Travelogue: Madurai, a City Worth Falling in Love with!

Gandhi Museum, Madurai

“All of them man! All of them!” The lady was literally at the top of her voice. The topic was “mallus”, in a congregation of five in the food court of “the only mall” in Madurai. It was a confusing, confused bunch – Emma, Dinesh and me had come to meet Jo and a friend of hers who works in Chennai. Dinesh didn’t know Jo, and that friend of hers didn’t know anyone of us than Jo.

It’s just been three hours since I reached Madurai, and of course, even if we don’t move around much, the thing with Emma is that we can just sit at some place and talk or debate forever. But moving around added spices to it, making us non-Madurites (Dinesh, from Andra and me, a mallu) and Emma, the Madurite fall in love with the city for the first time!

Jo was also a Madurite, Emma’s mom’s colleague’s daughter. Talking about Madurai, almost every bit of my Madurai bond revolves around the Lady Doak College, and the staff there,¬† and their kids. All close to my heart, even if we haven’t talked for a very very long time. Jo’s friend was a Telugu, from Hyderabad, where I was supposed to be in instead of Madurai that day, but I decided to betray Christy for Nithya, whose marriage reception I had come to attend.

Back to the mall. The conversation started with the dear unknown friend of Jo’s asking “any religious religious guys here?” Jo knew where she’s getting to, turned and looked at me immediately. Emma followed her league. Dinesh was busy watching the film song in the big screen behind us. She got the hint, finished religious jokes off in a comment or two, not to invite a judgemental religious guy’s wrath. Well, I’m a Christian, one trying to be not of the kind she expected me to be.

I was about to thank God, and I even asked her if she’s just looking for a bakra (Hindi for scapegoat), obviously Emma, who acted well as an illiterate in Hindi asked for its meaning and made himself the bakra. The conversation evolved from Hindi to Hyderabad, Hyderabad to Chennai, Chennai to Tamil, Tamil to Pondicherry University (the factor connecting us all – we all studied there though in different years), PU to mallus. One who seemed to be an adherent evolutionist defied all laws of evolution at that point and forcibly denied every attempt of the conversation to evolve itself.

“Judgemental man! I do this, and this mallu girl comes and tells me that!”

“I can’t stand them – the other day, I won’t tell the name no, Jo, because he might know her! So the other day, I was …”

“They should just mind their own business OK!”

“The other day, after an interview, that mallu girl comes and tells me I might have got selected because I’m fairer! What rubbish!”

“Mallus and Bengalis have this thing between them no?”

And once in a while, I kept hearing, “All of them man, all of them!”

And it kept on coming. Most part of it, I was silent. I tried to imagine all the mallus she might have had the chance to meet till date. Oh, a horrible bunch it should have been. Well, I won’t blame her, if that’s the way mallus that caught her attention treated her in past. She’s got all right to generalise it.

Well, there was something else that bothered me. I’m a mallu. Do I fit in any of her description of mallus? I think I do to some extend, but I was too lazy to think deep into it – and I will leave that hardwork to you.

But my thoughts refused to stop evolving, unlike the conversation. I was tempted to ask myself, “What about the Telugus I know of?” The prominent names that came to my mind were Dinesh and Laxman, and they happened to be two of the nicest people I’ve ever seen.

I have been in middle of mallu jokes before, and why, even Emma sitting next to me is famous (and infamous among many) for his humanist jokes (he takes on the whole human race, part by part, disqualifying his jokes from being a racist) – and that’s a connecting factor between us, because I enjoy every bit of conversation with him. If Grace graces the occasion with her presence, it would create few sweet memories and laughs you would never want to forget. But why do I feel I’m getting a little defensive here? This sounded more like a mallu hatred than mallu joke, maybe. Emma was unusually silent. The songs on big screen kept entertaining Dinesh all through the conversation.

And I was distracted soon enough. The attempt to draw symmetric patterns on my mobile screen caught my attention soon – Emma, who noticed it, tried to attract everyone’s attention to it – but the conversation soon got back to mainline after a short detour.

“But one thing I can’t deny about mallus is their films – many of them are just brilliant!” That caught my attention. At last, the conversation’s attempt to evolve seems to have succeeded.

I should have drawn a lot of patterns, found three new designs I can draw on the screen, when Jo announced that we should go grab something to eat and leave soon.

During lunch, she dragged in Trump’s victory in US elections. “Americans have lost their mind”. Well, I should have controlled myself, but I couldn’t. I, who sounded a bit insecure till then, looked up at her. In few minutes, she realised it’s worthless to debate anymore on the issue, decided to just listen to me advocate against Hilary (and not advocate that Trump is a saint), and why Hilary played bad politics and which made her deserve the lose. There was a short silence, and we decided to get back home, freshen up, go meet Nithya once before the reception, while the girls went on their way.

I loved every second there in Madurai – the marriage reception that evening, the CSI Cathedral Church service the next day, the Meenakshiamman Koil and The Thousand Pillars, the Madurai Nayikkar Palace, and most of all, Emma’s parents!

It would be an injustice not to write more about them – such wonderful people! Though we had only a limited time with them both, I had two new role models to look up to. And the food they prepared for us, the time they laughed with us, amazing would be understating it.

As I recollect all of this which happened a week back, apart from Emma’s parents, I realised one another person had made a lasting impression on me – that’s that friend of Jo’s, whose name I don’t remember. A strong, opinionated, dominant, confident woman, one of the rare I’ve ever seen in my whole life. Had there been more women like her in this world more than the so-called self proclaimed feminists driven by their insecurities rather than their strengths, the world would have been a better place. But I do hope she realises one day that not all mallus are as horrible as she described, and that in our society, we too only have much morons as we have in any other society, in one form or another. And off late I’m learning to see the gem even in the morons, with no bar for religion, caste, creed, country, state, and that has helped me be more open minded, accepting, less judgemental and a better Christian.

To wrap it up – I saw three new people win my heart over there in Madurai – two with love, like Emma’s parents, and another with a bit harsh, but elegant offence. A precious new learning, I should treasure for all of my life.

Here are some pictures, as some wise men said, the best way to hide from a picture is to be the cameraman – and it was fun being a cameraman for these two crazy souls, made to be in the frame! And you guessed it right! I have this thing for ceilings! Also, I was researching on how to make the best of Panorama shots. By the way, I look somewhat like that third guy who appears in pictures less frequently.

Almost all photos were taken with Dinesh’s Moto Z Play (16MP back, most of the ceilings were taken with the 5MP front) and a handful of them with my Moto G3 (12MP).

*Hope to add more pictures of Madurai Meenakshiamma Koil soon as I get it from Dinesh.

On Selling Hobbies

Must confess I’ve been in a mood to brag about my works since morning, thanks to the radiation from Christy, who launched his website christyvarghese.in which I designed. And this forest of blogs is the best place to brag long as I don’t publish it on my facebook, and no one would notice it. This is the catalogue of the works I’ve done so far – so I think I can direct those who want to know more about my works/experience to this post.

Websites

  • Arabian Link, Saudi Arabia – http://www.arabianlk.com (I disown the content in the website :P)
  • Christy Varghese, author – http://www.christyvarghese.in (He liked the last website, and wanted it just like that. Saved me from a lot of hardwork!)
  • proVISION ASIA, NGO working among disabled – provisionasia.org (just maintenance)

Programming

  • Stock Market Simulation Game v. 1 (with C++), v. 2 (with Excel) (Lost the files and formulas)
  • ABASHGUI – A BASH GUI for Abinit, a DFT simulator with BASH and zenity (Files with me, can send to anyone who wants it)
  • CSIR-NET General Aptitude – Android App : Helped in formatting some wrapped HTML, but not main coding.
  • <a dream project to be made public soon>ūüėÄ

Graphic Design

T-Shirts

  • Department of Earth Sciences, Pondicherry University (GIMP)T_1.png
  • Department of Ecology, Pondicherry University (GIMP)Allignment.jpg
  • (3 more, can’t be published openly)

Brochures and Invites

  • DSS, Lady Doak College, Madurai (Brochure, MS Word)DSS1.PNG

Invitation (I lost the final copy with borders et al, MS Word)

invitation.PNG

  • A wedding invite for a friend of mine who loved the colours of 70s and 80s: (leave a comment if you want it’s template, I can mail it to you – it’s in MS Word, so anyone can edit.)Invite-design.png
  • Cornerstone Trainers (Brochure)
  • Honesta Fashion, Singapore (Logo)
    fin-1.1.jpg

Editing/Writing

Teaching

  • Hawkseye Academy, Eranakulam and Kannur (General Aptitude Trainer for UGC-NET Aspirants)
  • UV Physics Academy, Hyderabad (General Aptitude Trainer for CSIR-NET Aspirants)

…… and a lot of stuff I don’t remember/that cannot be published openly! Then there’s an array of handicraft (dolls, chalk carvings, random stuff with papers, recycled plastic, threads et al)/drawings (random designs) that I sold/gave away to the one who bid for it first, I think I deleted all those pictures. Listed them out here because later, if someone asks for my experience in the field, I can just point them to this post! Hope this list will keep increasing!

New Gadget: The Dramatizer

Quite a dramatic mixture of events for a day it is, I tell you.

There was Mary Poppins. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Uncle-neice time. A happy mail to Lipsa.

Then mom calls. A silent wish¬†from sister to get out of her house as her in laws are coming, and the house can’t hold everyone together.

The conversation with mom goes this way:

Mom: Did you get tickets for tomorrow?

Me: No. There’s no ticket for today, tomorrow or day after tomorrow.

Mom: Why don’t you try for today?

Me: No tickets.

Mom: Why not today?

Me: No tickets.

Mom: Then?

Me: Let me see. There are tickets on Monday. I’ll come somehow.

Mom: Why don’t you come stay here two more days? Come on Saturday.

Me: No, amma, no ticket! (attempt not to lose my temper is evidently there)

(sister interupts and gets phone from me, gives it back to me)

Mom: Did you try for tickets on Sunday?

Me: It’s not there.

Mom: Then try for today!

Me: There’s no ticket today!

Mom: You should have booked last week itself!

Me: I¬†was unsure when I will have to meet sir again. I thought I’ll book after that.

Mom: Sure there’s no ticket today?

(grunts)

Mom: Come two days before Monday!

Me: That’s Saturday, and that day is also called tomorrow, and there’s no ticket, and I HAVE BEEN SAYING THAT FOR PAST 15MINUTES NOW!

Mom: You and your bad attitude! I was just asking you if there’s ticket tomorrow!

Me: There’s none, not today, not tomorrow, and not day after tomorrow. I don’t know what else to say! (all anger aside, as calm as I can, because I knew anger is not helping)

Mom: I hate your attitude these days. Learn to speak nicely.

(silence)

I will speak only when you are done shouting!

(silence again)

Done?

Me: I didn’t say a word.

Mom: (more silence)

Shout at me all that you want.

Me: I still didn’t say a word. Are you not well?

Mom: Yes. Bad cold for two days. Is there ticket for tomorrow?

Me: (having lost hope, calmly) Amma, there’s no ticket.

(carefully diverts conversation to something else.)

Well, all that half n hour of phone conversation could have cut short in two simple lines,

“Did you get tickets for tomorrow?”

“No – there’s none available today, tomorrow or day after tomorrow.”

which had actually happened right at the beginning of the conversation.

The phone rings again. It’s mom again.

“They say my phone won’t work until recharge?”

“Ok, I will, it’s plan voucher. Not recharge.”

“You need the debit card number?”

“No, I can manage without it!”

(cuts the call)

Phone rings again.

“Here’s the card details”

“I don’t need it, amma!”

“Then how will you recharge?”

“It’s saved online”

“Still I will tell you the number.”

“I don’t need it. Just wait for sometime!”

Phone rings again.

And again.

And again.

Test of patience. Successfully managed to not express the frustration to anyone.

Neice wakes up. I went near her and she screams telling me to move away. Silently walks away, she might not not-express her anger like me.

Phone rings again.

I figure out how to fix the plan voucher thing. Fixed. Phone rings again to tell me it’s fixed now. Shuts down my laptop.

Phone rings again. This time, it’s Christy.

Christy: Da, NET results are out.

Me: Going with the flow of the day, I think I already know the results.

Christy: What is it?

Me: Still, let me check it once before confirming.

Laptop booting up, and just as I expected, my roll number is not there among qualified candidates. I was reminded of Danielle, who had written an exam a week before mine, and results came last week that she did not clear it. Both of us were pretty confident about the results, that we will clear it, and both seemed to have failed.

(text)

Me: Not there.

Christy: Aiyyo!

Me: I’d be gone form visible world for few days.

(throws phone away)

Reminded of Ammu, who’s busy answering few tough questions about life.

Few seconds later, I find myself wondering the same. At least I’ve got this blog to ¬†vent¬†worries of my heart.

I think I’ll just get out of the house and walk down until I get lost.

And try saying “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.

Bis bald.

The Philosopher’s Stone

pexels-photo-112649-large

One day, a philosopher found a beautiful stone. He wondered what to do with it, and after contemplating for a long time on possible ways the stone may entertain him, he decided to try throw it up and throw it down at the same time.

That was a saisfying meal for him as a philosopher, I tell you.

(…and I’m clearly bored, you might have noticed it already!)

Rikki-tikka-tavi

wp-1472183239909.jpg

(This is my reply to Tikka’s marriage invitation, one of the most happening woman I’ve seen back there in Pondy)

‚ÄčOla,

Got your messages, mails:-)

I’m here in Chennai, but unfortunately in a deadlock!

I wonder why August 28th is a good day to get married, because my cousin, a classmate from PU and you are getting married on the same day and unfortunately I’m going to miss all three! Smeh. 

Quite a lot happening around me (this time they are happening by themselves, and I’m not making them happen) and that gives me a lot of possibilities to dramatically excuse myself from anything that comes on my way. After all, we all live everyday just to put up a new and exciting drama, don’t you think so?

Plus a fever I caught from somewhere between Tambaram and Kodambakkam to add to the flavour.

Plus the crane’s about to deliver a child to my sister – that’s the cherry on top. She’ll manage the crane, but I’m in charge of Amazon that will deliver other things while she’s in hospital and the elder one, Alana. Waiting for delivery message from both crane and Amazon now, we will get it all hopefully in a day or two.

See, I sound a lot saner now right? 

Anyway, back to you! Get happy and get married for life! Plant good guava tree in your field, you can always trust a guava more than apples! Plus, I like guava better than apples!;-)

Oh, and don’t forget to panic a bit about wedding arrangements! Do some drama (the happy drama) to make that day kinda happening beyond everyone’s expectation!

May be the Oppa Tikka style! 

With Love,

A fever flavoured cake with a lot of mess to sort and a cherry on top.

Correction: Grace says storks give babies and not cranes. Whatever. The rest is still from Amazon, I’m pretty sure about it.

Hello World (Again!)

And I decided to start writing (again)! 

The other day Pavi proved that I’m highly (or as she dramatically put it, “very very highly”) impulsive with her crazy line-circle-painting practical test. She also told me I’ve got a lot of ‘p’-something skill too. Well, back then I believed anything high is good, very high is very good, and I felt like a very very rich man after talking to her! 

I don’t think anything else better explains why I deleted my last personal blog and I regretted it the very next day.

Here I am almost a year later, back blogging.

There will be the same old senselessness, and fact that I may be working for a while hopefully starting next week, you can also expect few mlanathafied (depressing) posts out of work-stress. I’d be meeting a lot of new people, and a few old people at a different level – it’s equally exciting and scary!

Let’s see how long this blog survives.

Bis bald. (Showing off my German skills)

ODE Cheat Sheet: Few Relevant Definitions

It’s been a while since I wrote here, and this is an attempt to resurrect the blog, and get inspiration to contribute something for Wikibooks as well.

This is a part of the book “Ordinary Differential Equations: Cheat Sheet” that I am compiling in Wikibooks, and it will be published in five instalments before/along with finalising the book in Wikibooks. And just like Examples and Counter Examples Series (Which again I am planning to compile in Wikibooks), this will also be edited as I learn.

Wronskian of Two Functions

Definition

Wronskian of two functions, y_1,y_2 is given by W_{y_1,y_2}(x)=\left|\begin{matrix} y_1 && y_2 \\ y_1' && y_2'\end{matrix}\right|

Useful Facts

If two functions y_1,y_2 are linearly dependent in an interval, then it’s Wronskian vanishes in that interval.

Laplace Transforms

Definition

\mathcal{L}\{f(t)\}=F(s)=\int_0^\infty e^{-st}f(t)dt

Properties

  1. \mathcal{L}\{af + bg\} = a \mathcal{L}\{f\} + b \mathcal{L}\{g\}\,,
  2. \mathcal{L}\{e^{at} f(t)\}(s) = F(s - a)\, for s > \alpha + a.
  3. If F(s) = \mathcal{L}\{f(t)\}, then \mathcal{L}\{f'(t)\} = sF(s) - f(0)
  4. Similarly, \mathcal{L}\{f''(t)\} = s^2F(s) - sf(0) - f''(0)

Laplace Transform of Few Simple Functions

  1. \mathcal{L}\{1\} = {1 \over s}
  2. \mathcal{L}\{e^{at}\} = {1 \over s-a}
  3. \mathcal{L}\{\cos \omega t\} = {s \over s^2 + \omega^2}
  4. \mathcal{L}\{\sin \omega t\} = {\omega \over s^2 + \omega^2}
  5. \mathcal{L}\{1\} = {1 \over s}
  6. \mathcal{L}\{t^n\} = {n! \over s^{n+1}}

Convolution

Definition

f(t)*g(t)=\int_0^t f(u)g(t-u)dt

Properties

  1. Associative
  2. Commutative
  3. Distributive over addition

Examples and Counter Examples for Abelian Groups

Note: This is the first of “Examples and Counter Examples” series. I plan on expanding such posts in course of time, as I come across examples.

Interesting fact: These are the OEIS lists of number of distinct groups of order n: number of groups,number of abelian groups, number of non-abelian groups

Examples

  1. \Bbb Z
  2. \Bbb Q
  3. \Bbb R
  4. Integers modulo n \Bbb Z / n \Bbb Z
  5. S_n,n\le2, the symmetric group.
  6. A_n \subset S_n,\forall n\ge1
  7. Any group of order < 4

Counter-Examples (or Non-Abelian Groups)

  1. Symmetric groups S_n,n\ge3

New kid in the block

Welcome the new kid in the block.

Almost two and a half years ago I kicked off my first WordPress blog Far Far Away, an attempt to showcase and improve my writing skills, and thankfully it was decently received in its first year before I got lazy and stopped writing regularly.

Off late I have been fascinated by the idea of “maths blogging” which is expected to improve my maths writing skills, and help me improve my skills in communicating mathematics. Thankfully WordPress.com supports LaTeX (\LaTeX fails to render though).

For the record, this is my sixth or seventh blog, and second to hopefully survive my wrath and an attempt to learn writing maths. I am a maths post graduate.

I have also transferred my following tech posts from Far Far Away, an attempt to make that blog more focussed on non-maths, non-tech content:

I hope I will be able to be able to post more frequently after December 20th. Since then, I plan on at least one post a week.

The content will be mostly about (and not restricted to),

  • Interesting facts in/about mathematics
  • Interesting theorems I came across
  • Interesting math.SE questions that caught my attention
  • Geek jokes
  • Interesting mathematics contest questions
  • …and hopefully compilation of definitions and important theorems, arranged topic-wise, for my own future reference.

I am also an active member in math.SE. I am more inclined to abstract side of mathematics, hope you now know what to expect here.