Tuesday, November 02, 2004

So much to catch up on ... so little time to do so.

And to top that, I waste so much time....

Monday, September 27, 2004

I find the laws of gravitation fairly attractive. I believe that all others share my point of view. Because, gravitation treats everyone, big or small, equally. However high and mighty one is, gravitation has this tendency to bring him down to earth.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Da Vinci Code

Following is a discussion on The Da Vinci Code. Although I have not revealed the ending of the story, those who have not read the book yet, but intend to do so, are advised to read it first to keep all suspenses intact!

The first time I heard about The Da Vince Code was when a couple of friends were talking about it. They were praising the book, and one of them went to the extent of declaring that it was the best book she ever read. Curiousity peaked, when I could not find any lendable copy among friends, I bought the book from those footpath bookstores that throng M G Road. (Say no to piracy, ya, ya, I know! When my income is large enough, I will say no to piracy and buy all books at regular stores. Till then, pirated books and softwares are a necessity in life!)

I liked the book immensely. The plot itself was pretty good, probably good enough to keep the interest of the reader till the end. What made the book otstanding was, however, the number of outrageous suggestions and declarations, reading which, as Ross says, the mind boggles. I am not knowledgeable enough on the topics concerned, namely Christianity and the arts, to understand the full import of the suggestions. The thing which intrigues me is the following.

Obviously, the book is fiction. But it is based on reality. The important question is, how much of what Dan Brown says is true, and how much of it has he made up? He has made some outrageous suggestions against the Church, and it would take a really bold person to say all that, unless of course all that is true. And if that be the case, advocates of Christianity, who base their claims on its noble History, are clearly deceived themselves, and they try to put a veil of deception over everyone's eyes. I don't have anything personal against Christianity, and I suppose, the histories of other religeons would be equally tainted, if one cares to look closely, but being uninformed on those topics, I cannot make any comment.

The other interesting suggestion was about The Last Supper. This Leonardo da Vinci painting being among the most famous works of art in the history of mankind, it seems strange that none of the thousands of experts who have scrutinised it under microscope over centuries, detected that the person on Jesus' right in the painting was not a male disciple, the popular belief (I am told) being that the painting captures Jesus and twelve of his disciples having their last supper before Jesus was crucified. Before reading this book, I did not have any idea who Mary Magdalene was. Now that I have read it, I am more inclined to believe Dan Brown's version of it, rather than the popular belief (again, I am told) that she was a prostitute, also a disciple of Jesus. Maybe because Dan Brown's version is more adventurous.

After reading the book, I did some esearch (the web variety of research!) on the topics covered. Interestingly, there seem to be a lot of other people who did the same. The result is that most web-pages covering the topics like the Priory of Sion, or Mary Magdalene, or even The Last Supper, bear references to The Da Vinci Code! An interesting site with a detailed discussion of the book and its contents is a site by one Lisa Shea. Although I do not agree with some of her points and most of her readers' comments, it does make interesting reading.

The Priory of Sion seems to be a secret society, formed by one Pierre Plantard in the middle of the 20th century, which tried to forge historical evidence and create a romantic history for themselves. This website describes the person and the organisation in great details. Mary Magdalene also has websites dedicated to herself, which, again, became popular only after the book! I have not had time to go through this site in details yet, but it should be interesting to do so.

All in all, The Da Vinci Code is a very interesting book. It makes light reading, yet provides a lot to think about. The symbologic and cryptographic references in the book are also attractive. A keen reader of detective stories, and one who used to solve 'clues' with friends when I was a kid, I found the anagrams pretty interesting. I was dissapointed however, when Langdon et al took such a long time to decipher the mirror-writing. I knew what it was at the first glance!

Monday, August 30, 2004

Re-cycling: A Good Practice!!

Came to office on cycle today!


When I bought the bike, it was my idea that I shall continue to cycle to office and use the bike for going elsewhere. Not only does cycling give the regular exercise, otherwise lacking now that I do not play in the evenings any more, but also, I used to enjoy cycling. Accordingly, I had actually cycled to office for about a month even after buying the bike.


Then, one fine day, my cycle got punctured. I thought I will fix it the next day, and drove to office. 'Tomorrow' stayed 'tomorrow' for a couple of weeks, till I ultimately gave up the idea of getting it repaired, and gave in to the comfort of riding to office. The fact that my bike is really comfortable didn't help much in keeping my cycling resolutions! (Ya, a bike can be more comfortable than others, ask anyone who has ridden mine!)


For a few days now, I have been planning to jog in the morning. Lazy as I am, waking up early enough and pulling myself out into the streets to jog has proven impossible till date! Haven't had any proper incentives either. I can wake up for football, and call up enough people to join in as early as 6 in the morning, but waking up to jog? Are you kidding?


So as usual I am taking the easy way out. My current resolution - to cycle to office regularly. 10 kilometres of fast cycling a day should do me a world of good, specially if I can shed a couple of kilograms from the steadily growing midriff areas! Let me see how long I can keep up the practice.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

One does not find much to say when there is nothing happening in one's life, or when there is too much happening. And as I swing to and fro between the 'too much' and the 'too little' phases of life what is affected most is my blog, and the regularity with which I post.
Okay, okay, so much for excuses. To update on my last few months, it'll suffice to say that I have been really really lucky. And I mean really really really lucky! I'll leave it at that for the time being and let your curiosity peak up, and your imaginations flow wild!! I shall elaborate more on this when the time comes.

On the sports front, we have been trying to organise a football tournament for some time now, and for some reason or other it keeps on getting postponed. Weekend football has, however, become a regular feature. We are also conducting and participating in a chess tournament...and I have won two matches out of two so far!!!

Long ago, I had received a couple of gift coupons from TI. Last weekend me and Anant went over to Higgin Bothams and Gangarams, and bought a few books with the coupons. We bought a couple of Agatha Christies, a copy of To Kill A Mocking Bird and a collection of short stories by Khushwant Singh.

That is about all that is going on in my life right now. (Last month, the picture was totally different!!) I suppose, I shall try to update more often. But that depends on the mood at the moment!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

More about ants... What do you call an ant who runs away with his girl friend??
;)
"Is General Paul in?"

"Yes, but Saab has some guests."

He stares at me. Why the hell are you disturbing me in whatever I was doing? I stare back at him.

"What do you want?"

"I work in Texas Instruments. I have some work with General Paul."

"But Saab has guests." Please go away.

"I shall take only a couple of minutes of his time."

He shrugs, walks back a couple of paces.

"Saab, some saab has come to meet you."

"Saab has come? So soon?"

"No no no!" Vigorously shaking his head. "Some Saab has come..."

I had expected General Paul to be tall, stern, burly, with an erect stature. However, the person who came out to the door was short, small, and hardly looked military if you know what I mean.

"General Paul?"

"Ye-es?"

"I work in Texas Instruments. We want to organize a football tournament... blah blah blah ... so they asked me to meet you."

"Ya, I know the procedure. I will give you the information. But I have some guests right now. Do you have a card on you? I will give you a ring."

"Yes, I have." I fumble with my wallet, take out a business card, and hand it over to him. "You can call me on my mobile." I indicate the correct number.

"Hmm." Pause. "Somshubhra Paul?"

"Yes, that's me."

"Bengali?"

"Yes." Modestly, nodding.

"Kotha theke?"

The rest of the conversation was partly in Bengali, and partly in English. For easy readability, I will translate the Bengali portions.

"From Calcutta."

"Been here long?"

"A couple of years."

"Okay I will give you a call."

"Thanks."

"By the way, which University?"

"I am from Jadavpur University."

"Bloody Hell!"

I look at him surprised.

"Which batch?"

"2002."

"Ohh."

"Are you from Jadavpur too?"

"'55 batch."

"Ohh."

"Have you heard of AJUB, our alumny association here....?"

"Yes."

"We organize picnis and stuff...you can join..."

I nod politely.

"Okay then. Will call on your cell, right?"

"Yes."

"Okay. Nice talking to you."

"Thanks."


It's a small world after all!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Antz

Whenever I see a large group of ants gathering up somewhere around some small piece of eatable junk, or dead insect, the anticidal tendencies in me resurface and I feel an urge to stomp on the quivering black or red mass of antity.

I don't have anything personal against ants. I believe that individually, they are all very nice pleasant characters, capable of really hard work. In fact I respect them for that. And if I see a long line of ants crawling endlessly across a wall, I leave them well alone. It is only when I see a large number of them flocking together somewhere that I feel aggressive.

When a large number of ants flock together, they cease to be the nice peaceful characters that they otherwise are. This is because, in principle, they don't have any strong values or principles. They don't have any qualms about stealing or invading anyone's personal space. Whenever one leaves some foodstuff unguarded for a short period of time, they gather around and start 'borrowing'. In the communities they live in, nothing is personal. They follow communist principles more stringently than any man on earth.

I do not like my food 'borrowed'. Nor do I like to be crawled upon. And inevitably, whenever they gather somewhere, they crawl and trample over anything and anyone who steps near them. For this very reason, I don't like the idea of them flocking together. And I try to prevent them from doing that as much as I can.

Sometimes, when I am in a more sadistic mood, I drench them in a deluge of water. People say that ants swim well. They don't. They don't know the first thing about swimming. They just float in water. Maybe they are lightheaded. Whatever the reason, they just float in water, and thrash around. If they come close to the edge of the pool of water, I just blow on to them and they go back to the centre of the pool.

Animal rights activists will probably start aggressive campaigns against me upon reading this post. Like I care! I am a non-vegetarian, I don't give a damn if a poor chicken dies to become my food, why should I care about ants?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

If winners of tournaments / sports competitions were decided based on the amount of enthusiasm the participants have, I would have won each and every tournament that I ever participated in. As it is, I manage to lose every one in the first round! Yesterday it was the turn for Intra-TII Badminton singles tournament.

It was not that my opponent was particularly good or anything. In fact he was pretty bad, with glaring shortcomings in various departments. Only, I was worse. I managed to win about 7 points in two sets! I never had much hopes with badminton anyway. I don't particularly like the game, and seldom participate except in tournaments.

In the recent past, I have lost in chess and table tennis tournaments in the first round. I am almost as bad in table tennis as I am in badminton. Chess, probably, I could have done something, but as luck would have it, I was faced with the eventual champion and undoubtably the best player in TII in the first round itself.

I have participated in a volleyball tournament, in which our team emerged champions, without much help from me, needless to mention. In fact I played in only two of the matches, and would have effortlessly won the Worst Player of The Tournament Award, had it been given! In cricket we went on to the second round thanks to a couple of walkovers, and then managed to lose a sure-win game.

Right now I am looking forward to the football tournament, which we are going to arrange in another months time or so. Hopefully, I can team up with a few good players there, and manage to do something. Also, I am hoping to fare better in a tennis tournament, provided, of course, that I do not end up playing the best player of the tournament again in the first round!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Walking along the course of life, one occassionally comes upon a stage, where every thing around him starts to change. People start behaving differently, topics of conversation change. The way one looks at life changes. That's when one realises that one is not young any more, that it is time to step into another stage of life, a stage which demands more maturity, capability to handle complex problems, and ability to make difficult decisions.

Over the last few months, everywhere I see, there is change. The least of my careeristic friends are planning ahead for years. Everywhere that I care to look at, friends are planning to tie the Knot of Life. And everywhere that I care to look at , there are problems. Different problems for different people, tailor-made problems, but problems nevertheless. Seldom have I come across anyone who has crossed this stage smoothly, with no problems, and acceptance everywhere.

Earlier, when the outlook of people was different, and it was accepted that our parents know what was best for us, and all decision-making was left upon them, life was pretty simple for the prospective groom and the bride, at least till the marriage. They just had to go along as they were told, and did not have to think and decide for themselves. These marriages were more successful also, statistically speaking. But that does not mean that people were happier. It just means that acceptance levels were higher, people went through life making compromises without complaining.

The thought processes of people have changed. "I have the right to chose how and with whom I am going to live my life" is a valid statement now. Even parents accept that their children are going to feel that way, and there is nothing they can do about it. Most parents say that they are okay with it. They seem to be the most 'open-minded' parents of all times ... till one fine day, the son or daughter comes home, and says, "Mom, Dad, I have found the match of my life!" That is when all open-mindedness disappears. Not all the time. But too often to say that times have changed, and people accept the more 'modern' views freely.

As I mentioned, several of my friends are getting married these days, or planning to shortly. Most of them have found their match themselves. I cannot think of any one couple, however, for whom the match was accepted smoothly, without hiccups, without aggressive resistance from one or both families involved. A prospective match, who would have passed all criteria, had he/she been selected through arrangement by parents, fails to impress the parents, when selected by the son or daughter.

How can one explain the case when on knowing the guy for about eight years, and knowing about the feelings for half the time, the girl's mother refuses her support when the wedding is proposed and planned? To the extent that she did not ultimately attend the wedding when it happened! Yes that is an extreme case. But it just goes to show that whatever we say, it is still not accepted in our culture and ways of life that a person, who is old enough to take part in electing the leader of the nation for five to ten years is not mature enough to select his or her partner for life.

Acceptance is not the only problem. For those who are lucky enough to cross the hurdle of acceptance in a relatively calm manner, problems may and do arise in other fronts, like the two family's opinions about the hows and whens and wheres involved in tying the knot. It then falls upon the bride and groom to decide, which way to go. And either path you take, you have one disgruntled family. Starting life together with a set of angry relatives is not very comfortable. And in trying to solve a problem of difference of opinion, if one judiciously takes a middle path, one ends up worse off, because no one got what they wanted. So what is the solution to this dilemma?

All of us face these problems. Some give in to sheer pressure enforced upon them, others manage to scrape through with minor bruises. Afterwards, one thinks with his newfound wisdom, if only I had acted like this or that ... it would have saved me a lot of pain. Would it have really? After all, life is a lesson, one learns it when one's through!!

Monday, May 17, 2004

Does the USA have lots ot astropolitan cities?

When Russians play hockey, do they play on cosmoturf?

Why do we feel this over-bearing urge to post 'PJ's, whenever we think up some?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

No, I do not belong to the league of unfortunate bloggers, who, poor souls, lost all their old comments, when they enabled the new commenting system that blogger has introduced. Yes, I have also enabled the blogger commenting system. No, I have not yet been able to format the new comments page properly, so please bear with me as I try to enhance the visual appeal of my comments page.

As for my old comments, let me draw your attention to those two tiny dots, fool-stops if you will, after '::: posted by Somshubhra at

Monday, May 10, 2004

Have tried to add the new blogger commenting system. Now trying to check if that works!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Thursday, March 25, 2004

They say you are bound to get jet lag. They say the culture shock is BI-IG! They say it is difficult to get used to the accent or understand conversations easily, at least for the first few days. They say a lot of things. Not one is correct!

Of course everything is quite impressive. The fast cars, the clean roads, the use of technology (!) everywhere. But somehow, it doesn't appear to be alien, as it logically should have. Maybe because of the large number of English movies that we watch, or maybe because of the ten straight seasons (>200 episodes) of Friends that we have seen over the past couple of months, the American culture was quite easily acceptable.

The journey was quite boring. I slept off most of the ten hour flight from Bangalore to Frankfurt, another ten hour one from Frankfurt to Denver, and a couple of hours from Denver to Dallas. The four hour wait at Frankfurt was even more boring, specially since I couldn't find a place to sit and sleep! I had to clear immigration and customs at Denver, and flew domestic upto Dallas. The immigration officer at the Denver International was really nice, and gave me one and a half months stay permit while I had asked for only a month! (I actually intend to return much before that.)

Parag and Avinash from office were there at the airport to pick me up. It was 9:30 PM. We went to a diner (forgot the name), where I had a turkey sandwich. Maybe because I was really famished, it tasted delicious. After dinner, we came to the hotel, where I checked in.

Since then, all the places I have been to in Dallas is the hotel, a couple of restaurants, and the n TI offices and buildings in Dallas. Work has been slightly hectic till evening. The positive side is that people are really impressed when you can solve their bugs (albeit, simple ones!) for them!! I find American food quite apetizing, and free of oils and spices. But a big source of calories. Thankfully I don't care much about calories!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Lack of inspiration, and at the same time, a feeling of guilt at not posting any entries for a long time...what is a man to do? Answer - He is to give a dull account of what he has been doing lately, and what he will be doing in the near future.

Updates of my whereabouts for the past few days: Bangalore.

Updates on my what-have-I-been-up-to for the past few days: Nothing.

The same old life going through the same old motions of routine visiting to the office, attending a few meetings and reviews, designing a few blocks etc, etc. Okay, the designing part is interesting, but, one needs a life outside work also, doesn't one?

Coming to the future. Now, that is an area (the future, that is!) which promises a lot out of the ordinary. For one, I am supposed to be travelling to Dallas on work on saturday, for one week. That surely ought to be interesting. And then, I plan to go home in Kolkata for another week. And I don't intend to do much in Kolkata except maybe meet a couple of old friends, and relax at home!!


To end, a question for any reader who may care to comment. I have tried posting on many different topics. Which kind of articles does the reader find most appealing? For those who don't want to think much, here are a few options to pick from:
a) My dreary accounts of real life (like, what I did this weekend etc)
b) My feeble attempts at romantic writing
c) My descriptions of our trips to different places (which no travel guide would like to publish)
d) My senseless cryptic posts (they really don't make much sense, do they?)
e) My attempts at humorous writing (my personal favourites, even though probably no one laughs).

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I am not a big fan of F1 racing. I don't understand the technicalities involved, and don't share the passion as do so many of my friends and associates. But once in a while, while surfing through the 'n' channels that we get nowadays thanks to Cable-TV, if I come across Start Sports or ESPN or TEN Sports showing some F1 race, I do occasionally stick around and egg Michael Schumacher on. Such was the case this Sunday.

The season opening doesn't hold any particular significance for me. But when people around me very enthusiastically discuss F1, I can't help but feel a tinge of interest towards the races. So, I had noticed the F1 itenary in the newspapers a couple of days back. When I switched on the TV on Sunday morning and switched over to channel 13, I straight away realised that I was looking at the Australian Grand Prix!

There is no particular reason why I support Michael Schumacher, other than the facts that he was the first F1 driver whose name I had learnt, and that he is good! I mean he wins more races than anyone else. He has won most of the races that I have seen. Being technically challenged as I am, I needed no more reason to support no one else. And since I like Schumacher, I also like Ferrari. Naturally I was delighted when I saw that Schumacher was leading. (It was the 4th lap going on.) I still did not know that he had timed best in the qualifiers, and therefore had started at the head of the crowd. I came to know later during the race from the commentary. What I saw then was that he was half a second ahead of Barichello, another Ferrari driver.

Throughout the race the first three positions remained unchanged. What was amazing was that four laps from the end, Schumacher was about 20-25 seconds ahead of Barichello, who was in turn another 25 seconds ahead of Alonso. And Schumacher was about to lap the fifth place driver (Montoya, I think)! At that point of time, he slowed down dramatically for the last four laps, to go easy on the engine, as he explained later in the press conference.

For me, the best part of the race came somewhere around lap 35, when the two Ferraris went in for their second pit stops. Barichello was the first to go in. When he went in Schumacher was just ahead of him. While Barichello was in the pits, Schumacher did one of the fastest laps of the race (1:24:xx if I remember correctly), and when he came out of the pits in the next lap, he was way ahead of Barichello. I think that was the point where he began to pull away, and the difference between the race leaders started going up from the 1-2 seconds as had been earlier.

They say that the Ferrari guys always pull in Barichello into the pits one or two laps before Schumacher. They say that this is like a warm-up for the Ferrari team, so that they can pull the fastest and most efficient pit stop with Schumacher. I don't know how much truth there is in this point of view, but what I did notice was all of Barichello's stops took the same time (7-8 seconds) if not less as compared to Schumacher.

There were very few overtakings in the race. Australian tracks are less suitable for overtaking, as Sumeet and the commentators tell me. But there was one good piece of overtaking by Montoya (I think) when he went ahead of Button towards the end of the race.

Finally, Williams have launched a new car, which I did not find anything outstanding (from the results), and particularly ugly with the broad nose.

I may have gone wrong with details at many places, experts on the field visiting this page please correct me.


P.S. This post is dedicated to my friends who are passionate F1 fans!!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

It's been some time since we went somewhere on a trip. The last trip was of course to Pondicherry in the second week of Jan. I had enjoyed the trip more than the ones to Koorg and Madikeri, probably because I prefer the sea to the mountains. Hills rather, since I haven't been to any proper mountains as far as I remember. One thing I do not like about hilly terrain is the winding roads, which invariably make me feel sick if I am travelling in a car, which is mostly the case.

I had gone to Chennai a month back. I had gone there alone, to meet my father, who had come there for a meeting. The meeting was in a hotel/ beach resort called Fisherman's Cove, which the hotel owners claim, is the best hotel in Asia. While it did not appear to be something totally out of the usual, it was actually pretty good. I had accompanied my father to the hotel, and while he attended the seminar, I spent time in the hotel's lounge and the beach.

The beach was very nice, clear, unspoilt and not crowded at all. There was a cool breeze blowing across and it was very pleasant to walk along the soft white sand. I had a lot of time to spend, so I went to one end of the beach and sat down on some rocks, and contemplated about life for some time. The scenery was beautiful and the weather pleasant. But I soon got bored of sitting there. A lone person sitting on a clump of rocks in a deserted beach, with not a human soul within miles, may be a pretty picture to paint, specially for greetings card, but it is definitely not very enjoyable for the lone person for prolonged periods of time!

I came back to the hotel lounge and sat there. Observing the people milling around while sitting unobstrusively in a corner was definitely more interesting. The hotel staff were going out of their ways to be nice to the guests. Someone at the reception was giving away shell necklaces to everyone. As the day progressed, quite a lot of guests came to the lounge to lounge about! Presently a couple of provocatively dressed girls and a guy with chinese features came out and started to sing english songs. I suppose they were singing famous songs, but being illeterate in western music as I am, I didn't recognize any. The guy was singing pretty well. The girls were more busy smiling at the guests and dancing lightly to the rhythm.

There were quite a few foreigners, presumably Europeans, among the guests. A few of them went to the beach later in the day and sunbathed. What enjoyment they find in lying around on the beach under scorching sun, I will never know. And it was really hot by noon-time. Most of them were however sunbathing next to the kidney-shaped swimming pool. The pool did look cool and inviting.

We had our lunch there. It was not regular hotel cuisine, some caterers had been hired to cater for the seminar guests and their families. The food was okay, nothing particularly great. But I suppose that was to be expected. I never enjoy the food at such parties.

We returned to the hotel where we were staying after lunch, although most people stayed back for the cultural programmes and games to follow. I returned to Bangalore next morning. The short break was quite refreshing except for the fact that for the last twelve hours, I was worried about something at work following a phone call received on saturday evening.

***

I was not planning to write about the Chennai trip at all, when I started. But then I didn't have anything particular in mind, so wrote whatever I thought of at the moment. Going by the number of comments on the previous post, I should probably stick to writing more about romantic stuff, than give a dull account of a weekend I spent long back doing nothing!

Friday, February 27, 2004

She is the most beautiful person I have ever known.

I look into her eyes and that is the only thing that I can think off. She is the most beautiful person I have ever known. I look into her eyes and I see love. I see faith and affection. I see a heart of gold, a mind so pure as the clouds in the sky. A person who cares not about herself but all around her. A person who is always ready to help others. A person who gives and only gives.

Her voice is like music to me, melodious as no music I have heard before. Her words are so simple, as uncomplicated with any traits of selfishness, so surreal. Her touch is so soothing that it can heal any wound however mortal or any heart however crushed.

I always feel that I am not worthy of her. I am not good enough for someone so angelic, so divine. But I can try. I can try to make and keep her happy, as happy as no one else in this world is. I love her. She is the most beautiful person I have ever known.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Unlike some of my more talented friends like Anant, Koushik, Prerna, Swapna, and a load of others, I am not a very creative person. I admire creativity, I like being creative to the best of my abilities, but unfortunately I am not very good at it. I am also not very good at singing, playing football, and a host of other stuff. But that is beside the point. Being not-so-creative, when on some occasions, I do manage to create something, I am so delighted and impressed with my own work, that I can't stop showing it off to everyone.

Last week, we (me, Anant, Sumeet, Prerna and Ashish) had gone to the bookstore, Crossroads, near Residency road. Prerna had bought a set of drawing / painting equipment (a drawing book, pencils, erasers, paints and brush, and the whole lot) and a pair of fancy scissors. Coming back, she started making a card, which was later given to Tonmoy. Seeing her sketching and painting, all my creative spirits sort-of welled up inside me, and I felt this inexplicable urge to draw. So when we went over to spend the day at Prerna's this saturday, I started sketching for Souradeep's birthday card.

Ultimately, I sketched two cards. I liked the way the first one turned out. The second one was drawn purely from imagination, and was not up to the mark. I didn't want to try and paint the cards also, since I didn't want to spoil my sketches. So Prerna painted them. She did a really good job, I think. So now we have formed this new partnership for making birthday cards, me doing the sketches, and Prerna painting.

I actually enjoyed sketching this weekend. And I am looking forward to doing it again. But I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much, had I been sketching on my own in my house. The fact that all of us were there, each doing something on his or her own, with occasional remarks, and jokes cracked all added up to make the experience nice. Being not-so-creative, I suppose, I need some inspiration from my surrounds to get the creative spirit in me running.

Friday, February 20, 2004

A Bug's Life

It was born through the carelessness of two people, two engineers. It was born because they didn't make the best use of modern preventive measures that are easily available. The two concerned people were not professional in their approach, in their interaction and communication. They made a slip and it was born.

It spent its early infancy in the confines of the virtual world. It was of course easily visible to anyone who cared to check. No one did. And so it lay dormant but potentially devastating, nurtured by the inevitability of doom, the growing probability of success in the purpose of its life, with every moment that it lived without detection. Had someone cared to check, it could have been squashed to premature termination easily, as had been so many of its contemporary friends. But it lived long enough, till what was virtual, became reality, hard as silicon.

As it came out of its shell metamorphised into a destroyer, it was met with utter confusion. No one knew what was happening. All they knew was that what was happening was not supposed to happen. In maturity, it, the cause of all the anomalous occurances, was not so transparent. It was hidden, encased, packaged, and as much as anyone looked to see what was wrong, no one could spot it.

And so confusion reigned for a long time, till someone, again an engineer, had a brainwave. The problem should be searched at the source, or so he reasoned. So he went back to the beginning, and looked into the original virtual presence. He did not know what to look for, but he did know, where to begin his search. Little by little, he sifted his way through a pile of data, and soon he came upon the tell-tale signs, that told the tale.

It's life was over. It was found, and would be removed from any future presence. But it sighed, and smiled contended. It had served its purpose and lived its life to the full. It had lived a bug's life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Anant was complaining that my blog posts were taking the form of cryptic one-liners by the day. So I have decided to post a cryptic multi-liner instead.

***

The child sat quietly looking condescendingly at all that was happening down below. He was in no hurry. The people down there were scurrying about making their clumsy attempts at putting things together, and were failing half the time. Those, whose attempts succeeded, would be jubilant at their success, and would dance around with joy, uninterested in the longer term results of their deeds. Those who failed, would lament as if their life had become worthless.

It was so funny. Little did they know that the key to all their success lay in his hands and in his hands alone. And while they perspired unknowingly, he could sit back, and laugh at them. It felt so good to be so powerful. He felt like he was God!

His eyes fell on one particular young man. The first time the young man tried, he was late. Others stepped in before him, shoved him aside, and he was left standing, eyeing the trophy wistfully, while they carried it away. He so wanted to have it, and now it was gone. If only he had been a little faster. But now it was no use worrying about it. The child up there looked at the forlorn expression on the young man's face and smiled, shaking his head.

Suddenly, the young man noticed that the trophy had been left ungaurded. He did not know what had happened but there it was, out in the open once again. He was not the only one to notice it. Other people were also making their way towards the trophy. In the mad rush that followed, the young man suddenly found that he was ahead of the crowd. The only obstacle in his path were the keepers of the trophy. He had to deal with them somehow.

The child also noticed what was happening. Presently he sighed. It was time for him to act. He got up from his comfortable position, and picked up the small gold bow lying near his feet. He picked up the gold arrow next to it, and put it on the bowstring. He knelt down on one knee, looked down, and took careful aim. He pulled the string and held it for one second. He let go the string.....

Thursday, February 12, 2004

If you do not say, how will I know? And I know that you are not going to read this, but I wanted to ask anyway.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

No news is good news. At least as far as work is concerned. Doesn't hold in other fronts of life though.
More sleepless hours...more tension...chips are supposed to be tasty, why are these particular ones leaving a bad taste in the mouth?

Monday, February 09, 2004

Brief weekend update:

Went to a bowling alley for the first time in my life on Friday. It was part of a small celebration in our office work group, at the end of the last project. Amassed an impressive debut score of 133, which ended up third highest in the group of 27. Incidentally, the second highest scorer (135) was also making his debut, and was in my team only. Our team won.

Went over to Chennai on Friday night. My father had come there for a couple of meetings. Spent Saturday with him, and came back by bus on Sunday. Reached here in the evening. I plan to write more about this trip in a future post.

While I was in Chennai, I received a phone call from my supervisor. He gave me the news that the chip had come out of fab, and initial tests where showing some resetting problems. Since I was the one who had designed the reset circuits, I was really scared. For the past 36 hours, I have been trying to imagine all sorts of things that could have gone wrong, and none of the thoughts were very promising! Anyway, a few minutes back, I came to know that it was a testing problem, and they have managed to reset the chip after all. Whew!

Friday, February 06, 2004

Was it as simple as it sounded? Or was there an inner meaning to those few apparently simple words? Why can't I just accept them at their face value and try to be happy? Why do I keep reading hidden thoughts among those words? Why do I imagine to find hope where there is none?

Am I being paranoid?

Friday, January 30, 2004

Over the last few days, whatever I have been writing (published or unpublished) seems to have a sombre touch associated with it. It's not that I don't know why. I know perfectly well. Over the past few days, I have been thinking a lot. Thinking seriously, if you know what I mean, thinking on the lines of what do I want from life, am I happy, the way I am, and where will I be a few years down the line.

Now, anyone who knows me well knows that I am not much of a planner as far as my own life is concerned. I just have a vague idea of what I am good at, and what I like. I also have some idea as to what I want to do. But then I am not the kind of person who plans out so as to achieve his goals. I am more of a hopeless 'hoper', one who hopes that things will all fall in their places, and I will be happy.

Now that doesn't happen in life. Very seldom does one get what one wants out of sheer coincidence. But I have realised the fact too late. And now that I have indeed realised it, I still don't see myself changing much. I still keep on dreaming dreams which my logical mind tells me are perfectly impossible. At this point, I would probably have said "God help me." but the problem is I don't believe in God either! I give up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

It takes all kinds of people to make the world. Some people are satisfied with whatever they get. They don't need a lot. A little is enough to make them happy. They do not generally have a strong opinion about anything. They are easy-going, and like to lead a peaceful and calm life.

Some people on the other hand know exactly what they want. They plan out their lives, and live accordingly. They need more to be happy. And they get more.

But do people change? Can a person who belongs to the former group become one of the latter? Can a strong-opinionated person, who has firm likes and dislikes, turn into a person, who is satisfied easily, satisfied with the second best?

A certain person is of the adaptive type. He can stay happy with what he gets. He does not ask for the best, because he can adjust and be happy with the second best. Then there comes a phase in his life, when he gets to taste the best. For some time, he knows that what he has is perfect. Now if the perfect is taken away from him, will he be able to be happy with what he gets? Or will he always compare what he gets with what he had, and could have had...the perfect? Are his values and his taste changed permanently? Or can he go back to his earlier easy-going accept-all ways of life?

Friday, January 23, 2004

The darkness of early dawn. The sun was yet to rise. The moon was there bright and shining up in the sky. The desolate roads, with an occasional human soul here and there, one or two shop-keepers, trying to make an early buck, and five weary travellers walking along, joking and talking to themselves.

There was no specific topic of conversation. Pulling each other's legs, praising each other's sense of direction (or the lack of the same), and wondering how far the sea was, that was about all that they talked about. Someone yearned for a cup of coffee. Someone had a heavy heart, with a lot to say, but no one to say that to. Someone was anxious about the future. Someone was dreaming about tomorrow and all other tomorrows to come. Someone was happy to be where he was. Each was blissfully unaware of the others' thoughts. Each lived the moment in his own private world, with the only thing in common between them being their destination, or at least their destination for that moment.

First it was the feel. The faint odour of the seaweeds, the heavy moist air laden with salt and water, the cool breeze. Gradually one got to hear the faint yet deep, heavy rumbling of the unimaginably powerful monster. Far ahead, the sky was suddenly clear of any buildings or trees or anything which usually makes up the skyline. A sense of thrill suddenly went through the minds of the five. Did someone shiver slightly, or was it pure imagination? A turn towards the right and they were there.

The sun was still deep down below the horizon. The dark blue water shone under the moonlight. The beach itself was rocky, huge black rocks stacked up precariously one on top of the other. Below, the sea crashed against the rocks in a spray of white foam again and again. The heavy rumbling from the depths of the mighty ocean was more intense.

A few loan boats were making their way back after a night of hard toil. A ship with sparkling lights stood still in the water, arrogant, and unimpressed by the waves that crashed against its hull. It had weathered many a storm in the course of its life. Black clouds lined the horizon at the end of the ocean, putting doubts in the mind about whether the sunrise will be visible.

They waited there, sitting or standing, as the clock ticked slowly. There were a few discussions, whether the sunrise will be seen or not, which is east, and if the chicken came first or the egg. Some sat quietly, lost in thought. Some stood there, staring, enthralled with the enormosity of it all.

Gradually, the sky became clearer. One could see better now. Visible at a distance were some pieces of wood, jutting out over the water's surface. There was a long jetty snaking out into the water, some way farther off. A few more boats came into the view, bobbing up and down in the swells. A lone fisherman struggled hard to bring his boat abreast the planks jutting out of the water. He started coiling up the nets which had been put there the previous night.

It was pretty bright by now. A few of the travellers stirred up from their positions, and started to get ready to return. It was generally agreed that the sun had already risen and was behind the dark clouds, so couldn't be seen. As they were about to make their way back, the sun proved them all wrong. A glimmer of deep red burst through the dark clouds, just beyond the horizon. The sun had risen, the day had started.

****

The brief respite from the drudgeries of daily life, the short time off was over. It was time to return, but no one wanted to.

It was the same five who were sitting on the black rocks, on the shore of the ocean. Below them, the incessant waves were still crashing against the rocks and breaking out in a spray of white foam. Occasionally, when the wind picked up, a few drops of water would be carried up to the people sitting there, and splash their faces or hands. On their two sides, there were endless number of people, sitting or standing, enjoying the beauty, with their own friends and family.

As the sun set behind their backs, a strange sense of freedom prevailed in the breeze, that buffetted against their faces. Here one was carefree, and not tied down by the rules that governs the behaviour of people back at home. For a brief moment of time, one was allowed the oppurtunity to forget who one was, and enjoy a sense of closeness and belonging, a sense of camaraderie, inspired by the ocean. The beauty of the ocean could only be appreciated, as one lost one's identity and felt oneself to be part of nature.

As they trudged their way back to the hotel, and later as they sat quietly in a car on the highway, each lost in their own thoughts, they carried back with them a memory, which would remain for ever, irrespective of whether anything else did or not.