Thursday, 29 October 2009

midway

When you get off the train midway in your journey, and much later wish to get back on it, is it possible? Maybe if you put in a herculean effort. I dont know . You will ahve to run much much harder and since you are now much older, even the normal running is quite tough, where will ytou get the capacity for this extraordinary feat? the thing is to find an alternative route. That's the ticket!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

cities within a city

Cities like Hyderabad and Delhi are made up of many cities. Delhi of the government circles, politicians, and socialites of one kind Moti bagh, Jor bagh , and all those roads which had English names(I don't know if they still have) . Then the Delhi of the rich other than the 1st category . Then, the Delhi of INA market, Sarojini nagar --the middle class..the Delhi of Patel nagar and Karol Bagh....children of the Partition...and then the Delhi of the slums. There are the little villages trapped int he midst of large colonies...like an insect in amber.....Jia Sarai , Munirka, Madangir, and one quaint village opposite NCERT campus whose name I cannot recall. Tehn there is the Delhi around Jama Masjid, the people living in the walls of the Redfort ( I mean literally inside the wide walls that surround the Red Fort)
The old Hyderabad the beautiful, but battered old city .. Charminar but more so the roads to Charminar, the majestic Asmangarh palace, now no longer visible from the road...the numerous deodis most of which have vanished...I dont know if they have been masked by blocks of flats or broken down. The glimpses into the courtyards of some of these minor deodis is fascinating as one walks past.
Teh Hyderabad of Banjara Hills...rich.. some old families with their beautiful language and some newly rich and obviously so.
The strongly Telugu Hyderabad, the more cosmopoliton Hyderabad. Here too teh old villages have been swallowed by the city......green fields , now a block of flats.
Then the lakes of Hyderabad...suddenly one sees a lake in the least expected place, but now hardly any left..all turned to blocks of flats...now Hyderabad is a block of blocks of flats.
Tehre is the army areas...peaceful cantonments(an oxymoron?) at two ends of the city..looking just like cantonments elsewhere inthe country. The old British built bungalows, and the new typical MES houses, the wide areas of scrubland.
As we reach the outskirts, the rocks! Noone can be failed to be impressed by the rocks of this area. Huge monoliths carved into impossible shapes ..the rocks of telengana are the most impressive.
Chennai as I know it is of two kinds......I think Madras and Chennai would probably sum it up. It's still Madras to me. For me, the old Madras was full of fun...walking to Santhome beach, eating masala dosai at India Coffee house. Madras is of coffee and long chats...Nowadays, I often come across multiple Chennai...
Bangalore, again, has this kind of multiple personality . Of course I lived there so many years ago, and I am told it is a different city now. As I remember it, there was the anglo Bangalore, and teh kannada Bangalore. The cantonment as in the Army was one thing. But the cantt, as in the people who live there, were the remanants of the Raj. The houses in Ulsoor had the same appearance as the old English ladies' houses in the Hill stations in the 1960s. Basavangudi was another kind of place....old world Kannadiga, while the "modern " areas (in those days) like Jayanagar were quite cosmopoliton. What was wonderful about Bangalore in the 1970s was the peace and quiet and the unhurried nature of everything ( of course that made it impossible to go anywhere punctually by the BTS buses). The masala dosais at NMH.
The Institute of World culture and the park next to it, so unhurried. The IISc campus was another world. The trees ( creaking scarily at night when you are just under them near the IPC) were (are??) lovely. In fact one Prof's daughter told me that her parents decided to stay on in the IISc just because the beautiful gulmohars were in bloom when they first came to the campus.

Lad bazar

Today I searched the whole of the city for a lamp shade that I had to replace . The two city concept is so obvious when we cross the bridge and go towards the old city. Same in Delhi...Delhi gate and beyond is a different city from South Delhi or west Delhi, but then the secretariat - parliament house-rashtrapathi bhavan area is a third entity. Actually there are (have been) 7 Delhis, and you can see at least 4 even now (meaning the 20th century)
This was one of my very rare visits to the old city of Hyderabad ...Lad Bazar to be precise. The road to the market never fails to amaze me...the buildings are truly beautiful, but have been vandalised mercilessly... Huge carved granite pillars with a billboard advertising Airtel nailed into the granite and fixed with a patch of cement.
In Lad bazar, I was amazed by the amount of clothes on sale....all glittering with chamki. Every shop is full of glitter. Then there are the bangles, the bags all with glittering sequins .
As you move out towards the new city, slowly, the clothes shops have less chamki...the clothes are more modern, more subdued, less vibrant.
Lad Bazar -the best place for window shopping-- I walk through it like a kid in a fun fair.
Lad bazar is where I finally found my lamp shade .

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

http://www.retrovirology.com/content/4/1/42

In the days that I frequented the library to read Current Contents, I used to spend more time reading Eugene Garfield's editorials than looking up the current contents .

If only the internet was as common 25 years back as it is now, and we had open access publishing, I would have continued in a career in science, and who knows maybe done some path breaking research (no harm in believing that since it can't be disproved ). Well the world has possibly lost one great chemist.

The h-index from what I understand tells you that Dr Soandso has published h papers each of which has been cited at least h times as well as many others cited a bit less. Now what if a Dr Genius has published only one earth shaking paper cited 100 times. Does he get a h-index of 1 ? and a person who has published 10 papers each cited 10 times only has a h-index of 10.

Or have I got it wrong? I wonder.

Friday, 2 October 2009

MS Swaminathan

Now we have MS Swaminathan on Vandana Shiva.
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/op-ed/gm-food-risks-and-benefits-172
There is something that makes activists sound like rabble rousers even when they have something valid to "activate" about. The tone of MSS article is so much better than that of VS's. Both have valid points, but she is strident; he sounds- oh so- reasonable.
Perhaps that's why many valid concerns with strident proponents get ignored.