Tag Archives: communication


Avant de quitter l'Inde à la fin des années quatre-vingt, Je pourrais vous parler un peu de l'hindi comme ma troisième langue. L'anglais était la langue seconde, et Malayalam ma langue maternelle. Je n'étais pas couramment l'hindi par un effort d'imagination, mais je ne pouvais parler assez bien pour se débarrasser d'un vendeur de porte-à-porte, par exemple.

C'est exactement ce que mon père (un Hindi-phobe confirmé) m'a demandé de faire lors d'une de mes visites à la maison quand un persistant, Hindiphone sari vendeur planait sur notre porche. En ce moment, J'avais passé plus de six ans aux États-Unis (et considéré comme mon anglais très bon) et un couple d'années en France (suffit de savoir que “très bien l'anglais” n'était pas grand chose). Donc, pour se débarrasser de la sari-wala, J'ai commencé à lui parler en hindi, et la chose la plus étrange qui s'est passé — il était tout Français qui sortait. Pas ma langue maternelle, pas mon deuxième ou troisième langue, mais le français! En bref, il était très confus sari vendeur errent dans les rues ce jour-là.

Vrai, il ya une certaine similitude entre l'hindi et le français, par exemple, dans les sons des mots interrogatifs, et le masculin-féminin stupides d'objets neutres. Mais je ne pense pas que c'était ce qui causait l'effusion de francité. C'était comme si le français avait remplacé Hindi dans mon cerveau. Quel que soit les cellules du cerveau de mine qui ont été connectés à parler hindi (gravement, Je pourrais ajouter) étaient refaite à la franciaise! Un mécanisme d'allocation des ressources étrange recyclait cellules de mon cerveau sans ma connaissance ou le consentement. Je pense que cette invasion française dans mon cerveau s'est poursuivie sans relâche et assimilé une partie de mes cellules anglais ainsi. Le résultat final a été que mon anglais est tombé à l', et mon français ne s'est jamais assez bon. Je me sens un peu désolé pour mes cellules du cerveau confus. Karma, Je suppose — Je n'aurais pas confondre le vendeur de sari.

Bien parlé en plaisantant, Je pense que ce que j'ai dit est vrai — les langues que vous parlez occupent sections distinctes de votre cerveau. Un de mes amis est une jeune fille française-américaine des années d'études supérieures. Elle n'a pas d'accent de discernable dans sa Americanese. Une fois, elle m'a rendu visite en France, et j'ai trouvé que chaque fois qu'elle a utilisé un mot anglais tout en parlant français, elle avait un accent français distinct. C'était comme si les mots anglais sont sortis de la section française de son cerveau.

Bien sûr, langues peuvent être un outil entre les mains de la créatrice. Mon officemate en France était un gars intelligent qui anglais a toujours refusé d'apprendre tout le français, et résisté activement des signes d'assimilation française. Il n'a jamais prononcé un mot français s'il pouvait l'aider à. Mais alors, un été, deux stagiaires anglais ont montré jusqu'à. A demandé mon officemate pour les encadrer. Lorsque ces deux filles sont venues à notre bureau pour lui répondre, ce mec soudainement tourné bilingue et a commencé à dire quelque chose comme, “Ce qu’on fait ici.. Oh, désolé, J'ai oublié que vous ne parlez pas français!”

The Story So Far …

In the early sixties, Santa Kumari Amma decided to move to the High Ranges. She had recently started working with KSEB which was building a hydro-electric project there.The place was generically called the High Ranges, even though the ranges weren’t all that high. People told her that the rough and tough High Ranges were no place for a country girl like her, but she wanted to go anyways, prompted mainly by the fact that there was some project allowance involved and she could use any little bit that came her way. Her family was quite poor. She came from a small village called Murani (near a larger village called Mallappalli.)

Around the same time B. Thulasidas (better known as Appu) also came to the High Ranges. His familty wasn’t all that poor and he didn’t really need the extra money. But he thought, hey rowdy place anyway, what the heck? Bien, to make a long story short, they fell in love and decided to get married. This was some time in September 1962. A year later Sandya was born in Nov 63. And a little over another year and I came to be! (This whole stroy, au fait, is taking place in the state of Kerala dans India. Bien, that sentence was added just to put the links there, just in case you are interested.) There is a gorgeous hill resort called Munnar (meaning three rivers) where my parents were employed at that time and that’s where I was born.

 [casual picture] Just before 1970, ils (and me, which makes it we I guess) moved to Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala. I lived in Trivandrum till I was 17. Lots of things happened in those years, but since this post is still (and always will be) work in progress, I can’t tell you all about it now.

Dans 1983, I moved to Madras, to do my BTech in Electronics and Communication at ITI, Madras. (They call the IITs the MIT of India, only much harder to get in. In my batch, there were about 75,000 students competing for about 2000 places. I was ranked 63 among them. I’m quite smart academically, you see.) And as you can imagine, lots of things happened in those four years as well. But despite all that, I graduated in August 1987 and got my BTech degree.

Dans 1987, after finishing my BTech, I did what most IITians are supposed to do. I moved to the states. Upstate New York was my destination. I joined the Physics Department de Université de Syracuse to do my PhD in High Energy Physics. And boy, did a lot of things happen during those 6 ans! Half of those 6 years were spent at Cornell University in Ithaca.

That was in Aug. 1987. Then in 1993 Sept, the prestigious French national research organization ( CNRS – “Centre national de la recherche scientifique”) hired me. I moved to France to continue my research work at ALEPH, CERN. My destination in France was the provencal city of Marseilles. My home institute was “Centre de Physique des Particules de Marseille” ou CPPM. Bien sûr, I didn’t speak a word of French, but that didn’t bother me much. (Before going to the US in 1987, I didn’t speak much English/Americanese either.)

End of 1995, on the 29th of Dec, I got married to Kavita. In early 1996, Kavita also moved to France. Kavita wasn’t too happy in France because she felt she could do much more in Singapore. She was right. Kavita is now an accomplished entrepreneur with two boutiques in Singapore and more business ideas than is good for her. She has won many awards and is a minor celebrity with the Singapore media. [Wedding picture]

Dans 1998, I got a good offer from what is now the Institute for Infocomm Research and we decided to move to Singapore. Among the various personal reasons for the move, I should mention that the smell of racisim in the Marseilles air was one. Although every individual I personally met in France was great, I always had a nagging feeling that every one I did not meet wanted me out of there. This feeling was further confirmed by the immigration clerks at the Marignane airport constantly asking me to “Mettez-vous a cote, monsieur” and occassionally murmuring “les francais d’abord.”  [Anita Smiles]

A week after I moved to Singapore, on the 24rth of July 1998, Anita was born. Incredibly cute and happy, Anita rearranged our priorities and put things in perspective. Five years later, on the 2nd of May 2003, Neil was born. He proved to be even more full of smiles.  [Neil Smiles more!]

A Singapour, I worked on a lot of various body-based measurements generating several patents and papers. Towards the end of my career with A-Star, I worked on brain signals, worrying about how to make sense of them and make them talk directly to a computer. This research direction influenced my thinking tremendously, though not in a way my employer would’ve liked. I started thinking about the role of perception in our world view and, consequently, in the theories of physics. I also realized how these ideas were not isolated musings, but were atriculated in various schools of philosophy. This line of thinking eventually ended up in my book, L'Unreal Univers.

Towards the second half of 2005, I decided to chuck research and get into quantitative finance, which is an ideal domain for a cash-strapped physicist. It turned out that I had some skills and aptitudes that were mutually lucrative to my employers and myself. My first job was as the head of the quantitative analyst team at OCBC, a regional bank in Singapore. Ce travail de middle office, impliquant la gestion des risques et en réduisant les commerçants bouillants, gave me a thorough overview of pricing models and, perhaps more importantly, parfaite compréhension de la mise en œuvre axée sur les conflits de l'appétit pour le risque de la banque.

 [Dad] Plus tard, dans 2007, I moved to Standard Chartered Bank, as a senior quantitative professional taking care of their in-house trading platform, which further enhanced my "big picture" outlook and inspired me to write Principes du développement quantitatif. I am rather well recognized in my field, and as a regular columnist for the Wilmott Magazine, I have published several articles on a variety of topics related to quants and quantitative finance, which is probably why John Wiley & Sons Ltd. asked me to write this book.

Despite these professional successes, on the personal front, 2008 has been a year of sadness. I lost my father on the 22nd of October. La death of a parent is a rude wake-up call. It brings about feelings of loss and pain that are hard to understand, and impossible to communicate. And for those of us with little gift of easy self-expression, they linger for longer than they perhaps should.