Tuesday, December 23, 2003

P h i l o s o p h y O f S n o w

Today I wanna share more insights about the philosophy of snow. It has been a month since the winter had its way, so I am able to observe several effects.

The first bad thing about snow is that it melts. Until it melts everything is beautiful and divine, but melting, as Mr.Smith would put it "is not impossible. It is inevitable".

There are several bristly and beastly things which co-occur with the ceremony of melting. As you know from the first law of thermodynamics, if snow has to melt, it needs heat. And where does it get the heat from ? Us. damn. Us. It's already cold, and it makes us colder.

Secondly, the snow accumulates at several interesting places at an elevation from the ground. For example, over the shelters on the bus-stops, and the portico-like thingies outside the windows of highrise buildings. When the snow melts on the underneath (due to several reasons of heat-flow from the ground) the bottom layer gets transformed into a slimy slippery water foil. This triggers a minor avalanche to roll down onto the unsuspecting pedestrian, who consummates the phenomenon by making a foul oath. I never made the foul oath myself, but had the occasion to observe several unfortunate men/women make it.

One major reason why snow melts is because of friction. Yes, friction from the tyres of vehicles on the road. This happens even before the temperature gets any warmer. And this drives some interesting effects. The water thus obtained shall mix with the muddy dirty particles, (the sorta thingies you can notice on entities such as tyres) Then this mixture seeps into the textures of the snow, thus proselytising the pure whiteness into colors of grey, brown, black and other colors of the spectrum.

Now inspite of the smoothness of the roads, and the brilliancy of the drainage system, these muddy plateaus of snow stay glued onto the road. And yes, when a vehicle rushes by in top-speed, it leaves the unsuspecting pedestrian with a highly enjoyable spray of filth. Thus the genre of unsuspecting pedestrians couldn't escape the predicament of their counterparts who live in places such as India.

As the snow melts, it calls the temperature to fall, which in turn causes it to solidify again. Now this cycle occurs several times and through the
process, the fluffy feathers of snow transform into sleet, icicles, white ice/brown ice and become as hard as stones.

On the day of deliverance, the sun shines warm enough to melt away the whole thing, and the meadows become green again, and cease to
resemble widows.

And all the kids would keep waiting for another snowfall, which doesnt keep them waiting for long.

Friday, December 05, 2003

D e a l i n g W i t h S n o w

I guess today it is the first time it snowed decently. This place is what people attribute to be notorious for snowing.
But I came here only this fall and I have never seen snow before.

So you can imagine my excitement when I am watching snow, it first snowed about 10 days ago. But then, it was a very modest snowfall. Today it is very decent.

It is still snowing right now outside my window. Heaps of snow accumulated all over the place and it didnt melt away
like before. For me, this is a great sight. And I am absolutely delighted watching it.

What is snow anyways ! It is water, nothing but that. And water is something which makes you wet, and gives you cold, and makes everything slippery. And snow is worse. It is something which sticks on whatever you ask it to stick to. It sticks on your nose, on the hood of your coat, on the roof tops, on the car tops (the last ones are hilarious, they just make a car look so dumb!)

Now I want to list a few techniques that should be observed in attacking the snow. These things are pretty nontrivial for a warmblooded person who comes from a warm-weathered country.

1) Wipe away the snow. Whenevery you get the chance - when you are waiting in a bus stop, or when you are
entering your house etc.. Because as soon as the climate turns warmer, the snow melts and becomes a big pool of water.
2) Often dry your shoes. Change your socks daily. Because walking over snow is just like swimming. And when shoes
get weet, they make your feet sore
3) Wear gloves. These stupid hands can be so fragile
4) Dont run on the snow. Remember this !! Snow is slippery. Just like a muddy road when it gets soaked in rain. Infact it is more slippier. It is the quintessential part of rapid games like skiing, skating, ice hockey etc. So if you ain't careful, you might slip and reach the velocity of light (thereby causing lots of relativistic effects. Refer to the paper by Mr.A.Einstein)
5) Always watch out for the areas where the snow is melting. Those patches of the ground are the most dangerous.
I never had the opportunity to slide over these and I hope I will never get one. Here there is an interesting departure from our mud analogy. When you walk on a marshy road, you always look for footprints. That is a good heuristic for
identifying the non-slipperyness . But when you walk on snow, NEVER follow footprints. They are invitations for you to slip and do a somersault. Infact look for areas where there is a rough texture of thick snow. You can even run on those
places, if there is enough friction.

Now, everything said and done, I just cant help falling in love with snow. I just dont get it why some people crib about it. It's lot better than rain. It doesn't fall down as fast and as irritatingly. In fact only if there is a windchill thats blowing on your face (which btw is an extreme nonsense) you will find snowflakes hitting you like bullets.
Otherwise they fall down at leisure as if they thoroughly enjoy the ride from the heavens above. Each snowflake takes
a different route in its destiny, flirting through the air and slowly kissing the ground.

Then the trees. I agree that winter is a bad sight after the splendidness of fall. But when these trees are stipped off their leaves, they carry an eerie sense of beauty. I am always awe-struck when I watch these fractal-like offshoots of the twigs and braches which may be having a thousand-fold dimensional complexity - just affirming our beliefs that nature is the best artist and the best architect.

Now when the snow falls on these trees, they have this beautiful white shadow which runs through their edges,
It feels like seeing the whole world in a 3D pencil sketch.

And the ground. It is a huge vast sea of whiteness. And at night, a distant lamp post on the other side of the world makes this whole expanse radiate with a smooth glow of orange. And at day, that is a more marvelous sight .
If there's some bright sunlight, you feel as if you are walking into a huge diamond. The world is just so pure, so pristine.

The earth looks just like a bride in love. Quoting my native tongue "shobhanam gadi lo pelli koothuru la"

Anyways, this is about it. I have to put a period to this, and should go and play some snowballing. Now, after you read
all this and if you conclude that I am gay, hmm.. the disappointment will be yours.