This post is going to be brief. Further, for quite some time, it’s only this post that you may expect to see here. Reason: I am not going to be blogging, because I am going to be “studying”….
… Ummm… But that’s like jumping ahead. So let me begin at the beginning.
The mood i.e. “frame of mind”…
In my last post, I had said that I am going to be writing the new document (on my new approach to QM) by April-end, and post it by the first week of May.
Well, as you can see, it didn’t happen.
Writing a document like that requires a certain “mood”… Actually, “mood” is not the correct word. “Mood” is a bit too light a word, also not very specific, and perhaps even careless. … Ummm… “Mental frame”? Or, a “right frame of the mind”? Yeah…. That seems to be correct…. There is a precedent of sorts, and let me share it with you…
Even while writing the Outline document on my new approach [^], way back in Feb. 2019, it had required some effort. I had begun writing it some 2–3 weeks earlier. I kept of revising my writing back then, and these revisions often happened not with the in-place editing of an already existing file, but by starting with a completely fresh LaTeX document. I might have written several such versions, may be 8 or 10 of them, and many of these files were left half-done. … I was writing a lot (or so it seemed), but nothing satisfactory was coming out. … All these pieces were like a research paper, with completely formed sentences and all…
Then, one day in the first week of February 2019, I thought of adopting an outline (or bulleted list) kind of an approach. It helped, but still didn’t actually work.
Finally, one day, I hit the right “frame of mind”, and somehow, I started writing almost effortlessly. … All the points that I had thought of jotting down, now began coming out in a right, condensed sort of, form. … Yet, I still kept working with a fresh LaTeX document every time. (I had used a source-code version control system while writing my PhD thesis, but for the Outline document project, there were too many fresh starts, and so, renamed documents worked just as fine.)
The version which was eventually uploaded on the ‘net was, thus, may be 15th or 20th LaTeX file! Much of its content came directly from an earlier file which had been “Save As…”-ed to a different name. I edited some parts of it the night before (on 10th February 2019), and thought I was done. In the morning, however, I found myself in the right frame once again, and I ended up changing or refining a lot of points (I mean positions taken too, not just the words or the phrasing). I finished the document on the evening, and immediately afterwards uploaded it (on 11th February 2019).
So, yes, the right frame of mind is necessary. At least for me.
The mood strikes, but…
OK, now what happened this time round was this.
I did find myself in an exactly a similar kind of a frame of mind, which occurred on the morning of 24th April. … I was sipping my cup of tea in the balcony then, as usual. (Yes, a cup of the tea [^].) … So many points were now more or less automatically falling into the place, forming a chain (or well connected “graph”) of sorts, and I in fact knew that if I don’t at least jot these points down (or at least the scheme of organization / presentation which was occurring to me at that time), then it’s going to be difficult to reconstruct it later.
However, I had no time at hand, at that time. I had an appointment for my Covid-19 vaccine shot the same morning. So, I had to wind up this rare moment of inspiration, get ready, and rush to the private hospital where I had made my prior appointment. …
I got my first jab of the vaccine…
… Once at the venue, however, there was a bad surprise. … While waiting in the queue, a decision arrived from somewhere “above” that all the physical vaccines were being diverted to some other centers. Only those people who had come for the second shot would be entertained. People who had come for the first shot, even if they might have made confirmed appointments using the CoWIN portal, had to go home.
Naturally, I got irritated.
And somehow, after returning home, I couldn’t, somehow, reconstruct that scheme of writing, that flow of thoughts, which had so naturally occurred to me on the morning of the say day! … A few elements I could recall, but a lot of them had gone. There was nothing new to the elements that were gone, but crucially, it was the “flow” or the organization scheme that had gone by now. (I did attempt jotting down something. It didn’t work.)
The cancelled appointment also meant checking out the CoWin portal again and again, for any availability of any slots at any center. The vaccines were in a short supply and so, the portal had to be checked some 3–4 times a day.
Somehow, I was lucky enough to land a slot immediately later, on the 26th April, at a different vaccination center (another private hospital). … There was only one vaccination center in the entire Pune city that had now become available (at least over the 5–6 visits to the Co-WIN portal which I had made on the 24th and 25th). I took it immediately. Only 55 jabs were allotted to this lone center, and they all were gone within a matter of just 15 minutes or so.
However, during this visit, everything went through very smoothly. I really appreciated the arrangements and processes at this second center. May be because it was a much smaller hospital, but my experience was great.
Only the people with prior appointments were allowed in; others were courteously but firmly sent back. All the necessary documents were checked, but without letting you feel like you had arrived at the immigration counter at the Mumbai airport. … Most time was spent only in the waiting area, but it was arranged in a clean and open part of the space in the parking lot. The location meant that there was shade, but the place being open from all sides, the ambient air-flow was good too—an important consideration.
The vaccination itself was conducted in a room inside the hospital. People were called in, in batches of 10. Everything was well organized, and all the processes were performed punctually and carefully, following all the protocols and precautions. Yes, post-vaccination counseling was given too. And yes, every one at the hospital was very courteous and helpful (not just the doctors and the nurses, but also the rest of the staff, including the security staff). …
All in all, no walk-in appointments meant no crowding. Everything was streamlined, on time, and efficient. We were done right within 1.5 hours… People left the center feeling not just relieved (at having got the jab, finally), but actually in a distinctly light and happy mood, smiling and waving hands generally as they stepped out. Many people spontaneously felt like expressing their appreciation to the doctors or the staff, and so did I. …
By this time you have forgotten that we were talking about my plan to write the document, right?
That exactly is what happened to me, too!
After returning home from the vaccination center, I began checking all the available reports / articles on the vaccines—their types, mechanisms of action, efficacy, availability, side effects, optimum gap between the first and the second doses, and all that stuff. … I got engrossed in browsing on vaccines and the Covid-19.
Another major factor was that the second wave had already begun hitting new high’s every day all over the nation, and it was impossible to ignore all this development. … So, day after day, I kept on browsing on news, Twitter feeds, blogs, and all that…
During my browsing, I also read a bit on other topics. Even politics and all, simply because it was impossible to ignore it. But not much, come to think of it. The reason is: I don’t enjoy it. I even get irritated. A lot. And pretty quickly too. … Come to think of it, reading on current politics is, in many respects, comparable to reading through Bohr’s original writings.
OK, so, the rest of April was gone more or less just like that!
Getting back on the line…
Some time in between, the month of May had already arrived, and with that, the already missed deadline now became far too glaring even for me to ignore. … So, I also began trying picking up the threads on the QM side. … But no, that special mental frame was still not to be had. …
Of course, there never is any point in waiting for inspiration to strike you. You gotta move, you gotta start kicking, whether it arrives or not. … So, that’s what I began doing.
In my last post here, I had mentioned about the MIT course sequence. I had said: “Wish I had the time to systematically pursue this entire three-course sequence!”
Now that the deadline had anyway been missed, and despite trying again and again (may be 3 times) I wasn’t succeeding in getting myself to start writing the fresh document (not even in a raw or draft form), I wondered: Why not give the MIT course-work a try?
So, immediately, I did that.
Becoming a student…
To cut a long story short, I have decided to watch through at least the first two courses of the MIT UG sequence on QM, right away!
I have just begun systematically watching the Spring 2013 course (i.e. the one by Prof. Adams et al.). I am going in the sequence presented, not skipping any lecture—whether I know the stuff or not.
… I am not exactly taking notes, but I do jot down a bit on the fly. … I am not going to attempt solving even a single problem though! So, more or less, it’s going to be just watching these lectures, but attentively.
Once this QM-I course gets over, I may either continue the studies with the next course in the sequence (viz. QM-II i.e. MIT 08.05 [^]), or I may decide to also go through the 2016 version of QM-I too.
For the time being, I’ve decided to leave QM-III alone. So, it’s going to be just QM-I and QM-II.
I haven’t drawn up any time-table. Reason: I always tend to be too irregular to follow any time-table even if I draw up one. … However, I do expect to / hope to / will have to finish the 08.04 and 08.05 videos within, say, 3–4 weeks or so (say by May-end). The earlier, the better.
Simultaneously, I would also keep myself open about beginning on the document-writing project—I mean the one on my new approach. … Why, if inspiration strikes me, I will immediately start writing down the document too. However, even if that happens, one thing is for certain. I am going to include the QM spin, whenever I write the document. Another thing is for certain. I am going to finish watching all the videos of QM-I and QM-II before finishing the document.
OK. That’s about it! I don’t have anything else to blog about. (But, turns out, this post also hasn’t come out as very brief either.)
If you don’t see this blog updated, then know that I didn’t care to post anything because I was busy with the above mentioned course-work.
In the meanwhile, take care, and bye for now…
A couple of songs I like:
Since I will be away from the blog for a while, let me jot down two songs this time around.
(Marathi) सर्वात्मका सर्वेश्वरा (“sarvaatmakaa sarveshwaraa”)
Singer and Music: Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki
Lyrics: “Kusumaagraj” (V. V. Shirwadkar)
This is a Marathi classic. It’s actually a prayer, composed in an Indian semi-classical form. While there are many versions by many singers, I like the original by Pt. Abhsheki the best… A good quality audio is here [^].
Trivia (i.e., a personal aside): Back in the 1980s, in India, engineers going on work-related tours would only travel by trains. Flights were quite few, and also very costly; typically, only CXOs/GMs would go by flights. However, most companies would allow first class in trains, for engineers. … Once, while going to Chennai (or perhaps while returning, I don’t remember that part), I had the good fortune of sharing my First Class coupe with Pt. Abhisheki and his wife. Though the coupe used to accommodate four passengers, somehow, there was no booking for the fourth passenger, and so, there were only the three of us in that coupe! (Several other coupe’s were empty too, if I recall it right.) … All in all, I spent something like 20 hours in their company! … Initially, I had failed to recognize Pt. Abhisheki (I wasn’t too much into the classical music). It was Mrs. Abhisheki who realized it, and introduced him to me, on her own. I was a bit stunned, but they both helped me relax me by completely ignoring my initial reaction and carrying on their normal conversation. (Typically, I don’t get over-awed by famous people, and I was not. Still, that initial shock certainly was there, as I happened to rapidly recall his songs in my mind.) … Soon later, we began chatting very comfortably. They shared the fruits and home-made food that Mrs. Abhisheki had brought. When I involuntarily said, “what? food too?”, Pandit-ji simply pointed to his throat, and smilingly said (actually in Marathi): “This thing… I have to take care…” … Another thing. I didn’t understand back then (and still haven’t) why they were so impressed with me—my educational credentials (MTech from IIT Madras). But they were. … We chatted on a lot many things, both personal and current affairs and all that. … Most of that conversation has long gone from my memory, but I distinctly remember that Pandit-ji was a very gentle person, often very easily breaking into a smile, with a special twinkle in his eyes. That is, when he was not suddenly “gone” “into” one of his hummings. He had this habit of “going into” and “coming out of” some तान/धुन (“taan”/”dhoon” i.e. some melodic movement), complete with wild hand gestures and all. Guess he was imagining a live audience in his mind’s eye in such moments. … But all in all, I found them both to be very easy to talk to. Actually, they were quite normal, Marathi middle-class type of people. That’s what I definitely remember…
OK, for the second song, let me throw in something that’s on the lighter side…
(Western, instrumental) “In the mood”
Band: The Spotnicks
I heard this song for the first time in IIT Madras. There was an LP record of this band (a compilation of sorts) which was found in the collection of LPs kept in the Common Hall of my hostel (Narmada). Apparently, someone visiting from Germany had left it / gifted it to the Narmada hostel. The version of song contained in that LP can be found here [^]. … Today, I did a search, and found another version [^], which goes a bit faster. The credits noted at this second link say that it comes from the “Original Album Classics”. … But as it so often happens, personally, I like the first version better.