely getting very very dirty! A lot of hooliganistic behaviour has often been seen in various cities, Delhi I think, being particularly notorious, and Bombay too, uncharacteristically.

Even in an elite place like IISc, there is too much of hooliganism to believe or bear. The messes were messed up, as were several corridors. And after all this, this was probably the cleanest of the last three Holi’s I have seen here. The first one was a veritable disaster with colourful handprints on the brand new hostel’s walls. The next time, not even departments were spared, with colour strewn all over. This time, being a working day, the damage was contained I should guess. People walking into messes with colours strewn all over is never an endearing sight, more so if they take food — from the perspective of everyone’s health and hygiene! — dirtying chairs and the food alike.
The bottomline is that the celebration of the victory over the Asuras, of Prahlada being saved is celebrated indeed in Asura fashion. Some serious soul-searching needs to be done by these people. No one objects to peaceful enjoyment. Why drag in someone who is not interested? (Curiously, I say all this even though I’ve had to suffer nothing!) Why is there a failure to merely respect each other’s preferences?

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Descent of Ganga

Got this amazing picture from http://www.krishna.se/Art/ganga_descent.html. Can’t praise the artist enough! What a beauty this pic is!

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The painting shows an artist’s rendition of how Ganga, when She deigned to come down to Earth from Heaven, was received by Lord Shiva. The story of Bhagiratha’s penances and the famous phrase Bhagiratha Prayatnam are wonderful to read about. Shiva is said to have locked up the arrogant Ganga in his locks, until further prayers and penance from Bhagiratha would see her through, but not before further being consumed (and then released, once again on Bhagiratha’s prayers) by the rishi Jahnu, which earned Her the appellation Jaahnavi.
Also see the wikipedia entry on Ganga.

Sachin, eikon non-pareil

Enough can never be written about Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Nor can enough be said. But, I’ve read and heard enough. It’s just like the whole world gunning for his head, now that sufficient success has been met with Saurav Ganguly. It’s appalling to see all kinds of people speak various kinds of garbage on a man who has never had a real equal on the cricketing arena. I don’t mean to say that he was the best — even among his contemporaries — but in terms of his sheer unique genius and style, and the way he captured the imagination of billions, he was, is and will be peerless.

From Moin Khan to market gurus, everyone has an opinion. Call it the curse of free speech or whatever. Just like an unbelievable amount of analysis (analysis paralysis) has gone into the farcial test series (which I did not even consider worth adorning my blog) on bizzarre pitches, reading much too far into the lone loss (whatever the manner be) that we had, there’s an even more obnoxious discussion on, on Sachin and others.

When you do look at the footage of the games, even Saurav seems to be comfortable and belongs, leave alone Sachin. But, it has become rather fashionable to talk about young guns and related crap, (to recall Siddhu, the “fragrance and exuberance of youth“) and the axing of anyone who’s not in their early 20s.

I don’t need to argue that Sachin unleashed several fluent strokes before being dismissed in either knock at Karachi — he’s certainly expected to do much more. But my primary crib is that people have just gone over the top already.

But the media is that way, like it or not. I am hurriedly writing this blog before the next match, since if Sachin does get the 91 runs that would take him to 14,000 ODI runs, you would have cover stories and front pages, with weird headlines and accoladed for the ‘Little Master’, ‘Master Blaster’ and so on.

Sachin doesn’t need mouthpieces, and I am not one. He only needs his willow-piece. To recall, in the 2003 World Cup, Sachin lay to dust all pre-series predictions and rose to glory (doing all but winning the final for us). Mathew Hayden was the bookies’ favourite for the top scorer, and I think he struggled to one 50 during the whole competition. And yes, Sachin (and Lara too..) rarely gets umpiring assistance as does Ponting (out on both his 100s in his 100th test, on lower scores; plumb lbw to Dinesh Mongia at 69 in the WCC 2003 final). I can hardly recall a series that passed without a controversial decision against Sachin.

The game’s bigger than individuals, and that holds for Sachin too — in the sense that the game’s bigger to him than these Moins and other intellectually challenged experts [sic] whose cricketing acumen has plunged abysmally during this Indo-Pak series. He’ll make a hell of a statement in the next week. Watch on…

India to help Boeing fly into future…

This article on rediff today, does make one proud of the research in the country. Once again, goes to show that great people can do great work anywhere.

Read on:

George Iype in Kochi |
October 26, 2005
http://www.rediff.com/money/2005/oct/27spec.htm

In one more example of the world’s discovery of India as the place for cutting edge technology development, most of the designs for building Boeing’s next generation aircraft are going to be created and tested by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

IISc, India’s premier scientific research institute, has joined hands with Boeing, the leading American manufacturer of satellites, commercial jetliners, and military aircraft, to build next generation aircraft.

Nearly 40 faculty members from various IISc departments — like aerospace, metallurgy, centre for product design and manufacturing and civil engineering — are involved in the Boeing project, which is being managed by the Society for Innovation and Development. SID is IISc’s commercial arm, which was founded more than a decade ago.

SID undertakes research and development projects based on individual or joint proposals from IISc faculty and scientists, in collaboration with national and international organisations and business houses.

SID Chief Executive S Mohan said Boeing signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute earlier this year.

“IISc is the only Asian institution that Boeing has tied up with for research and transfer of technology,” Mohan told rediff.com

Boeing’s other global partners in research include Carnegie Mellon, Stanford Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Caltech, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and University of Cambridge.

The IISc-Boeing tie-up says the aerospace major would invest $50,00,000 in research every year for the next five years in the company’s projects with the Institute.

“We have identified nine projects in which we will work with Boeing to build next generation aircraft,” Mohan said.

To build these new planes, the IISc team has proposed the use of smart structures and the application of lightweight components like nano materials, alloys and their composites.

IISc’s areas of focus include developing flaps for the aircraft that are fitted with smart sensors — so that they can direct wind currents better — and use of aluminium alloys in high temperature areas as well as in landing gear boxes.

The designs will be tested in a virtual environment being developed at the Institute.

“The Boeing project involves lots of innovative research. It is going to be interesting and very challenging,” a researcher involved with the project said.

SID will enable innovations in science and technology by helping industries and business establishments compete and prosper in the face of global competition, turbulent market conditions and fast moving technologies, Mohan said.

The Boeing project is one of SID’s many ongoing ones.

IISc launched SID with just one project in the year 1994, and a total financial outlay of Rs 2,25,000. Till date, SID has generated approximately Rs 600 million worth of research projects.

Some of SID’s successful projects have been:

  • Development of a software tool for performance evaluation of ATM switches
  • Development of a 2.7 MW thermal gasifier system
  • Development of dynamic surface force apparatus
  • Development of high voltage power supplies for airborne application
  • High speed oxygen sputtering system
  • Initiation of umbrella R&D programmes with organisations like Nokia, General Motors, Honeywell

Shiva Ganga

Shiva Ganga is a hill about 50 km from Bangalore, 20 km ahead of Tumkur. It’s a pretty tall hill with two Shiva temples, one very close to the foot of the hill and another, that’s possibly around 5 km uphill! The deities are “Gangadhareshwara”, and his consort “Swarnambha”.

The place is just fantastic, with breathtaking views from the high altitudes. Brilliant are the views of the surrounding city, the nearby `pushkarini’ or pond, from the top of the hill. Most of the place is rocky, with railings to hold on to as you climb, and monkeys to make sure you don’t take any offerings to the deity on top! A very forgettable experience was how my friend (Saketh) was `searched’ by a monkey, feeling for what he had in his pockets or in hidden beneath his shirt! And all this after another monkey had already robbed him of the coconut/flowers he had brought! Pretty intelligent creatures, one must say! Thankfully, I managed to salvage my camera, safely through these testing times!

Some of the places on the way to the top were reminscent of `Prince of Persia’, where you had to figure out a way which is hardly apparent to the eye (the typical hidden ledge you would climb on to)! In all, it was an experience in trekking as well :D. Inside some of the rocks (of which even the temple and the deities and sannidhis are a part of!), you could find some small fountains or water bodies, that we were told, never dry up throughout the year! But the most intriguing of all was a tunnel which supposedly led into the heart of Bangalore (couldn’t snap this up though!).

The way back was the same, but more easily traced (without the pebbles of Hansel and Gretel), and more nourishing, with regard to the breaks for a Maaza and some coconut water. Took about 2-2.5 hours to go up I guess and around 2 hrs to get down the hill. Being a Saturday, there was hardly any crowd, but we were told that there’s a lot of queueing on Sundays and on Maha Shivarathri (last week, 8-Mar). Overall, it appears to be a great place for a quick weekend trip.

Photos to follow… and yes posted now (14-03-2005, 0920) on my blog.

The first aerial view..

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The blazing sun (the camera could not capture!)

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Gopuram of the temple

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The easy lower part of the journey.. about 15%, with nice steps. Note the Nandi in the background..

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Another of the aerial views.. note the `pushkarini’ and the far-off hill..

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Yet another view of the earth!

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This is the hill on which the temple is. Note the water stains on the rocks.. Water must be flowing here often…S3010239.jpg

That’s Saketh (before the monkey debacle – note tha bag in his hand :D). Such steps were there in part of the way to the top..

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The way to the top is never easy…S3010241.jpg

Such huge rocks were on either side of our path…S3010242.jpg

Another sample of the rocks around!

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More picturesque…

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These railings were present in some places.. there are also some pseudo-steps (just inset in the hill) to help you climb..

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Closer to the top…
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From the top! One of these poles had a torch that could be lit (now dilapidated). S3010248.jpg

The temple on top..

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Higher and higher…

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This tree was beautiful.. only flowers.. hardly any leaves.. Don’t think that’s too apparent from this pic though!

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A Nandi on top…

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A view through two huge rocks…

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The Nandi from a distance, from in front of the actual temple

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Last few aerial views (1)

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Last few aerial views (2)

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Last few aerial views (3). Looks almost like a satellite pic from the top of the world!

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Whoa! The final pic. A bird’s eye view of the civilisation around in God’s world! This is my favourite snap:
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Just to know who went to this place… the photographer is yours truly, to the right!

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