Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat
|Wheelchair Tennis|| |
| One of the most moving experiences of my life was to play a competitive Tennis match against a opponent in a wheelchair. I commend USTA (United States Tennis Association) for making this happen (the person in wheelchair gets an additional bounce). My opponent was a very accomplished, nationally rated tennis player, and I was literally mesmerized by some of his shot making and movement. While able bodied me only has to use the non-dominant hand for balance, my opponent had to roll the weight of his body to position, then grab the racquets and then make the shot.|
That three set experience changed the way I thought about lots of things.
Rules of Wheel Chair Tennis
|First Written: Thursday, December 19, 2013|
Last Modified: 12/19/2013 11:17:51 PM
|A 14th Century Selfie (and other stories)|| |
| My dad was very fond of a sculpture (below, on left) of Hoysala period, of a girl in her vanity admiring herself. |
My dad also liked to paint and sketch on natural materials (like leaves, shells), so most of his art was ephemeral and has perished.
But last year I met Dr. Byregowda, a publisher who took great pains to collect and publish many of my dad's illustrations ("Kamatara Kuncha Prapancha", 2012), and now wants to bring out a new book.
So I asked my wife to dig up a family heirloom -- my mother's saree that my father painted circa 1980. The saree is all worn-out, but the white acrylic featuring the "beauty with the mirror" is intact. Many such sarees got lost during a robbery in Calcutta in 1979.
Points to Ponder:
How many people hand paint sarees to console wife of a robbery?
Is the "Generation Me", new?
What has happened the the temporary arts of India (other than Rangoli and Mehendi others have no patronage)
|First Written: Monday, December 09, 2013|
Last Modified: 12/9/2013 3:17:02 PM
|Eyes, Blindness, Awareness, and Technology|| |
| Many years ago, after my dad donated his eyes in India (because he was famous, and because of the way the news media covered it (example), it triggered a whole wave of eye donations in Bangalore. I think the Eye Bank even honored my family for the sudden surge.|
Today, I am told that two of my father's books ("Nanoo Americage Hogidde", and "Pravasiaya Prabhandagalu") have been published in Braille.
First, I didn't know there was Kannada Braille. Wow.
Second, what a joy to hear his books being read by visually impaired folks.
Then, a friend sent me this -- "Smart Phones for the Blind".
who said mankind have no hope?
|First Written: Wednesday, September 04, 2013|
Last Modified: 9/4/2013 4:05:12 PM
|In Appreciation of "Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya"|| |
Drama unfolds in Mogul Emperor's Court; a still from "Pyak Kiya to Darna Kya"
My friend Raghu Apara pointed out the audio-visual beauty of this 1960s song from the movie "Mughal-E-Azam", and even a harsh critic of Bollywood like me had to admit and enjoy this super-melodious, super-meaningful, movie imagery.
First, Raghu's commentary: translated with permission:
When I am told that I have only 6:28 minutes to live, I would like to watch this song one last time. It is one of my all time favorite moving images.
I will tell you why this sequence is consuming me.
The clip opens with stunning dancer (actress Madhubala) in a white top that extends to her palms. You won't believe it is the same Anarkali who was crying just a few minutes ago in her prison cell (to the song "Cryin' over the fallacy of love"), because now she is strong and determined. She has to disappear soon after performing this song -- she made the foolish mistake of falling in love with the emperor's son, and is a major inconvenience for the royalty.
Emperor Akbar doesn't know what is coming; a lowly dancer challenging him in his own court?! At one moment Anarkali even despises him while looking in his eyes! No amount of dialogues could tell this story as told by this song and through dance postures. Akbar's facial expression is priceless as he reconstructs her image through the myriad reflections in marble. The dance climaxes with Anarkali's attire exploding and adds yet another dimension to her fury. How subtle and beautiful is the movement of her salute (elegant, but not so respectful).
We sometimes feel that song and dance sequences are obstructions to story telling. I do not think the effectiveness of this song sequence can be retold as powerfully in any other way.
My own notes:
I have heard this song all my life -- it is one of my favorite songs -- "I have engaged only love, not theft!", but I didn't know the story or the context.
FYI: as stunning as are the visuals, this song was shot in black-and-white and was only made into color in the year 2004. There is a tribute to digital technology.
There are a lot of subtleties in the clip -- do not miss the withdrawal of another show-girl at 3:30, the tease at 4:44 or the authenticity of the marble art work (roughly same time period as Taj Mahal).
As Raghu says, this song will treat you and haunt you for a long time.
|First Written: Sunday, July 21, 2013|
Last Modified: 7/22/2013 5:14:43 PM
|New Year's Resolutions|| |
| "Less Greed, and More Charitable Service " -- is my resolution for the year 2013.|
I know, that should have been my life's resolution but anyway.
Also want to resume updating this blog.
Happy New Year to all my readers, advertisers, and friends!
|First Written: Tuesday, January 01, 2013|
Last Modified: 1/2/2013 10:46:09 AM
|Kamat Memorial Award Ceremony|| |
| I invite you to meet the Kamats at Nayana auditorium, Kannada Bhavan, JC Road, Jayanagar, Bangalore on Nov 18th (next Sunday) at a function remembering my father. Activities start at 10:30 am, but you can come at anytime and join us for lunch. Meet lots of talented and famous people. I especially want you to attend the 4:00 pm event when D.G. Mallikarjuna will be honored with the Krishnanand Kamat Memorial Award. |
Gurus of photography, litetaure, science, and Internet, all in one place!
|First Written: Monday, November 12, 2012|
Last Modified: 11/13/2012 12:49:14 PM
|Endorsing Re-election of Obama|| |
| © Vikas Kamat|
I have voted in two greatest democracies of our times. That somehow qualifies
me to make a political endorsement. That, and at least a fraction of the two
million who read our website each month might live in Ohio.
I am not one of the 43% of Americans who don't pay Federal income taxes, I am
not gay, not an illegal immigrant. I own a small business, and due to the way
I foolishly structured the company I end up not only paying FICA and social
security taxes, but also the business gets taxed as an individual, a double
whammy. I hate government regulations, and wasteful spending (who does?). Yet I endorse President Obama for another term.
Here are the reasons for my endorsement:
- Omabacare -- what other idea is there to reduce the cost of the healthcare?
Oh, there is -- it is "On Your Own"
- Global Warming -- many in the Republican party seem to have made careers out of ridiculing the concerns of environmental pollution and variations.
- Intolerance of Romney coterie.
Romney Presidency will be Acceptable
Unlike many of Governor Romney's supporters, for whom Obama is un-acceptable (due to his
policies or color of skin), Romney as a president is acceptable to me. I can whole-heartedly support Romney Presidency (I whole-heartedly supported Bush Presidency). I think
he will make a fine president, and I even like Mitt Romney.
But I cannot bear Romney's baggage -- the strongly opinionated,
anti-immigrant, anti-poor, anti-women, anti-science bigots. That is the reason
why I endorse President Obama.
A Note About the Sharpie Mark
For those who might not understand the relevance of the black mark on my finger -- in India they do not have a voter-identification system, so to prevent one voter from voting again, they paint a semi-permanent ink on the nails. Ha!
|First Written: Saturday, November 03, 2012|
Last Modified: 11/4/2012 9:35:43 AM
|Draft Debate Speech for Obama|| |
| I couldn't bear to watch Obama screw up like he did. So I wrote a draft opening statement for his next debate.|
Dear Fellow Americans,
Tonight's debate is on foreign policy and I am reminded of what Gandhi said once -- "I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides, and my windows to be closed. Instead, I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any."
While my administration will engage with all other Governments -- friends and foes, I refuse to let Israel or China dictate our policies. This is an important distinction between me and my opponent, who seems to pander to friends and doesn't believe in diplomacy or tact while dealing with adversaries.
Look at my administration's record on foreign policy -- we have ended two wars, we have terminated the top Al-Queda leadership, we have seen a surge of democracy in the Middle-East, we have strengthened NATO, we have prevented a war between Israel and Iran, saw Burma begin the process of reform in a non-violent way, and long time dictators in Cuba, North-Korea, and Libya are gone.
We are safer today than four years ago, and we have begun the process of restoring American prestige and credibility outside our borders.
I want to say this to the American people -- during our last debate, my opponent pitched some ideas -- like empowering small businesses to grow -- that my administration will gladly embrace and implement. Because I believe that great ideas come from not just who will vote for me, but also from who will challenge me. I have been, and if re-elected, will continue to be the President of all Americans, not just the 47% who pay the federal income taxes, but all Americans. In fact in the next term, I propose to broaden the tax base, by making even poor people pay a small tax (the Supreme Court called it the Tax of not having health insurance) -- so that they will have a say in the our Federal Government -- something my opponents seem to deny them, labeling them as dependents and victims.
This election is much more than economic recovery. Our healthcare, our retirement, the way we deal with the other nations, and our very future is at stake. Our economy by the way, has shown improvement due to my policies. The unemployment has fallen, stock market is up, and most importantly we have in place, a safety mechanism so our system won't collapse like it did. I am very proud of this preventive measure.
I believe that our foreign policy decisions of the future will be shaped more by our debt situation, than by our military strength. So it is extremely important to pay off our debt -- through my balanced approach of revenue growth, reduced Government expenditure, and economic growth, than to simply invest in more weaponry. Instead, I believe we need to invest in research and education.
This is another stark distinction we face this election.
Tomorrow: Debate Speech for Romney (Still working on it)
|First Written: Friday, October 05, 2012|
Last Modified: 10/5/2012 2:51:51 PM
|This is how I surf the web. Turns out
creating your own start page beats all portals, back-flipping,
personalized corporate pages, and book-marking tools.