My new year’s resolutions—2021 edition

Before we come to my New Year’s Resolutions for the last year and then for the new year, do take a moment to check out the poll I’ve posted on Twitter, and see if you wish to respond to it. I would be grateful to you if you do. The tweet in question is the following one:

The poll gets over within a day: On 01 January 2021 (all time-zones in the world) + a few hours.

1. A quick review of my blog posts in the year 2020:

Not counting the present post, I made in all 26 posts overall during the year 2020. So, on an average, there was one post every fortnight.

This statistic is somewhat misleading. My posts are always much longer than those of your average blogger (i.e. among those few left who still blog!) My posts are almost always > 1.5 words in length, often > 3 k words, and many times >= 5k words. Also, my last year’s NYRs had actually included making even fewer posts!

Let me pick out the more important posts I made this year:

05 February 2020: Equations in the matrix form for implementing simple artificial neural networks [^]
Don’t underestimate the amount of effort which has gone into writing the document mentioned in this post. The PDF document itself was uploaded at my GitHub account, here [^]. (Let me now make it available also from this blog, see here [^]). In this document, I have worked out each and every equation in a consistent, matrix-based format. Although the title says: “simple” neural networks, that word is somewhat misleading. Even the backward passes have been covered, in 100% detail, for all the fundamentally important layers. These same layers are used even in the most modern Deep Learning networks.

13 April 2020: Status: 99.78 % accuracy on the MNIST dataset (World Rank # 5, using a single CPU-only laptop) [^]
The Covid lockdowns had begun already. I had been on the lookout for jobs for more than a year by then. But now I knew that due to the lockdowns, no further interview calls are going to come in—not for me anyway. So, I had a lot of time at hand. I had just written the document on the equations of ANNs/DL. So, the knowledge was fresh. So, I decided to put to use some of my research ideas, with the foremost benchmark of Deep Learning. I broke through in World’s Top 10! (No Indian had ever been in top 20, perhaps even in top 50. That includes Indians from IITs and those gone abroad for higher studies/research/jobs/startups.)

11 May 2020: Status update on my trials for the MNIST dataset [^]
Continuation of the above work. I raised my performance by a tiny but significant 0.01%. I also briefly mention the kind of tricks I tried.

10 June 2020: Python scripts for simulating QM, part 2: Vectorized code for the H atom in a 1D/2D/3D box. [Also, un-lockdown and covid in India.] [^]
This post also mentioned some of the cutting-edge work I had done earlier, in software engineering—like, in writing a yacc-like tool, given just abstract grammar of a computer language.

18 July 2020: On the Bhagavad-Geetaa, ch. 2, v. 47—part 1: कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते (“karmaNyevaadhikaaraste”) [^]
This post still remains rather rough. It could do with some good editing. But the real meaning of the Sanskrit phrases aren’t going to change. Check it out if you think you know this famous verse from the Gita.

31 July 2020: “Simulating quantum `time travel’ disproves butterfly effect in quantum realm”—not! [^]
An unplanned post. I never meant to write anything on QM from this angle, but a new paper came up, and it was hyped rather too much. And that was a relative statement. It was hyped even more than the super-high type of hype which has always been an old normal in these fields of Foundations of QM and Quantum Computers

09 August 2020: Sound separation, voice separation from a song, the cocktail party effect, etc., and AI/ML [^]
This was my personal, opinionated, take on some AI/ML-based products/services.

23 August 2020: Talking of my attitudes… [^]
My answers to a questionnaire. This post should be of interest to those who don’t want all the details of my new approach, but just want to know how I view the various issues and interpretations concerning QM

17 October 2020: Update: Almost quitting QM… [^]
I try to be the worst possible critic of my new approach to QM. So, naturally, doubts like these can easily come up. It’s just that once I notice such things, I deal with them.

08 November 2020: Updates: RSI. QM tunnelling time. [^]
Another unplanned post. It covers a very impressive line of experimentation in QM, its coverage in other blogs, as also my own comments. In particular, I thought that this piece of work is likely to be nominated for a physics Nobel too (and gave my reasons for the same).

09 December 2020: Some comments on QM and CM—Part 1: Coleman’s talk. Necessity of ontologies. [^]
19 December 2020: Some comments on QM and CM—Part 2: Without ontologies, “classical” mechanics can get very unintuitive too. (Also, a short update.) [^]
Another couple of unplanned posts. I took this opportunity to present something on my (revised) views of ontologies in physics.

The above posts pretty much capture the two issues which kept me pre-occupied during 2020—Data Science, and Foundations of QM.

Other posts were relatively more topical (like updates), or not so important (though I might have made some good points in them, e.g., this 16 June 2020 post: The singularities closest to you [^].


Apart from this blog, I also made a lot of tweets. Off-hand, these included: Comments on pop-sci articles and videos; comments on papers from QM; comments on developments in Data Science (e.g. the big news related to the Protein-Folding problem),  etc. Also, longer twitter-threads (up to 9 or 10 tweets long, not longer) mentioning my thoughts on various topics, e.g., my ideas on relation of maths with reality and physics, finer points related to my ongoing development of my new approach, etc.

Comments at others’ blogs:

I’ve been making many comments at others’ blogs, and some of them have included my spontaneous/ live/ latest thoughts too. However, I don’t want to go through all of that at this point of time. Most of these times, I have saved these spontaneous responses, and I use them in my R&D too, especially of QM and Data Science.

2. A quick review of my last year’s resolutions (for the year 2020):

The resolutions I made last year, are here: My new year’s resolutions—2020 edition [^]

How did I fare on those? Let me jot down in brief:

2.1. Review of last year’s NYRs: Data Science:

2.1.1: A set of brief notes

I did write the “Equations in the matrix form” document; see the comment above.

I had actually planned to write a set of “of brief notes (in LaTeX) on topics from machine learning.” I didn’t. Two reasons:

  • Reason 1: Looking at the way the IT industry people treated my applications through job sites, I came to realize that publishing such notes was likely to push the IT industry people in considering me only for the training jobs.
  • Reason 2: I achieved 99.78% accuracy (see above). Writing notes, just to show my understanding, naturally took a back-seat. Now I was actually putting to use the knowledge in research too, not just compiling it in a neatly processed form (as in the Equations document mentioned above).

2.1.2. New ideas:

I was going to develop new ideas concerning ML/DL/AI, and perhaps publish a paper.

Well, I did develop my ideas, at least w.r.t. the image data problems, as noted above. However, I have decided to withhold publications. (I think that so far, I’ve been able to hold also the network-hacking/screen-grabbing and bitmap-shipping (remember Citrix?) folks at the bay. So, I think I should be able to publish some time later.

2.2. Review of last year’s NYRs: Quantum Mechanics:

Yes, I worked on all the points noted in the last year’s NYRs, and a lot more.

In particular, my development during the year threw some completely new conceptual issues to me, and I dealt with them. In the process, my understanding of QM became even better and deeper. However RSI struck right around the same time, which was yet another unexpected development. As a result, I could not implement in code all my new ideas and see them in action (and verify them!).

2.3. Review of last year’s NYRs: Health etc.:

I had resolved for going “for walks (30 minutes) on at least six days each month”, and to “do surya namaskars on at least two days a week”.

I failed.

As to walking, it soon enough got ruled out due to Covid. As to “soorya namaskaara”s, I did try to keep up with “at least 12 namaskaar’s every day”, but I couldn’t. And, once there was a break, it soon became a complete break.

On the positive side, I didn’t have any alcoholic drink (not even wine) after 16th March 2020. … No, it wasn’t a religious thing. I just avoided going out, due to Covid, and soon later, there were the lockdowns. Then, even when the wine shops reopened, I just thought of continuing until (a) the year-end, or (b) a validation-through-simulations of my new ideas in QM, whichever came first. As a result, I didn’t.

I plan to have a bit tonight, as an exception. I also plan to have a celebration with drinks once I achieve the milestones noted for the new year (2021).

2.4. Review of last year’s NYRs: Blogging:

I had resolved to reduce blogging.

However, there were enough developments that I ended up doing 26 posts instead of the planned 12 to 20 posts.

2.5. Review of last year’s NYR’s: Translations:

I was going to attempt translating उपनिषद (Upanishad). Well, I did pursue this activity but mostly in the mind. OTOH, I did publish on what used to be arguably the most often quoted verse from Gitaa.

2.6. Review of last year’s NYR’s: Meditation, side-readings (on all topics—not just spirituality), etc.

I had said: “Satisfactory pace achieved already. No need to change it; certainly no need to make NYR’s about them as such.” Yes, my reading did continue, satisfactorily enough.

3. My new year’s resolutions for 2021:

3.1. Try to “un-become” “Bohmianism”:

Remember, I had resolved to be a Bohmian via my Diwali-time resolutions? See this 23 November 2020 post: “Now I am become Bohmianism” [^]

Now my NYR is to cancel it!

Reason: I won’t tell you right away. You should be able to figure it out anyway, esp. over the course of the new year!

Aside: However, you know, NYR’s are sooo sooo hard to keep. So, don’t be surprised if I end up saying something like “We the Bohmians…,” also in the new year!

3.2. My new approach to quantum mechanics:

Spinless particles:

Conduct some basic simulations and write *some* preliminary documentation on the spinless electrons (up to 3 electron systems) by Q1-end. If the RSI severity goes up, by Q2-end.

QM with spin:

Conduct some basic simulations and write *some* preliminary documentation on the spinning electrons (up to 3 electron systems) by Q2-end. If the RSI strikes, by Q3-end or year-end.

Depending on the progress, revise my 2019-times Outline document on my new approach. Note, revising that document is optional.

Scope of this NYR:

The above resolutions do not cover the more advanced topics like: photons, detailed studies on the times taken by QM processes, detailed studies of the multi-scaling issues, etc.

However, the above resolutions do cover predicting the bonding energies of electrons in the helium atom (the 1D case), and the preliminary three-particle simulations.

3.3. Data science:

Work a bit on some projects I have in mind—at least two or three of them.

Note: Nothing big here. Just some small little projects of personal interest. Details will become apparent over the course of the year.

3.4. Health etc.:

As noted above, the last year’s NYRs failed. So: Adjust the resolution further, for this year. Accordingly, the NYR for this year is:

Commit to performing one soorya namaskaar every day.

If even this routine fails for whatever reasons (say, a genuine reason like travel etc., or even plain out of irregularity, forgetfulness, boredom, etc.), then it still would be fine. But the next time the issue crosses the mind, just resume the “at least one” routine back again. (Yes, such resumptions are an integral part of this very resolution itself!)

Also included in this resolution is this point: Publish a summary of my actual performance at the end of the next year. (So, keep a record!)

No resolutions concerning food, drink, etc., this year.

3.5. Sanskrit:

Start learning Sanskrit in a more formal manner, doing an online course (or more of them).

3.6. Miscellaneous:

That’s it! Nothing in the miscellaneous department, this year. The rest of the routines are doing fine (like, e.g., meditation, studies of other topics, and all). No need to change anything about them; no need to make any resolution either.

Apart from it all, take care of yourself, and have a Happy, Productive and Prosperous New Year!

I will only return after I have progressed to a definite extent in my QM-related work, which might be a couple of weeks from now on.

A song I like:

(Instrumental, “fusion”): “The River”
Composer: Ananda Shankar

[This was one of the instrumental pieces I would most often listen to, back in my IIT Madras days (1985–87).

… By now, I’ve forgotten whether I had heard this piece first in IIT Madras or in Pune. I do distinctly remember buying the original cassette for this album (“Ananda Shankar: A Life in Music”) in Pune, in particular, from a certain shop in the “Wonderland” shopping complex, on the Main Street in the Pune Camp area, and listening to it often in Pune. So, some chances are that I listened to it first in Pune. OTOH, my nearest retrievable memory also says two things: (1) I would listen to it on a Sony National Panasonic “Walkman” (having a 3-band equalizer), and (2) I had bought such a  Walkman in the Burma Bazaar area of Madras (now Chennai), though I no longer remember whether I bought it while being a student at IIT M or some time later. … So, all in all, I am not sure when or where I listened to it the first time.

… In any case, I am sure that the song became a routine transitioning music on TV and radio in India only some time later (may be after a few years or so). At least I hadn’t listened to it first on TV/radio. …

This song was one of my all time top-most favorites for a long time during my youth. Frankly though, listening to it once again only last year, after a gap of some two+ decades, it sounded a slight bit different. … But yes, it still remains one of my most favorites. (It’s surprising that I happened not to have run it here so far.)

This piece is short (just about 3 minutes long), but it is absolutely innovative, fresh, and creates a wonderfully unhurried, placid, but not lackadaisical mood. … Just as if you were sitting by the side of a river on an unhurried evening, while resplendent colors slowly unfolded in the sky and also on the placid waters, until it became fully dark, completely unknown to you…. Or, as a small, lone wasp of a cloud loitered around the sky, became thinner, and somehow, the next time you looked at it, it was almost gone… An outstanding piece this one is, IMO, even when compared to other pieces by Ananda Shankar himself… This piece carries that unmistakable Indian touch even as the composition unfolds with a Western-sounding orchestration/trappings. (And it was always a bad idea, IMO, to use this piece for transitioning in between TV/radio programs… But then, that’s an entirely different matter!)

So, anyway, give it a listen and see if you like it too. … Back then, it sounded very fresh and innovative. But with a lot of music of the similar kind, not to mention the easy access to the World music these days, if you are listening to it for the first time, this piece may not sound all that extraordinary. But back then, it was, for me at least. … A good quality audio can be found here [^].

Alright, bye for now and take care…


— 2020.12.31 19:19 IST: First published
— 2020.12.31 20:26 IST: Very minor corrections and additions, all in the songs section.


My new year’s resolutions—2020 edition

Here is a list of my resolutions for the new year…

1. Data Science:

1.1 A set of brief notes:

Write a small set of brief notes (in LaTeX) on topics from machine learning. Focus only on the broad nature of the problem, the essential mathematical/modeling ideas, and only outlines of algorithms. In the first cut, ignore detailed explanations, comments, applications, or detailed comparisons among techniques suitable for the same task.

The goal this year is mostly to further increase the breadth of my reading, understanding, and implementation in code, not depth.

Level of writing: UG. However, only for myself. (Won’t explain everything; the notes may look uneven/partial/not very smoothly progressing.) Wouldn’t care for people concluding: “this is all this guy knows, huh?” Just plain ignore them, and focus on the breadth.

These initial notes could start in any form, but ideally, they should give just a framework. It could be augmented or made deeper later on. (Some parts of it, right in this (i.e. 2020) year.)

Review the progress every two months.

1.2 New ideas:

Definitely work on my possibly new ideas (algorithms/approach), one each from canoncial ML, and DL. I believe they sound sound.

If really new, consider publishing at a good international conference. (Too many conferences in this field in India. And, too many of them too costly too. Only ॠषितुल्य’s can afford them.)

Review the progress every four months.

2. Quantum Mechanics:

The series of posts on ontologies of physics has already been converted into a standalone LaTeX document.

Revise it. Take a printout. Mark the points to keep, to eliminate, to reorder, etc. Also make point-wise notes on a separate piece of paper. Effect the revision into the LaTeX draft. Go through the loop a few times.

Decide on the best way to present my solution to the QM measurement problem. At least 2/3 different ways are possible (if not more); try out them all first in brief rough drafts. Then collect the points together and write a standalone document on the solution I propose (assuming the context of the ontologies document).

Revise the Outline document posted at iMechanica.

Desirable in the new year, but not a resolution: Convert the revised Outline document (the last one) into a first draft for a journal paper.

No specific time-schedule for this one activity. Only a review sure to be taken every month-end.

3. Health etc.:

Follow this principle: Keeping on trying at keeping at it, is more important than being regular. (Else, in resolving to be regular, once the routine breaks, it tends to stay broken for the rest of the year too. So, be easy on yourself. Further change the goal itself. Accordingly:

Minimum: Go for walks (30 minutes) on at least six days each month (“1.5 days a week”).

Separately, do surya namaskars on at least two days a week (eight times a month). (Preferably, walking and surya namaskars should be done on different days. Adjust between the two suitably during the monsoons.)

Keep a register of the days the activities were actually done. Review every two months, and decide at such times about suitably increasing the frequency for the next two months’ period.

4. Blogging:

No separate blog on Data Science for now.

Post the notes on data science at my personal Web site [^], with entries here linking to the same. Consider keeping the actual documents at my Google drive (or GitHub) and giving only links from the personal Web site or this blog (because if a PDF having the same name is updated, WordPress changes the name).

No limit on the blogging related to QM, whether in terms of number of posts or their lengths. When it comes to knowledge-development, atrophy is unacceptable—it’s best left to others.

Leaving aside QM and DS posts/documents, limit all the rest of the blogging to about 3–5 posts per quarter; the lower the better. Review every quarter.

In the songs section, if an already run song happens to strike me again, re-run it. I began adding this section in 2010. So far, I tried not to repeat songs, relying mostly on memory. Succeeded almost always, except for one inadvertent re-run (I believe).

Or, not run any such thing at all!

5. उपनिषदे (Upanishads):

Go through a few of these, and select a suitable one. (Within the first three months.)

Write a first rough draft over the rest of the year.

No need to blog about it right away. (But take a review about this goal sometime around mid-year.)

6. Meditation, side-readings (on all topics—not just spirituality), etc.:

Satisfactory pace achieved already. No need to change it; certainly no need to make NYR’s about them as such.

What else…

Oh! Happy new year!


A song I like:

[The first time I heard this song was when I bought a CD of a compilation of songs, right within the first few months once I was in the SF Bay Area (aka “Silicon Valley”). This was in the first part of1998.

I had not heard this particular RD song before, and was thankful to the compiler (a Sardaar, I vaguely remember) for including it in the compiled CD.

There never was any question of thinking about whether I like this song or not, right from the first time I heard it. As they say, it was “right up my alley”. The only noticeable thing was a hurt sense of pride. I had thought I had heard every (good) song that RD had composed. (In the COEP hostels, had become something of a “goto” guy to check if some song had been composed by SD, RD, or Rajesh Roshan/Bappi Lahiri.)

On possible reason I didn’t know about this song was: There was shooting done for it, but the song was not finally included in the as released movie. In any case, I am sure I had never heard it before that moment in 1998. Even if it might have infrequently been played on the radio, I had missed it.

Almost two decades later (in 2017 or 2018), I ran into another version of this song—done right by the original team. It feels like a rehearsal version. This is the version that was released on YouTube by SaReGaMa. The “released” CD version (which I heard) seems to be the final one.

I am not too sure which one I like better. I tend to think that it is the rehearsal version which I like better.

One final bit. People say that this was based on Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight theme. I had heard the Limelight theme long time before 1998, and I had loved it too. But, somehow, when I heard this song, I never made the connection. I just nodded that it was RD’s song. … But, yeah, after being told, it does make sense.

Links: The first link on Google search (the same version as in the compiled CD version): [^]. The “rehearsal” version, as released by SaReGaMa [^]. One of the comments which alludes to the Limelight connection [^]. ]

(Hindi) “tum meri zindagi mein kuchh” (तुम मेरी जिंदगी मे कुछ इस तरह से आये…)
Music: R. D. Burman
Lyrics: Rajinder Kishen
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar, Kishor Kumar

Some thoughts concerning my New Year’s Resolutions

Here is some loud-thinking regarding what NYR’s I should make, and a tentative list for the same.

[That’s right. IMO, you don’t make NYRs on the 31st—you only finalize them on that day. You should have thought a bit for your list over at least a few days before The Evening comes. That’s how it should be done.]

Anyway, here’s what I think of it, as of today.

1. Quantum Mechanics:

1.1 What I did this year:

As to QM, I could not keep the time-table I had thought of when I made my resolutions last year [^].

Sure enough, by way of keeping the resolution, I did post the Outline document at iMechanica [^], and I did it right within the very optimistic time-frame too [10 February instead of 28 February]. However, I didn’t come to write the paper proper. The reason is, after posting the Outline document, I had a bit of interaction with a couple of physicists, and thereby realized that directly writing the paper would be premature.

So, I changed the plan on the fly. I then noted many clarifications over the year, both here and on twitter. In fact, I also completed the ontologies series—a big effort, consisting of 10 posts, many of them with more than 5k words (and containing a lot of equations too).

However, I have not had the time to write down a post on what my solution to the measurement problem is like. The reason is, Data Science came to occupy much of my time.

Yet, in the year 2020, I think I am going to pull my thoughts on the Measurement Problem together, and write a piece on this remaining topic too—either a blog post or an informal LaTeX document. I think the latter. (But am not sure about that. If you post PDFs, people unnecessarily think the material is less tentative that it really is.) I think this task should be definitely doable within the year. More on it, a bit later, below.

1.2 The ontologies series should be converted into a standalone document: 

But before publishing something on the measurement problem (even if only on my blog), I also think that I should first convert my ontologies series of posts into a standalone LaTeX document. Since this series was written purely on the fly, without much planning, there happened some unnecessary repetitions. [Actually, it all began with some five minutes of idle weighing of this idea while going to sleep one night… I then got out of the bed, switched on the light, and hurriedly noted down the idea in a pocket diary. The hurried noting said three posts, one each on NM, EM and QM.] For the same reason, there also were some minor digressions or detours, and also some minor changes of notations (esp. in the ontology of EM, as I revised my positions regarding E fields and all). So, I could now take an opportunity to straighten out all such matters.

Ideally, I should also add some diagrams to this planned document (on the ontologies). But I would have neither the time nor the enthusiasm to make them.

So, if there is any enthusiastic guy/girl who wants to help me out in this respect, get in touch, or suggest me some suitable illustrator/animator who could work on a pro bono basis.

I won’t be able to pay any money. But it could make for a good project for students of commercial art, animation, etc. So, if interested, get in touch. (It goes without saying that if I begin to make money next year, I will make sure to pay something, at least by way of an honorarium. If I make even more money, I will be even more, up to good market rates.) If no artist is available, I will go ahead with cell-phone shots of my own rough, hand-drawn, sketches.

So, is this goal of converting the ontologies-related blog-posts into a document—a mini-book of sorts—doable? Right in 2020? I think definitely yes. I also think that I am going to pick this one up for a resolution.

1.3 Measurement problem: How to go about writing a paper on it:

Even as this activity begins, it should be possible to write something on the Measurement Problem. However, there is another issue to consider. Ideally, the writing should go with some simulations too. … Now, I am confident that I will be able to find the time to write the document, but I am not equally sure about having the time for conducting the simulations too. (Also, I won’t be seeking help from physicists or so. They are third-class people.)

As of today, I tend to think that I should first complete both (i) the standalone Ontologies document, and (ii) the Measurement Problem documents. Only then should I revise the Outline document (posted at iMechanica).

It’s only then that I should download the article template files from Nature / Science / PRL. … No, don’t get shocked—there is nothing shocking here.

I do believe that I do have a good paper here in the pipeline. Any one who solves the measurement problem in such a way that (i) it’s easily understandable even to engineers, (ii) there is a new but simple proposal for the necessary nonlinearity—one that does not introduce any extra variables to the Schrodinger’s equation, and yet one that can be shown to reduce to the linear formalism in a limit, and (iii) the approach can be directly translated into 3D simulations, then such a development would very easily qualify for publication even in Nature—provided the writing is brief enough. So there. … All the preparatory documents would then come in handy as “supplemental information”.

… Come to think of it, this would be my first journal paper. (At least as a first/sole author. In any case, it will be my first journal paper on a theory I myself formulated.)

But the question is, would it be possible to complete the paper right in 2020? I doubt. The reason is, I would also be busy with a very fast moving field, viz., Data Science. But still, I think that it would worth giving a good shot to conversion of the revised Outline document (itself TBD in 2020) into the form of a paper.

2. Data Science:

2.1 What was planned:

A job in Data Science didn’t come through during 2019, as anticipated. So, some of my planned activities related to the same didn’t occur. However, other productive activities came to replace them. So, it’s OK.

Employers have been less productive than I have been.

2.2 What I could be doing:

As of now, projecting into 2020:

The problem of how to make DL more accurate (even robust) seems interesting. I perhaps might have some new ideas to try out here… However, I don’t have enough of computing resources to be able to actually try these ideas out, empirically. So, this one probably will not make to my list of resolutions.

The approach seems relevant (at least with my current knowledge of ANNs and DL), but I am not sure how good it is. Theoretically, it’s not a big deal—“just a variation” on the same old, known, themes. But worth trying. And, it does seem that people haven’t pursued such ideas—even if the ideas seem to have good potential.

If a VC wants to give me an informal scholarship, I could pursue the idea further on a priority and turn over the results to him. Feel free to get in touch. (These rich dumbards won’t, I predict.)

3. Health:

I have always failed in keeping this one resolution of going for walks for at least 25–30 (preferably 45 minutes) a day. I could not, despite making a resolution about it—and working on it.

I think it would be a good idea to keep at least a “compromised” version of this resolution for this year too. Failures don’t matter. You have to give a try again. Also, the one related to सूर्य नमस्कार (“soorya namaskaars”). (I did better, much better, on this count in the last year.)

4. Mental health:

4.1 Blogging—what to do?

I think it’s high time to make a decision: Either close down this blog, or stop writing a lot on it. May be one post per 20 days or so. Or, something like it.

4.2 My blogging, overall:

My current rate at this blog, over 12 years, is close to one post every 11.01 days—not counting my posts/replies at iMechanica.

Last year, I also wrote unusually big posts (often longer than 2000 words, and in the ontologies series, many times going into the range of 5k to 10k words, just because I wanted to finish this series off).

At iMechanica, I find that I have made some 250 blog-posts/replies, out of which there could be some 30–40 blog posts proper (may be about 50–100 too; I haven’t counted them), and the rest are replies.

I had my personal Web site set up when I was doing PhD. I think I set it up in 2007. I used to post some blog-like updates on this Web site back then. Then I blogging here on the 3rd January 2008. I began blogging at iMechanica in March 2008.

Most Indians who used to blog regularly in those times have more or less discontinued doing any significant blogging. Professors persisted for a longer time, but they too have mostly stopped. Some got promoted or assumed greater administrative responsibilities, which must have affected their being regulars (people like, say, Dheeraj Sanghi or Abinandanan). Others might have simply lost interest. Very few still go on, and their pace has reduced a lot.

Another point: I also don’t get (m)any good quality replies. Most of my posts in fact are just monologues. There is a definite feeling that people from more powerful countries / positions (esp. Americans, but also others) want to read what I write, but they don’t want to acknowledge—lest this action on their part lead to an elevation of my position / prestige. It’s as if they want to benefit from me, but still want to feel superior at all times, anyway.

Not at all unexpected from Americans—I have spent 7 years of my life in that country, and I know them as a people pretty well. Retards eternally looking for getting compliments for being great, re-assurances that they are not fools, and obsessed about money and power. Without any thought of being reciprocal. Also, un-necessarily assuming a grumpiness (even “intellectual goon-some-ness”) while talking to foreigners. (“Hey, there was a guy here who did it first!”) That’s what they are like, when all facades are dropped. Not all of them, but most of them. (Yes, I am a facts-driven guy.) You couldn’t count on them to acknowledge that I post neat things, or positively reciprocate to my ontologies series, or the fact that I have solved the measurement problem. No scope for saying: “Hey, hey, hey, an American did it first!” That’s (especially) why.

But with about 44% share, the largest group of my readership is constituted of Americans. (Yes, I am a data-driven guy.)

Second come the Indians. They constitute the second biggest group, at about 37%. You already know what they are typically like. “Unless I pull down this Ajit Jadhav guy, I cannot rise higher up.” Here, I’ve quoted a past colleague from the IT field—a junior colleague of mine. No further comments necessary.

Anyway, what I wanted to highlight here is that, my experience of blogging has been remarkably different from what, say, Scott Aaronson, Atanu Dey, or Abinandanan might have had.

4.3 What could make for a good New Year’s resolution in this direction?

So, the question is: Should I keep engaging people who don’t know how to reciprocate values (or know too well how to deliberately pull down others so as to rise up in career, calling names and ascribing psychological weaknesses (“you are imposing” types) to accomplish such goals)? And for what reason or purpose? And should I be doing it all for free?

But then, with blogging, there also are advantages like a certain professional visibility. Now that I have got into Data Science, it’s important to have some visibility here too. So, may be closing down the blog wouldn’t be the best thing to do.

So, that’s another thing that I am thinking about.

Guess I will wrap up my thoughts on this matter and reach some decision by the time the new year’s eve arrives. … One option here is to start a new blog, mainly for Data Science, and with it, may be, shut this one down permanently…. Let me think about it….

5. Other things from the last year’s list:

I think I did pretty OK on the counts of diet and also meditation, though not much on exercises (though I did do them for some spans of time, as noted above).

6. Not resolutions, just a wish-list of sorts:

This is just a wish-list. I don’t see them as potential resolutions to make on the new year’s eve. But I might as well note them.

  • Go on a “long” tour by car, mainly for site-seeing but also visiting temples as they come by—say to “Somanath/Dwaraka” in Gujarat (a long drive through Saurashtra is what I have somehow wanted to do for quite some time—I honestly don’t know why it caught my fancy, but it’s been almost a decade or so that it has). Or, may be, go some places in Rajasthan and MP and all. … The trouble here is, my car has now become old. 15 years old, in fact. (It was 6 years old when I bought it second-hand.) I just got it re-registered. Hmmm… 15 years completed and into the 16th year… Whether you call it “old” or “teenager”, one thing is for certain: it wouldn’t be reliable for going on such long a journey. And, I don’t have any money anyway. Not even for the petrol, let alone for buying a new car.
  • Write a ML program to automatically recognize the “raaga”s of popular Indian songs. This idea has been with me for a long time, decades in fact. The first time I wondered aloud about it was in 1985, when I was teaching in an engineering college in Pune. A COEP guy who just did MTech from IITKGP had joined the college. He was into Indian classical music, I vaguely recall. In any case, this was the idea I had tossed across to him. … The first couple of AI books I bought and read were in the early 1990s; the titles I think were something like “Expert System” for medical applications. (I had bought them from Modern book-stall in the Camp area.)
  • Every week, translate at least 1–3 verses from an उपनिषद (“upanishad”) into English (possibly also liberally using Marathi in the process), explaining the roots of the Sanskrit words, their context and sense, and hence the actual meaning of the verse (in literal and more figurative/speculative terms), after filtering out the externally slapped on mysticism, “interpretations,” etc. … Any actual mysticism already present in the verses will be kept in tact. But mysticism is in the least bothersome to me. The real issue is this: Whatever I write, it will be seen only in the context of the scholarly commentaries by others—many of the authors being of unnecessarily high reputations. So, my writings wouldn’t be seen for what they are: as an honest kind of an exercise, arising out of a hobby-like interest, purely for personal growth and satisfaction. People tend to think that उपनिषद (“upanishad”) are only for the scholars and the like—not for a personal, enjoyable, process of discovery for oneself… May be I should try a bit next year, but without making any resolution about it. Or, make a resolution for just a few verses per month, may be on a separate blog… Something to think about…

So, there.

I will think further, and post my final resolutions on the 31st or so.

A song I like:

(Hindi) “puruvaa suhaani aayee re…”
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Mahendra Kapoor, Manhar Udas
Music: Kalyanji–Anandji
Lyrics: Santosh Anand

[When this movie came, I was in school, may be in 6th/7th standard or so. (The movie date is 1971, which means I must be in 5th standard. But back then, we were in Shirpur, and it would take more than a year before any new movies came to Shirpur. People would go to Dhule or Jalgaon, nearby district places, if they wanted to see a latest movie.) So, when it eventually came to the town, I must have been in 6th or 7th—and my vague sense of memory seems to suggest that it must have been in 7th standard, 1st sem. Anyway, this movie was censored for us by our parents, obviously in reference to the mini-skirt of Saira Banu, I guess. (I vaguely remember that this movie was declared tax-free, but such a bit wouldn’t have any effect on parents.)

But the audio of the song would often get played on radio or loud-speakers at public function. It had a catching rhythm and energetic singing by all. So, it created a niche somewhere at the back of the mind….

… Some time this year, when I googled for this song, a HD YouTube video came up as the first link. … Well, Saira’s skirt would be looked at as being quite a normal dress today in India. No parent would censor the movie, I guess—not in the cities anyway… In any case, what really caught my eye while watching this video the first time wasn’t Saira Banu’s enthusiastic dancing (she seems to be actually enjoying the act), but a small sequence of steps of gliding backwards which they gave to Bharathi (check out at 01:25 here [^]).

I don’t know why, but while watching this song for the first time, this stepping back sequence came a bit unexpectedly, and may be that’s why, I somehow noticed just how smoothly, subtly, Bharathi has performed it. Perfectly in touch with the rhythm, with a perfect smoothness, with just the right kind of a light footwork. OK. It may not impress every one. Yet, somehow, it captured me… I don’t know if your reaction would be the same or not. But, personally, I found this small sequence to be a most expertly delivered: it was smooth and delightful. “That’s how dancing should be” I involuntarily thought—right on the fly when I first watched it.

I didn’t know the actress, so checked out on her name and background. Turns out to be a Kannada actress. …Well, obviously. It couldn’t have been any one but some South Indian lady—only they can get that smooth… I know for a fact (from IIT Madras as also later on through many colleagues) that in South India, at least in our times, most all girls would get taught at least some rudiments of dancing—at home, or at some nearby school, or in a temple, or so. It would be considered an essential part of a girl’s upbringing. … If you practice this skill right from the childhood, then being in step with the rhythm comes very naturally to you. You don’t do it “consciously”. The steps comes out a lightly, and it all looks natural…

… Anyway, we would often hear this song on the radio or loud-speakers, and I have enjoyed its rhythm and texture, the fresh tune, Lata’s alluring opening and also the Western-like “laa laa laa” thrown together, the ingeniously arranged orchestration with traditional Indian instruments, and, very very apt and grown-in-the-soil (almost “sweet”) Indian words. It’s पुरुवा [^] here—neither पूर्वा nor, obviously, पुरवा [^]. If you want, a fairly good translation is here [^] (though it could be improved a bit—just an addition of a comma here and there, that’s all (don’t disturb the literal translation aspect of it, done very well!)). All in all, the song has an unusual, innovative composition—and an overall a very happy sense to it… Hope you like it too. …]