Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Monday, December 29, 2003


Thursday, December 25, 2003

Wishing all ye mere mortals who chance upon this page today, a merry, merry christmas. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Bangalore traffic is rather painful. The drivers don't just care about what happens to the public and other drivers...everyone has only one motto, 'Do as you please'! Indiscriminate use of high beams on the city roads with the sole purpose of blinding the drivers in the opposite lane is their favourite passtime. Specially menacing are the auto-rickshaws.

Autos-drivers believe in treating the road equivalent to their bedrooms, they can do whatever they want. Specially when they are about to U-turn, god help the guy behind him. God was rather merciful to me day before yesterday given the fact that I still live to see another day! And when a staunch atheist like me gives credit to Mr. God, one can be sure the experience that I had was not particularly pleasant or rosy.

On the first occasion (there was more than one) I was happily driving down our lane at my usual speed of forty, along the left side of the road like a righteous law-abiding citizen. An auto was coming down the road from the other side. I looked into the auto but turned away disinterested since the passenger was not a good-looking girl. In fact it was not even a girl. Looking away was my mistake. The auto-driver noticed my apparent disinterest and swore revenge. He decided to U-turn and did. He bumped into the side of my bike with a resounding crash. It took me some fifty yards to stabilize myself and come to a halt. I got down and inspected my bike for damages. Aparently there were none. The auto stopped beside me. The driver got down and inspected his auto for damages. The front tyre guard was dented. The guy gave me a spine-chilling glance, stepped into his auto muttering all the time in kannada about life and how it was unfair, and drove away.

The second incidence came later in the day. Already jarred by an incident in the morning, this time I was driving much below my par speed. At the same time I was keeping a weary eye open for oncoming autos from opposite lane and their U-turning tendencies. I did not pay much attention to the auto in front of me. So this time this fellow decided to U-turn to the right. As he came right in front of me, I braked. The Thunderbird has wonderful brakes. I owe my life time and again to the disc brakes on the front wheel. And they saved me again this time. As I came to a screeching halt, the auto-driver heard me, paniced and stopped...right in front of me, so that I could no way avoid him. Well, as I said, the brakes saved me, and I stopped with an inch to spare. (Well, there was this problem in +2 Physics, if you come across an auto in the middle of the road with n metres to spare is it easier to turn or brake? Energy formulae somehow proved that it is easier to brake. I however had learnt the lesson the hard way, especially hard for my friend's car which I was driving, and which sported a scratched left headlight for many subsequent days.)

After that, for the rest of the day, I went about at 10 Kmph peak speed, with the belief firm in mind that I was destined to die an autocrashic death that day. No wonder I was particularly thankful towards my destiny for having let me see the light of another day!

Note: Another addition in the Favourites list, another close friend - another Anant!
It gives one this nice smug patronizing feeling when one introduces a friends' blog to bloganity. Few people have the priviledge, fewer still have it more than once.

She was among the first few friends I made when I came to Bangalore. She is among the closest of my friends now. She was the board topper in the Secondary exams. She was an accomplished badminton player, who used to play in the I-forgot-which level. She is not at all moody! She likes playing monopoly, scrabble, but hates playing carrom, chess. She is allegedly going about with another close friend of mine. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the community, the beautiful, charming, kind-hearted, helping, (ya, she is going to read this article!) Prerna.

Monday, December 22, 2003

I sometimes wonder, do I really love to write? There seem to be plenty of evidence indicating otherwise.

For those who take up writing as a passion, there can be no break. Whatever other engagements they might have, they always manage to find out time for writing. I, on the other hand, have abstained myself from writing because I was finding it difficult to manage all my different interests and still write.

I often get different ideas to write about. I have started writing hundreds of pieces, which promised to turn into novels and thrillers, but ended up unfinished (read just-started) manuscripts which only I will ever read, on some future date, and wonder, how I had planned to proceed with the story. Definitely not a trait to be seen among passionate writers.

Yesterday I started writing about our Manipal trip (we shouldn't call it a trip, at least in public, as Anant was supposed to be 3 months of rigorous training!) and finished about half of the first chapter. I stopped with an intention to continue later. I wonder when 'later' will be!

Anyway, with all these indications of not being a serious writer, as I return to the web-logger's world exactly four months (believe me, its only a coincidence) after I had stopped posting, I realise that I was indeed missing something I liked to do.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

I hate to say this. I really really hate to say this. But it seems that things are not falling into their slots all that easily.

I am talking about my time, my appointments schedule, or calendar, or whatever you chose to call it. I always try to do too many things at the same time. As a result, I end up not giving any of those enough time. The same holds right now. Blogging has taken a back seat for quite some time now. I like to write, but I like to do so many other things.

So I decided to take a break from blogging for some time. I will be back of course. I will be back when I can dedicate quality time for it. And I shall keep making occasional surprise visits to all my favourite journals. But for the time being, my friend, revoir...adios...Auf Wiedersehen...arrivederci...tot ziens...namaste...chollam tahole.....

Friday, August 08, 2003

There is a Technical Conference going on in Jerry Junkins Hall in our main office in Wind Tunnel Road. It started yesterday, and finishes today in the evening. All sorts of technical papers are being presented, and people are attending in large numbers.

I somehow never find attending conferences enjoyable, or valuable. The topics discussed in these general conferences are too varied, to be of actual use in the work one is doing. One can occassionally pick up a nugget or two of valuable information. And if one is interested in knowing, gathering knowledge about all fields of work, then these conferences can be helpful. However, gathering knowledge was never my first priority (I know, I know it is a blasphemous statement, given the kind of work I do, but that is the way it is, I can't help it)!

Today's pre-lunch session was about RF design. Now that was a session that I wanted to attend. I don't know, why I suddenly seem to be interested in RF. It is not exactly my field of work. Nor was I interested in it when I was in college. Maybe because RF seems to be the 'in thing', I don't know. Whatever, the reason, I wanted to attend that particular session. Not to mention, that it would be a break from the monotonity of work. However, there was a certain task which needed doing. It required both me and my PL to do it. Unfortunately, somehow or other we haven't been able to find the time to do it for the past week. And all my subsequent work has been held up because of this. So when the oppurtunity came in the morning, this seemed to be of higher priority than attending the conference.

I missed the RF session. At 12:30, when we had brought this task close enough to completion, and when my PL was called away for some other work, I felt the usual rumblings and grumblings of my stomach, which indicate that it should be filled. I got up with an intention to call the others for lunch. Only to find that I was the only living soul in the otherwise deserted section of the office, which houses our team! Everyone is out there at the conference.

Being left behind is never a great experience. You are lonely, and get the general feeling that everyone is your enemy, the world is a nasty place and so on. In this situation, you tend to become moody, and do things which you normally don't. I chose to update my blog instead.

It has been more than one week since the last post, and I was feeling really guilty. So here is a long one to hold the fort till I come back again. And apologies to those readers, who had to return from the page empty handed, with no new articles to read. Adieu.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

People often talk about their culinary pursuits. How their first attempts went wrong. How the first omlette they cooked was scorched, and didn't have salt and yet tasted wonderful.

I cooked my first omlette this sunday. It tasted great. But surprisingly, it was neither scorched, nor did it have too much or too less salt. Okay, for the salt part of it, the credit goes to Anant, it was he who put the salt and chilli powder and raw egg and onions together, and produced the mixture. But it was me, who put oil in the frying pan, poured the mixture into it, turned it this way and that and switched off the gas right in time to get a perfectly fried omlette, not scorched, not overdone.

Of course there was a glitch. There had to be, I suppose. Being my first attempt, I didn't have any sense of proportion, and put too much of the mixture into the frying pan. As a result, while omlette was being formed in layers in the bottom, the top remained a mixture of raw yolk and onion. I tried to turn it upside down. The idea was to give all parts of it equal oppurtunities to cook, I am great believer in equality. Only, the egg had other ideas. It resolutely stood its ground and refused to overturn. What followed was an epic battle between me and the egg. Of course I won. I calmly finished the cooking, and gathered the pulverised remains of the egg on to a plate, and proceeded to eat it in triumph. So what if it was more of scrambled egg, than an omlete? It still tasted rather good.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

They know. You know. They know that you know. You know that they know. But they don't say so. So you don't either. And they go on acting natural. So you do the same. Nothing unnatural in the whole thing. As if nothing is different. But what's wrong if things are different? Different is not wrong. Different is not something to hide. So why all this play-acting? Why can't I declare aloud that I know, so speak to me without this deception, this mask?

And what good comes out of it all? A realisation. I thought I was their friend. I thought that they would tell me about it...something important. They didn't. I wasn't as close to them as I thought. So even if they know, and I know, and all of us know that the other knows, this must go on. Till they take the first step to change things. Will they? I do not know.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Firstly, I apologise to my readers for posting no posts for the past few days! I have been rather busy with work and a few extra-curricular activities. Secondly, I again apologise to my readers, because I anticipate the irregularity in the posts to continue for some more time.

Apologies done, a brief update on the past week. We lost the first match in the tournament. Our opponents were arguably the best team around, so experts say, and we still have a chance to proceed to the next round. On the work side, the past week has not been as productive as I would have liked it to be. I have finished or started quite a few of those million tiny tasks that remain associated with every project, so that's a plus point. On the main block design, I have completed the design part of it. Have a review next monday, and am sure things will be accepted all right. But still I am not really satisfied with the design. I can't point my finger to exactly what it is but I get a nagging feeling that things are not all right. Will probably find out soon, or get rid of the feeling. Let's see.

There was a review of a fellow designer's design today. (Most of my readers have heard me mention Sumeet's name, or are aquainted with him, it was his design review.) The review went on in a predictable fashion. People at the beginning were rather quiet, as always, getting the feel of the atmosphere. You have to be comfortable before you can attack! So the first few slides went of as people began to feel at ease. Then the onslaught began.

Of course it was expected and of course it is absolutely necessary. The single purpose of the review is to ensure that the design is perfect, and that is best for everyone. All aspects of the design are critically discussed. Lots of changes are suggested. In the end the designer feels that he has done nothing right. The reviewers then congratulate him on a good job and leave! I have gone through this experience several times, and now it does not make much of an impact, but the first couple of experiences will remain etched in my memory.

After the review is over, one is overcome with a sense of accomplishment. It is a divine feeling. One feels that with the review, the day's work is done. I never have done much work after a review! So I can foresee that the coming monday will be rather unproductive as far as I am concerned. My review is at 9 in the morning, with the whole day after it to bask in glory!

Read through the whole post once. I believe that this is the most boring article that I have posted so far! Lets see if a few interesting comments can make up for it!

Friday, July 18, 2003

Cricket is my favourite game. I started my cricketing career when I was about ten. For the first few years, my cricketing exploits have been limitted to what is known as 'Gali Cricket', 'Para cricket', et al, where the rules of the game are strikingly different from the normal form of the game which we watch on tv. The rules include dismissals like 'one drop one hand', which signifies that if the ball is caught one handed after a single bounce after hiting the bat, the batsman is out. The other popular dismissal is when the ball crosses the boundary without pitching, or hits the wall directly, whichever may be the case depending on the field of play. While the former makes the game interesting, keeping the batsmen on their toes in an otherwise batsman friendly environment, the latter rule arises chiefly from is difficult to find the ball if it goes too far. This is the case for smaller grounds, or where the playing area is confined to a small piece of flat land available between several surrounding houses.

Our 'field' conformed to the last description. All my cricketing antiques were limitted to this small lawn till I was sixteen. It was here that I was dubbed with the title of 'Jadeja' (then an upcoming star, and known for his brilliant fielding) mainly for the enthusiasm with which I dived around for the ball, irrespective of whether I stopped it ultimately, or not.

I started to play in the 'bigger arena' when I joined a new school for std XI. (My old school had neither a playground, nor XI or XII standards!) At once I began to discover my hidden talents. For one, I could bowl as fast as anyone else, probably faster. This pertinent fact failed to impress my playmates however, since I seldom finished the over in less than 15 deliveries. As a result, I was not considered the ideal bowler, the captain of the team would look up to, when faced with a situation of having to defend ten runs in the last over. As for batting, I developed my own style there. The field had a peculiar shape with the thirdman boundary being much closer than the rest. I found this fact to my advantage, since I could nudge and cut the ball through that region, using the bowlers pace, and score as fast as anyone else. At one point of time, my 'slip' shots became every bowlers nightmare, and everytime I came to bat the majority of fielders would be shifted to that region. In fact in the last match that I played in that ground, throughout my innings (of 2 balls) nine fielders where placed in the slip and thirdman region, with a lone fielder watching birds at the legside boundary. I still hit a boundary through those nine fielders, before getting out caught in one of their hands.

In college, I no longer found this kind of play advantageous. I started hitting over the bowlers head. During these days, I started paying more attention to my fielding. I was undoubtably the worst fielder in school, but managed to pull myself up to average in college. I had discovered one intriguing feature about my fielding quite early. While I could easily reach and hang on to overhead catches single-handed (that is with one hand), I invariably missed any high catch which I tried to take using both hands. This is still true.

I have played some cricket after joining the company I am in presently. Here, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of players, who are not much better than me.

The musings on cricket were triggered by an internal tournament which starts tomorrow. I feature in one of the teams from our group, as captain. The journey from 'Jadeja' in the small patch behind our house to captaining 'VRFAMouS' (We are famous / RF group and AMS group combined) has been quite eventful and full of highs and lows. It's rather pleasant to think back and remember all the interesting occurances that I have experienced in the course of this chequered career.

Monday, July 14, 2003

There are busy days, and then there are days that are not so busy. I don't know what today was. I mean I have been doing something or other since morning. I have completed a lot of those small tasks, that you keep till the end, and then you don't find time for them, because you had thought that they would not take any time. Which was probably a correct assumption, except for the fact that there were so many of them, that together, they constituted a major time-consuming job. So I guess, I have done some work today.

But still, it seems unethical to classify today as a busy day. The work pressure that keeps you glued to the seat, makes your head spin occasionally, or flashes five or six of those 'tweety birds' in front of your eyes, going round and round and round in circles, was totally absent. I did all these tasks because I wanted to finish them off. But the project deadline is still some months off. I could have stopped any time I wanted, taken a coffee break at my leisure, without affecting anyone or any schedule.

Curiously, I didn't take a single break today except for the lunch break and half an hour in the evening to attend a small celebration to welcome the freshies who have joined the group this year. I sent very few mails compared to other days, and none of the ones that I sent were particularly long. Anyway, sending mails during analog design is not a major 'time-robber' since you get a lot of free time in between tweakings of the design, when simulations are running. I used those gaps to multiplex between different modules rather.

There is a certain current limitting circuit that I need to design. Somehow this particular circuit has been evading my control for a long time now. In the previous project also, I had given up halfway through, unable to conquer this mesh of transistors, and thought up a crude replacement which did the job. This time also, it seems, I'll have to do something of that kind. My initial attempts in the morning to get meaningful results from this block were futile. I gave up before lunch, and went over to some other block. I'll have to try and tackle this nagging block tomorrow.

An unremarkable day, not a busy one, with no adventure, but I get a nice smug feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. Some days are like that.

Friday, July 11, 2003

I like to reach the Examination Hall at least an hour in advance for the examinations. It leaves me with enough time to take in the surroundings, be calm and comfortable, and get the feel of the place, before I start writing. I have always found the policy fruitful in all my school and college days. But everyone doesn't share my opinion.

Some people reach the Examination Hall just in time. They rush in in the last moment, barely seconds before the gong, snatch up the question and answer papers from the invigilators' desk, jump onto the alotted bench space, and immediately start scribbling the answers to question number one. I once had such a friend in school. In one particular examination, I had the dubious distinction of sharing the same bench with him. (We used to have 2-sitter benches back then.) On the day of the exam, I found him outside the school building, in his common pre-Exam state, sitting somewhere, holding a couple of exercise books in both honds. His mother stood next to him, holding one more book for him, and at the same time, fanning him with one of those hand fans made of bamboo. (It was somewhere around december, but then this fellow always used to be in a state of perpetual sweating!) His father was lurking around nearby, rummaging through his school bag, no doubt trying to find another book to hold in front of his eyes. I never could make out which book he was reading from at any moment, his eyes would just go from one to another at the speed of light. So I gave up, waved at him, (which he didn't notice) and went in.

I had settled down nicely, had a chat with my next bench neighbours behind me for a few minutes, then with those in front, then again with those in the back, and so on, till the teacher came in. Everyone became silent. The teacher took a glance around, eyes glaring, no doubt to convey the information about who was going to be the boss around there for the next three hours, satisfied herself that everyone had got the point, and then settled down heavily in her chair, which squeaked its protest. She grunted, pointing to the pile of answer scripts lying on her desk, and looked up at the ceiling with bored eyes. Again everyone got the point. We silently filed to her desk, picked up one paper each, and came back to our seats.

The first gong sounded. The assisstant invigilator (a certain lab assisstant by profession!) came in, carrying the bunch of question papers, and started distributing those. It was at this point of time that the teacher noticed that the space next to me was empty. She looked at me and enquired in a quiet voice, who the hell was the bugger, who was supposed to sit next to me. I meekly told her. She demanded to know where the hell that guy was, in a tone that convinced me that I was that guy's guardian and friend, philosopher and guide, all in one, and it was the most natural thing in the world for me to know where he was and why he was late. So I told her that he was outside, revising. The teacher gave me a cold look of disbelief and distaste, which would put all Aunt Agathas in the world to shame, and resumed her ceiling-staring.

Now it was my fault that I forgot about that incident in the tension of the moment. I should of course have remembered to keep an eye pointed at the door to welcome my benchmate. Had I done that, it would have saved me one torn page of the answerscript, and the hundreds of necessary explanations that came free with it. But like a fool, I didn't remember. In those days, we had to draw margins on all pages of the answer scripts. It was my habit to draw margins on all pages before starting any answer, and I was diligently doing the same, when the earthquake hit. For a brief shuddering moment, I didn't have any idea whether I was hanging from the ceiling, or walking on my hands. As things cleared down, and the layers of dust settled slowly, I drew in a breadth, and slowly peered around at the rest of the class, looking for casualties. Surprisingly, everyone appeared to be calm, and unaware of the debacle. It slowly dawned on me that it was the advent of my friend, that had caused the bench to shudder. I gave him a cold look of welcome, and went back to my line-drawing. The earthquake hit again, this time with more vigour. This time it took me less time to gather my wits and discover that my friend next to me was missing. He had got up to get his answer script. It was this second quake that caused my pencil to pierce through the paper, and result in the torn page alluded to above.

This time I was ready for him when he came back. I quickly removed the pen when he was about to sit, and avoided further damages. I sniggered at his forlorn expression, when he failed to harm me farther. I was under the impression that I was saved for the day, nothing more could go wrong. I was hopelessly wrong.

If you keep your answerscript on a clipboard, balance the combination resting on your thighs, and on the desk edge at forty five degrees, and scribble furiously with an aura of vengeance, the old wooden desks are bound to shake. I couldn't very well blame the desk for it. I gave up. I conceded defeat. I don't know how I managed to finish my own paper, or how I fared in that particular exam. I do remember that I requested for a separate seat for the rest of the papers, and was granted. But that one examination was an experience that I will not forget in a hurry.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I am not the greatest of footballers the world has ever seen. Or India has ever seen. Or Bangalore. Or my friends. Ok, ok, I am a pretty bad footballer. I can defend up to a certain extent, even give a few passes to teammates lurking around the opponents' goal, but I can never hit a straight shot into the goal, execpt when I manage to hit straight at the goalkeeper. That is, I can never score goals.

Now what kind of footballer am I if I can score no goals? Thats what the people I play with always ask. Not always verbally but with glances that tell the tale, or whispering conversations among each other with an occasional finger pointing at me! Being the centre of everyone's attention is not always the most comfortable thing in the world.

I blame the world for the way my footballing skills are viewed. I mean, people have got all their priorities mixed up. Is scoring a goal the most important thing in the world? What good does scoring a goal do to the world? Does it reduce poverty, save Amazonian rain forests or spread literacy? Why, Escobar lost his life for scoring a goal. That too in the World Cups. Whats wrong if I hit a few shots off the mark? Its the spirit that counts. I have all the intentions of scoring goals. I should be respected for that.

Disagree? Like I care!

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Wanted to post a post yesterday, but was going through what is popularly known as a writer's block! I never thought I would face such a have to be a writer to face a writer's block. Who knew there is even a thing called blogger's block!

Even now that I am typing, I don't know how to proceed with the article! I always thought that free-wheeling on a piece of paper (or a 108 key keyboard) came easily to me. One of the reasons why I chose this particular title for my blog. But then, free-wheeling also requires the right frame of mind. You have to think freely to type freely. I don't know why I am not being able to think freely for the past few days. (Hence all those one-liner posts!)

I had thought about a lot of things to write. I had even decide how to write all those articles. What examples to use. What catch phrases to slip in! Now that I am sitting in front of the comp, however, all those thoughts and ideas are escaping me! Hopefully better luck next attempt.

Anyway, since I have started to type, I may as well bore the reader with the details of my weekend! No reason why you should be interested in what I did in the weekend, but since you are reading, you don't have much of a choice! You can of course stop reading and click the small 'X' button on the top right half of the window, or press Alt - F4, but somehow I have the idea that you are not going to do so. So here goes.

Friday evening, don't remember what I did.

Saturday morning, played football, was leading when ball burst! Afternoon, watched Roman Holiday (second time, loved it again) and Reservoir dogs (not as good as I expected) on VCD. Evening, reloaded Matrix for the second time. Didn't like it again. But then I was hardly paying any attention to the 'enjoyableness' of the movie.

Sunday evening, went for a cultural program arranged by BITS Pillani. The fusion music played by the young generation alumni was great. Apart from that it was pretty boring, specially the part when anyone who was given a chance to speak, went on praising BITS and BITSIANs. Don't know if I would have enjoyed it any more had I been a BITSIAN.

Have been reading All Creatures Great and Small (James Herriot) for some days now. In fact it has been a couple of weeks since I started. Never happens that way with any book. (Except Lord of The Rings.) Am not enjoying the book at all. The first couple of chapters may be good, but then things become too monotonous. And stay that way. Till page 340 (as far as I have managed to read so far). Have decided resolutely to finish by tomorrow, so that I can move on to greener pastures that have been waiting for long. I don't like to leave a book halfway through.

So you are still reading? Sucker!!

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Didn't imagine it could tell me that I was thinking about a rock, and then a notebook!

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Somshubhra's Law of Design Simulation:

"Whenever something goes drastically wrong with your simulation results all of a sudden, look for careless mistakes in your testbench, do not doubt your design."

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

It feels great when you are walking down the thronging crowds of M.G.Road with her. You don't have eyes for anyone else, but her. You don't notice when your close friend comes next to you, stops, looks at you enquiringly, and seeing no response or signs of recognition in your eyes, heads away, not wanting to interrupt your te^te-a`-te^te. Nor did my friend!

I don't have a girlfriend. I have many girl-friends (i.e. lady friends...friends who are also girls!), but none of the non-hyphenated version. I don't now if I give the impression of being the universal brother, the attentive ear with whom you can confide your deep secrets, but that does occasionally seem to be the case. I have several close lady friends who talk to me about their boyfriends, about what they hope their boyfriends will do or tell them, about how they are going to dress up to impress their lovers. Once I even had a married girl telling me, in a state drunken hysteria, over the phone, from a thousand miles away, the problems of her married life, and the wrongs her husband did her. (I didn't quite agree to her opinions of what is wrong, but that is beside the point.)

I have a close friend, who is having an affair with another close friend of mine, a guy from my school. This particular lady surpasses everyone else for the numerous and varied uses she find for me. For most parts, she probably mistakes me for her audio diary, one of those electronic gadgets, where you press the 'Record' button and unravel your woes and delights and accomplishments! While listening to some tragic tales of her misery, I had, once or twice, tried to offer a few words of comfort, but I soon found out that my soothing offerings fell on deaf years...I was not there to speak, she never paused to listen to what I had to say! She just spoke, and I just listened. On a particular occasion, she found out a rather innovative use for me. Her intentions were to use me as a hanky, that people leave lying on seats to mark their territory, while they are away! That is, I was supposed to sit next to her, lest someone else took the seat, till her boyfriend came! I am ashamed to say that on that particular occasion, out of some false feeling of dignity, I denied accepting the position!

I have good 'normal' friends as well, girls with whom I occasionally exchange greetings, inquiries about their and their associates' health and other pleasantries for forty minutes or an hour on phone. I have friends who are slightly older than me, and are pleased when I refer to them as didi. I have friends with whom I communicate only by emails, and don't even know their phone numbers (although I know them personally). I have many girl-friends. But I don't have a girlfriend!

Monday, June 30, 2003

Love is in the air.

The days of sweltering heat are gone. The gods have at last shown mercy and blessed the mortals with cool showers of rain. The moist earth, the cool breeze, the smell of rain build up an air of romance. Couples with starlit eyes are thronging the parkside benches and taking strolls, hand in hand, down ill-lit alleys. Occasional shy sidelong glances at each other. Giggles with no apparent reason. Hearts warm with the promise of belonging, the sense of possession.

You don't need to tell her of your love. You don't need to say anything. You can just walk with her side by side, not speaking any words, communicating only in thoughts. Why do you need to speak? She knows what you are going to say. And you know her reply. And again she knows your reply to hers. And so on and on.

No one else understands. They are not meant to. Some feelings are only for you. And her. As long as you are together, nothing else matters. The world doesn't mean anything more. Just her, and you. And the unspoken words.

Life is unfair. And mean. And nasty. Tomorrow is unseen, anything may happen. You do not know. But Today is different. Today you are happy. You want Today to last for ever. That is not possible. You cannot live Today for ever. But you can live Today to the best. You can make Today worth a hundred tomorrows, a thousand of them.


Sunday, June 29, 2003

Went to watch Jhankar Beats yesterday. Good movie, I liked it pretty much. Wanted to write about it. But then I changed my mind. Looking at the last few entries, the page was looking like a movie critics' site! Gives the wrong impression about my priorities...I hardly consider myself a passionate movie lover.

Sumeet remarked this morning that everyone should be passionate about something! In his words, what's the use of life, if you are not passionate about something! He seems to have a point there...having a passion in life does make a person feel worthy if you know what I mean!

I was thinking what I was passionate about! Certainly not movies or music, nor arts. I love computers, but can hardly be called passionate about computers! I may say story books are my passion. I go on reading all the time, you'll hardly find me with no books to read. It is true that the scope of my reading is limitted. I like novels, thrillers, detective stories and science fiction. I prefer light reading, and am fond of comedies. I can enjoy comics, I can also enjoy (to some extent) Shakespeare. Yes, books can be said to be my passion. And I like sports. I love participating in any and every game. I am hardly the best sportsperson ever, but I participate in all. Sort of Jack of all trades and all that. The only sport I was good at was athletics, 100m sprint to be precise, and that too I am no longer in a shape to be a winner any more. But I do love sports.
I do not believe in fate. It is my firm belief that you can make your own luck. If you want to do something real badly, you can do it. But sometimes, some things, some occurances make me wonder. I remember reading some post on similar lines in someone's blog a few days back. I declared among the comments that there is no providence. But occasionally, I also have my doubts.

When we first came to Bangalore, we were put up in the Hotel Royal Orchid, Park Plaza for a fortnight. The first day we arrived here (by the morning train), me and another guy from my college, Diptendu, came down to the ground floor lunch hall to find it literally packed. Upom some searching, we found space for two in a four sitter table, where two other guys, aparently from our company only, were partaking the delicacies of Park Plaza. We joined them for lunch. Upon introduction, we came to know that they were sharing a room in the hotel, that they didn't know each other, and had met that morning only. One of the guys was one Vijay, from IIT Guwahati, the other guy was Anant Kamath, from IIT Chennai. That was the first time we met.

Within two weeks we had to look for houses. I initially planned to stay alone. I had found a house which I liked, but the rent was a bit too high. Anant meanwhile had joined a few people from Kanpur. But there was some problem with the house that they had in mind, and had to look for another one. Anant asked me if he could join me, I was quite pleased to find company. We decided to shack up together.

Incidentally, around this time, we were allotted work groups. We found out that we were in the same group, and the same subgroup. For the first few days, during some informal training, four of us were asked to do some work in the lab, both of us included. We were allotted cubicles in a pseudo-random fashion, and we got cubes next to each other.

In mid-August, we were sent to Manipal for extensive training for a 3 month period. The day we landed up in Manipal, the people there took us to the different houses that we had to stay in. There were eleven of us, and we were distributed randomly in 7-8 houses. They took us around in a Sumo to each house. The first house we came to, someone took out a piece of paper, looked at it and declared, "Anant Kamath, Somshubhra Paul (pronounced wrongly of course!), you two stay here."

It will be an year since we came, tomorrow. We still share a house (a different one). We have found out a lot of things common between us. Also a lot of things we don't agree on. We are great friends now.

Do you think any of the above was a coincidence, the unseen hand of Fate playing a game of chess, where we are the pawns? Maybe. Maybe not.

Friday, June 27, 2003

The last post was probably one of the biggest I have posted. Unfortunately, most of it (except for the few lines of introduction) is someone else's writing. All credits go to that person (I don't know who he/she is) for doing such a detailed analysis. As I mentioned, I received the mail as a forward from Sumeet.

Somehow, I can't picture myself analyzing any issue in such details. I feel, I have a shallow view of everything (if you know what I mean), I don't pause to think deeply on any subject. For that reason, I enjoy light movies, mainly comedies or romance, enjoy reading light books, like thrillers and detective stories. Of course I have read The Fountainhead and loved it, and I have seen Matrix, and I have thought that I have understood it. But these are exceptions. I like mind-boggling concepts, but only when I don't have to analyze them in details. I like crazy ideas, but crazy ideas are generally very simple ones.

Lastly, quote of the day:
"Because life is a lesson, you it learn when you're through!" - Take a look around - Mission Impossible 2

P.S. Am listening to the song for the first time, this line hit me!

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Read previous two posts before proceeding!

Part - III

What's so special about Neo's avatar?

Neo is a skilled hacker, and his avatar in the Matrix is based on the person that founded the AI of the original machines that eventually took over the world... How? Take a look at the disc he gave to the bloke at the door at the beginning of Matrix 1. It said "DISC AI" on it. The hollowed book Neo takes the disc out of is "Simulacra and Simulation" - a collection of essays by the French postmodernist philosopher Jean Baudrillard. He opens it to the section "on Nihilism" (meaning nothing is truly known, etc.). "Baudrillard's concept of simulation is the creation of the real through conceptual or 'mythological' models which have no connection or origin in reality. The model becomes the determinant of our perception of reality--the real." And Morpheus says, "Welcome to the desert of the real," in Matrix 1. I'd say this book describes The Matrix to a tee. So this disc contains the key to the AI, and thus how to destroy the machines, so I think they'll use this info in Revolutions to ultimately destroy the machines, which means he'll have to go back to the nightclub and find the guy he gave it to.

Who is Seraph?

The reason Seraph (the *beep* guy Neo meets before meeting the Oracle) had golden code and was so spectacular is that he came from the first incarnation of the matrix, which was heaven. "Seraph" is singular for the plural "seraphim". The seraphim are the highest choir of angels and included amongst others: Lucifer, Gabriele, Raziel and Malaciah, and they sit on the 8th level of Heaven just one below God. So Seraph will obviously have a big part in Revolutions, but whose side will he be on - the machines or the humans?? That is the question.

The Twins

They are exiled programs that emulate the human myth of ghosts as the Oracle explained. They are programs behaving badly. Persephone killed one of the Merovingian's bodyguards with a silver bullet because he was emulating a werewolf. So if the Twins could phase into ghost form, why didn't he when his arm was trapped in the door of the garage? Was it because he was wounded or because he can't phase when his arm is trapped? No of course not. The doors of that building, when shut, always led somewhere else (usually in the mountains) when opened again without the Keymaker's key. So if it were slammed shut due to the Twin phasing into ghost form, the Twin's arm would've ended up god knows where, but certainly not attached to the Twin's body.
Read previous post before proceeding!

Part - II

Agent Smith explained

Agent Smith is the only "human" in this world. He's the one spreading himself like a virus replicating himself over and over until the Matrix will finally get overloaded and fail. Smith is the one who wants to get out of the Matrix for good. He said so in the first Matrix, "I must get out of here, I must get free! And in this mind, is the key," squeezing Morpheus's temples, "my key! Once Zion is destroyed, there is no need for me to be here!" Smith knows that by killing Neo he can escape the Matrix because Neo is the key to resetting the Matrix, or to shut it off. It was originally killing Neo (in the first Matrix) that allowed Smith to become powerful (cloning ability) - so killing Neo again will allow him to gain Neo's powers completely, and thus gain the power to shut down the Matrix. So where the hell did Smith come from if he wants to destroy the Matrix? He's obviously not meant to be there - he's a computer virus as he has every characteristic of a virus - he multiplies and spreads and infects (and emulates) other programs like one. He is exactly as he described humans at the end of the first Matrix - "You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus." But who put him there? This will only be revealed in Revolutions (Revelations?) I guess - but I'm betting on humans in the real real world, i.e., outside of Zion and the Matrix. They're at war with the machines and trying to destroy them by infecting them with this virus - Agent Smith. So the irony with this theory is that Agent Smith represents the human race!! Neo represents the machines! Agent Smith says to Neo just after he's seen the Oracle that he became free when Neo destroyed him in the first Matrix (remember when Neo entered his body and exploded him from inside out) - as a virus, Smith has the ability to "inherit" other programs' abilities and thus inherited some of Neo's.

The anomaly explained

The anomaly is all the humans that do not accept the Matrix. The Architect says "Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly, which despite my sincerest efforts I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden to sedulously avoid it, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control." This includes Neo, but Neo's Matrix avatar is attached with the One program so that he can follow his purpose as explained earlier under "The One explained". However, he is also supposed to protect himself and destroy anything that gets in his way - i.e., Agent Smith - so that he may fulfil his purpose. Further proving Neo - and other non-accepters of the Matrix - are the anomaly, the Architect says, "Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix." The clue here is Neo's program name - "The One". Take one-third for example. 1 over 3 is 0.33333 recurring. A computer cannot deal with recurring numbers, so must accept a limit, let's say 0.33333 for argument's sake. Multiply by 3, you get 0.99999 - never 1.00000, where has the "remainder" 0.00001 (One) gone? This is the limitation of computers, this is the mathematical imprecision inherent in programming (of the Matrix) and the eventuality of the One anomaly unable to be eliminated.

What is the equation then?

Not sure, but it definitely involves pi. The Keymaker refers to the window of time to open the door to the mainframe as 314 seconds. 3.14 is pi to three sig. figs., or the number of radians in half a circle. Half a circle is like the cross-section of a womb, similar to the alcove of Neo and Trinity's love scene - conceiving the next One? "NEO", incidently, is an anagram of "ONE". Trinity and Neo - one on one; a choice - one or one. Leads us to 101. "101" is mentioned numerous times in Matrix 1 and Reloaded. Neo's room at the beginning, Merovingian is on the 101st floor, the 101 freeway of the car chase in Reloaded, then when Trinity is hacking into the power plant system, she resets the password to Z10N0101. Freaky. Indicates that she is a program because that's not some random password she's put in. 101 is binary for 5, which in zero-based binary counting: 000 is 1, 001, is 2, 010 is 3, 011 is 4, 100 is 5, 101 is 6 - And this is the 6th version of the Matrix! Then there's 303. 303 is the room Neo got shot in Matrix 1, the Oracle lives in room 303, it's also the hotel room number Trinity is in in Matrix 1 and it's seen at the end when Neo fights the Agents and Smith and begins to literally see the code that makes up the Matrix. 101 x 3 =3D 303, a trilogy, 3 + 0 + 3 = 6 = the 6th Matrix. Trinity means 3.

Who is the "mother" that the Architect refers to?

The Architect says, "Please," in an almost disapproving sense when Neo suggests the Oracle, but does not reveal who it really is or even directly that Neo is wrong. The architect was the one who created the Matrix; the co-creator is neither Persephone nor the Oracle. Both of them are only programs that have a purpose in the matrix, just like the rest. The Architect is in charge of the Matrix world and the co-creator is in charge of Zion. She has almost the same age as the Architect. Therefore, that woman is the Head Counsellor, the only woman of importance that lives in Zion and the one who asked for the two captains to volunteer at the council meeting. She's the one who knew all along about the Matrix. She was the one who told Zion's Defence Minister to cool off and to let Morpheus do his work so things could go as planned. Or alternatively, it could indeed be the Oracle. She is the only program that truly wants humans to have a free choice... at the same time, she sees the future, because she knows the program code - she is like God - which is why Seraph protects her - see "Who is Seraph?" below.
Couldn't post the whole thing together, posting in parts.

Part - I

A few days back, I had posted an article divulging my views of the Matrix Reloaded. My opinions were not in general in favour of the movie. I got several comments, all except one agreed with me.

And now I am ready to take back my words.

I should start with a warning. Those who have not yet watched Reloaded, and intend to watch, stop reading here. Come back and read this post after seeing the movie. And then go and watch it again. I have definitely made up my mind to have a go at it again. I am sure, some of you will also feel the same when you finish reading this post.

Got the following as a forward this evening. I shall copy-paste the mail in toto, and let you form your own opinions. So here goes.

This could be complete baloney but here is a take on this movie...Zion is a program, just like the Matrix. How is Neo able to figure out that he is able to stop the sentinels in Zion near the end of the film? The spoon given to him earlier. It had obviously been bent loads, but how outside the Matrix?? This gave Neo the inspiration and the understanding that Zion is still a matrix.

The One explained

"The One" is a program, but has to be "attached" to someone in the Matrix. So Mr. Anderson got it in the 6th version of the Matrix. Then "The One" program's purpose is to allow Zion to be destroyed then to rebuild it. The reason for this is because of anomalies - the 1% of humans that don't accept the Matrix. These are all brought out of the Matrix program and into the Zion program by the "Morpheus" program and other similar "ship captain" programs. Then once all the anomalies are out of the Matrix (and in Zion), that is the time for Zion to be destroyed, thus killing all the anomalies off. The Matrix is then upgraded, thus creating the next version of the Matrix, but Zion must be rebuilt so that the next lot of anomalies can be brought out again so that they can be destroyed. This is the feedback-loop, and is the reason to retain a handful of people so that Zion can be rebuilt. So this is why Neo said the prophecy was a lie - the One's purpose was not to end the war as the prophecy stated. Unfortunately, "The One" program must be re-used each time, or copied, so it can be "attached" to a new anomaly inside the Matrix. So what happens to the old "The One" program? It faces deletion, and as the Oracle explained, it goes into exile instead, just like the French bloke (the Merovingian) did. He was the first One (probably from the second version of the Matrix), and once he fulfilled his duty, he became an exile program and "abdicated" his "Oneness" by choosing Persephone and power. This is evident in the bogs when Persephone asks Neo to kiss her. She says she wants him to kiss her so she can feel what it is like again to be kissed by something close to human, just like the Merovingian used to be. Then she says to Trinity that she envies her, but that these things are not meant to last. So the Merovingian used to be just like Neo - a One - thus proving further the feedback-loop explained earlier.

The correct door in the Architect's room

Now there are two possibilities here:
1. All the previous One's chose the right door allowing a "temporary dissemination" of their code into the Matrix (i.e., the code they "carry" thus indicating Neo is indeed human), then he must select (unplug) 23 people from the Matrix to rebuild Zion. This takes away the possibility that stories from previous rebuilds of Zion will be carried through. But Morpheus indicated in the first Matrix that this is the case anyway. He said, "there was a man born inside, able to change things, it was he who freed the first of us," - basically the One previous to Neo. And this proves that the previous One chose the right door also. Neo's purpose is also to choose the right door, but he does not because he faces deletion afterwards and has the choice of going into exile - programs choosing to go into exile is the one thing that can't be accounted for in program parameters. Thus, he chooses the left door instead this time. How was Neo able to choose the other door? Because of his extreme willpower? - Even the Architect indicated that he'd noticed this - "Interesting. That was quicker than the others." Or more likely, because the Oracle upgraded his coding with the candy on the park bench. The candy/cookie was a method to change the One's program. She said he has made a believer out of her - this is quite human-like and perhaps the previous One's didn't accept the upgrade candy, now she has hope... hope that Neo will finally choose the other door.

2. All the previous One's chose the left door, saving Trinity and letting Zion fall. So this time is no different. But the Architect does say, "You are here because Zion is about to be destroyed. Its every living inhabitant terminated, its entire existence eradicated," and also, "this will be the sixth time we have destroyed it, and we have become exceedingly efficient at it," - assuming the Architect isn't lying, then they have already destroyed Zion (i.e., Zion has fallen) five times - i.e., the result of going through the left door.

Morpheus and Trinity are programs.

Morpheus's purpose was to find the One and deliver him to the Architect. Trinity's purpose is to control the One by getting in love with him. Trinity is supposed to be the mother of the new One every time the Matrix is Reloaded. That's why the sex scene was so important and why she was named Trinity. The Architect says, "she is going to die, and there is nothing that you can do to stop it." He was correct though because she did die just like Neo did in the first Matrix (Oracle said he or Morpheus would, and she didn't lie, but he came back to life). Trinity dies, but comes back to life (we are using medical definition of death in all this of course!). The Architect has already laid down an ultimatum for Neo choosing the left door:
The Architect - "Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash killing everyone connected to the matrix, which coupled with the extermination of Zion will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race."
Neo - "You won't let it happen, you can't. You need human beings to survive."
The Architect - "There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept. However, the relevant issue is whether or not you are ready to accept the responsibility for the death of every human being in this world." Looking at this further, the Architect does say "coupled" with the extermination of Zion will the human race be exterminated. So he says everyone connected to the Matrix will die, but if Zion is not = exterminated, the human race will not necessarily die. Also, there is likely to be a time-window between not going through the right door, and the cataclysmic crash, thus allowing Neo to unplug as many as possible from the Matrix, then those people won't die. This will be the start of the next Zion. As for the Matrix, a cataclysmic crash doesn't mean the end of the Matrix - just needs rebooting or reloading!
Had to share the beautiful Hoganekkal with my readers. I have uploaded some of the photos along with several others on the web. You can find them by clicking here.

By the way, the hit counter (at the bottom of the page) tells me the name of the referrer to my page for every hit. Just found that someone has chanced upon the page from a search for "free photos of bajaj pulsar" on google! Don't believe he found what he was looking for!

*P.S. Tried to post at midnight yesterday, but Blogger didn't allow me! Attempting again now.*

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I wanted to write about this sunday's expedition to the Hoganekkal Falls, but it seems Anant beat me to the post! Anyway, that will not deter me from posting my views also!

The place is about 180 Kilometers away from Bangalore (according to Qualis odometer reading) if you travel by National Highway 7 upto Dharmapuri on the way to Salem, before taking a right turn. Some websites however mention the distance as 150 KM, 120 KM, even 80 KM from Bangalore. (Clearly, the author of the final page was travelling by some old dilapidated vehicle, suitable to give competition to Richard Gordon's Hemorrhagic Hilda, with an odometer, which had given up, panting, halfway through!) We were supposed to start around 6 in the morning. We started at 7:30 as expected. There was a Qualis and an Ambassador. The latter had the priviledge of setting the journey time, being the slower of the two (it refused to go above 70 in the best of roads) and the other had to put a lot of fight to keep up (rather down) with it! We reched our destination around noon, after stopping for about half an hour in Dharmapuri for a breakfast of Plain dosa and Ghee roast (which turned out to be a roasted Plain Dosa). Nothing else was available.

The sole and principal attraction of the place at this time of the year is a boat ride along the Cauvery, near the waterfall, through a stream of placid water between banks of sheer rock, which, at places, go up as high as 50 feet. Several local kids show off by diving into the water from these heights, and ask for payment from the people in the boat as entertainment fees. At first site, the feats look unbelievably risky, and they probably are so. But these kids have grown up doing this only, and they don't care. I don't think, they ever pause to think what will happen if they miss a footing, or land in a wrong part of the water. And after collecting the money, they fearlessly scramble up the vertical rock face for next turn.

The boat themselves are unique. Calling these vessels 'boats' is really an overstatement! Rather they are large round baskets made of cane and plastic, with some black material (probably tar) coating the bottom. They look very fragile, but can carry eight to ten people effortlessly. And when not used, the owners just carry them around on their shoulders!

There were twelve of us, so we hired two boats. We first crossed a stretch of about twenty feet of smelly, muddy, shallow water with rocks popping up here and their. When we reached the other side of the pool, we proceeded on foot, while the boatmen carried their boats. Then the river cruise started. The boat first took us near the waterfall. The waterfall itself is not a big deal what with no rain and all, specially compared to its own self after the rainy season, when it is reputed to be miles wide! But there was enough water to get drenched if you are directly below, and thats were the boats took us! The boatman took us right next to the waterfall and rotated the boat, thus drenching all of us to the skin in the torrent of water pouring down from twenty feet above. Then we went for a gentle cruise along the stream. The scenery was beautiful and reminded me of the scenes from the movie 'Asoka' where Kareena Kapoor sings while taking a ride with a raftful of scantily clad women!

After about half an hour or forty minutes, we reached a sandy beach. The water there was only waste deep throughout. The boatmen set us loose to enjoy ourselves, and that we did! After quite a while of swimming and fooling around, it was decided to head back (by those of us who did not swim or fool around!) On this ride back home, our boatman unveiled yet another of his tricks from up his sleeve. He rotated the boat round and round at the same place at about five or more rpm!

There are quite a few stalls nearby selling all kinds of things including shorts and T-shirts. Several of us availed these services, and changed into new dry shorts before returning! There were also a few food stalls, but we did not try those out. On the way back, we had our lunch again at Dharmapuri, sometime before sunset! We reached home around eight in the evening, tired, wet (some of us) and content. The decision to go to Hoganekkal was not a wrong decision at all!

Monday, June 23, 2003

An observation:

It is not profitable, nor advisable, for those people who reside in brittle abodes made of silica to take pleasure in hurling solid chunks of hardened silica at fellow human beings!

Most of my readers must have surely found mentions of him in quite a few of my posts. I have variously referred to him as Anant, Anant I and my roomie. He is the football pro I was talking about. He is also a great writer (also mentioned in one of my earlier posts). His short stories have been published in magazines, some editted, some intact! And he is my partner in cooking up the story, of which we plan to make a movie!

Some lesser known facts about him: He is a top graduate from IIT Madras in EE and working in the same company as I am. He takes interest in a variety of activities apart from writing and putting MOS transistors together. He is a connoisseur of good food, specially fish in all forms. He also claims to be an expert cook, although I am yet to taste any of his culinary creations. And a lot of other things.

Welcome Anant S. Kamath to the world of blogging!

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Last post was too morbid! Have been feeling great since posting it!!

Watched Matrix Reloaded yesternight. Didn't like it. Some parts are good, but overall, it is no where close to its popular predecessor.

The enjoyable parts are the fight sequences. And there is plenty of that. May even be said that there is only that! The mind-boggling concepts and common-sense defying logic that enthralled the viewers in the first part, are totally absent. The Reloaded is a thing to watch, and get a kick out of the Out-Of-This-World action, and not something which provokes thought.

Enjoyed the bike ride part of it, and the fight on top of the speeding truck. Hated the ending. To be fair to the movie, there is no proper ending, it will be concluded in the next part. Overall, I enjoyed because I wanted to! Now, that is one correct observation made in he movie, if you want, you can do (almost) anything!
Have been feeling rather misanthropic since yesterday evening.

Is it because time and again my ideas are rejected because people are too indolent to move out of their inertia of rest?

Or is it because of the widespread 'herd' mentality which prevents people from giving an honest opinion of their own?

Or does it have something to do with the hidden deals which lurk out of every corner, any time you agree upon something with someone?

Thursday, June 19, 2003

We are having some technical training everyday from 10 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. It started last monday and will go on for whole of this and next week. What with the new project about to start, it eats away a lot useful working time. Specially so because, I am in no mood to work beyond office hours right now, but would like to get started with the new designs before the official kick-off of the project. Of all this, what may be of interest to the readers is, the posts will become more irregular from now on, and dependant on how much work I have at that point of time. Also, I may not get to check all my favourite blog links at the same time, and may need to stagger my visits to the different pages.

Speaking of the training, I found a certain incident in today's class quite humorous. The professor from IIT Chennai, somewhere in the course of the lecture asked us a question. "Suppose we have an oscillator, comprising of two integrators and an inverter in a ring. What is the oscillator called?" We all chewed our pens and racked our brains for an answer. Some people came up with the names of some exotic oscillators. The professor just shook his head and smiled. "You surely know the name. Picture the oscillator. It consists of an integrator followed by another one, then an inverter, and finally, output connected back to input. What is it called?" More blank looks on our faces. Ultimately the professor gave us the answer. "Why, a double integrator oscillator!!"

Of course an oscillator with two integrators is a double integrator oscillator! A pointless answer to a pointless question! But then giving pointless answers can be fun. Remember the following conversation I had with Sumeet the other day. We were walking down a road in our main office campus. The road had been recently repaired, and there is a lot of white sand still left on the road.

Sumeet: What's this white stuff?
Me: Its sand.
Sumeet (giving me a How-Informative! kinda stare): Why is it here?
Me: So that people riding bikes slip and fall. (Noticed that the look on Sumeet's face had intensified and decided that he wanted more explanation.) Its like this, the road-makers want people to spend more time on their road. So this is their way to bring people down, and lie about a bit.

I really enjoyed the look on Sumeet's face! Giving meaningless answers to questions can be fun!!

Quote of the day:

Will find that out in 1 milli second....that takes about half an hour. - Sumeet.

PJ of the day:

How can you wear swimming trunks? They are swimming! - Again Sumeet, the birthday boy.

Excerpt of the day:

"Then I decided that there were two or three volumes on subjects like public health and biochemistry that a rising surgeon could do without. Later I unashamedly took the lot, one after the other, to the second-hand medical bookshop in Gower Street, saying at every meal a grace to its provider. Whitby and Britton's Disorders of the Blood gave only bacon and eggs and coffee in a teashop; but Price's Text-book of the Practice of Medicine was much more nutritous, and ran to tomato soup, steak and chips, a pint of beer, and apple tart. I saved up Gray's Anatomy for my birthday, and when I at last carried The Encyclopaedia of Surgical Practice downstairs I booked a table at Scott's. - Richard Gordon, DOCTOR at large.

Lessons learnt (a few days back):

The burnt child fears the Engine Exhaust Pipe!

Monday, June 16, 2003

How does one spend the weekend effectively? A very important question, one that most of us face all the time. The answer is different for everyone. The key lies in the interpretation of the word 'effective'. The ultimate aim is that you shouldn't feel afterwards, "I should have done this..." or worse "I shouldn't have wasted time doing this..."!!!

Probably the most popular way to spend the weekend is to do nothing! We had a personal effectiveness seminar a few days back, in which the point was raised that there should be some time kept aside in our lives, when we should just be. The question asked was, "Are we human beings or human doings!!!" A nice point nicely made! The problem with that is, we do it all the time. I mean we 'be' all the time, every weekend! After spending weekend after weekend doing nothing but sleeping till late and watching TV, one does crave to do something different!

The other most popular weekend activity is to hang out in one of those popular hangouts that every city has (like M G Road here in Bangalore). And believe me, that too can become boring after hanging out a few times! So what do you do then?

One fallback option (for those who love to write) is to spend more time on the blog! Or write stories. My roomie is a good writers, and when he feels bored on the weekends, we are blessed with some great short stories to read in the weeks to follow. I have also tried my hand at writing. I am not that good, but I enjoy writing. But the problem is that I do not like short stories. So I start long ones, with intentions of churning out novels and thrillers. Only, I generally do not go beyond the first few pages. I have several such unfinished stories on my comp.

One can occasionally go places on weekends. It could be a long trip involving three nights and two days. Or it could be a one day episode where you drive over to some place close by, spend some time there and come back refreshed. It involves some amount of planning, but is really enjoyable, if done once in a while.

One bright idea that I had was to make a movie! Not a 10 crore budget Yash Chopra saga or anything! Just a zero budget thing, which we ourselves would write the script for, direct, act, edit, and....don't know what we will do after that, but this is enough to keep us busy for quite a few weekends! The idea was received enthusiastically by Anant (my roomie) and a few others. Me and Anant, we had decided that we will come up with the story, script and all, and then tell the others. But when we failed to come up with any good storyline that satisfied both of us for a couple of months, we decided to involve the others in the project from that moment on. But the thing did not take off. Others were not all that enthusiastic as I was, and interest fizzled out after one meeting.

I still keep hopes to take up the project again some time. I had even started writing the script for a particular story that I had thought of. But this project also had the same fate as all other of my literary endeavours! The first two acts have been waiting for months now for the third act to be created!

Friday, June 13, 2003

Sumeet says he doesn't enjoy these 3 day trips so much, specially the first two weeks and the last two weeks of each!!

The first two weeks are the time we spend on planning for the trip. As is the case when many people are involved (9/10 in our case), there are different and clashing opinions, and it does take some time to iron out these differences. The last two weeks are when everyone orders copies of the photos taken. Putting together everyone's demands and distributing the copies afterwards do take a lot of time. I do not mind these two plus two weeks myself. Planning is fun (except for the arguments part)! Also, all these signify something different from the normal daily activities and it also feels good to meet up and spend some time together, with all the different remarks from everyone about the photos, and remembering all the moments!

This weekend all the comps at the office are going to be shut down for some upgradation work. This starts at 6:00pm today and will go on up to 6:00pm on Sunday. The significance of this is that we cannot check mail, or do any work in the office for that time. Also, everyone will be leaving office very early today. (To digress, this also means, I will be away from the BlogWorld for the two days.) Taking the oppurtunity, I proposed that we go somewhere this weekend (another one of those 2/3 day trips).

The earlier trips have included visits to Koorg which is a district in Karnataka, and a trip to Waynad, which is a district in Kerala. There are usually about nine or ten of us. However, it seems that a few of us have other appointments to keep this weekend. Koushik has to spend some time with his parents. Ashish, Tonmoy, Prerna and Anant II will be hunting for houses to shift to. Anant I (my roomie) will be
going to Mysore with his parents. Swapna also is tied down on Saturday, as she has to be there for her cousin's birthday.

So we changed the plans. We will be going for the trip next weekend. (As Sumeet points out, comps don't need to be shut down for us to go somewhere on weekends!) As for this weekend, few of us will be going to Mysore on Sunday (one day trip). The house hunters may join in if they are lucky on Saturday itself!

Places of interest in Mysore are the water theme park, Brindavan gardens and the palace under lights. Some of us are not so interested in the first, while for me that is the most attractive of the three. Also, I proposed that we go there on bikes, but it seems that I may be voted down on that matter!

We haven't had a single meeting on the proposed 2 day trip yet. I foresee several sessions of deliberations on that matter in the evenings in the coming week. Any suggestions from all my readers (still very few!) are welcome.

P.S. Info about our trip to Koorg is available somewhere in the archives of Sumeet's blog. The trip was in the first half of December, 2002. Some snaps from the Waynad trip are available here.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Congratulations to Sarika on being the 100th visitor to my blog.

Have reached 3 figure mark at last!!!
(Won't mention how many of the hits are mine!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Things I Hate About People

Statutory Warning: This post represents my feelings only. Anyone else, who thinks differently shouldn't take any comment from this post personally.

Since I bought my bike (about a month ago), the most common conversation with people about it run roughly on the following lines:
People: So you have bought a bike?
Me: Yes.
People: What bike?
Me: Its a Thunderbird.
(Here the conversation takes different turns with different people, roughly categorized in the following cases.)
Case A
People: Thunderbird? Never heard of it....
Case B
People: Thunderbird? Its Hero Honda right? (Or Bajaj, or Kinetic...)
Me: No its a Royal Enfield.
People: Royal Enfield? You mean bullet? Ohh....
Case C
People: Thunderbird? Thats coool!...
(At this point all cases merge)
People: ...How much was it?
Me: 80K.
People: 80K (with special stress on every syllable)? Why, its much better to have bought a second hand car instead!!

And its this last comment that really pisses me off. What is the relation between a car and a bike? Most people make the assumption that both are vehicles, and they are supposed to take you places. And a car is more comfortable. So why not buy a car instead? But the comparison is totally baseless. A person who is buying a Thunderbird or a charisma (I think I got the spelling wrong) or an Eliminator, is not looking for a vehicle to take him places. There is a lot more to a bike than that. A person may enjoy riding a bike, more than a car. You don't get the feeling of air flowing through your hair or being part of the landscape, instead of looking at it from an enclosed space through the window, when you are traveling in a car. You can't generally compare a car with a bike, the two are totally different, and have their own characteristics and features.

And then there is the assumption that a car is more comfortable. It can be true for most people, and for me also to an extent, but I don't agree with it totally. For one, I definitely find sitting on a bike with another person more comfortable than nine passengers sitting in a Tata Sumo, with no space to move about. And Sumo is supposed to be the most comfortable of cars specially for travelling long distances. Also, I suffer from motion sickness (I suppose there are other such people on this world, but haven't met anyone yet!) when going by car for long distances along winding mountain roads. I don't have any such problem on bikes.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Sarika's anti-ant antiques reminds me of some more down-to-earth problems
that we are facing with representatives of the crawling creatures clan! To put in a nutshell, the earthly problem that we are facing is that earthworms have started making excursions out of the bathroom drains, and taking sight-seeing tours of the bedroom next to it.

Now, when we signed up the agreement to move into this new house, we frankly expected to share the house between the two of us, and not have to entertain guests on a daily (or rather nightly) basis! And specially when the guests are of the slimy, spineless variety, who prefer wriggling around the floor, their visits are particularly unwelcome. I suppose everyone will agree to me on this count.

After spotting the first specimen of the species, we did plan a counter attack against the worms. We armed ourselves with phenyle and some bleaching powder (which had been thoughtfully left behind by the previous tenants, or so we thought), we proceeded to wage war against the worms with zeal. I was slightly surprised when I discovered that the bleaching powder lacked the familiar odour of chlorine, but nevertheles continued to apply the same to the drain. Only, I discovered, it was not actually bleaching powder, but lime (chuna) that I was using!!

Meanwhile, the steady flow of the earthly molluscs (thats what they are, i suppose? My biology is a bit rusty!) continued with a small change. The worms still came out of the hole but, started to die off once they reached outside. Maybe it was the phenyle which caused their untimely demise, without having any oppurtunity to relay their plight to their peers and warning them!

It was at this point that our land lord stepped in, followed by an intrepid plumber with a bag of cement and a hammer. They dug up the drain cover, found a circular cavity around the side wall, and proclaimed that this was the source of the onslaught! They cemented up the hole, put the cover back and instructed us not to use the bathroom for half an hour, an instruction we abided to the letter.

Alas. All the efforts went down the drain. Or rather, the cement did, and it clogged it proper. As a result, we now had not only worms crawling out of the hole, but also water flowing back!! Fortunately our landlord returned with another member of the plumbing community, who dug up whatever the previous guy had left behind!

One problem was solved...the water now flows out without any further dissent. But the ughhly worms still continue their nightly misadventures! Any suggestions what to do?

Saturday, June 07, 2003

The match was supposed to start at eight in the morning.I woke up at 7:30. Which was surprising given the fact that I had gone to bed after 1:30 in the morning after X Men 2 night show, and a movie on Action channel after that. Anant was already up, so was Koushik, who had stayed over with us after the night show. We were all set by 7:50. Several conversations with Ashish on the mobile and we knew that he was coming, so was the other Anant (Tonmoy's roommate). Tonmoy himself has been indisposed following a leg injury from a minor bike incident a couple of weeks back. A quick call to Sumeet K. and he was also coming. We gathered up Ankur Saboo's brother, and made our way to the field. Ankur declined the offer to join us, but promised to come over in some time, if only to watch us play.

We started at 8:30. Only half an hour late, by our standards, that was nothing. There were seven of us to start with and we divided the teams with Ashish, Anant II and Gaurav on one side and Anant I, Koushik, Sumeet and me on the other. However, Ankur came over and joined in on Ashish's side before we started.

The first part of the game was really energetic, and as usual, Anant I and Ashish made their presence felt above the others in no time. Anant II wasn't bad either. The first twenty minutes or so saw a lot of scurrying around, false and ambitous shots going meters over the goal and plenty of ups and downs, the later including Sumeet's downfall!! It was Ashish, I believe, with whom Sumeet collided, and hurt his nose. In fact, there was some blood shed also.

At this juncture, the players took a welcome two minutes break, before resuming without Sumeet. He however showed his grit, and joined in soon, sore nose and all. It was at this point that the opponents (Ashish and Co.) started gaining some ground. They came perilously close to the goal on quite a few times, and it took all the defense's cunning to fend of Ashish's repeated attacks. We however had the first real chance to score, when Anant I's shot went inches above the goal (the goal was about 10 inches high, a stone bench really!) It was then that Ashish and Anant II's foxy maneuvres paid off and they scored, partly helped by a lapse in the defense.

However we did not give up at this minor setback. We pressed on hard, and slowly, the game took a turn our way. After a few more failed attempts, at last we scored, when Anant I's shot from a pass from Koushik scraped the top of the bench before rolling out. As per predecided rules, it was a legal goal. At this point of time, the players decided that they had had enough for one day. Time was called in a mood of mutual tolerance, and a sense of equality.

The two Anants and Ashish were undoubtably the best players. Ankur also came up with some fine display of footballing skills towards the end. (We were short of one pair of boots and Ankur had played the major portion of the match in his slippers!) readers may have noted that I haven't mentioned any of my own contributions, but that is hardly surprising. Footballing skills is not exactly what I advertise in my bio-data, and I generally do not like to mention my contributions to the game, since they usually are favourable to the opponents! Well, you just got a golden hint about a particular lapse in the defense mentioned somewhere earlier. No prizes for correct guesses about it!!!

Friday, June 06, 2003

My favourite author is Frederick Forsyth. And my favourite book is The Day Of The Jackal.
When I was younger, I used to read a lot of Alistair McLean. So much so, that I soon ran out of available Alistair McLean books. Nowadays, once in a while, in an old bookshop or in the library I do happen to chance upon what appears to be, at the first glance, an Alistair McLean book, that I have not read. But such incidents always end up in dissapointment when I find out that it is either a book I have read long ago, or a volume by someone else, who claims that the plot was thought of by McLean himself!! And invariably, in such books, McLean's name is most prominent on the cover, while the real author's (some guy called Davis or Alastair MacNeill) name is rather obscure, put in a corner in the smallest possible font! One can never guess that this kind of business (trying to share someone else's limelight) goes on in the world of thrillers and novels, until one chances upon these fake McLean stories.
Agatha Christie is an all time favourite. And the best part of it is that she has written so many books, that I don't think I have read any more than fify percent of her work, although I do read an Agatha Christie paperback, whenever I find one. My personal favourite are the Hercule Poirot volumes.
I have read my share of Sidney Sheldon when I was in school. But I grew tired of them before reaching college. Somehow, I failed to gather what makes him so popular. A few days back, I borrowed a Sydney Sheldon from the library, just to recall, how those used to be, but finishing the book was a painful experience. But I did finish it mainly because, I don't like to ditch a book in the middle, however bad.
Lately I have been reading a lot of Michael Crichton. I finished off Andromeda Strain yesterday night. It was a good book, one of his very few that I enjoyed reading, but as usual, he screwed up the ending big time. Jurassic Park and Lost World are his only two other volumes that I liked, the former being among my all time favourites (among movies as well as books). I have heard that Prey (his latest) and Timeline are also good, but yet to read either.
I like Arthur Hailey a lot, mainly because his nbooks are really informative. He generally takes up a topic, and at the end of the book, you feel as if you are an expert on the topic. I also liked the few books by A J Cronin that I have read, the best of the lot being Northern Light. And the other book called Citadel, which is about an young aspiring doctor and his struggles.
There has been a lot of writing on doctors and their lives, and one slowly gets bored of the topic. Probably among the best writers on medical topics is Robin Cook, although he writes more of the science fiction kind. All his books vaguely resemble each other, people say, read one, you've read 'em all! I have read quite a few though. Although its one of the more famous books on lives of doctors, I did not like Erich Segull's Doctor at all. I liked his Only Love to some extent. Prizes was ok. Haven't read Love Story yet.
One of the most popular authors, whom I do not like at all is Jeffrey Archer. His most famous book is supposed to be Kane And Abel, but I hated it. Some people say he is more an expert in writing short stories. Somehow, I do not have the taste of reading short stories, as I have for novels and thrillers. I like O Henry as much as anyone else, but that is about it. I like Tagore's Bengali short stories, but right now I am talking about books in English.
There are so many other authors whom I like, and so many others I do not like. I have read a lot of Grisham, without being a particular fan of his. Jerome K Jerome's Three Men In A Boat is so hilarious when read in excerpts, but I found the whole book really dragging. I liked some excerpts from Richard Gordon's Doctor series, haven't tried the full book yet. Fountainhead was great, I am yet to try Ayn Rand's other works.
I suppose I could go on about many other authors I like, or don't for pages. More may follow on some future blog. Fellow bookworms suggest other pastures that I may turn my attention to in future.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Maybe I can write about my friends. There can be a lot of things to write about
them. I can write about my experiences with them. What happened yesterday night
when I had gone to such and such place with so and so and then.... Recounting
experiences, that is. Its not exactly writing about friends.

Then I may write about them...describe everyone, what they like, what they do,
and what I like in them. Thats more personal. There can be a lot of things
there, which can't actually be put to paper (or monitor, as may be the case).

Of course I can write about my family. My parents and my sister. My uncles,
aunts, cousins. Those who are in Calcutta. Those who are not. Those who are in
India. Those who are not.

Bangalore would make a nice topic for writing. My experiences here over the past
year (technically, eleven months). That would again amount to recounting
experiences and occurances. Writing about what I think of Bangalore will take
more thinking though!

I can think back to Calcuta and write about that. I spent the largest part of my
life there. So I have a lot to write about Calcutta and its people. Calcutta
also includes my schooling, my college, my old friends and acquaintances, people
I met in the street, people I met in some government office, shopkeepers I know,
and a whole lot of other people....

I can write about movies. There was a time when i didn't use to watch a lot of
movies. But over the past few years (since college, first year), I have indeed
seen a lot, to consider myself expert enough to write about them. If anyone can
say anything about movies and movie starts then why can't I?

I can write about the books that I have read. I read only fiction. But still, I
think I have read a lot of books. And learnt a lot from them. Thinking about
what I learnt from all the story books and writing about them would indeed take
up a lot of time!

And then of course, I could write about people in general. But then that would
mean what I think about people from my experiences with friends and relatives,
or what I have seen of people in Bangalore and Calcutta, or what I have read
about them in the books, or have seen in the movies.

I could write about nature. There is always a lot to write about nature even
though you are not a certified nature lover! And you can always recount what you
like and what you dislike.

The problem with not having anything to write about is that you end up writing
about nothing!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Of the many pieces of papers that I found while emptying our old house was a memo that Nitin Dhingra had given me when we were preparing for a stage show that we 'New Hires' staged when we first joined TI. It was a list of who was in charge of what during the program. Nitin himself was the overall leader by virtue of being the first person to volunteer for the post. The memo read something like this. In italics are the comments I am adding now.

1. Overall Leader: Nitin Dhingra, Sumeet Kulkarni
Sumeet Kulkarni! Our own Sumeet! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this. I didn't know him then, now that I know him so well, it seems unthinkable that he volunteered!
2. Compare: Gaurav Thereja
He did a god job of it, one must admit.
3. Skit: Tanmay, Prerna
Tonmoy was the director by common choice, he also appeared in one brief role (one scene no dialogues) so did I! Prerna was probably the only female character, so I suppose she could be called the heroine!
4. Poem: Vikas
I missed it somehow, I don't remember where I was. I later heard it was quite good.
5. Invitations: Vasudha
6. Memetos: Gautam, Raman
I can't place these guys.
7. PA System, Lighting: Somsundar
This, inspite of my attempts to correct the spelling of my name umpteen times, all of which Nitin shrugged off with a 'what's in a name' smile on his face!
8. Dinner: Gaurav Arora

I was surprised Lokesh and Aarti's dance was not mentioned. That was one of the biggest successes of the event.

Sunday, May 25, 2003


Ultimately we decided to shift today itself. We reached the decision by 10:30 in the morning (15 minutes after i woke up). The next two hours were spent in retrieving all our belongings from all possible corners of the house and putting them into the bags and suitcases. We thought we would run out of bags to carry things, there was so much of junk to carry, until I discovered one
extra bag!

Turning the house upside down has its advantages. For one, you get to find all sorts of things which you least expected. Some old possessions which you had long ago given up as dead and gone. Some things which you never knew that you had. Some old papers that reminded you of some incidents of the past. And money. Discovering money that you didn't think you had is the most thrilling of all. It doesn't happen all that many times to me though. I do occasionally find one or two ten buck notes from pockets of shirts kept away for laundry. My friend Anant is an expert in this matter. He generally keeps on finding five hundred buck notes from here and there, now and then! The max I have gone up to was when my mother found a hundred rupees note from the pocket of a jeans, all washed and dried up!!

I didn't discover any money today, except for a single 50 paise coin. I did find one unexpected bag inside an expected one. One handkerchief and a pair of socks, which I had given up all hopes for. One brand new Reynolds Jetter pen, still packed in the original cover. And lots and lots of paper. I have this habit of not junking paper when I should. As a result I keep on finding old papers representing old times that I love going through again!

Saturday, May 17, 2003

"In every man's heart, there is a faraway place. Where he can leave the grind
and chatter of the city far behind. Where time is measured in sunsets, not
deadlines. Where the sweetest music is the steady thumping beat of his iron
horse. Where the only thing that changes for days is your state of mind.
You won't find this place on any map, chart or tourist guide. Because the only
destination in this journey is the horizon. And the only real way to get there
is on the Thunderbird, the new thoroughbred cruiser from Royal Enfield.
....The new Royal Enfield Thunderbird. Get on and get away."

The call came at around 6:15PM. "Sir, do you want us to fit a guard in front?"
On the affirmative reply, "What time will you come to take it away, sir?" Half
an hour later was decided on mutual consent.
I went to the showroom with Tonmoy, on his Pulsar. Before entering, we could see
the 'purplish blue' beauty waiting outside, all ready for me to get on and get
away. There were a couple of forms to fill, information to go back to the
manufacturers in Chennai. A couple of signatures here and there. A helmet for
800 odd bucks to match with the machine. Then he took the key and we came out to
inspect the bike.
He showed me how to fiddle around with the controls...headlights, dimmer, horn,
indicators, choke, fuel tap and the lot. He showed me the tool kit which came
free with the bike, the firstaid kit, the battery. Then he handed over the key
to me. It was mine. With a couple of friendly instructions from the shop owner,
we parted on amicable terms, Tonmoy on his Pulsar, plunging into the city
traffic with utter contempt, and me on my new Royal Enfield Thunderbird, with a
slight tremor in my heart, but mind soaring on cloud nine.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

It's a full twenty hours since I activated the commenting system for my blog, and
yet not a single comment so far! What may be the reason for this seemingly utter
disregard of my creative talents?

Possibility 1: No one likes me.
Possibility 2: No one likes my blog.
Possibility 3: No one could send comments because of some problem in backBlog.
Possibility 4: Some evil hacker considers me to be his utter enemy, and removed
all comments from my blog.
Possibility 5: Some evil god changed the minds of everyone who wanted to post
Possibility 6: Some demonic forces are conspiring against me and prevents my
server from showing the comments, when I try to see them.
Possibility 7: There is a bug in the HTTProtocol, which prevents comments from
being posted in my blog.
Possibility 8: No one knows about my blog.

Being intelligent as I am, I of course know which is the right answer! No sweat,
I will put things right very soon.
Evil hacker, here I come!!!

Friday, May 09, 2003

Commenting system in place, and working!

Hopefully, now I will find more enthusiasm to update frequently!
I signed up at backBlog.

I have put the necessary links at the necessary places, and changed the necessary settings, but the commenting system doesn't seem to be working yet.

Hopefully this test message will appear with proper links and all.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

At last I am a certified bachelor.

No, I don’t mean that I have found the girl of my dreams and am out to prove that I am marriage-worthy, nor do I mean that the government has started handing out certificates proving that people are indeed bachelors (similar to the ‘certificate of joblessness’ that we all received before the campus interviews, to prevent people getting two jobs, while others didn’t have one!).

What I mean is that I went over to my University yesterday and received my degree certificate proclaiming that I was a Bachelor of Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineering from Jadavpur University.

I didn’t expect to get the certificate in one attempt (one attempt to collect it from the examination office that is). We are here speaking of Jadavpur University, famous for its enviable abilities of making any ten-minute official work take one week at the least. When I started out in the morning, I told my parents, I should get the certificate by friday. I had to because I am going back to Bangalore next week.

I reached the JU administrative (Aurobindo Bhavan) at around twelve thirty. Without any prior experience of collecting degree certificates, I was at a loss about whom to approach about it. But I quickly made up my mind and entered the outer office of the Assistant Controller of Examinations. A friendly clerk asked my what the hell I was doing there. I told him. He gently informed me that I had come to the wrong place, and I should take a form from ‘that’ counter (he pointed it out to me), pay the fees, and take with some ‘madam’ (I didn’t get the name) in the examinations office.

So I walked over to the counter. There was a small queue of about nine, ten guys and girls, collecting the exam forms. (Ya, we had to fill u forms and pay some fees to be eligible to sit for the exams.) The old man sitting at the counter slowly dealt with each person, elaborately studying the fee-books that they had to present, laboriously picking up the forms, putting n number of stamps here and there, before handing out the forms. My turn came in about half an hour, and the person in the counter gave me a white form and told me to hurry to the cash counters before they were closed.

I glanced at my watch. It was fifteen minutes past one. The counter closed at two. I quickly made my way to stand in the cash queue behind thirty odd students, who conscientiously did their pre-exam duty much ahead of the semester exams. We usually did it in the last week, when the queues consisted of about a couple of hundred students, and we ‘had to’ bunk a couple of lectures to be eligible to write the exams, answering questions on the same topics that were discussed in the classes we had to bunk! Anyway, when I was nearing the counter, in another fifteen minutes time that is, the cashier declared that the counter was closed for newcomers. He quickly collected all the forms from those who were already in the queue, did the necessary paper work, called out names one by one, and gave away the receipts. When my turn came, he suddenly decided that I was getting away too easily, and conjured up a new form for me to fill. Ultimately I was the last person to be served in that counter yesterday, and at two o’clock I jubilantly emerged from the counters holding a half-filled form and a receipt.

I made my way towards the examination office incredulously, finding it rather hard to believe that I had finished all the paper work already, it was only two! I couldn’t find madam X at her seats, and asked the person sitting at the next table what I should do. At this point of time, a large procession of JU staff members came marching down the corridor carrying red flags and chanting slogans. Suddenly I started feeling rather nostalgic. What was JU, I thought, without all these slogans and protests and hunger strikes! Madam X’s friend, who had been looking at the form for the whole length of time while these protestants were protesting against god knows what! As they made their way back to from where they were coming, this guy informed me that madam X was among those in the procession, and can be expected back at her seat sometime in the afternoon. However, he informed me that I needed to go to the Muster Roll section and get a signature verifying that I indeed lived where I claimed to, first.

The KMR section is on the second floor of a different building. As I made my way to this new destination, I saw that several of those protestants had spread out mattresses on the corridor and were sitting down, chatting with each other. I came to know that they were demanding pay hike.

The doors of the KMR section were closed when I came there. I peered in through a window and spotted a white haired old man sitting nearby, eating rice and vegetables from a tiffin-carrier. I showed him my form and asked him what I should do about it. He told me that it was mid-day break, and I would have to come back after three.

When I came back at three, after having met my professors and juniors, and having told each and every one of them individually, why I had cut my hair so short (hair-cuts are too costly in Bangalore to indulge in very often, specially compared to Calcutta!) I found that the KMR section was empty. Or at least it appeared empty in the first glance. Looking carefully for the second time, I perceived a young man sitting in a corner and reading the newspaper. I approached him, and expressed my desire to get the signature in the form. He looked at me over his thin reading glasses and told me, nothing doing, no one was around, and he was not going to go through the record books and verify my address. He asked me to come back at six. I meekly told him that I had a rather busy schedule (when you come home for one week, you will be lucky if you get even one relatives-free hour that you can enjoy with your family or alone.) He looked me over once and then said, “Come tomorrow”. I lied that I was going back to Bangalore today. Grumbling, he stood up, elaborately folded the newspaper, and ambled towards a desk which had a lot of fat registers, muttering to himself all the time “Why do these blokes need the certificates!” and so on. After half an hours diligent digging, he ultimately unearthed the desired book from under a huge pile, and opened it. He took a look at the address recorded, and comparing it with that on the form, declared, “You have given the wrong address!” It took me another half an hour to convince him that I did actually live where I said, and someone must have made a mistake in recording it in his books. Ultimately he put his signature on the piece of paper, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I came back to the exams office. Madam X was still not there. The guy at the next table took the form, and told me, “Now go and get a signature from your HOD, that you are indeed from the Dept you claim to be from.” Now, why he couldn’t have told me earlier, I do not know, but I again trudged back to my Department building to find that the professor was not in his office. “He has come I the morning, but I do not know where he is right now.” The guy sitting outside told me. I made another round of the building, not to find him anywhere. Everyone I met seemed to have seen him sometime in the morning, somewhere or other, but no one knew where he was now. Ultimately, I cornered the great man sneaking into a lift, no doubt with an intention to elude me, so that I again had to come next day.

I had to wait only another half an hour before Madam X emerged from a ‘meeting’ with the controller of examinations regarding some lost files, before I could approach her with a filled form demanding that I be given my degree certificates. She asked me to sign at some ten or twelve different places agreeing to all kinds of things regarding my birth, education, upbringing and what not. Then she opened a steel wardrobe and ultimately handed me the coveted treasure.

I came home triumphantly, gloating about my victories of the day…after all I was now a certified bachelor.