The Jaundiced Eye

This is a collection of borrowed wisdom, often masquerading as my commentary on life at large.

It was the best of days. it was the worst of days. We were all headed to Heaven. We were all going directly the other way.

What started out as a 500 word review of “Interstellar” has culminated in a 4,000 word treatise on the laws of physics.

A list of ‘things I believe in.’ Naturally, this is work in progress.

The cosmic calendar provides perspective as we ponder earthly matters. Read more.

Why are there things? Why is there a universe? Why are there stars, planets, earth, moon, human beings, frogs and flowers? Why are there scientific laws? Why are there abstract things like time, space and distance? Why is there anything? Of all the possibilities, isn’t the simplest that of nothing?

A legendary search for an identity; of a soul in obsessive search of salvation.

Maya Angelou’s moving description of the last moments with her mother.

From the Dr. Carolyn Porco shares her ‘dangerous idea.’

What is the Hindu Way of Life? Who is a Hindu? Here’s my take. Instead of writing, I’ve made a short video.

Is there a purpose to our lives? Or are we imagining that there is one?

Finding the most number of right answers? Or finding the least wrong answers? Which is a better way to educate our kids?

Is patriotism morally just? What logic lies in blind loyalty to a nation, whose citizenship you hold only because of a random act of nature? What does it mean to fall in love with India?

Is there a formula for a good life? Are there secret ingredients like some sort of a magical mix of love, work and social connections?

Dear Indian Youth of all Hues and Shades, There’s nothing to suggest that I’m qualified to write a letter to you other than the fact I too was young like you once upon a time and now suffer from a delusion of grandeur which makes me believe that I can write letters to millions of […]

Science and religion share similar aspirations. They both wish to shed light on why things are the way they are. They attempt to explain the mysterious and to help us find our ways through our lives. But, their similarities end there. Science versus Religion Religions, with rare exceptions, take the view that the world was […]

Our lives are shaped as much by our personalities as they are by our genders, ethnic origin and other demographic factors. Introversion and extroversion are the north and the south of temperaments. According to studies, one third to a half of all people are introverts, which is pretty amazing considering how few people would admit to […]

Life in uncertain. Why do we struggle to comprehend uncertainty? What can we do about it?

Is proof required to believe? Or must there belief sometimes before proof can be understood, as in the case of the Pythagoras theorem?

Part 2 of the Maha Kumbh Mela trip report. Ayodhya – the city built by the Gods.

Would you take the trouble of going to a place where lakhs of people gather and jostle for limited space and other resources, and incur obvious health risks posed by such an environment? A bunch of us did. And this is my account of that. Why? It’s hard to explain why we chose to go […]

The mind substitutes likelihood with representative-ness of an event. This is how we make errors in judgment which can have far reaching impact on society.

Are we condemned to always play out our Darwinian impulses? Will our humanity always beat out the divinity in us?

I stopped watching news on television more than five years ago. Here’s why.

I think our approach to Pakistan is messed up. Here’s why I think so.

A letter from an ordinary citizen of India. To whomsoever it may concern.

On the origin of the Palestine-Israel conflict. This post has its fundamental origins in my deep rooted disavowal of patriotism and nationalism as divisive notions. There is only one thing common and binding to all of us – that is the inherent goodness of our selves that we are born with.

Time is one of the most fascinating human constructs. In the matter of cosmology and universal time scales, the Hindus have put forth a grand idea, and whether true or not, it does make the pulse quicken. My belief is that it would benefit all to take notice of this.

Creativity is divergence in thought – an ability to consider infinite possibilities in the place of one or few. We are all born with it. Tragically, it dies within most of us by the time we cross the age of ten. Why? Why are not more of us creating things? Does creativity have to involve pain and suffering? What does it mean to create?

I will freely admit that I’m an unabashed admirer of scientists. Well, most of them. They are practitioners of the scientific method, a means which is relentlessly objective and rational. The scientific method calls for a statement or theory to be verifiable (or falsifiable) and repeatable. Practitioners of the scientific method do not subscribe to […]

Many years back, I read a book titled simply “The Vedas.” It’s an English translation of a series of discourses given by Paramacharya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati of Kanchi Mutt. I’ve read this book several times over in the last five years. Each time I’ve read it, I’ve discovered a new and intriguing notion missed in […]

When it comes to his own specialty, evolutionary biology, there is none better than Richard Dawkins. But the purpose of this book is not to explain science. It is rather, as he tells us, “to raise consciousness,” which is quite another thing.

Today (July 4, 2012), scientists from CERN in Europe announced that they may have found clear signs of a particle which is thought to be the Higgs boson, popularly known as the God particle. The hardworking scientists aren’t getting ahead of themselves, and are not quite confirming the existence of the Higgs boson outright. They’ve […]

Indians occupy a special place in the pantheon of insensitivity. We are a nation of uncaring, indifferent boors, whose lives are only occasionally punctuated by those (increasingly rare) Satyameva Jayate moments, when we sit down and pretend to care about our fellow citizens. Why are we a nation of dimwitted fools?

A short interpretation of a “bliss mantra” from the Taitriya Upanishad in the Vedas.

Empathy is the ability to view the world from another’s perspective. Of all emotions, it’s empathy that makes us human. Some would even say it’s empathy that makes us divine. So how exactly does empathy work from a neurological perspective? What triggers empathy? Can we be trained to be empathetic?

If Rome is the eternal city, Istanbul has to be the timeless city, having endured centuries of struggle and change. Notes from a recent trip to Turkey

Who am I? That’s a simple question. Yet one without a simple answer.

This year, as is the case each year, there will be a crazed competition among teenagers, in which they will fight each other to the finish for a grand prize. Yes, I’m talking about the Hunger Games, also known as the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Exam (IIT JEE).

It’s not hard to understand why Rahul Dravid is celebrated as a hero. There are obvious and undeniable reasons. Yet at some level it is hard to fathom how such a persona – one who was so unwilling to seek public attention and uncompromisingly focused inwardly – came to be a hero in these modern times.

We live in an incredibly fascinating world. I found more evidence of this in the last couple of weeks while reading a couple of different but related articles. The first insight came from a video by Professor Philip Zimbardo on the “The Secret Powers of Time“. The good professor posits that we, humans, tend to […]

Groucho Marx said, “I refuse to become a member of any club that’s willing to admit me”. This clever absurdism reveals the innate human tendency to desire something and yet feel unworthy of it at the same time. It’s been such a long held, gloomy Western tradition to view marriage through a Marxist lens, that […]

If I had a dime for everytime I got this question from my younger one (in fifth grade), I’d have assets so disproportionate to my income that would put the local MLA to shame. “Why do I have to learn this?” Caught off guard the first few times, I drew a blank. Quickly, I learnt to come up […]

Everyone’s talking about Pakistan. You can’t run for office, nay even step out of the kitchen these days without knowing your Waziris from your Mehsuds and your Lashkars from your Jaishes. Not everyone knows what they are talking about. After all, there are lots of guys over there doing some incredibly bizarre stuff, that it’s not […]

Light is at the core of physics. Light, its attributes and energy, define the very parameters of this amazing universe that we find ourselves in. The nature of light, also (less commonly) known by its scientific name – electromagnetic radiation (EMR) – is the most fascinating conundrum we have encountered in nature. Light is the two-faced […]

Scientists in Europe claim that they have observed neutrinos traveling faster than light. What are neutrinos? Why is it surprising that they can travel faster than light? What’s the big deal? Neutrinos What are neutrinos? They are sub-atomic particles – little wisps of almost nothing, with no electrical charge. Being neutral, they are found nearly […]

What can you write about Rajnikanth that has not been already said? I guess you could start by asking how you go from a dark skinned, Marathi speaking, bus conducting Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in Bangalore to Rajnikanth, the biggest commercial movie star in India? Rajni’s Sivaji – The Boss, released a few years back, was […]

There is a lot of hand wringing about the recent downgrade of the US debt, an unprecedented event, which some say, is the beginning of the end of the amazing run of the United States of America.

It’s hard to fathom a cheerful world while in the throes of existential angst. But, life’s not as bad as it looks. 3 reasons why.