About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

November 29, 2015

100 years and still elementary Mr.Einstein!

In my earlier post i wrote how Albert Einstein made for a great humanist and social thinker. His biggest contribution was however reserved for science - but how many realize that he changed science itself by redrawing the basic understanding of the universe?

Most of the scientific findings in human history have been like sedimentary deposits on the rising plinth of human discovery and understanding. But one man’s findings were so extra ordinary and fundamentally different that the entire scientific edifice had to be remolded to his findings. 100 years to date.

Armed with just 10 equations he redefined gravity in terms of how it bent space and time in unimaginable ways (if you want to see how Gravity can play havoc with Time and Space watch the latest Hollywood flick Interstellar). In comparison Issac Newton and Charles Darwin appeared child’s play in the complexities he solved involving multiple variables seemingly contradicting each other.

His theory puts everything in perspective - right from the structure of the universe to its beginning as the mother of all explosions (Big Bang)

Humanity took one huge leap with his equations setting in motion a fundamental thought– what exactly happened a few seconds after the universe was born and its corollary - what will happen in its final dying moments. 

This infographic traces the uncharacteristic journey of this remarkable man for most of his formative years

My tribute once again to the man who primarily changed my perception (& countless million others) and enriching humanity‘s progress - which by all yardsticks is a spec in the vast expanse of the universe’s timelines.

November 26, 2015

Intolerance debate - new twist

The country is awash with the intolerance debate, social media has exploded with fury over the latest remarks from film star Aamir Khan about ‘growing intolerance’ in the country. A sentiment echoed by his costar in the tinsel world Shahrukh khan in the recent past. Many so called intellectuals especially Govt award winners (like the Padma) have joined the bandwagon in returning the awards conferred on them. All in a short span of about 8-10 months.

These people have taken some isolated incidents in the country and have painted the country’s secular fabric with a very broad brush with this single word (intolerance). And doing so they have unwittingly assaulted on the common sense of the AAM ADMI in the process. The common theme in social media is one of anger and dissent at these people for picking the wrong cudgel. For the majority it has no factual bearing or historical basis and is now widely come to believe as the wild imagination of a few alarmist people. At worst it could be a ‘manufactured dissent’ (as put by BJP, the ruling party which rightly feels that barbs are aimed at discrediting its governance) largely due to the leftist leaning intelligentsia in the country.

The Hindi word equivalent of intolerance is asahiShNuta or asahaniyata . But someone rightly gave a new science definition to the raging debate in the country 

What is the unit of intolerance?

- Its ॐ (ohm: Ω)


By definition its as follows

Original Ohm’s law - the current flow through a conductor is directly proportional to the potential difference (voltage) and inversely proportional to the resistance (or intolerance)

The neologism (i.e, alternate meaning) in my mind for this word is now as follows

New Ohm law - the opinions flying through a celebrity or award winner is directly proportional to the potential ideological difference and inversely proportional to the political affinity with ruling party

All this and its time to do a Washington post's style invitational on the intolerance word . Washington Post asks readers every year to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

InTOILerant (av) - someone who is accused of not working hard enough.

InTOLLerant (av) – someone who opposes fees collected in toll booths (like the MNS for instance)

InTROLLerant (av)- social media followers who rebel or dissent at the inappropriate comment made by celebrities

Luctose intolerant  – someone who blows up all the luck coming his way

November 12, 2015

Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place

My recent trip to Anjanadri Betta (hill) was not just a pilgrimage to the Hanuman birth place but also a journey in realization of the fabulous history of the place. For this is the blessed land where
  • The history of India and Hindu religion is deeply imbued
  • Ramayana comes to life here
  • Hanuman is deeply connected in every aspect of the life and times here
This low profile place shot to recent prominence when Jashodaben Modi, wife of Indian PM Narendra Modi visited the place seeking the blessings of the all mighty, as he took to the most powerful chair in Indian polity after a landslide victory in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place

Anjanadri hill route: Anjandri betta, birthplace of Hanuman is about 25 kms away from Kamalapur in Hampi and a short drive from Hotel Mayura Bhuvaneshwari managed by KSTDC. Hampi is a world heritage site about 343 from Bangalore, the silicon valley of India and a treasure trove of delightful ruins from the Vijaynagar empire. One has to pass through the town of Anegundi and some patchy roads (thanks to the SatNav which optimized my route plan) before reaching the place.

The temple is perched high on top of a hillock overlooking the Tungabhadra, the majestic river which was known as Pampa in ancient times. The river meanders through the beautiful rocky terrain comprising of stone gorges and massive granite boulders and provides a pretty picture as you ascend the 575 steps to the top. One can see the famous Virupaksha temple on other side of the river but the rest of the ruins of the once mighty Vijayanagar empire which provides a monochromatic continuity to the scenery is secluded from the magnificent view. It is only befitting to see the gopura of this magnificent temple dedicated to lord Shiva (who is regarded as the incarnate form of Hanuman). 

Where to stay when you visit Anjanadri Hill? If you are a budget traveller looking for value for money, then we suggest you stay at the
Mayura Bhuvaneshwari. It is situated next to the ruins of Hampi and is a 45 minute drive away from the  birth place of Lord Hanuman. The rooms are clean, food is okay and the ambiance is definitely good with surrounding  lush green garden. The staff are polite and friendly and the best part is its run by Government run Karnataka Tourism. If you are looking for a resort, then you may head to Kishkinda resort which is frequented by foreigners. You can spot them riding a bicycle or a biking in the surrounding hamlets. 

Anjanadri Hill topology
- where geology meets mythology: So the first thing you notice once you reach the top is the breath taking topography of the place. A symphony of sorts between the rocks, the mighty river, lush paddy fields interspersed with coconut grooves and beautiful man made stone structures of Vijaynagar times emerging from natural rock formations. The tourists come here to also view the sunset which provides the icing on the cake to the visual treat. For the Hindu, this place is alchemy of geology and mythology, the seven magnificent hillocks* steeped in India’s religious epic Ramayana provide the backdrop to the magnificent Vijayanagar architecture here.

The seven hillocks are *Kishkinda, Anjanadri, Matanga, Malyavanta, Rushyamukha, Hemakuta, Rathnakuta

                         Kishkinda (surrounded by the dandaka forest) was the monkey kingdom in the Ramayana which flourished here in the Treta Yuga. The nearby Rushyamukha hill is the place where Hanuman stayed with Sugriva as per the Purana. Lord Rama came here in search of Sita and met the two and learns about her kidnapping by Ravana. Two inscriptions in Kannada (AD 1069 from Devighat) and (AD 1088 at Somnatha temple in nearby Munirabad) bear testimony to this

                        The Hemakuta Hill is the place where lord Shiva did penance before marrying Pampa (daughter of Brahma, also the ancient name of river Tungabhadra that flows like the Nile here)

                        The nearby hamlet of Anegundi is supposed to be Kishkinda, which as per Valmiki’s Ramayana Kishkinda Kanda (episode) is the place where where Sugreeva met lord Rama.

                            The largest monolithic statue of Ugra-narasimha (the man-lion incarnation of lord Vishnu) which finds place in the Prahalada (who is believed to be reincarnated in this region as Raghavendra) episode of Ramayana is found in Hampi


Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place

Anjanadri Hill Hanuman temple: The small temple atop the Anjandri Betta which signifies the Hanuman birth place is strikingly modest compared to the massive profile of lord Hanuman in the Hindu pantheon and his place in the hearts of millions of devotees. A young hindi speaking lad from UP carried out the aarati of the swambhu (naturally formed) vigraha of lord Hanuman. He appears in his classic stance i.e, sideways posture, his oblique eyes fixing his grace on the devotee as one enters the sanctum sanctorum. In the adjacent room, two Sants were immersed in a non stop recitation of bhajans in front of the holy triumvirate; Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman made from pure white marble. In the same vicinity is the statue of Anjanadri, the holy mother facing north while the rest of them face east. Her gaze is intense and the eyes are from a different world altogether.

At the entrance is a small aquarium containing a specimen of the floating rock used in building the Ram Sethu. One of the sants who was reciting the Bhajan joined us for a cup of tea subsequently. He identified himself as Ram Khilavan Mishra, and two ladies who also visited the temple during our visit turned out to be Sadhvis from Gorakhnath Math from UP (in pic).

Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place

Outside the temple, a small army of Vanars (monkeys) were more than eager to receive the coconut offerings I had bought from home. Strangely enough I could see squirrels here (they are usually not found atop rocks where there is no vegetation) but where the param bhakt of Lord Ram resides, his other devotees abound too!

Hanuman Parikrama: Further north of the Tungabhadra, in this undulating rocky region is a place called Mantralaya in present day Andhra. The renowned Hindu Saint and philosopher Guru Raghavenda who possessed miraculous powers lived here (1595-1671) and is believed to be the reincarnation of Sankukarna, Prahlada, Bahlika, Vyasaraja tirtha in that order. For his Samadhi (Brindavan), he chose a big black rock that was on the bank of river Thungabadra somewhere upstream . He had a vision that this sacred rock had been sanctified by Lord Sri Rama during his search of Sita. In front of Brindavan lies a temple devoted to Lord Hanuman and 10 miles away from Mantralayam is located the world famous temple of "Panchamukhi” (five-faced) Lord Hanuman 

All these historical facts (or myths as some would like to believe) points to overwhelming connection of this place to Ramayan and Hanuman, you just have to connect the dots to get the answer to the question: Where was lord Hanuman born?

Anjanadri hill - hanuman birth place. Hanuman parikrama

A journey in search of Hanuman birth place begins at Anjanadri betta, his glory reverberates in the rock cut temples of Vijayanagar (like the Hazara Rama temple), attains a crescendo at the brindavan of Swamy Raghavendra and culminates at the Panchamukhi Kshetra, the cave temple where Sri Anjaneya revealed himself to the Swami  in his five avatars -‘pancha-mukha’ ( Hanuman, Hayagriva, Narasimha, Garuda and Varaha) 

My earlier blog article on Lord Hanuman 

Trivia: Hanuman is Barack Obama's Luck Charm.  In an interview with Youtube creator Nilesen, it was revealed that Lord Hanuman is in the US President's personal memorabilia which he carries everywhere along with few other things in his pocket for inspiration.

November 1, 2015

Smart City India - namma Belagavi

The initiatives for Smart City Belagavi, India has started off in the right earnest and I was involved in submitting  my wish list to the City Corporation recently. 

Smart City India - namma Belagavi

The need for a new agenda: Belgaum-Belagavi-Belgaon is nicely poised to take on the mantle of a smart city, it has the right mix of ingredients for a modern city in the making; namely cosmopolitan population, a rich sense of history, a melting pot of cultures, salubrious climate, and strategic location (mid way between the financial & technology capitals of India i.e, Mumbai and Bengaluru). What is more important is its size (about 5.5 Lacs), which I believe is just about right for testing new ideas, implementing smart city technologies and developing an eco-system to sustain it without much hassles. What is particularly important from a political point of view is that the 'Smart City Belagavi' initiative will have a positive impact in driving social cohesion (i.e, bring together disparate groups with political agendas based on linguistic or regional identities) and drive economic growth and prosperity which has suffered as a result of this turmoil.

We have to look at various solutions to put the city on the smart city India map ranging from the high tech to the simple, and from the game changing to the essential, identifying what works and what is most suited for the indian
eco-system. Smart City Belagavi initiative will have to rely on drawing up a road map and plan with digital technologies at its core. This means that the agenda involves relying on inexpensive storage, computing, bandwidth and sensors which is collectively called as ‘the internet of things (IOT)’. IOT will help generate large amounts of data that can be used to plan civic resources, save energy, improve efficiency of the civic bodies and help deliver better services to its citizens. That is essentially to my mind, the agenda for the Smart City belagavi project.

I have compiled a list of top 10 issues that the city administrators have to keep in mind while working towards this. Essentially it revolves around two themes
  1. As a smart city, Belagavi city (BCC in particular) will optimize its resources use, reducing the carbon footprint to the minimum by improving its efficiency.
  2.  Belagavi as a Smart City will involve its people, apart from civic administrators and other stakeholders like Pvt Institutions, Govt etc  in the planning and implementation process
 Click here for the final report of the Smart City Proposal (SCP) made by the Belagavi City Corporation that catapulted it to the 15th position in the first list of 20 Smart Cities announced by the Modi Govt.

My other article on Belagavi cuisine, this to-be-Smart City also has great food joints too!!

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