Sunday, October 31, 2004

The highly prejudiced bride
After a week of dilly dallying moi finally saw Bride and Prejudice. OK, I have to agree that I saw the Hindi version of the movie, but unless this was a movie that was really Lost in Translation the movie was terrible. The only saving grace was Aishwarya Rai - who was soooo obnoxious that she made the movie look passable in comparison. She had exactly one expression throughout the movie and really hammed her lines (actually Namrata Shirodhkar surprised me with a very controlled performance).The whole movie is a running lecture from Aishwarya to all people Western that India is great. It almost looked like her earlier film Aaa Ab Laut Chaley mixed with a zillion marriage numbers ala Hum Apke Hain Kaun. My personal take is that Mrs. Chadha wanted to make a movie that she assumed will combine the best of the both sides of Showbiz but somehow lost track of her goals in the middle of the movie. I guess I shall remain prejudiced again this flick.

I badly wanna watch a good Indian movie - I deserve a good one now.

More photos
Here are some more snaps from the Halloween Night out. Scarily enjoyable.

Spring Forward, Fall Back
At 1.30 am last night we sat in TGIF and had a fairly inconclusive discussion on Daylight Saving Time. Most of us were unsure abt most of the features of this idea and Vipul suggested that this might be a good afternoon research and blogging topic for me. So, having got a portion of my code running, moi spent some time to find out more on this practice.

Well for starters, the idea apparently was conceived by Benjamin Franklin and the title of this post is a good way to keep in mind the way it works. A major part of our discussion last night was abt the regions that do not change their time and these include - Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, most of the Eastern Time Zone portion of the State of Indiana, and the state of Arizona (not the Navajo Indian Reservation).

For a detailed review of the topic visit this web-site.

Halloween Bash
It was an absolute party evening and only the images shall be used to describe it. Sadly, I don't have most of the photos with me right now. Just as a sample, this is Vipul and me in our getups. My get up was that of the "Indian Software Engineer" - full sleeved shirt with top button locked, cotton pants with folds, oiled hair, specs, bathroom slippers and yeah - never a fan of subtlety - I had captions to explain what I was dressed as. I was quite surprised to see people quite appreciate the get up. Here's a sample photo and more shall be uploaded tomorrow. Good night ...

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Seriously joking
Pleeeeeease check this out. Very very amusing.

Read this article. Nope! We definitely have to do something radical to infuse logic and sense back into Indian politics. Just imagine this - an ad that showed a North Indian milkman is under criticism because it apparently alludes to the idea that the man might be a thief. OK! Agreed that India doesn't exactly support free speech and creative freedom (I remember they banned a soap ad in Kolkata coz it gave the impression that the girl was naked even though they only showed till her shoulder) but coming up with ridiculous accusations like this is insane. That too this comes from a political party - I have said this before and shall say it again - does India really have a dearth of topics to concentrate on? If not anything, poverty and education alone should keep us busy for more than a while - North Indian milkmen should be our focus maybe after everyone in the country can afford milk. Seriously.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Matrix repeatedly reloaded
They are screening Matrix on TV for probably the zillionth time - somehow I am finding it very boring now - I guess I am no longer a "Neo-phyte".

Worth the admiration
Alok and I just came back from the beach and it was undoubtedly the most adventurous afternoon this year for me. It was tiring but awesome fun but that shall be discussed later. This post is about a gentleman we met in the beach.

Sixty seven years old, diminutive stature, a memory that age hasn't withered and abundance of zest - too bad we dint ask him his name. The man of Polish origin chatted with us for 30 mins and I can't deny the initial apprehension I had abt whether all his claims were valid. However, the moment he touched the topic of India you could make out that this man was every cent the bundle of adventure he claimed to be. He could recall vivid details of India which were of the likes that you would relish thoroughly because you have experienced them yourself. The man spoke several languages (including Hindi and Sanskrit), represented US in the Winter Olympics and had traveled almost half the World. Moreover he possessed a candor that was really endearing. Example:

"I loved India - then the govt robbed my dad of his business. I dint like India thereafter."

Both Alok and I agreed that the encounter was thoroughly enjoyable and that this man led a life worth admiring.

The Great Indian Myth
Well well! Let's do the Indian cricket team's reality check - what kind of idiots loose a test match so dismally on their home ground? No seriously! We have been kings of making tracks which have aided obscure spinners and created temporary heroes out of them till they played on foreign soil and succumbed to early retirements - Narendra Hirwani, Rajesh Chauhan, Venkathpati Raju - the names of Indian spinners who have temporarily fooled us to believe that the great Indian spinning tradition has been revived have all done brilliantly on the Indian cattle (oops battle) grounds. But no - for a team equipped with the likes of McGrath and Gillespie - we had to make a green pitch. I have been told that their has been internal politics (the whole Sharad Pawar vs Dalmiya issue) that played in - good - now we shall pay for bureaucratic battles by sacrificing the only sporting pride we have left (sorry we are still the World leaders in khoko and carrom).

But why just blame the groundsmen? Look at the great Indian batting line up. The top 6 batsmen accumulated 200 runs in the two innings - that's a meager average of 16 runs per innings for a team which boasts of the World's best batting line ups. Anyway, I am just irked coz like most Indians I believe that till other countries make a foray into cricket (trust me the day USA and China sees enough glamour in cricket they will kick ass) it's all the glory we have and I hate to see mincemeat being made out of that pride.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Then and now
Earlier being an Indian software engineer meant being "One in a million" ...
Now being an Indian software engineer means being "One of a million" ...

Spelling bee-zy
I hvae a majr prblem with typing coz I maek excssive use of short hand techniques and also my right hnd fingrs often move slwoer than teh left hand ones - interchanging charactrs. As a experimnt I purposely decided to insert typos in this post and accpt all the chnges that teh blogspot spell cheker suggests to test it. So hre it goes. (It actually did a decent job for this one - I have highlighted the ones it failed to).

I have a major problem with typing cog I make excssive use of short hand techniques and also my right hand fingers often move slower than tea left hand ones - interchanging characters. As a experiment I purposely decided to insert typos in this post and accept all the changes that tea blogspot spell checker suggests to test it. So her it goes.

19 m of glitter
Well, I was doing my morning financial reading and was quite surprised to learn that all the gold that has been ever mined is only large enough to fill up a tennis court till a depth of 19 meters. I would have expected the number to be much larger - but I guess all that glitters is indeed not gold.

How short can a play be to qualify for a staging? Here's a short play - that too a romantic one. That too a bad one.

(Busy road! Boy and girl waiting for transportation)

Boy: Hi, there! Are you single?
Girl: You talking to me?
Boy: Taxi Driver.
Girl: What?
Boy: "You talkin to me", De Niro, Scorsese, Jodie Foster - Taxi Driver.
Taxi Driver: You talking to me?
Boy: What?
Taxi Driver: You said Taxi Driver.
Boy: I meant the movie.
Taxi Driver: What? Do you or don't you want this taxi?
Girl: I do!
Boy (holding the girl's hand): I do too! Now we are like married!
Girl: Sorry I need to take this cab. I have no choice but to terminate our budding romance.
(Girl leaves in the cab)
Boy: She aint no Terminator - she dint even say "I'll be back."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

For the want of spice
If you are the type that enjoys a daily of dose of spicy and often hilarious news try visiting ananova.com. It's pretty entertaining and the "spicy" information is not obtrusive ala TOI.

While talking to Ronny Dam last night I raised the question as to why financial newspapers often resort to a pink version - I've seen it happen in more than one case and Ranajit the journalist seemed to agree too, but didn't have any explanation to offer. So I did my morning research on this topic and figured out that it all started in 1893 when Financial Times adopted a "salmon pink" color to distinguish itself from their rival, Financial News. Maybe there is more to the story and the widespread use - but I have no idea - if anyone else does please share it with me.

A-Political person
I was chatting with a friend in India who was quite offended by my apathy towards most things political. He feels I am irresponsible and frivolous to believe that my vote in India doesn't count. According to him politics in India is no joke and is a serious business ...

Yeah! It's a business and they are bloody serious abt that aspect of it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Fact and Fiction
What I want now:

A sultry siren
A desultory verse
Someone my own
A joke that's terse
A song that soothes
News that thrills
Someone inspiring
A movie that chills

What I have now:

A laptop silent
Headphones that sing
No one to talk to
But a phone that rings
A hectic week
No respite in sight
Short of ideas
Poem that's trite

The Mad Ad World
I just saw the advertisement for the DVD of Around the World in 80 days with the caption - "Jackie Chan's first family movie" - yeah! Sure and that explains why more families were fooled into watching puppets have sex in Team America compared to the high budget adaptation of the Jule Verne's classic. Duh! How lame is a movie which doesn't even have any fake claims abt the movie itself. So what's next? How abt:

Gigli - See a movie which even it's actors dint see.
In the Cut - See whatever is left after the cut.
Thunderbirds - Fresh as New.
The Prince and Me - Catch Royalty in its cheapest form.

Had to post this
Nope! Even though I am sleepy this one deserves a quick mention. Just got a phone call and the person on the other end greeted me with a courteous "Accha Sagnik achey?" (for all the non Bengalis, this means "Is Sagnik there?"). Obviously, my name and the Bengali prompted me to say yes and bingo - the telemarketer pounced upon me and wanted me to but another long distance service. The guy actually acted as if he knew the whole system was a menace by continuously saying "Yes yes I understand that you don't need a long distance provider but ... blah blah". Somehow, probably because of the Bengali, I couldn't be rude and actually endured the entire conversation. Obviously I didn't buy the service :) but Bubin will be happy to know that I spoke in Bengali for a while today.

I have also decided that the next time he calls up I will sing a song for him and ask him the recipe to rosogolla.

Mid sem over. Gonna try and get my long due sleep. Shall blog again later in the day. Incidentally, I always thought that Indian engineering students get most worked up before an exam but now I feel that Chinese women beat them hands down.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I am absolutely tired right now. Just to put things in perspective - slept for 4 hrs last night and then studied for an hr before heading to college for a 2 hr discussion session between 11.30-1.30.
1.30-2.00 lunch.
2.00-3.00 meeting with advisors.
3.00-5.00 work on project.
5.00-6.00 group discussion for business class.
6.00-9.00 business class.
10 - reached home.
10.11 - blogging. tired. sleepy. hungry.
8.00 am in the morning - mid term.

You can imagine how tired I am. To make matters worse Ranajit shocked me with the news that he might be leaving for India this weekend courtesy a Visa issue. Ronny is definitely one of my best friends and among the very few people with whom I can talk on and on and on ... and above all one of the only few who understands and shares my frustrations. I just hope tomorrow is a brighter day - for all of us.

To compensate the pathos :)
To cheer up things after the slightly sentimental previous post - it's lame joke time:

Sexologist: So what exactly is the problem with your sex life?
Woman: It's infrequent.
Sexologist: One sec. Is that one word or two?

Have been listening to the "Tere Liye" number from Veer Zaara. The song truly has a timeless feel to it with a very soothing melody and wonderful lyrics. Reminds me a lot of an old friend.

She grew up too fast and ... I just dint grow up :(

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Reality Bits and Bytes
I think I have mentioned this before but it came up again. Rakesh (who is one of the greatest sports enthusiasts I know) was telling me about Curt Schilling and how it's such an inspirational story. Just reminded both of us that as computer engineers we'll never be the central character to any story that is dramatic unless the story goes (imagine a strong Indian accent to enhance the taste of the dish):

"You know what happened last night? The code was not working. Nobody knew what to do. We were sure that even this project will be taken back from us. Then Rakesh came in - he sat for 2 hrs and finished the code - no errors and wonderfully commented. He is such a dude you see!"

Na, compare the drama - on one hand we have blood, pain and millions of fans and TV coverage and on the other hand there is C, Java, SQL and your project team. You decide!

Obviously I am exaggerating things - but the premise still hold true. The way out has to be the Reality television show on computer engineers - two Indian guys, one Indian girl, two American guys (one with a lip piercing) and a blonde girl, three Chinese (two guys and a girl who has a crush on the guy with the piercing) - all put in a house and made to choose a programming language of their choice. Then let us eliminate one of these programmers every week based on the standard of their coding, efficiency and commenting :) Then let's see which profession gets the kick a** label.

Seasons Greetings
A very Shubho Bijoya to everyone reading this. May the year be full of joy and happiness for all of us. Let the smiles flow.

What's cool and what's not
Had an awesome day/night yesterday (it was literally a 2 in the afternoon till 2 in the morning event), finally with some people I could talk to - Arnab, a friend from my high school days is getting married and had come down with a bunch of other friends. Even though the whole enjoyment lasted just a day, my social life in SD looked alive for a change. Here's the cool and not so cool list for the day/night/morning of enjoyment:

Hot girl running in the beach.

Not so cool:
Hot girl being a fit girl too so that she runs faster than you can even imagine - bottomline - she disappears faster than you can blink.

Thai restaurant with spicy food.

Not so cool:
Thai restaurant havin only one restroom and having eight eager visitors vying for the spot.

Calling up friend's fiancee in India to discuss embarrassing details of his personal life.

Not so cool:
Conversation between "bhabi"ji and you sounding like TV ad - "Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?"

Stripping friend to bare essentials.

Not so cool:
Seeing friend in bare essentials.

Seeing wild women dance like they are all drunk (ooops! they were all drunk) at 1 in the morning.

Not so cool:
You sitting in a group of seven men and seeing this as a non participating audience.

Having so much more to write abt the night.

Not so cool:
Having to go to brush up now. Signing off!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A day in photos
A wonderful day which was awesome fun thanks to an amzing Durga Pujo. Let the images speak ... (click on images for full size photo)

Friday, October 22, 2004

Stand Up for more
While on the topic of stand up comedy, I have to mention Margaret Cho - who I feel, is not only an excellent comic but a brilliant performer as well. The thing I like abt her is that she can really act while being funny. I was visiting her web site and sadly I think the site doesn't showcase her best works. However, to get an idea of what I am talking abt just visit here and check out the clips on pity sex (awesome) and plastic surgery.

Tech That
I was watching this stand up comic on Comedy Central and completely cracked up at this joke which highlights the tech ignorance of the previous generation:

"My (the comic) mom sent me a fax and then called me up and asked me if I could fax her back a copy coz that was the only one she had."

Somehow the joke doesn't read as good as it sounded :( Still!

More on Durga Pujo
I was just informed about this wonderful site called durgapujo.com and am feeling totally kicked after visiting it. For those Kolkattan/Calcuttans like me, who are far away from home, the video section is a must watch. Aaaaaaah! I am missing home like crazy - just told a friend that I feel like going for a long Pandal hopping spree with old friends and intersperse the walk with heavy doses of phuchka, churmur, chicken roll, batata puri and a Chinese dinner at the end of it all but not without a long wait outside the restaurant.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

We've been devalued once again!

The Eqn of Success
Just saw this modified adage in my bank:

"Success is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. But a little capital never hurts."

Not worth weighting
We've officially reached the lowest point of television viewing in the form of NBC's "The Biggest Loser". So it wasn't enuff that we already saw people eat worms and animal feces - cool - so we watched a bunch of geeks vying for the attention of an itsy-bitsy-tiny-winy-pretty-girl-in-bikini; BUT no - now we have to watch a throng of over-over weight individuals try to loose weight on TV. Probably I am missing the point (oh everything in this show is much larger than a point) but what exactly is the incentive factor of the show? If and when I feel the desire to watch flab hanging from a person I use this high tech device I own called - A mirror!

So what follows next? Maybe a bunch of worms will now eat humans while we vote which participant it's gonna be. Or how abt making some overweight people gain more weight till one of them bursts on national television? No, seriously - the day is nigh when reality television will rob us of our last strands of remaining pride - our intellectual superiority over other species.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Reunited we stand
Spoke to Shoumi after a veryyyy loooooong time. Shoumi is a friend of mine from Pilani and is a very talented and interesting lady. We spoke on several topics; all circumventing the common issue of professional dissatisfaction. The most interesting part of the conversation was our discussion on Pilani's customary 25 years alumni reunion. I guess every college has it - some after ten years, some after fifteen while others like ours wait for a quarter of a century before we get down to business.

I feel if they have a reunion it should be every four years - like the Olympics. Why do we need a reunion after twenty five years? What are the chances that people I dint keep in touch with for that long will even care abt meeting me then? We'll be in our late forties and it'll be too late to build new ties and too early to hook up our kids with each other. The successful ones will talk abt their achievements while people like me will stand and well ... just stand. If I find a woman naive enuff to fall for me by then, I'll show her the rooms I stayed in and maybe make up imaginary tales of late night activities to impress my kids (yeah! I have to make up - the tale of I ate a samosa one night wont excite the then gen X too much I believe).

On the other hand if they have a reunion every four years it'll be so cool. We can check out the ones who've done well for themselves and get inspired and maybe even butter them up for a favor :) The fleeting number of singles can hook up together just to ensure that they aren't a minority the next time around and the sound of one of your friend's kids calling you "uncle" can be the ultimate kick on the butt - saying "buddy you better start a family now". Seriously! They should have it every four years - anyone listening?

Building from Castle
A line I really liked from "The Punisher" (I still feel the movie, though not great, was better than many other similar movies). Near the end of the movie Frank Castle aka The Punisher says:

"This is not vengeance. Revenge is not a valid motive, it's an emotional response. No. Not vengeance. This, is punishment."

The blogger's question
Almost all the blogs I read, at some point have tried to answer the question - "Why do I blog?". I guess at some level many of us are scared of sounding like ego maniacs, chronicling often our most mundane inner thoughts and actions for the world to read; and hence the justification is needed. I tried answering this question in my second or third ever blog post, saying - I want to be heard. Somehow that sounds cheesy and partially untrue right now (though I still like to be heard and get feedback from people). One of the biggest reasons for me to blog now is that at some level it brings a constancy in my otherwise unscheduled being. I have rarely done anything for more than a while, specially if it required any kind of daily effort and blogging seems to discipline me. The fact that I try to post one or two entries every day helps me to be a tiny winy bit more organized and I like that.

The other major reason for blogging is that I frankly don't have too many people to talk to in San Diego. My blog entries are often things that I'd love to share with people but ... blah blah blah ... a lot of cribbing. So I started taking an escapist route - put it on a blog for people to see, hoping someone will get my view point and more than often I am surprised that some people do. Now, as I write, I realize that it's almost like putting a message in a bottle and releasing it in a large ocean.

Finally, a once great friend from my high school days told me that I take things way too seriously and don't do things just for the heck of it - this whole entry somehow makes me realize that she was indeed right.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The lame gets lamer
It's lame humor time once again but taken from an actual conversation. A friend of mine wants to be rich (who doesn't) and for the lack of better career options I recommended him to become a cross dresser in a burlesque show in Vegas - his will then be a case of "drags to riches".

Another sign of growing up
Another reason why things around me make me realize we're changing - this weekend I am supposed to jointly throw a bachelor party for a friend of mine who is tying the knot. Surprisingly, it's not the marriage that prompted the title of this post - my eligible buddies have been submitting their bachelorhood for the last three years (oops! the continuous tense almost makes it sound like one guy has been repeatedly doing it) BUT it is the thought of throwing the party that scares me. I want to do the bash sans strippers; coz I'm mighty sure that I'll be so embarrassed in front of her that she'll put her clothes back on and leave the profession for good (and I don't want to be a professional hazard for her). All the other ideas have met with adverse reactions - buy him a gift (we'll anyway do that for the marriage), cook him a meal (yeah! sure - why do you think he is marrying) or get him drunk (he won't even remember what we did for him then). For the last 8 years whenever any friend of mine did anything remotely noteworthy, the rejoicement was simple - we picked him up and kicked the shit out of his butt (a term affectionately called bumps) and then made "the guy" treat us. Suddenly I realize that bumps are no longer an effective way of expressing love and joy - my friend is getting married and we can't bump him, his wife will get pregnant we can't bump her, they will have twins and can't bump them. Nooooooo! The bumping thing will not work anymore - alas! we are growing old.

Drop by drop
Oh! Don't stop
Pour on

Bathe the earth so green
Dim, calm, hazy, serene
Droplets of blissful joy
Pourings of delight
Cloudy sky with seven colored light

The bridge 'tween summer
And the winter freeze
Wash the lands, feed the trees
Sparkling gems, showering upon
Oh! Don't stop
Just pour on

Monday, October 18, 2004

The business of love
A very interesting exercise from my business class. We were asked to use marketing techniques to draw analogues between selling a new product and wooing a woman. The following is my write up - based on the four Ps of marketing.

Product: Analyze what we are trying to sell - obviously the answer is "ourselves" but then what parts of ourselves are we willing to commoditize - looks, money, emotional support, personality, sense of humor, knowledge etc.

Placement: Where do we want to market ourselves - what's the area of product placement - pubs, clubs, online matchmaking sites, university classrooms, internet chatrooms.

Promotion: How are we going to promote ourselves? What will appeal to the women? Dress well, compliment her, use market research (find out from her friends what she likes and why she broke up with her exes), innovative ad placement (paint her name on a hoarding outside her house), provide good customer support (find out periodically what she needs in you) etc.

Pricing: Aha! Unlike business, here you don't have fixed transaction units - so define what you are willing to sell and what she can pay you with and do the trade offs. Things which you would associate a price with - time, energy, effort, sleep, actual money and doing homework for her; and the transaction units you can expect in return - good conversations, sex, companionship, emotional support, social show piece.

P.S. These points do not reflect my personal view in anyway - or do they :)

I am starting afresh

It's time to chill
I just put my sweat shirt in the washer and that means winter has officially arrived. However, I love the San Diego winter - you don't need more than a sweat shirt. Similarly, I love the San Diego summer - you just have to take off the sweat shirt you were wearing in winter. Just thinking about my undergraduate days scares me. For those unaware - I did my undergrads in a desert with sweltering summers and freezing winters. The seasonal dichotomy always plagued us - in summer we thought winter was better since one could cover themselves in a deluge of clothes but then winter made us feel - "aha, at least in summer you can just wear a T shirt, how bad can it be?". To make matters more interesting the university had solar heaters - which I feel was a highly amusing innovation for the climate we had. The most chilling days of winter were the ones without sunshine - implying freezing water while the hot summer days would often greet us with burning water from the taps.

While on seasons - it's raining now in SD (it rains for appx three days a year here) and I am loving it. The monsoons have something very soothing abt them - the patter of the rain creates an amazing visual and auditory effect. Add to that the sound of the wind, minutes before the rain, and it's all so poetic. I remember that in school rainy days used to be great fun since very few people would come and the teachers would do all sorts of exciting things to keep us happy. That, however, changed since most students who missed out on the fun wanted to be a part of it and started braving the downpours. So, with time, we always had enuff people to hold proper classes.

"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world." - John Le Carre.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Review No. 2
Saw my second movie for the weekend - Team America. For those who haven't heard abt the movie - it's a puppet movie from the creators of South Park. The whole puppet thing looked cool and was quite amusing but the movie lacked the stupidity I expected from it as a whole. There were, however, some really cool moments - including the highly talked about love making scene between two puppets (the scene is in news coz the movie was initially given an NC-17 rating before it curtailed the elaborate three minute scene to 45 seconds of innovative sexuality). The puppets experimented with several position and all I can say was this was one affair that couldn't say "no strings attached". The other highlight of the movie was the whole puppet movement, which was purposely kept old school to bring out an amazing feel. More ltr!

House of rabbits
There are way too many people in my house right now - the rabbits have to be stopped from recreation/procreation! Rakesh is back from NYC and boy am I glad? The guy can talk on a bunch of issues and above all is a movie enthusiast and that means hola time.

On a separate note, Haimanti just suggested coming out with audio cds for Bengali children's literature classics (Abol Tabol, Feluda's etc) and I think that's an amazing idea - specially targetting the NRIs who would love to keep their Indian-ness alive by making sure their children get their staple diet of Bengaliana. Something tells me that they must have already done it - otherwise some ambitious VC should invest in this proposition.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

It's time for my personal definition of a few things or shall I call it evening whims.

Shit: It's all crap.
Love: A verb that makes the noun weak.
Vagueness: The feelin of being full of nothing.

A picture at last
They say a picture says a thousand words - so let this be a mammoth post then. I just spent a most wonderful afternoon and evening at the San Diego Air Show. After a loooong time I enjoyed myself this much. Given below is the first image that I am putting up on my blog and it's that of a heart they made using the jet emission. Really awesome:

A personal post - G strings attached
For the third time in three days I received a lecture on G - the first person felt that I still loved her dearly while the third one felt I was being spiteful. Ahem! Contradictions, confusion and commotion! Reminds me of an incident I narrated to Vipul last night:

One of my dear friends (let's say X) was without a job for a year. In that duration X was not bothered at all and quite enjoyed his literal joblessness. However, the sympathy of people around him and their continuous reassurances made him feel guilty that he wasn't feeling bad and to please everyone else he started feeling bad - making everyone happy but himself sad.

Now the same thing is happening to me. People around me keep telling me different ways in which I should forget G - something I believe I've already done (or at least convinced myself so). However, just because I mention G, people feel that I am miserable and offer their sympathy. Like X, even I should start feeling bad just to make others feel good.

"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it's what you are expected to give -- which is everything." - Anonymous.

The bad poet - said go do it
I'm still thinking abt last night's movie. One of the central characters in the film writes lousy poems to express himself but does it with complete seriousness and conviction (there's a scene where he writes a poem for a rock - saying "You rock Mr. Rock"). Reminds me of a short film two girls made for the film class last qtr where they played meaningless rants in the background but didn't reveal that to the people and it took all of us a while before we figured out that they were purposely playing crap. I figured it's a human tendency to give some amount of credit to anything that confuses us and that's a nice thing (no wonder they say if you can't convince then confuse).

Well, all this made me search for "bad poetry" on Google, only to figure out that there are tonsa people who collect it. The best (or is it worst?) set that I found in the little reading I did was this page. It's actually quite an interesting read.

The movie review!
Ah! Just came back after watching I Heart Huckabees. I really liked the movie but then I also agree that the movie is one of the strangest movies I have seen in a while. The movie is abt these "Existential Detectives" who help people discover the reason of all things philo and is brilliantly written. Mr. Sircar, my teacher in school (who is largely responsible for whatever little I know abt theatre) used to say that if you are making something really preachy, take some time out to poke fun at yourself coz then the audience knows that you know how they are feeling. This movie epitomizes this concept. I have never seen a more intellectually stimulating movie that pokes fun at intellectuals. On the flip side, the movie is a little confusing (specially if you wonder where it is going) but the wit, stellar star cast and writing more than makes up for it. My pick of the lot was Jason Schwartzman (even Jude Law was great), who almost looks unrecognizable since the last time I saw him in Slackers. Bottomline - if you like strange stuff - this is really strange but enjoyable fodder for thought.

Friday, October 15, 2004

I have lost my mind so many times ...
... that now it knows its way back home

Overheard this conversation in the bus (yeah yeah eavesdropping is bad but it is difficult to not listen when people are loud) where this cute girl (yeah yeah leching is bad but is difficult to miss her when she is that cute) was telling her friend that one of her pet peeves is the sound of people rubbing their ears. No comments on that coz I have no idea if rubbing ones ear makes a sound but here are some sounds that irk me most:

1. The standard "anything sharp against a black board".

2. The alarm clock sound that instead of going the loud crrrrrrrrrrrrinngggg does a periodic ringing (people who have used small alarm clocks no what I am talking abt). On the issue of alarm clocks, my neighbor in my undergrad hostel had a voice alarm clock that was extremely well mannered - it would say "Wake up please, it's six o' clock, wake up please ...". It was very effective coz if the guy dint wake up soon enuff I would wake up and wake him up.

3. People reading in a hush hush tone - I have no problems if people are reading/singing/talking aloud but when you almost hear a murmur - there's something very disturbing abt it.

4. My sis has a nasal tone for the first ten minutes after she wakes up - according to her, she takes time to adjust her voice (I feel that's BS). It's a combination of a kiddish tone and a shrieking tone that simply creates an annoying tone. To be fair, a lot of people have told me that my "agitated whining tone" is very annoying as well - my sincere apologies to those who have heard it.

Morning Musings
Well, as part of my morning read, I scanned through a bunch of news sites and the most amusing read was a collection of memorable Oscar Wilde quotes found here. Wilde is probably one of the most quoted men from literature (Bernard Shaw is obviously a close competitor and Shakespeare is classic). I remember that in my high school days we had a set of quizzing rules - (i) if it's a smart quote and you don't know who made it, say Oscar Wilde; (ii) when in doubt abt any question say Benjamin Franklin (we actually answered something using this one); (iii) if it's a Bonik quiz (ah! I don't even wanna get started on Bonik) say Vietnam for anything you don't know and (iv) if the question has anything to do with painting and artists and you are baffled, Salvador Dali is the way to go.

That aside - the weekend has started and I want to mix work and play for this one - on the work front I have to solve some practice problems and get some coding done while on the "play part" my agenda is to watch at least 2 of these three movies - I Heart Huckabees, Team America and Bride and Prejudice. Lesse!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Lesson
A conversation from the Financial Investment Strategies class:

prof: All we'll study about is pricing a commodity for a given risk. Risk; that's the key term. Why do we have financial risk?

bright student: Err! Well, the market doesn't exactly behave the way it is supposed ...

prof: I see where you are going - I am searching for something more basic.

bright student no.2: Well, shares are often overpriced and we have the risk of ...

prof: Once again, I am searching for something more basic and general. What is the cause of financial risk?

(Now there is a collage of answers that start pouring from all corners of the class - bankruptcy, dot com, fraud, high production cost, bad management)

prof: You guys are all right but I was searching for something more basic - we have financial risk for one simple reason - because shit happens!

Yeah sure
TOI (who else) has this article covering an Indian web site that is supposed to be a matchmaking service for dogs (yup! the market was ripe for this venture it seems). This is the URL of the site, according to TOI, and well - I visited it! Now the funny thing is that I think the guy who designed the site ripped it from some existing matchmaking site without realizing that things are different with the canine group. Check out the search section where the age limit starts from 18 - now I don't know much abt dogs but I do know that if a dog is 18 - it doesn't exactly have marriage in its mind. The other interesting thing is that even TOI claims the service is specially targeted for Indian dogs, if you check the drop down of available countries - the one country that's missing is - India!

Wow! Or shall I say Bow wow!

Never underestimate an idiot ...
... he is part of the majority.

Fast cars and a lot more
This is kind of an old news but I spent a good amount of time on it yesterday and thought of mentioning it. Sometime back BMW had this really novel idea of promoting their cars using short films made by some pretty big names (John Woo, Guy Ritchie, Ang Lee ...). The films act as very good free entertainment (they last an average of 8-10 mins) and can be found here.

P.S. My personal favorite is Guy Ritchie's Star, which showcases Ritchie's trademark cockiness and shows that a car sequence need not be limited to a chase.

:) ?
I have nothing funny to say ... but the gracious can still laugh ...

When the compromise is better than good enuff
Had this talk abt arranged marriages with a friend yesterday. Now the system has many flaws - you don't have any idea of what you are getting into; the two people might be totally different; the parcel might be very different from the packaging etc. etc. etc. However, it seems to still work brilliantly in India, even with modernization on the roll. My guess was that in arranged marriages, given the setup, both parties expect the worst to start with. We assume that everything will be messed up. So whatever happens pleases us and we are psychologically willing to adjust a lot more to make things work. Yeah! It's a compromise of sorts - but it works pretty well - right?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Take a moment out of your busy schedule to think ...
... but while you are thinking someone will just do it. React!

How cool will it be?
I have this idea of making an amazing suspense thriller where this smart talking arrogant SOB of a detective traces clues to unravel the mother of all murder mysteries. The story will boil down to three of the main suspects in a final showdown with the detective in a room where he discusses each one's motive and alibi. The music in the background reaches a fascinating peak and the detective says - "Well, too be very honest, I have no freaking clue as to which one of you is the culprit. Good job fellas - you got me!"

The latest issue of TIME lists and rates some celebrity blogs and this one was rated very highly - even though it's a farce. The person claims to be Tarantino and is surprisingly dedicated in his role of the master director. The blog is actually very interesting+funny+informative. So much so that according to TIME the original Tarantino's publicist actually approves of this one. Nice!

A bit of bitterness
Am I one of the only few who still enjoys and appreciates sarcasm, if mixed with a dose of wit and humor? We have a tendency of typecasting the sardonic ones as arrogant but they are often the ones who manage to convey the point best. In my opinion "there is nothing bitter about being caustic". Good sarcasm should be such that had you not been in the receiving end you would have surely enjoyed the situation.

All this coz I've started to quite enjoy the Dennis Miller Show and though I don't support Miller's highly extremist stand on several issues, one can't deny that the guy is pretty darn witty. The best thing abt Miller is his verbose approach to humor, which almost makes you believe that he is being profound even if you don't get the jokes.

Well, But yes - "wit" is the key word - sarcasm without wit is reduced to the rants of a dithering imbecile. Take my downstair neighbor (yet another Indian techie). The guy drops by every now and then to shout at Subs and Sid, claiming that they are making a noise. Now I know Subs and Sid and the reason others don't is coz they are so quiet that people don't even hear them. The two barely walk and almost never talk - so the allegations are ludicrous. Back to sarcasm - Mr. Neighbor pays us his monthly visit and this time I open the door.

"Are you guys dancing in your room coz I have to use ear plugs."

No, the funniest thing abt this sentence wasn't the accent in which he said it but the fact that he thought he was funny and waited for a good thirty seconds, bathing in self glory, to see a mark of servitude on my face. Thankfully, the room in question was empty at that time and I had to graciously invite him to come and help me find the "invisible dancers"; an offer he declined and left. Blah!

Home Bred
I was reading abt the whole Eminem and Michael Jackson spat and shall now present my very own lame MJ joke:

Reporter: MJ, MJ, your face looks different. What is it?
MJ: Who nose!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

It is MAHALAYA today, marking the start of DURGA PUJO and this is the time of the year when I miss Kolkata the most; a yearning that can't be explained unless you've been in Kolkata during this time. Millions of people from every stratum of the society join the festive spirit, hit the roads, and paint the city with their smiles, enthusiasm, new clothes and fervor. People forget their woes and enter an enjoyment that is so infectious that it is bound to make you a part of it. I am not trying to be flowery et al. - this is the fact and if you've been in Kolkata during DURGA Pujo you know what I am talking abt.

This is going to be a long post - coz there is a phenomenal amount of zest and excitement in my mind right now, even though I am thousands of miles away from home. To start with if you are from Kolkata definitely visit the following links (MAHALAYA, gallery, collection). Aaah! It's so difficult to be away from the city at this time of the year. So many images come to mind, so many people come to mind - here are some of them and definitely in no particular order:

1. Cap Guns: I have no idea if people from other parts of India know what I am talking abt. These are small toy guns that have special rolls of "ammunition" that make a little pop sound on firing. The entire children population of the city can be seen (at least it could be when I last attended a DURGA Pujo) with these guns which build a phenomenal amount of camaraderie. I remember my parents used to allocate X number of rolls for me every day and one of the major excitement for me was to coax them to make the number X as large as possible.

2. Ramesh Pal: DURGA Pujo sees the entire Pal clan of Kumartuli in action. Almost every sculptor you hear of is a Pal. However, if any one sculptor reached the dizzying heights of fame - it had to be Ramesh Pal. I've heard my mother, grandmother, uncles, aunts etc. rave abt him ever since I was a kid and visiting the three images that he sculpted (Park Circus, College Square and Ekdalia Evergreen) used to be a major agenda for the Pujas.

3. Maddox Square: If I have to mention a single place that provides a good look into the spirit of DURGA Pujo, it's gonna be Maddox Square - thousands of people in a small park, jostling for a place to sit, the food stalls, the vendors and exquisitely dressed multitudes. Just thinking abt being there in the evening with my friends makes me nostalgic - you are bound to meet at least 5 long lost friends, you are bound to have at least one helping of "phuchka and batata puri" and you can't escape scouting for chairs for a while in order to sit. If I had to take a friend of mine, who hasn’t seen DURGA Pujo in Kolkata, to any one place and say - "see this is what I crib missing" - it prbbly will be Maddox Square.

4. New Clothes: We are supposed to wear new clothes during the Pujas. For me and my sister it used to be a major competitive issue to determine who got the better deal from family and friends - being a guy I normally won in quantity (yes a shirt and a trouser were counted separately and not as a set). Pummy on the other hand wore something new every day (sometimes every outing of the day) but being a guy I had to re-use my trousers - so we were both winners at the end of the day and that's what DURGA Pujo is all abt.

5. Lighting: A major excitement during DURGA Pujo is the story telling through lighting that various Pujas adopt. Every year the revelers are gifted with a collage of events and happening from across the year in luminous form. My guess is that this year they will witness a fair amount of the Olympic Games, cricket as always and definitely some politics too!

I miss Kolkata - a lot.

... and I learn something more
Well, well - they say it's never too late to learn! Someone pointed it out to me that most people wear their name badges on the left side of their chest (I know that I do that). The reason behind this stems largely from the fact that most of us are right handed and find it easier to put the tag on the left side. However, we also shake hands with our right hand and while doing so we forward the right side of our body towards the person being greeted. Thus, apparently the "socially correct" way of putting name tags is to put put them on the right side of the chest - point taken!

Truly crappy
Apologies galore for bringing up something so full of sh!t early in the morning but I found this piece of info thoroughly amusing. Pummy's univ has a toilet allocated for each dept that is locked under normal conditions (nothing strange). To visit the house of crap one has to go to the dept. office and get the keys (nothing strange). On entering the toilet the user is supposed to lock it from inside (still nothing strange) and then lock it back and return the keys on finishing whatever sh!t they had to do with it (and still the protocol looks fine). Now the amusing part - apparently the toilet is huge inside (multi cubicled) and not a single-user space as one would have expected. However, given the lock and key protocol described above, there is no way that more than one person can visit it at once. Also, it's not the case that the toilet was built earlier and the rule enforced now - the whole building and dept was launched recently. All this made Pummy conjecture that the best way to use this facility is to have a "picnic protocol"; where a group of friends decide on a common time to go ... I shall spare the detail - but I found the whole protocol thoroughly amusing :)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Is this common?
I saw this Indian lady in a saree this eveing with sneakers on. Now, though I was amused by this strange combination, something tells me I have seen this before but am just not sure abt it. Is this a common thing? Incidentally, I also saw a guy in the univ dressed in a kilt; but somehow the former sight still bemuse/amuse(s) me more.

I and I-in-stein
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein.

"I imagine that someday I will be knowledgeable." - author of this blog.

Dummies Guide to dealing with a Telemarketer
Me: Hello!
TM: Hello! May I speak to Mr. Nandy?
Me: Yup, that's me (and as soon as I said that I realized I had made the mistake).
TM: Sir, this is Raaaaaaj (the most accented version of the name I've ever heard) and I am calling from blah blah communication with the best deal in calling cards to India blah blah ...
Me(without changing my voice): I'm sorry, all calling card decisions are taken by my husband - he is not at home right now.
TM (shocked): whaaat?
Me: Ya! Bye.

My amusement for the day!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Anger Management
I believe she is angry with me and somehow that pleases me coz there is something very "us" in this whole anger thing. Reminds me of a line from the otherwise forgettable Woody Allen movie, Anything Else - "... there was something compelling about your apathy" :)

Another Yogi Berra classic
"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

Original + something = something non original
The latest song to excite me is a number called Sun Suniyo from the upcoming ensemble thriller Musafir. Now the media claims and the previews confirm that the film is a re-hash of Scorcese's U-Turn (a movie that I loved). Now the interesting thing is that the original spent 2 mins dealing the character of the gangster Sean Penn was running away from while in the Hindi version, Sanjay Dutt playing the character of the gangster is probably the most important character in the flick. This makes me think of some amusing modifications they've made when ripping English films in Hindi:

1. Deewangee (copied from Primal Fear and Cape fear): The movie is originally lifted from the Gere+Norton thriller but consumes the original plot by half time (actually the shocking finale of the original "is the half time" of the latter). In order to stretch the movie to three hrs the makers then resort to using Cape Fear for the second half and the end result is a total hoch poch.

2. Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin ("inspired" by Analyze this). Now the original just dealt with a bickering De Niro and Billy Crystal. The Hindi re-hash introduces two additional key characters - the psychologist's (Amitabh) sister (Aishwarya) and her lover (Ajay Devgan) and introduces a love triangle between the lovers and Sanjay Dutt.

3. Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai (My Best Friend's Wedding): Had to end with my favorite one. In this one they change the sexes of the characters. I had to stretch my imagination to its limit to imagine Uday Chopra as the scheming but sweet Julia Roberts (Jimmy Shergil was Cameron Diaz, if that makes you feel any better). Also the ending is the opposite of the original.

Other movies come to mind that made amusing changes to their originals - Mujhse Shaadi Karogey (Anger Management), Aan (Untouchables) etc. - but have written enuff to bore ppl and myself for now.

A quote that kinda scared me:

"I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one." - Mark Twain.

A Review at last
Aha! I finally saw a movie after loooooooong time (read 12 days) and it dint quite matter to me how the movie was gonna be as long as they had something playing on a big screen. After toying between the two critically scathed Shark Tale and Taxi, I finally settled for the latter; my hope being that Jimmy Fallon wouldn't disappoint me thoroughly. The movie was plain mediocre but ended better than it started. All in all a taxi ride that I dint quite mind coz I "had" to go somewhere and even though ride wasn't the smoothest it was short enuff to sit through.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The man who made my books thicker
If you have some time, read this interesting article on Isaac Newton that appeared on NY Times. Newton has been one of my biggest scientific idols (Feynman is another). What amazes me abt Newton is that seldom has a man contributed to so many diverse disciplines - can you imagine someone almost launching a branch of Mathematics as a supplementary research? Moreover, I like people who have an aura around them leading to amusing anecdotes and Newton fits that bill to the T. Just a few days back I was having a discussion with a friend who claimed that Newton had things easy coz a lot wasn't discovered in his time. I vehemently opposed his view coz I strongly feel that even now there is so much that's not there - you just need a visionary to see it. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes - "A genius is one who shoots at something no one else can see, and hits it" - how true.

Weekend starts
Well, I have pretty much nothing to talk about - just got done with a paper deadline last evening and that added a fair amount of drama - we had to make some typing changes 15 minutes before the deadline of 5 pm Pacific Time. So as the UCSD clock chimed (or gonged) its way to 5 we pressed the submit button for the paper - seriously, it was that dramatic. Sadly, the UCSD clock was off synch with the conference clock and they refused to accept the paper. However, my darling advisors took up the case with the concerned people and the situation was resolved - and you thought we PhD students don't hang in on the line - huh!

I missed another Friday night movie; this time for a whole bunch of reasons that I shall not bore ppl with - so I landed up renting one of the obscure editions of the National Lampoon's series (Dorm Daze) on Digital Cable - the movie was abt a series of mistaken identities and could have bee much more enjoyable had it not been so confusing.

Also had this argument (I shall call it a rational discourse) with Dipu on why I felt that success in engineering was not as well defined as other fields - an event I shall spare ppl from knowing and getting bored about. All in all - I can sense a boring weekend ahead - but that's OK - lesse.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Rude, crude ... prude
A small coversation I had with an almost (met once before) unknown lady in the mall.

Lady (suddenly angrily): Don't mind, all men are di@ks.
Me: But you are the one behaving like a pu@sy.

(she smiled) ...

Two quick things
1. Forgot to put up the link to the post that I was terming as jobless (two posts below) - that's been corrected now.

2. The results from the Social Experiment from yesterday (sadly not all the visiotrs participated):

Sagnik 16
Testing 10
Antara 22
Avinash 12
shameek 22
Vikram 12.25
chitra 23
s 25
Mr. V 25
Chaitanya 21
Arijit 15
girija 19
Shubhra 18
Dipu 3
siddhartha 21
pummy 22

Well, looks like Chitra won! Interestingly, the more you warn people abt not using 25 - the more tempted they get :) Incidentally, 22 was the most popular answer. That's it for now.

On bathtubs and shampoo
Trust my li'll sis, Pummy, to wish me on Bathtub Day - celebrated on the 7th of October. Now some of you reading this must be feeling bad abt missing out on all the fun and action. So for those depressed ones - happy days are here to come with Electricity Day coming up on the 19th of this month and Shampoo Day following on October 20th - the party's just started. For a complete list of similar celebrations this month - check out this site ...

If you wanna see what ppl do when they are jobless - check this out. Now the interesting thing is that I was talking abt this with my knowledgeable apt mate, Subu, and he tells me that the gentleman's claim is probably valid - nevertheless, a thorough example of being jobless.

P.S. How jobless is a guy who reads this article and blogs about it?

Musings after a day's work
We spoke again - definitely the last time - till we speak again :)

The reason I stayed away from thoughtful poetry - no rhyme in reason.

Starting lines from a small spoof on revenge dramas I jotted down recently - I plan to make a short video film with this if I continue to get bored - "They ate his food, wore his clothes and killed his dog. They would have killed his family too - but they were dead three months before he was born ...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Badly needed a diversion from my work - so I decided to conduct this social experiment (more of a game) that I learnt a year back and found quite interesting. I figured that around 25-35 people visit this blog every day. So here is the game - go to this small page I made and enter your name (or any key to identify you in case you want anonymity) and a number between 1-25. The entry with the highest "unique" number wins (caution: most people think that nobody will give 25 coz it's obvious and give it themselves and fall for the trap). Lesse who wins. I shall put up the winning key and number tomorrow at noon!

Enuff of a diversion - lets get back to work!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Funny how
... you hear so many people say - "I've lost my mind"; BUT have you ever heard anyone say - "I've found someone's mind"? ... hmmm

Comic relief
I am neck deep in work right now - then why am I blogging? Coz I've been working like a crazy dog for the past 2 hrs and need some relaxation. So I tried to find out something abt my childhood love (as a matter of fact I still love it) - Archie comics. My class teacher in standard five, the amazing Mr. Baretto, used to say that "No child should grow up without reading Archies" - how true. Incidentally, Mr. Baretto also claimed that the easiest way to destroy one's command over English is to read Chacha Chowdhury (which I read too). Yanways, check out this site that I found. The site has a fairly decent collection of Archie strips online - and is my latest source of online relaxation.

P.S. My favorite Archie trivia (coz it has been asked in tons of quizzes) is - what is Mr. Weatherbee's first name?

Anil "Jumbo" Kumble claimed his 400th test wicket yesterday. Kudos to the guy, who I admire largely for the attitude and dedication he has shown towards the game. He also achieved this distinction in the third least number of tests (after Muralitharan and Hadlee). However, a small thought - many sources have started giving statistics stating Kapil Dev took 115 tests to acieve the same landmark and being a huge fan of the Haryana legend, I wanna defend him. Kumble's biggest aid was Kapil's biggest limitation - that both played most of their matches on Indian soil - well known for its lack of anything for seamers and an absolute delight for any spinner. Reminds me of this statement Sobers (I think) made abt Gavaskar, stating that the Little Master's runs had more value since he never got to face the Indian bowling attack.

Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai
Had to use the Hindi heading, with the assumption that most people reading this blog understand Hindi - if not, my limited translation skills say it should be "It's My Friend's Wedding". Incidentally, this was the name of the Indian re-hash of My Best Friend's Wedding, starring my then crush Tulip Joshi (aka Sanjana).

Digressing. Ronny Dam is in love with his tennis partner. I wish the couple an exciting romantic endeavor. My take on the relationship - it started with "court"ship galore and "love all", with Ronny bringing in the "balls" for the affair. (Punning itself is bad and that too quoted puns - yikes !)

P.S. The use of "love" in context to tennis reminds me of a school time trivia - the term, used for zero, is a distortion of the French word l'oeuf, meaning egg.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Games people play
An origial line I used in a conversation today: "Four"play is one better than a menage a trois.

The PhD-Elevator hypothesis
I was waiting outside the 4th floor elevator of my building when I figured out that a PhD has some inherent similarities with the elevator's functioning. Every time I press the down button of the elevator I start thinking that it might be better to just take the steps. Normally 30 secs pass by before I convince myself that it indeed would be wiser to actually walk down and just when I'm about to start walking I tell myself "well, now that I've already waited this long - the elevator is probably here" - so I wait a little more - sometimes I am right and the welcoming door opens pronto while at times I wait and rebuke myself for not walking down earlier - but yes - I pretty much always take the elevator.

Now imagine the PhD (at least a CS grad PhD) process - they make you do coursework and take qualifiers et al - a process that takes almost 2 years. So you think aha - I am pretty much on track. Then after a year you question whether the whole process is worth it - is it? Some arrive at a negative answer after a few months and decide that the pursuit for knowledge has to be given a break. BUT, by then you've already spent three and a half years - so you think - "ah! I have already spent so much time - maybe I'll get my PhD in another a year". So you wait and at times you are right while other times the elevator of knowledge makes you wait even longer but by then you've waited so long that you might as well justify the wait by actually taking the elevator - so once again - you pretty much always finish your PhD.

Quick link!
A quick post before I scoot for my 8 o' clock class :(. Check out this link - they are making He-Man again and this time with John Woo at the helm of matters - wow, I still can't imagine that (imagine He-Man does a Mission Impossible too). However, if there is one cartoon show that mesmerized me as a kid, it had to be this one - my sis had a He Man figure and I owned Man-At-Arms but then I also owned He-Man's car and Pummy had to actually loose fights to Man-At-Arms to get a ride:) Sweet!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Step by step
People tell me to take one step at a time on the route to success - I am quietly waiting; hoping to hitchhike.

Cool marriage
One of my professors is also a visiting professor at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad (he is an American gentleman). He was telling us today how he got married in a village in Rajasthan. The interesting thing was that apparently he spent just around $500 and still had over 1000 people attending the wedding, including all the local honchos. Talk abt value for money. I have decided - if nothing else works out, I shall go back to India and organize marriages for foreign tourists - they can choose from the yellow dunes of Rajasthan to the lush greens of Kerela, or even the jostling Kolkata trams - you name it and I shall provide it. Please spread the word around :)

You should do this
Well, my class is making me do a lot of reading on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. Normally many of these things (like E-mode's IQ test) are quite farcical in nature and I don't quite believe much in them but this test is really impressive (or so I believe). The test basically helps you understand what your personality is and enables you to choose better careers and deal with things better on a professional level. For those of you who have 5-10 minutes to spare, try out the test and the analysis out here.

On a personal note I am an ENTP and the analysis suggests that some of the careers I should (have) opt for are the following. People who know me well enuf know how I have dreamt of being quite a few of these things (some of these dreams still exist). That's what makes the test impressive. However, an ENTP also gets bored of doing the same thing - which explains my oft changing goals. Bottom line - you should try the test.

P.S. In case you do take the test after reading this, consider the test is even better - coz one of the career options for me is a motivational speaker :)

Love is ...
... blind they say. I think they get the picture wrong. True love makes you so fulfilled that you don't feel the need to see anything/anyone else.

You know that I am bathing in whims and have my mind occupied when I make up crappy philosophies like the above mentioned :)

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Today was a standard grad student day for me - work, work, lunch, work, work. However, a lot of it was fairly mechanical work (like gathering data and plotting graphs). Brings to mind this quotation from an unknown source:

Give me a productive error over a boring, mundane and unproductive fact any day.

I don't know whether I'll agree to this right now. With an impending deadline hanging over my head I'd rather have mundane things that consume time but guarantee results on my platter than fascinating open ended problems - and the fact that I am actually saying this makes me wonder - what have I become ????

Rarely have I been this hard working - and still there seems to be so much work left. That means I shall only blog later in the day after I get all my pending work done (or so I think). Shall post a related profound line for now:

Procrastinate now what you can procrastinate later. Ltr.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

You know you are ...
... not thinking right when you take out the packet of sugar, put it next to your cereal bowl and get completely confused as to what you are doing; then wait for a while and put the sugar packet back in the microwave !!!

Reality Check
I started the day with a fairly lively discussion on childhood aspirations. I was probably four when my dad returned from US with a whole bunch of toy guns for me. This led to a frenzy of sorts where my good friend Jojo and I decided to become gangsters. However, this was also the time when one of my dad's friends owned a bus service and gifted me and Jojo a set of crisp bus tickets. The two of us were thus plagued with equally strong desires of being a bus conductor. At one point we combined the dreams and decided to be bus conductors who would also rob the passengers. We spent a considerable amount of time over the weekends - robbing Jojo's father (who was the only other participant in this game) and also selling him bus tickets. Ah! Good old days. The whole incident makes me feel like doing a reality check to see how close I am to any of my other childhood ambitions:

1. Rickshaw puller - See it to know what I am talking about. As a lanky kid I admired the fact that the rickshaw pullers had amazing muscles and always wanted to join the community as an option to later be well built - hmm!

2. Police Inspector - I was talking to Jeanne some time back on what the most common childhood fantasy of children in the US is and she mentioned it is probably to be astronauts - well in India it has to be joining the police force and moi was no exception.

3. Cricketer - actually on second thoughts I think every Indian kid wants to be a cricketer as well. Thankfully for me I figured out pretty soon that my chances of being a rickshaw puller were brighter than being a cricketer and this ambition was given a back seat.

4. Superhero - I wanted to be a superhero but was aware of the fact that I don’t have superhero abilities. So I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out a way to get around this limitation. I came to the conclusion that I'll carry lots of body powder that I'll release to create a temporary distraction and since I would be wearing glasses, I could just disappear then. It was a perfect plan till the prototype made the floors of my house slippery; causing my mom ample stress and that was the end of Powderman.

Well, it's not difficult to see that these dreams haven't been realized. They obviously appear childish but what scares me is the thought of me sitting twenty years down the line and jotting down my current dreams and arriving at similar conclusions about them - hmmmmm!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Is it so?
A line from Uma's phone message: It doesn't matter where the light is - there is always going to be a shadow and you can't hide from it.

My afterthought: Is that reason why I choose to stay in complete darkness every once in a while?

Bowled and not so beautiful
I was chatting with Samit when I figured out that I hadn't put up this highly amusing conversation I recently had with a newly formed acquaintance. I have, however, personally narrated this incident to quite a few readers of this blog and I doubt if the otherwise hysterical event has any repeat value:

Venue: Bowling Alley, me bowling and acquaintance (say X) staying away from joining us.

X: Can I "bowel" for you?
Me (starting to smile): You sure can try, but I think it's gonna be quite physically impossible.
X (equally serious): No, I will just "bowel" once for u.
Me (now cracking up): Even then.
X: What?
Me: No, no, sure.

A Techie's Plight
A friend I hadn't spoken to in a while asked me what I do. Considering I spend most of the day typing, I told him that "I make money using my finger tips". What was supposed to be a lame attempt at humor made me realize that it might just be the case - I haven't used my thinking abilities to its fullest in a fairly long time - either I am not being challenged enough or maybe I am just "intellectually challenged" :(

In case you understand Hindi, just listen to the song "Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera" from Ahsutosh Gowariker's much awaited Swades. The song can be found here. It has been beautifully composed and sung by A. R. Rehman (who sounds very different in this song because he underplays his voice). Also the lyrics by Javed Akhtar are dripping brilliance, specially if you are staying away from home. Melody returns!

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