Turned 26 today.

26 always felt like a special number to me. There might be quite a few reasons for that.

While I was giving my first big examination of life, that is the 10th board (or as we call it Madhyamik Parikhsa), my elder cousin turned 26. And he went on to join his first ever job. Not only him but there were many of my elder relatives who would join some big MBA colleges before landing a lucrative MNC job. 26 always felt like the age of independence to me. Always thought of it as the magic number. Whatever you do in life, you ought to find yourself by 26. I always believed that.

Another reason might be in the number and the significance in life. 10 years since the first significant examination of life. One is expected to grow enough by 26. You are not in your early 20s. You are expected to have some sort of ‘stability’ in life. You’re also far (?!) from your 30. You’re not likely to be a family man or start taking more responsibilities. (At least I think that’s the case for most of the middle and upper-middle-class families)

Previously, I had made a chart about the things that I would like to do by 26. Looking back at the chart, I see most of them being done. But one big question which I didn’t ponder upon was the purpose of one’s life. I often think about it nowadays, might be because of watching ‘The Good Place’. What’s the purpose of this life? I started working full-time 16 months back. Got promoted 4 months back. Might get promoted again. Or leave the current organization for something else. Then? When would it stop? All these nowadays feel so mundane. Lucky are those who have the purpose of life figured out.

One of my friends topped CAT 3 years back. But he didn’t join any IIM. He was aiming for ISI. He could only get into ISI last year. Now, 3 years back I thought he is crazy! Might be out of his fricking mind! Now, I feel like, he is one of the most mature men (or women) that I know of. He had clarity of what he wanted in and from life. He set his goals and achieved them. I wish I will have that soon.

The day, otherwise, was quite ordinary (really love these ordinary days). Did something similar like I had done the last year. Then went to East Bengal Club to witness the first training session of this season. And finally ended up listening to some stories by a random Swedish gentleman at Broadway.

Cheers to 26. I guess.

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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The Man. The Myth. The Mané.

Whenever I come across the name Sadio Mane, his pensive smile comes to my mind. Followed by his first goal in LFC colours. Mane anticipated a ball from the midfield, got past two Arsenal defenders before galvanizing the whole Emirates stadium. That goal had everything: pace, power, and precision. But for me, the goal and the official arrival of Mane signaled something else. It was the beginning of something. It was the beginning of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Mane’s beauty vs Arsenal, 2016.

Over the course of time, Sadio would become a fan favourite and eventually an Anfield legend. Mo Salah’s arrival in the following season would mean a redistribution of goals but Mane never failed to perform.

Sadio Mane’s numbers for The Reds are staggering, to say the least. Liverpool have never lost when Sadio has scored in Anfield. That is 56 games. He has found the back of the net in PL (for both LFC and Southampton) 111 times. That is 9 less than Steven Gerrard and 7 more than Didier Drogba. He even won the golden boot in 18-19 when LFC came 1 point short of the title (just like this 21-22 season).

Even after all this stat, Sadio meant something different. He was the start of something beautiful. He was the beginning of the Klopp era. Even the Arsenal match that I have posted above, that was the “Heavymetal” Klopp football. Liverpool would go up 4-1 with that Mane’s goal but bottle the lead to end the game 4-3.

Liverpool had Salah with him, one of the greatest goalscorers of this generation. But even when Salah failed to provide the relief, the Red faithful would seek a helping hand from the Senegalese international. The UCL final of 2018. The last-minute goal vs Aston Villa in 2019. Or even the late winner vs Everton in 2016 (without Salah). The list is just endless when Mane rose to the occasion.

His departure is not merely the departure of a world-class footballer but it is also a new beginning, just like his arrival was. It is the beginning of the end. The end of the core that Klopp had built in his initial years. The bunch that was instrumental in winning the CL and PL (and every other trophy). Origi and Gini have already left. Next year Firmino is leaving for sure. Salah’s situation is also dicey. It will be interesting to see how Klopp rebuilds his side as he will be here for 4 more years. One thing is for sure though, he won’t have another Sadio Mane.