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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Never use United Airlines for booking your Euro flights

Two days after providing me a "Confirmation number" for a roundtrip ticket to Austria, they sent an email saying

"Thank you for booking your travel on www.united.com.   
We are unable to ticket the above-referenced reservation.  Some airlines require 24 hours to confirm a seat on their flight.  In this case, we were unable to confirm your flight(s) on Swiss International Airlines.  Please call us at 800-UNITED1 (800-864-8331) so we can assist you in making alternate arrangements.  I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Thank you,

United Airlines
Reservations Processing Center "

I call them immediately after seeing this email, and my call never got through ! I tried to redial, and redial.... n times, in vain. 

I later had to book tickets through Lufthansa, (for a much higher price) which gave me confirmed flights the moment I booked it. 

Thanks United, for wasting my time, money; testing my patience.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What do you care what other people think?

Richard Feynman - I'm going to write about the Physicist Feynman another time. For now, I just want to present some excerpts from the book "What Do You care what other people think" which is mainly about the  person - Richard.

*****
Richard Feynamn learns that Arlene (his girlfriend) is diagnosed with the fatal Hodgkin's disease and is just about to tell Arlene who was still unaware of that. 
Doctor : No, no! We don't want to upset the patient. We are going to tell her it's glandular fever. 

RF : No, no! We have already discussed the possibility of Hodgkin's disease. I know she can adjust to it.

All his family members work on him, asking him in horror " How can you do such a terrible thing?" 

RF : Because we have made a pact that we must speak honestly with each other and look at everything directly. There is no use fooling around. She's going to ask me what she's got, and I cannot lie to her!

Finally his little sister breaks him down and he agrees to lie to Arlene that she's got glandular fever. 
He goes to the hospital to see Arlene. When she sees him, her face lights up.

Arlene : Now I know how valuable it is that we tell each other the truth! They are telling me I have glandular fever, and I'm not sure whether I believe them or not. Tell me Richard, do I have Hodgkin's disease or glandular fever? 

RF : You have glandular fever.

Arlene : Oh! Fine! Then I believe them.

About a week later, she calls him over to her place.

Arlene : Sit down. All right, now tell me, do I have Hodgkin's disease or glandular fever? 
RF : You have Hodgkin's disease. 

Arlene : God! They must have put you through hell!

Feynamn writes - I had just told her she has a fatal disease, and was admitting that I had lied to her as well, and what does she think of? She's worried about me! 

RF : I'm sorry. I feel awful.

Arlene : I understand Richard. Just don't do it again.

A few months later RF announces to his family that he wants to get married. He writes :

Then they very carefully explained to me that when I promised to marry Arlene, I didn't know the situation. Everybody would understand that I didn't know the situation then, and that it didn't represent a real promise.

I never had that feeling, that crazy idea they had that I was getting married because I had promised it. I hadn't even thought of that. It wasn't a question of having promised anything; we had stalled around, not getting a piece of paper and not being formally married, but we were in love, and were already married, emotionally.
**
Once during his graduate studies at Princeton, Arlene sends him a box of pencils to use. They had in gold letters the words " Richard Darling, I love you! Putsy". He called her Putsy. Since he absentmindedly dropped pencils around he cut off the writing on one of them to see if he could use them. 

Next morning he gets a letter from Arlene "What's the idea of cutting the name off the pencils? Aren't you proud of the fact that I love you? What do you care what other people think? ...Pecans to you.. Almonds to you ..'Nuts' to you..

He writes - So I had to use the pencils with the names on them. What else could I do?
**
RF goes to Los Alamos to assist in the development of the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer arranges for Arlene to stay in the nearest hospital, in Albuquerque. The pranks she played resulted in notes from the army censor like "Please tell your wife we don't have time to play games around here." He writes - 
I didn't tell her anything. I liked her to play games - even though she put me in various uncomfortable but amusing conditions from which I could not escape. 
**
Arlene asks him to cook them steaks on the lawn outside the hospital that was right on Route 66, the main road across the United States. 
RF : I can't do that! I mean with all the cars and trucks going by, all the people on the sidewalk walking back and forth, I can't just go out there and start cooking steaks on the lawn!

Arlene : What do you care what other people think?

So, RF cooks steak every Saturday/Sunday on Route 66, wearing an apron that has "BAR-B-Q KING" written across it. 
**
For Christmas, Arlene has an idea of sending cards to everybody, that said Merry Christmas, from Rich and Putsy.

 RF : I can't send these to Fermi and Bethe. I hardly even know them!
Arlene : What do you care what other people think?
So, they send them.

By next Christmas, RF knows the giants Fermi and Bethe pretty well and they are all very friendly. Arlene has these cards that say "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year". Just when RF thinks they'll go fine for everybody,

Arlene : Oh, no, they won't do for Fermi and Bethe and all those other famous people. 

She gets another box of cards that have the usual stuff and then : From Dr. & Mrs. R. P. Feynman. RF writes - 
"What's this formal stuff, Dick?" they laughed. They were happy that she was having such good time out of it and that I had no control over it. 
**


(After Arlene died)


I must have done something to myself , psychologically. I didn't cry until about a month later, when I was walking past a department store in Oak Ridge and noticed a pretty dress in the window. I thought "Arlene would like that," and then it me.


*******

Current Song :

Every rose has its thorn by Poison

Current favourite lines :
"I shall leave you now with the man I knew, the man I love intensely for the strength and tenderness he demonstrated in the way he lived" - Aleida Guevara March in the preface to The Motorcycle Diaries



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Titanic – A perfect visual treat for a total romantic

The movie told a common story of a rich, pretty damsel in distress, a handsome hero, a traditional villain, and a disaster. So, what made the simple theme such a stupendous success? Apart from the fine performances by the actors,

The art – It was everywhere. The Empire style interior designs, the Renaissance and Victorian decorative styles were well adapted. The tables, tablecloths, chairs, the chandeliers, paintings, all were exquisite;

The musical motif that sailed through the movie was spellbinding, and the crescendo in the climax would resound even after the movie ended, for a loooong while;

Rose’s fastidiously chosen fine-crafted jewellery, impeccably complemented the beautiful lady;

A thorough gentleman, DiCaprio’s (Jack) charismatic smile; and

The perfect sunset sky hosting the romance. 

***
My favourite part of the movie : Rose and Jack’s eyes fixed on each other, while Rose is climbing down the Grand Staircase as if they were alone in spite of the crowd.

*****

Current song (had to be)

My heart will go on by Celine Dion

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The branch of love

 This is how, I believe, love should originate




                     


                        Respect -----> Admiration -----> Affection ----> Devotion ----> Love




*****

Currrent Music

LA DE LES

Thursday, January 5, 2012

That's very much ME

  • It's about -6 deg C and windy : My friend says it's horrible weather; I say it's nice!
  • Most people are tired after a hard day's work. I'm super energized at the end of the day after working on a challenging task!
  • All my friends suggested I should cut down on my intake of coffee; I can still down three venti's. 
  • I don't want to be "urban dictionary" informed; but seems like I need to be, to avoid embarrassing situations.
  • Mom says I should get good amount of sleep; I like to stay up either reading or writing.

Looks like I'm always on the opposite direction from the trend, not just with respect to the trivial things mentioned above.


*****
Current Song:

Meherbaan by A R Rahman

"Tu Hai Nazar, Main Nazara
Tu Hai Sagar, Main Kinara
Tu Hai Zabaan, Main Hoon Bayaan
Tu Hai Neha, Main Hoon Haya"

Monday, October 3, 2011

"A Cappuccino, please"

He is walking down the boulevard, completely oblivious of the surroundings, with earphones plugged in and music loud just enough to cut off extraneous noise. With his morale almost touching the nadir, the music was nothing more than random notes. He walks down, completely cut off from the physical world, except that he has firmly clutched his phone.


He walks in to a cafe and asks the barista, "Can I get an extra-large Cappuccino, with  more espresso and less froth, some whipped cream at the top? And a bit of cocoa powder, please".

The barista returns with the special Cappuccino.
"Just like you like it" with a warm smile.
"Perfect, just like i like it. Thanks a ton!", taking a sip.

Now he walks back the same path, realizing that the expansive promenade divided the famous Commonwealth Avenue at the center.  Designed in the French boulevard style, it is defined by sweetgum, green ash, maple, linden, zelkova, Japanese pagoda and elm. The avenue is also punctuated with statuary and memorials.


As he walks up savouring his coffee, he replays his favourite cadences of his fastidiously chosen music. He thinks :What a waste of time it is to worry about something you can't do anything about. And what an agony is it to see your time being wasted away. This is never going to happen again.


He raises the hood over his head, jumps down a step and exclaims "I'm back to myself".

*



Moral of the story: on an unproductive day, take a long walk to revive sagging spirits



*****
Current Song :

"Don't turn around" covered by Ace of Base

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Love at First Sight

He scampers toward her.

He : Uoffhff ! Oh my God!
She : (blushing)
He : Your eyes!

He is enchanted at the first glimpse of her

He : (singing) Can I have this moment forever.. hhmm..

They do not seem to realize how long they have been gazing at each others' eyes.

She : I feel someone tugging on my collar .
He : I feel that, too.

The shroud of magic gradually fades away; reality calling

He : (resisting the pull) Oh no! She's taking me away! I'm going to be with her all my life... Why wouldn't she let me be with you one more moment? This lady!

She : Wish he let me be with you a while longer... He's my master... I must go.. (a heavy) Goodbye
He: No! Don't say that...

 **
That was one hell of a doggies' love story on St.Stephen Street. Unfortunately for the love-struck doggies, their owners were  walking them in opposite directions


*****

How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? - Albert Einstein

*****
Current Song:
"Ik Junoon" from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara

Monday, August 15, 2011

Charles River - A perfect rendezvous for Bostonians

A guitar hung around his shoulder, he climbs down the stairs to the duckboard at Charles River Reservation one fine evening.  Facing the Memorial Drive, he pulls out his guitar and starts playing it passionately. Everyone around, including me, is left transfixed by the brilliant resonance of the strings. A large cup of coffee completes my Watching-the-sun-go-down, with the live music paying tribute to the beautiful hues in the sky.

You may not always be lucky to have fine music complementing the marvelous evening sky, but long conversations with a  friend on the river basin is always exhilarating.

*****

Current Song :

Drive by the Cars

"Who's gonna hold you down
When you shake
Who's gonna come around
When you break"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It must come from within

While I was in college, there used to be this melodrama titled "Attendance Shortage" playing just before the final exams every semester. Students that fell short of 85% attendance mark had to pay a fine, which I don't think they minded. What was harrowing to them was to listen to the harangue from the teachers.

I used to think : why should someone force you to attend classes? If you like to, you would go sit and listen to the lectures. There is no point in wasting hours of precious time doing something you hated doing. One should be free to save himself boredom of dry lectures.

Sometimes for various reasons, you are forced to hang out with people you don't really have a great time with, save a couple of persons in the group. I had been missing my Bangalore friends for a long time now. But thanks to my new found company of friends, and of course,a couple of old Boston buddies, I'm enjoying my time over coffee, games, music concert, plays and delicious entrees. And the times when we have great conversations on the political situation in our country, new technology, aircraft, Nat Geo etc are invaluable.  Everyone deserves the company of people of his/her wavelength.

How often have you not heard nagging wives/girlfriends whining to their partner " you don't love me/ you don't take care of me/you give me no time". I wonder, is a person obliged to take care of his partner? He must feel from within  to take care of his lady, or not. There should be a natural feeling of affection. He should want to be with his better half.

(---"--- , please interchange the genders in the above paragraph)

 To like something, to like doing something, love , affection, admiration, respect must come from within. You can't force yourself or someone to feel something, neither can you demand it.

PostScript : I have a distinction of having 100% attendance. Not that I was a listening to all the lectures diligently. I had my stock of Overdrive (India), India Today and Time magazines to keep me company through the boring hours. I would even draw caricatures and doodles, and give it to my best friend.

What's with people on Facebook suggesting you "like" some page? To say " 'somebody' suggests you have a look at 'something' , and then subscribe if you like" sounds better. 




Current Song :
Kuchh Is tarah by Atif Aslam

"Kuchh is tarah teri palkein meri palkon se mila de
Aansu tere saare meri palakon pe saja de"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ominous Sonance

I used to encounter it quite frequently during college, especially on the outer ring road of Bangalore. It would scream for life, crying for the obstructions to clear and make way for it quickly. Only, the obstacles seem to gridlock its path. It would make me sick to helplessly watch it desperately struggle to move.

It's one thing that can induce profound fear in me, even if I'm exposed to it just for a moment. An ambulance taking a patient to the hospital is no pretty sight. I close my eyes and say a little silent prayer.



************


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/30/world/asia/30iht-letter30.html?_r=1

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What would you choose?

What would you choose if were to choose between

A high paying challenging industrial job OR an Academic life full of excitement?

Being obedient to someone you respect, and as a mark of it relinquish your independent thought,  OR invite animosity from that revered person, for choosing your mind?
You can argue that you may not revere someone who demands your subjugation, but what if you are bound?

Question the irrational priest/soothsayer/godman that swindles the obstinately gullible leaving him offended big time, OR keep quiet fearing maniacal expletives from all directions?

Comforts of home OR an adventurous independent life away from home?

Be candid when one of your peers asks you for an opinion  OR you know...
**
Wake up at the break of dawn to go on an hour-long walk OR stay asleep for that one hour?
These days it's been the former for me, thankfully!


*****
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/rising-india-surrender-national-dignity

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/174656/thane-deluge-buries-10-alive.html



********
Current Song :
Pehla Nasha from the movie "Jo jeeta wohi Sikandar"

"Chaahe tum kuchh na kaho
maine sun liya
Ki saathi pyaar ka
mujhe chun liya
Chun liya Maine Sun liya"






Thursday, June 23, 2011

I invariably need change

There have been long stretches of consecutive days when my music player was stuck in the "Repeat one song" mode. The recent one I was tethered to was Sar Kiye by Strings. When I was not listening to the song, I would be humming the bit of

"Sar Kiye Yeh Pahaar
Daryaon Ki Gehraiyon Mein
Tujhay Dhoonda Hai

Aa Bhi Ja Aik Baar
Meray Yaar Aisay Na Looto Meray
Mann Ka Qarar

...
Ho..
Ho Gaya Hai Tumsay Pyar..."

I often told myself that I'd only listen to a song till I get tired of it and then go to rest of the playlist. The problem was - I never seemed to feel I had listened to that piece of music enough and be caught by that single melody eternally.

While it is good to appreciate what's exceptional, being stagnant due to it is not a favourable state of mind for me. It was not just music that would keep me bound to a single masterpiece. The genre of books I read has not changed for a long time. I have been cooking the same delectable entrées (very few) when it's my turn to cook. I better explore other recipes before my roommates get bored of the same old sprouts saaru, vangi bhath and soppu saaru.

Only when we explore the world of food, music, art, science and technology, and learn of outstanding works, aroma, tastes, discoveries or inventions do we keep the spark inside us alive. Change seems to be the driving force for me; and I'd like to keep it continuous. For example, a new set of clothes or accessories can be a feel good factor for you to do a good job in the lab, though both are not connected to each other in any way without you.

 
*****
Current Song:

My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves from the old Hindi movie Amar Akbar Anthony

"You See The Whole Country Of The System
Is Juxtaposition By The Hemoglobin In The Atmosphere
Because You Are Sophisticated Rhetorician
Intoxicated By The Exuberance Of Your Own Publicity
 ...
My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves
Main Duniya Mein Akela Hoon
...
You See In Such Accentuating Circumstances
Who Can Ask Me Perclude From Such Extravagance
'''
 You Se The Coefficient Of The Linear

Is Juxtaposition
By The Hemoglobin Of The Atomospheric Pressure In The Country
..."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

That powerful thing!


I’d been looking into the eye since I-don’t-know-when. The eye was in great distress due to a beautiful thing. I had seen a tattoo on a guy’s arm, in the library a couple of months ago that read “Destroyed by something beautiful”. How true, I thought. So much of my precious time had been destroyed trying to calm the poor eye down. 

Gradually the eye turned red. It then started to lacrimate. And was left frustrated since I was seeing the source of tribulation, yet could not do much to bring about relief. It’s not a good feeling not to be in control of what’s happening to you. 

After spending a considerable amount of time in front of the mirror I removed the eyelash that was stuck up in my eye.

 ***
Some words of gossip among girls " Do you know that I know that she knows that I know?"
*****
 Current Song:
You and I by Scorpions

Monday, June 6, 2011

Exploitation legitimised; Robbery legalised

It's not uncommon in our country to find complicated memorandums of understanding (MOUs) generally drafted by a single party, for the other in the bilateral agreement to simply accede without questioning. I'm talking about the Grand Indian weddings. Lets look at the the farce step by step


1. Demands of the groom's family for the bride's parents to fulfill:

a) _____ kg of Gold jewellery. (the forward class can demand platinum too) ; and the number in the blank is variable.

b) A plot of land in ________ city. Fill in the blank with the biggest town around.

c) Grand silk sarees (meaning obscenely expensive ones)

d) A sedan.

e) Wedding to happen in best wedding hall of the city; food, decoration and all other arrangements have to be excellent.

f) Bride's family under the control of groom's. (sometimes after the wedding there are possibilities of role-reversal :D )

It's basically day-light robbery of the bride's dad's hard earned money. In fact, it's a strange act in which the groom, incapable of earning his own wealth, steals someone else's with the society's earnest approval!

(please fill in, if you know more of such demands)

Oh by the way, you come to this step after the initial screening which I have written in my post at  http://srilakshmidj-spectrum.blogspot.com/2010/12/normal-0-false-false-false-en-in-x-none.html


2. The bride's family say that they can't find a better match for her and simply acquiesce.

3. At the Wedding:

Of course, there are numerous rituals.

You see a huge number of people, most of whom neither the bride, nor the groom recognizes.

Guests pass comments on everything around, and are easily annoyed at the slightest aberrancy in comforts at the wedding hall, which means all fingers are pointed toward the bride's father. He should have had taken care of everything, you see.

And someone in the crowd is always match-making, paving way for next such drama.

There is music- at some occasions it's light classical, blaring bollywood at some other.

Women are all decked up like walking-talking jewellery and silk-clothes shops.


4) After the Wedding

The poor father of the bride is left with a hole in his (both) pocket(s).

And, generally the couple keep on fighting with each other over compatibility issues.


5) The country calls this the custom/tradition.

*
When I was new in Boston, I had seen a couple getting married in front of the Public Library. There were just four guests, a priest, and a photographer at the occasion. How simple it was.


**
PostScrpt : This is not a generalization. There are exceptions, with really happy couples, without above mentioned issues.

Title is suggested by my Dad
****
Current Song:

"How Do Ya Feel Tonight" By Bryan Adams

"i feel so high - no one else would know it
i don't know why i feel the way i do
i can't let got - and i'm not scared to show it
cuz being here feels right
tell me - how do you feel tonight?"...

"is there anybody dreaming
dreaming of a better day
when everything goes your way"....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

'Tall, Dark, Handsome' to 'Fair and Handsome'?

I still can't believe that there are tonnes of ads on TV, endorsed by the celebrities (unskilled 'stars', not actors) for skin-lightening products, that are ridiculously stupid, fooling the gullible. First it was about girls. Dark skinned girls apparently were 'not beautiful'. So, they would not be offered jobs; neither be married off. Girls would use these "No.1 cream-with-american-formula-for-'some-biotech-word' " and suddenly they find lucrative jobs and get proposals from "handsome" men.

How can they correlate fair complexion with beauty? Even when they do, how can any intelligent person say that one has to be beautiful to be hired for a job? As a conclusion, we can definitely say that the ads are made by morons, for women with low self esteem foolish enough to think that they can become pilots, singers, actors (no, superstars), journalists etc simply because they are fair.

In a country where the institution of marriage is held sacred and revered, how can a trivial issue like the colour of the skin be a major deciding factor? If a man does not want to marry a dark-skinned woman, so be it. Why are they making it look like it's the girl's fault that she was born with dark complexion.

As if this nonsense were not enough, they have launched fairness creams for men! When did men start feeling the need to look fair?? Have the girls started to prefer Fair and Handsome men to Tall, Dark and Handsome?


*****
Current Music:
Some Tamil rhapsodies

***

Current favourite line :
Never a step backward, never a moment of weakness - Ernesto Che Guevara

My Stone Collection






Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stuck in a Moment

I was walking down the Huntington Avenue the other day with tons of voices clashing in my head - that I'm not focusing enough; that my vision toward solving a problem was circumscribed and I'm not looking further; and so on.

Still walking down, I glanced at a gentleman approaching a lady from the opposite direction. They seemed to be  in their mid-forties. There was no sign of emotion when the greeted. He simply held her. Her arms slowly went around his shoulders. His lips gently pressed to her forehead. I saw them standing there motionless for the span of about fifteen steps I took before I walked past them.

I don't know how long they were stuck in that moment.

Current Song:
"Baanigondu elle ellide? Ninnasegelli koneyide? Nidhaanisu Nidhaanisu Nidhaanisu"- from the old Kannada movie Premada Kaanike

Thursday, April 28, 2011

And Suddenly I am there

The snow's melted.
The cold's gone
Breeze is gentle

The trees have come back to life with marvelous flowers wearing pleasant hues.
The Sun is shining bright
And suddenly I'm there

*****
Current Song
Can't help falling in love with you by Elvis Presley



Saturday, April 23, 2011

When did God Become so Complicated? Oh Lord!

No offense intended toward any religion; No desecration intended; just rational thoughts.

***
Does this happen only in India? We have idols of various Gods bathed and anointed with turmeric, milk, curds, honey, butter etc. We see people pouring litres and litres of milk into the anthills while about half of all the Indian children are undernourished. What I see from the abhishekas (bathing the idols) is nothing more than precious nutrition going down the drains.

Recently, a distant relative of mine was boasting that he donated Rs.30,000 toward jewellery for the idols of the village temple. What I do not understand is - his village does not have a primary school; there is no proper sanitation facility; forget about medical facilities. The average income per household could be just about Rs.3000 per month if not lesser. In spite of this, there were so many villagers who contributed toward construction of a huge temple. When did God ask people to build Him temples while they are still struggling for the basic necessities of life?

Some years ago we had visited the historic place of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, India. This place has incredible structures of ancient Indian architecture, with mind-boggling precision of workmanship. As we wandered about inside the vast temples admiring the great work of art, we stumbled upon quite a few obstructions - the poojaris (priests), who demanded varying sums of money to perform particular types of "poojas" (religious rituals). I failed to understand the basis of their audacity in speaking about the prices of poojas. I strongly believe that their contribution to keep the morons moronic, in darkness, is huge. Grandly dressed devotees who seemed to be well educated, blindly kept pouring the money into the poojaris' pouches. I'm sure that they barely understood the verses recited by the poojari as part of "pooja". How do you know if the poojari is reciting the correct  lines or not? Not that I'd any day want him to tell/request God anything on behalf of me as if in a business environment where in praying is outsourced.


So God can get angry and I can't? Don't they preach that you should remain calm, forgive others for their sins? Then why do they say that God will get angry and punish you in most horrible, unbearable ways if you do something wrong, or break your promise of "breaking 100 coconuts" or any such bribes? If God is bigger than you, isn't God more magnanimous than you to forgive sins?

Godmen now. When has the general public questioned the credibility of Godmen; reason, logic and science behind the "maaya" (it means something like magic) the Godman display to fool people? Is it the weak mind that requires some place to hide it's refusal to think and finds a crowd that follows the religious magicians?

Why do people perform temple ceremonies and lavish festivals, adore and worship idols but don't have the minimum common sense not to hurt fellow humans or not to cause inconvenience to others by blocking roads, playing blaring music, etc? I'm sure even God would not like such cacophony.

 ****
The other day I accompanied my friends to a temple that is an hour's drive away, solely for the ride. I was talking over phone and wandered off away from the crowd of devotees into an area not open to general public. Suddenly an old gentleman sprung up from nowhere and started to yell at me for the crime I committed. That's what his religion and God taught him, to be on toes to admonish youngsters without a discussion, reason and explanation?


***
PostScript:
Don't tell my mother that I wrote this

*****
 Current Song :
Bruises by Chairlift

"For you-ooh-ooh-ooh

Do-doo-do-do-do-do-doo
Do-doo-do-do-do-do-doo ..." 




Wednesday, April 20, 2011

All that's not expensive

Bhel puri (which I savour) - Rs.20 ; Pizza (every time I had a bite, thought - It could definitely taste better) - Rs.250

Guava - Rs.2 each ; Guava juice in the 1 litre tetra pack - Rs 75 (you can make the same quantity of guava juice with about five - six guavas)


Volvo bus ride (less than 8 km, with AC turned on to a freezing temperature in spite of a pleasant weather outside) - Rs.21, three years ago ; ordinary BMTC bus ride (with fresh air)- Rs.6

A used Stochastics text book (which I barely used) - $120; What was most useful was the professor's notes.

Wireshark, ns-2, powerful tools - free of cost, available to everybody; there are lot of proprietary tools out there, out of reach of many.

Bean Burrito from Taco Bell (lunch)- $1.25 ; A veg roll (snack) - $6
The great food Mom cooks - priceless ; Go to any restaurant - it's never satisfying.


Moral of the story - needs and simple joys of life are not so expensive.

*****

Current SOng :

Still Loving You by Scorpions

"Your pride has build a wall, so strong..."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

So, what's your Time of Life?

Some questions I have been asked and my answers to them
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q: So, having a great time there?

A: I am outside India does not mean I am having a time of my life. In fact, if had stayed back home, I would have saved myself from tonnes of mental torture. But then, you only grow wiser and stronger with varied experiences. My best moments have been when I have talked to the people I admire; amidst nature, trying to capture a glimpse of the vast serene splendour on my humble camera; when the radio played a song I was just hummimg a moment ago, as if it were reading my mind. These were not necessarily outside India.

Q: Education there is easy, right?
A: Studying in the USA ( I am limiting myself to Electrical Department) is NOT a child's play. Unless you regularly put in effort and understand the concepts "down to the root" AND apply, you can be assured of lousy grades. When I have a bunch of Americans who have been instructed in way that their thought process to solve a problem spans 360 degrees and whose fundmentals are rock solid, as classmates, I sometimes feel scared that there is so much more that I need to equip myself with. I feel as if I am studying undergrad courses and persuing Masters parallely.

Q: You have all the freedom, no?
A: Who says I didn't have the freedom back home?? I really don't get their concept of freedom.


*
I'll come back with more Qs and As.

*****
Current Song:

Tum from the movie Na Tum Jaano Na Hum


"Tum Se Gila Nahin Mujhe Kismat Se Hai Gile
Karta Hai Aasman Kyon Yeh Dil Ke Faisle "

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Blue Wave

Event: Screening of the most-talked-about ICC World Cup semi-final match between India and Pakistan.

Location : Curry Student Centre, Northeastern University


I entered the packed hall with just about twenty overs left in the match. "Huuuhuuu!!" was the first pulse of voice I heard that resonated across the hall. That was the reaction when the Pakistan batsman only defended the ball shot at him. "Oh nooo..." reverberated through place even when only a single run was scored off a good ball. Well, the atmosphere was as though life depended on India's winning the "coveted match-against-our-neighbours".

A wicket falls down, and everyone stands with hands up in the air, cheering the bowler. I catch a sight of the stern professor of Indian origin, smiling at the screen with his pizza in his hands.

A student captured the visuals of the enchanted audience on his cool camera alongside following the match fervently. One moment he has his face hidden behind his palms when the Pakistan batsman hit the ball over the boundary for a magnificent six. Next, he exults when our bowler restricts the batsman. 

As the match drew closer toward the finish line, the audience went pins and needles. A couple of non-Indians walked up to the students to ask what game this was; who we were playing against; and if we were winning. To the last question the answer was "yes, I guess. you never know... but we pray (with a nervous smile)". And yeah, there were screams of "Ganapati bappa moriya".


The most beautiful sight in the hall was the "Sine wave by the audience" which I have started to call the "Blue Wave".

And, we won.

PostScript:

Just before I left the computer lab to go catch the last moments of the match, an American friend of mine gave me the details of the score so far. I wondered how he knew so much about cricket. "My roommates are Indian. Cricket is pretty popular" he gushed.

*****
Current Song:
"Jab kisi ki taraf dil jhukne lage" from the movie Pyaar to hona hi tha

"Chaahne jab lage dil kisi ki khushi
Dillagi ye nahin ye hai dil ki lagi..."

Monday, February 28, 2011

Irony of a Communications Engineer

"Why don't I ever find you online?" is a very common question I'm often asked. "Perhaps, both of us not hooked on to the Internet at the same time... aahh.. you know... "(then somehow change the topic :D ) is the same answer I have to everyone that asks me the popular question.

So, why can't you find me on chat lists?
*

My first encounter with the World Wide Web was when I had to apply to an Engineering college in India about five six years ago. I did not even know what an e-mail was, then. Thankfully, that University did not require the candidates to have an e-mail ID unlike the admission processes now.

My second online activity, filling out the application being the first, was taking the entrance test to the same college. Incidentally, that was the first time the University was conducting their online entrance test. It's a different story that I did not go to that University to study.

That it was possible to chat online with someone sitting at some corner of the world never succeeded in securing even a glimpse from me. Some people I knew (not too well :-/ ) used to chat online with some random people they never even met in person. I had found it really absurd. I always thought it was such an utter waste of time and energy. I've never seen such a facility on Web that lets you meet random people online and chat with them. I don't think I'll ever bother to see how the application works.

Later I joined BMSIT, Bangalore, to pursue BE with concentration in ECE. Here, I used a computer mainly to work on tools necessary for my courses. I was still Internet-ignorant. E-mail became a hot topic among peers. Some would look at me as if I were an ancient creature since I did not have an e-mail ID.

My very-comfortable-with-the-Web friends helped me create an account on Yahoo. I had just watched the movie Lakshya, then. I had liked the movie so much that part of my e-mail ID was "lakshya"! Guess that was in our fifth semester.

It was only when we got an Internet connection at home in early 2009 that I got a google account. I created one just to leave comments on my friend's blog, which was not possible otherwise back then. My first experience of chat was rather embarrassing; I did not know how to initiate a chat! I called up one of the members of GoG (Gang of Girls - our group of friends in college was called that) and said "ok, I logged in to Gmail. How does this chat thing work??. When I click on a name that appears in list, it goes to compose mail..." Then was was "online-educated".

Now, I'm never "visible" on chat lists on either gmail or facebook, the platforms on which most of my friends "live" most part of their time. I occasionally ping my best friends and have a chat with them when it's not possible to talk over phone.

I'd any day prefer to call up to talk to friends and family instead of catching up with them online.


PostScript:

Being a student of Communications Engineering, I seem to be good at the complex Physical Layer, the exciting Data Link Layer, the cool Network Layer and the Transport Layer. Somehow, most of the "popular" web applications  do not seem to impress me.

My cousin is the only one with whom I've chatted on Facebook. That was the first and the last.
 ***
 Read this saying somewhere - "If you have to ask if you belong in a group, you probably don't"

*****
Current Song:
White Flag by Dido

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lets take away Religion out of Science

A few days before I left for Boston, I visited the Visveshwaraya Industrial and Technological Museum at Bangalore with my friends. There was this show - Tara Mandal running. Since all of us shared a common interest in Astronomy, we decided to go watch it.

So it was supposed to be a small lecture on celestial bodies inside the dome-shaped dark tent with the image of the night sky projected on the inside of the tent. Lambda Orionis was missing from my favourite constellation Orion.

The speaker started with some lines in Sanskrit which went over my head. As if he were contesting in a number-of-words-per-minute competition, he rattled off  quick facts. Most of the talk was in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit-illiterates like us managed to catch some English words.

He started to talk about rashis which again missed my ears. A kid among the audience screamed "What's your Rashee" referring to the Bollywood movie. Appreciation poured in from all corners as if a new planet was just discovered in our solar system.

Then there was a question to the audience. We were asked what was special about some constellation ( I can't remember its name) There were many voices with the "right" answer. Apparently it was Amitabh Bachchan's rashi! Vow, dear constellation, you are famous! Oh another constellation was "Jaya Lalitha's".

What Dad had taught me about Astronomy when I was in the fourth grade was a zillion times more informative than this dumb show, I thought.

*****
If you like your house, you will like everything around you - My friend

**
Somebody: What is the cure of love at first sight? 
Socrates: Take a closer second look. It helps a lot.
  :D :D

*****
Let’s start at the very beginning,
a very nice place to start,
when you sing, you begin with A, B, C,
when you simulate, you begin with the topology,...

- Introduction to ns (Network Simulator) in the manual

***
Current Song:
These Dreams by Heart

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Handsome old man and the Charming old lady

I was walking up to the library in the evening yesterday when the audience were walking out of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, visibly enchanted by the fine music. Men and women, impeccably dressed, were gracefully walking down the stairs, some hand in hand.

Among them was this old couple which caught my attention. The serene smile on their faces was as though they were celebrating a lifetime of affection. The charming old lady's head was lowered while the handsome old gentleman was looking at her. They were not speaking. Perhaps the silence spoke between them. As they slowly walked away toward the road, I thought - one must be fortunate to experience such a moment. Cheers to them!

*****
Current Song :
Everlong by Foo Fighters
"Hello
I've waited here for you
Everlong..."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A little bit of 'me'

I was in love with the 1:18 Scale Mitsubishi Lancer Car Model that came free with our subscription to the Overdrive magazine. Few years ago, we had some guests invited over to dinner. A naughty kid in the guest-group, who was the apple of everyone's eyes, didn't take a moment to break my precious car. When I saw the car model broken into pieces, I was shattered. Worst part of it was, I could not even vent out my anger. I was supposed not to have reacted since I was in college and hence remain poised. I don't know what makes people think that you are all grown up and hence should be magnanimous just because you are in college.

The parents of the kid were least concerned about the incident and continued bragging about their child prodigy. Mom knew that I would break down any moment and took me away and consoled me.

Some time later the basketball I was fond of, was the kid's peremptory demand. My eyes dilated and I felt hollow to see my basketball being drubbed and taken away from me.

A couple of days back, I was studying at my favourite place in the library, enjoying the view of the evening-city from the fourth floor. It was a particularly nice day. Just when I thought I was going to study a challenging topic that evening, an acquaintance spilt by mistake a whole cup of hot chocolate over my Digital Communication text book. I was stupefied to see the book I loved drenched in the brown drink. I spent an hour cleaning the mess and couple of more crying over my misfortune. I have been fuming, with swollen eyes since then.

All my things have a little bit of me in them. I'm not so magnanimous to remain calm when I see them spoilt.

***
Thought for the post
Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child's loss of a doll and a king's loss of a crown are events of the same size.
- Mark Twain in Which Was the Dream?

*****
Current Song:
Break Even by The Script
"I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing..."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I prefer it natural

While teaching us the importance of utilizing the space on the constellation diagram to represent digitally modulated signals, my professor gave us an example today of Japanese farmers growing cuboid watermelon to save storage space .

Out of curiosity, I googled for square watermelons and found this article on BBC news - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1390088.stm
I'm just thinking - advances in biological sciences has made it possible to force changes in the behaviour of plants and animals. Cows are injected with genetically engineered hormones to increase milk production. Cattle are injected with hormones to make them grow faster. Biotechnology can make the plants bear more fruits and vegetables than they naturally can.

I understand that science and technology has helped a great deal to prevent diseases; understand the nature better enabling us to act based on the observations. But, isn't there a limit up to which we can use technology? Why can't we let nature have it's say at the end?

When I was younger, I used to accompany my Grandma to our farm. She would pull out groundnut plants and I'd joyfully break the shells and munch the nuts. I would wander through the fields and pluck mulberry fruits. It's been ages since I had the mulberry fruits, still, the taste lingers. As a kid the greatest achievement was to pull out a sugarcane stalk remove its sheath with my teeth. Chewing the cane, I thoroughly relished the sweet juice.

These days, fruits only "look" tempting. I seldom get to savour a taste. Biotechnology, you have succeeded in producing large quantities, but taste? Nope.


*****
Current Status:
Refreshed, feeling the bright warm Sun after so long.

**
Then Status:
A few days ago, I wanted to scream at the person concerned : "Tumhare jaise dost ho to dushman ki kya zaroorat??" (What's the necessity of an enemy when I have a friend like you?)

***
Current Song:
Selling the Drama by Live

"And to love: a god
And to fear: a flame..."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The power of Expectation


From Wikipedia :

In probability theory, the expected value (or expectation, or mathematical expectation, or mean, or the first moment) of a random variable is the weighted average of all possible values that this random variable can take on.
*

If you are doing a graduate program in Electrical Engineering, an entire four-credit course could be based on expected values of our dear stochastic process. My professor used to say "Most of the time, you do not require a perfect sample of a signal. Based on the expected values and your observation, you can arrive at correct decisions with minimum probability of error.

Now, let me tell you about my tryst with my observations and expectations.
During my pre-university, I used to commute by namma(our) BMTC buses. We had four buses that particularly routed through our locality, which meant I could get off the bus few feet away from our home in Bangalore. I used to make a note of what time you could anticipate these buses at the two ends of my commute. Whenever I didn't have to travel, the buses were almost on time. What punctuality, impressive! - I used to think.

When I actually waited for one of our buses, none arrived! One day, I was hell bent on catching an "our" bus and waited quite long. According to the statistics I had at least one bus should have arrived at that particular stop within twenty minutes of mine getting there. I waited, and waited more than an hour. Then decided on hopping into some bus in my direction and later walking home from the nearest bus stop. Guess what - I find a seat for myself in the bus and am pulling out my handsfree from my bagpack, "our" bus overtakes the bus I'm in, leaving me furious!

My statistics helped everyone in our locality except me, huh!

That's not all. Yesterday, in the laundromat I decided on using the washing machine that was closer to the dryer. I pour in the detergent and load the clothes and insert coins. That machine simply returned the coins, much to my dismay.

There are tons of instances wherein simple things, that everyone else finds easy to get, elude me! Why me?

PostScript:
I tell myself "don't expect, be surprised"

Current Thought:
How do the radio stations know my current mood? They seem to play apt songs! All the stations!

Current Song:
With or Without You by U2
"See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you..."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The early riser

The only day I woke up really early in the morning was when I had to take my SSDT (Solid-State Device Technology) final exam. Well, I had to study two huge chapters that morning and that was the first time I was reading those topics! If I had not woken up early I would have flunked the exam for sure. That was one subject in which the equations made absolutely no sense to me.

Anyway, lets not talk about that. Why I logged into Blogger was to tell you about my new cool part-time job.

This friend of mine, who was also the teaching assistant for one of the courses I had taken last semester, used to work as an assistant in the Computer lab of our Northeastern University. Learning about the job and the environment here, I applied to the position of  Lab Assistant. Since the lab supervisor is a morning person, I used to come to the lab early morning by 7 30 to follow up on the status of the application. I guess everyone thought I was an early riser. What they did not know was I hadn't had slept at all through the night! I would study the notorious Applied Probability and Stochastic Processes for which I had to get my fundamentals of Signals and Systems, and all the math of four undergrad semesters "fundamentally" and "completely" right.

I was more than happy that got this job, considering there were tons of applications and so few persons work here. And, I have been put on early morning shifts. On the first day of work our supervisor briefed me on the duties I had to perform. I had already learnt that from my friend long before. But the way he talked, it would have made anyone feel good about the work. The tone was not imposing. The words were not binding me. It was as if an elderly person was telling a kid a story and the kid having the freedom to build on that. He never said this "has" to be done. The culture was "do whatever you can". That probably pushes anyone to do more than s/he is ought to do.

Whenever I am given total freedom, I'm naturally responsible and I simply enjoy my work and its fun. I've been the same since childhood. My parents never imposed on me any rules. I have always been a good and responsible kid, thanks to the freedom I was given :)

So, after checking that computers and printers in four rooms are all working fine, logging some students off, making sure everything is all right, sitting at her desk, this Grad kid is blogging!
 *
I'm not complaining about getting up early at all. Oh by the way, the supervisor is happy that I opened the lab on scheduled time of 7 30 today. Due to this morning's snow storm, the university announced a two-hour delayed opening. It was good that I was on time. In spite of the classes being delayed, the undergrad kids are studying in the lab so early.
*
Somehow, that it is snowing heavily does not make any difference to me. It's just a normal day.
*
After my first day of work, I had called this friend of mine, who had helped me get the job and said "Hey, thanks a ton for the job! I thoroughly enjoyed myself!".

*****
The time of posting is actually 10 08 am. Blogger says 11 something. It's not keeping track of day light saving...

Current Song:
Back to December by Taylor Swift

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Installing ns-2.31 on Ubuntu 10.10 for novice, from a novice

Here are the errors I encountered while installing ns-2.31 on Ubuntu 10.10 
1. Make sure the packages libxt-dev, libx11-dev and libxmu-dev are installed. Synaptic Package Manager is the best place to start - just mark these packages and say apply.

2.
/home/sri/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31/otcl-1.13/otcl.c:495: undefined reference to `__stack_chk_fail_local'
otcl.o: In function `Otcl_Init':
/home/sri/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31/otcl-1.13/otcl.c:2284: undefined reference to `__stack_chk_fail_local'
ld: libotcl.so: hidden symbol `__stack_chk_fail_local' isn't defined
ld: final link failed: Nonrepresentable section on output
make: *** [libotcl.so] Error 1
otcl-1.13 make failed! Exiting ...
See http://www.isi.edu/nsnam/ns/ns-problems.html for problems
sri@sri-Studio-1458:~/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31$ ^C
sri@sri-Studio-1458:~/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31$ 

 do this :

edit the configure.in file ( in folder otcl-1.13) at 
Linux*)
         SHLIB_CFLAGS="-fpic"
         SHLIB_LD="gcc -shared"
         SHLIB_SUFFIX=".so"
         DL_LIBS="-ldl"
         SHLD_FLAGS=""
 
 and just save it .
 
do not forget to 
...otcl-1.13$ autoconf -f
 
3.
make sure the command
XGRAPH=/your/path/ns-allinone-2.34/bin:/your/path/ns-allinone-2.34/tcl8.4.18
/unix:/your/path/ns-allinone-2.34/tk8.4.18/unix

is on a single line. Otherwise it throws an error saying "path not found" or something like that, I do not remember...


Finally, after your ns2.31 is successfully installed you get a a message  
Please put /home/sri/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31/bin:/home/sri/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31/tcl8.4.14/unix:/home/sri/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31/tk8.4.14/unix
into your PATH environment; so that you'll be able to run itm/tclsh/wish/xgraph.

IMPORTANT NOTICES:

(1) You MUST put /home/sri/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31/otcl-1.13, /home/sri/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31/lib,
into your LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable.
If it complains about X libraries, add path to your X libraries
into LD_LIBRARY_PATH.
If you are using csh, you can set it like:
setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH (paths)
If you are using sh, you can set it like:
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=paths

(2) You MUST put /home/sri/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31/tcl8.4.14/library into your TCL_LIBRARY environmental
variable. Otherwise ns/nam will complain during startup.


After these steps, you can now run the ns validation suite with
cd ns-2.31; ./validate
sri@sri-Studio-1458:~/NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31$ cd NS_2/ns-allinone-2.31/ns-2.31/

Before doing anything, just check the environment variables i.e., echo $variable_name
Most probably the environment variables would have been updated automatically. You wouldn't need to set up separately. 


Then, smile and relax!

Current Thought :
How did they teach us Digital Communication without teaching us Stocahstics in Undergrad??? The first lecture of about two hours Prof. Masoud Salehi gave, covered the entire DC we were supposed to study in UG. And I finally understood complex numbers and communication engineering!

Current Song:

Dil Haare by Jal from the album Aadat
"hoh hooo hooo
hoh hooo hooo
hoh hooo hooo.."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My favourites

Mom is the best cook.
Best friends are all in Bangalore.
Corner House is where you get the finest ice cream.
Tastiest pastries are from Sweet Chariot.
Coffe Day is the most convenient place where you sit and chat with friends.
Rohit Barker is the best Radio Jockey.
Deccan Herald is one sensible newspaper (only the hard copy. e-version is a bit sad).
My terrace room is THE BEST palce to recline, relax and watch the rains falling on the huge green cap of the army area three lanes away from our house. It is also decorated with beautiful red flowers of Butea monosperma (aka flame of the forest).
Flowers on the trees that line the streets of Bangalore are the prettiest. Way to go, BBMP!

Fruits that taste the best -
Guava from the vendor at the Ganesha Temple, Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore.
Sugarcane from our garden.
Papaya from hometown.
Varieties of grapes from the Hop-Coms during the drakshi-mela.
Chikku from a relative's (who I don't really like) native place.

Fruits and vegetables in the most technologically advanced nation taste "artificial" and "engineered"! Aarrhh!

Current Thought :
Why do I feel like blogging when a notorious assignment is due less than 35 hours??

Current Song:
Feel the rain on your skin By Natasha Bedingfield

"Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else.."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What everyone can learn from the Americans

Respect others' space.
When you are learning something, learn completely. No half measures. Understand thoroughly.
No pretensions.
Do not speak ill of people around.
Be straight-forward.
Do what you love to do.
Every country has a set of rules. People here truly follow them. That's what makes a discipled nation.
Courtesy on road; follow traffic rules; yield to pedestrians.
*
You will not find traffic moving in either direction when a school bus has pulled over to drop kids off and the kids have crossed the road.
They drive very carefully. This shows their value for a life.
*
Do not work on Friday and Saturday Nights :D

***
The citizens of the US enjoy the true sense of liberty. What a word "Liberty" is!
I'm happy posting this early morning. This is going to be one good day.

*****
Current Song:
Stuck in a Moment by U2

"You've got stuck in a moment
And now you can't get out of it..."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

She cried, they hugged and they spoke in Tamil

Location : Logan International Airport, Boston
Time : circa 8 pm

She is blushing. She's been blushing since quite a few days. She can't wait to see him. All that she wanted was to be with him. She's finally going to see him tonight. There's still about an hour and a half for the plane to land. Looks like she wants to fast-forward time to the point when Krish's flight lands.

I step out to talk to Dad over phone. My conversations with Dad can be really lengthy at times. I'm talking. She calls me. "Ubuntu, can you check if the flight is landing on time?", she asks me. I find out and and tell her that there's no delay.

I resume talking. She calls again. "Ubuntu, find out what gate Krish exits through. There are so many gates at this terminal", she asks. I inquire at the help-desk. There are two possible gates, one for the passengers that have checked in their baggage and the other gate for those that have not. Since we do not know if Krish has checked in his baggage or not, she asks me to wait at one gate while she waited at the other.

She calls again. I walk up to the information desk again, third time. Again a query. The lady at the desk is now smiling. I tell this mad girl that it's only a matter of some minutes now; he'll be here.

I get back to my seat. "Ubuntu, you can identify him, right?", she asks this time. I said I would. I'm sitting alone, looking at the exit.

***

"yeh ladki toh poori pagal hain, yaar!" ("this girl is totally mad!") was my thought on my first day with her. The only thing she wanted was my laptop to talk to Krish over skype. The Skype application is installed on my laptop; ironically I did not have a Skype account! Still not.

Krish was supposed to study here in the US. Unfortunately, his visa was not approved while this madly-in-love 's was and it's been almost four months into her Master's program. There was not a single day she was completely happy here. She'd always talk to him. I wondered - when does she sleep? when does she study? when does she take some time off for herself? how can anyone talk to just one person the entire day? Doesn't she want to go out, at least for a walk? "Get a life!", I would tell her. "He's my life", she would reply.

***

She'll be happy tonight. He's traveling from another part of the country just to see her, right after a day since he came to the US. Since a long time I've been imagining the reaction on her face when she sees him - she's standing there with a bunch of flowers; she'd blush, tears would well up her eyes. What else, I wanted to see.

Well, I would be able to see that if Krish exits through the gate I am waiting at. I'm looking at the direction he would walk in. "Ubuntu, Krish...", she says walking up with him from the opposite direction!



***

I could not see the first reaction on her face when she saw him. All that I could catch was - she cried, they hugged and spoke in Tamil, which I do not understand.

A thing of past

Not too long ago I knew how to text on my cell phone. Thanks to inexpensive charges for messages, we would send out tons of messages to friends everyday during college.


I was introduced to the concept of messaging quite late compared to my peers. That was because I had a BSNL connection, which somehow disabled the option of texting, when I was gifted with a cool phone first time. Persistent complaints to the customer service never yielded any solution. So, I never sent out a text message until I was in third year of engineering when I switched to another service provider.


Funny forwards made us smile. All of us friends stayed connected 24X7 through texting each other. I would share practically each moment with my best friends. Be it complaining about weird people, unhappy incidents, sharing thought provoking quotations or 'cloud-nine' moments, my friends were just a text away.

On some rare days when there were no messages in my Inbox, I'd check if my phone is turned on or not!

Now in a foreign land, where texting costs more than I am willing to spend, texting has become a thing of past for me. Moreover, nobody here seems to use the texting service.

The other day, when I was noting down a sequence thoughts on my phone after a long time, I realized that I was finding it difficult to type!


PostScript
The only reason I stuck to BSNL for a long time was that it was a PSU. It was not worth doing so...

*****
Current thought:
Your first priority is your own self and you have no right to hurt yourself.

***

Current Song:
Behind Blue Eyes by Limp Bizkit

***

Quote of the post:
“Borrow trouble, if that’s your nature, but don’t lend it to your neighbours.”
- RUDYARD KIPLING

Borrowing trouble is so very me! When will I stop doing that! God!

Monday, January 10, 2011

IPL - A disgraceful event

The big news in the papers these days is that of the cricketers not chosen for the overrated IPL. I particularly do not like the words the media is using liberally – players auctioned, costliest, sold, unsold etc. As if the cricketers are commodities that can be bought by untalented movie “stars” and arrogant business magnates.

Lot of ignominious columns are being written about Brian Lara and Sourav Ganguly among others. Have they forgotten that these players hold several incredible records, playing for their countries? The articles the newspapers carry seem to wane the respect the players deserve.

The glamour version of cricket may have attracted a huge attention. But it has earned no respect.

***

In school we were grouped into four teams – red, blue, green and yellow. Every year we would have to join a different team. Since we did not stay in a single team too long, we never felt a sense of belonging toward our current team.

Now that many of the IPL cricketers play for a different team than last year, do they go out on the ground and play with passion for their team or just for the lure of big money? And who is the audience going to cheer – its home team or the “home players” that are on the rival team?

*
IPL - Indian Premier League
*****
Current thought :

It takes only a while to land yourself in trouble. But it takes ages to get out of the mess.

*****
Current Track:

Widescreen by Vanessa Mae

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Yardsticks


I have been trying out varieties of tea at various tearooms since the day I had this awesome lemon tea at the Vellore Institute of Technology last July. Unfortunately, no cup of tea has even come close to the tangy tea I’ve relished at VIT. Cafes in Bangalore and Boston, you really need to know what tea tastes like. 

I used to religiously watch the TV show Megastrucures on National Geographic Channel. After this, structures that most people marvel at do not impress me unless I learn the design and engineering, challenges faced during its construction, innovative solutions  behind the “good-looking” buildings.

People say you cannot always expect the best of everything; be satisfied with what you have. But I can’t seem to be. I cannot seem to appreciate anything that's not at least close to the object of reference that I hold close to me.

When I have experienced the best of something, or come across really awesome persons, I always consciously measure other things and people by their standards (and of course, mine). Very few leave a good impression which means I’m seldom delighted.


*
I cannot have enough of what I like and that's so little available! Huh...

***


I remember reading this quote long back "When everyone around you is happy, you are bound to be happy". I think Sir M Vishweshwaraiah said this. I was just thinking about it. What I feel is - when people around you are sad, it will definitely make you sad!

*****

Current  Song:
Do dil from the movie Pardes.
“Kahin kabhi lag jaaye dil toh
Kahin phir dil na lage”


Sunday, January 2, 2011

They are not you

Do you know that I used to wake up early just to see you? No moment is more beautiful than seeing you early morning. Your radiating vibrant smile assures me of a fine day.

Why are you hiding now? There is no fun without you. It’s not that life does not go on without you; I still study, eat well, and do all my work. But, I feel good when you are out with all your vigour. I do not like to see you being gloomy.

There are substitutes to make up for your extended absence. But they are not YOU! Do you get me?

*

When will this spring season get over? The days are so gloomy and the Sun starts to set by 4! The electric bulbs are always there, but nothing matches the natural sunlight. I look forward to the bright sunny days.

*****

Current Song:

You Rock My World by Michael Jackson

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sensible factors, please

I recently read this article about groom hunting, in Deccan Herald. Take a quick read for a  chuckle - http://www.deccanherald.com/content/121977/groom-hunting-unusual-place.html 

Based on my observation, most of the Indian society has a peculiar set of parameters to gauge a person. When it comes to looking for brides and grooms, it gets even stranger. Let me list the factors they consider.

For the groom-to-be:

Earns lots (read obese pay package)/ is in a big "position" ;
his family is filthy-rich;
his father/brother/brother-in-law/somehow-related-somebody is a big guy somewhere (I really don’t understand how that makes the guy suitable) 

For the bride-to-be:

Her horoscope should be compatible with that of the guy;
she should be fair, pretty;
right height (few inches lesser than her prospective husband);
must know to cook well and do all the household chores.

Is this all that takes to decide on something as huge and important as marriage?
No wonder we have so many unhappy marriages in our country. Many opt for divorce while many suffer in silence. It is really sad that a majority of our society thinks this mediocre way. When will this change? 

 *****
Current Song:
 Ambar by Raghu Dixit
"sach much kya hai tu duniya mein?..."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Feel-Good People

Dad worked at a different city while I was studying in the Pre-University. After returning home exhausted from my classes, calling Dad would re-energize me in almost no time. To the frightening entrance tests, the terrorizing college Principal who redefined irrationality, weird peers, or any crisis of a teenager, I could just say, “My dad’s with me”.


By the time I joined an engineering course, Dad returned to Bangalore. Whatever the problem; of any magnitude, would seem very much manageable after a small talk with Dad. He never tried to solve them for me, or gave directions toward a solution. We'd discuss about anything and everything that was not related to my cause-of-concern. Still, I could get through the tough situation successfully after our talk. He stands first in my small list of truly feel-good people.

My brother, Mom, few close friends back home figure in the list (not in that order). That’s the only thing I am missing here in a foreign country.

Nevertheless, I have found a couple of such people here. One of them is my madly-in-love roomie who is always lively; truly follows what her heart says; cares a damn when it is absolutely necessary to do so.

*****
We meet lot of people, become friends with them; have a long list of friends on Facebook; we may be very outgoing (I am not :-) ). But, I need a small clique of people that match my wavelength.

*****

Read this line in a newspaper a couple of days ago - Proximity with peers does not equal affinity. Loved it.

**

Current Song:

“Oh Shanti” from the Tamil movie Vaaranam Ayiram. This song is playing on the “Repeat 1 Song” mode on my player since I do not know how many days!

Yet to learn the meaning of the lyrics…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just that extra Mile

I was passing by the ITC bus stop in Bangalore a couple of months ago when I witnessed this incident. The government school kids had crowded the bus stop that evening. All the kids readied themselves to board a bus when they saw it approaching. The BMTC driver did not pull over at this stop since the bus was already overcrowded. All the kids, save two, wore a disappointed look. But these two kids ran after the bus. They knew that the bus had to pull over at least for the passengers to get off at that place. The bus did stop a few metres away from the bus stop. And, these kids actually boarded the bus!

Even if the bus had not stopped, these kids had nothing to lose. May be, sometimes all it takes is going that extra mile to get what you want.

*****
Current Song:

Boondein by Silk Route
...Aaina bani yeh aankhen teri...


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our little story

Has someone told you that you look sooooo cute? God! You light up my day. You always manage to bring a smile on my face.

You are always doing something or the other. It's so difficult to find you at one place for a while. I get it that it's your job; but does it hurt you to sit with me for some time even if you say nothing at all? I crave for the time with you.

The other day you were so close to me that I could not let my breath out! Guess you noticed that and moved away :( I look forward to spending more time with you, and come closer to you, hold you.

*

The squirrels in our campus are so big; and I cannot tell you how charming they are, both in action and appearance :) It's sheer joy to watch them.


*****

Current Song:

Kaash Yeh Pal Tham Jaaye by Jal
...kismat ka yeh khel hai, milna tha hamne kabhi....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Bangalore

Noththing is gudd in your Bangalore”, declared our neighbourhood lady a week after she had moved in to the house next door. She must have been around 55 years old then, about six years ago. “The vegetables don’t taste gudd at aall”(??); “Why do you measure land in square futt? We measure in square yard”; “People do not have any driving sense att aal here”; “Your city is not safe”; “Your Kannada is not heard anywhere; your own people do not speak Kannada” (derisively); “Weather in your city is bad” (heard anyone say that?); “One good thing about your city is lot of our people (read people from her native state) are here”, she would go on. Listening to her always-energetic rants, one could not tell that she was so old.

She would make it a point to mouth negatives about Bangalore whenever she saw me, knowing very well that I hated it! I never retorted to her statements only out of respect toward an elderly person. Whenever I tried to show her how nice my city is she would snub all my efforts. This is when I learnt that if someone does not want to see things beyond a barrier, s/he will not. There is no point in trying to reason with such people.
She never listened to what I had to say about my Bangalore. Nevertheless, I write here what I wanted to say.

- A typical Bangalorean does not have any problem conversing with people from anywhere on the earth. We, by nature, welcome everybody to our city.


- We do not look for friends who speak the same language. Like, I speak Kannada, but most of my friends are non-Kannadigas. Many of my friends are Tamil and Teluguites, some speak Hindi, English, some Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, and one friend is a Punjabi. We do not differentiate people by region or language. We respect all cultures.


- My city is so green that while I was at home, I used to wake up to the alarm bell of the bird song from the trees. The air of my city is laden with the fragrance of our rich flora. Bangalore is simply beautiful.

- My Bangalore is home to many premier education and research institutes of the country.
Needless to say, my city has a large number of job offers.









- Bad Road Sense - I agree. But, most of Bangalore’s work force consists of people from across the country. So, if you see that people drive awfully on road (sometimes even on the sidewalk) it’s a characteristic of the entire country. You cannot blame the locals alone.


Kannada Issue - I cannot read Kannada fast. I do not know everything about its rich heritage. But I know that it is one of the most beautiful languages spoken.

A language is not preserved by locals alone. My Kannada teacher during my Pre-University was a Tamil whose pronunciation had no hint of her mother tongue. A friend, a Tamil, reads Kannada books and has many blog posts in Kannada.

The Jnanpitha Award is the highest literary award in India. Seven Jnanpitha awards have been each awarded in Kannada and Hindi. Some of the Jnanapitha award recipients in Kannada spoke a different language. Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre, one of the greatest Kannada poets, was a Marathi.

Girish Karnad, another Jnanapitha award recipient in Kannada, was born into a Konkani-speaking family. His initial schooling was in Marathi. He had once said about his literary work “my thought process happens in Kannada and then I translate it to English”. Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, who has also been awarded the highest literary award, was born into a Tamil family.

Kindly ignore the fanatics who claim they are “protectors of Kannada”.
*
Well, that's my Bangalore and our Kannada for you.

**
If you think Bangalore sleeps early, Boston is no better. Shops in the heart of Boston close by 10PM!

*****

This lady had a peculiar timing to ask my Mom for favours - 7:15 am. That was the time Mom packed my lunch and I would have to leave for college by 7:30.

*****

Current Song:
Tum jo ho to gaa rahi hain yeh hawaan from the movie What’s your rashee
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