Sidharth Vardhan

Robots with an existential crisis – a review of ‘Machines Like Me’

(A review of ‘Machines Like Me’A novel by Ian McEwanReview first written on May 20, 2019) “there are tears in the nature of things.” Virgil Turing Test Alan Turing, one of biggest names in field of artificial intelligence world, devised a test known as Turing test. To pass the test, the machine will have to fool a human (who won’t know whether he or she is talking to human or machine) into believing that he or she is talking to a human being. This mechanical art of talking or acting like humans is only a simulation, the machine might act like humans but it is still not motivated by the same forces. This genius was accused of “gross indecency” because of his homosexuality and committed suicide at around 42 years of age. In the book, a few events of his last days are changed and he survives to bring forth an alternative history in which first Androids hit the market in the 1970s which is when the events of the book happen. A good part of the book goes to developing the alternative history – of robotics, politics and social. The plot itself is rather simple. In ‘Do androids dream

Weakness of strong men – a review of ‘Things Fall Apart’

(A review of ‘Things Fall Apart’,a novel by Chinua AchebeFirst written on April 6, 2015) Called the father of modern African literature, Chinua Achebe is widely respected in Africa. Nelson Mandela, recalling his time as a political prisoner , once referred to him as a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down”. He has inspired some big names in literature including Tony Morrison, Margret Atwood etc. ‘Things fall apart’ despite its ridiculously simple story is very aptly recognized. It involved breaking new grounds – the very choice of language of colonialists over any of domestic dialects was a major decision – Achebe thought English was the only language that can be used to communicate all over Nigeria; rather than country’s multiple dialects. There was an effort at creating a common dialect but the common dialect ‘just didn’t sing’. Set in Nigeria of 1890s, Things Fall Apart (Title is taken from a poem of W.B. Yeats) doesn’t wave any Tolstoyan worlds or tries to go into the depths of individual psyche like James Joyce. What TFA does is that it breaks new grounds; puts a dot of light in that undiscovered plane, which was so far summed up by

Diary of a Cynical Suicide

(A short fictionFirst written on April 3, 2019Find all parts of ‘Diary of a Cynical Suicide’ here ) 251. Today I know of the greatest frustration of all. My mind explodes with ideas and I am starved of paper to put them on, having run out of pages in my diary. If only it was possible to die of starvation of paper! I live in darkness devoid of electricity during nights…How bad it has to get until I realise that this is the time to end it? 252. Yeats once said that a thing of beauty of joy forever. In as much there is nothing beautiful as no joy lasts – that much I think I have talked about earlier. But the statement is ridiculous in another way. Even what goes down as things of beauty do not necessarily fill ‘normal’ people with joy. Normal people quickly reach out to pluck out the flower they find beautiful and thus starting it on its death, hill stations that were once seen as beautiful are now cluttered with garbage and pollution by those who find them beautiful and go there for trips or to live out of love for their beauty. A man

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 10

(A short fiction by Sidharth Vardhan February 19, 2019) 226.I subscribe to Joker’s words, “I am an idea, a state of mind.” to explain how I do not always think of suicide. If these notes give such impression, it is because they are written in that very state of mind in which I am thinking of killing myself. No, the notes written here are not by Sidharth Vardhan, there is no Sidharth Vardhan, he is a mere amalgamation of different ideas, states of mind – that often contradict each other, whose mutually envious existence fills the Sidharth Vardhan with more and more of anguish. I,.myself, who write these notes, and call himself, a cynical suicide, is a state of mind. And thus no one should judge the one that goes by name of ‘Sidharth Vardhan’ through this state of mind – on second thoughts I don’t care if you judge him. But you must realize that this is not the only the state of mind he is in. 227.People who like arguing are fools. We don’t believe in something because it is rational. We do so because a belief has an appeal to us. Philosophers do not come with new

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – 9

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanFirst written on January 25, 2019) 201.My last wish that I don’t see ever getting fulfilled is for someone to hold my hand and tell me “I understand.” That is perhaps all I need from all my friends. But perhaps they aren’t friends. Perhaps I just don’t have the luxury of friends. 202.I don’t even how to make effort or in what direction to make. I don’t have it in me to walk another mile to find happiness. All I want is for this suffering to end. Everywhere I see, there are people … Living things suffering. I don’t want this anymore. No more of this world in my eyes. I must close them to the world and close them so that they are never opened around. 203.Pain Letter – 18I guess you did listen to me and delete the last letter. Well, delete this one too. I will make it short. I am never gonna find any self-respect again – ever. And for the rest of my life, I will never be able to open up before another person knowing that they will walk out the second I learn to look at them for

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 7

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanSeptember 15, 2018) 151. Pain Letters – 5Why did you hurt me? You knowingly, repeatedly hurt me. Most of the times it was redundant. At others time in doing something that could be done in a better way. You are not a bad person, are you? I don’t think so though I can’t be sure. I want to keep asking you this same question repeatedly knowing no answer that you might give will satisfy me. I want the ability to hurt you so that you should know how much you have been hurting me. Perhaps that is why I was so rude, so rough to you – was a sadist in that little illusion you left me with. You will never understand and I have stopped trying to show… At least I have stopped trying to show you. I hope this time my effort won’t fail. 152.I am not a very easy approachable person – well, more like I am not a very attractive person. Neither looks nor personality. If I have a few friends, then that is because everyone seems to believe that I am a perfect patience stone. I have to admit that I

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 6

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanSeptember 15, 2018) 126.Shakespeare is right, ignorance is bliss. It is true the other way around too. Bliss is ignorance. Unfortunately, ignorance can’t be regrown from where it is once unrooted by the weeds of wisdom. And thus happiness too once lost, can’t be regained. 127.I don’t think of youStopped it when you cut the callIn anger but no, Nah,You didn’t even feel thatNothing that is what you feelI don’t think of youBecause you don’t think of me.I don’t need you, I need nothingI don’t feel anything for you, I feel nothingI write this song try to pass that timeWhen, no, not, nahwhen I can’t help thinking about youIt is not thatI don’t know what it isBut it is not thatI don’t think about youIn fact, I don’t remember who you are 128.I am no romantic and do not hold any fancy ideas about my misery – it is a terrible thing and must be cured for sure if such a cure was possible. But I am alive and I am afraid of those mind doctors and other well-wishers who wish to reduce my misery to a chemical imbalance in my mind or a bad

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 5

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanSeptember 15, 2018) 101.I return to these notes guilty as I have yet again failed to kill myself. Guilty as I have humiliated both myself and these notes, which are my best endeavor, to be honest. I won’t make any excuses. After all, to whom I am to make them. The whole point of talking to a paper is knowing that the paper understands. 102.There was a time when, after considering how much pain I am always in, I thought I would make a great artist. I mean think Van Gogh with his anxiety attacks, Proust with ridiculous sensitiveness, Woolf with her secret wings of imagination that she could not use to fly because she didn’t have a room of her own, Dostoevsky with his epileptic attacks, Kafka with his fear of never understood, Passoa with his self-imposed loneliness. I believed that everything beautiful must be born of a touch of a suffering hand. The mothers going through extreme pain give birth to children. A lover’s teardrops must surely have dropped, as that Sufi poet claimed, where flowers bloom now. But then I realized all of us are suffering to some extent – all seven

Diary of a Cynical Suicide – Part 4

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanSeptember 8, 2018)) 76.Apparently, I now have got a job. I look at people around me who have been working at this place for years – most of them angry at employers, yet no one leaves. Nine and half hours (it is 12 for labor) of work and another of transition in a day for six days a week – it seems as though their day revolves around work – which is keeping records of movements of things as dead as records. I, my self, have joined them. I, too, sit glued to a computer, gazing at things no one except machines should ever care about. I don’t like to work. I am just doing it to be finally self-sufficient. It seems that to earn living one must die a few hours every day (except on weekends). To stay human, one must become a machine for a certain number of hours every week. I don’t like these temporary deaths. I have always preferred more permanent solutions. 77.Now that I have a job, I have to put an alarm. The clock symbol which shows that alarm is on in my mobile states back at me every

Comfort Objects Part II The Prince or the dragon?

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanFebruary 17, 2018The story of patient’s sister which is mentioned in the beginning of this story can be found here. ) 1. “You, psychologists, are rather patient people – or perhaps you aren’t even listening. For here I am talking about my sister and her comfort object when this is supposed to be about myself.” “My purpose? So you want to say that you think I have a purpose behind telling you about my sister and her need for her comfort toy to be able to sleep? You are right. There are poets in spirts who never wrote poems because they lacked the necessary language skills to translate the poems in their heart. I, sometimes, have the vanity to feel that way – and I feel the key to my being here – the reason of my trying to kill myself is so nice parabled in my sister’s need for her comfort object. I spend a lot of time psychoanalyzing myself – you see, that is habit one develops when one is a literature professor and, I have lately reached the conclusion that what we call love is, in my case at least, a need

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