Saturday, September 20, 2014


Travelling to Sri Lanka recently, Junior and YT were counting blessings, that is spots to be visited- first and foremost Tooth Relic Temple, at Kandy, which in fact was our real destination, then some of the fantastic Lankan beaches, the Royal Botanical Garden, the Polonnaruwa ruins, Colombo, Galle Fort, the Elephant Orphanage….and we did justice, not wholly and in full measure, but substantially, ohhh….NOT again…. we mutter, as we run a check on last blog entry on Bhairavi….how this bally line continues to bedevil this blog I sayyy…..the blog seems to have developed a mind and an ishtyle of its own, and gathers its old friend and relatives again and again…it’s beginning to seem that CVB and YT are two different persons…-like Phaedrus and Robert Pirisig…ha, ha, ha…

‘Serendib’ was the name given to Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, in the wee hours of the Christian era by Arab travellers, and  in the 18th century, Horace Walpole derived the term ‘serendipity’ from the Persian story ‘Three Princes of Serendib’, defining it as that peculiar knack for stumbling upon ‘fortunate happenstances’ which formed the character or fitrat of the Princes, who in Walpole’s words, were “always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of”…whewww..

‘whewww’ because it turns out that the above 200 words are couched into exactly 2 sentences…bahh…! We always despised the Germanic style of lawwwnngg sentences with lots and lots of subordinate clauses…now you get what we mean when we say the blog has developed an ishtyle of its own and is its own master, he, he, he…like Sir Arthur C Clarke’s machine HAL, the protagonist of ‘Space Odyssey’ ...but wait…!... before judging on CVB: here is a sentence from the stable of that master of English language H.W. Fowler, which is lawwwnngg but not unwieldy, some neat penmanship, and in bonus, it also explains the long and short of a sentence- the prerequisites …"Actual words given as such should also be begun with a capital letter; and if they consist of a compound sentence, or of several sentences, a comma will not suffice for their introduction; a colon, a colon and dash, or a full stop, with quotation marks always in the last case, and usually in the others, will be necessary- but these are distinctions that need not be considered here in detail.” (for IK follows these rules intuitively-editor)

Back to Serendib…

Could ‘serendipity’ have an antonym? Alas the answer is a tame Yes, delivered in the manner of a  sigh…it’s  ‘the uncanny talent to overlook something supremely important, and repent at leisure over it’. What we forgot was the remarkable fact, that the great scientist    Sir Arthur C. Clarke made Sri Lanka his home settling at Unawatuna in 1956, and stayed there till his demise in 2008. He did a Visvesvaraya, being knighted by the British Empire, and then being decorated with the Sri Lankabhimanya, or the Lankan ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 2005. The grievous omission in the itinerary was discovered by Missus when she espied the sign ‘Turn for Sri Lankabhimanya Sir Arthur C Clarke Highway’ when travelling to Bandaranaike Airport from Colombo on our way back. Sir Clarke  was enamoured of the Lankan scuba-diving scene, the tranquility, the easy-going, kind, unrushed folks but Kya zamana hai…the reason for the holy emotion towards Lanka cited by Posterity-ki-bachhi is the sexual preference of Sir Clarke…his closest friend Sri Leslie Ekanayake (not Sri Lanka, ehh…) was supposedly his paramour, case of morbidly commercialising a nitant personal matter.., the most hilarious input on the issue coming from none else than Sir Clarke. Replying to a news correspondent’s query ‘are you gay Sir?’ all he said was “no, merely mildly cheerful!”. Of course Sri Lanka fascinated him…the evidence is strewn all over his writings…for instance in his series Rendezvous with Rama, there are so many endearing Lankan allusions…

In Sri Lanka, Colombo is the starting point of all major Highways, an exception being the     Arthur C Clarke Highway. In fact it connects the Colombo-Matara and the Colombo-Katunayake Highways at the mid-points. Likewise, Sir Clarke was never the starting point of this blog-entry. We deliberately and with feigned conviction stated above that ‘Sir Clarke basically was a scientist’ as a foil to the lines that here follow...Was he in general parlance, a Scientist or a Scientific Speculator or Littérateur? Really he was philosophical, he was a link between the two indisciplines …he, he, he…like the eponymous Lankan highway…a link between the ‘Two Cultures’ of Sir CP Snow, if one were allowed liberty to be a little vague…

The train of thought leading to the abovesaid incoherence was really flagged off by the quotation  "When I hear about Schrodinger's cat, I reach for my gun", ascribed to Stephen Hawking. It led to a round of philosophising between Senior and YT late into one night- the question of how to conceive the real ‘real’ Universe with the help of the crude sensory and mental apparatus provided to humans by the Supplier. Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, C.P Snow and Robert Heinlein on the one hand, and Newton, Einstein, Schrodinger, Hawking on the other, are characters engaged in this common pursuit, to unearth the story behind the illusion called ‘reality’. What the first group imagines, the second tries to root into ‘reality’, i.e. the accepted postulates of science. If we were to cook up a cinematic allegory based on the movie on Mary Kom, if the scientist corresponds to the real-life Mary Kom, litterateur would be  Priyanka Chopra...

Three such satellites are required 
by a channel  to cover the entire  earth:  
observe white circle completing
 one revolution in 24 hours
 that earth rotates in
For records we may recount Sir Clarke's contribution to the modern world: for one geostationary satellites   which  alone  made  channel  broadcasting  and   instant communication  possible   (that's a satellite placed in a calibrated orbit 35,786 km above the equator- a distance at which a revolving object will remain at the same spot down with respect to earth, so that it keeps pointing towards the earth based receivers at all times). He also anticipated Cold Fusion, Online Banking and Online Commerce 50 years ahead. A visionary...

From there, red-herringed by Sir Clark, the writer strays into Sri Lanka, and after succumbing to the temptation of quoting a favourite she-r, takes leave, even as he types furiously on the office computer, for it is late, and the security staff is dimming the lights...not forgetting calls from home…

Zara Si Baat Thi, Andaisha-e-Ajam Ne Isse
Barha Diya Hai Faqat Zaib-e-Dastan Ke Liye

It’s easy to understand…it’s not by Salman Rushdie, but by his very antithesis…Allama Iqbal…what matters is how you relate with your readers…and the jamaat knows the asinine motive behind the writings of the former…people love to possess a volume of Midnight’s Children, but no one finishes it he, he, he, the Booker Jury must have said…Ama yaar, le hi lo ab tum…

Back to Lumding from where the train-of-thought started for Haflong, in the next instalment of the entry..




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