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.