Driverless Vehicle.

Much is being written and spoken about the future of driverless vehicles. Frankly, I am scared though being an Indian, I should not.

Why?

Here is a driverless vehicle, successfully tested in India. No accidents even at an abnormally high speed. Auto navigation works perfectly on narrow roads. Obstacles are perfectly avoided with unmatched agility. And, you really do not need to understand the warning signals that you hear in the background.  Suffice it to say that it apparently works.

See this road test.

I thank Shankar the irrepressible for this clip as well as the narrative.

The First Time I Saw An Ocean.

This is The Edward Elliots Beach in Chennai with the Karl Schmidt memorial. This is the Southern end of the Chennai Marina Beach.

Although I was born in Mumbai, I don’t recall ever seeing the ocean there during my early years. Mumbai is an island and the Western side of the island faces the Arabian Sea and I have lived in places in Mumbai from where the ocean can be seen though much later in life.

By the time I was about three or four years old, my parents moved from Mumbai to Chennai and my first memories of the ocean are seeing the Bay of Bengal both at the Marina Beach as well as at the Edward Elliots Beach but, the latter most vividly as my uncle and aunt lived in The Theosophical Society in Adayar which was frequented by my family often as my father too was connected with the society and I lived there with my uncle and aunt for a whole year.

My father taught me to bathe in the ocean at Elliot’s beach and that is a memory that is not easily forgotten. Perhaps that is why my memory of the Elliots Beach is so vivid. There are many photographs of our times on the beach when we were children but, they are all in various collections with my siblings and so I am unable to reproduce some of them here. What my memory tells me of those visits to the beach is the sense of awe one felt at the immensity of the ocean and the miracle of the water coming to the shore and retreating.

If there is another memory that surpasses that of the childhood one of the Madras beaches that is the one of my first visit to Kanya Kumari in 1974 where the Indian ocean, The Bay of Bengal and The Arabian Sea meet. A sight that simply blows one away.  A re-visit there is very much part of my bucket list.

This week’s 2 on 1 topic was chosen by Shackman. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say.

Justice And Arithmetics.

This is a fable that I remembered for its Arithmetical jugglery when I read Ekoshapu’s 2019 Through Recreational Mathematics. I am not into mathematics and his post flew right over my head but this story is something that has come back to me as a result of reading the post.

A traveller seeks shelter in a stormy night in a temple and finds that there are two monks already camping there. Tired and hungry, he asks them if he can get some food. One monk says that he has five rotis and the other three. Both express their inability to decide how to share the rotis. The traveller suggests that both of them divide each roti into three equal parts so that they will have a total of 24 pieces of roti which then could be divided amongst them at eight pieces per head. This is duly done and the three have the meal and go off to sleep.

In the morning, the traveller finds that the rain has stopped and on his way out, gives eight gold coins to the two monks as an expression of his gratitude and goes away.

The two monks then start to quibble about how to share the coins. The monk who had contributed three rotis suggests that they share it four pieces each while the monk who had contributed five suggests that he should get five and the first one only three in proportion to the number of rotis each contributed.

Not finding an amicable solution, they go to the Abbot and ask for justice.

The Abbot after mulling over the matter gives one coin to the monk who had contributed three rotis and seven to the monk who had contributed five. The former immediately cries that this is unfair and asks for an explanation as he points out that the other monk had already offered three coins which was not acceptable to him.

The Abbot explains that the first monk with the five rotis actually gave seven pieces of rotis to the guest from his fifteen pieces whereas the monk with the three gave only one from his share of nine pieces from his original three rotis. So, the monk who gave seven pieces of rotis should get seven coins and the monk who gave only one piece should get one coin!

This story is often used to explain how Karma actually works and I hope that Ekoshapu will come up with some such enlightening stories from his fun with recreational mathematics.

Short Cuts.


A happy new year to all my readers.

On New Year’s eve, Ranjan and Manjiree went to dinner at a mall near our home where there is a book shop. Just as he was leaving, Ranjan asked if I wanted any book as a new year’s gift and I asked for The Order Of The Day by Eric Vuillard about which I had heard from a friend who is a history buff. Ranjan could not get it as it was not available at the book shop but, for some strange reason he chose this book by Phil Knight as a gift for me.

I am not much into autobiographies or books on Management and was a bit sceptical about the contents but, on beginning to read the book, I found it gripping and unputdownable.

It is a remarkable story and more remarkable for its ability to keep the reader involved and wanting to move on. There are platitudes but they do not interfere with the narrative and the story keeps moving at a break neck speed.

The writer is just five years older than I am and many of the things that he writes about his younger days are places, events and things that I remember from my younger days. That perhaps is a reason for my fascination with the story.

All in all a great book to read about a remarkable journey of a ‘my generation’ entrepreneur.

And, as it so often happens in my life, I came across this photograph just as I was about to finish reading the book. No, at least in the book, there are no short cuts to success.