Vedavalli and Mukhari

Mukhari is one of those ragas that defy classification in the Venkatamakhin 72 melakarta raga scheme. The Arohanam has Chatushrithi Dhaivatham and the Avarohanam has Shuddha Dhaivatham, a trait, it shares with Bhairavi. Do you classify it under Natabhairavi or Kharaharapriya? The skipping of Gandharam in the ascent with the SRM phrases lends it’s own beauty and the jagged (vakra) PNDS fixes Mukhari as opposed to sister ragas Bhairavi et al. Watch this video at about 30 minutes or so, for a truly masterful and serene interpretation of Mukhari by the 80 year old Vedavalli, who uses every ounce of her rich classical experience over all these years. The beauty and dexterity of her handling of Mukhari more than makes up for the lack of robustness in her voice.

The unity of mathematics

Israel Gelfand famously chided his students to declare that they didn’t study differential geometry or representation theory etc but that they studied mathematics. I was witness to the unity of mathematics in a rather stunning way. Working with the linearized Euler equations of hydrodynamics on the two dimensional torus, if one studies the spectrum of the linearization about a steady state, one is naturally led into counting problems associated with the integer lattice, stuff that shows up in number theory. To see this connection, between problems in the stability theory of fluid dynamics on the one hand and counting problems and number theory on the other hand, is startling to say the least, at least to the mathematically naive person such as me. At a deeper level, one is led then to wonder at such things as the Platonic nature of mathematical reality.

Matt Belmonte on Indian emigre’s

I have noticed this quality of many Indian emigres: they disproportionately enter finance, or software and other applied and lucrative and scripted aspects of engineering rather than the purer, creative forms of science and engineering. Even when they’ve made it to the top, it seems, many Indians can’t stop behaving in terms of the scripts that the British class system has prepared for them. It’s as though the postcolonial angry ghost of the British Empire has arisen, to spirit away the cream of the younger generation and turn them into conformist bankers in bowler hats.

Trumper vs Gupte

What’s a heaven for, (apologies to Mr. Browning ofcourse) if we cannot imagine cricketing contests between folks separated by time. When I die and go to heaven (!) I would like to watch Victor Trumper take on the leg spinner claimed by Gary Sobers as the greatest ever, Subash Gupte. That’s all folks. Well that and…..listen to KV Narayanaswamy sing live.



The Danish recipe for happiness

A beautiful blog post here:

The Danes have formed the most content society I have ever had the good fortune to experience. Their democratic values have a shifted focus. In contrast to the United States’ embracing of fierce independence and limitless freedoms in hopes of achieving the American Dream, the Danes have focused instead on stability, community and coziness. There is far less emphasis here in Denmark on personal achievement to beget wealth. There is not as much focus on the accumulation of more and more material goods as a life goal. There is, instead, talk of going to the beach. Or spending a day at Tivoli with the kids. Or biking out to Silkeborg. There are, of course, complaints about the weather. There is never having to say “please” (there is no Danish word for “please”), or make smalltalk when you don’t want to. There is subsidized childcare, a year of paid maternity leave, free education and healthcare for all. Every Dane I interacted with had achieved a quiet dignity, a personal knowledge that, no matter who they were or how much they made, they mattered: they mattered to themselves, to their families, to society, and to their government. Treating everyone as though they matter: maybe, just maybe, that is indeed a recipe for happiness.