Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wonder Women, Whom History Has Forgotten

There are so many little things that make our life easier. We use them regularly but hardly wonder who might have made it for the first time. May it be the wind shield wiper or a car heater or may be the disposable diapers. So let us dig into this little, life changing inventions and into the names of their unsung inventors.
Mary Anderson

Have you ever heard of Mary Anderson? Yes, she is the one who invented wind shield wiper. Wondering about the car heater? It is Margaret Wilcox.

Have you ever read about these names in your school textbooks or any science literature? Most people will draw a blank when asked to name a woman inventor. At best, they might name Marie Curie. Ironically, even Marie Curie is mostly known for discovering radium and not for the radium-isolation technique she designed.

Women has always been hard at work, whether making chocolate chip cookies for the first time or creating alphabet blocks or designing the maiden disposable diapers or even inventing complicated scientific tools.
Letita Geer

The trivial yet useful mounted globes is patented by Ellen Fitz in 1875 while cooking stove was created by Elizabeth Hawk in 1867. The credit of inventing electric water heater goes to Ida Forbes in 1917 whereas invention of syringe that changed our lives and the medicine today goes to Letita Geer.

Harriet Strong is known as the primary inventor of dry land irrigation and water conservation techniques 1887. Conception of the idea of construction of dams and reservoirs was pioneered by her.
Harriet Strong

Submarine lamps and telescopes were invented by Sara Mather in 1885 and elevated railways by Mary Walton in 1881.

Woman has always unleashed their minds into useful creations but as we know history being His-Story has been unfair to her and recorded a very few of her geniuses.

Austrian actress Heddy Lamarr was also a pioneer in the field of wireless communications. She invented "spread spectrum technology" that helped to create an unbreakable code which prevented interception of messages by Nazi agents during World War II. Later, this technology formed the backbone of cellular technology and other wireless communication techniques.
Hedy Lamarr

Another example of the inventiveness of female mind is the invention of "Blissymbol Printer" by Rachel Zimmerman in the 1980s. This printer works through symbols on a touch pad, which are converted into written language thereby enabling communication by speech-impaired people.

Patricia Billings was a sculptor who ended up inventing an indestructible, fire-resistant, non-toxic material while she was trying to create a cement additive to prevent her sculptures from scattering. This material, patented as "Geobond", became the world's first workable replacement for asbestos.
Patricia Billings

Interestingly, the first woman inventor recorded in history is Sybilla Masters (1715) who was an American colonist. She developed a cleaning and curing technique for Indian corn crops which helped in processing corns into various food and clothing products. The patent was issued in her husband's name by the British Government.

Taking notice of Sybilla Masters, it brings to the fore, why history has recorded so few inventions by women. The reason might be the lack of legal rights given to women. Women could not claim ownership of property until late 1800s. Patent, which comes under the category of intellectual property, could not be issued to women. Low education among women and the prevalent socio-cultural beliefs during the period also denied to accept that a woman would be able to innovate and invent. So, most of the inventions and discoveries by women went in the names of their husbands, sons or fathers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Doodling the Nonsense: Part 1

(Adapting Ha-ja-ba-ra-la)

It's a very, very, very hot afternoon! One of those humid summer days when sweats determine to flood the world. Resting under the shade does not seem to rescue either.

Where's my handkerchief? I stretch my hand to take it.... holy shit!!! My heart almost skipped a bit!


I can't get the sight of my kerchief. Am I dreaming or is it true? My hanky has become nothing but a big, fat cat!

Me: What's wrong! How can my hanky just become a cat!

Cat: (Shouting) What's wrong in it? It always happens this way. An egg becomes a hen, don't you know that?

Me: Hmm... (thoughtfully) that's true. So, what should I call you? You are not a cat but my kerchief but you look like a cat...

Cat: Call me cat or call me hanky or call me Moon.

Me: Why Moon?

Cat: Ha ha ha (sarcastically) don't you even know that?

This is embarrassing. I must have understood that.
Me: Of course, I know.

Cat: Yes. It's damn easy. Everyone knows it. Moon's 'M', Cat's 'I' and Hanky's 'ND' makes MIND. Isn't it?

I cannot understand a bit of it. But he will laugh at me if I ask. It's better to pretend.
Me: Yeah, it's easy.

Cat: If you feel so hot, why don't you go to Tibbet?

Me: As if it's that easy.

Cat: Why not easy?

Me: Do you have any idea how to reach there?

Cat: Why wouldn't I? Go straight, turn right and then a few hours journey.

Me: Is it? Then give me the map.

Cat: (Sternly) Nope. It's not my job. Nature-man might tell you.

Me: Then tell me where I can find him.

Cat: That's very difficult. He is too busy. For example, if you have come to Hyderabad to meet him, he would be in London. When you reach London he would have been to Qatar. You can hardly meet him.

Me: Then, how do you meet him?

Cat: That's a tough job. There are a lot of calculations. First, I need to calculate where he is not present. Then I calculate where he might be present; after that I calculate where he is present. Then I calculate when I reach where he is present where would he be actually present. then I have to calculate...

Me: What kind of calculations are these?

Cat: It's very tough. Close your eyes and listen to me carefully, you will understand.

It's been a while since I closed my eyes but I can't hear anything. No sound of the cat! It seems little fishy. I should open my eyes now.
Huh! What's this? Moon is running away and why is he laughing at me?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Then... I Met Love

I was a kite,
With my strings tied
To the railings of the window,
That opened to the sky.
I struggled through the wind;
My skin wounded -
I shut my eyes in fear!

I was a kite,
Flying in the gray fair of clouds,
Then I saw a rainbow...
I did not know,
When my strings were torn!

Chiseling drizzles, frightening thunders
Unruliness ruled over.
My wings were spread,
My eyes wide open;
The ether throbbed my heart!

I was a free bird,
Steering my flight in the blue sky.
Then I met love...
Now. . .
I live in a golden cage.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Growing Up

Tick-tock tick-tock
        Plays the music in the clock.
Time passes on -
        And I need a bigger sock.
Taller legs, curvy body...
        Oh, I've grown up!
No school, no home-works,
        I know how to make-up.
                                                     Lub-dub, lub-dub
                                                                  What did I hear?
                                                     Is it the same heart beat
                                                                  That I used to bear?
                                                     Erotic thoughts, stressed head.
                                                                   It's a race, I guess.
                                                     Losing pace, falling down...
                                                                   It seems the same mess.

Growing up is game then,
              We made it serious.
'Aging', 'maturity', 'experience'
              Being termed to be synonymous.
Neither drugs nor alcohol...
              Growing up is the addiction.
No vaccine, no cure
              It's resistant to every action.
                                                      It's the game of mind.
                                                                 I always thought so.
                                                      Did I really grow up?
                                                                 Oh yes! Oh no!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

To My Father Whom I don't Remember

Yet another day comes -
When I am reminded of him;
Of the man who brought me to the world,
Of the man whose memories I can't recall.

I look at his photos...
A young man, with deep eyes smiles at me.
"Ah, he was handsome!" I sigh.
My mother smiles.
Her slow walk and her grey hairs strike me.
I try too hard to create an imaginary,
But a cool dude,
             who never crossed his thirties appears.
He would never age,
That's what I believed
And now I know it!

Life has been wonderful
                     without knowing him.
Life would have been wonderful
                     being with him.

I don't remember my father;
But sometimes I miss him.
Whenever sadness confines me in its embrace,
A firefly visits.
I miss my father then,
                         Because I believe he never left me.

I miss him because I have never known him.
I miss him because...
Others have given memories of him
But I never had my own!
Sometimes I miss him
Because I want to see him grow old.
Sometimes I miss him
Because I want to know -
                         What it is to have a father,
As I've lived a life without having one!!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Have you seen a black-hole?
                I did.
                Actually, I do.
It's not that I am an astronaut.
Neither did gravity ever forget to exert its effect on me.

I see it -
When I enter a shopping mall,
And gaze at the glittering display of consumerism.
When I fill my basket with things I don't need,
I see myself being sucked into it!

I see it -
When I dream of wearing a royal blue, Gucci dress,
And driving a black Mercedes Benz.
When everything I have comes with a brand name,
I see myself succumbing to it!

I see it -
When I open my over-stuffed closet,
And things scatter out of it.
When I still find nothing to wear,
I see the black-hole taking over me!

A ray of light appears,
When I realize my entrapment.
I slowly accept my survival within it;
Because it's a black-hole
And it has absorbed me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Sweet Dream

I had a dream
           in the dark of night,
Where I saw
           a faint ray of light.
I reached a garden
            with the carpet of green,
The kindly light led me.

The spirit of mirth
             touched my heart,
                          the flowers were glittering.
I heard the rhythm of peace.
My feet tapped on!
Beauty of fantasy
            reached its height,
                          the sky could not stop it.

My heart did speak a thousand words;
                           my lips uttered none.
I stood, bound with spell,
            innocence embraced me.
Fragrance of love, was in the air.
           I could breath in.

Garden of Eden,
The twilight sky,
All stared at me.
                  A dew drop fell,
                  My eyes opened,
                  But my mind remained astonished.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Where The Mind is Without Fear

The poem written by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), originally published in Bengali in 1910 and translated by him in 1912 comprise a part of the collection Gitanjali. This poem is one of my favorite poems that stands relevant even after a century since it was written. This poem illustrates a state that Tagore dreamed of India to be but our country still kept this dream intact without realization.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Tribute to That Lightning

I was an ordinary girl.

I'm still an ordinary girl.
Then I was sane,
Rather I say... then I was normal.
I was one among all;
With normal ambitions, normal desires, and normal wishes.

And then...came a day -
When a lightning struck me!
A beam of white light blurred my vision.

I'm still one among all,
But insanity has engulfed me now.

Insanity that gives me a roller-coaster ride.
Insanity that I live for.

I don't have goals anymore,
But I have paths to walk.
I don't have wishes to be granted,
But I have dreams to live.
I don't have materials to make now,
But I have moments to feel.

I lived in an ordinary world;
And I still live in an ordinary world.
But what stands in between is that spell-casting lightning!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Dream Counter

Dream Counter

                     I saw a golden cloud,

                    And the orange Sun - peeping from the corner of it.
                    A white rabbit jumped out, to hug me...
                                                                 ...with a tremor of ecstasy!
                    Everywhere, it was the sound of joy!!!

                                               Suddenly I see -

                                                                 A hand approaching me.
                       "A ticket, please!"
                        Uttered a baritone.
                                                    I woke up
                        To find myself in a ticket counter - selling dreams.
                        I sighed, "Ah reality!"
                        I handed over a packet of Dream.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Runaway Anthem

I want to runaway
  From what I have.
I want to runaway
   From what has me.
I want to runaway
From everyone, everything and everywhere!
I want to runaway... the time unknown.

I want to runaway
   Where strangeness rules.
I want to runaway
   Where no one knows me.
I want to runaway
   Where sanity is insane!
I want to runaway... the spaces untraveled.

I want to runaway
   When philosophy is discrete.
I want to runaway
   When disowning is not owned.
I want to runaway
   When life isn't mystery!
I want to runaway... the thoughts unthought.