Should be reading more and writing less, but well...

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Banavasi to Gerusoppa

Update to remove broken links. No other meaninful update.

Staying in Bombay for a year now, I have seen how Shivaji, and his heroic acts, are now a part of lore, and more so, a part of their core identity - Maharashtrian Pride. After visiting Banavasi, in the Kannada heartland tucked in the Western Ghats, I remembered the historical king whose introduction to me was through the glorious movie - Mayura. I guess he, and the story of his ascent to the Kadamba throne has enough heroics and romance about them to merit some place in the Kannada identity that many in Karnataka are trying to seek.

I have seen them (the many) taking resort in various symbols like Rajkumar (will come to this irony in a while), Kempe Gowda, etc. It's also manifested in their (quasi-)hate for various other concepts like other regional languages, non-Kannada movies, BPO-IT-Mall culture, proliferation of non-Kannada speaking people in urban centers, etc. It's lamentable that they haven't used political and other related machinery to invoke Kannada pride in Kannada people by having other more meaningful symbols - Kannada literature, historical figures like Mayura Varma, classic Kannada movies, Kannada speaking intellectuals like Girish Karnad, etc. The irony I was reffering to earlier was that while they can have Rajkumar as a symbol for Kannada identity, they don't look at the glorious characters he has played in Kannada Cinema. Also, again ironically, a popular Tamizh speciality restaurant in Bangalore goes by the name "Kadambam." Hmmmm

Anyways, the Madhukeshwara temple at Banavasi felt great in spite of us not having a guide, and therby missing all the unique things that the temple has to offer tourists, Kannada identity seekers, or people who come there to worship. I will ensure that I won't miss those again. On an aside - there was this "seve" that someone was having there, and during their lunch, we managed to get two glasses each of the fabulous tangy 'n spicy Malnad drink: Mavinkayi Neergojju or AppehuLi.

Gerusoppa, popularly called Jog Falls, is now maintained by the grandiosely named "Jog Management Authority." I guess its job is to ensure that the visiting area of an entire two square kilometers is clean, safe, and fun for visitors. That apart, the waterfall itself is quite spectacular. I will upload photos here once Nishant's (analog) SLR camera rolls are developed. At 8 in the morning, the mist, the clouds, the overcast weather, the chill, the silence, the smell of water, the sound of birds, the rustle of leaves, echoes, the great view from the bridge before the falls, and of course, the light spray of rain now and then, made up for the lack of a gushing waterfall. Tragically, we just caught a small stream trickling down the massive wall of rock, but it was still worth the early morning drive. And of course, the drive itself is worth the ...er....drive.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Analogies and more

This is typically how Analogies work. I want to explain some concept to someone, say A->B (A implies B). After a while, I find that the logical relationship between A and B is quite difficult to get across. I then resort to an analogy, say X->Y (X implies Y). I pick this analogy from everyday life so that the logical relationship between X and Y are evident, if not obvious. Then, with some conviction, I claim that as X->Y is so obviously true, A->B must also be true. The unsuspecting listener vaguely gets A->B, but looking at how strongly X->Y holds, she is convinced that A->B must hold as well.

The catch is that whether A==X and B==Y is never touched upon, let alone proved.

Let me give an analogy to explain this - (grimace)

Say my aunt wants to prove it to me that a guru is required to navigate the path to enlightenment, she first tries to convince me by using just their merits and interactions. I am hardly convinced, and thats when she resorts to an everyday analogy. We all know how a little curd is necessary and sufficient to ferment a whole vessel of milk into curd. Similarly, a guru is necessary and sufficient to get you across the sea of ignorance into nirvana. I am now thinking - Oh! Where do I find my own guru?

See the catch? Who is to ever suspect that my aunt never touched upon the similarity between the situations? Did she prove that a guru equals a tea spoon of curd? Or that I am a vessel of milk? Or that enlightenment is a vessel of curd that I am interested in, etc.

Informal reasoning of this sort has had me always suspecting every analogy that anyone throws at me to make me see their points. I grimace every time I do it myself. This had led me to believe that there are some severe restrictions when it comes to proving something to someone.

As I lamented about this with the vaakpatu (vaachaLi?) Nisrani Ramchandra, he told me that Nyaya says that there are four odd sources of knowledge.

- Pratyaksha (Perception)
- Anumana (Inference and Contrapositive)
- Upamana (Analogy)
- Aptavakya (Testimony)

If A->B was obvious by perception, there would be no need for a proof. If whenever A were present, B were seen (inference); if whenever B were not present, A would not be present (contrapositive) - QED. We have already covered Analogy. And of course, if some one whom I consider wise, someone whom I trust, were to tell me that A indeed implies B, I would just believe it. That would be Aptavakya.

I also want to add two more such concepts.

Proof by Contradiction: When you see that everything else is eliminated, whatever is left, however counter-intuitive, must be true. (Sherlock Holmes would've smiled)

Proof by Enlightenment: When you know that 'it' is true. You just know it. No proof is ever required.

I wonder what formal logic theory says about these techniques. I have seen various mathematical proofs which use these notions formally, but when it comes to social sciences, or philosophical reasoning, I feel the void. Many a time, I have felt this desperate craving to have things formal, so that the wheel of thought need not be reinvented during each dialogue. Sigh.

Finally, in spite of so much thought about logic, conviction, proofs, etc., there is this feeling that everything comes down to faith/belief/trust; Or so I believe.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005


The Best Movie Album

Listening to music from Dil Se now, and thinking of the best movie album that I have heard....the most important criterion is that all songs must be good. All of them. Overall listening satisfaction must be high. As Jatin said, I should be able to play Side A and Side B of the tape without any need to forward/rewind/stop. To be fair to Indian Movie culture, the album should have at least 5 songs.

Ok, without further ado, here are the contenders for the top 5 favorite albums of all time:

Dil Se - But for Satrangi Re, this would have been a clear winner. Also, could have had a theme song. But the overall effect is incredible. Rahman has elevated music to true bliss in those five other songs. Classy Urdu lyrics in Chaiyya Chaiyya, also an element of abandon that hits me each time I experience this song, great fusion stuff in Jiya Jale, the absolutely haunting Ae Ajnabi, and the I-cant-place-my-finger-on-it-but-something-about-this-song-captivates-me title song....

Aaradhana - Legend has it that R.D has as much to do with this as S.D. Either way, father and son have come up with this truly evergreen music album that every romantic swears by. Sapnon Ki Raani is my personal favorite, with great romance, loads of attitude, and the echoing train jingles in the background. The romantic Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera, the peppy Gunguna Rahi Hai, the seductive Roop Tera Mastana, and the pathos-filled Saphal Hogi Teri Aaradhana....probably any music director's best rendering of his own song ever....

Geeta (Kannada) - This is one incredible composition by Ilayaraja. All songs are top notch. Except for maybe the antara sections of Kelade Nimageega where the tribal stuff starts. One classy album, this. The best use of drums in Indian music. Check out the title song....Boy!!

Khamoshi (New) - I might be a little biased toward this one as I heard this when I was in the throes of first love. But I still like it, I love it. Jaana Suno, Bahon Ke Darmian, Ae Dil Sunraha Hai - All of these take me back to the glorious days of second year pre-university.

Rangeela - None of the songs are exceptional, but all of them are great. For overall satisfaction (at least for me), its up there at the top. I remember having listened to this tape over and over again, maybe Kya Kahe Kya Na Kahe more times than the last one in Side B that was sung by Rahman. But overall, this one makes it to my top-5. Maybe I am biased, but I do love this one.

Very close next-level contenders are Guide, Abhimaan, Bombay, Roja, Kati Patang, Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Ayi, Aashiquie, Raaja Nanna Raaja (Kannada), Kavi Ratna Kalidasa (Kannada), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai, Safar, Jewel Thief, Amar Prem, and a few more...Of coruse, its just my list, and overall satisfaction was the main criterion. If individual songs were to be considered.....I would be literally out of words.



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