Saturday, May 26, 2012


Now I out walking
The world desert,
And my shoe and my stocking
Do me no hurt.

I leave behind
Good friends in town.
Let them get well-wined
And go lie down.

Don't think I leave
For the outer dark
Like Adam and Eve
Put out of the Park.

Forget the myth.
There is no one I
Am put out with
Or put out by.

Unless I'm wrong
I but obey
The urge of a song:

And I may return
If dissatisfied
With what I learn
From having died.

~ Robert Frost

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

a research student's letter to his parents

Sir Nevill Mott's letter to his parents dated October 1928

Nevill Mott was an English physicist.
For those not acquainted with Physics, loosely speaking, Bohr (Niels Bohr) was a super-fantastic scientist.

This is a letter that Nevill Mott wrote to his parents when he was a research student under Niels Bohr.

To me this is not about Nevill Mott, or Bohr or Physics. To me this is about the beautiful experience that research can be; the environment of research and then the pleasure of fascination distilled into the last two sentences. It is also about the sweet vulnerability of a student and his reverence for his teacher.

Yesterday at four o' clock Bohr said, "come across to my house and discuss the little bit of work you have just done, and a bit of work rather similar of someone else's"; Bohr lives opposite the Institute. And at six it was supper time, and Bohr said stay for supper, and I had supper with him and his wife, and we talked about sculpture. And then after supper we went on discussing, and it became more and more Bohr and less and less me. And by about 9 we had got about as far with the problem as seemed possible without further calculations, and so Bohr began to talk about the Philosophy of the Quantum theory and how it was all bound up with the impossibility of man's knowing himself, and his not being able to know the external world completely because he himself was a part of the external world. And then back to the Quantum theory and the outstanding problems again. And about eleven we said good night.

It is incredibly nice of him, isn't it, to give individual students his attention.

He has got a brain. When he has a new idea - he had this morning - he comes into the Institute and tells it to the first person he can find; today that was me.

Extraordinary what a difference it makes to life in general if one's work is going well. When I got messed up in that beastly arithmetic, and the thing gave an answer that didn't agree with Rutherford's experiments, one felt that one was stupid, would never do any good at this game, consequently rather overworked, and got dreadfully fed up and wondered if I'd better not come home and get a job like (my cousin) Johnny Simmonds. But now all goes well.

I like the life here where half one's work is discussing. That's the great point of Copenhangen I believe - though its probably the same in Germany too. Only Bohr knows everything that's been done and has a marvellous knack of finding the sense behind mathematics.

Bohr is the kind of man who can tell one that one is talking nonsense, without hurting - I don't think one can say more than that, do you?

And he has his students alone in the evening to talk, and then walks home with them, telling how he discovered his theory of spectra.

And then its 1 a.m. perhaps.

But it is funny that the spin of the electron can never be observed, isn't it? Perhaps the spin is only an illusion.

~ from The Making of Physicists. edited by Rajkumari Williamson

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Dream Peddler Indeed!

Waking up suddenly and finding
myself engulfed by darkness
Was it true or just another
That noise! What is it?
Relax! Its just the calendar pages flying
The constant whirring
of the fan reminds me
that this is reality
No dreams accepted here please

"What did you say you do?"
Everyone looks at me startled
"A dream peddler indeed," say some.
"After all she's only sixteen
We all went through that phase, didn't we?
She's just influenced by Lenon and Dylan"

"How much do you charge per dream"
    ask the Oracles in the room
"You must learn accountancy
before starting this business
After all correct pricing is
important," and they laugh.

And suddenly I face the stark reality
You're living in a selfish practical world
GIVE UP your ideas, you're no
    Messiah, compromise
And then I remembered a
line by Richard Bach
The only thing that shatters dreams is compromise.

~ Reshom Ghosh (now Majumdar)


Monday, March 26, 2012

Sail on, Sail on, Sailor!

"You sit on the shore; the boat is tied to the post;
What are you waiting for, O Sailor?
Do you expect anyone to come?"

"Far is the other shore, frail is my boat,
I wait for a stranger who goes my way to give me a lift."

"Alone and lonely is the sail across the sea
Sail on, sail on, O diffident sailor,
Waiting for none and hoping for naught."

"The sail flutters high and the helm stands ready,
What are you waiting for, O Sailor?
Why don't you move in?"

"Turbulent is the sea and unfavourable is the wind,
I wait for the waves to subside and winds to favour."

"The waves subside not, nor the winds favour,
Sail on, sail on, O hesitant Sailor,
Waiting not for favours but braving it out."

"The boat is in motion wafted up and drawn by the waves,
Why remain in the shallow, O Sailor,
why don't you go into the deep?"

"It is all dark, I can't see my way
I wait for the dawn to give me light."

"Your heart is the light and your instinct the guide.
Sail on, sail on, O lingering Sailor,
Waiting not for dawn but moving in quick."

- from the book Waves of Devotion by Swamini Saradapriyananda

Friday, October 7, 2011


The raindrops tinkle, ever so light,
The dancing moon beam, playing at night,
The gentle caress, not the tightened hold,
The fleeting glance, not the staring bold,
Not the blinding sun, but the candle glow,
Not stormy seas, but river's flow
Not the rushing waters, but the gentle shine,
Of unshed tears, yours and mine.
Not the spoken words, but the parted lips,
Not the reaching out, but the elusive slips,
Not heavy perfume, but the fragrant whiff,
Not stormy quarrels, but lover's tiff.
Early dawns in the lights of East,
They stir me most, that stir me least.

~ anonymous

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Religion

You asked me "what is my religion?"
Now what if I say I have None?
You'll be wrongly impressed
And unduly distressed
So wait I have only begun.

My creed in the sense that you mean it
Has no single symbol or sign.
Big, impressive, or small,
There is good in them all,
So perhaps your religion is mine.

My doctrine is any that stands for
The honor and virtue of men.
For whatever we preach,
We'er all striving to reach
A mutual goal in the end.

My church is the one that is nearest
Wherever I happen to be.
The place where men go
Their devotion to show
Is good - and sufficient for me.

What matters the Name on the mileposts
That stand by the path that you trod?
If the pathway leads up
Then at last you shall sup
With the infinite army of God.

~ Dale Wimbrow

Friday, September 16, 2011

the little shoemaker

a lovely song i learned in school:

the little shoemaker

in the shoemaker's shop
this refrain would never stop
as he tapped away
working all the day
at his bench there was he
just as busy as a bee
little time to lose
with the boots and shoes -
but his heart went pop!
inside the little shop
when a lovely girl
set him all a-whirl -
she had come choose
some pretty dancing shoes
and he heard her say
in a charming way:
"i want some -

shoes to set my feet a dancing,
dancing, dancing all the day
shoes to set my feet a dancing,
dancing, all my cares away."

then he tapped and he stiched
till his fingers were bewitched
and he sowed a dream
into every seam
making shoes oh so neat
just like magic on her feet
and he hoped she know
that he loved her so -
but she danced, danced, danced
as though she was entranced
like a spinning top
all around the shop
on her dainty feet
she whirled into the street
and he heard her say
as she danced away -
"i've got some -

shoes to set my feet a dancing,
dancing, dancing all the day
shoes to set my feet a dancing,
dancing, all my cares away."


a beautiful rendition: here on youtube.