Friday, 14 March 2014

Achilles and the Tortoise

I have many varied interests, some of them you know, Some of them I know, some I dare not admit to myself and some may well forever remain unidentified. But of all of them one is a curious liking to obscure paradoxes. I like the inconclusivity of them, the sheer reluctance of them to conclude to something, the ambiguity they persists and the infinite admiration that it invokes. Be it the time travelers paradox that effectively renders him a silent spectator of ages past or the Achilles paradox pointed out by the greek philosopher Zeno that is so obviously untrue yet mathematics require obscure concepts to prove it so. I take pride in the fact that these concepts are elusive and obscure to many it makes sense to me.

Now the paradox of Achilles I'd something that captured my imagination for sometime now, I will let my readers enjoy and revel in it's magnificence while I go and pen down something worth while.

In the paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise, Achilles is in a footrace with the tortoise. Achilles allows the tortoise a head start of 100 metres, for example. If we suppose that each racer starts running at some constant speed (one very fast and one very slow), then after some finite time, Achilles will have run 100 metres, bringing him to the tortoise's starting point. During this time, the tortoise has run a much shorter distance, say, 10 metres. It will then take Achilles some further time to run that distance, by which time the tortoise will have advanced farther; and then more time still to reach this third point, while the tortoise moves ahead. Thus, whenever Achilles reaches somewhere the tortoise has been, he still has farther to go. Therefore, because there are an infinite number of points Achilles must reach where the tortoise has already been, he can never overtake the tortoise.

PS : I was so lazy that I effectively copied the while definition of this paradox outright from Wikipedia.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Rise of the Sun Prince - Shubha Vilas

The Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas is essentially the part one (Bala Kanda) of the indian scripture Ramayana as written by the sage Valmiki, mixed with a few anecdotes and embellishments from the Kamba Ramayana (another version of the sacred text). I am not here to write a commentary on the scripture, it has been returned way too many times. As far as my review of Ramayana goes I will just for a line from this book. "Ramayana is not a book, it is a way of life".

Unlike the numerous renditions of the epic out there, what makes this one stand out is a set of essential yet simple qualities. The book is simple yet elaborate, the story is decomposed just enough for the casual reader to understand and yet it is sophisticated enough to prevent itself from being turned into yet another soulless recital. Vilas has added more than enough description and commentary to the age old tale that at times it's just annoying to see the sheer volume of his commentary wrestling out the epic out of it's own pages.

The story is retold with much detail and sans boring rhetoric. This is not a book for serious and concerned study of Ramayana, but it is all you would want if the aim is to reread the fables or just to tell your kids the famous bedtime story of India. This is the book that you could want your children to read if you want them to be part of that wonderful world of kings, queens and the many many adventures that you were once part of.

This book comes with a rather colorful front- page and spills on to about 250 pages. Jaico does a good job with the packaging and delivers the content for a sum of 250 Indian rupees (that's hardly 4 dollars and odd cents). yep books in India are rather cheap. My verdict is that it's a good book to have for your kids to read and for you to casually brush up the story.

Disclaimer : The above review of The Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas has been written in association with Jaico Publishing House. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

The book is unarguably beautiful but what is more beautiful is the untrained idea of death that is portrayed. Make no mistake this book is first and foremost about death and death alone, it talks of no survivors nor of martyrs. It takes of death as is. It talks of death as not having neither a prequel nor an epilogue bit one that is abrupt and harkens in the midst of life. It talks of that death that is quick, comes unannounced and interrupts life in it's track. Beautiful and realistic. 

This book is a crier, it's a book on cancer and it odd meant to be a crier. It touches you and leaves in it's wake a mark. It talks of a life in the verge of collapse and the struggle to be alive. It is the story of Hazel and Augustus and their unlikely romance, but it's not entirely a love story. It talks of their struggle with cancer but it's not a cancer book. It tasks of their family and the living and the subtle relationship they hold with the dying, their agony, their helplessness and their devastation but it's not just about it either. This book is about death and about dying and never about living.

It paints one of the best portrait of death i have read. This story of a star crossed cancer carrying couple and their enthrall eventual death. Thankfully the author does give the user some reprieve and doesn't abruptly stops his book like in the end of An Imperial Affliction by Houtten a frictional book but still it trails of in the midst but not before closure is delivered.

I rate this a four for all the buckets it filled with my tears and for the beautiful panorama of death it inscribes.

Amazon : The Fault in our Stars by John Green:

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Last Love

+Amrutha T  was not the first girl I loved. If she had been I might never have realized how special she is. In a way all my past failures were a prequel for this moment of truth. A series of necessary failures for making the one right choice.

Monday, 3 February 2014

The Simple Pleasures of Life

And to think I got to eat this all myself.

Belgium Bliss @ Baskin Robbins

PS : I love you and all but not that much I guess. +Amrutha