March 31, 2006


Today I tested this blog on wordpress. This is what I came out with.

The Antaean

Even though the free version pretty much sucks, without installing any plugins, you can't do anything more than dangling your dick around. I still decided to give it a try, since I had a lot of time.

Please do have a look and let me know what do you think.


Blood Donation Camp, Pune

If you live in Pune and if you haven't donated blood for the last few months, this is for you. A blood donation camp is being organised by "Swachhandi Pariwaar", and everybody is invited.

It would be helpful to the organisers and the blood bank, if you can confirm your presence in advance.

The details are given below

DateApril 2, 2006
Time8:00 am to 1:00 pm
PlaceDr. Anjali Phalke
c/o Shri. M D Phalke
'Shiv Smruti'
Prashant Nagar
Kaka Halwai Lane
Navi Peth
Pune 411030

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March 30, 2006

Animated Iraq War Fatalities

An animated version of the attacks made on Iraq by USA, UK, Italy and other countries.

The animation runs at 10 frames per second - one frame for each day - and a single black dot indicates the geographical location that a coalition military fatality occurred.More deaths in a smaller area produces visually deeper reds and audibly more pronounced 'tic's

Iraq War Fatalities (via)

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Now YouTube Against Copyright

This week YouTube has restricted the maximum upload time of the videos to 10 minutes, along with the previous restriction of the maximum file size to be 100MB, to restrict videos which violate copyright laws.

This change won't impact the vast majority of our users. We know that over 99% of videos uploaded are already under 10 mins, and we also know that most of our users only watch videos that are under about 3 minutes in length.

YouTube says that they are trying to balance the rights of copyright owners with the rights of our users. Quite simply I guess, prevention against silly lawsuits is always a good thing.

(link: YouTube)

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March 29, 2006

10 Emerging Technologies

MIT Technology Review lists 10 emerging technologies, which they suspect would have a big impact on business, medicine, culture and your life.

The 10 Emerging Technologies

These include Epigenetics, Cognitive Radio, Nuclear Reprogramming, Comparitive Interactomics are a few more. If you don't really know what they mean, it's time to find out. There has to be a first time, right.

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Fuck You


The World in 2050

This is how the world would look like in the year 2050, according to Worldmapper

By 2050 it is estimated that the earth's human population will be 9.07 billion. 62% of the people will live in Africa, Southern Asia and Eastern Asia - numerically this is the same as if all the world's current population lived just in these regions. In addition another 3000,000,000,000 will be spread accross the rest of the world.

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March 28, 2006

What's in the newspapers

CNN reports that the Sexiest woman in the world is Scarlett Johannson. This always makes me wonder that why does the world's sexiest woman always work in Hollywood?

The Sensex hits yet another peak.

Infosys is planning to hire more people. Well their strength would touch 70k after they do that. I just hope they don't start asking for a seperate state.

Finally, a 60-year old drunkard Kills himself over meatless dinner. Odd eh.. Drinking destroys people. Take my advice, stay away from it.

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Getting the most out of your job #2

I had been talking about getting the most out of your software job, a few days ago. It turns out that the bloggers at The Man Blog have been at it for a while.

Check out this, this and this.

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The Dilbert Blog

It had been a while since I'd gone there, so I paid a visit to Dilbert's Scott Adams Blog today. He has an uncanny abitility of coming up with interesting posts very frequently. This one was really, I mean really, inspiring. It's about James Blake, the tennis player.

Anyways, pretty close to that post, there are two more, which I found to be quite interesting. The first one is called "Are Men Just Defective Women?". Mr Scott and his commentators have the following:

I’ve noticed that men generally believe they are “different” from women, whereas women generally believe men are “defective” women.

And after some discussion with himself, he concludes, "If you’re male you have to do a lot of internal editing before you let anything fly out of your mouth."

The point of giving flowers to someone is that they will die - they are a symbol of the impermanent nature of all things (including your relationship)

t's commonly known that almost always in the developmental history of a language, the first two colors to be named are black and red.
Do read it sometime.
(link: Dilbert Blog)
Other links: here and here.

The third post, is titled, "Victim or Lucky Bastard?". Now this one is about the hot blonde 25-year old female teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year old student? Apparently they did it in an SUV, in the classroom, and in her home. About this Mr Scott says, "I have a hard time feeling sorry for the kid, since he’s the victim of my biggest fantasy at that age.". The post lies here.


IntErEstIng pOsts

This is a funny puzzle from Athens, and with a simple answer none-the-less. From the economist having a good time.

This is quite funny too. What would I give to hear stories like that everyday. Great Blog. I bet he never reads all of the comments. (He's got to keep up with his job too)

I don't usually read this guy much, but this is as straight-forward as it can get.


Online Desktop

Netvibes has lauched a sevice, which is very close to being a virtual desktop.

This is your personalized page, you can now modify everything: move modules, add new RSS/ATOM feeds, change the parameters for each module, etc. Your modifications are saved in real-time and you'll find your page when you get back on If you want to be able to access your page from any computer, you can sign in (at the top right) with your email and a password.

Not only that, they've given you a 1GB space, where you can upload mp3 too. Now that's what I like.

You can check out their blog here.

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AIDS Matrimonials

I had gone to Somwar Peth this weekend, to get my bike patched up. Things have not been going well with it recently, so I took some time out, watched Being Cyrus, and then went to my mechanic. On the way back, I stopped over to get smokes. Right next to the shop, there was a street light and it had an advertisement.

The advertisement was for people suffering with AIDS, and it said, that if you're suffering from AIDS, and you want to get married, please give us a call, we'd find somebody for you.

Now, I wasn't drunk or anything, but I still read it again and again. But it always said the same thing. (I was hoping I had read something wrong).
I am planning to get their number the next time I go that side, and give them a call to tell me what it is all about. I can't figure out where they'd get the spouses from, but these guys sure did find out a new market segment.

While I am on AIDS, there is a film festival going on HIV/AIDS in Chennai. Take a look here.

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Travelling Festival of South Asia 2006

The Event

TFSA is a tradition that began with the first Film South Asia festival, held in September 1997, after which 15 outstanding films chosen from those amongst the festival, travelled to 40 venues. The second TFSA, subsequent to FSA '99, traveled to more than 45 venues. Following on FSA 2001, the third TFSA, went to 48 venues and TFSA ’04 with a selection from the fourth edition of the festival went to 51 venues.

The FSA Secretariat encourages organisers and film enthusiasts in towns and cities large and small – all over – to consider hosting TFSA and bringing a taste of this at-once diverse and unifying package of documentaries to audience in South Asia and in the world.

In TFSA, the films travel all over South Asia and the world, giving audiences far removed from each other an opportunity to sample an exciting range of topics and themes, presentation styles and techniques. TFSA ’06 would travel to many more cities and venues within the countries of South Asia, helping generate understanding and empathy among ourselves. At the same time, it will also provide the critical context required for others to understand us.

The 15 films that are part of this travelling collection were chosen from those screened at FSA ’05 with the help of the festival’s three-member jury, chaired by the Bangladeshi filmmaker Tareque Masud. They include four of the award winners at FSA ’05.

Hosting TFSA

The TFSA package comes with the 15 films in professional-quality Mini-DV tapes (or VHS cassettes or DVDs), TFSA posters, festival catalogues and display material. It is recommended that the TFSA be shown through high-quality video projection systems. The 15 films vary significantly in length and may ideally be screened over three consecutive afternoons-evenings, though a more flexible schedule may certainly be considered. Cumulatively, the 15 documentaries constitute approximately 15 hours of viewing time.

Please note that the festival will only travel to cities where host organisations are willing to take full responsibility for publicity, screenings and all associated logistics. As per FSA's agreement with the individual filmmakers and production houses, the screenings may only be non-commercial. This means that entry fees at TFSA may at best be used to offset screening costs, and nothing more.

The organisers are also asked to display a poster of Himal South Asian magazine, which was co-organiser of FSA ’05 at a prominent spot and make available the magazine subscription slips provided.


There is no charge levied on hosts and venues within South Asia. Beyond the region, an all-inclusive charge of USD 700 per venue is levied by the FSA Secretariat in order to defray all TFSA-related costs (anything left over will go to the organisation of FSA’07, to be held in September 2007). The local host (whether in South Asia or overseas) takes the responsibility of dispatching the set of films to the next venue as directed by the FSA Secretariat.

Budget allowing, the TFSA host may want to invite the individual filmmakers to their venue. While it is not obligatory, the host may also consider inviting an FSA official from Kathmandu, who will be able to introduce the festival before the local audience and in doing so promote the agenda of non-fiction film in South Asia. Any host seeking the presence of an FSA official will have to pick up the related cost of travel and stay.

More Information

For more details about Traveling Film South Asia, including travel schedule, please contact Film South Asia, assistant director, Upasana Shrestha at fax + 977-1-5541196 or email

Further information on Film South Asia ’05, including full listing, jury report, press releases, etc, is available at website

Film South Asia
Himal Association
PO Box 166
Patan Dhoka
Tel: 977-1-5542544

List of Films

A Certain Liberation (38 min)
Bangladesh, 2003, Directed by Yasmine Kabir
Winner of the Second Best Film Award at FSA ‘05

The City Beautiful (78 min)
Delhi/India, 2003, Directed by Rahul Roy

City of Photos (60 min)
India, 2005 Directed by Nistha Jain
Special Commendation at FSA ’05

Continuous Journey (87 min)
India/Canada, 2004, Directed by Ali Kazmi
Winner of the Ram Bahadur Trophy for Best Film at FSA ’05

Dirty Laundry (42 min)
South Africa, 2005, Directed by Sanjeev Chaterjee

Final Solution (149 min)
Gujarat/India, 2004, Directed by Rakesh Sharma
Winner of Special Jury Award at FSA ’05

Girl Song (29 min)
West Bengal/India, 2003, Directed by Vasudha Joshi

Good News (17 min)
Assam/India, 2005, Directed by Altaf Mazid

The Great Indian School Show (53 min)
Maharastra/India, 2005, Directed by Avinash Deshpande

Lanka: The Other Side of War and Peace (75 min)
Sri Lanka, 2005, Directecd by Iffat Fatima

The Legend of Fat Mama (23 min)
West Bengal/India, 2005, Directed by Rafeeq Ellias

The Life and Times of a Lady from Avadh: Hima (135 min)
Pakistan, 2005, Directed by Shireen Pasha

Sunset Bollywood (54 min)
India, 2005, Directed by Komal Tolani

Team Nepal (37 min)
Nepal, 2005, Directed by Girish Giri

Teardrops of Karnaphuli (60 min)
Bangladesh, 2005, Directed by Tanvir Mokammel

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March 27, 2006

Does web search really work?

Sometimes I really doubt if web search really works or not. Like for example, I cannot figure out, why on earth would they reach this blog if they wanted to know:

1. what to say on my son special day on his wedding day
3. getting high on rush and pot
4. "satyajit ray""wills navy cut"
5. saggitarians commit suicide



Wife to husband "What's your excuse for coming home at this time of the night?"
Husband to wife "Golfing with friends, my dear."
Wife to husband "What? at 2 AM?"
Husband to wife "Yes, We used night clubs."

(From Here)

March 26, 2006

Behavioral economics

I recently read an article on the Harvard Journal, called The Marketplace Of Perceptions. The author, Craig Lambert, has written a very interesting essay on Behavourial Economics. Rather, it is an effort to try to explain the issues which cannot be explained by traditional economics.

The rational model only approximates human cognition—“just as Newtonian physics is an approximation to Einstein’s physics,” Laibson explains. “Although there are differences, when walking along the surface of this planet, you’ll never encounter them. If I want to build a bridge, pass a car, or hit a baseball, Newtonian physics will suffice. But the psychologists said, ‘No, it’s not sufficient, we’re not just playing around at the margins, making small change. There are big behavioral regularities that include things like imperfect self-control and social preferences, as opposed to pure selfishness. We care about people outside our families and give up resources to help them—those affected by Hurricane Katrina, for example.”

“When the same thing sells at two different prices in different markets, forces of arbitrage and rationality are necessarily limited,” Shleifer says. “The forces of irrationality are likely to have a big impact on prices, even on a long-term basis. This is a theoretical attack on the central conventional premise.”
Behavioral economics, which can be used to explain the unanswered phenomenon, is the hybrid offspring of economics and psychology. It tries to explain why we want chocolate, cigarettes, and a trashy movie now, but in the future, we want to eat fruit, to quit smoking, and to watch Bergman films.

Further he talks about 'prescriptive economics', which aims not only to describe the world but to change it, then about pre-commitments, its fallacies and how to make it work. He goes the full circle from an African woman's cahbox to SEED from Phillipines to Social Security privatization. He explains how framing the questions has a much greater effect on the eventual choice than is expected by traditional economics, on how a woman's photograph on the application form turns out to be as important as a drop in the intrest rate by five points.

Eventually, he uses the logic contained in the complete write up to find reasons for the supply of hatred amongst men and about persuation, about why "George W. Bush wearing a $3,000 cowboy hat was not a problem, because it matched his image, but John Kerry riding a $6,000 bicycle was a problem, which was that luxury item appeared hypocritical for a candidate claiming to side with the downtrodden." Or Cognitive Persuation, as Andrei Shleifer calls it.

A beautiful essay, and interesting even for us non-economists.


March 25, 2006

Smrutira Odisha 2006

Smrutira Odisha 2006, the event which was started in Bhubaneswar in last Utkal Divas (1st April) at Ekamra Haat in Bhubaneswar, is now just eight days away.

They have been trying to provide, to think of something different to educate the younger generation to understand what Orissa was.

It took a lot of hands to organise the event. It is almost impossible, but they have still managed to organize, to raise money, to plan, to coordinate the event, and they have been doing a great job of it.

Last year, Tirtha says, "The experience was exciting and very much encouraging to see people from all walks of life enjoying the event.Believe us, we never had so much response.We'll try to do everything possible to make this year's Smrutira Odisha-2006 a memorable."

In additian they say, there will be songs, dance, magic, comedy etc. and many more in between to keep the audince fresh.

The Details

Smrutira Odisha-2006
Date: 1st April,2006(Saturday)Utkal Divas
Place:Amphi Theatre,Ekamra Haat,Exhibition Ground,Unit-III,Bhubaneswar
Time:5.30-10.00 PM

If you are interested, please contact in the follwing persons for further details.

Tirtha at 94373-59745
Prakash at 94371-24014
Centre for Resource Management,Bhubaneswar.

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Considering my life is in shambles, couldn't you alteast take blame?

- Calvin, to Hobbes.


March 24, 2006

Firefox breaks up Marriage

Technology, no matter how advanced, can never be foolproof. The developers of firefox added a built in method to remember the passwords of the pages that we visit. But now we hear about a story, where a marriage broke up because of the bug in Firefox. Mozilla's has supposedly closed the bug now, but for some people I guess it is already too late.


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March 23, 2006

Rediff Is Confused About Geography

In an article titled, "Lenovo's gameplan to woo India", rediff reports:

"A strong player in China, Lenovo is leaving no stone unturned in making its presence felt in other Asian continents."

How many other Asian continents are there mate? Ask Rediff.


Chevrolet Aveo

General Motors, has decided to withdraw Opel brand from the market and focus on the Chevrolet brand. This was stated by Ankush Arora, Vice President of GM, while lauching the Chevrolet 'Aveo'. The new Aveo, he said has been placed with Hyundai Accent, Honda city and the like.

Aveo has a 1.6 litre engine, which I might add is lesser than Palio. I think it is also available in with the 1.4 engine. In a review on rediff a few days back, I had read that it was able to move pretty smoothly at 160 and he seemed much more fascinated with the 1.4 model. The car actually looks pretty small if you ask me, and I would definitely not compare it to the Honda City. As it is the car isn't the coolest thing in the market, the five door model for aveo really sucks, though I am not sure if it is coming to India. I would hope that it doesn't.

It is still not clear how much would the car cost, but I've heard it would be close to 6 lakhs for the 1.4 and 7 for the 1.6. We would just need to take a little longer to find out how the car would do. But if you looking for a car right now, I guess Fiesta would be a lot better car. Till GM comes to India with a few of their better cars, I doubt if they would ever do really well.

Anyways Best of luck GM.


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The equivalent of Oscars

"The Twenty Third Annual AVN Awards show was held in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, January 7th, 2006 at the Venetian Hotel Resort & Casino.

The AVN Awards are achievement-based awards dedicated to recognizing the outstanding products and talented individuals that have contributed to the advancement of the adult entertainment industry. AVN Award recipients are determined by a vote of qualified industry peers and fellow professionals. The integrity of this process, together with a broad-based voting population, make the AVN Awards the most credible, respected and recognized awards in adult entertainment."

Yes that's right, these are oscars for porn. And now you've missed them. But don't worry, you could be there next year. Just save up money for the tickets, I'm sure they'd have it next year too. (The tickets for this festival cost $250(Rs 11,100) per head or $2250(Rs 1,00,250) per table.)

Here are some of the most interesting winners:

Best Three-Way Sex Scene:
Tease Me Then Please Me 2 - Tyla Winn, Michael Stefano & John Strong, Red Light District

Best Special Effects
Pirates, FX, Digital Playground/Adam & Eve

Best Transsexual Release
Rogue Adventures 24, Joey Silvera/Evil Angel

Top Selling Title of the Year
1 Night in China, Red Light District

Most Outrageous Sex Scene
Re-Penetrator, Joanna Angel in "Blood, Disembowelment, and Fucking....What Fun,", Burning Angel/VCA

Best Retail Website - Sales

I wonder if we would ever have something of the sort in India. Indian porn is just too bad for anybody to take credit for.

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March 22, 2006

Daily Round Up

Interesting news from around India:

The bigshot Indian IT companies failed to impress IIM's.
(link: I'm glad the companies have been shown the door)

The outsourcing bug has gone past the IT industry and now spreads across all industries, even ISI is doing it.

Wipro, and I think IBM too have fired employees and fined recruiting agencies for getting fake CV's. So if you are thinking about using photoshop for your degree, make sure think again.

Both father and daughter are hoping to clear their class X boards this year.

But the most interesting piece of information is the following. "A suggestion has been made by one of its members to buy one Boeing 747, so the national and touring teams can be carried easily between venues." How much did you say it costs?

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Google and have joined hands to give soccer players and followers an online community, to keep the game beautiful. It looks great on the outside but as you would expect with google, they have closed registration again.

Just imagine what would google do if they bought starbucks? I know what they would do, they would make it an invitation only joint, and close it for the public. Duh..


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March 21, 2006

Sensex touches 11,000

The sensex touched 11,000 thrice today, but could not hang on to those values. It crashed to a value of 10,863.11 towards the end of the day, but finally closed at 10,905.20. The maximum value that it reached today, and also the maximum value ever was 11,017.25.



Last on Truthlaidbear

I registered on Truthlaidbear yesterday. They are now tracing 52,767 blogs across the world. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am officially at the bottom of that list.

Check this out. I am the last entry :-)

And surprisingly, being on the bottom of the heap, it got me a couple of hits too. Now people please don't link up to this page. I'm better off at the end, than in the middle.

Update: Nobody was interested anyways and people are really mean(look at the comment)

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March 17, 2006

Getting the most out of Software

When I wrote about the inherent laziness of the Indian Software Industry, there were tens of hundreds of people who wanted to flame me for it. (ofcourse, I never published thier silly comments). Most of them told me that my Underworld theory was completely ridiculous. I never thought that it would turn out to be such a bad joke. Anyways, as we all know, it is extremely difficult to tell a bad joke and then it is impossible to explain it to someone, so I never cared to answer to any of them.

But what I realized was that even though there were a lot of people who were against the idea that working in this industry wasn't as high tech as it should have been or as we had thought it to be while we were still in college. One of my flamers told me that he's been working his ass off for the last one year and everybody in his company did the same. All I could manage was pity for the poor guy. I seriously hoped that I could help him out of that sorry state of mind he had got himself into. One of them called me a bastard, and was sure that we are a nation are degressing because of people like me. All because I think that software is crap for the average joe.

I fail to take my life too seriously. Which is why adaptation is necessary to help people live a happier life by performing better in office, and doing all that is essential for their progress. And this is how people are doing it.

Tip #1: Sit on your ass.
The first thing to do, is to sit on your ass till the Manager assigns you some work. It is suicide to move around the office and chat with everybody else. So the first point to remember for a healty life is that, for the manager, sitting on your chair is equivalent to working.
Update: As E suggests, you could just go to and pretend you are working.

Tip #2: Don't ask for work.
The second thing is that don't ask your manager for work . Wait until he comes to you and asks you to do something. If you ask for work, it is bad for your reputation, because the manager thinks that right now you were just sitting around. Secondly if you don't have any work but the rest of them do, it logically means that you must have been excessively bad or amazingly good at it. Managers being the pessimistic pricks they are, they always assume the worst. Also, if you ask him for work, it shows him in a bad light too, since he is not utilizing his available resources efficiently.

Tip #3: When he does give you work, don't jump on it.
All managers are risk-averse beings. They would like to be omnipresent so that they are absolutely sure in everything that they, or for the matter their team, do (or does). So when you get a new job, don't pounce on it, rather make an efficient, hard working face and tell him that you'd need a day or two to assess how well you can do the job You'd help him by taking over his worries and look dignified for a while too. But finally remember, don't work your ass off trying to work everything out on the first day. Rome wasn't built in a day. When you take up a new assignment, you are just supposed to be working, not really doing anything.

Now you can go ahead with all of the above, and when you've asked the manager for some time, come back to my blog and read what is to be done next. Till then, fare well.

Update: Annie Fisher, Fortune senior writer, suggests "To be smarter at work, slack off"

Update: American Top Ten lists 22 ways to kill time in office.

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Programming and The Universe

Programming today is a race between Software Engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof Programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning!

- Matthieu Desmons

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Behind Blue Eyes

And he looked again. She was still there, with her eyes fixed at him.
He looked down again, fiddled with the ipod, turned up the volume a bit, changed the song. And then he looked again.

The train was filled with people. Though it wasn't close to what they have in Bombay, but there were a lot of people. Quite a lot more than the low standards there. Everybody was upto something. People who knew each other were talking, some were just sleeping, tired after a big long day at work. While the rest of them were just staring around. Trying to find something that would hold thier attention, for some small amount of time, before they moved on to something more colorful, more beautiful.

He reckoned that was what she was doing. Probably, her eyes just strayed somehow in that general direction. Like your mind, at times, just wanders off to places, without you even thinking about it.

But she was still looking at him. She had blue eyes. Beautiful blue eyes. He just couldn't stop looking at them. She was just so beautiful, that a smile came up on his face. It had been a few seconds since he had noticed her, but now he could see that there was a strange kind of coldness in her beautiful blue little eyes. So he waved at her. At first slowly, but the expression remained unchanged, so he raised his arm and waved as visibly as he could.

But she still just sat there, holding her mother's hand, staring, wondering about something. He didn't know how to react. It's not often that he waved at people in trains, and somehow it never happened that he got such a cold stare from such a small kid.

Her mother saw him, waving, so she pressed her hand, and told her to say hi to him. She can't see, she whispered. He was speechless. He would have cried. But he didn't want to, so he went up to her, shook hands, talked for a little while. She was such a sweet little girl, and he wanted to do something for her. But all that he could do was stand there, motionless, helpless, and stare at the dark.


The First Puff

He never liked weddings, not even the idea of them. So like always he just broke up from the crowds and went out for a walk that day. It was a pretty evening, not too hot not too cold, not too sunny, not too wet, just hovering on the boundaries of perfection. Just the kind of day one could get married, though it would spoil the beauty of the evening, but you could still somehow do it.

He walked across the street, around the turn, then into some other street and then some other, lost in his own thoughts, and then he suddenly noticed something. No, he didn't get lost, the wedding hall was too brightly lit up to be missed from the space, he must have been just a kilometer away. What he saw was a 'panwari'. If you don't know what that means, just use your imagination. So there was the panwari right in front of him, everybody who could catch him was far far away, and on that beautiful day he realized that he could smoke his first cigarette.

So he walked up casually to the bihari, who was like the rest of them, just sitting there, chewing a paan. He just wanted it to go casually, without raising suspicions that this was his first time, not that he would turn him over to the police or something, just that it isn't fun to be an amateur.

While walking he tried to think what brand of cigarette would he say he wanted, because it seemed that all smokers has a very strong sense of taste, it should be smell probably, or something in between, definitely not taste. He remembered Wills Navy Cut, he had been sent to buy a pack for somebody the other day. So he decided to get one Navy Cut and walked up straight to the bihari.

He asked him for Navy cut and he gave me one. He paid him two rupees in change, and asked for the match. He had learned in school, that if it is your first time don't act stupid by trying to just burn a cigarette in your hand. So he stuck it in my mouth. It felt great just holding it like that, and then he lit it. The only thing worrying him was that if he start coughing, that would surely raise suspicions. But it was like the grace of God, they were meant for each other. He pulled the first puff and then he blew it out. And suddenly he knew what a kick was.

Those were the beginnings, he had one more two weeks later, and then one week, and then a packet a week, and then two or three a day. Tenderthroats. Now he takes a break from smoking to come up to his desk to blog down a few lines. The urge just grows and grows. It was just too bad that he never found a reason strong enough to quit. His throat never got so choked that he couldn't inhale anymore, and even his girlfriend never asked him to quit. So he still smokes, for like one man said, we all smoke because we want to die as much as we want to live.


Running Away From Home

After years of laborious studies in diverse subjects, he did manage to get admission in an engineering college. Infact there were three to choose from. At that time, he thought that it would be the most difficult decision he would ever make. It definitely was the biggest,and the most difficult one at that time. The options, in front of him were not the best one could hope for but they were definitely the best that he could hope for.

The first option he had was The Delhi College Of Engineering, a pretty good college offering him degrees in environmental engineering or civil engineering, and it gave him the option of staying with his parents as well, but he didn't like the courses, so they lost a bright kid.

The second option was The Roorkee college of Engineering. They were offering him a course in Architecture, a five year course, in a college that was amongst the top ten engineering colleges in India. And after a thorough reading of Ayn Rand that summer, all he wanted to be was an architect. Besides it was just about four hours from home, so he could turn up there on weekends.

The last option was the Army Institute of Technology in Pune, 1500 kms away from home, famous for nothing, created a few years back. They offered him degrees in Electronics and Telecommunication Engg and Mechanical Engg.

He met a lot of people, gathered a lot of advice, and it was decided that he was going to join Roorkee. The counseling for Roorkee was still a few weeks away so Dad recommended that they go down to Pune and check out this other college too. He reckoned it would be a good trip, for he hadn't been anywhere in a while, so they came all the way, to check out this new college.

Pune, with its bright skies, pleasant weather, the constant little drizzle, cold winds, green grass, with small flowers scattered along, had a entrancing effect on the to-be-engineer. He found it so beautiful, that in just a moment he decided that this was where he wanted to be. More so, it was freedom, it was getting away from home. The next day, his father took the train and went back home alone.

It's been years, and Mom still tries to convince him everytime they talk that now it is time for him to come back. But he still lingers on, there is no home now, everyplace is home now.


Aishwarya Rai on The Letterman Show

Aishwarya Rai appeared on The Letterman Show. It’s fun to watch her getting screwed. Check out the link below

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Dr Strangelove

Simply stated, Dr. Strangelove is a black and white, sarcastic comedy about a commander of a U.S. Air Force Base, who diverts his B-52 bombers from airborne alert to an attack on the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons, without the consent of the President. This threatens to set off a doomsday device, which would create a radioactive cloud over the earth, lasting for 93 years, and which obviously endangers all life forms on the surface of earth.
It didn’t sound funny to me till I actually got down to see the movie. The characters were flawless, and thier logic irrefutable, and the ironies galore. The best, was when the President says, “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”. Another one was when the Lt. on the flight says, “All the radio gear is out, including the CRM-114. I think the auto-destruct mechanism got hit and blew itself up.”
Another one was, that the Americans realize what a messup it had been, and try to inform the Russian premier about it, who is ironically drunk. It is a little later in the movie that the Americans realize that the Russians have deployed a doomsday device to counter any nuclear attack on them from the Americans. The speciality of the doomsday device is that it triggers automatically if Russia is attacked, and there is no way to manually override it. So if America attacks, there would be Mutually Assured Destruction of both sides. The idea of the doomsday device might sound impossible, but is definitely logical. Dr. Strangelove, a Nazi engineer, explains to the members of the war room, the finer details of the doomsday device, and also that the aim to create such a device is to create a fear in the mind of the enemy against attacking, but strangely as you’d expect, the Russians keep it secret. Why? They were going to have a press release on Monday.
There are three amazing performances by Peter Geller. I’ve heard that there might have been a fourth too, as the captain of the flight, but he had problems learning the cowboy accent.
The movie is based on a book called Red Alert, by Peter George, and officer in the air force himself, who supposedly wrote the book in three weeks, and who commited suicide a few years after the movie was realeased, though I am not sure the two were linked.
Well, I’d end this post with another amazing example of the finesse of the movie. Ambassador De Sadeski of Russia, explains why the Soviets built the doomsday device, “There are those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. And at the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we’d been spending on defense in a single year. But the deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap”. To which General Buck Turgidson says: “Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines”. Having one doomsday device was illogical, but having two is redundant, which I suppose was Kubrick’s point about the stupidity of the Arms Race I guess.

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Mangal Pandey

All that Mangal Pandey earned was bad reviews. There were theatres running a dozen shows a day, all of which have remained completely occupied by movie buffs, who came there to see what Aamir Khan had to offer after such a long break. Some had even compared it to Braveheart, and got disappointed, when they saw the adultrated version of the story.
But I still believe that movie was an uprising. Amongst all the movies which lack a story, this one was undoubtedly the best. I wouldn’t be surprised if it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Movie with a decent story line.
Amongst the things that I liked about the movie, the first definitely was the sparkling array of tities that they showed in the movie. It was an uprising experience in more than one ways, it was interesting as well as inspiring at the same time.
Secondly, this was the first time that we showed our heroes as they really are. The man who laid the first straw for the independence struggle which lasted for another 90 years after he was gone, wasn’t the kind of man your mom would like to see you with. He was impulsive, spend a lot of time having bhaang, fell in love with a prostitute ( sex-worker if you like ), had an affinity for trouble, had a major problem with authority, but like all heroes was clean at heart, had a strong will, though not the best leader possible, but definitely the right kind of a guy to have on your side when you fight, who thought with his heart, and fought with his mind.
Thirdly, the love stories were kept to a bare minimum. There was just as much of a hint of it, as it really exists in life. Nothing more, nothing less, just the exact amount.
Finally, even with the apparent lack of story, the scenes were beautifully shot, and connected. It wasn’t exactly a drag, but due to the missing base line, you felt throughout the movie that nothing really happened. But that maybe because actually he didn’t do much personally, rather his contribution was towards showing people like himself, that there was a way out. A leader who shows how to do it and is ready to burn for it. I doubt if we would have won our independence without people like him.
Even though we say that India won it’s freedom through non-violence and ‘ahimsa’, I believe, that the so called voilent people, had a major influence as well. Maybe for the brits, Mahatma Gandhi was the easier way out. It was easier to give in to his demands, because he was there to talk, to reason, like the Godfather, than to giving in to the terrorists, who used policies much like thier own. ( I call them terrorists, because they did what the word means, terrorize the opposition. Though somehow the word now brings to mind an Afghani standing with an AK-47. )
Amongst the things that I didn’t like, was the inablitity to throw out songs from the movie. Music is an intergral part of any story, be it a movie or a stage show, or a street play, but I think it’s time that we outgrow ourselves to get over the fact that songs are not important in a movie. Throw them out of the script, make the sound tracks, for people love them, but not like it’s now, maybe something in the background, not the colorful dancing around, for to be true, have you ever, ever, seen somebody do that actually. I wouldn’t like to remember Mangal Panday as some handsome guy, dancing around with a hot chick after getting a trashing in the previous scene, but as the martyr, as the romantic, as the man that he really was.

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Mr G Strikes Back

This is what Mr G quoted when somebody else was made the next member of the month

“But those gardens made up of letters, it is by way of
play, it seems, that he will sow and write them; and
each time he writes, building up a treasure of
recollection against the forgetfulness of old age, for
him if he ever reaches it, and for all those who
follow in his footsteps, he will find pleasure in
watching the growth of these tender shoots. And when
other men will indulge in other kinds of plays,
drinking-parties and the like, he, on the contrary,
will likely spend his time playing the way I said.
“(Phædrus, 276d)

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Getting Wasted

As Software Engineers, work is still seasonal. When it’s there, you’re screwed, and when it’s not there, it’s as good as getting wasted on the beach with a beer. One fine morning, when like always there was no work to be done, I wrote a long mail on one my yahoogroups and awarded one of my friends with the ‘Member of the Month’ title. What I didn’t expect was that he’d be free too. The following is my mail and his response to it.

I wrote:
In accordance with our 299 year old tradition of bestowing upon one of our members, the title of ‘Member of the Month’, this year, in the chienese year of the cock, I take the previlege of handing over the title to another great member of our passive tribe.
It was extremely difficult to come to the conclusion, but after much thought I narrowed it down to three people. With D getting a campus placement, which most of us could not afford to have, and none of us expected him to get, but like always he fought against all the odds to come out victorious in the end. But since I have heard he is busy with his new girlfriend these days , I reckoned he would be too busy to take
the award.
The second nominee P, who with his Magic Potion at home, got calls from all the IIM’s, and many other colleges, which after his other feats don’t seem worthy of mention. But even with his magnanimous brain power and self control, he is still waiting for his MA result. I am sure you would agree that he was a strong contender, but since he has not disclosed the contents of his magic potion to me, I refuse to give him the title.
But since the aim of all of us, from our very childhood, has been getting wasted. I would like to present this award to the best man amongst us who got wasted. Ever since he got hold of the email id on the 20th of October 2004, which has now become a household name, he has shown us the way. With his unlimited supply of “good one’s” and “must read this one’s” he has found his place in our heart’s and inbox’s.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the ‘Member of the month’ for this year is none other than our only basketball player, our only distinction holder, our very own, G. Over the last 117 days, he has forwarded as many as 279 ( Two hundred and seventy nine) forwards till this moment. Out of the
117 days, he worked furiously even over the weekends to make sure that there were only 26 days when we didn’t get a mail from him. With a crushing average of 3.069 forwards/day and a mind boggling 16.692 forwards/week, our center forward is our Member of the Month.
We wish him all the best for his forthcoming triple century. And are waiting desperately for his treat.
Thank you.

And this is what the big guy had to say :

Wow…..gasp….I’m speechless…..
I am humbled by this great honor bestowed upon me. This is a dream come true for me, I can’t get over thefact that I just won the most coveted 229 yr old ‘Member of the month’ award. Let me tell you that it was no cakewalk for me. I took great pains to ensure that my fellow tribesmen wasted as much time in reading all the crap forwards as I did. I did this at the cost of cutting my coffee n cigarettes breaks from 20 a day to a measly 16 a day, surfing only non-porn sites on the web, chatting only an hour or two with complete strangers, reading only 100 pages of fiction a day in office. But at the end I think that it has all been worth every wasted moment of my completely wasted life. It has been my lifelong quest to take the art of getting wasted to ‘higher’ levels, and this award gives me a great sense of achievement. But this is
only the beginning, there is a lot more left to waste in this world and I shall not give up before the world lies utterly wasted at my/our feet…..Wuaahaaahaaaha (Evil laugh).
So my friends, my fellow tribesmen ……… lets pray…let’s take a pledge together to make this world a totally wasted place. Amen.

PS: before returning to my busy schedule (read: c ‘n’ c break) I would like to thank all those wonderfully wasted people who helped me attain this state of utter waste, who offered me a joint whenever I strayed from the holy path to wasteland and tried to attend lectures in college, who rightfully discouraged me from making use of my time to get some ‘Education’ , who showed me how cigarettes were an indispensable
tool to reach wasteland, who made me realize the importance of watching porn for at least 1 hr a day, who told me wonderful secrets about wasteland in their drunken stupor, who made me give up my worldly possessions (namely a silver CBZ up-15 l-6931) for
community use, who helped me ‘engineer’ a perfectly wasted career for myself.
And yeah a special mention to Raheja who actually kept a record of my mails……..good show …. Now that’s a lesson to all of those under-wasted people out there.
Thank you all.
Mooooppphhh…….mooooppppphhh (blowing kisses)
Thank you for this great honor ….thank you.

This is what software engineers do, when the company doesn’t have any more projects, and it’s bright employees are doing documentation. If this is what they do, I don’t understand, why did I spend four years trying to become one?

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All That Glitters Is Not Gold

A newly married couple went to an art exhibition. After spending some time there, they came on a picture which showed three black men naked sitting on a bench in a beautiful garden. One of the men sitting on the edge had a pink dick and a broad smile, while the other two had black dicks. Intrigued, they called upon the curator, and asked him what did the painting mean. The curator, an old man, told them that the painter wanted to potray the degredation of black men in the society. The black men have been opressed for so long that now they have a need to feel more like the white men. They are losing their identity and are proud of losing it. The couple was impressed at how crearly the curator seemed to understand the painter. After the curator left, a young man, with long hair, came to them and the husband explained to him what the picture symbolized.
The young man laughed and said no. He said he was the one who has made the potrait and he knew better what it was all about. And that it had nothing to do with black men. So the couple asked him that if what the curator told them was wrong, what is the painting about. And the young man said. The painting is of three australian coal workers. And one of them went home for lunch.

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Lessons from the Master

A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day. The master noted thenovice’s preoccupation with a hand-held computer game.

“Excuse me”, he said, “may I examine it?” The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master. I see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium and Hard”, said the master. “Yet every such device has another level of play, where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the human.”

“Pray, great master”, implored the novice, “how does one find this mysterious settings?” The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it under foot.

And suddenly the novice was enlightened.

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The Big Punch From Blue

He thought he could fight. Infact he thought he was invincible, just waiting to be discovered. So one fine morning, he made up his mind, and registered for boxing.

He had never been in a fight before, as in a fist fight. It was unknown territory. He hadn't fought with his cousins either when he was young, probably because they never got to spend much time together. He never stayed with anybody long enough to fight. It just wasn't one of his things.

But this time, it was different. He had just had a dose of rocky a few days before, and he knew exactly how to train, and how to prepare. And he got to it right away. Started running a lot of kilometres every morning, increased his intake of pulses, went to the gym daily, put in a lot of soul into it basically. It was all going fine. And he could feel that it would go well, like the rest of his life had always been.

So after a few weeks of hardening up to enter the world of boxing, and the weight-in, there was his name on the notice-board at the gym. The coming friday, 4:30 pm. And he knew that the time had come.

So on Friday, he waited after school, for his time to come, for they say, you learn a lot about yourself in a fight, and he wanted to learn all that about himself. He was charged, he was high, he was waiting, waiting for a very long time. He felt that the way the scientists had decided about the perception of time was faulted. They had defined it to be linear, whereas he knew from experience that it definitely was not. It was inversly proportional to the importance we gave it.

So after waiting for a long time, according to his perception, he finally got called up for the bout. He was red. Blue was tall, Red was short. Blue was 49, Red was 48. Blue was about to get thrashed, and Red was about to thrash him, or so he thought.
The referee came in between the boys, brought thier gloves together, and shouted box. Red and Blue pounced on each other. But before anything else could happen, Blue slammed his blood thirsty right fist, swinging from the farther end of his body, right on his nose. And suddenly he knew everything he ever needed to know about himself and about life. That was the moment in his small, yet eventful life, a tiny strange moment, the passing of which changed things somehow, and he knew what taking it was all about.

Years from that day, he still remembered that punch when his first girl friend ditched him, when he couldn't make it to the college he wanted, when he didn't get the branch he wanted, when he failed an exam for the first time, when he failed to get a job, everytime he remembered that one punch, and he remembered that fighting was as much about taking the shots as much about hitting your opponent, he remembered that winning always boosted the morale, the ego, but the true mark of men, was the elegance and the grace with which they took the swinging punch from the opponent on the nose, and then came back.


The Informer from Khalistan

The clock said it was five minutes past five. Mom was standing over him with a glass of milk, and she said it would make his bones strong. He never broke one in the next thirty years, not that he didn't get a chance to, but because his bones would just never break. It might have been because of all the milk she made him drink or maybe they were always that strong. But all that was besides the point, she had to have him finish the glass before he left. He was tying his laces, and was in a big rush, or else he would have to be the denner. She was as insistent as always and he knew there was no way out, so he gulped it down like scotch on the rocks.

He was lucky that day, like always, like all saggitarians, tiku came in after him and had to be the denner. It was his turn to hide, and that set his mind to motion. It was a big bad world back then too, and it had like a zillion places to hide. But in his years and years of experience of playing hide and seek, all of the places had been consumed. So he set out to search for the zillion plus oneth place, but the theory of curiosity predicted that since the compound had only a zillion, he had to go out.

Back then Punjab was going through bad times. Every day there was a new story about another brave soldier saving some more people from terrorists. And along with it there were more stories of soldiers who couldn't save the people. The spirits of the army were high, and that of the people were even higher. It had been years and years of repression and now people were taking a stand. And the situation was better than it had been in years, but the old ghosts still haunted people everywhere, nobody went out at nights, not even in the evenings, though it was changing, it would still take a good four or five years for things to become more comfortable.

Leaving the compound, hence was against the rules set up by everybody's moms and dads, including his. But hide and seek was far more important to him than the fight for justice of thousands. So he decided that he would go out. It was getting dark, and that just meant that it would be all the more fun, because they had specific instructions that when it gets dark, children weren't even supposed to be playing outside. So to get his kick, he jumped the boundary wall, and landed right on the road.

There was hardly any traffic there. A couple of cyclists were peddling down the road, probably trying to get back before it became completely dark. There was a car, a fiat, travelling in the opposite direction. Other than that there were just two trees standing there silently, waiting for the morning light to arrive. It wasn't all that voilent, he thought, as he had been made to believe, infact it was less voilent than the fights between his sister and him. There was a cold breeze from the south, and he decided to go down for a stroll. It was safe, since none of the kids would come to catch him there.

A little down the road, he saw another house. There were definitely no kids there, for in the one year that they had been staying near the place, he had never seen anybody come out and play from there. But the lights were always on, so somebody did stay there. He thought to check it out but then decided against it, and just continued with his stroll, against the wind, on the deserted road.

Suddenly, he saw two sardars coming his way on a scooter. Even the cyclists were not visible now, and he didn't know if he should have been scared. He hoped that they might not be able to see his since it was already dark. But they did, and came right next to him and stopped. "Hey son", the one on the pillion asked him. "Is this where the officer's quarters are?", pointing to the house with no kids. He was wearing a shawl, and somehow seemed to be clenching on to it. But he had a kind face, and didn't look like no voilent-angry-terrorist. "No.", I replied, "They are the ones in that compound." So they nodded and left. So did I. I just walked back and hopped inside, hoping they did not know dad, or anybody else for that matter who could tell my parents where he had been straying. He walked straight home, for he knew the game must have been over sometime back.

The next morning, as usual, he was late for school again, the bus was due in five minutes. He was sitting in a brown chair, which reminded him of an event he now hoped had never happened, tying his shoes. Mum was standing close by, as expected, with a glass of milk. And he heard her talking to Dad, that Mrs. Chauhan told her that last night, two Sardars were arrested outside the compound with AK-47's. And that this place wasn't all that safe anymore and if they could reach outside the compound with guns, they might even come inside someday. What if they got hold of one of the kids or something. He didn't think twice. Just gulped the milk down, and for some strange reason he was sure the ones he had met last night, whom he had guided towards his own house were decent people, and weren't the ones who got caught.


The Lost Chance

And he knew it was the end of his life. He had no reason to live anymore, he had found his emotions taking over, his mind became blurred. And so he got up and moved to the door. But first, he checked her, she was still asleep, sound asleep. He started dragging the big wooden chair slowly through the dining room to the kitchen. The sound was slow but persistant, but he was careful enough not to disturb her. He tried lifting it, to hide the noise, but it was just too heavy, and he cursed himself for not moving it there earlier. The sounds would have disappeared into the day like he was going to disappear into the night. Finally, somehow he managed to move the noisy chair to the kitchen. The goal was very close now, and there was no room for error and there was definitely no time to be scared.

He stood up on the chair, and then climbed slowly on to the shelf. The bottle was in the closet above. He had calculated each move with perfection for days, he had run it over hundreds of time in his head. A few tablets was all that he needed. He had seen it on TV, the ultimate source of knowledge for people his age, and he was sure that it was going to work. He stood up on his toes but the bottle was still a little far away. He tried as hard as he could, but he could barely touch it, it had been very nicely hidden, like she knew he'd do it. But in the heat of the moment, he let go of his plan, and made the big mistake. He jumped. But the very moment that he went up, he learned the truth, that he was going to fall, and the bottle, that very bottle was going to break, and his carefully sculpted plan, was going to fail, and besides Mom was going to be very angry.

Five minutes later, he was crying like a six year old. Probably, because he was a six year old. Mum came running, scared, and took him to Dad, who checked and said to her relief that he wouldn't even need a plaster. The next morning he realized that even the bottle was wrong. He had gone there last night, to find rat poison and kill himself, while he had come out crying with a bottle of Bournvita.

They say there's a time for everything, and probably that wasn't the time for him to die.


High Flying Mummies

He knew it was a plane, though it was definitely bigger than he had thought it would be. It would be many years later that he would get another chance to fly in one. Ofcourse he had his journey back, but after that it would take a lot of years. And so they sat in it and it took them far away to Dad who was waiting outside in the freezing cold for his lovely wife and kids.

It was colder than he had ever felt. His Mom, also felt the cold, and like always, if she felt cold, the first thing she did was to dress the kids up, like all moms, across all civilizations. He swore he looked like an egyptian mummy that day. There was just enough space in the clothing for him to look ahead, and yet after such precautions against it, it felt cold.

They went up to the new home, stayed there for awhile and then went straight to the Officers mess. A nice warm place. He was hoping there would be no more kids out there, for he didn't want anyone to see him dressed as a mummy. He looked for ways in which he could get out of Mum's undivided attention, to slip off somewhere and get rid of the unwanted burden. Though it was warm, Mum didn't want to take any chances. But then in the midst of that warm room, standing next to his Mom, he saw something and just couldn't stop laughing. There was another mummy in the room. He could bet that the other mummy looked worse that what he did.

He laughed and laughed, till his stomach cramped, till there were big tears in his eyes, and he could laugh no more, and then he laughed some more, and some more till finally thier mothers introduced them to each other. The other mummy just hid inside his mum's clothes and refused to shake hands. He didn't care, he thought, he didn't want to be friends with funny looking creatures anyway. He didn't know it then that they would get together about a decade later and gulp down litres and litres of alcohol together, near a down trodded village in western Maharashtra. Only if Mom had known then.


Cricket and The Cousin

He put the bag on his shoulders and looked at his Mom. She extended her hand and he took it with pleasure. Unlike most kids, he enjoyed going to school. Though he would never turn out to be an extrovert, it was always nice to have company, especially of people his own age. They walked for some time and she left him at the grand door of learning, the grandest in the neighbourhood. She never knew it then that he would end up studying more than she ever did, and even if she did, she wouldn't have cared. She had more important things on her mind, like what should be made for Lunch, what should grandpa wear to office and so on and so forth.

He also had a cousin who stayed with him. He was just about an year elder to him, though unlike him, he was always the forebearer of trouble. His cousin couldn't paint, or count or write or read as well as him but he could stand up all night talking about silly stuff to people. The two of them got around well, though they fought every now and then over everything, but they really liked each other around, like young boys always do.

One evening, both of them went out to play, to the ground, where some boys roughly thier age were standing. He found the biggest guy he could see and told him that he wanted to play cricket. The big boy, in the short brown pants asked him if he knew any player in the Indian cricket team. He thought a lot and came up with two names, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar. The boy smiled and said that he could join his team, and the cousin would be in the other team. He smiled too thinking that he had finally cleared his interview and earned his place in the team, on his first day. If he had known then that the boy would die before he was fourteen, he would have cried. But that was ten years hence from then and he didn't feel a thing. The other team won the match, thanks to his cousin, but he learned to hold the bat. It was his cousin like always who taught him how to do it. That was his first day into the religion of cricket, the national passtime.

Cricket was always over-emphasized in India. Even though people never encouraged thier kids to give up studies and spend time to be learn how to be a cricketer, to learn the art of the game, but millions of people, with or without the means to earn a living for themselves or thier family, love it as much as human compassion for a sport can allow. The big wastage of time that it causes maybe a cause for concern for the management everywhere, but they love it none-the-less. It would have been nice if it had been some other sport, less time consuming, more popular in the rest of the world, but now it doesn't matter, it is here now, and probably will be till the rest of his life.

Soon they were home and he got the good news that Dad was coming home again, this time for a really long time. He could sense that his mom was happy too, like he always did, for she always made Makhni Dal at times like that, which he liked immensly. They say that food becomes tastier when you put your heart into making it, and she surely did. Later that day she told him that they would be leaving Delhi soon. He was surprised, for he never thought that they could go away and stay at some other place. Suddenly it all became clear to him.


Zero Time

He learned a lot in the next four years. By the end of it, he could speak two languages, count up to 500. Five times what his peers could do. A fat balding Colonel, with a talent for drinking, once told him that he would be five times as successful. His father smiled, said a little prayer in his head, and blessed the drunk old man. But he just pondered over it for a while, and then went out to play ball with his little girl friend.

The souls have a language. They can talk, and they talk to each other, very often, like women, and they tell each other about themselves, and thier use and abuse, like we talk about our bosses, when we get down for a few drinks at the end of the week. And slowly, our souls try to let us know what they think about each of the other souls. People never listen to them, the voice is always lost in the screaming echoes and the screeching moans from the world outside. This is why people never really understand other people, or take people to be something else, even when all they really need to know is inside them. His father had this knowledge, and that is why he knew, that the old man, would be right about his son.

Time kept passing, and within four years, after he saw his first leap year, he turned four. His Dad moved to Laddakh, working as the highest Radiologist in the world, at 10,000 feel above sea level, he was higher than any other man, who had studied so much. He moved to Delhi, along with his mother into her in-laws house. That was when he started going to school, his first step in the big bad world, and away from Mom and her comfortable and loving world.


The beginning of time and before

He was born to a caring family of a doctor and a school teacher. Like all kids, there was hardly anything from those days that he recalled. Except ofcourse, a few glipses of the past, which remained with him, till the end of his life. Though he would think, that surprisingle they were nothing like the black and white photographs that his parents showed him. He remembered life back then to be as coulourful as always. Probably, he thought to himself, that the colors lost thier brightness as the time passed by.

They gave him a strange name. For it was not very popular even in the part of the world that he came from. The story behind his name went something like this. His father was posted in Calcutta in those days, the capital of West Bengal, the home of Rabindra Nath Tagore, Satyajit Ray and the like; and one of his father's old and dying patients, suggested him this name, as a rememberance of the old man's grandfather. And somehow his father liked it. So he called up his mother, who was in Delhi, eight and a half months pregnant, alone, because Dad could not get leave, and with the same half smile on his face, which had won her heart, he told her that he had a name if it was a boy. They had decided on a different name earlier, but that day they decided to go ahead with this one. And then our guy, quietly showed up on one cold December night, and ended up with the name.

Life is strange. One unrelated old man, who never even saw the child's face, who sleeps peacefully in his grave now, gave the kid something which the rest of the world associated him with for the rest of his life.

And thus began his journey, with a strange name, no hair and no teeth, he set out to rule the world.


March 16, 2006

Today's Best Picks

First of all, let me point to this chain(1,2,3,4) of articles by Sonia Faleiro, a journoulist from Mumbai, and one of India's most prominent blogger. This series is called The Other Half and gives a vivid description of the lifes of a few other Indians. Splendid writing.

Beautiful article on how companies use corporatization to create a demand and help increase business in the market sector they attack.

Sanket, talks about the importance of argumentation in the Indian family and why does it help to reduce hypocrisy.

Here is a brit giving away free English lessons.

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March 15, 2006


We've seen all kind of websites where you could potentially meet millions of other people, meet all of your batchmates from Class 2, or reply to mails from people you are not sure you ever met in college. But here is something which is going to revolutionize the way people interact on the internet.



Google Invitees

kissmyconverse, reports on digg, that in the password recovery process through gmail, there is a link to creat new gmail account.

Update: These are not Gmail accounts, these are just google accounts. They're not quite the same thing. Thanks anonymous for the information.

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Boing Boing, is the world's best blog. Alongwith Xeni Jardin, also the hardest working blogger, they've been working around the clock to find ways to outwit smartfilter, who is trying to block them (for nudity I think). But the reason they are here is because of these three articles which I found pretty interesting.

The first one is about the mysteriously disappearing penises in Nigeria. A bizarre psychological disorder known as genital retraction syndrome. I can't quite believe it's true, though I have checked mine, just in case. Guess you should make sure too.

The second one is with three photographs of pole dancers on electricity poles. But no, it is not the poles who have done it, but the French, on the streets of Paris. I'm sure it might attract a lot of rioting bystanders there.

The last one, is about a court case in Missisippi where a lawsuit by an adult shop has been dismissed. The lawsuit was against the law barring the sale of certain adult devices, which meant that it was a crime to sell a dildo, huh. But the best part was the topic of the post which read, "No Fundamental Right To Dildos". Great work guys, keep up the good work.


And while we are on the topic, this beats everything else you've ever heard about optimism:
About half of the 6.5 billion people on earth right now are women; of these, at least 10% of these women are over 60 and another 10% will be under 18. And of these remaining 2.6 billion, let’s say a mere .0001 per cent are stunning beauties, that means there are still more than a mind boggling quarter of a million hot women out there.

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Google Desktop Out Of Beta

Google Desktop is finally coming out of the beta phase tomorrow. It's difficult to decide if that is good or bad news, but I'm sure it's one of the most highly tested softwares in the market now.

The google blog talks about some new additions.


Shaving Ryan's Private

This is funniest status I have seen on anybody's IM.

March 14, 2006

Should Google Give Out Earnings Guidance

Wall Street Analysts have been pestering Google to fall in line and start issuing Earnings Guidance to the stock market. Even though Google insisted at the very beginning, 18 months ago that they would not indulge analysts with any such results, since they are looking for long term investors, and such an activity would ensure short term investing. But now when Google's profits have fallen below industry expectations, the pressure is mounting.

Earnings guidance is defined as, the comments management gives about what it expects its company will do in the future. These comments are also known as "forward-looking statements" because they focus on sales or earnings expectations in light of industry and macroeconomic trends. These comments are given so that investors can use them to evaluate the company's earnings potential.

This brings us to the all important question, that are the guidance earnings necessary at all? There were two articles today, one in CNN and the other in Forbes pointing out the two sides of the coin.

This is why Calit Murphy, from CNN Money, is against issuing guidance
The experts suggest that 71% of the companies issue yearly guidance. Even though this is the norm, it is not a good practice since
1. It embeds perverse incentives (to manage the numbers rather than the business); relies on dubious assumptions; and feeds into a short-term mentality.
2. Not giving guidance does not mean not giving information. Earnings are part of the equation but not the only variable.
3. Good economic performance is a process, not a number. Even the Chinese Communist Party gets this concept. Their five year plan does not feature an economic growth target becaus they found that if it set a number, they got it - by hook or, more commonly, by crook.
4. Companies do the same. Burying expenses under the rubric of "restructuring"; timing asset sales; piling up debt; or squirreling money away in reserve funds are among the means desperate managers have used to hit their targets. None have anything to do with running a good business.
5. Good management requires that numbers be servants, not masters. And Guidance figures are at best Educated Guesses.
6. Examples from the present include, CEO John Thain, of the NYSE(Research) which went public recently, who indicated that analysts could expect no earnings guidance from them. In the past, Warren Buffett, from Berkshire Hathaway (Research), never gave them either. In contrast, Carly Fiorina made mistaken earning guesses in 2000 that lost $23 billion of Hewlett-Packard's (Research) market value in three days, bringing what guidance are supposed to avoid, volatility.

On the other hand, Vahan Janjigian, from Forbes says
1. The long run is really nothing more than a consecutive string of short runs. Indeed, short-run achievements are the best indicator we have of whether the firm is on track to achieve its long-run goals.
2. Well-run firms have to make short-run plans anyways, since it is part of the budgeting process. Management will still know what it expects for short-run sales and profits. It simply won't tell the investing public. Which would bring about greater uncertainity.
3. He argues, that if all the analysis hasn't resulted in more accurate earnings projections, why in the world does anyone think that the elimination of guidance will make things better?
4. The bigger fear, of course, is that bad management teams will hide behind the "no guidance" shield.firms may find it all too convenient to simply keep bad news hidden just a little bit longer in the hope that it will simply go away over the next quarter or two.

I am not a stock market analyst, but I can relate to the reason why Warren Buffet or the guys at Google, decide not to provide Earnings Guidance. The reasons for it being very simple. I am a software engineer and like all the rest of them I work for a manager, and I have an account manager who handles the client. Now the account manager would like to know exactly how much time I would take to complete the job, even before I start off. Now this case is in many ways similar to the situation between a company and the analysts. I am the company, my manager is the company's internal analysts, who would know if we are meeing expectations or not. The account manager is the analyst, who needs to answer to the final client.

Now what are the options that I have in front of me, when asked with the question, about how much time I would need for the job. If I go with the first option, of specifying exactly how much time I would need, based on experience, I would add the time required to identify the bug, the time required to rectify it, and finally the time to test it properly and then some time to complete the formalities. This is my internal analysis (which would be a lot more complicated in the case of a company). Based on all calculations, I would say that I would be making the delivery by Tuesday.

Most of the times, I would be on time. But consider the case, when I take more time than I had initially allocated for the first stage. But since I have already commited, I would have two options, one would be to go and tell my manager that I'm running late and I would need more time. But it wouldn't do much good to my or my manager's track record to shift the ETA further, so we shut up and try to get it done within the time that's available. What happens in this case is that the part which gets compromised is testing. Which I now know, through really bad experience, that it would lead to a lower quality of work. Some mistakes would creep in over time, and without a complete check up if the delivery reaches the client, it wouldn't be exactly what we promised to deliver.

Now consider, the second case that I discuss with my manager on the expected ETA, but tell the account manager, that we cannot say with utmost certainity how much time would actually be needed. We describe to him, that the whole process would consist of three parts (which I have described above) and we would be able to commit on the exact date till we know for sure.

I have observed, other the last couple of years, that the second method of handling work, makes sure that the clients receive a better quality of work since I am emphasizing on each of the stages of the process rather than fighting the clock to be on time. A task will take up as much time as it requires. And if I take up some extra time on a job, it does not necessarily mean that I am inefficient or unable to perform my job properly. And the client, though might be pissed for a day or two, would value our quality work much more than coming back to us to fix another bug which crept in last time.

In all cases, it is the markets who will decide eventually. Yet personally, I think it should be left up to the individual companies to decide for themselves, as earning guidance is not as necessary to a Good business as the analysts say.

(Against: CNN)
(For: Forbes)

(Also see: link, link, link)

(Crosspost: Desicritics)
(Tagged: Desipundit)

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Trouble in Asia

In Current Affairs:

The Governements in South East Asia seem in trouble. In South Korean, PM asked to quit. In Nepal, Maoist rebels start indefinite blockade. Thousand march to the Thai PM's office. While in India, rebels seize a passenger train.

In other affairs:

Heaven has been found to be in Oslo, norway and this woman has just moved there.
Surprisingly, India and China are ahead of Europe in education.

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Tech Round Up

In the Tech News,

First off there a bookmarklet which lets you delete all the stuff that you don't want to print. The printer friendly bookmarkelet. Now, we don't need to get the whole page, just the text would be welcome.
(link: LifeHacker)

Then there is a article against the use of HUD (Heads up Display for health, ammo and the like) in videogames. Some of the latest video games coming out, would not include the HUD rather, the user would need to look for visual clues to estimate the heath and the ammo.
(link: Wired)

Believe it or not, now there is a Typhoon Personal Super Computer available from Tyan. With upto 8 AMD Opteron™ HE processors, 64GB memory and 4 SATA HDD's.
(link: Tyan)

Then there is this link, about how to install Linux or for the matter Windows on a USB device (larger than 512MB). Imagine installing Linux on your Ipod...
(link: LifeHacker)

And finally, this peer to peer host from Sweden wouldn't be going down. Probably the only host which intends to stay legal for a very long. Hell, they even have a political party which has come up to change the copywright laws in Sweden, which would definitely help these guys.
(link: Wired)

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