Friday, December 30, 2005

The year that was

I'm wearing a rather remarkable shirt, one that makes me feel like a clown fooling around in a graveyard. Roving eyes latch on to me and make me too conscious of myself. Checkered in red, grey, black and maroon, I've excused myself into donning it and looking silly for two reasons. It's Friday and…more importantly, the last working day of the year. Tailored half-a-year back, I never had the courage to wear it, not until today.

It's that time of the year when it's time to reflect on the events that transpired. Last year ended on the worst possible note. Dad had expired and I was numb with shock. The repercussions rippled halfway thought this year. Things were so abysmal initially that I had lost the will to live. Acrid in everything I did, I was immensely angered by time phlegmatically flowing through its cadence. It was as if Dad meant nothing to anybody. What right did people have to live the way they always had when Dad was no more? Why was much of the world still ignorent of my grief? The light of my life, the essence of my soul was gone and there hardly seemed any reason for me to go back to my previous self.

Yet the wheels of change wouldn't stop. I finally had to abdicate Kolkata for Bangalore and start life anew. My daily routine bore no resemblance to what it was previously. I had a new city, new life, new career, new colleagues and new friends. Reminiscing had almost become a luxury, though I sometimes managed to steal some time and think of what a wonder camaraderie Dad and I shared. But so many things that should have been shared remained unshared. So many things that should have been said remained unsaid. So many things that should have been done remained undone. So many dreams that should have been fulfilled remained unfulfilled. So many promises that should have been kept remained unkept. My eyes moistened and I secretly cried. Though the recuperation will never be consummated, life must go on.

It's a wonder that I've survived an entire calendar year without Dad. It's a wonder still that the future beckons me with unfurled arms. To it I must surrender.

I wish everyone a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Featured Blog

One of my posts has been showcased in the Featured Blog Entries on Sulekha Blogs.
I'm embarrassed of the many typos that have crept in. I had written it in great hurry with no time to rectify the errors.
I can't even edit it now!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A day in my life

I'm jolted to the awakened state by the alarm. I go thru the little chores half asleep. I wish nights would be a little longer. I find my clothes mostly crumpled and carelessly stuffed into the wardrobe. I dress for office. I open the door to the balcony and the light from outside explodes in. Noise is an annoying guest invading my room. I look at the street below. People hurry for office or college. A mother drags her twins to school. A cool breeze blows. The sun lends its golden rays to everything exposed. Today's paper lies rolled on the floor. I get back into my room. Santosh sleeps like a baby. I lug my office bag and leave.

It's a virgin day but the streets are already maligned with overbearing people. I try to avoid the noise by treading along a narrow street. A housewife is busy brooming the front of her home and shoots a trail of dust into the air. Shutters are lifted, dry leaves are swept by the breeze. The street coaxes me to the main road. It's noisy and awfully polluted. Heavy trucks traverse it like a train in no mood to stop. Smoke fills the air. I cross the road to the other side. A cleaner furiously sweeps the road, bathing the passers-by in a spray of dust…an inescapable hazard at this early hour. I walk past the signal that commands respect over the traffic and veer to a new road. I reach my spot and stall myself. A stray dog is taking a sunbath as it lazes on the tiled entrance to a shop. More people reach the spot and stand like imperfect strangers. The bus arrives with the prospect of gobbling us. We hurry to be its fodder. Squeezing thru its narrow entrance, we finally take our seats. As usual, I get the window. The bus wobbles its way thru the roads while the sun rays slant in and selflessly offer their warmth. I smile.

The FM tuner is on and everyone is treated to its croonings. Ali Haider sings a song about college days. I can't help surrendering to it. My mind is adrift and wanders to the halcyon days in Fergusson. I had some across this sultry girl in a miniskirt. She had an hourglass-figure and shapy legs. How I wished I could be acquainted to her! I got my chance during the practical exam in our physics lab. She wanted some help with the adjustment of the prism and I was too glad to oblige. But this was no time for romance and I had to instruct a friend to stand guard at the door and warn me if a professor was heading our way. I helped her and went back to continue with the task at hand...something that was neglected in favoring my personal yearnings. How I wished this would be the start of a whole new relationship for us! It never happened.

I return to the present. Really, I must get a tight leash for my wandering mind. Some ads and silly messages offer me a breather before Lata Mangeshkar sings a beautiful song that I'm sure makes us all equally sedate and happy. I had heard it for the first time as a 5th grader. Kusum was a terribly dark and ugly but equally sweet and friendly classmate. She sang the song when my classmates begged her to.

We reach office and the talkative radio is finally muted. I disembark, tread my way thru the sidewalk and after negotiating a labyrinth of aisles and doors, finally reach my bay. I sit and drudgery ensues. I pamper my vacant mind with caffeine and tomato soup. I wish I could leapfrog those endlessly dull and boring hours which consume what could have been an eventful day. No chance.

After office we make a beeline for our respective shuttles. I take my window and resign to the bus. People gradually fill in. The machine hums into life and moves ahead. It's dusk and the roads are already clogged with heavy traffic. Not wanting to lend a thought to how congested things are, I numb my mind with random thoughts. I think of buying myself a pretty babe some day. Vidya Balan should suffice.

I reach my destination and the shuttle spits me out. I walk my way back home. En route, I suddenly remember I'm famished and satiate my rumbling tummy with roadside junk food. I reach home, take stock of what happened there, go thru some routine motions and begin reading some fiction. Dinner arrives and I'm hungry as ever. The food is hardly edible but I've learnt to keep my complaints to myself. I reach for the other folks in the adjacent room. They're busy surfing, cracking jokes, coding in Java and preparing to cook. They begin cooking and I'm hungry yet again. I don't give in to my hunger pangs this time.

I come out to the balcony. There's a rumpus on the street. Two cars from opposite directions tried to negotiate the narrow turn at the same time. Each wrongly read the other and a mini-accident is somehow averted. Tempers frayed, the drivers hurl abuses at each other. Some two-wheelers join in the fun and take sides arbitrarily, lending their voices in support of their camps. The vehicles behind get restless and begin honking. The squabbling drivers relent and go their separate ways. I retire to my den, continue with the book. My eyelids feel as heavy as lead and I finally decide to call it a day.

I cut thru life with a meaningless existence.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I was in a dreary mood today. Can't figure out why.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Opus 104

I'm a s-l-o-w reader. As I gradually sink into Vikram Seth's picturesque novel 'An Equal Music', I get more and more curious about the fictitious characters so vividly brought into life and strewn across the plot.

What makes the novel all the more delectable is its thematic revolution around music. Michael, the protagonist, is a violinist. Seth's flow of words is brilliant as it takes us deep into the lives of Michael and the peripheral characters. Since the novel is loosely strung around music, I thought of building up the right ambiance today by listening to some classical music myself while I read the book.

Brahms's 2nd symphony is the first to enter the scene. Though highly regarded by musicologists, I never found it appealing...not until now. The haunting 3rd movement, though, has been an exception in its mystical melody. The 3rd symphony, as usual, fails to impress me and I at once replace it with a Schumann CD for the solo piano. The final piece from Opus 16 is especially joyous as I picture a happy horse trotting in the countryside.

My room is shut from all sides to muffle the deafening traffic noise outside. Some bollywood music emanating from the next room seeps into and infiltrates mine, threatening to dismantle the carefully constructed image of London which Seth has so diligently painted. I turn up the volume. It partly helps. Since I'm not good at multitasking, I furiously toggle between Seth and Schumann.

I take a siesta a then continue with the book.

The strong woodwinds from Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony lend a voice too grave for my liking and are immediately swapped for a Mozart CD. Mozart's string-heavy symphonies are home-territory for me. As before, I switch between the written words and the played notes frequently.

The novel deepens. We come across a point that mentions Beethoven's opus 104, a string quintet. I'm as stumped as Michael is when he hears about it from Virginia. I had heard of string quartets and piano quintets. What's a string quintet? Michael's quest for this rarefied piece of work eventually leads him to a basement shop from where he procures a vintage vinyl record that he loses on his way back...and then finds again.

The book also portrays an argument between the members of the Maggiore Quartet regarding chronologically playing Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven at a concert. I get lucky here 'coz I know some history about music and can easily place the more prominent composers according to their period of existence. So it's child's play to relate to this part of the technicality.

The novel mentions how some of the characters look down upon Schubert's Trout Quintet, including the protagonist. This is shocker I'm not prepared for. The Trout is perhaps the only meaningful and successful marriage between the piano and the strings. I remember listening to a Brahms composition for a piano and violin when I was in Pune. It sounded yuck. I've heard such duets time and again and each time I've despised it.

'An Equal Music' missed out on being shortlisted for the Booker simply on account of its being too technically inclined towards music, a reason publicly acknowledged my the committee. Though I partly vindicate their stand, it shouldn't deter laymen from trying it for its intricate and intimate insight into the life of an ordinary musician. There's something extraordinary about the ordinary that escapes us all...all expect Vikram Seth. This book is a classic case in point. You don't need to be a chef to know a good meal when you have one.

A Repeat Story

My 2nd credit card showed up. Not surprisingly, there were 2 glaring flaws.

Inspite of providing the right address and sending them a copy of my mobile phone bill as proof of my residence and inspite of their executive coming home for verification, the address that was finally recorded by them shows 5th Main instead of 15th.

But there's more. I was promised a Gold Card...and they sent me the Classic Card instead. I take heart in the fact that at least it's a Visa!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Steel Express

Like most bengalis living in Jamshedpur, Calcutta (now, Kolkata) was our Mecca. Our annual Haj would happen during the summer vacations. Since Jamshedpur was a hinterland of sorts with a sleepy ambiance and where nothing out of the ordinary ever happened, I eagerly looked forward to the trip. Calcutta was in stark contrast to our town. Huge, noisy, unplanned, chaotic and stunning in its complete disarray, it was a shock treatment that I was awaiting all year long.

Sharing my enthusiasm was Anirban, my good friend and neighbor. We had little in common except for our zeal for the trip and, of course...trains! Trains fascinated us to the point of being an obsessive topic of discussion every evening when we met to play. We would begin our daily rendezvous by discussing our latest finds on the Indian Railways. And since his pilgrimage to the holy land during the long vacation was very much like mine, our camaraderie found a glue in Steel Express.

Steel Express was the mainstay of railroad connectivity between the two places. Its scheduled departure time from Tatanagar (Jamshedpur) Junction was 6:05 am and reached Howrah Station at 10:20 in the morning. We would then take a bus or taxi to our uncle's place somewhere in Tollygunge, a dingy and overly crowded place in the City of Joy. En route, we would cross the famous Howrah Bridge which was bang next to the station.

Anyway, since having something to discuss about our favorite train wasn't always easy, we resorted to figments about its speed vis-a-vis other trains, as if it was listed in the stock exchange! He would quote his own make-believe source on how Steel Express's speed had improved over what it was the previous day, while I would quote my equally fictitious agent in corroborating his finds! Each believed the other was quoting from a genuine source. Of course, there were other contenders to winning our affection, most notably Gitanjali Express and Rajdhani Express. While Anirban was sometimes fatigued of the Steel and would temporarily flirt with the also-rans, switching my loyalty was a preposterous thought since I was completely enamored by my train and would hear nothing against it. If Anirban said anything that even mildly tilted the balance in favor of the 'lesser' trains, Iwould vociferously spring into action and protect my turf and my train. So ferocious was my espousal that soon he would be won over to my camp and we would continue praising our beloved train to dizzy heights!

The excitement for the impending trip began to build with the onset of the summer vacation. Ah, the mood! Anirban and I would discuss tirelessly the exact sequence of events that led up to the big day. All the anticipation, planning and packing. The intricate details about everything that had to be in place for the trip to be absolutely perfect. However, his trip generally preceded mine by a day or two. When the big day came, I could hardly sleep! Packing our luggage was especially fun and didi and mom would meticulously look into all the details. Nothing was left to chance. Dad remained aloof while the rest of us would offer our own inputs into what should go into the suitcase or bags. Debates would be spirited, pros and cons fathomed, best fits and innumerable compromises agreed upon and finally everything would be squeezed in. It was such great fun. Not being able to contain my excitement was a given. I wouldn't be able to sleep the night before and when it was time for us to get up at 4 in the morning, I had hardly had a moment's sleep! This was the real thing. All those plans were now going live. We would go through our motions and leave home at 5. Mom would insist that it was cold outside and that I should be wearing a scarf. I protested but she would have none of it. Since it was dark, I would finally acquiesce in suffering the ignominy of wearing it, something that made me look like a girl! Well, everyone's asleep and no one will notice, I said to myself. We walked to the stop, waited for the station bus, boarded it and were finally on our way. I reveled in the experience.

Our bus would reach the station well before the scheduled departure. And then I finally saw my divine train stationed proudly in platform number 1. What a heavenly sight! We boarded and took our places. I would settle for nothing other than the window seat. That was an absolute must! And since the train was mostly empty, finding a place that caught my fancy wasn't difficult. Dad would see us off and wait there waving his hand at me till he was completely out of sight. That's when it struck me. I would be without him for a long while…and my eyes moistened as the train gradually pulled out of the station and gathered speed. Well, everything was soon forgotten and I would settle in assimilating as much as possible of the world outside that seemed to be hurrying past us.

Our train would usually reach its destination on time and that' s when I realized that the much hyped journey had come to an end. Not fair! So much of build-up but so ephemeral a trip! Anyway, the shock treatment from Kolkata still awaited us and I looked forward to it. We had vast clans of relatives who would descend upon us when word spread that we were in town. Since I was a loner, the constant influx of visitors would often overwhelm. Anyway, I had to live through it…and visiting relatives after a year-long abeyance wasn't necessarily all that bad, I reasoned myself.

Our vacation days would evaporate faster than I was willing to acknowledge and soon enough it was time to bid adieu. I had grown fond of Kolkata during my stay there and reconciling with the Spartan town of Jamshedpur would be difficult, I thought. The return trip wasn't all that fun and I couldn't stand the thought of enduring yet another year of academia before the next trip. However, I remember one particular incident. Dad had come to the station to receive us. Our coach stopped exactly in front of where Dad was standing. I saw him, leapt off the train on to the platform and ran towards him. Dad bent with open arms and hugged me tight!

Yes, the initial days after our return trip were very boring. Anirban was equally sombre, but there was some fun in meeting him and exchanging details. Soon school reopened and the first day of the new academic year was a riot, each pupil having his own account to narrate!

I never imagined those figmented tales about Steel Express would one day find their way into my blog!

Nirvana

Yesterday's retaliatory mail seems to have done the trick. Bharathi is no longer flooding my mailbox with unwanted forwards. An excerpt from my mail:

Whatever b the cost, I'm ready to bear it. It'll definitely be cheaper than hiring a guy full-time to keep flushing my mailbox of your JUMBO-sized mails!

A recipient of crap-mail,
Deepanjan

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Some Happenings

Trivialities seldom merit dedicated posts, a fact I've often divorced. However, the cumulative effect of such events ought not be overlooked. Thus this entry.

My PDA arrived last Friday. I had shopped for it via MyValueShop. However, my enthusiasm soon ebbed when I realized that the nifty little gadget had an insatiable appetite for power. The brand new Duracells were significantly drained in only a few hours of operation. At this rate, I would be spending a fortune just on replacing batteries. A very disconcerting thought. I've decided to return the product tomorrow.

My passport arrived and didi informed me about it. I was surprised as my name was not on the list when I had visited Jadavpur Police Station in July, even though I had applied 2 months back. I soon had to translocate to Bangalore and eventually gave up all hopes of ever getting the coveted thing. However, out of the blue came a mail saying that I was supposed to show up at the said station for verification purpose with all the necessary original documents, failing which the issue would be considered closed. Obviously I couldn't afford to comply and forgot the matter. I decided to apply afresh for the passport in Bangalore. That's when it arrived! A comedy of errors? Wait, there's more! My name was misspelt, with an 'A' being replaced by 'E'. Back to Square One. I don't know how much more will I be harassed. How could the officials make such silly mistakes and make us run from pillar to post for their own erring? I've dashed three emails to three different GOI offices regarding the anomaly but have yet to receive a reply, not even an acknowledgement. I look around and I find Indians having a very unhealthy attitude towards work. I hope my views don't inch towards racism.

Monday morning began most ominously. I had placed my swipe card somewhere and now couldn't find it. I frantically searched but failed. On quizzing, Mantu revealed that it was in the PDA package! He must have taken the liberty of putting it there. Got it. No sooner had I come out of my house than Sittu called me up to ask about my plans to attend the upcoming convocation. I was busy attending his call when a passing Maruti Omni splashed
drain water on my trousers! Gosh! I ran home, searched for a suitable replacement and finally managed to find a blue pair of jeans. Most inappropriate for non-Fridays, but I had no alternative as the other trousers were either unwashed or unironed. I've now in the process of conceiving a protocol to wash & iron my clothes on time! Anyway, after the switch I sped to my bus stop and reached there 5 mins ahead of schedule. And when did the bus finally arrive? More than half-an-hour late! That's life.

On the technology front, I've been fiddling with two software products. Audacity is a streaming audio recorder and I hope to use it to capture Yahoo! Radio and BBC Radio streams, which I'll be burning to my CD. Illegal? Sure, but who said I live on the right side of law? I'm still trying to make sense of the intricate interface. Feedreader is a lightweight newsreader that I'm now putting to heavy use to read select blogs, newsfeeds and Usenet forums. It's great for news buffs like me. Both the products are released under the GNU GPL with no strings attached. I'll go nuts the day Microsoft subscribes to it!

Oh, in keeping with tradition, I slept with the new book last night!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Just Arrived Via Courier...

...thanks to Indiatimes Shopping!

Dear Vanity Fair,
I'm sorry but my patience with you has run out. You are too bulky, there are more characters in your pages than I've ever come across in real life, your language is too archaic and your period too antediluvian and alien.
But there's hope. I may return to your pages some day.
Rajat has a voracious appetite for the choiciest ringtones for his mobile. Last time, it was a snoring man. Today's fad was the plaintive cry of a woman. Everyone at work looked up in utter bewilderment when his phone rang!
Helps break the monotony.

Erratum: Rajat informs me that it was the cry of a wolf! Well, anyone would be foxed!

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Red Umbrella

I saw Diya (my niece) the other day proudly flaunting her brand-new umbrella. Blue in color, the canopy had fanciful decorations that amply captured the imagination of the little lady. The metallic stem added to its beauty. Diya had been wanting an umbrella for long and her parents finally gave in to her constant tantrums.

It was a fine morning with rain-barren clouds enveloping the sky, leaving little prospects of the Sun managing to peep through it. Obviously, an open umbrella was a misfit and had no business being there. Yet, there she was, Diya beaming with pride as she showed off her latest booty to everyone without a care in the world. I found it amusing and my mind instantly raced back in time to the halcyon years of my childhood when I too had an umbrella that meant the world to me.

I mustn't have been much older than Diya. I had a second-hand umbrella today's kids wouldn't dare or care to flaunt. It was vanilla-red with a wooden stem. Though there was nothing alluring about the contraption for most, we were almost inseparable. It originally belonged to didi and had been passed on to me, although I can't recall anything anecdotal about the transfer of ownership. Didi was too generous & I guess she didn't really mind donating it to me. She must have had other things on her list of priorities. May I add that the umbrella in question was perhaps the only possession I shared a multiple-night stand with, in stark contrast to an idiosyncrasy.

What absolutely enthralled me was the experience of standing out in the rain under my beloved umbrella. So possessed was I that I would go to the verandah with my umbrella and stand in the region that wasn't shielded from the rain. While all would beat a hasty retreat into the safety of their homes, I would proudly go the other way and proudly stand in the rain under the unfurled umbrella. The experience was quite simply inexplicable and I remained ecstatic during those ephemeral but precious moments, totally in harmony with my surroundings with not a soul in sight. The feeling of proudly holding out against the raindrops furiously lashing against my canopy while I tightly gripped the stem was exhilarating. My parents were resigned to the oddity that was me and never stopped me from such escapades.

I wonder what became of my red umbrella. Must have been claimed by mother Nature.

(I had been meaning to write this article a long time back. As usual, procrastination got the better of me!)

I'm busy...

...as a bee. There'll be some posts soon, I promise.
But I miss Sameer's rants the most.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm attractive...

...though not in the conventional sense. The hour-long bus jaunt back home is a period when most techies feel overwhelmingly sleepy after a hard day' s work. Many would slip into a deep slumber had it not been for the pothole-ridden roads of Bangalore. My next-seater (keeps changing) joins the tribe of wannabe slumbering travelers...and invariably begins to slump towards yours truly. And since I always take the window seat, my face is stuck between the window pane and a wobbling head. I silently suffer in my entrapment with nowhere to turn. Why can't the bugger tilt towards the aisle?
Today's culprit was especially intimate. I could feel the radiant heat from his head!

That's it

I seldom visit the blogs of other people because they are generally very boring and utterly lack in the quality department. However, I had tried my level best to stick to some that began with a bang and promised the world.
Sad to say, most of them have failed me. The blogging phenomenon ends up hogging server space and does precious little. Perhaps its only virtue lies in keeping some hoodlums off the streets.
I'll stick only to a select group of bloggers who put quality above quantity. Too bad, most bloggers don't seem to know the difference!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Installed Yahoo! Widgets on Mani's computer. Just loved it!

Hard Pressed

We all have our handicaps, don't we? Well, mine isn't exotic or seriously debilitating but stunting nevertheless.

One of the frequent chores that bug me is the ritual of ironing my trousers. Really, this is a job way too menial for my genius. My flirtation with the iron began during the school days, although jogging my memory doesn't help in recalling when I was pressed into this demeaning job. I guess it was my mom who made me do the unthinkable, ironing my school pants. We had an ancient iron the weight of a shot-put and even lifting it was a Herculean task. Anyway, someone had to do the job and it might as well be me. I actually developed a temporary stoop after the ordeal was over. It was, quite literally, a back-breaking experience.

The second press I had an affair with was newer and lighter, much to my relief. Kaushik, my roommate in Pune, was the proud owner of this little device that made life a lot easier than it otherwise would have been. Romancing the feather-weight iron was almost a pleasure and ours was a steady relationship until tragedy struck, quite literally. One of the legs of Kaushik's bed broke and the entire bed tilted...though not completely, thanks to the iron which stood right next to the broken leg. So now the poor thing was suddenly burdened with the weight of the bed & Kaushik atop it, enough to ruin the thermostat. Kaushik showed enough presence of mind and leaped from the bed, but the damage had already been done. Well, the iron still worked, but with a busted regulator life surrounding it was in danger. I don't know how many clothes were sacrificed at the alter of the near-incandescent iron. I can recall at least one of my shirts' burn-marks bearing testimony to the iron that got too hot to handle.
I'm in Bangalore now and have my own little iron. Nothing spectacular or out-of-the-ordinary about it. However, there's one problem that never seems to fade away. Creases of formal trousers are my Achilles' heel. I just can't seem to be able to preserve a well etched crease that comes with new formal trousers. No matter how hard I try, the crease gradually seems to fade into thin air...or fabric! It's okay at the bottom, but as it traverses to the top it gradually disappears. I've boldly tried to press hard over the right regions so as to make the long-lost crease reappear in its new avatar, but each time it traverses up a new path and fails to meet any of the pleats at the top, whose sole purpose of existence is now in jeopardy. Finally, each artificial crease leaves behind its indelible mark...and the parallel venation resembles a eucalyptus tree without leaves.

I sport my much maligned trousers with the high hopes of the multiple creases issuing some sort of fashion statement that'll someday be the rage.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

My first credit card has arrived. It's a Mastercard from Standard Chartered Bank. I had insisted on getting a Visa card and they had promised to comply, but...
Blogging held the promise of making a Milton out of every moron...and too many of them fell for it. The quality of most blogs is appalling. I often get the feeling my own posts are adding to the litter.
Today is Dad's first death anniversary

Friday, December 09, 2005

I thought I was wearing my blue jeans. I realised they were the black ones instead only when I reached office!

The Tree Blog

If trees could blog day in and day out about their daily experiences without repetition, what would they write? Since my daily routine is very monotonous and stripped of spectacular events, my dilemma is very much the same. At least the tree could write about the dogs that would come up to it & do their business against the trunk. Not that I would yearn for canines having a similar affinity for me!

Now let me tell you about my daily routine. I set my mobile to wake me up at 6:45 in the morning. I go through the early morning chores while cursing the night for being so short and the corporate world for its preposterous belittling of my creative genius. I leave home at 7:40 and tread my way to the bus-stop, an activity that consumes 11-12 minutes. The company shuttle arrives, I board, take the window seat and wait for the potholed roads of Bangalore to thoroughly rattle the bus...& in the process awaken me completely for work. The trip takes 45 minutes. I reach office, keep swiping my card at countless entrances and finally reach my bay. That's when the real boredom begins. Anyway, I somehow manage to stay alive and awake during those 9 hrs of futile existence after which I head once again for my shuttle to drop me home. The traffic jam makes the return trip a nightmare. I reach my ultra-humble abode not sooner than 7:30pm. After changing, I visit my next door neighbours to spend some time talking crap and surfing the Net. Occasionally, I do go through the Times of India, which is gradually morphing into a semi-tabloid, much to my consternation. Come back to my room circa 9pm, have dinner, play some games on my Nokia, set the alarm for the next day and finally retire for the night.

Don't even get me started on my weekend schedules.

If this pattern is repeated on all working days, it becomes rather difficult to hit the creative curve while musing for my blog. I need to constantly dig into the past to keep my page well fed. But can this continue for long? My volatile memory only makes things worse. And what can I write about the people in my life without offending any of them? Nothing! I guess I'm sarcastic and sardonic by nature. Can't help it!I'm getting desperate for creative feeds. I guess my next post will be about how a wall in my house lost its virginity.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The making of a cheating maestro

Well, the little peeks would happen way too often...and they really don't qualify for cheating, but the first time I cheated in school to an extent that would put even Lalu to shame was when I was a 7th grader. The UN was conducting a short study course on its history, structure, constituent bodies, et al. We were given a booklet that contained all the pertinent information that we were supposed to mug up in about a week's time.

Being completely indifferent to academia, I conveniently gave it a miss. However, when the big exam day came, I was shocked to learn that unlike me, most of my peers had taken an active interest in the course and had actually studied very diligently! I didn't want to end up on the wrong side of the scoreline. Too late, I was helpless!

Now some guys had opted out of the course at the very outset. My partner belonged to this rarefied tribe. Lucky me! The exam began and there I was, answer paper on table, pen in hand, an empty head and nothing to write. Well, it would look odd if I scribbled nothing on the answer sheet, and so, to look occupied in offering intelligent answers to questions that were Greek & Latin to me, I bravely began penning whatever random thoughts came to mind. After all, my head was fertile ground for the most fanciful and baroque of ideas. My partner looked on as I scribbled what must have been the most ludicrous of answers. He eventually took pity on me & offered to help me by looking into the booklet for answers. I outrightly refused. I may be a fool but I still had my pride! However, even my ego finally gave way as I bartered it for the answers. I had to save face when the results were declared for all to see.

Thus began my illustrious voyage into the world of cheating and deception! My accomplice dug into the booklet and diligently probed for the answers, which he did with great dexterity without being caught! May God bless him! Writing down the answers was a toughie though! I had to erase all the answers I had already written in order to fill the pages and then write the correct ones. It was a tedious job, but someone had to do it! Well, we didn't have enough time to search for all the answers. Soon enough, we ran out of time. My partner had worked harder than me during the entire session. In him I had found a friend indeed!

The results were declared in a few days.
My score: 35%
Pass mark: 35%

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bagpack/Backpack

I don't know how it is in the rest of the world; but in India, school children are burdened with oversized bags. You can't help feeling sorry for the little ones having to lug heavy backpacks each morning to school and then back home after dispersal. I couldn't escape this ritual either.

Packing the bag for the next day was a particularly tedious task, and dad helped me during the early days. Actually, he did it all by himself! Then came the dreaded day when he refused to go through the chore as he was busy teaching didi something. The task of packing my bag all by my own looked infinitely intimidating. However, a man's got to do what a man's got to do! So I braved the challenge ahead and emptied my bag. Out came the school prospectus among other books. The back cover contained my time-table.

Dad used to arrange book according to their subject, refer the time-table and simply inserts the relevant books into my bag. A foolproof method, I must acknowledge. I proceeded to imitate him, and the task at hand was accomplished with great ease. I stuck to this simple system for years to come. Only occasionally did I deviate, like when I was too lazy or the succeeding day's schedule closely resembled the current.

Attending classes was a different ball-game altogether. I hated studying and spent my hours daydreaming about inventing a gravity-defying machine that would help me become the real Superman, or discovering a new planet. The teacher's supremely dull blabberings would fade into obscurity while I dabbled with the fame I found in my virtual world.

My bag packing mechanism seldom failed me during all those years of boredom. Only when the teacher issued ad-hoc instructions regarding a change of schedule would my tried-&-tested method fail me. Well, it wasn't really my fault...or the fault of my technique. Who had asked the teacher to deviate from the schedule? Now, what were the repercussions for bringing the wrong books? The implications were usually not serious, though some strict teachers would not spare the erring student, who would promptly be asked to stand outside the class or kneel down. Those were the days! Some of my classmates would be so terrified of being punished that they would take out another book of the same dimensions, so as to fool the teacher into believing that the required book was bought! However, the contents of the 'imposter' book would be concealed so cleverly that the teacher never got a chance to peep into its pages! However, fear of being caught hung like a sword over his head! The ringing bell that signaled the period ending sounded like music!

Some bravehearts who knew that the teacher would invariably punish the erring student by banishing him outside would say that they had not brought the book even though they had! They preferred the tranquility of standing a loner in the corridor to the crowded interiors of the classroom. Well, they belonged to my league of school-haters, though I never had the heart to volunteer to be punished! Imagine what happened when the teacher veered from the norm by making the erring student kneel down! A boomeranged idea!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

An idea jettisoned

Just called up the Nokia folks. The keyboard costs a staggerring Rs7240. So I've finally dropped the idea of buying it.

Microsoft Live Mail Beta

My elation was boundless when I finally got an invitation from the Microsoft guys to try out their Live Mail. However, I was soon to be disappointed. On clicking the link, I learnt that the service is not available to Indians yet.
Why does Microsoft treat Indians like dirt? We had to stick to a paltry 2mb of Hotmail space when most of the world had been upgraded to 250mb. Does demographic segregation really help Microsoft?

I'm sleep deprived...

...since Friday, and can hardly keep my eyes open. Satya's b'day bash continued till the wee hours of the morning today and I can now feel my IQ dipping!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Ganguli Bagan, Diya-Didi & Sebastian

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New Image by deepanjannag.

sabu by deepanjannag.

In a dilemma

I had originally planned to buy the Nokia Wireless Keyboard. However, now that I've got some semblance of the price (which happens to be above Rs.6k), I'm not ready for the leap. Even desktops are now available for under Rs.10k.
I could write an entire book on the events that took place the previous week. Now, if only my memory didn't fail me yet again! Folks, you must have realized by now that I suffer from an impoverished memory...something that has bugged me since early childhood. In fact, I decided to blog to preserve the memories that would otherwise fail me.
So what could have been a comprehensive narration...will never be.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

B2B-------> Back to Bangalore

My week-long vacation disappeared like ether...and I have only a few snaps to keep me company in the torrid days ahead!

Kolkata

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Tulu Mashi, Dida, Pinki, Chumki, Didi

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Rohit shifts to his new place tonight...while I leave for Kolkata via Guwahati Express. Things will change when I'm back. I'll have to do some speed reading on HTML, Javascript, XML...well, the list goes on. I also intend to join French classes in January.
The only thing I won't enjoy: ABAP!

Another change will be the shift from desktop blogging to moblogging. I'm finding no time to blog from my office desktop...and I intend to buy a personal desktop not before 2007 begins. I just hope the Nokia keyboard isn't to expensive. Any idea about the price?

Adieu, dear readers! Will hope to catch up with u folks on the 5th of December.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

An apology to Sittu

The flurry of recent activities made me completely forget that I was supposed to inform you about my trip to Kolkata. I leave tomorrow and will be back on the 4th. My leave of a fortnight was cut short on account of the demands of work. My blog will remain dormant during this period.
Monsoon seems to be the perennial flavor of the Bangalorean airs. It's raining for the past few days...and, needless to say, the roads look intimidating once again. I'm sure even the Jovian terrain is more hospitable!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Riya

I'm dying to get a Riya account. Google is rumored to be in talks to buy it. I think the acquisition of the nifty product founded by Munjal Shah would be fantastic.
I'm running out of time for my blog.
Any suggestions?
I'm contemplating buying the Nokia wireless keyboard to blog via my mobile.
Santosh goes for another exam today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sourceforge finally sports a new look!

Monday, November 21, 2005

News Aggregators

Are news aggregators that big a deal? While Bloglines & Google Reader are the best web-based aggregators, I'm not entirely convinced too many people would find reason in using them heavily. Using bookmarks that directly lead to the web-page would be far easier minus the pains.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Human ingenuity hits a peak when there is a scarcity of water. I guess that's what makes Bangaloreans such skillful and clever people. Though I'm used to water scarcity by now, the situation becomes so desperate sometimes that we have to invent desperate measures.

I had seen how Prateek & Sittu would brush their teeth without water (!) or wash clothes with only a limited amount. Innovation at its exemplary best. The situation in JP Nagar is no better. We cooked chicken with no supply of water and had to use whatever little we had in stock. Adding to our misery was Santosh's improvident way of expending water, as if he owned the Indian Ocean!

Thieves @ Work

Who doesn't like a holiday? Didi (sister) & I were no exceptions...especially since it endowed us with the opportunity to raid every nook & corner of our house for edibles. No matter how well-fed we were, we would be perennially hungry!

Afternoons would be the best time for us to go on the hunting expedition. Siesta-time for Mom obviously granted us with ample opportunities to hone our skills. Didi would be the mastermind in engineering the plot to raid our house. She would devise schemes that left no stone unturned in probing every inch of every room in our quest for anything ready-to-eat that would ultimately and up in our tummies. Mom was well aware of our dark deeds. After all, you couldn't really blame evaporation for the rapidly depleting stock of cookies bought only a couple of days ago! She devised her in-house techniques of deception that would make our hunting that much difficult...though we always proved more than equal to the task at hand. If she had graduated in the art of deception, so had we...but only in the art of detection.

From scaling the wardrobe in search of the cookie-jar to being on all-fours to look under the bed; from digging into the divan to probing the earthen-pitcher...we had tried it all and were usually successful in accomplishing our mission.

Things changed when Didi gradually lost interest in our misdeeds until she finally decided to defect to the other side (Mom's) & refused to cooperate with me. I'll never know what came over her to merit such ecclesiastical amelioration. Being her accomplice was great fun & now I sorely missed her. I was left with no option but to fend for myself. Those years of apprenticeship under Didi's effective guidance had taught me enough nuances of the game to merit my going solo.

So here I was, the lone Robin Hood of the ever-hungry me waging a solitary war of detection against the worldly barriers of detection. I actually became reasonably accomplished in my task & gradually hone my skills to unprecedented levels. A proprietary technique I had invented involved muffling with a pillow the sound made while opening the lid of a tin can. Many a time had I been caught red-handed due to the awful amount of noise the activity would otherwise involve. My new technique worked flawlessly & sure saved the day for me on many occasions. I guess I should have patented it!

The passing years gradually waned my interest in the afternoon-time adventure until I too defected to the right side of law. How boring!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Google's First

I've been checking one of Google's recent purchases...and it has failed to impress me. This is perhaps Google's first takeover of a firm that wasn't the best in its class.

The Cricket Match

Bangalore hosts the second cricket match tomorrow in the ongoing series between India & South Africa. Manilal is contemplating buying some tickets...although the chances of tickets being available so late in this cricket-crazed country look very bleak.
Only once had I had the opportunity of watching an international cricket match in a stadium. The match was between India & England, the venue being The Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Buada & I were so excited on our way to the venue.
India got to bat first and put on a decent score. But the Englishmen were equal to the task and thrashed our bowlers. Like many spectators, we were annoyed by our amateurish performance and decided to vacate as the match was destined to be lost, we thought.
By the time we reached home, there was a stark reversal of fate. We won! I curse myself for missing out on the events that led todramatic change.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

End of my creative afflatus?

Since most of my scant brainwaves are now being utilized on officework, expect a dwindling in the quality & quantity of my posts.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Trials & Tribulations

Santosh had cleared the first selection round (written) of an IT firm and faces the acid test (HR & GD) today. He has been busy honing his verbal skills by reading one of the Businessworld magazines I had bought a few weeks ago! Never have I seem such diligence in him in reading this particular magazine.
Well, I wish him all the best!

The Green Sidewalk

I always hated studies. Still do. But early on I learnt an ingenious way of giving those endless hours of poring over dull books the miss. I simply had to accompany Dad to the market! Since it usually happened during my study-time, taking a break was the most convenient way out. Dad would only be too glad to have me by his side, as he & I could endlessly talk about a wide range of issues.
Those trips to the market had another hidden agenda: I loved reading magazines and going to the bazaar with Dad surely meant I could emotionally blackmail him into buying me another one...even though the previous issue was still unread. Well, I didn't have to try too hard and Dad would invariably relent after a little convincing.
However, what I remember most about those trips to the bazaar is the walk back home. Ours was a narrow but tranquil lane with grass sidewalks on both sides. Jamshedpur being a hilly town, the lane was rather steep and running downwards was sheer joy. On reacing the terminal end of our lane en route to our walk back home, I would hand over all the things I helped carry to Dad. That's when I would start running as hard as I could on the sidewalk. The grass easily muffled the noise my running would have otherwise made. On reaching our place, I would wait for Dad to slowly trudge his way back. I sometimes got too impatient waiting for him and would run back, only to run back home! It was such great fun.
Needless to say, I had many a fall on those runs! The grass would do a splendid job of cushioning my fall. But what joy it was...running down memory lane!
I've finally got my new pair of glasses. I'll try to avoid wearing them.

Me, Friends and Forum

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Hawking's cosmological riff (click here)

It's nice to see even Cnet dedicating a part of its tech-space to Dr.Hawking. I recall having attended a lecture once in Fergusson College, Pune by a cosmologist who had done his PhD with Dr.Hawking. The lecture revolved around Time and Gravity. We listened to him in rapt attention in the amphitheatre. He had a great sense of humour and ended by saying,"I hope to see you in the future...or the past!" We erupted with a roar of laughter and applause. I fail to recall his name.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Willis Conover
It's a shame that bloggers hardly know him! Even Wikipedia had no article on him until I wrote one.

Friday, November 11, 2005

SAP/ABAP Motivation

A combination of some/all of the following factors could be motivation enough for me to put my heart in SAP/ABAP for a year:
  1. Winning the Nobel Prize for ABAP coding, 2006.
  2. Aishwarya Rai/ Heather Graham marrying me.
  3. Osama bin Laden reading Bhagavad Gita and converting to Christianity.
  4. All the world's mosquitoes & cockroaches going extinct.
  5. Microsoft embracing Linux/Open Source and offering to nurture the operating system.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ah, Beethoven!

It must be over a month since I began experimenting with listening to sounds that most people call music. Well, non-classical is not necessarily all that bad. But I'll never convert to this grade of mass-appealing sounds.
I'm listening to the finale from Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony over Yahoo! Music...and I now realize what I've been missing for the past month or so!

A testimony via Sulekha by one of my readers

(I've edited the grammatical flaws)

Hello Deepanjan,
It was fun reading both your columns.You have an art to make your topic interesting. Not bad. Have fun..and good luck for futher topics. Wish u well.
HazelEyes

(BTW, I've forgotten my Sulekha id & can't contact my 'hazeleyed' admirer!)

(...Nope! There was a problem with the Sulekha web servers!)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Phone Call

I had called up Mrs.Nileema Raddi in the morning but she had gone out. So I called her up again at 9pm. Among many things we discussed was Shrirang bhaiya's wedding in Nayantara just before it was to be demolished. I also broke the sad news of Suchismita's sad demise, something that left aunty thunderstruck. Uncle is in New Delhi to visit his relatives. It was nice to hear from aunty after a long time.

A little later (9:50pm) came a call for Santosh from his nondescript native place. The gibberish from the other end made me disconnect the first time. The second time was a more concerted effort and after getting a semblance of what was desired, I handed my phone to Santosh. He talked to his heart's content for half-and-hour, enough to drain my cell!
Yahoo! Cricket score ticker is a beauty

Searching for someone

I remember hearing a song by someone in a movie with Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves as the protagonists. Charlize is a free-spirited girl who is terminally-ill while Keanu is an ambitious lawyer who is captivated by Charlize's ways. The most memorable thing about the movie, though, was the song. I tried to ferret some information about the song yesterday, and its unknown singer.


  1. Searched for Charlize Theron via Wikipedia. Browsed through her filmography and zeroed in on Sweet November (2001), which rung a bell. I didn't remember the name of the movie and hoped this was the one.
  2. Clicked on Sweet November. The plot confirmed my doubt! This was indeed the movie I was looking for.
  3. Searched for Sweet November via Yahoo! Music. Managed to find the original motion picture soundtrack.
  4. Clicked on the link. Found the list of tracks. There were 13. Now which one was I looking for?
  5. Visited Amazon and searched for Sweet November. Gotcha! The list of tracks, however, gave no information about the singers.
  6. Listened to the 30 second samples.
  7. Only Time. That's the song! Still, no information about the singer. A customer review read "My main reason for getting this album? Enya."
  8. So could Enya be the elusive singer? Returned to the familiar terrains of Yahoo! Music and searched for Enya.
  9. Read her biography. Certainly seemed to match what I had in mind. Yeah, some more probing and it was finally confirmed that Enya was the one.
  10. Watched some of her videos. Really liked what I saw. I just love her new age style.
  11. Finally, searched Wikipedia for Enya.
  12. Job done, I was a satisfied person!

U may visit her official site here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A different bus

I go back home by the company bus. My usual bus didn't show up yesterday, only to be substituted by a new one. I wasn't aware of the change. What's more, 'BUS No-31' was written nowhere on the windshield of the replacement. So how was I to know that the swanky bus stalled right in front of me was my bus?
I came to know of the switch only after the bus had left! Having no alternative, I walked in the rain back home. Bangalore roads being what they are, my trousers (yeah, the same bee harbouring ones) & shoes were heavily soiled by the time I reach abode.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The sting operation

There was a guy in school named Subroto Giri, who, we all agreed, was the world's most accident prone person. All the world's ill luck would strike him first before affecting others. We sympathized with him, though we couldn't help occasionally taking a dig at the poor guy.

I guess Murphy's law of averages has finally caught up with me. It's now my turn to be the butt of the jokes of my acquaintances. I went to HDFC Bank to sort 2 issues. One was sorted, the other had to wait. It was during my trudge back to my office that I made the mistake of putting my left hand into a hip pocket. Unknown to me, a bee had conveniently lodged itself there. No sooner had I made the intrusion than the bee stung me! My thumb, to be more precise. It felt like my thumb had been amputated. I did the obvious and withdrew my hand with a jerk, not knowing what had hit me. Getting a semblance of what had just happened, I realized to my consternation that the sucker could still be 'in' there. I feared getting stung again, this time into regions of my body far too vital.

Not knowing what to do, I came up with a plan to defeat the little creature. The modus operandi was simple. I would have to reach my office, take to the toilet, strip below the waist, turn my trousers inside out, attack the said pocket with all my might...and hope the bee wouldn't sting me in the interim period. The plan was executed to perfection, although attacking the pocket required artistry far more complex than I had originally imagined.

By the way, my efforts proved futile. After mercilessly pounding the pocket from all directions, I finally mustered enough courage to probe the pocket. I did a thorough check, but nothing was found. Obviously, the bee had escaped after the sting!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The price for lethargy

I hate washing clothes. It's way too menial for a genius like me. Beethoven composed 9 symphonies, Shakespeare scribbled 37 plays, Darwin came up with the Origin of Species, Einstein contrived The General Theory of Relativity...and here I am washing clothes. What a sheer waste of my talent! I'm sure I could come up with something equally monumental if civilization gave me enough time to apply my fertile mind on higher thoughts. Well, my loss is the world's loss!
Well, yesterday being a holiday, I finally set about washing some of my dirty clothes by dumping them into a bucket and adding washing powder and water. It was 10am. They were supposed to soak for 2hrs at the most. They ended up soaking for 13hrs instead. Actually, I kept procrastinating till I could no longer avoid it. One of the garments (a green colored T-shirt) decided to seek revenge for my apathy. It bled its color, thereby dyeing a formal shirt which I normally wear to the office. What a reprisal! I tried in vein to rid the newly added dye. Nature had taught me a vital lesson the hard way.
So what can I now do with my beloved shirt? I thought of continuing to wear it to office, passing off the patches of green as a new designer trend...but realized my colleagues were too clever not to see through my alibi. What the heck!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Linux PCs: Customer service or lip service?

The above Cnet News article evoked some fervent comments from the readers. My own comments were dabbled with and the fallout was rather interesting. Click on the title above to read the original article. My comments appear at the bottom. Please bear in mind that I'm not technically adroit in Linux. Exaggerations in my comments are there for all to see!

Hotmail Replacement?

It may be high time I bid adieu to my beloved Hotmail accounts. Microsoft is planning a contienental shift with its web-embracing Live initiative. I guess Kahuna will eventually replace Hotmail...or become the next major Hotmail upgrade.
To know more about Kahuna, click on the title of this post. Hurry, the link could be dead soon!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I would have loved to Audioblog if we had a local number. I hope the day isn't far. Speech-to-Text would also be great and the Blogger folks are working at it. Hurry up, guys! A genius (yours truly) is waiting to make himself heard in cyberspace!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Guards Are Down

It came as a complete surprise to me today when I discovered that Yahoo! Groups was accessible via our office desktops.

I've added a Flickr badge to my blog. This ostensibly goes against my view of keeping blogs ultra-spartan.
Well, some flowery stuff wouldn't hurt!

The WTC Makeshift Substitute

The blue beams stand testimony to religious flaws. Like it or hate it, you can't attenuate the hold religion still has on us. Proof enough that we have a long way to go before we vanquish our inhibitions!

Some friends from BIT






I've cruelly stolen these photos from Saurabh's and Vivek's Flickr pages. I hope they won't sue me for the infringement!
Proof that there is perfection in the universe!
Kaushik had called last week saying he was scheduled to come to Bangalore on Saturday (29th) and leave for Chennai the day after. He was to put up at my place. However, he never showed up. I guess the recent floods in these two cities put him off.
I've finally got my PAN card.

The Ritam Shock

Chanced upon Ritam's site. Going thru his contact page gave me the shock of my life! Could it really be his photo? Curiosity got the better of me and I quizzed him via email. Pat came the reply, "Yes!"
After a break of 5 days, I'm back in the office. I've been busy downloading all sorts of programs (mostly crap) for my mobile. Most of them are, however, not free. I've downloaded some nice themes as I was getting tired of the default vanilla one.

A Sedate Diwali

Yesterday was Diwali and needless to say, we were all agog. Not me, as I'm still in mourning for my Dad, as this was my first Diwali after Dad's demise. I couldn't help recalling how, as a child, Didi & I used to have a whale of a time during the festival of lights. Dad would buy fire crackers, phuljhari, charkha, dori and some improvisations the market would come up with each year. Didi & I would diligently expose all our fireworks to the Sun during the afternoons. We would partition our fiery properties so as to avoid disputes when the big day came!

The big day would finally come. Lighting the crackers was great fun and the little sibling rivalry that had been brewing over the past few days would finally subside and camaraderie would kick in. We would pool our crackers together and light them in unison. Sharing was more fun! Being the more timid of the two, I was slightly subdued as compared to the other folks, so Didi was on the driver's seat.

I was and still am a little scared of crackers. They are way too noisy and slightly dangerous. Phuljharis are my all time favorite.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mantu, Anand & Mani @ ease in Bangalore!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A mood swing

I was feeling on top of the world only a few days back, thanks to some prospect of change. Now, everything seems lost and I'm in a gloom. It's terrible when hopes are dashed.

Forum & Home

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rediscovering Chess

I bought a Nokia phone a few months back and got into downloading games for it only recently. I hit upon an absolutely fantastic Chess game for Symbian phones. It's called ChessGenius and I've spent sleepless nights playing against it on my mobile. I've won only 2, keeping the competition (read 'opponent') at the simplest level. There's no guessing what'll happen if ChessGenius plays in a stronger mode! After all, I'm as good at it as a Sumo wrestler may be at figure-skating!
It's a dream game for me and I'm thoroughly enjoying playing against my newfound opponent.

Monday, October 24, 2005

My One Night Stands

Yours truly has had his share of what most people deem the ultimate luxury: one night stands. But before your juices begin to flow, dear erudite reader, let me forewarn you that all my 'bedmates' were just inanimate objects!

It's about those times when the world hadn't gone digital. Times were simpler and I was only a kid. Dad would go to the bazaar every evening; and each time he came back, I would spring into action and probe his shopping bag for anything that might catch my fancy. Books & Magazines were my favorite...and there was generally enough of a steady supply of them to keep me happy. When they were not to be found after a probe, I would be happy to make do with any other thing, including fruits, vegetables, electric torches, buckets...the list is endless.

Accommodating the newly bought 'object' by my side during bedtime was seldom an issue. My parents had learnt by observing me over the years that I was abnormal beyond repair & thus never tried to mend my fetish ways. Consequently, I slept almost each night with a virgin product newly procured from the market.

Once, however, a problem did arise when I insisted on sleeping with one such product. It happened to be a huge orange bucket! Now, it was uncomfortable accommodating such an oversized object & I'm sure my parents protested...but I would have none of it. So there we slept, me deeply attached to a bucket that would repay such unconditional love by serving us for many years to come. In fact, we still use it!

Books and magazines were my all-time favorite. They must have been my bedmates from even before I could read and write. Accommodating a new book under my pillow was way too easy to cause any discomfort.

One particular incident remains fresh in my mind. Dad had bought 'only' a small bag of apples. I wasn't too fond of perishables, but since there was nothing else to give me company at nighttime and since I wouldn't let adversity ruin the tradition, I decided to sleep with the apples complete with the tiny white bag. Now, it's not that I wasn't kept well fed, but the apples smelt so appetizing that hunger pangs awoke me in the dead of night. Mulling over the situation, I decided to devour one of the apples. No one will notice a thing in the morning since there are so many of them, I thought. I should have known better. Out came an apple from the bag. No sooner had I dug my incisors into it than my mom uttered such a blood-curdling scream that I decided against consummating my plan. Back went the apple into the bag. I guess mom didn't trust me with the apples and was consequently on a night-long vigil. The noise of the bite was a giveaway, I guess.

The next morning, to my consternation, the injured apple was shown around the house as damning proof of my insatiable appetite, unfailingly evoking peels of laughter from all and sundry. I don't remember what fate the apple finally met. I'm sure, after the my aborted nocturnal attempt, the 'apple' of my eye finally made its way into my stomach.

I also had a peculiar fascination for electric torches. Nothing turned me on like a torch with a new pair of batteries. Needless to say, I once slept with one such torch. I played with the switch & liked to see the 'red' with my eyes closed. Unfortunately, I fell asleep during the dabbles with the switch on! I awoke the next morning to this horrible discovery and found the torch bulb glowing dimly! The brand new batteries were completely drained out! So that's how I ended up ruining a perfectly virgin pair of batteries. I was never admonished for the accident, although the incident did go down in our family history only to be recalled time and again and again as a favorite anecdote.

One night stands are shunned by society...and age has only made a conformist out of me. Well, almost! Still, old habits die hard & I do sometimes manage to find a 'partner' to share my bed with...though they are mostly not virgins!

Anish Asokan, The Great

Anish has been pressing me to writing something about him...so here I go.

There are some people who stand apart from the crowd. Beethoven, Einstein, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, yours truly, etc have all been specially endowed people. Now Anish obviously doesn't belong to our league, but that doesn't mean he is not gifted.

Anish has a way with people and people related issues. This became apparent during our early days of acquaintance. Any problem and Anish would be using his skills to navigate us out of it. Soon we got so used to him that we would be paralyzed without his presence. So we informally promoted him to our in-house HR Rep! I asked him to pursue an MBA with specialization in HR. He has been contemplating it ever since.

The other thing nice about him is that he never loses his temper or patience. We pester him with all sorts of requests, both reasonable and unreasonable, and he never declines to help. What's more, like me, he too is an occupant of the nascent blogosphere. Here's wishing this gem of a person all the best in his endeavors!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Mobile's new dimensions...

...are finally coming to the fore. Transferred some Symbian games from the computer to my phone. A photo-editing software was also transferred. Some tracks from The Beatles, Herbie Hancock and Louis Armstrong also found their way.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Some Firsts

Sittu & Prateek finally came to my place, although they couldn't have done so without our mobiles. Thanks to them, my data cable was finally put to some use like transferring files from the computer to my mobile and vice-versa. The pair of earphones that came with my mobile were also used for the first time.

Accenture & Forum

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Yahoo! Podcasts

Yahoo!, on Thursday, announced its entry into podcasting with the beta release of Yahoo! Podcasts. Yahoo! Bangalore had been the brain behind this new product with entire product development happening out of Bangalore Software Development Centre.