Books – November 2015

I have been going through multiple books over the last month and will continue to do so this month too. The list is as follows:

Seveneves – The book continues, wherein the people on earth are now finally completely aware of what is going to happen in the near future and are prepping those in the space station for the same. To be frank, I am not sure I will be able to finish this book in the near future. Dec 21 is the return date for this one and with other books that I have lined up, one of this length doesn’t stand as a favorite. Mr. Stephenson needs to write shorter books. Reamde also remains as one of those very few books I abandoned in the middle (I either don’t pick them up or leave them within 20 pages into the book as I get an idea that they don’t match my taste)

Deadhouse Gates – Interesting read, my favorite among these here. Mr. Erikson knows how to write and more pleasingly, he seems to be able to seamlessly integrate the stories of the old characters while introducing new characters to us. I had read the first book not on my kindle and could actually go back to the maps whenever I was trying to get a feel of the geographical movements of the characters. This one however, I am reading on kindle and am missing that point of view of how characters are moving from place to place (especially Fiddler and Kalam, for those of you who understand what I am talking about) and also given the fact that there is a good enough chance that all characters might be meeting at a common place later in the book. With multiple assignments and exams going on hand in hand along with my attempts to re-design government visualizations, it is going to be a toughie to finish this one this month. But am glad I started this series and am very much looking forward to all the books and am pretty much sure that it would be nearly a year or two before I finish the entire series and finish them I will!

The Shadow of the Wind – I have decided to go through this, just for the beauty of it. I don’t think I have to say anything about it, it is one of the most exquisitely written books ever. The words flow like a majestic stream and the translator did a job of the highest order.

The Sultan’s seal – This is the final book on the list. It is one that I entirely chanced upon during my usual Thursday checkout of the latest arrivals in the library (they are lent to us only for three weeks instead of the default length of entire semester, hence provide some kind of challenge to finish them up or face a fine). I had heard of the author as one with an appreciable sense of humor and that the translator he had gotten was also very respectable of what he was translating and was mindful of the spirit of the original work. This can easily be seen at the beginning of the book where the translator actually outlines his thoughts about this translation work. Regarding the book, it has been a mixed ride so far, the writing is ok-ish but it definitely gives glimpses of the thoughts of a middle-eastern author(s) whose works I have admittedly read very few (Arabian nights is the closest I have gotten and also Italo Calvino’s works which I always thought were more impressive versions of a few Arabian nights stories).

With finals coming up in December and some admittedly busy times ahead, I am not sure how many of these I would do justice to, but these books make up an interesting line-up to lure me back to them on those (possibly) lull weekends.


Masters in Analytics – Aug 2015 update

I have begun to pursue masters in Analytics starting this fall semesters in Ohio, United States.

There are various courses including statistics – techniques and tools, data visualisation and some probability. I was thinking about using this blog as a medium to post my ideas and thoughts on the course lectures and also any of the other stuff that I am working on.


The past few months have been exciting in working on various projects along the lines of a fitness club, financial services provider and an insurance provider.

The vast array of problems have been really helpful in increasing the scope of my understanding and improving the skillset that I possess

New technologies learnt include – Julia and D3. I am not a fan of D3 (Data driven documents) I should say as the purpose seems to be a polished VBA, though I know that is a major understatement. The various added functionalities in terms of connecting to a server and realtime refresing of a D3 document/dashboard are enticing concepts indeed. But for now, I would stay away from D3 though might venture back to it in the future. One aspect for which I am thankful to have been exposed to D3 is that it required me to learn about HTML and CSS which I must say was an interesting experience.

On the reading side, haven’t been able to get much reading done. Some of the books include ‘Everybody loves a good drought’, an eye opener regarding the plight of poor Indians int he villages whose names nobody ever hears. Another book I tried reading was ‘India shaastra’ by Mr.Tharoor but unfortunately my schedule didn’t permit me to finish it. ‘Sacred Games’ is another of my current reads that I definitely would recommend for someone who loves novels having a scope similar to that of ‘Shantaram’.

Also finished reading as many articles of Rohit Brijnath as I could scavenge from the depths of the internet history of last decade and half. He is a magician when it comes to using words to describe anything or anyone in sports. Can read his articles time and again without ever getting bored, planning to write a post here on his articles soon, hoping I would get to do that at some point of time

There might be a few changes with respect to career path regarding which I would update as and when it happens

3rd anniversary of my blog

Almost a year ago, I made this post :

It was about my blog completing its second anniversary and my promises of more posts to come. Funny that I made only two posts since that ( one about the wildlife documentaries I had just watched before writing that post and the other about a poem by HC Wotton).

No math for one year!. Exactly!. NO MATH FOR ONE YEAR. That is what this blog has been screaming at me whenever I have opened it. I have decided to devote more attention on this from now.

Also, this month would mark the third anniversary of my blog. Some journey it has been! Would be definitely interesting to pen my thoughts on what has been happening for the past year in and around me. I think I will get down to it sometime soon.

Of a poem

Poems. Few words conveying a galore of thoughts in a way that only few would appreciate and connect with. I feel, to understand a poem, rather, to understand the poet’s thinking while he was penning those lines, one needs to read the lines not as a mere statements but something more than that.

One of the few poems that has stayed with me since a long time is ‘ The Character of a Happy life’ by Sir H C Wotton

It goes like this :

How happy is he born or taught,
That serveth not another’s will;
Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his highest skill;

Whose passions not his masters are;
Whose soul is still prepar’d for death
Untied unto the world with care
Of princes’ grace or vulgar breath;

Who envies none whom chance doth raise,
Or vice; who never understood
The deepest wounds are given by praise,
By rule of state, but not of good;

Who hath his life from rumours freed;
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruins make accusers great;

Who God doth late and early pray,
More of his grace than goods to send,
And entertains the harmless day
With a well-chosen book or friend.

This man is free from servile bands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.

The most influential lines of these poem are the last two lines of the first paragraph;

Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his highest skill;

What they convey can only be understood when one is able to comprehend what the phrases ‘honest thought’ and ‘simple truth’ mean. Am sure we all have our own ways of defining or explaining these phrases but essentially they should lead us to the essence of these phrases all the same.

Anyway, just thought I should make an entry about the poem that has been my inspiration for such a long time. Hence, this post. Would may be that I might come back one day and speak more about these two phrases. But, for now, this is this.

The Nordic Wild

Yesterday, I was watching a Nat Geo documentary on Nordic Wild. The video can be found here :

The documentary was mainly divided into three storylines converging into one i.e rebirth with the onset of autumn in the Scandinavian islands. The three story lines were :

1. A mother bear coming out into the world along with her three cubs after a prolonged period of hibernation

2. A mother arctic fox trying to nurture her litter of 10 against all odds and no companionship

3. Different birds (White geese, Ducks etc.) trying to show their chicks how to survive

Some of the appalling scenes were shot and some indeed try to teach you a lesson or two. For example, the birds build their nests in the cliffs at a height of 50m or in trees (ex woodpecker nests) to save their chicks from the predators. When these birds fly away from such heights, the chicks are expected to take the plunge for their first ever outing for food. The chicks, having jumped from such a height, do survive the fall thanks to their light bodies and feather filled outer layering. So, their was indeed a lesson or two to be learnt form the survival of these chicks according to me.

Also, these documentaries reminded me of how much I have been lacking in my daily schedule. Previously, I used to watch a large number of wildlife documentaries on a monthly basis but the banalities of a daily life seem to have caught up with me and this documentary just got me thinking about the same. I for sure have decided to go back to the old ways of watching at least a documentary or two every week.

Also, before signing off, here’s the first ever nature/wildlife documentary (in fact, documentary series) that I had watched in my early days of college. Ah, how the memories of the 17″ CRT monitor kick in!


2nd anniversary of my blog

I just realized that this month marks the second anniversary of my blog. Although there haven’t been many posts in this blog, I still feel that this blog is an important of my thinking and my musings (mostly of which are math related)

I hope I am able to post more often that before ( I know that I haven’t been the most frequent of bloggers). Although one thing I am assured of is that, as time goes on, I find less and less time to actually devote to self learning higher college mathematics and hence it seems for some time that passion would have to wait in the sidelines of my grey matter

Coming to what I have been upto in the past few months, I have been having a good time at my first job and would like to see where it takes me as the time progresses on. But I am sure that this verbal musings I have started to post almost on a daily basis would significantly increase my blogging activity and be helpful to my vocabulary. I also hope that it would be helpful to someone else somewhere and not just me alone.

I think a good ending point to this verbal musings would be when I would be able to start making prose or poems out of the new words I have learnt by then, but I realize this will be a difficult task since It is not easy to create a prose out of your imagination, albeit with simple words, but still, it is something I dream of and would like to keep on dreaming.

I am reading through the biography of Hitler by Ian Kershaw now ( a work of brilliance I must say based on what I have read so far). It is a completely and thoroughly researched book and although I don’t get time to read at a fast pace or have dedicated time for the same, I am trying to finish it part by part at my own pace. I did the same for ‘A house for Mr.Biswas’ , but finally put down that book due to the sheer boredom it caused whenever I tried to resume reading it. I am sure, it will not be the same with Ian Kershaw’s book.

Meanwhile, I have read through the much spoken about book by Neil Gaiman ‘The ocean at the end of the Lane’ and didn’t find it particularly interesting, be it because of the lack of details on the part of Hempstocks or the extreme simplicity of dialogues when it came to the lead character ( a seven year old kid). Another of the books I have read and would like to mention here is ‘A blood Song’ by Anthony Ryan. It is now one of my favorites and I absolutely liked the way he kept me hooked to the book with the story line and not so difficult sentences and word usage.

Finally, I hope I do get to post more about math , and would do so at every chance I get.