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Debashish Haar

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By Debashish Haar
Sunday, October 30, 2005

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Hobbes' interpretation of "The Waste Land"

Professor Munil Sukhi was speaking to the NDTV correspondents on String theory. A group of press photographers suddenly surrounded the lounge;
our professor got excited and started to say all the hanky panky masala to the crew. His showmanship, no less than any matinee idol! But then as soon as Prof Hawking’s Wheelchair crossed the lounge towards the main auditorium complex the crowd dispersed. Our professor was alone with a bunch of junior grad students. Suddenly that baritone voice faded out and even the excitement of NDTV crew seemed to have dwindled.

Event was string theory conference main attraction Prof Hawking, whereas there were people like David Gross and Edward Witten, those who are busy building a successful theory of everything. It’s a pity that Prof Hawking had to bash all the string theorists. Suddenly even the security guards who were only allowed to attend the popular lecture seemed to understand all the arcane
problems related to this grand unification. Was it due to Hawking’s presence,
or was it a tribute to the fact that he’s working at such a level of research despite all the handicap? As the lecture came to an end our general relativity/cosmology group became ecstatic, as if they found a moral victory over stringers. Gross, Witten and Sen had to digest this, our hosts realized that calling a celebrity to a conference such as this can shift focus to the wrong side and can so easily become a calamity.

Well then Chiru, who cares! Let us not waste our time, tell me do you have a fag. I have lighted the last one I had, cafeteria will be closing in no time, let us rush!

I was talking to Dr Kavindra Rumar about one of our friends who suffered a near nervous breakdown who came back to complete the courses and had A’s in almost all but found his grades devalued. Dr Rumar had a prompt answer,
“look Neel, Nobel prizes are awarded for different reasons in different years”…
(he meant inventions, or did he intentionally mean reasons!) Well, then I countered him, “it is better if we compare them with share prices rather than nobel prizes...”

We were discussing about a painting, well yes, well no. It was the time when George W. Bush was elected as the president of the United States.What was the painting, no, it cannot be the persistence of memory, but it was a Dali masterpiece. It was “The Metamorphosis of Narcissus”. As if nobody had any business discussing problems in the city and our own national political instability! Even mentioning Advani or Vaypayee was considered as bad manners. Somebody compared Clinton with Narcissus, either to prove that he has read about the legend or to hide his own disappointments! No one was there to pay any attention, besides, his heavy Germanic accented tone
was difficult for many to understand. Well somebody quipped, “yes logically Narcissus also loved the river, of course besides loving himself.” It was an intelligent comment! Vicky added well yes from a distance if you see his presence in global scale he will be appearing to hold an egg. He quickly added “China egg”! Everybody started to laugh…

Well yes, there was a chess game between Botvinnik and somebody playing Caro Kann. Former was so confident that he sacrificed his knight and two passed pawns, as if nobody can control his new found attacking line. Result: he lost the game miserably! They met again in a few months, this time Botvinnik was playing black Caro Kann, his opponent was countering him with Panov-Botvinnik attack! Shame, he lost it again…Was it a battle between him and himself?

God knows what Neils Bohr suggested his most famous pupil, at Copenhagen, and god only knows (If I believe in any god perhaps I won’t be asking this question) why those Germans couldn’t pinch V2 rockets into London? (Were they waiting for Michael Hollard to smuggle the blueprints?) Rutherford knew that atoms can be divided, he even skipped many defense advisory committee meetings during first world war citing importance of an invention which can be greater than the cause of the war! Was it holy grail, somebody exclaimed! He answered, fearing no sacrilege, may be and may be even further!

Drop it, drop it, drop it…da!

Well, our gender sensitization cell is busy in the dress rehearsals for their next fashion parade. An ultra feminist group is hosting a lecture on Dan Brown’s book “Da Vinci Code”. There are some who are beating their breasts in the name of Christ and Mary Magdalena, just to get that little amount of media coverage, most of whom have charges against them from Tax evasion to murder. Our page 3 editors are getting naughtier day by day, eh!

At different scales, but they are all the same! Chiru, I mean all these together
make a classic case of scale invariance. Huh, who has mixed that soporific in my drink? Well Chiru, nope don’t worry I am alright, can talk a bit.
Prof Mandelbrot, where are you? Give us some clue on how to tie this up:
the similarities of tastes, appearances and dialects! Or shall we stay with Carl Jung! Like that overconfident Botvinnik, or that tyrant Hitler or like those
who merchandised English in our land.

“Well merchandising English, seems interesting! Tell us something about it, Neel”. Well, long long time ago I can still remember…stop your American Pie! Will you! Nope I am serious...If you check English poetry, it has borrowed its existence from Latin. They say Chaucer met Dante at a secret meeting, well well…if Dan Brown comes to know about this he will haul both of them over the burning coals of Priory of Sion! It was Dante who is alleged to have passed some of the metrical/rhyming pyrotechniques to Chaucer…hmm other than Carmina Burana there is no rhyme in classic latin poetry! Something like our nation: which was more a centre of culture and art, and now suddenly trying to imitate others has gotten into other realms. We all know how inadequate and confused our prof appears, and how he fumbles to answer even the basic questions on canonical ensemble. Look, how confident he can be in presence of a few press reporters…does it have anything to do with adrenaline, or something conditioned inside!

“Do you mean we are conditioned to be showmen, Neel. Jeysus Christ, for heaven’s sake will you shhhuttt up!” “OK, what happened to yellow photocopied notes from your Oxford friend!” Well yes, listen this language is a colonial bequest no doubt! But we own it now; see how even poet Les Murray cribs about Aussies not getting same recognition like their British or Americans counterparts!

 We know sonnets were smuggled from Italians, yes we know
We know that in English poetry lines are generally matured around ten syllables, yes we know
We know riming is masculine in English, yes we know
We know riming words are not easy to find as in Italian, yes we know.
We know Chaucer’s true oeuvre was obscured till somebody found that feminine, silenced ‘e’, yes we know! 

Bringing sonnets/villanelles/terza rimas into English was chiefly to gain acceptance in those frontiers, in crude terms “to get access to those frontiers”. Riming was not only an aid for memory and an element of “poetry of the ear”, it became a vehicle to reach places!

Well let me debug my monte carlo code, make some tea! You know there is a romantic relationship between coin tosses and this world, and way we have evolved, our language has evolved. How this entire hierarchy of systems work! For example, in an atom, you have a nucleus and electrons surrounding it with their uncertainties. Yet, in this uncertainty there is a certainty that they exist around the nucleus! What, where and how are questions of other world. Make a fourier transform and help for yourself. You know more the spread in real space, sharper picture you get in fourier space. Isn’t it true about life! About reality, about how we relate present and past…

If you say this world is becoming blind and deaf Then what will be the use of colors or language! Any color will be impossible (and as much possible), and newer silver languages will evolve as communication will invent them…

Well, Chiru, my friend if you see we have a waste land. It doesn’t have any hope to take us anywhere near to the strings (believing on their existence). Our accelerators have failed to reach beyond the top quark. On the other side, we expect to see first super-symmetry particles in a few more years, and then perhaps few more decades who knows we may be able to learn the language of this world, which the elements use…

We may find how and what
the wind talks to wind:
talking to you
talking to me!

If you read TSE’s The Waste Land (TWL) you will get to feel the same disillusionment, similar setting…around the vicissitudes of his life and times!

What is the use of language after all if you just keep it in a selected group,
how will you differentiate between language and technical Jargon? In TWL, Eliot uses many languages, not only for sound effects but also to give English this universality. A universality which we now understand is next to impossible. Who cares how and what the quarks, gravitons, electrons communicate this world goes on what looks on surface. On surface you have a face, a pair of lips, a tongue yet you may not have a proper vocal chord! But is it necessary what you shower from your mouth is language, is it necessary that is what your mind is asking you to do? Like our mind, our world is a bigger computer, and this universe even bigger! It stores the patterns which it recognizes well, and chains them as thoughts. All of us have our own object oriented languages, perhaps only god knows how he assembled this computer and created those application programming interfaces (API). But then, now, do we believe in god, do we take his existence on the basis of faith or do we see he is present, or else who would have done all the lower-level language programming. No I am not talking about Dante’s assumption, or Spenser’s faith or not even TSE’s disillusionment; I am merely trying to express my doubts in the whole concept of language. Are we created out of some genetic algorithm, are we different evolving species of swarms? But then who was behind this masterstroke of thermodynamics, and who was the Maxwell’s demon?

Chiru, a few days back I received an email stating that “all of us are born winners: there are several million sperms in a semen specimen and one that wins the race in the particle accelerator (fallopian tube) is a winner! Each of us has won such a race before coming out of the womb, then why crib about mishaps.” Is this competitiveness programmed in us, or is that a statistical coincidence?

Our Professor Munil Sukhi looks (in hope) at the Arabian Sea every half- an-hour, from his top-floor office room, like a Telemachus. Well then, Chiru, our world has been changing and it has changed over the last five years. We have a new narcissus, but the same old china egg!

Copyright © 2005, Debashish Haar, All Rights Reserved ®

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Reviewed by Debashish Haar 9/9/2008
Alex: I am not impressed by Harold Bloom or Hart Crane's views - on what poetry or criticism should be! But, I like Hart Crane's poetry, which is not the point of discussion.

Let me quote William Blake:

"If you mean to please everybody you will

Set to work both ignorance and skill.

For a great multitude are ignorant,

And skill to them seems raving and rant.

Like putting oil and water in a lamp,

'Twill make a great splutter with smoke and damp.

For there is no use as it seems to me

Of lighting a lamp, when you don't wish to see."

Why I differentiated jargon from the language used in common parlance has a significance, but how would I explain this to you.

I would say, why don't you read Howard Nemerov's "Learning the Trees" and get the answer yourself! About your statement on "superficial facts": I don't think the facts/info are superficial (since they revolve around events, and personalities who have proven themselves much more than Harold Bloom).
FYI - Had he not been a lobbyist and worked in an small dingy arena of critiquing those critics who gave shape to modern literature, he wouldn't have occupied that hallowed position of "Sterling Prof." at Yale (such a prestigious place, where an exception or two can perhaps be permitted).
However, coming back to my post, I would agree with you if you say that the events aren't properly tied up!

Reviewed by Alex Dihes (Дайхес) 9/1/2008

sir, with all due respect, "What is the use of language after all if you just keep it in a selected group,
how will you differentiate between language and technical Jargon?" jargon is a part of language (before you express your understanding or misunderstanding on a topic, i advice you either you avoid it or study it). dear, sir, with all respect, the rest is an eclictic mixture of superficial info from various fields.

my advice: start moving throughout The Western Canon by Harold Bloom.
hope it helps
love peace
Reviewed by alex dihes (алик дайхес) 9/1/2008
sir, with all due respect, "What is the use of language after all if you just keep it in a selected group,
how will you differentiate between language and technical Jargon?" jargon is a part of language (before you express your understanding or misunderstanding on a topic, i advice you either you avoid it or study it). dear, sir, with all respect, the rest is an eclictic mixture of superficial info from various fields.

my advice: start moving throughout The Western Canon by Harold Bloom.
hope it helps
love peace
Reviewed by Aberjhani 11/2/2005
Enjoyed this fresh comedy/satire of intellectual manners with its take on the ironies and absurdities of what I sometimes term the dominance of false idiotic image over authentic ideological substance (I've worn both hats so can testify:-). Kept hearing Jonathan Swift and Wm Burroughs plus a few others laughing over my shoulder as I read. Particularly appreciated the meditation on the properties and evolution of language as we now know it. Thought it cool also the way you extended (whether intentional or not) your employment of the "wind" motif from your poetry on AD to this bold prosework. Thanks for the fun.
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 10/30/2005
What a read!!

Must say my head is much said my mind will take weeks to work through!!

But well penned...thanks for sharing!!

Need a cuppa after this!!

Love Tinka

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