About You!

I must write about you
In a big city of broken dreams and bereavement
Full of lifelessness and lack of enticement
You’re like the last train, carrying them home
You’re like my ray of hope when I am all alone

I am writing about you
They say a pen is mightier than the sword
But how can I depict you through a few mere words?
In a deserted land, you’re like the only flower
On a cold day, you’re like a warm shower

I did write about you
And then I showed you them
You thought they were for someone else
Someone with, a different name
I sighed and smiled at this situation
Knowing my train has missed another station

P.S: I generally don’t share my poems here. But recently I was told by someone to just share them and not think about how they will be perceived by others. So just doing that.

The science in poetry

One of the things that define science is how universal it is. It is essentially the observation of nature to some huge extent. Sure, there are perspectives in many scientific findings. Even, science teaches us about perspectives. But the universal property is quite innate to science. Ricky Gervais eloquently summed it up in this video:

What he says is:

You see, if we take something like any fiction, any holy book, and any other fiction and destroyed it, in a thousand years time that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back, because all the same tests would be the same result.

This is quite thought-provoking and he is spot on with it. Even if you delete all the scientific books, the scientific truths won’t change. Force will always be equal to mass times the acceleration. Speed will always be equal to distance divided by the time taken to travel the same. They are universal truths. Now, this got me thinking about poetry and the science in it.

A large part of poetry involves correlating one’s feelings with natural objects. Be it Pablo Neruda’s “And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture” or Javed Akhtar’s “Kabhi yun bhi to ho...ye naram mulaayam thandi havaayen..jab ghar se tumhaare guzaren, tumhaari khushboo churaayen…mere ghar le aayen” (Eng: Sometimes this should happen..when this soft tender cool breeze passes your house, it steals your fragrance and brings it to my house..). All the great poets have used nature and natural phenomena as the object of writing. My hypothesis is this: Even if we destroy all the books of poems, we will have similar things coming back to us. Nature won’t change. The rivers will continue to flow. The wind will have its fragrance. And the poets, with their pensive hearts, will observe and write about them.

This all came to my mind on a fine evening when I was coming back from the office while humming a Beatles song: You never gave me your money. There is a line in that song that goes: “Oh, that magic feeling… Nowhere to go, nowhere to go…”. Now, this has a striking resemblance with a line from Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “Dui Bigha Jomi” (My little plot of land): “I consoled myself: God has decided not to confine me to this small plot of land; Perhaps I am fated to roam far and wide and end up in some distant strand.” They are eerily similar in a sense. And the chances of the Fab Four not coming across Tagore’s Dui Bigha Jomi is also high. Then how is the similarity? It is because (IMO) poetry captures these universal feelings of the human race. And these feelings will stay the same as long as there is this universe. As long as there is nature. And that’s the reason, I believe, even if you destroy everything, there might well be another Neruda in the future who will write: “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees…” or something in that line.

Connecting the dots with heuristics and empirics

Shibaprasad Bhattacharya

Warning: This is kind of an opinionated article, based on the little experience I have. The world is Bayesian, and I may update my beliefs as I come across more intriguing problems in the near future.

One of my professors at Jadavpur University always used to emphasize on “connecting the dots”. He used to say to become an asset to an organisation one needs to master this art. Over the last 16 months of working, heuristics and empirics have been two of my biggest ‘friends’ when it boiled down to connecting the dots.

When I first started working, I was given a variant of a Facility Location Problem. And my manager said something that time: “Try coming up with your own heuristics. They are more flexible.” At first, I found it hard to understand, but over time I realised how right he was.

When it comes to mathematical modelling (and…

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