Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Poets Dream Anthology: New Beginings

Hello Friends,

I am delighted to let you know that my poem: Elysium is featured in an anthology. This is the first time that my work is part of a compilation. So its very, very special to me.

The anthology is driven by the highly talented +Ferrick Gray who is a highly talented poet himself. He has compiled the works of artists of Poets Dream community and published this work of art. I hope you enjoy reading the pieces.

Dream Catchers: Vol. 3 - New Beginnings is now available for download in PDF (882kB) from
Poet's Dream Website: poetsdream.org
Link to PDF: http://poetsdream.org/publications/V03Dec2016DreamCatchers.pdf
Google Play Books: books.google.com, or search for Dream Catchers in the Play Books app.
Visit the community to explore the world of Poets Dream.

Thank you for all the kind support.

Cheers,
Amit

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Review: Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov

The first book in the trilogy was a series of political episodes spanning for centuries. I was elevated by the series of upcoming crisis and how wonderfully and convincingly they were taken care. Then, with high hopes and hungry for more drama I went ahead to read the next book: Foundation and Empire. I can say I was not completely disappointed with this novel, but I had mixed feelings about it. I really did not feel much about it except for the twist in the end. It may be because of the expectations I had for the story.

Now just to make ends meet, I reluctantly picked up the third book: Second Foundation. During the ending of the first half, I was completely elated. Believe it or not, I started writing this review when I was at this point. Because the story began subtly and unfolded itself the reason and motive in a grand fashion! I felt this was gravely missing in the second book. In other words it would be better to say, in the second book a new concept was merely introduced make it explode in the third. Not only is it described nicely but it also gives scientific answers to "how" and "why" of the concept in a fictional way convincingly. It extrapolates the ingenious idea that Asimov gave birth: psychohistory.

The first part of the book is the fight between the Second Foundation and The Mule. Just when it seems that the other one is going to lose, the situation turns nicely. The concept which I mentioned is quite simple, but it teases your brains when you read it. For me it was like I knew about the concept all along but there were hardly any words to put my thoughts together. I will share the passages that got my mind rolling (I trimmed a few lines not to make this post look too long):
Bail Chanis said, "... It was a time of absolutes, of the great final generalities, at least in thought. It was a sign of decaying culture, of course, that dams had been built against the further development of ideas. It was his revolt against these dams that made Seldon famous. It was that one last spark of youthful creation in him that lit the Empire in a sunset glow and dimly foreshadowed the rising sun of the Second Empire."
The Mule: "Very dramatic. So what?"
"So he created his Foundations according to the laws of psychohistory, but who knew better than he that even those laws were relative? He never created a finished product. Finished products are for decadent minds. His was an evolving mechanism and the Second Foundation was the instrument of that evolution. We are the guardians of Seldon’s Plan. Only we!"
"Are you trying to talk yourself into courage," inquired the Mule, contemptuously, "or are you trying to impress me?... And in any case, poor fool, speak of the Second Foundation in the past tense, for it is destroyed."
The First Speaker of Second Foundation smiled: “Why, the man you call Bail Channis performed his mission well... I can see, of course, that you have mistreated him... He volunteered for this mission although we were able to predict mathematically the huge chance of damage to his mind—a more fearful alternative than that of mere physical crippling.
"Emotional contact such as you and I possess is not a very new development. Actually it is implicit in the human brain. Most humans can read emotion in a primitive manner by associating it pragmatically with facial expression, tone of voice and so on. A good many animals possess the faculty to a higher degree; they use the sense of smell to a good extent, and the emotions involved are, of course, less complex. Actually, humans are capable of much more, but the faculty of direct emotional contact tended to atrophy with the development of speech a million years back. It has been the great advance of our Second Foundation that this forgotten sense has been restored to at least some of its potentialities. "But we are not born with its full use. A million years of decay is a formidable obstacle, and we must educate the sense, exercise it as we exercise our muscles. And there you have the main difference. You were born with it."
Well, are you not seeing the level of standard in the language; and also the depth of thoughts expressed? They are at the highest level of literary discipline as opposed to classical literature. Well, here is another one to justify what I said: The second part of the book explains the origins of psychohistory, i.e. the Seldon Plan. What I really loved is the fact that it makes you believe that the idea really exists. Hitherto I thought that the plan is purely fictitious. So I had swallowed it because the concept seemed foolproof. This excerpt below tells us otherwise:
"Good," said the First Speaker. "And tell me, what do you think of all this. A finished work of art, is it not?"
"Definitely!"
"Wrong! It is not." This, with sharpness. "It is the first lesson you must unlearn. The Seldon Plan is neither complete nor correct. Instead, it is merely the best that could be done at the time. Over a dozen generations of men have pored over these equations, worked at them, taken them apart to the last decimal place, and put them together again. They’ve done more than that. They’ve watched nearly four hundred years pass and against the predictions and equations, they’ve checked reality, and they have learned."
You see there is realism in it. The story honestly admits imperfection; which is why you can relate to it closely. The portrayal of ideas is so futuristic that I was completely stunned by them. Also, the writing is very clever in the sense that the story flows in a subtle way; all the details are not just thrown to you; you have to read between the lines. And there are instances where it will become clear in the later chapters. So you will devour the pages all the way until the reason for your hunger is completely satisfied. My mind went restless when I was nearing the end of the novel as it got electrified by intense suspense backed up by high-octane science. Indeed, it was as good as a roller coaster ride for me!

Ah, I think these doses are quite enough. I am not here to spoil your party so early; not in the least! Now I understand why there was a slight dip in my excitement about the second book: Foundation and Empire. I guess it was a deliberate move by Asimov as he wanted his fans to rejoice the third book. Thus, making it a fantastic trilogy!

Postscript

Today, in the age of science we have abundant knowledge and information at the tip of our fingers. Sci-fi movies are made using CGI to depict the film maker's ideas on the screen; and we're often awed by it. Just imagine, back in the 1950s resources were limited and science was budding. These great writers: Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke et al had already transcended jet age. These men with their vivid ideas driven by profound imagination made people live in space age only by words. Their work is truly commendable. Hats off! On the lighter side of things, I am happy and proud of myself because so far this is the only trilogy I read as a book series. I am glad it was an enjoyable journey all along.

Further reading: Second Foundation quotes by Isaac Asimov

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Featured in Creative Talents Unleashed

Hello Friends,

I would like to share my joy with you today because my poem, Face of Many Mirrors got featured in the online literary magazine: Creative Talents Unleashed. Click here to read it. Thank you so much for your kind support.

Warm Regards,
Amit


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Science and Religion

I finished reading Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov recently. Its a second novel published in the Foundation series. It was an enjoyable read, but not as enjoyable as the first one. Lets see if the third book strikes the right chord. Well, this post talks about the cloud of thoughts that gathered around me when I read these beautiful lines from the books:

Foundation

It is the chief characteristic of the religion of science that it works.
It is remarkable, Hardin, how the religion of science has grabbed hold. Treating the problem sociologically, it would seem that when the old Empire began to rot at the fringes, it could be considered that science, as science, had failed the outer worlds. To be reaccepted it would have to present itself in another guise—and it has done just that. It works out beautifully.
Foundation and Empire
The Foundation has secrets. They have books, old books - so old that the language they are in is only known to a few of the top men. But the secrets are shrouded in ritual and religion, and none may use them.
Aren't these lines more to us than meets the eye? They compelled me to reflect upon the things that I could relate very dearly. I mean, look at the holy books presented to us by our great ancestors. The text in them are so complex that they cannot be understood in simple terms. It will take years just to study one volume of it.

Look at religion from a slightly different angle. Think of it as pure science - a branch of discipline that is so overwhelmingly powerful that our minds just out-rightly reject it, only because we fail to understand its secrets. Now what happens if the same thing is preached as religion? We accept it as a Heavenly blessing. We believe it; live it. Our ancestors were smart enough to preach science as religion, so that the people of today - who question everything with their half empty minds - follow it without doubting much. They always want us to have faith in it. Because the generation in which we all live is utterly incapable of realizing the true potential of it. Since we do not comprehend its virtues, we draw our own "home-made" interpretations out of it. Thus, either we end up following our customs and rituals because of our faith in them or we do not follow them at all! Sometimes, its mixed. I follow most of it, not all of it. You know, I am spiritual but not so religious! On the whole, as many generations passed, science became religion, and religion became faith.

I will corroborate what I just said. The Hindu calendar, just like the English calendar, has more than just days and months in it. It tells you about the future. Solar and lunar eclipses are foretold accurately well ahead of time (one, two or a few years before) with the exact time-stamp. How? There are mathematical calculations to deduce the times of their occurrences. We just don't know it yet. Another best example is horoscope - the destinies of people described based on their birthdays. There is more in Hinduism. Priests use horoscopes to calculate the compatibility between a boy and a girl if they want to marry. Ultimately its mathematical science expounded in religious ways. I am familiar with Hinduism and I am sure there are similar aspects of science in other religions also.

Asimov used science fiction as a clever device to explain religion through science in his Foundation novels. I really admire his intelligence. Way to go, Asimov!

The Great Isaac Asimov

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Beast

The Beast

Image courtesy: The Silence of the Lambs

... and here it comes again; it has awaken
Breaking the shackles wound around it
Into splinters of violent pandemonium
This untamed being; the abhorring brute
Looming inside me with a devious smug
Unleashes itself triumphantly with a roar -
A wicked roar that bursts sardonic laughter

To experience the long awaited freedom;
Freedom of being deviant once again
And being uncouth and mischievous
This happens only when you are gone
So I can be the king of all the spoils
I earnestly wish you to return after eons

Mindless about the depletion inside
By being unwise about its actions
The mind is poisoned to the core
By a plague of heathen thoughts
Causing devil-may-care perversion
To the point of wild palpitation
Thus, after a long run of satanic fun
Finally the beast succumbs to repose

I couldn't open my eyes when the sun was up
As it was the grim sight of a great disaster
My mind was numb; my soul - obliterated
I was vanquished by the wretched monster,
The devil inside me which I had given birth
Of which I am the father and its rightful master

Oh, is there anything less painful than
To get torn apart between my mind and soul?
It is this regret that nags me with teasing cry:
Was there something I should have done
When it was growing inside the womb?
Oh, why did I embrace it with open arms
When I knew about its repercussions?

After a long struggle to concede my defeat
That has stained this haggard look upon me,
I kneel down, ashamed, to beseech you:
Wherever you are, please come back soon
Only you can help me bring myself back;
Help me find myself for I am lost in wilderness
And rescue me from this dreadful creature

Before it gets lost from me forever
Please, I am begging you to bring it back -
The harmony between my mind and soul
Which left me without saying, "Goodbye"
Be a guiding light and I will bridle the beast
Let my righteousness be the strength to hold it firm
And I pledge to take it on the path of morality
Then it will never be called as The Beast ever again

April 23, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Review: Foundation by Isaac Asimov

I always wanted to read Asimov's works and I had heard a lot about his Foundation Trilogy. This book, first in the trio, is a series of stories/episodes loosely coupled but held together by an idea called the Foundation. It starts with Hari Seldon and his pupil Gaal Dornick - the physcohistorians, who predict future history based on mathematical calculations. Then he is exiled from his home planet, Trantor, to establish a colony called the Foundation on the periphery of the galaxy. As years go by, a series of crisis occur as foretold by Seldon. These crises are entirely political with the sole intention to gain absolute power. The internal affairs and the barbarous planets try to take over the Foundation and ultimately the Galactic Empire.

Hari Seldon seen inside the Time Vault
On the whole its about the relationship between super-advanced science- especially the use of nuclear power- and humanity. The nuclear power is used as a primary weapon not only in warfare but also as a commodity for trade. What I really loved about the book is the crisis themselves. They appealed to my senses very much. I mean, the devious plots in the grand scheme of politics are very intriguing. Also, it was even more fun reading about the resolution of the crisis for protecting the interests of the Foundation. Isaac Asimov has written the episodes so cleverly that all of it is in the form of no-nonsense, obscure, high standard conversations. Thus making it a high voltage, enjoyable political drama. It easily showcases his intellect. I really hope you will enjoy this book. Now, I have decided to pick up the next in the trilogy: Foundation and Empire. Until next time...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Short Story: A Conversation

Here is a new short story I wrote recently. Hope you enjoy it.



(c) Copyrights All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pride and Glory

Pride and Glory


I have failed before, and I will fail again
Because I know, (Well, I came to know)
First by denial, then by utter reluctance;
Ultimately by strike of rude awakening:
It was a wretched scream without a voice:
Beseeching me to open my arms wide
Only to accept me; just to accept myself
Which I continue to fail...

To make a world understand who I am
Help them witness the treasure I possess
Through the beauty of my works of art
Relish what lies beneath the mask I wear
In return gives me strength to stand firm,
Gives me courage to hold my head high
That's the ultimate source of my pride.

After a long hiatus, through the windows
I see that my bygone glory has got faded,
They label me as a washed-up celebrity -
A comic book character wearing a mask,
Who is now old and has a bleating voice
With a family that he's no longer part of.

I sit with my head slumped in my hands,
"You are old, man. You're a crippled goat!
Smelling stench in this squalid little room,
Listen to me. It's over. You're screwed up.
You are no artist; you are a coward, man!
Get into that suit; get back what we've lost."
I lose control; fury and rage overpowers me
I am disappearing, vanishing into thin air.
"You are fake, an imposter. They will know."
Stop it! Please let me be. There is no "we"
Shut up! Argh! Get out of my freaking head!
Out of intense frustration, I pull my hair,
And bang my head hard against the mirror
Helpless and exhausted, I finally surrender.
"It's always 'we', man! Wherever you are."

*    *    *

All set to make a comeback in this time
With brave and bold new ideas of my own
I am embarking on a whole new journey
To achieve the goals painted my dreams
But I hear is sardonic laughs around me
They question the credibility of my talent
It makes the sorrow thrive without mercy
Burdening my heart which it cannot bear

The loneliness haunts me when it says...
"Wake up you miserable, bleating old goat!
How did we end up in this filthy cesspool?
You do not deserve this kind of aggravation.
Remember what you are, where you belong,
Wait until you see the faces of those who
Thought you were an old washed-up artist.
You tower over this jaw dropping greatness;
You are larger than life, man. You are a God
Saving people from their boring little lives!
Let us go back one more time to show them
What we're capable of with a grand overture
And the very next time you bleat..."

Echoes of my long lived dreams resonate
A hard hitting reality of my own manifests
With a snap of my fingers the show begins
A missile strikes, explosion across the street,
A dreadful monster circling above screeches
I take a big leap to fight that dreaded beast
Firing powerful laser beams through my fists
"This is what you are, where you belong."
A joyful smile fills my face with pride.

*    *    *

"This is it, man. The final act. Get out there;
Give it to them you mighty wrinkly goat.
Show them what you've got for the last time
And earn back what you always wanted,
What you alone deserved - pride and glory.
You are destined to soar above all of them.
Together we're unstoppable - a global force.
You're the best there is, the best there was,
And the best there ever will be!"

I win millions of hearts after the final act.
Next dawn, I sit on my bed, an encore begins;
I go to the window and gaze towards the sky,
Admiring its natural beauty I take the big leap
And they see me flying high up in the heavens.

For Birdman

Feb 09, 2016 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

A few of my friends and relatives recommended me to read this novel. I wasn't so sure about it. But the moment my eyes fell on the title of Part 1:

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU

I thought, I must read it. I have seen this line being used in many places on the internet. It's a very famous line.

Ever since I started reading, it made me realize the effects of oppressive rule. Imagine the world ruled by a dictator so cruel that there is no freedom to do anything - not to utter a word, not to hear, not even for me to write this review, not to express anything in anyway. Then it would take enormous amount of courage to thrive inside my guts to place a dot on this post. Just think for a moment. Every breath you take is sniffed, every whisper is unmistakably noticed and to make matters worse, your thoughts are read by the so called "Thought Police". Do you think you would have lived your life? I guess not! You would have merely survived cursing your birth. This is the core theme of the novel.

It's a science fiction novel of dytopian setting. A great story - this feat by George Orwell narrates the life of Winston Smith. The loss of his family which he can't clearly recollect, his delirious mind that can't decide what's right or wrong, his confusion resulting out of madness during the "Hate Speech", all very well explained in detail so eloquently that it touched my mind and soul at many layers. It's incredible to see George Orwell could capture and describe every painful emotion plainly as though it is normal. It takes you down the staircase one step at a time thereby making the heart heavier at every step. The agony is merely out of sheer hopelessness. The depth of emotions exhibited in writing and to be able to feel it at different levels when read shows the mark of a true genius.

Some quotes and passages are so thought provoking that I went over them again and again. I believe that emotions are best expressed in words if the writer gets absorbed in that feeling or he has experienced it. I could clearly relate to this statement particularly in this novel, Because the words are aptly used in order to explain the characters' vibes throughout the story. I wrote this review until this point when I finished reading just twelve percent of the book. It overwhelmed me completely by surprise considering the setting, the plot and the characters.


Every aspect of oppressive rule is astutely covered. The fact that an all new language: Newspeak is made the official language of Oceania. This is such a language where most of words from the English dictionary are removed. This is to make sure citizens are disabled to think or express anything - a measure to prevent "Thought Crime". Thought Crime is a criminal offense by citizens who do not conform to the principles of Ingsoc.

One of the most fascinating concepts written in the novel is about DOUBLETHINK. In English, it means "Reality Control". By definition, it means:
DOUBLETHINK means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
To confuse you even more, here is the intent of DOUBLETHINK:
To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.
All right! So to understand DOUBLETHINK, read the novel. It is very interesting. Talking about the style of language, Orwell has extensively made use of double negatives and strong adjectives to describe the predicaments, that intensify the situation to the core and gives the readers the feeling of wrenching of guts.

On the positive side of things, this great novel, a magnum opus as a matter of fact, has helped me to introspect about my life. After reading this novel I told myself, "Live your life to the fullest. Because you never know what thoughts get cooked-up inside the minds of the people who are ruling the nation!" Because my heart sank seeing the story meeting a very sad end. I thought that the story may end describing the dawn of a revolution. Anyways, hope you guys enjoy reading the novel.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year



Yet another year says goodbye
Just like any other day passes by
The sun sets across the horizon
Below the snow capped mountains

When the caring heart got broken
Tough decisions were to be taken
While fingers got coarsely burnt
Many lessons were being learnt

When revelations were unveiled
True colors got shockingly revealed
As the bygone days were troublesome
The mind got enlightened by wisdom

Gratitude is the winner every year
For it offers the truth crystal clear
Of giving up things difficult by nature
And embracing purity as treasure

With courage of many things to learn
While leaving the yesteryear astern
With a new hope of joy paving the way
The new year dawns like a new day

December 31, 2015