White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Nosiy Typewriter and Tomatoes

My grandfather was not a man of emotions, and so, this moment seems very inorganic. Nevertheless, the rest of us aren't as strong as he was, and we need to let out from time to time. My earliest memory of my grandfather is us watching Australia play a one day international on TV and me being infatuated with the team's yellow uniform. After the game, we made our way to a nearby sports shop and he bought me a yellow cap. I remember jumping on our maroon couch several times excitedly with the cap on and him smiling from ear to ear, enjoying the abnormal antics of his 5 or 6 year old grandson.

My other early memory of him is him teaching me advanced arithmetic from the off white pages of an imageless textbook. At times I would get a little frustrated at his ability to play the hard taskmaster and questioned myself as to why my parents had left me loose with him, but I am grateful today as bemused classmates look on as I can tell them within seconds that adding that extra kicker light will blow the circuit, and thus we would have to hook it up to a different circuit.

I also remember being extremely stimulated by his spotless black and creme typewriter. And when I was a little older and got to climb onto a chair, bring the beauty down, and type up some nonsense, with the sweet sound of the keystrokes resonating off my fast beating heart. Later, my father insisted that Dadu, as I called him, buy a computer, but somehow the mechanical silent keyboard lacked the poetry of the typewriter.

Dadu and I never really spoke much about his life (the only conversations we have had which deal with similar subjects would be the first names of my ancestors). What I know is from what my grandmother has told me. Apparently, he had a decently comfortable life in his village, but his hunger for success took him to Calcutta, where he studied more than anyone else in his family ever had, and got a job with the Indian Railways and thus, has seen most of India, and later most of the world. After him, my father made his way to the Middle East from Calcutta, and I have now reached the US, from the Middle East. After marrying my grandmother, Dadu encouraged her to study further and later to work, which at the time, was very rare, at least in Indian society. Eventually, he procured clerical jobs in the companies he had worked, for members of our domestic help, setting them and their families up economically.

My grandfather was an out an out atheist, which almost made him a pariah in Indian society at the time (even today, if you ask me). What I admired the most in him was his questioning of the illogical (like religion and Communism), and refusing to join the bandwagon like the rest of society. He was also one of the strongest men I knew, refusing to take taxis and still riding the bus even in his 80's.

After, we had moved to the Middle East, I saw him just once a year, observing how age had caught up with him. Each time, there was this fondness in his eyes, as we sat in silence, or engaged in smalltalk, proud (I hope) that I hadn't turned out that bad after all. In his last few years, he had developed a hunch and physically wasn't the imposing figure I had grown up with. I usually visited him in winter. So, he would have this faded green cap and a cloak, reminiscent of desert sand. And he would have shaving cuts. Also, he would turn up the volume on the TV when the eight o'clock news came on, resulting in arguments with my grandmother if she was on the phone.

It's been almost five months since he has passed away, but even today, when I feel lazy about shaving, or see one of those noisy typewriters on TV, or see someone enjoying tomatoes, I can't help but think of him, and fight back tears, because he would have never tolerated tears.

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