Monday, August 10, 2009

Work, Tension And All That Physics



Trrinngg....the vibrating alarm sent a wave of pressure fluctuations through the atmosphere. Though the reasonably high sound waves entered my ear canal and caused my eardrums to vibrate, my brain was totally incapable of changing its state of rest. A complete inertia.
Nudge, nudge...my husband's elbow prodded my arm. God, how I hate these external forces acting on my body.

Some how I managed to drag my lethargic body to my daughter's room. She had been suffering from nausea, high fever,cold and cough for the last 2 days. My magnitude of thoughts had become totally vector quantities. They ran 100km per hour into one single direction. What if it was swine flu? I kept my palm on her hot forehead thinking the heat energy will flow into my cooler body. Let her heat loss be equal to my heat gain. Let the Fahrenheit thermometer show less than 102 degrees. But hard luck people, no such thing happened. And not just that, since my bare feet were touching the ground, all the negligible heat that might have flowed into my body flowed back into the earth, contributing to global warming. Disgusting.

It was 6.30 am. The kitchen duty called. Had to make breakfast for the younger one. Then send her to school. So much work and pressure. Phhuut..the hard shell of the egg hit the granite counter. The enormous upward force on the egg made it lose its downward velocity. The egg shattered and broke apart. What a mess. And what a waste of energy.

Breakfast done and one child sent to school, I pushed 2 slices of bread into the toaster and waited for the toasts. I guess I could tell you how the coils grew red, producing infrared radiation. How the electrical energy changed into heat energy and dried up my bread slices. Or perhaps I could tell you how the microwave oven generated electromagnetic waves which made some water move. And how this friction built up the heat that ultimately boiled that water for my tea. Or perhaps you would like to hear about how my knife, the simplest mechanism present in my kitchen, transformed my energy to do some gruesome work against an innocent apple...but nah, I think I will spare you all that details.

I would rather tell you what happened after I switched on my computer.. The machine, based on integrated circuits, that always came alive at my set of instructions. I could not wait to see how my readers had reacted to my latest post. THUDD. Incase you are wondering friends, that was the force of gravity that acted on me, bringing me rather mercilessly on terra firma. How pathetic! The comments had dwindled. Less than half of what I had expected. My last post was that bad? The less I say about Newton's third law, the better. Action and reaction were equal and opposite. Garbage in, was garbage out. Or was that input and output?

I was thoroughly depressed... I really could measure my tension in pounds-force. Translated in English, it meant my tension gave me a pounding and forceful headache. I could go on about how my day went after that, but I really have some work and I do not have the time. So may be some other day, when my universe is not so chaotic. Till then, bye.

I have been itching to this post ever since ZB said women are stupid when it comes to physics. What can I say ZB, you are spot on.I never understood physics and I never will. But I am wondering what my next door neighbour Deepika will say about this. She is a student of Delhi College of Engineering and is teaching physics and maths in a premier institute in Mumbai. Or my other neighbour Preeti, who after completing her B.Tech from IIT Madras, went to MIT to add a number of letters after her name. She is currently in Mumbai as a faculty in IIT.

Oh, and about the black hole, we women not only know what it is, we live it. It is that space in our lives that completely infiltrate us, sucking us down and majorly overwhelming us. No ray of light seems to guide us and we are left to navigate this all consuming blackness entirely alone. The body thermostat malfunctions, our sense of humour does the vanishing trick and a load of depression settles down on our shoulders for what seems like forever.

We call it menopause.

64 comments:

sujata said...

I didnt get the physics laws even though you simplified them!! But I got the black hole and also the thudd and the heat energy is in my daughter now and I am trying to keep the kids separate as per your advise which is practically impossible!! Such a blasted black hole!!

Kavi said...

Physics was one subject that i just couldnt get. Or maybe, i should say, i just didnt have any interest in !

The only question i had about Newtons laws ( when the physics teacher made it mandatory that each one had to ask a question was : Do you know what happened to the apple )

So !

I know about the toasts. And the computers. And the nudges. But particularly know about 'comments' ! Now that it doesnt bother me at all.

And women !! Well, in my life, i didnt give a damn if they knew physics or otherwise. For i didnt know much of it anyways.

So much for physics !

SJ said...

BRILLIANT!!!
Women and stupid in physics! bwahahahahaha..well, men are stupid in all matter other than physics. Ask them to bring coconut for making chutney..well you know the story.

AnjuGandhi said...

aparna i just fell head over heals in love with your this mail
Physics pleeeeeeeeeaaaaase dont remind me. i flunked once in my school even in my college. but tell ZB so what we women some of us)are stupid as far as physics is concerned but we are the best in all the other subjects which the men don't know even the basics. We are the best. what do they know about housekeeping, maintaing relations, bringing up young as well as grown up children ( read husband) single handedly,and we also know how to welcome unwanted guests with a smile on our face, sweet nothings from our lips, withut knowing the others know about our inner feelings.what is physics as compared to this vast arena of knowledge which we have mastered
reagrding the black hole yup u r absolutely right, we are living it but then we know how to radiate light and energy to others while we are sinking in this blackness
comments ------------- even i get purturbed if i dont get required number of comments. ( what happened to my intitial announcement that I write for my self )
very long comment na?

PURN!MA said...

HA HA HA HA... that was MINDBLOWING! I love you so much! i felt like i was gaping at physics teacher... with everything bouncing off my head! ;)
and no, your last post was as brilliant as ever. and I commented there. :)

Kishore Choudhary said...

दर्द कहाँ आसमान से उतारते हैं और खुशियाँ कौनसी फूलों सी बरसती है, आपकी पोस्ट जब भी पढ़ता हूँ जिंदगी अपने असली रूप में ही दिखाई देती है.

ZB said...

hehehehe, This is a deserving answer to my statement. And i pull back my controversial fatwa imposed statement and hereby proclaim that women and physics are like Hilsa ( fish, is the spelling right?)in hoobli river.

Satire comes naturally to you, and i am glad that i could inspire your satirical potentials. Nice post, too much physics. even Einstein would feel like a school kid, if he reads this. :))

Jyothi said...

I think I missed that post of ZB...I tried reading it now....but thought...not now...I am busy laughing...

I am laughing so hard. My eyes have filled up. While I was reading, I was thinking, the daughter is not well, and she talking nonsense,has she gone mad??? Who cares how the toast is made as long as it feeds the tummy.

Great Going Aparna. 100% right on. WE are with ya!!! Hope your daughter gets well soon.

Apanatva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Panorama said...

I hated physics and flunked in school once in 6th class.

But one cannot generalise coz my sis loved it and was good at it too!

Good post:)

Meira said...

superb :)
and good of ZB too :)
and hope your daughter gets well

Gymnast said...

Physics is not that bad..come on , it helps you quench your curiosity about a lot of things.
Not that i was ever a genius in it. But i always thought it was interesting.
And wow..the post was nice , but seemed a little forced. Too much trying to be funny or something. It didnt flow..somehow..

As for lack of comments on your last post..my god , 51 is half your expectation..

You're seriously pushing me into depression here, i'd be elated if i get 25!

Aparna said...

Sujata, I simplified the laws? hardly! The only thing I understand about physics is that it is a science I no longer need to study. Toshali will be fine don't worry.

Kavi, hurray for men who are equally baffled by this subject. Welcome to my way of thinking.

SJ, you said it baby. Thank god for women who have the presence of mind to make coconut puddings instead.

Anju, yayy for women power. I think we rock, with or without physics.

Purnima, my physics teacher was equally bad. Nothing she said made sense.

Kishore, thank you.

ZB, hope you liked my version of physics. I just wanted to say that whether we understand the subject or not, we know how to use it.And thats what matters. Science is supposed to make our life easier, isn't it?

Jyothi, my daughter is perfectly fine. All this happened a week ago.She showed classic symptoms of swine flu and was sick for 5 days. But the doctor thought it was just regular viral fever. She is fine now. But I went a little mad with worry. All this reflected in the post.
You must read ZB's post. It was interesting.

Panorama, glad to meet another physics hater. Who cares whether we flunked in school or not, we turned out rather ok, right?

Meira, ZB and I inspire each other. My daughter is perfectly fine now, thanks.

Gymnast, I never said physica is bad, just said I do not understand it. And the writing was not meant to be funny,or smooth. It was meant to show that a woman uses physics in daily life just fine, whether she understands it or not. Now if I had written on English, that would have been funny and smooth.
I had been getting 60 to 80 comments on my posts. So when they come down to 50, I know what I wrote did not connect with the readers.That is why I made that comment. Thanks for writing in.

गौतम राजरिशी said...

i have reading u for sometimes....well, to be precise since you wrote some encouraging words for one of my otherwise stupid ghazals...
u've got unique flair and u remind me of someone...
and physics...aah! never been my cup of tea, though i dont know how i had cleared IIT JEE way back in 92...its a different story altogether that i didn't go for it!

will keep reading you now n then

Swatantra said...

Take care and May GOD bless you with more strength!!

Apanatva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Apanatva said...

Falling sick is a part of growing up take it easy .All the best.

BK Chowla said...

I am convinced women are not stupid when it comes to Physics

shankar.n said...

haha... i didnt understand all these concepts when i was going for school.. and i never knew that the reason for global warming could also be due to the fever and more precisely.. u not wearing chappals..

anyway, i would suggest you not to wear chappal.. coz due to the heat that is flowing though you to the ground, chances are there that the chappal could melt leaving you with a sour feet.. y dont u try wooden sandals like lord Rama????

try and let me know the result.. we want a cooler earth

Neha said...

good to knw tht ur daughter is fine now...and I ve already expressed my feelings bout physics on ZB's post - I hate it - so, thats that...all in all, a very nice post aparna...take care:)

Pradip Biswas said...

How is your daughter now? let me know I am worried for both of you. I think some one commented about that Physics thing just to tease you and to inspire you to write a blog like this on Physics. Physics is tough for everyone because the persons teaching it make it tough. I met with a Professor of Physics who made it very simple and interesting for us. He was Dr.D.B.Sinha who wrote many books of Elementary Physics also. You did the same thing. You made a very small part Physics very interesting for others. Physics is a thriller book for all who learnt it through Teachers like Dr.D.B.Sinha.

Sandhya said...

I wrote a long comment for your 'Raksha Bandhan' post. It was not going and I was just refreshing and sending again. Then got up from here for something and when I came back it had vanished. It is happening often, with blogspot.

Hope your daughter is fine now. After Pune, Swine flu has come here to Chennai too. Worried if someone sneezes too!

Physics is an interesting subject, Aparna. Talk about menopause and I will write a book about it!

Nazish Rahman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nazish Rahman said...

Physics was my fav subject in science i took commerce just to get rid of bio..lol!!!

O i never knew that there were so other ways of contributing towards global warming..lol!!

Sumandebray said...

Aparna,
The way this post of yours swayed from one direction to another... I guess physics had to work overtime to bind them together.
Isn’t physics much easier than chemistry where one has read the same stuff more than once and mug it up ….. BTW way I liked your idea of fever adding towards global warming.. lol
I am touched by your earlier post on the string. We however do not celebrate Rakhi but there is an invisible cord that binds us bros and sis together.

eye-in-sty-in said...

And I thought men-o-pause happens when hem lines of skirts defy gravity and rise up! ;-)

sorry, could not resist! Thinking puts my brain into overdrive and since the male brain is preprogrammed, such puns are bound to happen... thanks for understanding.

Seriously speaking - I dont feel women need to prove anything to anyone. I admire women for all they do - physically and mentally! When she cannot do a particular thing, she is not afraid to ask. Knowing what you can not do is also important along with knowing what you can do.

Personally speaking, I think you are highly intelligent and creative which is why I frequent your blog. And next time you venture down that black hole, make sure you carry a torch with you... And if its that kind that you have to pump to generate light, you will not only save the planet from pollution and global warming, but also exercise the muscles in your hand turning chemical energy into plysical work into kinetic energy into electrical energy!

A Q before I leave - Can I piss you off about something? I'd love to read another caustic reply as it seems to being out the best in you :D

eye-in-sty-in said...

PS: I'm having trouble getting follow up comments on my email...so if I skip reading your reply, it's due to that glitch.

Lincoln said...

i dont know i didnt found the post that funny as most ppl said perhaps my humor neurons are acted upon by moons gravity rather than earths :P

Aparna said...

@ Gautam, thanks for reading my post. You refused IIT? Good for you. I would like to know what you did afterwards.

@ Swatantra, thank you.

@ Apnatva, thank you for your concern.My daughter is well now.

@ BK Chawla, thank you. You are absolutely right.

@ Shankar, I am wearing those eco-friendly 'osho' chapals,made of jute these days. Do you think they are as good as Ram's wooden slippers?

@ Neha, thank you. My daughter is absolutely fine now.

@ Pradip Biswas, thank you Pradeepda, both my daughter and I are fine. Thank you for your concern. Having a good teacher completely changes your perspective on any subject. It was because of my teacher I fell in love with English.

@ Sandhya, blogger at times acts a little pricey. Thank you for reading my posts. I really should not worry about getting comments but I am kind of addicted to them.
And please write that book. Might need it soon.

@ Nazish, I hated bio too. But now that I am teaching my daughter the subject, I am wondering what was so hateful about it.Funny, right?

@ Suman, my post swayed like a pendulum? wow! Actually I was thinking how many ways a woman deals with the laws of physics in her life without getting overwhelmed. And I always found chemistry more interestin. May be because my brother taught it so well. Thanks for appreciating my mushy rakhi post.

@ Einstein, you are right, your men-o-pause joke was irresistible. Please do try to piss me off. I need some inspiration to write the next post. And when my time comes to travel the black hole, I'll surely keep your suggestion of carrying a torch in mind.

@ Lincoln, you did not find the post funny? Good Lord, neither did I! So much we think alike, no? Actually this was not supposed to be a funny post. I was dead serious. I hated studying physics and was trying to express my strong dislike here.

shankar.n said...

haha.. these are gud.. but, not gud as Ram's wooden chappals.. since the very presence of the wooden chappals make the earth calm and cool...

Prathik said...

Heck of a post.. really great read!! and its true most girls dont seem to "get" physics..
PS- am a physics freak..

Sakshi said...

How I wish I had a Physics teacher like you during my forced student days :( Then I would have been an answering back expert to my Physics Infatuated Husband. It seems like Physics is his one and only love and he even believes that all the 3 laws of Newton was the only reason that forced him to fall for me!!!

But yeah me being a woman with whatever brain I have does give him some light on his yet to be answered by Physics questions. eg: Physics Infected Husband (PIH) Didju know that quantum physics has proof for Wave Particle Duality?
Not Yet Gained Niravan by Physics Wife: Can your physics prove what my exact reaction would be with the belan I am holding now?

Loved loved your post and am mugging up the physics part up for some highly intellectual nocturnal activities. Sigh the things we women do and then they call us dumb :(

How is Ishita now? Missing her posts

ani_aset said...

I hope your daughter is fine..i'll stay away from the debate of proving who is superior..seems senseless to me :)

Nona said...

Nice writing! I can see 33 comments against this post. Isn't that good? Or were you expecting more?

Babli said...

Absolutely brilliant post.I liked it and was thinking about my school days when Physics teacher used to teach and I was never interested to listen.Chemistry was a good subject compare to Physics I felt.

Gayathri said...

Physics..!!!it was one of my fav subjects at school,next to maths though..but if im asked to create an analogy with real life,i wouldnt come anywhere near you..too good..
btw,hows the child??recovered??
it's just been one day since u posted,and already 35 comments..i feel jealous..

Deeps said...

I hate physics!I hate physics!I hate physics!!
Hilarious post,although the mention of your daughter's fever gave me a slight shiver for a fleeting second...I came here right after reading Sujata's swine-flu post..so u can imagine how I must hve felt,na!

As for that tension and the world-coming-crashing-down-feeling after the comments began to dwindle,I can so empathize with you,Aparna!

This happens with me and then I suddenly realize its been a while since I've done some blog-hopping and made my presence felt!! And then when I do that,my world begins to look rosier ;))
Sometimes it becomes necessary,dont you think?Its like 'you scratch my back and I scratch yours too ;))' Am I even making any sense to you??

Gosh I'm a monster-commenter!

Miss M said...

How's your daughter doing now??

UGH I hated physics! I rocked in chemistry but I hated hated HATED PHYSICS! EEEKSS.

And I agree with SJ.
Men are stupid in all other matters EXCEPT physics! Pfffft.

Aparna said...

@ Shankar, my feet can never take the torture of wearing wooden chappals. And in fact Ram also gave up wearing them. Remember how he gave them to Bharat who carried them to Ayoddha? Good riddance, I say.

@ Prathik, thanks. As you can see from the comments, most people can't get the subject, just that women are admitting, men are keeping quiet.

@ Sakshi, you are living with an IIT stamped, upper storey loaded guy, so my full sympathies with you. Get that book Pradeepda suggested for stimulating nocturnal conversations. Fast. And Ishita is fine, busy studying for her exams.

@ Ani-aset, my daughter is absolutely fine. Yeah, yeah run from this mad debate. Really pointless. But gave me something to write on, right?

@ Nona, what can I say? I always expect more.

@ Babli, thanks. I liked chemistry too.

@ Gayatri, physics was your favourite? Sigh. I could never get all the laws right. I guess I am the free-spirited lawless person. My daughter is fine, thanks.

@ Deeps, actually, people do come and read. They may not comment. I should be happy with that too. But I think I am the unhappy type when it comes to comments. Blog-hopping always pays. But sometimes I just get tired of doing that. Thanks for writing.

@ Miss M, I too preferred chemistry. Men are pathetic at times, aren't they?

Deeps said...

LOL @ getting tired of blog-hopping! and still you have such huge readership.Look at the comment thread!Kudos!

I'm sorry,Aparna I forgot to ask about your daughter.How insensitive of me!
How is she now?

Best wishes to both your daughters :))

Kadri Luik said...

I've been lucky I guess. I was 30 when my menopause started but in return it has never been the horror that other women goes through. =) Nice post.

sanjay vyas said...

i could barely manage to clear physics in the first year B.Sc. and after that as a student of biology i didn't have to memorise any of its laws. but this time around physics has not come to me with all the horrors, as it used to be.
great piece of writing.

R. Ramesh said...

thanks friend for the motivating comment..cheers

~PakKaramu~ said...

Pak Karamu reading your blog

nsiyer said...

You have a way of writing. Simply marvellous.Enjoyed every bit.

Rohit said...

This reminds me of all the hard work that I had put in for Physics and actually realized that there is no hard and fast rule that Hard work brings success.

Parita said...

Physics was never my cup of tea, i'd rather do something creative :)

Aparna said...

Deeps, my daughter is fine now.

Kadri Luik, 30 was rather young. Good to know you are fine.

Sanjay, physics can be a nightmare for most of us. Thanks.

Ramesh, thanks.

Pakkaramu, thanks.

Nsiyer, thank you very much.

Rohit, hard work didn't pay? Sad.

Parita, yayy to creative people. As you can see from the comments, most people disliked physics.

Ajit Ray said...

A spot-on riparte!

unsungpsalm said...

I was to stunned by "6.30 a.m." to be able to react to anything else...

My mum found it easier to pay the cook to wake up at 6.00 itself (and we were made to ring his bell every morning to wake him up). She'd lie in bed and scream orders to us :P

But yes, you should avoid that. We taunt her about it still!

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Hope your daughter has recovered...take care.
Corinne

APARNA said...

Hi Aparna,

Nice post...Got to say that your style of writing is inspiring and thoughtful. I came across your blog because of you name...I guess you know why...Hopefully shall keep reading and commenting (as long as PhD work doesn't bind me to it...no it is not in Physics...but in Statistical Genetics)...by the way your post reminded me of one I had written about geometry in my blog...but I deleted my blog....

Aparna.

Ms. Neha Gandhi said...

whoaaa... mind blowing post...
the use of physics and mathematics concept is applause worty...
simply amazing post...lovveeed it

Suma said...

i guess most science teachers are quite boring..even though i had an excellent physics teacher in college, but by then the school teachers had done their damage.

Loved reading this post, aparna

Nikki said...

ZB you better read this ha! Awesome post!

Hope your elder daughter is well now!

Take care!

Priyadarshini said...

hi...i wandered into ur blog from sj's masala wade...some days back i bookmarked a pancake recipe on her blog that i reached to from some other blog and anyways readin her blog on the tag that you gave her i reached here...and i sat here with my two year old pestering me the whole morning and afternoon and read your whole blog.......i must say that its awesome.....you made me laugh, you bought tears to my eyes also....i enjoyed readin all your post

SJ said...

White green and saffron!! You gearing up for a Independence post? So cute you are!

Aparna said...

Hi Ajit, you know you have very talented masis!

Hi USP, every day at 6.30, without fail I have to make lunch for my kids. Your mom was much wiser.

Hi Corinne, my daughter is perfectly fine. Thanks.

Hi Aparna, statistical genetics? Wow! Have fun with the subject.

Hi Neha, thanks. I am glad you liked it.

Hi Suma, thanks.I had a horrid teacher in school. She would come and sleep in class. So permanent damage.

Hi Nikki, ZB has already read and commented. Glad you liked it.

Hi Priyadarshini, thanks thanks thanks. What can I say, I am honoured. Welcome to my space. Hope you will come again.

Hi SJ, what to do? India is in my blood. BTW ishita and ayushi made the pancakes for breakfast. Used choco-chips instead of 'neeli'berry. Turned out fabulous. Swine flu induced holiday here so they are having fun at home.

Onkar said...

The way you described everyday mundane events is so unique and interesting.

Suchismita said...

Loved the last bit especially.Well put!

SJ said...

HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH
I just saw that flashing ad "I LOVE comments' HHAHAHAHAAA..even if you don't comment on other blogs, I think people will comment in yours!

kshama said...

Every thing in the narration is so very true ....felt as if it was happening in front of me!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Although I am yet to experience the Menopause blackhole, I empathise completely with the initial experience.

sangeeta said...

hah....save energy dear....your gray cells might have exhausted themselves...he he...not by the physics lecture but by wanting to prove themselves......

about dwindling comments....you saw the result right now....every action has an equal n opposite reaction..ha ha....