Shrideep Pallickara [Personal]

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Family
I live in Fort Collins with my wife, Sangmi, and our kids Dylan and Julian. I love the change of seasons in Colorado, each shedding new light on its beauty. We ski in winter and during the summer we have been exploring National Parks around the area: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, and Grand Mesa: the view of the Tetons while rafting through the Snake River is incomparable. In general, the Rockies dominate the landscape in Colorado and provide stunning vistas. We have logged a few miles in our travels; including to places where we don’t speak the language. As for the crux of these travels? The incomparable Maya Angelou answered this best by whittling away all the noise, and getting to its core chromatic scale, in the “Human Family”.


Reading

I love reading, and I find that it helps me clear my mind. Whether it is the erudite musings of Steven Pinker, Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov; the powerful story-telling of Richard Powers, Paul Bowles, Garcia Marquez and A. B. Yehoshua; the lyrical prose of John Banville, Jose Saramago and Vikram Seth; the potent prolificacy of V.S. Naipaul, Ian McEwan and Philip Roth; the Zeitgeist captured in the works of T. C. Boyle, Michael Chabon, Roddy Doyle, and Annie Proulx; the poignant works of Rohington Mistry; the keen observations of Edith Pearlman, John Updike, and Haruki Murakami; the entrancing prose of Ann Patchett, Julian Barnes, and Michael Ondaatje, the sustained frisson in the works of Philip Ball, Brian Greene, and Simon Singh; the frenetic worlds created by Robert Heinlein, David Mitchell, and William Gibson; Alex Ross' deconstruction of music; or the mesmerizing travel writings of Pico Iyer -- these writers have left the world, and my understanding of it, a little better than it would be otherwise.


My Ode to Cities
I have always been drawn to cities or perhaps they reel me in? Same difference.

  Like knots in a net
         Swaddling the globe
     Upstarts eager to supplant those
           that have weathered
               the headwinds of entropy and time

The knots all jostlling
     Lest they unravel
              and be relegated to obscurity

The knot swells
        With beings and their doings
              Some reach for the skies
                      Others spread out and sprawl

The choice exacts a price
        During passage to the knot
   In a tin can over tarred miles
        With fumes, boredom, and squandered time
              Coming along for the desolate ride
   Or in tubes, burrowed underground,
        Spreading out like tendrils

The knots
        All seem different
              Each laying claim to quirks, twitches,
                  and resonant frequencies

        Yet the strands are the same
              A cultural diffusion engine
                  Fueled by a collective brain
                       With more synapses than stars in the sky
              Where ideas are born,
                  But must pass muster
                      If they are to soar
              And be a part of who we are

 

Photography
I am an avid photographer. It's fascinating how two photographs of the same object can tell entirely different stories. The narrative in a photograph is ultimately about how one plays with light -- the aperture of the lens, the shutter speed, ISO, and the white balance. I have a preference for stills and landscapes. One of these days, I will get around to putting up a portfolio online.



Museums
An inexhaustible source of joy for me is visiting museums. I find that museums are places where space and time collapse and cosmic wormholes beckon. Art takes us places and just being in its presence is so inspiring and deeply humbling all the same. There is also the pleasant aftereffect. Like the monsoons after a long dry spell, visits to museums have a way of recharging creative aquifers that are parched.