Sunday, December 11, 2005 First Sight

How much can you tell about someone in the first few seconds of seeing her?

I live off campus. Wherever I want to go on campus, I go to the nearest point (to my house) on campus and catch the internally run campus bus there. The bus goes trough the under graduate dorms picking up gals(and I guess guys also, who are busy staring at the gals, the moment they step on) along the way. Its a treat to the eyes. Its worth the time spent waiting for the bus.

Last Friday night, at around 8pm, I was returning home from the recreational centre and took the recreational route. On board, I am always well prepared to get impressed by the looks of a cool undergrad gal; but would never expect to be impressed by other aspects of their personalities. After all you can not make out much from their chitchat. Apparently, this ride happens to be different.

This girl boarded the bus at the next stop to mine. She had a football with her, after she entered the bus and before I could envy her for playing soccer, she dropped some metallic object, which I realised was an asthma inhaler. She picked it up and took the medication and started chatting with a couple of her acquaintance. As additional information, it was around one to two degree centigrade outside and it was drizzling.

In retrospect, how many things about her did impress me. She was a normal white girl, not any great looks, so not any impressed by that. But then she was going to play soccer. Women playing soccer; thats the topmost on my turn-on list. As if that is not enough, this woman is going out on a freezing and drizzling night. Thats the cream on the cake. This is inspite of the fact that she has asthma. I mean how passionate she must be about the game. (I would not credit her for this, soccer is like that. Only if I had a group of friends whom I can join on a Friday night for a game of football in the drizzle, dressed from foot to toe in athletic gear!)

One might wonder, is SHE nuts? to go out on a feezing night, to play a traditionally men's game? in the rain? That too when she has asthma? I wondered 'woooooooooow', this female IS Kool!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Everyone Says "We have a lot in common"

This sounds very similar to the famous movie title "Everyone says I love you", I have not seen the movie, hence no intended parallels.

The phrase "We have a lot in common" actually means "well I have feelings for him/her, I think I love him/her, but then, I can not admit such a fact before anybody, (not even my own self), because if (s)he does not respond positively, I will be branded a loser. So let me play safe and say we have a lot in common". This is what it means most of the times but there could be minor variations depending on the situation.

The first runner up to the meaning of the pharse of interest is "I love him/her for some stupid reason, which I am not ready to confront, so lets say we have a lot in common", this is a runner up only because the situtation to which it applies, that is the people in question are officially boyfriend-girlfriend (or what ever the prelevant local culture thinks is the relavant name of the relationship). This is a better situation to be in because the pair are at least bold enough to accept whatever; and the existence of a stupid reason is mutual.

A lot of people are disgusted with me for the reason that I pass on judgements like Zeus sitting on Mt. Olympos. There are many ways they retort to that. "Raka, there are no absolutes in life", "How can you just say like that", are the two most common replies that Mr. Zeus da Raka gets. But nicer American people 'compliment' with "You are a man of convictions". Which though means the same as the rustic Indian counterparts mentioned above, sounds better for reasons what ever.

That was a digression, the point at hand, is I am passing judgements on other's 'true' feelings. You just can not associate so many negative connotations to someone's simple statement like "we have a lot in common"! Now, what prompted this self certified extremely busy graduate student with four projects and some funds searching on his head, to launch such a severe tirade on such an innocent statement.

I was watching this movie, "Runaway Bride", and how in the movie, the heroine goes around involuntirily convincing a line of young men that they again "Have a lot in common" with her. There are a couple of tricks here. Firstly, the heroine in question is a sports lover and enjoys them quite openly with quite some celebration. Now if there were as many associations for the upliftment and preservation of rights of men, as there were for women, this heroine of ours would get sued many times over. After all she is infringing into the male domain of 'loving sports'.

Now, such a woman would definately "have a lot in common" with the entire male population. She may sometimes evoke feeling from some men like "abe yaar woh ladki hii nahi lagti yaar" ("she is more of a guy, you do not get that girly feeling with her"). But then she need not bother herself with a negative when there are ten positives out there. Features like 'laughing for a wide range of jokes', 'slightly good looks', 'good at verbal repartees', 'blah blah blahing' etc. etc. are an added bonus.

It would be partial and narrowminded of me not to attack the male (and my less favourite) population, and that last thing I wanted to be labeled is a chauvinist. So let me be proffessional here.

There are some kinds of men, who have a great way with women. All of you must be having a friend, who is now with his 'I have stopped counting, do not ask me how many' eth girl friend. Now lets see what these guys "have a lot in common" with the ivory legs, jelly cheeks and spicy sugary lips of the world. These guys are a the kind who can go on endlessly with any women on the phone or offline (surprising but, they have their mercies for the signal cables sometimes) for hours together on how that little extra tamarind in the day's curry would affect their health. For the sake of generality, lets say on a discussion about how 'whatever whatever whatever can have on whatever whenever and whereever'. Something that starts with 'the bus was late today' can end with 'I want to join the coast gaurd in Alaska'.

Again what do these gentlemen have in common with the ladies? They share the reason for their success with the allied forces's victory at Normany. i.e. simple statistics. When someone mentions a million things a day, you are bound to observe that of that million, you have at least a ten in common! Now after an attack of three months, i.e. a near 100 million, you are bound to find at least a thousand that reach the base, that is the common base. Now "we indeed have a lot in common". But then these fine ladies say that they are made to feel special "after all a person who could be commanding a $50 per hour, spends ten hours a day on you, you are bound to feel worth a million dollars over a period of time. Now that million dollars could just be the guy's investment in convincing himself that he is good enough, which I swear is worth the amount! Ofcourse he too could do with additional bonus features like 'open book mentality', 'affordable wallet', 'good dressing sense', 'sense of humor' etc. etc.

When the pair in question do not belong to any of the above classes, it could be the sheer driving force of human surviaval 'hope' that comes into action. You like this girl for some stupid reason. The stupid reason I would suspect is God's program embedded in human ROM, so that the race survives! Now, there we have something in common with the animal population!
This hope starts counting what you have in common with this gal or guy, and thus you end up "having a lot in common". The fact that she has more in common with the other guy/gal or the fact that these oh-so-common-stuff are superficial etc. do not matter to the blind lover(s) in whose world there are no gals or guys next door.

Isn't it amazing, for no reason we fall in love, for no reason we like to be so much in love! But then one fine day when the door knocks. When you are expecting opportunity, you find reason, before you could say 'hi there' it bangs you in the face. Its the gal next door, who 'has this guy, who means a lot to you, in common' with you.
Till then enjoy the ride.

PS: I am sure this post will be a sour pill to a lot of my dear friends and readers who "have a lot in common" with someoneelse. Zeus da Raka is ready for the stoning.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another drop of dew

I am scared of visitng my blog!

I was told a long time ago, that if one begins his speech with some striking words like the above, she will more often than not have a good speech(The use of 'she' was to be politically correct). I never quite believed in such tricks, striking them off as desperate attempts of someone trying to capture the attention of the respectable audience (after all they are listening to you on their time, when they could be doing something better), by blurting out some irrelavent but fancy stuff.

Now, coming back, why that theatrical opening then? Oh, I was just getting it out of my head, as soon as possible. Now, the question comes, why am I afraid of my blog. For one thing, it signifies a lot of things. It is an metric for the quality of life. The better blogs I write the better life I am having, these days, the quality of the blogs, if there are any at all, has dropped drastically.

It has turned out to be a load of meaningless bullshit like the stuff you are currently reading. Any reasons?

Unarguably, the biggest fuel to my beautiful blog, was my bike, those random drives in the beautiful city of Bangalore, on whose roads I travelled a happy 8000 kilometers in an year, now that is quite an amount for a guy who went to his office by bus, most of the times. I used to go on a lot of random dirves. Those were amazing.

A random drive can help you in many ways. I loved them for the simple reason that I love travelling, the sheer motion is so joyful, I mean the motion along a pure country road or even a city road laden with trees on a warm morning or in a quiet night. They make you think calmly, help you get in touch with yourself, give you that control over your life. They let you feel the beauty of it, let you live in the moment. Give you that sense of clam. Midn you I am not speaking of a daily commute.

Back to the present, I live in downtown Atlanta, with my school being a five minute walk from my house, I do not have enough money to go out and see places, the only times I get to travel are when I am visiting my relatives places and when we go on the weekly grocery shopping. The former is done in a stuffed local train, which leaves me dizzy after running in and out of tunnels for a while, with a dubious air flow mechanism. The latter gives me a headache due to the highway smoke.

So I no longer travel, no longer have a chance to step back from the wall and take a good look at the picture I am painting, the picture that is my life. Now what kind of artist does not look at the kind of piture he is painting? Is this the reason this country has so many cult movies like 'The Matrix', 'Fight Club' etc. where people question the hold they have on their own lives? I am far from sure and am not in a condition to think and resolve or argue.

Also, there has not been a comment on this blog in a long long time, I think it is time I made it public. Tried to do that once, but then backed off. It kind of feels lonely but then it remains more honest. So let me try to do it the Google way, grow the audience organically.

On the other hand, I am having an almost great life, (hoping to remove the 'almost' very soon). The rides in the college bus, where you get to see some of God's genius combined with an hour of labour before the mirror! The campus recreation centre, the geek professors, who look so happy with the subjects they teach, the subjects themselves that are so cool, and to say the least, so beautiful. The beauty of Mathematics deserves a complete post. Yup, I am born geek.

I can see beauty of Mathematics, like I can see the beauty of a helping nature, of the rain, of an open mind, of a football game, of a courageous soul, of a fluttering leaf, of a breeze flirting with your smile, of a culture that is thousand years old, of the flow of a feminine body, of a kid's innocence, of a grown up's helplessness, of a cookoo's song, of the play of the light with the gentle waves, of a stranger's smile, etc.

As long as you can see that beauty and as long as you can be in love with HER for surrounding you so elegantly, life will remain as beautiful as a droplet of dew on the edge of a coconut leaf.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Social Economic Profile

I took this 'Politics and Economics outlook' personality test on OK cupid. It was kind of cool, taking a personality test after a long time. Took quite a few of them, during job hunting back in India and in the amazing TCS training sessions.

Over the years I have and am happy to have grown into a person who can take these tests honestly, because if you are good intentioned, you can afford to be honest.

Regarding this test, the result was that I am Social Liberal (61%) and an Economic Moderate(40%). On the whole making me a centrist, which means having a balanced view of things. I would rather see myself as a Social Moderate and an Economic Liberal, which will still leave me a Centrist, but lets not lose focus here.

I think I turned a centrist the day I read the 'Gone with the Wind' and realized it is a greater book of philosophy than 'Fountain Head' or 'Atlus Shrugged', the day I realised that the way I thought is same as the way my rolemodels (like President Kalam, FC Kohli, Srini Rajam etc.) talked.

The interesting part, I thought, here is that a couple of American teammates I had here in one of my projects unanimously pointed out that "I am a man of Convictions". Nice way of putting what my friends at Ittiam used to do so bluntly! Now being a person of convictions and being a Centrist is quite a thing ain' it?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Nice ... Uhun

Prologue :
My friend I were having a pointless conversation, on which we were copying a third friend of ours. The third guy was silent all the time and finally replied saying that it was a nice conversation, which the conversation was far from. This was my reply.

"Nice conversation"
One thing about talking to girls for long hours is that (or is it about being in B schools), one tends to start everything with 'nice'.

Like 'Nice article', there is no gaurentee the person even read the subject line. Similarly 'nice conversation', like 'nice dress', 'nice book', 'nice forward' 'nice ass' etc. The nicest part of nice is that it is a nice thing to say.

The only thing that can equal nice in what-ever is the 'aham' the 'a's are pronounced as a median of the sounds 'a', 'u' and 'e'. It is said with the right mono-tone to it so that it could mean anything from 'thats great' to 'do not bullshit me'. 99% of cases it is means something between ' I do not care' to 'do not bull shit me'.

Next time you hear an american or someone who has been here for a while 'ahun', it is anything but 'nice'.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Causalty of Success

I needed to be at that great Grad school doing MS in my field of interest. Why? There are a lot of reasons, I still can not figure out why exactly.

To give you the back ground, I am at Georgia Tech, the fourth best institute in the world for Engineering. I mean the fourth best. In mobile robotics, apparently my field of interest, it is still better. It was not an easy thing coming here. I do not mean to say that I had to work hard, get high grades during Bachelors etc. But then I had to stay dogged on to getting an admit and a visa to get to this place. It was one heck of a fight; which when I finally won, many of my friends congratulated on both getting it and for making it happen.

Yeah, but then why did I need to get here so desperately. Especially towards the end, that is especially just before I came here. I am having a great life here, (well almost, there are a couple of things I miss). But still why did I want to come here so 'desperately'? There are a few probable reasons, let me evaluate each
I always wanted to do MS, there were a few exceptions to it, especially just before I came here. Now that is confusing, isn’t it? Just before I came to the US, that is when I was still in my company, I realized that my Karma is to help take India to the next level of Economic growth. This was a combination of the business and people sense God gifted me with. Like every rose that has a thorn, my gift needed that I place my future for the progress of the country. Of course I would be getting the enormous illusion of satisfaction in return. In that case, an MS degree will not be the fastest way to get there, an MBA understandable. A PhD, understandable, but then why an MS? BTW, I have no intention of doing either and MBA or a PhD, as of now. In summary this reason does not seem to hold enough water.

The second reason was that, I want to explore the world. After all in many a places on the net, where ever I am given a chance to mention my interests, I do mention people, places and cultures. But for that did I need to do an MS? I could have gone overseas trough my company, I could have roamed around on corporate money, rather than getting holed up like I currently am, between school and home. Hence this factor could have had it is influence but then it was not the majority of the reason.

The third alternative, which will sound pretty strong, is that, I was genuinely pissed off with my job in Bangalore. The life in Bangalore was pretty cool, but then the job, especially the location of the company and the profile of my work sucked. To counter this, I could have switched job, which I in fact prompted me to resign without another at hand, of course with the excuse of the visa. And my manager could have given me a good interesting job in the same company; after all there were many jobs with good profiles that suited me real well. This is a good reason, but still not strong enough, because if I left Bangalore, I would be losing my financial independence and my freedom to roam around.

The fourth reason, that sounds the actual reason, or if I did not choose to believe in the actual reason, this will be the one I would rather believe in. It is that I got admission from one of the best universities in the world. Of course I should go. It was always my dream to do MS from one of the top schools. "And just imagine what a bullet this would make in your resume", many of my friends would point out. Marrying the most good looking women just because you were asked by her does not make all that sense, after all you got to consider if she is the kind of girl for you, don't you? That's the weak part of this argument, but then it still is a strong point.

There is this one argument, that I always push to the back of my mind, that I do not want to believe in, but let me pull it forward and dissect it at this altar of truth (that is my bolg, whose status of truthfulness got jeopardized recently, owing to a decision to go public). The argument is that I came to the US just to proves that I am still capable of achieving what I started out to achieve. Do I mean to say, that I was afraid I would end up being a loser. Because after two years in the real world, I felt that the industry has disappointed me, my expectations from my 'love life' and how to go about it were so unclear, the real world was harsher than I ever expected, the responsibility that my fellow country man felt for his country was so damn disappointing. I wanted to escape all that, I wanted to feel that, I could be very lucky in life, that I could really make things happen to me. And then, I got admission from the best school I applied to just by presenting my self so darn well, and by staying dogged. I could not let such an opportunity go by.

Hmmm.... Does not sound all that strong an argument. Let me add more premise to this to make it stronger. Like me and one of my friends agreed up on a few weeks ago, 'we somehow can not let life to be going still, we have to jump the boat, make things wild, mess up things, make life less ideal'. That's weird, but is kind of true with us. Still the reason does not sound strong enough.

Yup got it, the reason I came here to do MS is as I mentioned to the guys who were kind enough to come to the airport to receive me in Atlanta. It is not a print out of this blog, it is just the two words 'time-pass'. Yup that was it. A combination of the reputation of the university, the US education system, a love for simple mathematics, a boredom with the job, an round age, and a sense of exploration made me come to do MS. After all, if I came here for some stupid reason, I would not be enjoying it as much as I am doing right now.

Now, who is the casualty? The casualty is the piece of blog your are reading right now. This was the biggest hit, with this exaltation in my life. I lost the freedom to move around, I lost the freedom to ride. I miss my bike now, on that bike, going on those nice roads of Bangalore, with a sense of ownership, I got all that I wanted to write blogs, I was in touch with myself. The number of blogs came down, the quality of the blog as I see it came down. That's why at this time of the night with a project due for submission, I am writing one to compensate for the loss.

Here it is as if I am in a program. I do enjoy this mighty, but pretty soon I got to do something that will let me regain touch with myself. The American system is famous for making you lose touch with yourself, it is so not spiritual! No wonder there are books like 'Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance' and movies like the 'Fight Club' in this country.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm loving it

Introduction: This is a mail that I sent to almost all of my friends, it received rave reviews, at least by my standards. Hence it graduated to a blog. This post will also get the credit for making my blog public! A mile stone indeed. Till now, only one person in all those who know me, knew my blog. It was ok, because we used to rarely meet outside the cyberspace, and she kind of understood. It remains to be seen if this IPO will inhibit my blog.

Just a while ago, I attended my first class here. The subject is Linear Systems and Control. A subject most of us have or had in B. Tech. You could be wondering why of all the subjects. I am sure most of my classmates must be thinking, what is this wierdo doing, taking 'Control And Guidance' and all there?

Coming to the class, it was absolutely awesome coming back to the good old Laplace transform and all. (If you forgot, believe me we studied that in college). The teacher was a fairly young guy, in his early thirties. His introduction was something like "I took this subject in my undergrad, I thought this rocks, and so did PhD in controls....". And like the way we used to use, equation numbers as 1 with a circle around it etc. etc. This person uses the 'I love you symbol' and calls the equation a sweet heart ! I thought I missed transforms these two years. If you are wondering what kind of geek this teacher could be, he looks like a Swedish model. Reminds me of Kimi Raikonnen (though Finnish), and the sweet distribution we used to have at Ittiam when ever he won. So those guys must have enjoyed one such festival today, after all both Kimi and Montoya finished it on the podium in the Turkish Grandprix.

Anyway, I had a very good first class at 'tech' ( It is the tech for us). Liked it very much , I just hope that the other classes are as good. I have one now from 6 to 7:30 pm! The subjects I am taking are :
1) Object oriented system design ( a CS subject )
2) DSP Software system Design
3) Random Processes (a comm. subject )
4) Linear Systems and Control

Yeah, most of the stuff is familiar to me either from College or TCS or Ittiam, but then I thought that in the first semester I could kind of take it easy and also get back my interest in these stuff. Because I am interested in coming back to the industry (to some hi-tech company), I am taking Software development courses like the first two. My final field would be robotics from a control perspective, there are a CS perspective, a mechanical engg perspective among others.I am trying to switch my department back to ECE, for the obvious reason that I am much better at it, and the not so obvious reason that the course requirement there is a sixth lesser than the CS department. Yup, its still the '9 to 6' maniac :-)

I think MS is a good thing to do with the freedom to choose courses and the quality of the lecture. The only thing that this great institute offers more than most of our colleges that you can not blame the teacher. There are a lot of assignments, which we can not copy :-) Ofcourse, we in our B.Tech. class could have managed that way, but then blame anyone, we did not. It is easier than we would think, after all the average intellect of the student here is the same. I hope we will realise that there are no short cuts in life, Because the lesson or the fruit, both are in the journey and not in the destination.

Hope I will like this journey, more than I initially thought, may be less than I think now, (after all, my way of thinking is under-damped because of a very low time-constant, ha ha the control systems guy in me is back) ! After all I paid no mean price when I left all those finance department's liberal 'last Monday of the month' gifts and of course 'nammooru bengalooru'.

You guys will be asking the same old question, 'Are you back to dance?' Not yet, I wonder how dance-friendly situation I am in. I think I do have the time, but no bike. And this city which head quarters CocaCola, CNN, Bank of America etc. is quiet deficient when it comes to satisfying man's more basic needs like security. That's what makes Bangalore sweet. I do agree that a bike or car will makes things better. We have a very good gym here, the swimming pool used for the Olympics, and good tennis courts. That should do for the present.

- RakA

First Impressions.

Intro : This blog is my first long mail from the USA. It is named after Jane Austen's book Pride and Prejudice, which was initially named First Impressions. Though I would expect and hope this story's ending to be anything far less melodramic. My apologies for doing injustice to that great novel.

From : RA
To : RD, SO, PS, SM, MS, SV, RP

Hi guys,

I was just wondering if I pestered you with an unsolicited and gloomy update from my side. Then I realised that I did not, what I still did not write to those people to whom without revealing the sender's identity, you show this mesg, they would guess, this is our own typical raka.

So here it flows.

I have arrived in the US on the 9th of Aug, it has been one week exactly, and here are my experiences. This place stinks, I am yet to find our why? Here everything is planned/processed from the trees to the food to the air ! Hence it either smells of the pesticides they use on their lawns, which we seem to miss so much in India or it smells of the air-fresheners that they use indoors. It deprives you of the natural fresh air and I start getting a slight headache, and in one week this smell has moved in to my throat making everything I eat taste like again a pesticide. 'But then none of those who went to the US were complaining like this?' . Now you know what makes my mails typical.

I stayed for the first three days in my uncle's house, in a suburb of Chicago. The house was huge and nice, now I moved to the city of Atlanta and am trying to find houses. The thing we used to do in Bangalore on weekends. Ofcourse, I am disappointed. Again the heart of the city, why does this happen to me? I got admission from Universities that are all in the heart of various cities and I chose the smallest city. Phew!

When I was coming to the US, to the omni-put question 'Are you returning, or staying back there?', ( a question people asked, inspite of the fact that they 'knew' that I am going to stay back ), I answered simply, I am not going to let my children grow up in the US. My opion on this front has only been consolidated by the images here. I will be staying here until I earn howmuch ever I put into my MS with interest ofcourse and also after I regain my loss of pay owing to an absence from my dear Bangalore. It should not take much owing to the exchange rate of the dollar. After the recovery and till the children part, I have to make my jump, that will be some six years period or so. I am trying not think about the Harvard MBA part.

Right now, I am on the lookout for a house, which as I mentioned earlier, in unparlimentary terms, sucks. In the worst case, I will stay in the campus hostel, which is a very good option, at least you need not fear returning home after working late in a lab and all. Back in India only women feel insecure, but in dreamland, the eqality of the genders is more pronounced at least in this regard. Returning to the campus option thing, no Indian opts for it because it is expensive, kind of fifty percent costlier, indian students without aid less so. I should be able to find a person willing to share it also.

I think I will be able to start enjoying life here, once I settle down and start going to the Gym , playing soccer and tennis. Tennis is quiet cheap here, can say cheaper that Bangalore! Gym is said to be very good esp. for the fee you pay for it. And they have an active soccer group here. Reminds me that I did not see any ground anywhere here. But then after all, I did not see even half of the campus. One can enjoy even more , once a professor starts paying your tution fee and once he starts giving you money for living. But then depends on how much time you will have to spend in the lab. Reminds me, I have to sell myself to some of the prof.s and try to get some coding job, after all that debugging in Bangalore better pay-off.

There are a couple of good things. For example, I did not spend a single cent in the last week. I would say the 'lull before the storm'. Just the thought of the tution fee I have to pay next week kind of scares me off. But some how dad always manges to give enough money and enough buffer. Only if everybody has been blessed with one such ATM which gives at least a fifth more than what you asked for, the world would have been a much better place. Seriously speaking, it has been a lot of load on him. It also leaves me with a feeling of guilt that I am consuming so much hard earned money. Hope this entire Gatech thing pays off in the end. I mean it better pay literally off in the end. This entire computer science jimmik, the sacrifice of an potensial ITPL (so finally here the inevitable four letters are) job and a nice Indiaranagar pent-house with a tree by its side, my bike, dance classes, a bottomless ATM card, a known face on every street, a lot of friends, a lot of movies, ... a lot of things things life has got to pay me back for.

Paro, you will not believe it, the TV here is apthetic! There is nothing like a combination of your SUN network channel, MTV India, Star World and HBO. There is nothing like that in the US. We get the best American sitcoms only as they are filtered for us, even though they arrive late. The ads here are so so pathetic, you will not believe it, they are like a desperate salesboy trying to sell you something. It goes on like, this thing has blah.. blah.., with out blah.. blah.. It will male you balh blah, Place your order now, or call now at balh blah. Creativity naam ka koi cheez hi nahi. In India advertising is supposed to be very creative and hence were attractive.

A good time pass these days has been reading 'The Davinci Code', a mosntrous good book. Every aspect of it is good, the drama, the backdrop, the appeal, the plea, the research etc. Dan Brown should have visited India it would have given a lot of food for symbology thought and a great pleasure in knowing that there is a lot of worship of the Female Godesses, the Sacred Feminine as he calls it. I will soon have to get back to PGW, a good sip of good idyllic comedy is always good.

Thats is for now, I am tired of writing, so you guys if at all you read it till here would have been exhauseted .


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Interesting Things this Summer

Part I - Summer, Storms, Medals and Night Rides

When I started blogging (if you noticed, this is how my last blog started too :-) I swore that I will not bother my readers with my personal musings, but only write some of my 'quality' perspectives on aspects (mostly beautiful) of life. Like this predecessor, this blog also breaks one of my blog resolutions. After all, it is better to state facts out of which the blogzens, who more often than not fall in the higher end of the intellectual spectrum, can make their own interpretations, instead of forcing on them my own opinions not to mention branding them 'quality' rather immodestly.

Summer, it is never exactly summer in Bangalore. It is summer by Bangalorean standards, but from where I come, this is how it is in the coolest of seasons. Staying in Bangalore for twenty one months has made me a Bangalorean of sorts. There are so many things about Bangalore that I love in spite of it being a confused city. We will come to that in some other post. I would call the 38 deg centigrade a summer in spite of the rain that comes every other day (even as I am writing this) and the hailstorms that recently visited us.

Bangaloreans have various interpretations of the hailstorms. I thought interpreting natural phenomena is out of style in the information age. Pardoning the fact that humans will be humans, more so Indians will be Indians; people say that the hailstorm was called by the trees that want to protest the ill-treatment they have been receiving from the citizens. Nice na, that a storm, that too a hailstorm comes in when you call, even though it comes only to beat you up! In this hailstorm, trees got uprooted, falling on cars and bikes, thus injuring people in protest to cutting them down. Now some extremist groups have trained trees into martyrdom ! Though a nature lover and a champion of planting trees, I do not endorse these extreme acts by my immobile friends. Bangaloreans have to cut down some of the old trees that lie right on the middle of roads like MG road to widen them, thus reduce pollution. Of course they must also care enough to plant saplings again.

Moving on to things I did this summer. Here the summer begins right in the middle of April. Right after the right in the middle of April is my company's annual day, on which I got a medal. It is the first medal of my life. The medal was for winning a humble basket ball tournament that we won sometime in November! Nonetheless first medals in life are first medals in life. I won the second medal in my life by running the Bangalore Marathon's half. It was a full twenty one kilometer run, that deserves a complete post. This medal is a finger to all those people who laughed when I said I was running the half-marathon and a salute to all those people who cheered along the way. Let me tell you given the slightest chance, these two classes of people will exchange positions before you say 'oh'. I mean, the same people who say you can't do it, will clap when you attempt. After all, people are in general good.

I went on a night ride in Bangalore, two weeks back. This also deserves another post, but due to various constraints, let me put a compressed version here as a part of this series. It was after a fun filled get-together of some friends. I travelled sixty kilometers to cover a displacement of four kilometers! The course was (before I forget, let me note it down).

Kasturinagar - KRpuram - Marathalli - Agara - Madiwala (along outer ring road till now) - Forum - Dairy circle - Lal Bagh east gate - north gate - JC road - Hudson circle - Kasturba road - Queen's road - Raj Bhavan road - Golf Course - Sankey Road - Cauvery theatre - Mekhri circle - Jaya mahal - Cantonment - Queen's Road (not the part already visited) - Shivajinagar bus stand - Cubbon road - Brigade road - Residency road - Mayo hall - MG road - Trinity road - Airport road - Airport - BEML - Old Madras road - Ulsoor - CMH road - Home.

Total distance - 60 km
Total time - 70 min
Duration - 12:30 pm to 1:40 am
Maximum speed - 70 kmph
Total breaks - 20 sec
The route never intersected and covered the entire east and Bangalore right from the north to south. Now did I mention in my profile that random drives are my hobby ?

There are many advantages to random drives. The most noticeable of which is the one that Robert M. Pirsig had when he drove from Chicago to San Francisco. He wrote down his thoughts along the ride into the book 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Management' that went on to become a best seller making him a millionaire. Neither my random drives nor my blog are my steps in the footsteps of Mr. Pirsig. I would attribute my random drives, mostly night drives, to the feeling these drives give you, you can muse on random topics and get in touch with yourself. I guess that is what drove Mr. Pirsig on his drive from the great lake to the great ocean; and let me assure the ride was just what the doctor would have prescribed to him. My machine, as I call it with love, is a Bajaj Pulsar, an awesome machine. When you drive it, you get a feeling that you are still and the world is moving under you. There have been many an occasion on which I took circuitous routes just to feel the rev of the machine. Hats off Mr. Rajiv Bajaj. My drives are mostly night drives because that is the only time excepting the early mornings when Bangalore roads are a fun to drive on. Travelling along the roads from Bangalore to Mysore or Kodagu (Coorg) in the buses or Tempos also classify as random drives. This is when I miss a blogging mechanism the most.

To be continued...
Coming in the next blogs as a part of the 'Interesting things this summer' areIndic Fonts, Smilies, Marathons, Performances, Destinies, Dispersals etc.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Passion Lost, Passion Found

Right from my childhood...
I swore when I started blogging, that I would never begin a blog with those four words. The main intention behind blogging was to have a healthier look at life. To do that we all know, one should live in the present and enjoy every moment. And for that one should not live in the past nor should one live for the future. The latter I never do, but sometimes I experience moments when past jumps before me as I walk along, say CMH road, and says 'gotcha'. One of the biggest achievements in the last two years, that is the years I spent in the real world is that I am able to dodge very well when I get the vague sight of the past at a distance in the lane of thought. Not that I had a bad past, but then I have so much passion for my life that I get disappointed when ever I feel I am not living it to the full, and most of my childhood was spent staring into the idle space, hence there was some regret; but then the last two years have shown me so many good things that my school days had, that I started feeling good about it. If you are wondering why I started my blog with those four words, I am obviously digressing.

Take two,
Right from my childhood, I was always interested in maths and science. One reason was that I was always one of the best in my class in Maths and physics (chemistry and biology were never really my cup of tea, neither were the Indian languages, I was somehow very good at English). The second reason was that I did not have many other interesting things in life. (Looks like the first paragraph, which I termed digression, is turning out to be very relevant.) I guess my liking for math does not deserve to be called Passion but I really liked it. There was this subject computers for one year in school, which I was the uncrowned prince of. Used to get nearly 76 when the class average was 30 or so. Along the side lines, I was always a nature lover, but in those days I did not realize that, and took my closeness to nature for granted, its only after coming to nammooru bengalooru that I knew how much it matters to me.

Moving on,
like every good boy from Andhra, I too studied for Engineering and got to a Regional Engineering College (now National Institute of Technology). It is here were I had unlimited access to computers. I was running at the double the speed of my class mates in learning C++. I really really used to like writing programs. Yes, that was a passion. All problems in live solved; I am going to be a highly paid computer engineer and have that ideal life where you both earn a lot and enjoy your work.

The twist in the story.
I got a back paper in Basic Electronics Laboratory exam. I had to choose, if I wanted to be a software guy neglecting my major or put my primary duty, electronics, first. I opted for the later (one of those better decisions in life). In my third year, I virtually did all of my B.Tech. I liked digital signal processing very much. It was also a passion, and like a sensible guy who changes his aim in life when ever he finds a new passion, I too did. I am going to be a dsp engineer, my ideal future got 'idealer'.

Scene change. After two years. Enter reality.
I became a software engineer in a DSP company, though not exactly a dsp engineer; I did not mind this because as you can observe, it was a weighted average of my first and second loves. After that, in a nut shell, I got bored with coding and the indispensable debugging. I should have been warned when I first heard these lines of the greatest inventor of all time, Thomas Alwa Edison. "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninetynine percent perspiration". I do not know about genius, but the entire industry is like that.

One fine weekday night.
In a bus on a Bangalore road, I discovered what was bothering me. The discovery being a modest one, there was not the necessity for the apple to fall on my head. But I was as happy as Newton probably was. The discovery was that I had no passion in life. Yes, my passions for dsp and coding both were dead by then. No one would want a passion to die, so let us say, they became dormant. Then I came across dance. In another nut shell ( I hope all these nut shells do not cause indigestion to you, dear reader), it is the best thing that has happened to me in my life. I started feeling happy. Just before joining dance classes, I was in one of my lows in life, when nothing goes the way you plan, not career, not your future plans, not your job, not your house hunt, oh not even your bike.

Climax, back to the present.
After being happy for a long time, you get used to it. By now I am used to being happy, I feel really glad when I sit and recollect how much dancing has enhanced my life. I have started counting numbers in counts of eight, like it is done in Music. Now as I walk, I suddenly do a step or two. I also find better about my work. Somethings change, somethings do not. My hatred for Bangalore's traffic remained the same. Fate also helped in all this. I have different plans now. My future is giving my love for coding and dsp a second chance, will they take that is to be seen. I hope they do, because no one likes to loose a passion.

Everybody wants to have the 'idealest' future, don't they?

P.S : This blog served its purpose, I thought my love for my work is dead, but now I am hopeful.

Monday, March 07, 2005

To Love or Not to Love

Apologies! for the title is none of what I promised in my last blog. I was going through some blog and stumbled up on this thought I want to blog now. Things that make great blogging stuff are things of the moment, rather than a list of those less fortunate thoughts that cross the brain in the absence of a computer; but then most thoughts come to you on travel when you do not have a blogger at hand.

Moving on to this oh-so-fortunate thought that occurred to me before this computer, it is something to do with the computer and all those brain waves of human beings over the decades that culminated in this device. If there seemed to be a glitch in the previous sentence, it must be the absence of an adjective qualifying the device, which definitely merits the presence of one. The missing adjective has metamorphosed itself into the following paragraphs.

Going my the title, you would be expecting a very romantic blog, hoping I am capable of one. Sorry that is not to be the case, as we are going to deal with loving something that does not qualify as aesthetic to the majority of human race. No offense intended at all those great people who comprise the high IQ club and are so fascinated by the 'Maya' of technology and the way the 'Maya unfolds'. Though the object is not the conventional object of love, the dilemma is the usual stuff people suffer from.

Getting into the details, any body who saw my profile would know that I am an Engineer. Of course, our entire profession, (its my profession, in spite of the fact that I her prodigal son mentally and soon to be totally), lives on technology, its our mother, without which we would be starving. For most of my brethren, who are proud of their skills at wielding the magic box, the variety of applications, games, multimedia that this box has to offer is the best thing that happened to them in their whole lives. It could beyond doubt be the single biggest thing that can make them feel contented forever, for being born in this age in this profession where evening is a rare event in those timeless offices. The ownership of a PC by you or by one of your more "cool" roommates is a direct measure of your quality of life. The enormous amount of pirated movies you get to watch, the amount of pirated games you can play, gives you much more than a vicarious thrill of being a pirate in the Atlantic.

"So what's the whole point?". The whole point is that I hate computers; speaking without all those filters that one has to apply after the natural filter, the human vocal chord, to make your speech politically correct. But then you do not have a choice in this not so politically correct world, where the only known form of correctness is 'being politically correct'. The choice has already been made, I have to love computers, technology etc. etc. After all, I do not want all my friends to think that I am a cynic. Everyone wants to be happy-go-lucky and I am a part of everybody. Hence I have time and again decided to love technology.
But then, there are a few obstacles between this cubicle-boy-lover and the Princess Technology; the amount of restlessness and pollution that always accompany her, to mention a few. Ok, I am an old fashioned guy, who wants to walk in that small avenue by the canal side, listening to the songs of the birds and the giggle of the running water as the breeze flirts with my face. "What non sense, when compared the pirated version of the latest Bollywood movie smuggled over the border or the latest video game that we bought from that guy at National market who is compensating his dumbness in buying an authentic game CD by selling it off unauthentically to the smarter public?" Or say, "What fun is it when compared to zipping on a highway, at 100mpl in a super bike or car that your life gifted you with, for all those evenings of your youth (a term irrelevant in the world of technology, where there is only that successful future) you placed on the altar of the demanding Goddess of Success.
The stable err cubicle boy loves all those antics of the Princess that exist in the zoom she has to offer in his digi-cam, in the vroom she has to offer in his bike, in the favourite TV show she has to offer in his plano TV. The question remains where this deeply seduced young man can meet his love beyond the obstacles? Does he want to? If he were finally able to love her, after vanquishing his loathing for all the by-products of the princes, is the price worth paying?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Long time no blog

It has been really really long since I blogged. Yes two and a half months is a long peroid for any blog. Especially when those two and a half months are very happening. Ironically, the very fact that the last two months were very happening is the reason for the absence of any blogs.

In a nut shell, I had two dance peformances on stage, (taking the total number of stage performances I gave in my life to three), changed three houses (about to change for a fourht!), took concrete steps for the future, celebrated a birthday, heard a shocking news on my Birthday, went to Hyderabad and home and realised that my childhood is over, completed one year in my job, heard of another friend's marriage, and lot more.

In the meanwhile, there were so many thoughts that crisscrossed my brain that could have been amazing blogs. But sorry reader (that is most of the times myself), the days were too packed for me to blog. Here are some of the titles, of the blogs that could have been and that could be expected in the days to come.

The ooru that shrunk.
Memories that stink.
Passion lost, passion Found.
Language and the art of making people happy.
The world is our living room.
Number "line" becomes a "circle".
The heart that bleeds.
Blessed by the Trinity till Eternity.