Weekly Dispatch – 1

Starting this week, I’ll share some interesting stories, books and videos I’d seen of late. Here comes Weekly Dispatch – 1:

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The last semester of my undergraduate course has just begun, and it is exciting. I have taken two challenging courses and I hope, like every time a semester begins, that I learn and do well in them. Plus I have my undergraduate thesis, which I hope will get into a good form in two months from now. (In my adviser’s words, I want to have a good undergraduate thesis.)

At the beginning of every semester, there is a pleasant optimism in the air. I have encountered it many times in these four years but have not found reasons for its waning one-and-a-half months into the semester. It seems to have something to do with sticking to schedule and doing things. This is not the time to stage to repent the past, but I seem to be lacking in the doing things part. ‘Lack of discipline is what kills most people on the planet,’ my adviser said the other day.

This year has been very different in college from the past three years: one because the coursework was less, which gives me enough time to focus on one or two things I can learn properly; experience tells me that I cannot handle many courses at a level required to do well in them. I have just one semester to prove my point, but it does look like an indication. Second is my thesis work: beyond the subject matter of what I did learn in the past five months, the most important–shall we say insight?–I got is how science is done on a day-to-day basis. Pleasantly, this experience is in continuation of my summer-internship work in Chennai last year. The list of experiences I gained and advice I received is long; it deserves a post on its own. So sometime later maybe?

Coming back to what is happening today.

It is a good Sunday, no doubt. Woke up on time, went jogging, breakfast, did laundry and cleaning before I sat down to do some project-related work. Seriously, there’s nothing like physical activity. Last Friday and Saturday were a bit hard on my sleep and productivity but I managed to get through with Internet’s help. (IYKWIM). It’s funny that I saw this on my¬† Facebook feed when I was missing my daily jogging drill.

runningshoes

Then there is work itself. I’ve done the one thing that I must have done and I would feel miserable had I not done that; that in itself makes me happy in a way. Now before I could attend to other things I had planned, I read a few interesting articles on the web, and I thought I must catch up with my plan to ‘broadcast’ (or ‘weeklycast’ or whichever fancy word you like) things I read, watched, and planning to in near future. Let’s start:

This link is from my draft from two weeks ago. Alan Watts is credited to have popularised Zen Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy at large to the West. He had also been a cultural icon, doing tours on the college circuit in the U.S. during the counter-culture days of 60s, I learnt. Many of his lectures have been televised, and have found a new audience in the YouTube era. Some of them are here. I have also read and thoroughly enjoyed his book The Way of Zen. It merits to be reread and reflected upon. For some months, I have been looking for a primer on Buddhist philosophy; this was just the right kind of book I was looking for.

Among other books on philosophy, I remember Shankaracharya’s Vivekachudamani that I stopped mid-way, and which is with a friend now. Talking about this book, a friend told me this as one of Shankara’s teachings: the point is to attain moksha (liberation/realisation); if chanting/idol worship may help, so be it! I was at once struck how forward-looking his thinking had been. So, applying the aphorism in my own little way to the blogging activity: the point is to reflect, unwind thoughts and write; if blogging helps, so be it! And dear reader, my objective might have been realised after I publish this post, but you may help me with some constructive feedback. And if this post helped you in any way, I’ll be pleased to know.

The School of Life comes across as a wise and restrained voice in the clamour that Social Media is. Discover more.

I really wish this scheme sensitises enough people in Delhi to the problem of pollution. Granted, it was a mad solution, but if it can help, why not?

Dravid is the intellectual in that generation of cricketers, and an astute observer of our society, and I am told, an avid reader — all very rare for a cricketer. Add to that his commitment level to the game: most number of deliveries faced, most minutes at crease, most catches in Test Cricket, part of the biggest partnership (with Tendulkar). And Dravid would not miss nets during IPL in the searing heat of May. To quench your Dravid-mania I shall refer you to Timeless Steel, but I’ll leave you with this for now, from the Pataudi lecture:

It is important for our young cricketers to continue with their education – even if all the time away from schools makes it hard for them to finish their graduation. It will be something they can go back to in case the cricket dream doesn’t come true for some reason. But aside from all that, it is important to stay connected to school and college because it will mean they have friends outside cricket, conversations outside cricket and life experiences that are not connected to cricket. It will give them the perspective needed to become well-rounded adults.

What kind of a gentleman in a cricketer can say such words! If you’re intrigued, please also peruse his Bradman Oration in 2011.

That’s all for now, folks! I’ve other things to attend to, and let me keep this business interesting enough to be willing to come back next week. Stay happy!