Monday, April 11, 2011

Found in translation: Ajeeb Daastaan hai yeh

Some songs one can't hear without having the urge to translate them. Here is my attempt for Ajeeb Daastaan hai yeh.

English translation

Hindi Lyrics

What a strange journey,
Where do the ends lie?

Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh
Kahan shuru kahan khatam

What were we aiming for?
Neither he understood; nor I.

Yeh manzile hai kaunsi
Na voh samajh sake na hum

Smoke rises from the lamp,
Along with the light

Yeh roshni ke saath kyoon
Dhuaan utha chiraag se

This dream I floated in
It has broken tonight.

Yeh khwaab dekhti hoon main
Ke jag padi hoon khwaab se

Congrats to you my dear,
On your charming loving find

Mubaarakein tumhe ke tum
Kisi ke noor ho gaye

On drawing so close to someone,
That you left others behind.

Kisi ke itne paas ho
Ke sab se door ho gaye

You will take your love
And build your world a-new

Kisi ka pyaar leke tum
Naya jahan basaaoge

Whenever this evening comes I
I will still think of you.

Yeh shaam jab bhi aayegi
Tum humko yaad aaoge

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dorothy Parker's reason to live

It is a season of mists and yellow wistfulness. When one is being suffocated by a fog that refuses to lift, I imagine there are people out there who just want to let go and wake up to the incredible lightness of non-being. But how exactly to let go? Many a potential suicide has been thwarted on this point, as Dorothy Parker pointed out long ago:

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful; You might as well live.

Read more Dorothy Parker:


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fractions should be scrapped!!

In a country already lagging behind most nations in the world in terms of mathematical skills of high school students, we now have University of Pennsylvania professor Dennis DeTurck proclaiming: “Down with fractions! They are obsolete.”

His inspiration is that, “Mathematicians are always questioning the axioms. Everybody knows that questioning those often results in the most substantial gains in terms of progress”, and so he has dared to question the axiom of teaching fractions. While it is true that questioning is often the seed of change, it is also true that questions asked just for the sake of questioning are plain idiotic. And when DeTurck adds, “The study of fractions should be delayed until it can be understood, perhaps after a student learns calculus”, this begins to sound like (a) either an April fool’s joke or (b) DeTurck urgently needs to visit his doctor.

I don’t know about Professor DeTurck, but I learnt fractions at the same time I was learning the difference between genders, while I learnt calculus around the time I had my first crush. To my mind, it is pretty clear what should come first. Pennsylvania State professor George Andrews agrees with me, “Arithmetic is the basic skill. If children do not know arithmetic, they can't go on to algebra, which leads to calculus. From there you go on to other things”.

However, I disagree with Dr. Andrews when he adds that, “DeTurck's ideas will unfortunately gain traction because of the misguided belief that math education can somehow be made easy. Math is hard. The idea that somehow we're going to make math just fun is just a dream.” Is Math really that hard? Is it really no fun at all?

Personally, I think that people/kids who find Math hard are the one who come to it as observers. You can't become competent at Math by observing someone else doing it, you have to get your hands dirty and participate in it yourself. When I was a child there was a period when I was doing poorly in the subject and was under the impression that it was because Math is hard, and I just didn't have the chops for it. The real reason I was doing poorly was -- I never opened my Math book at home and even the assigned homework  I did at the last minute, sometimes while going to school in the bus. Fortunately I was rescued from this state of affairs by a tutor, who showed me that the people who get Math are the people who sit down and do it.

Languages can be absorbed, history can be memorized, Math, on the other hand, is something that you have to do. You learn Math the same way you learn how to ride a bicycle. From there on, you go on to learn how to drive a car and then a plane. Only, when you are cruising, can you look around and observe and enjoy the view. But, of course, the ride itself is always fun.