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The Paradox of Innocence

When I was 16, and so young
I said my favourite colour was blue
because I did not know that there were
other types of girls, and that it was OK
to be different.

On a school trip then, we hiked
several mountains up, too close to the skies
and I tasted the stars, shimmery and sweet,
As against others of my age
Who were busy
With shimmering skin and fancy clothes.

Nectar sweet, devouring
every inch of my being, I felt the weight
of a million worlds, constellations that crissed-crossed,
always crossed, star lovers.
Unable to guess that the stars would take me to someone important.

Now, at 22, a close of decade later,
I say, I’m sorry I never understood you better.
I did not know, then, that there were
other types of relationships,
and that it was OK.

But I now understand you,
in ways I don’t know how to articulate,
and it’s taken me quite a few years, of burning,
of almost dying, of imploding,
of spinning without knowing,
to know
that my childhood books spilled honest lies.

Now, I know
exactly where we are
in the universe, and it is full
of stray thoughts and
loose ends.

But I do not know, yet
how to express
myself. How to do this, because it is not Math,
it is not a constellation,
it’s a rainbow..
Merged sequences.

and I know now, that blue
is a warmer colour. I know now
that it is OK,
but OK is not quantifiable,
not justifiable
for who I, simply, am not.

Me and My Monologues

Monologues of life.
I converse.
A scream of silence echoes in infinite corners.

What if, what if not?
Burglar questions rob my heart.
Whilst the world moves constantly,
me and my monologues sit in peace and converse quietly…

A rage inside, sometimes a storm behind,
a heartfelt emotion or endless passionate musings!
How would I, how should I not?
Random talks in between,
me and my monologues sit hand in hand under the dark.

A word of respite or phrases of delight,
a sulking feeling or share the ecstatic night.
Like the flowers dangling on a full moon night.
Me and my monologues sit and listen to each other,
as companions of life!

Blue!

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Blue is several things.

Blue is ocean, river, stream.

Blue is the carefree splash of water.

Blue is the immense infinite sky.

Blue is above mountains, blue has its source in mountains, blue flows underneath mountains.

Isn’t this how we were introduced to the sceneries as kids?

Blue is the soulmate of white, a validation to each absurd musing.

Blue is peace and soothing.

It is a big heart. It takes in and engulfs everything.

Blue is rain. It is in rainbow.

It takes you deep within.

It helps you to leap.

Blue is the brightest day. It is shelter.

Blue is glory, contentment, warmth, memories and passion.

Blue is freedom and imagination.

Isn’t a gemstone blue in colour?

Moreover, blue understands. It empathizes. It isn’t judgemental. It listens and stays. May be, that’s why, when sad and sick, you are blue.

Blue keeps faith.

Blue is my mother’s favourite sari draped around her.

Blue is so many things. It makes you feel so much!

When I woke up from this dream, it seemed like just another interesting dream of mine, a fantasy maybe, that has too little or no significance to my past reality. However, the fact that I had to write this dream for someone who is interested to understand me, made me rethink this dream to recreate an accurate and vivid representation of it. And then it occurred to me, that just like every dream, this dream too has deep meaning to my mind and all the states it has gone through till date. That is a fact as has been claimed in his book, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ by my psychology professor Late. Dr. Sigmund Freud, ‘no dream is without significance to the life of the person who sees it.’.

In my school days, my intelligence was taken as a race horse by my own parents and teachers. It was being force fed with knowledge so that I could win races and earn accolades for my parents and school. Their approach had a devious tag ‘Result Oriented Approach’. And I was a novice to life. I could not protest that this approach takes away all the essence of a human life by artificially and mindlessly depriving a human life from its most fundamental right… Freedom. Thus I was too busy for my board exams when I was in 10th std. The very thing I was in love with, used to scare me…. Knowledge. Maybe ‘Love’ loses its meaning outside the context of ‘Freedom’.

Not in the dream though. In this dream I was still a Space enthusiast. I was in 10th std. I never studied or tried to establish myself through exams, certificates, ranks, scores, appreciations and attentions. My family and teachers were supportive. Thus I was happy being an average student on paper.

Something unexpected happened. Someone in NASA read my article about Supernovas and the amazing phenomena they contain, which I had published in my school magazine. Supernova is the effect given rise by a star’s death. Stars are nuclear fuelled objects. When they run out of the natural nuclear fuel, the star collapses under its own gravity which tends compress the star. In the absence of radiation force from nuclear reactions there is nothing that can oppose this compressive force. Thus the star dies with simultaneous spectacular explosions of millions of nuclear bombs, the bombs which would otherwise had been left unactuated. A galaxy is a collection of billions of stars, planets, moons, rocks, etc, naturally revolving around each other in complicated paths called orbits.

Somehow the article had made its way to a NASA scientist and then to a panel of scientists who were trying to figure out a phenomenon in a nearby supernova in a neighbouring galaxy. They were being puzzled by a sustained lightning being observed for longer that it should have lasted in the supernova. However no artificial device could capture the vital signals to be analysed about that. Thus they had to send some experts… A few chosen geniuses… In what seemed to be most likely a one way trip to the galaxy… In case something wrong happened, any help sent from the Earth would be too late.

And I was among the selected few. I was always interested in space missions and being a part of them. The fact that I may have to sacrifice my life for knowledge and science, did not scare me. Rather it made my life more meaningful. So I had signed the bond. Along with me, there was a Japanese skinny girl from school too. She never really spoke much. And we had a few elder scientists and engineers. We were taken to the launch pad via a chartered plane. The plane flew really fast. I was so much in haste that I had forgotten to take some essential things with me… Like my spectacle box. Ha Ha.

The astonishing fact of fantasy was that there was air rich in Oxygen on the planet we landed on. That planet was the closest to our targeted Supernova and was part of the same galaxy as that of the supernova. Moreover, the temperature and atmospheric pressure was very close to those at the tropical regions of Earth. In short, it was an Exo-planet… An extra solar planet… A naturally habitable planet like our Earth which exists outside of our solar system. I was in my shorts and tee-shirt. With all our equipment properly set and functioning, we all began to take readings and got too engrossed in analysing the data being received from the lightning like phenomenon from the supernova. But we still missed a missing piece. We were too far away to obtain that from the radiations we got from that distance. Someone had to go near the supernova… Near the point where lightning was happening. I did not want to lose that chance. So, without spending much time on arguments, I slipped out on a flying module… Alone with my instruments…

Never really thought if I would come back alive…

It was too beautiful to visit….

And I woke up with a smile.

Here is how that mysterious event looked like from the exoplanet we used as our mission base camp.

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Although I can’t reproduce the exact thing I saw in my dream, this is pretty close. I had never seen this image before but it matches 70% to what I saw in the dream. Coincidence? Maybe.

Recently the Supreme Court of India proved, once again, that Justice exists in India, by ultimately directing Nirbhaya’s rapists to their well deserved destination, the gallows. With that, I took a sigh of relief and started minding my own business, well hobbies too, reading poems on Quora, but my relief did not last long. An amateur poet came up with a poem on the theme of what heinous event happened that night, but the poem was written in a tone of accusation towards males for their sexuality.

Skulls in the Stars

This is part 2 in a lengthy series of posts attempting to explain the idea of quantum entanglement to a non-physics audience.  Part 1 can be read here.

So, by the mid 1920s, physicists had made significant progress in developing the new quantum theory.  It had been shown that light and matter each possess a dual nature as waves and particles, and Schrödinger had derived a mathematical equation that accurately described how the wave part of matter evolves in space and time.

But it was not clear what, exactly, was doing the “waving” in a matter wave.   Water waves arise from the oscillation (waving) of water, sound waves arise from the oscillation of molecules in the air, but what is oscillating in a matter wave?  Or, to put it another way, what does such a wave represent?

We will try and answer this question by looking at how a matter wave manifests in an…

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For the QM freaks, here’s something awesome…

Skulls in the Stars

If you follow science, or science fiction, to any degree, great or small, you’ve probably heard the term “quantum entanglement” before.  You may also have heard it referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” and understand that it somehow involves a weird connection between separated quantum particles that can “communicate,” in a sense, over long distances instantaneously.  You may have read that quantum entanglement is a key aspect in proposed technologies that could transform society, namely quantum cryptography and quantum computing.

But it is difficult for a non-physicist to learn more about quantum entanglement than this, because even understanding it in a non-technical sense requires a reasonably thorough knowledge of how quantum mechanics works.

In writing my recently-published textbook on Singular Optics, however, I had to write a summary of the relevant physics for a chapter on the quantum aspects of optical vortices. I realized that, with some modification, this summary…

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An excellent explanation of the apparent mathematical magic called the matrix…

No Layman Left Behind

Most high school students in the United States learn about matrices and matrix multiplication, but they often are not taught why matrix multiplication works the way it does. Adding matrices is easy: you just add the corresponding entries. However, matrix multiplication does not work this way, and for someone who doesn’t understand the theory behind matrices, this way of multiplying matrices may seem extremely contrived and strange. To truly understand matrices, we view them as representations of part of a bigger picture. Matrices represent functions between spaces, called vector spaces, and not just any functions either, but linear functions. This is in fact why linear algebra focuses on matrices. The two fundamental facts about matrices is that every matrix represents some linear function, and every linear function is represented by a matrix. Therefore, there is in fact a one-to-one correspondence between matrices and linear functions. We’ll show that…

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Fools…

Of which in this world there are different kinds…
A fool is the one who chooses the illusion for pleasure
And ignores the painful truth.
A fool is the one who is bound by the delusions
And treats them as the god damn truth !
A fool is the one who imitates wisdom
But seldom tries to understand it.
A fool is the one who pretends to be no fool
But is a fool indeed.
A fool is like me who prefers to be called a fool
For that’s the easiest way to extract the bits
Of the truth from the other kinds of fools.
By the way, Which kind of fool are you?
Come on !
Don’t say that you are not a fool,
For that’s when I shall know that you are a fool
Who’s trying to be cool.

The Silent Fundamentalist

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She looked quite close to what this beautiful woman looks like, My youngest aunt. Her name was ‘Sharmistha’ the namesake of one of the 28 Nakshatras (sectors along the ecliptic as per the Hindu astrological literature). I am sorry, I don’t have any photograph of hers with me at the moment. But her memories are still vivid in my mind. Only memories. She is not here anymore. She is gone. She succumbed to a congenital birth defect in her heart (Ventricular Septal Defect) when she was just above 30 and that was almost 13 years ago. She died a virgin. She knew she could have never married. She was born to fight. She fought death with unparalleled courage. She had been with me for the first 20 years of my life since my infancy. She’d taught me to speak. She’d taught me to walk. She’d taught me to read, write and learn. She was my friend, philosopher and guide. She had shown me how to fight ghosts. She had shown me how to fight pain. She had taught me how to fight fear. She had taught me how to teach others by setting examples. Alas ! She died fighting Death. There was nothing that could have been done. Her body could have never supported any surgery. But I was with her when she died. I still remember her last breath. I still remember the blood that spurted out of her nose and mouth at the moment of her departure to oblivion. I remember her screams. I remember how eventually she desperately requested us to kill her to save her the pain.

It all happened in front of me. I was watching everything. When the doctor declared her dead, I ran outside of the ICU to the hospital ground. There was a tree beneath which I took refuge in isolation. I wanted to cry. But I was stunned. I was trying to grasp what had just happened. Eventually I began to cry in silence. Inconsolably. There was a sudden thunder burst and heavy wind for about 3 minutes that came out of nowhere.

Oh, yes, God had sent that to help me cry well in disguise. God, said that she was a good person and her time was up. She had to go. And you know what I said God in reply?

“Fuck Off”.

And that was the day I killed God inside my mind and began my long travel towards the Truth without a hypocritical God. I stopped talking out loud. I began to think to fight the dark cloud. The cloud of Death. The could that frightens little narrow minds and lets the wicked reign. And I embraced the fundamentals. Science. The laws of Nature. In Silence.