evaluate not your life

evaluate not
your life,
per perceived norms.
there are many stories
you know not …

evaluate not
your life,
per perceived norms.
there are many stories
you know not.

no scale is there
to measure
your life against.
a wild flower
as many in the unseen woods,
or unique –
what you are,
you know not.
it matters not.

evaluate not, your life.
embrace it.
it is yours.
yours truly.

~ vani murarka

to my family

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. ~ Richard Bach

gratitude overflows
from my eyes
unspoken

take me to your feet
that i may …

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. ~ Richard Bach

gratitude overflows
from my eyes
unspoken

take me to your feet
that i may
speak to you,
unspoken

far from you
my heart lies,
sorrowful
and broken

yet with me, you are
you say
every moment,
unbroken

in the sorrow in the joy
my friend you are
my family

and the truth
in my heart
remains unspoken
untaken

yet you know, and i know
and we reach
across to us

and the bond that seemed
unknown,
sown again,
unbroken

~ vani murarka

florence nightingale: an inspiration for art

In my last post, I shared with you this painting of mine and said that it took shape by itself as I let my hand move any which ways it felt like.

Its a rather unusual shape for a tree, isn’t it? As it took shape, I realized it was a sub-conscious inspiration from Florence Nightingale.

How so?

Florence Nightingale was one of the pioneers of Data Visualization – of presenting statistics as images to make a point emphatically. She collected meticulous data on the cause of soldiers’ death during the Crimean War and created this visualization below. This was way back in 1854! Blue indicates death due to preventable causes, mainly lack of hygiene. Red indicates death due to wounds in war. Black indicates other causes such as accidents.


This image taken from GuideStar International’s Blog.

Thus via this data visualization she clearly showed that the majority of the deaths that were occurring seemingly due to war were actually totally preventable by practice of better hygiene. This made a persuasive impact on the British government of that time. It laid the foundation of incorporating hygiene as an intrinsic policy in hospitals. Here is a lovely short video on this topic, which tells us more about this somewhat less known aspect of Florence Nightingale.

http://www.open.edu/openlearn/body-mind/health/health-sciences/the-joy-stats-the-lady-data-visualisation

The painting above was made during the days when I was a student of Data Visualization at the university. Regarded as a classic and pioneering example of the efficacy of data visualization, this image of Florence Nightingale’s work came up often in stuff that I read and talks that I attended. Not surprising that it meandered into a painting one day.

So what is the point of this post? It is this.

The way art takes shape when I just let it flow – at times it feels divine. The myriad ways in which what I see and encounter in life has an impact on me is fascinating. The impact is many a times not in a manner and direction that one would conventionally expect. That itself makes life so much more richer.

~ vani murarka

The Vocal Tribe Of Trees

When I paint or draw I mostly just let my hand move any which way it wishes to go. It is a discovery for me to see what is emerging. That is what happened with this painting too.

Once this painting was done, it seemed to me as if the tree, as a representative of the World-Wide Tribe of Trees is calling out and saying, “Hear me too! Hear me too!”

Trees are very very vocal. Only, their language is the language of silence.

Sitting quietly beside trees, one can’t miss their banter. Listening to them intently and softly with your eyes, is so so … There. There is no word for it. 🙂

I love listening to trees. It nourishes my soul.

Listening to the language of trees takes me to a different world. A world that is also very real and exists everywhere; outside me and inside me. A world which in its silence, holds profound comfort and wisdom.

Listen, listen, O World. Listen to The Trees!

~ vani murarka

a gift to myself

There is a beautiful green meadow. Lush green rolling hills.

A mountain stream is gurgling by. Crystal clear water. Interspersed here and there are stones on which the water rises and falls and makes beautiful music. The water is so lovingly sharp to touch and elixir to the throat.

I am dancing, roaming on those hills, wearing a beautiful, very generously frilly white dress with large purple flowers.

My arms are spread out, head raised. I fill my lungs and my being with the air that is alive. The breeze caresses my cheek, then runs away, like a rabbit. Then it gets naughty. Entering my dress from underneath, it fluffs up my dress and tickles my legs. I laugh out loud and push my dress down and then dance around.

There, near the stream are soft yellow flowers. I sit beside them and gaze for long at the texture of their petals, caressing them with my eyes. The wind is playing music too. The clouds embrace the top of the hills.

I lie on my back and look at the blue ceiling above. Infinite in expanse. Infinite in depth. Two small bird friends fly by chattering, high up above.

My body is on the grass, my heart is in the sky and I am in every fiber of the hills, every blade of grass, the earth, the water, the stones, the flowers, the clouds, the birds, the air, the infinite expanse – dancing and invisible.

~ vani murarka

fallen warrior of relationships

meet the world then
shining again –
grand warrior of
relationships,
love sword hanging
from the hip.
arrows of kindness
and compassion,
shield of detachment …

he said this and she said that –
many forms of verbal attack.

all i want to know is –
how to dodge?
to hit back? no.
take the slap? no.
all i want to know
is how to dodge?

to dance and dodge
to skip and dodge
to laugh and dodge
all i want to know is
how to dodge?

and what of arrows
lodged inside
deep in the past?
how do i pull out n cast
them all aside?
not fester ignorant into
blisters that erupt suddenly
burn me n friends n family …

bent no more,
not even sore,
meet the world then
shining again –
grand warrior of
relationships,
love sword hanging
from the hip.
arrows of kindness
and compassion,
shield of detachment …

but all these are
just ideals now.
a battered self
i am right now.
in defense i shout,
return attack.
or silently pout,
internal whack.

yet where to head out,
i now do know.
but reach there how?
i do not know.
many pointers the
teachers show.

i will try a few
something will ensue.
to a new land now i go –
for no one and to
nothing show.

only that i may
meet you anew,
my bond with you
i may renew.

as i find me
i shall find thee,
this is not simply
a theory.

as truth i sense this
in my heart –
so stand again,
again i start.

~ vani murarka

Of Languages, Animals and the Kitchen

a light-hearted take on the visual character of programming languages …

One of the things that I like about computer programming is to simply just look at the code. To see just what it looks like visually …

a light-hearted take on the visual character of programming languages …

One of the things that I like about computer programming is to simply just look at the code. To see just what it looks like visually. No, I am not talking of software visualization, though I enjoy that too.

When I started programming, every once in a while I used to pause and just see the code, simply for its visual appeal. It was text composed of the same characters that I had learnt since childhood, but looked so different. I did not think of it like that then. Now while writing, I realize that that might be one of the logical sources of my fascination.

As I discovered programming I wanted to share this wonderful new discovery with others in my life. When I showed my working program to them, I used to want to show the code too. It was so amazing! See, this is what results in this kind of a screen and functionality. It was like seeing the beautiful intricate inner arteries of a body. What an incredible transformation if you considered what the source and result looked like.

It took no time to notice that people were not interested in inner arteries. The text was too weird to them and they failed to see the fascinating visual beauty of the code. Possibly, seeing the same characters they knew for years looking so foreign was too unsettling. After all, it is not like seeing Spanish for example. The same letters but the words do not make sense. Yet, the words still look like words and the sentences still look like sentences. That is not how it is when looking at a computer program code.

The way different programming languages look visually, makes me liken them to animals. Their visual look itself lends a character to them and evokes a certain kind of unique feeling-environment when working in a particular programming language.

In my first job in the computing world, my first project assignment was as a maintenance and documentation person in a COBOL project. I spent the whole day looking at screens that looked like this.

cobol
COBOL code sample. Image source: Jeff Whelpley’s Tech Blog

The whole screen almost completely filled with text. Everything in caps. Aligned vertically. There was no color-coding in those days. Bright green screen, white text, that’s it. It looked so different from C/C++, which was the main language I had learnt in training.

As I looked at the COBOL screen day after day it seemed like an elephant to me. The heavy (caps) text vertically aligned seemed like the thick legs of the elephant. It seemed so excessively verbose too. The whole program felt visually heavy, like an elephant.

Looking at C instead was such a stark contrast. So breezy and airy with lots and lots of “whitespace”. The “{“s and “;”s here and there looked like beautiful feathers. The indentations of “if-else”s, “for”s and “while”s seemed like dance steps. C/C++ looked like a peacock to me.

c code
C code sample. This code is a token in honor of Dennis Ritchie, the father of the C programming language, written upon his death. Sorry, I lost the image source!

Good old Assembly Language looks like a snake with its narrow vertical structure. Just the long long list of opcodes and operands. And just as tricky as a cobra mind you!

assembly language code
Assembly Language code sample. Image source: here

These days all my programming time is spent working in Javascript. So what does Javascript look like to me?

Well when one first starts with Javascript one uses it to do nifty little things on a webpage. Invariably the Javascript code is mixed with HTML. That frankly does not look anything elegant to me. COBOL, even with its heavy look had its own kind of elegance to it. If I had to choose an animal for a code file comprising of Javascript and HTML mixed together, I would choose an ostrich. But come on, an ostrich is appealing. I find nothing aesthetically appealing about Javascript mixed with HTML (or PHP mixed with HTML for that matter). It looks like a cluttered unkempt kitchen to me!

The HTML tags (or XML tags, or SVG tags, for that matter) look like ugly kitchen jars (the kind that I would never buy if I saw them at Ikea) and the rest of the code is all other kitchen stuff strewn all about. Utensils, vegetable peelings, cleaning rags, what have you.

Yes when one is doing somewhat more hard-core Javascript programming one creates code files that are only Javascript. That is beautiful. More so when rendered with the beautiful color coding of Sublime Text. This, here, I would say, looks like a gorgeous parakeet.

javascript code sample
Javascript code sample from my computer.

That is why I would any day generate SVG via D3, rather than write SVG itself!

~ vani murarka

jigsaw

crossword, scrabble, or sudoku?
no, those i do not like to do.
a jigsaw that my heart does woo
oh that is what i love to do.

jigsaws they speak to me of life,
each piece of life a joy or strife.
each thought each moment and each act
they come together so intact.

crossword, scrabble, or sudoku?
no, those i do not like to do.
a jigsaw that my heart does woo
oh that is what i love to do.

the “bond of union”, black and white
is m. c. escher’s art, that’s right.
a 1000 pieces, years ago
i put together zactly so.

MC Escher - Bond of Union

its only black and white and grey
exciting challenge i must say!
to do jigsaws why i so love
revealed to me a loving dove –

interconnectedness of things
to me that is fascinating.
that law of physics fits i see
to change in any entity.

a person or a company
or country or the society.
software design is similar
to oil painting, i do figure.

mathematics, geography
they all give clues how life to see.
patterns and similarity
that is what i so love to see.

just now the feeling that i felt
is same as what i then had felt –
then that becomes a clue for me,
that’s how i do research. that’s me.

jigsaw

jigsaw

so yet another jigsaw came
peaceful, serene, indigo dame.
her beauty did speak to me of
my inner-beauty. no show-off.

grace and peace in her expression
image of my aspiration.
her silken robes reminded me
of mumma’s winter silk saree.

as i put pieces together
honored me also my mother.
but more than that it honored Her.
this painting through and through is Her.

the more the jigsaw time i spent
closer to Her i truly felt.
Her grace, compassion, confidence
rising from chaos in guidance.

jigsaw

i did this jigsaw differently.
reference picture i did not see
for clue where a piece may belong.
hence ecstasy even more strong.

an intimacy with the art
and with Her glowed inside my heart.
the rapture that music can bring
is possible from a painting!

when you do touch its every line
each subtle shade and color fine.
a bow to the unknown artist
to weave something so exquisite.

jigsaw signature

jigsaws they speak to me of life,
each piece of life a joy or strife.
each thought each moment and each act
they come together so intact.

observe each piece so minutely
see the texture, shade, line do see.
observing tells intuitively
where from that piece did come to be.

the parts we work on separately
they join others ultimately.
an integrated being must see
the parts with whole in synergy.

personal, professional and hobby
relations, health, all else there be
they merge together seamlessly –
oh see them not as separately.

reference picture we cannot see
yet faith can guide us easily.
He, She, with Love make our jigsaw –
see silently, oh see with awe.

~ vani murarka

jigsaw

some feeling, some faith

i am young, i am old
i am new, fresh, untold.
i am wise, i am naive
it is on faith, that i thrive

i am young, i am old
i am new, fresh, untold.
i am wise, i am naive
it is on faith, that i thrive.

when it seems i am tormented
actually i am fermented.
for my sake? i do not know –
to be a channel pure, i know.

may each pain enable me
to shed my skins with thankful glee.
through my changing forms i go –
changeless, eternal, me to know.

~ vani murarka

to be me

i wish to be a butterfly.

i wish to ride the bare back horse
on vast and open greens –
wind blowing in my hair.

i wish the crackling fire beside,
below night sky –
a distant drum in the air.

i wish to be a butterfly.

i wish to ride the bare back horse
on vast and open greens –
wind blowing in my hair.

i wish the crackling fire beside,
below night sky –
a distant drum in the air.

the shimmering water of the stream
the silent singing night
the shadows of the trees alive
now that the trees sleep tight

i wish to touch.
yes the true touch.
hesitant, but
not very much.

the mud, the earth,
the bark, the skin,
the ripples, and the glow.
Her surface varied such!

the touch that tells
of inside spells –
a song hidden
under the skin.

i wish to smell
Her inside smell –
where i do find
that i do dwell.

to tribal be
to animal be
in earth rejoice –
to simply be.

i wish …

~ vani murarka