Monday, December 31, 2007

a new beginning

i'm very bad at making and keeping resolutions. unfortunately for me, i lose sight of my goals too easily. this year, i'm gonna bombard myself with my resolutions to the point where i don't even need to consciously think about them. and i've left out things that are too hard to achieve :D

so here's my list:

  • wake up before 8am on weekdays.

  • maintain a personal diary.

  • exercise for 1 hour on atleast 12 days a month.

  • walk for an average of atleast 30 minutes every day, minimum 20 minutes every day.

  • save atleast 60% of my salary every month, till i either buy a car or a house.

  • don't drink on more than 2 occasions in a month.

6 resolutions. 3 about health, 2 about money, 1 about discipline, 1 about self analysis. pretty balanced...i hope.

now i have to make sure i follow them...i'll start by waking up before 8. wish me luck :)

oh and i almost forgot, a very happy new year to y'all!!! may 2008 be a year of great dreams, great opportunities and great successes for all of us :)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

the year that was...2007!

this year is in it's last 24 hours. i guess it's time to look back and do a little introspection.

things that happened to me in 2007, in no particular order:

i got my first job.

i lived away from home for the first time, and for 6 months at that.

i made my best friend so far.

i witnessed how truly uplifting friendship can be.

i became financially independent.

i postgraduated.

i learned to cope with the break-up of my most serious relationship till date.

i started reading blogs.

i started blogging.

i lost my health, in ways that it can somehow never be regained.

i started supporting my family financially.

i invested.

i paid tax.

i budgeted.

i tracked my expenses.

i learned that i'm stronger-hearted than i think i am.

i learned that i'm weaker-willed than i hoped i'll be.

i learned to not give up completely, even when everything's bleak.

i learned to trust people with my innermost secrets.

i rediscovered the child in me.

i rediscovered god.

i cried with sorrow.

i cried with joy.

i cried with empathy.

i realised that there's no perfect life.

i realised the depth of emotion that everyone around me has.

i realised how carefully designed and delicately balanced my body is.

i realised how easy it was to upset that balance.

i learned to trust in god no matter what.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

programmed buying

i'm not much of a shopper. i plan, deliberate, save, plan some more, sleep at home for a few months, and finally duck in to a shop and come out 30 seconds later with whatever i wanted to buy. and that's for the (un?)lucky few things that i actually ended up buying.

that's right. no shopaholicky rush for me, no feeling of accomplishment for me. just a feeling of "ah less thing to buy now" :D

it was the same when it came to buying a new phone. more than a year ago i decided i wanted a new phone. i started asking people. comparing features. comparing reviews. looking at my bank balance and future bank balance.

told people that i'm gonna buy a phone "sometime soon".

told people that i'm gonna buy a phone "after my first salary".

told people that i'm gonna buy a phone "after i finish paying off people i borrowed money from".

told people that i'm gonna buy a phone "after i save up enough of money to buy a good model".

told people that i'm gonna buy a phone "after it releases in india".

told people that i'm gonna buy a phone "anytime after my uncle comes back from singapore just in case he buys it first".

my uncle returned from singapore. i put off asking him for a week.

i went to the mall yesterday for like the 10th time this year, to check out the phones on sale. that guy probably recognized me from the entrance.

my dream phone was finally on sale. it looked as good as the websites said it would. it had all the features the websites said it would. it was my dream phone, all right. i had enough money in my account to buy it. but somehow, i looked at it and said...naah. not this one.

before i went to sleep last night i told myself i'm buying a new phone tomorrow, come hail or high water (ok, maybe not high water :P)

i wanted to wake up at 9, leave by 10, check out the phones available near the shopping complex near home, check out a few other electronics shopping complexes spread over the city, finally make a decision and go and buy it.

i made a mental list of probable phones. i told people the contents of that list and asked them what they thought. added phones on their suggestions. removed phones on their advice. i coordinated what time i would be where, so that i would some friend or the other for company at all of the potential destinations.

i woke up at 2pm instead of 9am. had a leisurely lunch.

i told my mom i was leaving to buy a phone.

i sat down to check my mail. i thought i should check out the prices of phones before i leave (part of the "informed buying" process :D). decided ebay india was the best place to look. i entered 3 of the 5 phones without finding any results. decided to broaden my search.

a phone caught my eye. i had seen it before (there are very few phones i haven't seen or been quoted for, with all my months of window shopping :P)

the price was good.

i hit bid before i even verified the features (i sometimes trust my memory more than i should :P)

there were 16 minutes to go before the auction ended.

i had lost my ebay account.

i called my friend who regularly buys stuff off ebay. thrice on his cellphone, and once on his home phone. he didn't answer.

i used "forgot username" to get my username.

i unsuccessfully tried "forgot password" to get my password.

i unsuccessfully tried signing up for a new account.

i finally succeeded in creating a new account.

i hit bid. with (to quote ebay) "under 20 seconds left".

5 seconds later, i won the auction.

10 seconds later i actually scrolled down to make sure it really was the phone i thought it was. thankfully, my memory served me right this time.

i now am the proud owner of a xda zinc.

i'm still half dressed. the phone i brought was never on my list.

i still can't believe i've actually brought a phone on the spur of the moment after over a year of planning. i guess i will believe it when i hold my new phone for the first time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

sphincter extraction

i hate people who randomly pull figures out of their ass, usually with little or no logical explanation. my name for it is "sphincter extraction" - and looking at how often i come across these smelly numbers, it seems like people seem to love doing it as much as i hate hearing about it, if not more.

for example, today, i read/dugg an article on yahoo news that claims that accidental use of "reply all" cost the us economy USD 650 billion (that's almost 5% of its GDP, btw).

some time ago i read that changing the background of google's home page to black would save the world thousands of kilowatt-hours worth of electricity in a year.

in either case, the numbers are entirely meaningless because nothing is concretely defined.

what is the definition of "accidental" use of reply all? how do you define cost of receiving such a mail? don't we have to also factor in the potential loss of productivity caused by not getting an important message because you weren't included in the conversation?

for the black google thing, it's even stranger when you consider that an lcd screen actually uses *MORE* electricity to display black than to display white, while a crt one uses less. if lcds outnumber crts (which i'm jolly well sure they do), black google would actually use *MORE* electricity. and even if they did save a million lightbulbs worth of electricity, it would be less than what my block uses in a year. wonder where they got their "377,753.418 watt hours saved" line from.

maybe i should calculate how much money was lost due to sphincter-extraction-based reports. now that would be a nice number to pull out of my ass.

bad luck and strangers

ever wondered how bad your day needs to be before random strangers have pity and try helping you?

i found out for myself a couple of weeks ago.

i occasionally travel home from work by bus, typically on days when i've got something interesting to read and nothing better to do once i get home - just like on that tuesday.

it was a lesser-than-usually-packed bus, and i stood at my favourite spot, the one which, from experience, has the greatest chances of getting me a seat and the least amount of pushing-and-being-pushed-around involved. there were only two guys standing nearby, both obviously having the same set of 5 seats as i had in mind. the people sitting on those 5 seats looked fairly typical, and i had every reason to expect a few of them to get up anytime in the next 10-15 minutes.

a couple of them did. unfortunately, the ones who got up were nearer to the guys who were standing in 'my zone'.

oh-kay. not the end of the world. i held on to my spot, moving closer to the seats where no one had got up from yet. in the meantime, more people got onto the bus, and some of them (intentionally or un-) stood in the places previously occupied by the now-sitting guys. no problem. i figured i had a better chance of getting a seat now, so no bother.

i guess i sometimes fail to sense the difference between probability and certainty. those new guys got their seats before i did. more people moved into their places.

i shifted around a bit to accommodate the new probabilities in my mental model of who's likely to get up next.

probability let me down again.

so what. only 20 minutes over, i have 45 minutes left. more people should be getting up anytime now.

i was right. more people did get up.

i was wrong. the people who got up weren't the ones who were supposed to. and that was after taking into account the fares on people's tickets (it's a long distance ride, so i can predict how long people are gonna sit from the colour-coded fares on the tickets :D)

finally, about 20 minutes before i would reach home, there were only 4 passengers standing in the bus. 3 of them didn't want to sit.

the 4th person was me.

i guess that's when i hit the threshold. the conductor walked the length of the bus, called out my attention, and *pointed out* the seat at which someone was going to get up at the next stop.

that's right, the conductor actually told me something to the effect of "that person is getting off at the next stop. please stand there before someone else beats you to it."

wonder why i felt relieved, considering that i was the unluckiest guy on that bus.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

the days of our lives

i love my dad's lp collection. it contains the stuff i grew up on before i was old enough to start swapping audio tapes and then cds with college friends. it's probably the one 15" by 15" box that contains more memories than any other part of the world put together (except possibly for the almost-crate of photo albums my dad has clicked over the years...he was *very* shutter happy :))

right now, i'm listening to engelbert humperdinck's melodious voice crooning "love me with all of your heart". it's like i'm 5 years old all over again :)

sometimes, it feels like i was a kid in the 60's, a teenager in the 80's, and my life so far is 50 years of music squeezed into 24 years of living it

--- kris, 25th december, 2007

merry christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

search queries that return my blog

one of the great things about using feedburner (and now, google analytics) is that i can see where my traffic comes from. most of it is from predictable places (my orkut profile, my notes on facebook etc), but a decent amount come from google searches (surprisingly, i've not seen any references from searches on any other engines). some of my pages are (or have been) even the first result for some searches.

in a not so-very-rare-fit-of-narcissism, i've made a small list:

kris orkut (top two pages...woo hoo!!!)

embarrass yourself on stage (yeah, very surprising!!! my post isn't even about it!)

special olympics siteswap

olympics synchronous siteswap

kris ban orkut

cellphone virus aaj tak

hamrrage (yeah, it's a typo :P)

other notable also-rans:

cellphone virus do not answer (used to be on top till f-secure beat it! still second, so not too bad anyway :))

thackeray sena ban orkut
(1st page result)

sena ban orkut (again, 1st page result, but slightly lower)

oh and btw you can also misspell kristopher noronha in google and have it offer to correct you...w00t!!! :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

private memories

my online life documents my real-world life quite closely, and for the past few months, a big part of it has been covered by my blog. of late, though, i've been deleting a significant (but not exactly large) number of posts, on the sole grounds that they contained stuff that is too personal to out online.

i hate deleting stuff (yeah, gmail was definitely designed for me), and so that got me thinking. as of an hour ago, i think i've arrived at a solution:

i need to keep a personal diary.

anyway, i'm still trying to decide whether to keep it online (i.e. a password protected blog), or maintain it like a more traditional book.

hopefully, it won't be too long before i write my first diary entry in 3 years.

ps: post on personal blogs vs diaries coming up. it's been typed and saved on my cell for months now, and i'm simply too lazy to transfer and proofread it. maybe in a few days.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

the facebook revolution

i signed up at facebook on 9th of july this year, after a lot of coaxing from a few friends.

i remember using the "friend finder" the moment i signed up, and sent out invites to all my gmail contacts who were in facebook's database.

24 hours later, i had 55 facebook friends, vs around 400 orkut friends.

5 months later (today), i have 181 facebook friends, vs 442 orkut friends.

i randomly felt like clicking on the "friend finder" again today. to my surprise, 110 of my gmail contacts were on facebook, and i didn't even know it! strangely, 43 of those people were entirely unfamiliar, to the extent that i don't even know how they ended up in my gmail contacts. still, that leaves 67.

since i personally know all of those 67, i think i can safely assume they'll accept my friendship request. in other words, i should be at 248 friends sometime in the near future.

it took me 2 years to find that many friends on orkut.

i may be wrong, but social networks seem to be evolving to a point where it's just a mater of a few clicks before all your friends from another social network are added to this one.

this feels like the economic concept of perfect competition. social networks are already gaining inspiration from each other and becoming roughly homogeneous, and they're now gaining members (customers?) too. the only assumption left to be fulfilled is "perfect intelligence." :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

bend and break

i've been typing an average of over 1 post per day over the past 3 days. i have not posted even one of them. that's because i've not been feeling like posting for the past 3 days. as much as i don't want such a thing to happen, i don't want to do something i don't enjoy.

i think i need a break.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

shop till the guy (almost) drops

disclaimer 1: opinions expressed here are solely mine. opinions that i claim to apply to a specific group of people (e.g. guys), are based on my perception of that group, which is usually warped (yeah, even about guys :P)

disclaimer 2: some parts of this post are true in spirit, but *all* of it is true in letter. strange but true.

spoiler: the most interesting part of this post is at the end. if you know me well enough, or if you're a regular reader and have more intelligence than the average plant then you should know that already. if you're a plant and you're reading this then i'd love to meet you and shake :D

guys are widely known, for mostly justified reasons, to hate (or atleast dislike) shopping, especially with or for a girl. the endless number of jokes on this subject have already served to ram the point very clearly into the thick of every girl's brain. as a result, guys are rarely taken out shopping by girls, unless the thing being shopped for is for the guy concerned. this has led to a situation where girls (including some i know) actually prefer shopping alone to taking a guy along. i think that's a really sad thing, because i feel guys should be taken shopping by girls. if they're not, they'll never know what they're missing. and they're missing a lot. oh and by "going shopping" i don't mean sitting in the car in the parking lot while the girl shops alone. that definitely doesn't count.

so anyway, yesterday was the last day my best friend marj had to spend in mumbai before she leaves the country never to return (atleast, not for the next couple of years), so we decided to meet up for lunch. and since she's got a real packed schedule, she asked if i didn't mind accompanying her while she purchased a "couple" of things. i obviously didn't mind (best friend + leaving for good + last meeting + ***couple of things*** = pretty convincing).

lunch was awesome, and both of us were pleasantly full (me a little more pleasant than marj, but that was thanks to the long island ice tea being better for my temperament than the fruit juice or whatever that was, was for hers) when we decided to hit hill road at bandra, the mecca of shopping in mumbai. for women, atleast.

now i'm not the sort of guy to dismiss doing something just because it doesn't seem like a guy thing to do (short of cross-dressing and other freaky stuff), so i decided to be as participative in the shopping process as i could (and in some cases, as participative as i was allowed to outside the lingerie shop). hence, i gave a lot of opinions, suggestions, and most of all, pointed out the most arbit stuff to her, the way that a kid points out everything edible to her mom in the hope that one of the things bing pointed at will somehow fit her mom's fancy and get purchased.

and i offered to carry her bags.

it was quite a bit of fun, really, flitting about from shop to shop, seeing a lot of outfits/shoes/junk jewelery on the way, some really hot/cute and some downright atrocious.

still, the bags were growing heaver by the minute, and from some point i was carrying about 5 big bags, each of which contained smaller bags of each individual purchase. a few hours later and "we" were still shopping. at that point, something happened that made up for the lack of the funny element of the entire evening:

a shopkeeper (excellent salesman that he was...) called out to me and said the rough equivalent of
you have brought so many things, now buy something for the girl.
i guess he's never gone shopping with a girl before. if he did, he would have definitely known that it's impossible for a guy to purchase 5 bags of stuff and yet have the girl purchase anything under 10 bags of stuff. it's just the way life is.

anyway, i thought i had it bad when i came across a guy flanked by two women...and about five loaded bags in *each* hand. as he passed me, i overheard him say:
you've already emptied my wallet, so why are we walking around now???
i guess he's never gone shopping with a girl before either. if he did, he would have known the answer - "because we're still shopping!!!"

oh and at the end of the 4 hour shop-a-thon, i forgot to buy the one thing i wanted (or rather, needed). i guess i'll just tell my mom and ask her to get it for me. and then not accompany her to the shop.

work and religion

today, i realised i can effectively sum up my attitude to work with this one statement:
if work is worship, then i'm an atheist.

---kris, circa 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the hillarity of latency (or why timing is everything)

a couple of days ago, i was running late to work. what made it even worse was that i had a meeting scheduled right at the start of my day, and i was pretty sure i'll miss the start of it. as part of my mental preparation to entering a meeting late, i asked my friend sneha (who was also attending), to text me the moment the meeting started.

i reached 15 minutes late. unfortunately for me, i didn't receive any message either. either way, the meeting went off fine (hopefully i haven't messed up my manager's opinion of me too much :D), and sneha and i went back to our desks.

it so happened that we both had to meet someone that day, and he hadn't reached work yet. sneha and i decided we'll go meet him together when he arrives.

2 hours later.
(actual sms conversation follows)
s: He hs cm jst nw.
k: You can im me na..if ur feeling rich you can better spend the money by buying me lunch...unless you have free sms just like me :) anyway..we'll meet him now
30 seconds later.
(sneha calls me)
s: you okay?
k: ya...i'm coming there...let's go.
a minute later.
(i walk over to sneha's desk)
k: let's go meet him.
s: who *are* you trying to meet!!!
(5 minutes of discussion follow, till we finally realise exactly what happened)

sometimes, timing is everything.

ps: a vital but implied piece of info is missing from the story. let's see who can figure it out - other than sneha, of course :P

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

a haunting deep breath

of late, i've been listening to songs by muse over and over again. i feel a very strange attraction toward their songs, and that's despite me being unable to understand a lot of their lyrics, and their music being considerably heavier than my usual tastes. i just keep hitting "back" after each of their songs is nearing its' end, so much so that there have been days when i've only listened to one album of muse and nothing else, simply because it takes me an hour to bring myself to get my player out of repeat and to move to the next track.

today, while listening to new born (my favourite, and the first muse song that i ever heard, way back in 2001), i suddenly realised why. it was very startling when i realised it, but so obvious when i hit back and listened to that and muse's other tracks.

the lead singer (Matthew Bellamy) breathes in audibly.

i'm serious. he does. it sounds something like a reverse gasp, and it's before virtually every line of most songs, sometimes more noticeable than others, but almost always present.

get your hands (or rather, ears) on "new born". it will haunt you.

ask eraser - tada??? nada!!!

i was pleasantly surprised today to find that two people who's blogs i subscribe to posted about the same thing, just 25 minutes apart. ladies and gentlemen, i now present: seth godin and rahul batra.

the topic in question: askEraser. it's apparently's response to internet users' demand for a good search engine that doesn't search and mine their search history. wonder how well it'll work.

rahul's post is (quite typical of his style) short and sweet, while seth's post offers some interesting insights as to why privacy isn't all that important to the average internet user too.

anyway, as far as i'm concerned, i'm sticking with google. if data mining my personal communication was that big a deal, i'd have never used google products. looking at the way i use the internet, it seems to me that i've been trying to feed google as much data as i can about myself, so that one fine day they know exactly what i want before i can think of it. and yes, it wouldn't surprise me either :D

Friday, December 07, 2007

the birth of a new media monopoly

a few years ago, seth godin wrote an article about copyright, the internet and the media industry. i ended up reading it today when he wrote about how right he turned to be about the future of the media industry.

a few things about his article beg highlighting:
  • the media industry, unlike most other industries, thrives off monopolies.

  • a big part of their monopolies hinged on their monopoly of the distribution media.

  • the internet has virtually ended their monopoly.

  • they're trying to tackle this 'problem' by putting the genie back in the bottle, i.e. enforcing copyright laws.

  • there's no way they can succeed at putting the genie into the bottle...atleast, not for good.

  • the history of the media industry has proven that free media has always proven to be a boon, if used correctly. it was true with radio, it was true with tv, and now if used correctly it can be true with the internet too.

  • media companies and moguls are trying to solve the problem by throwing more lawyers at it.

  • media companies could get a better solution by letting go of the crumbling monopoly over distribution, and instead embrace the internet to create a new monopoly: a monopoly over knowledge. specifically, knowledge about potential customers

  • knowledge could be used to virtually eliminate their marketing costs, or atleast the majority of it. it could be used to give artists a feel of what the audience wants, rather than the traditional approach of making media and then finding the audience for it.
seth also describes a way for media companies to embrace the internet and *still* make money. over to him.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

we didn't burst the bubble!!!

no, we didn't. i swear.

guaranteed to get you rotfl whether you are or know a software engineer or have positively anything to do with technology or the web or (insert lots and lots of e-buzzwords here :D)

Exercise in speed-blind-texting

what do i do when i've decided to go to work by bus, and the bus takes so long that i'm super late, bored, and still only halfway to work?

Arbit stuff.

Today's arbit timepass: how fast and how much i can type on my cell without looking at the screen (and making as few mistakes as possible).

That's right, i've been texting/mailing/blogging from my cell so much over the part few months that i can type without looking at the screen, that too with the t9 dictionary on my cell on. Very useful when sitting in boring/sleep inducing training sessions and occasionally meetings at work.

I just hope no one from my office reads this :P

i just realised i also know the locations of the symbols i use for smileys too. Yayyy!

Current count for this post: 9 looks at the screen, 3 of which resulted in corrections.

Ps: proofreading resulted in just 7 more corrections. Double yayyy!

Monday, December 03, 2007

oh my god...she's...what!!!!


i don't know where's the fine line between spoiling the plot and whetting the audience's appetite as far as hindi movies are concerned. my hindi translation skills also suck.

i went for a hindi movie with marj yesterday (i.e. a few hours ago). dhan dhana dhan goal.

we were a couple of hours early for the show, and the hall was surprisingly empty, so we landed ourselves stall tickets to the second-from-last row. when the movie started, there was exactly one group sitting between us and the screen: this one family of three.

one middle aged looking dad, one probably middle aged but hottie mom (she had nice hair decent figure :P), and one pink-clothed, hyperactive, giggling, 5-odd year old bundle of energy who passed off as a girl.

we got in just as the trailers ended. stood for the national anthem. movie started.

movie started off good. set in london. nice theme (by my standards, a gang of asian small timers who are suddenly forced to make it big on the football club scene to earn the prize money to save the precious but dilapidated club that's the only place they can play on, is pretty good a theme for a hindi movie). plus there's john abraham (for my friend to drool over) and bipasha basu (for me to ogle at) ;).

oh, i haven't got around to potentially spoiling the plot yet. so here goes:

scene (using characters' screen names, except that i'm "kris" and my friend is "marj" and...uhhh...forget it):

shaan: (in bed. under covers.)
shaan: (puts arm around wife jenny in sleep. ends up catching thin air.)
shaan: (half wakes up and searches for jenny in bed.)
shaan: (wakes up and sits in bed.)
marj: "he's wearing red pants!"
kris: "it's ok, he's in bed. i've worn worse."
shaan: (looks around for wife. sees bathroom door open.)
shaan: (walks into bathroom. jenny's sitting there sobbing.)
kris: "she's wearing pink pants. even better!"
marj: "shut up!"
shaan: "what happened!"
pink-clothed, hyperactive, giggling, 5-year old girl sitting in front of me: "i'm pregnant!"
marj and kris: (stunned silence.)
(5 seconds later)
jenny: "i'm pregnant!"

i just loved that movie.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

my vacation in tweets

i've been twittering a lot from my cell the past few days, mainly because gprs has been my only contact with the outside world while i was on vacation (excluding the occasional phone call :D)

an insight into my week long vacation. my posts' inspirations mixed with lot of random other things. every tweet other than the first and last one typed on my cell :)

11:37 AM November 24about to leave for mangalore...finally!!! also just discovered that my mom didn't know i had been drinking last night till i told her :P
01:02 PM November 24There's never a dull moment when travelling with family. Like, my granddad called fat people MBBS:members of big bottom society :D
02:40 PM November 24Train started moving half an hour for a 1186 km long journey...and 19 hours of continuous movement
05:38 PM November 24Had a good afternoon nap in the train...will now get back to reading asimov...the weather's getting cooler too...awesome!
10:15 PM November 24Had a lazy evening in the train...stood at the door and enjoyed the breeze, going to sleep early because everyone wants the lights out.
10:18 PM November 24Network sucks big time and my cellphone's battery is about to die...looks like no more twitter till i reach mangalore :(
11:36 AM November 25Train reached mangalore an hour ago...and i'm now at aunt olga's quiet, neat and homely's nice!
01:06 PM November 25Reading on my cell, noticed that a lot of my subscriptions are to video/photo blogs...guess i'll have a huge backlog this week.
01:51 PM November 25Had an awesome lunch...chicken biryani and fish curry and fried fish...whoopee!!! Now the only thing left is my siesta :)
02:48 PM November 25My first *full length* blog post that went straight from my cell to my blog. Blogger's doing it's job, and well!
03:48 PM November 25Gotta get ready in time for mass - apparently the church's quite a distance from my aunt's place.
05:29 PM November 25At the chapel, almost half an hour early for a's such an idyllic place...oh and mass is open air, with a small chapel nearby :)
07:23 PM November 25Exploring the area around the chapel while my parents and aunt chitchat :D
08:24 PM November 25The buses in mangalore are amazing...some have disco lights, some have disco music, some, like the one i got, have both!
09:10 PM November 25Going out for dinner...seafood is supposed to be mangalore's speciality...lets hope the food is as good as the menu :P
10:22 PM November 25Whoa...that was one awesome dinner...fried king prawn and pomfret curry...seafood heaven!
11:34 PM November 25Had a lovely about to tuck myself into bed...or maybe listen to some music or play worms world party on my cell first :)
01:50 AM November 26Fell asleep listening to "hey there delilah" and missing daf...woke up in time to watch my cell switch itself off :P
07:28 AM November 26Woke up at 7:30am without an alarm, which is super early by my standards - this holiday is doing me a lot of good!
08:13 AM November 26Apparently the new orkut doesn't display scraps in anyone's scrapbook when viewed on my crappy!!!
10:33 AM November 262 hour breakfast...1 hour shower and that feels like a holiday!
11:43 AM November 26On my way to the beach...and hopefully a fun bus ride before i get there too :)
12:59 PM November 26Buses are nice and windows, just metal rods to the ceiling. Strangest of all, there are no tickets...just a dirt cheap flat fare
02:06 PM November 26Beach was lovely, but not safe to bathe in :( had a nice long walk, a couple of shades of tan...and some nice shells :)
02:42 PM November 26Parents didn't want to hang out at the beach too much cos there was too little we're on our way back now :)
03:35 PM November 26Time for a nap...zzz!!!
08:51 PM November 26Went to search for sultan's battery, a medieval watchtower that's located nearby. Unfortunately i didn't find it before sunset :(
10:13 PM November 26Another sumptuous dinner...i must weigh myself when i get back...i'm sure it will be more than i expect :P
11:31 PM November 26Blogged, chatted with my aunt about today and random going to have a nice cold shower and hopefully a good night's sleep :)
09:59 AM November 27Woke (or rather, was woken) at 9, to a treat of fresh dosas and green chutney...a typical south indian breakfast :)
11:10 AM November 27On my way to st. aloysius college...supposed to have a centuries-old chapel with amazing murals :)
12:12 PM November 27The chapel was awesome-every inch of its insides were covered with breathtaking stop, mangalore's museum :)
01:10 PM November 27Got lost on the way from the chapel to the museum...the bus passed my aunt's place, so i got off there instead :P
04:06 PM November 27Feeling sleepy post-lunch...but we've got better things to do! Let's see how i drag my mom and bro to go river rafting :)
06:26 PM November 27Went canoeing, but couldn't convince mom to powerboat :( Also caught sultan's battery *before* sunset this time :D
10:38 PM November 27Treated my folks to dinner...first subway, then pizza hut...they enjoyed the subway, but i enjoyed the pizza more :P
09:56 AM November 28Woke up late...but got ready in record time...or rather, i tried...but 30 minutes is pretty good by my standards :)
11:35 AM November 28My folks and i visited my mom's 87 year old godmother and her was so nice, and they're so sweet and cultured...charming, really!
12:38 PM November 28Now visiting my grandmom's cousin, it's amazing to hear tales of my grandparents in their sweet!
01:41 PM November 28Back at my aunt's home, hot & tired. Blogging about my day...let's see how far i get before lunch or sleep get the better of me :)
07:09 PM November 28Lunch and sleep *did* get the better of me...but i woke up and hit send on what's been my longest mobile post so far :D
07:53 PM November 28scrolled through my posts, today's was 24 pages on my phone screen, while the longest of my past 20 posts is just 14...whoa!
10:16 PM November 28Awesome dinner cooked by my aunt and her cook...and we had fr ronnie noronha for company too...3 noronha families at one table :)
12:17 AM November 29Had an hour long walk-cum-chat with my bro...exchanged thoughts and philosophy, got lost and found our way...nice!
02:27 AM November 29Having nice long bedtime chat with bro about humour, sarcasm and arbit stuff...this is why i love my family!!!
02:27 AM November 29Having nice long bedtime chat with bro about humour, sarcasm and arbit stuff...this is why i love my family!!!
02:58 AM November 29Midnight snack time! Bro and i managed to steal quite a bounty from aunt's fridge...wonder what she'll think when she wakes up :P
10:19 AM November 29Was woken up at 9, because everyone else was almost ready to leave. Managed to delay them for an hour before i was ready :P
11:55 AM November 29The museum was just about ok...bit of a disappointment, really...could have been better maintained :(
01:07 PM November 29On the beach...almost! Folks were feeling hungry so we stopped at a roadside cafe to have our picnic lunch first :)
04:19 PM November 29Had a relaxed day at the beach...unfortunately the sea wasn't safe here either, so spent the day basking in the sun :)
05:08 PM November 29Done exploring, now in the bus on our way home :)
11:24 PM November 29About to tuck into bed...i had something to blog about but can't remember it now :(
01:30 AM November 30Wrote and submitted super long blog post that hit the limit of my phone's text editor - 28 cellphone screens...wheee!!!
09:37 AM November 30Woke up at 9 as usual, but this time because my aunt whose place we're staying at was leaving for work. Ciao, aunt Olga!
12:25 PM November 30About to leave aunt olga's place for the railway station...the end of a lovely 6 day vacation :)
02:53 PM November 30The train's started moving...i've almost finished "robot visions" by asimov. Goodbye, mangalore!
05:51 PM November 30Sat at the door with my bro and chatted about art and this year's christmas crib...will now switch to the more comfy seats :)
08:20 PM November 30Out of one state...and into another! If the train's on time, there's 13 hours to go before i'm home :)
09:21 PM November 30Sandwiches and fruit for dinner...feels like a picnic, except that i'm about to go to sleep in the train :D
10:01 AM December 01back home at last...feels so nice to be at my comp after ages...and yeah, the spiders enjoyed a week long vacation inside my pc too!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Travel in mangalore (or why superman can't walk)

Mangalore's been very different from the few other places i've been to so far. Some of these differences are rather mundane, while others are definitely esoteric. 5 days of intermittent travel for sightseeing is way too little to form an expert opinion (and i'm possibly wrong on a few counts too), but here's what i've noticed:

  • there are almost no traffic signals. The exact number i've arrived at is 2, but by city standards 2 could very well be 0 with no major impact :P

  • there are no traffic cops. Instead, there are men who look like a cross between cowboys in khaki and 18th century sepoys in the east india co's army. They stand on the road, apparently doing nothing.

  • the one time i saw a traffic cowboy do something was when a newspaper delivery man rode a scooter head-first into him. He exacted a fine of: 1 newspaper.

  • all roads lead to state bank. That's right, every single bus that i've been in either passes through or terminates at that mysterious junction. I haven't spotted the only thing that could possibly have given that place it's name yet. There is a rather largish state bank signboard nearby, but the thing below it looks like an sbi atm, quite like every other sbi atm that you'll find.

  • sbi atms are apparently placed within a 100 metre radius of every bus stop in the main city area. I've heard there's plans to put them in 100 metres of every bus stop, period.

  • buses stop everywhere, including at places that are not supposed to be bus stops. Quite interesting when read in conjunction with the above observation.

  • buses do not have windows. They have metal rods that hold up the ceiling. They also have tarp sheets that can be rolled down to give the illusion of closing the non-existent windows. Unfortunately there's one sheet for each side of the bus. If it's raining and you want to get wet (like i usually do), you'll either have to find a bus full of like minded people or take a hike.

  • buses have one or two conductors.

  • Conductors take money, but do not necessarily give tickets. Tickets look like they have half a lottery number on them and nothing else.

  • no matter how far you want to go, the bus ticket costs between 3 and 7 bucks.

  • bus tickets cost a random amount of money that depends on how many people are traveling in a group. There were 5 of us traveling today, but the ticket cost 26 bucks. The conductor handed us 3 slips of paper with different colours. I was too busy finding out what i had won to ask further questions.

  • buses also have announcers, whose job is to shout out a random list of words at each halt of the bus (and that includes traffic jams, the aforementioned 2 signals, pedestrian crossings etc.) some of those words resemble places (notably state bank), while others are words that apparently do not stand for any particularly place (eg. 'bega' which according to my mom's rudimentary knowledge of kannada, means 'come').

  • The typical announcement sounds like "xyz abc pqr bega bega bega abc state bank xyz"

  • announcers and conductors occasionally swap roles midway through the journey.

  • random male passengers become announcers at random points of time. Apparently the only criteria are that you should be able to whistle, say state bank and bega. Multiple announcers are welcome, especially if they say different things at different speeds but the same volume.

  • conductors, and occasionally announcers, communicate with the driver by whistling.

  • There are 4 kinds of whistle, one for stop (blown continuously as long as the bus should remain stopped), one for start, one for "go faster" (reserved for neck-to-neck races between 2 buses on a two lane highway with hairpin bends every 10 metres), and one that roughly means "stop the bus and stare at the hottie that i just spotted". All intelligent male passengers (myself included) have also learned to decode whistle signals primarily to separate the 4th signal from the remaining 3 ;)

  • buses do not have brake indicators on the rear, but they usually have them regularly spaced out along the inside. I can't read kannada, but i'm pretty sure they either read "say your prayers" or "up up and away"

  • it's probably one of the best kept secrets on earth - superman was paralysed when 15 xxxxl south indian hotties didn't heed the brake light following the "hottie alert" whistle and landed on his lap. Tch tch.

  • all buses have speakers at the rear, and many blast alien (or possibly kannada) music. some also have disco lights for the complete experience.

  • the brakes are wired to the disco lights and *not* the other way round.

  • rickshaw meters show the exact fare. That's right, no fare cards or clumsy multiplication. You pay whatever's the number on the meter. Dunno how they cope with rate changes, but that's not my problem :D

  • rickshaws come in all shapes and sizes, but they only seat 3 passengers. There are regular-shaped ones that are pretty much the same as mumbai rickshaws, there are the aero-undynamic ones that are flat in front for that little extra air resistance, there are even malformed ones that have a crookedly mounted front wheel and a very curvy rear that resembles that of one of superman's hotties. They manage to move in a straight line, in a definite thumbs-down to principles of conventional physics.

All said and done, mangalore has a surprisingly well run (and it's privately run at that!!!) bus system that can cheaply take you within 100 metres of any sbi atm of your choice from state bank.

Bega bega!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An afternoon of warm memories

today was the fourth day of my vacation in mangalore, and thanks to my oversleeping, our plans of visiting a few not-so-nearby temples and arbitrary places of tourist interest had to be junked. So it was back to planning whatever was left of our day. Thankfully my aunt hadn't left for work yet, so she and my mom were chatting away while my dad was busy poring over his trusty tourist guide (that's a typical scene at any of my family vacations, btw). That's when my mom realised that her godmother, who she hasn't met since her wedding 25 years ago, is still alive and in mangalore. Apparently that clinched the schedule for my mom. In the course of the discussion, my mom also discovered that another of my grandmom's cousins, of the few surviving ones, is also in mangalore. So we decided to go visiting today.

First stop: my mom's godmother's home. There was no direct bus, so we had to take two. We took the stairs to her first floor apartment.

Entering her home was like taking a single step that landed me into another era. It was a step from the somewhat-stuffy perspex walled staircase to an airy but cosy home with polished wood furniture and lace curtained windows. And my great-godmother! Aunt Norrah was all silvery haired and quite fragile looking (as expected), but as we sat down to chat and her spinster sister Aunt Patty poured us apple juice, i realised that they were anything but senile. They had such keen memories and such sparkling wit, that even my parents failed to catch some of their finer witticisms. We exchanged pleasantries, and then moved on to more interesting things like what all her kids are upto, and how her son was miraculously cured of a life threatening condition and went on to live a few more years despite all doctors' hopelessness at his condition. Then there was her recovery from very severe arthritis, during which she was practically disabled for over a year. And thanks to which she now is fine with almost no health problems, at her ripe old age of 87.

She then moved on to things like her late husband's love of gardening and his incredible rose garden that had no less than 127 varieties of roses, the 4 generations of dogs that they bred, their pet cat that was one of her dog's best friend, and so many other interesting things about her life. Surprisingly, she remembered a lot about my parents last visit, 25 years ago. We located a couple of her sons who live not very far away from us in mumbai. There were also a few photos, from the one taken at her sister's wedding (she has 7 sisters, the youngest of whom is the one who lives with her), to her cat, to the different houses she's lived in - she's lived in 4 cities during her long life.

We clicked a few photos too, for memories sake, and exchanged phone numbers, advance christmas wishes, and prayers for each others' continuing good health and happiness.

We then went on to visit my grandmom's other cousin, this time in an old-age home not very far away. After a bus ride and a longish walk in the sun with a girl from a nearby convent who showed us the way, we reached the home. We waited in the parlour while my grandaunt Hilda, who's again all of 87 years, made her way there unaided from her first floor room.

As expected, she was all silver haired and fragile, a little thinner than aunt norrah, but sprightly and active nonetheless. Aunt Hilda is my grandmom Jessie's cousin, and so there were so many tales of their youth, my great-granddad's job in rangoon (yeah, that's what she called it) my granddad's voice (he was an amazing singer), her memories of my mom's brothers, sisters and cousins, and lots of other things. Apparently the last time she was in bombay was in 1968 - and she even remembered why she went there.

We asked her about how she spends her time, and she told us that she felt that home was the perfect place to spend the evening of her life, and how she enjoys the company and the prayer, and the fact that they're very well taken care of.

Enjoying though we were, we decided to cut short our visit as it was her lunchtime (although she insisted it was okay, and even inquired about our lunch arrangements). She mildly protested our request to click a couple of photos (i don't know why old people always claim they don't look good - to me, they're invariably more beautiful and pleasant than most), but then agreed. Once again, we said our goodbyes and stepped out, taking the place's address so that we could mail her some photos of the rest of the family, and a letter once in a while.

I stepped out of the old age home feeling like my day has already been made. It felt so lovely to be in such sweet company, and especially to see such old relatives in good health and at their charming best. They reminded me of my grandmom, and by extension, of my childhood and the amazing years spent in her care. I pray i never forget these days, and that god always keep them in his care - they have nurtured so many, and have seen generations grow to be amazing persons. God bless!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A post a day...

While browsing my blog archives today, i noticed that i have posted 24 times (including this one) so far this month. Today’s the 27th, which means there’s still 3 days of november to go. If i keep up to my post-a-day rate (which i should, unless i run out of inspiration *and* am too lazy to paste in one of my ‘backlog’ posts, highly unlikely), i shall reach a projected 27 posts this month.

Not bad, i thought. Almost a post a day.

That’s when i scrolled down a little more through my archives and realised that my next highest number of posts in a month is a distant 21, then 19, followed by a very distant 13. My average (not including november) is again barely 13.

Strangest of all is the peculiarities of this month. November has been my most extreme of months in a long time. I spent the first 3 weeks of it in my grad training project, a lot of which was spent doing over 12 hours of work a day, with my average going as high as 18 hours of work in a clock day (24 in a rolling day...imagine that!!!). On the other hand, i’ve been doing nothing but party and laze around for the past week or so. I’ve not touched a pc since saturday morning either.

Contrast that with july and august, in which i posted 12 times each, even though most of each month was spent lazing around at home, and the internet as my sole occupation.

In retrospect, it all makes sense. The number of posts i churn out in a month has an almost direct correlation with how busy i am, and hence how much inspiration i am subject to.

The only puzzle is how i find the time :D

Monday, November 26, 2007

My slow internet day

I’m quite an internet user. On any given day, i always have more things to do on the internet than i have the time for.

There’s always email to read and reply to, blogs to write, read, explore and comment on, scraps to reply to, and when everything else is over, there’s facebook (i’m off messengers for now :D)

Not today. Since i woke up this morning, i have recieved exactly 2 emails, 1 scrap (and orkut’s scrapbook doesn’t even open on my cell), 2 facebook messages and no wall posts. Less than 5 updates from my twitter friends. Even worse, my google reader’s 57 odd subscribed blogs turned up barely 6 posts today. It’s almost as if the world has forgotten me :(

To top it all, i’ve got a lot of free time as i’m on vacation, and quite a few blog posts and emails (esp those with images or video) don’t open on my cell, further restricting the stuff i can do.

I don’t even know why all this is important enough to blog about. I guess i should drop the euphemistic title of "internet user" in favour of the more realistic "internet addict" and get on with it.

This post is my way of dealing with the withdrawal symptoms :P

Sunday, November 25, 2007

first impressions of a town

I’m not a very well travelled person. All of my childhood was spent in mumbai, with occasional visits to its outskirts. With college, i started travelling a little more on vacation...but thanks to my love of the sea, all of my trips have been to beachside villages. The nearest to a town i’ve been to so far has been pune...but calling pune a town is definitely stretching the meaning of the word.

So here i am, in mangalore, which from the look of it, is definitely a town.

The first thing that struck me was the lack of crowds. The train that i got off probably unloaded a 100 or so passengers, which is the kind of crowd that usually gets off a single coach in mumbai. Outside, there were rickshaws and vans, but no cabs. The bus stand was a short walk away, and was full (but not packed) with what looked like locals. Once on my way, i was struck by the evenness of the tar roads, and more than that, by the lack of traffic. The few vehicles here, mostly small cars (and occasional ambassadors, fancy that!) move sedately, despite the empty, winding roads.

The heart of the town did have all the usual chain outlets (reebok, big bazaar,etc) a few eateries, but except for a couple of classy places, most of them looked like home-run establishments. And going by the awesome food served up by my aunt’s cook, that’s the sort of food i should be looking for anyway :)

btw my folks and i did get lost on our way, but the people almost a kilometre away recognised the name of the apartment my aunt lives in, and directed us back.

So there it first taste of a small town. Looks like this is gonna be an awesome week!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

On the road...Almost!

If you’re reading this post, chances are i can successfully blog even while i’m away on’s probably not gonna be as well formatted as i’d like it to be, and i’ve got no clue (and no time to find out, thanks to some last minute packing :D ) how to put html in. So long as it works!

Btw there’s a nice way to check which post was typed on my phone and which was typed on my cell: though all posts *appear* to be in lowercase, some of them are not. Copy this post into a plaintext editor and see for yourself :)

btw one hopeful benefit of blogging from my cell is that my posts are shorter and more to the point. I’m not particularly keen on getting texter’s thumb on my here i go :D

Friday, November 23, 2007

vacation blog

i'm going on a holiday...yayyy!!!

going on a holiday means a lot of change. a break from my routine.

no work
not many phone calls (roaming isn't all that expensive, but the way i use the phone, it will be :P)
limited music (only on my mobile)
limited emailing (only on my mobile)
not much blog reading
no orkutting
no facebooking
limited twittering (only on my mobile)

biggest of blogging.

that's right...i do type out posts on my trusty cell, but i haven't figured how to post yet. which means, if i don't figure something out in the next 2 hours, my next post (after saturday morning's) will be on sunday, 2nd december. seems like forever!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


i know a lot of intelligent people. i know many hard working people. i know a few workaholics. but today, i was a witness to what i can only describe as total dedication to one's job.

imagine: after weeks of putting in 12+ hours of work daily (weekends included), followed by putting in over 16 hours of work on back to back days, your work gets rejected. not because you didn't work hard enough or smart enough, but simply because the task assigned was impossible to humanly accomplish in the given span of time. you set out thinking that nothing is impossible, wanting to reach for what others thought is impossible, but despite your best efforts the impossible remained, true to it's name, impossible.

what would you do?

first of all, i've been incapable (so far) of putting in more than 8 hours of productive work in a day. my first 6 work hours takes about clock 9 hours after figuring breaks etc. the next hours take about 6. and even in such a scenario, if i maange to put the same 15 hours of work on 2-3 consecutive days, i'm exhausted. completely burned out.

if i put in that much of effort, and do not achieve much toward my goal, i give up. i may clutch at a few straws on my way down, but down is where i'll be going. down is where i went in many such situations. thankfully, my life's given me plenty of opportunities, and i'm lucky to say that none of them have proven to be the last.

that doesn't mean i'm a quitter. i can push on doggedly when i need to, and do it against all mental and most physical odds. but regular successes, however small, are a must. i consider myself quite a self motivator, and an achiever in general. i thought my shortcomings were only human, and i'm about as skilled at my job as any other with my knowledge and experience would be. but i do quit, and i have quit. many times over in the past few days.

i changed my mind today.

at 1am, i asked my friend if he was going to leave for home anytime soon.

he said he won't.

i asked him what he would gain from working hard at this hour, since his project had already been pretty much rejected.

the answer was "nothing".

i asked him what he would lose if he went home and left the project as impossible (which i think is true, by the way).

the answer was "nothing".

i asked him why he persisted then.

the answer was: "i can't leave it half-complete, even if i'm not required to complete it."

today, i left for home feeling small. i have truly lived in the shadow of a giant. he may not succeed today, but he will soon beat the rest with his hard work, and his commitment.

all the best, mithiliesh.

super cool video

a very cool retake on harder, better, faster, stronger by daft punk - those women sure practised a lot to get it right!!! but then again, i have two and a half left feet so any non spastic dance move usually floors me. you judge for yourself. worth the bandwidth, i say :D

oh and don't forget to watch it till the end - they have a slightly shaky start, so you have to be patient :P

btw, many thanks to mac tyler for this one :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

the transition from (i don't know) to i don't care

a few days ago, i thought i lost all hope, but then i surprisingly gained some back. i wouldn't call it amazing (how amazing can anything be when you're sleep deprived, frustrated, and under extreme pressure? i assure you, not very), but it was definitely a coincidence of an interesting sort.

this time it's different. i've stopped praying for a miracle. i'm not even praying for this tough time to pass by. i'm not even resigned to the fate of my project. resignation implies some kind of sad acceptance. no. definitely not resigned.

i think i just don't care.

it's happened before, but not very often. it happens very rarely. and when it does, it does include some kind of depression. but this time, i'm making sure it's different. this time, i'm neither sad nor depressed.

i've always been the sort to hide my negative feelings behind a veil of humour or mirth. but deep down, i know that i can't hide from the feeling.

this time, it's different. i'm not even sad. i'm happy. i laugh at other people's jokes, even crack some of my own, because i really feel happy. i feel liberated.

i feel like i've conquered the ultimate fear: the fear of failure. the fear of ridicule.

now that i think of it, failure and ridicule aren't even things to be afraid of. i need them both. preferably in healthy doses, but then i don't complain when i overdose on say booze or chocolates or music, right?

i think i've lost the war, but shall win the battle.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

the transition from desperation to resignedness

something happened in the wee hours of today morning. something that hasn't happened to me for a long time before.

today, i simply gave up.

all my life, i've faced my problems always armed with a plan b. a failed plan b just meant that i had to find a plan c. eventually, something works out. it always does.

not today.

i've given it my best shot, my not-so-best shot, all the way upto my worst shot. looks like i'm out empty.

i'm in a situation where i've just decided to ignore the problem.

update: defying all my prophesies of doom, a ray of hope just appeared while typing this out. i realised someone can help me. this is probably plan z.

the transition from resignedness to desperation unexpectedly begins again. i guess this is what they call hope.

a new day

it's been a long time since i've seen the sunrise - much longer than the time since i was awake while the sun rose. it was today morning. time was ticking by while i was busy doing what i had to do. minutes stretched into hours, and the hours flew by so fast, that before long i was expecting light.

the light came. quickly, at that. i was spectator to the sky turning from inky black to indigo, to magenta, and gradually to a glorious orange, till there was the first burst of splendid light. what made the sunrise even more spectacular than usual was the fact that i was behind huge tinted glass panes, and the air was slightly unclear with the haze of a rising fog.

i watched, awestruck, from the confines of my office. two hours later, i decided i had enough and went home.

it was the longest amount of time i've spent in the office at a stretch. 22 hours. that's about 2 hours less than *double* my previous record (not considering the latter half the week that went by, of course :D)

oh and the beautiful moment had a beautiful (but unfortunately, mental) soundtrack: a new day has come, by celine dion. beautiful song, with lovely words, and with an even more beautiful video.

anyway, it's over an hour now since i got home from work, and i'm so sleepy that i've dozed off atleast four times so far while typing. oh wait. make that five. six. ahhh...i should just stop now. hopefully, i'll wake up in time to see the sunset :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the midnight grease

it's 3:45am, and i've just stepped into my home, coming directly from guess!!!

today's been a crazy day. it started off very placidly, thanks to some decent successes before i left from work the previous evening. then i had a sudden rude shock when the code that i thought would have worked perfectly and solved a big chunk of my problem, crashed an entire server instead...and the server refused to be revived till i deleted it. i kid you not.

i spent the entire day trying to figure out the problem, and finally sorted it out at 10pm. that's 12 straight hours of the programming equivalent of slamming my head into a concrete wall. the solution was so simple, and the problem so stupid that, to quote myself: "I need to invent some new expletives to express what i feel about myself".

the fact that it was pointed out to me by someone who neither understood what i was trying to do, nor saw what i had been trying all day didn't help at all.

so far so good. atleast the problem was located. then began the long, painstaking thing that i euphemistically call "fixing it".

it's not finished yet. in fact, the only thing that's finished is my capacity to think. my only consolation is that some of my friends (not my teammates though - my teammies left with me, having long since completed their assigned work) are still battling away at their keyboards. that's right, at 4am, right now as i type. god save their souls.

on the brighter side (if you can really call it that), i got to see the number of people who maintain the office at night so that we can use it without problems in the day. and that included some people who took apart part of the floor of the room i was in, redid some wiring, and then just put the floor back with no evidence left of their doings. the guy who organises the overtime drops home was pacing about the cars even though there was no one to make use of them. canteen boys were spraying fresheners or detergent (couldn't really tell, in my daze) on the cafeteria tables. as i got out of the elevator, someone carrying a 12 foot stepladder almost impaled me with it. talk about nightlife!

oh and the weather at 3am is so invigorating, that i actually reached home fresher than i left from the office. unfortunately, i have to sleep now as i have to be at my desk less than 6 hours later.

so there it is - my first "super late night/super early morning" at work. 5 hours later than my previous record.

good night. or rather, good morning!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

my 'best friend' zone

over the years, i've thought a lot about my relationships with the people around me and the way these things change over time and all other arbit related stuff. i thought i had my heart fairly well mapped out, and to be fair, it has been pretty accurate. a lot of things have changed though.

i've always found it easy to make friends, but it usually takes a lot of time for my friendships to grow really deep. over the years, i've noticed that i make best friends faster than i used to. it's probably due to a lot of factors (for example, more phone time compared to 4 years ago when i didn't have a cellphone, more freedom to travel now than when i was in school, etc).

but it isn't just about the opportunity to connect. i've realised that my friendships have been getting deeper. most of my friendships when i were in school revolved around common activities...stuff like playing together, traveling together, etc. in college, it was more about making a mental connection, and eventually (atleast to some extent) a philosophical connection. thankfully, i've managed to preserve a few of my old friendships to this day, and so i've now got some friends who i associate with very differently from others. so differently, in fact, that if they were to exchange notes about me someday, they'd probably be half in doubt that they were talking about the same person. not that i behave differently around different friends (which i do, but it's been diminishing over the years), but just that they've seen entirely different sides of me.

finally, the deepest connections i've ever made were on the frontier that was left for the very end: the emotional plane.

it may seem very strange, but it actually took me 23 years before i could make an emotional connection with someone i wasn't related by a blood relation.

i guess that's why i miss her so much more than any of my other friends i've drifted apart from.

Monday, November 12, 2007

web 2.0 and me

i've been on the net for ages (a few months over 8 years, to be precise). i've read a lot on the net too. over the last few years, i've noticed a definite shift from purely one-way informational/entertainment sites to web 2.0 style user submitted content. prime example: blogs.

web 2.0, and especially blogs seem to have changed the way i use the internet. way back in '99, when i happened to get my hands on a html e-book, i had decided to make my own site. i wonder if it was my tender young age of 15 (ok, not-so-tender :P), lack of confidence in my ability to make a point, lack of things to say, or something else (but definitely not lack of disposable time or expended effort), but that site never saw the light of day. 5 years later, i did succeed in making my personal website, this time much more polished, and still half worth sticking the url in when i want to mention my achievements.

a couple of years later, the enthusiasm died down. i guess my site was a little too high maintenance (since it was all ASP with an Access 2000 database, and i was too lazy to put up secure forms for online updates, posting new stuff was a royal pain of access 2k + zipping + uploading an ever growing database). besides, i didn't have time to put in cool new stuff like rss, and 1asphost's free hosting was barely worth any kind of serious effort. besides, the stuff that was updated regularly was super boring. you had to be clinically insane to read my old blog in it's almost obsessive-compulsive detail. i think i realised it too. also, i then discovered social networking (a.k.a orkut), and an online presence was no longer a privilege, but a right. and a real commonplace one at that.

in the meantime, orkut and gCalendar together took the pain out of remembering friends' and relatives' birthdays/anniversaries. picasa, hi5, facebook, and now orkut, have eliminated the need for a troublesome photo gallery with manually resized photos and database updates and all.

to top it all, things like twitter and google reader are now my biggest sources/outlets of net-buzz. stumbleUpon would have made it too, if it wasn't for my dependence on my handicapped mobile phone browser and crippled-by-design browsers at work/my bro's pc.

web 1.0 has almost disappeared. if it disappeared one fine day without warning, it'd probably be a while before i noticed. the only 1.0 sites i use regularly are those that give me access to web 2.0 (i.e. user-generated) content - email, readers, search (not in that order, of course).

so i guess, for me, web 2.0 makes up about 95% of my online life.

on a not-so-very-related-note, 80% of that 95% is owned by google. i guess i deserve the fanboy label :D

feverish thoughts

no, i'm not running a fever, although i'm feeling pretty sick, for completely unrelated (a.k.a. psychological) reasons.

the trigger for this post is my friend saurabh's previous one. he said something that i've always wanted to, and reading it makes me feel exactly the way he did too.

i've noticed that every time i have a fever (no, not the mild 1-degree ones - they don't count), approximately the same thoughts run through my head. apparently, they're not connected with just being unwell, because things other than fever don't prompt that reaction. there's probably a medical/psychological/physiological connection, but i don't know. so here it is, although i'm pretty sure my words won't paint a picture clear enough for anyone but me:

it happens at night. not late enough for my parents or bro to be asleep, not early enough for there to be plenty of sounds outside. i'm lying alone in bed and closing my eyes without really falling asleep...

and then comes "the feeling".

it's this feeling of emptiness and smallness and darkness, but not in a scary way. the feeling of being nowhere and almost nothing, yet the feeling of there being something inside, something that's usually hidden. it's something like a dream, though i'm fully awake. more like a day dream, or a tinge of dreaminess to the world around. i hear people i love talking to me. they're being very quiet and serious. so serious, that i don't feel like talking to them. they tell me i'm gonna be fine, and i remain quiet in response. i know i will be fine, and that this is just a fever, but i feel that even though i recover from my illness, i won't fully recover from something. that something is a very dark and cold thing, unnamed and unseen and unimagined and unthought of. it just makes me feel cold, makes me bundle myself up despite the heat inside me. something that i'm losing my life to, day by day. i feel a quiet, dark desperation.

then comes this feeling of strength. a very small strength, like a little kid trying to escape from a blanket thrown playfully over it and held firmly by a mischievous dad or elder brother. not a panicked strength, but a firm one - like when the kid realises that his dad/bro aren't gonna be fazed by his desperate cries for help and wild thrashing of his feet. when he wriggles an arm out of the blanket and then tries to use it to slip out completely. when his dad/bro realise the fun part is over and it's pointless tormenting the kid further. and then comes the letting go. the kid is free, but tired. and so am i.

i sleep - tired, but peaceful.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

a weekend away from deadlines

my job's been getting pretty hectic of late, as can be witnessed by some of the hard decisions i've been forced to make. forget work life balance, i've actually been juggling the work-sleep balance. as it stood, i had no life.

then came the diwali weekend. i was prohibited from coming to work for the next 2 days. i expected to work-from-home (my office allows me to do, no?). as it turned out, i took the third day off too. not that i had a choice - it was sunday, i got home from gorai at about 4pm, and i was hungover :D. in fact, once i got home, i slept from 4pm to 10pm, something i haven't done in ages :P

the one thing that i learned about myself this weekend, was that i just refuse to take stress out of my office. wonder how good or bad that is, considering that i have tons of things to do, and that a little bit of productive work-from-home will contribute big time to my having a bit of a life during the following week. i guess it's not too late to start now (it's not midnight yet, and i've had 12 hours of sleep today). i wonder if i actually will :)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

atheism and other related oddities

i don't know why i'm such a vehement and vocal defender of my beliefs in god's existence. i was also a defender of my religion for a long time, but i guess i've been getting lazier in that defense for years now. people who argue god's existence still get my goat though. i'm still wondering why. i've never been offended by vegetarianism, even though i love to eat meat. i've never been offended by global-warming-alarmists, although i personally believe global climate change is not a problem, but a challenge.

why this personal wish to have all and sundry to believe in god then? isn't it enough to recognise god's role in my life? do i have to offer my beliefs as one of the possible solutions to someone who's going through a personal crisis of faith?

the answer to these questions lead me to a crisis, thanks to my hodge-podge of beliefs. on one hand, my belief in the absence of absolute truth state that i am no more right than an atheist, an agnostic or whatever-have-you. on the other hand, my belief in god nudges me to help those who don't see the truth, the same way as i should help a blind person cross a busy intersection.

maybe there is an answer. maybe i should lead by example, and let people be inspired by my actions rather than my vocal beliefs. unfortunately, i know a lot of nice people who happen to be atheists.

ahhh forget it. i'll simply get on with my life. i've already tried defending god's existence once today, albeit very halfheartedly. i'll even it out by letting it slide the next time an atheist speaks up :D

patterned posting

i've been twittering a lot of late. i usually limit myself to not more than once an hour, unless something really interesting happens. still, i've never really thought much about the contents of my tweets. atleast, not till i read caroline middlebrook's blog today. that's when i realised i was posting stuff that no one (other than myself, 2 years down the line, for memories sake) would possibly want to read. it reminds me of my first blog, which wasn't exactly the same, but came pretty darn close. here's a sample of a random post in my first blog (typos et al)

Tue, 26th October 2004
Went to college. There were supposed to be CC journal submission and vivas, but vivas were cancelled and journal submission was postponed from 9AM to 4PM - talk about anticlamixes. Reached home at 8:30PM and started ripping the DVD of "Big Fish". And Kevin got a job at a DVD library, ClixFlix. Basically I have an unlimited supply of DVDs for the next month or so. At the same time, I was also working on the project - unfortunately, I couldn't finish making the Data Dictionary at 12:30AM, so I just called it quits for the day.

now for some sample tweets:

day going good...but lotsa work left to do!!!
04:56 PM November 07, 2007 from web

blogged. somehow twitter keeps finding its way into my posts these days. shall sleep now. somehow blogging keeps eating into my sleep time.
02:49 AM November 07, 2007 from web

very interesting. apparently every form of personal undirected communication i engage in starts resembling a stalker-type account of my day to day activities. if i could paste a page from my 8-year-old personal diary, it'll fit my theory too.

why am i so obsessed with my own life? do i expect others to be similarly obsessed with my life? why do i even blog/twitter? why do i publicise my blog/tweets and wait to hear from people who read it?

i wonder.

ps: don't worry, i'm not gonna stop blogging anytime soon. it took me a year and a half before i gave up on my first blog. i'm just asking myself questions and hoping for answers :D

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

filling up the jar

there's an old story about trying to fill up a jar. while the moral of that one was "no matter how packed your life is, there's always room for beer", i've been reminded of it these days since my life has suddenly gotten packed too. packed with work. i've almost reached the stage where the only thing that i'll be able to pack in is beer (just kidding - water fills up the gaps much better :P)

to be fair, i've lived a nice (i wouldn't go so far as to call it easy ;)) life for too long. i've survived years of college with just 10 days of half-serious studying before each exam, a few more years of college with just 2 hours of serious studying before each exam, and a few exams with no studying at all. i've even survived a job with what felt like about 45 minutes of productive work in a day, 6 months in a row. surely, i couldn't have gotten off with so many years of multi-slacking just like that :D

so last few days. the closest to karma that my life has ever got. 12 hour working days, 8 hour working weekends (ok, not 8 hours...but atleast i did *something*), work from home over dinner (ok ok...i shall stop joking now...but i do some work post-dinner every other night...seriously!!!). all of which has been eating into this long-untouched part of my life: my free time.

suddenly, idle entertainment time has turned into an exercise in squeezing as much of quality online/phone time as i can. suddenly, i have no time to finish books, because book time clashes with blog time, and blogs can be read on google reader on my cellphone in the dark while traveling (my apologies, ess dee - i shall return all your books very soon. as soon as i get a week to do nothing but read - that soon. :D).

there's some things i've now turned to doing out of need to save quality-office-workable time (i've done all of them before, but earlier it was more out of boredom than anything else)

  • read the newspaper in the restroom at home in the morning

  • mail while traveling/over lunch

  • twitter when i'm done blogging/mailing, so that friends who i don't have time to keep in touch with don't lose sight of me entirely (hopefully, more friends join up and add me too)

  • make personal calls over lunch

  • text in the elevator (no network in the elevator, so can't call)

  • power-nap while waiting for programs to finish loading/installing on my comp (eclipse and .net take so much time to start that i even get some quality dream time while they load :D)

  • scrap on orkut over dinner

  • facebook over dinner (only if i have any notifications in my mail)

  • blog when i should be sleeping

best of all:
do my accounts instead of playing worms world party (which i love very dearly) in the office restroom, because worms won't load unless i free some ram by closing my phone's browser, and however much i miss playing worms, i can't afford to wait for the browser to reload when i get out of the loo (ok, i admit, my phone is crappy in some ways :().

btw that was the one thing that really triggered the inspiration for this post. if i'm busy enough to prioritize anything over playing worms world party in the loo (and that too, unloading a browser!), it means i'm super-duper busy. it means i'm so busy, i'm probably busier than the proverbial guy who came first and third in a one-handed jerking off contest (oh yeah...that reminds me...uhhh...forget it ;))

i'll be off to bed now. strange as it may sound, i shall twitter while i fall asleep.

we share our mother's health

amazing song and video by the knife: we share our mother's health.

some pictures simply don't need words. i hope you don't miss the symbolism.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

the congruence of our lives

last night, i was at the home of a friend, who was missing the girl he loved dearly but with whom things refused to work out. we were listening to aerosmith's "what it takes", and both thinking about our own lives, the song and how steve tyler sang about exactly what we were feeling right then. and not just that song. the number of songs and singers who have touched me with their feelings, both when i was in and out of love, are countless. and i've had a feeling of "deja-vu" very often, when giving advice to my close friends. it's almost as if they all require the exact same things to be said, except at different times.

that's when i realised: each of our lives are almost the same. the only things that differ are the order and intensity with which things happen to us. and of course, the way in which we respond to those things.

i only wonder if the girl i miss is missing me too.

irs: i remember series

i remember...the time when my classmates at vjti realised the time we have together was slipping away fast, and the memories that we have are too precious to be lost. and thus was born the irs: the "i remember...series"

to his credit, jeetu (officially jeetendra, but it almost feels weird calling him that now) has put up a site with his contribution to the irs.

someday, i shall put up my own testament to my fondly cherished memories of vjti and its great people (and many great friends). till then, we will have to be satisfied with jeetu's "i remember...series"

ps: the rest of the irs is in my gmail inbox...but it'll not be a very nice thing to publish it online without the authors' consent :)

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