Monday, February 28, 2011

Towards a new dawn

With unfolding events in the Middle-East and North Africa, democracy has a renewed meaning. From Tunisia, to Egypt and now Libya, it is very interesting and reassuring to note that the power of the people, long oppressed and stifled, is now emerging into the forefront in one voice.

It seems that times are not to far away for established democracies to review and introspect the foundations upon which they have been built.

Vox populi, vox dei!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Goodbye Uncle Pai

Redefining Oblivion pays respectful homage and rich tributes to Uncle Pai, who passed away yesterday. An enduring legend, coupled with the virtues of excellence, humility and imagination, it was his vision that led to the creation of Amar Chitra Katha, which has over the years transported millions of children deep on an enriching and memorable journey into the troves of Indian culture, mythology and history.

For those of us who grew up to the epic folktales and fables of this wonderful reference, life can always be recollected in cheer and cherished moments of yesteryears so unique and remarkable, something I'm not sure generations of the present era could ever imagine!

Maybe it is for him that Henri Frederic Amiel remarked "Man becomes man only by his intelligence, but he is man only by his heart."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Affirmatively Singular

Time, this month, ran a feature on Project Singularity, something that I have spoken about here sometime ago.

Leafing its pages in solitude, partly glossing over and partly in the mood to read with the mind screaming the need for a complete shutdown, after a tough day's work, this piece brought more worry than cheer, especially after the cover page that emblazoned human immortality to be a possibility by the year 2045.

Anyhow, that being a question of perpetual perplexity - I arrived at a graphical representation of time and human capability indexed to outline how evolution of the machines have taken place until now and how that will, in geometrical proportion, outpace the capability of intelligence displayed by an average human being, owing to evolved and collective intelligence.

By the time I 'leafed through' that article, I was more weary and edgy of a possibility that concerns labelling my kind in obsolescence, than in evolutionary progression.

Pacing home, amidst mixed thoughts on how technology has become a necessarily invasive part of my life, I set about thinking that 2045 is merely 34 years away, and not so long into the distant future, after all - Perhaps an era that I'd be better off not to be a part!

The day after, I made no attempt to find the representation online but did venture to read a tad bit more about Singularity, when I chanced upon Brain Malow's articulation of the future and how it may become! Now, thanks so much to humor from the science comedian on that part - certainly relieves one from going to work on a Monday morning with an eerie feeling of what that deary PC may be watching and waiting for, after all!

But for now, well apart from the pages detailing Singularity, there is not a whole lot more than Mark Knopfler's masterpiece 'Why aye man.'

"We're the nomad tribes, travelling boys, in the dust and dirt and the racket and the noise"

Great sound, indeed!

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Sojourn Remembered

There is something mystical about Kerala, especially when one calls it his homeland! And to express that in words, let alone a post on a blog, is humanly impossible, sheerly due to being grossly incapable of capturing the vivid moments of ecstatic emotion that one experiences and can attribute to the endearing charm of this Godly land.

The day breaks with an assortment of enchanting wonders, with the hooting of sleepy nightjars announcing the arrival of dawn, while the faint chimes of a morning mantra usher into the mind an easy calm that is truly unequivocal. The carousal calls, in union, of a flock of birds adds cheer and the surrounding greenery, that has remain unchanged over decades, embalms the soul in a comforting warmth that one does not feel treated to during normal days of ragged bustle on the other side of life.

The animated chirruping of kinsfolk, untouched by time and age, makes one recall the yesteryear wonders of childhood etched deeply within many layers of memory, able to be revisited at ease. The mind is overwhelmed with a sense of emotion fostered as a result of togetherness which it has yearned for all time, and this coming together, after years of being separated by time and distances, brings out the child in oneself - just like the old times! In the mind, amidst the humdrum of activity, Pink Floyd's Shine on you crazy diamond plays aloud, perhaps as a tribute to life and how indebted one needs to feel as a result of being able to co-exist in harmony!

Late afternoons are always blissful. A sumptuous fare calls for a short siesta on the veranda, propped up on a antique recliner while being able to relish the caressing wind and the muted calls of the wandering cuckoo, all in an animated state of stillness that seem to deftly calm every living soul and create a serene setting for rejuvenation - much needed for us folks who are constantly caught up in withering ways and cacophonies of a fast paced city life.

Come dusk, the stillness deepens, this time, more in the mind, posed as a reflection of the surroundings, soulfully imbibed into the self, thanks largely to the comforting feeling of the lack of a sense of time and the absence of an ominous calling for adherence to its passage. A visit to the Tharavattu Kavu (sanctuary of the deity of the family), cleanses the soul no end and the heightened sense of peace and fulfillment that prevails equals no other.

It it hard to forsake such a place and harder not to remember it with every passing moment of one's life. The sense of nostalgia that prevails can well equal and echo many lives lived, in togetherness, well over many millennia.

The shrill ship-horn tone of the train's call rudely shocks one from the comforting recollection of two days well spent - infinite in bliss, and being able to recall the wonderfully well spent times of childhood, togetherness and happiness. As the train departs and gathers pace making the characteristically monotonous din in motion, poised to plunge into time and eventually to a destination of want rather than need, there is a remembrance of yet another creation of Pink Floyd, aptly titled "Comfortably Numb" and deeply crafted with impassioned words, among others, that "I turned to look but it was gone, I cannot put my finger on it now, the child is grown, the dream is gone."

Really, there couldn't possibly be a sense of despair more woeful than the pain of growing up and growing apart!


Image Description - Korajem, our ancestral tharavad (house) in Kannur, Kerala

Image Courtesy - Mithun Ratnakaran, The other brother

Monday, February 14, 2011

Still Loving you

From the 1984 album Love at First Sting, an iconic masterpiece called "Still Loving you" remains a timeless classic, by Scorpions, rendered in perhaps the most finest styles of musical articulation and emotion.

Much later Rudolf Schenker explained "It is a story about a love affair where they recognized it may be over, but let's try again."

The song is also considered to echo a thinly veiled metaphor for a divided East and West Germany. "Your pride has built a wall so strong that I can't get through, is there really no chance to start once again?" "only love can break down the walls someday" and "Yes I've hurt your pride and I know what you've been through, you should give me a chance, this can't be the end, I'm still loving you" were considered to be clear references to the Berlin Wall and the despair many Germans felt about their divided homeland.

It eventually sold 1.7 million copies and is considered to be the most successful production of Scorpions, reaching #64 on Billboard Hot 100.

And as for me, I promise, this was some strange coincidence that I chose to post this on valentine's day - No intentions whatsoever! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Wizard of Menlo Park

American inventor, scientist, pioneer and businessman, Thomas Edison was born on this day in 1847.

Of his many significant contributions to the world, perhaps a lasting legacy for all time to come would be the creation of General Electric, which is easily among the most admired corporate organizations in the world.

A proponent of excellence and values, GE is today across a hundred countries, over 3,00,000 people strong with revenues of over 160 billion USD.

Having been a part of GE, myself, the iconic words that "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work," have found prominence in my life, no end, and today, Redefining Oblivion salutes this great soul for what he was and for how his vision continues to inspire millions across the globe. 

Monday, February 07, 2011


One of those absolute yesterday favourites of mine - for all time to come! Nothing beats listening to this at dawn with the day opening up. An overwhelming state of emotions rushing down in moments, while doing so!

Hello was sung by Lionel Richie and released in the year 1984 as part of his multi-platinum album Can't slow down. Eventually, the track reached number one on three billboard music charts - the pop chart - for two weeks, the R&B chart - for three weeks, and the adult contemporary chart - for six weeks. The song also went on to become number one on the UK Singles Chart. It has since been regarded by many to be Richie's signature track.

Over the years it has gained iconic status owing particularly to the line "Hello, is it me you're looking for?"

With time, the track has also found feature in a number of movies and commercials, most recently one of Yahoo in 2010.

This video, in particular, directed by Bob Giraldi, tells the story of a music teacher, played by Lionel Richie, who falls in love with his student who is blind!


With inputs from Wikipedia

Friday, February 04, 2011

The 300th

Not really a nice way to celebrate a 300th post, in the midst of significant upheavals elsewhere in parts of the world - especially Egypt, which seems to be burning, but the effect of having arrived at yet another milestone certainly evokes great deal of thrill and much more!

7 years, 120 countries and countless associations certainly makes one feel much much more than being elated in the true sense of being able to realize and further a passion and more importantly, remain connected.

That apart and more significantly, this could not have come at a more appropriate time - Today marks the birthday of the most wonderful person I have ever known and possibly ever will know - my Mother!

Cannot say enough of how much strength and a true sense of vision of excellence that I derive from her!